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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Any Regrets After Opening Own Daycare
Unregistered 08:37 AM 11-30-2008
hi! i am thinking about quitting my full time job with good pay and great benefits to start my own daycare, so i can stay home with my now 6 month old daughter. i miss my daughter while i am at work and hate the thought of someone else raising her, but my hubby is not too crazy about losing my health and retirement benefits (even though we can still pick up slightly more expensive health benefits through his job) and about having kids "take over the house."

Has anyone had any regrets about starting their own daycare, or have any advice?

momof3 08:40 AM 12-01-2008
I had the same doubts 6 years ago when I quit my high paying job, with great benefits and excellent health care, to start my at-home daycare. my husband is also self-employed, so this was quite scary. However, 6 years later, I am still at it. I have to say, it was probably the hardest change I have ever had to make in my life, but so worth it. I did not want someone else raising my 3 kids, and my job required travel, plus I was having issues with my daycare provider favoring her grandchildren (who were in her care at the time). No matter how much money you make now, it cannot compare to the time you get to spend with your children. Your kids will grow up so fast and when you are working a career, people sometimes forget what is truly important. Yes, we had to cut back, but in exchange of going out to diners, we now have a sit down meal at least 6 nights a week, (the other night, we are usually eating at the Little League field). I have been on both sides of this coin, and I can definately say the change was worth it. I do however, have a hard time with parents who leave their kids with me up to 10-11 hours a day, trying to get their moneys worth. I have one family who picks their 1 year old son up at exactly 5:00 everyday, even though the dad gets home at 3:00. It's very sad to me that the parents feel that because I am open till 5:00, they would rather get their moneys worth than spend an extra hour or two with their baby. The way I figure it is: there are two types of parents in this world. The ones whose kids come first and work to pay bills and household expenses, then theres the other parent, they have a career which comes first and just happen to have children. Although I love the kids in my care, there is NO substitute to a parents love. When I did have my children in care, I picked them up as soon as I could everyday, even if it meant bringing them with me to the store. I find that most parents leave their kids with me even on their days off to run errends. I know it's easier, but the kids then never learn how to behave in public, and when they are taken out, misbehave. The kids I have are wonderful for me, and I can take them anywhere, but they are totally different with their parents. I find it sad that some kids spend more waking hours with me in one day, then they do with their parents in a week. I know I shouldn't complain, but I truly think that if you can stay home, it is what is best for you and your child. A child should only be in daycare when absolutely necessay. So if you can make the change and you are longing to be with your baby, it is a great move. Good luck. The first 6 months will be difficult, but once you get a schedule, it's much easier.
Unregistered 01:42 PM 12-01-2008
I have no regrets at all! The only thing i wish we had........was a shot or something to prevent myself and my family from getting the sickness that daycare children bring in. Other than that I love what i do and wouldn't change a thing. My husband has insurance on the family so that was never really an issue.
lilbiddapopcorn 01:56 AM 12-02-2008
I know most providers have wonderful experiences and when I was a provider I had quite a few myself. But since you asked...

If you've read my other post maybe you already know but in case you haven't here's my regret --

Taking on being a childcare provider is a huge responsibility. It's not like being a parent. We have cameras AND insurance and we are being investigated because a 5 year old decided to make up a story one day. Insurance is great, but if a child gets seriously injured in an accident that you couldn't control (say she fell off the monkey bars and broke her arm) it's an experience you're not going to want to go through, insurance or not. And if something happens like what happened to me, where a child claims you touched them, your children will suffer right along with you as they get questioned and tested for sexual molestation. A very traumatic experience I might add. People are sue-happy these days, and providers are not exempt. If anything, our vulnerability to lawsuits is amplified because the children we work with are normally not capable of articulating the facts the way an adult can. A 3 year old gets hurt, and all they say to their parents is "I got hurt at the park." That's all the parent hears. That's all a lawyer is going to need. And that's all a jury will see.

I'm not saying you shouldn't be a provider or that it can't be a wonderful thing for your family. I'm just saying that to answer your question, yes, i've had serious regrets. Providing childcare CAN affect your family if something goes wrong, even if you're careful, even if you're a great provider, even if the children seem to love you, even if the parents seem to love you, even if you have insurance, it doesn't matter. All the insurance in the world won't take away what's happened to us. Or what might still happen to us. And all it took was one 5 year old with an imagination and a need for attention.
TTOTS 02:19 PM 12-02-2008
Yes sometimes I do have regrets. I have been doing daycare from my home for 8 years. My children are now teens and I feel secluded at times being home all the time gets on ones nerves sometimes. I then look at the rewards and they outweigh the regrets. I get to be at home and in a climate controlled "office", I can wear my jammies if I like, and I don't have to wear make up or fix my hair if I am not feeling like it. So yes regrets are a part of it, but the rewards are even greater. Good luck in whatever you choose to do.
NEDaycare 09:25 PM 12-06-2008
I opened a daycare because there were no jobs in my career field when we moved to this State. I have a young daughter and thought it would be good to be with her, since I had not been able to do that with my older children. The fact that I get to be with my daughter is the best thing about it. And that is pretty much it.

If I had to do it all over again, I would NOT do it, except for being able to stay home with my daughter, because what I've had to deal with has been terrible. Make sure you have an in depth contract covering EVERYTHING that you can imagine. You need to also make sure you are paid in ADVANCE because people can easily rip you off if you don't and believe me, they will.

Be prepared to put out a lot of money getting your house prepped for strict State standards, and be prepared for the feeling of being intruded upon because your house will literally transform into public domain. Also, the money that you make, be prepared for about 1/2 of it to go straight back in to the daycare or repairs to your house, the toys, your furniture, etc. due to things the kids do.

Regarding furniture, I'd recommend buying small chairs for the children to sit on, and mats for them to sit on the floor. Area rugs work well so that your carpet does not get ruined right away. Parents have brought their kids here in the mornings having not changed their diapers first (so they are still in the diaper they've had on all night and it's overflowing), or if they are potty trained, having not let them go potty prior to leaving the house because they are "late for work". Then, on numerous occassions they've set their child down on my couch and the child has peed all over my furniture. Guess who gets to pay the furniture cleaning bill which is the equivalent to one week's pay or more? I do! Not the parent.

Dont spend a lot of money on expensive toys. The kids are going to break them. My own kids' toys lasted forever because they respected them, but you'll get kids in that break stuff just because it is not theirs, so why should they care?

Go in to it expecting that the standard of parents these days is NOT like it was when you and I were kids. You'll see the proof when you start interviewing parents and when you meet the children. Make sure that YOU control the interview from the telephone call inquiring about your openings to the interview in your home. If something does not seem right, follow your gut and move on to the next interview. You'll regret it if you dont.

Let your own child(ren) and your family have their separate areas. For example, our bedrooms are on a different floor than we operate the daycare on, and NO daycare kids are allowed to go on the other levels of the house, but they'll try... constantly... gates or no gates.

Be prepared to have your house be an open book to people that can be questionable from time to time. I've had drug addicts come interview.... not fun. Be prepared to be written up if your daycare kids take a liking to pulling out the socket covers from the outlets as a game, and the State person comes by at JUST the right time and sees an empty outlet with the plug laying right next to the child that just yanked it out of the wall. My house is no longer my home. Parents push the envelope to your opening times, your closing times, sick policies, payment policies, and everything in between.

Parents rarely say "thank you", but are quick to take advantage if you let them. Just have everything in black and white on paper, you keep a copy signed and send one with them. The cover page to the contract should be a checklist of items you expect them to bring on day #1 that you BOTH have to initial and sign on the first day as you check things off that they bring. That way asking for your money is not uncomfortable, and they know that they have to bring it AT drop off.

Dont be afraid to update your contract and do it often as you go along each time you get ripped off or taken advantage of. Include a new clause in your contract each time it happens, and also include a clause in the contract notifying parents that the contract does change as things happen. The whole thing will be a learning experience the entire time you are open. Just when you think you've seen it all, someone will do something that will absolutely FLOOR you.

Remember, it is not so much the kids that you will have trouble with. It's the parents. And the kids are the victims of that. They cannot help the things that their parents do. And they will bond with you.

On a last note, shut down any gossip that you hear between parents or whatever if you get kids in whose parents know each other or are related. You will do yourself a favor if you not only stay out of the conversations, but also if you do not allow the conversations to take place on your premesis. Dont even lend an ear to it, just politely excuse yourself.

I probably really layed it all out here, but I do not believe in sugar coating things, and maybe if you can take at least ONE tip away from all of this, then maybe it's helped.
leadhead15717 10:51 PM 12-06-2008
No Regrets ...... We have 2 centers 1 for 10 years and the other just recently purchased. It is a learning experience and you will make mistakes.
Best advice is learn from the mistakes and do not repeat them.
Run your businees with your head and not your heart when it come to the financial end. Parents will try to take advantage of you the moment you give a little.
Cover your behind with paper as stated above. Have a contract that is very black and white as to who, how much when, and what will happen if...... Leave no doubt as to what you expect and offer in return.
The worse part of the business is the Parents who feel you owe them something for nothing and employees if you have them.
We have 18 employees and that in itself can be a circus.
The kids make it worth it. Some will spend more time with you than they do at home which is truly sad but it is a fact of life that you will be their family.

If you can afford it get a camera/ DVR system.... IT may one day save you from a bad situation. It has paid for itself many times over at our center.

Good Luck, Use common sense and at the end of the day feel good because you have a chance to make a difference in some childs life
Unregistered 07:36 AM 12-21-2008
Boy! everyones replies are so true.

First, I know all in home providers can agree one way or another (to more extent for some than others):
* That your daycare takes away from your family time, affects your family and home and if you're not careful can consume more time than it should.
* Parents (not following your contract/policies) are almost always the problem in whatever daycare issues you are having (children with behavioral issues, your family getting sick, losing $ b/c parents skip out, etc...)

I know over 50 providers and it doesn't matter what state we live in, we have about the same experiences. Some have much worse, some very mild.

One thing we did when my own kids were younger was every couple months (more is good-if you can afford the time and $), we would go to a local hotel with a POOL (the pool is the big part). We have no motels with pools, so it depends on where you live. It was always very important to them to look at different hotels (online or drive by) depending on age, as time goes by, it is very exciting to look forward to. We told the kids we did that for special family time, since we did the daycare. We only went for 1-3 days, we even went on a couple Thanksgivings. My daughters are teen adults now, but they still love it. We just went a month ago, we had a new boiler installed (we had our first closure in 10 years) and closed for 2 days, they still enjoyed it. Take time off, whether it is a couple days, a vacation you go away for or just stay at home for.

Good luck to everyone
mrs.meg 05:34 AM 12-29-2008
I had a good job 4 years ago and I have worked doing medical transcription from home and I am now doing my at home daycare. My reasoning is because I can interact more with my daughter instead of being buried in a computer all day.

I do not have many regrets, though it is a bit unnerving at times. I am not an aggressive personality, so people tend to try to take advantage. Some people tend to think that your home should revolve around what their child wants or needs and that your schedule is to always revolve around their child. It gets frustrating at times.
Unregistered 06:02 PM 02-20-2009
I definitely regret opening a home daycare. I'm constantly surrounded by my job because I live there, it seems I never get a break. The house is always a mess at the end of the day and sometimes I'm just too tired to pick up but I know I have to because first thing in the morning-ding dong! I can count on one hand the number of times that the children have actually been picked up on time. Parents don't respect the times because they feel that you are home anyway so a few more minutes won't matter. My daughter is 2 and has a hard time sharing her toys and mother with a lot of other children. I am in the process of opening a daycare center where I know I'll be much happier because I'll have a separate living and working space.
Unregistered 09:17 AM 06-17-2009
I worked in childcare/preschool as a teacher and director for years until I had children of my own. I knew that was not the life I wanted for my children. If there is ANYTHING you can do to make it work...STAY HOME with your kids. There is no substitute for kids being at home with mom. No one can provide your child the love, care, and attention they need and deserve better than you can. I opened up my own in-home childcare about two years ago. I have found that 1) It does interfere with your family and home. 2)It is better than putting my kids in daycare and going to work elsewhere 3)It is worth the time and effort if you need the money in order to stay home.
In my opinion, the fewer children you care for the better. I have 6 right now including my own two. I was happier and life progressed more normally when I only had 4. Although, Double the kids, double the money and since you are there putting in the hours anyway, I suppose more is more economical. I will have to weigh the pros and cons as time goes on. My advice is run it like a business and you will have people respect your time and policies. Run it like a family "babysitting" service and people will run right over you. A great book to read if you are really interested is "From Babysitter to Business Owner" by Dischler. Also the Tax books by Tom Copeland specifically for in home childcare. Good luck!
Unregistered 11:09 AM 06-24-2009
No regrets here, but I really love children--especially early childhood and I love to teach! =)
As far as staying at home with your child, saddly it's our own children with whom get placed on the back-burner. If that's the real reason you want to start doing daycare, then I reccomend staying at home a stay-at-home mom. You will get quality time with your child(ren) even if you only do it for 5 years and then go back to working outside the home.

My oldest was in school when I started home childcare. I used to work in a preschool and then an infant room at a center along with subbing in a toddler room. I thought when I had my second child how great that now I work at home, I'll see so much more of my kids!

Not really. I went back to work after 4 weeks of maternity leave and it was really hard for me and for my child.

My oldest really doesn't appreciate early childhood as I do, so it's difficult for her as well. My youngest is still at an age when it's fun to have all her friends come over. I make sure all of her toys are in her room and her room if off limits to all but herself (unless she invites them to come in). Normally, she does prefer to play in the daycare area and not her room. Toys get broken very quickly, so it's wise to keep daycare toys seperate from your children's. They share everything with your work; home, mommy, sometimes daddy, siblings, food, activities, etc. It's nice for them to have some of their own things and special time with you as well.

To answer your question on regrets it's hard to say if you will or won't regret it, but if it's something that's truly in your heart of hearts and out of a great love for children, then it's probably a great choice.
Unregistered 11:43 AM 07-23-2009
I have been doing day care in my home for eleven years I have two children my son is special needs. I started by day care because of my two chidren. and love what i do I had to give it up because my parent didnt or could not pay me any more. but iam still dealing with chidren and will at some point start a private business for parent with special needs children so do what you think is best for your children and you. a lot of job are asking there employee to work form home. if things get to ruff and you need the extra. but any thing for your children is worth it ALL no reqrets here on my part.
Originally Posted by Unregistered:
hi! i am thinking about quitting my full time job with good pay and great benefits to start my own daycare, so i can stay home with my now 6 month old daughter. i miss my daughter while i am at work and hate the thought of someone else raising her, but my hubby is not too crazy about losing my health and retirement benefits (even though we can still pick up slightly more expensive health benefits through his job) and about having kids "take over the house."

Has anyone had any regrets about starting their own daycare, or have any advice?


Tags:daycare environment, daycare experiences, daycare philosophy, owning a center
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