10 Aug Child Care and the Return to Work
The GVMA’s Member Assistance Program has resources for childcare, including a child care locator!
As more and more parents begin to return to work, finding child care will become increasingly important. Child care options may be limited due to continued closures or increased safety restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you can resume child care with your regular caregiver, you should expect some changes and allow extra time when dropping off and picking up your child. Depending on the caregiver, there may be a screening process, including taking the child’s temperature before they can enter the facility. Keep in mind that you may also be asked to provide meals for your child as well.
Child care facilities are implementing various strategies to protect children in their care. This may include reduced class sizes and limiting interactions between the children, like staggering playground times and separated groups for special activities, such as art, music, and exercise. Child care classes will likely include the same group of children each day, as well as the same caregiver. It is important to discuss policies and plans for reopening with your provider before choosing who will care for your child while you are at work. Keep in mind that the hours a child care provider is open may be limited. Caregivers may have shorter business hours to allow time to sanitize the space. Staff may also be working in shifts to limit exposure. These safety precautions can limit the number of spots available for care. You may also want to have several options for child care in the event that one doesn’t work out.
Families are finding that they must think outside of the box of traditional child care to locate options that will work for their family. Below are some suggestions for parents who are returning to work soon and need to coordinate childcare.
Talk with your manager.
Companies are aware of the challenge that child care presents. Your manager may be able to accommodate your need for an adjusted schedule or allow you to work from home some days. Be upfront about your needs, as your employer may have options in place to help.
Try to coordinate your schedule with your co-parent (where applicable).
Hopefully your company is implementing some flexible working arrangements to compensate for how different things will be going forward. If possible, see if you and your co-parent can work opposite schedules so that one of you will always be available to watch the children. This could mean alternating days where you work remotely, or even different hours worked during the day.
Create a child care cooperative with local family or friends in similar situations.
Creating a cooperative with other families with complementary work schedules can be a great creative solution. Post to social media or Nextdoor (https://nextdoor.com) to see if anyone in your surrounding neighborhood could offer care. The goal is to find another family that needs child care that you’ll be able to coordinate schedules with and trade child care responsibilities with each other.
Contact your local places of worship to see if they are offering child care programs.
Some places of worship may offer regular care programs that have openings. It is also possible that there will be members of the congregation willing to help with child care in the community. Religious or spiritual centers often have newsletters or posting boards where you might be able to make a request to locate child care.
•A team of professional researchers with experience in finding child care resources can assist you in locating options that fit your needs. GVMA members can access this for FREE! Call (704) 529-1428 or (800) 633-3353 and let them know that you are a GVMA member. Check your state’s child care search website. Your state’s child care licensing website will provide information on qualified child care providers in your area. Many states even have websites specific to finding child care during the COVID-19 health crisis.