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View Full Version : Did Any Of You Start w/ No Professional Experience w/ Kids?


justgettingstarted
07-12-2011, 11:20 AM
Hi all,

I just stumbled across this forum and am so thankful I found it! I am working toward starting a home daycare but have no experience with kids other than my own 18 month old. I love everything about staying home and caring for him and have a blast doing it but alas, there are bills to be paid. I estimate that I will need a minimum of 5 fulltime kids (in addition to my own) to bring home what I currently make. I have a great house for a daycare (separate playroom, big backyard, etc.) but absolutely no experience with kids other than DS. So, I'm slightly terrified that I won't know how to handle older kids or that the whole thing will be a disaster. I'm wondering if anyone else on here started their daycare with so little experience and how you did it. Any advice, tips, support, or hard truths would be greatly appreciated!!

WImom
07-12-2011, 11:49 AM
If your getting licensed at least by me you have to take classes. That should help you if that's the case. Maybe you could babysit for some family members or friends kids for a night to try it out?

Mom_of_two
07-12-2011, 11:55 AM
I also did not have professional experience with young kids. My degree is in human relations and I am a counselor so had classes regarding development etc, as well as classes required for my permit. Lots of experience working with families and adolescents. I have two girls- I don't take kids older than my oldest. That way I have experience prior (she is turning 4 this week, I will always take til preschool age and under) - I have just felt more prepared working with kids of a certain age once I experienced it with her.

PeanutsGalore
07-12-2011, 12:28 PM
Hi all,

I just stumbled across this forum and am so thankful I found it! I am working toward starting a home daycare but have no experience with kids other than my own 18 month old. I love everything about staying home and caring for him and have a blast doing it but alas, there are bills to be paid. I estimate that I will need a minimum of 5 fulltime kids (in addition to my own) to bring home what I currently make. I have a great house for a daycare (separate playroom, big backyard, etc.) but absolutely no experience with kids other than DS. So, I'm slightly terrified that I won't know how to handle older kids or that the whole thing will be a disaster. I'm wondering if anyone else on here started their daycare with so little experience and how you did it. Any advice, tips, support, or hard truths would be greatly appreciated!!

Yes, I did, and I'm still learning! I'm a SAHM as well, and I've only been at this for 7 months, but I can share with you the biggest lessons I've learned so far.

Taking care of another child is not really anything like taking care of your own. Whatever your child rearing philosophy is, you have to make sure it will adapt to a group setting. If you find that it won't and you have to change it, then you have to make sure your own child will either adapt to a new routine, or you will be able to maintain his old routine while caring for a group of 5 other children. For example: do you follow modern attachment parenting techniques or are you more old-school? If you tend to carry babies around a lot and let them set their own schedule, how will you accomplish that goal while caring for a group of 5 or 6 when they're all clamoring for laptime, want to sleep at different times or not sleep at all, want to eat at different times, etc.? If you're more old-school and expect a child to adapt to the schedule you set, how will you help them adjust when it's very likely that their schedule at home is completely different?

If you're professional and want to remain in the business without burning out, you have to remember that the daycare kids' parents are concerned with only their child's well-being while you need to be concerned with the well-being of your family first, and your daycare group second. How will you successfully combine these needs? Will you write a contract? If a parent pushes the boundaries of a contract, are you willing to enforce it?

If you don't have any experience with children older than 18 months old, I would stick to what I know were I you, at least until you get the hang of the business. That's what I did. I do have experience with older kids, but not much, and they do things you wouldn't expect. Your home has to be safe for kids at a different developmental level. If your own child can't reach something, that doesn't mean that an older kid can't, so you'll have to take a good look at how to toddler-proof and kid-proof a home vs. just baby-proofing.

You also have to learn how to weed through clients so you'll be able to enroll the clients you know you'll work well with. How you do this is up to you, but it's a skill you'll have to learn or else your life and your son's life will be miserable because you'll be spending the entire day with kids you don't necessarily like and can't train in your home, and their parents will be working towards a goal that is opposite of yours and will most likely neither respect you nor your work ethic if they have a completely different idea of what daycare is than you do.

I made a lot of mistakes with my first client and wished I had someone sit me down and give me a big lecture so I thought more clearly about my business before I rolled into it head first. Kudos to you for looking for advice, and listen to the veterans, because they know of what they speak. Most of the time! ;)

Good luck!

dEHmom
07-12-2011, 12:42 PM
start small and work your way up.

start with 1 kid, then after a month or so add another etc

also, don't just take the first ones to your door.

always do a 2 week trail, and take a 2 week deposit towards the final 2 weeks of care.

make sure you know the regulations where you live. you might be limited to less children than you hope for.

cheerfuldom
07-12-2011, 01:05 PM
If you HAVE to have 5 kids to make ends meet and you also have to adjust your son to being home all day with you, I would reconsider this option. Going from working outside the home to taking care of 6 kids when you have never taken care of a group before is such a huge adjustment, words cannot describe it. Not to mention the financial consequences if you cannot fill spots immediately or simply cannot handle this many children plus pay start up costs for toys, equipment and the like. If you have the flexibility to start small and learn slowly before you overwhelm yourself than yes, that could be option. Are there any opportunities to try this out before going full time? Perhaps get a part time or temp job at a preschool, start working in your church nursery, or something to get your feet wet and see if its a good fit. I am not trying to discourage you necessarily but the reality is that A LOT of moms try this out and find that it is just not going to work. I have seen so many moms in my area try it for 6 months to a year and burnout quickly and there is a constant influx of moms advertising that they are starting a new daycare. I agree with a PP, parenting and providing childcare are very very different mostly because there is a whole new set of situations when you are working with parents. Sometimes the kids are the easy part and its the parents that drive you crazy.

dEHmom
07-12-2011, 01:16 PM
i only take care of 4 kids 2 under 2 and 2 over 2 years of age. They are hard to deal with for me. And i've had lots of experience with kids. I could never imagine having more than 4 at one time in my home. But depends on the personalities of each child.

AnythingsPossible
07-12-2011, 01:44 PM
I had babysat on occasion, but other then that, my own children were my only experience.
I too suggest starting out small and adding on as you go. I started out with one little girl and over the year added 2 more. I now watch 8 to 10 but there is no way I could have started out that way!
For licensing, we are required to have 35 training hours, but I always strive for more then that. The better informed you are, the better off you are.

Start small and grow from there.

Michael
07-12-2011, 01:45 PM
Welcome to the forum!

wdmmom
07-12-2011, 01:51 PM
I didn't have any "professional" experience.

I have 4 children of my own (all in school) and I spent numerous years babysitting. I've always loved kids and even worked at a school before going into business for myself.

I've been fortunate to be able to work from home, be my own boss and have a great bunch of kids. I also have a great mentor that helps me and educates me regularly! (Nannyde)

It is definitely do-able without experience but given what I know now, I wouldn't go into it without taking some classes. :)

mom2many
07-12-2011, 02:52 PM
I had no formal training. I had a degree in business and was working f/t outside the home when I had my first child. I wanted to quit my job and stay home with my son, but needed to do something to supplement my husband's income.

Since I'd loved babysitting in high school and enjoyed kids, I decided to give home daycare a try. I only watched 1 family for the first year or so p/t and that was enough for me being a new mom.

When my son was 1 1/2 yrs. old, I began getting referrals from that family seeking childcare. I needed to get my license to watch more than 1 family in CA, so I went through the process to obtain a 6 child license. Before I knew it, I was at full capacity and turning people away! I never had to advertise and relied strictly on word of mouth.

It was the perfect job for me while raising my 3 children and now that my youngest is 20, I'm still finding it very rewarding and it's a huge help financially to our family.

I agree that it's a good idea to start out slow and build up to capacity if you haven't had much experience in childcare. I now have 8 children in my care..Two 1 yr olds, four 2-4 yr olds and two school age. It would have been too crazy for me if I'd started out like this! Now that I have had the experience and learned what works for me, it's perfect! :lol:

justgettingstarted
07-12-2011, 03:16 PM
I really appreciate all of your replies! I was thinking that once I have my license I will start advertising and once I have two kids secured I will quit and start the daycare. I can deal with the financial loss for a few months while I get my bearings and then add kids as I can. Actually, I was concerned that there wouldn't be enough interest in my daycare (especially with my lack of experience) to fill to capacity at first anyway. How was it for you ladies? Was there a lot of interest when you first opened?

It would still be a huge adjustment but I think it would be worth it to be able to stay at home and hopefully have another baby in a couple of years. I will be taking the required classes (CPR, First Aid, Preventative Health) and plan on taking night classes in child development at a community college starting in the fall.

Unfortunately, I don't have any opportunities to get experience now. None of my family or friends have kids and my job is very demanding so I couldn't do a part-time job. I like the idea of only taking kids around the same age or younger than my son, at least at first - I think 5 young toddlers would be way too much!

justgettingstarted
07-12-2011, 03:25 PM
Yes, I did, and I'm still learning! I'm a SAHM as well, and I've only been at this for 7 months, but I can share with you the biggest lessons I've learned so far.

Taking care of another child is not really anything like taking care of your own. Whatever your child rearing philosophy is, you have to make sure it will adapt to a group setting. If you find that it won't and you have to change it, then you have to make sure your own child will either adapt to a new routine, or you will be able to maintain his old routine while caring for a group of 5 other children. For example: do you follow modern attachment parenting techniques or are you more old-school? If you tend to carry babies around a lot and let them set their own schedule, how will you accomplish that goal while caring for a group of 5 or 6 when they're all clamoring for laptime, want to sleep at different times or not sleep at all, want to eat at different times, etc.? If you're more old-school and expect a child to adapt to the schedule you set, how will you help them adjust when it's very likely that their schedule at home is completely different?

If you're professional and want to remain in the business without burning out, you have to remember that the daycare kids' parents are concerned with only their child's well-being while you need to be concerned with the well-being of your family first, and your daycare group second. How will you successfully combine these needs? Will you write a contract? If a parent pushes the boundaries of a contract, are you willing to enforce it?

If you don't have any experience with children older than 18 months old, I would stick to what I know were I you, at least until you get the hang of the business. That's what I did. I do have experience with older kids, but not much, and they do things you wouldn't expect. Your home has to be safe for kids at a different developmental level. If your own child can't reach something, that doesn't mean that an older kid can't, so you'll have to take a good look at how to toddler-proof and kid-proof a home vs. just baby-proofing.

You also have to learn how to weed through clients so you'll be able to enroll the clients you know you'll work well with. How you do this is up to you, but it's a skill you'll have to learn or else your life and your son's life will be miserable because you'll be spending the entire day with kids you don't necessarily like and can't train in your home, and their parents will be working towards a goal that is opposite of yours and will most likely neither respect you nor your work ethic if they have a completely different idea of what daycare is than you do.

I made a lot of mistakes with my first client and wished I had someone sit me down and give me a big lecture so I thought more clearly about my business before I rolled into it head first. Kudos to you for looking for advice, and listen to the veterans, because they know of what they speak. Most of the time! ;)

Good luck!
Thanks so much for your reply. Its nice to know that someone else out there is just as crazy as I am :) I will definitely take your advice into consideration and will likely be on this forum daily if/when I do start up!

nannyde
07-12-2011, 03:58 PM
I didn't have any "professional" experience.

I have 4 children of my own (all in school) and I spent numerous years babysitting. I've always loved kids and even worked at a school before going into business for myself.

I've been fortunate to be able to work from home, be my own boss and have a great bunch of kids. I also have a great mentor that helps me and educates me regularly! (Nannyde)

It is definitely do-able without experience but given what I know now, I wouldn't go into it without taking some classes. :)

You were raised in a daycare too grasshopper.

:D

cheerfuldom
07-12-2011, 06:08 PM
the one thing I will say about advertising for a new daycare, you will have some parents that come interview specifically because you are new and they can take advantage of you. Research your parent contract thoroughly and be prepared to set boundaries from day one. Don't start off an interview negotiating with parents because that part will never end, they will always want more and more.

mom2many
07-13-2011, 07:59 AM
the one thing I will say about advertising for a new daycare, you will have some parents that come interview specifically because you are new and they can take advantage of you. Research your parent contract thoroughly and be prepared to set boundaries from day one. Don't start off an interview negotiating with parents because that part will never end, they will always want more and more.

Good Advice! I started out without even putting a contract together and quickly realized that I desperately needed to lay down some specific rules/guidelines! :eek:For the most part, the dcps were respectful, but its important to have things in writing so there is no confusion and hold to it.

JaydensMommy
07-13-2011, 08:40 AM
The only experience I had before opening my home daycare was working at a center, I did the drop-in child care.. on my own. While I was there.. I realized that I was actually pretty good with children.. the parents were always asking me if I did child care outside of work. :rolleyes: So, that's where the idea started and I realized I could do this at home... And I did it. :)

PeanutsGalore
07-13-2011, 10:19 AM
I really appreciate all of your replies! I was thinking that once I have my license I will start advertising and once I have two kids secured I will quit and start the daycare. I can deal with the financial loss for a few months while I get my bearings and then add kids as I can. Actually, I was concerned that there wouldn't be enough interest in my daycare (especially with my lack of experience) to fill to capacity at first anyway. How was it for you ladies? Was there a lot of interest when you first opened?

It would still be a huge adjustment but I think it would be worth it to be able to stay at home and hopefully have another baby in a couple of years. I will be taking the required classes (CPR, First Aid, Preventative Health) and plan on taking night classes in child development at a community college starting in the fall.

Unfortunately, I don't have any opportunities to get experience now. None of my family or friends have kids and my job is very demanding so I couldn't do a part-time job. I like the idea of only taking kids around the same age or younger than my son, at least at first - I think 5 young toddlers would be way too much!

You may not have to wait until you have your license before starting. Check your state guidelines, and if it's legal to take in one or two kids without a license, get to advertising! There's no experience like, well, experience. :D

It's really hard to find good childcare, so if you're good at what you do, don't give off a creepy vibe, have a clean home and a happy, well cared for kid, the lack of references won't matter much--surprising, I know, but moms tend to go on instinct. Keep us posted on how things turn out, and you are very welcome about the advice. I hope it's helpful. :)