With any job, balance can be difficult to achieve. It can be especially challenging as a childcare provider who's hours begin well before their first client arrives, and end well before their last client leaves.
Here are some super tips from our readers on how to balance a childcare business and family:
"My advice would be to always include your family. Daycare isn't always an easy job but if the family pitches in it becomes a team effort and your family members will take pride in the business. I'd also say know your limits, don't be afraid to say no sometimes and utilize your time during the day so that your off hours can be spent with your family. I've found over the years that when I have strong bonds with my daycare families that are built on respect they are eager to help me when I need time off for my family or myself and it really becomes one big family!" Christina N.
"I hear from a lot of providers that are afraid to take time off for vacation, when they are sick, or personal days. They are either afraid that the parents will get mad or that they cannot afford to take the time off. My suggestion is to do what you can to make it work. The parents are typically understanding if they know what to expect. Have it laid out well in advance for them. I print a "school calendar" and laminate it for each family. I also send a reminder in our newsletter about a month in advance of any time I take off. Vacations and time off should be somewhat evenly spread out, also consider the times your children or husband will most be able to spend with you. One of my vacations is taken during winter break so I can spend time with my school-age kiddo. As for the financial side; I understand that every provider has a unique situation and it might not be easy to take the time off unpaid, but there are options! You could work towards having your vacations paid, many providers do this. Or raise your rates to cover the time off. Do fundraisers to cover the costs of materials, or ask for material donations! Find ways to cut expenses so you can afford the time off. I know it isn't easy, but I think taking time off is an essential part of balancing family and work. Involve your family in ways that are meaningful for them. My middle child loves to help me with my meal prep on the weekends, and with prepping breakfast each morning. Sure it takes twice as long, but he learns a lot and we get to spend that quality time together. My oldest son enjoys playing with the kids when he has time after school, to that end I pay him to "work" for me after school. At the same time I get to see him and hear about his day. My husband is a big fan of reading with children, I invite him in to read to the kids when he has the extra time." - Sheena W.
My biggest struggle daily is remembering when I'm working I have to be the provider when I'm not I can be mom. Provider is structured, scheduled, and strict. Mom is more laid back, not really having a plan for the day, less demanding. I can't be full time mom when I'm working because full time mom wants to protect my own children all the time, but I have to make sure all the children are treated the same and no one feels less then another. It's a struggle and I often feel bad for my own children that's why on weekends and nights I don't ask for chores to be done or even if they don't want to get dressed I don't care. Hahaha" -Meagan P.
"Have an agreed on closing time and stick to it so that you have time for your husband and kids to be with just you" -Vanessa S.
"Providers NEED to take time off. A few days a year just for them---that break is so important to lasting long in this business. Parents take several days off during a year, so they shouldn't be against YOU doing the same.--Plenty of notice given. Do not mistake closing the day care because of illness or other emergencies as personal days off. These are days to regroup, get away from and have that break."-Sherry W.
More posts like this:
Advice on caring for Mixed Age Groups
Things to look forward to each week as a Childcare Provider
Tips for Interviewing New Clients
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