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Starting Your Own Daycare

Updated on May 1, 2015

Most women struggle going back to work after having a baby. There are many reasons, they may feel overwhelmed handing their baby off to a stranger at a daycare facility, they may not be able to afford daycare, or they may even have separation anxiety. Let's face it, raising a child is expensive, and a major part of that expense, is daycare. But there is something that you can do that will benefit you and your child, as well as others!

Starting in home childcare takes patience, love, and money. But, it will benefit you in the long run. You will get to spend quality time with your child, you will know what they are doing at all times, they will get to make friends, and you will get to have an income, all from the comfort of your own home!

Is Child Care Right For You?

Before deciding that you want to open a daycare, there are many factors that you need to consider:

1. Do you have the patience for more than one child?

Children taken patience, it's no secret. A baby will spend a lot of time crying, and wanting to be held. A toddler will hit their "terrible twos" and "threenager" phases. A preschooler will require constant supervision. Can you handle all of this? How well can you maintain your composure and keep your cool? CHILDREN TAKE PATIENCE!

2. Can you afford it?

Opening a daycare comes with quite a few expenses. First off, depending on how many children you have, you may need to acquire a business license, and pass state inspections. Secondly, you will need to provide food and snacks. You will also need to child proof every square inch of your home. And of course make sure to factor in how much income you are losing by switching jobs.

3. Is your home suitable for a daycare?

Depending on how many children you are planning on having, you may need to pass state inspections and acquire a business license. Everyone in your house will also have to pass a background check. How much room do you have available for freeplay? Is your backyard fenced in? Do you live in a good neighborhood? These are all questions you should consider.

4. What will you lose if you quit your job?

Take into consideration all of the benefits that you receive from your current job. Do you have health insurance, dental, vision, a 401k, paid time off? If so, these are all going to go away if you quit. Also take into consideration the relationships that you will be losing, and all of the adult interaction.

5. Will you still be able to have time for yourself?

This is very important. Surrounding yourself with cute little children might sound like fun at first, but it is mentally and physically exhausting! You will need to set time aside for yourself. Preferably out of the house. Ask someone to babysit once or twice a week, or even just relax in a bath or in bed reading a book. But you will need to be able to have a little bit of alone time.

Where To Get Started

Before you even think about opening your daycare you need to make sure that you have a few things established:

1. What are your Prices for childcare (full time/ part time?)
I currently run an in home daycare, and one way that I get a lot of customers is my prices and education. I have taken multiple early childhood classes, as well as CPR and classes in the NICU at my local hospital. I charge $100/ week for full time per child. If a couple has 2 children, I charge $150 for both of them. This is insanely cheap where I live! The daycare down the street charges $370 for 2 children, 3 days full time.

2. What hours are you going to operate?

Hours are very important. Make sure that you will have time to sleep! I made the mistake of babysitting a little baby girl until 11pm, and then babysitting 2 other children at 5am the next morning. It was horrible! Since then I have adjusted my availability from 6am-6pm.

You also need to know how many hours each child will be attending. I currently have 2 little girls who come 11 hours a day, 5 days a week! It can be exhausting, but I can handle it. Make sure that you never overwhelm yourself!

3. How many children are you willing or able to watch?

How many children you are willing or able to watch varies by state (I will post a link to the guidelines below this segment.) I live in Pennsylvania, and I am only allowed to babysit 3 children without a childcare license. 3 children is a handful, and I really do not need to babysit anymore children than that.

4. What will you provide/ what will parents need to bring?

Take into consideration:

  • Blankets for nap time
  • Formula
  • Meals
  • Snacks
  • Diapers
  • Extra clothing
  • Diaper rash cream/ baby powder

5. What ages will you provide care for?

Generally age groups are divided by years

  • Baby (Newborn-18 months)
  • Toddler (18 months-3 years)
  • Preschool (3-5 years)
  • School Aged (5+)

Each age group comes with different obstacles and responsibilities. Babies and toddlers generally need to be fed, changed, and kept a very close eye on. Preschoolers and school aged children usually require a little less supervision while indoors, however they have much more energy!

Where to Advertise

Advertising is one of the most important parts of a business. This is how people are going to know that you are available. You can post in your local Merchandiser, the phone book, and on tons of different webpages that I will list below. It is also important to spread your business through word of mouth. Have people that you know talk to people that they know who may need child care. Once you get customers, make sure that they know that you are available if they know anybody else who needs childcare.

Preparing For Your First Day

The first day is always nerve racking, but you can do it! Make sure that you have complete confidence in yourself, and expect to be a little overwhelmed the first day. It is your first day! Be confident, and always keep your cool. Make sure that you have the day planned out. For a general outline, this is how my day goes with a 3 year old, and 2 children who are 2:

Fruit and a drink
Play time
Free play time
Sandwich, fruit, drink
Nap time
Children must lay down!
Play time
Light snack and free play
Pick up

Owning your own daycare center can be a very rewarding job! You get to earn money, while not missing any of your child's milestones. You and your child may also make some life long friends!


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