Do you wonder how is the best way to set up your daycare space? It’s hard to find the best way to work in the space you have sometimes, but looking for inspiration in what others are already doing can help you keep from reinventing the wheel. What works for one provider may not work for another, but you can always learn from watching others
Tag Archive for family 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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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Starting a family childcare can be a daunting task.
There is so much to learn and know in family childcare to keep a business like this flourishing. You wouldn’t believe some of the mistakes I have made. I have been doing family childcare for over 22 years. I asked my seasoned provider friends and we put our heads together to come up with a list of things we wish we would have known when starting a family childcare to help you start yours off on the right foot.
Love notes in my heart.
Do you ever have one of those days when you feel like just packing up your car, driving away and never coming back? I think we have all had one where our heart feels that way at least once in our lives. It’s natural to get frustrated sometimes and want to take a break.
I have a drawer full of blessings. You’d be amazed at what it means to me. When you are a provider, the days can be long and hard. It’s not a job everyone can do and I take pride in doing it as well as I possibly can. I am not perfect, far from it, but I have a passion that burns in me for giving kids the best of me.
Over the years, I have been so fortunate to have people come into my life that know and see the value in it. People want the best environment they can possibly get for their kids and they know when someone puts their heart and soul into caring for children.
When I have a bad day, or feel like giving up on what I do (which is not often at all lately), I open my blessing drawer and fish out a few notes from these people who have loved me over the past 21 years I have served.
I find notes like this one …
Or this one…
And they remind me why I do what I do.
Childcare is a super hard job and has a really high burnout rate, but you can do things to make you keep wanting to come back and try again after a bad day. Please remember if every day is a bad day, it may just be time for a change in careers. You should enjoy what you are doing most of the time. If you are miserable, so is everyone else you are working with. It’s time to go.
Click here to see how to avoid burnout by taking care of yourself.
Click here to see how to deal with stress so it doesn’t overwhelm you.
I enjoy the feeling of a family’s love for me. I let it rejuvenate me. I let it recharge my battery. These things do not cost a lot of money or take a lot of time for a parent or child to make, but they are precious because of the meaning behind them. They mean the world to me. I appreciate each and every one.
I keep the pictures children draw or color for me, I keep the cards people take the time to write something special in, and I keep the notes I receive that bless my heart. Even 20 years later, those same pieces of paper can still bless my heart.
I was looking through my blessing drawer to write this post, and I found a very special letter from my Mother in law who passed away about a year ago that told how much she appreciated the mother I was to my daughter and the blessing I was to her son and their family. She wrote me stuff like this often. She loved me dearly and I loved her. I miss how proud she was of me. I miss her kind words and prayers. My love drawer has notes from my family as well.
Back to the daycare. I LOVE doing childcare. I am very gifted at it, and I love trying to be the best I can be at whatever I do. Childcare is so important. Did you know children learn over 50% of what they will learn in their entire lifetime by the age of 4? From birth to three, there are some incredible connections forming in the brains of young children that need to be stimulated. The more sensory stimuli (sight, smell, feel, taste, sound) a child receives, the more plastic or flexible their learning paths remain which allows for even more learning later on.
Every stimuli a child experiences fires a pulse in their brain that reaches out to find another piece of pathway to connect with to form learning. Those pathways, if not used, then prune themselves from the brain as the child gets older. So learning is critical for children and they need to be exposed to all kinds of information to process. The best way they can learn is by unstructured play. Exploring their own ideas.
I KNOW how important early childhood is and I hope everyone who reads this will bombard everyone who will listen about this importance until we refocus our attention in our governments, childcares and schools to getting our funding into education! Call your representatives and bend their ear to stop cutting education and start building it any way they can! Our state’s future depends on it and so does our country’s.
Back to my drawer of blessings. This thing is chock full of so many wonderful memories, people, and expressions of love for me. It’s so amazing to flip through the pages it contains and feel the love that is poured out in the words and pictures in there. I love reminiscing about the people who have given them to me. I love running into people and knowing they still love me even if they have been gone for years.
There is a teenage boy I see regularly that even now, when he’s about to graduate from high school and become a man, his face still lights up when he sees me. It does a person’s heart good to feel love like this. These kids mean the world to me even when they are no longer kids. I love them fiercely. They know it, and they still feel it even when their attention in on all the other things in the world.
I have seen children graduate right and left over the past few years, and I even had my first child ask me to keep his son. It’s been an amazingly blessed 21 years and I hope I have a lot more years left in me. I can certainly tell as I age, how much harder the job gets every year. I tire more easily, I forget more things, and I wonder if I have 10 more years, or another 21… I do know one thing, God has great plans for blessings in my life in the future, just as He has in the past.
My drawer is stuffed full and there are so many kind words and pictures in there, I couldn’t take the time to read through all of them to share with you. These are a few really fun ones, but certainly I have many more favorites. I love them all. This one is super cute that says, thanks for taking care of me when I was a child. This kid was probably 5 or 6 when he wrote this, ha ha, but he felt grown. So cute.
Make sure you keep a blessing drawer where you can find comfort and rejuvenation when you are down or having a tough day. When you see it begin to add up over time, you will be blessed by the volume of it. If you aren’t receiving notes of affirmation, I’m sorry. You should be. Are you writing kind notes to your parents? Are you doing your very best job? If so, it’s a shame that people don’t appreciate your efforts, but keep on keeping on because your kids deserve the best of you and they are worth it.I know God created me to love children and support families as they raise them. I know He has blessed me for every sacrifice I have ever made to do this for a living. I know He has helped me by sending me families that would be a blessing to me. I know I am smack in the center of His will. And I know I am blessed.
Do you love your job? Can you imagine doing anything else? I know I sure can’t. This is my heart and soul. On days when you feel like giving up, look for the blessings in your life and you’ll be amazed at how it turns your heart around. Your attitude can make or break your life and you NEED to look for good in things, for your own wellbeing. Tell me how you are blessed, I want to hear all about it!
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Do you think childcare providers should be licensed? Are you thinking of taking care of children and wondering if you should get a license first? Are you a parent looking for care and wondering if you need to find a licensed provider?
Think it through. A license doesn’t guarantee children will be safe. It doesn’t make you a good provider. It won’t make you get tons of calls and be full of kids all the time. But a license does offer protection.
You can be fined for not having a childcare license in Oklahoma.
Licensing is a big old pile of paperwork and lots of hoops to jump through. It’s the government for goodness sake. BUT! Licensing requirements are there for a reason, and they are meant for the good of the children. The state of Oklahoma has one of the most stringent set of licensing requirements in the country, but I think it’s good for the children, providers, and parents.
Our licensing requirements have a lot of unnecessary guidelines and ideas. You can definitely tell a person who does NOT provide childcare in the trenches wrote these rules and regulations, but that’s inherent in any government run situation. They pay the big bucks to the people with the degrees that have never actually TRIED to stay in a house for 10 hours with 7 children and NO help!
Yes, these rule makers may have done a practicum where they observed a classroom in a daycare center, but almost never is there a real family childcare provider making rules or governing them.
Childcare licensing can be a pain
The situation being as it is, the basic ideas the licensing requirements give us are good ones. These regulations make us think, they make us aware of dangers that could be present. They are not there to annoy us or put us out of business with expense, even though they do sometimes.
Childcare is not a lucrative job. Most of the money we bring in is spent on food, art supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, wipes, toys, puzzles, games, PAPER, printers, ink, water, electricity, and general business expenses that go on and on. I spend over $7,000 a year on food every year, just for my daycare kids? That does not include food for my family. And that’s just food, that’s one expense. We do this job because we LOVE it. We care about kids. We love sharing our home with them and caring for families.
Licenses cost money. In Oklahoma, there is not a fee to apply, but there is a mountain of paperwork, which requires a computer, printer, ink, paper, pens, postage, etc. There is also a fee we have to pay to CECPD to keep track of our training hours. (Extortion if you ask me). There is a fee we have to pay to get a back ground check, and now we are required to get FBI fingerprints as well for not just us, but our substitutes, and ANY family that lives in our homes. At $53 a pop plus all the paperwork involved, plus traveling at least an hour to a certified center and taking a day off to get them done, is one big expense.
Childcare license can cost money
We have to pay for trainings, our time to get to them, and of course wear and tear on our vehicles and gas which we don’t get reimbursed for. There are some free trainings available, but you will have to pay for some each year.
In addition to that, we have to pay for required equipment such as toys, art supplies, high chairs, bibs, cups, flatware (that gets thrown in the trash by accident weekly), mats, cots, beds, swings, playground equipment and on and on to meet licensing requirements. Then there is the safety equipment, plug covers, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, flash lights, thermometers for the refrigerator, smoke alarms and BATTERIES for all of this stuff.
The expenses go on and on. Having a license is expensive, but it’s also worth it.
Did you know that licensed providers are REQUIRED to be properly trained in CPR and First Aid? What if you chose an unlicensed provider and something happened to your child during the daycare day. Wouldn’t you want them to know what to do? What if you are providing care unlicensed and something happens? Will you know what to do to save a child?
Childcare license can offer protection for providers and children
Licensed providers aren’t allowed to let babies sleep on the couch, we have to buy approved baby furniture for them, but it’s a whole lot safer than a couch or the bed they could roll off of and get hurt. Licensed providers aren’t allowed to let kids under 3 play outside alone, but don’t you think that’s best? Personally, I don’t let kids go outside without me until they are 6. I think 3 is WAY too young.
Licensed providers aren’t allowed to leave their kids with anyone unless they have a back ground check, are trained in CPR and First Aid, and are on the list of subs the provider has filled out paperwork on. Don’t you think it’s good to know who will be with your child?
Did you know that licensed providers have unannounced visits for the safety of the kids quarterly? It’s good to have someone with the kid’s best interest at heart dropping by your child’s daycare. And if you are the provider, it’s good for you too. It’s good to be doing the right thing all the time because that’s what’s best for the kids! My licensing worker works hard to help me and provide me with all the information to be my best. She also wants the best for me and cares about the safety of my kids.
Rules can be good
Obviously, I am a rule girl, but I think it’s good to have rules for children’s safety. Some people just don’t think without them. For me, some of the rules are pointless, and some of the rules are not strict enough, but the basic idea behind the rules and the basic structure of the rules has a lot of value. I think we all need guidelines.
I know there are good providers who are not licensed and there are terrible providers who are. That’s just the reality in any job in the world. When my daughter was young, I used an unlicensed provider for her and she was absolutely WONDERFUL! I would NOT go back and change a thing. But I feel the license protects the provider, the kids and the families. I would recommend getting one if you don’t have one and are providing care for children.
In Oklahoma if you are caught providing care without a license for even one child over 15 hours per week there are large fines and even jail time. I have seen over and over again, people using unlicensed childcare homes and when they get turned in, their kids suddenly have nowhere to go. Mom and Dad still need to go to work, right?
I have also seen things happen in unlicensed care, such as a recent SIDS death of an infant and the provider did nothing wrong but was in deep hot water without the protection of the license. Obviously the police were involved in the death of a precious baby, but she didn’t have the licensing agency to back her up or provide guidelines for her AND she was in trouble with the law for providing unlicensed care. I hate to see this happen to another person who I know just loves kids and was trying to care for them.
Check out the regulations for your state online. Click here to see the requirements for Oklahoma.
Childcare license can get you more business
Another perk of having a license is getting business. Your name and contact information will be listed on the DHS website. Here in Oklahoma, the website for finding licensed providers is OKDHS.org. Then just click on the childcare locator and you can put in what you’re looking for. If you decide to do childcare illegally, you won’t be able to advertise anywhere because that will get you caught. It’s not any fun to live worrying about getting caught for doing something wrong.
Being a licensed provider will allow you to be contacted with opportunities for training. You will learn to provide better care through training whether you take it online, in a college classroom, or in two hours blocks where it’s offered around your area. Training helps you learn and grow as a parent and a provider.
Generally speaking, a license will help you attract a better quality of clients for your business. Most parents understand the importance of being regulated and how it can effect quality. In addition, parents will see you in a more professional light and treat you in a more professional way.
Childcare is not for everyone
Childcare is a super hard job. Not everyone can do it. You have to be a special person to deal with the spit up and personalities of other people’s kids. You have to love them as if they were your own, with your whole heart, but know the parents get to make choices about their own children. You also have to say goodbye to them when they leave you and grow up. It’s not for the weak.
Society sees the work, in general, with little importance, but it is the number one most important job in the entire world! We are shaping the future. We are supporting families. We are spreading love and teaching children to be quality people for the future of the world. Most people think we do it because we can’t do anything else, but providers know we do it because we are the only ones who can.
If you use childcare, make sure your provider knows how important she (or he) is to you. Make sure you treat them respectfully and appreciate their efforts to be consistently there for you. Click here to see how to appreciate your provider. If you do childcare, make sure YOU know how important YOU are. Treat yourself respectfully and require your parents to do so as well. You are an asset to their family, not a servant. Behave as such and make sure your families know you believe in what you are doing.
Make sure for the safety of everyone, if you are using childcare or providing it, you go with a license. It’s good for everyone. If you are doing what’s best for the kids, you won’t have to worry about your licensing worker, she (or he) will be an asset to you in your business. If you are a parent, you will know your child is getting the safest care you can provide for them.
The bottom line is, if you are working with children in any capacity, make sure you are doing your best. Make sure you care about what you are doing. Make sure if you don’t enjoy it, you do something else. Kids deserve the very best of us. If you don’t want to be awesome at childcare, please choose another vocation. It will be better for you and the kids. If there are regulations in your state for childcare, follow them. Then you won’t have to worry about getting caught. Be awesome, the kids deserve it!
Click here to see what steps you need to take to become licensed in Oklahoma.
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Parents and providers can work together to build a great relationship that supports children and builds a great foundation for their future. I have been talking to parents to see what they would say to their providers past or present if they could. To be a great provider, you need empathy. Leaving your kids with someone else is not easy. If you are a childcare provider, please realize parents have feelings.