Many parents of young children grapple with finding childcare, and some decide that a viable solution is to start their own home childcare business. There are many benefits to this decision, both to the community and to the childcare operator.
Amanda Bohm was one parent whose entire paycheque was going to daycare. She started in the field as an inclusivity worker at a daycare centre and then she offered live-out nannying, which allowed her to not only save on daycare fees, but to be able to bring her son with her to work.
“I got into this work because I so love children,” she said. “They give me energy and make me happy. It’s fun and doesn’t feel stressful like other career paths I’ve chosen. I like helping my community so parents can work without the stress of worrying about whether their child is being well taken care of.”
Beth Evans was working in a childcare centre when she started thinking, “I could be doing this at home.” Added to her experience was the fact that she had a young son at home who would be heading off to junior kindergarten in a year and she realized that providing care from her own home would allow her to be there when he left for school and be home when he returned each day.
Sarah Poirier began her business when one of her friends was returning to work. “One thing led to another and a month later I was running a home childcare center out of my friend’s home.”
Bohm says that running her own business from home just works for her family and provides her with personal and professional satisfaction. As her husband is away from home for months at a time, it’s important that she be present for her two boys, aged nine and 12. She says: “I also find it satisfying helping children overcome challenges and seeing them reach milestones.”
Sarah marvels at joy she feels when a teenager she cared for years before lights up when seeing her or how special it is to help a child accomplish something “like taking their first steps, mastering the potty, getting their own shoes on or learning to pump their legs and make the swing go.”
She also loves to introduce kids to nature and the joys of gardening by teaching them to plant seeds and nurture the growing plants. “It’s so special to see their expressions of awe as they taste a fresh-picked fruit or vegetable that they grew themselves. There is joy in teaching them to wash and prepare food for their own meals and seeing the pride on their faces.”
There are unexpected surprises in childcare too like the things kids can teach us. “The truth is,” Sarah says, “the kids are a gift to me. I never expected how much they have taught me and how they changed me and made me a better person.”
As Ontario’s largest childcare operator, the YMCA partners with many home childcare providers to support these small businesses and to give parents piece-of-mind that they are leaving their precious cargo with a licensed caregiver.
“The Y reached out to me when they found out that I wanted to start my own childcare 26 years ago!” Beth exclaimed. “They helped me get started. They handle all the paperwork – the invoicing, my pay, everything.”
“I partnered with the Y so I could reliably fill all my available spaces – all parents will want licensed care,” Amanda said. “It also allows me to provide parents with the CWELCC (Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care system, commonly known as $10-a-day childcare).
Affiliation with the YMCA allows childcare operators to give parents access to childcare subsidies and receipts. It gives parents the assurance that providers have vulnerable-sector police checks and must comply with Ministry regulations and have regular home inspections. All providers also have CPR-C and first aid training
But support from the YMCA doesn’t end there.
The Y offers new toys and equipment on loan, free training and menu planning, as well as government enhancement grants for eligible providers.
Sarah has seen the benefits of working with an organization that works with providers and their families one-on-one to encourage, train and challenge them to grow and learn. ““I know the parents who entrust their kids to me are bringing me the most precious thing in their lives so the benefits and training you get while being a licensed childcare provider are invaluable to me.”
If you are considering starting your own home childcare operation or are ready to take your business to the next level, contact Victoria Shepherd at the YMCA of Eastern Ontario at email@example.com or (613) 342-7961 ext. 35.