It’s happened to us all – you have a crucial meeting, your parents are on holiday, the in-laws aren’t answering their phone and your partner just can’t swing another day off work without getting in serious trouble with the boss. Whatever the reason, sometimes you need childcare at short notice, and no one you know can fill in. Time to call in the professionals.
Some companies specialise in emergency childcare – such as www.emergencychildcare.co.uk. Companies like this ask you to join up beforehand for a small fee, payable either monthly or yearly. They will then find emergency childcare on your behalf, whether it’s a nanny, nursery or childminder. It can be can expensive option as you pay for the childcare you use on top of the company fee, but if you know you don’t have family nearby or it’s difficult for you to take time off in the event of an emergency, it could be well worth investing in.
Find a nanny
A similar solution is contacting a nanny agency directly. Many offer emergency childcare as well as longer term nanny placements.
Use a childminder
Using a childminder in an emergency is also an option. Many will take your child at short notice if they have a place on that day. The best way to find out about local child minders is to contact your local council, who will have a list of registered providers.
Babysitters or Au Pairs may also be able to step in at short notice. Agencies like Sitters offer last minute care as well as more regular babysitting.
If you need care at the weekend or overnight, it’s worth remembering that some childminders offer this service in their home. If you prefer your children to stay at your home overnight, then an overnight nanny may be able to step in – they’re not cheap as they’re often employed to help children who have sleep problems.
Always make sure anyone you use is OFSTED registered.
Asking family or friends is often the easiest and cheapest choice when you’re stuck holding the baby and need to be somewhere else, but if no-one can help – rest assured there’s likely to be some kind of experienced child carer ready to step in.