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A Quick Guide to Childcare Options

by BecSorby (follow)
Parenting Tips (83)     
A very short and sweet guide to childcare options.

To say parents are busy people is a major understatement. Along with the obvious task of caring for children, there is housework to be done, work to attend to, ferrying your children to various activities and perhaps even some form of social life to upkeep.

It is for all of these reasons and more that parents might feel like they need a bit of help. But with more options for childcare than ever before, how do you decide what’s best for your family?

If you are at a point in your life where your family needs a bit of extra help Thinking about some form of childcare for your family? Along with the traditional day care model, there are so many options to think about.

Day Care

Centre-based childcare operated by a licensed, commercial or non-profit organisation.
Centres are open for set hours, usually Monday to Friday.
Offer childcare for children aged from around 6 weeks to pre-school age, and up to 12 years during school holidays.
Offer 3 meals a day plus snacks.
Usually plenty of options in your neighbourhood.

Children are in the care of trained, qualified professionals.
Safe environment.
Some provide nutritious, cooked meals and snacks so you don’t have to worry about packing a lunch box.
Care is available Monday to Friday.

You will often need to pay for care when the centre is closed, such as public holidays, if your child is booked in for that day.
Some charge fees for late pick-ups, and even early pick-ups!
Care is not personalised to your child, so may not suit your child’s needs or temperament.
Some centres have waiting lists, and daily care can be expensive.

Family Day Care/Home Day Care

Is a childcare facility operated by a family business, rather than an organisation.
Are a licensed business run by qualified childcare workers.
Usually caters for a very limited number of children.
In some places such as Australia, family day cares can offer 24/7 care for children.

Care is usually more flexible than that of a childcare centre.
Numbers are strictly limited to only a few children/families, meaning better one-on-one care for children.
Can offer care after school for primary school aged children, plus some offer care on weekends, public holidays and even overnight care.
Provides an opportunity for families to build long lasting relationships and bonds in the community.

Usually only one or two carers, which is problematic if the carer becomes ill or their own child/children are ill, meaning parents will have to find alternative arrangements.
It may be difficult to control who is present at a home day care whilst your children are there, such as the provider’s friends, family or other adults.
If there is only one carer, children may be left unsupervised for periods of time if the carer is help up with one particular task.

After School/Before School/Vacation Care

As the name suggests - children are cared for before and after school and during vacation time.
Care is typically provided on their school grounds by childcare professionals.
Children take part in a range of activities including sports, arts and crafts, cooking, construction and play.
Also offer full day care during school holidays, which is ideal for working parents.

No rushing to and from the school to drop off and pick up children.
They are cared for by trained, qualified professionals in a safe environment.
Caters for working parents unable to fit employment hours around school hours.
Child care subsidies are available.

Most close at 6, meaning parents who work beyond this time will struggle in getting to the venue on time to pick up their children.
Can be expensive for a few hours care.

Nanny - live in, or live out

Employed on a full-time, part-time, casual or seasonal basis in a caregiver role in the home.
Is live in or live out.
Can care for children from newborn upwards.
Has childcare qualifications, or is working towards these.

Usually has extensive experience with caring for children, plus childcare qualifications.
Care for the children is provided in their own home, meaning you can stick to their routine.
No set end date for contracts due to visa ending, for example.
Familiarity for children of having the same person care for them.

The cost of a full time nanny can be expensive, plus parents should factor in extra costs including food, electricity, gas and fuel.
Lack of privacy in your home.
You may still need to consider a back-up childcare option if your nanny is ill or on holiday.
Limited social interaction for younger children (as opposed to children in child care.)

Au Pair or Demi-Pair

An au pair is a person who provides childcare for a host family in exchange for a room at the home, meals and a set amount of ‘pocket money.’
A demi-pair is similar, although they are a full time student, so can only provide a limited amount of care for children.
They are a foreigner who travels to another country on a working visa and live with the host family as part of a ‘cultural experience.’
Typically aged between 18-35 years.
Will provide care for the children, plus light housework associated with the kids, such as taking them too and from school or activities, preparing meals and snacks, tidying their bedroom and laundry.
Some chose to live out of the home, although part of the fundamental concept of an au pair is to live with the host family and be a part of their lives.

Care for the children is provided in their own home, meaning you can stick to their routine.
Are paid the same amount of ‘pocket money’ regardless of how many children you have.
Is a cost effective solution for families looking for childcare.
Great source of stability for families, the same person caring for the children for 6-12 months.
Have someone on hand when you need them.
Can usually provide one night babysitting for families.
Works around 25-40 hours per week.

No formal childcare qualifications are needed, so they may have very little experience with children.
Not recommended to solely look after children under 2 years old.
A live-out au pair will not always been on hand when you need help with the kids.
Lack of privacy in your home.
You may still need to consider a back-up childcare option if your nanny is ill or on holiday.
Limited social interaction for younger children (as opposed to children in child care.)

These are some options for your family to think about. You should always do your own research into the best choice for your family and your children, but hopefully this list has given you something to think about.

#Parenting Tips

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