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The types of license, certification, or permit you will need to open your own home daycare will depend on where you are located. Find out how to get a home daycare license. For more information about running a home daycare, click here.
For how to start a home daycare click here.
Requirements for home daycare
If you are thinking about starting a daycare in your home, you’ll need to first find out the home daycare requirements for your area. Some places require a license, some require a certification, and some require a permit.
Some places have requirements for a certain number of children, while others, like Oklahoma, require a license for even one child if it is not your relative.
First, before trying to decide if you want to apply for a home daycare license or not, ask yourself some of these questions:
- Do I love children?
- Would I like to be able to be my own boss?
- Am I knowledgeable about child development or am I willing to learn?
- Can I be professional?
- Would I like to be at home…a lot?
- Am I willing to open my home to licensing and other families and have very little privacy?
- Will this work for my family?
- Am I responsible enough to put other people’s needs/safety/comfort above my own?
A recent example of this is the crisis going on right now. I don’t go to the grocery store, restaurants, church, or anywhere with crowds of people right now. Do I have to do that? No. Am I scared to get sick? No.
Do I feel responsible for other people’s families and want to show them they are a priority? Yes. Is going above and beyond why my business is successful? Very much yes. You don’t have to be this severe, but I want my families to know I’m doing everything I can to keep them safe and I am putting their needs above my own comfort and fun.
But I’m a legend in my town because I’m willing to sacrifice for my business. Do all of my friends and family understand that? No. But it’s important to me. So, I do it.
There are several kinds of daycare facilities you can open. You can choose between a center and home daycare. And then you can choose between full-time care and something like a mom’s day out one or two days a week. There is also after school care that is just a couple of hours a day.
Child care can be run in a church, school, or business as an on-site daycare. Or it can be run in a home. Daycare can also be nonprofit or for-profit. Once you decide what type of daycare you want to run, you can really make the decision if home daycare may be the direction you want to go in.
Any child care provider will be required to have some type of training. At least basic safety training to keep kids safe.
Working with children will probably mean a lot of rules. A lot of them, because they are put out by the government, don’t make a lot of sense. But if you are going to be successful, you have to follow the regulations given to you.
In many states, the department of human, child welfare, or family services will be the licensing agency. The Small Business Administration can offer guidance and point you to the correct agency. They can also help in developing a business plan.
The basic requirements in most places for opening a home daycare will include building and health permits, background checks, education and training, and medical exams. So, think about that before you decide. You’ll also probably have to have insurance. There will most likely be an inspection before you can open and if you pass, a license will be issued.
It can be complex and it can be a lengthy process. Anything involving the government usually has an abundance of paperwork and some redundant requests.
There may also be additional requirements from your city or county that are stricter than even the state laws. You’ll have to pay attention to zoning laws as well.
How to open a home daycare
Most places will require you to get a daycare license to open a home daycare. If your area requires that, I don’t recommend you try to provide care without one. The families lose if you get caught breaking the law as the kids you serve will suddenly be without care when you get caught.
It’s better safe than sorry. Some places offer fines and make you close your facility. A few places even require jail time for breaking licensing laws.
If your state does not require a license, you’re fortunate to avoid a lot of messy paperwork. But, providing the best quality care possible is still a must to have a successful business, so you may want to look at some guidelines for other states and try to follow them as well. At least the parts that help keep kids safe.
A license does not mean quality at all. It just means that minimum requirements are met and that a program is being monitored on occasion to make sure the care being given is okay.
Most states allow some providers to be exempt from licensing regulations. If providers only care for a small number of children or for only a few hours a day, or even providing relative care, they may be exempt. But check your state, because, in Oklahoma, relative care is the only way you are exempt unless you provide care for less than 15 hours a week.
After school care is the only situation, I can think of that would cover that. Or maybe one day a week mom’s day out or two very short days. There still may be basic requirements you have to meet for that.
Licensing regulations for daycare may include an adult to child ratio or how many children one adult can supervise, safety, health, nutrition, supervision, and staff training.
The National Database of Child Care Licensing Regulations includes contact information and websites for every state’s licensing agencies. If other states are anything like Oklahoma’s, the website is clunky at best when it is working, but you can at least get a contact phone number from it most of the time.
When you are licensed or not, you’ll have to establish rules for your home daycare. Check out this post on contracts and policies for an idea of what is working well for other providers around the country. And decide what rules you want to set up for your home daycare before you start.
Payment rules, hours, meals, schedules, and other rules are far easier to make before you get into business with new families than after. Parents need to be familiar with what you’re willing to offer or they’ll make up their own plans.
A business plan is a great place to start to see if a home daycare will be successful for you. You need to determine the cost and how much to charge as well as the everyday logistics of running a daycare in your home.
Home daycare is not a good fit for every person, but it can be a wonderful way to make a living. I’ve been doing it full time since 1995 and I have loved most of it. It’s something I was born to do. And if that’s the case for you as well, you will LOVE what you do every day.
No, you won’t always love being vomited on or when kids tear a hole in your new couch, but you will feel a deep sense of satisfaction in knowing you are doing the most important job in the world! And you’ll be happy with that.
Please comment and let us know what you decide as you plan out the opening of your home daycare. We love to hear from our readers!