Busting the myths about before and after school care (so you can drop the guilt)

 Jenny Henderson Tue 1 May 18


How much fun is mum guilt, said no parent ever! Yes, #mumguilt is a real thing. It starts pretty much the moment you pop out your first baby and seemingly NEVER ENDS.

In the early days, it was all about the usual suspects; breast versus bottle, dummy versus no dummy, puree versus baby led weaning to solid foods. So many things to feel guilty about, so little time. You would think however those things would improve as you wound your way further down the parenting path? You’d be wrong. Older kids bring a whole new world of decision-making, including what kind of care arrangements you need to make and whether they are going to be the right this for your child.

Whether you’re a working or studying parent or have younger children/other commitments, using before and/or after school care seems like a necessary part of life. It can mean a return to work or study is actually possible. Yet the #mumguilt remains.

Isn’t it high time that we dropped that guilt? Not only is it completely unwarranted, it’s also exhausting! We spoke to the experts at Big Fat Smile, the not-for-profit, community-owned and industry leader for child education, care and recreation services. Big Fat Smile helped bust some of the myths about before school, after school and vacation care that can perpetuate mum guilt and to ultimately put parents at ease about finding care support.

Myth One – Before and after school care is unstructured and boring to kids
Fun Clubs have become a stepping-stone that prepares kids for life and beyond. At Fun Club kids enjoy developing life-long relationships and a sense of belonging in their local community. The term program is designed for children with a range of engaging activities including a large variety of sport, art and music experiences with our Residencies program. The Fun Clubs all offer a two-week action packed school holiday program, tailored to suit each location and include excursions and fun-filled activities that the kids really love.

Myth two – My kids will struggle with their homework if I’m not around
All Fun Clubs have supported homework sessions as part of their weekly routine, which means that support is available to help kids get their work done, with plenty of expert input from professional and dedicated educators. Handing over long division to the experts? Yes please!

Myth three – Before and after school care (and vacation care) is unregulated and I’m not sure of the staff qualifications
Big Fat Smile is all about providing the highest quality care to the community. All Fun Club services are guided by the school-age care framework for Australia, developed as part of the Australian Government’s National Quality Framework. The framework helps care services to develop opportunities for school-aged children to participate in leisure and play-based activities that respond to their needs, interests and choices. Big Fat Smile’s Fun Clubs ensure that all interests and abilities are catered for with their programs, so much so that The Australian Children’s Education and Care Authority has rated 100% of their Fun Clubs as exceeding the National Quality Standard. All Fun Club Educators have Working With Children Checks and undergo regular training.

Myth four – My child doesn’t have any classmates who attend before school, after school and/or vacation care. Won’t they be lonely?
Big Fat Smile employs professional, dedicated educators to support your child to develop their identity. Educators are skilled in helping kids form new friendships while activities are developed to engage a range of different interests so that all kids can find something they enjoy doing (and some kindred spirits along the way).

Myth 5 – Isn’t Fun Club just an after school thing?
Not at all! Big Fat Smile’s Fun Clubs operate from as early as 6.30am in the morning and provide kids with a healthy breakfast menu and plenty of activities to engage them before the bell rings. In all 14 Fun Clubs, healthy menus are co-designed through their research with the University of Wollongong, which promotes healthy eating habits at the start of each day!

Myth 6 – Isn’t Fun Club expensive?
Big Fat Smile is an approved care provider, which actually means families can claim for care and can have the daily fee subsidised. This subsidy is currently known as the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and the Child Care Rebate (CCR). As of July 2018 families will need to complete an online Child Care Subsidy (CCS) assessment using your Centrelink online account. For more information visit the Department of education and training website here.

Don’t just take our word for it though! Check out what parents had to say about using the service:

“My boys LOVE after school care with Big Fat Smile’s Fun Club - sometimes they tell me I’m too early to pick them up as they often get so involved in all the activities, games, sports and crafts on offer, that they don’t actually want to leave. As a working parent juggling child care and owning my own business, to know they are so well cared for, having fun and expanding their knowledge (my oldest teaches me to play card games he has learned from after school and vacation care!), is just wonderful.” Jen 

Just an FYI, this post was written in collaboration with and sponsored by Big Fat Smile. Find more about your local Fun Clubs by clicking here.



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