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  • 02 Aug 2022 4:02 PM | Anonymous

    Nothing can make you prouder than seeing your children grow into balanced and productive members of society.  Kids encounter a variety of ideas, some of which may motivate them to make unhealthy choices. The following suggestions provide ways to help you train kids to become responsible decision-makers.

    Instilling Safety Consciousness 

    Set a good example daily when it comes to safety on the road. For instance, always use your seatbelt when riding in a vehicle, even if it's just for a short trip. Promote bicycle safety by training kids to wear their bike helmets. Let them pick out the color and decorate their gear with decals. Teach them how to do regular bike maintenance and model safe behavior by attending to any apparent mechanical issues with your vehicle.

    Discuss home safety with the whole family and determine how everyone can contribute. Create a “see something, say something” policy. If someone is standing on a chair or a shelf to reach a high item, a family member should remind them that a ladder is the appropriate equipment. No one should use tools without proper training, and individuals should always ask for help with heavy jobs. 

    Benefitting From Professional Guidance 

    If a few bad habits have already taken root, a medical professional can help your kids make adjustments. A specific assessment of the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle along with a demonstration of examples can motivate the family to make needed changes. Since time and money are precious, search for affordable, convenient, and reliable online care. With a fitness tracker, an online doctor can monitor your activity levels, diet, and sleep routine. Virtual healthcare allows flexibility, and electronic communication can simplify filling prescriptions. 

    Teaching Financial Health 

    One university study concluded that money habits can be formed by the age of 7, so teach children a good example of how to budget for necessary items while saving for major expenses. Teach them about opportunity cost by showing the tradeoff of sacrificing having one thing to purchase another, and demonstrate the joy of earning the desired item with hard work and saving.

    Developing Leadership Capabilities 

    Train your kids to be future leaders with a culture of high self-worth. A strong core of integrity guides children from falling into negative peer pressure. Strong decision-making skills help them to evaluate a course in light of the facts and motivate their peers to join them in healthier choices. Play games and activities where a child can be the captain and see the results of helping others. Older children should be encouraged to embrace training and assisting their younger siblings, but be careful not to place unrealistic demands or parentify them. 

    Reducing Caffeine Dependency 

    While each family has its customs on using coffee and other caffeinated beverages, be sure it doesn't become a

    dependency. Monitor your child's response to caffeinated drinks and note any adverse side effects, like

    hyperactivity, energy spikes and crashes, loss of focus, and poor sleep. Natural caffeine sources such as tea and

    coffee seem to be beneficial in moderation. However, avoid energy drinks, which may have an abnormally high

    level of caffeine and are loaded with sugar. 

    Children can gain the skills for responsible and healthy decision-making with encouragement and patient training.

    Help your kids learn how to make healthy choices for a life with few regrets and greater contentment.

    -Written by Amanda Henderson

  • 08 Apr 2022 4:53 PM | Anonymous

    So, you are looking to open a childcare center, early learning academy, daycare center, afterschool program, or other early childhood program in Texas.

     What do you need to do? 

    Well the short answer is there are a lot of steps to opening a Childcare Center in the state of Texas. But it is doable;  it is manageable; you can make this happen!

    Let me lay out some of the basic steps for you here.

    • Determine business structure

    • Select Name

    • Register Name

    • Set up governing documents

    • Get an EIN

    • Ret realtor

    • Find location

    • Start marketing

    • Remodel

    • Take licensing course

    • Get a Director

    • Fire & Health inspection

    • Certificate of Occupancy

    • Submit licensing application

    • Licensing Inspection

    • OPEN

    First we need to look at the legal framework for your business. You need to decide if you're going to be a sole proprietor, have an LLC,  a partnership, or a corporation.   you also are going to need a name for your business. Once you've made those decisions you need to register your business at the local and state level.

    Once you have selected a name for your business, you will need to verify that the name is available.  Do this by searching your county's assumed names and the Texas corporate registry Doing this now will save you a lot of time and frustration down the line.

    At the local level, you need to set up a “Doing Business As” (DBA) or an assumed name at your local county. This is usually an inexpensive and pretty quick process taking between one day and a month depending upon your county’s workload. You fill out the form asking for your business name and pay a small fee and submit the paperwork to the county. They will research it to make sure that no one else has that name in your county and then they will grant you your DBA or assumed name. You will need this in order to sign leases or get a bank account in your business name.

    Before you move on to the Secretary of State, you need to establish your governing body documents unless you are going in as a  sole proprietor.  For partnerships you will need a partnership agreement (make sure it addresses death, divorce, disinterest & addiction).  For LLCs and corporations you will need a registered agent and at least an operating agreement.  Corporations also need bylaws and officers.

    You must submit your business to the Secretary of State. What all you will need to submit depends upon your business type.  Please refer to the Secretary of State’s website for more information on which forms need to be submitted.  Most banks will also require that you have your secretary of state letter before you can open a bank account. The Secretary of State letter can take as little as one week or as long as six months depending upon the workload at the Secretary of State.

    The last of these preliminary steps is getting your EIN from the federal government.

    Now that we have your basic legal framework set up it is time to get your bank account and to research local requirements for childcare.

    If you are in a city or town you will reach out to their zoning and planning departments to find out which zones allow childcare. Additionally, you need to find out if there are signage and parking requirements in your locality. If you are not inside a city or town and are in a county, you will reach out to the county planning department to see if there are any specific restrictions for childcare in your county. 

    If you are planning on having a full commercial kitchen in your childcare program to offer the food program, you will also want to talk to your local health department (either county or city) to see what requirements they have for your commercial kitchen.  Most health departments require that commercial kitchens have a 3-bay dishwashing sink and a hand washing sink, a refrigerator, a grease trap, and some way of heating food. Some counties additionally require an air gap and a mop sink. It is important to make sure that you have everything that is required in your county.

    Now that you know what the requirements are it's time to look for a piece of property. You need to find a building that meets the zoning and parking requirements of your locality and that has either as much plumbing as you're going to need, or the ability to add additional plumbing. You want it to be in a location that works for the market you have decided that you would like to serve.   If you are planning on serving primarily high-income families you don't want your Center in a strip mall. However if you are looking to serve primarily parents who are working in retail and service-based businesses a Center in a strip center might be the perfect location. It depends on your ideal customer.

    To help you with finding the right location I suggest working with a commercial realtor who you communicate well with. If in your locality child care Centers can be put into residential neighborhoods, working with a residential realtor might work as well. Making sure that you and the realtor communicate effectively is key here.  Interview multiple realtors before making your selection. This person is going to be responsible for your single biggest financial expenditure in this process. You need to make sure that they understand what you're looking for and what you can spend. 

    What to look for in a location

    Your license capacity will be based on the Classroom square footage, playground size & the number of sinks and toilets available to the children. You rarely find a building that meets your requirements as is. If you find one that has been a daycare center in the past, it is important to determine why they went out of business. If the market in the area has changed and there are no longer a lot of small children in the area, then you should not open a learning center there. If the prior center had a bad reputation, then you can open in that location but you need to make it very clear that this is a New Center with a new owner. More often, however, you will find buildings that have had another use. This means you or the landlord will be doing some level of remodeling to make the space work for childcare. Think through where the plumbing is. How easy will it be to add additional plumbing? Is there good visibility of your signage from the street? Can you give it good curb appeal that will appeal to your client? These are some of the questions that you need to ask before signing a lease.

    • 30 sqft of use space per child

    • 1 toilet for every  17 children over 18-months-ol

    • 1 handwashing sink per 17 children over 18-months-old

    • 1 handwashing sink for each diaper change station

    • 80 sqft of outdoor activity space for each child using the outdoor activity area at a time 

    • Curb appeal

    • Parking

    • Kitchen area

    • Walls to be added or removed

    • Signage

    • Trash collection

    Once you have found a location, you will almost certainly need to make some changes.  Sometimes this is as little as painting walks & adding signage.  It is more likely that you will need to add something to the indoor & outdoor space.  Before you start these changes, check in with your municipality to see if you need a permit for the changes.  If you are in a property Owners Association (POA) or HomeOwners Association (HOA) there may be additional requirements.  Pulling the permits & getting the inspections may not be your favorite thing, but if you need them & didn’t get them, it will keep you from getting your certificate of occupancy (which you will need to get your license). 

    Having your building & having decided on what needs to be remodeled…it is TIME TO MARKET!  

    You need to let people know that your wonderful program is coming to the area.  How exactly you do that will depend on whether you have more $$$money or time.  Publicity takes more time & less money.  Advertising takes more money & less time.  If you want ideas on marketing your program, listen to our podcast,Colorful Clipboard. We have lots of ideas from t-shirt marketing to event marketing, to print advertising to speaking at local organizations and probably a dozen other marketing topics over the years. If you want more help, join our coaching program.  You need to be reaching people during your remodeling process.  Talking to them & getting them excited.  This is a great time to build your waiting list!

    As a new daycare or afterschool program in Texas, you will need to take an online course from the Department of Health & Human Services.  HHS is the child care licensing agency in Texas.  You can take it earlier in the process, but I put it here because the certificate is only good for a year and sometimes the real estate odyssey takes a reeaalllly long time.  If you took the class back at the selecting your name step & it takes longer than you were expecting to get ready to open, just take the class again.

    Now that you know what your responsibilities are as the permit holder, it is time to line up your Director.  The Director is the only member of staff that licensing requires.  You don’t have to have teachers, assistants, floaters, or kitchen managers, but you must have a Director.  Your Director will be the face of your business.  You, as the owner, can also be the Director, or you can hire someone else to take that role.  Either way they need to meet the qualifications & be prepared to do the job.  I recommend that every Director take a Director Credentialing course from a respected organization or college so that you KNOW they are prepared for all of the duties of the job.  Having an unprepared Director will create havoc in your center.  They must have some knowledge of child development, marketing, staff relations, relevant laws, parent communication, child guidance, and conflict resolution.  If there is one area that they have no grounding in then that will be the point of failure in your program.  Your Director will also help you in implementing your marketing program, and preparing for inspections.  

    Once you have an employee you will need to register with the Texas Workforce Commission to get your Texas employer ID number.  You will also want some sort of payroll system.  I recommend one that also handles paying & preparing your employee taxes.

    You and your Director now enter into the home stretch…getting ready to open.  Finish all remodeling & get your final building inspection.  If you have gas heating or hot water you will also need a gas line inspection.  Then you can schedule your fire inspection.  The fire inspection looks at your entrances & exits from all rooms & the building as a whole, smoke detection & suppression systems (fire extinguishers or sprinklers), wiring & fire hazards.  The fire marshal’s office can provide you with a blank inspection form in advance if you ask.  Almost all fire inspections have a fee associated with them.  Just as an FYI, You will be having annual fire inspections also.  

    Next will either be the Certificate of Occupancy or health inspection, depending on your location. The certificate of occupancy is generally just a formality (with a fee) that says that your area government verifies that you can operate a childcare center in your building as it is now.  The health inspection  covers immunization, food service, trash disposal, pest control & disease prevention.  As with the fire department, you can ask for the inspection form in advance.

    Once you have your health & fire inspections & your certificate of occupancy, you can submit your application.  Below are the licensing forms you will need to submit along with your building plan & copies of both your employees & parent handbooks.

    Licensing has up to 6 weeks to schedule your initial inspection from the date they receive your completed application with copies of your certificate of occupancy, health inspection & fire inspection.  They generally don’t take that long.  It is more often a matter of days or weeks.The more clear & concise your answers to the questions on the licensing forms and supporting documents are, the quicker things will go.  (Creating a handout to go with your handbooks, citing where the different things required by licensing are in your policies is my secret trick.)

    The initial inspection will take several hours.  Clear your whole day for the inspection.  Be professional, relaxed and helpful.  Your inspector cannot take any “gifts” so don’t offer snacks but having a bowl of candy on your desk & getting them some water or tea to drink will make their visit more pleasant. 

    They may find a few things wrong.  You are new to this.  That isn’t a big deal; just fix the issues ASAP and send your representative/inspector an email with proof of the correction.  Most of them expect there to be a learning curve for you.  Once you have corrected any deficiencies, they will issue your license.

    NOW OPEN YOUR DOORS to all those families who enrolled while you were remodeling & getting inspections!

    If all of this seems like a lot.  It is.  As I said in the beginning, you can do this.  You might need help.  I get that.  If you want some help, just reach out to us at Carrie@TexasDirector.org and we’ll set up a coaching plan just for you!

  • 23 Mar 2022 2:45 PM | Anonymous

    The Week of the Young Child is coming up soon.  This year April 2-8 is the Week of the Young Child, a national time to celebrate both children and early childhood educators.

    Each year the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) selects a week in April to focus on raising the profile of our industry and the children we serve.  NAEYC is primarily focused on supporting research in early childhood learning and development.  Both Kate & Carrie have been members of NAEYC over the years.  They provide excellent books for teachers who work in the field.  (My current favorite is Big Questions for Young Minds: Extending Children's Thinking)

    WOYC is designed to highlight our profession and provide advocacy opportunities.

    You can raise awareness with your clients & their circle or choose to take a broader approach.   SOme choose to do some of both.   Do whichever you have the bandwidth for.

    This is an ideal time to reach out to elected officials about supporting our work.  Who should you reach out to? 

    Anyone who can improve your families lives or YOUR business. 

    • City council members (zoning, parking, childcare benefit for city employees, resources for ECE programs)
    • County commissioners (emergency preparedness, code enforcement, health department fees)
    • School Board (Special Education funding, early childhood disability screenings, bussing)
    • State legislators -this is the off season for them so they have much more time to talk & hear from constituents. (CCM funding, early childhood intervention, startup grants for ECE programs, special needs education funding, CPS, licensing issues, etc.

    If you would rather focus just on your center community, there are endless options.  Do you already have things planned?

    If not here are some ideas:

    • Have your city/town declare it the Week of the Young Children
    • Post a video on your social media for each day
    • Sunday- Send out a message to all parents letting them know about the week and telling them this is perfect time to show their appreciation for your staff with a link to wish lists or  about me pages for all staff (include yourself & support staff)
    • Trace children on butcher paper (children can then create art on their traced bodies), add, "I am here because my child is being cared for at <insert name of your program> and ask parents to hang them up at work.
    • Create care packages for your staff.  Delegate your package to someone else on staff.
    • Send childrens artwork to your city council members, county commissioners, and legislators with a note about how important their support is to your center & the families you serve.
    • Make a theme for each day: 

    Monday - Music: video music time in a class, send parents information about all the things music teaches

    Tuesday - Talking: highlight the stages of verbal development using children in your center as examples, Give each family a book to stimulate verbal development

    Wednesday - Work: two options for this topic, you can highlight what your caregivers do in a day or you can highlight the important work the children are doing.  Exploring all the things that doing a knobbed puzzle helps the child with, for instance.

    Thursday - Thinking: Highlight cognitive development in the different classrooms.  I find it especially impactful to highlight what is going on cognitively around different challenges like separation anxiety or night terrors.

    Friday -  Friends: create a video where you showcase the social relationships that the children form.  Send home dictation from the older children about their friends.  In the younger classroom send out an article about social bonds & responsive crying or something similar.

    • Have a daily celebration.  Make this one of the best weeks for your staff.  Cater breakfast.  Have a face painter for the teachers (kids can get in on the action to, but make sure you hire someone who can do adult designs).  Order in pizza or tacos.  Take all your staff out to Karaoke.  Have fun.  Be silly.  Celebrate the joy of this profession.
    • For more ideas go to  <NAEYC.org>

    I am a huge fan of this week and will be doing things throughout the week to make it special for me & hopefully some other people as well.

    Write to let us know what you have planned!

  • 27 Jan 2022 1:52 PM | Anonymous

    If the last two years have been challenging for every childcare Director and owner I know. There was more pivoting and recreating systems in 2020 than in the previous decade.

    Owners I have worked with for over a decade closed up shop & sold their buildings. Others opened new programs to meet demand. A few tightened their belts and pushed through with fewer resources and staff. And still others closed down part of their business while strengthening others.

    I have no idea which of these applies to you.

    What I do know is that it take creativity to survive & thrive in times of change.

    This season of change isn't over.

    There is massive federal legislation pending that will affect our industry. Having seen what similar legislation did to NYC childcare*, we should all be watching closely. This could be a huge benefit to your business or it could make it MUCH harder.

    You will need your creative solutions this year as well. But a lot of us are feeling tapped out.

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    Which way will it go? To the light or the dark?

    Feeling at a loss for creativity? Here are five techniques you can use to try and coax something new and exciting out of your brain! They won’t always work but give them a go, and you might just be surprised.

    Go for a Walk

    Walks are inspiring for a number of reasons. For starters, they allow us to take a break from what we’re doing and to change our environment. In turn, this leads to new input that can help us to gain a new perspective on whatever problem or task we’re wrestling with.

    At the same time, walking is a monotonous task that allows our default mode network to kick in. This, essentially, means that we’re daydreaming, which is, often, a source of great inspiration.

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    Ask the Right Questions

    Sometimes, inspiration is just about asking the right questions, which can help to reframe the problem you’re facing in order to look at it in a new way. For instance, if you’re wondering how to solve a problem and you can’t come up with an answer, try asking yourself how ‘Johnny’ would approach it. Likewise, instead of thinking about what you want something to be, decide what you don’t want it to be.

    Take a Break

    Sometimes, the best thing you can do to spark some creativity or solve a problem is to take a break. This way, you stop trying to force the idea, which simply creates stress, and instead, you simply let it come to you now that you’ve entered all your input. This is why we’re often encouraged to sleep on big decisions.

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    Listen to Music

    Music can be highly inspiring as it alters our mood and energy level and takes us to different places. Often, you’ll find that music can leave you lost in thought, so try listening to some tracks while you mull over a subject, and see if that helps.

    Talk it Over

    There’s a myth that ideas take the form of lightbulbs or lightning strikes and that they come in a flash, fully formed. Actually, when questioned, most people admit that their best ideas formulated slowly, that they gestated for days, months, or even years before emerging.

    Often, the best ideas are not formed in isolation either but rather when we discuss them with other people. Even if we’re just thinking aloud, this can help us to see new perspectives and will often result in new breakthroughs.

    *The well-meaning NYC childcare initiative has been fraught with problems. It was intended to bring down the cost of childcare for families while increasing quality. However, it has caused hundreds of programs to close their infant programs because the amount of funds received by centers through the program is so low. Parents also have concerns. I have linked a couple of articles below for those who want more information.




  • 17 Jan 2022 10:03 AM | Anonymous

    Being a Director is stressful, now more than ever before.  We all have days that are considerably more challenging and stressful than others. Unfortunately, stress is hard on both your mind and body.

    Too many high stress days can really take its toll. And what’s worse, you could even become so used to being in this “high state of alert” that you start to feel like it’s normal! Don’t let this happen to you.  Your family and center need you.  More than that you should take care of yourself, before you take care of others.

    It’s important to develop some techniques that help you relieve stress and strengthen your self-soothing abilities.

    When you're struggling to stay calm, relaxed, and focused, try some of these strategies:

    1.     Breathe deeply. Breathe in for 5 seconds and hold it for 5 seconds. Now exhale for 5 seconds. Do this 10 times and focus only on your breathing. These breaths should only be slightly larger in volume than a normal, relaxed breath.

    2.     Take a walk. Practice the breathing technique above during your walk, focusing on your breathing, walking, and surroundings. Nothing else should enter your mind. If your mind insists on wandering to non-productive thinking, you might have to simply keep repeating, "Taking a step" to yourself over and over.

    3.     Get some exercise. Any time of day is a good time to exercise. Comfortably tired is what you're looking for. Work out your frustrations by going for a run or swim. Hit the weights and show them who is boss. Any exercise will do as long as there is some intensity involved. Shuffleboard isn't going to cut it.

    4.     Sit outside. A little time at the beach or park can work wonders. Find a relaxing spot with pleasant scenery. Pay attention to what's going on around you and keep your mind off your challenges. Even 10 to 15 minutes can greatly reduce your stress.

    5.     Take a day off. Everyone needs a break once in a while. However, on your day off, it’s important to avoid just sitting around and brooding about all of your current difficulties. Take your mind off of things and have some fun. Lose yourself in activities that you enjoy.

    6.     Read. Find something engrossing to read. The ideal book would be able to take your mind off of things for a few hours. Ask your friends for some recommendations, or if you're like most people, you probably have a couple of books on the shelf that you've never gotten around to. Now is the perfect time to read it.

    7.     Listen to music. Again, it should be something engrossing that really captures your attention. Don't be afraid to get up and dance; no one is watching anyway.

    8.     Disconnect. No phone and no computer. Turn off everything that connects you to the outside world. Then you can really relax. Stay offline for as long as you can.

    9.     Take a nap. There's no better way to start over than to take a nap. When you wake up, it feels like another chance to start your day over. What happened before your nap is in the past! Now you can deal with it and move on.

    10.  Hang out with people that are fun. Get the gang together and meet for a drink. Or have dinner with the friend that always makes you laugh. It's easy to get caught up in our own little world. Being with others can jolt you out of that perspective.

    Don't let high stress get you down. The key is to actively do something about it. Some people develop a habit of being paralyzed when things start going sideways, but this does nothing to make you feel better or solve your stressful issues.

    Actively relax so you’ll be better able to tackle your challenges. Use these tips to minimize the pressure and anxiety you're feeling and take control of yourself and the situation. Dealing with your challenges effectively is crucial to living the peaceful life you deserve.     

  • 11 Jan 2022 9:45 AM | Anonymous

    Your Leadership is Key

    You are the thermostat of your center. You set the tone for the staff, parents, and children. If you don't hold them in high esteem and give them opportunities to improve their personal self-esteem then you are letting them down.

    You need to provide opportunities to build their personal sense of value.

    4 Thoughts People with High Self-Worth Have

    The most confident and happy people we know are the ones who have high self-worth. But how did they get that way? Are some people just born with a better sense of value? Or do they make a practice of acting a certain way, which helps to keep them feeling positive about who they are?

    When you talk to people with high self-worth, you find that they have a lot of things in common. Those who feel good about themselves tend to think a certain way. Let's look at a few of the ideas which keep people feeling worthy even when life might be difficult.

    They Understand Where Mistakes Fit

    Everyone messes up now and again. The person with self-worth recognizes this. They take responsibility for the action and understand that just because something went wrong, it doesn't change who they are as a person. They still value themselves even when they make a mistake.

    By creating situations where people can try something new and it is OK if they don't succeed the first time you support their self-esteem. Allowing them to try, fail, and try again is how children learn to walk and teachers learn to lead.

    They Don't Get Caught up in the Trappings of Life

    Who you are has a whole lot less to do with what you have than you might think. It doesn't matter how much money is in your bank account, whether you are wearing the right clothes or if you have the "right" education. Your value has a lot more to do with who you are inside than who you are outside. You can still be worthy even if you have very little in the way of possessions or money.

    As a director we can model this and support others in exploring this concept.

    They Don't Chase Happiness

    You know who you are has very little to do with whatever emotion you happen to be feeling in the moment. If you are not happy, it does not mean that you are not worthy period. You're going to feel what you're going to feel. We accept this in children readily enough, but do you accept it in parents and staff members?

    Individuals with high self-worth realize this and accept their emotions for what they are: a reflection of their emotional state and not of personal value.

    They Take Responsibility for How They Feel

    When you have strong feelings of self-worth, you do not need other people to define you. This also means people need to drop any victim mentality.

    They say no one can make you feel anything without your permission. This is more true than you might realize. It's not up to you help everyone in your center to decide who they are. They must do it themselves. No one else has this right.

    Of course, there're other things people with high self-worth do. They practice empathy, especially with themselves. They love their job and set goals that make sense to them. The common thread? They do things that honor them. They don't make compromises or get caught up in doing what they think they 'should' but instead focus on what's right for them.

    Your community members can do this, too, and you can help by merely paying attention to your choices and holding fast to who you are.

    For more tips on Leading Your Dream Team get the training bundle.

  • 01 Jan 2022 1:01 PM | Anonymous

    Making the decision to care for children in your home is just the beginning.  Whether you have a Registered Family Home Or Licensed Child-care Home can make a huge difference in how much money you earn.

    Making the decision to care for children in your home is just the beginning.  Whether you have a Registered Family Home Or Licensed Child-care Home can make a huge difference in how much money you earn.

    Running a Registered Family Home can be an excellent way to work in childcare & control your earnings.  I suggest it to people all the time.  No extra overhead, you select your students, you don't have to drive anywhere.  If you have all your slots filled the $$$ is better than as a teacher at a center.  It can be great.  

    It can also be very limiting.  You are frequently the only person in your program that can property conjugate verbs.  Lack of adult conversation can result in you driving your family members crazy when they come home at the end of the day with the need to have REAL conversation.  I know my husband was not amused by how much I expected him to interact when he got home.  He had already used 950 of his 1000 words for the day at work, and I was wanting way more than he had to give.  (If that reference didn't make sense to you, grab a copy of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and all will become clear.)

    There is also a real cap on how much you can earn.  If you want to care for 2 babies, Texas standards will only let you have 4 other children during most of the day, and 2 school-aged kids in the afternoon.  Not everyone feels comfortable with the same number of children, These numbers are just an example.  If I charge

    • $140/week- infant  
    • $140/week- infant  
    • $120/ week - toddler
    • $100/ week - preK
    • $100/ week - preK
    • $ 35/ week - after-schooler
    • $ 35/ week - after-schooler
    • free  my after-schooler
    then I earn $670/ week, which is not too bad.  If you are only open 40 hours a week you are earning over $16.75/hour.  Many in-home programs are open from 6:30-6:30, which brings your pay down to $11.16/hour.  Still not bad for a job that lets me get paid while staying at home and spend time with my child.

    Here is the question: would it be better for me if I could earn more $$$ and have someone else working with me to share the work and increase my job satisfaction?

    In most cases the answer is YES.  I don't really want to work 60 hours a week.  Do you?  You can hire someone to work at your program for part of the day.  In a Registered Family Home (RFH), this does not change you ratios, just your stress level and job satisfaction.  Some of your tuition simply goes to making life better, or reducing your hours.  That is something I invested in, myself.

    If you are in a Licensed Child-care Home (LCH), the story is a bit different.  You can enroll more children.  Your total of children can go from 8 to 12.  If we had the same children as before (2 babies, 1 toddlers, 2 preK, 3 schoolers for $670) and a second staff person, you could add 4 more children for a possible $480.  If you paid a person to come in for 8 hours starting at 7:30 for at $8.00, you would have a bit of extra money ($160 before tax).  You may have to hire 2 people and shift the hours around a bit, depending on when your children arrive, but I would take that extra $8000 a year along with less work and someone to talk to and share work with.  

    The other thing to consider is your food program revenue.  Many in-home programs use the USDA food program to increase their income.  If you add 4 more children each month and you would increase your food program check by an average of $300 a month or $3600 a year.

    OK, I got a little too into the numbers there, but the point is this:  If you went from a RFH to a LCH, you could make you life better financially, reduce your stress and have more fun doing what you love to do!  

    Now your thinking, "But that has got to be hard to do or costs a bunch of money."  NOPE.  The only real difference is that you, the person who stands to benefit, has to become a licensed Director.  The easiest and quickest way to do that is to take a class with TexasDirector.org.  Classes start at $475 and can be completed in as little as a week.  You can complete the class at home, on-line.  $475 for an increase in income of more than $11,000 per year.  Yes please! 

  • 23 Sep 2021 3:24 PM | Anonymous


    Being a Director is a tough job.  A really tough one.  Whether your program is an afterschool program in a public school, a mother’s-day-out, an early learning center, child development program or an in-home program, you work more hours than anyone, except your significant other, suspects.


    The burn-out rate is mind-boggling- 15 months is the average tenure of Directors.  We want to help with that.  And with the sense of overwhelm.  




    I have heard that with hard work and determination, anything is possible.  I’m not 100% sure that that is true, but Kate & I definitely put in a lot of hard work and were very determined.  Determined to offer a resource for the overworked and overwhelmed Directors out there.


    If you are feeling like there are twice as many things to be done than could possibly be done in a 24 hour period…


    Help is on the way.

    From Overwhelmed to “I Can Do It”: Guaranteed Success Route to Directing Your Childcare Center will be available wherever books are sold on the 1st. 

    Please click this link and submit

    If you want a sneak preview, just hit me up on email.

  • 22 Feb 2021 9:21 PM | Anonymous

    Texas went through what is being called the snowpocalypse of 2021.  The effects on childcare centers have been many and varied.

    A few people had plumbing issues that resulted in MAJOR water damage.  This made their building unsafe.  They had to relocate.

    Do you have a relocation plan in your SOPs? 
    Do you have a relationship with a nearby business, faith organization, or community center where you could relocate in a time of crisis?

    Do you have a relocation plan in your Standard Operating Procedures?  Do you have a relationship with a nearby business, faith organization, or community center where you could relocate in a time of crisis?

    Your child care center is in a building. Sometimes buildings fail, as they did this week, through no fault of yours. 

    It can come in lots of different forms. You can

    • lose electricity
    • lose water or sewer
    • be flooded 
    • sustain damage the exterior of the building
    • have roof damage
    • have a breakdown of systems

    How you handle each of these is pretty similar.

    1. You have to look at your building safe for occupancy of anyone without special training. If so then we move on to 
    2. is it safe enough to house the children?  
    There is nothing in Texas minimum standards that says that you have to have electricity.  But your building have to be bright enough that you can safely supervise the children and you have to have a working phone.  If the only phone you have is dependent on electricity, then that will not work. So, a power outage is not an automatic closure.

    Losing water pressure is a little bit different.  Licensing does require that we wash our hands many, many, many, many times during the day and that needs to be done with sanitary water.   If you have a boil notice for the water in your area temporarily, do you have another way to get clean water for hand-washing?   Once you have gotten the hand washing water do you have a way to dispense it where you don't have to hold onto a button or something like that for the water to come out?  In a traditional sink you turn the spigot the water comes out so you don't have to hold the spigot for the water to come out.  That is what is required in order to continue operations when you do not have water pressure or when you have a boil notice at your Center.

    As long as the pipes are flowing out and you can have sanitary water for people to drink and for handwashing you can stay open.

    If you have a failure of your sewer system, you must close your business.  There is no way around that.

    Other mechanical systems can fail and as long as it is safe for the children to be there, you can continue operating with that failed system. Primarily what we're talking about here is your heating and cooling system in your building. if it is the middle of August and the interior temperatures in your building are going to be over a hundred degrees... you probably need to close your business temporarily while the air conditioning is being repaired. If it's staying in the 80s you should be fine but you should probably still notify the parents that the HVAC system is out and that it will be out for X number of hours. If it is the heating system during the winter you have the same issue. How cold is it going to get in your building before the heat can come back on? If it is going to be too cold for the children to stay safe and healthy inside your building with the clothing that they have available then you need to close down your program until the heat came be repaired but if everybody has jackets and they're fine and the temperature is going to stay pretty consistent with where it is right now then I think you're fine.

    During this 2021 snowstorm that led to power outages and water outages throughout the state of Texas for multiple days we had to close our programs.  However, if you had a backup generator and backup water you may have been able to stay open. Very few programs have that and because this is such a rare event I would not recommend running out and getting it unless you are a childcare program associated with a hospital or other key infrastructure.

    The other type of failure that your building may have is structural.  Something has damaged the exterior walls, the roof, the interior walls, or the floor. Whether that it damages done by a rabbit who got out of their cage or a storm, wildfire, or a car accident does not matter. We still need to look first at the safety of the building for adults than the safety of the building for children before determining whether or not we can be open. It may be possible that you only have to close part of the building because the roof is impact in the other parts of the building or the external wall is not so damaged as to make it impossible for you to keep it climate controlled.  In that case, you would simply close that classroom and continue operating in the rest of the building. 

    As soon as any significant damage happens you need to call your insurance agent because some policies have a requirement that the insurance company be notified within 48 hours of the damage.  Don't wait.  Call the insurance company or email them. Next you need to call licensing and let them know that something has happened to make all or a part of your building unsafe. They also must be notified within 48 hours of you determining that there is a hazard.  Again, I would recommend this be done in email so that licensing has a paper trail that you notified them within the appropriate time frame.

    It may take longer to get approved for repairs by your insurance company than you can reasonably afford to wait. That is why it is important to have an emergency savings account for your child care center so that when your building fails you can do the repairs and then be reimbursed by the insurance company. When you are doing that you must keep every receipt and every invoice from every person who works on the building to submit that to the insurance company so that you will be reimbursed for those expenses. that includes hourly wages for any of your employees who may work on resolving the problems.

    All of this presumes that you're going to be able to go back into your building in a very short amount of time. However, in some cases you have to relocate to another building because it is not safe and you need to offer care to your community. In that case what Health and Human Services requires is that you  notify them that you were going to move to the alternate location before you move any item into the new location.  Once you have notified them, you can move your equipment and supplies to that other location.  You do not have to wait until licensing get back to you.  In the case of natural disasters ,such as the snowpocalypse, they have too many centers in crisis to respond to in a timely manner. Therefore they allow you to relocate using your best judgment and they will get back to you as soon as they can. In some cases that temporary move ends up lasting months and months. When that happens, licensing will come out and inspect the alternate location. If you're only in the alternate location or a week, licensing is very unlikely to come do an inspection

    You may have noticed that I said WHEN your building fails, you need to have an emergency fund. This is not a question of if. It is a question of when. Every Center is going to have a failure of their building at some point if they're open for 5 to 10 years. Hopefully for you it will be a simple as your HVAC unit going out in the middle of the day but it may be as traumatic as having your building have two feet of water in it because of a water main break, a hurricane, or tornado.

    You have to be prepared for this and you need to create standard operating procedures for what you will do in this situation. That means you should have a relationship with potential relocation partners before your building fails. This can be churches, it can be property that is vacant at a local strip center.  The opportunities are as many as your creative minds can come up with. Some programs have even relocated to parks that have bathrooms because you're not required to have a building. This is usually for short-term 1-2 day closures.

    I hope this helps and let me know about what building failures you had at your Center or centers you worked at in the past.

  • 09 Feb 2021 6:30 AM | Anonymous

    I am a huge believer in management by walking around at my childcare centers. However, I want it to be very clear with my staff about when I'm walking around managing and when I'm just walking through the building. To make that clear, I had a uniform that I would wear when walking through the building collecting monkeys and seeing what was happening in the present.

    I put on a jacket with pockets I think blazers are fabulous.  Give me a good jacket with pockets any day and I will be a happy lady. 

    You choose your way to let folks know that you are open to taking monkeys.  Sometimes when you walk through you just want to see what is going on in the classes.  Management by walking around allows you to see what is really happening at your center.

     The advantage of the pockets is that I could have a post-it pad and a put it in my left hand pocket. That way when I was walking through the program I could write down things that I saw.  If a teacher wanted to give me a monkey, I had a place for them to write it down.  I would then take any written post-its and I would put them in my right hand pocket.


    When I got back to the office I could place it on the appropriate page of my notebook. I did this walk through my program twice every day. My staff knew they could count on seeing me twice a day at any campus that I was visiting. When I only had one center I walked through that Center every day morning and night. When I had multiple centers I had a schedule. Staff knew when they would see me at a minimum one day a week. I would also stop by at other times so that we didn't have any of that “while the the cat is away, the mice will play.”

    I used these notes to create "caught in the act" notes for my staff.  I caught them doing well in the classroom, on the playground and about their work.  These are so much more important than catching them failing to live up to expectations!

    What you focus on you get MORE of.  I want more of the wonderful things and fewer instances of misbehavior!

    Creating a systems and clear record keeping are vital to staff morale.  You want to ensure that you are treating everyone equitably.  Having clear systems also makes sure that everyone can tell that you are being fair. 

    Your attitude counts. Be friendly as walk around the building. Make all the people feel important by stating warm qualities they each have as you introduce them on tours or to new hires.

    For example:

    “This is Mary. Mary has been here for two years and always smiles and has a positive attitude. Mary, this is Sue. Sue has just completed her training as a Child Care Professional and is excited to be with us.”

    Discuss the need for team unity. It is important for all the members of your staff to know and understand they are each an important member of the team. They are all working together to create the best possible program. This may mean that sometimes, a staff member has to make some adjustments. He or she may have to fill in for another staff member if needed. They will do this a lot more easily if you, too, are doing your share and filling in. Remember, you are the model for your children and staff.

    By doing these thing You'll get the most out of your staff.

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