Traditional daycare centers typically operate from morning until early evening during the week, leaving parents who work nights and weekends with a more difficult time finding care for their children. If you are in need of daycare that offers more unique hours, there are a few options to consider. Here is a brief overview of childcare possibilities you may want to look in to.
Home Childcare Centers
Home childcare centers may sometimes operate on evenings and weekends, depending on what the needs of the surrounding community tend to be. For example, if you live in an area that employs a lot of factory workers, home childcare providers in the area may be more likely to offer care during a second or third shift. This may be particularly true if the person operating the daycare center has a spouse or partner who also works those later shifts. You'll want to make sure that any home childcare center is licensed and that you feel comfortable with the safety and setup of the home before enrolling your children. Take some time to talk to other parents using the center to find out about their experiences as well.
If you work in retail or the hospitality industry, your scheduled shifts may be different each day of the week. Drop-in childcare centers let you set your own hours by bringing your child when you need care. These centers may be located in shopping malls or tourist attractions, as the need for flexible daycare offerings can be greater where a large concentration of retail and hospitality professionals work. This type of daycare is often first come, first serve, which means that there may not always be a spot available for your child.
Some childcare providers are recognizing the needs of parents who work unusual shifts by opening overnight centers. Some of these facilities are only open from early evening until morning, while others are open 24-7. Children who attend at night might expect dinner, a snack, and help with homework before being tucked into a bed at the center. Parents can pick up their children, sleeping or awake, at the end of their shifts. This option is ideal for helping to ensure your child maintains a consistent bedtime routine and gets plenty of rest for school each day.
Take some time to research available options in your area. If you can't find a childcare provider that works with your schedule, check with your local government to see if there are any park district or publicly run programs that might help to fill the gaps in your childcare schedule.