With many families needing help with the care of their children while they’re working/studying and the biggest choice being paid care, this can be a big expense and added pressure to many families. While the care is necessary, families should be aware of what is available to them in keeping their childcare costs as low as possible.
The following list is a great start in helping reduce those costs
• Ensure before you start looking for childcare you have been in contact with Centrelink to register yourself and your child. You will be provided with a customer reference number for yourself and your child which you will need to provide to the childcare service upon enrolling.
• Ensure your child’s immunisation is up to date. To receive assistant with childcare fees, your child must be fully immunised in accordance with the National Immunisation Programme Schedule.
• Ensure your Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR) is paid directly to the childcare service your child is enrolled. This will reduce your weekly out of pocket expense.
• Know your childcare services’ conditions of enrolment. Most services require 2 weeks written notice when you are planning to leave, so by ensuring you plan for this, can reduce costs when you leave.
• Enquire at your childcare service about holiday discounts. Many services offer a discount when you plan on taking holidays which makes a big difference to your weekly out of pocket expense when you are not attending.
Any child at any age can be ready for childcare. It depends on how we as adults approach the situation. If we are going to be anxious, nervous, upset and clingy with our child, then we need to expect our children to display these same behaviours.
Always make the transition to childcare a positive experience in the way you talk about it to your child and others (in your child’s hearing range) before, during and after the event by
1. If possible, try and have your child attend the centre for a minimum of 2 days per week. This allows them to become familiar quicker with the new environment (younger children can forget from one week to the next, so it is like they are starting all over again if they only attend 1 day a week).
2. Get your child a ‘childcare’ bag and hat, so they can get excited about it. It also provides them with a belonging they can have with them at the centre
3. Be positive about the new venture with your child. If you are excited about it hopefully they will be as well
4. Visit the centre prior to them officially starting so they know the environment and have meet their caregivers
5. Have a routine from day 1 when dropping your child off at the centre, so they always know what to expect. This could include putting the bag away, reading a story together or doing a puzzle and then leaving.
6. ALWAYS say good bye to your child even if they have a few tears. Let them be aware you are leaving otherwise they can feel forgotten. They need to know you are leaving and you will be back.
7. Be open with the educators. Provide information about how your child’s morning has gone prior to arriving at the centre, and the educators will ensure they take this information into consideration in helping them settle.
Give your child a few weeks to adjust to the big changes in their lives and hopefully this will see you all sailing with your new childcare adventure.
Childcare for many parents comes with the feeling of guilt for leaving your child or children in care instead of at home with you where all children should be……… so some people believe
Childcare can provide many benefits.
The top 10 reasons for your child to attend childcare include:
For the children
1. Relationships with other children their own age, educators and materials
2. Control over the direction of their learning
3. Vast array of educational resources and experiences of touch, hearing, seeing, listening and tasting
4. Educators with extensive up to date knowledge in the development of birth-5 year olds
5. Environments designed for different types of play and learning with many opportunities to express themselves
6. Links to the wider community
7. Ability to form independence
8. Ability to continue with their own career path
9. Assurance your children are being provided with early education
10. Respite (we all need a bit of that every now and then)
Western Australia now has its first National Curriculum for birth-5 year olds, there is no better time to consider childcare.
For more information about the curriculum visit www.acecqa.gov.au
Selecting the right childcare centre for you and your family can be a difficult and scary challenge. As a mum myself, I know how it felt leaving my children with the educators, and that was in a centre I owned, where I knew the staff.
To help you on your journey in searching for what suits your family best, I have come up with 5 suggestions to make your starting point a little easier.
1. Look for childcare close to home – the last thing you want at the end of a work day is to be stuck in peak hour traffic with a tired child. Google childcare in your area and have the names of 3 or 4 centres to contact.
2. Have a list of questions important to you to have answered for example
– What will my child do throughout the day?
– What are the centre opening and closing times?
– What is the daily cost to me?
3. Make initial contact with the centres – Give all centres a call. 1st impressions in childcare are generally made within 3 seconds according to ‘Care for Kids’ 2011. If the centre representative is willing and able to answer all your questions the centre is probably worth pursuing with a visit.
4. Follow your gut feeling when viewing the centres – If it feels right, it probably is. Ensure you are given the time and attention to view the centre and have all your questions answered. The way the physical centre presents itself and the engagement you receive from staff gives you an initial impression of trust.
5. Stop – Evaluate – Decide – Once you have visited the centres, compare the pros and cons and decide on the centre that best suits your family’s individual needs and circumstances.