Small Business For Stay At Home Mum
by Stephanie Robinson
(Kelowna, BC, Canada)
Just another day at the day home
My name is Stephanie Robinson . I have two daughters, one 2 years old, the other 7 months old. For the past 1 1/2 years I have run a day home out of my house. Before I had a day home, I was on Maternity Leave. When my maternity leave ran out, I could not make myself work out of the home. I was anxious that I would miss all my daughters’ firsts. I looked into all of my options.
We couldn’t afford for me not to work that was not an option. Previously I had experience watching children, either babysitting as a nanny. I knew I enjoyed watching children and helping them learn and grow. I decided that my best option was to run a day home.
Not only had I had experience with watching children, but there was a real shortage in capable and affordable day care in my area. I did my research on all the regulations in my area.
To make sure that I not only qualified, but that I was not breaking any laws in owning a day home. After I was sure that I qualified and that I had all of my certifications (i.e., first add and c.p.r) in place.
I made sure that I had a proper area set up for a day home and that I had plenty of activities available for the children. I also had to get my paperwork organized. I did research on the internet to see what type of forms I would need and to see what all was required including what rates I would charge.
During this research I found that there was a local society dedicated to helping day homes. I signed up to become a member of this society. They offered different levels of day homes, licensed and non licensed required.
Since becoming licensed was expensive and I did not have all of the schooling required, I signed up to become license not required. This would take approximately 1 year to get all of the training required. Nonetheless I was still allowed to start the day home while I was getting trained. So I placed an advertisement on local webpage for my community.
After about 1 week of the ad being up on the webpage, I started to get response from parents of the community. I set up interviews with the parents. An Interview gives both the care giver and the parents an opportunity to see how well we get along, and to ask questions that they are concerned about.
The first parent I met up with was a single parent, she was concerned with the price of day-care and how well her child would get along with my child. After the initial meeting we were able to work out a plan that suited both of us. I agreed that I was willing to accept child subsidy and that I would help out with all the paperwork, as she was new to the country and needed some help.
Our children got along immediately. It took another few weeks to get another child into the day-care, as it was summer and most parents were not looking for day-care at this time. Once the summer was over more parents came out of the woodwork. After more interviews, I had more children lined up for the day home.
The hardest part about starting up a day home, is that it takes a bit to get started up and to get a steady income. It took approximately two months to get regular income. Once I had more than one child in the day home, and the income came in more regularly, it became easier and less stressful. Day-care is not a high profit business, but the rewards are fantastic. I was able to witness all of my daughter’s firsts, and I was able to help mould and develop some of our future generation.
To run a successful day home, where everyone is happy (including you), it is important to have a lot of patience and understanding towards the children. Not all children are the same, some are more high maintenance. I had one boy who spent every other week with either their mother or father. I was the only consistent person in his life. He needed more attention then the other children, otherwise he would act out. I quickly realized that if I was to keep everyone happy, I would have to spend a little extra time with just him.
So I set-up an activity that I could do with him alone, while the others were playing together. This helped him develop confidence around me. It is important to be consistent in everything you do. I set up routines. In the morning we would have free play, then we would have a snack, then we would go play outside. We would have lunch, then some wind-down time, a nap, then another snack, then arts and craft time. Setting up a routine helped both the children and myself know what to expect from the day home.
I highly recommend that if you are interested in starting up a day home, to make sure of all regulations in your community prior to starting on your endeavour. You might have to go get some additional training, such as first aid and c.p.r. You might also require certain amenities in your household. Once you have checked out the regulations, see if your community offers any support for you. You might even be eligible for start-up grants.