Whether you’re heading back to work or weighing up your options now the new child care subsidy has kicked in – it can be overwhelming to decide what child care service is right for you.
And, it may be that traditional options like long day care or family day care aren’t tailored enough to your particular work/life situation and the needs of youar family.
This scenario was all too familiar for new mum Anka Stajic, who found herself at a career crossroad after taking a two-year break to care for her first child. She said: “My husband runs his own business and we needed flexible care if I was going to return to work. It was hard for me to justify my return to work, financially speaking we were almost better off if I remained as a full-time mum.”
Anka continued: “From the options we explored, I liked smaller setting arrangements. It was just difficult to find something that could be tailored to suit our unique schedule.” Desperate to find a solution, Anka came across Littlehubs, which had the potential to solve both her problems.
What is Littlehubs?
Littlehubs is based on child care sharing, whereby families ‘buddy up’ with other local families to share the cost of a screened and insured carer in a flexible home-based arrangement. The families can rotate the hosting, or if one family home is better suited, a central ‘hub’ can be chosen.
When Anka joined Littlehubs as their Operations Manager she saw the value immediately. She said: “I knew many mums had a similar dilemma and I could see the benefits that this service could provide.”
So how does it work?
Families register their interest via the Littlehubs website and enter details of their child care needs, days, times and type of care they need. They are then matched with other families with similar requirements and can chat with one another and arrange to meet, before a child care arrangement takes place. The families are then matched with an experienced and vetted nanny.
Littlehubs takes care of all the finer details, including working with children checks, polices checks and references. Before any home can become a host ‘hub’ they are inspected and reviewed to ensure they are thoroughly “child-proof”. This process also ensures the ‘hub’ is safe, comfortable and that any breakables are stowed away.
Flexible child care
Littlehubs aims to bring families together to share their child care needs.“It does take some initial adjustment and pre-planning,” said Anka, “but I found once my ‘hub’ was established it provided my family with the flexibility to return to work in a way that suited us all.”
She continued: “The major benefit for mums is that the children are cared for in smaller groups, receiving a personalised service and more one-on-one time. The carers build a relationship with both you and your child and seeing a familiar face each time is always comforting for children. It’s also a great option for parents who work irregular hours, when most traditional day care centres close their doors.”
Ideal for before and after school care
The flexibility and ease of Littlehubs, also makes it a great option for before and/or after school care. Programs hosted by schools are often limited, and kids sometimes see it as an enforced extension of the structured school day. With Littlehubs, care takes place in a relaxed at-home environment, thus limiting stressful drop-offs and pick-ups.
Carers can take care of getting the kids to and from school, and they can even help with homework and housework. Again, the cost of a Littlehubs before and after school carer can be shared between families who form the ‘hub’, making it an affordable option for parents with working days that don’t fit in with school hours (which, let’s face it, is most of us!).
How much is it?
Littlehubs is currently running a trial in the Sutherland Shire whereby families can receive care for $8.00 per hour – heavily discounted from the usual price.
And, while Littlehubs does not qualify for government child care rebates, a full capacity ‘hub’ with three or four children, can still work out more cost effective than fully subsidised traditional child care options.
Find out more
Littlehubs is currently seeking expressions of interest from families in the Sutherland Shire wishing to take advantage of its child care sharing model for either day care or before and after school care.