Returning to work after having a baby is a complex and challenging time for many parents. After several months of being the primary caregiver for your child, the thought of leaving them in the care of someone else in order to work can bring up mixed feelings. On one hand, you may be looking forward to returning to a career you're passionate about and welcome the extra income and interaction with other adults in the workplace. On the other hand, you may be feeling dread and anxiety about being apart from your baby for several hours each day.
One of the best ways to feel less worried and more prepared for this new part of your life is to find the right child care option for you and your baby. The best option varies from family to family, and what works for you depends on your preferences and your individual needs. Here are two child care options available for you to consider.
1. Day care centres
A day care centre is the most commonly used child care option for Australian families. Generally, centres have a number of different rooms that cater for children of different ages. The staff to child ratio depends on the age group and the amount of supervision and care required. Babies and toddlers have a lower staff to child ratio than preschoolers.
Day care centres are great for social interaction, long opening hours and guaranteed availability. A vast majority of centres also provide food for your child, which makes life considerably easier. However, the trade off is that your child may not have the consistent care of a trusted caregiver, and the number of children in the centre may mean more exposure to illness.
2. Family day care
Family day care is provided by a trained and licensed caregiver in their own home. They are normally registered with a family day care scheme that helps them with accreditation, insurance and all the necessary police and background checks. Their home must meet health and safety requirements as dictated by both state and federal governments.
For many parents, this option is appealing because it provides consistent care by the same person, which lets your child develop a close bond with them. The low carer to child ratio also means that your child can enjoy socialising but won't be exposed to as many germs. The main downside is that if the carer is unwell or takes a holiday, you'll need to make alternative arrangements.
Consider what you need and want in child care before making a final decision.