baby

Three essential things to know when you're looking for childcare.

Only About Children
Thanks to our brand partner, Only About Children

Returning to work after maternity leave can be a stressful and unsettling time. There is the prospect of negotiating part-time hours, fishing the corporate attire out of storage (and praying it still fits) and learning how to “adult” on four hours sleep. Then there is the daunting task of handing over the care of your precious baby to someone else. For many of us who don’t have eager beaver grandparents waiting in the wings, that involves enrolling our children at a childcare facility.

My children have been in childcare three days a week since they were 11 months old and my experience has been fantastic (if you ignore the first few days that saw me arriving at work severely dehydrated with panda eyes). My children’s educators have become part of our family and genuinely care about the wellbeing, health and happiness of my two littlies. They have cuddled my babies when they were grumpy and teething, inspired them to learn and showered them with compassion and love.

"There is the daunting prospect of leaving your precious baby to someone else." Image via iStock.

Selecting a childcare centre is a big decision, particularly at nursery room level so how do you go about finding the right provider for your family? What should you look for to ensure your baby has the best start possible enabling you to re-enter the workforce with peace of mind?

Here are three important considerations when selecting childcare for your precious cherub.

1. A nurturing, safe and respectful environment.

In order to learn and thrive, children need to feel safe and nurtured through secure relationships. My 20-month-old is very attached to one of his educators, Vinita, and often points to her and says, “Me wuv Winita”. Knowing he is being cared for by someone he loves and trusts makes the world of difference as a working mum because I know he feels safe and secure when I’m not around. Only About Children recognises that children will be more receptive to learning if they trust their educator so each newly enrolled bubba is allocated their own special teacher or primary caregiver. This helps them establish secure relationships, easing the transition from being away from Mum and/or Dad.

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"This helps them establish secure relationships, easing the transition from being away from Mum and/or Dad." Image via iStock.

As the family becomes more comfortable with the new childcare arrangements, other educators in the Only About Children team get more involved in their baby’s care. All the children’s meals are designed by a Nutritionist and prepared by the onsite Chef, and each baby even has their own cot for the days that they attend. Not to mention the updates throughout the day direct to your smartphone via their app. This personalised and unique approach to childcare transition is why Only About Children is considered the leader in early childhood development and wellbeing. It really is a home away from home.

2. A focus on learning and development.

Babies aged 0-2 are undergoing a period of rapid growth and development. It’s important that nursery programs are tailored to their education and nurturing around this unique period in a baby’s life and don’t underestimate their learning capabilities. A recent report by the Mitchell Institute at Victoria University found that 60,000 children in Australia are starting school every year without basic skills because they haven’t received sufficient preschool education. "Early learning is as important as the learning a child will do at school. It's not just babysitting," Mitchell Institute's director, Dr Sarah Glover, told Fairfax Media. Only About Children has a unique curriculum specifically tailored to the age group of 0 – 2 years with a strong focus on small group learning, sensory play, music and art in safe environments carefully prepared by nursery qualified educators.

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"They have a strong focus on learning and curriculum developed for 0 - 2 years." Image via iStock.

3. A commitment to fostering meaningful partnerships with the whole family.

Your relationship with your childcare centre can last five or six years so it’s important that you feel free to engage in honest and meaningful communication. Recently my toddler started growing increasingly frustrated with people not understanding what he was trying to communicate. He started pointing and grunting when he wanted something and screamed like a rabid banshee if he didn’t get his way. His educators, his dad and I worked together to ease his frustration and as his communication skills developed, his sunny disposition returned and I was able to significantly reduce my alcohol intake.

"They work with the entire family to get the best outcome for the baby." Image via iStock.

Several times over the last few years we have worked together with the educators to improve my kids’ behaviour, sleep patterns and eating habits. Only About Children focus on building trusting partnerships with families, believing that a child’s development flourishes when they know they are in a nurturing circle of people that love and care for them. Families and educators are also supported by an in-house allied health team offering support and screenings in areas of occupational therapy, speech pathology, hearing and vision inclusive of the fee.

My children’s happiness and wellbeing is my number one priority so I want to know that they are safe, loved and well cared for when their Dad and I can’t be within arm’s reach. I am so grateful for all the amazing educators that have enhanced my children’s lives and look forward to watching my little ones continue to thrive under their exceptional care.

What do you look for in a childcare centre?

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