Life is made up of many pieces, like a puzzle. Here I attempt to put them all together.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Becoming A Childcare Provider - Advantages and Disadvantages

This is the first of a series of posts about Becoming A Child Care Provider. I'm not sure yet what the total number will be in this series but a do have a number of ideas that I'm looking forward to developing.

So . . . without further ado. . . here is post number one.

Advantages and Disadvantages

There are many benefits and rewards in childcare. For someone who enjoys watching children grow and learn, and the time spent with them, it may seem like a natural career choice. And for many it is. But before taking the leap into full time business there are some things to consider. Because for every advantage there is a flip side, that is not always so pleasant, that needs to be looked at as well.

Developing Bonds with Children and their Families

One of the greatest joys for me in childcare has been the friendships I have developed with the children and their families. Watching a child grow and learn is a very rewarding experience. And the ties that form with the child's family are often very real and long lasting. One child I began providing care for when she was ten months old will turn be 10 years old this month. She and her 13 year old sister are very good friends with my 11 year old daughter. They grew up together and are like sisters. In fact, as I write this, Amanda is at their house for a sleepover. Austin, as well, has friends who have been coming here for childcare for several years, and Michael has no shortage of friends to play with everyday.

The friendships for me have been very real and valuable as well. As we have watched each other face challenges, achieve success and simply deal with day to day life we have developed strong bonds. Each afternoon I put on the coffee pot around 2:30 and soon there are several parents enjoying coffee and a chat either before or after work. It has been interesting to watch the friendships develop.

The flip side to this is that there are constantly people in and out of my house, and even if I don't feel particularly sociable it is expected that I will be. Just because I woke up feeling bad, or I'm having a bad day, doesn't get me out of the"obligation" to be friendly and sociable.And while this is true in many jobs, in childcare there is the need to be "sociable" with both the children and the parents and there are few breaks from being on duty.

Working From Home

The privilege of being able to work from home has been a great advantage for us. I love knowing that I don't have to go out in all kinds of weather to go to work. I enjoy being at home and having my children here with me. This was a big factor in our ability to homeschool when I was a single parent. It allowed me the flexibility to work around the needs of my children and my own needs at the time. Now our circumstances have changed and I am married. However it is still a good fit for us for me to be able to work from home and homeschool. 

No travel time or expenses and flexibility are some other benefits of being able to work from home.

There is, however a downside to this as well. For me a big downside is always feeling like I am at work. It can be hard to walk away from the job when it's always in front of me. It is easy to get caught up in doing just one more thing and not being able to focus on other parts of my life instead. It takes a conscious effort sometimes for me to put aside "work" and just relax with my family or alone.

Being My Own Boss

Anyone who knows me well knows I sometimes ( more than sometimes?) have a stubborn streak a mile wide. At least. Being self-employed allows me to be my own boss and to be more in control of my day to day work experience (Did I mention I'm also a bit of a control freak?)

For a person who is highly motivated and a self-starter having the opportunity to work for yourself is a major benefit.

The flip side is that the ball is always in your court. There is no walking away and letting someone else take charge of the next shift. Taking the day off can be complicated. Sick days are nonexistent. Well, let me take that back. Sick days do still exist. A day off because I'm sick is nonexistent. The work still has to be done, the children still need someone to take care of them and families cannot simply change their schedules at a moments notice because I don't feel good.

So .  .  .

.  .  .  these are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this career. It definitely has both but for me it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

In my next post in this series I will write about some of the personality traits and skills needed to be successful in a childcare setting.


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