Hazardous Communication
An Article written by Janet K. Irwin

Being a small business owner has many responsibilities and obligations. In the course of running a family or group family day care or even a small center, communication with client families can be on of our responsibilities or obligations. The fact that we are small business owners who for the most part work from our homes leads client communication to sometimes become hazardous. The prime hazards sometimes are linked to several factors: First, many of us depend on our day care business income for our families existence. Few providers use their business income for discretionary purposes. Most need it to live. Second, many of these instances of hazardous communication occur while we are preoccupied with the direct care of other client children. We are forced to make quick business judgements at the most inopportune moments of the day. Third, we are by nature usually concerned with the needs of others before we think about what we need or what.

In order to avoid too many incidents of hazardous communication, try to incorporate some of the following techniques to enhance your business and to take care of your needs and those of your family.

1. Take the time yearly to review your policy statement concerning the operation of your business. Strong, clear, concise, and practical parameters for operation and procedures in your business will help strengthen your resolve to be in control.
2. Take the old "count to ten" break when a client asks you something you were not expecting. If after the "ten" break, you still don't know how to answer, tell the parent that you have never encountered this before and you will need to think about how it will impact your business or how it will align with the state regulations under which you operate and you will call them later at home to discuss this.
3. Join your local day care association. If you are already a member offer to help organization a meeting centered around "Hazardous Communication".....An evening where you actually practice these skills with real situations can be enlightening and empowering.
4. Remember why your are a small business owner. Be sure if you still have the same goals as you did when you first began. Make some mental adjustments if necessary.

Being the nurturer for small children for 40 or 50 or 60 hours a week is an awesome responsibility. Be sure that you have the business management tools in place in order for you to enjoy what you do and to fulfill the reason why you chose this profession. It is a powerful thing that we do.

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