End of Year - Child Care Checklist

Published on Monday, 23 October 2017
Last updated on Tuesday, 03 December 2019

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Along with the excitement of Christmas and the prospect of a few days off work, this time of year always seems to bring with it an added level of chaos (as if we weren’t already busy enough!). 

Most child care facilities close down for some of the holiday period and many will have already sent out notes to parents advising of enrolments or re-enrolments for the next year.

To make sure you aren’t caught short as the year draws to a close, here are a few key things you need to ensure are done before you pack up for the silly season. 

Book your babysitter

Christmas parties have already started for some people and to ensure you have the chance to get out this festive season without the kids, you better book that babysitter now while there are still some left!

Hourly rates are the same as usual if you book through an agency, but you will generally have to pay a higher booking fee – between $25 and $35 – for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Eve/New Year's Day. However, they should not charge higher rates for non-public holidays.

While your friend's teenage daughter or local babysitter may seem to be a bit cheaper, she may also let you down at the last minute when a more exciting offer comes along!

Often private babysitters also hike up their rates considerably for Christmas and New Year with some families paying around $50 per hour for New Year's Eve! However, if you do book through an agency you'll get a professional, reliable babysitter who will turn up, so it's worth a few extra dollars to make sure your special night goes ahead without a hitch.

Book a babysitter through our easy online booking service, which uses reputable agencies with police checked, vetted and referenced, professional babysitters and nannies.

Be ready for starting child care

If you are returning to the same service, make sure you have your child care place locked away for next year. Some services don’t roll over places, so the only way to ensure you continue to have a place is to re-enrol. It’s also the opportunity to request different days if you would like them. If you haven’t received confirmation, check in with the service in case the paperwork has become lost somewhere.

Meet with the new educator to go through any routines and concerns you might have, and make sure you know what is needed each day in your child's bag, such as nappies, bedding, water bottle and lunchbox. 

Check for any room changes

A new year often means a new classroom for many children in early childhood services. Check with your service provider whether your child is moving up a classroom, and if there are any new routines or procedures to be aware of. Some preschool rooms might not have nappy change facilities anymore; the toddler room might introduce a more structured sleep schedule. Take the time to go to the new classroom before the new school year begins to meet the teacher and talk through your child's particular needs, especially if there are any allergies or concerns you might want to personally make the teacher aware of. 

Starting school

If your child is off to 'big' school next year, make sure you've spoken to the early childhood education and care provider about the transition, and have arranged any paperwork for the return of any bond held. Ensure they have your address for any forwarded correspondence, and collect any reports and treasured artwork before the last day! Make sure you have the contact numbers of friends made at child care, especially any that are heading to the same school, so you can arrange play dates over the Christmas break. 

You will have already done the orientation day at the new school, but check back through the orientation pack for anything you need to do before school starts, such as pick up the new school uniform and collect any school supplies you might need (most schools will send out a list of anything you will need to provide). 

Many child care centres offer vacation care to those children leaving the centre and due to start kindergarten. If you need it, check with your centre before the end of the year to see if they offer this service. 

How to prepare your child throughout the year

In the months before your child starts school, focus on the two Ps – positivity and preparedness. To do this:

  • Talk about school: ask your child what they think about starting school and whether they have any questions. See if friends and other families have positive anecdotes about school.
  • Keep your child healthy: make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date and that they have regular dental and health check-ups in the year before starting school.
  • Promote independence: encourage your child to do things on their own, like getting dressed, going to the toilet, washing their hands and grappling with their lunchbox and drink bottle. 
  • Get involved: attend any transition-to-school programs offered by your child’s current early childhood service and/or future school. Find out the school’s hours and where to take your child on their first day.
  • Nurture their learning and development: ask educators how you can help your child learn and develop at home and once they’re at school. 

How to prepare your child over the holidays

In between making sandcastles and visiting the grandparents, the holidays are also a great time to get ready for the start of term. 

  • Do a practice (school) run: show your child where their new school is and explain how you’ll get there. Go through their before and after school arrangements, purchase any school supplies and practise getting ready for school, i.e. packing their bag.
  • Find a fellow schoolmate: arrange play dates with other kids who’ll be going to your child’s school. There’s nothing like a friendly face on their first day. 
  • Read books: there are lots of great books about starting school, so visit the library or bookshop and look for titles like Starting School by Jane Goodwin and First Day by Andrew Daddo.
  • Be positive! Share in your child’s excitement and, if they’re a wee bit apprehensive, help them think about the up sides of starting school.  

Final preparations 

When there’s just one more sleep (or no more sleeps) until your child’s first day, focus on getting everything organised in a cool, calm and collected manner. 

  • The night before: help your child get their clothes, hat, shoes and socks ready. Make sure they know who’s taking them to school and who’s picking them up. 
  • In the morning: try to avoid the morning rush. Help your child pack their bag (including spare undies and a change of clothes for any accidents) and put on sunscreen if necessary. Once at school, show your child where they’ll be met when the home bell rings. 
  • After school: ask your child what happened during the day and congratulate them on completing their first day at big school! 

For a printable version of this checklist click here.

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