Types of Childcare – Daycare Options for Parents

Young child on Kozy Koala Childcare Nap Mat 4
Young child on Kozy Koala Childcare Nap Mat 4

All parents want to ensure that their children are safe and well cared for while they’re at work or away from home. There are many different types of childcare in Australia that meet the needs of different families. For first-time parents, the choice of child care options can be confusing. So we prepared this daycare options guide for you. This will assist you in understanding the types of child care and early childhood education available in Australia.

Read on to find out more about the different types of childcare in Australia.

In Australia, the options for childcare are broken down into the following main categories.

  • Long day care is care provided to children between the ages of six weeks and five years old.
  • Family daycare is also known as casual or occasional care, and refers to a private arrangement where you pay an individual or family to look after your child for any length of time.
  • Outside school hours care (OSHC) is available during school term breaks and can be either full-time or part-time. OSHC includes activities like sports, holiday camps and playgroups.
  • Child minding services such as grandparents looking after children while parents are at work are not considered childcare services in Australia because they don’t follow strict standards nor do they receive government funding

Long day care

Long day care centres are a form of childcare that operates on a full-time basis. This type of centre provides care to children aged three years old and older, who attend the centre for 12 or more hours each day.

Long day care is not just an option for parents who work full time; it can also be used by parents who have other obligations during the day, such as school or university classes. Some centres offer programs for children with special needs, allowing parents to find accommodation for their child in one location while giving them flexibility in their own schedule.

Some long day care centres offer meal programs and transportation services as well as educational opportunities such as story time or art projects. While these extras may incur extra charges above those associated with regular childcare costs, they tend not to increase the overall cost of long day care significantly when compared with other types of programs (e.g., nanny).

Family daycare

A family daycare is when a family member (for example, a grandparent, aunt or uncle) cares for your child in their own home. The benefit of this type of care is that it’s often considered the most flexible option available to parents; you may be able to work the hours that suit your needs, and if you have more than one child they will most likely be together at all times. Family daycare providers are also known to be warm and nurturing towards their charges.

However, there are some potential drawbacks: since a family member isn’t trained as an official caregiver, they aren’t obligated by law to undergo any sort of background check before caring for children; additionally, there may be issues with liability insurance coverage if something does go wrong while under their supervision (although this would likely depend on what state you live in).

In general though – provided that both parties feel comfortable with each other – using family members as childcare providers should be seen as an ideal way for parents who need full-time care but don’t want strangers around their home all day long!

Occasional care

Occasional care is when you need someone to look after your child for a few hours, or even just an hour, on a one-off basis. This type of care is usually provided by friends or family members. Some parents may choose not to provide this type of childcare themselves because they have no family in the area, or because their children are too young for it. There are also some parents who might think that they don’t need any help with childcare until their child reaches pre-school age, at which point they will start looking for a full-time place for their kids.

Outside school hours care

If you have school-age children, you can expect to find the most convenient childcare options at outside school hours care centres. These are typically open from after school until 6pm or 7pm, and sometimes even for extended hours during public holidays.

Outside school hours care is also great for parents who may need to work long days or who participate in shift work or other irregular schedules. For example, a parent with an evening job might be able to drop off their child at an after-school centre before heading off to work for a few hours (or vice versa if they’re coming home earlier).

Business-related creches

Some shopping centres, malls and gyms offer informal child care in creches so parents can use their services. You may have noticed this in shopping malls or in IKEA! These short term child care places inside the mall take care of the child while you can shop or finish any short term work you may have in that centre.

These businesses might charge a fee or build a fee into the overall cost of membership or the price of their products or services.

These creches don’t have to meet the same requirements as centre-based care or family day care – for example, requirements for educator-child ratios or education quality. So they won’t help your child learn and develop in the same way as a quality early childhood education and care service.

There are many types of childcare available in Australia, and it’s important to choose one that works best for your family. While the government provides funding for some options, there are still plenty of costs involved. Here are some things to consider when choosing a childcare option:

  • Does it suit your lifestyle? Do you work outside the home? Do you travel frequently?
  • Is the staff qualified and experienced? How long have they been working there? What qualifications do they have?
  • Is there enough room for personal belongings like bottles or formula, diapers and clothes? Are staff trained in first aid and CPR if something happens with your child at the facility (e.g., choking)?


While each of these childcare options is unique, they all have one thing in common: they help parents and carers balance their work and family commitments. Whether your child attends full-time or part-time, you can feel confident that the staff will provide them with all the support they need to grow into happy and healthy adults.