carer with kids

Finding Balance in Family Child Care: The Tricycle Analogy

Achieving success for anyone takes focus, dedication, and the ability to find balance in all they are doing both personally and professionally.

Family Child Care is no different. More so than any other educator position in the early education field, a family child care provider not only must find balance between their work as an educator and their personal life, but also as the business owner. To add to this, since the business exists in their own home, they typically will also have to find balance between their business and family members in order to avoid those family members feeling as though they live in a child care center.

This push-pull thinking of what is best for the business, versus what is best for the children, versus what is best for the provider’s own family, can cause stress that affects not only personal well-being for the provider, but their capacity to succeed or grow in their early childhood career.

To help coaches and agencies who support family child care providers uncover these stressors and provide targeted solutions, Family Child Care Experts has developed the Balance Report©. 

The Balance Report© looks closely at these three areas that affect the provider’s capacity for growth:

  • Business practices,
  • Educator practices and
  • Personal well-being.

We use the analogy of the 3 wheels on a tricycle.

If you were to try and ride a tricycle where one of the wheels was flat, or bent, it would be difficult to move forward. Likewise, when a provider has difficulties or stress in one of these areas, it becomes difficult to move forward.

We’ve identified not only the “3 Wheels”: Business, Educator, and Personal. But have also identified the many “spokes” that can make this wheel strong, or cause weakness or challenge.

When these individual practices, or “spokes”, in a wheel are all present and strong, the wheel is strong and can move forward, but if a spoke is missing, or fragile, it makes the wheel unstable. By identifying the fragile or missing spokes, coaches can concentrate their efforts in the right areas and be more effective at improving practices and raising quality.

Looking at the 3 Wheels together, gives coaches a sense of how fragile or missing spokes in one wheel can affect another. Weakness in one wheel can put extra pressure on another wheel, and eventually cause spokes to break down.

The provider completes a Balance Survey©, with questions that provide both demographic and background information as well as specifics about how they feel about their current practices in the area of the “3 Wheels”.

This information is used in an algorithm that produces the 3 Wheels graphic in the Balance Report©.

In addition to looking at the 3 Wheels on the individual provider level, the Balance Report© can also be run on the program level.

Data from all providers in the program can be compiled into one set of wheels to help programs identify the greatest need on average for the group they serve.

Family Child Care Experts can also provide an Insights Report©, which dives even deeper to connect current program data and information to the Balance Report© results, analyzing for challenges and opportunities and providing recommendations for the program.

Our goal is to see family child care providers ride as far as they can! We strive to clearly picture their “tricycle” and help them turn it into a vehicle to help them reach their goals. Family child care providers have the desire to succeed, when given a strong vehicle to get there, we know they will.

Connect with us to learn more.

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