Part 2: How to find daycare clients -Be a Professional

Many people have the ability to babysit a child and make sure the child is kept fed and happy until the parents return.  This is NOT the description of a home childcare provider who always has her openings filled.  A home childcare provider goes far beyond merely keeping a child fed and happy. We are professional early childhood specialists. I recommend you become a professional in your field.  A professional in running the business of a home childcare and a professional in all areas that deal with young children.

Business Professional

A professional home childcare business has set rates of pay, hours, holiday schedule, and policies.  The caregiver has parents sign a contract when they enrol into the daycare.  They have all their policies and guidelines written out and available for their daycare clients.  They have insurance and abide by health and safety standards in their industry.

Professional childcare providers approach the running of the daycare in a manner that is highly ethical and service oriented towards their daycare clients.  Often new providers will ask, ““Do I really need to bother with a formal contract or a set of policies?””  The answer is, ““No, you don’’t”.”  However, how you approach your business and the tone you set implies your level of dedication towards your home daycare business.

Providers who exude professionalism and dedication attract and keep clients.  The choice is always yours.  When parents look for a caregiver, they receive an overall impression of that person according to what they see and hear.   The majority of parents like the idea that they are leaving their child in the care of a professional.

Child Development Professional

Parents have questions about child development and behaviour.  They need support and help when they hit the next phase in their child’’s development.  Become knowledgeable in child development stages.  Become knowledgeable in activities that promote growth in young children.  Become knowledgeable in child safety topics, children’’s health topics, parenting topics, conflict resolution, early literacy, emotional wellness, children’’s programs in your area, etc.  Become an expert in anything and everything that relates to your daycare children’’s age range.

How are you suppose to do that?  Duplicate yourself or give up sleeping? No, this will not happen in a week.  But I’’m assuming that you hold a deep interest in children and most things that relate to early childhood.  This is where you start.  What parts of being a home childcare provider do you want to know more about?  What interests you the most?

Many cities have evening classes that are designed for parents or caregivers to increase their knowledge base.  Contact your local early childhood community centre and ask about evening or weekend workshops.  Sometimes schools or children’’s hospitals hold lecture series.  Ask at pediatrician offices, children’’s book stores, toy stores, children’’s art or dance classes, private preschools or anywhere that offers children’’s activities.  Soon enough you will encounter someone with the exact knowledge needed and this will put you on the path you are seeking.

If classes aren’t a possibility for you at the moment,  consider going to your local bookstore, library or online and find books about early childhood areas that interest you.  Listen to TED talks and webinars.  Educate yourself.  It will boost your self confidence and it will benefit your home childcare.  The money you spend on extending your education will help you attract and keep clients.  Clients mean income.  Therefore, education equals income!

Yes, but WHEN are you suppose to find the time to educate yourself?  You are a busy person and you run a home childcare business so you are exhausted at the end of the day.  No problem, I have a fantastic way to find some time on a daily basis in your regular schedule that doesn’t include giving up any sleep.  This only works if you currently watch TV.  The average person watches 4-5 hours of TV a day.  Start by substituting one hour a day of TV watching for one hour a day of educating yourself.  Begin with something you REALLY find interesting about early childhood, or something that you are currently struggling with and therefore will help you figure out short term solutions.  Your hour of education should be enjoyable, so choose wisely!

Shortly, you will feel more knowledgeable, you will recognize how your new knowledge helps you in your daily daycare life, and you will want to share your knowledge with others. Those feelings will propel you to spend MORE time educating yourself and less time watching TV.  Can you imagine how much you could learn if you spent 5 hours a day educating yourself?  Wow!