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Take time off to rejuvenate yourself is a must to keep being your best. But how do you take time off when you run a home daycare? Running a home daycare can be an exhausting job. It’s the kind of career that takes 100% of you all the time. You can’t phone it in. Every hour of every day matters.
But how can you keep on going week after week? Taking time off to take care of you is a must! It is hard for your families to cover your time off, of course. But if you don’t burnout is a definite. (And don’t forget to get in the habit of recharging on the weekends!) And you have to know your limits as a home daycare provider.
Daycare vacation policy
A good home daycare needs good policies. When you set the policies, write them up, (you can see and use my daycare policies here) and share them with current and potential clients, you save a ton of headache in the future.
If everyone knows what to expect from payment policies, to discipline techniques, to daycare rules that you have in place, you will start off communicating all your expectations to parents and letting them know what to expect from you. I even have rate increases scheduled every year. The contract parents sign states it so they already know. If I don’t want to increase rates, great, but if I do, there’s a time for it. Do you want to allow toys from home? Blankets? Food?
I have been doing it this way for most of my over 25 years in business and it works great when everyone knows what to expect.
But taking time off will really put the parents out. What do they do with their kids? First of all, that worry is theirs, not yours. Your priority is to provide the best care you possibly can. An important part of giving care of any kind is taking care of you first.
You know how on the flight instructions, the stewardess says, if the oxygen fails, grab your mask and put it on yourself and then help others around you? Why? Because you CANNOT help others breathe if you are not breathing yourself.
Burnout in childcare is real. It’s a hard job that you have to be 100% on your game at least 10 hours a day. No one can work 24/7 and never take a break.
The most important thing you can do is schedule time off to take care of you, your family, and things that need attending. But who will keep the kids? That’s not your problem, you set your hours, your days, and your time off, and communicate that and parents will have a plan.
I take a lot of time off, because as I get older, it gets physically harder to be on 10 hours a day. I also have to recharge and take care of my mind. So how do I do it without everyone complaining?
Well, first of all, no matter what you do in your business, someone will think it’s the wrong thing. So you have to not worry about what other people think. If you sell bread at a bakery, other people don’t get to tell you what hours to work, what days to be open, what kind of bread to make. They can ask, but the business is yours.
If you open an electric company, your customers don’t get to determine your prices or when they’ll pay. Business is just that, business.
Have I ever had parents complain when I take off work? HECK YEAH I HAVE. Did I like it? NO! Did it hurt my feelings? Yup. But I just keep doing what I do. Because I know the importance of taking care of myself.
Things come up that are unexpected. Someone dies, something happens to your house, your spouse needs surgery, whatever. So there are times when you need off without notice. And for the most part, parents are understanding of that.
But one way to make time off less difficult for parents is to give them plenty of notice. Two weeks is appropriate if you can. Calling all the time and saying you don’t feel good or your grandma died when she didn’t isn’t okay.
I know there are days we all don’t want to work. Sure I feel that way sometimes, but if you are going to be successful, you need to also be reliable. So if you can work with a headache, do it. If you think you might have the plague, let people know.
I like to plan my days off for the year and give them out in January. That way people can plan their own vacations around them if they want to. Or they can line up grandma or a back up of some kind.
These are the vacation days I’m taking off this year (17 total):
- Feb 5, 8 and 9
- Mar 15
- April 9 and 12
- August 30 and 31
- October 18-22
- November 29 and 30 (I take these every year to get ready for Christmas)
- December 27 and 28
Everyone already knows when I’m taking off. I sent them out January 1. And I’m also taking 10 holidays including New Year’s day, President’s day, Memorial day, Independence day. Labor day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving and the day after, and Christmas eve and Christmas day. These are my usual days off every year.
If you think it seems like a lot, think about what benefits someone would have at a regular 8-5 clock in job that was on the job for 25 years. This is not probably as much as they have. I feel like I’m worth it.
Do daycares charge for holidays?
So what about getting paid? Do you charge for your vacation days? That is totally up to you. You can charge for holidays and vacation days and have in your contract that parents pay every day whether kids come or not.
You definitely should charge for days when the kids are sick or on vacation but you are open. That is something you can’t plan or budget for.
You can also do a combination. I decided I wanted more time off than I thought was fair to charge for, so some providers will charge for two weeks of vacation but not any more than that. My choice is to charge for all the holidays off, but not charge for my vacation days. Some parents want to pay and pay me anyway. Some don’t. I’m fine either way. I didn’t ask to be paid, so it’s not an obligation.
You have to do what works for your budget and family. I am married and my husband works, so we don’t go with nothing when we are off. I think if he didn’t have paid days off, we would need for me to.
It’s totally fine to charge for all days off or no days off or any combination that works for you. As long as you know what’s coming and what to expect so you can budget for it. And if you are waffling between two choices, go for the one that takes the best care of your family.
The bottom line is that you are worth taking time off for and so is your family. Drink healthy water, eat healthy food, get plenty of rest, and do things that bring you joy. Do it as much as you think is fair.
If you haven’t been charging for days off or taking time off, you can always add a little at a time until you are where you need to be so it won’t be a shock to your families. But definitely be working towards it for yourself because you need it and you deserve it. And find out here what qualities it takes to be a GOOD provider.
If you’d like some helpful home daycare printables, check this out.
If you’re thinking of starting a home daycare, find out where to start here.
For printable binders, financial and other organizational tools, click these links.