1. Parenting

Daycare Provider

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How I Got Started:
After my first son was born my plan was to take the first year off from work. Well, so much for "planning". When my son was about 4 months old, a teacher I used to work with called, wondering if I would be interested in watching her two young sons, ages 2 and 4. And so, my 7 years as a daycare provider began.

The Good...
Overall, my experience as a daycare provider was positive. I think it was good for my oldest son, especially, to have other kids around when he was still an "only" child. I learned a lot about child-rearing from the more experienced moms who I babysat for. As for the income, it helped out. I watched up to 4 kids a week, at about $55/child. Plus, some of the toys, software, books, and food I bought were tax-deductible. (Yes, you are considered self-employed as a daycare provider...more about that later!!) And, I have made some lasting friendships with some of the parents who's children I watched. For some great ideas for running a daycare, visit Daycare Provider's Beginners Page

The Bad...
Most of the negative aspects I experienced with providing daycare were my own fault! I babysat mostly for friends, so I didn't feel a need for a contract... Mistake! Even with friends, I think you need to set some guidelines down, like hours, your policy on charging when the kids miss a day, and when you expect to be paid. I found myself resenting some of the parents I sat for, because I never made these policies clear! So my advice is...Even if you are providing childcare for friends, put everything in writing, and decide on a policy from the beginning!

And the Ugly...
Ok... here is my chance to sound off about something that really bugs me! Why does the IRS treat child care providers the same as other self-employed people? Here we are, charging next-to-nothing, trying to help support our one-income families as an alternative to working outside the home... and we are charged with the 15% self-employment tax! If the government really cared about the importance of children, and the entire child care issue, as they claim to, let them exempt child care providers from this tax! Then child care could be more affordable for working parents, and more profitable for child care providers.

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