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4 CHAPTER ONE COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL S o luti o n : Create Collaboration The process of collaborating with everyone in your household must begin with some serious thinking on your part. If you are just starting out, care- fully examine all the aspects of providing child care before getting too excited about the idea. Although operating a home-based business does allow you to work from home, it does not necessarily provide you with more opportu- nity to be there for your family. Child care is a demanding profession. Talk with other providers who have experience balancing professional and family expectations. Do your best to understand and face the realities of home-based child care. Then, when you first approach your family about your business plan, be careful not to distort these realities just so the rest of your family will go along with the idea. Be truthful about the likely impact on your family members. Remember to include discussion about your family pets. Encourage all your household members, including children, to share their opinions. Be sure to actually listen when they offer feedback and suggestions! Being willing to listen and compromise is especially important for veteran providers. As your own children grow, their needs change. Your nine-year- old who only a few years ago was a playmate for your child care attendees may now have very different priorities and a greater desire for privacy and personal space. It is important for you and your family to periodically revisit how everyone is feeling about and dealing with your home-based business. For example, in many states, you are required to operate within your quota during your business hours, and as a result, your own children may be unable to have their friends visit during child care hours. The irony of having a parent who is home and an environment that is geared toward children but cannot be fully used by your own children and their friends can be a bitter pill for them to swallow. Issues such as this require creative thinking and good teamwork between you and your family members. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL