Mom Can Make Money at Home

by Jennifer Valentine

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As the mother of three young children in the early 90's, I wanted to provide some of our family income, but I didn't want to leave my children in the care of others. I found that home-based business options in many cases were not lucrative enough to make it worth my while.

I found the perfect opportunity with family child care. I provided child care services from my home until my son started school. As a degreed accountant, I knew how to set up budgets, set rates and keep records. Taking care of children was what I did at that time, as my own children were all young. Since I already had most of the items needed to operate a child care program (my house was like a toy store!), virtually all I needed to do was put the word out that I was providing care. Within a few weeks I was full to my capacity.

This is an opportunity where you can make enough money for groceries or make a full-time wage. The amount that can be charged per week varies greatly depending on where you live, but even taking one child can provide you with $100 a week or much more, depending on where you are located. I found that an extra child or two didn't cramp our style. We went to the park, shopping, to museums, basically wherever I would take my kids!

There are many things to consider if you wish to provide child care to others.

First and foremost, do you enjoy children? In larger groups they can be noisy and disruptive. Your house will not be as neat as you might like, and there are times when multiple children will need your attention at the same time.

Can you deal with parents? Some parents may be unappreciative of what you do for them. Some don't like to pay, pay late or complain. Can you deal with that in a professional manner?

The hours can be long. Some of my days started at 5:30 am and I didn't get to bed until midnight, between day care children and my own children.

Do you own a home or live in a rental unit that allows home based businesses? Contact your landlord prior to taking any further steps!

What are your city, county and state rules regarding operating a child care program? Call you local department of Social Services to find out. You may need to purchase some items to become regulated in your area. I needed to put up a fence and install some special smoke detectors to become licensed by the State of Wisconsin.

In order to become licensed, you will probably need to take some classes and have a county or state regulator come to your home. They are only looking out for the welfare of the children in your care.

Child care services can offer you the opportunity to be a stay at home mom, while still contributing to the family finances. With the majority of moms with children under 5 working, it is a service that is always in demand. It can be very satisfying to know you made a difference in children's lives.

Updated September 2013

Jennifer Valentine is an accountant in Independence, WI. She provides tax preparation services to individuals and small businesses, specializing in the issues of family child care programs. She was a family child care provider for 6 years and has been an accountant for 10 years. She is married and the mother of three children, Atanza, Kalika and Reid.
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