Interview with Andrea Michelle, owner of Fox in Flats
If there is one industry in Australia that continues to be in high demand, it’s child care. Cost of living is now higher than ever so it is becoming more and more common that both parents in the family need to go back to work to meet financial commitments. And if they are at work then they need somewhere safe and secure to care for their children. This is a trend that has been building steadily and is expected to continue leaving countless opportunities for those who are passionate about a career in the field.
Today we are chatting to Andrea Michelle of the popular blog for mums, Fox in Flats, about her experiences with child care. Andrea is a mum of two and one time corporate vixen who did everything in heels.
Andrea has had experience putting her two babies in child care and gives us a wonderful insight into what the experience is like for the parent as well as what she looks for in a child care facility - something so important for both current and future child care workers to keep in mind.
One of the key areas that Andrea highlights for us is that there can be such guilt for the parents when leaving their children at child care. And this is obviously magnified if the child or children strongly resist the separation at drop off time. It is at this moment that an amazing child care worker really stands out.
She notes specifically that she “encountered lovely, warm-hearted people who showed such thoughtfulness and kindness to my children. Personally, encountering gentle souls like that was amazing.”
Andrea goes on to share how she loved seeing that special bond grow between her boys and their carers “so don’t be afraid to explore this with the children. It is your opportunity to be a positive impact on the life of a little person”.
She has 3 great tips for what to look for in a child care facility.
1 'Vibe' is SO important. You’ll feel whether a place is right for you and your family the minute you walk into a child care facility. If it feels like it’s the type of place where the environment complements the one you try to foster at home you’re on the money.
2 It’s important to see how the carers interact with the children and to observe how happy or otherwise the kids seem. Hearing a lot of laughter is GOOD!
3 And I always looked for centres with plenty of space for the little ones to run around, explore and that was set up for buckets of fun.
As Andrea says, the role of a child care worker has a huge impact on not only the children but the parents too. And if the industry continues to expand at its current rate, as projected, there will continue to be countless opportunities for workers to continue studies, expand their skills and work their way up the industry career ladder. At present, roles for Diploma holders, the second tier training level after the mandatory Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care stage, currently stand more difficult to fill. The industry is crying out for leaders and career professionals.
Andrea wraps up her advice for us beautifully. We are so fortunate to get some wise words from a mum we know and trust.
As a child care worker understanding that leaving a child in the hands of someone else, especially for the very first time, is critical. “In this instance, expect tears, and offer tissues”.
“Be open and honest about the child’s day and please tell us what they did that day.” Even though this is often documented in a book somewhere it is nice to get that one on one feedback with an anecdote or two. It builds a relationship between the parent and the worker which goes such a long way to providing comfort to the family.
Because as parents “we like to get to know you – it makes us feel more comfortable to get a glimpse inside your life”. Although jokes about the “big party weekend” you just had should stay between you and your friends. As Andrea says “No one likes to think that the person looking after their child might be nursing a hangover.”
The biggest take home here for us all is to remember that the role of the child care worker has a big impact on the parent as well as the child. And with the industry facing such a period of growth and vitality, opportunity certainly awaits the dedicated.