Alternative solutions to outside school hours care

Published on Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Last updated on Wednesday, 20 July 2022

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Before and after school care programs have a lot to offer, but what if there's simply no room for your child? With a rise in dual-income families and a booming school age population, many parents are scrambling to find out of school hours care for their kids.

To see how you can get around this shortage of before and after school places, let's look at some scenarios that demonstrate care alternatives for school-aged children.

Scenario 1

Twelve months ago, Emily put her twins on an after school care waiting list. Her children have started school, but still don't have after school care places, so Emily is relying on her mother to provide grandparent care between 3pm and 6pm every weekday.

Scenario 2

Jenny and Ron start work early, so they have employed a nanny to take their three children to school each morning. To reduce the cost, they share their nanny with another family who require a nanny to look after their children in the afternoons.

Scenario 3

Christine is a single mum who works full-time. Her two children attend before and after school care three days a week, but she could not get a place for the other two days.

For this reason, Christine uses a regular babysitter. The babysitter is a reliable teenager whose high school is close to the primary school Christine's children attend. The babysitter picks up the children two days a week and looks after them until Christine finishes work.

Scenario 4

With her youngest child now at school, Jessie is returning to work part-time. She shares school drop-offs and pick-ups with four parents on her street. The neighbours take turns looking after all the children one day a week, and Jessie provides care on Tuesday mornings and afternoons.

Scenario 5

Sienna and her partner James run a business together and are often busy with breakfast meetings and late telecons. They have one toddler and one school–aged child, so share their home with an au pair.

The au pair prepares the children for day care and school, does drop-offs and pick-ups, prepares the children's meals, helps with homework and gets them ready for bed as needed. She also provides an enriching cultural experience for the kids.

Scenario 6

Amy works casually, and her partner Jim has a fly-in, fly-out job. When he is away, Amy can usually set her hours to fit in with the children's school day, but occasionally she has to work when they are home from school and partner is away. Amy uses the CareforKids.com.au babysitter search to find a casual babysitter as needed.

Scenario 7

Trevor's son attended family day care from the ages of two to five and formed a firm bond with his educator. Now that the five-year-old is at school, the Family Day Care educator provides him with before and after school care, plus holiday care when Trevor is working nine to five.

Although these scenarios may not fit precisely with your family's circumstances, they do show that where one waiting list appears endless, another child care alternative is available.

There are before and after school care options for many different family dynamics and budgets, so think about the solution that suits you and your child best. Good luck!

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