When it comes to finding a child care centre that you love, location is always going to be a deciding factor. A centre that is close to home is always desirable - nobody wants to be driving all over town twice a day.
The second factor that many parents discuss is the ‘feel’ of the centre when they walk in. What the educators are like, and how welcomed they felt can be a huge deciding factor in the decision to book in for child care.
But for these parents, other factors played a role in making the decision to book their child in for care at a particular centre. Toddle spoke to seven different families to find out what it was that tipped them over from a ‘maybe’ to a ‘yes!’
1) The school drop off
For many parents, the child care drop off isn’t the only stop they need to make before they head off to work. For Jodie, the fact that her child care centre was across the road from her older child’s primary school was a huge plus.
‘I can park the car and walk my oldest to the school gate, and then cross the road to take my youngest into child care,’ she explained. ‘It makes my mornings so easy, not having to stop twice.’
Tip: on Toddle you can see child care centres on a map, which can help you shortlist those that are close to home, work or school.
2) Lower fees
The fee that a child care centre charges can vary from suburb to suburb, and has a lot to do with how many other centres are in the area. Each family also has their own government rebates that can also bring the fees down.
For Hugh, being able to save some money each week helped him make the call between two equally good centres in his suburb.
‘We really liked them both, so in the end the fact that one was a fair bit cheaper really did come into it,’ he shares. ‘We can use that money for fun family activities, like milkshakes at the cafe on the weekend.’
Tip: on Toddle, parents can view the fee information for each centre by age group, allowing them to compare apples with apples.
3) Proximity to support people
It’s not always possible for a parent to finish work in time for pick up from child care, and that’s where other family members can help.
Jenny’s parents offered to pick up her twins from child care, as the centre closed before Jenny finished work. This gave her the idea to choose a centre close to her parents, rather than one close to her own house.
‘I have to drive a little longer in the mornings to drop the kids off,’ she explained. ‘But it’s worth it as it means my parents can collect them in the afternoons and walk back to their house.
They love having the time with the boys, and it means I don’t have to rush across town to pick them up before they close.’
4) Near a parent’s office
In a similar way, centres near a parent’s place of work can also be a good option for some families.
‘There aren’t many child care centres in our area, as it’s a newly built suburb on the outskirts of the city,’ shared Shaun. ‘So we made the decision to find care within the CBD, right near my office.
My son comes to work with me on the train twice a week. I drop him off and go to work, I call in and see him at lunchtime for a cuddle and a play, and then I pick him up when I finish work and we head home together. It works for us.’
5) Extra-curricular activities
For many families, having a child care centre that offers something extra is of huge benefit. Not having to pay for extra-curricular activities, and also not having to drive them to another location for these activities is a big plus.
‘We loved the fact that this particular centre offered everything from yoga to Spanish lessons included in the fees,’ shared Steph, a mother of two. ‘It really helped us when we were deciding which centre to go with. It’s such a great added benefit.’
Tip: when you search for child care in your area on Toddle, you can see at a glance what the centres offer. Some centres have water splash parks, some give music lessons, and some even offer swimming lessons.
6) Longer hours
Centres have different opening hours which may or may not suit parents. For parents that start work early, have to commute, have a specific train to catch, or finish late - the hours that a centre offers can be the deciding factor.
‘In order to get to work on time, I have to be on that 7.05 am train,’ shares Alex. ‘So the fact that my son’s centre opens at 6.30 am was the final box ticked for us when we were choosing care for him.’
Tip: when you’re looking at a centre on the Toddle search facility, it will always outline the opening and closing times, and the location on a map, so that you can plan your commute.
Plain and simple, sometimes you have to take what child care is available at the time. For Frankie and her daughter, it was about what care she could get after moving house on short notice.
‘My partner got offered a job and we needed to move quickly,’ Frankie shared. ‘Leaving behind our beloved child care centre was hard, but Toddle made it easy to find a new centre - fast.’
Tip: when you find a centre that you like on Toddle, you can see at a glance the availability by day and by age group.
What would be on your list? What about other little perks like this centre that offers families a take-home meal each week? Visit Toddle to find the perfect child care centre for your little one.
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