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  #1  
Old 01-16-2016, 06:45 PM
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Unhappy Help! Burnout Approaching...

Hi, I'm posting as a guest today to keep myself anonymous. I'm hoping to get some guidance and support here, like I've always gotten. Thanks in advance.

I'm feeling like I may need to change up my home daycare a bit to avoid burnout. Right now I'm working by myself M-F 7:30-5:00 caring for four littles; two toddlers and two babies. I have wonderful families.

However, I have a LOT of personal stress with family and caring for family members that is taking all of my mental and physical energy.... in addition to working 45-50 hrs/week. I can't keep this up. I really want to quit altogether b/c I'm stretched waaay too thin, but need to think of alternatives first before just closing my doors.

One idea I had was to only take teacher's kids so that I will (eventually; as this new plan is implemented) have summers off and follow the local school's schedule for days off. That would give me some down time, which is what I am sorely needing.

Another idea is to be open only part time; maybe three days/week. But that means I'd lose the families I have now, and start searching for those who need part time. I know there's a big need for part time infant care in my area, but don't know how to tap into that. I've always been full with just word of mouth. (I only take 4-5 kids) The other negative with that, in my own experience, is that it's so hard to keep a schedule with the child when they are here on and off, every other day...They do things one way at home and the next it's different with me....

What has worked for any of you in this situation? I really need help thinking this through. I can't even think of any other work/job I could do instead of childcare! I've been a stay at home mom my whole life; now my kids are grown.

Thanks for any input.
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  #2  
Old 01-16-2016, 08:31 PM
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A friend of mine went through the same thing. She stopped doing full time childcare and reopened as a Montessori inspired preschool. She only takes 12 kids and has one assistant. She is open the traditional school year from 9 am- pm. She lives two cities over from me in an affluent area so it works in her market.

I think you can re market yourself but you need to know what the childcare needs are in your area before you make big changes to your program.
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Old 01-17-2016, 04:09 AM
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You said you have wonderful families so my first ideas deal with keeping them.

Can you cut back on what you are doing within your program? Of course, I am not sure what you are already doing, but maybe offer a bare bones program. Free play. Outdoor time. Healthy meals. Give you less to stress about during the day?

Can you cut back on hours? Or do they need you? If you can cut back but will lose a few, can you start interviewing now to replace and let them go, one by one, as you find a replacement?

Do you have any holiday time banked up? I found having a chunk of time off over Christmas really helped me refocus.


Now, if you are willing to lose the families and start with new ones.

Changing to the school year would give you lots of planned time off.

Are you strictly an infant/toddler caregiver or could/would you do a different age group? A preschool morning program might be of need in your area. 9-11:30 (or whatever) and would give you a half day only.

3 days/week program would give you 2 weekdays off for appts, etc. I know a woman who switched to that this year and loves it. It didn't take her long to fill, either, so if your area could do it, it's another option.


Without you needing to go into details, I am reading this as your home/personal life is stressing you out. What can you do to make that easier for you? Is it you having to work and not being available that is causing stress?

Is there a caregiver that can be hired to help out when you need to work? A reliable person that can help transport to/from appts? A support person that can come to the house? Meals that can be prepped and delivered (by someone else)? A teenager that could be hired for taking your children out?

I have no idea what it is so am just offering some ideas off the top of my head.

Is there a sub you can hire to help out in the daycare so that you are free to be of assistance to your family on days that you are needed? Do your dcfs have reliable back up? So you could explain, in few details, that you may need to take a day off here or there, over the next while?

I hope you can find something to help out!
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Old 01-17-2016, 04:34 AM
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What about advertising mom's day out, offering just a couple days a week. I wonder if there are many SAHM in your area who wants time to herself or to schedule appts., etc. who would love to just have someone to care for their child 1-3 days a week. Get everyone on a schedule so you know what to expect and maybe you could charge a bit more per day to help make up income.
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Old 01-17-2016, 05:25 PM
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I'm new to childcare and sometimes I think in my head "I must be bat **** crazy!" I too have a hard time juggling home life and my business as sometimes I feel I don't have downtime, enough to just relax without thinking that something isn't getting done. I'm a single mom also so my families don't get that when it's closing time I still have a full schedule for my son to take care of, not to mention the daily cleaning after daycare. Maybe try scheduling a vacation for a week to two weeks just to see how you feel after that. Maybe you come out refreshed and ready to go, you don't have to go anywhere just a 'staycation.' If you are really done, try looking at some programs to change careers, it's easier now than it used to be and running childcare is work experience, especially since you're self employed. I hope you find what you're looking for!
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Old 01-17-2016, 05:59 PM
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I just left childcare for a job with Head Start. I really miss my kiddos, but so far (10 weeks in), I don't miss running a daycare day-to-day. I do miss the autonomy a little, although my job is pretty flexible and autonomous, for a job.

I think what people really underestimate about childcare is that it can be incredibly BORING. It's can be stressful for that reason alone. Particularly if you have only infants and toddlers. Because, what they need (routines, consistency) is kind of the opposite of what we need as adults. We need to be challenged a bit, at least I do, and I don't mean breaking up toddler fights.

The other posters had some good ideas. I'm just here to empathize.
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Old 01-18-2016, 08:23 AM
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I knew a provider once who just did school aged. She had them before and after school and then on school holidays. That would give you the whole middle of the day off.

It wouldn't work in our area as there are after school programs at every school but it might work where you are.

Just a thought.
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Old 01-18-2016, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurel View Post
I knew a provider once who just did school aged. She had them before and after school and then on school holidays. That would give you the whole middle of the day off.

It wouldn't work in our area as there are after school programs at every school but it might work where you are.

Just a thought.
This is how I am mostly running right now. I didn't plan it that way but it has happened. I do have one 4 yr old here every day and a 3 yr old that goes to preschool half days I have her two afternoons a week. The before and after school only (and when school is out) has been nice. I make less money, but we are surviving so I am sticking with it for awhile.
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Old 01-18-2016, 08:49 AM
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I do part-time largely for this reason. Taking care of my own children plus others is just too stressful (for me) so this works for me until my child goes off to school. Part-time has never been an issue for me in terms of schedule. Kids are quite adaptable and know what the rules are in your house. Some kids do have issues with adjusting but that can be true for full-timers as well.

My first suggestion would be to start implementing some days off right away. Send some notice and take some time off. This is YOUR business so you get to make the rules for yourself. Why wait to get teachers kids if you can schedule time off right now. Then come up with a plan, get rid of one or two children and see how that works.

As for advertising I just put ads up on my local FB daycare pages and on my local daycare search engine and state that I only do part-time and B&A school. You may want to hold on to a full timer until you get your part-timers. In my area it is hard to get part-timers. Altough it sounds like you won't have this issue which is GREAT!

Good luck and hang in there
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