With increasing cost of living, having both parent working is something that very common these days. Long gone the time where majority of the queen of the family stay home whole day to care for their children. The mommies need to work to chip in to the family earning (Of course, it could be the daddies that chips in and the mommies is the main income earner) Therefore, child care or day care is very crucial service needed to support a family life.

Strange Idea For Some

For some people, especially from countries where labor is not expensive, the idea of child care or day care could be something foreign. The middle income family (and above) can aford to hire private baby sitter or nanny that sometimes also lives in with the family providing 24 hours care for the off spring.

Mother playing with her baby boy son on bedWith this “luxury”, when both parents need to go to work, the children can be left home with their trusted private nanny. Not only that, it is not uncommon for a family to have domestic aider that also usually lives in the home. Hence both the children and general duties are well taken care of.

Imagine that every time you go home, you go home to a clean home, clean children with dinner ready to be serve.  And again, this is just a particular middle income family.

Unfortunately, not for us…

In Sydney where we live (and many other places on earth), having private nanny is something that is very expensive that can be afforded by the super rich only. I would say to have such nanny at least you need to pay that person around $50,000 a year. With both parent working and the average house hold income is around $90,000 a year, then having a nanny is totally out of the question.

Child Care/Day Care is the answer

Average child care/day care in Sydney currently will charge around $65 a day or approx $17k a year. Furthermore, the government – motivated to encourange people to have children for the economy work horse – will give the big help with 50% of the cost up to $7,778 per child per year from their “Child Care Rebate” scheme.

So, a family with 2 children will incure a cost of $34k a year, less $15k+ rebate, a total of $19k. With income tax at 30%, then as long as the salary earn by the secondary income earner exceeds $32k, it will be better for him/her to go to work. (Note: minimum wage is at about $28k – further info check http://www.fairpay.gov.au – university fresh graduate, depends on the field will usually earn at least $45k)

Many Other Benefits

Beside financial reward, I would find by having sent both Clara and Tony to child care when they are 6 months and 2-month year old myself, there are some other advantages:

  1. The children learn to socialize. Having friend and enemy, playing, fighting, crying, laughing together, like and dislike certain peer, etc. The kind of skill that will be needed in the real life.
  2. The children is exposed to the essential local culture and custom – which may be different with what we do at home.
  3. The children is exposed to many viruses and bug. This might sounds negative, but many significant research have concluded that the earliest our immune system is “exercised”, the more benefit it is for the adult life. Longer life is one of the good side effect.
  4. The children is also conditioned for school. Once they jump to the real school, children that is from a child care will generally more ready and perform better from those that don’t
  5. The children get used to meet and stay with people other than mom or dad. And not totally dependent to their parent. Something that good for their social growth.
  6. Having only limited interaction with your children, week end become more special. You can’t wait to play and hanging around with your children on week end

Of course the item above is not all the benefit, you could find something unique from your own.

So, for you that lucky enough to have other family member who can care for the children, maybe it is a good time to consider at least 1 or 2 days a week for your children to attend the child care as “pre school” activities. I would say you will not regret your decision.

Choosing child care/day care.

First the the foremost important of selecting child care is peace of mind. You have to feel good and trust the child care/day care. You need to be comfortable with the people, the location and the current attendee. Just trust your gut feeling. Without this, you will not have peace of mind and will induce guilty feeling and other negative stuff.

After that then you can consider the technical aspect. How many meal is provided, do you need to provide your own nappy or not, is there any special requirement that need to be noted, etc…

One tip that I can recommend is try to select child care that is close to your work rather than close to your home. Why ? If it’s close to work, you don’t need to start too early and leave work too early to drop off and pick up your children compare to if it’s close to home. (Of course, need to be decided first: close to mom’s work or dad’s work…:-) )

Final Words.

So, if you consider to go back to work, just do it… Let the child care/day care helps you. it’s good for your children anyway…. Good luck !

p.s: some asked which child care I use, for first few months Clara attend a K.U center, but then we move to Bountiful Early Learning Center (BELC) until she went to school. tony also goes to BELC.