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  #1  
Old 09-28-2015, 07:35 AM
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Default What's the BEST thing you've done?

For your day care? I'm trying to get inspired
Is there a schedule that you've adapted that makes your day run smoothly? A toy that may have been a big investment but pays for itself daily? A policy you implemented that you wonder why you waited so long?

Let's here some positive changes that you've made and how you have benefited.

A few things I've done:

Changed my hours on Friday so that I close at 4:00.

Bought the magnet tot locks for my cabinets. We don't have to have them, but the others didn't last and the kids could easily get around them. No one opens these and I love that I can turn them off on evenings and weekends.
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  #2  
Old 09-28-2015, 07:47 AM
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Awesome! Im gonna check out the magnet tot locks. That sounds awesome!

The best thing I have done for my daycare is implement a monthly tuition, rather than weekly.

I average the tuition for the year so that I am paid the same amount every month even when I have my vacation weeks. I also don't feel like I am always asking for money (as I did when I charged weekly). I also now require a 30 day notice which helps with income security since this is my only income. I LOVE this. It also eliminates parents asking on holiday weeks if they have to pay. HEHE

I look forward to hearing what others say!
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  #3  
Old 09-28-2015, 08:26 AM
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Default bad weather and vacations

I had a terrible time with parents saying "oh, it's only 8 inches of snow, I grew up in the area, and I have a 4WD truck..." So, there I am out shoveling the aforementioned 8 inches of snow from my driveway and sidewalk so I don't run the risk of getting sued from a fall. I was constantly checking out my window to see how much snow we had before I would decide to close...and there were always parents trying to get their kids here. I finally just changed my policy...if the school is closed, I am closed. If they are on a 2-hour delay (elementary starts at 11 here on a 2-hr delay), I open at 10 (2 hours past my start time of 8 a.m.). Sooo much better!!!

I have a change to shovel the sidewalk and driveway on the 2-hour delays, and I can play with my kiddos in the snow on snow days.

The other thing I changed was vacations. I put in all of our birthdays and our anniversary (5 days a year), then took off for Easter, Good Friday, 3 days around Thanksgiving, a week at Christmas and Veteran's Day (we are both veterans).

So much better!

Don't be afraid to take off the days that would make you resent your business, and don't be afraid to change how you operate. That's part of the fun of owning your own business - you can change the rules.
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Old 09-28-2015, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by originalkat View Post
Awesome! Im gonna check out the magnet tot locks. That sounds awesome!

The best thing I have done for my daycare is implement a monthly tuition, rather than weekly.

I average the tuition for the year so that I am paid the same amount every month even when I have my vacation weeks. I also don't feel like I am always asking for money (as I did when I charged weekly). I also now require a 30 day notice which helps with income security since this is my only income. I LOVE this. It also eliminates parents asking on holiday weeks if they have to pay. HEHE

I look forward to hearing what others say!
I do the same... monthly pay; it also gets me slightly better clientele lol. I explain that my unpaid vacations & holiday closings are already figured in when I average the fees.
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Old 09-28-2015, 08:45 AM
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Oh, I love these types of threads.

I love my new schedule change. I always start children at 10-12 mos. So they still need two naps usually. It was a long day with no downtime as I would let them sleep 2 hours in the morning and then they wouldn't be ready for their later nap until everyone else was getting up. It was hard to get anything done and reduced our outdoor time.

Now my double nappers have a one hour nap in the morning. While they nap is when we do our sensory and creativity stuff and our morning circle activities. Then I wake them and we all go outside to play. Everyone eats lunch together and then everyone goes back down together for afternoon nap. Love it. Makes my day flow so much more smoothly. They seem to adjust to group care a lot more quickly, too.



ETA: I also changed my mindset. I started treating this as a business and a job. Not just a way to stay home with my own children. I enrolled my children in afterschool care, which they love, and now can focus 100% on running the daycare. It has taken so much stress out of my day, my girls are happier, and I feel more professional. I miss not having them here but it works so much better all around, for everyone. Plus, I feel a lot more capable of enforcing my policies, more confidence in how I run things, and I enjoy it a lot more. I felt pulled in a hundred different directions before. Now it's so easy to focus on the group, what is best for the group, what is the group going to be doing next, etc etc.
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Old 09-28-2015, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Play Care View Post
For your day care? I'm trying to get inspired
Is there a schedule that you've adapted that makes your day run smoothly? A toy that may have been a big investment but pays for itself daily? A policy you implemented that you wonder why you waited so long?

Let's here some positive changes that you've made and how you have benefited.

A few things I've done:

Changed my hours on Friday so that I close at 4:00.

Bought the magnet tot locks for my cabinets. We don't have to have them, but the others didn't last and the kids could easily get around them. No one opens these and I love that I can turn them off on evenings and weekends.
-Stopped taking school aged kids.
-Bought a mirror from the school catalog and put it on my door (not the front door but the door that was in the playroom and went to garage). The kids loved it and my grandkids still do and I could also see around corners.
-Installed a retractable gate on a larger than normal opening. Loved that thing!
-As I got older, I stopped running at full capacity. Our allowable number was 6 but I only took 3. That was a luxury.
-Had a 2 page contract and no handbook. This allowed me to address the really important things and the rest I could just say (as things came up) "I don't allow that for such and such reason, sure you understand." I didn't feel like I needed a policy about every little thing. My provider friend just called it her Guidelines and it was one page. You don't follow the guidelines feel free to leave. I didn't like being bound to a contract except for the most important things like payment, sick policies, etc. It was for my benefit more than for their benefit.

Laurel
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  #7  
Old 09-28-2015, 09:30 AM
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There was a time I didn't charge for holidays or any time I was closed or even days the dcfs didn't come for whatever reason. Now I charge 52 weeks a year.
I'm more selective about families at interview time because I've learned how important dynamics are within our days. Way back when, I took everybody that needed care.
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  #8  
Old 09-28-2015, 11:52 AM
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I also do monthly billing, its so nice not too worry about collecting money non stop. I also am taking more days off this year. Every month the amount is same regardless of holidays, it keeps the math to a minimum. If I have to close unexpectedly I credit them on the next month tuition.

My monthly themes and rotating (often theme related) toys keeps me so much more interested in their play. Decorating the daycare room to go with the theme, helps me not feel like I spend every day looking at the same walls

This song: "I am happy, I am good. I am happy, I am good. You are learning, I am too. You are learning and I am too." I adapted it from (correct me if you know better) a Hindu children's chant/song. My friend learned it at a Yoga retreat and taught me the gist and I changed it a bit. I start singing it when I child is grumpy, throwing a tantrum, or when I am getting grumpy at them. The other children join in and we sing it a few times through and then move on. I sing it while changing the poopy bum of a potty trained/capable child, it reminds me to be calm. I really like it.

I listen to music that makes me happy.
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  #9  
Old 09-28-2015, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Controlled Chaos View Post
I also do monthly billing, its so nice not too worry about collecting money non stop. I also am taking more days off this year. Every month the amount is same regardless of holidays, it keeps the math to a minimum. If I have to close unexpectedly I credit them on the next month tuition.

My monthly themes and rotating (often theme related) toys keeps me so much more interested in their play. Decorating the daycare room to go with the theme, helps me not feel like I spend every day looking at the same walls

This song: "I am happy, I am good. I am happy, I am good. You are learning, I am too. You are learning and I am too." I adapted it from (correct me if you know better) a Hindu children's chant/song. My friend learned it at a Yoga retreat and taught me the gist and I changed it a bit. I start singing it when I child is grumpy, throwing a tantrum, or when I am getting grumpy at them. The other children join in and we sing it a few times through and then move on. I sing it while changing the poopy bum of a potty trained/capable child, it reminds me to be calm. I really like it.

I listen to music that makes me happy.
Taking all Holidays/Vacation/Professional days/emergency days with 52 weeks pay regardless.

Closing at 4:30

AND NO SCHOOL AGE
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  #10  
Old 09-28-2015, 12:01 PM
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I stopped taking school agers after my first few months open.

I set myself apart from the other day cares by finding something I could implement that others don't. For me, that is having someone come in a few hours a week to teach Spanish. The kids love it and it is something that start slowly teaching here in Kindergarten. So dcf's feel like they are getting a head start. I also do curriculum and other things, but so do other people.

I am in the process of changing my hours from 7:30-5:30. I have a few grandfathered in. I was open 7-6.

I raised my rates after my initial opening to a higher end rate. I think I'm worth it. I was $125 a week, now I am $160. But clients who were with at a cheaper rate get to keep that rate until they exit my program.
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  #11  
Old 09-28-2015, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by midaycare View Post
I stopped taking school agers after my first few months open.

I set myself apart from the other day cares by finding something I could implement that others don't. For me, that is having someone come in a few hours a week to teach Spanish. The kids love it and it is something that start slowly teaching here in Kindergarten. So dcf's feel like they are getting a head start. I also do curriculum and other things, but so do other people.

I am in the process of changing my hours from 7:30-5:30. I have a few grandfathered in. I was open 7-6.

I raised my rates after my initial opening to a higher end rate. I think I'm worth it. I was $125 a week, now I am $160. But clients who were with at a cheaper rate get to keep that rate until they exit my program.
Yes - this. Every time I am filling a new spot I raise my rate by $10-20 a month more (I did a huge pay hike for everyone a year ago when I switched to 52 weeks a year pay) and try to find someone as close to 8-4:30 as possible. I am open 7-5 right now, but try to keep the bulk between 8and4:30 so I can be clean and super closed by 5pm on the dot It takes a while to get the perfect time and pay with many families grandfathered in, but I tend to like the families I have had longer better anyway
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  #12  
Old 09-28-2015, 12:15 PM
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let's see, I will try to give different things then listed (although no school age!)

Limited space in my house for childcare! This way I still feel like I have my house and kids not running around everywhere!

No TV time at all.

Closing time is closing time No you may not be late.
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  #13  
Old 09-28-2015, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by MrsSteinel'sHouse View Post
let's see, I will try to give different things then listed (although no school age!)

Limited space in my house for childcare! This way I still feel like I have my house and kids not running around everywhere!

No TV time at all.

Closing time is closing time No you may not be late.
Yep, how could I forget my attached daycare room so I can close it and still have a home!
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  #14  
Old 09-28-2015, 12:51 PM
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I do the same... monthly pay; it also gets me slightly better clientele lol. I explain that my unpaid vacations & holiday closings are already figured in when I average the fees.
Exactly. I have paid holidays but unpaid vacation. So they can see in their contract that they do not pay for my vacation, but I still get paid the same each month.
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Old 09-28-2015, 12:57 PM
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We purchased a wooded 4 acre property off a long private drive that has a cottage. My FCC is in the cottage 100' away from my private residence. Sweet!
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Old 09-28-2015, 01:34 PM
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We purchased a wooded 4 acre property off a long private drive that has a cottage. My FCC is in the cottage 100' away from my private residence. Sweet!
That is nice!
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Old 09-28-2015, 01:49 PM
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I stopped worrying so much about how everyone else does things and focused on finding what works for ME and my family first, my current families second, and my potential new families next. I'm happier than I've ever been and I know that it shows.
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  #18  
Old 09-28-2015, 02:01 PM
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Changed my hours from 7-6 to 730-530, huge difference!
Charging more for infants and only accepting them f/t.
Stickler about schedules. Found a daily schedule that works for everyone, babies too!
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Old 09-28-2015, 02:29 PM
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Changed my hours from 7-6 to 730-530, huge difference!
Charging more for infants and only accepting them f/t.
Stickler about schedules. Found a daily schedule that works for everyone, babies too!
Those were my exact old hours and my new hours. I don't know why, but it makes a huge difference!!!
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Old 09-28-2015, 03:55 PM
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Those were my exact old hours and my new hours. I don't know why, but it makes a huge difference!!!
I did even better. Same old hours. New hours 8:30a-5p and my rates didn't change. I'm full and have a waiting list. I still get up 6a & have no excuse to not exercise.
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Old 09-28-2015, 04:32 PM
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I did even better. Same old hours. New hours 8:30a-5p and my rates didn't change. I'm full and have a waiting list. I still get up 6a & have no excuse to not exercise.
Jealous!!!
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Old 09-28-2015, 05:03 PM
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I made a big change for this year to make homeschooling my daughter easier. I have all part-time children (not by choice, but it's what I've got). So I decided to cap one day's enrollment to 3 kids (what fits in my car), so that we can do more farther-afield field trips. We decided that for September and October at least, we would spend every Monday morning hiking. So for three weeks, we've headed out first thing and spent the whole morning in the woods somewhere (snack and lunch included). Come back exhausted and head straight to nap. Today was our third hike, and I'm LOVING it. It really helps with that Sunday night "ugh, I have to work tomorrow!" feeling. More hiking was a personal goal for my daughter and I, and it's really hard to fit everything into weekends, so finding time for it during the week has been wonderful.
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Old 09-29-2015, 06:51 AM
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We purchased a wooded 4 acre property off a long private drive that has a cottage. My FCC is in the cottage 100' away from my private residence. Sweet!
My Dream!
Do you have any pics or a website? I would love to see it!
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Old 09-29-2015, 07:37 AM
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- I changed my hours (no more 12 hour days!)
- Added soup, sandwiches and other easier meals to my rotating menu
- Started taking nature walks with the kids. I enjoy it as much as them
- Buy or look for free preschool themed packets online (saves time and money. I can't afford a curriculum.)

working smarter not harder!
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Old 09-29-2015, 07:51 AM
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I'm just now (September) changing my hours and rate structure & I'm so excited!

I was 7:30-5:30 and maxed families at 9 hours a day. But I hated that they were all letting the kids sleep in and coming at 8:30 so they could leave the kids here until closing. Even though they first enrolled with the "needed" hours of 7:45-4:30.

I changed to a graduated rate scale with rates increasing every 15 minutes from 4-5:15 and I now close at 5:15.

Most of the time my families are now gone by 4:45-5:00 and I can spend more time with my kids & dinner is not rushed!

I also stopped taking infants 2 years ago and only enroll 12 months-4 years. Love it that way!
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Old 09-29-2015, 08:58 AM
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the best thing that I have done is come to this form and have been blessed with all of you lovely people.

I had to learn to open my mind and listen to all of you. I learned to stop running my business with my emotions and falling short so that others could get ahead.

The best thing I have done is stop making excuses to the advice that I get here. I am full of emotion, you guys are not.

So I guess the best thing that I can say I have ever done is stayed here at daycare.com and continue to take the advice of everyone here.

Oh and it has improved my english skills by 35% .....
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Old 09-29-2015, 09:15 AM
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My Dream!
Do you have any pics or a website? I would love to see it!
I don't have website or FB. I keep low profile. I'll pm you.
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Old 09-29-2015, 09:35 AM
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It still shocks me that English isn't your first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daycare View Post
the best thing that I have done is come to this form and have been blessed with all of you lovely people.

I had to learn to open my mind and listen to all of you. I learned to stop running my business with my emotions and falling short so that others could get ahead.

The best thing I have done is stop making excuses to the advice that I get here. I am full of emotion, you guys are not.

So I guess the best thing that I can say I have ever done is stayed here at daycare.com and continue to take the advice of everyone here.

Oh and it has improved my english skills by 35% .....
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Old 09-29-2015, 09:36 AM
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I am also considering stopping taking infants. I take one under 12 months right now, but I'm happier with 12 months and up.

Daycare I also am so glad I came here! I started reading the forum about 4 months before I opened, so I was really prepared when I did open. All of my first dcf's told me, "Wow! You're really organized and seem to know what you're doing!" Well ... that was only because I read every possible bad thing tat could happen on the forum beforehand and then tried to prevent it in my setup, contract, and families I accepted.
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Old 09-29-2015, 11:05 AM
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A few of the best policies I've incorporated is

1. Every other Friday I am closed. I only accept parents who have that schedule. It's popular around here, it's called a compressed work week.
2. Payment is due every Monday before care is received. Some pay a month a head of time also. That works too.
3. Collecting the first and last week's fees at enrollment. No pay, not enrolled.
4. Not giving out paperwork until first and last week's fees are collected.
5. All money received by me is non refundable. No exceptions.
6. My vacation time is unpaid. It's unpaid for a reason, it's mine. I budget accordingly for my time off.

Just a few I'd thought I'd share!
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Old 09-29-2015, 01:24 PM
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It still shocks me that English isn't your first.
this flatters me to the fullest!!

thank you so much. Ive come a long way in the last few years. college classes have been improving each year too and then of course I started working out with a girl who teaches english, so right there she would correct everything I say....lol

have to admit it was a wee bit annoying at first...lol
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