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I need to find childcare for my baby. Where do I start?

Working mums often have to find childcare facilities for their children while they are still babies. Choosing the right one is as important at this age as it is later on.
One of the most important factors in choosing child care for babies will be the key person they are interacting with, or what is known as their key worker. This should be the same person every day, to allow your child to develop a relationship with them. They should be engaged in their jobs, and enjoy carrying babies, talking softly to them, and pointing out objects or situations to them. This is important to your baby’s language development later on, and can be seen when you visit a child care facility before enrolling your child. Make a point of spending some time observing the person who will be looking after your child, and watch how they interact with the children in their care.

Even moments like nappy changes and feeding are important to your child’s development, and they should be treated as special moments, where you child can bond with their caregiver, rather than as a chore.

Look for childcare options where your child will be cared for by the same person every day, and find out what happens if that person is sick or away for a day or longer. Observe how babies are handled, and whether their caregivers make eye contact and talk to them, or whether it’s simply a matter of meeting their physical needs. Find out how babies are put to sleep, and what feeding routines are like.

Ideally, you want to find a child care facility that offers your baby as close as possible to the experience that you have been offering him or her at home.

More questions

For many parents, child minders are the best child care option. Use this list to find out whether you’ve found the right one.
Finding quality childcare isn’t always easy, but it is possible if you know what to look for.
How your baby is looked after in childcare can have a long lasting impact on development, so it’s important to make informed choices.
Play is the single most important learning tool that young children have at their disposal.
Choosing the right child care is important to your child’s development – now and in future. Fortunately, there are some clear signs that the childcare you are considering is a good one.
The so called ‘formative’ years truly are one of the most important periods in any child’s development, and it’s important that parents and caregivers facilitate learning during this time.
Helping your child to learn during the early years sets him or her up for a lifetime of successful learning.
If you’re looking at several sessional preschools, and cannot come to a decision on a particular one, then looking at our checklist can help.
A play school or play group is a great choice if you want to prepare your child for formal schooling, and don’t need to have full day care.
A crèche is one of the better known child care options that offers full day services to a wide range of ages.

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