Only one in five parents want their children to be looked after fulltime in childcare facilities, a survey for the Iona Institute has found.
The socially conservative think tank found 45% of parents would prefer their pre-school children to be looked after by a parent at home, while the remainder wanted a grandparent to look after them.
David Quinn, the institute’s director, said it was evidence that the Government’s focus on making childcare more affordable did not reflect parents’ priorities:
“I’d prefer to see something like the early childcare allowance that was abolished during the rule of the Troika,” he told The Pat Kenny Show.
“So you have child benefit for children up to 18.
“Then you have this early childcare allowance for children up to the age of six.
“And similar benefits exist in countries like Norway and Finland and are super popular.
“They also have excellent day care systems but they don’t pick and choose in the same way our Government seems to want to pick and choose.”
Mother to two Sinéad O’Moore and host of the podcast, Stretch Marks, has also been scoping out opinion on this issue among her listeners and similarly found that most parents did not want to work full-time while their kids are young:
“What came out was that they want a blend,” she recounted.
“This isn’t about ‘I want to fully stay at home.’ ‘I want to fully have my child in childcare all week long.’
“This will be about options and financial security and sense of self but also access to affordable childcare that suits modern life.”
It is a desire that she herself had when she went back to work:
“For instance, when I went back to work, three days a week my daughter was in childcare, one day a week with a grandparent, one day a week with me.
“And I felt like I was creating a blend that was a future sustainable for my career but also gave me the feeling that I am a mother - I want to be with my child.
“Also, on the grandparent issue; we can’t be expecting this aging generation to just take this childcare burden. They’ve done it!”
“Even if you want to be a stay at home parent, realistically 80% said it is not viable for one salary to support the family system.
“Two salaries is what is needed - but those two salaries don’t have to be full-time.”
Earlier this year Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told Newstalk that this year’s budget would see a “significant” change when it comes to state support for childcare - which he described as “very expensive”.
Main image: A child playing with trains.