How to Find Drop-In Childcare

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi there,

    Our daughter will be 6 months in March and we’re looking to see what our options for day care/nanny/nanny sharing is. Due to the nature of my job, she would need to be in care at random days during each month. Do daycares take kids for drop ins? Would a nanny share family be open to having an additional family involved on an infrequent basis? 
    Does anyone know of high quality day cares in Oakland that do drop ins? 

    I'm not aware of any daycare with this arrangement. Your best bet might be using UrbanSitter to find last minute sitters but might be unlikely you'd have the same one every time if it's unpredictable. 

    You're in a difficult spot because nannies and daycares are always going to prefer a regular, predictable schedule over random drop-in. The Bay Area is expensive and it's hard to make a living as a childcare provider.  There just are not many professional childcare providers who can afford to set aside "on call" time for occasional drop-ins.

    Daycares rarely accept part-time children because they are limited by state licensing requirements (8 children for a small daycare, 14 for large daycares.) They cannot afford to reserve one of these spots for a child who is only there occasional days. Sometimes a daycare will accept two part-time children who come on different days, but it would be very difficult for them to find other part-time children whose schedules match your off days. 

    A nanny share could be more flexible than a daycare, but again, you're at a disadvantage because more than 90% of nanny shares include just two children (see 2021 nanny survey) and most professional nannies need 35-40 hours a week.  If your child is only paying for a few days a month, the other family in the share must essentially pay the one-child rate on the days you're not there, so not a good deal for a family wanting a nanny share. If you knew which day of the week you needed childcare, you could find a family that has a nanny 4 days a week, and you could take the 5th day, but it doesn't sound like your job would allow that. You might try to find a nanny share with two full-time families who will accept a third child occasionally. But sharing a nanny with just one other family already is complex -- negotiating food, nap times, days off, holidays, and parenting philosophy. The nanny might be making a little more money when your child is there, but the other families are not paying significantly less, and they must do more coordination to add a third person. One way to do this might be to make an agreement with a friend who is in a nanny share who already knows you and doesn't mind the extra hassle.

    I think what people do in your position is recruit a friend or grandparent or other family member who can babysit on short notice. Or try to negotiate a more predictable schedule with your employer. Or you could use one of the online services (, urbansitter, etc.) to hire a one-time babysitter each time you need childcare. Or you could pay for full-time care even though you wouldn't be using it full time. Or, if you have an extra bedroom in your house, you could offer it to a student or au pair in exchange for occasional childcare, assuming their school schedule is flexible enough to accommodate your work days.

    Sorry to sound bleak, but your job sounds like it is just not very compatible with the kinds of childcare that are available.

    For that age, I really think it's important to have a consistent caregiver. It would be really hard for a six-month-old to have different back-up caregivers each time, so using a service like urbansitter or is going to be a challenge. I think it would be worth it to find an arrangement with another family or families, and I think if you think creatively and can be flexible about other things (location, age difference between kids, etc.) I think you can find something. Example: a 3-family share where one of the families is flexible about which days they have care, so one family is full time and the two other families split the other half of the share and have to work out schedules to make sure the nanny always has two kids. We actually would have met this definition when we were looking for a nanny share because we had help from my mom that was flexible but she couldn't do full-time - I'm sure there are others in a similar situation. Or depending on how irregular your schedule is you could do a nanny share and guarantee a certain number of hours, and pay even on the days you don't need it - more expensive than only paying for the hours you need, but possibly cheaper than paying a solo nanny only when you need it. Another idea is to find a parent to swap with, maybe a stay-at-home parent or a parent with a flexible part-time work schedule - it's pretty hard to watch two six-month-olds but you could give it a shot. I would think about different possibilities like this and then make a few posts on BPN, nextdoor, etc., to see if you find any matches.

  • Emergency backup care for sick kids?

    (4 replies)

    Prior to the pandemic, my family used Swiss Cheese, which was a great service to get regular childcare hours beyond what our nanny could offer, but also for emergency next-day care (including nominally for sick kids, though I did not use it in that capacity).

    As many of you know, Swiss Cheese shut down during the pandemic.

    Parents who don't have family in the area, what resources do you use for finding last-minute backup care nowadays, especially with <24 hours notice and for sick kids?

    I've had luck with UrbanSitter!

    Hi there,

    Given the covid situation, my understanding is that if you have a sick kid, you need to stay home with them and should not hire it out, especially if you aren’t sure about covid. I am home with my sick kid today and probably tomorrow until we get a negative PCR and I feel that employers have to deal with it. I’m missing an important event tomorrow. This is the reality of covid life… kids are sent home with coughs, runny noses, you name it.

    I was also disappointed to see that Swiss Cheese shut down due to the pandemic.  I have been using Urban Sitter as my primary backup care option since then.  The subscription fee is more expensive than Swiss Cheese ($35/month or $135/year last time I checked).  I have had success finding people with as little as 2 hours' notice.  Like other backup childcare platforms, it can be a bit of a mixed bag regarding who you get.  You can view profiles, see other parent reviews and see how many bookings each sitter has completed on the platform to help you filter and pick people.  That said, some sitters are more engaged than others.  If you are willing to try out a few people, you can indeed find some gems and then have those be the people you contact first when you need backup care in the future.  Feel free to direct message me, and I would be happy to share more or answer any questions you might have.   

    Urban sitter or are great for last-minute sitters, but I would only use them if your kids aren't actually sick. Even if it's not COVID, if you hire a sitter and they catch a cold from your kid, the sitter could spread the cold to other kids they're watching and then those families would have to deal with keeping their kids out of school. So unfortunately we are all on our own now when our kids are sick. We have had to take PTO when our kids have been out sick.

  • Dear fellow Berkeley-area parents,

    I'm feeling pretty frustrated right now and could use some advice. I'm the parent of a 7-old-old and an 11-month-old. The 7-year-old had a wonderful, amazing part-time babysitter from age 2-6, approximately. At that point she left to pursue a full time journalism job. We're still in touch and think of her like extended family. We miss her terribly! In the past we used Urban Sitter to find people to fill in at times when she wasn't available.

    Well, fast forward through the pandemic and having another child. Now that we're vaccinated and hoping to maybe leave the house again, I'm back on Urban Sitter and remembering just how frustrated I've been with it, and with trying to find decent occasional sitters in general. It's not that there aren't good sitters on the platform. There are, and we've even had some of them sit for us. But inevitably as soon as we think we've found a great one that sitter either gets a full time nanny gig and stops doing part time sitting, or leaves the area, or is just constantly booked because other parents realize what they've found. And we've had a lot of sketchy experiences, too. Lately I have felt like bay area babysitting rates are SO high and the demand is SO high that a lot of these people don't have to try very hard -- and don't. 

    And lest you think I'm just stingy and don't want to pay a fair wage, let me assure you that is not the case. I was a babysitter as a teen and a nanny all through college. Not to mention I'm now a mom -- I KNOW it's hard work! For someone whom my kids love and that I trust implicitly? Highest bay area sitter rate, no problem. But I haven't found that. Instead I'm paying very high rates for people that aren't awesome, out of desperation. 

    I'm starting to think it would be better to hire someone with much less experience, like a teenager. Because I'm absolutely willing to train someone, and a lot of my child care needs these days are for help when I'm going to be nearby either working remotely or working on home projects. Back when I was a teenage babysitter I worked for my neighbors. Well, I have no immediate teenage neighbors. Nor do I know anyone with teenage kids. Is there a local chapter of "The Babysitter's Club" I should know about? How does one find the babysitters who are just starting out?

    A second approach I've thought of is to commit to a certain amount of hours a week, find someone to fill that role and hope that that makes them more amenable to taking on more hours occasionally when stuff comes up. Obviously I couldn't expect that person to always be free. The hope would be just that they'd be more likely to say yes given that they'd know the kids and their routines rather than being at the other end of the Urban Sitter connection reading a profile. 

    Any of you going through something similar? Or do you have a list of awesome sitters you rotate through? Tell me your secrets, please!

    Writing just to sympathize.  My kids (2 years apart) are in school now, but when they were young I worked at home part time and it was so hard to find any kind of babysitter.  Basically, most people available during the day are understandably looking for full-time nanny gigs.  Or are they are between things - looking for their "real" job, in school, etc. etc..- so they end up disappearing.  We had a very bad experience with Urbansitter and really good experiences with the now-defunct Swiss Cheese Childcare.  Both your ideas are good - hopefully if you put the word out during the summer you can find a teenager that you can train, but remember that school around here starts in mid-august; a college student might be a better bet.  I think your idea of guaranteeing a number of hours is a good idea too but I don't know what the market/demand for part-time nannies is like these days.  Good luck! 

    When my son was younger, we had a "nanny" for one summer who was a recent college grad. She was super sweet and ended up staying with us for a week or so in between apartments and then I got her a "real" job with a friend's nonprofit. We loved her. I think we found her via NextDoor. You could also try to post to the UC Berkeley job board.

    I would suggest that you post on Nextdoor for a teenager. My teenage daughter found several families close by that she babysat for throughout high school. She generally responded to parents who posted, as I was worried about letting her post and then sending my 15 year old to a stranger’s house, but I know some teens post for themselves that they are available.

    I'm using SitterCity and it's simple, easy to use (frustration-free). Just set up a profile describing your needs, necessary availability to  start getting applications.  It's possible to request an interview with the push of a button. Though we're still in process of deciding who to hire, I have to say the selection is wide.   The only downside is the steep membership fee ($12/mo. for annual,$36/mo. for quarterly,$35/mo. for monthly). You can cancel the non-refundable subscription by downgrading to basic in the settings; if not cancelled the subscription auto-renews.

    We had the same struggle. We ended up biting the bullet and hiring someone regularly, two weeknights a week, whether we need it or not. This allows us to have planned time to work late, take a business trip (they're back!), or run errands. It also gives us some options for ad hoc weekend nights, etc. Good luck!

  • Need summer childcare for 3 year old

    (1 reply)

    Hi BPN,

    My current daycare situation for my almost 3 year old is ending in June, and we are most interested in a preschool that doesn't start until mid-August. So we're in a bind for the two months of mid-June to mid-August. Our kid is actually very good with transitions and new people, so putting him in a new situation for those two months is very feasible. Does anyone have any ideas about a daycare that would take a kid for that time period, or a nanny share that would be open to that? We're hoping to avoid paying for a nanny all by ourselves.  And he's very social so would be much happier with other kids. We are in South Berkeley, and willing to travel a bit to make it work. Full time would be ideal, but we could manage with M,W, F. Thanks!

    Albany cooperative preschool usually has a stand alone summer program. You don't have to do work hrs. Covid makes everything crazy, but it's a nice school. Try emailing.

  • If you are a working parent, with or without a working parent partner, how do you provide care for your child or children when they are too sick to attend the care facility or school?

    In my experience, over 90% of the time either my spouse or I have to stay home with our sick kid(s). Usually my spouse because his job is more doable from home. We have occasionally convinced grandma or auntie to stay with a sick child, and Swiss Cheese has a couple of sitters who will stay with sick children, but I personally haven't found any reliable, consistent childcare solution for sick kids. Fortunately our kids are now in elementary school and rarely get sick anymore, but during their early years in daycare they were sick a lot. I remember one year where we had to cover 3/4 of the working days in January because our kids kept swapping illnesses. In retrospect, I don't even know how we kept our jobs other than by doubling down when we were at work and trying to be extremely productive while at home. I use all of my PTO every year (and some years some unpaid days off), and it's not because I'm taking fabulous vacations.

    We had friends with nannies where the nanny would stay with sick kids, but then the nanny would be out sick sometimes too whereas a daycare center has backup care providers. An au pair situation might work as well, but is much more of a commitment.

    I can't imagine finding anyone other than immediate family who will take a sick child during COVID. 

    It is tough.  We used to use grandparents for illnesses that were not contagious or were under control, like ear infections, bacterial after the first few days of antibiotics, etc. and will start doing so again after it is safe to interact with grandparents.  For now, we take turns caring for them if they get sick.  Thankfully with the pandemic I'm working from home so nothing really changes if they are sick, but once I have to go back to work and school/daycare is back in session I'll go back to either taking day off or working from home if possible.  Finding a nanny to care for sick child is tough so our options are only grandparents (if it is safe) or alternating days ourselves. 

  • Hello,
    My friend is visiting Berkeley next week with her almost 2 year old. I'm wondering if anyone knows of a drop off option for 1 or 2 half or full days next week?

    Try The Model School in Berkeley. 

  • Childcare in the event of sickness

    (5 replies)

    As a single working parent, I am very worried about childcare in the event of sickness. My childcare provider is very good, but she does not take sick children. Because I have to work and my family is far away, I do not know what to do when my son is sick. I'd appreciate any tips.

    It's unfortunate that you don't have another caregiver to help when your child is sick, because the reality is that sometimes you'll have to stay home with him. You have a few mitigating options. First, consider a small in-home daycare (and you may already have this), since the bigger the group, the higher the exposure to illness. Second, clarify your provider's illness policy. Some providers will allow children with colds (ours does) but not with fever -- no fever is pretty much universal and for good reason. Third, and this is a stretch, you may be able to partner with a few other parents at your daycare to rotate care of sick children if a few are mildly sick at a time. I wouldn't count on this, though. 

    I’ve had really good luck with Urban Sitter in these situations—it ends up costing a lot but has worked out for the days I simply couldn’t miss work. 


    I recently used Swiss Cheese childcare who are great nannies for these eventualities. Someone also reco Joanna’s to me but I have not used them so I can’t talk about my experience there.


    You have to take a sick day yourself. Review for yourself your workplace's rules for sick leave, and also CA state law. If you have a good rapport with your manager, in your next check-in, just say "I am starting to think about how I will handle it when my child is sick. I will call in that morning, and I will be at home with him/her, available by phone; any questions?" Try not to worry about it TOO much. Kids get sick, and almost everyone understands that.

    Had this issue.  I was part of a neighborhood playgroup and also a single mom group and was able to work out arrangements with friends in these groups to care for kids together.  Try posting on Nextdoor for your neighborhood as well.

    Best of luck

  • Dear Berkeley parents,

    I am a longtime Berkeley resident, now living abroad, looking for something for my son, for a 4-6 week academic stay in Berkeley or nearby in February-March 2019. I am not quite sure what the appropriate category is, but I am open to anything that involves other children, and is for at least about 15 hours per week, preferably more. My son will be 5 in December and is physically very active. I realize that it is a longshot, but I thought it worth asking nevertheless if anyone knows of a place that might be suitable.



    I recommend contacting nearby preschools (especially those with PreK/Bridge K programs, and especially the larger schools) to see if they will host him for that time. I know our preschool has done that on occasion, though it depends on specific enrollment numbers and schedules. Many that are "full" may still be able to take a five-year-old if you're flexible on which days he's there. The other option might be to actually enroll him in Berkeley schools while you're visiting, but I think he (and you) would have an easier time coming into and out of a preschool program for such a short-term stay (and there would be far less paperwork involved!) Duck's Nest, Heart's Leap, and Step One come to mind as a few with larger enrollments, options for reduced schedules, and great PreK/Bridge K programs, but I'm sure there are many others.

    The Berkeley JCC and the Oakland JCC offer "afterschool" care for 5yos from 1:30-6:30 Mon-Fri. The City of Berkeley offers a similar services at a few of their community centers, as do some other nearby cities. 

    Definitely worth contacting preschools and asking. Albany Preschool had international kids come and go while we were there. Don't know how it worked with contracts, etc. Morning program requires participation, but afternoon program doesn't.

  • I need some help/advice on how to handle working full-time and having kids in daycare - when you receive the unexpected call that you need to pick them up because they may be sick. Or even if you realize one morning that they have a fever and can't take them in that day! What should I/can I do to get last-minute care to help pick them up and watch them until I return? Any advice is greatly appreciated.



    Besides having a long roster of back up sitters with flexible schedules, one thing I have used a few times in the past is the site Trusted. It's an app/nanny service. They can help you find someone last minute even. In terms of pick up and nanny service there is Kango ( but I haven't personally tried that. 

    My kids go to daycare & school in Oakland & I work in San Francisco.  I get those calls.  I think most daycare places get that it's going to take you some time to physically get from point A to point B and should reasonably be willing to keep your kid there as long as you are communicative & in transit - even if, for example, in my case it's probably going to take 45 minutes to get to them. It is what it is. I even have family in the East Bay, but it would still take them probably 45 minutes to get the kids too so that doesn't really make a difference.

    My other thought would be: do you have any close neighbors (presumably also by your daycare) that are maybe retired and would be willing to pick them up and watch them temporarily if you gave them a key? Is your daycare walking distance so you wouldn't have to worry about car seats in cars?  Even that wouldn't be a guarantee they would be around, but may offer peace of mind. Of course, if your kid was SUPER sick and contagious the neighbor probably wouldn't want to be exposed...

    If your question is more: how can I get someone to watch my child when they're sick so I can still go to work? a) Does your employer offer Bright Horizons back-up care as a benefit? It is great, they will send someone to your house with fairly short notice for a reasonable fee, even if your kid has a "mild" fever (they won't administer medicine though, so it has to be pretty mild). I believe your employer has to offer this though I don't think you as a consumer can just randomly use it.... my work didn't, but I suggested it, and we now have it (it took about a year to get them to go through all the hoops though).  b) Otherwise, you just have to call in sick and/or leave mid day. Stressful at the time, & in the moment feels like a big deal - but most people get it.  It probably feels like a much bigger deal to you than it does to your boss or anyone around you.

    This is tough.  We work full time too and have kids in daycare and school, so dealing with random daycare or school closure days, or kids' sick days have been tough.  If the kid is mildly sick we are lucky enough to have grandma nearby who comes over and watches the child and often is able to go and pick up the kid from daycare and watch him at home until we arrive.  If the kid is seriously sick (high fever, concerning rash, or an injury) I leave work early to pick up myself so I can assess during the day and possibly take my son to the doctor.  Without family nearby who can help out, your options are having several babysitters your kid knows that you can call to see if they happen to be available, taking a PTO day, or working from home (if your employer is ok with it).  When grandma cannot help, my husband and I take turns staying home with sick kids and alternate days, or sometimes I just stay home for the duration of the illness and work from home.  There are some drop off daycares that take mildly ill kids, but I never felt comfortable using them since the other kids are sick too and I don't want my child exposed to something worse when his immune system is already fighting a slight cold. It is tough, but as your kid gets older and immune system strengthens, the sick days will become much rarer. 

    We use Swiss Cheese Childcare for this. It's a local service that gives you access to a pool of on-call sitters for a flat placement fee. The sitters we've had have varied from solid to exceptional, and the owner tries hard to help with last minute requests.

    Having several babysitters for back up care. You can put a notice in the bulletin board of your local collage looking for babysitters

  • Intermittent Child Care

    (2 replies)

    Hi Parents, I am looking at Montessouri pre-schools but notice that many take a lot of time off and have "in service" days with no child care. The most Time off I have seen is between 2 to 3 months a year. I am interested in hearing from parents whose kid's school takes a lot of time off and they need to look for day care ranging from 2 weeks, 1 week, to one day each month. How do you arrange for day care? Both myself and my spouse work full time and don't have any relatives that can help out. 

    Thanks so much! 

    We will also be in this situation once our child starts daycare and I'm interested in hearing other parents' responses as well. I've heard of resources like and other sites for on-call nannies but wondering if there are better options in the Berkeley/Oakland area. Thanks! 

    We have found an au pair to be beneficial for these types of situations.

  • Hi Parents,

    I'm looking to know how you are doing when your kids (my daughters have 2 years old and 4) are sick and you need to go to work?

    I mean kindergarten send home kids when they are sick, how are you doing to pick them within an hour at school and then keep them home when you have to go to the office to work.

    Thanks for your suggestions.


    That's tough. If there is no co-parent who can help out, maybe get to know your neighbors or have a few nannies you can get in touch with last minute?

    Many parents end up taking the day off when they are sick or their kids are sick.

    Welcome to America, the country that does not care about the struggles of working parents and does little to help them.

    I would suggest a couple of things:

    -having a roster of nannies/sitters you can call, especially last minute.

    -asking a neighbor.

    -working from home, if possible, or taking care of them during day, then working in the evening. 

    It's difficult, no matter how you do it! Good luck!

    We use the Swiss Cheese Childcare collective as a fallback when neither parent can take time off to cover a sick kid. They can't always find coverage at the very last second but the owner works very hard to do so and had saved us several times when we asked at 7 pm for coverage the next morning. All the sitters have been good, too.

    It is tough.  When my kids are sick my husband and I take turns staying home with them.  If possible, one of us will work from home and put the child in front of the tv for a bit, so if working from home is an option it might help avoid taking too many sick/vacation days off due to kids' illness.  We also sometimes ask grandma to help if what the kids have is not too contagious since even though she is willing to help we try to avoid getting her sick so she only babysits sick days when the child is not contagious or has something grandma is immune too or cannot get.  We have three kids, so it is tough but working from home has been saving us over the years. 

    There is not a place that does sick care. You have a few options.
    1. Have a parent stay home with them and use a sick day.
    2. Get a friend, neighbor, or family member to watch them. Maybe you want to include a babysitter in here if you can find someone who will work last minute during the day.
    3. Have a nanny who will watch a mildly sick kid.

    When I was around eight my parents started letting me stay home on my own.

    Try Swiss Cheese Childcare. I have used them in the past and some of their nannies will charge a "sick child rate", meaning they will babysit sick children.

  • Daycare Backup Options

    (1 reply)

    Hi all!

    I'm a single mom preparing to return to work in a few months after my maternity leave ends.  My daughter is enrolled in daycare starting in October.  Because I won't have any time off when I first return to work, I'm trying to prepare for situations when my daughter won't be able to attend daycare (i.e., sick child).  Do you know of any centers in the Oak/Berk area that provide backup when you have a sick child or your daycare is closed?  Any other options/ideas for setting up backup coverage for daycare?  Thanks so much!

    Hi! Check out Swiss Cheese Childcare, I have not yet used them myself, but I registered some time ago and it is my understanding that they will cover for situations like this (i.e., sick child). I can't find reference to it on their new site, but their old website made a reference to the origin of their childcare collective's name (Swiss Cheese) being that they "fill in the holes" in your regular childcare routine. ;) I have known other moms who have used them who recommended them to me and by all accounts were happy with their service. Try giving them a call to see if they can be of help in being a backup option for you.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Childcare when elementary school child is sick

Jan 2011

Hello parents, My husband and I wonder: what do people do when they have a very sick child, no family nearby and they cannot constantly take time off to be home wiht the children (as much as we'd love to be...) We are both self employed and of course lose money for every day taken off. Has anyone ever found or set up a creative situation that worked for them? Our daughters are 7 and 9. Thanks so much

Wheezles and Sneezles in Albany provides either in-home or center-based childcare for sick children. They require sort of a lot of documentation to get started, ie proof of employment, immunization records, income verification (they charge on a sliding scale). But they really helped a friend of mine once she was registered. Check out their website : lisa


How to find drop-in, sporadic childcare?

Nov 2010


My son is almost 2 and I went back to work about 9 months ago as a per diem social worker. My neighbor had a nanny and a child the same age and was willing to let my son join in on the days that i worked. I have a set schedule of we-fri until the end of February but after that i will go back to working 1,2,3 or no days a week. I can't afford care unless I am working. I can loosely know my schedule a month in advance.

I am trying to find a drop in daycare or another family who has a 2 year old son or daughter and a full time nanny who would be willing to let my son join in on the days that i work. But I have not had any luck posting to the Childcare newsletter. Anyone have any ideas? Thank you Lily

Get a list from the County (Bananas or equivalent in other counties) of family daycares near your house, and start calling around to find one that can meet your needs. Especially if you can regularly commit to one slot per week (even if it's just one morning), I bet you can find one that can work with your schedule. good luck

Back when I had a nanny (a while ago!) I had a mom friend with a very erratic work schedule. She agreed to commit to a certain number of hours per month sharing my nanny, and then it was up to her how she would use them. If you know anyone who has a nanny, that arrangement might work for them.

The reason you are having trouble finding childcare for your new schedule is because the job you are offering is not very appealing: it might be 3 days a week, or it might be zero days a week. There is nobody who can accept a job that is that unpredictable. How could they buy groceries and pay PG if some weeks they get a salary and some weeks they don't? As for nanny shares, the extra amount you would be paying *sometimes* does not balance out the extra effort of having another child in the share. In my nanny share, the main salary was from the first child. The second child only added a few dollars to the nanny's total wage. So this is extra work for the nanny, extra planning for the other family, unpredictable schedule changes, etc. with very little benefit to the nanny or the other family, who would be better off financially with a regular guaranteed share every week.

I think what you will need to do is find a nanny share or a home-based daycare that accepts part-time children, and then pay for 3 days a week even if you are not always using 3 days a week. You basically are reserving your spot, because your offer is much less attractive than someone who can guarantee three days every week. a mom


Last-minute weekend childcare for on-call job

Oct 2008


Has anyone ever been in this situation? I am a freelancer who books events on Weekends. My partner is on-call who feels he can't say no to a job if it occurs over a weekend. He says we need a babysitter as back-up in case he gets a call to work the same day I need to work. He says that his call can occur at 8 pm Friday night for a Sat a.m. shift. This situation has gotten me frazzled. I assume most childcare professionals want some notice and are not ''on-call''. We do not have family nearby, and I don't want to over-extend with friends to not plan their weekends b/c we MIGHT need a babysitter last minute. Anyone ever been in this situation? Need advice.

It's good to keep a list of people who can babysit last minute, they are out there. I'm a full time mom in El Cerrito who provides childcare for kids age 3+, sometimes on a regular basis, sometimes on call, depends on my schedule. There are more of us out there...put a posting on the Childcare newsletter and start interviewing folks. It will put your mind at ease just having a list of people you could call if you needed to! Beth


Temporary childcare when SAHD goes out of town

Nov 2007


I work full-time and my husband is the full-time caregiver to our 2 boys, ages 4 months and 2 years. He will be traveling out of town on business anywhere from 5 days to two or three weeks at a time in the next year. Does anyone have advice about finding a nanny or babysitter who can watch the kids on this kind of intermittent schedule? Kind of like an on-call nanny. The hours would be 6:30am to 5pm on weekdays. Any advice, suggestions, or referrals would be much appreciated. Thank you! rns

We have a similar situation, where sometimes both my husband and I are out of town at the same time, or have work schedules that keep us from picking our children up from school. We have had great luck with Bay Area Second Moms. For many years, I thought they were exclusively a permanent nanny placement agency. About a year ago we discovered that they have on call childcare for situations such as yours. We have found a couple of caregivers that we really like through this agency. Even the nannies who didin't ''click'' with our kids were nice people and we felt the children were safe. In the instances where the nanny didn't work out wonderfully, they were very nice about discussing it with us, asking us what the issues were, and suggesting other people that might be a better fit. It's been a real help to us. Travelling Mom


Childcare for sick preschoolers - what do you do?

Jan 2007


Do any working parents out there want to share what they do about childcare when their kids are sick? Now that my son is in preschool (he's three) and cold season has hit us hard, I find myself missing way too much work. We live in hayward, so I am not looking for specific recommendations (unless you know of a something in my area), but would love to hear how others deal with this issue. I read the archives, but am wondering if anyone has some fresher info for me. thanks

This is always hard for working parents - and there doesn't seem to be an easy solution. My partner and I usually split the days, which is possible because we both live and work in Berkeley. If either of us had a long commute, it would be much harder.

So - for instance, I'll stay home with our sick kid in the morning, she'll come home at 1 pm and take over and then I'll go to work and stay later than usual. We both take hours in sick time when we do this, but it allows us to have ''face time'' at work which helps keep continuity in job responsibilities and is less disruptive than missing an entire day or more.

Still, I'm in the red for sick time. It was especially hard when our son started daycare a couple of years ago and got sick a lot that first year.

Unfortunately, although my parents do live locally, they are afraid of getting sick themselves so aren't usually available to do care. There are also ''sick child'' nurses but your child must be potty trained and I don't like to think of taking my child to a completely foreign environment with people he doesn't know when he is sick and feeling most vulnerable.

It's tough. Good luck with a solution that works for your family and if you come up with anything innovative, please write and let us know! Berkeley Mama

I find that it is absolutely important to keep your child at home if she/he has a fever and/or has been throwing up or has diarrea. The other reason to keep your child at home is if they have a very contagious flu (ie chicken pox, whooping cough, etc.). Children will commonly catch a cold (stuffy nose, runny nose and the just plain not feeling well.) When it comes to this common cold that is when you will have to use your best judgement. Most of the time your child may be able to carry on at a slower pace with more of a need to rest. When I worked as a nanny the common cold is well, common. It did not stop me from watching the children or vice versa. The positive side to colds and flus is that your child is developing her/his immune system and will help your child be able to better fight of sickness as he/she gets older. Formerly- Nanny in the Know

When my son was a sick preschooler, I would call the nannies on the BPN Childcare Digest who were looking for jobs. Some of them were available for one or two day care situations while they were between permanent positions. I would get references, either from the provider herself or from the parent who listed the nanny as looking for employment. I never had a bad experience or got a ''bad'' nanny - it worked out very well and was quite a relief. Luckily my son did not mind being taken care of by complete strangers. I kept the Digests in a folder on my email, when a new Digest was posted, I would save it. I still save them out of habit though now my son is in 2nd grade and I don't need them really. (Periodically I'll cull through them and delete the old ones.) ramisima

Frankly, the answer for us is to balance out the amount of work missed by either parent and be fair to eachother and attentive to our son. We've had to do this since I returned to work after the birth of our son in 2005 (at his 3mo mark). My husband and I typically share a 1/2 day of work while the other takes care of the child. My personal feeling-and you may take this as you choose-is that if my child needs me and I can't work (even 1/2 day from home) then I work at night, it's part of being a parent. However, I've also chosen to change my company and work for a company that is less rigid, and less judgemental of such absences, which my previous company was not. It was all about ''face time'' not quality or quantity of work perfomed. Of the two of us I have found a more understanding and flexible environment while my husband does not enjoy the same. That allows me to be more with my sick child than he does. We are mindfuls of eachother's commitments at work though-ie meetings conference calls or phone calls that ''must be done'' whether from home or in person. I guess what I'm saying is flexibility is paramount and VERY GOOD communications of eachother's needs key. working parent

We've recently run into the same problem. Actually we haven't missed much work altogether but we had a bad week recently and it was definitely noticed at my job. I am working on getting some names together of folks who may be available for last minute work. We know of one lady who isn't working much and needs extra income here and there, used to be a nanny. That might work. I've thought of approaching the pastor at a friendly nearby church to see if maybe there are some grandmotherly types who are looking to help a family in this situation on occasion. I sympathize with you as it is a tricky situation. I hate the idea of shipping a sick kid to a sick care. Good luck. Shivaun

We've recently run into the same problem. Actually we haven't missed much work altogether but we had a bad week recently and it was definitely noticed at my job. I am working on getting some names together of folks who may be available for last minute work. We know of one lady who isn't working much and needs extra income here and there, used to be a nanny. That might work. I've thought of approaching the pastor at a friendly nearby church to see if maybe there are some grandmotherly types who are looking to help a family in this situation on occasion. I sympathize with you as it is a tricky situation. I hate the idea of shipping a sick kid to a sick care. Good luck. Shivaun

Good question. I hope to learn something too from responses. What we are doing now is that I go in to work Half Day as early as I can in the morning while my husband stays home with our son. Then I take over the afternoon shift staying with our son while my husband goes to work. another mom

sorry to say, I think unless you have a friend or relative who will take a sickie- you need to stay home. I , too, have missed an incredible amount of work. mommy is the first job

It is very hard to maintain a job while raising a family. I call in sick when my child is sick. When I ran out of sick days I used up my vacation days. When I needed to take vacation I took unpaid leave off. (It was worth it!) I was fortunate enough to have those privileges. I used up all my time during my child's first year in daycare, but after that, he has been very healthy with occasional usual illnesses. He's in kindergarten now. I would be very sad if I had to have a babysitter care for my child while he's sick. I'm lucky to have an understanding boss with kids of her own. anaon


Back-up childcare when caregiver is sick

Jan 2007


Hi, I'm hoping to get some input from folks in the Berkeley/Oakland community about whether there are good/reputable backup childcare options for children who are not ill (i.e., caregiver is ill or briefly unavailable). I have scoured the archives and google for local resources and have not found any besides sick care. I do not want to send my healthy 10 month-old baby to sick care because the nanny's out sick. However, I've been left without a backup arrangement at least twice this season and am running out of time off days at work. My husband and I trade off and I can rely on family in some cases but it still seems very precarious. Can you offer some solutions or direct referrals? I'm interested in drop-in daycare situations and/or caregivers/nannies who have some flexibility to take on a new kid in this type of situation. Thanks so much. Need a Plan

Saint Mary's College is a great resource for babysitters. You can post an add at Good Luck! Kelley

Our nanny has and seems to know lots of other nanny friends who are available in a pinch. For example, if she has a doctor's appt. she can't schedule around work time she has one of them come to be with the girls (we share) and they're lovely (I've met them). Ask your nanny or your friend's nanny - often they have a whole circle of friends who nanny -- someone always seems to be in between jobs. Naomi


My employer offers back-up childcare but I don't want to use it

Nov 2006


Hello- My work recently opened a daycare center for days when regular day cares are closed. They also take sick children, although on the other side of the center. They refer to it as ''back-up and mildly sick child care.''

Most folks would probably be ecstatic to have such an option nearby, but my husband and I are not.

I am getting pressure from my supervisor to use the center for various holidays that my child has off and that I don't (like Veteran's day and the two weeks around Christmas.)

To be fair, my family checked the place out and while it is decked out with all the latest toys and such, I found the staff to be less than what we would want as far as experience -- even on a temporary basis. The fact that my child caught a very virulent rash while visiting (we saw the original infected kid nearby)didn't help with our confidence level. I should also point out that my child has problems adapting to new environments (was in OT but we had to quit so I could work) and even now at 3 years with his current provider has problems every day at drop off and pick up. My child just turned 3.

So, my question to you all is, am I being too persnickety? I initially found the concept of the whole back-up daycare to be rude quite honestly, as I think children, especially young ones like mine, do best when they are at home with someone caring for them when they are ill. I also am now discovering that my supervisor can now question my time-off, with very sly comments like, ''The holidays are coming up, have you reserved your time and days yet at the daycare?'' I just don't like the company using this dangling carrot of a daycare as a way to keep us in the office.

Am I being a grinch? Or is it appropriate for me to stand my ground and insist on taking care of our child on our terms? not happy about work daycare

I think you are right to feel the way you do, and I also think that the fact that your job has done this is a really excellent step in support of working parents. Both can be true. It is fine if you don't feel like it is the right fit for your child. It also might be the best option that some working parents have.

About your supervisor - its not right for her/him to make you feel bad for not using the daycare. You have the right to put your kid in a place that you feel comfortable with and thats not a choice your supervisor can make for you. Next time it comes up, I would deal with it in a clear, concise way. '' I'll be taking time off to spend some time with x while his daycare is on break.'' If the supervisor presses you about why you are not using the day care, you can answer simply ''its not the right fit for us right now.'' genevieve

If I were you, I'd try to separate your feelings about the existence of this at-work childcare option from your feelings about your supervisor's behavior. As you said, some people would probably be thrilled with at-work childcare, and maybe some of the people you work with are. If you're not, you just shouldn't use it. Your supervisor's behavior is quite another matter. It's none of his/her business what you're doing for childcare, and the existence of on-site care shouldn't require you to use it unless that's somehow part of your job agreement, which probably wouldn't even be legal. It sounds to me like you need to discuss this with your supervisor, but if possible, I'd steer away from general criticism of the concept of on-site care and simply emphasize that it doesn't meet your needs or expectations anon

In theory this type of back up childcare sounds wonderful, but I also wouldn't want a part of it. I agree 100% with you that sick children should be taken care of by someone who they know and trust. Preferably mom! Though the company probably intended this as a benefit for their employees, it can also easily be abused by them (i.e. them suggesting you use it vs. this being solely your decision).

No, you are absolutely not too picky. Not at all. In my search for daycares for our children, I have seen some wonderful daycares and some horrible ones. I have seen some where I wouldn't leave my dog behind, let alone my child. Finding a daycare that matches your personal criteria is crucial for your own piece of mind. No one knows your child better than you and only you can determine what is a good daycare for your child.

Stick to your guns and stand up for your right to choose a good daycare for your child! JOJ

It is nice of them to offer but for goodness sakes, this is your child you are talking about. You do with him what you wish. If you have leave days, take them. This may not make you the supervisor's pet but they cannot force you to bring your child to their daycare. And what good is it if you bring a kid who has a little cold and they end up with a virulent rash? Yuck! Don't let them push you around

My employer has backup childcare as well, though not onsite, but contracted through a larger organization. I've been glad to have it. It is defintely not a sick backup, just a vacation backup. I wouldn't want to take my well kids to a ''mildly sick'' environment, because people's definition of ''mildly'' definitely varies!

Since you don't want to use your employer's backup childcare, you just need to be really clear, well in advance, about what days you will be taking as vacation. If you have booked, say, the last two weeks of the year as vacation, then that is your vacation. If you haven't, then you are responsible for making other plans for childcare, whatever that is.

Your employer obviously can't force you to use their backup childcare. You can simply say ''I'll be on vacation that week,'' and leave it at that.

As a professional, I would not recommend bringing up your list of complaints about the childcare to your employer. Just be direct and leave your work relationship a work relationship.

In terms of sick days, it depends on your employer's policies. You definitely don't want to abuse the sick time policy at your work, but if your employer has PTO rather than segregated vacation vs. sick days, it's perfectly legit to just call in sick when your child is sick, rather than calling it vacation.

I would just recommend keeping an eye on the days you use for child sick time, because parents who abuse sick time policies make it harder for all of us parents - believe me, I know first- hand anon

By all means follow your gut instinct! I am a ''retired'' daycare provider from a company that set up corporate day care (there are several here in the Bay Area) but ours was all day care and there was no sick care anything. My 3 year old is also very timid around new people and new suroundings so I couldn't even imagine sending him anywhere else when he was unfamiliar he would be miserable! I am also a true believer of children getting well with the ones that they love around them(snuggling, kisses, ME distributing meds, good old fashioned homemade chicken soup)you get my picture. Stand your ground. Only you know what's best for your child. And at this point in their lives it's our job to do what's best for them SAHM of 2

Wow. My original reaction was how convenient, then I read on and I realized that I would feel exactly as you do if in the same situation. Sadly, as a working mama, I hate myself when my first reaction to my sick toddler is ''oh shoot, this means I have to miss work again'' instead of ''my poor baby doesn't feel well!'' I am not heartless (the caring reaction kicks in within seconds after that initial reaction), but my supervisor doesn't have kids and does not come across as terribly understanding about my missing work, even though I have racked up vacation and sick days to use. I would not want my little one at an unknown place while sick so I could work, either. If it were a day that neither my husband nor I could get off work, we would work our way down our list of family and friends before leaving her with someone she doesn't know. I say stand your ground and even have a direct conversation with your supervisor about this. Your supervisor should know that your child comes first and there should be no problem with this, especially if you are using accrued vacation or sick days to be with your child! Good luck working mama who can relate

I share the same point of view with you about sick kids, they should stay at home for both their own and other kids' benefit. As for holidays though, as long as there are well kids only, I think I would like to give it a try Also-A-Mom

No Way! Your employer cannot force you to make certain childcare decisions. That is a very personal choice. It is your JOB as a parent to provide the best childcare that you can for your kid.

If you feel persnickety about the on-site care, then don't use it. They cannot cut your sick time or force you to place your sick child in their care and continue to work. My suspicion is that your supervisor is getting leaned on to encourage employees to use the service, so that it makes financial sense for the company. I'm certain they put it in place to decrease employee absentee-ism. In principle, it's a great idea.

I think your largest problem is in being upfront and forthright with your supervisor. If you simply can't do it, blame it on your spouse and say these are his demands. But ideally, you should directly tell your supervisor that you will not be using the service because you are not comfortable with either the idea (you think your child should be with you when sick), nor the level of care. (If you think it's not your boss' business, an even better response is that the on-site doesn't work for your family at all, and refuse to give reasons. Just repeat the same thing when pressed: ''it doesn't work for my family''.) Then, equally as firmly, advise your employer that you do not appreciate being nagged to use childcare you're not comfortable with, and ask him/her to cease Child comes first

Hi, My husband's work offers the same thing and I think it's great. But, I don't think you should feel pressured to use it. It's supposed to help relieve your stress of having to leave work to take care of a sick child or if your regular daycare is unavailable. If your supervisor keeps asking you if you've reserved your days, kindly remind him or her that this is meant to be a ''back-up'' and that those days that are holidays when your child can't go to his regular school are meant to be at home to spend with family. So, you shouldn't be obligated to work those holidays just because you now have another childcare option. You can also say that the back-up care is not to your standards since your child got seriously ill there before or that he doesn't adjust well to new environments, and that you don't feel comfortable leaving him there sporadically unless absolutely necessary. Bottom line, I think you should remind (in a nice way, of course) your supervisor that the work daycare is a bonus for absolute emergencies and not something to use so that you can work more. anon


Parents' Night Out drop-in childcare?

Sept 2006


I am interested in recommendations on places that offer Saturday or Friday night supervised play time for children so parents can have a night out together. We have two 3 1/2 year old children. I have heard of a place in Oakland called Kids and Dance which is near where we live. Any recommendations on this or other places would be appreciated. Thanks Sean

My six year old is a Friday Parents' Night Out regular at Head Over Heels. The evening includes pizza, gymnastics and a G-rated video from 6pm til 11pm. Head Over Heels is in Emeryville, off of 45th Street a few blocks from San Pablo. Their phone number is:655-1265

The Albany YMCA has ''Parents' Night Out'' evenings every once in a while. Other Y's might, too. Call


Any ideas for back-up childcare when my mom can't do it?

May 2006


We are trying to figure out what possible options might be for back-up childcare on weekday mornings. We have a 2 year old daughter and another daughter on the way. My mother watches my daughter on weekday mornings while I'm at work, and will watch both our 2 year old and our newborn in the fall. But sometimes things come up and she cannot watch them (doctor's appointments, illnesses, etc.) Up until now, we have had a few friends who we can ask, but those friends are returning to work, and with another child on the way, it seems too much to ask. I am a teacher, so we will not need anything until next fall, but I am trying to plan ahead. Does anyone have any ideas for back-up childcare? Thanks for your help! df

Why not start ''interviewing'' sitters now, before you need them? As I understand it the Red Cross has a list of folks who care for children and who have first aid and cpr certification. Try some of them for short stints and when you find one you like hire them weekly or so until the Fall - be sure to tell them you'd like them to be ''on call'' at that time - Good luck! An ex-on call sitter

When I need unplanned childcare, I call the nannies who post on the BPN Childcare Digest looking for positions. Some of them are between jobs and can work a day or two for sick child care or other unexpected needs. I keep the BPN Childcare digest going back a few months. Of course I call their references and check to make sure they are reliable. Fortunately my son didn't have a problem being left with strangers - and I never had a bad experience with any of the nannies who advertised on BPN. [NOTE FROM MODERATOR: As the poster suggests, please do check references - BPN does not check nannies who are listed on our digest] anon

We have used Bay Area1< Second Mom for years. They are based in Palo Alto but serve the East Bay as well. You can find them at and find a phone number, information, etc. For an annual fee (not too cheap), they will find you a last minute nanny (day or evening) to care for your children at a rate determined by the number of kids and their ages. We have used them when either my regular nanny was sick or needed a day off, or when my kids were too sick for the nanny share but not so sick they needed mom. I've also used one once for an evening out when my regular sitters couldn't make it.

Each time, they have found someone for the next day or even for the same day, and the person they sent has been wonderful. It is difficult to think about leaving your child with a complete stranger, but in each case the person has been stellar and sometimes they can send someone who has watched your kids before.

The service isn't cheap, but it's been a lifesaver! sabrina

You are very smart to look into this. Even people with regular nannies should have back up -- always. People get sick, need vacations, have emergencies, etc. Post on the BPN Childcare digest or maybe even posting up at Bananas in Oakland. I imagine, you will be able to get good response from the childcare digest. I would also talk to friends, family, etc. spread the word that you are looking (and also post your ads as such) for an occasional babysitter/back-up for your children -- spread the word. Even talking to other nannies that work for your friends or that you may have met and liked. You may even find that you will find someone that can be your back up as well as a handy babysitter for other times, i.e. date nights, etc. I used to be a nanny and one of the families I sat for had me come when I had the flu! Because they had no back-up. When my baby was born, a friend (who is a stay at home mom) offered to do our childcare full-time. I told her no thanks, hired someone and kept my friend as a back-up. Thank God I did, because it was such a relief to have it. I had other family friends offer help -- they were my back-ups. Good thinking ahead -- I wish more parents would do this and let their nannies/babysitters get their time off when needed! Back-up babysitter believer


Daycare options for on-call/temp worker mom

March 2003


Hello! I'm a new mom and my daughter is about 5 months old now. I'm heading back to work soon (in the next 2-3 months)and have the opportunity to work part-time as an on-call librarian. My partner is self-employed and can cover baby care sometimes but there will be occasions when we will need a ''day of'' babysitter at the last minute. Where do you find a dependable daycare provider who can take care of an ''undependable'' baby? Has anyone had a similar situation? What did you do? Oh and what's the going rate for babysitting these days? Thank you for your advice and insight!- Emma Emma

I think I would look (possibly through the childcare BPN letter) for someone with a full-time nanny, who wouldn't mind doing occasional shares, but doesn't depend on them to be able to afford it. The other thing that occurs to me is if you have a friend, probably of the stay-at home variety, who has a child, and who wouldn't mind a bit of occasional disposable income (I briefly went this route myself, when my son was an infant). Might be hard to find... but seems worth a try. Karen

Our day care has drop ins for people like you. Her rate is $12 per hour and you sign the baby in. I'm sure other family day cares have this same thing. The trick for you is your baby will be having to deal with ad hoc transitions. I would recommend finding a day care drop in program that you trust and having at least one regular drop in time you bring her in addition to your on-call work so she can get used to the place and the people. My day care had a two-week transition time for us before I went back to work where I spent a few hours with him there for a few days, then I dropped him off for a couple of hours so that when I finally had to leave him all day, he was somewhat secure. Now, my schedule is more flexible and he can totally deal with it when I leave him there.

I am told that day care providers think that kids to better if they spend a good chunk of time at the place so not sure what you can do about that. A good family day care provider should be able to handle an ''undependable 5-month-old.'' At 5 months, too, I think it's easier for a baby to attach to another caregiver.

Good luck. The day care transition seems to be harder on the parent than it is on the baby! day trippin' mom


Evening Drop-In Childcare?

March 2003


A few weeks (months?) back, I thought I saw a post in one of the Parents Network lists that advertised a childcare center in Oakland that offered drop-in evening childcare. Unfortunately, I cant seem to find the e-mail. Is anyone familiar with a center that offers this? Any good or bad experiences? PJ

Recommendations received:

  • Childcare at Local Gyms
  • Head Over Heels Gymnastics

    Childcare for sick child on short notice?

    July 1999

    Both our kids are in full-time childcare, one at a preschool, the other about to enter kindergarten with afterschool care (preschool up to now). But a problem we've run, especially over the past winter and spring, was what to do when one of the kids has to stay home sick from school. This spring, I swear, there were quite literally only two weeks in which both kids went to preschool a full five days; the rest of the time, one or the other or both was home with colds, flus, strep, etc. My dissertation writing took a big hit. So my question is, have other people found babysitters flexible enough and willing to do sick-kid babysitting on short notice? If so, have your kids become comfortable enough with that person (who presumably they see infrequently, since mostly, they go to preschool) to be okay with her/him, even when feeling crummy? Or do most parents just take time off to stay home, and let that be the professional cost of being a parent? Any recommendations of sitters, or thoughts about this? Jeni

    Keeping a sick child at home, with you or a babysitter is a first choice, but there are days when it's not possible. On occasion we have used Wheezles and Sneezles located in Albany (near UC Village) - I believe it's a nonprofit but operated with funds from Alameda County. It is especially useful for those days when our kids were recovering, e.g. over the high temperature but still needing some quiet time. The staff have been caring and there are toys on hand to entertain. They are very scrupulous about cleaning and disinfecting. The days my kids went there, they were the only children! A nurse visits each day to check on kids, and there is an enforced quiet time when most kids nap. Just something for you to consider as a back-up. The phone number for Wheezles and Sneezles in Albany is 526-7425. Eileen

    Send-A-Pede preschool pediatric service

    Date: Mon, 24 Mar 1997 10:38:00 -0800
    From: Linda

    My pediatrician is starting a preschool pediatric service (Send-A-Pede)... which I think is just a great idea!!! His name is Dr. Ralph Berberich, Pediatric Medical Group, and I can attest to his skill nd sensitivity. Basically the service operates in Berkeley, Kensington and North Oakland and is set up to handle those situations where -- your child seems fine in the morning, but at 11am the preschool calls you to tell you he/she is running a fever. Rather than having to leave your job, race back from S.F., try to schedule an appointment before your pediatric service closes... for a flat fee (I believe it is around $45) you can arrange during certain mid-day hours for Dr. Ralph to go to your preschool. He would then diagose the problem, call you, provide information for you child's doctor, begin treatment with samples, and leave a prescription for the remainder of the medication course. He can also tell you whether the illness warrants your picking your child up or whether, as in case of ear infections, it is not contagious and your child could safely remain in preschool without endangering other children. Having had a child who adveraged an ear infection a month, I think this is a great service. The only disadvantage is that it is not a covered benefit on HMO plans so you pay for it out of pocket. You can ask your preschool director for information about this program or call Dr. Berberich at 510-849-1744.