Small businesses in Toronto are accommodating parents of young children in some ways which may be helpful to parents who do not even know about them. With the various challenges relating to child care and scheduling in the city, more and more companies providing programs and other services to children and their parents are offering ‘drop-off’ services. While these services are often glorified babysitting, some of them have advantages even to those who have a good and available sitter in the rolodex.
One example of this is the discount on babysitting or 'child minding' offered by Bizzy Bee on Queen St. east to those taking a yoga class next door at Bikram Yoga East York or any of the several other area business partners. Bizzy Bee’s normal rate for ‘drop n’ shop’ is $11 an hour, but the first hour is free with a receipt from a ‘sponsor.’ A similar business based in BC is currently looking for a franchise partner for several GTA locations, with a focus on Toronto. The ‘drop n’ shop’ model can be found elsewhere in the city, though sometimes without the partnerships with local businesses which makes Bizzy Bee’s deal especially attractive.
The recent trend towards coffee shops and cafes catering specifically to young families addresses the same general area of need, though cafes only have ‘drop n’ shop’ type programs if they also host programs, and even then only some of the time. Such and such is an example of one that does. Indoor playgrounds also seem to be introducing more ‘child only’ options, such as Just Ducky in North York or Hooray for Play in Etobicoke. Sunny Mummy Spa is an example of a business offering services to parent and child, as well as short-term child care for while a parent is using their services.
While ‘stay n’ play’ is still the more popular indoor play service, most areas seem now to have at least one location close by where a parent can ‘drop-off’ their child, confidant they will have a safe and enjoyable time, while an hour’s emergency shopping is done or an appointment kept. They generally begin in age at around the point when parents might be comfortable leaving their child for a short while, and while they all have some associated cost, it is not prohibitive in a pinch.