How to find the best quality childcare

Making the decision to put a child into care is hard enough, then comes the even more daunting and time consuming task of finding the right (and available) child care service for your child. It can be incredibly hard and not surprisingly, some parents just give up.

Roxanne Elliott, founder of www.careforkids.com.au, the country’s leading national database and search engine for all types of child care, takes some of the pain out of the search for child care and offers some welcome reassurance that it doesn’t need to be that hard!

Whether you choose a nanny, au pair, in-home family day care, long day care centre, a pre-school, or nanny share arrangement, it’s all about your child receiving quality, professional child care suited to you and your child’s needs.

Ultimately you want to ensure that your child is safe and happy in a child care environment that is fun, educational, and nurturing.

The different types of child care available to parents can be overwhelming and confusing particularly for first time parents. CareforKids.com.au was set up to help parents find the right care for their children with the least heartache.

Here are some tips to help you find a child care service that is right for you and your child.

1. Determine the type of care your child needs.

Consider the child’s temperament. Likes and dislikes, health, interests, and behaviour, developmental play and learning styles, interaction with other children, and need for individual attention should all be considered.

For example:

Nanny - most experts will agree that one-on-one care is best in the first year of life, as long as the nanny is well qualified. A good nanny with experience should understand a child's developmental and emotional needs. Nannies can work well for toddlers, too, as long as children are given plenty of opportunities to socialise with other children their age.

Child Care Centres works well for children of any age. Make sure it offers structure and a chance for children to socialise. The best centres have a program that promotes your child's physical and mental development and carer child ratios are low. Hours are generally from 8am to 6pm and this works well for parents juggling work commitments.

Family Day Care & In Home Care works well because groups are small, kids have a single, consistent carer, and the home environment is comforting and reassuring. It helps if the provider has an assistant to give support to the children and the primary carer. Again, good for parents with work commitments.

Preschools offer a more academic focus than child care centres, but they really aren't all that different. Children are older between the ages of 3 and 6 and the hours are similar to school hours - 9 till 3.

Au Pairs – an au pair takes the pressure off everyday life if you are at home with small children. They are an extra pair of hands to help at breakfast, dinner and bath time. For school age children, an au pair can help with pick ups and drop off from school, assist with light housework during the day and casual babysitting.

Nanny Sharing – if you are interested in having a nanny care for your child but are reluctant due to the expense, nanny sharing with another family maybe the solution.

2.    Once aware of the types of care available consider cost, location, security, quality and reputation of the service.

CareforKids offers a search engine for child care centres and services which can let you search by type of service and location. There are several very handy checklists on the website to investigate and evaluate the child care services on offer.

Not only that but you can also sign up for an alert to be emailed to you when a place comes up in the service of your choice using the Child Care Vacancy Alert.

3.    Always include your child

Always take your child with you and observe the carer, the facility, and the other children.

4.    Take steps to establish a good relationship with the child care service provider.

Daily reports about the child's day and frequent visits can help you to track your child's progress and reassure you that your child is being nurtured and having fun.

If you have engaged a nanny or aupair, it’s a good idea to introduce a diary system into their routine.

Ultimately, wherever you choose, the most important thing is that you are happy and confident in the service provided and that your child is happy and knows that you are aware of how he or she feels in child care. CareforKids also offers some helpful tips on helping your child adjust.

Don’t worry! It’s not that bad. You WILL find the right child care and your child will have a wonderful time there.
Roxanne Elliott is the co-founder of www.careforkids.com.au.

 
Banner