For families where one parent works a FIFO ('fly-in, fly-out') roster, childcare needs might vary from week to week or even month to month depending when the FIFO parent is at home. Here are some of the solutions that work for FIFO families.
Paying for full-time care at a daycare centre
One option is to use a traditional childcare centre but only have your child attend on the days that they need it. While this can be a little pricey, it also offers a lot of flexibility as the parent who is home from FIFO can use their home time to do other things such as attend medical appointments or catch up on chores without their child underfoot. This can be through any childcare provider including standard long daycare options.
Using a family daycare provider
Family daycare providers operate out of the provider's home and can offer much more flexible care, including overnight care or care that matches an unusual shift pattern. Different family daycare providers have different approaches to the amount of commitment that they need to daycare days so you can call around and find someone that can give you the care that you need. This tends to be an affordable solution as you only pay for the care that you need. It's also a great solution if the parent who stays in town has changing or unusual shifts such as a nurse, police officer or hospitality worker.
Another option is to hire an in-home childcare worker such as nanny who can work to the schedule that you need. This allows you to leave the children in an environment where they feel comfortable and can let them keep to the same schedule regardless of which person is caring for them that day. It can also be a good way to avoid getting some of the bugs and viruses that tend to spread in childcare centres just as they do in schools or other places many children are interacting. It's often a relatively expensive option, but you can choose the exact amount of care that you need which can keep costs reasonable. You can often share a nanny with another family to keep the costs down.
If one of the parents in your family works a FIFO roster while the other parent works at home you may need a flexible childcare solution. Luckily there are multiple options for families in this situation.