Childcare is one of those things every parent struggles with from time to time. Whether it is trying to decide what type of childcare works best for your situation, or trying to decide how best to provide childcare for a child who just needs after school care. Child care is such an individual choice. So, how should you go about deciding on what child care will be best suited to your needs?
What type of child care is available?
Consider what options you have available to you locally, this maybe a day centre, child minder, nanny or pre-school. Of course you may be limited by what is on offer locally to you, and what is best suited to the age and needs of your child. Personally, I found that asking other parents about their experiences was a great way of gaining ideas.
For my daughter I settled on a pre-school which fitted in well with school drop off and collection for my older children. I didn’t want to have to drive far between drop offs, so location was an important deciding factor! I needed to be able to drop her off before or after the school run. Pre-school also meant she got to mix with lots of children, and as she was talking from a young age I felt this was a really important thing for her! The hours the pre-school offered were very similar to school hours, so worked well for our needs, but may not have suited everyone.
Cost is obviously a big factor in deciding on what child care will work for you. Don’t automatically assume that one type of childcare will be better value than another, investigate all options! As you may be surprised by what you can afford – especially if you are looking for options which will cover you in the school vacations too.
What should you be asking when looking into childcare?
This is really one of those questions which I can’t answer as your questions will be specific to your needs and the needs of your child. Some questions you may like to ask are; Do you provide lunch? What types of activities do you offer? How do you document my child’s progress? What are your rates and how do you take payment? ( What payment do they want in advance!).
Where to find help on what childcare to choose?
Consider using a site like toddle.com.au they have over 40 years combined experience working in child care, and have a wealth of knowledge. They also have some great blogs on how to deal with problems such as separation anxiety in toddlers which is well worth a read! You can also ask local parents on their experiences, which can be especially helpful when looking at childminders. Just remember that every family is different, and your childcare needs may be very different to another family. You may also find that a combination of childcare options works best – and that’s ok to!