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A lot of people do shift work. Nurses, paramedics, police officers, security guards, doctors, fire fighters, etc, all work hours that fall outside of the nine-to-five mould. It's especially hard for single parents, or in a home where both parents or caregivers end up working the same shifts but still have kids at home to care for.
People who've done shift work for a while probably have their schedules down to a science, making it easy to get the grandmother to look after the kids on the days (or nights) when the caregiver is working. The problem with shift work, however, is that it isn't always predictable. As hard-wired as your schedule may be, someone is bound to get sick or go on vacation. All of a sudden you and your partner find yourself both working the same shifts. Unless you're interested in leaving little 4-year-old Johnny home alone for the first time (sooooo not recommended), it might be time to call in a temporary nanny.
A temporary nanny or “weekend nanny” can be called in with little notice. If you've hired a temporary nanny before, you might have the luxury of calling her directly and asking her to come back. On the other hand, you may have to go back to the nanny placement agency and accept the services of a different nanny. Before you even need a temporary nanny, check out nanny placement agencies to make sure that at least basic background checks are completed. Families who need temporary nannies don't have time to wait a few months for the checks to come back. However, if you're sure that the company is legitimate and does background checks in a timely manner, you should feel confident that you're on the right track.