Most families need childcare at some stage in their children's lives. It could be one hour a day, one or more days a week, all-day care for up to five days a week, or even overnight care.
With most parents holding down jobs, the end of parental leave signals the time when little one's need to be placed in care to allow the bread-winners to return to work. The emotions that accompany making this decision make it difficult to make an informed choice.
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There are many different ways to manage this transition in the family home and while some families are lucky enough to have grandparents or family members on hand to support them, this is not always the case, especially for migrants who are starting out on their own.
Some may enjoy the idea of a home-based carer - a relative or a nanny or friend. This keeps the child in a routine and familiar environment.
Family daycare is where a small group of children are cared for in an approved carer's home or you could opt for a centre-based care such as long daycare, preschool or kindergarten where trained staff offer a structured program. Occasional care, which is short-term, service-based care may suit those who work part time.
Consider these points when making a decision:
- How many hours of childcare do you need each week?
- What are the childcare options in your area, and how much do they cost?
- Can you reduce the amount of childcare you need if you or your partner work from home?
- Do you want your child cared for at your home, at someone elses home, or at a childcare centre?
- Are you looking for childcare that matches your familys interests or values for example, food choices, musical interests and so on?
- Do you want your child to experience different styles of care and mix with children from a wide range of social and family backgrounds?
- Are you looking for childcare thats similar to your care at home
Do your research and do get references in all cases.