Flexibility what does it look like in Family Day Care.
I love FDC. I loved it when I was an educator and I love it now when my son goes to his educator while I work in my childcare support and supply business.
FDC gives me the type of care that I want for my child. FDC has small numbers and I have a close relationship with Jude's educator Illda. Sometimes I am required to work away from the office and my husband also needs to travel for his work as well. Our hours are pretty stable, but I am lucky that my educator is also flexible with our hours when we need it.
I think in this day and age where work is not the genereal 9-5 anymore flexibility is important within a FDC setting. In saying this there has to be mutual respect between educator and parent and it is a give and take relationship. I would NOT expect my educator to simply be at my beck and call when I need her to be. There are days where I can pick Jude up early and I always allow for my booked hours to cover slighty more care than I need, so that I would not ever normally be late.
If my husband or I am ever caught in traffic we always call at least 15 min before pick up time, even if we know we might make it. It is important to keep the communication lines open and to give your educator time to arrange things if you are caught up. He/she does not have to tell you they made plans and that today you can't be late, this is where the repect comes in. ** Always remember that your educator has a life outside of care hours. If you call and they tell you they have an appointment, don't get cranky, they know your not trying to be late, instead work with them to help arrange an emergency contact to come and collect your child, or even at a pinch they might be able to meet your somehwere which still allows them to make their appointment on time as well.
As a parent I take note, during conversations with my son's educator as well. If she tells me she is heading away for the weekend, if possible I would try and be a little early for her, allowing her more time to get ready and relax to enjoy her weekend. I know childcare can sometimes be hard and it is important my educator has time off to relax and enjoy time with her family too. It's times like these through little gestures I know I can help her feel appreciated.
Always expect to pay, when your late. Each educator has different policies. Some charge a late fee, some are a little more lenient. But if you had to work late with not much notice, you would expect to be paid for it and if you weren't you would probably find your work ethic would decrease as you might feel you are being taken advantage of. Childcare is no different. If your educator decides not to charge you for being late, thank her and certainly don't make it a regular occurence.
Flexibility in my child care means I can attend work meetings and more my hours around as needed. I always give as much notice as possible, and never just expect it to be OK. I never tell my educator, I will be late on this day or I need to have Jude here later this day, but ask her, if it is OK.
I am very lucky. I have an awesome educator. So to all the educators out there, flexibility is something to think about when looking at your philospohy, it also might be something to talk with your parents about when you interview them, so you are both understanding of each other. Flexibility is something that is great for shift workers. Flexibility with parents can also help you to fill spaces, but it also needs to work in with your life and family. Know your boundaries, and stick to your guns. If you can't do it. That's fine too. The last thing you want is to commit to something that you find unworkable, which in turn makes work difficult.
Parents, if you require flexibility in your childcare, work out why?
Could you just extend your booked hours to cover you a little more. Or is flexibility something you might only need every now and again. If so, talk to your educator, see how they might be able to support you. Always so your appreiation in the help they give you. Afterall we are responsible for our children, and we choose them to help care for them when we cannot. This job deserves alot of repect as they help with our most precious possesion our children.
Feel free to add your comments on how you value your FDC educator or how you implement flexibility into your Family Day Care.
Til next time