School is about to start up again, which means that, once again, working families have to scramble to find childcare to fill the gap between school hours and work hours. But this year is looking to be even harder than usual—not that usual was ever easy to begin with—as a lot of daycare and after-school programs are experiencing worker shortages.
As maddeningly frustrating as it is to work in a country that still doesn’t acknowledge the reality that 60% of families have two parents that work outside the home, until that changes, parents are still going to be stuck scrambling to find back-to-school childcare.
If you are still haven’t found what you need, we have a few ideas for else you might look.
Reach out to your local university
College students often have a more flexible schedule than most. If you have a college campus nearby, this is be a good place to start. Some universities will have student listservs or boards where you can advertise a babysitting job. Another strategy would be to contact any university organizations that may have students with babysitting experience or who plan to work with children as part of their career path, such as an early childhood education department or a club that does outreach for local elementary schools.
Team up with a family in a similar situation
The problem of finding part-time childcare to fill the gap that lives between school hours and work hours is one that many, many families face. You are far from alone—right now, given the lack of options, there’s a good chance that another family in your network may be going through the same struggle.
It’s worth reaching out to other families, whether it’s work colleagues, families you know from church, neighbors, the parents your child’s friends, or any other families you know that may also need childcare. This could be in the form of a babysitting swap, such as one family taking the morning shift, while the second family takes the afternoon shift, or going in on a part-time nanny share.
Offer to hire a stay-at-home parent
Another alternative is to reach out to a stay-at-home parent who might be willing to offer childcare for another child or two before and after school. In a perfect world, their kids and yours would be about the same age, and get along. That’s the ideal scenario.
In a less-than-perfect world, even if there is a mixture of ages and temperaments, there are still a number of stay-at-home parents who might be interested in a part-time job. Just make sure you talk up front about payment, and expectations regarding what is included in that payment, such as a. snack or transportation to after-school activities. (Also make sure everyone investigates and understands any applicable tax implications here.)
Look for babysitting groups in your area
If you search Facebook, you can sometimes find babysitting exchange groups in your area, which is often made up of parents who need childcare and babysitters who are looking for work. A local parents’ group can also be a good resource.
These local groups are a good place to find potential sources of after-school care, as well as other parents who are in a similar situation and may be open to joining up, whether it’s to swap childcare or go in on a part-time nanny share.