Being a working mum of two, I have experienced the emotional, as well as the practical aspects of navigating child care arrangements for both my boys. My eldest son Toby, is now seven years old and a child care ‘graduate’ in year two of school. Our youngest, 16-month-old Leo, currently spends three days each week enjoying child care while I work.
Although there have been some tearful drop-offs in the early stages (I’ve cried more than them), paid child care hasn’t just helped me return to work, it has been hugely beneficial for my growing sons.
If you are ready to start your little one at child care but don’t know where to begin, I hope my top six tips will help you get the ball rolling.
1. Do your research and get organised.
Consider your local options and see how they compare online and in real life by taking a quick look with your little ones in tow. Similar to finding a great hairdresser, a word-of-mouth recommendation from a trusted friend is a good way to start shortlisting child care options in your area, while taking into account your own child’s needs.
Once you have a shortlist, ask if you can tour the centre before putting your name on the waiting list. In high demand areas, waiting lists can be years long, especially for the under-twos age group where a high staff-to-child ratio is required. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the most popular days to request care, so if you can be flexible, it might help you secure a spot for your child faster.