Home Daycares Take Center Stage
For working parents, juggling career and family is a constant balancing act. Walking the tightrope of time management is a tough job for any ringleader, but what if being away from the big top didn’t have to mean out of the spotlight for your little ones? Home daycare may be just the trick you need.
Home daycare, or family day care, is exactly what it sounds like—daycare in a home instead of a center. This kind of arrangement has been around for as long as parents have had neighbors. Remember the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”? That’s exactly the philosophy of many home daycares, especially since the majority of home childcare providers are parents themselves. Jackie Lee is the founder of My Baby Edison Childcare in Tulsa, a home daycare in business for more than 16 years. She decided to open her home as a daycare right before her fourth child was born.
“I was basically running a preschool with my own kids and thought what are one or two more kids,” Jackie said. “I love what I do and my best childcare training came from being a mother of four.”
On top of that, Jackie also has a bachelor’s degree in social work and an associate’s degree in child development with a certificate of mastery in infant/toddler care. She also attends at least 20 hours of childcare training every year and has even been a presenter at the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Association of Family Childcare Homes (NAFCCH).
Like Jackie, many home daycare providers are very experienced in childcare. In fact, Oklahoma requires licensed home daycare providers to carry a certification in CPR and first aid, complete at least 12 hours of childcare training per year, and, if they care for more than seven children, they must have at least 12 hours of higher education experience in childcare. Caregivers must also pass a background and criminal history check.
But not all home daycares are created equal. A license, no matter what it takes to get one, is not a guarantee of quality care. When checking out home daycares be sure to ask around. A good reputation says a lot. Also look for providers who offer a stimulating curriculum and clean, safe facilities. Always ask any potential providers to show you their credentials. Even though it’s only a piece of paper, having a license shows that your provider takes professional pride in her work.
Jackie says there are a lot of misconceptions about home daycares, but the truth is that for a lot of families they’re the perfect fit.
“We can be flexible on our hours of operation and also provide child care for special needs, multi-age family groups, evenings, weekend care and even date nights!” Jackie said. “The biggest advantage is our small setting. It allows us to work with the parents. We both want the same things, healthy, happy, smart, and peaceful children and we do it together.”
Home daycare often appeals to parents who want to keep their child in a warm, friendly, homelike environment but can’t afford a nanny and can’t or don’t want to use a relative. An ongoing study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development confirms the importance of quality childcare and lists home daycare as a good option because groups are often smaller than they are in centers, the homelike environment is comforting and reassuring, kids have a single, consistent caregiver, and children may be exposed to fewer illnesses.
Caring for infants and toddlers can be quite the circus, but Jackie says she and her team are up for it.
“I love my job, every day is a new day,” Jackie said. “I love that when our families come in we can say, Welcome Home!”
For More Information
The Child Care Resource Center (CCRC) of Tulsa has a parents referral service to help you locate licensed, permitted or legally exempt child care programs, including child care centers, family child care homes, preschools, before and after school programs, mother’s day outs and nanny services.
CCRC also offers a checklist for parents to use when visiting a facility, and an online referral form to find a child care program that will fit your specific needs. CCRC’s website is www.ccrctulsa.org; phone 918.834.2273, ext. 1.