20 Secret Things Your Daycare Provider Does That Make a Big Difference

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It’s no secret that being a daycare provider has a lot of “behind-the-scenes” stuff, mostly bookkeeping, planning, shopping for groceries and supplies, etc. but there’s a whole ‘nother sector of home daycare, specifically my program, of things that I do on a regular/consistent basis that may go unnoticed. Here’s the list!

  1. Cleaning– it seems a never-ending thing with cleaning with children. There’s tidying, dishes, sanitizing, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, and cleaning children after eating. Our mealtimes plus clean-up can easily last 1.5 hours.
  2. Behavior Modification– A good daycare provider knows how and when to implement different styles of behavior modification. For me, that means: redirection, positive discipline, briefly explaining a rule, reiterating expectations, natural consequences, and time out for aggressive behaviors.
  3. Social Skills– Being able to function in society is important and children who learn how to relate to peers in the infant/toddler years will have better interpersonal, school, and society success.
  4. Contract/Policies– Business is ever-changing and any provider that wants to stay in the game for the long-run needs to review policies, contracts, rates, and make changes/updates.
  5. Planning- This can take a lot of time, for planning can be activities, meals, needed supplies or equipment, advertising and follow-up with prospective clients, etc.
  6. Record-Keeping– from receipt filing, attendance records, keeping track of weekly time spent doing daycare-related activities, mileage for business, etc. it can add up to easily 20 hours a week extra on top of business hours.
  7. Safety- From kitchen and bathroom cabinets to laundry room soap and chemicals to escape hazards, safety is an ever-upgrading process. In one year, I had to install chain locks up high, get cabinet locks, code locks, baby gates, keep scissors and sharpies in an upper cabinet, move kids medications to the highest shelf in the kitchen, and put a locked knob on a linen closet where we store first aid and hygiene items. All preventative, thankfully, but still necessary.
  8. Unique Items– I just recently bought 6 “milk jug” lidded cups with straws for the kids’ smoothies, which are so cute! But it set me back $24. Art materials can add up fast, too, especially if you’re buying for 6-8 children.
  9. Cleaning Dishes- Ohhhh the dishes seem bottomless some days… most days will include 2-3 loads of dishes. Cooking from-scratch meals has that as a part of it, which is great health-wise, but does take time and effort to keep under control. I’m a “family of 6” on days I currently do daycare.
  10. Taking Out the Trash– There’s usually 1-2 trash take-outs a day in a home with so many kids in diapers, cooking from scratch, tissues, and wipes, etc.
  11. Deep Cleaning- Moving out the fridge, cleaning behind and inside the stove, wiping down baseboards, daycare linens laundry.
  12. Yard Maintenance– Mowing, edging, blowing walkways clear, weeding, planting, pruning, raking, ensuring the sprinkler system is working.
  13. Activities- Coming up with activities for infants and toddlers can pose unique challenges since they are still mouthing toys and can choke, so creativity is key. Keeping a rotation of activities can also be challenging with limited supplies.
  14. Keeping Healthy– Since every day of being available is important to families in my care, me being well is important. That means eating well, frequent hand washing, and using preventative measures to avoid illnesses.
  15. Loving Your Kids– There is a big difference in the attitude of someone who is just going through the motions versus someone who is fully vested and loves what they do. Loving the children in my care may not seem like an obvious thing, but it is vital to attachment, trust, and the parent-provider relationship.
  16. Honesty– It can be hard to be honest, especially if it’s something dealing with an injury, something unpleasant, or dealing with a policy infraction. But integrity is also vital to the parent-provider relationship.
  17. Ever-Improving– The quickest way to fail is to remain stagnant, not changing. Successful daycare providers know they need to stay ahead of the curve and learn new things, try new techniques, and be open-minded to what new technology and new ideas bring. Change can be hard, but it’s good to keep moving forward.
  18. Professionalism- From the way your provider talks to you, to how she handles conflict, and especially how she handles the kids, it’s vital that the tone is of a knowledgeable provider who is professional and polite. This will make you feel like a team, combating any miscommunications.
  19. Preventative Measures– We daycare providers get really good at reading a child’s behavior that we can actually prevent accidents, injuries, incidents of biting, among other things. We’ve seen it enough times to have a sense of what it looks like.
  20. Learning/Training- Here in Florida, home daycare providers have to have 10 annual hours of in-service training to keep up with industry standards. I don’t ever let that be my limit, but instead I learn year-round from other businesses, local women’s business groups, books, articles, etc. I can never know everything!

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