Getting Yourself And Your Family Prepared For Your Homebased Childcare Venture
Are You Ready?
Running a childcare facility requires a willing and able jack-of-all-trades and nothing less. It needs someone who knows how to do a multitude of things well for very young people.
You are going to be responsible for the overall well being of the children in your care. Think about your:
- Love For Children
If you genuinely love children, then the complex and demanding role of childminding will be a pleasure to you. On the other hand, there are many people who excel in this business even though they don’t particularly enjoy being around children. As long as the children in your care are happy, safe and comfortable while in your care, you are doing fine.
- Ability To Control Emotions
If you had a bad day dealing with your own family, are you then going to carry your frustrations over to the children in your care? If you are stressed out from a busy weekend, would you then be at your best with the children on Monday? It is not fair to let the children become victims of your emotional state and it is important to remember that children can be traumatised with your negative behaviour.
- Ability To Understand Children’s Needs
Toddlers and babies use sign and body language to transmit information while those around two years old have their own “foreign” language that needs to be interpreted correctly. Some of these children come across as attention seekers. Do you have the ability to interpret these emotions? Are you sensitive to their needs?
If you already have “the mother of all virtues”, then you are indeed blessed in this line of work! You can expect all kinds of situations where your patience will be tested. If you cannot handle it, both parties will suffer, the children will hate your screaming and scolding while you will inevitably suffer from a nervous breakdown, headache or high blood pressure!
- Basic Knowledge Of Child Psychology
When a child throws a tantrum, how are you going to react? Basic skills in child psychology will definitely help you to perform better as a childminder. Knowing why children behave and react the way they do will make your task of childminding more enjoyable.
- Knowledge Of Holistic Child Development Programmes
If you can nurture discipline and positive values, and help them to differentiate between right and wrong, you will indeed be contributing to their overall development.
- Basic Knowledge In First Aid And Children’s Ailments
Children are prone to accidents and minor ailments. You must have some basic skills in handling injuries and tending to children who are unwell.
- Ability To Handle Emergency Situations
Emergency situations range from accidents in the house to health problems such as an asthmatic attack and fits to emotional problems such as sudden bursts of anger resulting in offensive behaviour. If you panic, it will only worsen the situation. Are you ready to handle such emergencies?
Is Your Home Child-Friendly?
The physical layout of furniture in your home is going to be altered in view of the presence of the young children who have been entrusted in your care. With some imagination and ingenuity, you can create a welcoming ambience but do make sure that the following points are seriously considered:
You can use the living room for the children to conduct their daily activities such as playing games (in groups or individually), watching television programmes, conducting storytelling sessions and taking a nap. The children can use your dining table for having their meals and of course, your bathroom should be made available to them.
- Equipment And Furniture
You can boost your professional image with a few hundred ringgit here. Instead of a bare living room with only the basic furniture for the family usage, it will be more attractive if there are a few small tables and chairs that can be piled up in a corner after use for the children to sit and do their writing, drawing, artwork and other activities. A medium-sized white or blackboard, a small bookrack filled with children’s storybooks and educational VCDs and a box load of toys and educational material will definitely enhance the entire presentation of your homebased business. With some creativity you can turn one of your walls into an art gallery with children paintings and posters.
- First Aid Kit
Ensure that you have a basic medicine chest or first aid kit within easy reach to cope with minor ailments and injuries.
If you have hyperactive and hypersensitive children in your care, or children with special needs who require your total attention, you might need to hire an assistant to help you.
Is Your Family Ready To Accept Children?
Your business is homebased so you need to have your family’s support in order to carry out your duties successfully. Consider these points:
- Prior to setting up your childcare business, you must have a series of heart-to-heart sessions with your husband, children and other family members who are staying with you. Ask for their opinions and share your thoughts. This is important since their privacy will inevitably be affected. If you have elderly members in your house, the noise factor will have to be addressed with them as children tend to be talkative and noisy. Members of the family who need peace and quiet to study may not take too kindly to the idea of having children in the house.
- Spouses may also object to the heavy responsibility of taking care of other people’s children. If you have expensive and fragile items in the house, assure the owners that you will not allow the children to touch these.
- Family members will receive less attention from you during the time the children are in your care. Emphasise on the advantages of your working from home to get their support – the extra cash and how it’ll benefit the family, for example. Reassure your spouse that you will not neglect your household chores because the children in your care will not need you 100 per cent of the time. Your family will not miss their home-cooked meals and your home will not look like its been hit by a tornado when the children leave.
- You must assure members of your family that they will not be neglected regardless of your added responsibilities. This is especially crucial when you have young children who might be easily jealous and regard your young charges as rivals.
- Continue to have the usual home environment after “business hours”. There may be additional furniture in the corner of the living room reminding you of your day job but that should not affect the family spirit when everyone is home in the evenings.
- Although your children understand your new profession, they still want the same energetic mother to look after their needs. You must consume supplementary food and vitamins that will help to boost your energy during and after your business hours.
- If you have young children, plan the activities of the children in your care to tally with your own children’s routines such as watching television programmes and doing schoolwork.
Encourage your family members to become friends with the children in your care. In this way, they can also develop a bond with these children.
- At the end of each month, present your family with a “token of appreciation” for their cooperation. Such incentive can come in many forms such as buying them presents, making handmade presents or cards. This may also motivate them to assist you whenever possible.
- In planning the children’s activities, ask your family members to participate in drawing up strategies, trouble-shooting exercises and formulating module for activities. This will help them to understand the process of running the show, the difficulties you encounter and the help you need from them. Even if your child is a pre-schooler make him/ her understand the importance of your business and delegate some minor responsibilities to them.