By Andrew McKaysmith, Synod Writer and Content Creator.
For children raised on a remote property far from metropolitan services, life entails spending long days alongside their parents, joining them in their daily tasks and activities.
The Lyons family has taken a different approach by enlisting the assistance of an Educator through Uniting In-Home Care.
Kirsty Lyons and her husband run a cattle station around two and a half hours west of Townsville. She said they started looking for an extra set of hands during her pregnancy.
“We’re eligible for the childcare subsidies, and I had an eye on what would happen when I had to return to work,” she said.
“Finding an Educator was the most challenging aspect. It’s hard to find people who want to live out this way.”
Adding to the list of challenges to address, making life as enjoyable as possible for an Educator became a priority. Despite residing in the Australian bush, there are ample opportunities for socialising and feeling integrated into daily routines.
Kirsty said the previous Educator used to go to rodeos and campdraft events.
“They’ve got to embrace life on a property,” she said.
“We include the Educator in farm activities as much as we can. If my husband heads out to the paddock, he’ll bring the Educator and the children, ensuring everyone is actively engaged. For instance, if they’re collecting cattle in the truck, he’ll make an effort to involve the Educator and the kids.”
For the children, having an Educator means another friend, much more fun, and playtime.
Kirsty also noted that this approach allows her children to engage in and learn from activities she might be too occupied to manage.
“When you have an Educator, they can actually educate the kids, doing specific activities,” she said.
“For example, currently, the kids are enjoying activities like playing with magnetic toys, building towers, and tending to toy farm animals in a sandbox. I may not have had the time or energy to set up these activities if I were alone.”