Child care is a system that opened a couple of years back. It is like a support system for the people or the families who, due to any reason, are unable to give attention to their child or are simply neglecting their child when it comes to caring for children.
This happens mostly when parents have extra working hours, when tears are out of the house or town, they leave their children or hire nurses from the child care to assist their children with whatever is best for them.
Child care makes sure the child is okay, has food on time, and does multiple activities to keep him or her engaged In work, making sure they are hygiene and clean, from diapers to their food. It's the responsibility of the child care nurses to do all the jobs.
They depend on how fancy the childcare use. There are categories. Some are for middle-class families with a subsistent amount of activities and compatibility, and the same goes for some departments for the elite classes. The environment is highly positive. The friendly environment helps the child groom, teaches skills and manners, enhances communication skills, and knows how to talk to people.
Children even get punctual and routine based since they know that the environment is strict. Moreover, the environment, where they have a couple of more children of the same age, makes it a bit more comfortable and easy to adjust to the environment.
Different Types Of Child Care
With the many different types of child care, how do parents know which ones are the best fit for their families? The type of child care you need is dependent on so many factors, including your child's age, your budget, hours needed and more. For example, a family with preschool-aged children would need different care than one with elementary-aged children, who may only need care during the summer months.
Here's a look at 8 of the most common types of child care.
Traditional daycare centre
Most daycare centres provide child care during standard work hours. Many provide half-day or full daycare for children and sometimes provide meals and field trips. Daycare centres often charge families monthly instead of hourly, and they provide a structured routine with large groups of kids. Daycare centres are businesses typically located in stand-alone buildings but sometimes in religious institutions, schools, or community centres.
Licensed in-home daycare centres often provide child care in a home setting with fewer children than in traditional daycare centres. As a result, costs may be less for in-home daycares, as well. In addition, licensed in-home daycare centres are typically required to provide age-appropriate activities, meet safety standards, and provide caretakers with child care training.
Nannies provide individual in-home care for families. They often commit to full-time hours and are employees of the family they work with. Typically, nannies charge per hour, with an agreed-upon schedule of hours determined in advance. Nannies allow for flexible and individualized care but sometimes cost more than other child care options.
A shared nanny is similar to a traditional nanny, but instead of providing child care services to one family, a shared nanny will provide child care services to two families at one time. To alleviate costs, families can choose to hire one nanny to care for all of their children simultaneously. This is often done in one of the families' homes and provides children with social interaction and lower costs than a dedicated nanny.
Au pairs are foreign caregivers who live with the families for whom they provide child care. Parents provide au pairs with room and board and a stipend, and, in return, au pairs provide families with child care. Thus, au pairs allow families to have the flexibility of live-in child care and provide children with consistent caretakers who often become like members of the families they serve.
A babysitter provides hourly care for children. In addition, they often are part-time caregivers and provide care on an as-needed basis.
Relatives or friends sometimes take on the child care responsibilities while parents work. Children can benefit from regular care from known and trusted people, and relatives and friends typically can provide flexible care. Payment varies depending on situations and relationships.
Children who are 2-5 years old may attend preschool. Preschools are similar to daycare centres and provide age-appropriate learning environments for children. They typically charge monthly, allowing kids to spend time with other preschoolers and learn in semi-structured environments. Many preschools offer full-day care on weekdays.
17 Tips on What to Look For When Choosing a Childcare Centre
For many parents, finding the right childcare centre stirs up a range of emotions. After all, you are leaving the most precious person in your life in the hands of a stranger. But it doesn't have to be that way. Childcare can be a special place that nurtures and enhances the development of children. It can be an environment for learning, development and growth through play and socialization with others. A home away from home, so picking the right childcare service forms an important part of parents lives.
Before you begin your search for the right childcare centre, ask yourself why you are looking for care in the first place. This will help guide you to the right type of service.
The type of care may differ depending on your overall objective. For example, if you are looking for someone to look after your child for an hour or two whilst you run errands, long daycare may not be the most appropriate service, and family, friends, a babysitter or perhaps an occasional care centre be the best option. On the other hand, if you are looking to provide early education for your kids, then long daycare or a quality family daycare service may be a better option.
Once you know what type of care best suits your needs, then it's time to find the perfect childcare centre. Here are some tips for what to consider when choosing the right centre for your child.
Determine the type of childcare service you are looking for
There are many types of childcare services to choose from. However, before you begin your search, it's important to decide on the type of care suitable for your family needs. Childcare can be categorized into the following:
- Long Day Care (incorporating different educational philosophies, including early learning, Montessori or Reggio Emilia, just to name a few)
- Family Day Care
- Occasional Care
- OSHC – Out of School Hours Care
- Informal care via friends & family
- Nanny Service
- Au Pair
Type of Education and Philosophy
Childcare has evolved considerably over time. Senator David Leyonhjelm famously referred to childcare workers and services as people who…
'wipe noses and stop the kids from killing each other.'
Which has received huge amounts of backlash. And rightfully so!
Childcare offers care for kids and quality early learning programs and education, with many offering a specific educational philosophy such as Montessori or Reggio Emilia inspired programs. Whichever it is, consider what is right for your child and your family and more specifically, does the centres' philosophy align with your parenting beliefs?
Location of the childcare centre
With ever demanding work and life schedules, consider the location of the childcare centre that is convenient for you. Is the centre close to home or work? How does this affect your morning or afternoon routine? Will you be able to get to the centre in time to pick up your child? As trivial as the last point may seem, it's important to consider this as many services charge hefty penalties for late pick-ups.
Availability & Waiting List
Childcare availability can be an issue, and getting into a specific centre that you had your heart set on requires early planning. We've heard of centres that have very long waiting lists of up to 3 years, so leaving your search to the last minute and expecting that a spot will be made available for you will leave you frustrated and disappointed. We highly recommend registering your details with your preferred childcare centre as early as possible.
Placing your child on multiple waiting lists can become an expensive exercise, as some services charge an administration fee to do this, so be sure to keep this in mind. Also, ask if the fee is refundable if you enrol your child at that centre.
There are a few online resources to check for childcare vacancies, emptyspot.com.au being one of them. You can easily see which centre has a permanent or a casual spot available and compare the centres and their services.
If you can't find a permanent spot at a centre of your choice, don't despair, some centres offer casual childcare when one of their existing families is away, or their child is not going to attend on a particular day.
Childcare costs can take a big portion of expendable household income, so it is no surprise that careful consideration of the costs is needed.
Costs can vary significantly between services and locations. The lowest fee isn't always the cheapest, nor is the most expensive always the best. You have to balance the fee for the childcare centre's service and if you are happy with the centre overall. Also, consider what inclusions form part of the daily fee, as costs can easily blow out if you need to supply your food, nappies etc.
Don't forget that the Government subsidizes childcare. Whilst many argue that it doesn't cover anywhere near enough childcare expenses, any form of subsidy can go a long way. Do you know what rebates you are entitled to? Are there any additional or hidden fees?
We prepared a concise overview of the new Child Care Subsidy – The New Child Care Subsidy – An Overview for Parents.
Contact the centre as they should help you calculate the level of assistance you may be able to receive. Alternatively, contact Centrelink for assistance.
As busy parents, flexibility is key. Not only to accommodate work schedules (permanent, casual or shift work) but also unexpected personal commitments. So it's worthwhile considering if the childcare centre allows flexibility with the days of care you have booked for your child. Does the childcare centre allow you to change your days, and are there any penalty fees in doing so? Do they offer additional casual spots over and above the permanent days that you have already booked? What systems are in place to make this process easy?
Platforms such as emptyspot.com.au make access to flexible childcare easier for parents by allowing them to book a spot when the need arises, even after hours.
Licencing and Registration
The National Quality Framework stipulates that childcare services must be registered. Therefore, we strongly recommend you only use a licenced and registered childcare service in your state. You can check if the centre is registered on the ACECQA website or by searching the emptyspot.com.au website.
National Quality Standards (NQS) Rating
Each centre is rated against a set of standards known as the National Quality Standards, and it is a requirement that the rating is displayed publicly. A rigorous assessment process rates each service across seven quality areas, all specifically developed to act as a benchmark for quality education and care of services.
We recommend checking the childcare centre's rating by asking the centre directly or checking the ACECQA website.
Size of Childcare Centre
Childcare services come in all shapes and sizes. For example, family Day Care services cater for small groups of children at the carers home, whilst long daycare centres can vary significantly from 20 kids to 200+. Whichever centre you consider, make sure the centre is equipped to handle the level of children under their care.
National Quality Framework stipulates certain requirements for centres depending on the number of places at the centre, however as a parent, you need to feel comfortable with the type and level of care provided. We have seen some large 200+ place centres treated as mini schools with some amazing facilities, educators, systems, and procedures to cater to many children. On the other hand, some smaller 30-40 place centres offer a focussed and homely feel that may not be replicated in larger centres.
Our recommendation is to go and check them out. See how you feel and how your child adapts to each type of centre. Sometimes your child will get a vibe that will tell you if they're comfortable there or not.
It may seem simple, but cleanliness can play an important part in choosing the right childcare centre. How does the childcare centre present? Is it clean and fresh or dirty, tired and run down? What are the hygiene procedures like? Are the staff nicely groomed and well presented?
Childcare is meant to be a place of happiness and joy whilst creating a learning environment to nurture and develop our children. So what's the vibe like in the childcare centre? Do the kids seem happy? How do they interact with other children and staff? Do you get a good feeling from the centre, and does it feel inviting?
The required number of staff that care for children is governed by the National Quality Framework and associated legislation, with specific guidelines associated with each state. We suggest that you familiarise yourself with the requirements and make sure that you are happy with the number of staff that care for your child. Some childcare centres go above and beyond the minimum requirements in staff ratios and the level of qualifications held by each educator. Hence, it's worthwhile discussing this with the centre director.
Things to think about:
- How many educators will look after your child?
- What is the centre staff turnover like?
- Is the staffing roster consistent?
- And don't forget to ask to meet the educators that will look after your little one.
Food, Nutrition and Meal Options
The childcare centre must provide a healthy, well-balanced and nutritious food menu for your children. We suggest that you get a few sample menus from the centre and make sure you are happy with the meal options provided.
Kids can be fussy eaters, so check what flexibility the centre has in relation to this. For example, some centres will allow you to bring in your snacks for your little ones, whereas others have strict policies on what can and cannot be brought in.
Also, if your child has special dietary requirements, be sure to let the centre know well in advance and ask how they will cater for your child's needs.
Friendliness, Professionalism & Communication
Leaving your child in someone else's care can be nerve-wracking, and you may want to know exactly what your child is doing throughout the day.
From feeding times to education and play, keeping abreast with your child's development is important, so consider how the centre communicates this with you. For example, how friendly and professional are the staff?
They will be caring for your child, so you need to make sure that you are comfortable with them.
We have met some amazing staff that are kind, warm, welcoming, open and honest, who essentially become part of the family, so be sure to meet the educators at the childcare centre.
Things to think about:
- How is the information shared between educators and parents?
- What tools are used to communicate your child's progress at the centre?
- How often is this communicated?
- What feedback are you able to provide, and how is this incorporated into your child's learning development?
Reputation, Parent Reviews & Word-of-Mouth
Parents talk! And when it comes to childcare, many will share their experiences with others. This can be valuable. However, it shouldn't be solely relied upon. What is important to you may not be important to others, and experiences and expectations will differ. Kids also adjust to certain centres differently, so bear this in mind when choosing your childcare centre.
Consider reviews and testimonials, but ultimately visit the centre and make your mind up for yourself.
Childcare centres have come a long way over the last decade, with some incredible facilities opening. From architecturally designed buildings, rooms and play areas to play equipment that makes the inner child in us want to come out and play.
But having an architecturally designed childcare centre doesn't necessarily make it the best. Many other smaller or older centres have fantastic facilities with a clever design to incorporate learning, exploration, and play. The important thing is to consider how the facilities support the education and care for your little ones and whether they create a fun and safe environment.
Things to think about:
- What are the physical facilities like?
- Are the play spaces big enough?
- Are there enough toys and play areas for the number of children?
- Is the environment safe for children to play and explore?
Go with your gut.
Ultimately trust your gut feeling. It doesn't matter how amazing the centre is or how great the staff are, or if they have availability or the cost is low. Trust your instinct, and if your gut tells you to keep looking, then do just that.
The general purpose of child care is to provide a secure environment to the children. Explanation: The childcare setting should be arranged with healthcare and infection control as a priority. Ideally, all buildings used for childcare should be designed for the 'care and education' of 'babies and young children'.
The primary function of a daycare center is to provide a safe and secure environment with quality caregivers, so that parents have the peace of mind of knowing their children are safe while they work.
Child care workers play a vital role in preparing children to build the skills they will need in school. Child care workers in child care centers, schools, or family child care homes greet young children as they arrive, help them with their jackets, and select an activity of interest.