If you love working with children, starting a day care business in your home may be for you. Home day care businesses usually have different regulations and licensing requirements than larger day care centers. Some parents prefer to have their child at a home day care because they usually have fewer children and tend to cost less than other child care options. Most states require a home day care to be licensed, however, requirements vary.
Contact the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Childcare and Early Education for information. The organization can provide information on licensing requirements for individual states in the United State. Although requirements vary, most states require a home day care owner to be certified in CPR and first-aid. A criminal background check also is required. In addition, some states require the owner to have earned a specific number of college credits in early childhood education.
Decide how many children you want your home day care licensed for. States have different license requirements regarding the number of children you will have on-site at one time. In addition, there is usually a specific ratio of children to caregivers that must be met.
Make your home safe for young children. Be sure you have a fenced in area for outdoor play and a fence around a swimming pool. Cover electrical outlets with outlet caps. Child-proof cabinets and doors. Consider using one section of your home for most of your home day care activities. This may make child-proofing easier.
Purchase supplies. Select kid-size furniture for table activities, such as art projects and meal time. Buy age-appropriate toys and books. Purchase outside play equipment, such as a playhouse, slides and ride-on toys. If children will be napping, buy portable sleeping cots. If you will be caring for infants, purchase high chairs, baby swings and one crib per infant.
Consider providing child care to a specific niche market in your area, such as special needs children or infants, or offer extended evening hours. Determine what type of child care is needed in your community and what kind of services you can provide.
Write a contract for parents to sign. Be sure to include information such as hours of operation, rates, when payments are due, late fees and polices for late pickups. In addition to a contract, provide written information to parents regarding meal policies and menus and handling discipline problems. Although not all issues can be discussed in advance, having general polices that parents are aware of will minimize misunderstandings.
Market your home day care. Advertise in local newspapers, church leaflets and place flyers on bulletin boards at colleges, libraries and fitness centers. Consider joining your local chamber of commerce to get the word out about your day care.
MaryAnn DePietro has been a professional journalist since 2000, specializing in health, fitness and medical articles. She is also a certified respiratory therapist. Her work has appeared on websites such as eHow and ModernMom and in publications including the “Sacramento Bee, “Press Tribune“ and “Succeed.” DePietro holds a Bachelor of Science in rehabilitation from Penn State University and a degree in respiratory therapy.