4 options for last-minute child care

Keep these last-minute child care back-up options permanently tacked onto your fridge … just in case your nanny or sitter cancels, you have a snow day, you get sick, or you simply need a break.


Take a Break Playcare


This is a play space specifically designed as a back-up plan. Drop your kid off or use this as a co-working space. There are multiple rooms, so children can do everything from playing dress-up to gaming to simply crawling and discovering. While they don’t formally do naps, there are plenty of lounge areas where kids can veg, including a movie lounge. Kids entertain themselves with supervision. BYO food, drinks and socks.


Hours: 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 8:30 a.m.-midnight Friday; 9 a.m.-midnight Saturday


Ages: 6 months to 13 years


Price: $12 for the first child, $8 for each sibling, discount for pre-paid plans


Details: 2855 N. Lincoln, Chicago; (773) 661-9944


Parenthesis Family Center


It’s open on Monday and Thursday mornings for parents who need a break and want a room to work quietly while their children play. While staff prefer that you register ahead of time, they usually have space for last-minute emergencies. They have three rooms: infants, toddlers and preschoolers, and child care workers will play with your children while you get a quiet place to work with free Wi-Fi. There’s also a social worker on-hand so you can get advice about everything from tantrums to your stress—if you want.


Hours: 8:30-11:30 a.m. Monday and Thursday


Ages: Newborn to 6 years


Price: $25 for one child, $30 for two or more


Details: 405 S. Euclid Ave., second floor, Oak Park; (708) 848-2227


K Grace Chicago


Need to get into the office? K Grace has more than 1,000 babysitters at its fingertips and last-minute care is their specialty. Nearly all the sitters are central to the Chicago-area, but a few are in Oak Park and Evanston (all are linked by the CTA). K Grace vets all of its babysitters via a daunting three-month process that includes a background check, child-development exam, three in-person interviews, a physical and a social-security verification.


Hours: All hours


Ages: All ages


Price: There’s a sign-up fee and a price per use (this varies depending on how often you use K Grace, but can be as low as $10). You pay the babysitter separately.


Details: (773) 649-9339


College Nannies& Sitters& Tutors


Use the app or call to book a sitter. The service deals with the payment for your sitters, who range from college students to engaging granny nannies. They screen everyone, and all come with the experience and level of a child development expert. The app lets you choose the day you need and see the matched sitters. Then you can select who you want and schedule it yourself. It’s super easy and quick.


Hours: All hours


Ages: All ages


Price: Enrollment is $199, which includes the first four hours. Babysitters range between $21 and $25 per hour.


Details: (847) 998-5657

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