Child care provider for 5 years
Mechelle, was that a typical day for you in child care?
It was pretty typical as far as how the children acted, but it was a rainy day. We were cooped up indoors all day, so I had to make adjustments because of the rain. The kids are used to having an hour outdoors in the morning and an hour in the afternoon so they can run around and let off steam. Instead, I had to keep them busy inside.
Tell us about your biggest challenge that day.
The rain. In the morning, it looked like it might clear up and I could allow the kids to go outside for part of the day. But as time progressed, it started to thunderstorm and I knew that the kids would be indoors all day. So I had to adjust the routine on the fly and think of activities for the kids to do.
We did the spaghetti art activity which takes a lot longer than one of our usual activities. We also did a shaving cream art activity that kept them occupied. Since I know that kids still need to burn off some energy, I brought a climber from the backyard indoors for them to play on which seemed to be enough for them to do that day.
If your son, Jacob, got sick, what challenges could have happened from that?
He seemed to get better, which was a relief because there were times when my children really have gotten sick. I had to call the parents of the kids that I take care of and tell them that they may want to find alternate child care so that their child is not exposed to the illness. Sometimes parents have no other choice but to bring their child because they have no other options. Thatís really the biggest challenge for family child care for me.
How do your sons handle ďsharingĒ you with the other kids during the day?
Some days are better than others. My younger son has a problem understanding that he has to share me and that I canít be 100% devoted to him. I negotiate with him by saying, ďI canít do this with you now, but letís do it together later.Ē Usually that will work, but sometimes that just wonít do and one of my sons will end up throwing a temper tantrum and thatís just how it is. I just try to keep my sense of humor and go on the best way I can.
How do you make time for your family during your busy day?
During naptime, I sit down with my older son, Jacob, because he doesnít always nap. We have our one-on-one time where we read together or do an activity by ourselves. My younger son is by my side most of the day so it keeps us close. When I close the business at 5:30 pm each day, I make sure to devote time to the needs of my family until my children go to bed at 9:30 pm. So from closing, I make an effort not to answer the phone and to really spend time with my children and husband. When my kids go to bed, then I begin cleaning up the child care and preparing for the next day. Itís really hard balancing the child care and my own family at times, but this is how I attempt to do it.
Have you always worked with children?
Iíve had my family child care for five years now, but before this I was a pre-school teacher and nanny. Iíve been in child care for 13 years. I always knew that I enjoyed and was talented in doing this kind of work with kids. So I knew I would always be in this business in some way.
What do you love most about your situation?
Before I had my kids, I would say that I was excited about being with kids and caring for them because itís a wonderful way to spend your day. I just loved it. Now that I have kids of my own, I think being able to raise my own children every day is the thing I love the best. I know Iím fortunate to do this because many parents arenít able to be with their kids all day. I just feel really lucky that I can have my business in my home and still spend so much time with my own kids.
What advice do you have for someone who may be considering becoming a family child care provider?
Take it one day at a time and donít overwhelm yourself. You grow into this business, so donít be intimidated because you donít know everything at first. Try to set manageable goals for yourself which seem within reach and take it one step at a time. It can be daunting, but itís the most rewarding job. I love it.