How to deal with a child care emergency

It's Spring Break in South Florida and many working parents are scrambling to find childcare while they have to work. I wonder, have you ever found yourself in a child care emergency?

Today, my guest blogger is Melissa Anderson, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Sittercity. Melissa has some great advice for working parents who find themselves in this situation. She is pictured below with her son, Kyle.

 Melissa A and Kyle

Every parent knows that emergencies are just part of life…no matter how well you plan, things are going to happen; it’s simply Murphy’s Law.  For me, a working mother of two, life’s unexpected problems always seem to come at the wrong time.   They go wrong for stay-at-home mothers as many times as working mothers – so no one’s immune to this situation.

Recently, my nanny called me to let me know she had come down with the flu and would be out for a few days.  She was very apologetic and I certainly understood.   She is wonderful extension of the family and my children adore her; but to be honest, I didn’t want a sick person – not matter how wonderful they are – getting my kids sick too! So I was happy she was taking the responsible course of action to stay home to take care of herself; but I found myself in a situation which many can relate to: I was suddenly out of a sitter – and I had a big presentation that day.  I couldn’t stay home and neither could my husband. 

Parents can relate to this, and it can lead to a state of panic: Where am I going to find a trustworthy sitter to watch my children in a moment’s notice?

 Luckily, I work at Sittercity, the nation’s largest and most trusted online resource to find amazing babysitters and nannies. At Sittercity, I lead a team who provide companies with Sittercity’s child and eldercare benefit program. Many companies offer Sittercity as an employee benefit to help their team members to have a Plan B – or backup plan. So every day, my team and I work with other companies to help their employees solve breakdowns in childcare arrangements both planned (school vacations, holidays and caregiver holidays) and unplanned (sick children, snow days, flu season, sick, nannies).  Now it was time for me to practice what I preach and put my backup plan into action.

In planning for such a situation, I had previously interviewed a number of sitters and had a list of my Sittercity backup sitters who are available at a moment’s notice.  I emailed all of my sitters at the click of a button through Sittercity and one responded almost immediately that she was available.  Sittercity’s Short Notice requests are usually met in just over two hours, but my sitter was at my house within the hour and my childcare crisis was averted.  I could go to work with my mind was at ease knowing my children would be well cared for.

Sounds easy right?  It is, but there is a lot of advance planning that goes into a seamless backup plan.  Here are some steps you can take to be prepared when you need a Plan B-Backup Care:

  • Check with your employer to determine if your workplace has a backup childcare solution – and feel free to call me if it doesn’t!


  • If your employer doesn’t have a plan, sign up with a babysitting service like has monthly or annual memberships that connect you with hundreds, if not thousands of qualified sitters in your area.


  • Develop a pool of babysitters at the ready.  Sittercity recommends a four-step screening process . Step One: Read the online reviews and ratings listed directly on caregiver profiles on Sittercity.  Step Two: Conduct an interview with all caregivers.  Step Three: Check a caregiver’s references (also listed directly on caregiver profiles on Sittercity).     Step Four: Run a background check.  Additional available checks include an Enhanced Background Check and Motor Vehicles Record Check.


  • If you haven’t developed a pool of sitters, you can use last minute tools on sites like Sittercity called “Sittercity Short Notice” which help you find new sitters within a an hour or two.

I hope these tips can help you with backup care.  Do you have any additional tips that can help working parents find a backup sitter?


The Work/Life Balancing Act

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