Monday, February 6, 2012

Are You A Professional Provider?

Choosing to be a home child care provider is sometimes looked at outsiders as not a "real" career.  Many people still refer to child care providers as "babysitters".  To me, a babysitter is a teen or young adult looking to earn extra money, going to the family's house and looking after children for a few hours while the parents go out.  A child care provider is someone who runs a business, it just happens to be a home-based business.





Home child care providers come in all kinds and styles.  Some are very formal, while others are very casual.  When I began child care I was a bit unorganized and very informal, which did not help my image.  Thankfully, a few families gave me a chance to care for their children.  As time went on I got better and better at being a professional.




At first I didn't care so much about my image (I mean business image, not so much my personal looks).  But after thinking about it for a while, I realized it is important to come off as a professional business person, not just one who plays with children all day.  Here is what I did:


  • Have written materials:  Policies, contract, child information, holiday schedule, daily schedule, bite policy, common foods served, and more.  Having things spelled out in print helps to prevent misunderstandings between provider and parents.
  • Have a clean, organized child care area.  Make things organized and easy enough for the children to be able to clean up.  If you make it too complicated or overcrowded with toys and things, it doesn't look good and it can cause the children to be confused and unfocused.
  • Give your child care business a name.  Even a simple "Karen's Daycare" is better than no name.  I chose "Pamm's House" because it is simple and even the little once can say it and grasp the meaning right away.
  • Dress professionally.  If you answer the door in your robe each day, parents may wonder when you would have time to change your clothes or if you're serious about the day's work.  If you wear sweats and a dirty t-shirt each day, it doesn't put off the best image.  I chose to wear scrubs because they were comfortable and kept my regular clothes out of the daycare mess.
  • Offer a curriculum or at least have a plan for the day. Most of the time I used Plan B Curriculum, and parents appreciated I had a plan for each day.
  • Have a cleaning schedule.  Rotate and clean your toys and break other housework down into manageable tasks.  Don't forget your curb-appeal!  That's the first impression of your home to everyone.
  • Set up good communication with your clients:  Google Calendar, Blog, phone & texting, email, etc.
Those are just some ways to be more professional.  Here's a link to the Difference Between A Babysitter And Daycare Provider.




Pamm

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