Handling Childcare During the Holidays

The holidays are exciting and bring a lot of fun for parents and children, but the stress is undeniable! If you step ...

The holidays are exciting and bring a lot of fun for parents and children, but the stress is undeniable! If you step into each new year dreaming of a long child-free vacation, you aren’t alone. Before you can get to that vacation or your New Year’s resolutions, you have to handle the challenge of childcare during the holidays.

The root of this challenge is the disruption to your family’s daily routine. The holiday season often brings a flurry of social engagements, school breaks, and marathon shopping trips. There are holiday cards to send out, lights to hang, and trees to decorate. You may also have family traditions that you wouldn’t skip for anything, but you can’t deny that they’re just one more thing that you need to prepare and check off your list.

As your calendar is bursting with activity, you have children out of school, off routine, and possibly feeling all the stress along with you. You can do your best to help them by avoiding overstimulation and keeping as close to their sleep schedule as possible, but childcare during the holidays is another problem entirely.


What’s the Dilemma?

The first step to solving the childcare dilemma is to identify your problem. There are a number of ways this can go:

  • You need more childcare than usual but don’t know how to find trustworthy providers.
  • The babysitters you normally use are booked solid during the holiday season. It’s difficult to get your children on their schedule, and last-minute arrangements are impossible.
  • The childcare centers you prefer are closed during the hours you need them most.
  • You don’t normally need babysitters or childcare centers, but the busy holiday schedule has you searching for short-term caregivers.
  • You can’t afford to pay for extra childcare during the holidays, but you also can’t take off work when your children are home from school.
  • Your child suffers from separation anxiety, so you’re hesitant to try new babysitters or care options.

These are all problems that you need to solve, and the earlier you start searching for solutions the better. We have some tips that will help you find the care you need, and you may have more options than you realize.

Where are the Trustworthy Childcare Providers?

Many holiday childcare problems center on finding reputable, trustworthy care providers. With the increased demand for childcare, the best sitters, nannies, and childcare centers book up fast. We have some options that may help you out when in a bind:

  • Tap into your family and social circles. Is there are a college student home for the holidays who may want to earn some extra cash? What about a grandmother or aunt eager to spend more time with your children? Finding someone you know and trust is the best way to handle childcare during the holidays.
  • Look for drop-in childcare opportunities. Many YMCAs offer drop-in childcare programs for select ages when school is on break. There are childcare centers that may offer similar services. Ask other parents if there are other opportunities in your local community.
  • Ask someone you trust to share their nanny or babysitter. Many experienced childcare providers can easily handle multiple children. If you have a close friend or family member with an amazing sitter or nanny, ask if you can add your children during select hours. The provider earns more money, and your childcare worries are settled.
  • Split time with other moms seeking childcare. If you can host a playdate during a time another mom needs care, they can do the same for you. If you can get enough moms in on the game, you may easily cover one another’s needs while saving a lot of money.
  • Contact local childcare centers to inquire about holiday hours. Some centers are open more hours than you may expect during the holidays. They may also have suggestions for trustworthy private care providers in your area. You may also consider in-home childcare centers because private providers are often more flexible on hours as long as you can meet their rates.


When Care Just Isn’t Working Out

There are a few things you can do if you need childcare during the holidays and nothing you try is working out. For starters, consider using your vacation or PTO hours to get time off work. It’s not ideal, but it can solve the problem temporarily or cover for select days when you’re really in a jam.

Another option is to request remote work or a hybrid work situation temporarily. Many businesses were forced to embrace at-home work due to COVID-19, and they now have the technology and knowledge needed to make that work short or long term. You may find that your employer is more willing to work with you than ever before.

If those options fail, look for help within your local community. Some local churches have resources to help families in need of everything from food to childcare and bill payment. If you’re connected to a church, they may have a camp or someone in the congregation willing to help you out during working hours.

What you don’t want to do is leave your children in a private setting with someone you don’t know unless you have a trustworthy recommendation from someone you do trust. Childcare during the holidays is a big challenge, but solutions are out there for most families.

Looking for a new solution?

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