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Solutions Provider Support group network

Article of the Month
Child Care Referrals
California Legislation
Article of the Month
Contact Us
Health in the Child Care Setting
Our Purpose
Workshops/ conferences coming up
Child Care Insurance
Child Care law center Q&A
How to promote and Market your Child Care
Why some providers Strive and others fail
IT'S NOT EASY ANYMORE (getting kids)
Telephone Interviewing- Turning phone calls into enrollment
Most Common Mistakes in a Child Care contract
How to Run a Successful Child Care Business
ChildCare preschool Curriculum
Becoming a Member

You have spots to fill, and calls are slow coming in?  And it seems to take forever to fill the spots anymore...and it's getting frustrating.  It's not just you or your area this seems to be hitting providers all over the county these days. 
With free preschool popping up everywhere and other programs for preschool age children it seems that Family child care providers are being pushed aside.  
It has also become more competitive.  It's more then just competing with other providers in your local area, or with Child Care centers.  
The rules have changed on us and we are competing at different level now compared to years past where it was just  Center style environment vs. Family child care family style environment.   
Today, in order to be on a level playing field we are turning our homes which are supposed to be the family environment into mini centers.  We are going back to school and accumulating ECE units and Teaching Permits.  We are engaged into continuous workshops and conferences on how to teach, provide a age appropriates curriculum, recognize special needs, solve problems with parents, and deal with different techniques for behavior problems...just so the parents will look and see us as professional and as educated as any  Center base teacher.  (truth be known most providers have as much or more education).  We were already doing these things but we were not recognized for these things.  It seems we need to show proof so the parents can see we actually might know something or we were trained to know these things.  Never mind all the years you might  have put in as a child care professional..........nothing counts anymore unless you can back it up with proof.
Our profession has evolved into a professional career.  We have asked and shouted to be recognized as professionals but there is a price to be paid.  Going back to school has become part of the price.  This is a good thing but in so doing we are loosing our "family touch".  The family child care providers that do not follow the others into professional growth, education, and training's are finding themselves with more empty spots.  There is always an exception but eventually it will catch up to them too.
Life evolves..and so does child care...because of that we need to find new ways to promote ourselves, build our reputations, bring the families into our Programs and show that we have quality programs that will stimulate the child to grow and develop emotionally, physically, and cognitively. 
Word of mouth isn't the same anymore  like it use too.  Our cities are larger, more and families are moving in or out.  People just don't know each other like they use to.  A simple ad in the paper isn't bringing in the calls like it use to.  The Internet has become more the popular way to advertise.   A lot of things we use to do to advertise or promote our businesses doesn't work anymore.  However, you still need to be consistent in keeping your name out in the public year around.  Even if you don't have openings keep your name out there.  If you get calls you can pass them along to other local providers.  Networking is very important.  Although you might not need the calls when you spots are full you can still talk to the parent, still tell them about your program and tell them when you expect an opening sp if they are looking again at that time to keep you in mind or pass your name along to someone else.  Never pass up an opportunity to talk about your program. You would be surprise how people can remember you simply by you opening up communications and sharing information and resources.
In order to promote our Child cares we need to do a little more leg work.  Don't be afraid to make flyers and post them door to door in area's near your home.  Go to local community events that cater to children and place  your cards or flyers on cars, or stand and pass them out.  Find community boards where you can post a flyer.  Never pass up an opportunity to advertise your child care when you are out in public.  With your Child Care children wear T shirts advertising your child care.  Carry business cards to pass around.  Keep your ears open at the park and if you over hear someone talking about needing child care approach them and give them your card...put the signs on your car when your out and about.  Use all these opportunities to be promoting your business.
One key thing...DON'T RELY ON OTHER  to bring the business to you...You need to work at this and go out and advertise, promote, and sell your business.  The calls don't just come in automatically you need to work at it.  It's part of this profession. 
Big businesses have marketing people do this for them.  Small businesses such as child care can't afford marketing personnel so you have to do it yourself.  There are a lot of ways to advertise.  You can spend a lot of money or less money and in some cases even do it for free.  However you do it you must do it continuously. And find the methods that works best for you and gets results.  Be creative so it draws attention to your business.  Use promotions.  But the most important thing is to promote and produce quality child care.  So many providers use the word "quality" but do not produce quality child care.  So back up what you advertise. 
We will always be in competition with the Centers, free programs, public school programs and other providers. 
There are so many ways to go about getting the word out..  However, I am sharing one particular idea here to give you a start and something to think about.
Spring, Summer and early fall are  good times to have open house visits.  Before the bad weather.  You don't want people with wet shoes coming in.
Pick a nice Saturday to do this and promote it before hand. 
run an ad in the paper,  advertise on local community web sites and etc.  Much like you would do if you were having a yard sale:
Make up nice signs that you can place out on poles and etc directing people to your  home.  Like you would for a yard sale.  Be big,  very neat done.  And make sure it's big enough that they see it's a child care open house and not a house for sale open house.
Today only
10 :oo am to 1:oo p.m.
Visit our child care today!!
Optional putting an address.  Usually with directional signs you just need arrows pointing the way.  Put some balloons on the signs, or cute picture so that they can spot your signs block to block...Keep them all the same color and looking the same so that they are easily recognized and not confused with something else.  The wording needs to be thick bold letters.  Easier to see and read.
Do  not do this alone.  Be sure to have helpers that day and make everything inviting.   
Have cookies and with a light beverage or bottled water on hand in the kitchen.  Pass out  brochures and business cards
for free cards.
Make up a display board of pictures showing the kids in action and what they do.
Have a parent there to talk to them about their experience at your child care.
Look professional.  Don't leave anyone in the house alone,  this is why you have help so while you are showing one person around your helpers can answer the door and watch other visitors in the house.  
If you can make a short video showing the kids in action so the visitors can sit a moment and see it.  5 minutes is long enough. 
Put a sign out in front of your  house for that day that today is open enrollment day.  Give visiting families a coupon with an expiration date that you will waive  the registration fee.  (Even if you don't have a registration fee don't tell them that.)
And they can earn a free parents night out after they have been there a month.
Give promotions
Have a sign in sheet for the visitors and make sure they sign in and leave name, phone number ages of kids on the sign in sheet,  and How soon they need child care so you can call them back.
When I did my open house,  I had cookie scented candles burning (out of reach) so the  house smelled warm and inviting.  Something about cookie smell that make people love you.  I had 4 people here with me.  Two parents and my two adult daughters.  There was someone in each room of the house.
One greeted people at the door and gave them a packet.  In my packets I had
-a brochure, 
-business card, 
-my philosophy, 
-my preschool outline, 
-parent resources I picked up at my local R&R.  and some I sent for (free) and got lots of.
- a list of the local schools near me that provided bus services to my neighborhood. 
-And a rate sheet.
I had picked up some of cheap folders about 10 Cents each and made up about 50 packets.  One packet per family and no  extra's to anyone, if they wanted to share information I simply told them I was limited on the packets and would they kindly Xerox their packet and share it.
I taped on the cover of these packets an identification of my child care
with phone number, license number, website address and email address.
You want to send them away with a lot of information so they remember you.
If you have one open house and only sign up one family that day that is still one paying family that made the open house worth it. 
For more advertising suggestion please email me
Good luck and continuous success with your child care career and business.
copyright August 2007
~~Pat Alexander~~
Mentor and Support Leader to  Family Child Care Providers
Child Care provider since 1971:

Solutions support leader & mentor
Elk Grove Unified Nurturing for Success collaborate
& Bridging model program
UCCU Peer Advocate

Does your Program have a Print Rich Environment?

Classroom Implications

To develop an appreciation of stories and books, children need a great deal of experience with literature, as active listeners and active participants. In reading to children, adults should stop to let children discuss how the characters feel and what they want to do, and make predictions about how stories will end. Adults should help children actively explore the meaning of new words and concepts. Book reading should include nonfiction as well as fiction selections.

Concepts of print develop through exposure to literature.  Children need to know that stories and other texts are written from left to right, that spaces between words matter, and that there is a one-to-one correspondence between the words on a page and the words the readers says.

Children start by learning to recognize and print their names, the names of their classmates, and names of familiar objects around the classroom or home.

Without sufficient storybook reading experience in early childhood (preliterate children, in general, and at-risk learners, in particular), students may be missing a key part of the initial foundation of reading.

Experiences with print (through writing and reading) help preschool children develop an understanding of the conventions, purpose, and functions of print.

Phonological awareness and letter recognition contribute to initial reading acquisition by helping children develop efficient word-recognition strategies (detecting pronunciations and storing associations in memory).

Storybook reading, as well as the nature of the adult-child interactions surrounding storybook reading, affects children's knowledge about, strategies for, and attitudes toward reading.

Students should read well-written and engaging texts that include words the children can decipher to give them a chance to apply their emerging skills.

Children need opportunities to expand their use and appreciation of printed language - the purposes and functions of written language are essential to their motivation for learning to read. Children must become aware that printed language is all around them on signs, billboards, labels, in books, magazines, and newspapers, and that print serves many purposes.

Children need opportunities to hear good stories and informational books read aloud daily. Listening to and talking about books on a regular basis provides children with demonstrations of the benefits and pleasures of reading. Story reading introduces children to new words, new sentences, new places, and new ideas. They also hear the kinds of vocabulary, sentences, and text structures they will find in their school books and be expected to read and understand. Reading aloud to children every day, and talking about books and stories, supports and extends oral language development and helps students connect oral to written language.

As children become fluent readers, they read increasingly challenging literature, both fiction and nonfiction, of greater complexity and difficulty. They read daily with partners, in groups, and independently at school and at home.

Children need opportunities to read and comprehend a wide assortment of books and other texts. As children develop effective decoding strategies and become fluent readers, they must read books and other texts that are less controlled in their vocabulary and sentence structure. They learn to use word order (syntax) and context to interpret words and understand their meanings. Soon they become enthusiastic, independent readers of all kinds of written material including books, magazines, newspapers, computer screens, and more. Providing children with a great many books, both narrative and informational, is of primary importance. Classroom libraries must offer children a variety of reading materials, some that are easy to read and others that are more challenging and of increasing difficulty and complexity. Children need access to many books that travel home for reading with family members.

Children need opportunities to develop and comprehend new vocabulary through wide reading and direct vocabulary instruction. Written language places greater demands on children's vocabulary knowledge than does their everyday spoken language. The number of new words children learn from reading depends upon how much they read. It is important that teachers read aloud to children and encourage them to do a great deal of voluntary and independent reading. During reading instruction, children should be encouraged to attend to the meanings of new words.

The meaning of unfamiliar words are taught and discussed. Students also acquire word meanings through wide reading.

Lots of books are in evidence (and in use) in classroom libraries and the school library.

Students must have access to classroom and school libraries that contain a large and varied book collection.

Provide an environment that encourages play with spoken language as part of the broader literacy program. Nursery rhymes, riddles, songs, poems and read-aloud books that manipulate sounds may be purposefully used to draw young learners' attention to the sounds of the spoken language. Click here for a list of Predictable Books.

Paying Attention – A Powerful Teaching Tool

Lori Carraway, Washington State University,

Cooperative Extension, Snohomish County

Children thrive on adult attention. They need it. In fact, some children will do almost anything to get it. The child who receives adult praise and attention for positive behaviors is likely to keep acting in desirable ways. On the other hand, the child who gets attention primarily when s/he misbehaves learns that irritating and inappropriate actions work best for getting adults to pay attention.

As caregivers, we can decide which behaviors to notice and how to respond to children’s actions. If we want to help children develop positive behaviors, we need to find children using desirable behaviors like sharing, cleaning up after themselves and helping others. Sometimes we may need to ignore undesirable behaviors (unless they are aggressive or dangerous) while we search for and focus on the child’s budding attempts at helpful and appropriate actions.

Caregivers can help children develop positive behaviors by using some of the following ideas:

1. Be specific with praise. Children need specifics. Saying, "Gen, you put all your art materials away, even your apron. I like that. Thanks," helps Gen know what part of her actions got your approval. Telling her that she is a "such a good girl" does not underscore, reinforce, or strengthen her appropriate disposal of art materials. Research tells us that children who are praised for specific behaviors become better problem solvers than those who are praised for general personality characteristics like being "smart" or being "good."

2. Don’t dilute compliments. Although she put the materials away, Gen forgot to wipe some spilled paint drops off the table. When we focus on the positive action -- "Great job putting the art supplies back!" –Gen can relish the praise and feel good about her accomplishment. It might be wise to remind her about wiping tables another time.

3. Expect positive behaviors. Children generally live up (or down) to our expectations. Every child (even the one who is bouncing on the last available nerve!) does some appropriate things every day. It is our job to pay attention to those appropriate behaviors. Although two-year-old Jamie grabbed at Ashley’s snack and screamed at Nathan, she also shared Legos for the first time and hung Kinesha’s coat back on the hook. A child who gets attention for screaming and grabbing learns to scream louder and grab more often. Adult attention for sharing and prosocial actions helps those positive behaviors multiply.





4. Be honest with approval. Children know when adults are sincere and when they are not. They need to be able to trust the adults in their lives. So, say what you mean and mean what you say. Avoid gushing over an art project if you don’t like it. Instead, ask, "How did you get the idea to paint this picture?" or say, "Tell me more about this yellow part."

5. Focus on the effort. Most children are enthusiastic about learning a new skill but they can get discouraged along the way. Give clear feedback ("You are working so hard to sand the wood really smooth.") and use specific praise ("Nice sanding job at the corners!"). Noticing and encouraging small steps helps children stay on track and enjoy the process as they work toward mastering a task.

As caregivers, we want the best for children. We want them to have good social skills, to be competent, and to feel good about themselves. How we respond to their behavior is a key element in how children (and others of all ages) choose to behave. The behaviors we notice and encourage are often the ones that grow and last.


Children and discipline: time outs

Disciplining when your child is misbehaving, what do you do? Teaching your children self control and disipline is an important job as a parent or caregiver. Time outs can be the answer.

There are so many ways to install discipline in your child. Choosing the right way can make all the difference. It is a fact of life that children misbehave at times. Some more than others. Using the Time Out method of discipline can be very effective if used consistently and correctly.

Time outs work well for a number of reasons. They are very portable. Say, you are in the park and you catch your child hitting another child. You can immediatly discipline the child by sitting him or her down on a bench. Time outs are wonderful if your child has misbehaved and you are not sure of the appropriate discipline. This time alone gives children a chance to calm themselves, hence installing a sense of control in them, as well as giving the adult a chance to think the behavior over and avoiding a possible overreaction.

Time Outs generally work best on children ages 3 and older. At any age younger than 3, a child hasn't the knowledge to understand what is happening and what they can learn from it. It is adviced to have the child sit for the amount of minutes that coinside with his or her age. If the child is 4, then 4 minutes is an appropriate time. If your child has calmed down and recognizes that what she did was inappropriate, then you should go ahead and let the child out of the time out. This supports the self control issue.

Have a place set specifically for Time Out periods. This place should be a quiet corner away from any distractions. Bedrooms generally don't work well as the child will most likely end up playing with toys. Be sure to use Time Out immediatly following the undesireable behavior. Use a kitchen timer as well, to keep track of the time.

Use this type of discipline sparingly. Use on the behaviors that truly deserve this type of discipline. Biting and hitting are definitly behaviors not to be ignored. If you use time out too much, it will not be as effective. And, last but not least be sure to have a back up plan. If the child resists a Time Out, give other options. A good plan might be going to bed early instead of a Time Out. This gives some children, especially older ones, more control over their behavior and the consequenses that go along with it.

Remember to stay calm and in contol. Your child looks up to you. If you are out of control, your child will be, too.

Throwing in the Towel


Are You Experiencing Burn-Out?

What is Burn-Out?

Burnout is when you find that you are emotionally and psychologically drained from doing a task or job. Usually burn-out occurs after doing this task or job for an extended period of time .
More from your Guide below 
It is more than having an isolated "bad day". If you are glad when Friday rolls around, you may simply need a restful weekend. If, on Friday, you are already dreading going back to work on Monday; you may be experiencing burn-out.

People in service and caring professions do seem to be more likely to burn out. These professions may include the health professions as well as teachers and daycare providers. These are jobs that often require a person to be involved emotionally and psychologically with the people they serve or care for. Also there is a greater likelihood that you may take work home with you emotionally if not physically. After-hours, daycare providers may find themselves wondering how they are going to handle an anticipated conflict with a new family. The preschool teacher may be worrying how they will handle an on-going behavioral problem in the classroom.

Are You at Risk?
You may be if you can identify with many of these statements:

  • I have a hard time asking others for help.

  • I tend to strive for perfection and have very high expectations for myself .

  • I have difficulty saying no to additional requests for my time.

  • If only I would work harder, I would be successful.

  • I should be able to do what others cannot.

  • My work life comes first.

  • I am a giver, not a taker.

How Can Burn-Out Effect You?
Here are some of the more common feelings others have reported:

  • Being overwhelmed

  • Seeing everything in a more negative light

  • Difficulty concentrating and/or making decisions

  • Being irritable or depressed

  • Losing a sense of purpose or motivation

How Can I Prevent or Cope With Burn-Out?
There are some very specific things you can do before you reach the point of throwing in the towel:

  • Seek out the support of others in similar situations. Join a professional organization or join other teachers and providers on this site's on-line community.

  • Work on setting limits and learn how to say no.

  • Step back and re-evaluate your goals and priorities.

  • Cut back on any tasks or responsibilities that are of lower priority.

  • Recognize and accept your limitations.

  • Take care of yourself. Be sure to eat right, exercise and get plenty of rest.

  • Don't be afraid to ask for help. Learn how to delegate.

  • Schedule time for yourself. Seek out diverse hobbies or pastimes.

  • Engage in stress relieving activities or <relaxation exercises.

There may come a time when you just cannot continue. The feeling that you cannot face another day is overwhelming. This is when it may be best to take a break and try to gain a fresh perspective. You could discover that a short vacation is just what the doctor ordered. Or perhaps, it is time to choose a new career path.

 ~ Joni Levine


See these web sites for further information on burn out.

signs of burn out:


At the end of the article continue on to pages 1,2,3,4 for further details regarding burn out,  how to fix it, and definitions. 

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