Archive for Caring for the Caregiver

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!

starting-over

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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Making Gifts Look Amazing

Inexpensive, adorable gift wrap ideas!

Gifts look so much more special with some personal touches and cute wrapping. I am not the queen of cuteness when it comes to wrapping, but I found some great things to help me win this year.

christmas candy gifts

I love giving!

I LOVE giving. I love to give any time of the year to everyone. Gifts are my favorite part of Christmas. I love to help make people’s lives easier and more blessed through something I could make or buy for them. Christmas is a super fun time of year. I used to stress out about it, but I have learned to let old feelings go and make new traditions. I’ve learned to focus on time spent with loved ones and making memories and not on the hustle and the bustle and the people fighting over sales at the store.


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Christmas is what you make it.

Christmas just like any other day is what you make it. You can have the feelings you want by just adjusting where your focus is. If the giving stresses you out, cut your list down and simplify. If the cooking stresses you out, order some pizzas the day before and heat them up on Christmas. It’s a time for love and joy not perfection and stress.

pretty-christmas-wrapping

I LOVE rustic wrapping. Brown paper, twine, mason jars, raffia and other things that look like Laura Ingalls would have received her gift in them are really my cup of tea. I love coming up with great vintage looking wrappings for my gifts.

I also love cute shaped boxes. I love giving treats like a cupcake or cookies in a cute container that shares the Christmas spirit. Festive wrappings are the bee’s knees.

homemade gifts

Wrap according to your style.

Oriental Trading has great prices on their tissue paper, wrappings, and ribbons. I love using curly ribbon. It has a hundred uses and one roll will last forever. These rolls they have are 500 feet. It’s good quality ribbon for adorning your holiday packages in a ton of cute ways. Making curly bows, tying up packages, and even making hair bows for little girls are all great ways to utilize this stuff.

Oriental Trading Company offered me some Christmas wrap in exchange for my honest opinion about them on the blog. All opinions on the wrap are completely my own.

oriental-trading-wrap

Tissue paper can make your gifts shine too. I love to get a big multi pack of tissue and use it throughout the year. You can stuff it in your gift bags to make them look more festive. You can fluff it up in a basket to make your basket items at the right height or to keep them in place and add a pop of color. You can wrap an article of clothing in it inside your gift box. It’s super versatile.

Buy wrapping that can be used for many seasons.

I prefer gift wrapping supplies that can be used any season. I love taking a festive black and white polka dot paper and tying it with a big red bow to make it look Christmassy. You can use the same paper and tie it with a white bow for a men’s birthday gift earlier in the year. You can use the polka dot paper to wrap a child’s toy gift and make a bow out of multi colored curly ribbon that a child would love.

gift-wrap-for-many-seasons

Check out Oriental and all of the affordable gift wrapping options they have. There is tons of cute stuff there that can make wrapping your gifts and making them look special so much easier.

My daughter makes bows for packages from wrapping paper or even brown paper sacks. They are so cute, here is one she made for fall gifts. I love it! Click here to check them out.

upcycling gift bows

I love to use peach baskets that I buy my peaches in to make my gifts look old fashioned. They look so adorable all full of love and joy.

packaging laundry gift

Make your Christmas packages look extra special. 

It just takes a few minutes to make a package look extra special. An extra ribbon, some cute containers, or a pretty bow make your gifts look thoughtful and personal. Click here to see some more gift-wrapping ideas.

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.

Don’t forget to pin for later.

Inexpensive, adorable gift wrap ideas!

 

How Can I Be a GREAT Childcare Provider?

Would you love to know the magic formula for keeping daycare families and having a thriving home daycare or family childcare provider?

What’s the difference between a good provider and a great one? Great childcare is a blessing to families and it’s rare. How can you grow your business and cut down on stress in your life? What are you doing to make sure your business is successful in the future? Would you love to know the magic formula for keeping daycare families and having a thriving home daycare?

providing-great-childcare

Word of mouth is by far the most important part of growing a successful childcare business. What are people saying about the care you provide? Have you gone the extra mile to let parents know you love their kids? Do they know you care about them?


People often times ask me, what is your secret? Why do you never have openings? Why does everyone love you so much? What do you do differently? The honest truth is I don’t know what I do differently, I just know what I do. I use my instincts to be the best provider I can be. I care for my families, not just the kids. To me, the whole family needs me.

I try every day to provide great childcare. Some days I do and some days I suck. That’s no reason to stop trying. Parents need support and advice, older siblings need to know their little brother or sister is safe, and everyone needs to know you have their best interest at heart. 

how-to-provide-great-childcare

I hear providers all the time talking about how the kids aren’t the problem, the parents are. To some extent it’s true, but if you really care about your parents, they won’t be disrespectful to you. Parents know when their kids are getting great childcare and when they are not. You can really help yourself have easier days and help your reputation by being kind to your parents. I promise, it’s good business sense.

Parents are not out to get you; they only want the best for their kids. Be open and let them know that’s what you want too, and they will be on your side. Every day will be easier. Make sure you are up front with them. People can sense when you aren’t being genuine. No one likes being lied to. I have been a parent using childcare before and the most important thing to me was KNOWING my child was safe. My provider made sure I did and I never forgot that. Parents who are nervous or scared aren’t trying to be annoying, they need to be comforted by you as their provider. 

Also, please remember, if someone leaves or doesn’t chose the care you provide, it may just not have been a good fit. Not everyone is meant for everyone else. Different people have different ideas and procedures and that’s good because different families have different needs. All people have good inside but it doesn’t always match someone else’s good.

Here’s another big secret. As hard as I try to provide great childcare, NOT EVERYONE LIKES ME or the care i provide. They just don’t. Everyone won’t be a good fit no matter how hard you try or how much you care. Check out what a group of parents had to say about good childcare and great childcare.

great-childcare

According to parents surveyed a good provider is:

Reliable and on time

Trustworthy and honest

Follows rules

Takes care of kids

Provides food

Provides attention

Meets basic requirements

Has an illness policy

Does what they say they will

Likes children

Knows about child development

Helps kids mature as appropriate

Joyful and happy

Structured and has rules for children and families

Has a clean home

good-providergreat-provider

According to parents surveyed, a great provider:

Above all is honest with parents

Teaches manners and how to handle problems in a positive way

Serves quality meals (not just junk food)

Provides structure

Loves what they do

Knows how important the job is

Keeps kids safe, doesn’t put them in harm’s way

Is interested and committed to the profession

Stays informed on issues and regulations

Is educated

Values parents and children

Is involved with parents and invites parents to be involved in the program

Communicates, gives honest feedback, and empowers parents

Honors parental wishes and respects their decisions

Give opinions and advice when needed

Goes the extra mile

Loves kids like their own

Takes time to send pictures of kids at daycare

Talks to parents about their child’s day

Feels like leaving kids with family or friend

Puts kids before money (meaning, the kid’s needs are more important than the paycheck)

Doesn’t lie to please parents

Is constantly improving and learning

Develops a positive environment

Has a professional handbook

Knows DHS rules well and follows them

Nurtures children emotionally, nutritionally, socially, and academically

Only practices developmentally appropriate practice

Is strict with parents for the good of all children in care

Is an advocate for children both of the parent and the other kids in care

Sets consistent boundaries

Has compassion

Gives time to play

Communicates with parents to empower them

Is warm and welcoming in the mornings

Builds trust

Cares about cleanliness

Treats the job like it’s more than just a paycheck

It’s their calling to provide childcare

Has an even temperament

Is available to parents

One thing I would add that no one mentioned is a great provider can balance the parent’s needs with their own so they can support the whole family, not only the child in care. It takes a village.

chilcare-good-or-great

Deal breakers

Parents polled shared the following bad experiences that were deal breakers for childcare:

Kids weren’t safe

There was no outside play

There was no art

The TV was constantly on or kids watched TV all day

Provider played on phone all day

Environment was unclean

Environment was disorganized

Provider lied or was dishonest

Environment felt institutional

Children seemed unhappy

Parent didn’t think their children would fit in

Teachers seemed unhappy

Children were picked up with dried snot on their face, that no one had cleaned all day

Environment had odor of poopy diapers

Negative feedback was given daily

Provider seemed vague

 

No call, no show

Parents interviewed shared these reasons why they scheduled and interview and either didn’t hold it or chose not to use the provider after they showed up:

No sick policy was in effect, sick kids in one room, well in another

Provider insulting kids during interview

Parent found out personal info that made them uneasy

Outside of home needed general maintenance and upkeep, looked junky

Environment was not clean

Security seemed lacking

Provider seemed superficial or dishonest

 

Ladies (and gentlemen), the most popular complaint I hear and heard from parents is caregivers not being honest. They want to know the truth about how their kid’s day was, they want to know the truth when they ask you questions. If you did something wrong, fess up to it. People respect you so much more when they know you are truthful. You don’t want parents lying to you, so don’t lie to them. Respect goes both ways.

Parents also commented that many people think daycare is bad because some are bad but it’s not true. There are good providers, but it’s not what people focus on. People prefer to see the negative, it’s just human nature.

A provider’s point of view (previous childcare provider):

“The pay versus work doesn’t seem as great as parents think when they are paying it. You begin work before they do and end after they do. Not to mention that many things come out of that pay like food, art supplies, utilities, etc. It really has to be a calling. It has to be more than just a paycheck.”

That my friends, is truth! If you are struggling to fill spots or have a hard time figuring out what parents want, look over these lists occasionally and see if there is something you can change to make your business more successful. If you are going to be a childcare provider, it is the most important job in the world, be a great provider! If you don’t want to be a great provider, do something else. It’s not worth it.

Great providers are a gem, click here to see how to find a hidden jewel in a provider.

If you are worried that your home is not up to par, try going outside for a few minutes in the evening and then stepping in the door and taking a big whiff. If you smell foul odors, your parents do too. If you don’t know if your house looks clean enough, step out on the porch and look around what parents see as they arrive. Is there something you can put fresh paint on or a few nails that need to be hammered in? Is there anything attractive and nice to look at? As you come in the door is there filth and trash all over the greeting area? If you need to be a clutter bug, do it in the back room or your bedroom. Let your entry area be your best foot forward. It will make a world of difference, I promise.

I don’t have anything nice, and my house is not perfect, but I have had many people step in and say, it looks so clean. Make sure that’s what people see upon entry. If you don’t know, ask a friend to come over and look. They can tell you what people will notice that you don’t because you see it every day. A few minutes of tidying before you open will make a big difference. If you don’t want to get out the vacuum every night, get a cracker beater like they have in the church nursery and do a quick buzz by the front door each evening after care. Take pride in what you’re doing, you’re a WORLD CHANGER and anyone can be a great provider if they really care about what they’re doing.

What do you think makes a great provider?

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Would you love to know the magic formula for keeping daycare families and having a thriving home daycare or family childcare provider?

The Ultimate List of Christmas Gifts You Can Make Yourself

Do you love finding Christmas gifts you can make yourself? I do. I love the idea of giving something that I made with love. It’s a beautiful thing to put time and thought into your gift and your own energy from your own hands.

Here is a great list of things you can make yourself that your friends and family will love. 

Edible Gifts

Homemade Granola (kids can help with this one too!)


Soup Mixes in a Jar 

Monster Cookies

Cafe AuLait Mix

Cowboy Cookies in a Jar

Taco Seasoning Mix

Homemade Seasoning Mixes

Gifts You Can Sew (with free patterns)

Felt Christmas Tree Decorations

Bandana Bib

Poncho Shirt

Handmade gifts you can sew for Christmas

Espadrilles (Shoes!)

T-shirt Scarf

Gift Bag

Gifts for the Home

Repurposed Retro Office Chair

beforeandafter-, handmade Christmas gifts

Peppermint Candles

Birdseed Ornaments

Mason Jar Candles

Grapevine Wreath

Windowsill Herb Garden

homemade Christmas gifts

Cinnamon Scented Ornaments

Texture Painted Magnets (kids can make)

Wrapping Paper

Fabric Mache Bowl

Upcycled Hose Wreath

hose wreath for Gift

Mason Jar Gifts (Spice Jars, Lamps, Soap Pumps, etc)

Almond Extract

Vanilla Extract

Coiled Rope Baskets

Wooden Dominoes

handmade-christmas-2013-wooden-dominoes-tutorial

Beeswax Candles

Christmas Ornaments

wonder woman ornaments

Cookbook

Personal Gifts

Gift vouchers (with free printables)

Peppermint Winter Snow Body Scrub

Lip Balm

Honey and Oat Soap

Clay Essential Oil Diffuser Necklaces

diy-clay-essential-oil-necklaces-pin

Soap Pouch

Lemon Lime Bath Salts

Gilded Holiday Mug

Warm Vanilla Sugar Scrub

Personalized Books

Dotty Tote Bag

Infinity Scarf

Healing Salve

For the Kids

Story Blocks

Stilts

All Natural Playdough

natural-playdough-recipe

Take Along Finger Puppets with Stage

Velcro Dot Craft Sticks

Quiet Book

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Homemade Coloring Book

There are so many things you can make for others that show you love and care about them. Putting thought into homemade gifts you can make yourself makes the Christmas season or any time of giving a whole lot more personal and fun!

Don’t forget to pin for later.

the-ultimate-list-of-christmas-gifts-you-can-make-yourself

8 Rules You Should Have for Your Family Childcare Home

8 Rules You Should Have for Your Family Childcare Home

When you open a new family childcare business in your home, it’s hard to know what will work and what won’t. If you start your business and add rules, it’s much harder than beginning the business with your rules in place. You can have them already in your contract or policies depending on where they belong and you will save yourself a whole lot of headaches.

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Why Should You Be Prepared for Emergencies?

There are so many things that could happen in life. It is a great idea to be prepared for emergencies. Have you ever heard the term, luck favors the prepared? Do you know why people say that? It’s because when you have things in order for just in case times, they are easier for you.

When I think of prepping, I see images in my head of all kinds of zombie apocalypse preppers. I am not that hard core, but it definitely does not hurt to be prepared for emergencies. Think of all the things that can happen. If you are responsible for a group of kids like I am, it’s even more important to be prepared. 

Water failure

Your water can go off because the electricity goes out. It can go off because your well runs dry or gets contaminated. Your pump can go out. We are on city water here and we have water outages on occasion. The water quality can become undrinkable. There are any number of things that can go wrong with the system you have to get water.


Do you have a way to purify water for drinking should your house water be unusable? Do you have any water stored to flush the toilet with or drink if your water were to be out all day or even longer? Be sure to use food grade containers. Don’t use milk jugs because they degrade over time and cannot be sterilized completely. 

 

I have always had stored water on hand for emergencies and I have been able to use it when my water hose was broken to water my plants. I have also used it to help my mail carrier when her truck was overheating and she needed to fill it with water. It has come in handy multiple times, and if I ever had to evacuate for any reason, I could just grab it and go. Storing water is super important in being prepared for emergencies. Click here to learn more about how to store water for emergencies. 

emergency-water-be-prepared

Loss of electricity

Studies have shown the electric grid to be very vulnerable. I’m not a doom gloomer or naysayer, but I’d say having a total electric home like I do is cause for being prepared for power outages. We have them all the time here in Oklahoma because of our storms.

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If your power goes out in the heat of summer, how will you keep yourself cool with no fans or air conditioning? What about heat in the winter? Do you have candles you can light for lighting? Are your flashlights stocked with fresh batteries? Do you have a lantern? How can you cook or keep yourself warm?

Do you have a generator to keep your refrigerator and freezer from being off too long and losing all your food? Do you have a way to charge your phone? What about a weather radio to check on storms? Those are all good things to have. 


 

Evacuation Plan

If there was a flood in your area, do you know what to do? Do you have an evacuation plan for floods, fires, or other threats? You need to have a plan made with your family. I have a home daycare, so I have plans mapped out for my daycare kids as well. Recently, we had a flood here. During the flood, the levy at the end of my street that controls flood waters was breeched. The emergency preparedness workers for the city came to the door and said, the levy is breached, if it continues to fail any further, your house will be under water in a matter of minutes, you should have a plan. So I texted my kid’s parents and grabbed a bag and some supplies. I had bottles of water and granola bars at the ready, so I threw some of those in the bag. I added the kid’s information cards, all the cash I had in the house and my purse that has tons of important stuff.

The kids were evacuated by their parents, and family friends. We just had to walk along the yards up next to the houses down the street to the corner and they were picked up by various parties. One mom had her car flooded out and damaged on the way in when the waters rushed super high all at once, but other than that, no one was harmed. It was scary, but the levy held up. They filled the breech with sand bags and the water went down.

These are the times when I’m glad I have everything organized and at hand. I could have evacuated with the kids with what I had in my bag and been fine for the rest of the day. I could have thrown some clothes in a bag and relocated somewhere in no time.

Having a plan for emergencies

We have a plan for fires and the kids and I practice what to do. They know to get out, stay out, and don’t go back in. We know how to call 911. There is a place to meet and a plan to get there. They even know where to go if something happens to me during the fire. I prepare them for as much as I can. I hope they don’t ever need to know it, but if they do, it’s there.

We practice their phone numbers and parents’ names. I have had two children become lost with a parent or other family member and they were able to be reunited with their parents because they knew their names and phone numbers. You can never be too prepared for emergencies. One child that was three years old was separated from her parents at the zoo and the zoo security were able to find them because she knew their names. Another child who was 2 went to another town on a field trip with an uncle and was forgotten there. He found a mom with small children, just like I had taught him and told her he was lost. She got the police and they were able to call his mom because he knew her phone number. It’s never too early to teach your children. Never.

Plans for storms

Where we live in Oklahoma, we have tornados and thunderstorms. We practice our tornado drills monthly. Recently we had a tornado enter our town and it got real in here. I had to throw all the kids in the bathtub in the middle of nap. During my 21 years of childcare, we have only had to take cover 3 times, and this was the closest it ever was. Usually I am not scared, I’m used to tornado warnings, but this time was a little unnerving.

Right now is a good time to think about storms in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. I know it’s on all of our minds because of what’s happening there.

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Even though earthquakes are not storms, we need a plan for being prepared for those as well, don’t forget about that. Click on the link below to view our disaster plans for Little Sprouts. business-policies-other

Accidents

What would you do if you broke your arm and couldn’t do your job? Do you have sick leave from work? Do you have back up help if you have a home daycare that can help you if you break your foot or something and can no longer care for the kids for a short amount of time? What do you do to prepare for emergencies?

Loss of employment

If you suddenly lost your job, do you have savings to cover your expenses when you don’t have income coming in? You should have 3-6 months’ worth of income saved for an interruption in paychecks. Do you have that? How could you start working toward that? Do you have supplies stored for times when income is lean? I always have food stored. I have a phobia about not being able to feed my kids, so I always buy food in bulk and have things on hand just in case.

Illness

What if you were to become super sick, do you have soup and crackers on hand to help nurse yourself back to health? I think it’s a good idea to store supplies for sicknesses, such as those things as well as diarrhea medicine, fever reducer, etc. I had a friend one time who was super sick and had to go to the store and get her own supplies. She threw up right in the grocery line while she was buying it. Thank goodness for a fast handed checker with a quick plastic bag for her.

What if you had a more serious, long lasting illness? Do you and your family have plans in place to handle that? I hope so. It’s hard enough to worry about your loved one without having to worry about insurance or finances too.

Not being able to get food

What if the stores were suddenly unable to provide you with food? Do you know how to grow or find your own food? Do you have things stored for emergencies when you can’t get to the store? I think you should have at least two weeks’ worth of food and water available at all times. Everyone should have seeds and know how to grow their own food. Everyone should have some old fashioned skills to help themselves if the need ever arises.

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There are so many things that could happen in our world today that we would need to help ourselves from. Do you know how to hunt for food or trap animals? What about growing your own food? Do you know how to butcher and prepare animals for eating? What about making bread or other types of cooking that would save you and your family from starving? It’s a good idea to at least have a book handy with all of that information in case the internet should become disabled.

There are a number of scenarios that are very possible that would require you to have some skills and knowledge. You should know how to start a fire, build a shelter, and get food for yourself and your kids should you ever need to. Being prepared for emergencies is not as crazy as you might think it sounds. I want to be able to help my family, my neighbors, my daycare families, and my friends should the need arise.

I don’t have a ton of skills, but I know some things and we could band together and all share the skills we have if that ever becomes a need. It’s a good idea to prepare for any emergency and help your friends and family prepare too. You never know when you might just need it! I want you to be safe too.

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.

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Making an Interview Packet for Family Childcare

There is so much paperwork required for childcare. Making an interview packet helps you have everything at the ready for when your family comes to check out your program. There are many things that need to be in that packet to keep your paperwork on track. In Oklahoma there are several required items that should be included. Click here to see how to nail a childcare interview.

The first thing you need is your CONTRACT!

If you don’t use a childcare contract, you should. Childcare is your livelihood and your paycheck. This is a business and a serious one. Get a contract made and make sure each family signs one when you agree to provide care for them.

 
The DHS Child Information Form.

This is helpful anyway because it provides you with all the useful information you need to provide good care. Emergency contact numbers, food allergies, and all the other pertinent information on the child.

Food program paperwork.

You need to have them fill out a form for that as well as give them the building for the future sheet. You should have their copy ready to go in their packet. Make sure to include a copy of your cycle menu in your packet for parents as well.

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Care goals and policies.

The contract covers time and money but if you don’t allow kids to bring toys or food from home, that needs to be covered in your policies and printed up for parents to keep. Goals should be set for each year and a copy given to each family. Oklahoma just added a bunch of required items for your policy booklet, click here to see how I worded mine. 

Medication permission.

If you want to administer bug spray or Neosporin to a child, the parents must sign a form allowing you permission to use that on their child. I have a form that covers peroxide, band aids, Neosporin, bug spray, Tylenol, or anything else parents may want me to use for their child. Of course if you give them medication, it must be brought from home by them and be labeled with the child’s name.

Business cards.

I attach 4 of my personal cards to the front of the packet so mom, dad and grandma can all have my contact info in the wallet. Another great tip to use business cards for is if you take the kids on field trips, you can slip one in each child’s pocket. If you should ever become separated, your contact information is on their person. Another great safety tip is to make a notebook for the car. Each child should have a sheet with their picture and contact information for their parents. If you were to get in an accident and something should happen to you, the authorities would know who all of the children belong to. Safety first!

Required forms for childcare.

In Oklahoma, we are required to have parents sign annually a notice to parents and an insurance declaration. Click here to see a direct link to Oklahoma DHS required yearly forms, they are at the bottom of the post. 

Media permission.

If you wish to use the children’s pictures on social media or text them to parents, you need to include permission to use their pictures in that way. My form just says, Christina has my permission to use my child…..’s picture on social media, in print, magazines, books, etc. This gives me permission to put the children’s picture on my blog, but if you don’t blog, you still need permission to use them electronically.

Having your interview packet prepared ahead of time saves you a ton of time running around getting one prepared for an interview. If you have openings coming up, you should always have twice the number of spots you have. You never know how many you’ll need to give out before you fill a spot. You should always have a handful of packets ready at any time. I have a notebook full of interview packets ready and waiting should I need one.

The saying luck favors the prepared is so true. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Get your interview packet ready ahead of time and cut a lot of chaos and stress from your life.

Have the parents fill out the forms and return them to you. Don’t forget to get a copy of their child’s shot records. When you sign an agreement with a family to provide care, make sure to put the parent’s number in your cell phone preceded by the number 1 so all of your parents will be at the beginning of your contacts in case of emergency. It makes it easier to send out announcements in bulk too.

Click here to see how to nail the interview! 

Be sure to pin this for later so you can refer back to it!

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What do I get my Daycare Kids for Christmas?

Every year we face the age old question in childcare, what do I get my daycare kids for Christmas? Some providers give their families gifts, some just the kids, and some don’t choose to do that. It’s all relative to your budget, beliefs, and feelings about what is best for the kids. In today’s society, kids are very overindulged in most cases. Most kids don’t NEED anything else. Hopefully this post can help you solve the dilemma and you can refer back to it year after year.

I love to give my kids something unique that won’t get lost or broken along with all the other toys they get. I usually never give them any kind of toys. I also love for my gifts to be educational. That’s another way to make gifts more valuable for your children.

Do you have to give gifts to your daycare kids for Christmas? No, you absolutely don’t. It’s okay if you don’t think that’s the right thing to do. When polling other providers, many of them don’t. It’s a personal decision based on what you believe.

Set Your Budget.


First, you need to decide how much you want to spend on each child. I usually set my budget at about $20 per person. If you have 7 or 12 daycare kids, when you multiply that by 20, that’s quite a bit of money. Daycare is not a lucrative career, so we need to be careful with our spending. Twenty dollars is not a lot of money, and it can be tough to find really special gifts for that price.

Make it Personal.

I like for my gifts to be personalized. When I do that, I feel like it makes it that much more special. I love things that are monogrammed or personalized in some way. Check out Etsy for some great personalized gifts. I also love that Etsy products are homemade by someone and my purchase is helping them do life for their family.

Make it Unique.

Don’t just get the latest toy. Their parents, friends, grandparents and so many other people are buying them fun toys to play with. Most kids have so many toys, they can’t even play with all of them. Try to think of something out of the box. Click on the pictures to go to the products. 

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.

gifts-for-preschool

Some of the things I’ve bought for my daycare kids over the years include:

  • Children’s Bible-This is a great one if you run a faith based program.
  • Monogrammed blankets
  • Monogrammed pillows
  • Monogrammed duffel bags
  • Monogrammed back packs
  • Piggy banks and rolls of pennies to feed in them

  • Monogrammed aprons
  • Personalized puzzles (Melissa and Doug will add names on puzzles)
  • Garden tools and seeds (we garden at daycare, so it’s cool to think they could take that home with them too) Click on the picture to view a set. 

 

    • Board Games (education and encourages screen free family time)

  • Books

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I asked a bunch of my friends what they give their daycare kids and I got a lot of really cool and unique ideas. I love polling providers; they are a great group of folks. Here is a list of what they said:

  • Books was the most popular answer and I absolutely LOVE that. It makes me happy to think of all those kids getting books! Click here to see why reading to kids is one of the most important things you can do. 
  • Homemade PJ Pants (I wish I could sew)
  • Homemade Hats and Gloves (I wish I could knit)
  • Knitted Dolls (so cool)
  • Stockings Full of Toys
  • Mugs with Hot Chocolate
  • Christmas Outfit
  • Homemade Ornaments
  • Homemade Aprons
  • Monogrammed Stuffed Animals
  • PJ’s
  • Homemade Cookies
  • Fischer Price Toys
  • Coloring Book with Crayons, you can even make your own personalized coloring books. Click here to see how. 
  • Gift Cards
  • Hair Barrettes and Keychains
  • Match Box Cars
  • Personalized Books
  • Hats, Scarves and Gloves
  • Homemade Playdough
  • PJ’s and a book
  • Pencils

christmas-gifts-for-your-daycare-kidsSeems like there is something to fit pretty much any budget, and so many of these are super ideas.

I like to give to my families as well and usually do some sort of homemade cookies, pies, or breads. I always make the families a personalized cookbook of the children cooking as gifts to go with whatever food I make. Click here to see how we make our cookbooks.

What great ideas do you have for great gifts for your daycare kids or families?

For more great Christmas ideas, click on the links to check out my friend’s posts below. 

Stress Free Holidays 

DIY Decorations, Picture Perfect Wreath

Good Deeds Your Kids Will Cherish During the Holidays

 
 
 
 
Don’t forget to pin for later.

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Give FABULOUS Handmade Gifts and Support Small Businesses

I think it’s so awesome to give or receive personally handmade gifts. Anyone can get mass produced junk from wally world but it’s so thoughtful to get a gift that someone actually spent time designing and creating for your loved one. There are many great gifts that come from the store, for sure. I appreciate any gift someone gives me. I just appreciate people loving me and don’t really need gifts anyway. But there is something super special about receiving something that is one a kind and unique.

Many handmade things can make great gifts. A book from a small author just getting started, and hand painted piece of art, some fun children’s products that would make any little girl sing, or some yummy smelling soaps made from pure, natural ingredients are fun ideas for super personal and thoughtful gifts.

Have a handmade Christmas!

When I purchase something handmade from someone, I like to think about all the time and effort that went into making that item. I love making things for people, but my skill set is limited. I can forge something like a blacksmith or crochet someone a hat. I love being able to find something unique that is from another skill set I don’t have such as sewing or woodworking.


I know when I make something unique as a gift for someone, I really think about that person as I’m spending time creating their gift. I know people who sell on etsy, or Facebook or other online sites or even people who bring their wares to craft shows and venues make a special effort to make each of their handmade items top quality and unique.

I love trying to find gifts on etsy first. There is so much beauty and talent represented there. I asked in a few Facebook groups and found out there is SO much more out there than just etsy though. You won’t believe some of the awesome products I found. Click on the red links to go straight to the products.

Quality Handmade Gifts

Check out these gorgeous hand forged items I found from a blacksmith online!

Hand forged metal and wood products

handmade-christmas-hand-forged-wrought-iron-hook

Do you have any animals in your life? I found pet supplies and even goat supplies online. Amazing!

Goat supplies and products

Quality pet supplies and products

Goat treats

Is there anything more amazing than high quality body products? I have made some homemade salves that totally blow store bought products away! You can get some great quality body products online as well. I can’t wait to order some of these things for the people on my shopping list!

Natural bath and beauty products

handmade-christmas-quality-body-and-beauty-products

Salves, teas, and other wonderful products  

Wonderful, homemade, one of a kind soaps 

Botanically inspired products and 100% organic apparel (site goes live 11/15!)

There are great products for your home and personal life available on the internet as well. I love looking through all of these amazing home, essential oil, books, baby products, and other supplies that I’m not sure I can live without. Check them out, you’ll love what you get from these artisan makers.

An online gardening course would make an AWESOME Christmas gift or for any other time of the year! Check out these classes you can get at a discount right now by using my affiliate links here.

Growing Tomato Heaven

Vegetable Gardening Basics

PVC Drip Irrigation 

Seed Starting Simplified

Year Round Gardening

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Home Goods, Essential Oil Supplies

Book: “Colors of Joy”: A Woman’s Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss

Books, Products and Tote Bags

Baby Bling, Tutus and Bows

Handmade Hairbows and Accessories

Wildcrafted Products from Farm and Forest

Handmade Jewelry and Crocheted Items

Handmade Candles

Handmade Crocheted Products and Soap

handmade-with-love-3dog-creations

Soaps and Herbal Products

Love goes into each and every product that is made for sale online. I hope you will consider buying local, buying homemade, and buying direct from the creators of as many things as you can this year! Even if you decide to purchase a product that’s not handmade, please consider buying local and buying from small business owners.

Small business owners of every kind are paying for dance lessons, their child’s school lunches, food for family and those types of things rather than vacation homes and fancy cars. It makes a big difference to the person you chose to shop from when they are the little guy. Please consider shopping from some of these websites.

Support Small Businesses

Curbside Overhaul-Amy Howard paint products for all of your paint and brush needs

amy-howard-paint-curbside-overhaul

Pantry Paratus-Equipping and teaching pantry preparedness

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DoTerra Essential Oils

Gorgeous Hair Accessories

Books

More DoTerra Oils

Garden/Farm/Wildlife Apparel and Merchandise

Young Living Essential Oils

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.

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Simply Natural Saturday
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