I think you have to be a special sort of person to work as a family day care educator…You really do have to love kids and not be especially fond of holidays, sick leave or a big income!
There are many articles on the web that will tell you what you NEED to do to become a qualified and professional home based educator but today I'm going to share with you a few things you might not have considered but I personally think are just as important.
Warning….you might need to smile as you read this list….and yes I am being serious, you need to know these things before you make your decision…TRUST ME ON THIS!!!
You know you are ready to be an early childhood home educator when……
- You have superior bladder control and the pelvic floor muscles are in tip top shape because trust me…you will never get a toilet break when you need one again. If your bladder isn't that great then get used to having your toilet break to the sounds of banging on the door and little fingers sliding underneath as they hope to snare you by the ankle.
- You stop in at the shops quickly shops after work to pick up some essentials and then realise as you hand over the money that your hands are a lovely shade of red and green after dyeing pasta and painting with the kids that day and the checkout operator is looking at you rather weirdly and then you remember you were doing handprinting today and the kids were grabbing at your bottom….and there are probably some lovely red handprints you are displaying to everyone behind you. It's at that moment that a work shirt with a logo explaining you work with children seems like a good idea.
- You have mastered the acquired taste of every cup of tea or coffee being lukewarm…or to be honest…cold, stone cold….but you will drink it anyway.
- You are fine with no lunch, morning or afternoon tea breaks. No seriously, who do you think is going to come in and cover your butt while you sit and relax and munch on that sandwich you lovingly made last night ‘to save time'.?
- You are able to change what seems like your 100th pooey nappy in a day and no longer wonder how such a small child can poop so much and what parents actually feed their kids!
- You are able to pinpoint the exact time in the future week you will be sick after correlating the number of direct sneezes and coughs into your face as well as snot wiped on your hands and legs from children in care that ‘seemed fine at home'.
- You don't need actual adult conversation or someone who understands what you are talking about in your workplace each day because you like the sound of your own voice anyway and hey, you even crack yourself up sometimes! Hehe, see?
- You walk into the budget friendly $2 shop for some paddle pop sticks and paper and come out with two full bags…large bags! $100 poorer but your mind is already buzzing with the activity ideas and smiles you will receive from the kids for your bright idea…you didn't need to do food shopping this week really anyway, that rainbow foam was too awesome to leave…and you NEEDED it.
- You can justify your own children not really needing a bath that night or a nutritious dinner because frankly you are too tired and you have been looking after other people's children all day…and you don't get paid to feed your own…..they will learn to eat well at lunch times obviously 😉
- You sit down at night finally after finishing the endless paperwork and realise you have half filled a kiddy plastic cup with wine…and can't be bothered changing it as you are too tired. Tastes the same anyway, you can only afford the cheap stuff now that you are an educator 😉
- Late at night you find yourself in a dark, quiet corner rocking as you savour no one touching you, asking ‘why?' or ‘Can you wipe my bum now'…Ahhh the serenity….except now it's late, very late and you have to be up early in the morning….but the serenity pulls you in….it's a trap that can be hard to pull yourself out of.
- You're happy for your conversation skills to revolve around poop, wee, bottles, sleep, poop, smiles and wee even when you do get to talk to an another adult.
- You're ok with having to constantly clean, vacumn and mop your house and pack away toys. And then listen as friends and family tell you it must be great to be able to ‘stay home all day and get your housework done' Even though you barely have time to scratch yourself during a busy day. And you will tire of trying to explain that you are actually WORKING at home, you are a qualified professional and not just ‘playing with kids all day'…..except when doing messy sensory play….that's a great stress reliever and a little bit fun but don't tell anyone.
- You don't mind paperwork, and computer work and accounting and paperwork. In fact, you are so good at it you enjoy it now 😉
- You are ok opening the door to the postie or courier dressed up with a funny hat and scarf while leading everyone on a Bear Hunt…I'm sure they've seen it before anyway….
- And the biggest indicator of all that you are ready to become a home educator is that you don't mind coping with all of the above because you love working with children and their parents and enjoy the challenge of offering a professional and quality child care service for the most important little people in our world today.
You know you are making a difference to their childhood and it doesn't matter that perhaps this isn't recognised by others because that isn't the point. It would be nice but those smiles and hugs and breakthrough moments are too special to ignore.
You are ready….You are an educator , be proud of your role in a child's life.