The latest child care related news, views and reviews March 27, 2013
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Have you had your say on Australia's child care system? We've had over 1600 parents share their views already, so please take part. For your time you could have yourself an iPad mini.

We ask whether a more flexible child care system will make it easier for you to manage your work and family life and have some great tips on encouraging speech development in your toddler.

Focusing on flexibility in child care

Flexible hoursIn what could turn out to be a very interesting experiment the Government has announced a range of child care flexibility trials which will see some child care providers offering extended opening hours and others offering overnight care.

The trials kick off in July this year and will involve around 500 families and more than 50 child care providers across the country.

A range of different types of child care services are involved in the trials including family day care, long day care and outside hours school care.

As part of the Government's experiment in flexibility:

  • Family Day Care Australia will provide overnight and weekend care for police, nurses and paramedics who are shift workers
  • Goodstart Early Learning trial extended weekday operating hours at six centres across the country for parents who struggle to make specified pick up times.
  • Funding will be supplied to expand the out of school hours care service to more locations.

Would a more flexible child care system make it easier for you to manage your work and family life? Is the Government on the right track? How would you design a child care system? Share your views by clicking on the link below.

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Vacation care
Get in quick for Easter school holidays

Easter School HolidaysSeems like we're just back from the long summer hols and suddenly the Easter holidays are looming. Two weeks of most likely rubbish weather with housebound small children who've eaten too much chocolate. Hooray.

As well as family day care and other child care services, Out of School Hours services often run Vacation Care during the school holidays. They are usually brilliant and great value, offering heaps of activities like pet farms, science days, and excursions that are included in the price.

So, as you can imagine, vacation care services are very much in demand from parents of school age kids and those with younger ones whose pre-schools do not operate in the school holidays.

So get in quick. The vast majority are approved for the child care benefit and rebate, so if you qualify for either or both, you will also be eligible for vacation care.

To look for your nearest service, click below

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From baby to toddler talk
Help develop your child's speech

Talking to your baby or toddlerThe development of our babies and toddlers is always a major concern and it doesn't stop there… We worry about how our kids are doing pretty much all their lives. But the early years of development are particularly difficult, as we struggle to understand where our children should be in movement, articulation and of course speech and if they're having difficulty in any of the key areas.

Playground talk is rife. Conversations about when little Jimmy started walking or talking or deconstructing atoms is very stressful for parents who are worried their child is not developing as quickly as others.

At the end of the day, they all develop at their own pace. Some walk early and talk early, some walk and talk late, but generally speaking they all arrive at the same place by the age of around three or four years old.

There is a normal range for developmental milestones. Some kids need extra help with their speech and language just like some kids need extra help from glasses for their vision. Speech Pathology Australia recommends that by one year old, children should be able to say a few words and understand simple instructions like 'no'. By two children should be able to say and understand simple 2–3 word phrases like "milk all gone". Don't be afraid to admit your child needs help – because early intervention has the best outcomes for kids.

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