How to choose childcare - childcare options for working mum

Child Care

Choosing care for your child:

A number of different child care options are available, and it's important that you select one which is best suited to your needs and the needs of your child.

Child care options:

  • Family day care - a small group of children cared for by an approved family day care provider in their home
  • Centre based care - where trained child care staff will look after your child in an environment with a structured program
  • Pre-school - for children 3 years and over
  • Home based care - having a nanny, friend, relative or someone you trust in your home caring for your child
  • Occasional care - centre based care for a short period of time
  • Before and After school care - for primary school age children

Signing up for child care:

Spaces in child care facilities are limited, so it is strongly recommended to put your child's name on the waiting list of a number of preferred child care facilities as early as a few months into your pregnancy, depending on how old your child will be when you are looking to commence care. Waiting lists can often be quite long, so it is good to plan ahead.

Questions to ask when selecting child care:

  • What happens when my child is sick?
  • Will I pay for days my child doesn't attend (including public holidays)?
  • What happens if I am late to pick up my child?
  • Who else can pick up my child?
  • What do I need to pack for my child?
  • How can I help my child adjust to child care?


Starting child care:

Starting child care can be daunting for both the child and the parent! Preparation is key to making the transition a little easier. Talk to your child early on about starting child care, the people they will meet, and the fun things they will do whilst there, as well as the fact that you will leave them there during the day and reassure your child that you will come back at the end of the day and will be very excited to see them.

If possible, try to spend some time with your child in the child care facility before they actually commence to allow your child to become more familiar with the environment, the smells, toys, staff, and to gain some exposure to the routine. It will also help to develop your level of comfort with leaving your child in the facility once the time comes.

On the first day, arrive early so you are not rushing off immediately. Give yourself time to settle your child in, and when leaving, do so confidently, reassuring them that you'll be back to pick them up very soon.

If your child is distressed when you leave, and you would like to check on them during the day, you can always phone the child care facility - resist the temptation to go back in and check on them, you risk upsetting them again!

Source and additional information:​

Government assistance:

Various forms of assistance are available to families from Centrelink. Assistance specifically related to child care is the Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate.

The Child Care Benefit (CCB) helps with costs for approved and registered care, such as long, family or occasional day care, outside of school hours care, vacation care, pre-school and kindergarten.

The Child Care Rebate (CCR) covers 50% of out of pocket child care expenses for approved child care, up to an annual limit per child, in addition to any other child care assistance.

Additional information and source:

Child Care Benefit:

Child Care Rebate:

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