The requirements for opening and operating an in-home daycare vary from one state to the next. However, most states do have very similar guidelines. For example, there are many states that require an in-home daycare to be licensed to provide such services. Often, an in-home daycare owner must also obtain licensure to operate in the city or town the business is in as well. Finally, many states also require providers to obtain and maintain liability insurance as well as have specific child care standards that must be followed.
However, before you even consider opening an in-home daycare, there are a few questions you must ask yourself. Following, you will find five questions to ask yourself before beginning the process of opening your in-home daycare. After that, if you feel you’re ready- there will be some tips on how to get started with the process.
5 Questions to Ask
Following, you will find the five questions that you must ask yourself before you open your in-home daycare.
1. How do you recharge- are you a social butterfly or do you prefer being alone?
The very first thing you must understand is that children have tons of needs throughout the day- which means they can completely drain you. If you are the kind of person that needs to recharge by being social, you may need to set up a time during nap time to chat on the phone or online. Working at home alone all day with young children can be quite isolating if you crave interaction with other adults.
Typically, the children you will be caring for in your in-home daycare have not yet developed the ability to have lengthy conversations with you. Owning/operating an in-home daycare is much different than working in a daycare/preschool center. Saying a quick “hello” in the morning to fellow co-workers, chatting during your lunch break, or even grabbing a quick lunch or a quick errand will allow you to interact with other adults. When you’re at home alone with several children, you need to plan to have adult interaction or you will be quite lonely.
If you are a truly social person and love all types of social interaction, then chances are that you will love being surrounded by children all day long. Children love social interactions with adults and most three-year-old children can be quite entertaining to chat with all day long. Children learn through conversation/interaction with adults. They ask lots of questions. If you are a naturally social creature, then this is a great way to use your talents.
However, if you prefer solitary time to recharge your batteries, you’ll find it much easier to find that time. Many times, caregivers can recharge/rebalance while the little ones are taking a nap.
2. Do you truly enjoy children?
Most children simply live in the moment and that aspect determines how they interact and behave with everyone and everything. Therefore, if you are the type of person that enjoys spending time with children for the fact that they take the time to slow down and enjoy the little things in life, then you will enjoy this focus on a daily basis. On the other hand, if you prefer to be immersed in an environment that is ordered, efficient, fast-paced, and multi-tasking- then perhaps owning and operating an in-home daycare may not exactly be the line of work that suits you.
You must remember that little ones don’t have the ability to plan ahead and avoid getting dirty or making a mess. They only come to realize that their feet will get wet when they walk through the puddle as they are doing it. If you’re the type of person who goes nuts at the sight of a muddy mess, then please understand that spending your entire day trying to avoid a mess will leave you completely exhausted. The truth is that the words “daycare” and “mess” seem to be closely related.
Children, as long as we let them, bring more humor and light to our lives. What some people see as a huge mess that needs to be cleaned up- someone else (who is meant to be a caregiver) sees it as a photo op and something to laugh about.
3. Are you comfortable with working from home?
Once you open an in-home daycare, you must realize that it’s no longer just “home”- it is now your business. People are going to be coming into your home five days a week and your home is going to begin to show the “wear and tear” of taking care of a group of children day in and day out. Children do not maliciously damage your home- but accidents are going to happen and toddlers simply don’t realize how strong they truly are. Your walls are going to end up with dents. You are going to need to repaint- often. Your couch is going to show the activity it sees every day- so will your floors.
There are many people out there who buy huge homes and only spend a few hours in them each day. However, when you own and operate an in-home daycare, every square inch of your home will be used and enjoyed. You will be able to stay home and spend time in your own home and yard. Your commute will be quick! Many people find the thought of being surrounded by the comforts of their own home quite appealing. However, there are others who would prefer to separate their work life/space from their home life/space.
4. Do you like the thought of being your own boss?
When you’re considering opening your own business, one of the first things you must realize is that you’re going to be your own boss- which can have many benefits. One of these is that everything is up to you to decide. However, on the other hand, being your own boss has some downfalls as well. Following are a few of the pros and cons of being the director/only employee of your own in-home daycare.
- You get to decide what your hours will be and your rate of pay
- You get to decide on vacation schedules and sick day policies
- You get to decide the age of the children you will be caring for
- You get to decide how your day will be organized
- You get to make your own decisions and set your own policies
- Since you want to accommodate your clients’ needs as much as possible- you can end up with a juggling act
- You have to manage all aspects of your business such as: enrollment, advertising, childcare, planning/preparing the menu, tracking payments, teaching, taking care of taxes, and so much more- it can get stressful
- Sometimes, clients drop out unexpectedly due to moving, losing their own jobs, or even having another baby- you must be financially savvy enough to plan for the unexpected so you don’t panic when you do lose a client
5. Are your friends and family supportive of your endeavor?
Understand that running your own business means that you’re going to be pulled in a variety of different directions. When you have people in your life that you can count on, it can significantly help your stress levels.
If you have a significant other, they must realize that having an in-home daycare will change the dynamics of your home. You will now be sharing your personal space with the clients of the business. Daycare toys/equipment are most likely going to be seeping into all areas of your home. Plus, since you are at home during the day, you will be able to do the little things during the day such as dishes and laundry- which means you have less to do on the weekends. Having you at home to let in the appliance repair man will save your significant other from having to take the morning/day off work.
If you do have children at home during the hours your daycare is running, they need to be on board with the idea too. After all, they are sharing their house, toys, and your attention with the children in the daycare. You must work to create an environment free of jealousy, which is critical for a harmonious work environment.
It is critical that you have back up when you have several other families relying on you for care. Normally, when you have to make a medical appointment or you need to take the car in to the shop, you can just take a day off work. However, when you have your own in-home daycare, it’s trickier to take the day off because your clients depend on you. It can be helpful if you have a friend/family member that can take your car in or watch your own children after work while you go in for a late doctor’s appointment.
If you’ve taken the time to ask yourself these five questions- and any others that come up during this process- and owning an in-home daycare still sounds like something you’d want to do- congrats! Now, you must check out our article: “Getting Started with Your In-Home Daycare” for some basics on getting started with this new venture. Owning an in-home daycare truly is a great line of work and is perfect for those who want to stay home with their own children. We hope that these five questions have helped you look deeper into the ins and outs of owning an in-home daycare. After all, when you know the obstacles you’re going to face, you can build a bridge to overcome them.