Family Child Care is Much More Than Babysitting
Merriam-Webster defines the word babysitters, “to care for children usually during a short absence of the parents.” While it is true that family child care providers care for children while parents/caregivers are working, 10-12 hour days (or longer) cannot be considered short!! In addition, family child care providers assume many, many different roles each day in the lives of the children in their care…all of which are important. But if you are a family child care provider reading this, you already knew that!
As a family child care provider, you open your home, and your life, to children and families each day. For many of you, these children and their parents/caregivers become a part of your extended family. In fact, many infants cared for by family child care providers stay with their providers until they are school-age…or even longer.
Your role as a family child care provider is, of course, to keep children safe. You all know the rules about diapering, handwashing and fire preparedness. After all, you’ve probably been inspected a thousand times! But often, those on the outside cannot see all the other important aspects of family child care that benefit children every day. So, we thought we would point out just a few of them.
Family child care providers are:
Teachers– They not only plan educational experiences for young children, they help them learn basic self-help skills as well, like washing their hands and using a tissue. They gather materials, write lesson plans, address state standards and so much more.
Nurses– They take care of boo-boos and evaluate illnesses.
Chefs & Nutritionists– They cook healthy meals and snacks each day to help the children in their care grow strong and healthy.
Exercise Coaches– They make sure the children get plenty of exercise to help combat childhood obesity and build strong bones and muscles.
Relaxation Experts– Getting a bunch of children to lay down and take a nap in the afternoon can be challenging…to say the least! Family child care providers accomplish this task every day with ease.
Mental Health Experts– Children get upset and feel sad…just like all of us. Family child care providers know how to talk to children to help them feel better. They also know that activities like sand and water play are great for helping children calm down.
Chauffers– Many family child care providers transport children each day. They make sure they are safely in their car seats and make traveling from here to there a learning experience.
Custodians– They sweep up crumbs, clean sinks, vacuum rugs and make sure that all toys are clean and free from germs.
Private Detectives – Where did that special binkie go? Who dumped out all the puzzle pieces? Why is the toilet paper off the roll? Family child care providers solve mysteries every day!
Family child care providers are individuals who love children and love what they do. Their passion for their work is amazing!
If you are a family child care provider reading this, our hat is off to you! If you are a parent or caregiver who utilizes family child care, let your provider know how much you appreciate everything he or she does for your child and family each day. It truly does take a village to raise a child and family child care providers are a key part of that “village.”