Karen started her family day care business 15 years ago.
“My grandchild needed day care,” says Karen.
“Our 2 youngest children went to family day care and I saw how beneficial it was for them.
“And it’s a perfect fit for my family. I can make my own hours to suit our lifestyle.
“I like working for myself and I feel confident that I can run my own business.”
Karen says the children and their families keep the role interesting.
“I have a range of parents who bring their children in. There’s a local doctor, dentist and dairy farmers.
“The children are by far my favourite part of the job.
“I love planning my own curriculum and helping the children to learn.
“I feel like I’ve built a welcoming, nurturing home where the children can learn through play.”
Karen has 4 adult children of her own.
“I was in my early forties when I started my family day care business,” says Karen.
“Before I started my own business, I was the deli manager at the local supermarket.”
Karen admits that the paperwork involved in the role sometimes challenges her.
“But it’s a good challenge.
“It’s helped me to push myself and continue my learning journey.”
During her time as a family day carer, Karen has earned herself the nickname as the “baby educator,” having cared for many infants.
“I’ve done some work with mothers suffering from post-natal depression,” she says.
“I went through it myself, so I like to help when I can.”
Karen says the most rewarding part of the role is the hugs.
“Often new children are a little unsettled and don’t want to leave their mum or dad.
“Then 2 weeks later they run through the door and give me a big hug.”
Karen has made the most of her large backyard at home, setting up an outdoor play area, complete with a boat made from tyres.
“The children love being outside. And it’s a great opportunity for them to learn through play and explore.
“I’ve built a lot of outdoor activities based on ideas I’ve picked up from Pinterest.
“The children help in the herb garden, orchid and growing berries.
“We also have a wetlands area opposite our property.
“There are volunteers there, so the children have joined in and become part of the community.
“It’s a really fun and rewarding job. I think I get just as much out of it as the children do.”