Change Is Good... or Is It?

Updated on June 15, 2010
A.W. asks from Austin, TX
15 answers

Okay, so I'm thinking of taking off on a new career in child care out of my home. I currently work for the state, typical business hours, and with my third son to be born in 3 weeks, the cost of daycare, should I return to work, is terrifying me! I have a 6 year old and 3 year old who currently attend private school (as required by my husband), which alone is more than half my monthly income. My idea, with the third child on the way soon, is to continue to send my 6 year old to private school and make arrangements for him to be picked up by the time school is out to avoid paying the after school care cost and then to keep my youngest two (the 3 year old and the new born) at home while possibly taking on 2 or 3 additional little ones in order to still bring income into the home, while saving the expense of child care for the two smaller children. I have to admit, I'm very nervous, but when I put all this on paper, it seems like the best decision financially. I also plan on going back to school to finish my degree in Accounting, which is what I've been doing as an Associate the past 12 years. I do eventually plan to return to the corporate world, once I've received my degree, and when the children are a little older. I guess my question(s) are 1) Does my plan sound logical? 2) In your opinion, would it be too much on me to handle my toddler and new born while taking on 2-3 additional children? 3) Are there any at home care givers who want to share their experience of running your business out of your home? 4) Is there possibly another way for me to be able to stay at home with my two little ones and bring in additional income besides in home child care? Any input is greatly appreciated! :)

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V.E.

answers from Lansing on

First, make sure your husband is on board with this idea. I was a SAHM with 4 children and took on additional 4 - 6 kids at a time to provide care for to earn extra money. The hours were long, the work was tiresome, the kids would quarrel and fight, and the pay was not that great. It was hard to go anywhere during the day with all of the kids, I missed alot of the school activities with my older children because of the child care kids. I still had to do all of the inside and outside housework because my then husband did not help out at all. After a few weeks, the kids may not get along and then what will you do? Will you provide the meals for the kids? Just some things to think about. Good luck with your decision.
V.

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

Ditto everyone and they brought up good points.

I did child-care in my home, when I just had my 1 child... and up until I had my 2nd child.
I cared for 1-2 other kids, besides my own.
You will not have any time for your own child's appointments or yours. Because you are obligated to babysit your 'client's' children. And if you can't on certain days, then THEY have to have a "back-up" babysitter/caretaker.

It is a handful to manage.

And dealing with the parents is so not easy at times.
BUT, "you" can screen and accept who you want.... so you have some degree of control over that.

You really have to want to be home-bound and with kids all day.... then after they leave too, and your kids. Round the clock.

Going to school, and doing child-care... is not going to be manageable.
School, will take all of your time, and plus with a newborn and 3 year old at home.
My Husband works and goes to school... it consumes ALL of his time once he comes home. I am like a single parent.
You will have TONS on your plate... and taking care of your own household.....
Caring for 2-3 other kids besides your own, is a lot. PLUS with your going to school and having to study.

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D.W.

answers from Gainesville on

You also need to look at the legal requirements for your county and state. Will you have to be licensed? Will you need insurance? How will this effect your homeowner's insurance?

Before starting any business, it's always best to come up with a strong business plan so you can account for everything that would be involved.

Personally, a home daycare is the last thing on my list of things I'd want to do lol. And I can't imagine doing it with a newborn. How will you handle the well-child visits your newest will need to go to? What kind of back-up plan will you have for the parents if you or your kids get sick?

Just some things that came to mind.

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H.P.

answers from Houston on

First of all, I think that if you do not have a special gift with children--a "calling" to care for them full-time--then you should forego this as an option. It's not something that you should do just for the money. Actually, one of my peeves is people who want to "fall back" on teaching or nursing or some other job that requires personal attention to someone. That stuff can't be taught, so if you don't have the heart for it, you'll be awful. Also, they are very stressful, so if you don't love it, then it's not worth it.

That said, I am currently pregnant and have been looking online for ideas about flexible schedules following the birth of my baby. They are pretty interesting. You should look into exhausting those options.

In-home childcare (especially with other people's children) does not lend to much free time. In fact, the structure required to take care of other people's children can be very taxing.

2 moms found this helpful

B.C.

answers from Dallas on

DON"T DO IT!! lol. I started watching kids in my home when my littlest one was 5 months old. I was breastfeeding at the time and it was chaos! I loved the kids that I watched, but it was a very, very stressful job. It got easier as she got older, but still a tough job. In the state of Texas if you watch 3 kids or under, you have to get listed with the state which costs $20, and if you watch more than 3, you will have to get registered which requires a home study, certain guidelines, classes, being cpr/first aid certified, etc. Also think about the cost of food to feed the kids, cost for craft supplies, curriculum, and the stress of having 3 kids, going to work, always having to keep your house clean b/c you're using it for your business, time with the hubby, keeping up with paperwork for the parents, contracts, and the kids you'd be watching. That's ALOT to handle!

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M.H.

answers from Raleigh on

I have done some in-home day care, and I cannot stand it! I also thought that it would be an excellent choice for me, but I HATE having other kids in my home on a regular basis. I feel trapped (even though I have a car big enough to take kids places), and feel like I have to be less of a mom to my son. I know it works for some people, but it didn't work for me. (And I LOVE kids...nannied for years, taught dance for years and gymnastics as well!)

If you have some experience as an accountant, maybe you could find a smaller local firm that would allow you to work part-time versus full-time. Maybe you could call some local businesses (travel agencies, stores, etc.) and ask about their accounting departments (my grandmother did accounting for a travel agency and loved it). Most of those would probably allow you to work from your home most or part of the time. I would also suggest looking into the school that you plan on going to. A lot of times they have inexpensive day care for students, and you may be able to find a decent job on campus (that would allow you to keep the kids in the cheap day care longer). Good luck!

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L.G.

answers from Austin on

I would not watch other kids unless it was your passion. It is hard work for little pay and you could easily resent them if you didn't love caring for them.

Home-based sales offer lots of money rewards but it usually takes several years to get to the point of profit. You have to be very outgoing and strong-willed to get good money in a short amount of time. (You usually hear about those few.) So beware.

I agree with looking for accounting work you can do at home. I assume that is your passion and where your talents lie.

As a last resort I would look at offering after school daycare. Your days would be freed up to be a full-time mom and you could ask to follow the school schedule for vacations.

I would wait until your kids are in school before going to school yourself. That can be so time-consuming and the husband is usually the one to suffer.

Does your private school offer tuition assistance for the 6 year old? Your 3 year old doesn't need to be in school. You can teach him/her at home. For group interaction, you can go to the park or library and even form a playgroup from people you meet there.

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R.J.

answers from Seattle on

Honestly, if you can already do accounting... you can do THAT out of your home.

If you're going to do daycare out of your home, it really is a business that you need to sit down and plan out in a great deal of detail. Just some off the top of my head:

- Business Lic

- All other licences (including infant & child cpr & other certifications)

- Insurance

- Hours (you can set your own hours, but they need to be in your contract... so you can go from 6am-6pm, or 9-3... or anything under the sun...your choice, but it needs to be decided ahead of time)

- Vacation days (all holidays you want off, including xmas break, summer break, major holidays -yup some people work on xmas day, if you want that day off, it needs to be in your calendar)

- Sick policy (both for bringing in sick kids, and backup for when YOU or your kids are sick &/or hospitalized)

- Emergency Policy (aka, your DH gets in a car accident... or your mum falls down a flight of stairs... are you open for business... or do you shut down, and if so... how?)

- Emergency Policy (aka fire, flood, termites... anything that makes your home unsafe)

- Emergency Policy (snow storms, tornados, etc... do you follow the Public School closure list, or are you open no matter what, etc)

- Immunization policy (esp with an infant in the house)

- Medical releases

- Medication Policy

- Discipline Policy

- Expulsion Policy (aka how many warnings & how much notice you give the parents)

- Payment Policy

- Furniture (as in for naps, as well as play time)

- Dishes & silverware

- What is supplied by parents, and what is supplied by you

- Transportation

- Taxes

Some other things to think of:

- What would you do if a parent shows up for pickup intoxicated?
- What would you do if a parent DOESN'T show up, or shows up late?
- How will you provide care (meaning philosophy/ what do the kids do all day/

1 mom found this helpful

F.H.

answers from Phoenix on

I'm an insurance agent in AZ. Most insurance companies will automatically decline your insurance for having a home daycare. The reason for this is the VERY high liablility risk. If one of those kids gets hurt while in your care and/or on your property, you could lose everything. I'm not sure if that is worth the risk or not. You can get an insurance policy to cover your daycare business, but they are very expensive. Something very serious to consider. Good luck.

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P.M.

answers from San Antonio on

Well, you have received some interesting replies. I did childcare in my home here in San Antonio for the past 2 years. I decided to do childcare to stay home with my own son. He will be starting Kinder in August so I am beginning a new career that I will work around his schedule.

First thing you should know is that in the State of Texas, you may care for up to 3 children NOT related to you without being Registered. Being Registered means you are subject to inspection and regulations set forth by the state. If you stay under the limit of the 3, you only need to be Listed with the State, which costs $20 annually, and you are not subject to any regulations. You will not have to have CPR/First Aid or anything else to be Listed. Most parents, however, prefer someone that IS CPR/First Aid Certified. You can get certified for about $35 and I would recommend it so you know what to do in case of emergency. Otherwise, keep a first aid kit and fire extinguishers on hand.

Second, really think this through. What do you want for YOUR kids. My son enjoyed playing with the kids but he was the oldest and it wasn't always easy for him to share his mommy. We were basically strapped to the house from the time we got up in the morning, usually 6 a.m. for me, until the last kids left, which was usually 6 p.m. It was way too much work for me to load 6 kids in the car just to run to the bank. Grocery store, no way. Your grocery bill will go up. I charged $140 per week. My grocery bill ran about $200 per week taking care of 4 kids plus my son. I went through a gallon of milk a day and two large containers of apple juice a week. I wanted my child to eat healthy foods so that is also how I fed my daycare kids. I could have cut back on the expense but then I cut back on the quality of food and that's not acceptable to me.

I was very blessed with wonderful parents from the start and great kids. I had the same group of kids for the entire 2 years. I will tell you though, you get very tired of the "arguing" the kids do on a daily basis. I felt more like a referee at times. If you DO decide to do this, you need to have daily planned activities or you will have more problems with the kids. You need to know how you are going to handle hitting, biting, kicking, pushing, etc. I had one child, a neighbor, that did all of these things and no matter how many time-outs I gave him, he came the next day and did it all again. He was a great kid and I love him very much but it drives you crazy to repeat yourself over and over 100 times a day: no running in the house, no hitting, no shouting, talk nice to each other, etc. It is very different taking care of other people's children as you are very limited in how you can discipline them and they may be able to do things at home that you don't want them doing in YOUR home and that is very hard to make them understand.

Overall, I am really glad I was blessed to be able to stay home with my son by doing daycare for 2 years. Now that he is starting Kinder though, I am very glad to be blessed to be doing something else. =)

Oh, one more thing, you might want to consider after school care instead if you are considering doing this. You basically take care of a few kids after school, give them a snack, help them with homework, let them play some and then they go home. 2 - 3 hours a day usually instead of all day and you have your time with your children still.

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J.T.

answers from College Station on

As a former childcare provider, the training required to provide home care can be expensive as well as the increase in your homeowners insurance.
There may also be local ordinances that prohibit it in your area as well as Homeowners Associations rules. Those are worth looking into. You will need to be certified in infant and childhood CPR, SIDS and shaken baby training, get licensed as a home care provider (can be difficult as the state is trying to eliminate this option) and most likely need your CDA (child development associates) in order to get the home care license in addition to director training.

I personally think it is a lot to take on, especially if you are considering going back to school at the same time. There is a lot involved in home care so it would behoove you to look into it further.

It is not illogical, but I do think it would be a lot to take on in such a short time. I would leave the 3yo in school, though.

Good Luck with whatever you decide.

K.N.

answers from Austin on

2) In your opinion, would it be too much on me to handle my toddler and new born while taking on 2-3 additional children? Yes. I think you are overestimating the amount of effort and attention just juggling a toddler and a newborn demands (while being sleep deprived yourself).

Childcare requires long hours, huge amounts of patience and very little pay. My gut says you'll make more money staying employed. Perhaps you can shift your hours and work 7am to 3pm?

And to me, the real seed of your financial crunch appears to be the private school tuition. Private school is a luxury. My 2 cents: If you don't like the public schools in your area, move to a different school district in Austin. You can rent an apartment/condo in one of the highest rated school districts (Eanes, Lake Travis). If your husband is requiring private school, then this burden is equally on him; I don't see why you are the one to sacrifice your job to make ends meet.

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J.L.

answers from San Diego on

Hi A., I'm a daycare provider, July first will be 13 years for me. I don't know what the laws in Texas are but here a small daycare is 6-8 children but any children of our own under 10 count as capacity, I see you have 3 under 10. I charge 120 a week per child, regardless of attendance, there are pros and cons to doing home daycare but I enjoy it for the most part, and I have no regrets, when I started mine my kids were 13, 10 and 8, their all grown now and help me out a lot as does my husband, it's adjustment for the whole family, but it beats having someone else raise your child, I play a big part in the lives of my daycare children. Living here in San Diego my kids are all military kids, and I house them while their parents are deployed, they are with me far more hours than their with their parents. Heres my e-mail address if you would like more infor [email protected]____.com J.

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L.U.

answers from Sherman on

I had the SAME problem but have six chilren.. so i am sooo done.. But for my extra income i do Arbonne... you work 16 hours out of the house and i love it... you can make from 500 a month to 10000 a month.. im around 7000 right now... anyway check it out... www.lisauselton.myarbonne.com

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T.S.

answers from Houston on

I'm a single mom running a registered childcare center in my home, and I homeschool my three kids too - ages 8, 13, and 14. Personally, it works better than anything else I can imagine in my situation (single, no family nearby, reasonable income requirements). I think the financial benefits are incredible too. I'm on a federal food program that reimburses me for the cost of the food I feed the kids, and it ends up covering most of my groceries. All my grocery costs and many of my household costs are deductible, I get the earned income credit, and the child support I receive is not taxable. I let my parents know that I occasionally have personal things to take care of; some of them have backups for those occasions, and I am currently training a trusted friend to help me when necessary. I'm about to get business insurance too. I only take infants and toddlers, so I don't have to plan elaborate activities; much of our homeschooling is done while bouncing kids on our laps. My kids are old enough that they help a great deal, and can do many of their lessons on their own. I feel that it's an honor for them to see that we can make a living on our own, and gives them time and courage to pursue their own interests when they get older.

A couple of points. Some women have a profession they really love, which can also bring them some significant income. Sounds like you may be in that position. If that's the case, I would look into doing that out of the home instead of childcare, and you might be able to bring in a babysitter while you work part time. As for me, I have a master's degree and worked outside for a long time but always hated it. I love being home with my kids and receive lots of flack for staying home, but I never want to do anything else.

I did wonder how I would care for other people's babies because I breastfed all of mine and it took round-the-clock effort for years. But I'm finding that bottle feeding takes so much less time! I can take good care of several babies without having to nurse them! It's great! I'm now thinking that I should have taken in a baby or two before my ex left so I could bring in a little income while I was at home for seven years.

You've received lots of good input so far. I think it really depends on several things: whether this is something you would personally like to do, the level of income you need, and whether you have your husband's support.

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