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Need Supplemental Child Care? You Have Options!

The image of Mom or Dad hip-hopping in and out of the office performing super entrepreneurial feats is fun to imagine, but don't take it too seriously. If you have young children underfoot, you need help!

© 1997, by Lisa M. Roberts

Lately the media supports the premise that work and children go together, that such a lifestyle is as simple and easy-going as Sunday mornings and summer afternoons. We've all seen the television commercials where Dad is at his home computer with a three-year old daughter coloring by his side, or Mom dressed in jeans is at the drawing board and toddler is waddling over for a hug. It looks ideal, doesn't it? Time spent side by side...being productive...in harmony... without guilt.

Well consider that such situations last about as long as those commercials! (On occasion, perhaps a few moments longer.) Although home and work fit in quite well together, young children and work do not.

The image of Mom or Dad hip-hopping in and out of the office performing super entreprenurial feats is fun to imagine, but don't take it too seriously. Without dedicating 15 to 50 uninterrupted hours every week to your business, you simply will have none.

When your home business starts to grow and you need to clear more work hours in your day than naps and nights will allow, it's time to consider supplemental child care. Child care also allows you to take a break from the house, which you will surely need to do to keep a well-balanced perspective on your home life. As a home-based professional, you will want to leave that base to:

  • Call on prospects.
  • Meet with clients in their office.
  • Attend seminars.
  • Lunch with fellow home office workers.
  • Participate in association meetings.

Knowing your children are safely cared for and well-adjusted to child care circumstances will free you to enjoy these much-needed professional outlets.

Top Priorities

When scouting out child care situations, there's a multitude of options to choose from and concerns to address. As you consider your options, keep these top priorities in mind:

  • Safety - The utmost service a child care provider offers is the physical safety of your children. Above and beyond all else, you want to make sure your children will be protected, sheltered and otherwise unharmed during the time you are not with them. This boils down to a matter of trust in the individual(s) you decide on, which is usually developed through reference checks, trial periods and pure gut instinct.
  • Suitability - It's important to find a child care provider your children enjoy being with and an arrangement that suits their temperament. Some children feel more secure in their own home environment while others thrive in different surroundings.
  • Reliability - When you have business to tend to, meetings to make and deadlines to meet, you need someone you can count on. Reliability ranks high in choosing a caregiver. When you do find a child care situation that works for you, don't take it for granted. Pay attention and show appreciation for the support available to you and your family.
  • Affordability - Child care costs vary widely according to the area you live in, the experience of the child care provider(s) and the particular arrangement you choose. For instance, if you have more than two children, it generally costs less to have one person come to your house than to have three children go somewhere else.
  • Convenience - The child care arrangement you choose should fit into the schedule of your family and your business without taking up too much time in travel. Customize the supplemental child care provisions according to your own agenda if at all possible.

It's a good idea to have one or two back-up child care options for variety and reliability. However, to avoid the feeling of being shuffled around, it's best for your children to have a primary supplemental child care provider.


© 1997 Lisa M. Roberts, all rights reserved. The above article is an excerpt from How to Raise A Family & A Career Under One Roof: A Parent's Guide to Home Business, a title highly recommended by La Leche League, Home Office Computing and the Family Christian Bookclub. Order your own copy today!

 
 
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