Doing childcare?? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 29 Old 03-14-2003, 07:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm considering doing childcare for one other child in my home. Dh's job is probably being cut and money was tight anyway, so...do any of you take care of other children in your home? I'm thinking one child (or two siblings). How do you get out and about with two? What does your day look like?

I am an elementary teacher and have taught preschool, so I have an idea what I'm getting into, but I'd love to get a reality check on all this. Thanks
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#2 of 29 Old 03-14-2003, 11:14 AM
 
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I have always done in-home childcare for the last 5 years, ever since my first child was 9 months old. It always worked out well. This year was the hardest, because I am watching 4 all together and that makes it hard (almost impossible) to get out.
Watching 2 or 3 is easier and nicer. My best advice: invest in a double stroller and/or wagon (depending on how old the child/children are).

I'd be happy to answer any specific questions.

Its always worked out well for us, been a lot of fun, brought in extra money, and taught my children a lot about sharing/ patience/ getting along.

Down side: EXHAUSTING, much harder to keep up with the house, (although, on the other hand, we HAVE to tidy up each and every night so that the apartment is ready for babysitting the next day- the place never gets too out of hand, simply because we HAVE to keep it picked up for babysitting) and even if your child is napping, *someone* is always awake, so no "down time."

It's been a good experience for our family. We love and remember all the children we've babysat. Never had a problem with any of the kids...some of the parents, on the other hand, have been difficult. make sure you click with the parent before taking a job. You can learn to love and enjoy any child...but not every grown-up, LOL!
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#3 of 29 Old 03-14-2003, 11:15 AM
 
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I was an elementary teacher and pre-school teacher, too!
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#4 of 29 Old 03-14-2003, 12:27 PM
 
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I have a set of twins I watch now and it is great. It brings in a good amout of money, and gives my son someone to play with. I have been taking them out since he was an infant. When he was a baby I had him in a carrier, and held both their hands. Now they are older, and I hold his and they hold eachothers. We go out all the time. That is the only way I keep my sanity. I would also say that it is very important to only do it for parents you like and agree with on most parenting issues. Also you have to look at the age mix and temperaments to see how the children will get along, and how well they will listen when going out. I have very simple rules when we go out. Always hold hands when we are by cars, if they don't then we leave and they don't get to go out. It only takes once or twice of that. I also used to put my son in a stroller and have each girl hold a side. So it can be a wonderful thing, because my son is very socialized for being the oldest and only so far.
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#5 of 29 Old 03-14-2003, 01:19 PM
 
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HotMama,

I have been doing childcare out of my home. And, I too worked as a preschool teacher - for 7 years - before having ds. I find it quite challenging at times. It is much more difficult than a classroom setting - definitely. And, often much longer hours. For much less money. However, part of my problem is that I did not set up professional parameters before starting.

In order for it to work, you need to let parents know your expectations. For example, getting paid for days you were planning to work - but didn't due to sickness etc. What will your policies on sickness be? Will you care for the other child when they are sick? What about when your dc is sick? What about when you are sick?

Compensation is most important. You are an experienced educator. Therefore, you need to be paid accordingly. Hindsight is 20/20

Good luck,
Laura
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#6 of 29 Old 03-14-2003, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by laurajean

In order for it to work, you need to let parents know your expectations. For example, getting paid for days you were planning to work - but didn't due to sickness etc. What will your policies on sickness be? Will you care for the other child when they are sick? What about when your dc is sick? What about when you are sick?
What good questions! What did you do about sickness? Is there a professional organization with answers to these questions? I think I'll go check teach.net for home care list serve.
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#7 of 29 Old 03-14-2003, 01:40 PM
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My ds has been in a homecare since he was 6 months old, he's now almost 3. From a parents' point of view here are some of my suggestions and observations:

1. Only one baby! This is a big one for me. I wouldn't allow another baby with my caregiver when ds was an infant. She felt she could handle it but I wanted him to be the first priority. The other kids were old enough they could wait while she took care of him. Now she has 2 almost three year olds and they have a ball together. They've been together for over a year.
2. Get out everyday. My caregiver goes to the playground in warm weather and a community centre in the winter. She is extremely diligent about this. She had a double stroller when ds was an infant but got the kids up and walking cooperatively pretty early.
3. Identify troublesome behaviour and deal it with right away. My caregiver has raised 3 kids of her own and been providing home care for 9 years. She knows what will make her job really difficult. For example, she got them out of high chairs and sitting cooperatively at the table for lunch very early. My ds still doesn't do this for me at home but for Maria, no problem. I know she doesn't yell or hit, she is just diligent about not allowing it early so they learn. Like walking holding hands.
4. Maria usually makes their lunch the night before and reheats it.
5. She takes them with her on errands. They have fun and she gets stuff done. However, this is about all she 'gets done' during the day. She says she never cleans or anything because she'd rather be playing with them. This Mum's certainly happy with that!
6. I am appalled at how some parents treat her. Just this week she had a verbal confirmation that this mother was going to start bringing her 2 girls 3 times a week. They showed up one day, then she called the next time to say they were sick but then didn't show up and didn't call for the next two days. Finally called to say she'd found other care. Good riddance to her, I say.
7. I am not the type of mother who needs to know just what my ds ate, how many poos, etc. but Maria tells me if anything out of the ordinary has happened and that's fine with me. I'd think you'd want to feel out the parents for this kind of thing and either tailor your communication to their needs or tell them if you aren't willing to. I know some daycares give daily written reports.

I love Maria and we have a really good relationship. Good luck in your new business!

Liz
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#8 of 29 Old 03-14-2003, 02:49 PM
 
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HotMama,

I PM'd you.

Oh, I have the children bring their own snack, drinks and lunch too. Of course, if my child is eating something they want I give it to them. But, for the most part they bring food from home. And, the more prepared the easier it is - fruit peeled and cut up etc.
In fact, where I taught, that was there policy. And, I totally agree with it!

~Laura
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#9 of 29 Old 03-14-2003, 03:53 PM
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I was a licensed provider for 6 years when my oldest was younger (he was my only child then). My best advice is to draw up a contract; you will avoid a lot of problems this way. They are paying for a childcare slot, not hourly, so they should always pay when the child doesn't come because of illness or other reasons. You can set aside two weeks a year without pay for you for vacations, that is pretty common, otherwise they pay all year, just like tuition.

There are a lot of childcare provider associations in my area, they offer a lot of help and have sample contracts and other materials. Check on amazon, there are quite a few books out there about home daycare.

It was a lot of work and long hours, but it allowed me to be home with my son. It is not the same as being a sahm, it is a full-time job. I usually had 4-5 full-time children and some before and after school. 6 full-time children were allowed (counting my own) but was too much for me. 2 or 3 kids is nice, but will still be different than just being home with your own. Screen the parents very carefully and make sure you get insurance. Having parents that respect you and what you are doing makes all the difference.
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#10 of 29 Old 03-14-2003, 03:58 PM
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One other thing; check with the department in your state that licenses home daycare. They should be able to direct you to a family childcare association in your area. I would consider getting licensed for tax purposes, to be more professional, and to tap into child care associations, especially if you are going to be in it for a few years.
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#11 of 29 Old 03-14-2003, 05:20 PM
 
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You have gotton a lot of good information here. A couple of things to add (or that I might have missed) Get EVERYTHING in writing. Be sure the parents are Ok with you taking thier child out and about. There was tread about this a while back and i was shocked at how many parents were absaolutly against thier child care provider leaving her house with thier child. Apparently a lot of people don't want you doning anything but doting on thier child while they are paying you to take care of her. I always dd all of my errends and went to playgroup and meeting etc with my daycare kids., if parents didn't like it they could go somewhere else (and pay three times what they were paying me. ) Talk with someone familiar with taxes. You havbe to pay them. You owe a large portion of what you make. But you can be creative with deductions etc. . . (Pm if you want more information on this. I usuallyhardly had to pay anything in taxes because I had a great book that helped find all of my deductions without overdoing it)

I always provided all the food. For a while children would bring thier own food and it made my whole foods eating (and hating) dd feel like she was really missing out when people brought processed, fastfood, candy crap for lunch and out of season expensive fruit when all she had was an apple. . . again. It made her pretty sad. Once a child was eating table food they ate with everyone else. Milk was also provided by the parents in all its various forms.

And this may seem like a totally wierd thing now but . . .BE sure you tell parents to dress thier chioldren in play clothes. RThere was one mom who always had her baby dressed to a t and it was so annoying. First of all she was cranky because denim is not comfprtabvle for babies. Secondly I was always worried about her noice clothes getting ruined. The first thing I would do after her mom left was to strip her down. That whole experiance didn't work out well.

Ask for payment at the beginning of the week. It is all about protecting you and yours. i don't know about where you liove but infant child care is gold here. i could pretty much set the standard and strangers would still be knocking on my door.

Don't count your chickens before they hatch. Don't buy a new car, house or charge up a credit card based on the money you will be recieving from childcare. i had three people quit all at once for different reasons and it sucked not having that income because I had just bought a car based on the income. It sucked hard. Especially when you are just starting out with someone you just never know if it is going to work. They may have unrealistic expectations, you may have different philoshophies etc. . . You just never know.

Don't be scared to tell someone when it isn't working out. They may be willing to change they may not. You have to do what is best for your children.

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#12 of 29 Old 03-14-2003, 08:58 PM
 
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Oh, lots of good advice!

I would suggest you consider watching two+ elementary age school kids before and after school. There is very little good quality care out there for kids that age - it's mostly warehousing them for 3 hours (from 3pm to 6pm) til the parents get off work. This is one thing I'm planning on doing to make ends meet.

I love kids this age - they are so fun and funny. They don't need the "physical" care little kids do (ie. diaper changes etc), and they aren't with you ALL DAY LONG. You get the better part of the day to yourself while they are in school. And it's basically watching 2 big kids instead of one little one - and you get paid a tad more, with more time to yourself and more interaction with people who can talk, lol. And you can do art projects, field trips, library days etc pretty easily!

I'd just never watch more kids than I had seatbelts in my car for in case of emergency (or long distance field trip).

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#13 of 29 Old 03-14-2003, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So many great ideas! As I've read through all of your ideas, I find it frustrating that the pay really is low, by the time you do food, taxes, etc. I make $135 a day if I substitute teach and it sounds like $500-$800 tops for caring for an infant all day, all month...gosh it makes hanging with grandpa while I sub a few days nice, but only for the money side (even though grandpa is awesome and she loves him). I want to be with my daughter full-time. I can imagine taking two hours away next year, occasionally, but not 8 plus commute, even one day a week. This will be an interesting decision!
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#14 of 29 Old 03-15-2003, 02:45 AM
 
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I make pretty good money. You have to remember that it looks like no money at the end of the year, but that's because that's how you want it to look. No other job allows you to deduct a portion of your utilities and housing payment etc. Things that you'd be paying anyway.

-Heather

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#15 of 29 Old 03-15-2003, 06:14 AM
 
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I've been considering doing this as well... could I ask a couple of questions too?

Like I'm wondering how much extra room I should have in my home for the kids? Something like an extra family room or something?? We're in the process of finding a bigger place, so thats kinda important to know..

Also, I should be getting schooling paid for pretty soon, so I was thinking of getting certified in childcare for that... would that be pointful for home daycare??

I'm planning on waiting until my still unborn child is old enough for me to handle more.... what age would you think would be a good age to wait until?

How do you decide how much to charge? Can the family childcare associations give you a range for your area or something?

What about accidents in your home? Do you need insurance or have the parents sign a waiver or something?

Thanks so much for any help you can throw my way!

Lisa, mama to Orion (7) , Fiona Star (born sleeping @ 38wks 12/6/08) , our bitty (m/c 7/27/09) , and Charlotte Athena (11/5/10)
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#16 of 29 Old 03-15-2003, 11:36 AM
 
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It depends on how many kids you will be watching, but an extra room, one devoted to childcare is especially nice. I am not sure how important it would be to be certified in childcare, I mean it would be one more thing to boost yourself when talking to the parents. It is hard to say what age your little one will be ready, depends on the temperment. I have been a nanny for 2 additional kids since mine was 3 months, so it is nice because he is used to it, I think if you wait to long it could be a hard transition. Also my word of advice is licensing is a long process, and I real pain in the but to do when you have a little one, but you can do the whole process now while pregnant, get your license and just wait to get any kids. Just because you are licensed doesn't mean you have to be open for business. That way when you are ready you don't have to wait for months like I am. The family childcare association will tell you what the going rate is for each age range in your area, there is a large amount of difference depending where you live. Also I would say definitely have insurance. You are allowed to have the parents sign something saying they are aware you don't have it, but it is a big risk. They sell policies especially for in home daycares since your regualar homeowners doesn't cover it. A word of advice I received was don't tell your regualar homeowners about you having a daycare, because they might drop your coverage. If you have a separate policy you are covered so they don't need to know. When you try to get your license they have a whole orientation that covers alot of what you need to know, it is packed full with info. So hopefully that answers most of your questions.
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#17 of 29 Old 03-15-2003, 03:42 PM
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Get insurance!!! No matter what the parents sign, they could still sue you and your homeowner's will not cover it. You could end up losing your house and everything else. A provider in our area was sued when a baby died of sids because the baby was sleeping on her tummy, not her back. She almost lost everything but the original court decision was overturned. She had insurance but the original court award was for an amount higher than her insurance. Doing daycare in your home is a risk, that is one reason why so many people end up getting out of it. Someone can always sue if negligence is involved, no matter what paper is signed.

When I was doing it I had a rider on my homeowners, as long as I didn't have more than 4 day care children I was covered. It was Allstate, but I don't know if they write those policies anymore as that was almost 10 years ago.

A friend of mine made over $50,000 gross a year, she was always full. You can get at least $200 a week for an infant in our area, centers charge even more.
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#18 of 29 Old 03-16-2003, 12:48 AM
 
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Though I don't (and have never) provided in home child care, my son attends a very professional one, and his care provider has done a great job of maintaining the professionalism, so I thought I'd let you know a few things she does.

First, she requires payment for the whole month on the 1st of the month. A day later, and it's $25 added to my bill,

She keeps my money if my son is ill. She will accept him in her home if he has a sniffly cold but nothing more. She will not require me to pay for a "planned absence" if I give her at least 2 weeks' notice.

She charges $50.00 a day for all her kids, whether infants or pre school aged. For after school kids, she charges $8.00/hour.

She gets paid holidays, the same days that public schools get off. That means that I pay her $50 for Christmas, MLK Day, etc. even though she is closed on those days.

She provides all the food. However, she allows parents of infants and young toddlers to send in EBM and other special foods.

Clients provide the diapers and diapering supplies.

Children must come dressed for the day! My care provider tells me some parents try to bring their kids right out of bed, in a sopping wet diaper and jammies, expecting HER to get them ready for the day. Make it clear this is not acceptable!

Formalize your procedures and put together a handbook stating them.

Just some ideas!
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#19 of 29 Old 03-16-2003, 11:16 AM
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teachma, that is pretty much what my policies were although I didn't charge nearly that much. When my ds went to family daycare once I was a wohm, he went to a friend of mine who had been doing daycare for a long time, she had the same policies you mentioned. It is better to start off with those policies and be firm about them than to try to change them once you have started. I learned that the hard way :. Also, most providers draw up new contracts every year, so that gives you a chance to change policies and adjust fees if necessary.
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#20 of 29 Old 03-16-2003, 12:27 PM
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My homecare provider works through an agency. I pay the agency monthly and they pay her. They screen all the caregivers, do drop in visits monthly, provide extra training, even provide a toy library they can borrow from. They interview the parents and match them with caregivers depending on neighbourhood and ages of children etc. They go over all the policies and make sure the parents understand their obligations. They do all the withholding for the caregiver (income tax, Employment Insurance, pension) and provide me with a tax receipt at the end of the year. They take a cut for these services but I would think it would be worth it for the care provider. The care provider is allowed to take other kids privately (not through the agency) but she doesn't provide a tax receipt for this and I guess she claims it on her taxes as extra income (or not but I don't ask). Anyway, I don't know if they have agencies where you are but it's working really well for me and my care provider.
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#21 of 29 Old 03-16-2003, 08:09 PM
 
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Holy caw teachma!! Is that average daycare cost arond there or is it a very up scale daycare? I only charged $100 a week for my kids. i guess part time was $30 a day but still. That was the polocy I tried to enforce. People didn't take me seriously. That is why I quit.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#22 of 29 Old 03-21-2003, 03:42 PM
 
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Just wanted to share my experience:
I started watching my next door neighbors kids last summer.. two days a week.. because their babysitter was pg andwanted to cut back a little.. when Sept. came the older boy went to school and my neighbor asked if i would watch younger boy 5 days a week.. until babysitter had her baby and was ready to take him back. I said sure.. as my older ds is the same age and they play together all the time anyway.
A couple of weeks into it.. neighbor comes over with a form to fill out..through her husbands work.. the childcare would be paid for . I declined. I explained that I understood that she may want to find someone else who would be willing to claim this, but i wasn't. It simply wasn't worth it to me. ( And i really cosidered it simply a favor, for a short time.) She said ok.
So here it is march,And she asks for my ss numberso she can do her taxes.!!!!! i told her i thought we had agreed that this was under the table, and that I had already filed my taxes.
Well to make a long story short.. I have to amend my taxes and pay the gov. $425! because i did my next door neighbor a favor. .. that alot of money in my world.. money that I don't have.
DON'T DO ANY ONE ANY FAVORS!!!!!
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#23 of 29 Old 03-21-2003, 05:37 PM
 
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I have skimmed through these reply and thought I would add my 2cents. I do daycare in my home. I agree with most everything everyone has said on the legal side, have a contract, set up your expectations ect. One person said do not take more than one baby..........AMEN! My DS is 17 months old and I also watch a 16 month old. They are both good kids but they do not yet have the concept of sharing, not hitting each other or that they should not take a toy away from another. Of course all children at any age go through these things but with 2 kid under 2 it can drive you nuts. My plants all had to be moved up......I have 2 big ones that the two youngest throw the dirt out of so I covered them with screen material. That worked but they still grab the plant..........I had to wind up my curtains around the rod so they won't rip them down, yes they did that. Really it is fun but there are many stresses. My day goes like this:

7:15 two kids show up so I feed my 2 and them breakfast.
free play inside
9:00 outside time
9:30 babies go down for nap and it let older kids do things they just can't with the babies awake like color, playdough, paint, cook with me or any project.
10:30 babies wake up......inside play for a while
11:00 outside time
11:30/12 lunch
1:00 nap time fore everyone! During this time I may clean up, nap, get on the computer or call a friend.

3:00 everyone is up and we play inside
4:00 outside time
5:00 Everyone goes home!

The whole experience can be fun but just as many others here have said, it is SO much work! And when all the kids go home my 2 don't so sometimes I have no more tolerance by 5. I have to concentrate on getting out on some evenings not to go bonkers!
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#24 of 29 Old 03-23-2003, 12:05 AM
 
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lilyka, the $50 a day that I pay is considered a great deal around here! Last summer, it went up from $45, and I started asking around, only to find that $50 was still lower than anyone else's center. Of course, a big "institution" type center is less expensive, but #1, there were none convenient to my home or workplace, and #2, it's just not my preference. I don't like paying that much...but I just enrolled my son in pre school for next year and it's gonna cost me $8,000! That's only for 1/2 day care!!
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#25 of 29 Old 03-23-2003, 11:33 PM
 
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That is the price of living in SF, I live is Sacramento were all the SF refugees are moving to escape the astronomical costs of living there
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#26 of 29 Old 03-26-2003, 01:06 AM
 
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Most definitely get insurance. My cousin-in-law did in-home care for years. Then she had a dog bite incident, negligent IMO having a dog around daycare children, but it wasn't super serious. Except that the parents didn't care for it properly and it got infected. So, they sued her and won. I was told that the settlement exceeded the total amount of money that she had ever made doing childcare. Needless to say she no longer does in home childcare.

And about 2 babies, amazing how I managed to raise my twins.

Jenny
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#27 of 29 Old 03-28-2003, 05:08 PM
 
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Twindaze........yes, HOW did you raise 2 babies????How do people with twins do it???? I could have a housefull of 4 year olds and be fine, but 2 18 month olds.............agh!

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#28 of 29 Old 03-28-2003, 08:23 PM
 
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wow, thank goodness I live in the cheap ol' midwest. Last year I paid $3.50 andhour for my 2 girls and it just about killed me. but tyhen again I only made 46 an hour. (we own the business, so don't feel bad for me the paycheck as it was , was just for a tax break of some sort.)

Insurance: for me it would have been $3 a month. Well worth it in my opinion. I had a couple of things happen that could have been sue-able (one child was just a dissaster magnet. poor girl) fortunately her parents were of the seriously melow variety.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#29 of 29 Old 03-29-2003, 01:55 AM
 
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<Twindaze........yes, HOW did you raise 2 babies????How do people with twins do it???? I could have a housefull of 4 year olds and be fine, but 2 18 month olds.............agh!>

I did do it, but, honestly, I'm not sure how. : I know that we went out on playdates a lot. It was so much easier if I wasn't home. Plus, I had a son who is 2 years older who tortured them constantly as infants, really, he still does, but they fight back now. :LOL

I think that you just take it one day at a time. Although in reality, the days were manageable usually, it was the nights that were terrible. The lack of sleep is the worst part.

And now that they're 4.5, it's easier in some ways. They play together very well, more so when they're older brother is at school. If there was only one, that child would miss his big brother terribly.

Jenny
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