Tag Archives: family child care

The smell of change is in the air…

I have to say that fall is one of my favorite times of year. I enjoy the hustle and bustle of children headed back to school and participating in autumn-themed activities. I like the cooler temperatures and the changing leaves. There are smells and foods associated with fall and the changing seasons that just make me smile from the inside out. I truly welcome this change every year.

Embracing change in your ECE program

In addition to all of the typical changes associated with fall, there are also changes throughout the state of Ohio with Step Up To Quality.  The set up of the program standards document is different.  The terminology related to the rating system has changed.  The organizational systems used by many programs for years seems like it’s changing too. In Kentucky, there have been updates to licensing regulations as well. These changes seem to be causing confusion. No one seems to be smiling about these changes in the same way that a child might smile when they jump into a pile of crunchy leaves in the fall.

I want to encourage you to recognize that just like the physical changes that happen every fall, this type of change is good too. Even though we have to learn a new set of words and maybe even create some new systems to organize our paperwork, it’s all in the best interests of the children.  My hope is that as you take time to learn the different pieces associated with Step Up To Quality in Ohio and licensing regulations in Kentucky, you also take time to breathe and enjoy the good work that you are doing for the best interests of the children in your care.

When you face a challenge because of some of the changes that you see before you, please know that there are supports all around you.  At 4C for Children we have leadership networks and coaches who are able to answer questions and provide supports through these changes.  You can also reach out for support from friends and colleagues who are traveling this changing path with you. Accept the new systems and know that children will benefit. Most importantly, keep in mind the reason behind your work: the wonder in a child’s eyes as you teach him about what happens when summer turns into fall, and the smile on his face as he jumps into a pile of leaves and embraces the changing of seasons.

-Angie

Building a Foundation of Trust

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

– Stephen R. Covey

A friend of mine recently enrolled her two children in child care for the first time. She’s a very private person, but chose to share with the child care provider that she was going through a divorce. What she didn’t choose to share was that her husband and the children’s father is an abusive man. Does it surprise you that she would withhold this information? I wasn’t surprised. My friend needs to learn to trust her child care provider, and that process takes time.

Building a foundation of trust is critical for all families, and for all child care providers who hope to have a positive relationship with the parents of the children in their care. What can we do to lay the foundation? We need to be patient and consistent, and most of all we need to keep a focus on good communication with families.

First we need to be sure to meet with families in a safe and comfortable environment. Give yourself enough time to exchange ideas and information, and listen with an open mind in all your communications with families. Be sure to clarify expectations and share honestly. If parents ask you a question that you don’t know the answer to, be honest. Let the family know you’ll get back to them with the information, and then do it!

It’s so important to respect the parents’ levels of knowledge, understanding or interest. When we make assumptions about a parent, however innocently, we run the risk of destroying our chances to develop a strong relationship with that parent. For example, don’t always assume a busy parent is a disinterested parent. They could be distracted that day by one of life’s many other challenges… I know some days I am!

Remember that parents are their child’s first teachers, and when they feel that we respect and trust them, they are more likely to respect and trust us.

More than Child Care

Years ago my friend chose to care for children in her home. Each day began with excitement in spending time with the children, but she also faced challenges like communicating with parents effectively, planning the day so that children had the best opportunities for learning and, of course, the late pick-ups!

Managing a family child care business takes more than just love for children, though it often begins there. Child care providers need to have as much energy as the children. Providers must be on their toes and be ready for anything, like the dog that wants to be included in the finger painting activity, or the child that doesn’t like to get their hands dirty! How can you balance the duties and responsibilities needed as a small business owner when children need so much care and attention?

A day in the life of a family child care provider begs the skills of a nurse, teacher, cook, nurturer, business manager and entrepreneur. The essential aspects of your business are often overlooked in the enthusiasm and excitement of taking care of children, but managing everything effectively is possible. In order to establish a successful business, owners must work diligently to develop solid policies and learn practices that will sustain their energy, interest and success.

We can help! Support your love of children with a business plan that works, and join us for a series this fall at our Miami Valley regional office.