The latest child care related news, views and reviews September 4, 2013
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Hello, Spring has sprung and we're three quarters of the way through the year. Where on Earth has the time gone?

This week we consider the babysitting basics. How competent is your babysitter? Do you know what questions to ask to measure their ability to look after your kids? We also take a look at the angels that we call Grandparents and how best to use them for child care in a way that benefits all parties.

With the Election just days away here is a reminder of the major parties child care policies.

The babysitting basics
Does your babysitter have them?

goshA brilliant campaign being run in the USA by the American Red Cross identifies that babysitters, particularly teenage babysitters, often have little knowledge or basic skills when it comes to health and safety or child care.

The campaign features two "must see" ads:

The first shows a number of babysitting disasters and dramas and babysitters clearly not coping.

The second is from the children's point of view, urging all babysitters to go online and take the course.

The ad campaign is very funny, but also slightly alarming, given most of the situations in the campaign have probably either happened in your home or could very easily happen at any time.

They aren't all emergency or dramatic situations. Some are very mundane basic parenting situations we have all had to face, but not necessarily as a childless teenager.

The Red Cross asks the questions: Do you know how to calm a crying baby? Or how to handle a conflict between two children? How about what to do if a child has a tummy ache?

The Red Cross has initiated a brilliant online course for would-be babysitters called Babysitting Basics. Via the web, babysitters can learn how to help kids have fun, while keeping them safe and following household rules. There’s also a Babysitter's Training classroom course run by the Red Cross.

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Using grandparents for child care
It offers many benefits but is it the best choice?

grandparentsWith child places at a premium and the cost of care on the rise an increasing number of Australian families are looking to grandparents for help with child care. In fact, ABS figures show that 937,000 children received care from a grandparent on a regular basis in 2011.

Child care by grandparents offers many benefits, including reduced costs, the chance to build strong bonds between grandparents and grandchildren and the reassurance that comes from knowing a loving and trusted family member is caring for your child.

However, it's important to do the groundwork and ensure everyone is on the same page before the child minding arrangement begins as you can't change grandparents as easily as you can change a child care provider.

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