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How To Manage Childcare In The School Holidays

Stuck for childcare these school holidays? Here are some of the different options available.

Holidays provide some of our most treasured childhood memories. However children’s school holidays often don’t match up with the amount of annual leave most full-time working parents receive. Here are some of the different care options available.

Vacation Care

Vacation care is a great option for working parents. It provides the safety and entertainment that is important to both parents and children.

One in five children attend some form of vacation care during the holidays.

Cost can be the biggest factor, especially for families with more than one child. Availability is another, as most centres simply can’t cater for large numbers of children and are not available in all areas around Australia.

One benefit is they are operated by approved organisations and can attract the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate (government rebates). There are also lots of vacation-care programs not approved for government rebates, facilitated by sporting clubs, dance schools and other community organisations, so check before you sign up.

If a program is being run by an organisation you haven’t dealt with before, you may want to enquire about their experience in providing care, the qualifications of staff and how activities are coordinated.

Recreation Camps

Camps are facilitated and coordinated by a number of providers, including state governments, and can range from one to seven days. They are an excellent way to provide children with a fulfilling holiday experience, pursuing interests such as music, sport, outdoor activities and so forth. This form of holiday care particularly appeals to children between the ages of nine and 14, as they seek to explore new opportunities and relationships.

This form of holiday care particularly appeals to children between the ages of nine and 14, as they seek to explore new opportunities and relationships. Unfortunately camps can cost a lot and may not qualify for government rebates. However, families with multiple children may be able to get discounted rates.

However, families with multiple children may be able to get discounted rates.

Friends/Relatives/Babysitters

Almost 93% of children spend some part of their holidays in informal care provided by a parent, grandparent, relative or sitter. There are many benefits to this type of care, such as the lower cost and the opportunity for children to bond with family or friends.

However there are some things to consider: sending your children off with relatives may be a cost-free exercise to you, but it can be a financial burden for your relatives to entertain and feed your children. To avoid difficult conversations, offer to pay caregivers for their time or at least cover the costs of food and activities.


Words by Samantha Page

Guest Contributer
Guest Contributor
guest@childmags.com.au