If you have been wondering, should I open a home daycare? You’re in the right place. I opened mine in 1995 and I have tons of insight to share with you.
What is a home daycare?
Running a home daycare can be as difficult or as easy as you want it to be. A home daycare is a professional business caring for children that you run right from your home. You can have your own children in attendance. You can have children for them to interact with. You can do it on your own or with an assistant.
It’s your business and you make the plans and execute them. Home daycare is not babysitting. It’s work by a trained professional that has knowledge on how to give kids the best experience possible.
Should I open a home daycare?
The first step in deciding if you should open a home daycare is to think about your temperament. Do you have the patience for kids that will tear holes in your walls or rip up your couch? This doesn’t always happen, but if something like that did, would you freak out? Because you can’t in this job.
Do you love being around kids and really care about what they learn from you? You can just sit on the couch and watch your soaps and collect checks, but you won’t be that successful if you don’t put your own personality and some effort into your daycare.
Is your health good enough to work 10-15 hour days and not have a lot of time to rest? Do you mind being stuck at home? Or do you NEED other adults?
Let’s talk about your family. Does your husband agree with the idea? You can do whatever you want, but if your family hates it, you’ll be miserable. Will he help you? Will he be home? Do your own kids need someone to play with? Will they be happy in a noisy environment where they have to share their toys? Do you have pets that will be inside with the kids? Are they docile enough for a circus like this?
What are the pros and cons of home daycare?
You get to take care of your own kids!
You can make money while doing it.
You get to decide how to run your business.
You won’t have to pay for daycare, gas to get to work, or lunches out.
Your family gets to interact with the other families.
You will find a love for other people’s kids you didn’t know you were capable of.
Kids are MESSY, there is a ton of cleaning.
You don’t have other adults around.
Your family will be affected by the other kids.
Wear and tear on the house and your furniture.
You must be organized.
You’ll be exposed to more germs.
People don’t always pick up or pay on time.
You’ll fall in love with families and then they will grow up and leave.
What do you need to open a daycare?
If you’ve decided you really want to do this job, now you need to think about what you need to do it.
A daycare business plan is the best place to start. Is there a need in your area? What is the median rate people charge? How many kids will you be allowed to care for? What other things are required expenses? Does a license cost? Do you need insurance? What is the price for that? What safety equipment do you need? Do you already have enough toys and supplies? Here are the must-haves for home daycare.
How many kids do you want to keep? Just because the law in Oklahoma allows 7 kids over 2, doesn’t mean you need to keep that many. Maybe 5 is a better fit for you. How much space do you have? Is there enough for the number you’re thinking of? Do your own kids count in the ratios? In Oklahoma, ours count until they are 5 years old. So, if you have 4 kids under 5, you can only keep 3 of other people’s kids.
Cost to open a daycare
Find out everything financial you can and put in on your business plan to see if the business is financially viable. You don’t want to be working hard for little or no profit. Click here for start up expenses for home daycare.
Now you can work on your budget. What will your income be and expenses? Is there a way to cut down on daycare expenses to make more profit?
Steps to opening a home daycare
Now that you have decided home daycare is the right fit for you and your family, and you have established a viable business plan, you can follow the next steps to opening your business. What is your learning philosophy going to be? Do you like play-based learning? Is Montessori learning more your style? Do you want to have a forest school? Or would you rather have a structured preschool?
After that is decided, what kind of staffing will you need? Are you going to work alone or have an assistant or two? How will you find someone to meet your needs if you want to hire staff? Can you have more children if you have a helper to make the money, you’ll need to pay them?
Activity planning is the next step. How will you plan out your lesson plans? Do you want to have a structured routine to follow or let the day unfold as it may? Do you want to write out lesson plans or do child-directed activities and let the kids take the lead? If the kids do the planning, how will you get supplies for what they want to do?
Opening a home daycare
Now that you have everything in order and lined out, how will you promote your business and get children enrolled? How will you conduct interviews to find the families that are the right fit for your home daycare?
If you are desperate, you may make rash decisions. Not all families are a good fit for all providers. The interview time will help you know if it will work between you and them. Make sure you take the time to do it right.
I am so excited you are interested in a career in home daycare. I know if you have put a lot of thought into it and still want to do it, you are going to love it. There have been times over the years that I have REALLY loved it, and times I grew weary of it and got a little burned out. But most of the time I felt satisfied with my day’s work and knew I was making a difference in the world. That’s always kept me going.
Remember, there is nothing more important you can do with your time than touching the future through pouring your heart and soul into caring for and teaching children. It’s a tough job, but one that you know makes a difference.
How to start a daycare at home
If you think you really want to open a home daycare for you and your family, check out how to start a home daycare here.
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