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  1. #1
    Starting to feel at home...
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    How long when you're not sure?

    How long would you continue doing home daycare as a new provider if you aren't sure it's what you want to do? I guess what I'm asking is, how long is enough time to give it a fair shot before deciding that it is or is not for you.
    Last edited by Starshine; 11-21-2012 at 11:34 AM.

  2. #2
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    I'd say 1 year is a fair time frame to decide if this is the business for you. It's definately not for everyone.
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  3. #3
    Euphoric !
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    Fruitloop is wise. Once the dreaded first year has gone by you are either well established with great clients or still struggling and that's a good indication. But if you are happy and can survive financially with 1 client and willing to keep trying, go for it. The key word is HAPPINESS!

  4. #4
    Euphoric ! Inspired by Reggio's Avatar
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    Hmmm ... hard call for me it would depend on what the 'challenges' were I was facing making me decide if this was not for me?

    Are the issues with the 'business administration end', with the dealing with the client end or with the children and program end ... how much control did I have over changing the challenges and were they things that were 'skill based' that I could acquire the skill with more practice or things that were 'innate' you either are able to do it or not!

    IME there are some things that no amount of time are going to 'fix or make better' they are things you just naturally able to do .... I have worked with peers in the 'centre field' who while really 'book smart' they really should NOT have be in this field because their inability to manage a GROUP was not there t hey were not able to multitask putting children at RISK ... the % of accidents occurring DAILY on their watch because they were not 'supervising' properly was just TOO HIGH but often dismissed by both the peer and management as well 'kids get hurt all the time it is part of childhood' ... IMO the children were allowed to get themselves into situations that COULD have been avoided with support of a properly skilled adult who could multi task dealing with one while still 'watching' all the others to redirect and prevent injuries caused by poor choices of the child (running inside, climbing unsafe areas, etc all avoidable injuries) and than there were the peers who literally 'lost' children who were able to have time to have wondered away from the group because they were not able to continually 'scan' the room while dealing with one child within the group and so forth. .... peers who after years in the field were still doing this same thing cause it was not something they could 'learn' to do.
    Children construct their own intelligence. The adult must provide activities and context, but most of all must be able to listen. Children need proof that adults believe in them. Their three great desires are to be listened to, to understand, and to demonstrate that they are exactly what we expect."
    Loris Malaguzzi

  5. #5
    apples and bananas
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    I wanted to stop doing it several times in my first year. I think it takes about a year to really decide what you're doing, how you're doing it and what you want to do. I opened with crazy hours and burnt out real quick. I resented the parents because they dropped off early or picked up late, but didn't have the backbone to do anything about it. I turned a corner around the 6 - 8 month mark. I terminated care for some of those parents who did not respect me, I changed my hours and either the parents fell in line or they moved on. I wrote good policies and decided to run my business rather then let it run me. I realized that I was valuble to these families, and if they weren't happy with me they were welcome to move on. I created a business plan and knew what families I wanted to take on what hours and took those clients on rather then taking what ever came to me.

    Hang in there... it's a great job when you control it.

    Decide why you're doing it and what you want out of it. Then gain the confidence to find families that fit your vision.

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  7. #6
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    I have noticed a lot of people close down at the 18 month mark. I think that seems to be a big marker point where people either make it or decide that home daycare is not for them.

    However, if you are completely miserable then there is no right time. You just know if you are not meant for it and there is no point prolonging it.

    I was not sure if I had made the right decision the first few months...I was working long days, exhausted and realizing how hard daycare was but I still felt like I could do it and was pleased with the families and the income. I told myself to keep going for at least one or two years.

    I have been doing this for two years now and I have days where I really enjoy doing daycare. I thought I would end the daycare this year but now I am thinking 2 more years. When it all works - it really works.

    I never thought I could do this job ten years ago but I am glad most days that I am doing it.

  8. #7
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    I'm a year into it and I still loving doing it BUT I need more kiddies!!! I've heard others in the area says they've never seen it this slow....
    Satisfaction Guaranteed or Double Your Kids Back!!

  9. #8
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    Thank you for posting this! I've had the same question in my head lately too! I've been open for 3 months and have been having some great days and some really, really hard days. I realize that it's in my power to control some of that though. I have great kids and great parents right now (terminated one family recently because the kids were not a good fit). I struggle with the long hours (I have some 12 hour days) and with keeping the kids busy. I need to work on my programming and activity ideas (any book suggestions anyone?). A few days ago I was ready to throw in the towel but I've decided to hang in there until the summer and give this business a good chance!

  10. #9
    Euphoric !
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    I think it also has to do with why you started into home daycare in the first place. Was it because of issues in your other job making you want to leave, suffered a job loss so job was no longer an option, had a baby and didn't want to leave them to return to work, moved to a new area and still looking for an outside the home job, etc. That might then give you a timeline in your mind of how long you might want to stick it out such as till your own child has weaned off breastfeeding, reached a certain age or milestone, your child has started school.

    It is important to assess if you started home daycare for the right reasons or if it just seemed like an easy out at the time. Not saying some don't start that way and then just hang in there because that is in a sense what I did in that I was looking for a job with my teaching degree after we moved but in the interm agreed to provide care for a neighbour's child, and then another one asked due to care breakdown, etc..... that was 27 years ago and I discovered I loved home daycare as much if not more than the type of job I was looking for.

    I was also going to post along the same lines as what Reggio posted - a good sit down with a cup of tea and a clipboard for some brainstorming might help a lot. Write down why you started home daycare, what you like about your current situation, what you don't like about your current situation. Then look at the why and see if it still applies. Look at the what you like because it will make you feel good. Then look at the what you don't like and see if there is anything on the list that is changeable. Maybe after you have made your list you could even share some of it here and we could give you ideas on things to try that might address the situation - is there a certain child that seems to upset the day then let them go, is clean up an issue - then look at ways to eliminate how the mess is made in the first place, do you crave adult interaction - then visit playgroups, join a class, choir, gym, club of some sort in the evening. Look at ways to steamline your day by realizing what is important and what is not. Steamline your routines in terms of things like diaper changing so they take less time - hence more free time for you and a feeling of more relaxed moments. This is not something that comes naturally in the first year or even second or third. It is an ongoing process even for those of us that have been in daycare awhile because each group of children changes the dynamics and needs.

    I think once you have done your needs assessment you will have a better idea of how long is long enough. Once you know for sure that you are not happy and want to do something different then it is long enough because that will rub off on the children and then no one is happy and their discontent will make yours worse. Once you know you love what you do just not some aspects of it and that they are changeable for the better then you will know.

  11. #10
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    I am nearing the end of my first year in business and there were times when I questioned whether or not I wanted to keep doing this. I experienced bouts of burnout, but have now learned what my limits are and what I can and can not do. I am now really excited about my second year as I am in the midst of planning a rough idea of what I would like to do with the children, so that I'm not flying by the seat of my pants all the time, as I find I get demotivated when doing so.
    I plan on doing this until my son is ready to go to school, maybe longer. At that point every single one of the kids in my care will be going to school and I will have to start all over again looking for clients.

    I do agree with playfelt and Reggio. I think it is beneficial to sit down every 6 months or once a year and assess your business. Is it running the way you would like? Are you enjoying the day to day aspects of the daycare? Is there anything you want to change? Etc.... This way you will be able to understand your feelings about running a daycare and whether or not you would like to continue.
    Best of luck to you, with what ever you choose to do.

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