10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Open a Home Daycare
So you think you have what it takes to run a home daycare? Think again. Mwhahahahah! Just kidding. But for real, it’s a lot of work. Keep reading to help you decide if you have what it takes before you open a home daycare!
Before you open a home daycare, ask yourself:
1. Will you be able to share your home?
You may have already thought about the fact that you’ll need space for the children to play. But you’ll also be sharing other rooms of your house too, unless you have a basement or something that you can use just for daycare. I have a room just for daycare, but I still use my laundry room, kitchen, and living room for daycare.
No, we don’t play in the laundry room. But, that is where the kids come in and hang their coats! We don’t play in the kitchen either. But I need to get their lunches ready and be able to watch them at the same time. We use the living room for nap time or movies. At my other house, we used the dining room table too (now I have a table in the daycare room). Think through your whole day to figure out what areas of your home you might need to use before you open a home daycare.
2. Will you be able to keep your space child-proof and clean?
Getting ready to watch babies and toddlers can be a pain in the butt. There are so many things in the home that can be choking hazards that most people don’t think about. Those small stones in the bottom of your flower vase? Choking hazard. The small Lego your ten year old left on the kitchen counter? Choking hazard.
Preschool age doesn’t mean you’re good to go either, though. You still have to child lock any product that says “keep out of reach of children.” Knives and pills need to be in a cupboard or drawer with a child lock.
Some things you just don’t think about until you really start talking to someone who has been doing this for a while. For instance, your daily hygiene items. We have one bathroom in this house. That means that my razor, soaps, toothpaste, and hair products all have to be kept out of reach of children. I’ve trained myself to think about it when I lay something on the counter, but training my husband has been a little harder. Is that something you can do? That’s for sure something to take into account before you open a home daycare.
3. Will you be able to work long hours?
I do know some daycares that are pretty strict on their hours. But, most daycare kids’ parents work an 8 hour day. They also often have a lunch break that’s not counted in those 8 hours. Plus commute time. That means I have kids for 9 hours a day with no breaks. In fact, since not all of my kids arrive at the same time, I have kids for closer to 11 hours a day. Then I do my meal planning and shopping for daycare on the weekends. And sometimes file papers in the evenings! Daycare is not a 9-5 job. Be sure to take that into account before you open a home daycare!
4. Will you be able to live with a smaller yearly income?
When I started my daycare, I quit my full time job in sales. I now make about half the income I used to. However, I’m no longer paying for daycare for 2 kids and we spend way less in gas and eating out. So my monthly profit is actually more working from home! Figure out what your income might be and if it will work for your family before you open a home daycare.
5. Will you be able to be the boss?
Being the boss means more than being in charge. It means you hold all the responsibility and accountability for your business. You’re in charge of keeping track of your income and expenses, marketing, and dealing with rude clients. As a business owner, you are in charge of breaking up with clients when you need to and making the calls when someone is hurt or sick. Bottom line: you’re in charge.
Some more things to consider…
6. Will you be able to be self-disciplined?
Are you someone who can get out of bed before the sun comes up and get ready to start your day? Can you keep the house clean for the kids to have a safe and healthy place to play? I clean way more than I used to – I think more kids drag in more dirt! I also cook for more meals per day, which means more dishes. And sadly there’s tons of papers to be filled out when you’re caring for kids. Before you open a home daycare, don’t forget that when you’re the boss, there’s no one hounding you to get things done on time.
7. Will you family be able to share you?
If you have young (or older!) children, sharing Mom can be a really rough time. Sharing toys is hard too! More time for daycare means less time for husbands and pets too. It’s something you really need to think about before you open a home daycare.
8. Are you able to handle stress well?
Transition times and meal times still get me stressed. It comes with the job. There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed or crazy from time to time (or even on a daily basis!) but you do need to know how to handle it. There’s no one to take over for you if you need a break. If you get anxious easily, learn some coping skills and practice them. Before you open a home daycare is the time to learn to manage your stress – not when you are try to prepare a meal with 6 kids yelling for you.
9. Are you familiar with your state’s laws?
If you’re not, get a copy and read up before you open a home daycare. Every state is different. You have to follow these rules, or you’re not running a legal daycare. You need to make sure nothing in your state’s guidelines are going to be too hard for you to handle before you really start spending money on your business. My state says that no chipping paint can be present, windows must have child locks, and a fence needs to be put in for children to play outside (if there are dangers present). It can get costly fast.
10. Do you have a passion for children?
When it comes down to it, loving this job is the only way you’re going to get any joy from it. It’s stressful on a daily basis. Kids that didn’t sleep well, parents that “forget” to pay on time, messes in your home, and timing conflicts are common in this business. If you’re in it for the pay, find something else because it’s not worth the pay!
I want you to know this: it is totally worth all the stress to get paid to do what you love to do. ♥
What else do you think you need to ask yourself when starting a home daycare? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Comment below!