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Thread: Comments on Family Day Care?

  1. #1

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    Default Comments on Family Day Care?

    I am kinda thinking about putting my 7.5 mo son in some sort of part time care. I have been recommended to consider Family Day Care.

    Does anyone have any thoughts about this? Is it 'better' than traditional day care? What have been your experiences?



    In addition if anyone is in the Prahran, E St Kilda area and can recommend me a carer that would be great!

  2. #2

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    Love it love it love it!
    I prefer it to a child care centre because I feel it's important for bub to have a home-like environment, not an institutional environment. They have a one-on-one bond with their carer, unlike a centre where the carers rotate. And they usually have exposure to a number of different age groups, unlike a centre where they are in with children of the same age. I also feel that because it's a smaller group of children, they pick up fewer illnesses in FDC (JMO).

    The other huge difference is FDC can be a lot more flexible with times. We live far from family and our carer has been happy to have DD1 occasionally of an evening so I can attend class/go out when DH is away, or for us to have an evening out together. This is a lifesaver when there's no one else to look after your kids. Having said all that, we have used child care centres occasionally, and DD enjoyed it, I just prefer the total FDC environment, for me it's much closer to the care that I would be providing at home.

  3. #3

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    I'm a fan of FDC as well. A few reasons for us, one is our carer. In our house Lizzie is a much respected individual. Before I signed on with her, I went over & discussed philosophies on child rearing... so what I believed, how I spent the days with my children at home, what things I thought were important for Matilda (at first). She spoke about her children & how she structured her time. She is a very organised woman & sets a rhythm of the day according to the children she has there. She keeps details of everything they have done, but brings out activities such as painting and watering gardens as special times during the day.

    She look after Matilda from 14 months - 3 1/2 and started looking after Jovie at 8 months. She is flexible with times for us & we've never had any problems with her.

    I have had to use emergency care with other carers before & I haven't been as happy leaving Matilda places I don't know. One place was just half a house and the kids were just let loose to roam & go nuts, no structure or organisation.... which is okay as well but Matilda gets scatty when she doesn't understand what is happening. At home, I'll say "Its a home morning" and she knows exactly what that means.

    So it does depend on the carer, but we love ours and will be devestated when Jovie hits kindy age.

  4. #4

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    We use family day care for our daughter, who is 14 months. She has been for about 2 months now. I like it as she gets to know the carer well and since there are only a few kids she gets familiar with them too. She gets a bit flustered when there are too many people around her so I dont think she'd go too well in a day care centre at the moment. There are usually only 4 kids a day at ours, but sometimes 3, sometimes 5 depending on school holidays and stuff. Its also nice because the times are a little more flexible than the day care cenrtes in our area and the fees are a bit less too.

  5. #5

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    Good question Nox, I've been wondering about FDC & have a few questions too... DD is 5 months old and we'll be looking at putting her in childcare part-time in a couple of months.

    With regard to kids of different ages being with one carer - those of you who have had babies in FDC, do you find their needs are met when there are older children who can vocalise & express what they require, are more mobile & independent and more assertive in their play?

    Also, how much interaction do they have with the other, older kids?

    I'm worried about 'too much' but this didn't actually occur to me until an encounter at the park last week where a 2ish yr old snatched a toy from DD who was strapped in the pram, refused to give it back to me when I kneeled down to ask (while scanning for apparently absent parent) and then proceeded to poke her fingers in DD's mouth and flap (not slap) her on the face/eyes, making her cry...all the while her mother who appeared tried to extract the toy from her grasp with one hand, balance a full cup hot coffee directly over DD's pram with the other and yelling 'Gentle! Gentle!'. Yeah, right.

    I am not too keen to go for the institution-style childcare centres as I think a smaller group, one-on-one care & a home-like environment would be far better for DD, but feel that she might have a better chance against rougher, more snatchy kids if they're all roughly the same age & size (even though I know they are all shapes & sizes!)...especially when babies don't interact and play with each other too much until they're older. Is this totally misguided??

    Any experiences/advice very welcome.


    AJ
    Last edited by ajw0108; April 27th, 2008 at 08:46 PM. Reason: typo

  6. #6

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    just to follow on from what's been mentioned already...

    Have you all put bubs into FDC when they've been older? Do you think that's better?

    Also a friend mentioned that at 12-18 mo that maybe ds would get more out of normal day care because of activities etc. Hat has been anyone's experience about this? He is already very very active.

    Thanks again

  7. #7

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    I actually found DD was better off in Family Day care, in a child care room there are so many more kids and stuff happens that the carers don't always notice. But in FDC, they dob each other in straight away LOL. My DD was in FDC with a couple of big boisterous boys but our carer was brilliant in teaching them all to get along with each other.

    My DD1 started when she was 8.5 mths and DD2 will be starting soon (7.5 mths). DD1 was in right up until she started school and now goes for afterschool care too. We've moved around a bit and every carer we've had (with one exception that we started at because they told us there were no other vacancies and I was desperate for care - we requested a new carer a couple of months later) have been fantastic in providing a whole range of activities, both at home and out and about. But that's something you need to question each carer when you interview them because some have different ideas about what constitutes an activity (parking them in a room with pencils and a colouring in book doesn't count IMO).

  8. #8

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    Okay... try to get the questions

    Matilda started FDC at 13-14 months after a few awful months at a regular centre. She was bitten once, and got recurring infections.

    Our FDC accepts babies from 6months but will only have 2 under 12 months. ATM Jovie is there and she is the medium kid. There is generally 1-2 older (up to 4yrs) and 1-2 younger (under 12 mths). True the younger ones take up more attention from Lizzie, but I've watched her work it out. The bigger kids know the rules... they know the no snatching thing, the no hitting etc... They also know the routine of the place, so they know when things happen next, when toilet time is, morning tea etc etc. So they don't need to be monitored as closely. Having said that, our FDC is in Lizzies granny flat, she's set it all up so its a big room with a lounge section, an eating section and her desk, a cupboard with all the "stuff" and a bookcase with boxes of different toys in it. A change station, and through a door is the toilet, washing up facilities and fridge for food.

    The 12-18 months at a normal day care centre... I guess I didn't feel safe after what happened to Matilda at 11 months. I tried her at a normal kindy just before she turned 3 and we had a pretty bad time. It was a community day care/kindy. Because it wasn't as structured, and the "rules" weren't laid out for her she fell apart, couldn't focus on any one thing, didn't eat while she was there, wouldn't use to the toilets, cried more.... and came home a complete mess. We pulled her out & put her back into FDH with Lizzie until she was over 3 and went to Montessori, She went 1 day to Lizzies and one day to Montessori for a few months and now is at Montessori 3 days and is almost 4yr old. So much better for her. The defined structure worked better for her.

  9. #9

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    I'll tell you what makes me so nervous about putting him into any care...
    do the carers consider individual routines? My son doesn't just fall asleep yet. Would they rock etc? Do routines have to be fit in with? I mean do the bubs have to all have same routine? Or ndividual routines?

    I guess that is dependent on the carers?

  10. #10

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    Yep, totally dependant on carers. With both girls I keep them totally updated with changes in what my girls are up to.

    She has always tailored the girls days to where they are at. Jovie, is more difficult to get to sleep. She needs to be rocked to sleep & she did that until she didn't need to anymore. She now lays on a mat at FDC and puts herself to sleep, which she is no where near doing at home, but she's found a rhythm there & it works there. I'm happy for whatever is less stressful for my baby. And My FDC is happy to comply with that.

  11. #11

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    ajw, in our FDC home, there are usually only 4 kids. My daughter is the youngest (14 months) and the other children range in age from 18 months to 2.5 years. When she started going, she would stay for say 2 hours and I'd stay there as well as she was not often looked after by other people and I wanted her to get used to it while I was still there. She spends all day with the other older kids, obviously, but she doesnt really interact all that much with the other kids, I suppose because she isnt really up to the stage where she plays much with others. She loves to play by herself. I have never seen the other children snatch a toy from her or be rough with her, but I dont stay during the day anymore as I am at work now. If she's playing with something and it gets taken away from her, she's usually happy as long as she gets something else to play with. She just likes to have something in her hands. Because she is the smallest and youngest, the carer does give her a bit more attention and protection from the other kids. The carer does get them all the sit down together when she reads to them and also for lunch/morning tea/afternoon tea, and they do other activities such as painting and drawing together. They also have special play days where a bunch of carers all meet, and they get extra carers and they all go to the park or something.

    Nox, I think it would probably depend on what your child is like. For example, I prefered FDC for my daughter because she gets a bit freaked out in crowds. I thought that being in a day-care centre with 15 other kids in the room would just be too much for her. I would probably look at a daycare centre for her when she is a bit older, say about 3, but for now, she seems to enjoy the FDC. When she started there, I talked to the carer about her routine. I wrote down the approximate times she wakes up, eats, has naps etc and our carer tries to keep as close to it as possible with feeding and napping. The other kids are a little older and have only one nap a day, but Claire has two sleeps a day. I advised the carer of how Claire goes to sleep (ie she has a bottle of EBM and a song then sleep) and she tries to do this. The carer knows we dont do the cry-to-sleep thing and if Claire is crying she takes her back out to the other kids. So she does try to keeep with the routine we have.

  12. #12

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    nox, if you are looking for FDC then I would call you council and put your name on the list straight away. Where I live there is no family day care that was suitable (ie. it was in flats etc which I was not happy with). Inner city does tend to be a little bit more restrictive in that respect as there are fewer places with yards and outdoor space.

    DD is at a Community Childcare Cooperative and she has had the same carer for the second year in a row now so there are centres with continuity of carer. Also there are 10 children int he room but generally only 8 on any given day. I sit on the board of the centre so I am very involved in how it is run, the curriculum and what goes on which gives me the level of control that I feel comfortable with.

    Basically what I'm suggesting is look into the FDC in your area but don't dismiss other options as they may be more accessible and still fit with what you are looking for. Be prepared that there may not be FDC that you are happy with or carers that you are comfortable with. It is a very individual choice so definitely do as much research as you can.

  13. #13

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    Yes thank you, you are right about options.
    I have put my name down already in 2 councils and am about to approach a third. One of the councils has predominantly flats and I wasn't sure about that either.
    I also have my name down for 1 council run centre and 1 community run centre ... both from way before DS was born. The council one has called but the community one (which I preferred to the council one) hasn't contacted me yet. I have sent them an email though to remind them I exist.

    I am just so nervous about child care. I think it is because my mother has told me how unhappy she was with her options -- particularly in relation to my younger brother.

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