Choosing the right childcarer for your baby is essential. There are so many type of childcare providers to choose from. Which one suits your needs?
For most families organising childcare for their baby will be a reality
at some stage. The childcare minefield
is an area a lot of new parents have not considered prior to baby’s arrival,
and when it comes time to make the decision of who will look after your little
one, it can be a very daunting experience.
When organising childcare for your baby it is important to look at what
is most important to your family and discuss what your needs are. For example, do you need daily care? Or just
a few hours every now and again? Do you need access to government benefits to
make childcare affordable for your family? What sort of environment do you think
will most benefit your baby? It is also
important to be as organised as possible as some care providers will have wait
lists for openings and it may take you a while to find a provider that you feel
is a good fit for your family.
To help make this decision, we have put together a number of childcare options
Long Day Care (Childcare Centre)
Probably the most widely known form of care, Child Care Centres commonly
have set operating times (for example 6am-6pm) and a child is generally booked
in on a permanent basis, attending the centre on the same days/hours each week.
The bulk of Long Day Care Centres are approved for government child care
benefits, meaning eligible parents may be able to claim back on fees which
could help keep care affordable.
As childcare centres are usually purpose built, children will have plenty
of fun and educational toys to keep them entertained as well as a designated
nap area. To allow for socialisation
with other children, childcare centres are typically sectioned in to age
groups, for example a baby room for children 3 - 15 months old, a toddler room
for children from 15 months - 3 years and so on.
Although this can be one of the
more expensive forms of childcare many Long Day Care centres include benefits
smaller providers may not such as meals and/or nappies for the day.
Family Day Care (or FDC)
For those seeking a smaller, more familiar setting, Family Day care
could be a good choice. FDC is a great
choice for families who need a more flexible level of childcare whilst a
majority of providers are still approved for government child care benefits. Providers may offer full day care, part time
care, casual care and in some cases, weekend and overnight care.
FDC providers generally operate out of their home which gives children
a familiar and comforting environment and enables them to bond with one care
giver. Providers are also conveniently located with most families being able to
find a provider close to home.
Compared to a Long Day Care Centre, FDC’s also operate with smaller
numbers, depending on your state of residence, it is not uncommon for there to
be a maximum of 4 children to 1 care provider. It can also be a more affordable
choice with the ability to book in part time hours and is good for families who
would like more input in children’s food choices as families are generally
required to provide food, snacks and nappies for the day.
In-home care operates much in the same way as Family Day Care however
the care provider will come to the child’s place of residence. It is not a largely accessed form of care and
can be quite expensive as government benefits are only offered in extenuating circumstances. For instance, you may be eligible for in home
care if you are caring for 3 or more children who are not yet old enough to
attend school or if there is a no other suitable form of care offered, for
example a child that lives in a very remote area.
Occasional Care (OCC)
Occasional child care, as the name suggests, is perfect for families
who do not always require care for their children but may sporadically need a
helping hand. Many Occasional Care
providers operate overnight and on weekend which can be very helpful for
families who have shift workers or unpredictable hours, there is also the
benefit that you are only charged for the hours your child is in care and a
child can be booked in with short notice in case of an emergency or change of
Outside School Hours Care (Before and After School
Outside school care is great for working parents of school aged
children who may need to drop or pick up children outside of school hours. This type of care is usually provided at the
school (but can be at a nearby community hall, child care centre etc. ) but run
by an outside organisation, children are usually provided with a snack and indoor or outdoor activities to keep them
busy until school starts or they are picked up.
Most of these services are eligible for the childcare benefits so can
be an affordable choice. Care is usually
offered for a few hours either side of school times. And can be available on school holidays as
well as student free days.
An Au Pair is a live-in care provider.
This can be a great choice for parents wanting to expose their children
to different cultures as Au Pair’s come from overseas destinations to care for
your children, instead of the usual a daily cost of other types of care, an Au
Pair is provided with accommodation, food and generally a weekly allowance to
care for your child and can sometimes help out with light housework also. If
you have plenty of spare space in your home and require full time care with
help available at all times, an Au Pair could be a great fit for your family!
Similar to in home care, a nanny comes to the child’s residence. There is no government benefit for this style
of care so it can be a more expensive route. Nannies can be hired in a live in
or live out basis and can be helpful for families who need more flexibility
with care hours. It’s also a great
option for families who would prefer their child to remain in their familiar
home environment with consistent care from one provider. Read on how to find the right nanny for your child here.
Babysitters are ideal for one of occasions where parents may need care
for only a few hours. Generally
babysitters are paid an hourly rate for the time required and will come to the child’s
place of residence, like Nanny’s and Au Pair’ no government benefits are
available with this service.
This can be a great option for families that need very occasional care
in the home and is a great option to use for night time events to keep with a child’s
routine. One thing to keep in mind is some babysitters will have a minimum
booking time (for example 2 hours) so be sure to suss this out prior to making
Who better to leave your child with than your own parents? Grandparents
can be a fantastic child care choice if you have this option, your baby will
feel safe and secure with someone they know and you will also feel completely
Depending on your parents age,
looking after your baby full time could be a very big ask so it is important to
have an open discussion ensuring they feel capable and comfortable being a
caregiver. For families on a tight
budget this can be an excellent choice as there are no specific fees and you
can provide your babies food and nappies.
When it comes down to it, childcare is a very personal choice and what
works for some will not work for all, it is important to consider the pros and
cons of all the available types of care and see what is best suited to you and
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