By Jana Black
When Meetu Rajput returned to work following the birth of her son, Jay, she and her husband found the cost and accessibility of child care an issue.
For the Rajput family, that meant turning to family in India for support.
Retish and Meetu Rajput rotate between Mr Rajput’s parents and Mrs Rajput’s parents to look after their children.
Each pair of grandparents spend a chunk of the year in Australia to help ease the burden of child rearing in the two-parent full-time working era.
“I feel that they’ve played a very important role in our kids’ development … both of them (the children) can connect to where their parents come from,” Mrs Rajput said.
Mrs Rajput said when she returned to work, she and her husband had to think outside to box to find care for their children.
“Then we started thinking … will it be a good idea to call our parents to support us at this time?” Mr Rajput said.
Many families using grandparents for support
The Rajputs are just one of many families who are turning to creative child-minding solutions, to help fill the gaps created by cost and availability issues.
Australia’s most recent census data showed that of the 523,300 Australian women who were mothers to children under the age of two, 39 per cent had returned to work.
Of those women, 79 per cent used at least one type of informal care.
About 27 per cent left their children in the care of grandparents, 26 per cent with their partner, and 23 per cent used long daycare centres.
Parents can claim 50 per cent of out-of-pocket childcare costs up to the value of $7,500 per child, per financial year when they use formal care.