Childcare used to be something that Australian parents could rely on.
It was a system that, although not perfect, allowed parents to get back into work while knowing that their kids were in care that they could trust and afford.
Well, not anymore.
The childcare system in Australia now is fraught with issues, rules, waiting lists and costs you wouldn’t believe. For many families, it’s so expensive that it’s not even worth using it at all, with some parents choosing to simply stay home and survive on a single income instead of paying the majority of their second income to childcare. So, what are parents to do when they have two children or more using childcare that they hate, if they can get in at all?
For many families, they’ve found their answer in a good ol’ fashioned nanny.
Changing The Perspective On Nannies
There’s a weird stereotype about nannies that has survived through many decades of the profession: that they’re for wealthy families. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth, with the modern nanny filling a childcare void in a flexible, affordable way that fits in with busy working families.
While childcare centres make you wait on lists, follow their strict rules, and juggle a large number of children with a smaller number of carers, a nanny can provide a specialised service that includes entertaining your child in an engaging and educational way. Not to mention the more directed attention that your child will receive from a caregiver that they can trust and grow with.
As nannies become a more popular option for parents who want to get back into their careers after having children, the nanny industry grows and adapts to fit the new market. There are now more nannies than ever, and more of them hold higher qualifications and offer a professional attitude.
How Much Do They Really Cost?
Childcare costs will vary from state to state, as well as in urban and rural areas, but we used the Care For Kids estimates here to give you an idea of what you might be paying, on average, for various kinds of childcare, including a nanny. Now, while long day care at a childcare centre will close $70 – $185 per day depending on your location, and how many children you have, a nanny usually costs $15 – $25 per hour for a live-in nanny, and $15 – $35 per hour for a live-out nanny. Although, you’ll also pay the agency fee that still represents a pretty significant saving for most families who do not need full-time childcare.
Let’s take this into perspective here with an average family situation. Mum and dad both work, but one parent has a limited/part-time roster where they only work a few days a week or a few hours a day. This means that instead of running around to childcare on their work days, worrying about whether the centre will take children when they’re ill, and dealing with childcare rules, the family can just hire a nanny that provides in home care for those hours a day. The nanny doesn’t have to live with them, she just shows up, takes care of the kids as per her job description, thereby leaving mum and dad to their own jobs.
Unfortunately, nanny care isn’t currently covered by the childcare rebates offered to parents, which means that costs can add up, but with the rise of ‘nanny sharing’, where by two families share the cost of a single nanny to look after all their children together or on a circulating roster, this kind of childcare really is becoming more affordable for families at all levels.
Why Should I Consider It?
Think of a nanny like your own personal childcare representative. They look after your children when you’re not there, becoming like a professional ‘childcare friend’ to yourself and your kids. They can attend parent-teacher interviews that you would otherwise miss altogether, they can advocate for your children, they can take care of them when they’re sick, they can take them on playdates and outings that you might not have time for with your career. Basically, they allow you to give your young children the best in childcare, without the ‘cattle class’ feeling that many childcare centres are offering.
Essentially, if you’re interested to return to work, even just a few days a week, and you have more than one child in need of care, a nanny is worth considering. Contact local agencies, and figure out how you and your family can benefit from this new family trend.