Benefits for Stay at Home Parents in Australia
Parenting is one of the most important jobs a person can ever have, and choosing to be a stay at home parent can be an extremely meaningful and rewarding experience. The benefits of stay at home parenting in Australia are many and varied; however, there can be a number of drawbacks involved as well. If you are considering taking the plunge into stay at home parenting, first make sure that you know exactly what you’ll be getting yourself in for; here are some pros and cons.
The Australian Government provides a number of financial benefits to parents who stay at home with kids, so make sure that you are getting all of the help you are entitled to. Here are a few of the benefits you may be eligible for.
- Parental Leave Pay – This benefit is available to parents of a newborn or newly adopted child, and provides assistance for up to 18 weeks. A work and means test is required in order to determine eligibility, as well as to calculate the level of assistance you will receive.
- Family Tax Benefit Part B – After the Parental Leave Pay period has expired, parents in single income families can apply for this benefit scheme. To be eligible you need to spend at least 35% of your time caring for your child, with the level of assistance you receive dependent on your current family income.
- Schoolkids Bonus – If you home school your child you may be eligible for financial assistance under this program. To qualify, your child needs to be of primary or secondary school age and registered with the appropriate education authorities. This payment must go towards school related expenses, however, art, music and sports are all considered relevant school related costs.
- Single Income Family Supplement – If yours is a single income family earning between $68,000 and $150,000 per year, you may be eligible for this one-time payment if you have at least one dependent child. The main purpose of this benefit is to offset the impact on everyday expenses caused by the Carbon Tax.
- Carer Allowance – If your child has a disability or medical condition requiring constant care, staying at home to care for them may mean you are eligible for a Carer Allowance. Even if your child needs to spend time in hospital or you need to take time away from caring from them, you may still be eligible for assistance through the Carer Allowance program.
Establish a Stronger Bond with your Child
Your child’s early years are an extremely important time of their life, as this is when they will begin to form views of themself as well as those of the world around them. Being a stay at home parent allows you to develop a stronger bond with your child during these crucial formative years, enabling you to establish a solid relationship with your child that will last throughout their entire life.
Enjoy a Flexible Schedule
Being a stay at home parent is an extremely busy job, but one of the biggest benefits of the role is that you have a lot of flexibility when it comes to your daily schedule. While some elements of your day will be decided for you, such as times for meals, naps and diaper changes, you will enjoy a huge amount of flexibility when it comes to things like scheduling meetings, appointments or even trips to the beach.
Aid your Child’s Development
Your child will enjoy far more support and attention with you at home than they would if placed in child care, enabling them to feel more confident and valued, and making it easier for them to learn and develop. Numerous studies have shown that children which stay at home with parents develop faster than those who spend their early years in the care of others.
Save Money on Child Care
The cost of child care in Australia can be incredibly expensive, so unless you are lucky enough to find a job that comes with child care benefits, you will save a small fortune by choosing to stay at home and care for your child yourself.
It Can Harm Your Career
Being a stay at home parent can seriously impact your career, as while you are at home caring for your child your industry competitors will be working their way up the corporate ladder and leaving you behind. Some industries in Australia are so competitive that you simply can’t afford to take time off, so unless you are already well established in your career, having a go at stay at home parenting may be detrimental to your career.
You May Feel Isolated
The vast majority of Australians develop their friendships through their places of work, meaning that those who choose to become stay at home parents often struggle to make new friends and are left feeling isolated as a result. While there are many ways that stay at home parents can overcome this isolation, unless they are being proactive, isolation can quickly lead to depression, seriously impacting the quality of child care they are able to provide.
It’s an Undervalued Job
Despite being an extremely important role, stay at home parenting is one of Australia’s most unappreciated and undervalued jobs. To do well in this role you will need to get by without much in the way of thanks or recognition, as only you and your little one will ever really know just how much time and effort you put into your work.
You’ll Have a Seriously Reduced Income
Choosing to become a stay at home parent in Australia will often mean a significant reduction in your family income. Regardless of the government financial assistance you may be eligible for, it will rarely equate to what you could make from a full-time job. Unless you have a partner bringing in a sizeable income you may need to significantly tighten your belt in order to make ends meet, as the cost of raising a family in Australia can be quite expensive indeed.