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Lyle Jameson

A Husband's Role in the Family Daycare Home
Advice, Tips & Information for Husbands
By: Lyle Jameson - M.Ed in Adaptive Special Education

Lyle shares ideas, tips, and advice on building a successful program and advice for husbands of family child care operators. Lyle teaches high incidence adaptive special education and partners with his wife Jessica at their own respected home child care business.

Coming to Terms…
A family childcare home is not just your wife's job, it's actually yours too! Sure, you have a job doing something else. But whether you know it or not, your second job means being a partner in the family business. Relax, take a breather, your duties as a partner are likely very different than your wife's. As a husband and a leader of your family, you have a responsibility to understand the importance of your role and recognize how your contribution is a direct factor to the overall success or failure of the child care operation.

As a member in a family childcare home, remember you are a representative of the business, and very much represented BY the business. The success or failure is not the sole responsibility of the lead caregiver. A husband's tasks in a childcare home vary with each family, but the one constant need is for husbands to embrace a supportive attitude towards the creation and sustainability of a healthy business model.

"Husbands who accept this responsibility and participate in the duties of operating a successful business create strong lasting partnerships with their spouse."

Get to Know the Job:
Be aware of the hard work and many duties your co-partner has. A common complaint among wives in family childcare homes is their husband's do not realize how demanding the work day is. Nothing is more frustrating to your wife than the misconception that home daycare providers are even remotely similar to stay at home moms. Husbands need to dismiss the unrealistic expectation of coming home to a clean house with dinner on the table. Recognize the many tasks your wife performs every day and have a cheerful attitude about rolling up your sleeves and pitching in.

Wives wish husbands understood that 7-8 hours a month doing yard work is no comparison to the time they spend daily on routine chores. Sometimes the same task needs to be repeated 2-3 times a day! Most of that work goes unnoticed unless it is not done at all. Remember as demanding as your day job is, keep in mind your wife's is likely 100% as much, and probably more. Become familiar with your wife's share of duties, ask questions and observe so you fully understand specific demands placed on childcare providers. Be flexible, long days and mounting responsibilities cause great strains on families. Don't ruin a perfectly good day over a few minutes of poor communication, remember Rome wasn't built in a day, and a sink full of dirty dishes isn't the worst thing in the world.

If your own children attend the daycare home do not make the mistake of counting them as daycare children. Even if the daycare is open you are fair game to assist with messes, disputes, and parenting responsibilities-perhaps even more so than your spouse whose attention is needed elsewhere. Don't rile the kids up. We've all been there and it can fun to wind the kids up or slip them some candy and retreat while your wife reigns everyone back in. Each family is different and sanctions vary, but if your wife's asked you not to, she feels pretty strongly against it. During your wife's work day don't be too demanding of her attention. It may feel perfectly normal, you're both at home, but that doesn't mean this is the best time to ask for a hand with something or to discuss important matters. Remember at the beginning and end of the day your wife is very busy preparing for pick up or drop off. Ask yourself if there is a better time to discuss something, or if it can wait. Husbands and wives don't always see eye to eye on the necessary expenses to operate a home based daycare.

Monies spent on purchasing supplies, equipment, toys, games, field trips, advertisement, or subs can be a source of great friction. Remember running a successful business requires routine investments. A good way to minimize conflict is to set a small portion of income aside for business related expenses and operate within that budget.

Levels of Support:
This section shares additional steps a husband in a family childcare home can take to support the family business. A big stressor wives face is going it alone. Doctor's visits or unexpected illnesses without a reliable substitute leaves your wife with a taxing decision, close and send everyone home, work sick, or cancel appointments. If you can alleviate some stress for your very professional wife by filling in for the short term you'll see a great return on your investment. If you cook dinner and it's convenient make extra food. Left-over food that meets the requirements of your home's food program is probably much appreciated. The extra time saved from not having to prepare a meal may be just enough difference to make it a better day.

Remember the family home gets messy during the evening, spend a few minutes picking up before bed, you don't want your wife to feel like she's at work 24 hours a day. Needs change and things break, if you have the capability and means to repair or create something that improves the business then offer that support. You may have a good excuse to get that new tool you've been wanting. One of the biggest ways husbands can support their spouse in family childcare homes is to provide encouragement. Let your wife know the things you see her doing very well, running a business is challenging, to hear she's doing a good job from someone whose opinion is important to her means a lot. Family childcare is a very personal, yet professional service, if needed support your wife's confidence to keep parents in line with the contract and pay late fee violations. Be receptive to your wife's communication needs, childcare provider wives usually don't have anyone to complain to about parents, or the day. The typical day is surrounded by children and sometimes they need an outlet.

You don't always have to fix everything, sometimes just listening is enough. Also pay attention to what your wife is communicating, sometimes after a long day of dealing with parents and children she may just need a silent retreat. Give your wife some space to shake the day off and have some alone time if that's what she needs. When you get home from you day job, you may not feel like going anywhere and that's okay even normal, but be flexible and make compromises. Remember sometimes your wife just needs to get out of the house. The all-day work from home filled with cooking and cleaning breakfast, lunch and snacks for multiple children can be too much at times. It's okay to go out to dinner. The little things you do to support your wife go a long way towards the health and success of the business. Be proud to have a wife who is professional in her work and contributes to the success and upward mobility of your family. Relax and take time to celebrate both of your hard work and successes.

Also Read:

Starting a Daycare Business
A Husband's Role in Daycare
How To Make Your Daycare Program Stand Out
Grants For Your Daycare Program
Communication in Stressful Situations

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