Did you know that advertising costs for childcare providers are 100% tax deductible?

Child care facilities - Employers can claim a tax credit of up to $150,000 a year for 25% of the cost of building and operating child-care facilities for their employees.

Read more at http://www.kiplinger.com/article/business/T054-C000-S001-business-expense-tax-deductions.html#528mE3fGTkqvusO5.99

Are you getting your full tax break?

Here’s a list of expenses that could be considered “ordinary” and “necessary” for your business:

House expenses – property tax, mortgage interest, utilities, house depreciation, house repairs, and house insurance

Furniture/appliances – washer, dryer, refrigerator, microwave, stove, dishwasher, rugs, sofa, tables, beds, chairs, TV, DVD player, lawn furniture, service contracts on furniture and appliances, etc.

Household items – light bulbs, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, paper towels, laundry detergent, doorbell, welcome mat, clocks, etc.

Home improvements/repairs – fence, patio, remodeling, new furnace, garage door opener, new floors, insulation, snow removal service, etc.

Children’s supplies/equipment – arts and crafts, toys, playground equipment, floor mats, cribs, curriculum, etc.

Other: food expenses for the children, car expenses (use the standard mileage rate ($.555 for 2012) or the actual expenses method), computers, wages to employees, advertising, etc.

Read more at http://www.tomcopelandblog.com/2012/09/whats-deductible-in-a-family-child-care-business.html

Get started today by placing an ad with us!

Email us at info@mychildcareguide.com to get started or visit https://www.mychildcareguide.com/advertise/index.php

10 Summer Safety Tips for Kids and Parents

 

School is out and summer is here! This means picnics, barbecues, swimming, bike rides, boating, parks / playground fun, camping, vacations and more. Here is a list of safety tips for parents to follow.

1. Summer means bugs! What is the best way to keep them away? Avoid scented soaps, perfumes or hairsprays which attract insects. Use insect repellent containing DEET when necessary to prevent diseases like Lyme disease and West Nile Virus. For children older than 2 months, use 10% – 30% DEET. It is not recommended for children under 2 months.

 

2. Playgrounds are fun but it’s always a good idea to take a look around at the playground to look for any obvious hazards such as protruding screws or bolts, anything sharp, moving parts that could trap a child, check the equipment to be sure it not too hot to sit on, never allow jump ropes, leashes or anything that could lead to danger. Parent supervision is always recommended.

 

3. Riding bikes around the neighborhood or in parks is a fun activity the whole family can enjoy. Always be sure your child is wearing a helmet. Talk to children about watching for cars backing out of driveways, parking lots or turning off of streets. Encourage them to always walk their bike in a cross walk when crossing a street.

 

4. Stay protected from the sun’s rays. Always wear sunscreen when playing outdoors, even if it is cloudy. Just a few serious sunburns can increase your risk for skin cancer later in life. Use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 with UVA and UVB protection. You may need to reapply after a couple hours.

 

5. Swimming is a great physical activity but make sure the children stay safe while enjoying the pool, lakes or ocean. Always watch your children around water. Designate an adult to constantly watch the children and take turns being the watch guard. Swimming lessons are a great summer sport activity and helps prevent drowning. Take a CPR class. You never know when you could save someone’s life. If you have a pool in your backyard, make sure it has a fence surrounding it with self closing and self latching gates.

 

6. Boating is another fun activity that families enjoy during the summer months. Always keep children and adults who cannot swim in a life jacket. When the boat is moving, keep children and adults seating to avoid and accidents.

 

7. Every kid loves to go camping. Make sure you pack food in tight, waterproof containers to avoid leaking and cross contamination which can lead to illness. Never use fuel burning equipment inside a tent or camper. It can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. They can be cute and kids are curious but avoid touching or feeding wild animals. They can carry Rabies, Hantavirus and other diseases. Don’t forget a first aid kit, compass, GPS, map, flashlight, blankets, batteries, food, water, clothes and medications. Tell friends or family your plans and location in case of emergency.

 

8. Drink plenty of water! Dehydration and heat related illnesses can happen quickly when the temperatures rise. Do not wait until a child says they are thirsty to offer them fluids. Be sure to remind children to take breaks and seek shade while having fun.

 

9. Nothing says summer like a barbecue but never let children near the grill. It can remain hot long after it has been used. If you are having an outdoor picnic, make sure not to leave foods out for too long that can spoil. Be sure foods are cooked thoroughly before eating to avoid illness.

 

10. If you are going on vacation make sure your home and belongings are safe while you are gone. Put a hold on your newspaper and mail. Don’t broadcast it on social media that you are leaving. Let your neighbors know when you will be gone and ask them to keep an eye on your home. Set timers to turn on / off lights and TV’s at your normal routine time while you are gone. Consider turning off water to avoid any floods that could potential occur while you are gone.

 

Have a healthy, happy and safe summer!

 

 

Summer Camp Search Tips

 

 

 

Summer is approaching and for many parents it also means planning out your summer activities and getting your children involved in a camp program.  Whether it be an all day, half day or stay away camp there are important facts to consider when choosing a camp program for your child.

  1. How will the commute (drop off and pick up location) affect your daily routine / work schedule?  Many parents aren’t ready to allow their child to go to stay away camp programs until the age of 9 years old so this usually means choosing a local camp program. Be sure to choose one that is not too far out of your way commuting back and forth to work.
  2. Ask your child’s school guidance counselor for camp suggestions.  Many times the schools are aware of local programs that would be great for your child.
  3. The internet is a great resource for searching for camp programs.  Be sure to use specific terms when searching.  For example; academic camp, dance camp, music camp or sports camps are great starts!
  4. Target activities – Be sure to consider your child’s interests when choosing a camp program.  If your child interests are more in the arts or sciences, they may not enjoy a camp that is sports focused.  Your child is more likely to have a great experience if you choose a camp that involved activities he / she will enjoy.  Ask them!
  5. Safety First – Once you select a camp program, be sure to call and inquire about their safety and emergency plans.  Is there someone on staff 24 hours a day to handle a medical emergency?  Does the camp have emergency or natural disaster plans in place?  What kind of safety assurance can they share with you (lifeguards, certified staff, background checks, etc).
  6. Camp sizes!  Look at the camp enrollment size and how many camp counselors they provide per child ratio.  Will your child like being in an environment with 200 other kids or would they prefer a smaller program with only 60?
  7. Visit the camp website to gather information and make a list of questions.  Call the camp office and ask your questions.  Is the person you are talking to friendly, knowledgeable and able to answer your questions?  You can get a great sense of professionalism and organization by calling and speaking with camp personnel.
  8. Don’t over schedule your child. While camp is intended to be fun and adventurous, you don’t want to exhaust your child to the point they are too tired to participate the next day.  Be sure to allow time for them to relax and just play without being on a schedule.

 

The Top 10 Things Daycare / Childcare Providers Want Parents to Know!

If you are considering putting your child in a childcare facility, there are a few important things that childcare providers want parents to know before you enroll. Here are the top 10 things!

1. Child care is a Business

Childcare is a business so the providers that are responsible for taking care of your children should always be professional. Since child care is a business, the level of expertise in child development, education, discipline, safety, customer satisfaction and professionalism is much higher than that of a babysitting service.

2. Treat the Provider’s Like You Would a Good Friend or Business Partner

Childcare Providers are there to care and help develop your child in your absence. Treat them with respect, equality and as professionals. They are the eyes and ears of your child when you are not around. Listen to their requests, concerns, ideas or suggestions as you would a good friend or co-worker. Their goal is to nurture, teach, play with and keep your child safe while in their care.

3. Daycare Providers Can Charge Late Fees

Childcare providers have lives of their own outside of caring for your child. If you are late to pick up your child, your childcare provider has the right to charge a late fee. Not all daycare providers will charge you a late fee for being late, but each provider does hold the right to do so. Be sure to inquire about their late pick up policy so you aren’t caught off guard if this happens.

4. Set Rules with Your Provider

If your child requires a special diet, has allergies, requires medications or has special needs, be sure to set discuss rules, expectations or restrictions with your childcare provider. Most childcare providers will request that you complete a form explaining the child’s “special needs” or “requirements”. It’s a good idea to ask if this is not presented to you.

5. Please Be On Time with Your Payment

Just as you have a daily job and expect to get paid on time to support your family, your childcare provider is in the same boat. A late payment could mean the provider is not getting enough money that they need to provide daily necessities such as meals / snacks, crafts, diapers or cleaning products. Please be on time with your payment.

6. Scratches Can Happen

Although it is the job of your childcare provider to keep your child safe, scratches will happen from time to time just as they do at home in your care. However, there appears to be a pattern or there are multiple scratches, it is always okay to inquire with the day care provider.

7. Cost for Quality

Childcare services range but typically if your child is attending a facility where there is a lease or mortgage on the property, a certified teaching staff, prepared meals, transportation, computers etc, you may pay a higher amount than a home daycare provider. Quality of care is ultimately what is important.

8. Understand That Inconsistencies Can Cause a Lapse of Judgment

Your childcare provider should always abide by rules or expectations that are set out by you but if you change the rules or expectations, your provider can forget or there can be communication issues among the staff. Be sure to give reminders at drop off on a daily basis or email the staff. Try to be patient with them as they adjust to new standards for you.

9. Do Not Bring Providers into Custody Battles

You should never put a child care provider in the middle of a custody battle. Their job is to uphold the health, safety and education of your child in your absence. Providers are required to abide by the written agreement of who can pick up a child. Be specific in your written agreement so there isn’t any confusion for the provider.

10. Childcare Providers are not Housekeepers

Your child may spill on themselves or get their shoes muddy from playing outside but it is not the responsibility of the daycare provider to wash your child’s clothes, shoes, clean out their lunch box or rinse out their sippy cups / bottles. Their main concern is for your child’s well being while in their care and not household duties. Please be understanding.

 

Center, Childcare, Child Care, Children, Preschool, Behavior, Discipline, Daycare, Day Care, Babysitting, Provider, Hialeah, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Services, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Tampa, Florida

The Importance Of Daily Feedback From A Daycare Provider

Child care, daycare and preschool environments should be an enjoyable, educational and safe place for children. To be sure that the childcare, day care or preschool is a safe and healthy environment, you should request a meet and greet with the director before your child’s first day of care. Be sure to go over the childcare provider’s policy and procedures on discipline, toilet training, nap time, meals and safety. Also, ask what is expected of you. For a check list of items to discuss with a childcare provider, visit www.mychildcareguide.com and under the Parents tab, click “touring the facility” and “meeting the director”. It is always a good idea to check references too. See our “references check list” for good questions to ask when calling references.
• Child care centers should always supply you with their policies and procedure handbook.
• Make sure you understand what their protocol is for drop off and pick up your child.
• What is their policy when your child becomes sick?
• What are their rules and necessary paperwork for who is allowed to pick up your child from daycare.

You should ask the childcare provider which staff members will be attending to your child while in their care. Plan to introduce yourself and get to know the teacher. Share a little information about your child’s personality or their special needs so they have a better understanding of your child’s behavior and personality. Be pleasant and polite to the teacher and ask if you can speak to them from time to time about your child’s behavior, needs or their assessments.

Childcare, day care or preschool providers should provide you with daily feedback upon pick up of your child. This feedback should include;

• How your child’s mood was throughout the day?
• Did they eat well?
• Was there any problems?
• Did they get along with the other children?
• Did they take a nap and for how long?
• Did they appear happy, sad, frustrated or other?
• Were they injured or hurt throughout the day? If so, were you notified? Request a copy of the incident form. This should always be provided to you on the same day of the incident.

Your provider should provide you with information about important events, such as;

• School closings
• Change of hours
• New staff
• Field trips
• Guest speakers
• Special activities or anything that is different from an average day at the center.

A daycare, preschool or childcare provider should give you feedback on your child’s development on a daily, weekly or monthly basis (depending on their policy). They should explain how your child is doing and mention interests, dislikes or developmental or behavior concerns about your child if they recognize any.

Be sure to find time to stay in good communication with your childcare, daycare or preschool provider. Whether it be a quick chat during drop off or pick up or whether it be a telephone call weekly or through email communication. Keep the lines of communication open.

You can expect your provider to discuss problems or issues directly with you and together work to resolve all problems or special needs together.

You are responsible for helping your provider understand your child likes, dislikes, things that upset them or typical expectations of behavior. Many providers have a form to complete so parents can share this information with them about their child. If your child is experiencing any changes in their routine – for example, sleeping, eating, allergies or other, be sure to share this with your provider immediately.

Good Luck!

Center, Childcare, Child Care, Children, Preschool, Behavior, Discipline, Daycare, Day Care, Babysitting, Provider, Hialeah, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Services, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Tampa,

Go Green!

Let’s face it, we can’t live in a bubble to protect our children but we can proactively avoid dangerous chemicals and products that can cause developmental problems, hormone disruption and cancer by buying safe and environmentally friendly products. More and more manufacturers are popping up offering the same results with a safer and healthier product, so why not? You may pay a little bit more but it is nothing compared to the cost of a chronic disease or cancer. Here are just a few of the most commonly found cancer causing toxins that we come across are;

Ammonia – Found in many everyday household cleaning products like; window cleaners, floor polishes, bathroom cleaners and stainless steel cleaners.
Go green: Seventh Generation, Method, Ecos, Ms. Meyer’s or Green Works household cleaning products.

Arsenic – Found in some fish, seafood and rice products. Recently, it was discovered that brown rice syrup used as a replacement for high fructose corn syrup in organic infant cereal bars and formula. http://news.discovery.com/human/baby-formula-arsenic-121602.html

Benzene - Found in industrial or car exhaust, gasoline fumes, tobacco smoke, carpet glues, rugs, paints, furniture wax, styrofoam packaging and powdered laundry detergents. http://www.greenlivingonline.com/article/six-household-chemicals-avoid

Cadmium - A toxic metal can be found in batteries, tobacco smoke, hazardous waste plants, fertilizers, paints and some plastics. This year, McDonald’s recalled the Shrek Forever After drinking glasses for high levels of cadmium and Wal-Mart recalled an entire line of Miley Cyrus jewelry that contained high levels as well. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadmium_poisoning

Lead – Is often found in children’s toys, paints, fashion jewelry, older ceramic tiles & toothbrush holders.

If you are looking to use safe, healthy and environmentally friendly products, a great website is http://www.goodguide.com/. You can search by personal care products, food, household products, apparel, babies/kids, pet food, electronics, cars, appliances and by company name. Since I frequently shop at Safeway, Target and Trader Joe’s, I typed in the names of these stores in the search field to scan the top rated items. I look at it as a responsibility to my family and my community to buy healthier and safer products.

Take a look at the National Registry for Toxic Substances at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/substances/ToxOrganSystems.asp

MyChildCareGuide News!

Happy New Year!  We are excited to announce our new featured provider program.  The options we are offering will help licensed daycare & preschool providers market to local parents who are searching for childcare in their area. 

Featured Providers receive the following benefits:

• Rank above other providers in your area.
• Map of your location.
• The ability to add a customized description of your facility.
• Upload up to 10 photos of your facility.
• The ability to edit information about your facility (email address, website, telephone number etc.)
 
With nearly half a million users searching for childcare on our site each year, the Feature Provider cost of $9.99/month is a tremendous value.

To get started as a featured provider, go to www.MyChildCareGuide.com, find your childcare center and click “claim your profile”!

We are very excited to share these new options for childcare providers but also want you to know that we are continuing to develop more marketing options for our featured providers. Stay tuned…

Childcare reviews reach an all time high!

When we launched MyChildCareGuide.com several years ago we had a vision of being a resource with clear cut, accurate information for parents needing to evaluate daycare/childcare options for their children. We knew that we weren’t the first to try it, and wouldn’t be the last. Our plan for success was to remain as focused as possible on our specialty. There are other websites that offer reviews on daycare facilities but often they are found next to reviews of local restaurants, painters, and auto repair shops. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. We just feel that the issue of finding quality childcare is important enough to stand on its own. Fortunately, it would appear that many people agree.

MyChildCareGuide.com is quickly approaching the one million users per year mark. Our incoming childcare review quantity is growing rapidly and we expect to reach 500 verified reviews per month in the next 2 – 3 months. As much as we would like to take credit for this, passionate parents are really the driving force. The value we place on them is immeasurable. We just wanted to take the opportunity to give thanks for the support and mention how much we are looking forward to very big things in the upcoming months.

Sunscreen Guide

Summer is here so let the outdoor fun begin! As a kid, I remember when we went to the beach, my parents would “butter” my nose and cheeks with zinc oxide. Even though I look pretty funny in my pictures, it reminded me of a product that really works. The other day, I went shopping for zinc oxide and found it nearly impossible to find even though it is listed by EWG (Environmental Working Group) as one of the safest ingredients you can use. When I scan the sunscreen shelves, I see so many familiar brands and certainly a lot more choices than when I was a kid. So how do you choose? It’s recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation to choose a broad spectrum sunscreen (protects from UVA & UVB rays) and one that contains a combination of avobenzone, ecamsule (Mexoryl), titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. EWG released the 2011 best sunscreens list for adults and children. For the best protection and least exposure to hazardous chemicals you should avoid sprays and powder sunscreens. Look for sunscreens that contain zinc & titanium as the main ingredient and try to avoid those that contain oxybenzone (also known as benzophenone-3) which is absorbed through the skin and can cause allergic reactions and in animal tests, disrupts hormones.

I quickly researched where you can find some of the top sunscreens to make shopping for the best sunscreens more convenient for you. As a reminder, check the expiration date of your sunscreen before using and be sure to reapply every 30 minutes. Happy summer 2011 to all!

1. Alba Botanica – Target & Walgreens $8.99
2. Aveeno Baby Natural – Target & Walgreens $8.99
3. Badger – Walgreens $15.99
4. Blue Lizard – Walgreens $ 14.99
5. California Baby – Target $13.49
6. Kiss My Face – Walgreens $10.99
7. Natures Gate – Walgreens $8.99
8. Think Baby & Think Sport – Target $16.99

Also take a look at the following “Best List’s” by EWG.

Best Lip Balms with SPF
http://breakingnews.ewg.org/2011sunscreen/best-sunscreens/best-lip-balms-with-spf/

Best Moisturizers with SPF
http://breakingnews.ewg.org/2011sunscreen/best-sunscreens/best-moisturizers-with-spf/

Best Makeup with SPF
http://breakingnews.ewg.org/2011sunscreen/best-sunscreens/best-makeup-with-spf/

Child Care Playground Safety

As always, conditions at any daycare provider can change over time, so it’s a good idea to periodically review the playground area to make sure it is being kept in the same condition over time.

One of the important areas to review when looking for a daycare provider is the playground or outdoor play area. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has an extensive set of guidelines for playground design and setup here: http://cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/325.pdf

The guidelines are quite extensive and are probably a bit of an overload for the average parent to review when visiting daycare centers, so here are 10 general concepts from the guide to think about when reviewing a play area.

1. For the purpose of general security, does the playground have a solid, tall barrier completely surrounding it in a manner that will prevent non-daycare employees and children from accessing the area? If there is a gate leaving the playground, is it locked?

2. Is the playground immediately adjacent to a busy street or other area of concern?

3. Is the playground in direct sun for most of the day, and if so, does it have sufficient natural shading or coverings?

4. Does the playground have a soft surface that will help avoid injuries during a trip or fall?

5. Is the playground setup in a manner that will allow the daycare providers to observe the children at all times?

6. Will the playground be used for various age ranges at the same time, and if so, what age ranges will those be?

7. Does the playground have exposed metal parts such as metal slides that can get hot and burn children when in the sun?

8. Does the playground equipment have exposed screws, nails, or other sharp objects that could be a danger?

9. Does the playground equipment have elevated platforms where kids can play, and if so, are they at a height that could be dangerous in the event of a fall?

10. Does the playground appear to have any strangulation hazards such as loose ropes, etc?

As always, conditions at any daycare provider can change over time, so it’s a good idea to periodically review the playground area to make sure it is being kept in the same condition over time.