Have you realised yet that as soon as you become a parent time starts speeding up? It really does, I promise it’s a fact!
Feels like 5 minutes ago your brand new babe was handed to you but suddenly the months have flown and you need to start thinking about heading back to work. A major decision is on the horizon and it’s one that can cause a lot of worry and anxiety!
Childcare for your precious bub… What are the options and where do I begin?
1. Centre Based childcare or Long Day Care:
Child Care Centres offer full-time and part-time care for children up to school entry age by qualified staff. The centres must comply with the Children’s Services Regulations of the Department of Human Services and provide positive learning environments to ensure the needs of all children are met.
Your baby or child will have access to equipment and toys which are age appropriate and they’ll be able to have a flexible schedule that allows them to eat, sleep and be comforted according to their needs.
Your local Council maintains a Centralised Waiting List for Community Managed Child Care Centres which you need to apply to be on the list. Most places accept your form as soon as you know you’re pregnant (it can be a long list so the sooner you’re on it the better!) and you can then update your childs details when they’re born.
Benefit? Many centres provide long hours of care so if you need to utilise an earlier start or are running late this is a great option.
2. Family Day Care:
Family Day Care is a childcare service provided in a home environment on a full-time, part-time or casual basis.. The carers must be approved educators with a minimum of Certificate 3 in Children’s Services and are regulated by the Department of Education. In terms of numbers, they can provide care for no more than four pre-school aged children and up to seven children under the age of 12, including their own children.
There’s lots more information on the Family Daycare Australia website.
Benefit? A home environment surrounded by other children can be a nurturing and supportive place for your little one.
3. Occasional care:
Occasional Child Care provides care for children up to school entry age on a casual basis.This program allows parents the flexibility care while they work casually. Bookings are available on a casual basis only so there is always the chance that a spot isn’t available.
Benefit? If you’re dabbling in work and need some help Occasional Care centres provide a fun and supportive learning environment for little ones without the commitment.
If you’re looking at any of the three options above you’ll need to ask questions as you investigate. The following questions will get you started:
1. What are the adult to child ratios?
2. What hours of care are available
3. What happens if I’m late for pick up?
4. What first aid and teaching qualifications do the carers have?
5. What is the absentee policy?
6. What educational programs are in place and how can I monitor progress?
7. What are the toilet training policies?
8. How are safety and professional standards monitored?
9. What alternative care is there if a home based carer is sick?
4. Nanny or babysitter
Having a nanny or babysitter can pay huge benefits for busy mums and dads. A nanny can become a loved part of the family and save drop offs and pick ups from care centres, plus your baby is still in the place that’s most familiar to them. On the downside there are added complications and responsibilities when you hire a nanny.
Here are some fantastic tips on choosing a nanny from My Super Nanny which will help you figure out where to start, what questions to ask, how to find a great nanny and your responsibilities as an employer.
Benefit? It’s tough getting yourself and a little one out the door in the mornings! A carer who arrives at your house eliminates a lot of the stress as they can pick up when you’re late for your train.
Lots of grandparents and family members are pitching in with care these days! Your family knows you best so it can be a great solution to lots of the worries you might have about going back to work and leaving your baby. Make sure that everyone involved knows their responsibilities and is happy with the arrangements and it can be a really beneficial solution.
While you’re looking into your options and the costs don’t forget that your chosen childcare might be eligible for the child care rebate. Take a look at the information on the Human Services website or here at mychild.gov.au.
Benefit? Depending on the arrangement you have with family, this might be a low cost (or even free!) arrangement.
Have you started looking into care for your little one? What are the choices available to you?