Daycare In Demand Is Now Childcare of Choice!

12-1172-toy-clrJust a quick note today to let everyone know that Daycare In Demand has now officially changed its name to Childcare of Choice. I’m very excited about the change, and I hope you are, too!

Back when I started my business, I did a lot of work with home-based centers that tended to think of themselves as “daycares.” Over the years, I have absorbed a lot of wisdom from you all, and that includes the necessity of changing the terminology in our industry to more accurately reflect the important work you do. Together, we can help bring early ed the respect (and funding!) it deserves.

As always, thanks for reading along with us – and for providing love, care, education, and hope to kids all around the world. I am blessed to work with such an incredible group of people.

You Can Have It All…Just Maybe Not Right Now

2871333638_4a15219343_oWhen new folks sign up to receive my emails (which you can do by clicking the special report link at the bottom of this post, if you’re so inclined!), I ask them to tell me the one big thing that’s holding them back from the business success they’ve always wanted.

Here’s one recent response:

The one thing holding me back is MONEY. Takes money to make money. And I live somewhere that’s in dire need of a facility (of my dreams) that I would like to create but it’s going to cost quite a bit to make it.

It’s a very good, very honest answer to my question. And there’s no simple response, alas. But I do have some advice for this reader, and you as well if you’re in a similar position:

Do what you can with what you have.

What do I mean by that? Well, it’s generally much easier to start a small home-based center than to purchase (or construct from scratch) a huge facility elsewhere. It’s cheaper to get a Facebook page up and running than to hire the best web designer in town to build you a site with all kinds of bells and whistles.

It’s better to partner with some like-minded businesses in your community for some fun, well-publicized events than to blow a lot of money on a Google AdWords campaign that you can’t afford and don’t really understand.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with any of these things – there’s a time and a place for all of them, in fact. But you don’t need them to get your child care business started. They can actually be a distraction from the few, yet truly important, things you need to be focusing on as you get your business up and running:

1. Finding a unique niche to focus on.

2. Making sure you’re in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

3. Getting the word out and opening your doors.

Once you start to develop a reputation within your community, you’ll get more business. And more. And then you can start thinking about expanding.

Overextending yourself too soon is the surest way to see your dream (and your savings) die a sad, early death. One client of mine did this and wound up calling it quits on her dream of owning her own center before ever opening her doors for business – but not before spending a tremendous amount of time and money. It was very sad to watch.

Don’t make this mistake. Start small, keep reinvesting in your business and yourself, and grow at a sustainable pace. Learn from your mistakes and correct course as you go.

Your business can be everything you’ve ever dreamed (and more!), just maybe not all today. As Bill Gates – who launched Microsoft on a shoestring – put it so well, “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”

Be in it for the long haul, and you will astound yourself with what you can do over time.

Click here for your free copy of our exclusive report, 64 Terrific Child Care Marketing Ideas.

Remember The Magic

roseola LoreleiToday, I’m writing this installment in the company of my 4-year-old, who is home from school with a mild but decidedly spotty case of roseola.

What’s that, you say? Four seems too old for roseola?

That’s what I thought, too – but her 2-year-old brother had it a few days back, and Lorelei had apparently never had it, and, well, you can guess the rest. (I knew their recent full-contact-clinking “popsicle cheers!” was a bad idea…)

When Eric and I got married, we often jokingly told each other that our lives were going to be “rainbows and gumdrops” from here on out. I have no recollection of why or how we picked this term, but it’s something we frequently remind each other of – usually with an arched eyebrow, a wry smile, and a fresh handful of kid poop or vomit.

I tell you all this not to gross you out – as a group, you all are pretty gross-out-proof anyway – but because it’s the start of a new school year.

Even if you run a year-round program, this is the time when everything feels fresh and expectant. Whether you’ve got some new teachers on board, or maybe just some new boxes of crayons, slates are clean and energy is high.

As you well know, it doesn’t take long for that crisp fall feeling to fade. All it takes is one nasty stomach bug to rip through your center, or a long-brewing staff squabble to come to a head, or the unexpected departure of a fantastic teacher, to leave you feeling exhausted and defeated.

When that happens, I encourage you to step back and try to recapture how you’re feeling right now, and to remember why you chose this work in the first place:

  • The little faces that break into grins as soon as they see you in the morning.
  • The sticky hugs that make you smile even as you bust out the stain remover at home that evening.
  • The pride your students feel when they master letters – or going on the potty – for the very first time.
  • The moment when you finally break through to a student you previously feared was unreachable (though you never stopped trying).
  • The sheer chaotic joy of being around little people who see the world with fresh eyes every single day.
  • The knowledge, deep in your bones, that you’re making a difference in the lives of children.

It’s not easy work, to be sure, but it’s important. As Christa McAuliffe put it so well, “I touch the future. I teach.”

That’s what you do. Be proud of it, and hold onto it, even when the heady optimism of fall fades.

Rainbows and gumdrops, my friends. And thanks for all you do.

Click here for your free copy of our special report, 17 Secrets To Finding – and Keeping – Great Teachers.

Thanks For All You Do!

Favorite toddler everGiven that we’re getting close to the end of the school year and everyone’s minds are mush (you know what I mean, even if you run a year-round program), I decided to re-run a popular post from last year for your easy-reading enjoyment.

Thanks for all the important work you do in your ECE program! Wishing you a summer full of fun, play, and success. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming next week.

You Know You’re in ECE When…

…you hear “dramatic play” and think something more along the lines of “tiny kitchen” than “Macbeth.”

…you know that Reggio Emilia is not something you grate over spaghetti.

…you regularly rescue pretty scraps of paper from the recycling bin and squirrel them away for a future class project.

…a parent brings in treats for the whole class and your first two thoughts are: 1) Are there any peanuts in there? and 2) I hope every one of those treats is exactly the same (because hell hath no fury like a room full of preschoolers presented with an “assortment” of anything).

…you have ever fought the temptation to address a room full of adults as “friends.”

…you see a child covered with paint, dirt, vomit, and/or boogers reaching out to you for a hug, and all you care about is the hug (even if you’re wearing a new suede jacket).

…you can determine with a split-second glance at a classroom whether it’s in ratio or not.

…you have developed an iron-clad immunity to nearly every contagion known to man.

…you’re extremely good at accurately guessing the ages, within months or even weeks, of other people’s small children.

…you can get a toddler into – and out of – a snowsuit, boots, mittens, and hat faster than anyone else you know (including said toddler’s parents).

…at least once, you’ve found yourself taking notes with something manufactured by Crayola.

…manipulatives are fun classroom tools (rather than mean, selfish people).

…nothing makes you angrier than parents who don’t vaccinate their children not because of valid medical or religious concerns, but because Jenny McCarthy said so.

…you have a preferred brand of glue stick.

…you know that, to young children, play is work.

…wherever you go, even if it’s someone’s swanky wedding, you inevitably wind up on the floor playing with the little kids.

…you have heard yourself saying, to one or more adults, “Excuse me – I’m going to go use the potty.”

…you’d rather cut off your own arm than confront a colleague, even over something as minor as food going rancid in the break room fridge.

…you have not thrown away a toilet paper tube, a paper towel tube, or a milk jug in years.

…the songs in your head at the end of the day tend not to be current hits, but classics – like “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

…you have woken up to find mac & cheese, Cheerios, or Play-Doh in your hair from the day before (bonus points for all three – now that’s a day at work!)

… you find yourself saying “use your words” no fewer than two dozen times a day.

…you regularly steal Scotch tape and other supplies from home to use at work (unlike the rest of the world, which tends to do it the other way round).

…you wish more grown-ups were better at putting on their listening ears.

…you’re not paid nearly enough, and you know that, but you love your work so much that you wouldn’t consider doing anything else. And the rewards are the kind that all the money in the world can’t buy.

You Know You’re In ECE When…

you know you're in ECE when

…you hear “dramatic play” and think something more along the lines of “tiny kitchen” than “Macbeth.”

…you know that Reggio Emilia is not something you grate over spaghetti.

…you regularly rescue pretty scraps of paper from the recycling bin and squirrel them away for a future class project.

…a parent brings in treats for the whole class and your first two thoughts are: 1) Are there any peanuts in there? and 2) I hope every one of those treats is exactly the same (because hell hath no fury like a room full of preschoolers presented with an “assortment” of anything).

…you have ever fought the temptation to address a room full of adults as “friends.”

…you see a child covered with paint, dirt, vomit, and/or boogers reaching out to you for a hug, and all you care about is the hug (even if you’re wearing a new suede jacket).

…you can determine with a split-second glance at a classroom whether it’s in ratio or not.

…you have developed an iron-clad immunity to nearly every contagion known to man.

…you’re extremely good at accurately guessing the ages, within months or even weeks, of other people’s small children.

…you can get a toddler into – and out of – a snowsuit, boots, mittens, and hat faster than anyone else you know (including said toddler’s parents).

…at least once, you’ve found yourself taking notes with something manufactured by Crayola.

…manipulatives are fun classroom tools (rather than mean, selfish people).

…nothing makes you angrier than parents who don’t vaccinate their children not because of valid medical or religious concerns, but because Jenny McCarthy said so.

…you have a preferred brand of glue stick.

…you know that, to young children, play is work.

…wherever you go, even if it’s someone’s swanky wedding, you inevitably wind up on the floor playing with the little kids.

…you have heard yourself saying, to one or more adults, “Excuse me – I’m going to go use the potty.”

…you’d rather cut off your own arm than confront a colleague, even over something as minor as food going rancid in the break room fridge.

…you have not thrown away a toilet paper tube, a paper towel tube, or a milk jug in years.

…the songs in your head at the end of the day tend not to be current hits, but classics – like “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

…you have woken up to find mac & cheese, Cheerios, or Play-Doh in your hair from the day before (bonus points for all three – now that’s a day at work!)

… you find yourself saying “use your words” no fewer than two dozen times a day.

…you regularly steal Scotch tape and other supplies from home to use at work (unlike the rest of the world, which tends to do it the other way round).

…you wish more grown-ups were better at putting on their listening ears.

…you’re not paid nearly enough, and you know that, but you love your work so much that you wouldn’t consider doing anything else. And the rewards are the kind that all the money in the world can’t buy.

Merry Christmas (for those of you who celebrate it) from Daycare In Demand – and thank you for all that you do! Have a wonderful holiday, and we’ll catch you back here next week.