childcare providers--how many children do you care for? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 6 Old 01-06-2008, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm a small-scale in-home childcare provider (unlicensed). I got started when friends of ours asked me if I would be interested in providing childcare for their little girl, who is about the same age as my oldest (I have two, 3 and 10 months). Then a few months later their second baby was born, and I took that one in too--so now I am providing childcare for two children in addition to my own. I was afraid I would be overwhelmed, but it actually goes very smoothly. I'm busy all day but everyone's needs are met quickly (i.e. hungry babies are fed as soon as they need to be, etc.) and--this is important to me--we all have lots of fun! I love babies/small children.

So my plate is fairly full as is, but today at church another woman approached me about providing part-time childcare for her 10 month old. She's having scheduling issues with her current provider (another SAHM) and needs someone who will be available on a more consistent basis.

I'm torn. On the one hand, I think I could probably do it, as long as I take care of a few things first to make my life a little easier--like putting a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs for little ones who are learning to climb, and putting those safety latches on the kitchen cabinets (there's nothing remotely dangerous in the bottom cabinets, but safety latches would make it easier to keep the 3 year olds out of the crayon drawer, for instance).

On the other hand, I would hate to take in another baby and then find that it was too much for me, kwim? Also, the parents I provide childcare for now "hired" me on the understanding that I would have four little ones in my home, and I don't want them to worry that if I take in a fifth, their two would be neglected. They've been so great to work with, that I really want to keep them happy (hey, they just gave me an unexpected and unrequested raise!!! How awesome is that!)

A big factor in my thinking process is the fact that I just became a single mom, so I'm supporting myself with this childcare income. I think I can make ends meet just with my current childcare income plus child support payments, but taking in another baby would move me from "I think I can" to "I know I can."

So...those of you who provide childcare from your homes, I would love to know how many babies/children you watch, what limits you've set for yourself in terms of numbers of children, and how you came up with those limits.

FWIW, I believe my state's limit is six unrelated children for an in-home unlicensed child care provider--so I would still be legal.
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#2 of 6 Old 01-07-2008, 01:48 PM
 
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I currently have my own 9 month old and an 11 month old that I watch four days a week. I did watch a 10 month old too once for about 4 hours and having three babies under a year was enough to send my head spinning. It was impossible to handle it when all three were crying at once. I did manage to get them all down for a nap at the same time, but it only lasted about 20 minutes. As soon as the first one woke up, they were all up and cranky due to a very shortened nap. I think that if you were going to do it for only a few hours at a time once in a while, it would be ok, but as a regular thing, I would think it would be too hard.

I recently found out that you can legally have 4 under a year in my state, but it is generally 8 babies and two caregivers. I can't imagine either, but I would think that having two people would at least make it a bit more manageable.

Formerly single Mama to the zaniest boy on the block, born on my birthday on 3/28/07. Soon to be Mama to a new little and can't wait to bfinfant.gif and femalesling.GIF and familybed1.gif again! 
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#3 of 6 Old 01-15-2008, 04:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ShareBear View Post
So...those of you who provide childcare from your homes, I would love to know how many babies/children you watch, what limits you've set for yourself in terms of numbers of children, and how you came up with those limits.

FWIW, I believe my state's limit is six unrelated children for an in-home unlicensed child care provider--so I would still be legal.
I think that the amount of children one can handle will vary greatly depending on the ages and temperaments of the children, the setup of the house, and the patience of the caregiver.

I myself am 37.5 weeks pregnant with our second child. I have a 2 year old son. I provide in-home care for the children of family and close friends. Most days, I have my 2 year old, a 1 year old, and a 4 month old--and soon our newborn. On my busiest afternoon I have a 2.5 year old, my 2 year old, a 1 year old, the 4 month old, and soon, our newborn. I just committed myself to temporary (though I am open to permanent) care of a 3 year old. The mother of the 2.5 year old is pregnant and expecting in May and I am committed to the care of their second as well.

I feel fine about the number of kids I watch, but there are several factors that go into that. My son is very social and enjoys having other children around. I have off on Wednesdays so even if I am having a difficult day it's always just 2 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on, 2 days off. So I know that I always have upcoming time to rest and regroup. I have a very small house so I am not running around like a chicken with my head cut off--everyone is right here and I can see or hear everything from everywhere. My son goes to bed at 7 PM so I have a big portion of every night to myself to relax and unwind. I keep the house clean and I don't have high expectations of baking or scrubbing or putting away laundry during the day, I save that stuff for when there is less kids or I have some time to myself. And dh helps with housework. And finally, I have a matter-of-fact attitude when it comes to the kids and their good days and bad days. There are times they are going to cry, or be upset, or throw a tantrum. I don't get stressed out or worked up about things like that, and I am not a yeller. I just roll with the punches, keep things light, and remember that letting it get to me doesn't do any of us a bit of good.

mommy to ds 11/05, dd1 01/08, and dd2 01/10!
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#4 of 6 Old 01-16-2008, 04:04 PM
 
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I have been providing care for 4 years now. I have two children of my own now who are 7yrs and 4 yrs old. I also care for:

4 yr old - 3 times a week
18 month old - 3 times a week
Set of 15 month old twins - 3 times a week
4 yr old - 2 days a week
12 month old - 3 days a week
3 yr old - 5 days a week

So, I generally have atleast 4 kids (usually 5) on top of my own two every Monday to Friday. Five kids is the max you can care for in Ontario where I am from.

As for the question of the parents not wanting you to take on more...

When I interview families looking for care I am very upfront. I tell them that I always have the option of having a maximum of 5 children. There may be times that I slow down and have fewer but I always reserve the right to have 5 if I want to.

Honestly, I can handle this many kids just fine. I actually think I could probably do more if I was allowed. I think I could definately handle one more.

I think it is an individual thing. Only you can decide what you can handle.

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#5 of 6 Old 01-17-2008, 06:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by melissabb View Post
I have been providing care for 4 years now. I have two children of my own now who are 7yrs and 4 yrs old. I also care for:

4 yr old - 3 times a week
18 month old - 3 times a week
Set of 15 month old twins - 3 times a week
4 yr old - 2 days a week
12 month old - 3 days a week
3 yr old - 5 days a week

So, I generally have atleast 4 kids (usually 5) on top of my own two every Monday to Friday. Five kids is the max you can care for in Ontario where I am from.

As for the question of the parents not wanting you to take on more...

When I interview families looking for care I am very upfront. I tell them that I always have the option of having a maximum of 5 children. There may be times that I slow down and have fewer but I always reserve the right to have 5 if I want to.

Honestly, I can handle this many kids just fine. I actually think I could probably do more if I was allowed. I think I could definately handle one more.

I think it is an individual thing. Only you can decide what you can handle.
Holy Smokes mama! You are my idol!!! What is the most number of kiddos you have under 2 years old at the same time? I just found out that I can only have two under 2 years old in my care at once, and that includes my child. I once cared for three under a year, and my head was spinning for those four hours. I was hoping to take on a newborn this summer, but now realize that I won't legally be able to if I am registered (which I hope to be soon). What are the rules in your state?

Formerly single Mama to the zaniest boy on the block, born on my birthday on 3/28/07. Soon to be Mama to a new little and can't wait to bfinfant.gif and femalesling.GIF and familybed1.gif again! 
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#6 of 6 Old 01-17-2008, 06:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Pumpkin_Pie View Post
Holy Smokes mama! You are my idol!!! What is the most number of kiddos you have under 2 years old at the same time? I just found out that I can only have two under 2 years old in my care at once, and that includes my child. I once cared for three under a year, and my head was spinning for those four hours. I was hoping to take on a newborn this summer, but now realize that I won't legally be able to if I am registered (which I hope to be soon). What are the rules in your state?

I am in Ontario. The rules for unlicensed home daycare are that you can care for up to 5 plus your own kids. Ages do not matter if you are unlicensed.

I think, as I said, that it all depends on the individual. I am very organized and have a seperate daycare room etc.

I also like to have more than one of each age group at one time. That way I am not responsible for all of the 'entertainment' of each child. What I mean by that is if I have 2 or 3 little ones under 2 then I can be doing Jolly Phonics or numbers with the older ones and the little ones all sit together and 'play'. Of course, they are still in the room and supervised but I am not sitting on the floor with them at that time. Then I reverse the roles later when I need to be with the little ones and the older ones have someone to play with. KWIM?

That's just me though. I think that organization is key to having the 'maximum' allowed kids. My other problem is that once you have been in business for a while all of the kids you started with go on mat leave (which is a year here) so you fill their spot. But, then they come back and have doubled because now they have a sibling. SO, If I wanted to, I could have kids hanging from the rafters if it were just a supply thing. I have more requests for care then I can handle.

I tried to slow down for a bit and I actually did for 3 months until two families came back from mat leave!

Anyway, that is my allowable number.

Glad to know I am somebody's Idol!

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