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(Family Features) Before the pandemic, the choice for most families looking for child care was relatively simple: they either found a center close to work or close to home. As employers share their return-to-work plans, many parents are re-evaluating their child care arrangements and trying to find solutions that support their family’s unique needs. Some are returning to the office full time while others have the flexibility of hybrid work schedules, splitting time between the office and remote work.
“Our Parent Confidence Report found 62% of working parents have or are considering taking a job that pays less but has more flexibility so they can be more available for their children,” said Tom Wyatt, CEO of KinderCare Education. “That’s why we’re increasing our part-time care offerings. We know how vital flexible schedules are to parents and how important consistency is to young children. By staying with the same provider, even if their time is split between two locations, children can still benefit from a consistent classroom routine and curriculum, which leaves them free to focus on learning and growing.”
Consider these tips to help choose a flexible child care solution for your family:
Know the research and advocate for yourself. According to Accenture and Forbes, more than 63% of high-growth companies already use a “work from anywhere” model and more than 83% of workers in the United States said they prefer the flexibility to work both from home and the office, which means “hybrid work” is here to stay. Even if your job requires being onsite, it is still a good idea to explore your options to find out what level of support your employers can provide. As you advocate for yourself and your family, look at what similar businesses offer their employees in terms of flexible schedules and paid leave for child care needs.
Determine what kind of child care arrangement works for your family. As many families learned amid the pandemic, caring for children at home while also trying to work can be challenging. Even enrolling your children in part-time care could alleviate some stress and give them opportunities to spend time with their peers. If you’ll be working a hybrid schedule, splitting your time between two centers – one close to home and one close to work – could also be a solution that fits your family’s needs and schedule.
“The silver lining to the pandemic is it gave many working parents opportunities to spend more time with their children,” Wyatt said. “According to our research, 65% of working parents say they’re able to be more involved in their children’s lives because their work schedules are more flexible. Parents don’t want to return to their previous schedules and commutes and give up all that precious time with their families, so they’ll be looking for innovative ways to balance family time with work time.”
To explore part-time child care options that support hybrid work schedules, visit kindercare.com.