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  • Amelia Levin

    Amelia Levin is a freelance food/restaurant industry writer and cookbook author and lives with her husband, Harvey Henao, and two beautiful children, Jonah and Lily, in the Lakeview neighborhood.



    Amelia Levin

    Amelia Levin is a freelance food/restaurant industry writer and cookbook author and lives with her husband, Harvey Henao, and two beautiful children, Jonah and Lily, in the Lakeview neighborhood.

    Where to find childcare in Chicago at the last minute

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    When you need childcare at the last minute, these childcare services and babysitters in Chicago could save the day.

     

    Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, a work-at-home mom or dad, or even a full-time working one with regular childcare, with holidays and conference season upon us, we all need extra help from time to time. Here’s a quick list of places in the city that offer last-minute and/or part-time services.

    The Nook (Bucktown and South Loop)
    This full-service daycare allows non-member parents to book absent children’s open spots via an online app, which is regularly updated until 6 a.m. day-of. There is currently no smartphone app, but rumor has it that could soon become available as interest in the program grows.

    Pros: Easy-to-use online app for scheduling; half- and full-day options; reasonable prices

    Cons: Limited availability for last-minute drop-ins; better to book well in advance if you know you’ll need the help

    K Grace
    Specializing in part-time childcare, K Grace serves many nurses, artists, photographers and others with non-traditional and/or flexible work schedules. Parents also use the service for last-minute sitters to run errands, finish some work or otherwise fill in the gaps. Bookings are made through an online calendar system up to 48 hours in advance (although K Grace staffers try to honor last-minute requests via an after-hours phone number), and the sitter is matched based on availability, experience and ability to meet special needs.

    Pros: Highly vetted, CPR-certified sitters (over 1,000 on file) available same-day for last-minute needs; nights and weekend help available; high success rate for last-minute requests within a few hours

    Cons: Complex pricing structure, which becomes more affordable the more you use the service; must pay sitter separately

    Bright Horizons (various locations)
    This nationwide daycare offers employer-subsidized backup childcare, including both drop-offs at the various centers or in-home help. Many clients take advantage of their own or their spouse’s benefits when they know schools will be closed or need someone at the last minute.

    Pros: Subsidized last-minute care year-round; facilities across the country for use while traveling with children

    Cons: Only available for those with employer-provided backup-care benefits; limit on number of days available for the services

    Related articles:
    3 things working moms shouldn't feel guilty about
    7 ways daycare changed our lives for the better
    5 rules for traveling with caregivers and kids

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