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  #1  
Old 06-07-2012, 07:57 AM
Denise
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Hello!

I am a SAHM in So Cal and I babysit two children (one family) during the day in my home.

I am NOT a licensed daycare home (California does not require a daycare license if you are only caring for the children of one family plus your own or relatives) and am VERY new to caring for children (who aren't my own, family, or close friends).

This family is a military family and the mom and the children are VERY sweet. They signed up with me and I began caring for them about two and a half weeks ago. When we began, we agreed to hours of 7am-6pm and a pay of about $3/hour. It seemed a little low to me (not sure what you charge) but since I am not a licensed provider, I felt like the mom was justified in requesting a lower rate.

In the 2 1/2 weeks that I have been watching these (AMAZING) kids, DCD has been LATE picking them up 7 times. I'm not talking like a few minutes, he shows up around 6:30 or 6:40. He says that it is because he works so far away and gets off at 5:00 and with traffic... he just can't get there any sooner. When he picked them up late last time, he said, "I didn't make you late for anything, right?" and when I answered no, he replied, "Oh okay then." -___-

I am super non-confrontational and we really need the money BUT... I feel like he is taking advantage of me. I'm thinking about talking to the mom about it (she is the one who set the hours, discussed pay rate, tells me about what's going on with the kids, etc.,) but before I do, I wanted to get some opinions. I was thinking about offering her a couple solutions: #1, we change the pick up time from 6pm to 7pm and I will charge an extra $20/week OR I can keep the weekly rate the same and start charging $10 every time he is late more than 10 minutes.

The reason this family came to me is because their old daycare provider dropped off/picked up one of the children from school everyday. There was a car accident (no kids were in the car and no one was hurt, thank goodness) and her car was inoperable for a while so DCM brought the kids to me. My fear is that if I try to charge late fees or charge an extra $20/week, the family will go back to the old daycare provider since it is now summer and they won't need her to drive to/from school. :/ Like I said, we could really use the money so I don't want to do anything that will make me lose this account BUT at the same time, I don't want to be taken advantage of.

What are your thoughts...?
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  #2  
Old 06-07-2012, 08:39 AM
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I am not an unlicensed provider and live FAR from California but what I think you need to do is talk with mom about the hours.

Just tell her that you don't mind watching her kids for the times you both agreed upon but like any job when "quitting" time comes, you have every right to expect to be done with your day.

I would do as you suggested and tell her that you will charge for more time is she wants longer hours but you don't need the stress of wondering if you will be done at 6 or 7 every night. You ahve a right to make plans and not have to worry about being able to fulfil them or not. I am sure she will understand.

FWIW~ You are charging WAY too little for two kids...which pretty much guarantees she probably won't be switching back to her DCP since she probably had to pay her provider 3X's what she is paying you....especially for such long hours.

Licensed or not, you have a right to have a contract and a payment plan that should be respected and followed. A license does NOT buy you respect. YOU deserve that regardless.
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  #3  
Old 06-07-2012, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denise View Post
This family is a military family and the mom and the children are VERY sweet. They signed up with me and I began caring for them about two and a half weeks ago. When we began, we agreed to hours of 7am-6pm and a pay of about $3/hour. It seemed a little low to me (not sure what you charge) but since I am not a licensed provider, I felt like the mom was justified in requesting a lower rate.
Don't sell yourself short just because you don't have a license. I am currently legally unlicensed for my state, but I follow every single rule that a licensed provider would. The only difference between my home and theirs? I don't have routine inspections. I feel that as long as you are following the rules that your state has set in place you should charge what other providers do, or at least close to them.

Do you have a contract currently? If not, I'd draft one up, it's never too late to have them sign one. I agree with Blackcat, you have that right, and she probably was paying more at her old provider than she is with you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denise
#1, we change the pick up time from 6pm to 7pm and I will charge an extra $20/week OR I can keep the weekly rate the same and start charging $10 every time he is late more than 10 minutes.
I would do both actually, let them know that if their pick up time needs to change to 7:00 PM the rate will increase by xx a week; then let them know that yes, if they are there AFTER that time, you will charge xx late fees.
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  #4  
Old 06-07-2012, 09:57 AM
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I would do what the others suggested, meanwhile look for a family that is able to pay more and then let this other family go. Thats just me. I would charge $60 per day and this is in the midwest.
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  #5  
Old 06-07-2012, 10:41 AM
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I am in CA and sister let me tel you this....you have got to be the cheapest child care I have ever heard about in this state....Sorry, not trying to make you feel bad.

A few things that you have to realize.
1.you are not their employee
2. you are providing hours that are way too long, you will experience burn out very soon.
3.Respect has to go both ways, as well as communication. No relationship would survive without it.

4. Don't beat yourself up and don't work in fear of losing a client.
5. YOU don't need them as much as they need you.
6. Do you have a contract? Parent Handbook that states your polices? Licensed or not, get both. Never do business without a contract.
Where about in CA are you?
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  #6  
Old 06-07-2012, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Denise View Post
Hello!



What are your thoughts...?
Get licensed and be paid what you are worth. That is along time to be in daycare! If you need the money, get licensed and you can care for more children, know the rules and regulations. Contract, rule/hand book, policies. Don't let things go for long, you will grow to resent doing what your doing and burn out.

My advice is to go back to square one and get your license and set yourself up to be paid what you are worth and enjoy doing what you love-

best-
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  #7  
Old 06-07-2012, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
I am not an unlicensed provider and live FAR from California but what I think you need to do is talk with mom about the hours.

Just tell her that you don't mind watching her kids for the times you both agreed upon but like any job when "quitting" time comes, you have every right to expect to be done with your day.

I would do as you suggested and tell her that you will charge for more time is she wants longer hours but you don't need the stress of wondering if you will be done at 6 or 7 every night. You ahve a right to make plans and not have to worry about being able to fulfil them or not. I am sure she will understand.

FWIW~ You are charging WAY too little for two kids...which pretty much guarantees she probably won't be switching back to her DCP since she probably had to pay her provider 3X's what she is paying you....especially for such long hours.

Licensed or not, you have a right to have a contract and a payment plan that should be respected and followed. A license does NOT buy you respect. YOU deserve that regardless.
goodness, I don't know why I bothered to respond. This is so good!!!
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  #8  
Old 06-07-2012, 12:12 PM
Denise
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Thank you all so much for your advice!

I actually agreed to the pay rate with the original babysitter. She is the one who called me to find out if I could take two children on because she agreed to help the family find a new care provider. She said that they are a super nice family and they always pay on time (she has so far :P) and asked me what I would charge. Since I was new and have never had my child in child care, I had NO idea what to charge and asked what SHE (the former sitter) was charging. She said $165/week for a 2 year old and a 6 year old. She broke it down to $125/week for the 2 year old and $40/week for the 6 year old for gas to/from school and babysitting. I agreed originally with her to just keep the same rates.

Then the mom came and met with me and we confirmed the prices. This is the last week of school for the 6 year old. They will not need care for the first 2-3 weeks of summer because they are going out of town to visit family but when they get back, the pay rate will then move from $165 to $200 for both kids full-time.

I was thinking about trying to find a new family but when I looked around (on Craigslist) to see what other in-home dc's were charging, I saw that they are all set up so much nicer than I am! :P I have our main living room set up with toys and have my son's room available to play in. We have a pool (fenced off) and a basketball hoop in our VERY LARGE backyard... but I don't have like a whole room dedicated to play or anything like that. Some of the daycare centers I saw look like little in-home preschools! I am just offering a safe place to play while the parents are at work. I mean, I supervise and we play together and I'm teaching the 2 year old about shapes, colors, animals, etc., and we have also incorporated her into our Baby Signing Time routine... but I'm nowhere near as full-blown as the other day cares in the area. :/ Since the old daycare was charging the same as I am (at least, that is what the old sitter told me), I feel like I can't up my charges or anything (especially since my layout is so simple).

The positives I guess I DO have going for me:

*I am only taking on one family at a time (because I don't really want to go through the process to get licensed) so the children get a lot more individual attention

*We are part of a playgroup that does ALL KINDS of awesome activities (we tour libraries, tour dairy farms, have regular weekly crafts, etc.,)

*The kids seem to really love me (the 3rd day here, the little 2 year old cried when it was time to leave)



I don't have a contract and we never discussed one. I will DEFINITELY look into getting one written up, though. Thank you everyone for pointing out my need for that!

@daycare: we are in So Cal (Riverside County). What part of California are you in?
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  #9  
Old 06-07-2012, 12:13 PM
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I just want to say great advice from everyone!!!
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  #10  
Old 06-07-2012, 12:22 PM
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I am legally unlicensed in my state and can have up to 4 children in care. I follow all licensing standards and like the previous poster said- i just dont have regular inspections.

I charge a competitive rate but it is slightly above the average for the county. The average is $125 and I charge $140. I used to be of the mentality as well that since I was unlicensed I didnt get to charge what I wanted or have a contract/handbook. But I quickly realized that I am still a legal business and I should be charging what I want and have the policies that I want. So I do now and I feel people see me in a more professional light.
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  #11  
Old 06-07-2012, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denise View Post
Thank you all so much for your advice!

I actually agreed to the pay rate with the original babysitter. She is the one who called me to find out if I could take two children on because she agreed to help the family find a new care provider. She said that they are a super nice family and they always pay on time (she has so far :P) and asked me what I would charge. Since I was new and have never had my child in child care, I had NO idea what to charge and asked what SHE (the former sitter) was charging. She said $165/week for a 2 year old and a 6 year old. She broke it down to $125/week for the 2 year old and $40/week for the 6 year old for gas to/from school and babysitting. I agreed originally with her to just keep the same rates.

Then the mom came and met with me and we confirmed the prices. This is the last week of school for the 6 year old. They will not need care for the first 2-3 weeks of summer because they are going out of town to visit family but when they get back, the pay rate will then move from $165 to $200 for both kids full-time.

I was thinking about trying to find a new family but when I looked around (on Craigslist) to see what other in-home dc's were charging, I saw that they are all set up so much nicer than I am! :P I have our main living room set up with toys and have my son's room available to play in. We have a pool (fenced off) and a basketball hoop in our VERY LARGE backyard... but I don't have like a whole room dedicated to play or anything like that. Some of the daycare centers I saw look like little in-home preschools! I am just offering a safe place to play while the parents are at work. I mean, I supervise and we play together and I'm teaching the 2 year old about shapes, colors, animals, etc., and we have also incorporated her into our Baby Signing Time routine... but I'm nowhere near as full-blown as the other day cares in the area. :/ Since the old daycare was charging the same as I am (at least, that is what the old sitter told me), I feel like I can't up my charges or anything (especially since my layout is so simple).

The positives I guess I DO have going for me:

*I am only taking on one family at a time (because I don't really want to go through the process to get licensed) so the children get a lot more individual attention

*We are part of a playgroup that does ALL KINDS of awesome activities (we tour libraries, tour dairy farms, have regular weekly crafts, etc.,)

*The kids seem to really love me (the 3rd day here, the little 2 year old cried when it was time to leave)



I don't have a contract and we never discussed one. I will DEFINITELY look into getting one written up, though. Thank you everyone for pointing out my need for that!

@daycare: we are in So Cal (Riverside County). What part of California are you in?
IO am in the bay area, but just moved from so cali no long ago. I do know the area that you are in, its a very big city. But I still don't understand your rates. I have a friend who lives in Rancho Cucamonga that has a childcare there and she charges $180.00 a week for toddlers. she only provides 10.5 hours of care each day for that price. She also like you does not have a set up for preschool. She advertises herself as a babysitter.

One word of caution, you said you take the kids with you on field trips. How do you afford an insurance policy to do this if the family is paying you so little? Are you sure that the kids are covered? Sorry, not trying to be a debbie downer, just trying to help you. I transport on field trips weekly and my insurance is $375.00 a month just for the car insurance. This does not include accidental/daycare coverage, which is another $80.00 a month. I have lived in CA a very long time and I would not do any business LIC or NOT without the right coverage. Californians are known to be sue happy people.....

Sorry, on another note, I see that you are happy the way that you are and if that is what feels best for you, then keep doing what is best for you.

BTW it is super easy to get your LIC in CA. Sad, but true, I think our state has some of the weakest rules for opening a home daycare. All of us can help you too. It is not expensive, it does not take long and then you can make more money and cover more cost.......
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  #12  
Old 06-07-2012, 04:44 PM
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Hi Denise,

I also am located in Riverside county and I charge $150.00 for children up to 5 years old. 6 and over I charge 125.00 a week during summer and 100 a week during school hours.

This is the normal rate for Riverside County.

Yes I do have a seperate dc room, BUT i do not do preschool. I think you are charging too cheap also. It shouldn't matter if you have a license or not.

I would charge a little more.

Good luck and keep us posted
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:30 AM
Denise
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@Daycare: I guess I am charging too little. :/ I just got caught up in the "we need money so I'll do it cheap" mentality and figured that if the old babysitter was making it on that amount, then I should be fine. After hearing from all of you *awesome* dc providers, I think my mind has been switched to seriously considering getting my license and charging more per child.

As far as insurance goes... OH. MY. GOSH. I had not even thought about insurance until I read your post. DUH! I mean, I have had car insurance (obviously) but I didn't add anything to it or consider liability insurance for the house when they are in my care! After I read your post, I freaked out a little and called our agent to discuss all my options/rates.

Right now, I pay about $178/month for insurance on 3 cars (one is an old truck that we are in the process of restoring and never drive) through State Farm. After speaking to my rep, she said that I should...

#1. Add more medical coverage and up my bodily injury coverage.
#2. Add a daycare liability of $1,000,000 per incident to my renter's insurance.

To add both of those (and lower my deductible from $500 to $250 because I don't want a high deductible *just in case*) my new monthly premium, including my basic car insurance, would be $208/month (ultimately, I would add $30/month). I talked to my husband about it (he hadn't thought about insurance either) and we are definitely going to add it to our coverage. Thank you SO much for pointing that out to me!

As far as getting my license... I think I just might go ahead and get it done. We are actually in the process of adopting our son through the county so we have already done a LOT as far as Community Care Licensing requirements are concerned. I looked up the requirements for a daycare license and it looks like we meet almost all of them already (we would just need to get a fire extinguisher). Are there classes that need to be completed or anything other than orientation that I will need to attend? Right now, the application fee is $66 and there is an annual fee of $66, is that in ADDITION to the application fee or does the app fee cover the first year?

On top of the daycare license, are there any other licenses that I would need to get (i.e., a business license)?

Thank you, also, for suggesting the business license route and doing it in such an encouraging way! :P

@proudmommyofthree: Do you offer any discounts for sibling? That is something I have noticed is common (in my area at least). I want to be competitive with my pricing and the way I was looking at it is: If I charge $150/week (in my normal house without dedicated DC rooms) and someone down the street charges $150/week (in a home where half of the rooms are dedicated to DC), it would seem like a better deal for the children to go to the home where there is more toys/dedicated room to play. :/

BUT! I have an area (shall we call it a living room?) that I can make space in and kind of dedicate that area to play area and put up some pictures/charts and whatnot and make it look more like a daycare. My house is pretty small (about 1500 SF) so this room looks like more of a large hallway right now but if I get rid of the entertainment center that I have there, I can make it feel more open, I think. Maybe I will just do that and get my license so I can feel better about charging comparable rates.

Thank you so much to everyone for your advice/input!!
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:57 AM
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Bumping this back up for you Denise
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denise View Post
@Daycare: I guess I am charging too little. :/ I just got caught up in the "we need money so I'll do it cheap" mentality and figured that if the old babysitter was making it on that amount, then I should be fine. After hearing from all of you *awesome* dc providers, I think my mind has been switched to seriously considering getting my license and charging more per child.

As far as insurance goes... OH. MY. GOSH. I had not even thought about insurance until I read your post. DUH! I mean, I have had car insurance (obviously) but I didn't add anything to it or consider liability insurance for the house when they are in my care! After I read your post, I freaked out a little and called our agent to discuss all my options/rates.

Right now, I pay about $178/month for insurance on 3 cars (one is an old truck that we are in the process of restoring and never drive) through State Farm. After speaking to my rep, she said that I should...

#1. Add more medical coverage and up my bodily injury coverage.
#2. Add a daycare liability of $1,000,000 per incident to my renter's insurance.

To add both of those (and lower my deductible from $500 to $250 because I don't want a high deductible *just in case*) my new monthly premium, including my basic car insurance, would be $208/month (ultimately, I would add $30/month). I talked to my husband about it (he hadn't thought about insurance either) and we are definitely going to add it to our coverage. Thank you SO much for pointing that out to me!

As far as getting my license... I think I just might go ahead and get it done. We are actually in the process of adopting our son through the county so we have already done a LOT as far as Community Care Licensing requirements are concerned. I looked up the requirements for a daycare license and it looks like we meet almost all of them already (we would just need to get a fire extinguisher). Are there classes that need to be completed or anything other than orientation that I will need to attend? Right now, the application fee is $66 and there is an annual fee of $66, is that in ADDITION to the application fee or does the app fee cover the first year?

On top of the daycare license, are there any other licenses that I would need to get (i.e., a business license)?

Thank you, also, for suggesting the business license route and doing it in such an encouraging way! :P

@proudmommyofthree: Do you offer any discounts for sibling? That is something I have noticed is common (in my area at least). I want to be competitive with my pricing and the way I was looking at it is: If I charge $150/week (in my normal house without dedicated DC rooms) and someone down the street charges $150/week (in a home where half of the rooms are dedicated to DC), it would seem like a better deal for the children to go to the home where there is more toys/dedicated room to play. :/

BUT! I have an area (shall we call it a living room?) that I can make space in and kind of dedicate that area to play area and put up some pictures/charts and whatnot and make it look more like a daycare. My house is pretty small (about 1500 SF) so this room looks like more of a large hallway right now but if I get rid of the entertainment center that I have there, I can make it feel more open, I think. Maybe I will just do that and get my license so I can feel better about charging comparable rates.

Thank you so much to everyone for your advice/input!!
Great that you looked into that! I am so excited for you.

you can download the application from here http://ccld.ca.gov/PG411.htm

make sure you have all of the paper work done before sending it in or it will be delayed. The $66.00 will cover one full year. After you do that, you will need to get fingerprints done, even if you already have them on file, each department of the county requires their own. The you only have to take infant cpr/first aid if you don't already have it./ Make sure it is INFANT CPR/First aid, not regular.

then you have an orientation and a health and safety class. Once you do all of that, you are on your way for your licensing inspection. Just make sure that you followed all of their paper work and you will be just fine.

ALSO, when they first come out to to inspect, they are there to help, not site you. If something is not in compliance, they will just ask you to fix it. However, you will delay the process.

We are all here for help and support if you need anything else!!

I wish you the best of luck.....
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:50 AM
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I dont have any dedicated areas for DC. My house is about the size of yours and I have a very open floor plan. The living room, dining room, and kitchen are all attached. So the "play room" is in the dining room and there is a huge space to play. But this is still my home so I still have my entertainment center in my living room and all my "adult" furniture (book/dvd shelves, couches, etc)
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:46 AM
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Welcome to daycare! I have this feeling your going to be an amazing provider.

Word of caution- Get ready for daycare to take over your home. You will end up utilizing every space imaginable. It is all good though. Make sure hub knows that this is going to happen and is supportive. It will be change for all you.

Take the classes you need. They will be of great help and direct you in the way to go. Don't let them overwhelm you.

Charge more- Explain to this family that you are going to be getting your license and will be a provider not a babysitter. You didn't realize how much insurance was going to cost you and that you will need to charge more. ASAP get a policy book,rule book, hand book contract together. Tons of help here on this site. Call around and find out what the going rate is in your area. Don't worry about what they offer or don't offer. but- take note of it. Have a backbone from the get go. Don't do unrealistic hours- you will need time to be with your family, when not working. View yourself as a working Mom. I am sure others can give you more helps and advice. Join a food program-

Best, welcome and good luck-
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:47 AM
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I charge the 150.00 a week its the normal rate in my area. Yes I have a dedicated daycare room, but the lady a few blocks from me where my children went to also charges 150 a week and she does not have a dedicated dc area. she uses her living room.

It just depends on what parents are looking for. Some are looking dc settings while others look for a home a way from home setting.

I wouldn't let the no dc area affect my rates. You are caring for the children for many hours, feeding, changing, loving, playing.

I think its awsome you looked into getting your license. YOu will need to go to the oriention class, a cpr and health and safety class. They will explain all this to you at the orientation meeting.

The $66.00 is a yearly fee that you will have to pay.

Good luck and keep us posted!
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Old 06-08-2012, 12:19 PM
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Don't do unrealistic hours- you will need time to be with your family, when not working. View yourself as a working Mom.



this is great advice!!! Trust us all when we tell you this.. You don't want to suffer BURNT out...
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Old 06-08-2012, 12:34 PM
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Don't do unrealistic hours- you will need time to be with your family, when not working. View yourself as a working Mom.



this is great advice!!! Trust us all when we tell you this.. You don't want to suffer BURNT out...
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Old 06-08-2012, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by proudmommyofthree View Post
I wouldn't let the no dc area affect my rates. You are caring for the children for many hours, feeding, changing, loving, playing.
Couldn't agree more. Up until February of this year I didn't have a dedicated area for the day care at all. We moved into a much bigger home, and I now use the 'formal room' when you first walk in the door for the day care area. Sure, my parents were impressed when we moved with the new area for the kids, but they really didn't mind at my old home that we didn't have an area that was just for them.

Good luck to you in gaining your license, and be sure to keep us posted on how it goes!
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