Choosing the right drop-in daycare for the next snow day - KPTV - FOX 12

Choosing the right drop-in daycare for the next snow day

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

For kids, snow days are usually a free pass from stress, but for some parents, it can have the opposite effect.

It’s especially true for working moms and dads without an alternate form of child care.

Sometimes school districts wait until the day of a storm to decide whether to cancel classes. But there are a few simple things parents can do in advance to minimize the stress of a snow day.

On a normal day, Jenny Skinner keeps a watchful eye on just a handful of kids at her drop-in daycare center. But on a snow day, she calls for backup. 

Daycares were full Wednesday with little ones whose parents needed a last-minute child care provider. 

“We knew just with the weather forecast that we weren’t sure what the morning was going to be like,” said Kim Bilancio, the mom of a toddler. “That’s a little stressful.”

Bilancio had to wake up early to pick up her babysitter, who, because of the snow, couldn’t drive to her house.

While many parents keep a babysitter on hand for days like Wednesday – Skinner, the owner of Kids Klubhouse, says she knows from experience that’s not always enough.

“I think it’s great to have a couple of backups,” she said. 

Case in point: the daycare across from Skinner’s was closed Wednesday, which left its customers scrambling for an alternative. 

“I do actually have a couple of their kids here today,” Skinner said. 

Unlike traditional preschools, drop-in daycares do not require membership or charge a monthly tuition. 

However, the number of licensed drop-in daycares in Portland is limited, and each one has a state-imposed capacity that keeps them from opening their doors to everyone. 

“Once we reach 23, we do have to turn it away,” said Skinner. 

She said when it comes to child care, you don’t want to settle for whichever daycare has room. She recommends parents do a thorough safety record search before making their choice.

The Oregon Department of Education’s Early Learning Division keeps records of each licensed facility, including consumer complaints, injury logs and emergency suspensions. You can view daycare facility safety records by visiting childcareinoregon.org

There are other things parents should consider as well. 

“Do the teachers’ personalities work well with your child’s personality? What are their discipline policies? What are the scheduled activities for the kids?” said Skinner. 

If you find a drop-in daycare you love but it’s out of your price point, the state of Oregon does offer financial assistance to those who qualify.

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