Thursday, January 10, 2008

What are the alternatives to child care and what questions do I need to ask?

The most common types of child care in Australia include private arrangements (e.g. family), family day care, centre based childcare or long day care, occasional care, pre-school, nannies, au pairs, babysitters, and in home care. Whatever you choose for your child, you must feel comfortable with your decision. Choosing childcare for your baby can be one of the most important decisions you make as a new parent. Therefore, it is important that you thoroughly research your available options. Try discussing the types of childcare you may prefer (and can afford) with your partner or family, as well as what might suit your family’s needs (and that of your baby). Whoever you choose to care for your child, you must feel comfortable with your decision. The primary goal for most parents is that their child will be cared for in a nurturing, safe and stimulating environment. Planning is the key to a successful placement and you should start this planning well in advance of you needing the care. Many childcare centres and Family Day Care schemes have long waiting lists, and other options such as selecting a nanny can be very time consuming.

Visiting and talking to the carers will be your best chance of finding the perfect place for your child. If possible try to drop into the centre or Family Day care home outside of your appointment time so that you can see how things “really” work and try to visit at a couple of different times of the day. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, you’re entrusting these people with your baby. For example, ask to see the meal prepared for that day, take a look at the nappy change area and assess its cleanliness, ask to see the baby’s sleep area, ask questions about how the staff would respond to a specific first aid or a safety situation.

1 comment:

kwolph said...

Career Mums

You hit it right on the mark with preschool alternative advice. I represent New York Kids Club in the United States and the facility offers classes geared toward fitness, learning, creativity, and more for children 6 months to 12+. Its a long way from the down under but so relevant. Right now NYKC is offer two Free Fun Day at a number of our facilities so parents and children can come check out everything mulitples time. Its an opportunity to get all your questions answered plus see if you kids like the environment. Definitely search for places in your area and take advantage of the free family day offerings.