Taking the stress out of your search for childcare

Blog Image for article Taking the stress out of your search for childcare

As a parent, you'll know that finding childcare is no simple task. Not only do you have to find the right type of childcare service for your little one, but you also have to find a childcare provider that's a good fit for your family and has the availability to accommodate your child. 

With that being said, it is possible to make your childcare search less stressful. Knowledge is power, so to help you on your hunt for the best childcare providers we've pulled together a few tips to help take the hassle out of finding childcare.


Prioritise your needs

With so many different childcare options out there, finding the right type and provider can be incredibly overwhelming if you're not familiar with the range of childcare options available. And even if you've been through it all before with your older child, that's not to say that the same early education and care provider will be the best fit for the younger sibling. 

Before you even start looking at the different childcare options and providers, it can be useful to create a list of priorities that are specific to you, your family and your little one's needs. For some families, this might look like a childcare provider that offers extended hours to cater to their work. For others, it might include finding a National Quality Framework-approved service that qualifies for the Childcare Subsidy.

Once you've listed out your needs when it comes to childcare, cull it down until you're left with your top five priorities. Chances are you might still need to make some compromises but having a clear idea of your priorities can help to guide you in your child care search.

Ask friends and family

Positive word of mouth speaks volumes when it comes to local childcare services. And who would know better than the people close to you who've been through it before you? Friends, family and even colleagues can be an absolute goldmine when it comes to childcare recommendations, tips and tricks to help you take the stress out of the process and feel more confident in your decision.

Rather than just asking which centre their little ones attend, delve a little deeper to help you get more of a feel for the provider they chose. Here are a few questions you might want to ask them:

  • Why did you choose this particular childcare provider?
  • What has your experience been like so far?
  • What are the provider's greatest strengths? What are their weaknesses?

This information, along with your own research, can help you to create a shortlist of centres you'd like to learn more about.

Explore your options

When it comes to childcare, there are a number of different types of services that each offer slightly different experiences for children and families alike. From childcare centres to family day care service, kindergarten, mobile services and in-home care, it's worth reading up on the difference between these options to get a better understanding of which service could best cater to your family. 

At Care for Kids, we've done the hard work for you by developing our very own childcare compass. It compares the different childcare options available including child care centres, family day care services, long day care, after school hours care, occasional or flexible care, and more. This quiz has been designed to help you find the type of childcare that will best meet the needs of your little ones and your family as a whole. 

Once you've figured out what type of childcare you think would be best for your family it's time to explore the providers in your local area. Use our childcare search tool to compare local childcare providers. Check out the reviews, fees, availability and service profiles to help you create a shortlist. Once you've narrowed down your options you can use this tool to connect with your top picks to arrange an introduction call or book in for a tour of their facility.

Tour your top picks

Once you've made a shortlist of your top childcare picks, it's time to get in touch with them to have a chat and arrange a tour. You can use our childcare search tool to connect with your top picks via email or phone. While it might seem like a lot of effort to tour not just one, but multiple childcare facilities, this is an incredibly important step in the process and can help to provide you with peace of mind that you've made the right choice for your little one. 

Childcare tours allow you to connect with the staff and get a feel for the environment. If you can, spend some time in the room where your child will be and ask to chat with the early childhood educators who will be working with your little one. Spend some time observing the interactions between the children and the educators. And if you have the opportunity to tour more than one facility, this will give you a better base to compare the different options so you can make a more educated decision.

Not sure where to start with a childcare centre tour? Have a look at our checklist for childcare centre tours for some inspiration on what to look out for and questions to ask.

Start the enrolment process

Once you've wrapped up your tours and made your decision, it's time to start the enrolment process. Not all childcare providers can accommodate children straight away, so it's not uncommon to apply to be put on a waitlist until a position becomes available. This is where it pays to be organised and get in early. If you'd like to have your child in care by a certain age, it can help to start looking 12 months before they need to be in care. Apply to multiple waitlists to maximise your chances of securing a spot at a centre on your shortlist. 

Another aspect that often causes confusion for a lot of parents is understanding how the Childcare Subsidy (CCS) works and how to apply for it. Once you're in the process of enrolling your little one in childcare, it's often worth getting the ball rolling on your CCS claim if you're eligible for the payment as it can take up to 28 days to process the application.  

Care for Kids is here to help take the stress out of finding childcare. From our range of insightful tips and tricks to our childcare search tool, we've got plenty of resources to help you navigate the childcare process.

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