Juggling work, studies and raising a child can be a tough act. It is important to find the best environment for the baby. Finding the best child care service is the first step that you need to take.
There are various types of care depending on your needs, these are:
- Family day care - The child carer takes care of the child in your home.
- Long day care - They cover daytime hours. They are usually run by authorities, community organizations and nonprofit organizations
- Kindergarten or preschool care - These provide the early learning program.
- Outside school hours care - If you work evenings, nights or on-call, this is the type of care you could consider.
When choosing a child care facility, consider the following:
1. Environment - The child care facility should have clean and hygienic conditions. The ventilation should be good, and there should be a playing area. The importance of play to your child cannot be understated.
2. Staff - The child carers to child ratio should meet the threshold set by the National Quality Framework. In addition to that, the carers should be well trained in compliance standards. It is important that they are friendly and show competence in their interactions with children.
3. Hours and days open - Ask about the centre's hours and whether they open on public holidays. Check this information against your schedule.
4. Facilities and provisions - Your child will have certain needs such as nappies, meals and sunscreen. Find out if they provide any of these.
5. Learning and play program - The centre should have a learning program which meets early childhood education standards. The center should also have a good program for play.
6. Costs - The child care centre cost should be within your budget. The government has provisions to help you meet the costs of childcare up to a certain amount. The child care benefit is payment by the government that covers 24 to 50 hours of childcare weekly. The amount you receive varies according to the number of children, your income, type of care, amount of care and if you pass the study, work and training test. The other provision is a child care rebate. You qualify for it if you pass the study, work and training test, and there is a maximum amount you can receive.
When you have chosen a child care centre, it is important to get to know the carers who work there. Get updated feedback on your child's progress to ascertain that the childcare is beneficial.