Weekend Daycare; Location, Cost and Access

Do you work extra hours over the weekend? Are you looking for a weekend daycare that is open beyond the conventional hours? Take a look at this article for a better insight into your options.

Introduction

With an increase in working hours and greater flexibility in hours, many parents need to work on weekends. Especially parents who work in emergency services, who do shift work, weekend work and those who do not have fixed 9-5 jobs.

 An article by the University of Melbourne mentions Survey data collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in August 2019; approximately 35% of employed people usually worked at least some hours on the weekend. It’s important to know what daycare options are available outside of the usual childcare operating hours. Here is a breakdown of some common questions you may have about weekend daycare.

Can you find weekend daycare in Australia?

Regular childcare centres are usually open only during operating hours on Monday-Friday. However, there are a few options for weekend daycare. You can choose from Family day care, nannies (even night nannies) or Au pairs, babysitters or occasional in-home care.

Your options are definitely more limited than with weekday care.

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Options are much more limited on weekends, if you happen to be a shift worker or emergency worker who needs to work on weekends

Does weekend daycare cost more?

Yes, weekend daycare will typically cost more to cover the costs of the educators and carers who are working on the weekends. Some nannies, babysitters and au pairs may charge a fixed hourly rate for both weekdays and weekends which remains the same regardless of the day.

What is the average cost of weekend daycare?

A lot of factors play a role when choosing the type of education and care you want for your child on weekends.

Childcare costs in Australia can vary considerably based on the type of education and care, location, and other factors.

Here’s a brief overview of the costs associated with family day care and long day care:

Family Day Care (FDC):

Family day care is a type of childcare service provided in the educator’s home, that may or may not operate on weekends. Rates for family day care are typically per hour or per day.

  • Average Cost: The cost of family day care can vary, but as a general guide, it might range from AUD $7 to $12 per hour or AUD $70 to $120 per day. Some providers might offer a reduced rate for siblings.
  • Factors Influencing Cost:
    • Location: FDC in metropolitan areas or high-demand regions can be more expensive than in rural or less densely populated areas.
    • Operating Hours: Some providers might charge a higher rate for non-standard hours or for care provided outside of regular business hours.
    • Inclusions: Some fees might include meals, educational programs, or outings, while others may charge extra.
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There are some family daycare centres that may operate on weekends but you will need to do your research as to what is available close to you

Long Day Care (LDC):

Long day care is a service that typically operates in a centre, providing care for long hours, with qualified educators, often catering to working parents, but you may find it hard to find one that operates on weekends.

  • Average Cost: The daily rate for childcare fees can vary widely, but a ballpark range might be between AUD $80 to $150 or even more per day.
  • Factors Influencing Cost:
    • Location: Just as with FDC, location is a significant factor. Daycare centres in city centres or affluent suburbs tend to be pricier than those in regional or outer suburban areas. For instance, a centre in Sydney’s CBD is likely to have higher fees compared to a centre in a regional town in New South Wales.
    • Facilities and Services: Centres with state-of-the-art facilities, special educational programs, or organic meals might charge a premium.
    • Operational Costs: Centres with higher staffing ratios or those offering additional services might have higher operational costs, which could be reflected in the fees.

It’s worth noting that while these are the average costs, there are childcare providers on both ends of the spectrum – some charge considerably less, and some considerably more.

Costs are always changing due to various factors like inflation, changes in demand, policy adjustments, and more. It’s a good idea to contact local providers directly or consult relevant online databases or government sources for current pricing in your desired area.

Babysitting:

Babysitting, nannies and au pairs are probably your best bet for weekend care or overnight care. The average babysitting rates in Australia are between $25 – $40 per hour. This varies based on the carer’s experience, qualifications, hours and location of the job. The number of children the carer is supervising will also influence the cost.

Can you get CCS (Child Care Subsidy) for weekend daycare?

In Australia, the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is a program designed to help families offset the costs of early childhood education and care. Eligibility for the Child Care Subsidy is determined by various factors including family income, activity level of parents (e.g., work, study, training), and the type of childcare service.

The type of childcare service, whether it’s during the weekdays or weekends, is less of a determining factor than the nature and accreditation of the service itself. If the weekend childcare provider is an approved provider under the Australian Government’s criteria, then you could be eligible for the CCS when using their service.

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So, if you’re using an approved childcare service that operates on weekends, you should theoretically be eligible for the CCS, provided you meet the other eligibility criteria. However, as policies can change, it’s important to:

  1. Ensure the weekend daycare centre is an approved provider.
  2. Check the current criteria and details of the Child Care Subsidy on Services Australia.
  3. Consult directly with the childcare centre, as they often have staff who are familiar with the subsidy and its application process.

Always make sure to verify any policy details and eligibility criteria directly from the official sources or relevant government department, as they can provide the most accurate and up-to-date information.

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It may be easier to find a babysitter or a nanny for weekend care or overnight care

​​How can you find weekend daycare in your area?

There are many websites online that can help you find weekend daycare options in your local area! Careforkids is a great example of how easy it can be to find one that suits your requirements. Simply, put your postcode into the search bar and a range of daycare options in your surrounding area will show up for you to choose from. Another alternative is Care.com which is also quite user-friendly for parents who need some quick suggestions.

Are there some daycare centres open 7 days?

Yes, Family Daycares are regulated childcares that can operate 24 hours a day and seven days a week. It takes place in the educator’s home and the staff: child ratio is one educator for seven children (only four children if they are under school age).

 Is weekend daycare mostly located in cities?

Yes, there are many more choices and options within cities for weekend daycare. However, you may still be able to find some weekend daycare in remote areas. An article by Canberra Times describes the unfortunate scarcity of early childhood centres in rural areas. This is also due to decreased workforce involvement by women who live in these areas.

 Is it hard to access weekend daycare?

As there are only a number of limited options it may be tough to get a spot in weekend daycare. Nannies and babysitters are usually available on weekends so this is a great option to consider for those who are looking for something in their own households. This way, your child remains in a familiar space with their own toys and it is easy to maintain their routine at home.

If you’re searching for a 7-day daycare centre in Australia:

  1. Online Search: Use search terms like “7-day daycare centres [your city/suburb]” or “weekend daycare in [your city/suburb]”.
  2. Parenting Forums and Websites: Sites like Essential Baby, Bub Hub, or local parenting forums might have discussions or listings relevant to your search.
  3. Social Media: Local community groups on platforms like Facebook can be helpful.
  4. Contact Local Council: Your local council might have information about childcare providers in your area that offer extended hours or weekend services.
  5. Ask Around: Recommendations from other parents or families can be invaluable.

Remember to verify any daycare’s operating hours directly with the facility and ensure they meet your needs and the necessary quality standards.

 Summary

For those parents who are working beyond regular weekday hours, particularly on weekends, finding care for your children is important, yet may be a challenge. This is where babysitters, family day care or an au pair may be your best bet.

For more information, you can visit Careforkids. You can also read my review of CareForKids HERE.

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