Pam Franks, the owner of Playful Steps and Licensed Family Child Care Provider, shares what goes into running her business. Hear from her how paperwork and other administrative tasks affect her day.  

Child care providers wear many hats. They are the teacher, the cook, the administrator, the nurse, the social worker, and the list goes on. Most child care providers go into the business so they can take care of their own children while taking care of others. Therefore, child care providers are running a business in their home and must balance time between family and business, which I find very hard to do.

I decided 3 years after going into the business that I would make home-daycare my career. So, I went back to college for many years and obtained my master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Also, I wanted my child care program to be validated as going over-and-beyond, providing high quality child care services. In 2008, my program received its accreditation through the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC).

My work week starts on Sunday. This day consists of thoroughly cleaning the daycare rooms, sanitizing toys, meal planning, and writing lesson plans. I am required to plan the daycare’s meals based on the USDA guidelines. I write the planned meals on a menu sheet and post it, so parents can know what their child eats on a daily basis. The children are a multi-aged group, so planning learning activities for them can be difficult and very time consuming. It is a struggle to complete my menus, write out my grocery list for the week, and to plan learning activities for the children.

On Monday, my alarm sounds at 5:30 in the morning. I get dressed and start my day. I cook breakfast and wait for the children to start arriving at 6:30. By 7:30, my home is filled with 10 children, ages ranging from 9 months to 6 years. Breakfast is served from 7:00 to 7:30. Next it’s time to wake my own child up and see the school-aged children off. I load 4 children into the quad stroller as the 6 other children walk with me to the bus stop.

Once the school-aged children are gone, we start our daily schedule of learning. The children activities include free play, circle-time, outside play, and small group sessions. The learning happens while I clean up from breakfast, change diapers, and potty train the 2 year-olds. Lunch is prepared and served from 11:30-12:30. After lunch, the children lay down on their cots for nap.

Hopefully, I can grab my first bite to eat, run to the restroom, and make a few calls to the Child Care Resource and Referral agency to check on the status of parent’s subsidy applications. However, this doesn’t always work because phone lines may be busy or they may put you on whole for long periods of time. Often, I have to hang up the phone because my infant has awakened and needs to be changed.

It’s now 1:30, and my next child arrives for the evening shift. I fill out as many of the parent communications forms as I can before nap time is over. Parent communication forms are an important piece of building provider-parent relationships. These communications paint a picture for the parents of how their child’s day went at the daycare.

The afternoon snack is served at 3:00 as the children arrive back from school. I help them with their homework while facilitating the other children. By 5:30, the day shift has left for the day and I’m down to only the 5 evening children. I prepare and serve them dinner from 6:00 to 6:30. Lastly, the children eat their evening snack and lay down on their cots by 8:00 and wait for their parents to arrive to pick them up. It’s 10:30 and all the children have left for the night, but I still have dishes to wash, cots to put up, and paperwork to finish. I usually get into bed by midnight and this is basically how each day of the week goes.

Unfortunately, the work is not over on Friday. As a business, I have to do marketing, accounting, and recruitment in hopes to hire an assistant. These tasks take time and often go undone.

Child care is a two-way fold. Some parents pay more for child care than they would for their child college tuition. However, child care providers work approximately 45-90 hours a week and make an average of $4.50 an hour. The State’s child care quality rating system is demands high-quality affordable child care with no extra compensation. The system is increasing the amount of paperwork that is required. Child care providers, like myself, sometimes feel stressed and overwhelmed because the extra paperwork; we must make a choice between being behind on their daily paperwork or spend less time doing the thing that we all love the most which interacting with the children in our program.

Providers most often become burned-out because they feel guilty spending less time with their family. As a provider, I was unable to go to my children’s school programs, sport activities, and school parent-teacher conferences. I often work when I’m sick because parents rely on my child care service, so they can go to work.

It is my belief that the CoRise Cooperative can eliminate some of the burden and stress caused by being bogged down with paperwork. The CoRise Cooperative will provide business and back office services to child care providers. These services will allow child care providers to do what we love the most: spending time with the children and providing them what them need the most. Research has proven that the first five years of a child’s life is critical for development. The adult-child relationship plays a big part in a child’s learning and brain stimulation. High-quality child care can make a huge difference in a child’s adult life.

—  Pam Franks

Playful Steps and Licensed Family Child Care Provider

©2019 NRFCC Inc.