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Tips on Starting a Home Daycare

written by: Kathy Foust • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 1/17/2012

Use these tips to help you get together all the things you need to start a home daycare with minimal stress. From deciding whether you have what you need, to actually opening the doors, there are some must-dos and some tips to guide you on your way.

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    Daycare is Easy... Right?

    So you've decided you want to open a home daycare. Sounds simple right? You figure you know enough people who need daycare, you love kids and you have the room in your house. Yet starting a daycare is much more complicated than that, at least from a legal standpoint. What do you do when a child gets hurt? What would you do if you think a child is being abused? Below are some tips on how to start a home daycare so that you know your legal rights before you ever agree to being paid for having a child in your home.

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    Do Your Homework

    • Contact your state's Family Resources Department. They will be able to direct you to the correct licensing agency. Even if you don't want to get licensed, there are still certain laws you must abide by when running a home daycare. But if you do want to get licensed or certified, they can lead you in the right direction.
    • Call other daycares for pricing so you can get an idea of what is a reasonable price for your own daycare. You may also ask them what activities they offer or what type of schedule they are on.
    • Call the Red Cross to schedule CPR and First Aid Classes. Even if you are certified in CPR, you need to take infant CPR because it is an entirely different method. You should also ask about scholarships to take these classes. Red Cross often has scholarships to pay for training for those who are in the process of getting certified or licensed to run a home daycare.
    • Know the difference between a home daycare and a daycare center. A home daycare is in a home that is used to live in as well as to run a daycare. A daycare center is normally in a commercial building and has an entirely different set of guidelines to go by.
    • Call around about insurance for your daycare. While it may not seem important, if a child gets hurt at your house you need to be prepared for the financial ramifications.
    • Do some research to find out if there is actually a need for a home daycare in your area. There's really not much sense in trying to open one if the area is already over run by them.
    • Consider the intrinsic and extrinsic benefits to see if they meet your personal needs.
    • Consider your own discipline methods. Are you prepared to deal with a group of children with absolutely no hands on discipline methods.
    • Know your rights. As a daycare owner, you are legally responsible to report any type of suspected abuse. You should be prepared to call Child protective services immediately if you suspect abuse. While you may have the urge to talk to the parent first, consider the fact that if the child arrived at your daycare in poor condition, the parent may very well accuse you of abuse and you will look guilty because you didn't report it when you saw it.
    • You will need to child proof your home. That means covers for the outlets, possibly locks on the cabinets, a fence around the backyard, fire extinguishers on every level of the home as well as one in the kitchen, some detectors on every level of the home and in the kitchen and an exit on both sides of the house.
    • Be prepared to have fire and tornado drills and plans posted.
    • You will also need shot records for ever child and emergency contact numbers in an easy to locate place in your home.
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    Double Check State Requirements

    Though you may need more than this, every state is different when it comes to home daycares. Always keep their list of requirements handy so you can check them off as you go along. It all sounds like a lot of work, but if you love being around children and have the patience to teach them and deal with them on a daily basis, then the time it takes in opening a home daycare will be worth it for you and the children.

Home Daycare Basics

This series offers a way for potential home daycare owners to learn what they can expect to go through in the process of opening a home daycare.
  1. The Pros & Cons of Opening A Home Daycare Center
  2. Tips on Starting a Home Daycare
  3. At Home Daycare Qualifications