MomsGetReal Contributor Katie Bugbee
Remember when you used to love snow days? Rather than spending your time in a classroom, you got to stay home, drink hot chocolate and make a snowman. Snow days were amazing.
But now that you’re a parent, snow days are a headache!
Now you know that life doesn’t stop when schools are closed. You may still have to head into the office or work from home. What do you do with your kids?
Here are tips to help you handle any care during the bad winter weather.
1. Check the forecast. Weather reports are more reliable than ever. Watch your local news for weather updates or check sites like weather.gov to see if inclement weather is heading your way. If snow is likely, you’ll have time to figure out a plan — and talk to your boss about what amount closes the office or if you could work from home.
2. Work in shifts. If you and your partner both work, can you take shifts? Maybe you both work from home on snow days and look after your kids in shifts. Or you handle the first snow day and your partner does the second.
3. Swap kids. The shift system could also work with nearby friends or neighbors who also have kids. One parent can watch the kids for part of the day, then move everyone to the next house.
4. Beg your family. If you have family nearby, you may be able to drop your kids off on your way into work. But check first. Your relatives may have other plans or may be dealing with their own care crises.
5. Talk to your sitter. Ask your regular nanny or sitter if she can watch your kids on snow days. If she lives nearby, she may be able to get to your house. Since this would be a last-minute arrangement, let her know how much advance notice you’ll provide and if you’ll pay her extra for venturing out in the snow.
6. Ask neighborhood teens. If your kids’ school is closed, the neighborhood high school is bound to be closed as well. If you know families with responsible teenagers who could walk over, you could potentially leave them with your kids for a few hours, make a few meetings and calls, and head back a little early to relieve them.
7. Hire backup care. If your regular sitter is snowed in or can’t make it, what do you do? Arrange backup child care now so you won’t be left scrambling (This means an agency places a last-minute nanny at your house). Many companies even provide backup care as a work benefit, so check with your HR department.
If your company offers child care onsite or at a nearby facility, get on the list now — before the rush starts. You can also hire a last-minute sitter through online services. Interview and run background checks on potential candidates now, so you have a pool of four or five good sitters you can reach out to when the snowflakes start falling.
What do you do with your kids during snow days?
Katie Bugbee is the senior managing editor and resident parenting expert of Care.com. A busy working mother of two, she’s an expert on many parenting dilemmas, from appeasing picky eaters to finding the perfect babysitter.