The duo behind a new-ish daycare chat with us about flexible childcare option's, how wonderful it is to be working with little kiddos everyday, and why you need to get your wee one registered asap. Our Lucie will give you the stamp of approval. These guys are doin' amazing things!
Who: Talia & Lawrence Erickson
Where: 950 West Broadway, Vancouver BC
Believes: Modern families need flexible accessible childcare.
Q: Buddings is an ingenious concept for parents who need flexible daycare, where and how did you come about launching this?
A: We were hoping to find something that would cover us for the week a month when Lawrence’s son was staying with us. We wanted to have something lined up for the occasions when our flexible work schedule just couldn’t bend. When we realized there was absolutely nothing like that, first we wondered “Why not?” and then we decided to put it together ourselves!
Q: What sets Buddings apart from other daycares in the city and what would you say is its most unique quality of care?
A: We’re the only centre in the city that lets families decide what hours they need, flexibly. Our website is super easy to use and you can book your time with as little as one hour’s notice.
Plus, since we can accommodate the part-time needs of almost 100 families at a time, we see less separation anxiety, more potty training, and more skill development than any other centre. We’re in a position to help parents with all of that, and our blog and website keep families up to date with everything we do.
Q: Buddings has just recently launched a preschool too (we couldn’t be more stoked on this combo!) tell us about this concept?
A: We strongly believe that kids learn best through play, but we also know the education system is about structure. Our preschooler’s program combines them both, and strives to be convenient for parents as well!
It runs from 1 - 4pm and introduces literacy, mathematical concepts, artistic expression and opportunities for experiential learning in a fun and flowing routine. Parents commit to bringing their kids at least twice a week, and get 4 additional hours of flexible care that they can schedule anytime, so it’s the best of both.
Q: Your business model focuses on sustainability in many aspects of what you do, what are the challenges that small businesses face when this is an integral part of what you are about?
A: Sustainability is a major priority for us, especially because we know we’re shaping the minds and bodies of the next generation! Luckily, it’s an easy goal to live up to at Buddings, and it’s actually saved us a tonne of time and money.We are super open-minded, and always looking for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle EVERYTHING, which is why our web-based admin and communication systems are virtually paperless and at least half the furniture is upcycled.
Q: Being partners in life and in work has its sets of challenges and benefits (this we know!). What would you say have been the ups and downs for you guys?
Ups: How fun is it to find someone you want to spend all your time with, and then... you do! We are super-compatible, largely because we’re very different, and between the two of us, we can cover almost every angle. In work and in life.
Downs: Starting a business is so much work. When it gets stressful, we’re both stressed. We’re both 100% devoted to it, and if we’re not careful, we can work all day, talk about work all evening, and then dream about work all night.
Q: You guys are big into biking and getting parents& kids involved in this style of commuting about town. What would you say are some key “must haves” to make this a doable, enjoyable experience for families?
A: Kids love bikes. Share that with them, and remember it yourself. A rear-mount kids’ seat makes everyday riding a breeze. There are so many bike routes that have little or no traffic, and riding on them is easy, safe, and super fun. Get yourself a bike map for the city, strap a helmet on your child and have a blast.
Q: What are some of the best lunch ideas you’ve seen parents pack for their wee ones?
A: The kids have awesome lunches. The best ones have a large variety of healthy foods. We learned to trust that kids know how much to eat. As long as all the options are healthy, as much or as little as they want is right for them.
Q: What is the best advice you have out there for the working moms and dads trying to balance it all?
A: You are doing an amazing job! Don’t forget how awesome you are. Your kids adore you and you deserve it.
Q: What are some of your favourite diy games/toys that kids and parents can do at home on a minimal budget?
A: Bubbles, sorting things into egg cartons, decorating clothes pins and doing puppet shows, making forts, making Playdoh with Kool-aid, colouring with crayons. Set up a fish tank.
Q: Quirkiest thing a kid has said to you while at work?
A: The kids say the most hilarious things every single day. The ones that stick with me are the ones that demonstrate their independence and personality. And, yes, Moms and Dads, they sound just like you!
Me: "The snack today is rice and chili. Would you like some of that?"
26 month old: "I would like rice, but actually, I don’t want chili. I just want rice."