With several families requiring daycare providers, starting an in-home daycare seems a good idea. If you follow these steps to opening a daycare center, day care business can be a great work from home opportunity.
If you’re already good at taking care of children, setting up small games and nap times, moving forward to starting a daycare business of your own is the next logical step. You can be your own boss, set your schedules and payment rates. At the same time, you’ll be doing something you love and enjoy.
If you already have small children, it’s a great opportunity to look after your own kids and also earn a handsome income on the side. Many parents also prefer the personal attention you can give, as against a big center. How much better could it get?
Well, actually speaking, a day care is a little more than just babysitting. There are several important things to consider amongst the requirements to own a daycare. For instance, you will need home daycare licensing and there are some initial costs to be incurred.
Check Out These Steps if You are Wondering how to Start an In Home Daycare Center
#1. License Requirements for Opening a Home Daycare Center
All states don’t need licensing for starting an in home daycare. In some states, the requirements to open a daycare might only involve a registration.
Again, some states don’t require licensing in case you are having less than 5 children in your home. Home daycare licensing differs in each state. Moreover, the requirements for a home daycare are different from a daycare center.
- How to start a home daycare? First and foremost, contact the licensing agency in your town/city to know the regulations.
- Attend an orientation program for licensing and submit in the necessary application.
- Some states require submission of:
- Your medical records/health report in order to prove that you are free of diseases and will not be putting children in the daycare center at risk.
- Checking of criminal records.
- Spot Inspections (most agencies specify at least 35 sq. ft. a child along with outdoor space and toys etc.)
#2. Eligibility Criteria for Starting a Home Daycare Center
Check out the following requirements:
- Whether your state imposes any child care standard.
- Whether you need liability insurance (this is for coverage against accidents or injuries and any other kind of damage to the property).
- Age criteria (owners must be above 18 years of age in some states).
- Whether you need to submit a health report to show that you are free from diseases and will not be putting children at risk.
- Some states specify the number of children in a business or the ratio between the caregiver and the children.
- (Try to have few children at first. Be realistic and consider the space you have at your disposal and whether you can afford an assistant).
#3. Consider Qualifications for Running a Day Care Center
Do you need a degree to open a daycare center at home? Well, you might probably laugh at this. You’re a mom and who would know better than you to look after infants or children. Yet, there are many parents who would be more reassured with their children in the hands of a certified caregiver.
What certifications do I need to open a daycare? Do you need a degree to open a daycare? A high school diploma is a minimum requirement in most states.
There are certificates like the Child Development Associate program. The CDA certification costs around $350 and you can do it online. However, all states don’t impose this requirement. You could still go in for it. It’s not necessary right at the start, but you could consider it at a later point, when the daycare business picks up.
#4. Organizing Yourself While Opening a Daycare Business
- Create a paper contract that parents have to sign. This will include:
- Policy for sick children
- Overtime payment; holidays; schedules
- Create files for children, with details of immunization, contact numbers, medical details etc. Maintain records of children and workers (if you are hiring any)
- List out the cost of starting your own daycare startup
- You can also find many useful computer software for running daycare centers
#5. Starting a Home Daycare Checklist
- Create a large play area in your home or in the yard, if you are living in an independent house. Collect different types of toys and games suitable for various ages. (Remember to include these in your daycare startup costs)
- If you are planning to have children of a specific age group, plan the toys accordingly. Mixed age groups are also fine while running a daycare, as they offer a more natural environment for children.
- Select toys and games that offer educational value while considering home childcare business. Encourage children in your care to get both physical and mental exercise.
- Offer healthy snacks, water, clean cups and plates. If you are not offering food, ask the parents to send packed food.
- Stock bathroom with required supplies, such as diapers and napkins.
- Activities in a Typical Day
- Allow time for free play
- Story time
- Outdoor games and activities
- Music activities
- Physical activity
- Drawing, painting, arts, crafts time
- Meal time
- Nap time
- Help with potty or diaper changing
- Basic math or reading (for bigger children)
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#6. Safety Tips for a Day Care Center
- Take care that the play area is safe, without any sharp corners
- Outside areas should be properly fenced
- Plug all electrical outlets with caps
- Don’t keep any dangerous chemicals or medicines within access
#7. Hiring of Staff
You can look after the center yourself or you could hire help. While hiring staff, check out the experience they have with children, especially with respect to the age group you have in mind.
It is additionally helpful if the hired help has a certification or some training for this kind of work.
They can help you to take care of toddlers or babies, feed them, change diapers, organize activities and so on. A CDA credential would also be welcome.
Important skills to look out for while hiring staff would be communication skills; patience and physical stamina.
#8. Choosing a Name for the Childcare Center
People could be making a lot of assumptions based on the name of your childcare center.
For instance, if you call your center: Primrose Preschool, it’s going to send a different message from Primrose Child Daycare. If you’re more geared towards academics or preschooling consider the first option.
But if you were more focused towards small babies, toddlers and games, the tag Child daycare would be better. If you are planning to have only babies or infants, mention it in the name.
Select a name that is easy to say. For instance, it does sound cute to spell kids as ‘Kidz’. But the downside is that you may have to spell it out to everyone you meet.
Don’t choose a name that is already present in the neighborhood. Check out these terms to use in the name:
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#9. Let Them Know
You could be the most organized day care giver on this planet, but you need to advertise for beginning a daycare center. Now that you’ve done all the paperwork and are ready for opening a daycare at home, start spreading the word.
- Use word of mouth. Just let people know that you are in this business.
- Use social media, like Facebook; Pinterest or your WhatsApp group to let people know.
- Create posters and flyers and send it to people in your neighborhood. You could send it to community centers, toy stores, pizza shops, local zoos, ice cream stores etc.
- Put an ad in your local newspaper.
- Online sites for daycare advertising.
- Meet parents and show them around, explain your schedule etc.
#10. Do Your Homework
Caring for kids is fun and relaxing. But make sure to be professional in your approach. Do the research to get the necessary license. Take steps to offer safe environment for the children under your care.
Many caregivers find the job very rewarding. There’s nothing more satisfying than a child’s hug, right? It can be mentally fulfilling and at the same time financially fruitful.
Considering the Cons of Beginning a Daycare Center
But let’s be clear on this point: running a day care center from home is not like taking care of your own children. Some parents could only consider it as glorified babysitting. Others might not pay you on time. They might bring in a sick child. Be clear with your terms right from the start.
Also, don’t expect to make money from day one. It all depends on the number of children, the equipment you purchase, the utility bills you need to pay, etc. It is a profitable business, but you must be patient.
It’s all about dedication, organization, responsibility and commitment. It’s a learning curve, so just improve with every day and offer the best daycare solutions possible for the children and you will find that very soon you will be attracting a steady stream of parents.
If still in doubt, you could spend some time shadowing other day care providers and see how they go about the business.