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A Daycare Nightmare: The Challenge Of COVID-19 & The Future Of Childcare

If you’re one of the millions struggling with childcare issues, I understand your anxieties and want to help you through this tough time! Although I can’t make all of these troubles go away, I can however provide you with some helpful tips and information about the ongoing “childcare crisis.”

There’s no way to sugarcoat the current state of childcare in our country. Since the COVID-19 pandemic sent us all into lockdown, families and childcare workers have been scrambling to adapt to this “new normal” we’re all finding ourselves in. There’s a good reason many news outlets have been using the phrase “childcare crisis” to describe what’s going on right now.  

As the economy slowly re-opens, parents are becoming increasingly concerned about finding safe places for their little ones while they’re stuck trying to adapt to their new remote workstyle. Understandable, many are finding it extremely difficult to get into any of the few daycares that have remained open.  

If you’re one of the millions struggling with childcare issues, I understand your anxieties and want to help you through this tough time! Although I can’t make all of these troubles go away, I can however provide you with some helpful tips and information about the ongoing “childcare crisis.” This should give you a better sense of the magnitude of this issue and provide some ideas to help you navigate this stressful situation.  

What Is The Childcare Crisis? – A Quick Look At The Numbers

To best comment on the childcare crisis, I think it’s essential to look at the newest data we have on daycare in the US. As with any other problem in our lives, we first need a clear understanding of our issue before we attempt to fix it.  

First off, how many people are affected by this crisis? New info from the Brookings Institution found that 41 million American workers between 18 to 64 years old have at least one child under 18. It’s now estimated at least 55 million children have been directly affected by the COVID-19 shutdowns — a stat that scares me to my soul.

As you can imagine, since COVID-19 shut down the global economy, daycares have been really struggling to survive. In fact, 350,000 childcare workers lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the few daycare facilities that are still open, most are operating at only 25 percent capacity. About 17 percent of these daycares currently only accept little ones from parents who work in essential fields, like healthcare.

In addition to reducing the number of kiddos enrolled in daycare facilities, childcare workers are now being asked to install a bunch of extra safety measures and purchase additional materials like hand sanitizers, temperature screening devices, and disinfectant wipes. All of these costs are going to unfortunately force daycares to drive up their prices — which isn’t a good scenario amid an economic recession.  

On top of all of this, many parents are being forced to quit their jobs to become stay-at-home caretakers for their little ones. Research out of Northeastern University suggests 13 percent of American parents have either accepted reduced hours or have had to quit their jobs due to a lack of childcare options.  

But it’s not just dollars and cents that have parents stressed. Everyone nowadays is concerned about the risk of catching COVID-19! There have already been reports across the nation of COVID-19 spreading in daycare facilities.

According to the latest research from Harvard, young children can catch COVID-19, but the symptoms are usually mild. However, there are a few cases where COVID-19 could be life-threatening, especially if children have pre-existing conditions like asthma. Plus, children, and anyone for that matter, could easily carry COVID-19 without presenting symptoms and transfer it to high-risk groups.  

As a parent, you want to feel comfortable that your kiddo is in an environment that takes the threat of COVID-19 seriously. If you are researching daycares in your area, be sure they comply with all of the latest CDC guidelines regarding facemasks, hand washing, and social distancing.

Could The US Government Help Struggling Families?

Although Congress recently approved $3.5 billion to help America’s childcare sector, many economists fear that it’s not enough. They’re estimating that Congress would need at least $50 billion to fix our childcare crisis.    

On the flip side, the US Government recently approved the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). This new policy allows employers to provide their employees with additional family and medical leave until December 31, 2020.

Depending on what job you have, you might be able to take advantage of the FFCRA. Be sure to read through the official info on the Department of Labor’s website to learn about your full legal rights!

Now More Than Ever, You Need To “Build A Village!”

So, I know this all sounds grim. But fortunately, there are ways that parents can adapt easier to this crazy “new normal”. So, bear with me!

It’s true that we still don’t know whether schools will re-open in the fall. At this point, it looks like different states will have to make their own decisions on this tricky issue; but that doesn’t mean we should just wait around and hope for the best.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the true importance of Building. Your. Village! If you haven’t already, take this precious opportunity to strengthen your bonds with neighbors, friends, family, online mommy groups, and community organizations.

Although the childcare crisis is severe, there are still plenty of ways to connect online! You should always take advantage of Internet resources that are available to you and figure out the best strategies for your situation.  

For more ideas on how to navigate the childcare crisis, feel free to check out my suggestions on my previous blog! And as always, please please please feel free to send me any questions or concerns you may have by DM’ing me on Instagram or on my website.