A guide to two common childcare options

Trying to select the right form of childcare can be difficult. Read on to learn more about two of the most common options that most parents use.

Have a relative care for your child

Many people prefer to have one of their own parents care for their child, as they feel more comfortable leaving their child with someone that they already know and trust.

Additionally, having your mother, father, or in-laws look after your child whilst you're at work is perhaps one of the least expensive childcare options, as in many cases, grandparents are quite content to either do the work for free, or for a small fee, which only covers the cost of travelling to and from your home, food and any outings they take the child on. 

However, if your parents or in-laws have offered to do this, you should think carefully before giving them an answer, as whilst there are many perks, there are also quite a few disadvantages to this type of arrangement.

For example, it's possible that you and your relatives have differing views about what constitutes good parenting. They might, for example, have a very different perspective on what kind of diet children should be fed or how much interaction they require.

As such, if you decide to go ahead with this arrangement, it's crucial to be very clear about your expectations regarding things like discipline, diet, activities, etc. By communicating your 'rules' clearly and politely from the very beginning, you should be able to reduce or eliminate the chances of problems arising at a later stage.

Use a child care facility

A lot of parents choose to leave their children in a childcare facility whilst they are at their workplace. There are a lot of advantages to doing this. Firstly, it provides your child with a social and educational environment. Secondly, these facilities usually stick to a very structured daily routine; this is important for young children, who tend to be at their happiest and most content when raised in predictable, familiar surroundings.

However, even for those who earn good salaries, this form of childcare can be expensive. If money is a concern, it's worth noting that you may qualify for government childcare rebates. Childcare rebates are not usually income-dependent and can cover a substantial percentage of the childcare costs that you pay for out-of-pocket.

If you are considering using this type of childcare, make sure to do plenty of research before you choose a specific facility, as the quality of care can vary considerably from one place to next. Visit the facility you're thinking about using before making your decision.

During your time there, pay attention to how the staff interact both with one another; ideally, they should be friendly, professional, co-operative and knowledgeable. When they talk to the children, check to see that they are doing so in an encouraging, kind and patient manner.

You should also inquire about the facility's disciplinary policies, the amount of training that the staff receive and about the daily schedule for the children (including information about mealtimes, naps and activities).

Make sure to inspect the facility itself too; it should be hygienically clean, tidy and modern, with a good level of security.