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Thread: Family Day Care - your experiences?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    Default Family Day Care - your experiences?


    I just called our local family day care place and they told me they have a carer near us with a vacancy right now. I asked some questions and it sounds ok. So I am going to ring my work and see if I can come back part time.

    Just wondering, for anyone who uses/has used family day care:
    - what are the fees usually like? I forgot to ask when I spoke to the lady. Are they more or less than a Long Day Care Centre?
    - did you think it was better than a LDC or pretty much the same? I am guessing the kids would get more one to one attention, which I assume is a good thing?
    - did you spend some time there each day with your child so they could get used to the new environment easier?
    - did your child enjoy it?

    anything else you want to tell me??

    Trying to decide whether or not I want to go ahead with this.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Aug 2007


    Hi Karina,

    We are relatively new to FDC. DS has been going for about two months now. It was a real struggle in the beginning, for lots of reasons, but it?s much better now.

    Fees ? It varies from carer to carer. We pay $56 for two days, but that?s with the government rebate which will vary depending on your income. I think the FDC v?s LDC fees vary so much you can?t really generalise.

    LDC v?s FDC ? they are very different and I don?t think one is better than the other. With either it?s all about ?quality?. You need to find the right FDC or LCD for you and your child. I would like Angus to go to both FDC and LDC (and have a day with his Grandma) when he is over 2. This arrangement will not suit every child (Angus loves change, new people, new things, new experiences and gets bored quickly and easily). It?s also hard to assume how much attention they will get. Again, it depends on the carer/center. Some LDC centers have a ?floater?, an extra staff member in addition to the specified ratio that can help out where/when needed.

    Settling in time ? I had three visit with Angus of about an hour each to get settled but I don?t think it really made that much difference.

    Angus enjoys FDC now but I think he?ll be looking for more when he?s older, hence our plan to combine FDC/LDC/Grandma.

    I visited three FDC carers before I found one that I was happy with.

    It took a good four weeks for Angus to settle in. We actually gave written notice that we were going to withdraw him because it just didn?t seem to be working, but the week after I handed over the letter, he came good, so we?ve decided to continue.

    I had cloth nappy issues (using cloth is really important to us but there was some resistance from our FDC carer). It?s all resolved now, he?s in cloth, and it?s all fine but it was a bit strained there for a little bit (I posted about it in the cloth nappy thread if you want more of the story).

    Sleeping is an issue. Angus?s sleeping varies so much and he often needs a sleep aid (being rocked/patted, etc). Our carer is doing her best but I know it?s really hard for her when he?s tired and cranky and won?t sleep and she?s got 4 other kids to attend to.

    Wearing a hat is another issue. They have to wear hats when they are outside and Angus hates it. That?s my fault. I should have made it non-negotiable when he was younger so it wouldn?t be such a battle now.

    My best advice is have a contingency plan (my DH was going to take part-time long service leave when we were going to withdraw DS) so if it?s not working for you, you don?t feel trapped with no options. And, if you feel it?s not right and it not working, say so and do something. But, it can take time to settle in, give it at least four weeks.


    ETA - for some reason my commas appear as questions marks in my posts. Even after I do a post preview and it all looks fine, when I submit it goes all funny????

  3. #3

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Brisbane, Australia


    I'm not a fan of FDC purely because if the carer is sick, you have to either take your child to the backup person IF they're available. Otherwise, you have to find alternative care or stay home from work.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    On the other side of this screen!!!


    I'm a huge FDC fan and have used FDC for many years - far prefer it to a long day care centre as I don't like the institutional atmosphere of LDC. We have had a series of FDC mums who have all (bar one) been fantastic, each in their own individual way. I've also found it cheaper than LDC who tend to charge a session fee, whereas with FDC you only pay for the hours you are contracted for. Having said that I am quite fussy in the selection process and have turned some carers down and asked the office to find me more to choose from.

    FDC is also more flexible than a LDC, we have had carers who will have DD of an evening (as we don't have family here to mind her) and this was pretty important for night classes when I was studying as DH works away. DD really benefits from having a mix of ages of children there (as opposed to LDC when they are grouped into rooms by age). I also feel the care is more individualised in FDC than in LDC.

    BTW I've never had problems finding backup care on the very very few occasions our carer has not been available.

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