Diploma of early childhood education and care will enhance your leadership skill. It is extremely challenging to run a child care business year round. If you have often thought about opening your own child care business but are afraid to commit to year-long care, maybe you should consider opening a child care business for the summer months only. This article looks at the pros and cons of this option, as well as possible scenarios for what this summer child care business may look like.
If you have your own school age children that you are home with during the summer, running a summer home child care can be a great way to make some money and entertain your own children at the same time. There is a huge demand for summer time care for school age children whose parents still have to work over the summer. These kids aren’t old enough to stay home alone, but they aren’t toddlers either who need constant monitoring and care. They are usually a lot of fun and very creative. Most kids of this age love to be outside and active. But they also enjoy quieting down with a movie or maybe even doing some reading on their own. They can pretty much take care of themselves when it comes to basic care (bathroom, eating, drinks, etc.). Parents are usually willing to pay well for keeping their kids safe and entertained. Nothing is worse than bored kids, because they get into trouble. Plus parents appreciate the convenience offered by a home daycare and the quality of care offered. This is a way to allow you to earn that extra money while not having to commit to caring for other children year round.
There are some negatives to this though. First, you really do need to have a license to operate a home child care. Getting a license can be a pain, but it covers you in case of problems. The older children that you would be caring for may not require as much monitoring, but they do require a different kind of attention. Older children tend to get into arguments more frequently about how things should be done. You may be playing referee a lot! Also, they have developed an attitude by this age, and it may show through! You will need to be very firm and fair with your rules. Be firm from the beginning and you will make things far easier on yourself and the children you care for. Since these children are older, they tend to eat more. You can either charge a little more per day to compensate for meal costs, or you can ask parents to send meals for their children.
Personally, I find the first option to be easier. They will also need to keep hydrated in the hot weather. So you will be dishing out a lot of water! Finally, you will need to be able to keep these kids entertained. Most kids this age don’t entertain themselves very well. Either they are constantly whining about being bored or else they are making unhealthy choices about how to spend their time. You will have to be very creative to keep the boredom and lethargy at bay! The other thing to consider is that you will not have the freedom to go on vacation or even take day trips with your family. If you are committing to caring for other children for the summer, you really need to make yourself available to these families for the whole summer. But it doesn’t have to be boring! See below for how to have a great summer!
OK, so you’ve decided that operating a summertime childcare is right for you. How do you set it up? Well, if you haven’t already obtained your child care license, that is your first step. Call your local licensing bureau or a local community college to find out how to get started. Once you have your license, you will want to designate some areas of your home for your business. You probably don’t want the kids wandering into all areas of your home, so decide where they can be and set up those areas to be conducive to children. I recommend setting up a reading area with comfy pillows or bean bags and plenty of books at all reading levels. Have a craft area where they can color, make things out of yarn or Popsicle sticks, cut, glue, and maybe even paint.
Set up a dress up clothes area where they can dress up and pretend to be whomever they choose. Also set up an area with basic toys such as cars, dolls, blocks, animals, etc. Finally, set up a game corner with lots of different board games and card games. Despite the warm weather, you are going to have times where you are indoors, and the children need to have lots of choices of appropriate activities. You will also need to have an outdoor play area for the kids. Ideally this would include swings, a slide, climbing equipment, a sandbox, and some room to play sports. Obviously you may not be able to include all of these areas. You absolutely need an area for sports though. These older kids love to organize games of kickball, dodge ball, baseball, etc. and they need room to do this.
Once you have your child care business arranged, you are ready to plan a schedule for the summer. I highly recommend planning your schedule ahead of time. That way you can make sure you are ready for everything, and parents can look at your schedule to see if it will meet their child’s needs. What should your schedule include? The answer is A LOT! The more activities you plan, the easier your summer will be. Having said this, don’t schedule every minute of every day! Children also need the opportunity to choose activities for themselves! My recommendation is to try to plan at least three scheduled activities a week. They do not all have to be field trips! As a matter of fact, unless you have a large car with a lot of seat belts, you may not be able to take field trips at all!
I do recommend field trips if you can get help transporting the kids. My suggestions are to go to the zoo, a museum, historical buildings, fishing, hiking, to the park, etc. I don’t recommend taking them to an amusement park or to the pool unless you have at least a couple of other adults along to help you keep an eye on everyone. Let parents know about field trips well in advance. Some of them may want to take some time off and come along. Of course, if a parent comes along you wouldn’t be able to charge the parent for that day of childcare! Another consideration for field trips is lunch and snacks. You will either need to pack a lunch for each child as well as some snacks, or you will have to ask parents to send money for lunch. Going out to eat can be fun but tricky. Ordering for seven or eight kids is a chore. Also, some parents may not have the extra money for meals. You will need to get permission slips for each child for the trip and you will need to bring along emergency contact information as well. You will also probably need to bring along sunscreen and water bottles for everyone.
Besides field trips, there are a lot of other fun activities to do at your house. You can plan special craft activities, cooking activities, theme days, party days, treasure hunts, game days, etc. As I said, planning about 3 activities a week should be enough. For craft activities, come up with crafts that the kids won’t think of on their own. Make sure you have the right supplies! Consider painting rocks for pets, making God’s Eyes, building bird houses, building a maze, or other fun activities. For cooking activities, you will want to choose recipes that will allow all of the kids to get involved.
Consider allowing the kids to help you make lunch. They can plan the menu and help with the preparation and cooking. Invest in a good children’s cookbook to give you more ideas. Theme days are great fun. Choose a theme for the day such as sports day or beach day and plan activities around those themes. For sports day make some fun relays and ball games. Encourage good sportsmanship in all you do. For beach day fill a small wading pool. Lay out beach towels, beach balls, and water toys and enjoy a day in the sun and surf. Be creative! For party days, find reasons to celebrate! Do any of the children you care for have birthdays during the summer? Plan a birthday party! You can have a 4th of July bash! Look at the calendar and find obscure days to celebrate! Treasure hunts are great fun! Make a map and have the kids work together to find clues to lead them to the treasure. For game days, have each child bring in a favorite game and spend time learning to play each game. Planning fun activities doesn’t have to be costly. Use things you have laying around, or ask for donations from parents.
I highly recommend planning some quiet time into each day as well. Whether or not they realize it, these kids need some down time. Require them to do some reading each day. Have them write their letters or some sentences. Let them look at picture books. Play a movie. Put on some quiet music and have them draw pictures. You only need about an hour of quiet time a day. All of this combined can make for a great summer!
Running a summertime child care can be profitable and rewarding. Do some planning now to avoid problems later on. Spend some time coming up with fun activities, and you and the children you care for can have a great summer!
Eileen Michalczyk opened A Teacher’s Touch Childcare in 1998. She has recently closed her daycare doors and now runs a successful marketing business from her home. To get more information on running a home childcare visit her blog at http://runningasuccessfulhomechildcare.blogspot.com
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