Solutions for Families You Don’t Have Spots for During COVID-19

With new teacher-child ratios resulting from COVID-19 health and safety policies, many parents are now finding themselves unable to have a spot for their child with their preferred childcare provider. This is hard not just on families but for staff as well, who would love to help every family but are unable to do so because of the realities of our new normal.

In this article, we’ll go over different ways you can still help families get through the next while until you are back to your regular capacity. Though not perfect, they will help provide a little much-needed relief during these challenging times.

Other Provider Referrals

After parents discover they will not have a spot at your location, they will begin contacting other providers in the area. Make this process easier for them by directing them towards other centers or dayhomes that you would recommend based on the high quality of standards that your business provides. 

Going one step further, you can contact these providers to establish a network during the pandemic, sharing learnings about operating during these challenging times so you can all improve together.

Virtual Classes

If possible, you could have some staff assigned to hosting virtual classes to children to join throughout the day to help make things a little easier for parents still needing to balance working from home and watching their children during the day. These could be sessions exclusively for children at home or a computer can be set up in the classroom so they can “join” their classmates who are onsite.

If you haven’t hosted any virtual classes yet, see our article on starting an online early childhood learning program to get started! 

Busy Bags

It can be a challenge even for early childhood educators to come up with new activities to keep children entertained and learning throughout the day, but especially busy parents after several months of being at home during the quarantine. 

Parents love getting busy bags for their children to enjoy at home! All you’ll need to do is find several fun activities, print out instructions and include any required supplies. 

Need activity ideas? See our database of daycare activities and use the free printable instructions in your busy bags!

Family Bubbles

Depending on what your local government allows regarding socializing, you can create a list of families that would like to participate in a “bubble program” where they are paired with other families that they can share child watching duties with. As long as each family agrees to do no other socializing besides with each other, they can take turns in the morning and afternoon watching both families’ children to give the parents some time during the day to focus on other things. Just make sure that this complies with your government’s COVID-19 prevention recommendations so that everyone is staying safe and responsible.


Regardless of whether COVID-19 is happening or not, a waitlist is always a good way to give parents reassurance that they have not been forgotten. Of course, this doesn’t actually solve their need for child care, but at least they will know that they will be notified as soon as a spot becomes available.

Do you have any other solutions for families that your center has been providing? Let us know in the comments!

Michael Keshen

Michael writes for HiMama's early childhood education blog and ECE Weekly newsletter. When not developing content for early childhood professionals, he can usually be found out and about with his wife and daughter exploring all that Toronto has to offer, or playing music with his karaoke band.

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