Childcare is far more than a financial transaction, it’s a hugely emotional one too.
So why is Federal Minister for Education Simon Birmingham proposing parents feeling financial pressure in relation to childcare subsidy changes, should just 'up' and move centres.
It's far from a solution and shows a gross misunderstanding of the emotional consequences of this type of change, for parents and child.
Adjustment is difficult for everyone
Just this morning I dropped our two sons to their new daycare for the fourth time. There were tears from the 20-month-old, and the four-year-old clung to my leg as I walked from the room.
I opened the gate and walked out to the car feeling very emotional.
After four years in the same centre that was everything I had valued – small, committed educators, genuine of care and concern - we’ve recently had to move. I wrote about the challenges of this decision here.
We’ve been at the new centre for two weeks now and I have to say the move, while necessary, has brought up lots of not-so comfortable feelings. Like, doubt and concern about whether we’d make the right choice in the new centre, and serious regret that the old one had shut down so suddenly.
Listen to Kinderling Conversation:
Childcare and work are non-negogitables for lots of families
I’ve been a working mum since our oldest was 10 months-old. For me, work was a non-negotiable aspect of our family life. And also, if I am honest, a big part of who I am and what makes me happy.
So for our family, daycare is a must, and that means finding the right one, settling our kids in and then sticking with it.
Our family is not alone in this. Thanks to the ever-rising cost of living, daycare for kids has become a reality for most parents.
And it’s far from easy. Not only do we battle with making the right choice of centre that also meets our budget constraints, there is also a significant emotional transaction.
No matter how busy or important your job may be, leaving kids crying and visible upset as you walk out of daycare is not a good feeling.
Change happens in life, children will always need time to adjust and families have the right to affordable childcare. All of that is a no-brainer. But to suggest that simply picking up our kids and plonking them in a new place is the best solution for parents or kids, is crazy.
Parents need to trust that their children are being genuinely cared for when they are not around.
It’s folly for anyone, especially a fellow parent, like Minister Birmingham, to underestimate this.
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