02.Waiting list pain
Getting your child into quality long day care can take several years.
“As soon as your pregnancy is confirmed, get on as many waiting lists as you can," Sacha from SA suggests. "I went on four, and none of the long day care centres had a spot available when I wanted to return to work. My child was 11 months old, and I’d been on the waiting lists for 18 months at that point.”
Finding long day care is much more of a problem for parents living in cities than for those in country areas.
- About 70% of city parents responding to our survey did not find care easily
- Only 44% of those living in a regional or rural area had trouble finding child care
Winning the waiting game
Parents responding to our survey give a clear sense of how hard finding good care – or indeed any care – can be. Here they offer tips on how to handle the wait.
“You have to budget for a non-refundable amount of about $50 for each list you get on. Then you have to harass, beg, cajole, plead, stalk and bribe your way to securing a place. It’s the last disorderly frontier of an otherwise civilised society.” – Ray
- “I placed my daughter on five waiting lists at birth. When it got closer to when I was to return to work I’d heard nothing, so I rang around all the childcare centres in the area. In the end the place I got had nothing to do with a waiting list, it was just pot luck.”
“I spent months waiting for a place to come up in one of three local childcare centres. In the end, on the advice of several friends, I summoned up as much negative energy as I could, walked into a centre, and burst into tears. Within two days I was called back for an available spot. The fight to get a spot is like warfare. You have to pull out whatever artillery you have (sick parents, redundant partner, and above all, tears) in order to be considered.” – Sara