Even as the pandemic seems to be winding down, parents are still working remotely. The ability to work from home, limiting their commuting time and optimising time spent with family, is an unexpected benefit of a difficult situation. But as things are opening up and the pandemic recedes, the reality of working at home while providing childcare at the same time has become clear: remote-working parents need help with childcare.
Ordinarily, there are many different kinds of childcare available. Home-based care is a popular choice for families that is not as appealing if you are also home trying to work. Quieting your environment while allowing your children to get much-needed socialisation and educational opportunities is probably the priority. What kinds of options are available outside the home?
1. Long Day Care
Centre-based long day care is suitable for families that work regular weekdays and need reliable coverage. If you work from home every day, all day, this may be the right decision for you. Here in a centre-based care environment your child can find loads of opportunities for socialisation with other children, as well as play-based learning led by early childhood education specialists. You can get your work done with peace of mind knowing that your child is well cared for and happy.
Centre-based care has the advantages of being reliable and fully staffed, so there will not be any last-minute surprises of unavailable care. Also, the routine of attending regularly can make your child’s experience smoother and more rewarding for them and you.
2. Occasional Care
Centre-based occasional care is best for families who do not need coverage every day, but would like to have periodic opportunities to work or make appointments. If your work schedule is flexible this may be a good arrangement for you. By expressing interest and going on a waitlist, you will have an opportunity to use slots that are left open when other children are absent. This may not be the best arrangement if your work-from-home arrangement is more structured.
3. Preschools and Kindergartens
If your child is aged 3-5 years, preschools and kindergartens that operate in stand-alone centres may be right for you. With a structured learning environment and top-notch educators, these programmes offer the kind of orderly day that some children crave. It can also be a great way to prepare your child for more formal education opportunities.
4. Business-related creche
If you have a membership to a facility that offers informal childcare in creches, you may be able to use this to cover the gap you have between working from home and attending to your children. If the amount of work that you do that requires your full attention is not a full day, or if you can shift some of your work to hours outside the normal workday, you may be able to leverage the membership you already have to provide the coverage that you need. Even if there is a small fee per use, the cost can be reasonable for the amount of help you get. Your child will have the opportunity to be safe and socialise with other children, and you will get time to get pressing tasks that require concentration done. But these creches do not typically offer education quality or educator-to-child ratios that promote learning the way a centre-based service would.
By investigating the types of childcare that are available to you, and keeping in mind your specific needs for both your work and your children, parents that are working remotely from home can get the help they need to both successfully work from home and take care of their families.