Night shift, night care
Parents who work shifts don’t have access to adequate childcare facilities.
A friend of mine was chatting about his job as a paramedic. He suggested that his colleagues could really do with a night version of the day care centres many working parents use to make sure their kids are properly cared for while they’re at work. It makes sense: Parents spend a lot of time considering which day care to use, but, if they work shifts, are forced to rely on family, friends or unqualified caregivers who look after their kids at night.

Working 9 to 5, 5 to 9

We live in a 24/7 society. Many businesses and service industries operate around the clock, which makes things tricky for parents who want the best for their children, but may compromise their careers by being unable to work shifts, or who are forced to leave their children in circumstances which are not ideal.

Most day care centres operate between 7am and 6pm. What if a qualified caregiver were to open a night care centre? Tasks there could be as simple as facilitating supper, reading a bedtime story and settling children in their beds. There would be the challenges of getting children to sleep- something parents often struggle with, but this could be managed by the right people.
A centre with regulated fees would allow parents more financial freedom, too. Au pairs, babysitters and ad hoc caregivers often charge higher fees than would be charged by a day care centre, so a huge chunk of any money earned by the parent goes on paying for this care.

There are challenges, of course: It’s a big leap of faith for many parents to leave their kids overnight outside of their home. Finding caregivers you’d be prepared to trust would also be difficult. For working parents, the challenge of missing out on those early childhood development moments is always present, but how much of that takes place at night?

Night shift parents love their kids, too!

It’s something worth thinking about, though. For doctors, nurses, those in the police service, call centre operators, security guards, and people working in factories: So many jobs defy the 9 to 5 structure. Parents need those jobs in order to support themselves and their families. Choosing to work in jobs which require night shifts is exactly the same as having to work night shifts- and this should not impact on the wellbeing of the child. A night care centre could allow shift workers the same levels of professional care for children enjoyed by parents who use day care centres.

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Do you think a night care centre for children of shift workers could work?

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