Whether you need care for your child due to work, study or other commitments, or you wish to give your child an opportunity to socialise with other kids and learn new things, childcare is an invaluable service for families. With anything from occasional or casual care services to long day care, great childcare options are available to you in Brisbane. We look at these options and how they work, to help you make the best choice for your child.
Babysitters are great if you need casual care for your child for a short period of time, such as going for a night out. Babysitters tend to charge an hourly rate. In Brisbane, this is usually around $15-20/hour. Most babysitters expect to be paid in cash at the end of each babysitting job.
Some people use local teenagers that they know as babysitters, while others find them through ads such as Gumtree ads or some of the many babysitter and nanny finding sites. When finding a babysitter, you may wish to consider their age and experience, whether they have a Blue Card, whether they have any qualifications in Childhood Education or Children’s Services, and whether they have First Aid and CPR certificates. You may also want to read How to Interview a Babysitter to find other questions you may wish to consider.
Nannies care for your child or children in your own home, working whatever hours you both agree on. One of the easiest ways to find a nanny is through a professional agency, which often also do full background checks and check each nanny’s qualifications and references, as well as helping to match the right nanny with the right family.
An au pair is like a nanny in providing one-on-one care in your home. Often, au pairs are young people travelling to explore and live in a new place (usually from overseas). This means that they will usually live in your family home. This has the advantage of more flexible working hours being possible. Also, with room and board usually being included, au pairs are usually a cheaper option than nannies. However, au pairs on Working Holiday Visas can only work for the same family for a maximum of 12 months.
In-home Care is another option for having your child looked after in your own home. With this option, they are looked after by a professional carer. The availability of this service is quite limited and this option is usually only available to those for whom other options are not suitable.
Family Day Care
With Family Day Care, your child is cared for in the educator’s own home. Each educator will have their own availability, and you will arrange with them the hours and days for which you need care. Usually, the pay is based on an hourly rate for the hours that you have agreed upon. The educator will usually care for a small group of children at the same time. This group can be up to 7 children, but with a maximum of 4 children not yet attending school. (See here for full details of child to educator ratios.)
Family Day Care providers may be independent individuals or part of a larger organisation, such as Lady Gowrie. In Queensland, all Family Day Care educators are required to have (or be actively working towards) at least an approved certificate III level education and care qualification. Under the national regulations, all family day care educators and assistants must also hold an approved first aid qualification, have completed approved anaphylaxis management training, and have completed approved emergency asthma management training. (See here for details on education and care qualifications.)
The majority of Family Day Care services are approved childcare services, meaning that families using the service may be eligible for Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate. (See here for information about these and other Government Payments for Families.)
Long Day Care
Long Day Care is day care that is provided in a child care centre. Such centres are usually open from between 6.30am and 7.30am and usually close around 6pm to 6.30pm. Generally, you pay for the full day, regardless of when you drop off and pick up your child. However, some centres offer morning or afternoon sessions.
Children in Long Day Care are usually taught in groups according to their age. Some centres provide food, while for others you will need to supply your own food. Many centres also follow the kindy programme, meaning that your child can attend kindy while still being cared for during long day care hours.
The majority of Long Day Care services are approved childcare services, meaning that families using the service may be eligible for Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate.
Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) and Vacation Care
Outside School Hours Care and Vacation Care are centres that provide care before or after school and during school holidays for primary school children.
Before- and after-school care is usually open from 7.30am to 9am and from 3pm to 6pm. Most centres have a set rate to attend the full session and a reduced rate for a shorter session. Most centres also offer a lower rate for pre-booked sessions than casual sessions.
The majority of OSHC centres are approved childcare services, meaning that families using the service may be eligible for Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate. (See here for information about these and other Government Payments for Families.)
Occasional Care offers care for children on a casual basis rather than regularly, so it is suitable for those who want professional care for when they have an appointment or other commitment.
Most Occasional Care centres have flexible hours to accommodate children whose parents work irregular or unpredictable hours or shifts.
Finding a childcare service
Whatever childcare service you need, you can search for it at mychild.com.au.
To find quality childcare for your child, you can also check out our directory of Childcare and Kindy Options in Brisbane.
If you are considering a Childcare Centre, follow this link for How to Identify a Quality Brisbane Childcare Centre.