I’ve been running a home daycare on my own since 1995 and I’m going to share my knowledge with you. This is a tough job, but there’s nothing I’d rather be doing.

Running a Home Daycare

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I’ve been running a home daycare on my own since 1995 and I’m going to share my knowledge with you. This is a tough job, but there’s nothing I’d rather be doing.

I’ve been running a home daycare on my own since 1995 and I’m going to share my knowledge with you. This is a tough job, but there’s nothing I’d rather be doing.

Why choose home daycare as a career? It’s not a lucrative job, but it brings me the deepest satisfaction of anything I can imagine doing with my life. It’s interesting and it’s just plain fun!

There is no job in the world more important than early education. Making an impact on the future is something that gives me joy that I can’t explain in words. But loving what you do and knowing it matters makes every day seem less like working and more like living the dream.

It’s not all rainbows and cupcakes. It’s messy and hard. But I still can’t imagine doing anything else. And you have to know your limits as a home daycare provider. No one else is going to set them for you.

What qualities do you need to run your own home daycare?

child building a terarrium in a jar, looking at her work

How to Start a Home Daycare

The first thing you need to know is how to start a home daycare. This post will give you tons of information on where you need to start and what you need to think about before you start. Do you think a career in childcare is for you? Here are 9 reasons to choose childcare. And once you decide you want to do it, you need the right clients for your daycare business.

Don’t forget to check the home daycare regulations as well. 

What do you need to get started?

The next thing you’ll need to figure out is menu planning for your home daycare. Check out:

And keep these 5 minute daycare lunches on hand for when you’re in a pinch! Check out these CACFP Approved Cereals for Daycare too. And remember to check this out for how to navigate CN labels on processed foods. And here are some money saving ideas for meals:

Running a daycare

Before you open, it’s so important that you have your business practices for your home daycare in place. You’ll need a contract and policies. You’ll need rules for your home daycare. You don’t want to struggle with getting paid. So focus on making payment policies before you have a problem with it. Do you plan to allow kids to bring things from home or not? You’ll set all that up before and talk about it with each family at the interviews you conduct with them.

What should your prices even be for home daycare? This article can definitely help. And then once you set them, how do you raise rates later? And what do you do when parents pick kids up late? This can help! And sometimes there might be a problem you can’t fix, you may have to terminate care. This is a last resort, but if you need to do it, here are some ideas on how to terminate daycare for a child.

This post has a guide for interviewing potential clients for your daycare. This one has a list of what you need in your interview packet to give to potential clients. If you don’t know where to start to attract good clients to your business, check out how to advertise your home daycare here. And for a detailed description of how to fill spots and keep them full, check this out.

kids playing in water and bubbles on the back porch in home daycare

Starting a home daycare

Once you have some kids lined up to watch, you’ll need to get your home daycare schedule planned. And things for the kids to do mapped out on your lesson plans.

Check out what home daycare essentials you really need here. And HOW do you get them all to take a nap? Do you understand safe sleep practices for infants?

Here’s a giant list of home daycare activities that will be a big help for you. If you need some quick ideas that you can prep in 5 minutes or less, check out these 5 minute prep home daycare activities.  And even home daycare field trip ideas with a printable permission slip to use. Don’t forget cooking with kids. And don’t forget about celebrating special days in daycare, holidays, parties, and fun days are important. And don’t forget to check out these printable activities.

And you can’t forget the families. These Family Engagement Activities For Preschool will help you stay full and build great relationships with families.

These home daycare crafts and activities for special holidays can help make your celebrations fun! For ideas on making your own homemade art supplies and saving money, check this out. Don’t forget about the importance of free play for the kids. And add some dramatic play in your schedule! Outdoor play is a must as well. Play is a child’s work and where they learn the most. And don’t forget how important calming activities for kids can be! Or use some inexpensive paper plates to make one of these paper plate crafts for kids. Check out all these sensory activity ideas for daycare too. Here are some of the best sensory activities for toddlers.

Home daycare record keeping will be a big part of your job. Click on the highlighted link to see how to get started with that. You’ll need a ton of forms for running a home daycare business, so check out these free printable home daycare forms to help you with your paperwork And here’s a great tutorial on how to organize your daycare paperwork so you can find what you need when you need it. And don’t forget this home daycare tax deduction list.

Do you know what makes a good daycare and what makes a great home daycare? High-quality care will help you be sought after and never have an opening. You can learn about developmentally appropriate practice here so you can be the best you can be. Understand how to help kids self regulate and learn about emotions. It’s a big part of the job. It’s also important to teach kids compassion for those that are different. You can help them understand people with autism and other differences. Diversity makes the world what it is, and we need to teach kids from an early age to celebrate it.

Do you want to rock behavior and guidance for kids? Click on the highlighted text. It all makes a difference in the care you provide. Parent involvement makes a big impact on the care a child receives as well. It’s important to understand the benefits of mixed age group settings. Home daycare is unique and wonderful.

kids painting with yarn in home daycare

Home daycare ideas

You’ll be building your reputation and word of mouth is the best way to direct your business. That word can be good or it can be bad, so make sure you share the good with your parents and everyone you know and try to minimize your negative impact as well.

Sometimes you might get a parent that complains about you and it’s unfounded. That’s going to happen in any job. But making sure you do your very best every day will help you have clients for years to come. There are many ways to advertise your home daycare.

Here are some more helps for running a home daycare business. Simplifying your home daycare to save time and money is an art and you’ll be grateful you learned it. Organizing toys will help you have simpler days. And don’t forget your set up. If you need help with a small home daycare layout, check this out. And here are the things your daycare room and playground need.

home daycare provider teaching kids at a table with counting bears

Check out the blog for tons of home daycare activities like starting a daycare garden and more. And if you want to do a special project like the garden, find out how we have raised money for our home daycare projects over the years here at little sprouts. And here are even more preschool fundraising ideas. Or you can get a side gig to help you get what you need.

My goal with the blog is to provide you with tons of useful information that you can use to be an awesome home daycare provider and make a big impact in the life of the families and children you serve. If this job is for you, you will absolutely love it most days. But don’t forget to always take care of yourself so you can take care of others! I can’t wait to hear all about your adventures!

For a planner made JUST for home daycare providers, this jewel will help you get all of your business organized-AND, it’s gorgeous! There are tons of great provider helps on this site. I wish resources like these ladies have were available when I started. There was no help for home daycare providers back then. But don’t forget to always take care of yourself so you can take care of others!

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