Tag Archive for family childcare

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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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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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?


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. 


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.


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


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.


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?

7 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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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.


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!


What NOT to Do When Starting a Family Childcare

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 21 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 we started to help you start your childcare off on the right foot.

It’s a business, not a hobby. 
  • Don’t let parents pay at the end of the week for care. Get paid in advance. Parents should pay for care before they receive it. If you collect payments on Friday, it should be for the following week. Then no one can leave owing you money.
  • Don’t accept late payments. No pay, no stay. Enforce this or you will burn out very quickly. No one wants to work for free. It’s the parent’s responsibility to pay for services they expect. It’s not your fault. If they go to Walmart to buy groceries, they can’t leave the store without payment. Life doesn’t work that way and daycare is no different. This is how you make your living, don’t’ forget. It’s a business, not a charity.
  • Don’t give discounts. That’s like saying, your income is more important than mine, and you will end up resenting that. This is your business, you work with your heart, but you have to run the business with your head. Be business minded so you can make a living doing what you love.
  • Don’t forget to get a deposit for the last weeks’ care before you start keeping kids. This will prevent so many future problems. Put it up and if something happens, use it to pay yourself.
  • Don’t charge too little for care because you’re new. It’s hard to raise your rates later. Trust us on this one! My contract states rates will increase in September each year. Sometimes they don’t, but when I need them to, it’s there. I don’t feel bad about raising my rates because prices go up on everything. Many providers are scared parents will leave, but you are worth it.

daycare business practices

It’s your business, you make the rules.
  • Don’t forget your families needs. Your family comes first. It’s tough to put family first when other families are presenting their needs to you, but make sure you make your own family a priority. You are the mom and wife to some really special people and they are your number one priority. Obviously you need to be a reliable provider, but if your family needs you, don’t feel guilty. Daycare parents will understand. Do your best to be reliable for them and they should be okay that you are human.
  • Don’t be a pushover. Set rules for your business and STICK TO THEM. Don’t make rules you’re not willing to enforce. Decide what is the main priority for you and focus on that and let the small stuff go. My pet peeves are being late to pick up at the end of the day and paying late. All the other stuff is minor to me. So I tell everyone I want to be paid on time and close on time and it works out fine.
  • Don’t be influenced by what your clients want. Make your rules for you. Set up hours that work for you. Set up payment schedules that work for you. It’s your business, do what you need to. If you give and give to everyone who asks, you will burn out quickly and be miserable.
  • Don’t let people run over you. Stand up for yourself. Parents are not going to see that you can’t pay your bills or can’t get your kids to their events on time. You have to tell them what you want. If you try to be nice to people, they will take advantage of you. Keep it professional. Treat people how you would want to be treated.
  • Don’t keep your friend’s kids, your neighbor’s or your spouse’s co-workers. Do not mix business with pleasure, just don’t. My rule is, if I can see your house from my yard, your kids can’t come here. If you work with my husband, your kids can’t come here. Many times if you enter into business with your friends, you won’t be friends after.
  • Don’t do something you don’t feel is quite right for your business. Trust your instincts. If something feels wrong, it probably is. Do what feels right to you.
  • Don’t take a family into your family childcare if it’s not a good fit. Choose your clients wisely. Just because you need kids, doesn’t mean it’s best to take a family. Work with families that are a good fit for you. There’s no sense taking kids from a family of fitness trainers if you run the couch potato daycare. They will not be happy and neither will you. Not everyone will get along with every provider. Some families will love me and some will not, it’s okay.
  • Don’t give in to pressure to be something you’re not. Be true to you. Your program should be unique to you. You have a special gift to share. Embrace it and do you.
Family Vacations are a must for continuing to love your job year after year. Family time is important, especially when you live at your job!

Family Vacations are a must for continuing to love your job year after year. Family time is important, especially when you live at your job!

Take care of yourself
  • Don’t forget about you. Make time for yourself. You can’t take care of everyone all the time without taking time to take care of you. Take a bubble bath after work, go for a run, drink lots of water, remember to eat nutritious meals, read a book, go out for a drive, whatever you need to do to unplug from your daycare day. This job takes all of you, your whole being, so make sure to fill yourself up daily.
  • Don’t forget to learn. Take all the training you can, read all the books you can, get as much education as you can and learn as much as you can about your craft. The more knowledge you have; the better provider you will be. The better provider you are, the more you will enjoy your job.
  • Don’t treat the job like it doesn’t matter. Be professional. Clients will respect you more if you act respectably. Remember that each family you work with is talking about you. What are they saying? You want it to be good. That’s how you get more business. Give respect and expect it.
  • Don’t be isolated. Network with other providers. This job is very isolating. No one will understand what your day is like. Your mom won’t, your husband won’t, no one will. Don’t expect them to. Be prepared to feel a little shut off from the outside world because you are confined to your home. It takes some getting used to, but you can learn to enjoy it. Reach out to other people who do what you do. Share ideas with them. It will keep you sane.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. It will drive you crazy. Focus on the big picture. Your dishes and paperwork can wait. Hold the babies, watch the butterflies, make a mess. It’s okay.
  • Don’t forget to take a break. Take vacations! You need time off just like everyone else. You will be a better provider because of it. I promise.
  • Don’t work more than 11 hours a day. It’s tempting to be everything for everyone and meet everyone’s needs, but you are only human. Set reasonable limits.
Be serious about your business, it matters!
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare. Pre plan each day and BE PREPARED. Cook ahead, plan activities ahead, get out supplies ahead. This will save you!
  • Don’t be wishy washy. Be consistent with kids AND parents.

booty check easter egg hunt

  • Don’t do it all on your own. Get parents involved and you will have more fun. Parent involvement is great for your business. Do things with the parents, invite them to events, have the kids make things for them, ask them to bring supplies, and get them engaged.
  • Don’t waste your money on cheap plastic toys. Buy quality toys that will last. Wooden toys that will last forever are a great investment. Cheap plastic toys that are inexpensive will be broken in no time. Invest in quality. Also, you don’t need your house overflowing with toys, a few quality toys will be much better in the long run. Kids can get overwhelmed with too many options and become bored. They can also get aggressive from being overstimulated. It’s easy to get over excited and buy too much. Isn’t that true in all areas of life? When I was a newer provider I thought in needed everything but I found out over time that less is more when it comes to supplies.

cooking spaghetti pie with kids

Trust us, we have been there and done it.

You will thank yourself later if you keep these things in mind when starting your childcare. You can save yourself a lot of frustration by starting your business in a professional and well prepared manner. Starting with good habits will make your job fun for years to come. Family childcare is a hoot, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had, and I’ve been doing it for 21 years and I still think the same thing every single day (almost).

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What Not to do when Starting Family Childcare (1)

How to Work with your Heart

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.

blessing counts

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 …

childcare is a blessing

Or this one…

blessings of love from children

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.

affirmations for childcare

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.

parent blessings in childcare


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.

blessings of love from daycare parents

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.

childcare blessings

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.

focus on your blessings

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.

letters of love for childcare

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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How to work with your heart

Why Do I Need a Childcare License?

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.

licensing for family childcare

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.

licensed childcare


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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What Parents Wish Childcare Providers Knew…

What Parents Wish Childcare Providers Knew…

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.

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There is Value in Family Childcare!

So many times over the past 19 years, I have heard people talk about childcare centers being a better environment for kids than family childcare homes. The general consensus is that centers “teach” the kids more than homes do, the environment is higher quality, and that home daycare is not as regulated as childcare centers. That is simply not the case.

Think about how the family unit was designed. A mom has multiple children of varying ages. And those children learn many skills as they grow. In a family the younger kids teach the older kids how to nurture and care. Mom nurtures the child, but the older siblings do as well. Older children also learn patience and empathy from being with their younger siblings. Younger kids learn social, emotional, physical, and mental skills from their older siblings. In a childcare center, children are herded into rooms divided by age. This allows children to lose one of the most valuable parts of the family design.

Home daycare has smaller groups of children in care. The teacher to child ratio is lower giving more opportunities for one on one attention for each child. Nurturing and individualized care are vital for the emotional development of children. Home daycare provides more personalized care. Home daycare providers are more likely to share with you how your child’s day was and what is going on with them at daycare. The home provider is more likely to truly love and care about your kids.

What will happen if your home provider is ill? I generally work sick because I know that my parents depend on me to be reliable. There are a few instances when I cannot, but over the course of 19 years, it has been about 5 days. I am pretty reliable. At a center with more kids, children are exposed to more illnesses which causes parents to have to miss more time from work caring for a sick child.

People assume that centers are more highly regulated, but in the state of Oklahoma, home daycares are regulated heavily and required to have ample training as well. We have the same number of visits from DHS as centers do and are held to very high standards.

Centers have more employee turnover than homes. Children have to transition from one provider at the beginning of the day to another toward the end. Employees can quit leaving children attached and missing their provider. In a home setting, the same person will be with your child day in and day out from the beginning of the day through the end. Homes offer a child a comfortable familiar kind of place to learn and grow rather than a hard school type environment.

Many people think that centers provide more structure, teaching, and opportunities for children. I run a very structured family child care home and teach my children a myriad of amazing things to prepare them for their academic future.

I have grown weary of people thinking that home daycare is just a bunch of women who sit on the couch and watch TV all day while the children play. At Little Sprouts that couldn’t be further from the truth. I love and care deeply about each of my children. I continually research ways to meet the needs of each child based on their individual needs and interests. I create my own style of curriculum based on many years of experience, training, and education so my kids can have the highest quality education that I can provide. I love what I do and care deeply about it because I know that I am changing the future.

Even DHS feels that center care has greater value than home care. Subsidy reimbursement for child care centers is paid at a higher rate than it is for homes. This speaks volumes about how our society views the value of what home providers do. This is difficult for me to comprehend when I know what I put into a day’s work compared to a center that offers little individuality. I know there is an enormous range of quality in home providers as well as centers. There may be centers that have values closer to mine than I think, and I am well aware that there are home providers who do less than their best work with kids.

In Oklahoma we have a quality star rating system that is supposed to indicate the value of the care a center or home provides, but after years in the system, there is no conclusion that I could come to other than the system is mainly based on money. Providers pay huge fees for certifications and they are observed. On the one day out of 3-5 years that a provider is observed, they can paint any picture they want to of how they provide care and then go back to being something else after an observer gets the snap shot they need to form an opinion. After 15 years of being in the stars program, I quit because it doesn’t indicate quality, it doesn’t make me a better provider, and it takes funds and untold time away from what I have available to provide the best quality care I’m capable of. The paperwork load alone is INCREDIBLE. So I have taken a stand and decided to forego the formalities of a broken system and just provide the best care I can.

I don’t want to be the most expensive child care in town because I believe that quality childcare should be available to all families. Parents shouldn’t have to be rich to get the best, all kids deserve my best. I set my rates in the medium level and give my job my 100% every day. I hope I can inspire other providers, whether in homes or centers to do the same because children are our future and they deserve the very best we can give them!

I know that home daycare has the potential to be the very best environment for kids. I hope I can inspire others to make sure their home daycare is the best they can make it. I also hope that I can teach society a few things about the values of what we do.

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