The most innocent and carefree phase of life is the childhood. Child Care is an important aspect as far as childhood is concerned. It is the developmental phase as well. The body and the mind go through various stages of growth and development during this phase. What if no proper attention is given during this time period? Will the child develop at its best?
The term simply explains itself. Caring about a child and meeting his/her basic needs is child care. It is also popular by the following names: day-care, child minding, preschool. A child between the ages of 6 weeks- 13 years is supervised and taken care of.
You must have heard about the babysitters, nanny and other common terms where a child is looked after by someone trained. Not just with the support of centres the care is given. Even the extended family members can also do child care.
The development of the child should be holistic and in every important aspect. Whether social, cultural or in any creative set of activities, child care should provide the foundation to the child.
Let us learn more about the subject.
Child care assistance
Today, we have the mechanical lives. The globalisation and modern lifestyle demands proper employment and pay scale. Not everyone is able to afford the luxuries of life. Even for the basic amenities, people need to earn a good sum of money. How can they earn a livelihood when there is such a big and prior responsibility of looking after their child? Not just the employed parents, but the ones who are still schooling or part of some training program, also cannot take care of their children properly. This calls for the need of child care.
The Child Care Assistance (CCA) is a program under which the low-income families are provided with child care assistance. The children are taken care of for the time period during which the parents are absent or busy in their jobs. They are provided with all the basic requirements and this is the biggest support an employed single parent or couple might get.
But, it is to be noted that Child Care Assistance is provided only when the family fits to certain terms and conditions. It should fulfil the eligibility requirements, and then only the assistance is given to the family. Also, you can choose the type of caretaker yourself. Whether you want the child care to be centre based or home based, or you want a registered centre or the non registered centre- it all depends on you.
The best thing about this program is that it allows the working parents to continue with their job and training, and provides the best care to the children with quality, affordability and availability.
Child care benefit
Child Care Benefit is a financial aid given by the government to support the child care costs. The cost of providing proper care and facilities is usually high and the needful families should be supported in this important aspect so that there is nothing missing and every expense gets covered up without any problem. This can be given as an annual grant or in form of reduced child care fees which is taken for the whole year.
The exchange of this benefit currency is directly between the government and the organisation, and is only given when the income of the family is inspected and assured.
A department related to Human services is responsible to look after the registration process. People can apply for the benefit by both online and offline processes. Just like there are certain criteria which need to be met in government processes, Child Care Benefit (CCB) requires the same.
- Parents who are applying for the CCB must have a child, who has been given proper vaccination and immunisation since birth.
- Also, the child should be attending the day care by approved centres.
- The parent must have the sole responsibility to pay for their child and his/her child care costs.
If all the above eligibility requirements are met, then the parents can apply for availing CCB.
Now, the question arises that how much benefit can be received annually? Is it fixed or does it fluctuate according to the different cases?
Well, the answer is that even the amount of benefit depends upon different requirements of the people. The income of the family is inspected and the kind of child care which is being received is also undertaken. The benefit also depends upon the time period of the child care and the reason behind taking this step. The number of children you have is also another important factor which alters the amount of childcare benefit.
It is important to note that in other countries, if the child care is given just to a single child for about 24 hours a week, then the benefit can be received by the families without any inspection of their work or training course. But, if the time limit exceeds 50 hours per week, then the family background, inter-personal relationships and working status is investigated and tested.
If the payments are not done on timely basis, you can always lodge a complaint or claim your amount from the concerned department. But, you have to be quick and conscious, because to claim your benefit, you just have the one year tenure.
We feel heavy to say that this financial aid system has not yet been introduced in India. Western countries and some of the Eastern regions as well have been found to be using this system very efficiently. If introduced in our country, it will definitely boost the national economy and social development.
Child care courses
Child care is not as easy as it seems to be. You have to learn a lot and gain much experience to deal with kids. This is a delicate process and you have to ensure that you properly care about the child, meeting his/her requirements efficiently.
You can learn by undertaking various child care courses available in the country. Diploma, certificate and there are many other academically important courses which undertake childcare education and the related training. Some prestigious organisations even enrol many students directly into the working centres.
Also, there are many courses available online, both short term and long term. You can always trust the internet when it comes to such things. Study at your own comfort level- whether at home, park or anywhere. Complete courses and receive the accreditation as per your own learning performance.
We must say that child care training programs are fun and interesting. If released to the true potential, child care education can open up several horizons.
Child care training
The people who work as child care service providers have a significant job position. They have the sole responsibility of taking care of the tiny tots- the children- in their most delicate phase of life. Hence, the service providers must be well trained and educated properly about the child care. Training is necessary in order to provide practical education and materialistic approach to the overall learning.
Search your state and the city, and find the most appropriate training centre for the cause.
Thinking what kind of training is imparted?
- The childcare workers must know how to care for children when parents and the family members are unavailable. The basic needs of children should be met, for example, bathing and feeding.
- Some qualitative education can also be imparted while the day-care is being provided.
- They must know how to supervise and observe the safety of the children under their care.
- They should know how to prepare the meal and snacks for children, and feed them. Or, make them learn how to eat on their own and teach them some good eating habits.
- Children ought to be taught how to keep a good hygiene. Trainers must know to instil this skill.
- Trainers must be prepared of handling the infants and very small children. They should know how to change the diapers.
- They should be capable of organising extra-curricular activities for the children, so that they learn about the world and explore bit by bit.
- The routines and the schedules need to be planned by the trainer, so that children go through sufficient physical activity, rest period and recreational session.
- The trainer should be capable of developing the emotional aspect in children, and be able to deal with the problems regarding the same. Absence of the parent makes the child feel “uneasy” many a times. He/she may not be comfortable in the initial days. The trainer should know how to make the child feel safe and comfortable.
- The most important aspect is keeping and maintaining the records. The progress of the child should be regularly monitored and the individual routines should be noted down. The specific interests of the child should be discovered and the records must be displayed to the parents.
- The basic concepts such as good manners and moral values are easy to understand, but tough to be explained to children. Trainers must know how to make the kids learn these concepts. Also, they should have a jolly nature and a creative mind to make the children play several games.
There is a lot to learn for the childcare workers. Just like any other occupation requires some academic qualification and good educational foundation, childcare service also demands the same.
Child care jobs
This is a job category which makes a difference in the lives of children each day! As the people are developing their lifestyle into a busy rush, there is an increased demand of someone who can hold the responsibility of the children while their parents are away. In metropolitan cities, both the parents are employed and if their child is too small to be left alone at home without any supervision, they require a nanny or a babysitter. The family members can do the babysitting, but what if the family is a nuclear one? Or, everyone is busy and you have no one to look after the children?
Childcare jobs open up here, to help you, in the private as well as the government sector. This category is given immense importance in the other countries. But, in India, we do not have government Childcare job openings. However, in urban cities such as Bangalore, Gurgaon, Delhi, Mumbai etc. call for private jobs for childcare. You can work as a counsellor, clinical nurse or open up your own day-care centre. Opportunities are less presently, but the scope is high if certain steps are taken by the government to improve this area of work.
If we look upon the surveys of 2014-2015, we observe that about 2.2 million people were employed as childcare workers all over the world. The areas where these workers were enrolled have been listed below:
- Childcare services in form of day-care (26%)
- Private households (20%)
- Elementary and secondary schools; state, local and private (10%)
- Others (8%)
Day-care centres, pre-schools, public schools and private homes are the ones which require these workers.
Child care centres
If the childcare service is required to be centre based, then there are several childcare centres around the region. You can search the one nearby you and get all the details.
Childcare centres are those centres which provide the childcare services at their own place. A number of people who are experts and trained in the field of child care are employed. They take care of the children till the time their parents are away. The working hours vary according to the needs of different people.
If you wish to open your own centre, you need to have a good space where you can adjust your day-care centre. You shall be requiring the license, which is given only when the complete background of the childcare centre is investigated. Also, the trained staffs are monitored, and then the license is issued.
Child care providers
If you are providing the childcare services and you have a license of doing so, then you can term yourself as a childcare provider. The aim of the childcare provider is to deliver high quality childcare services. The assistance is provided by the government in form of benefits and training, for instance, in carrying out educational activities, providing training assistance and support in some or the other form.
If you are beginning your journey with this occupation or you have already begun, here are a few points. Checklist them and mark your own number of milestones achieved.
- You have established a childcare centre. Gain some accreditation.
- You have trained staff and expertise.
- You have registered your childcare centre for any sort of benefit or aid from government, if applicable.
- Your staff knows the various stages of child development. You have ensured health and safety at the centre.
- You conduct or attend workshops
- You have well maintained technical monitoring and support
- You have good management and working hours
- You offer some scholarship or discounts for siblings
- The supplies are well managed and the facilities are provided at their best.
There are many other requirements, but these are the basic ones. You can always improve your work as a childcare provider. This is a very noble work as the seeds of today will blossom tomorrow.
Child care careers
We have already explained about the work a childcare worker does and all the pre-requisites for becoming a childcare service provider. The career has not yet been released to its true potential and hence remains partially hidden. But, as the scope is gradually widening, we can look upon the career options.
A childcare worker should exhibit the following qualities:
- Good communication skills
The ability to interact is found in very few people. Childcare workers must know how to interact with the parents and colleagues. They should be able to display the correct information in correct way, and also listen to what the parents say.
Children are innocent. They do not understand and obey easily. While dealing with them, you need to be patient enough. You should not get frustrated and irritated. You should be able to do your work with all your heart and a pretty smile on face.
- Stamina and Endurance
Childcare is not easy. You have to talk, work, and play and then answer all the questions people ask. You have to create reports and deliver information. This is a tiring work. You need to have endurance and physical stamina to handle everything very efficiently.
- Decision making
Right decision at the right time is just the correct move one can make. You should be able to respond to correct situations and handle the emergency issues with full zest.
- Interpersonal skills
You should know how to behave with children, parents and your co-workers.
Let us come to an important subject- the salary.
In 2014, the average salary on per hour basis was 700INR or $9.77. The pay-scale depends upon type of childcare centre, the number of children, family income and many other factors. The workers who have better formal education are given higher amount than those who do not have it.
If you yourself are running a day-care centre, then your wage would obviously be more than the workers you will be having employed.
Careers related to the service have been mentioned below:
- Kindergarten and Elementary school teachers
- Pre-School and Childcare Centre Directors
- Pre-School Teachers
- Special Education Teachers
- Teacher Assistants
Free child care
There is something called free child care, which obviously does not require any sort of payment. Children about 3 years to 4 years can receive up to 15 hours of childcare, for 38 weeks of the year. With constant revision, in many other countries, it accounts for 30 hours a week for the families who work more than 16 hours a week. The eligibility asks for the age proof, working status and the annual income of the family.
It is to be noted that 30 hours per week system is not available at every place, as there is no flexibility exhibited by the childcare centres.
Drop your child at the place as safe as your own home.