Considering Opening A Home Daycare? Five Questions to Ask Yourself!

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1. How do you recharge your batteries? By being social or by spending time alone?

Young children can be very draining because they have so many needs all day long. If you are the type of person who recharges and regroups by chatting with a friend then you will need to set up a time during nap time to chat online or on the phone. Working alone at home with young children all day can be very isolating if you need adult social interaction.

Most of your daycare children will not have the ability to engage in lengthy conversations with you yet. It is a different scenario than working in a daycare centre. A quick hello in the morning to a co-worker, a chat during your lunch break or even going out to grab lunch or do a quick errand will bring you in contact with other adults. When you are at home you need to actively plan that adult contact or you will find yourself quite alone in your work.

If you are a social person and love any type of social interaction then you will enjoy being surrounded by young children all day.  Children adore social interactions with adults and most three year olds can be delightful to chat with all day long.  Children learn through conversation and discussion.  They ask a million questions. If being social comes naturally to you, this is a wonder outlet for your talent.

On the other hand, if you are someone who needs quiet solitary time to recharge then it will be easier to find that time. Many caregivers recharge and rebalance while the children are napping.

2. Do you enjoy children for who they are?

Children live in the moment and that aspect of their worldview affects how they interact and behave with everything and everyone. If you enjoy spending time with children for the way they slow down and notice the little things in life then you will delight in their focus on a daily basis. If you struggle with a slow pace to the day, if you love being efficient, multi-tasking and being surrounded by an ordered environment then this line of work may not be for you.

Please remember, young children do not have the ability yet to think ahead to avoid making a mess or getting dirty. They realize that their feet will get wet AS THEY ARE walking through the puddle and feeling the wetness seep into their shoes. Are you someone who panics at the sight of a big muddy mess? Spending the whole day trying to avoid a mess will eventually leave you exhausted. Daycare and mess seem to live together hand in hand.

Children are great for creating more humour in our lives.  Some people might see a big mess while another person might see a great photo opportunity and a good laugh.

3. How do you feel about working from home?

Your home is no longer just your home, it is also your business. People will be coming into your home five days a week and your home will show the ‘wear and tear’ of hosting a group of children day after day. Children don’t intentionally damage your furniture and home but accidents happen and toddlers don’t realize their own strength. Your walls will get dents in the drywall. You will need to repaint. Your couch will show the activity it sees every day. So will your carpets and floors.

Many people buy large homes and then only spend a few waking hours in them everyday. However, every inch of your house will be used and enjoyed. You will be able to stay at home and spend time in your house and yard.  Your commute to work will be very fast!  Being surrounded all day by the comforts of your own home is appealing to many people.  Other people like to separate their work space from their home life.

4. Does being your own boss sound appealing?

You are thinking about starting your own business and that means you will be your own boss. Being your own boss has many benefits. Everything is up to you to decide! It also has some downfalls. Everything is up to you to do! Here are some pros and cons to being the director and the sole employee of your home daycare.

Cons:

  • Each client has their own needs that they want you to accommodate, this can become a juggling act.
  • You will have to manage all aspects of the business; advertising, enrolments, interviews, child care, menu planning, meal preparing, cleaning, parent communication, teaching, taxes, tracking payment, etc.
  • sometimes clients will leave unexpectedly because they are moving, having another baby, or are experiencing job loss themselves. You will need to be financially savvy and plan for the unexpected.

Pros:

  • you decide on your hours and rate of pay.
  • you decide on vacation time and sick day policies, age of children you will care for and how you will organize your day.
  • you don’’t have someone else dictating to you how you should run your daycare, you make your own decisions and your own policies

5. Do you have the support of family and friends?

Running your own business means being pulled in many directions. It significantly reduces your stress level if you can count on your support network.

If you have a spouse/partner, they need to realize that the business changes the dynamics of your home. You are now sharing your personal space with your clients. Daycare toys and equipment will often seep into all the rooms of your house.

Since you are at home, you will have the opportunity to accomplish little tasks during the day (dishes, laundry, or garbage) and thus reduce the list of chores for the weekends.  Simply being home to let in the furnace repair man saves a spouse from taking the morning off work.

If you have children that will be home during daycare hours they will need to be on board with running a home daycare because they will have to share their house, toys and parent’s attention with the daycare children. Creating an environment free from jealously is important for a harmonious work environment.

It is very helpful to have backup support when several other families rely on you for care. Normally if you had a dentist appointment or your car needed to go into the shop, you would take a day off work. When you have your own home child care business it is hard for you to take days off because you could have several different families relying on you for care. It is sometimes easier to have a friend or family member take your car in or watch your own children after work while you go to a late dentist appointment.

Your daycare parents already have to take time off work for their own appointments and if they also have to take more time off for your appointments, it  can sometimes become too inconvenient. This is why some people end up choosing a daycare centre. In a daycare centre, if the caregiver is sick, then a supply will care for the children that day. Some home daycare providers have their own ‘supply’ care giver (another daycare provider or a family friend) who they use. This person could meet and talk to the parents so that they are familiar and feel comfortable with this person. It is stressful for parents who have limited time off work to take a day off unexpectedly, they appreciate it when their daycare provider has a backup system to ensure reliable care.

Does home daycare sound like the right match for you?  It is a fantastic line of work and a great option for many people who want to stay home with their own children as well.  I hope these five questions helped you consider home daycare in more depth.  Knowing the obstacles you may face will help you build a ladder to climb above them.

Comments

  1. Helpful piece. I am looking at quitting my paid employment for lack of fulfillment and to go into Home Day care. I love children. They are my world and make my day. Thanks for the candid insight to my planning.

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