Meet Brighton dad Tim Wise. He really is wise because he is helping to solve our unaffordable childcare problems. Tim was struggling to find childcare for his son and noticed many mums and bubs groups gathering at parks and cafes. He thought about how much easier it would be if these groups worked together – if each parent took a turn in looking after the children on a rotating cycle in the privacy of their own homes. It would free up the others to work, study or simply have time to themselves and also save lots of money to help pay mortgages.
After thinking about the concept for many years and seeing no real change in the childcare industry, Tim decided to take a leap of faith and do something about it by creating his app KidNest, which he will be launching soon.
Firstly Tim, tell us a little bit about yourself and your son.
At a young age, I went to live in the UK to race cars as I wanted to be a F1 driver. However, when the funds dried up and the dream went out the door, I moved onto journalism. Spanning over 10 years, I covered all the major war zones. My focus was on child soldiers in Africa and I went on to make numerous documentaries; one of them being the ABC TV documentary ‘Child Soldiers’. I filmed in places like Bosnia, Iraq, Sudan, Southern Sudan, East Timor, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Assam far East India and Somalia. I also directed a documentary ‘Soldiers of Peace’, which Hollywood actor Michael Douglas narrated.
After returning to Australia, I moved into reality TV and have been producing the hit show ‘The Block’ – now in its 14th season. My son Zac is 10 years old and being a single dad, I get to spend every other week with him. He has taken up tennis and we play together weekly at Elsternwick Tennis Club. I also started playing again as I don’t want him to beat me until he is at least 18. It’s a great way for me to stay fit and spend quality time with Zac. I said to him that the day he beats me; he gets some cash… so it’s game on!
Where did the inspiration come from for KidNest?
The main inspiration came from speaking to young parents about the KidNest idea and receiving positive feedback. I continued to move forward, building on ideas and taking it a step further each time. I got to the point of no return when I put in quite a substantial amount of money to get KidNest off the ground.
So how does KidNest work?
KidNest connects like-minded parents living in the same neighbourhood, who agree to help look after each other’s children on a rotating cycle. By forming various ‘Nests’ in their own homes, parents are connecting and supporting each other. Also, creating a reliable and robust roster system. The old saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ is all about recognising parenting as a shared responsibility and that is what KidNest is all about.
An ideal Nest has five families and each parent minds the Nest for one day and frees up the other four days of the week to do whatever they want. The easy-to-use app will allow parents to register in their local community where they have the ability to connect with other locals. They meet several times, then inspect each other’s homes and then decide if they want to create a ‘Nest’ together. The App guides the parents along the way and is very easy to use.
How will I know my kids are safe in the Nest?
KidNest has an extensive safety screening process that every family must go through when signing up. Each parent, family member or minder that will be involved in a Nest must have a Working with Children Check and Volunteer Police Check. Further security checks can also be requested by individual Nests. Anyone who signs up to KidNest will also agree to implement safety standards in their homes and your child’s location is always trackable while they are at another Nest. We also offer educational modules that the parents can download. These modules have been designed by Childcare experts and will help parents teach the children in the Nest.
Apart from having the money to pay the App development company, it’s all about the ‘User Journey’ – how the parent uses the App and how to make it as simple as possible and not confusing, which is pretty hard and very time consuming. We have been designing the App now for over a year.
We’re sure parents will be keen to get involved. When can we expect the full launch of the app?
The App is now in its final stages of development and being tested by a group of trial parents who are loving it and the feedback has been incredible. It’s allowing mums and dads to get time off and also save lots of money. From speaking with many mums and dads it’s going to be a real life changer in terms of cost savings and more importantly – getting mums back into the work force.
We will be doing more trials and when the App is ready, there will be a soft launch – word of mouth and building several Nests around local communities. Once we get to a certain number of Nests in Melbourne, there will be public launch through TV, Print and social media. It’s very exciting times ahead.
Back to parenting, what’s your favourite family friendly spot to grab a bite around town?
As Baysiders, we really enjoy the Pantry in Church Street, Brighton. Not only is the food delicious but staff always arm Zac with a tin of crayons and drawing paper as long as the table!
Any funny parenting stories?
I bought myself an electric bike and Zac and I go bike riding on weekends. The first time we went out, we rode from Port Melbourne to Brighton – quite the distance for an 8-year-old! Silly daddy forgot that he didn’t need to pedal. Zac stopped his bike and started crying as he was so tired. The poor kid now calls my electric bike the ‘Daddy Cheating Bike’ and YES he is right!
Finally you’re currently setting up a trial in Bayside. How can parents get involved?
We are looking for Bayside parents with pre-school aged children who would like to help us on our journey. The feedback has been incredible so take a little step forward and be involved in KidNest.
Bayside parents will be founding members and the first in history to trial and participate in what will change the landscape of childcare forever!
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