How to Get Working Parents Back to Work

Mom balancing work and caring for her children

What will it take to bring back the economy? 

Recent headlines paint a pretty clear picture:

Child Care is Needed for Coronavirus Economic Recovery

Working Parents are Key to COVID-19 Recovery

The big factor holding back the U.S. economic recovery: Child care

Big New Obstacle for Economic Recovery: Child Care Crisis

“A consensus is emerging among top economists and business leaders,” wrote the Philadelphia Inquirer recently, “that getting kids back into day cares and schools is critical to getting the economy back to normal.”

Child Care: Answering the Question of “How”

While experts agree on the “what” of the solution (child care), equally important is the “how”: how will child care work? What will it look like? And most importantly for working parents and their children – what will it feel like? 

It’s a good question, and something Bright Horizons has been working on since the start of the pandemic. Back when the economy was closing down, centers in strategic locations stayed open to serve working parents in the medical field who had to be on the job. Those centers certainly served a critical function at the time. But they’re also playing an important role as the country moves forward, namely illustrating how it’s done. 

“One of the really productive and positive impacts of those centers…is that these centers have already gained a lot of experience in enacting these protocols,” said Dr. Kristin Moffitt, the Boston Children’s Hospital pediatric infectious disease specialist we’ve partnered with to inform safety practices. In a recent Q&A on the subject, Dr. Moffitt pointed to the health screening that will be undertaken by all teachers, staff, and children before entering as an example of important processes. “That has been put into place and fine-tuned several times,” she said. 

The Other Key Ingredient

There’s also the matter of the experience – of knowing what child care will feel like. And these same centers excel as testimonials – at reassuring anxious parents about what they can expect. 

“My kids are not only safe, but happy and learning,” one working mom, a nurse, told us about the experience using the Bright Horizons center during the height of the virus in Washington. “I love that they have a structure that allows them to maintain some normalcy.”

“I’m not worried about her now, and I’ve never been worried about her,” said a doctor about her daughter’s experience in a Chicago center. “That center has become family to us.”

“I think that Bright Horizons will have a jumpstart on what exactly it’s going to look like,” said Dr. Moffitt about child care going forward, “to really expand these protocols to larger numbers of centers as they reopen.” 

That’s good news for parents, and an economy that needs them. 

Watch Dr. Moffitt’s entire Q&A, here.

Written by: Lisa Oppenheimer

July 14, 2020

About the Author

Lisa Oppenheimer at Bright Horizons

As Director, Brand Storytelling at Bright Horizons, Lisa writes “from the trenches” about the real life challenges of people in today’s workplaces: from the tensions of being a working mother, to working with millennials in the digital age, and everything in between. With a career ranging from freelance to full-time, Lisa brings a diverse employment background to her perspective.