I was planning to take a year or two off when I was pregnant with Harvey, however I remember vividly that when Harvey was 7th months, Jaz told me “you need to go back to work”!!!! Yes, I was almost unbearable to Jaz and drove him crazy as I was actually bored and probably depressed in doing the same thing every day!!! Of course I always occupied myself, made sure I had time to myself and friends, and doing little projects, but it was not enough to keep me stimulated. So I found myself a job and went back straight to full time work by the time Harvey was 9 months old. Having no near-by family, this meant it was time to look for day care for Harvey!
Here’s our journey so far….
There are many childcare options in Melbourne including childcare centres, family day care and occasional care (click here for more information). One useful website I found for useful information on childcare is https://www.careforkids.com.au/ – you can find pretty much all the answers to your questions here.
There are two options we thought would be suitable for Harvey and our situation:
1. Long Day Care: generally operates between around 7:00 am – 6:00pm, offering professional care for children aged 0-6. The centres offer meals throughout the day and nappies are provided. Most long day care centres also include kinder and have an early education component within their program so children will learn while they are there. Depending on your family eligibility, most of the centres are approved child care services and your family may be eligible for Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate.
2. Family Day Care: These usually operate in someone’s home environment and can provide flexible care from all day, part-time before and after school care and during holidays. The home-based day care can offer care for children aged from just 6weeks – 12 years old. Family day care operators must meet their obligations under the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care and comply with the Early Childhood Services Education and Care National Law and National Regulations.
The majority of Family Day Care services are approved child care services and your family may also be eligible for Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate.
The differences between family day care and long day care centres:
- Family day care is the only type of approved service offering 24/7 child care. However, you will have to arrange back-up care if the educator/carer is ill or unavailable.
- Family day care is usually more affordable than the long day care option
- Low child to carer ratios:
Before making a selection you need to understand the different types of child care option and then make a selection that would suit you and your child. Here were our criteria when we made initial selection of centres:
- Location (e.g. located closer to home or work)
- Our budget
- Our parenting philosophies
- Harvey’s own needs
For more information on Child care comparison click here
We have decided to select a Long Day Care option for Harvey instead of a Family Day Care. I cant even recall why, but we didn’t even look at the family day care option at all. I think I just didn’t like the fact that my son would be going to someone else’s house – and the thought that the carer may also be caring for their own kids. For the professional childcare centres, I also liked the structure/routines offered that were somewhat similar to a school environment.
The challenge we had from living close to the CBD was the long waiting list for childcare centres. We went for a couple of tours of local childcare centres. One of them in particular came recommended. I also stumbled across a brand new childcare centre with Jaz’s mum. We put our name down for two of the three centres we visited when Harvey was about three months old. When the time came (and a few hours trail run) we decided on the new Jumbo childcare centre for Harvey. Even though the centre was brand new without any reviews, all the staff and everything I saw was fantastic. Jaz also felt the same so, we decided to trust our instincts. If it did not work out, we could always find Harvey another centre…
Our Experience So Far…..
We had the option of not putting Harvey straight into childcare full time as Jaz’s mum was able to babysit him for two days week prior to Christmas. So we took the help as we thought it might be a good way to transition Harvey into the new environment plus it would be good for Harvey to spend time with his Nana. Harvey yet again was a fantastic child – he was very easy going and quickly adapted to the new environment. Of course he cried at first when we dropped him off, but very quickly he just stopped and just went about playing with toys and chatting to other kids at drop off time. By the new year, we put Harvey full-time at the centre.
As previously mentioned, the centre was brand new and there were no reviews we could look into, so here’s our review and experience with Harvey’s centre so far…
- The centre has a “family” feeling. All staff are fantastic, friendly, easy going but very professional. They always have time to update/answers any information we both have.
- The centre have an online app where you can check Harvey’s progress such as his daily routine (e.g. food, drink, nappies), education learning/development and activities. The staff update this on a regular basis as a story including photos which we have enjoyed reading and always look forward to the next one. The app make us feel like we know what he is doing and don’t feel like we are missing out. It is also reassures us that he is having a fun time while developing his necessary skills which will be required as he progress on to the next stages of his life.
- The centre have a book of photos containing all the children doing their activities where you can see it each day when you sign in-/out off the centre. This definitely puts a smile on our face.
- The range of toys and books etc are superb and definitely educational!!! we so wanted to have all those goodies in our house for Harvey… but then again, why would we since Harvey gets to play with it everyday.
- We can’t find fault with the place!! We love it and Harvey surely loves it.
There are various pros and cons i’ve read about sending a child to day care. I believe that at the end of the day, it is your parenting that contributes the most to your child’s life. So it is up to you how you would make it work. For Jaz & I, Harvey going to a childcare has so far been a very positive experience for the three of us. Again – this may change when Harvey is a bit older but until then….we will embrace the positive outcome 🙂