Matching child care needs with preschool hours

For working parents, it can sometimes to be tricky to match the hours of a preschool program with the child care needs of the family. However, if you've found a half day or alternating days program that looks great for your child, there are some child care options that can make it work for your family. 

A built-in school care program

Many schools have an associated 'after school' care program or optional afternoon program. This is particularly common for preschools attached to primary schools with older students on full day programs. It can be worth asking the school if they have a program like this, or if they'd be willing to start one if there is enough interest amongst the school community. This can be a great option as it provides the least disruption to the children and can be integrated for care with older children in the school. 

A daycare pickup from a child care centre

If your child has been attending a local day care centre, the centre may be able to organise a pickup service, where they come to collect the child at the end of the preschool session and take them back to centre that they have been attending. This can be a reassuring option for children as they do not need to make an abrupt transition to preschool and can continue some of their relationships with peers and carers and they can go for the full day during the holidays. This option is also quite affordable as you can still apply for child care tax rebates. 

An au pair or nanny

Another option is to hire a babysitter, au pair or nanny to pick up your child at the end of the preschool program and take them home. This means your child can spend some more time at home which can be nice after preschool, particularly if they initially find the pace of preschool tiring compared to their previous schedule. This can also allow your child to go on some playdates after preschool which can often help children to form those all important social relationships with their classmates. 

If you have found a great preschool program for your child which has hours that don't quite align with your work schedule, there are a range of options that can fill the gap. It can be worth chatting to the preschool to see how other working parents have dealt with this challenge.