Quick Exit

PSP work schedules can be unpredictable, which can create many challenges for childcare. Thinking ahead, being flexible, and having a back-up plan for childcare can reduce stress for PSP families. Children need reassurance that someone will always be there for them. Families can provide this by coordinating schedules and dividing childcare responsibilities. Having alternative childcare plans is necessary when work schedules are unpredictable.



Things to consider…
  • Talking with your partner about the people you currently rely on for childcare.
  • Making a list of other people who could help and how you might best approach them.
  • Learning about childcare options in the community (e.g., daycare, after school programs).
  • Connecting with other PSP families who face similar challenges.
Do you want to know more about this?

Having conversations with family, friends, neighbours, and others who might be available to help with childcare needs is important. Who can watch the children if there is a shift change or a delay getting home from work (e.g., overtime, injury)? Who can help in the daytime? Overnight? Knowing your options ahead of time can help when plans change unexpectedly.

Childcare Support List

Use the Childcare Support List below to make a list of people who already – and might be able to – support your family. Beside each name, identify what type of support each person can provide. You can download and print your completed list.

When adding details to your list, consider the following:

  • Giving thought to their relationships with the children and their availability.
  • Talking to the people who have offered to help.
  • Asking them to be realistic about what they can do if you need to call on them for help (e.g., a friend can pick up the kids from school but cannot provide overnight care).
  • Recording contact information (mobile and work numbers).
  • Putting this list in order of who to call, from first to last.
  • Involving your child(ren) in the planning process so they know what to expect.
  • Being aware of childcare and school policies (e.g., regarding late pick-up, emergency contacts, approved list of people who can pick up your child, etc.).
  • Keeping the list handy with all the necessary contact information.
  • Remembering to review these plans over time with everyone involved so they remain current.
The Childcare Scramble

The following 4 scenarios are situations that PSP families with young children may find themselves in. A solution is described that takes into account the wellbeing of each parent and children and build on their decision-making skills. You will be able to reflect on each scenario and save or print your answers by exporting the text at the end of the skill building exercise.


*Sometimes low mood, depression, worry, and/or anxiety can make it difficult to ask for help from others. The SSO Wellbeing Course can be a valuable resource to work through emotions related to asking for help.

Need Something More?

Check out our self-directed Spouse or Significant Other Wellbeing Course.

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References for this page (click to expand)

Carillo, D., Harknett, K., Logan, A., Luhr, S., & Schneider, D. Instability of work and care: How work schedules shape child-care arrangements for parents working in the service sector. Social Service Review, 91(3), 422-455. https://doi.org/10.1086/693750 

Lero, D. S., Prentice, S., Friendly, M., Richardson, B., & Fraser, L. (2019). Non-standard work and childcare in Canada: A challenge for parents, policy makers, and childcare provision. Childcare Resource and Research Unit and University of Guelph. https://childcarecanada.org/publications/other-publications/21/06/non-standard-work-and-child-care-canada-challenge-parents