I'm new to the area, how do I find kids to watch?

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Answered by: Vicky, An Expert in the Provider of Child Care Services Category
First things first! Before you start trying to find kids to watch; you need to go to the Department of Human Services and fill out the childcare provider application. Having a license protects you and the children you watch. You might be required to take classes or to be fingerprinted, but all requirements have one goal; safer environments for children.

Every county is different and having a child care business in every county is different. While applying for your license take the time and ask if there is a local day care provider association, this is a resource you won’t regret spending time with.

A local association is usually a group of providers; committed to excellent child care in their county. Parents who call any government office looking for in home child care are usually referred to this association. Not only will they give you childcare referrals, (usually on a rotating basis) they offer a wealth of information pertinent to your business, neighborhood and county. This is a great place to make a friend who is interested in the same thing as you are; providing the best Child Care!

These local associations are usually well organized and if they can’t answer any of your questions they will find it for you fast. They will be able to help you network with other providers, find age appropriate field trips, compare local rates for services and share wisdom and support.

If you are still worried about how to find kids to watch, try taking an ad out in the local free paper, Craigslist or visit the local church, attend soccer games or little league games to increase your visibility and network with young parents. If you succeed one day most of your new kids will find you by word of mouth, or referral from the parents of children you’ve cared for. Some other resources where you may find kids to watch quickly are; the local elementary school (some have a day care provider referral list too). Put your name on this list too. Some providers have had excellent luck with local grocery store bulletin boards. Having school age children go to your home after school.

Establishing any kind of a business takes time. It never happens overnight. Most childcare providers who have succeeded started their day care business the same way you are; one child at a time. There will always be a demand for quality childcare.

Once you find kids to watch, establish a routine right at the start, this will help the children feel secure as well as keep the days from seeming too long. Invite the parent to drop in any time. It will make them feel better knowing you have nothing to hide and it will encourage them to trust you.

Encourage the children in your care to get along and cooperate with one another. Teach tolerance and patience. Encourage cultural diversity and acceptance. Reward good behavior, especially in a child’s first few weeks. It will save you tons of discipline in the long run. Circle time and follow the leader are good first games in a small group setting, any thing that makes them laugh will break the tension.

Some child care providers are adopting catch phrases or mottos for their group. Mottos like: “it takes a village to raise a child” or “only love is found here” or even “Jeannie’s mean clean team” or “Grandmas Angels”. What was started as a local tradition is now catching on nationwide. A catch phrase helps you stand out from other providers and should stand for something you believe.

A child care business takes a firm commitment and a lot of love, but the rewards are worth the trouble. Next thing you know all of your openings will be filled and you’ll be helping someone else who needs to find kids to watch!

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