A Guide to Opening a Home Daycare


With so many parents working outside of the home today, opening a home daycare is a great career move. If you love children (yes, that is a requirement for this field) and you want to start a home business, read on to learn the steps you'll need to take before opening your doors to the children in your community.

Rally Up Your References

If you already have children in your home, it's probably safe to say you are an experienced caregiver. However, many parents appreciate references from those whose children you've provided care for. Rally up references by contacting those you've babysat for in the past, or by offering simple Saturday night babysitting for the couple next door who need to get out.

Experience is key when working with children. Potential clients will be more at ease leaving their children with someone they know can handle them. Picking up babysitting gigs is a great opportunity to find out how many children you can handle at once (and if you are prepared to handle them at all) You will establish a nice list of references for your future home daycare.

Learn the Rules and Regulations

One thing about starting a home business is learning the rules and regulations. When you want to work from home, you handle every aspect of your business, even the not so fun details. There are different regulations for running a home daycare in each state and even in certain citites. However, most state's Childcare Licensing Programs have the same basic requirements, including: 

  • Filling out an application for a license (these can usually be downloaded via your state site)
  • Being finger printed and submitting to a background check
  • An inspection performed by the public health department at your home daycare
  • CPR and First Aid Certification (there are usually classes specifically for home daycare applicants; your state will assign you to one, and you will be responsible for the cost of the class)

Prepare Your Home Daycare for Business

Once you are certified and ready to go, you will need to prepare your home by turning it into your home daycare. Don't worry about making any major purchases (i.e. outdoor playgrounds to assemble), as a few simple educational toys (ex: blocks and play mats with mobiles for infants) and your own creativity will suffice in the beginning. Once your home business is on its feet, you can reinvest in it.

Promote Your Home Daycare

Now is the time to get the word out about your new home business! Your state's Childcare Licensing Program may automatically add your contact information to a list of their current home daycare providers. This is a great way for your business to gain exposure. If you are the creative type, you can create fliers for your home business, as well as business cards from your computer. Tell everyone you know about your home daycare; if they don't need childcare themselves, they probably know someone who does. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth promotion!

May you have much success from the moment you open your home daycare's doors!

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