Child Care News for Parents April 6, 2016 |®
Child Care News for Parents & Carers
April 6, 2016
Yup, the holidays are here again, are you prepared? Also cut the cake and try our healthy birthday treat ideas for kids in care. Plus we've just opened the Annual Child Care Workforce Participation survey, so if you have something to say about child care say it NOW.
Have a say on the state of play
11th annual Child Care & Workforce Participation Survey
Struggling to find child care? Blown away by the prices? Can't tell your CCB from your CCR? Join the club; most working parents have a story to tell about child care. Many of the stories have a happy ending but many of them do not.

Every year we survey families about their opinions of and experiences within the Australian child care system.

The 11th annual Child Care and Workforce Participation Survey offers parents, early childhood professionals and interest groups a forum for sharing their views.

Every year we tailor our questions to reflect the current changes and challenges in the early childhood sector and the results offer valuable insights into the health of our system from the perspective of the people working within it as well as those who use it.

This year we have included questions about the Nanny Pilot, the complexity of the existing system and the proposed changes and how families feel about high end services in early childhood settings.

We'd urge you to take a few moments out of your day to complete the survey as your experiences are important and will help us paint an accurate picture of the health of our current system as well as what changes are needed moving forward.

The survey takes a short 7 minutes and if you need to do some venting, you may even find it cathartic.

Also, for every completed survey we will donate $1 to the Breast Cancer Council and you go in the draw for an iPad Mini.
Sharing the load these holidays
Many working parents don't have family to fall back on, and if vacation care is hard to come by in your area, budgets are tight, or your job doesn't allow the flexibility you need then a great alternative can be to share child care responsibilities with other parents.

Quite often children are happy and easier to keep entertained when they have company and many parents are happy to child care swap to alleviate the need for unpaid leave or paid vacation care activities.

It's win-win, as long as you follow some key rules. Here are the seven steps to harmonious vacation care sharing:
  • Ensure your children like each other and can get on for long periods of time.
  • Try to match up ages and keep numbers even to avoid bickering and odd ones out.
  • Set time boundaries in advance with the other parents so you all know how far you can or cannot push the friendship.
  • Agree on daily or weekly allowance costs of activities or treats.
  • Try to share with parents who have the same parenting style as you and agree on any disciplinary measures.
  • Make sure you have adequate booster seats. Sounds obvious, but so easy to forget and you will be liable for prosecution if you're caught making that quick trip to the supermarket with any child without the correct car restraints.
  • Have a daily or weekly list of activities or a vague schedule and some emergency 'pull it out of the bag' ideas in times of need.
Unsure about your child care options?
Use our child care compass to find the best child care for your family
Cut the cake:
Healthier birthday treats for kids in care
The so called 'obesity epidemic' is a regular feature in mainstream media these days and with this increased exposure has come increased understanding about the importance of instilling healthy eating habits in children from a very young age. The good news is that for most people healthy eating equates to common sense, it's about increasing the quantity of fresh fruit and vegetables, choosing quality proteins and decreasing consumption of highly processed foods.

If children are fed a daily diet composed mainly of high quality unrefined foods and given plenty of exercise it's unlikely they will have to contend with obesity. It's when the 'sometimes' foods become a regular feature of a diet that problems can arise. With this in mind many early childhood centres have really knuckled down on the foods permitted to be brought in lunch boxes and on special occasions such as cultural festivals or birthdays.

'Sometimes foods' are usually permitted on special occasions but increasingly there are strict restrictions on what these foods are and/or should be made from. This can be a bit of a downer for kids who really want to share a cake with their child care friends on their birthday and can also be a bit stressful for parents relying on a sugary neon coloured cake from the local supermarket.
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