Tag Archive for quality 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.

» Read more


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?

Don’t forget to pin for later!

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

More Than JUST a Provider

I am not a babysitter. A babysitter is a teenager you pay to eat your food, watch your TV, and play with your kids for a few hours while you go out. I am a childcare provider. I provide a quality environment for children where they can learn, play, and build relationships. I provide a safe, nurturing place for the kids I take care of. I am more than JUST a childcare provider. I put my heart and soul into what I do.

kids and me

Quality childcare is valuable. The quality of care a child receives has a lasting effect on their future academic success. Click here to read more about it.


Throughout my 21 years of providing care in my home, I have heard and seen all kinds of attitudes and ideas about what I do. I have heard people say, all you have to do is sit on the couch and people hand you money. I have heard people say, I hate my job. I have heard people call the kids they care for ugly names. I have heard horror stories from my parents about children being found strapped into high chairs for long periods of time, gated into a room separate from the caregiver, and all manner of things that shouldn’t be part of children’s lives. It’s very sad. There is plenty of bad care out there. I guess that’s where many pre-conceived ideas come from about the value of childcare.

I remember as a child being treated and talked to horribly by some of my caretakers. I remember one time my mom told our caregiver that beans made my sister sick and not to feed them to her. I remember after my mom left, this woman told my sister that she was not too good to eat beans and she was going to eat beans at her house. Then she told us my mom was ridiculous. She forced my sister to eat a whole bowl of beans.Then she threw beans up all over her house. The woman became enraged and spanked my sister relentlessly for throwing them up. My mother told her they made her sick. I was just a toddler, but this left an indelible scar on me.

I remember another provider that made us stay in her basement while we waited for time to go to school. She seemed to despise children. We weren’t to talk to her or ask her for anything. We were to play in the basement and watch TV and be quiet.

One day I got to stay with her all day and I was so excited to get the chance to play with her daughter on the ground floor of the house. She let me go in her daughter’s room. It was so exciting. At lunch she berated me for how I was eating. Then we went back to her daughter’s room and her daughter said, hey, I love jumping on my bed, let’s jump on my bed. I said, are you sure we’re allowed to do that, we can’t jump on the bed at my house. She said, yes, I do it all the time, so we started jumping on the bed. Her mom came into her room and grabbed me by the arm and told me I was a horrible child. She sent me to the basement for the rest of the day and said I was disgusting and taught her daughter evil things. EVIL? I was in Kindergarten. How was I EVIL? I told her that her daughter asked me to do it and she said, she never acts like that and I must have spread my naughtiness to her. I was a bad example and a horrible child. WOW! I just hope no one ever remembers me in a light like that. I would never talk to a child that way. I don’t know why anyone would.

I remember another provider. Her name was Jean. We walked to school from her house as well and stayed with her in the summer when school was out. She was so kind and sweet. She taught my sister and I to finger crochet. She crocheted clothes for our Barbie’s. She always looked us in the eye. She spoke to us and not at us. She was a blessing. She made me feel like I was good enough to be on the planet with the other humans. She was always quick with a hug or a smile. She told me my hair was beautiful. She adored us. I will always remember that.

Think back to a time when you were growing up about how you felt when someone interacted with you? Were there people who made you feel like crap? Were there people who made you feel valuable? Providers, teachers, and caretakers have such a great responsibility to treat these precious little ones with care. We are teachers, boo boo kissers, Band-Aid appliers, wound cleaners. We are song singers, and book readers. We are shoe tiers and hug givers. We are Barbie clothes makers and skill teachers. We are comforters until Mom gets back. We are helpers for learning new skills. We are cookers. We are game players. We have so many rolls for the kids.

more than a babysitter

For our parents we are advice givers, councilors, encouragers, and shoulders to lean on. We take our jobs seriously. This is not a game to us. We know we hold the future in our hands. We respect our parents and are here not to judge them, but to support them and build them up.

This is a hard job. I take training after training, at least 40-50 hours a year on a slow year so I can be the best me I can be. I earned my Child Development Associate and did everything I could to better myself and improve the care I provide. I have learned and grown over the past 21 years into what I think is a wonderful provider, and I give my all every day. Some days my all totally sucks and some days, I rock the house. I am human.

childcare is more than babysitting

I spend a great deal of the fees I am paid on quality food, supplies, and activities for my kids. I study and learn to bring them the most beneficial things I can find for them to do while they learn here. I support their relationships and give them the best of myself to navigate life. I hold their hands, I lift them up, and I encourage them to make good choices and be their best selves.

rainbow crayons, nurture creativity

Over the years I have been told I do childcare because I can’t do anything else, but you can ask my boss at my last job if I am capable, and she will tell you I was amazing! I give my 110% at any job I do. I make sure I give the best of me. I could do whatever I wanted. I am smart, I am kind, and I am valuable.

I have been told I charge too much, don’t do things right, say the wrong words, or don’t work the right hours. I have been told I shouldn’t take vacations. I have been told I must be rich. I have been asked to run errands for people and all kinds of other ridiculous requests because I am home, right? I have had people insult me, my family, and my ideas. I have had parents ignore requests, question my abilities, and tell me I’m wrong. Each of these experiences taught me something. Can you imagine doing a job where people felt it was okay to say these things to you?

I have one of the best groups of parents I have ever had , and I know every one of them respects me, but I have not always been treated well by everyone I provided care for. For the most part, I have. I am blessed. I still see there is this idea from some people that I am JUST a childcare provider. It has been described as swinging with the kids, playing around and other derogatory terms. But guess what? I LOVE what I do. I am awesome at it. And I’m rocking the future with these precious children I care for. Their parents know it! Most of my parents have always known it. People usually see there is something special in me. Over the years I’ve learned to believe it myself.

We are not JUST babysitters. We are not JUST childcare providers. We are warriors, protecting the future and changing the world. We are supporting the most important asset this world has. We do it for super long hours, and less than minimum wage. Our houses get torn up, our families have to share everything, and our bodies get worn out. We sacrifice all of this and people still think we are sitting on the couch with our feet up, eating bon bons. There is still, after all the research about the importance of the early childhood years and brain development, little to no respect for what we are doing. Even the government is not smart enough to fund it well. They always make cuts in childcare first. Click here to learn more about the importance of learning in the early years.

Personally, I am so grateful that I get to do this. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my time. I know I am called by God. I am different. I am special. I am me.

My fellow providers and I are SUPERHEROES. We are WORLDCHANGERS. We are not JUST providers, we are PROVIDERS! Now stick out our chin and grin and BE AWESOME like you are!

superheroes

If you want to check out what some other providers think about what we do, click on the links below. There are some great tips and points in there. Be super!

What Parents Should KNow About Childcare

Preschool Inspirations

Things to Share and Remember

Clare’s Little Tots

Where Imagination Grows

Stay At Home Educator

 

 

How to Plan a Disco Party-Parent Involvement

lava lamp

At Little Sprouts, we have a mom’s night out every year. It’s one night when no one is allowed but moms and we have fun doing things for moms. I let the moms be creative, feed them good food, and pamper them. Why would I go to all that trouble? Because mom’s need support. I feel that being a mom is the hardest job in the world and I want to show my moms how special they are and how valuable they are. I know this world is a hard place and so many demands are placed on parents. Moms have a special place in my heart because I am a woman and have felt the assault on women in this world. I also know how it can feel like being a mother is full of failure and disappointment. No one is ever going to do everything right and motherhood is about learning and following God’s plan for families. I try to be as supportive as possible to my moms and help them with their job of running the family in this busy and scary world.

It’s important to spend time building relationships with your parents and not just the kids, the parents are as big a part of this job as the kids are. Being open and caring with your parents is very important. At Little Sprouts we have family parties for families to get to spend time with the kids and get to know each other. I feel that it’s a vital part of the children’s education. Parents need to be involved and know who you are and what you are about. In addition to mom’s night out, we have a gingerbread decorating party every year, click here to see what we did last year, and Easter egg hunt each year for families to come and get together and spend time doing something quality with their kids.

The first thing I do to plan the mom’s night is choose a theme. This year I chose disco because I had a mom dress up as a hippy for Halloween. It was so cute. And I already had a hippie costume, so I knew I could wear that if I wanted. I started to think it over and realized I already had disco fever music cds in my collection of music for the kids, and I already had disco balls from previous parties and activities with the kids at church. I’m a hippie at heart, so I knew this was going to be fun for me. Even though only a few of my moms were alive in the 70’s and they were born right at the end, I knew I could bring enough 70’s to the group to make it work. I decided on fondue for the party food, and borrowed my daughter’s lava lamp to add the final touch. Then I had to find an outlet for creativity. We always make a craft at mom’s night because I think creating is a great way to build people up. Something that happens inside when you create is life changing and if we go too long without creating things, we start to shrivel up inside.  When I thought of tye dye, I knew it was perfect!


At the end of the party, I always pamper the moms by doing Mary Kay Satin hands treatment on whoever wants to and then letting them wax their hands in my paraffin waxer and sit and relax. Then I give them some small token gift and a letter from me to their children telling them how much I love them. The letter has a collage of the past year on the back to show many things the child has learned. I start writing my letters in January and usually have mom’s night in February, so it gives me plenty of time to get them done and add the photos on the back.

I just want my moms to know I appreciate them and how hard they work to be good moms. And I want them to know how special they are to this world. I want to build them up and renew their sense of adventure and confidence for this thing we call life.

I do all the cooking for this event because I do it on Friday night and no one has time to cook anything up. I have the moms bring something for the craft, such as this time the t-shirt we tye dyed, but I never tell them ahead what we are doing or making. Surprise is a fun adventure.

Here are a few themes I have used in past years:

Garden party-we planted seeds and exchanged garden gifts. We also decorated a pot for the plants.

Upcycling party-I made door prizes from recycled items such as cork boards and record serving trays and made all the décor from recycled items. I taught facts about waste. We didn’t’ eat any recycled food though.  But we did make some bottle cap lockets.

upcycled records upcycled soda cap locket

Spa Party-we made bath salts and did all kinds of pampering things. For dinner we had spa food and spa water.

Olympics Party-we competed in Olympic games and had foods from around the world, we made wreaths in honor of the Olympic rings!

burlap wreaths moms night out olympic rings olympic games, moms night out world class food moms night out

Luau Party-we made decorated flip flops and ate Hawaiian food.

luau mom's night out letters to kids and collages decorating flip flops

Grease Party-we ate at an old fashioned hamburger shop and then came to my house and watched the movie.

Even if you don’t do a big party or a Mom’s Night Out on your time off, think of some ways you can get your parents involved in your daycare. You will be amazed at how much it improves your business and your reputation. Parents appreciate feeling like they are part of their children’s life in any way and daycare is a big part of that life.

Here are a few ideas of how:

  • Ask parents to bring donations of things you use a lot of like crayons or tissues.
  • Invite parents for lunch on Thanksgiving or ask them to send side dishes to go with your turkey.
  • Ask parents to send treats to share for your Valentine party instead of making it all yourself. You would be surprised at how much some of them enjoy making goodies for the kids and if they don’t, most people don’t mind grabbing some cookies or bananas at the store to send.
  • Invite parents to come to your Halloween party and enjoy watching their kids.
  • Ask parents to share a tradition or favorite family food with you so you can incorporate your child’s culture at home into the daycare setting.
  • Share pictures or stories with the parents of things their kids are doing.
  • Ask parents to collect recyclables like milk jugs or toilet paper rolls for a project you want to do with the kids.
  • Send home a project for parents to do with kids at home and return to daycare.
  • Ask a parent or grandparent to come to daycare and read stories to the kids or tell about their jobs.

 Have fun with it, let them play, enjoy their company. Your parents are your biggest asset, not your enemy, they can make or break your business. Show them what you have, all of your skills and talents. They will appreciate you for it and it will help your business find great success.

making tye dye disco fever tye dye mom's night, disco

At last night’s Disco Fever Mom’s Night Out we had a ton of fun. When the moms came in I had my tye dye shirt on and my crocheted headband like I always made and wore as a kid in the 70’s. I had the house dark and the disco balls turning and my favorite disco fever tunes playing. I had made some 70’s fondue with dippers and some pigs in a blanket for them to eat. I invited them to soak the t-shirts they brought in the presoaking stuff to make the dye set and we ate dinner. No one wanted to sing YMCA with me, but we had lots of giggles and laughs. Everyone told funny stories and some moms asked questions about their kids and what they’ve been doing here. After we ate we started working on our shirts. Everyone seemed to enjoy making them and they all turned out amazing! Then we wrapped them up to take home. You have to let the dye set for 8 hours, so in the morning, they had to rinse them out and then wash them. Then they sent pictures of the finished product. I did a drawing for a couple of door prizes. We had been playing the swear jar game all night. When each mom came in I gave her 4 quarters and every time they said their children’s names, they had to put a quarter in.  Whoever had the most quarters at the end of the night took the jar home. Some moms are really competitive which makes it super fun. After the drawing, we pampered our hands and relaxed for a bit and then I gave them their letters and collages and a candy bar to take home. The evening ended with lots of hugs, some tears and sweet dreams. One of my favorite things all year.

tye dye tye dye tshirt disco fever tye dye shirt tye dye creation  tshirt, tye dye tye dye shirts ombre tye dye

Here’s how the shirts turned out.  Grooovy!

9 Reasons to be a Childcare Provider

Every child deserves a great place to be. That’s why I have kept teaching kids for over 19 years. I firmly believe if we are going to take care of children, we should give it our 110%. There is nothing more important than how a provider spends their day.

Some days my 110% is not that great, and some days I knock it out of the park. I am human, I am not claiming to be perfect. I make mistakes, I make parents mad, and I do things that are annoying. But I know the parents who bring their kids to me are bringing me the most precious thing in their life. They are not leaving their really great kids at home and bringing me their second string. These children are their family’s most precious resource, and they are our world’s most precious resource. The value of what providers do is immeasurable!

childcareWhen you set out to start your day, remind yourself to give lots of smiles, hugs, and eye contact. Put on a positive attitude and get ready to face the day. This job is HARD! It’s messy, super long hours, and exhausting for very little monetary gain. It’s not money that makes the job.

  • It’s seeing that teenager you kept years before and seeing their eyes light up when they meet yours.
  • It’s being able to make a hard day a little better for a precious little one, or helping a child accomplish something they’ve been trying to do like taking first steps, mastering the potty, getting their own shoes on, or learning to pump their legs and make the swing go.
  • It’s seeing a child’s face as they discover and explore the wonders of nature.
  • It’s teaching them how to plant a seed the right way and watching kids even as young as one be able to do it on their own with just a few words of advice.
  • Then watching their awe and wonder as that seed germinates.
  • It’s seeing them taste a fresh picked fruit or vegetable for the first time they grew themselves.
  • It’s teaching them to wash and prepare food for their own meals and seeing the pride on their faces.
  • It’s knowing they trust you and can come to you for help.
  • It’s teaching them the skills they need to succeed when they leave you, like math, science, reading, and especially social skills they will need to survive in our world.

Teach by example. Choose your words and actions carefully. Kids need to know it’s okay not to be perfect and they need to know there is good in them.

I love what I do and I can’t imagine doing anything else with my time. In 1995 when my husband and daughter and I moved to town, we didn’t know a soul. So I decided to stay home with our daughter. A few months later the neighbor asked me to watch her baby boy while she went to her new job.


After a few days I realized what he did at my house all day was super important. So I bought some books and did some studying about how I could be a great child care provider. I put my business plans in place and got a state license. As I got a few more kids, I started to work on my CDA (Child Development Associate) so I could understand how to be the best provider I could be. By the way it made me a better mother too.

Here I am today, still doing it because I love it so much. I have kept over 70 kids and each one holds a special place in my heart. It all started with one baby boy and a calling by God to be my own unique kind of provider.

The truth is, the kids are the gift to me. They have taught me and changed me and made me a better person.