Tips To Get Your Child Into Your Preferred Childcare Centre

Blog Image for article Tips To Get Your Child Into Your Preferred Childcare Centre

With so many childcare providers now offering waitlists, finding available childcare can be a challenge for some parents. These days, childcare vacancies are few and far between, but with these tips, you could have a better chance of getting your little one into your preferred childcare centre.

1. Get in early

Childcare waitlists are getting longer and longer, so if you’ve got a childcare centre in mind it pays to get in early. In some cases, it can be a good idea to start your search for childcare centres while you’re pregnant, especially if you plan on sending your little one to care in their first year. With some childcare waitlists extending to 1 to 2 years, giving yourself a bit of a head start doesn’t seem quite so crazy. At a minimum, you should aim to get your child onto a waitlist at least 12 months before you plan on sending them to childcare. 

2. Do the rounds

Picking the right childcare centre for your little one can take time. It’s important to do your research and visit each centre to get a feel for the environment, meet the staff and make sure it aligns with your preferences. This will also help you make a more informed decision when it comes to applying or adding your name to the waitlist.

3. Expand your search area

Rather than just searching for childcare centres that are close to home, try exploring options that are a little further afield. If you’re going to be working from the office once you return to work, it can be worth looking for a centre that’s between your home and your workplace, or even a little closer to work if you’d like to pop in during the day. 


4. Join multiple waitlists

While we’re on the topic of childcare waitlists, a good way to increase your chances of securing a position at a childcare centre of your choice is to join multiple waitlists. But just because you get accepted by one childcare centre doesn’t mean you have to pull your name from the other waitlists you’re on. You can start your child at a childcare centre and then jump ship if a spot becomes available at your centre of choice.

But before you go signing up for a whole bunch of different waitlists, it’s worth understanding the costs that come with childcare waitlists. Most childcare providers charge a fee just for joining their waitlist with no guarantee that you’ll actually be able to secure a spot with them. These fees can quickly add up if you’re planning on joining multiple waitlists, but often that’s just part and parcel of getting your child into your preferred childcare centre.

5. Stay in touch with the childcare centres

Once you join a childcare waitlist, it’s important to check in with the centre from time to time. This can help you to build a positive relationship with the staff at the childcare center. Give the centres a call or drop them an email every month so you don’t fall off the radar. 

6. Pop in from time to time

While it’s important to keep in contact with the centres whose waitlists you’ve joined, it can also be a good idea to duck in every once in a while so you can chat with the team face-to-face. Try to attend any open days, parent meetings or orientation sessions offered by the centre. This not only shows your genuine interest but also helps staff become familiar with you and your child. 

7. Don’t be too picky

If your schedule allows for it, it can be worth expressing your flexibility when it comes to childcare days. Some centres may have more availability for certain days or times. Demonstrating flexibility can make it easier for the centre to accommodate your child. Plus, once you have your foot in the door of your centre of choice, it’s much easier to move your childcare days around as they become available. 

8. Use your connections

Do you have a friend whose child is already at the childcare service you want? It turns out they might be able to help you get in! Don’t be afraid to mention any connections that you have at the centre. Current or former parents at the childcare centre can also provide you with a reference. Personal recommendations often can carry a lot of weight when it comes to the decision-making process, so if they’re able to put in a good word for you, you could have a better chance of securing a position. 

If you have the time, it can also be worth emphasising your willingness to be involved in the childcare centre community. Many centres appreciate parents who actively participate in activities, events and volunteer opportunities. This could help to give you an advantage over other families on the waitlist. 

9. Send your kids to the same childcare centre

If you have family connections, at the childcare centre, like another sibling, it can often be easier to get your younger kids into the same centre. At most childcare centres, siblings get priority on the waitlist, so this can help give you a leg-up.

10. Make it easy

You want to make it as easy as possible for the childcare centres to process your application. Make sure that you’ve filled out all the required application forms correctly and that you’ve provided all of the necessary supporting documentation. Be sure to include any relevant medical information or special requirements your child may have too. This shows that you are organised and committed to your child's wellbeing.

11. Keep your comms up to date

There may be times when the childcare centre needs to get in touch with you, especially if they’re ready to offer you a place at their centre. With this in mind, it’s important to make sure your contact details are up to date. Some centres will clean out their lists from time to time to remove anyone they’re not able to contact, so stay up to date and within easy reach to avoid being removed from the waitlist. 

12. Consider your timing

We’ve already mentioned how important it is to get in early, but it can also be worth aligning your timing with the childcare centre’s intake. Typically, more childcare vacancies pop up around the start of the year as children transition to different childcare groups or onto school. If you’re planning on returning to work later in the year, rather than waiting until then to get your child into childcare, it can be worth starting them earlier in the year to take advantage of any childcare vacancies. Even if they only attend for one day a week, it’ll be much easier to increase their childcare days while they’re already attending than trying to secure a position later in the year. 

Securing a spot at a childcare centre of your choice can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. By following our tips to get your child into your preferred childcare centre, you should be able to increase your chances of securing a position. 

Need a hand finding childcare near you? Use the Care for Kids Childcare Search tool to help you track down childcare vacancies near you. Shortlist, compare and connect with local childcare providers in your area. Plus, you’ll even be able to see which services have current availabilities. 

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