I thought I’d answer this publicly, JR, hope you don’t mind. First of all, thank you! I’ve been working hard at this day care/preschool role for almost 8 years.
I started after desiring to be home with Brett and to have another baby. He was about 18 months. It wasn’t easy starting at this age (I found out he was a biter!), introducing other kids and stresses into our lives, but I’m still glad I did it.
It was a big decision for me to start my own business obviously but having a really good job complicated the decision. I had good hours, worked 4 days/wk and had great benefits. BUT I wasn’t able to be what I wanted at work or at home since I wasn’t at either place enough. After seeing the care Brett received in a family child care setting, I felt it was something I could do and hopefully enjoy.
I had some early childhood education, enough to get licensed. Luckily I took a course in high school that earned me an assistant teacher certificate. Then I took a 40 hr. infant/toddler course and SIDS training in order to be compliant. Since I’ve build on that with lots of continuing ed and 18 more ECE credits.
Benefits: I have insurance through my husband’s job. Although they are not quite as good as we used to have, it’s been enough.
Secure pay: It’s a rough transition between a regular pay check and being self employed. I just went for it. I didn’t have a lot of cushion but figured I’d get a PT job in the evening if I had to. We made it through and in less than 2 years my day care was full. (My first two kids were very PT. They were here two mornings/wk. I think their mom was having an affair while her kids were here…yikes!) Income continues to fluctuate especially with issues in our local economy, but overall, I make more more than I did before. Tax benefits and especially immeasurable benefits have made this a good decision for our family.
I do take two weeks vacation and major holidays off paid which is common for family child care. You’ll need it and deserve it!
Early Childhood Education and/or day care wasn’t my first choice. (I worked in interior design for 6-7 years. Lots of sales/nights/weekends. It became a situation of there was little place to go for me in this area unless I start my own business, which I may do someday…) But, this is where my experiences brought me and I’m happy with it. For now. I don’t intend to be a “lifer” at this job but I have no specific plans about how long I plan to be in family child care.
It’s a huge commitment to take other people’s children into your home, meet licensing requirements, preschool standards and still have time for my life and family. We have one child so there’s not as much running around to activities as some families might have. I can see how this job would be difficult if you want to attend a lot of after school activities.
Also, if at all possible, have your child care/preschool in a separate area of your home. I do not and while I’ve learned to deal with it, it makes this job a lot more work and stressful to have it in the main floor of our home.
Personally, I LOVE being home. Sometimes on a Saturday or other day off, I find myself saying “I’m going to stay home ALL DAY.” Oh, I already do that all the time! Other times I can’t wait to get away.
If you are self motivated, creative, enjoy kids, are business minded, and love a challenge, this job is for you! Notice ‘PATIENT’ is not included in that list. I didn’t come to this job with patience, I’m currently learning it. Add stable and dependable. Families need that in a caregiver.
Tips for transitioning from a job to family child care:
- Make sure you have the support of your family. You’ll be tired, stressed, so busy and daycare/preschool tends to take over a house!
- Try saving some extra money to tide you over while you find clients. Cut back where you can NOW.
- Tell everyone you know you’re starting a child care. Create a website, advertise on all the free sites. Consider ads in the paper, Craigslist or online listings with phone book companies.
- Check into your state licensing requirements first and get started on the process. I completed the licensing process before I quit my job. Just in case.
- Determine what kind of program you’ll have. Since, you JR, are already working with preschoolers, you’ll have an easier transition. A private preschool would be wonderful, but can you make enough money only having a 2-3 hour program? Or will it be more of a day care with various ages enrolled? Look online at other program websites and see what appeals to you. Here’s my child care website for more information: HDD DC.
- Set up your space, buy materials, toys, from garage sales, thrift stores or solicit donations from family and friends.
- Consider your mortgage. Do you need to refinance? Do it before becoming self employed or you’ll have to wait until you’re self employed two years. Two years of tax returns are required. We learned the hard way…
Personally I’ve learned and grown so much from starting my own business and doing day care/preschool. Oh, and I’ve aged a lot too. Seriously, pretty sure I have…! It is hard work, all consuming, sometimes really stressful, hard and very rewarding. I do have the support of my wonderful husband so that makes all the difference. It’s been a good choice for our family.
Our son has benefited from it immensely, getting such a great start in school, and having the company of other kids to play with every day. I wanted the influence on the early years of his life to be mine, not someone else’s. It’s made him who he is today. I wouldn’t have missed those years home with him for anything.
Yes, I’m satisfied with my career choice! Thanks for asking, I hope this helps.
*All the pictures in this post are from my first year or two in child care. So much has changed since then! Fun to look through those pictures again!