How to find child care to fit your odd EMT schedule
Working outside of traditional 9-5 office hours makes finding a sitter challenging – here is your solution.
Summer is heating up, and while some families celebrate the vacation time, others aren’t sharing the excitement. For some EMS families, summer means child care will be even more challenging to find (and afford) than it already was. EMTs who already deal with overnight and holiday shifts now have to add the summer break to the chunk of time when their kids need a sitter.
If you are a single parent, have a spouse who works the same wacky schedule as yourself, and/or don’t have family nearby to lend a helping hand, finding coverage can be stressful. So what do you do when you need a sitter but can’t find options to accommodate your schedule and price range?
EMT-approved child care options
1. Au pairs
Au pairs are nannies (usually from abroad) who will live with you for a set period of time. Because they live with you, au pairs are usually available whenever you need them. The rates are typically factored per family as opposed to per child, so if you have more than one child the cost can be much lower than day care. The only consideration is that au pairs need to live with you.
We spoke with Summer Blackhurst, writer for GoAuPair.com, who has researched the company’s client base. She says, “I’ve found many parents in military, health care fields and emergency responder careers flock to au pairs. Their availability for evening and weekend and nighttime shifts makes their host family first priority at any hour in the day.”
2. Use an app or website
Technology has revolutionized child care. Many companies specialize in flexible child care options, and several apps and websites allow you to compare different sitters and negotiate a pay scale prior to securing your babysitter. Here are a few of our favorite:
Nannies are slightly different from au pairs; they are full-time babysitters who go home rather than live with you. Nannies can be an expensive option, though. If you consider a nanny, a great place to scout is at a nearby college campus. Many students look for a flexible part-time job, and it may be easier to negotiate your rate with a college student than through an app like Care.com.
4. 24-hour daycare center
There is a rise in “extreme daycare” or 24/7 daycare options for parents who work unconventional hours. The concept is relatively new and may not be available in all cities, but it’s worth investigating. Just do a quick search online to see if there are any around-the-clock daycares near you.
5. Link up with someone at work
Do you have another co-worker with children who runs into the same situation? Is there any way to finagle your schedules or combine resources to help each other with child care? It may not be ideal, but it could be cost-effective.
How have you dealt with unique child care needs for your weird EMT work schedule? What are some options we missed?