Archive for Caring for the Caregiver

Is There Anything Good About Childcare?

Is there anything good about childcare?

Is there anything good about childcare? There are so many hidden benefits to quality childcare. It’s a true gift.

If you want to find anything negative about childcare, it’s easy to find. When something bad happens in a childcare setting, it’s plastered all over the news and everyone jumps on that like white on rice. No one even gives the provider a second thought. All we hear is CRUCIFY, CRUCIFY, CRUCIFY! Truth is, even though some bad things happen, and that is super heart breaking, there is a whole lot of good things going on in childcare as well.

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What Do You Do On a Really Bad, No Good Day?

Everyone has a really bad, no good day sometimes. Have you ever read the book about Alexander’s? I love it. It helps us to see that bad days aren’t wrong and the people having them aren’t bad. Sometimes people just feel bad for some reason. Sometimes we are just tired or even burned out. Click here to see how to avoid burnout.

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Must Haves for Childcare Taxes

childcare taxes, must have items to do them right

There are a few things that can make tax time a lot easier for a childcare provider. Childcare taxes are fairly complicated and involved, but you can do them with no problem if you have a few tools to help you along the way. If you ever have any tax questions, I highly recommend visiting Tom Copeland’s very helpful website. He’s a tax advocate for childcare providers and he knows what’s what! If you get into a sticky situation like an audit, he’ll even help you get through that. Click here to visit his site. 

Any post on this blog may contain affiliate links which pay me a very small commission for items you purchase using the links but costs you nothing extra. I can help defray a small percentage of the cost of producing the blog to share information with you.

If you break down the tax situation, you’ll be able to handle it little by little. Tom’s “Family Childcare Record Keeping Guide”  is a great resource to help you out with getting organized. I have learned so much from reading Tom’s books!

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Eat Healthy AND Save Money!

Is it possible to eat healthy and save money? I hear people say all the time, it’s expensive to eat well. There are many reasons why it’s much less expensive to eat high quality, nutritious food. Let me show you a new way of looking at it.

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How to Throw a Valentine Party for Very Young Kids

Throwing parties for kids should be as simple as possible. A valentine party is no exception. The easier you make it on yourself, the more fun you can have. We do very simple little parties at Little Sprouts because it makes it so much more fun!

I go easy on the decorations and focus on what we are going to do. I ask each family to bring a treat to share. That takes care of the snacks and I don’t have to cook for days. Another reason to let kids bring the treats is because this is another great way to get parents involved in the daycare. Parent involvement is a big key to a successful childcare business. Click here to see more ways to get parents involved.

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Mom, You Rock! 11 Ways to Stay Awesome!

This isn’t what I signed up for. Motherhood is not what I expected. Being a mom is much harder than I ever dreamed. Are those thoughts that have run through your mind? I think all parents have thought about this a time or two in their life. It seems like we know everything about parenting until…we try to do it.

Being a mom is hard

Motherhood is not pretty. It’s not for the weak. It’s not for the faint of heart. Motherhood is the toughest job you’ll ever love. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do. Phases pass, but each one brings a new set of challenges you never thought possible.

Motherhood is also the greatest blessing, the most indescribable thing. You can’t understand until you’re a mom, but it’s like the Grinch, your heart grows sizes. It does, I swear. There is no way to fathom how much you can love until you hold your child.

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How to Make Payment Policies for Childcare

Payment policies for childcare, family chilcare, home daycare

Payment policies are super important. It’s even more important to set your payment policies BEFORE you need them. You and everyone you are serving in your business needs to have a good idea of what to expect from the business relationship. You as the provider are in charge of this business and you are the one who can make it a success or a failure.

The number one thing I see providers doing is not running their childcare like a business. Providers, in their nature are lovers and givers. They are big-hearted people who want to help people. If you give people discounts because you feel sorry for them and then you can’t pay your bills, who are you helping? That’s not good for that family because you as a stressed-out provider who can’t pay her bills, are not going to be giving your best in care for their children. Payment policies will help with this tremendously.

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Starting Over

Sometimes we need to start over, sometimes we want to, sometimes it's out of our control but growth is good!

Starting over sucks. BUT, new beginnings can be a time of fresh rejuvenation and sweet sweet renewal. There is always a silver lining in every situation even when it doesn’t feel like it. Did you lose your job? Did your blow your diet? Did your marriage or relationship fall apart? Did you face a health crisis? All of those things can seem like life threatening things, but guess what? They aren’t.

There are so many times in life when it feels like we can’t go on with the changes we face. It’s okay to stare down the dark hallway of despair and be afraid. What we can’t do is stay there. You can’t let your situation keep you stuck forever. What can you do to pick yourself up and try again? Isn’t it too hard?

You are the most valuable asset in your life.

Remember that YOU are the most valuable asset you have. Do you feel worthless because someone said you are or because you lost a job or made a mistake? Do you feel like no one will ever love you? I have felt that way many times, but that is a LIE! You can be your worst enemy or your best asset. If you make a mistake at work, guess what? Everyone does. There are plenty of skills and talents you have to offer. I don’t know you but I KNOW that God didn’t make a mistake when He made you. He has a plan and a purpose for your life. If someone told you that you’re nothing without them, guess what? They are a big fat liar and you don’t need friends like them. You are NOT unlovable. God loves you. He made you and He delights in you.

New beginnings in life.

Not ever situation is as bad as it looks.

Think about the presidency. We have a new president-elect. He may not be the nicest person or the best choice for our country, but we can look at the good in him and be excited that we are starting over. He knows how to handle money. He cares about America and wants it to be great. He is going to do the job for free and save us a few bucks. Do I think there is a crap ton wrong with him? Heck yes!

When I found out he was elected, I was devastated. Crushed really. I don’t like a whole big lot of what he stands for and I’m scared about the future and what will happen. I also didn’t think we had better choices. But guess what? The president is not all powerful, the congress, supreme court, and states have power too. He doesn’t get to tell us how to treat people. We can still show respect and kindness. There are many good things we could find in our scary situation.

I think it’s a call to action for us to make sure we spread love and joy in this country. We need to start doing it double time now!

Look at the good in your situation.

Your life changes can be like this. There may be a crap ton that is bad about them, but there are also good sides to every situation. About 15 years ago, my husband got fired from his job. He makes the majority of the income for our family. I make nearly nothing. We were in a real pickle. We had a house payment, car payment, and tons of other payments along with utilities, food and supplies to pay for. Guess what else? We survived.

When it first happened, I thought I was going to die. I was so afraid. But God reminded me that He will never leave me. Guess what? Through a series of events, he got a job doing what he’d ALWAYS wanted to do. He hated what he did at that job. Even though he’d been there 10 years and got fired on his birthday, it was still a relief to get the heck out of there. He is a good man and just went to work to take care of his family. He never complained.

Yellow Swallowtail Butterfly

Starting over is hard.

Every cloud has a silver lining. Starting over is HARD, I know it is. But it’s good to clean out your heart and mind sometimes and make a fresh new beginning.

Over 20 years ago, my family moved to the town we live in. We had grown up on the other side of the state. It was comfortable and familiar. We moved here so my husband could do an internship to finish college. Our theme for the first year was, “nothing good ever happens in this town”. We said it all the time. We hated it here. It was painful. But it wasn’t long before we found things and people we loved. I can’t imagine moving away from here, I love my city, my state and my country. A new beginning was necessary for us to build our life here.

When someone dies or leaves, when someone doesn’t want to by my friend anymore, when I lose something I love or care about or when I have to take another path, it hurts. It hurts in a way it feels like it will never stop. It takes time to process this. Give yourself a break if you have trouble focusing or doing everything right for a while. Love yourself anyway.

Love yourself.

Forgiving ourselves for our mistakes is often the very hardest part of making it through a change. But forgiveness of ourselves or others is paramount for living the best life we were meant to live. God doesn’t want you to live a life of anger, bitterness or fear. He wants you to thrive. He wants you to depend on him 100%. He wants you to love Him. He wants to give you good things.

God has a plan for you. It’s for something good. He doesn’t give crappy gifts. He doesn’t make crappy people. If you are down on yourself or something about you, you are dissing what He made and He doesn’t like it. Get after living a life of love. Love for yourself. If you are facing a situation where you have to start over, look that sucker in the eye and do it. It’s okay to lament for a while. Even feeling sorry for yourself is okay. You just can’t live there forever.

microgreens sprouting

Look at yourself.

If everyone around you is wrong and a big loser, maybe you need to look at yourself and see what you could change. Maybe you’re the one with the problem. Starting over is something everyone has to do. We have to get used to something being different than it was. We have to make a new normal. Let it be one that is better for you. You can live a fuller, happier life if you face the changes and embrace them.

Life is not easy, not one bit. But you can do this. You’ve got everything it takes to thrive. Believe in yourself and you’ll be on the path to a better life in no time. God’s got your back and He won’t ever let you down. He’s a good good God.

Do you want to read some other real cool new beginnings that will encourage you? Click on the links highlighted below. You’ll love them!


Contracts and Policies for Childcare

Contracts and policies are so important for your childcare business. If you don’t treat your business like a business, it will not run as well as it should and you will probably end up burning out. If you are having trouble establishing your paperwork for your business, read on and find out how to develop it in a systematic and simple way.

Contracts deal with time and money, policies are rules about other things. Contracts must be signed if you change any part of them, policies can be changed as you wish. The contract is a legal binding document, the policies just help spell out expectations. Tom Copeland has some great advice on writing a contract, click here to check it out.

Let’s start with contracts and handle policies next.

What does your childcare contract need to cover?

Your business rules can be whatever you want them to be with the exception of any type of discrimination. Think about what is most important to you and set your business up with those rules. Click here to see what many seasoned childcare providers think are the most important rules.

Your contract should state your name, the parent’s names and the children’s names childcare is being provided for.

Your contract should state the days and hours you are open and which of those hours care is available for this family. Some providers are open something like 12 hours a day, but only watch each child for a certain number of hours such as 9.

Your contract should state any holidays you will be taking and whether they are paid or not. It should also include vacation days for you and whether those are paid or not. It’s a good idea to get paid for some of your days off if not all of them. Most parents have paid holidays, why shouldn’t you? 

The contract should state what parents owe you. Weekly fees, field trip fees, art fees, transportation fees or whatever fees you are going to charge need to be outlined in the contract. It should also state when they are to pay you. I allow parents to choose their paydays for me but they have to stick to those days. There is no saying, I want to pay once a month and then coming in and saying, I’m going to pay for this week. We have to sign a new contract and AGREE that we are changing payment dates.

Your contract SHOULD state that parents have to pay a week in advance for care. You should stick to this rule, it will save you so much trouble in the future.

Your contract should state what parents are responsible to provide and what you provide. My contract says parents are responsible for diapers, wipes and a change of clothes.

Your contract should introduce your substitute and for what situations that person would be left in charge of the kids. No one should come to pick up and find someone they don’t know watching their children. 

The contract should state how the care provided will end. My contract states that two weeks’ notice is required to terminate it. Parents are responsible for paying for two weeks if they decide not to finish care. My contract also states that the first two weeks are a trial period for parents, provider and child. That way if I decide a family is not a good fit for my business, the contract will end.

Your contract should state that you are a mandated reporter of suspected child abuse and sex trafficking behaviors. This is something that should be handled up front and having it in your contract is a great way to get it out there.

Discrimination-make sure you state you do not discriminate for any reason and make sure you don’t. It’s not okay to choose clients by race, sex, religion, national origin, or disability. This is illegal. My contract states, children will not be discriminated against for any reason.

It’s a good idea to disclose something that may be of concern to parents. My DHS worker suggested I disclose our pets and our religious beliefs. I think this is a very wise idea. We always have cats, so the interview is a good time to talk about that in case someone has a child that is allergic to cats. I have watched children of pagan parents, atheist parents, and agnostic parents. I am a Jesus loving Christian but I disclose that in my contract so no one is taken by surprise. You would be amazed at how well we worked it out. I told them up front we pray, the kids learn about God and Jesus, etc. They were fine with it and dealt with it in their own way at home.

Being open and honest is the best policy in any situation. If your husband is at home 24/7 and helps with the daycare, parents have a right to know that. If he works odd hours and sleeps during the day, they should know that too. If you have grown kids that visit or live in the home, have a friend over to visit, or anything like that, it’s important to disclose it. Anything you think might be of importance to a parent, it’s best to let them know up front.

Signatures should be on the contract, both of the parents if possible and yours.

Please make sure you don’t include rules in your contracts and policies that you are not willing to enforce. What this does is show parents you are not serious about any of your rules. If you’re not willing to make people pay a late fee, take it out of the contract. The things in the contract should be very serious and always enforced.

Keep your contract as short as possible. Parents are much more likely to read a shorter contract and to pay attention and take notice of what is mentioned there. Policies should be as short as you can make them as well.

Contracts and policies have similar purposes, but some differences. The remaining items you want to communicate to parents will be in your policies.

Does your state have any rules about what has to be included in your policy book? In Oklahoma, we do. Click here to see the requirements and a sample of my policy book.

Some of the things childcare policies should include are:

Discipline and guidance procedures.

Procedures for the day. Let parents know anything about how you run the business that would be of importance to them. You can’t expect them to always have their child their by 9 am if you don’t let them know that is your rule.

Your outdoor play policy. I take the kids outside to play, weather permitting, any time it’s between 40 and 90 degrees, that is in my policy book. Also, kids get dirty here. We garden, we play hard, it’s a dirty job to be a kid. So, I let people know that in advance.

Your daily schedule or activities kids will participate in regularly.

Your inclement weather policies. How do you deal with dangerous weather? Do you close on snow days? Parents need to know what to expect.

Your training and education.

Emergency contact numbers.

What are the reasons you would chose to terminate care? Those should be explained in your policies.

Emergency and disaster plans should be in your policies as well. Parents should be informed on what procedures you will take in caring for their child should a disaster or emergency occur. Where might you relocate to? Where will you shelter? What supplies do you have in place for children’s safety?

I have a form at the end of my policies for parents to sign they have read and understand the policies. I feel that covers me from any extra problems later with someone saying, I didn’t know anything about that.

What do you do if someone does not want to follow your contract and policies? This is a big indicator that your business relationship with this person is not going to work out. You need to tell them it’s not a good fit and you cannot provide care for them. If they cannot agree to your rules, they will not respect your business and the way you run it. It will not turn out well, I promise.

Making sure your business is being run like one will help you gain respect and appreciation from your parents. Having contracts and policies in place will show families you are serious and want to give high quality care to their kids. If you act professionally and show your parents respect, they are much more likely to respect you. If you are giving and receiving respect from your parents, you are much less likely to burn out and hate this job. You will enjoy your work and be successful. That’s what I’d really like to see for everyone.

Feel free to ask any questions and I’ll answer them if I can. I’d love to help you make sure your business is all it can be. Let your contract and policies work for your business and you!

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