Shovel? Check. Rock salt? Check. Hot cocoa and marshmallows? Check. Backup childcare plan? Oh, need to get on that.
Last winter was a doozy. With 11 big snowstorms, half of which were bona fide blizzards -- it begs the question of just how bad will it be this year?
The great thing about today's sophisticated storm tracking equipment is that it allows us to prepare for extreme weather well in advance. In fact, AccuWeather is predicting a beast of a winter, especially in the Midwest. Something to the tune of 52 inches of snow for Chicago and 56 inches for Minneapolis. The Northeast isn't getting off easy either (33 inches for New York and 27 inches for Philadelphia), although it's expected to be less severe than last year. ( See how your state will fare)
So with schools bound to close, caregiver driveways certain to be snowed-in, and jobs undoubtedly still needing your attendance, how do you get a babysitter during a snowstorm? The following advice should give you a winter storm prep that will get your work done and your kids cared for, no matter how miserable it is outside.
Tip 1: Watch the weather. Justin McNaull, director of state relations for AAA agrees: "Pay attention to the weather at least 24 hours ahead. If it's obvious you're going to get a ton of snow and the roads aren't going to be safe to travel, you generally have a chance to figure it out with at least a couple hours of warning."
Tip 2: Call in the backup-care cavalry. If your company offers emergency childcare onsite or at a nearby facility, great. Get on the list. The trick is to register before the snow comes to ensure you're in their system.
If your employer doesn't offer emergency childcare or it was booked, you'll need to get a bit more creative and find a last-minute sitter. (You'll probably want to telecommute so you can be home and on-hand during this person's first day.) A fast and easy way to find that person is through My Town, Care.com's online feature that offers a map-view of all the sitters in your neighborhood and lets you browse their vital stats and availability. Theoretically, these sitters are walking distance and can don a pair of snow boots and trek on over to your house. Problem solved.
Note: To use Care.com's My Town service, you need to be a member, which is a free and relatively painless process. Once you're in, much of the legwork is done for you. For example, Premium membership entitles you to unlimited access to free background checks. References are equally streamlined. Care.com records interviews with caregiver-provided references and makes them available to all members, says Jane Price, a Director at Care.com.
Start now before the snow and interview walking-distance backup-care providers, adding the ones you love to your list of Favorites. When the snow hits, Care.com can send them an instant message announcing your need for help. Ideally, your crisis is solved before you can shovel out your car.
For more tips on how to deal with last minute snow days continue to Care.com.