How Many Kids Can You Have in a Home Daycare?

Anyone with children or even younger siblings will understand the issue of finding affordable and reliable daycare options. Most of the time the private institutions with monthly enrollment fees are more expensive than most of us can afford. So, home daycares are a great alternative.

Whether you are a stay-at-home mother interested in watching a few other children during the day for extra income or you are looking for a daycare option for your children this is for you. We are going to cover the rules, regulations, and everything you need to know about opening a home daycare.

Requirements vary by state, but one adult can typically watch up to six children at a time. This does include children who are related to them as well. The individual watching the children will be required to obtain licensing and complete training to conduct their at-home daycare. Many can get their daycare up and running within a month or two depending upon their state’s requirements.

Rules and Regulations to Know

How Many Kids Can You Have in a Home Daycare?

Although each state may differ between its requirements and rules some general regulations should be followed. We are going to cover those however for more specific information based upon where you live check the Child Care website.

Home daycares are allowed to have more than one adult working as long as they have the proper training and licensing. This means that you can watch more children at a time, although house and yard size can also limit the number of children that can be present at the same time.

The home will need to go through a safety check. They will look at things such as cleanliness, any recent repairs or issues the home may have had, potential issues or dangers (uneven cement, rotted trees, etc.), and emergency exits. This will determine the type of business insurance you need to help protect yourself – especially with children as they can be quite clumsy.

How you will help to prevent the spread of illness and disease. While illnesses such as the cold and flu will always spread with children, let’s be honest it’s inevitable, there are steps to take to prevent it. Such as immunization records, how diapers will be handled, handwashing, and food preparation.

Speaking of food, nutritious meals should be served to the children. This means sitting them down for meals (make sure this is included in your pricing if you are thinking about starting your home daycare) that include proper portions and healthy options. Of course, snacks are still allowed, they are kids, after all, balance is just important.

Licensing Exemptions

How Many Kids Can You Have in a Home Daycare?

While the idea of obtaining licensing, going through different pieces of training, and knowing everything required about a home daycare may seem daunting, there are some exemptions to it. Just another option to consider looking into for your area, especially if any of these items apply to you.

If you are related to the children, you will be caring for, you may be able to forgo licensing. This included any biological or adopted children, nephews, nieces, and cousins to name a few. If you are watching them for your family and getting paid for it, chances are you may not need licensing.

Those who are only watching a child or two at a time may also be exempt from needing proper licensing. Due to the low volume of children, having fewer responsibilities, and fewer children to watch after in general the requirements can differ. Even though one child may be less to deal with than six, they are still a handful.

Or if you are only watching children for, say two to five hours a day, then you may be exempt. Due to it not being a “full shift” or eight-hour day of watching children the state may not view it the same way. If you are ever unsure of your state’s rules, regulations, exemptions, or anything of that nature you can check your state’s resources website for more information and help.

Tips for running a successful in-home daycare!

Things to Consider

How Many Kids Can You Have in a Home Daycare?

Beyond the different paperwork and training that require your attention when setting up a home daycare, there are still other items to consider as well. 

Such as your business plan and structure. What goals are you hoping to achieve? Do you want to watch children of all ages (newborn to 13) or just children five and under? This will affect your overhead costs such as food, supplies, activities, and perhaps a curriculum for those in preschool or kindergarten.

Will your business be a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company (LLC)? Each one provides different protection and legalities to you and your business. This is why most in the home daycare business will lean more towards an LLC as they separate your personal accounts from your business accounts. Thus, protecting your personal assets if anything were to go awry. 

Start-up costs may not be extensive, but they are still something to keep in mind. You will need money to purchase activities, toys, supplies, and more for the business. The volume will depend upon the number of children you intend to watch and what their needs are.

If you are thinking about opening an at-home daycare it’s important to remember that most of the time, one adult can watch up to six children at a time. However, rules, regulations, exemptions, and more vary by state so be sure to check the guidelines of your area first. As you begin the process, ensure that you have your business idea and plans in order as well.


Related Questions

1. How do I find resources, classes, and everything I need to know about a home daycare?

Each state or area tries to make it simple for you to find this information. If you visit the Child Care website we linked earlier in the article, they can provide you with contact information, requirements, forms, and more for each state. It should be a one-stop-shop for all of your home daycare information needs.

2. Can federal childcare financial assistance be used to pay for home daycare?

If someone you are planning to watch children for receives federal childcare financial assistance, it can be used towards home daycare. Some providers may even be exempt from licensing depending upon the case. However, anyone receiving that as payment will still be required to meet health and safety requirements for their area.

3. What are some of the items that daycares would need to purchase?

Some of the most common expenses that daycares may have (minus the overhead house-based costs such as rent or mortgage, electricity, water, etc.) are toys, first-aid kits, meals, drinks, snacks, art supplies, cleaning supplies, and mats to name a few items. The list can vary depending upon the ages and needs of each child. All of this should be taken into consideration when pricing your service.


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.

To learn more on how to start your own daycare checkout my startup course and documents here.