Child care is an enduring worry for parents in busy environments and who are tasked with employment, finances, housekeeping, and other worries. But few countries have responded as well as Australia in the call to support the child care industry. According to IBIS World’s market research report for child care services in Australia, there are more than 10,000 registered child care businesses in the country, and combined they have accumulated as much as $13 billion in revenues. The market is also notably diverse, with different models of child care readily available to parents.
If you are a parent or a guardian to young children, you have likely thought to yourself: with the wealth of choices I have at my disposal, how do I choose the right child care provider? It’s a parent’s first instinct to seek what’s best, safest, and most enjoyable for their children. However, not all child care options are necessarily affordable or sustainable given your circumstances. In light of this, here’s a guide to choosing what’s right for you and your kids.
Narrow Down Based on the Non-Negotiables
The first step should be to narrow down your list options based on must-haves. Among these are: a spotless reputation, advanced skills in taking care of children in your child’s age group, and accreditation and/or licence to operate (if this is applicable).
Naturally, it follows that you wouldn’t entrust your child to someone with a criminal record or reputation for misdemeanour. You would likely not want someone too green either, especially if they will be handling small children with delicate health. They must know how to feed children, how to change diapers, how to assist children during bathroom time, and/or how to supervise them properly during playtime.
In addition, it is good to look for a child care provider with advanced knowledge of first aid. The National Regulations for Education and Care Services (Division 6, Regulation 136) already require day care centres to have at least one employee who has taken afirst aid training in Ringwood or in their locality. This ensures their completion of modules on an aphylaxis management and emergency management. But even child care providers based outside of official day centres would benefit from this degree of knowledge.
Lastly, there is a need for a child care professional in a formal setting to be accredited by their governing organisations. This comprises Certificate III in Early Childhood and Care and/or Children’s Services for centre-based workers, operating licences for long day care locations, and the necessary visas for child care workers originating from overseas.
Further Questions to Ask When Seeking Child Care Providers
We also recommend going through this checklist when you go about choosing a child care provider. Your answers to these questions will help you decide which model will be to your liking.
- How old is your child? Children from different age groups require different levels of care.
Babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers, and children in the earlier levels of
elementary education will demand round-the-clock supervision, while older
children may be left with their child care providers for a fewer number of
- In what event will you need child care? Will you and your partner be travelling or working
long hours at the same time? Think about the event that will briefly separate
you and your children and to whom you will be willing to trust them with, given
- How many hours/days of child care do you need? Your child care needs may span between a few hours to
a few days. You may also only need occasional child care versus regular child
care; it really depends on your time, budget, and availability. But surveying
the degree of your needs will help you narrow it down to the exact type of
child care you require.
- In what location will you want your child care
services to be enacted? Decide where
you are comfortable having your children watched, be it in an outside day care
centre, schooling facility, or your own home. If you choose an outside
location, determine which area you prefer to leave your child (such as near
your workplace, your partner’s workplace, or the residence of a trusted
relative). This will make it easier for you to come back to your children
quickly, or run to them in case of emergency.
- What other services would you like from your child
care provider? You can also base your
choice on the additional services that distinguish the provider, such as the
level of education/activity they can be responsible for, whether they serve
meals, or whether they have a playground or sporting facilities.
Child Care Models That You Can Choose From in
As of our survey, there are 5 different child care options that you can choose from. Each of these models operates differently. It will be a matter of selecting the model that is appropriate for your child’s circumstances (age, educational level, health, and preferred activities) and in yours (work situation, availability, and budget).
- Long day care facilities.Long day care facilities are also known as day care centres, nurseries, or crèches. These centres employ professional staff members that are trained to look after children from between the ages of 0 and 6. The working hours and rates of centres like these are fixed.
- Family day
care. Choosing family day
care constitutes hiring a professional child care worker to look after your
children in your own home. The working hours and rates are usually more
flexible, i.e. inclusive of nights and weekends. Parents often choose family
day care for the convenience.
from trusted relatives. Child care
solicited from a relative counts as informal care. This is fine for parents who
will be separated from their children for only a short amount of time.
- Nanny. A family may employ a nanny that is referred to them by other people or commissioned through an agency. Parents and nannies must also agree on the scope of supervision and housework that will be undertaken.
- Au pair. Au pairs are young travellers from overseas who can oversee child care and housework in exchange for private lodging and time for cultural activities. You may go ahead and welcome an au pair into your home and set appropriate conditions for child care and household duties.
Surrendering your child to someone else may be frightening, even if this will be for just a short while, but there are several methodologies for child care that you can count on. They say that it takes a village to raise a child, and for sure, there are many individuals in your community who are happy to contribute to your child’s wellbeing.