Starting a home-based daycare is a great introduction to life as a small business owner. To be able to just wake up, get ready for the day, and receive lovely children into your home ready to learn and play is a wonderful feeling since you will be getting paid to do what you love.
However, you cannot just wake up and say that you are now a home-based Daycare Owner. 5 key factors to consider when starting a home-based daycare include:
- If your home is spacious enough to accommodate the children in your care.
- Whether or not your daycare has to be licensed.
- How you will divide up classrooms throughout your home.
- Where you will store daycare supplies that needs to stay separate from your home’s supplies.
- Knowing when it’s time to upgrade to a larger facility or open a second location.
Take it one step at a time in opening your home-based daycare, so everything can operate smoothly down the road.
Is Your Home Spacious Enough?
You need enough space for the children in your care to actively play and have fun during center times. If you have a small home, you should only care for 1-2 children in your home. If you have a more spacious home with a couple spare bedrooms, you can stand to care for maybe up to 10 children at a time.
Do you remember the 2003 movie, Daddy Day Care? The child services home, Mr. Kubitz (Jonathan Katz) returned regularly to Charlie’s (Eddie Murphy) home as the number of kids in the home increased. Once the total number of children hit 14, Mr. Kubitz informed Charlie and his Daddy Daycare crew (starring Steve Zahn and Jeff Garlin) that they would have to cut 2 children loose from their home-based daycare operation or upgrade to a larger facility.
This is just a theatrical example of how important it is to abide by spacing requirements for home-based daycares. However, the size of your home will determine the amount of children you are able to care for at your home-based daycare location.
According to Early Childhood News, you must have 35 square feet of space per child in your designated indoor activity area. There should also be 75 square feet of readily available outdoor space to accommodate outside gross motor play. This square footage may even be required for the indoor space.
Find out more information about licensing requirements by visiting here.
3 Tips for Making the Most Use of Your Home Daycare Space
Maximize your home’s interior space so you can properly care for the children’s physical and developmental needs by following these 5 tips.
- Have your local child services home inspector visit for a home evaluation, so you know exactly the maximum number of children you are able to care for in your home.
- Section off at least 1-2 empty rooms to use for daycare storage and/or a gross motor play area. One of the empty rooms could also act as a classroom if you have more than 2 children in your care.
- Have each area in your home designated for a specific function. Try to keep the rooms relating to personal life at home separate from the rooms of your home-based small business daycare.
Does Your Daycare Have to Be Licensed?
Whether your daycare has to be licensed or not depends on the amount of children in your care and the length of time in which they are in your care.
Your home-based daycare does not have to be licensed if:
- You are caring for 1-2 children for 4-8 hours at a time.
- If you are caring for any number of children for less than 4 hours per day.
However, even if you fall under the umbrella of not having to license your daycare, you can license it anyway. Licensing your daycare builds your credibility in the local industry and parents will feel safer leaving their children in your care if you are licensed.
Being licensed means that you have undergone strict health and safety training that’s needed to operate a reputable daycare facility. This includes informing your daycare staff about the proper teacher to child ratios to be sure there are enough teachers and/or aides looking after the children. Staff will have also undergone rigorous early childhood learning and development training to properly care for and help the children to learn.
The real icing on the cake is that a licensed daycare has their staff members complete CPR & First-Aid training. This is important for handling any unexpected emergencies whether an allergic reaction, a child choking on food, or a child losing consciousness for whatever reason.
If your daycare has more than 2 children that you are caring for at more than 4 hours per day, it’s time to get your home-based facility licensed. Check out more information on how to license your daycare facility by visiting our blog post, “Why You Should Not Open an Unlicensed Daycare”.
How Will You Divide Up the Classrooms Throughout Your Home?
Depending on the amount of children that are in your care, you may have to allocate empty rooms in your home as classrooms. For example, if you have 4 toddlers and 3 infants, there should be separate classrooms because of the age difference. The toddlers will have ample space in their classroom to explore and play. The infants will have their space to learn to crawl and walk as they play as well.
For a smaller number of kids in an age group, put them in your smaller spare rooms. For larger groups in another age group, place them in a larger room.
If you are caring for infants, you may want to allot your largest spare room to this age group to accommodate one crib per infant for nap time and have still enough space for play time.
For toddlers, they can stand to be in a classroom a tiny bit smaller than the infant room because you can store nap cots elsewhere until nap time.
Where Will You Store Daycare Supplies?
The biggest challenge about running a home-based small business is keeping your home supplies separate from your business supplies. In one of the closets of your “classrooms”, purchase a cabinet or create your own DIY storage solution to organize all of your daycare’s supplies.
Store supplies such as:
- Diapers and wipes (if you decide that you will provide them for the younger children).
- Arts and crafts supplies for daily in-class art projects.
- Cleaning supplies to disinfect classrooms, eating areas, the bathroom(s), and play areas.
- Extra toys to start a toy rotation system for the toddler classroom.
- Extra hand me down clothes that are clean and ready to go in case a child does not have a change of clothes if he or she experiences any kind of accident (categorize by size to easily find what you need).
- Extra First-Aid kits in case teachers run out of supplies in their classroom’s kit.
When Should I Upgrade to a Larger Facility or Open a Second Facility?
That question can be answered after the child services home inspector completes the home evaluation. He or she will let you know the maximum number of children that you can care for in your home. It depends on the square footage in your home and how many spare rooms you are able to spare to accommodate your home-based daycare’s needs.
In the event that you reach the maximum number of kids at your daycare, you can let your followers on social media know that enrollment is currently frozen since you are at maximum capacity and that their children can be placed on a waiting list.
Other options you can consider include:
- Upgrading to a larger facility, so you can expand your daycare’s brand awareness throughout your community.
- Keeping your home-based daycare business, designate a Manager for a second location, and expedite the process for opening up another daycare location.
Make sure that whatever final decision you act on work for you, your staff, and more importantly, for the children and their families.
Opening a home-based daycare is an exciting venture that will have so much positive return in making your life purposeful and satisfying. Be sure to take these 5 factors into account when you open your home-based daycare.
- How can I advance my home-based daycare career?
Advance your home-based daycare career by applying for a group family child care license, so that you can hire more Teachers and Aides to cover your growing attendance.
- How can I obtain more training to be successful as a Daycare Owner?
Consider taking a child care management course at any reputable college or university to advance your knowledge in the field. Having this certificate under your belt will also increase your credibility that you know what you’re doing as you care for and educate children.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
Ready to start your home-based daycare? Get started with our startup course and documents here.