(This article was originally published through Y! Contributor Network on April 16th, 2011. I thought it might be useful to some of you.)
How to Succeed as a Child Care Provider
There are numerous reasons why a childcare provider may fail, but there are a few reasons that top the list. Usually, these issues can be worked out while the business remains intact. Whenever possible, try to work out any problems directly related to parents with them personally.
Many child care providers do not understand how to budget for their business. Money is needed for food, activities and other aspects of the business. Things will need to be replaced. Insurance should be purchased, and an accountant may be helpful. The child care provider will also need to make a profit.
It is important to do your research. Find out what other childcare providers are charging in your area. Do not undercut them drastically, or you will not make a profit. If you try to overcharge, parents will go elsewhere.
Save money by purchasing many items secondhand or on clearance. Accepting donations is another way to save money. Look into what government and private food programs are available in your area, as this type of service can help to offset your overall business expenses. Consider having a payment policy in place that states that if you are not paid in full by Friday, the parents cannot bring their children back. You may also want to weigh the pros and cons of voucher programs where low-income families are concerned.
CARE Courses are distance learning courses that can help in learning to keep good financial records, which will be helpful when budgeting needs arise. This helps a provider to be able to see at a glance where she is financially.
Inability to Communicate
Some providers find that there are certain parents that they are unable to communicate well with. These parents can be difficult, and may cause the provider a great deal of stress. Once in a while, this problem may also happen with a certain child. You cannot help a child if you cannot communicate with her. The same goes for the childs’ parent.
There are different ways in which providers can communicate with parents. A combination of ways is sometimes necessary for business to flow easily. Try having a newsletter, weekly or monthly, that you personally hand to parents when they pick up children. This newsletter is a way tell parents about the upcoming menu and any special days coming up for the day care. It might also give parenting tips, or provide information about programs in the community that parents may find useful.
Provider-Parent meetings might be mandatory once a month, where anything of importance is covered, and snacks or dinner is served. This is done with or without the children in attendance. A calendar should be sent home the first of January that states exactly what days the provider will not be available to look after children.
If a provider is still unable to communicate with a parent or child, she will have to consider whether to keep the child in her care. It may be time to let go.
Disputes About Discipline
Generally speaking, there are discipline guidelines that providers must follow in order to be able to take care of children. For instance, a provider should never hit a child, swear at him or put him down.
Parents sometimes want the childcare provider to carry on with punishments that were handed out at home. This is not good practice in the day care setting because it does not support treating children equally. Some parents may hand out harsher sentences than others, making the provider uncomfortable when following through. This puts undue stress on the providers relationship with both the parent and the child. Too much stress can make the job undesirable. It is also unfair for the other children in the providers’ care to miss out on things due to another child’s behavior.
Spell out exactly what discipline actions will be used within the day care setting in the contract that parents sign, and stick to them.