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Operating on such a thin profit margin in this business, times of crisis are super scary. Will we get paid, will we get sick, will we have what we need to stay open? There is help for home daycare providers in times of crisis.
We don’t know when or if we will get paid. We need extra supplies to get through it. Supplies are harder to find and we generally have to pay more to get them.
You might have to pay for expedited shipping or delivery fees or whatever to get what you need to make it through this time. If you even can get it.
If you are remaining open there are a few things you can do. First, make sure you are doing everything you can to keep your family and your daycare kids safe and healthy. Are you keeping parents outside so they don’t track in or spread more germs? Are you disinfecting regularly throughout the day, especially high traffic areas like toys?
Have a thermometer at the door and a health questionnaire should any essential personnel like DHS need to enter.
Disinfecting your home daycare
Get a good disinfecting spray that doesn’t need to be rinsed off. If the bottle says rinse or wipe off, that means it’s not safe to be using around kids. It should also say, kills 99.9% of germs. If you spray and let air dry there are two things that does.
One, it kills more germs than wiping off, it takes a few seconds or even minutes depending on your cleaner to actually kill anything. Two, it saves you TIME and that is precious right now. Wiping each individual toy with a wipe is so time consuming. Just spray and walk away.
Make sure everyone is washing hands like you always do. Talk to the kids about not touching each other’s cups and food, etc. It can help a little bit. Although I know when my governor said, keep the kids away from each other, I couldn’t stop laughing for days. There’s not a lot you can do, but at least give them a reminder or two.
Now, you are as safe as possible, let’s move on to finances.
Have you lost children? Are some kids staying home and still paying but you’re still taking a hit to your food check? Have all of your children left? Are you closed due to no kids? Are you closed because you are needing to protect your family? That’s a lot of variables that will determine your financial future. Let’s look and see what our options are.
How can we fill spots without exposing to more new people? I know I don’t feel comfortable doing an interview on the porch. You may. But I really want parents to feel welcome and right now I can’t provide that so I have made the decision that I won’t fill my spot until I can let people in my home.
If your kids aren’t coming and aren’t coming back, you need an idea of how to navigate that. I’m hoping the small business loans may help me stay afloat during this time.
If your kids are absent but still planning to come back, talk to parents. Tom Copeland, childcare advocate for home daycares is clear that you can’t force parents to pay during crisis times when they aren’t sending their kids unless your contract says they must pay during extended crisis times.
Talk to them. Explain that you can’t keep your business afloat if they don’t pay and ask them if they would. If they can’t, that’s understandable. They may not be earning income right now. Both of my absent kid’s parents are paying me so far and it’s a huge blessing and help for home daycare providers.
I saw one provider say she told parents she needed payment and some people were able to pay full some half, and some can’t so let me know what you can do and more parents are paying full than anything else.
Help with food for family childcare providers
The food program is allowing some help for providers. You’ll have to check with the food program you’re on to see if they are participating. They are allowing for some substitutions if you cannot get the components you need such as fluid milk or whole grains but still serve a component.
They are also allowing you to make take-home meals for your kids and if parents pick them for the kids, you can claim them as meals you served.
More help for family childcare providers
If you are trying to get toilet paper or disinfectant and you can’t find any, talk to your DHS worker or health department. There may be something they can do to help. DHS here in Oklahoma has told me I could make disinfectant, but the ingredients aren’t available for the recipe they gave me and the CDC does not support using alcohol-based cleaners to disinfect because it doesn’t kill many things including our current concern and the recipe they told me to make is mainly alcohol.
This is another reason people should not be relying on hand sanitizer. Its alcohol-based and alcohol does not have the benefit you want it to on certain viruses including this one.
I have allergies and asthma in the house to worry about, so the cleaners I can use are very few. I have found 3. Before this situation of crisis, I only knew of one. So, you can imagine how hard of a time I’m facing. I am about to start on my last bottle of what I had. So, I have gotten desperate. I have contacted the companies, called the stores.
I signed up for notices on every website that would send me one if the product came in stock. I have contacted all of my state and federal congressmen and DHS and Cherokee Nation. Everyone knows what I need and no one has it.
I have a few weeks before I’m in dire circumstances, but I need a plan. Earlier when I couldn’t get any toilet paper for the kids to use, I reached out to the community on Facebook. People were so kind and responded and my porch got several drops of paper. I was so grateful. It’s a great way to let people know you need something for your kids. Many people are willing to provide help for home daycare provider.
I have reached out with the three kinds of disinfectants I can use and I have at least 100 people looking every time they go to the store and scouring the internet. I know it’s going to work. I just want to encourage you that people care that you are trying to do the best for your kids and if you let them know what you’re lacking, they will help. So, try it and you’ll be blessed. That was March 20th when I put my TP plea online and people are still contacting me offering me their paper. What a blessing.
Getting through the crisis
This situation is not comfortable, but you have made it through 100% of the hardest days of your life so far and this will be no different. We will get through this. It will be hard and sometimes scary, but we will stick together and we will make it. I’m so proud of you that you are doing everything you can and that you are doing your best for your family and the families you serve every day.
You, my home daycare provider friend are a real hero. If your parents tell you or if they don’t. If your government tells you or if they don’t. If your leaders tell you or if they don’t. You are serving the community in a job that is the backbone of this country. Childcare makes the economy run, the family unit work, and so much more and you are a part of that. We are being left behind for the most part in this fight against the current crisis, but we will prevail in the end like we always do.
In Oklahoma, our governor told us to innovate. And that we shall, just like we do 24/7 365. Prevailing in hard times is nothing new to a daycare provider. Did I ever tell you about the time when a kid barfed and another one saw him and barfed, and all the other kids started gagging and another one barfed while we were eating breakfast?
I lived through that and I will live through this. We are the way finders, the innovators, and the survivors. We are going to get through this. I’m praying for God to help you, protect you, and give you peace until we get out on the other side.
For ways to help encourage others during times of crisis click here. For ways to figure out a plan for this crisis, click here. For how to start a home daycare, click here. For more helpful tools you can use to help run your businesses more easily when it’s not a crisis time, check out my Etsy shop. There are tons of business printables including menu planners, daily planners, and so much more. I hope you find something super helpful in this post and these other resources because I’m here to provide help for home daycare providers.
Do you need guidance on safe practices? Check this out.
And don’t forget that Tom Copeland always has our backs in family childcare, so check out his blog for advice here.