Making the decision to put my then 12 month old daughter into day care was an emotionally challenging experience. Naturally I worried about being separated from her especially because she hadn’t spent any time away from me, but I had just given birth to my son and knew this would be good for her. My husband and I couldn’t decide whether to send her to Long day care or Family day care, as there were pros and cons for both. After doing some research I realised a day care centre would suit my daughter more because she was quite social and independent, and thrived being around other children her own age. Having a set routine and structure at the day care centre also helped because that is what she was used to having at home.
We chose a great centre and visited a few of times and both of us became familiar with the surroundings, the other children and carers. I asked lots of questions about the centre, different policies and I got to know the staff members. I liked the fact that the staff all had relevant qualifications and there was ongoing training. There were a lot of tears the first few weeks of drop offs and it broke my heart every time, and I think I was actually more upset than my daughter but I was assured once I was out of sight my daughters day was full of fun and laughter A big lesson I learned was to go with my gut instinct, I felt comfortable with the staff looking after my child and as a parent knew my daughters needs were being met. Whether you choose Long day care or Home day care all you need to know your child will be happy.
Long day care
Long day care is sometimes referred to as centre-based care and is generally provided in a building or part of a building that has been created specifically for use as a child care centre.
Centres usually operate between 7:30 am and 6:00 pm and offer professional care for children aged 0-6. Children are usually grouped in rooms according to age and developmental stage.
Child care is usually available for all day or part of the day at a centre. Some centres offer morning or afternoon sessions.
Many centres offer meals throughout the day including morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. The types of meals vary from centre to centre. If a centre does not offer meals then families will need to provide their own.
Most long day care centres will have an early education component to their program so children will learn as they are cared for.
Long day care centres are run by private companies, local councils, community organisations, individuals, non-profit organisations or by employers for their staff.
Family day care
Family day care is where a professional carer looks after your child in the carer’s home. This type of care is sometimes known as home-based care. Carers work mainly with children aged 0-6 who are not yet at school, but can also provide care for older school-aged children. The number of children each carer can have in their home is determined by state and territory government laws.
The hours of care are flexible. Carers can provide care for the whole day, part of the day or for irregular or casual care.
Some carers may offer care overnight or on weekends. This may suit parents who are ‘on call’ or work shifts. Some carers are self-employed but work in partnership with a family day care scheme. Mychild.gov.au
Advantages for choosing long day care –
For a single child, it is usually cheaper than hiring a nanny.
Care is always available during opening hours. The centre will manage replacement staff if any carer is ill or unavailable.
Provides a structured program with routine and activities.
Centres are licensed facilities, and all staff will have relevant experience and qualifications.
Child meets a range of other children and carers.
Advantages for choosing Family day care –
A cheaper child care option
A safe, home environment with consistent care.
Most carers have had children of their own.
Interaction with a small group of children of varying ages.
Can be arranged to fit in to your schedule.
Good child care services pride themselves on creating an environment which nurtures your child’s emotional, physical and intellectual development and leaving your child in long day care or family day care a should be viewed as a positive outcome not as a source of guilt or anxiety.
Words by Amardy Baucke
Originally published in Coast Kids