Is My House Big Enough for a Home Daycare?

House big enough

So, you’’re thinking about starting your own home daycare?  The first thing most people consider is the physical space in their homes. Do they have ‘enough’ room to start a daycare? How much space do you need to care for multiple children?

It doesn’t really matter how much space you have or where you live, people have created successful home daycares in large homes with fenced backyards as well as small apartments.

What is important is how you organize your home to make the space safe and how the set up meets the needs of yourself and your clients.  Each potential obstacle related to the physical environment can be overcome with some advanced planning and deep consideration for how the children will see objects from their point of view.

 

Having a large home with a room that is designated solely as daycare space will certainly make your work environment easier but it is not necessary.  You can be creative with play space, toy storage, napping beds, feeding equipment and outdoor green space.

Let’’s go through a typical daycare day together and I will bring some physical space concerns to your attention.  You can then consider if each concern will affect your personal situation.  I have a list of solutions at the end of this article for each possible physical space concern.

Arrival

It’’s early morning and the parents are driving up to your street to drop off their children.  What kind of a street do you live on?  Busy main road?  Quiet residential street?  Where will the parents park?  Do you have on street parking available?  What about in the winter?  Do you have a driveway?  How many cars will it hold?

Drop off

Parents troop into your front door and get their children’’s boots and coats off.  How is your front entrance set up? How many people will it hold comfortably.  Is there room for hooks, boot shelves, back packs, a small bench?  Are there stairs?  What type of flooring is there? Think wet muddy boots.

Play time

The day begins and the children jump into their play.  Where will you set up the toys?  Will you have a room designated as a ‘playroom’?  Will you use your living room and have toy shelves or a toy box?

Will you use your finished basement?  Will you use part of all your main rooms, kitchen, living room, dining room, bedrooms and hallway?

Consider the age of the children you will be caring for and the space they will need to move around in their play.  More kids need more room.

Babies don’’t need large spaces but baby equipment such as bouncers, exersaucers, and swings do.

Will you use baby equipment?  What types?  Consider stairs and their location.

Activity time

Will your children be doing arts and crafts? Think about washable surfaces, floors, craft storage and drying racks or a drying line.

You will need shelves or storage for musical instruments,  fine motor activities (lacing cards, beads), books, sensory bins (sand, water), puzzles and games.

Consider what type of activities your age of children will enjoy and what you would like to offer.

Washroom Break

Will you have young children in diapers and/or toddlers potty training? Preschool and/or school age children who are independent in the washroom?

How large is your washroom and where is it situated in your home.  Will you be bringing all the children to the washroom at the same time or can they go on their own?

Where will you change diapers? Where will you store diaper changing materials and spare clothes?

Snack time

Child size table and chairs or your regular kitchen table with boosters/high chairs?  How many children can your table accommodate?

How many chairs do you have?  Do you want to use your regular table and chairs? Cupboard space for children’s  plates, bowls, utensils, sippy cups?

Where will the children play or what will they do while you prepare and clean up snacks and meals?

Outside play

Do you have a backyard? front yard? nearby park? Where can the children run around safely?  How busy is your street? Is your neighborhood park designed for the age of the children you will be caring for?

Are there baby swings? How high is the climber? What sorts of activities/toys do you envision providing for your daycare children?

Sand box? Balls? Tricycles? Think about the ages of the children and what they will be interested in doing.

Consider the space required for those activities.  Will you be going for walks? Will you need a stroller? A wagon?

How many non-walkers will you have? Will you be driving with your daycare children? Do you need a van?

Consider the types and number of carseats you will need.  Think about storing all outside equipment.  Do you have a garage? A shed?

Lunch

Same considerations for snack time.  Is there a chair available for you? You need to eat as well.

Nap time

Will you be caring for children who nap or just rest?  The age of the child will determine the type of bed you will need.  Crib? Playpen? Cot? Rest Mat?

Will you use your couch? Will all the children have the same quiet time or will you need to have a quiet spot for nappers and another space for quiet play?

Do you want to use your bedrooms or have some of your house ‘off limits’?

Bus drop off time

Will you be collecting children off the bus who go to school half days or caring for children after school?  Will you need to walk to the school to pick them up, drive in your car, or walk to the nearest bus stop?

How far is the school from your house? Consider unpleasant weather days. Will you have children napping at this time?

Pick-up Time

Consider a spot for notes, reminders, art work to take home. Parents often have questions and will want to hear about their child’’s day.

Where can you stand and chat with the parents while you still supervise the other children?

Think about your own family coming home at this time.  Will they be able to park their car? Can your front entrance accommodate a crowd of people coming and going?

 

Wow.  What a great day.  Were you able to envision the areas of your home which are perfect for a home daycare?

What about the spaces that will be a challenge?  Don’’t worry if you are thinking, “I can’’t do this!  My house is too small!”  Almost everyone feels that way at the beginning.

No house is too small.  There are solutions to every obstacle.  Overcoming the obstacles starts with recognizing the possible problem areas.

You have just done this step!   Next step is to adjust your routine to accommodate your personal physical space limitations.  Check out these posts to give you some ideas.

Small Space Playroom Solutions

Home Daycare Playroom Video Tour

 

The adventure begins!

Jana

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Comments

  1. Just be sure to also know your state regulations on opperating a child care in your home. Most states have regulations on the square ft needed per child and the number of children you can have.

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