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The Newer, Sexier Childcare Provider Tribe

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
Okay, so maybe I was just trying to get you to join. It could be sexier, though. *wink, wink*

Here's a link to our Old Thread.

We're here to commiserate, share experiences and ideas, seek advice, chat, and generally be companionable and help each other out.

One, two, three, go!

DH and I run daycare together from home, and we're about to have to look for kids for the first time. I'm super nervous about it, but a little excited as well. We took over the house and business from his mum a few years ago, so we haven't actually had to look / interview anyone yet. Well, hard times have hit hard here in Michigan and we have lost a lot of our kids due to parent job loss, hour cuts, or schedule changes (one parent gets switched to 3rd shift.)

We had 12 kids most the summer, and then we started losing one after another. We now have one child who comes before and after elementary school for a total of about 2 1/2 hours a day, and then we have two 1/2 day kindergartners, one in the am, one in the pm. Plus our 21 month old DD. It's been a big, big change. We thought it might actually be kind of nice for a little while, but it's actually a lot harder and a lot more work.

We're not making quite enough to pay the bills right now, though, and supplementing with our savings, which isn't awesome. We've also got another LO on the way which we're very excited about, but also worried because at the moment we can't pay the MW so we're hoping to get more kids soon.

The tricky part is that the license is still under DH's mum's name, which I have no idea why she renewed for another year, we planned on just switching it over when the time came up All our current families know this and are fine with it, and know we'll get it straightened out eventually and aren't worried about it. But I am scared to look for new people in this situation, which is why we haven't yet. We need to get the license switched, but one thing after another keeps putting that off, grr..

I'm really, really sick in the first trimester right now, so pretty much everything is falling on DH and.. well.. he doesn't keep up. The house needs to be in way better shape I feel before we can bring someone new in to check it out, and there's just nothing I can currently do about it.

I also wish we had the money to brighten things up some.. the daycare areas of the house have been just that for 20 some years now, and well.. it looks like it. DH's mum also has a love of white, so everything is white / painted white and well.. it just looks trashy. Because white doesn't stay white for more than 2 seconds in a daycare I hope people see the care we provide and not the dinged-up, scuffed paint
post #2 of 44
i had posted in the other thread but didn't get a response. i'm looking into taking in 1-2 infant/toddler/pre-k aged kids. i'd like to advertise myself as a naturally minded provider. i'd love to have a family who uses cloth diaper, pumps/BF, doesn't mind me wearing the child when need be. does anyone have any pointers or tips for start up?
post #3 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by meg-momto2 View Post
i had posted in the other thread but didn't get a response. i'm looking into taking in 1-2 infant/toddler/pre-k aged kids. i'd like to advertise myself as a naturally minded provider. i'd love to have a family who uses cloth diaper, pumps/BF, doesn't mind me wearing the child when need be. does anyone have any pointers or tips for start up?
Bump. I'd like to know this too.
post #4 of 44
All I could think was, 'what the heck have they got going on in that tribe! Sounds like a moderator ought to poke her head in there!" Good title!!
post #5 of 44
Hi, I am Moni, I am in Ontario and run a home daycare (have done it for 8 years). I currently look after 5 children. I work Monday-Thursday and take Fridays off. It took a little longer to find families that could accommodate that schedule, but I love it this way.
Juise, maybe you could brighten the space up with some pretty fabrics, home made pictures, etc. My dh is currently unemployed so money is tight here as well. My income basically pays for everything except the mortgage right now, which his EI covers. I would love to change the floor in my playroom (it is an ugly old carpet) to something easier to clean, like bamboo or cork, alas it is not in the budget right now.

I advertise my daycare as natural (although I am not quite as crunchy as some of you, lol), but I like to incorporate lots of outdoor time, natural materials and play things as well as locally bought and organic foods. I find there is a big demand for this and parents are prepared to pay a premium.
If you are starting out, first research the licensing requirement every state or province seems to be different. Then find a home daycare association if possible or advertise on kijiji or craigslist. Kijiji works best for me in this area.
Make up a contract (you can find samples online), and stick to it, that is very important and can be hard to do.
A website is a great advertising tool and can easily be made for free. I put a link to mine in all my ads.
post #6 of 44
i started a thread but maybe ill get more rsponses here. im looking into this but wondering how long i should be prepared to try and live on a reduced income while im recruiting clients. we cant live off of dhs income, he only makes half of what we need (im working full time right now). what i would do is keep my job (i teach preschool) till i found the first kiddo to watch and then stop working. so i would be bringing in at least a little money, but id need 3-4 kids before i felt we were on safe financial ground. anyone have any suggestions of how long it could take to rally up a couple more kids? should i save to supplement 6 mos? i know it would vary from area to area , but thought maybe someone here would have at least some advice. thanks!
post #7 of 44
I was happy to find this group, not sure why I didn't search for you earlier! I started subscribing tonight and look forward to reading and posting.

I have been running my home daycare in Toronto Ontario Canada for a little over a year now. I take care of two year olds currently, 2 full time, one part time, and my own DD. Mostly, I love this important work and feel fulfilled, happy, and competent. This week was very hard though. My husband, myself and our DD came down with this horrible stomach bug and are just about fully recovered now, 6 days later. It was nasty! Anyway, I ended up having to close the daycare for one day, the first day I've ever closed for illness, and it was pretty hard to do.

What does everyone out there do when family gets sick? And while we're at it, where do you draw the line for sick kids coming to you? I realized this week I need a more structured contract with my clients that clearly states what is acceptable and what is not in terms of when their children can come to daycare.

I'm finding many reasons to smile tonight now... it's Friday, DD's in bed, it was payday, and spring is just around the corner!


Leanne
post #8 of 44
hey sexy childcare mamas!!!

I'm like OP, the ebb and flow is kinda low right now, which is fine, as I'm getting to focus on other things in life, but also hard on the budget!

inky - I get most clients through word-of-mouth at this point, so they're all pretty darn crunchy. though once in a while, I'll put a little ad on our huge asheville mamas yahoo group (very crunchy). I don't care if they're crunchy families or not, as long as they're fine with me running the daycare how I like I do, however insist that any baby must arrive with a carrier (I just don't have enough free hands to hold a baby with and work), and don't own or let parents bring things like bouncy seats. That said, I don't have more than one baby at a time, which is on purpose. I have a few families that cloth diaper (which makes a big stink in my living room with their bags of dipes to go home ), but not so much that i mind it.

The only time a non-crunchy parent clashes with us usually is about food - specifically when they want to bring their own crappy food. I have to instruct them no outside food unless it's something they can share (that I and the other parents would want them to share), unless of course they have allergies or are just crazy picky eaters or something.

much love~
julie
http://root-children.blogspot.com
post #9 of 44
May I intrude for a moment? An old co-worker/friend called me out of the blue last night to ask if I would be interested in taking care of her two boys during the day from 6am-2:30/3:00 pm. The pay will be $40/day for both boys (ages 3 & 5) unless I have to take the 5 y/o to pre-K and then it will be $50/day (his pre-K is not near my house at all will involve a 20 minute drive.) I know rates vary greatly by region but where I live that is a great deal for childcare. And I am a very active Mama (have a 21 month old DD) we go out to the park, zoo, other fun stuff every morning. And during DD's nap I will do art projects, cooking projects ect with the boys. I don't expect the Mom to give me money for the zoo and stuff because I have memberships to those places.

Anyway, my question is, should I be the one providing food? I mean obviously I will prepare and serve healthy food but should the costs for the extra food be part of the childcare fee? I kind of feel like it shouldn't. She made a point to tell me that her kids love fresh fruits and veggies which is great but fresh fruits and veggies aren't cheap. I figure she can either send food with them or maybe pay a little extra like $20 a week total to help with the cost of the extra food. Before asking me they had a nanny that came to their house who they paid $50 a day always and I assume they probably didn't expect the nanny to buy their groceries out of their own money so why should I? Anyway just curious what the norm is.
post #10 of 44
There's no norm for food. I would simply tell her what foods you normally serve (maybe email her a simple menu), and suggest if her children want extra food, more fresh fruits, etc. that she should pack it for them.
post #11 of 44
Thanks for responding. I keep plenty of fresh fruits and veggies around. I guess where I am coming from is that the extra servings of fruits, veggies, mac n' cheese/sandwiches/homemade pizza/scrambled eggs ect and milk are going to start adding up in my grocery bill. Should I be eating that cost or considering part of my fee?
post #12 of 44
sounds like you should have her pack their food
post #13 of 44
Ohhhh! I'm so glad to have found this!! I have been doing in home daycare for about 8.5 years.

BBL to post more!!!
post #14 of 44
I was on the old thread and just realized I forgot to sub to this one

Juise -- how are you doing?

I'm doing ok, caring for two 1 yr olds and a 5 yr old in addition to my own two preschoolers right now. We are considering moving to a new area, and I would be closing down and reopening my daycare. Will know in a few months for sure.

My big excitement is that we recently invested in a vitamix ($$$$). I'm very excited about making all kinds of smoothies and want to be buying grain and grinding flour for breadbaking by the fall. I hope it will pay for itself eventually in reduction of food waste -- I'm tossing all kinds of odds and ends of fruit and veggies and even nuts in smoothies and fruit juice drinks now -- and that parents will be impressed by the healthy raw diet. Also looking forward to serving the kids crushed ice and fruit "ice cream" in summer

We also have farm-fresh organic milk delivered (the parents are on board and I charge extra for the organic milk and produce). I have learned that I can skim the cream and make butter in the blender too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CliffsideMama View Post

What does everyone out there do when family gets sick? And while we're at it, where do you draw the line for sick kids coming to you? I realized this week I need a more structured contract with my clients that clearly states what is acceptable and what is not in terms of when their children can come to daycare.
Hi Leanne!

I'm not in ON, but does your province have a website where they publish standards for illness and childcare? I try to follow the provincial guidelines for conditions like head lice, etc. There is a standard policy that children should not be brought to daycare until 24 hours after the last episode of vomiting due to illness, for example.

I have a realistic and frank discussion of expectations around sickness and childcare when we sign our contracts and ask outright what the family's backup plan is for care if one of their children is ill, or if I close due to illness. Every parent using childcare needs an emergency childcare plan if their regular provider suddenly isn't available, even moms using daycare centers. Two daycares have been shut down due to violations in my city over the last few years, leaving lots of parents scrambling for care.

When my family gets sick, I let the daycare parents know and give them the choice to bring their children or not, if it is not serious and if I feel up to taking care of daycare children.

If I close outright (rare) I refund a pro-rated amount of their monthly fee.

It is harder when one's own children are little and catch everything. Now that my kids are older and I've been a provider for a while, they and I rarely get sick anymore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JennaW View Post
Anyway, my question is, should I be the one providing food? (snippage) Anyway just curious what the norm is.
What is normal for your area, in terms of fees and providing food? Here, I've never heard of parents supplying food, except for baby food, but I know it is different elsewhere. If you're giving her a great deal and feel that what she is offering doesn't cover her expenses, I'd ask her to pay more or send food. Personally, I'd rather buy the groceries myself and serve everyone the same choices than have my own little one in tears because the daycare child has blueberries and he doesn't, etc.

I'm sure you can write off the extra food costs on your tax return, too
post #15 of 44
It is nice to see this thread getting some action again!

Life is pretty busy around here. I currently have a 2yo, a 3yo and a nearly 4yo full-time in addition to my own 21mo DD, and I have a 10mo starting in a little over a week. I also have a couple of drop in kids that are here a few hours here and there when I have the space (can only have 6 kids at a time). I'm a little nervous about this new baby - he is the youngest I have taken in aside from my own DD and it is the first time I will have a child younger than her. I am expecting some jealousy issues. I also need to rearrange nap areas in order to accomodate the baby. I fully expect some growing pains, but we will adjust. It happens every time.

As for illness - my policy in my contracts is that a child needs to be out for 24 hours following fever, vomitting or diarrhea. Other than that, it is really case by case. I tell parents that I am fine with whiping snotty noses, as long as a child is well enough to participate, play, and do our regular activities both inside and out. If all they want to do is lay on the couch they really need to be home with mum (or dad... or gramma).

Since I opened last January I have had to close three days. Two were because I was sick, once with strep throat and the other with flu and both times I had a fever and was not up to caring for kids at all. I even sent my own kid off to Granny's so I could sleep. And once I closed because DD was vomitting. My parents are very understanding because it isn't like I am closing down every other week or anything. Fortunately since I am with an agency I can usually find another provider who can take in my kiddos for back-up care or if parents decide to just take the day off themselves they get re-imbursed for that day.

Jenna, $40 a day for two kids, for nine hours doesn't sound like an awful lot. Especially if you are purchasing food. Is that the going rate in your area? I supply food for my kids except for specialty things like baby food or formula, but I charge $800 a month per child, which works out to be about $38 a day for full-time. I prefer having everyone eat the same thing or else it causes problems. I also had to make a rule about no outside food because I had one parent sending their child with sugar-filled "treats" to "share" almost every day. It was nuts!

But supplying food doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. Whenever we get together with other daycare providers (we usually have a once a week playgroup) I am surpised to see things like pre-cut apple slices, fruit cups, juice boxes, and other pre-packaged foods. Not only is it full of preservatives, but it is expensive!! Almost all of our snacks are fresh whole fruit and if you buy in season it is reasonable. I am in Canada, so nothing is really 'in season' right now, but I can buy a 5lb bag of apples for about $4. For a snack, two apples will usually feed my four kiddos after I slice them up. (They can have more, but usually a half an apple each fills everyone up). A lot of our lunches are leftovers from casseroles I make for dinner the night before. I very rarely serve juice and have water for snacks instead, milk at lunchtime.

I'd also make sure you discuss up front about whether or not they will pay you for days they don't use you - either for illness or vacation. Frequent cancellations are a big pain in the butt if you don't get paid. In my contracts parents still pay for days they miss, either for illness, or vacations or whatever, but they don't pay for days that I am closed for my vacations, or our family illness. I consider that to be fair.
post #16 of 44
Thank you for your replies concerning illness and how you deal with it. I am realizing I need a more comprehensive policy handbook, especially because one of my families right now tries to push things to the limit. This is a very good life lesson for me, as I sometimes find it difficult to stand up and say No and here I am learning that I need to in a self employed perspective.

Making sure my daycare families have a solid back up plan for daycare is very important and I need to talk with them about this!

As for food, I work in the cost of serving healthy food into my daily fee, which is $50/full day.

Thanks again everyone who replied!

Leanne
post #17 of 44

Wanting to Provide "Cruncy Care" to only 2 Infants/Toddlers

I am faced with going back to work or trying to make a decent income from home. I am a very natural primal Mama. I am into babywearing, cloth diapering, organic food, breastfeeding, and little to no TV. I have a 2 year old toddler and I would like to care for ONLY two other infant/toddlers. I would be willing to provide all those natural services to the children I care for. I want them to be full time. Is $350 a week per child reasonable for those services? I want to be able to love those kids like my own and spend good quality time with them. I couldn't find anything like this when I was going to go back to work when my baby was 3 months old, so I stayed home and we cut way back on everything. Would you be willing to pay $350 a week for superior care? I should mention that I have been a nanny for triplets and a Mom for over 10 years. I worked in the hospital nursery and I have excellent experience with premature babies.
post #18 of 44
How do you deal with sibling bickering? My dd is an only child and so is the boy I watch three times a week. Recently I also started watching a sister and brother and they bicker almost all the time. Their fighting disturbs the peace in the home in a way that normal squabbles between friends does not. I have been talking to them about boundaries and trying to mediate, but I realize that with siblings things can be much different because at home they are used to working things out. I wouldn't mind that as much if it was just them but it isn't and neither of the other kids are used to this kind of hostile environment. Has anyone found an effective way to help siblings keep the fighting down to a manageable level?
post #19 of 44
YES! there is an excellent book that your library probably has, called "Siblings Without Rivalry". It's by the same wonderful gals who wrote "how to talk so your kids will listen, and listen so your kids will talk" (another essential read for any parent). I would also ask the parent how they handle the bickering, and to give you any tips.

We have lots of siblings come over, but actually not much bickering *because* they're in a different environment and there's plenty of distraction - but also I only do part-time care, so I don't have anybody more than 2 days a week, which if I had them more often, I could see a potential for sibling issues. Good luck!
post #20 of 44
wendeebird - I think you should charge however much you want! If people aren't willing to pay that, you simply won't get any responses to your ads. You could try at that price for a while, and if you get no response you could try again with a little lower price. It's a tricky balance for sure, between what you're worth and what parents are willing to pay!
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