Do You Do Child Care for Love or Money?


For most family child care providers the answer is “Both!”

Family child care providers love children. It’s their number one motivating factor. But, earning money is also important.

Unfortunately, in our society we undervalue the work of providers. Federal and state governments drastically under fund the child care system. Many parents can’t afford the true cost of child care. As a result, providers are often forced to subsidize the system with low wages.

Yet, some parents assume providers should be happy to do their work without regard for money.

This comes up when a parent complains about paying a late pickup fee, leaves without giving a two-week notice, or objects to a provider enforcing her contract or policies. If a provider tries to enforce her rules, the parent sometimes acts offended, and might say, “You’re just in it for the money.”

This attitude is an attempt to shame providers into not enforcing their rules. But, it’s also a reflection of how society views caregivers of young children as less worthy citizens. It’s like saying, “You don’t deserve to be paid for your work.”

It’s also a statement about the undervaluing of work primarily done by women.

The irony is that parents who think, “This provider only cares about money” don’t realize that providers as a group don’t make a lot of money! In fact, most parents probably make more money than most providers!

This is the beginning of an article I’ve posted on In the rest of the article I discuss why provides should never apologize for working for money. is a community for family child care providers and parents that offers a wide variety of resources including recipes, a blog, and a newsletter.  It serves as a clearinghouse for many online resources (children’s activities, training opportunities, equipment, and more). was created by Minute Menu (now KidKare) to offer free assistance that will help the family child care community grow.

Tom Copeland –

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Categories: Advocacy, Starting Your Business

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