15 Answers

I am returning to workand tossing up whether to send my baby to family daycare or childcare, what have been other mums experiences and what would you recommend for a 12 month old in part time care?

Posted anonymously, 1st April 2015

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  • I think child care centres are far safer as a general rule; for one thing, there are multiple staff to watch each other.

  • Either would be staffed by well trained people. So your child will be safe at either. Pick a place close to home to make things easier

  • I prefer to have more eyes watching my children and also carers watching carers to ensure they doing the right thing. Most centres offer a pre prep program so your child can stay at the same centre till they start school and I believe they get exposed to more learning programs and excursions etc.

  • My LO went to daycare not FDC. i dunno about your finances but with the daycare i found, which is beyond awesome, i get the childcare rebate n benefit paid directly to the daycare which means my out of pocket expenses work out a lot less than FDC. Never need to provide food just 2 changes of clothes and nappies. I was asked to send the more ruffled (?) old looking clothes for my LO so that she can stain them if they do painting lol. I love it and so does my LO

  • Family daycare, less germs, more interaction and you can really get to know your child’s carer.

  • I love family daycare, my daughter attends the only FDC in our community and it is amazing. Her daycare provider has previous experience as a director for a long daycare centre and two children of her own. She provides care to the children as if they were her own and for my daughters its like a home away from home.

  • Family daycare – pros – smaller group (usually 4 to one carer but 4 children could be any age), easier to get into, often cheaper
    Cons – one carer who can pull the pin at any time (this happened to a friend of mine- gave 2 days notice), carer can also have limitations for eg have kids of their own and can’t care for others during school holidays, they can take holidays or get sick and you’re left without care. Family daycares get inspected by council monthly I believe however they are under the spotlight as they cannot be as regulated as a child care centre.

    Childcare – pros – food often provided so no need to cook and send bub off with food, carers have qualifications in childcare – usually diploma or university and can track your child’s development (where they are and where they should be), activities are usually educationally based (maybe be the case with some family daycare), more security of ongoing care in an established facility with more than one carer (ie if carer is unwell, a casual staff member will fill in). Ratio 1 staff to 4 children but usually 8 children in under 2yrs room with 2 staff – child will mix with more children but same age group
    Cons – harder to get a spot at a good centre (took me 15months), hard to find a good centre (plenty of money making buisness people out there that shouldn’t be in the industry),

  • I prefer childcare. It’s a bit more reliable in the sense that if one person gets sick someone else can come in to fill in. The child also gets used to seeing many different people instead of the usual one or two.

  • I did daycare but I know others that had great experiences with family daycare. For me the centre meant that there were more checks and balances.

  • My kids have been in both and thy both have their functions. Family Dy Care is fabulous for babies. I was back to work a t 6 months and loved the knowledge that my babies were getting one-on-one attention all day. There is usually a mix of ages and a max of 5 kids. When they got older, I enrolled them in a centre. Thought it was best for them to socialise with kids their own age and help them get ready or school. Our centre has a per-kinder room which really helped my big boy (now in kinder).
    My 3 year old now has 2 days in FDC and 1 in the centre. It’s. great mix for her. Her FDC carer is like another mum to her – she just loves going here, but also loves her one day at her big school (so she calls it).
    I think child are is such a personal thing- investigate both and see ht is the best fit or you and your child..

  • A family daycare is good but you need to have a look at their policies and what they do during the day. You don’t want them to just put them in front of a TV all day. One that takes you r kids out and about are great.

  • I have worked in childcare for several years and there are benefits and drawbacks to both.
    I have always used family daycare for my own children. I believe they have benefited from this experience.
    Some information for you:
    The industry itself is regulated and subject to the same standards of care and education as a centre.
    FDC has smaller adult / child ratios meaning more individual attention.
    Interview with several educators prior to settling on one that suits your needs.
    A good educator will have no qualms with you contacting them at random times during the day.
    A good educator will have a safe, inviting indoor and outdoor environment.
    Educators should be qualified or actively studying.
    A good educator will have proof of educational program.
    Educators are required to have current first aid, cpr and asthma/ anaphylaxis certification.
    Educators should be registered with Family Day Care Australia and insured.
    FDC educators are accountable under the same laws, standards and frameworks that govern the industry. This sector of the industry has received negative press due to the actions of a few.
    At the end of the day you will make a decision in the best interest of you and you family.
    I wish you the best of luck with your decision.

  • I know that there are some good ones but I always worry about family daycare. I have a few friends who work for the various child protection agencies and a lot of complaints are regarding children in family daycare. They are not well regulated and there is no one to make sure they are doing the right thing by your child. I’ve also had some friends who ran family daycare and their methods/knowledge was not what I would expect for someone looking after my child.

  • I would find out the ages of other children being cared for in family daycare. A friend of mine actually had to change her daughter from family daycare to a childcare centre. The lady reckoned she wasn’t settling in and suggested she find another place for her., that she wasn’t naughty that there was no issue there. We think the carer was fully occupied with 2 severely disabled children she was also caring for and wasn’t able to dedicate sufficient time to help the 16 month old settle. Both the elder child and now the younger one have both attended the same childcare centre. I will name it as it is in SA and is a very good group. There is more than one centre. Its name is Stepping Stone. The staff are caring but stop bad behaviour. They have phrases they use for different things and don’t vary them. They are very well fed on healthy food. They have fresh fruit for morning and afternoon snacks, cut up in suitable sizes for the child’s age, and cooked lunch. If the child is left fairly early in the morning they are also given breakfast. They have a choice of cereal or toast with a choice of spread. You may sometimes find that your child doesn’t always want to eat as much as normal for the evening meal if they have eaten well during the day. I don’t know if all centres do it, but some record how much the child has eaten, what they had for lunch and whether or not a sleep and how long for. My friend got in the habit of making sure she found out what her children had for lunch because on a couple of occasions she gave her daughter the same at night as she had for lunch and was reluctant to eat the same thing twice in one day if it happened too often. The younger one loves going to Childcare as he loves playing with “the girls” —the carers in the room. The elder one would ask to go to Childcare if she thought she was supposed to be going and thought her Mum had forgotten. They had no other families nearby or relatives who had children around her age so although her Mum played with her a lot and read to her, she missed the company and interacting with other children. It took some explaining when it was a public holiday or over the Christmas/New year break when they were closed.

  • I work from home, but had an exceptionally busy stint when my first was 9 months old, so put her in family daycare for 12 weeks.

    I regretted it. The kids were all mixed ages so she didn’t really get to hang out with kids her age. I chose it to avoid the inevitable sickness they get when they start in care – but that didn’t work either. She still caught something every second week.

    In childcare they have set processes and I think you just kind of “go with it” as a parent. With family daycare it’s another mother watching your child, so if you disagree about something they’re doing it’s harder to talk about it, cause it’s not a worker with a process, but a mother with very strong feelings about how to handle things.

    I’ve heard other people say they loved it, but that was my experience. If I had to do it again I would’ve brought in a private nanny or found a great childcare centre.

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