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Emergency Childcare: What’s your plan?

At some time, if you haven’t already, you will experience life’s unexpected and unforeseen circumstances. When you have a family, the key to being prepared for such situations is to have an emergency backup childcare plan in place.

When you least expect it, or on the worst day possible, your childcare provider may call you at 6:00 am, telling you that they are unable to care for your child because of a family emergency. When that time comes, and I assure you it will, will you be ready to cope with the disruption in your regular childcare arrangements? Do you have an alternate plan? Is there a family member or neighbour you trust that you can call for help? Or will you have to take the time off work and miss that important business meeting or project deadline because the only alternative is you?

According to statistics Canada, work absence rates increase for families with children aged 5 years and younger, with women missing more days of work per year than men.

But don't panic yet... emergency backup childcare options do exist, and knowing where to turn on that hectic morning is essential in ensuring that you can arrange care for your child, and go to work with peace of mind.

What is Emergency Backup Childcare?

Emergency backup childcare fills the void when there is an interruption in regular childcare arrangements. When family is available, it can be the easiest care to arrange. Friends, college students, babysitters or retired neighbours or stay at home parents can all be options for some. If you are not fortunate enough to have such options, you can always consider child care facilities in your area.

Helpful Tips for that Stressful Day

  • Research daycare centres ahead of time. Visit, even arrange for you and your child to stay and play for a while in order to get a feel of the centre and meet staff. When the time comes your child will be more comfortable.
  • Keep a file and photocopies of your child’s important documents and immunization records available.
  • Complete pre-registration papers.
  • Have important phone numbers at hand.
  • Know your employer’s policy for taking time off.

Care Connect Network

Some daycare centres will accept children on an occasional or emergency basis. So you may need to do some research in order to find out who and where those facilities are. The Care Connect Network can help and save you time. All About Kids, a reputable childcare company for over 12 years, has recently launched the Care Connect Network. This backup care emergency service offers emergency childcare, and all the work has been done for you. Offering an online listing of dedicated quality licensed centres, including photographs, locations and availability is right at your fingertips. With 15 centres, and more to come, this unique service connects families to an easy to use online network for emergency backup and occasional childcare available across the GTA and surrounding areas. One of the great features is that it is convenient...you can request care anywhere at any time, right online.

Final Words of Wisdom

If possible try and visit centres, or meet as many staff members as possible, at the very least the ones that will be caring for your child. Are you comfortable with the centres policies? Are the staff welcoming? Do they talk to your little one? Are they friendly, and do they seem genuinely happy to be there?

Remember to make sure to go with your gut. After all you want to have a good feeling when it comes to leaving your child in someone else’s care. And don't hesitate to ask for referrals. Good centres will have a list handy for you!

Ellen Pazuki, RECE, OCT
Regional Manager, All About Kids
Care Coordinator, Care Connect Network


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