When you run a family day care business, it is your responsibility to guide your staff, educators, families and children on the right path. However, there are going to be times, as a leader, when you are unsure of what to do, don’t worry, it happens to us all.
The way family day care businesses are structured means that each team member usually works remotely from each other. Educators work from their home, the service owners work from an office elsewhere and the coordinators work somewhere in between. That’s why it is important that your family day care business has consistent processes and procedures in place of what to do when you need to make a decision, especially because in our line of work these issues can involve the safety of children and it is these documents and practices that make it fair and equitable for everyone.
‘We’re professionals right?’
So, what should you do when you are asked a question and you don’t have the answer?
1) What do your policies say?
Policies are the ‘tool’ used to interpret and communicate legislation and operations. They outline your requirements, whether you are the provider or the educator and communicate the philosophy and culture of your service/business.
Your family day care policies should act as the “bible” you use to support the compliance of your business, it is what will protect children, you and your families.
It is imperative that your policies support the National Quality Framework, and they should be updated as needed to reflect changes in legislation.
If you are unsure if your policies are current, you can update them here for educators or here for service providers.
2) What do the experts say?
When you are unsure of the correct action to take, it is always best to seek the advice from an expert. Part of my role at JPS Advisers is working with businesses to work through concerns they have, rather than leaving things unresolved and becoming non-compliance issues later on, something I see all the time.
I have a number of resources available to help, including The JPS Guidebook for Australian Family Day Care Educators, and I am available for consultations via Zoom, no matter where you are located. You can schedule a meeting here.
Additionally, our team is expanding and we can now offer face-to-face consultations in NSW and Victoria. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can get to work on helping you.
3) Ensure your staff and educators are trained
Ensuing your staff and educators are trained, and have the resources they need to do their jobs will help reduce the burden on you. For this to happen, you must ensure you are providing quality training to your team. This means you need to be honest with yourself about whether you have the knowledge and experience to pass on, or whether you need to outsource the training to someone with the right skills and qualifications.
Investing in training is the best step you can take to ensure your family day care business remains compliant, viable, and in demand. JPS Advisers can help you create a training program to ensure you are giving you and your staff the best opportunity to deal with issues before they arise.
4) Know your job
It goes without saying that the more you know about your job, the better equipped you are going to be to help staff, educators, and families.
I suggest writing up a list of your strengths and weaknesses, so you can work hard at filling in the gaps. Additionally, consider getting a mentor, undertaking professional development training, and networking with others in the industry. Networking brings a range of benefits, such as tapping into the knowledge and experience of others, and also sharing your knowledge and experience with them.
I share tips and information for family day care business owners in my Facebook group and also in my newsletter that will help you build your expertise in your role. These are both free, so I encourage you to take advantage of them.
5) Be prepared
The last thing I want to tell you, is that not knowing the answer is okay. None of us know the answer to everything. But you need to be prepared, and know where to find the answers for you and your team. To give yourself the best chance to be able to offer a solution, make sure your policies are up to date and you refer to them regularly, you and your staff are trained, and you build relationships with experts in your industry so they become a trusted source when you need advice.
As educators, you have gained your early childhood training and credentials but running a business is more often than overlooked and even neglected. I have to put together the must have ‘My Home, My Business’