How to Start a Home Daycare

By Melissa Batai

If you love children and want the opportunity to stay at home and take care of your own children while also providing an income for the family, you may want to start a home daycare.  My mom did this for about 15 years when my brother and I were young; she was able to stay home with us, contribute to the family income, and have playmates for my brother and me.

Become Licensed

If you want to start a home daycare, you will have to take steps to become licensed.  Licensing requirements vary by state but will likely require that you are over the age of 18 and have a high school diploma.  Some states are stricter; for instance, my state requires that daycare providers are over age 19, have taken 60 credits of college work and have worked for one year at a licensed day care facility.  (You can learn more about your state’s requirements at

You will also likely need to baby-proof your home, undergo health screenings, and prove that you can provide healthy, nutritious food to the children in your care.

You will also want to contact your insurance provider about increased insurance coverage in the case of an accident.  If a client decides to sue you, you want to make sure that your family’s finances are protected.


Once you are licensed and ready to accept clients, you must begin to advertise.  Consider the following low-cost ways to advertise:

·         If you have already been caring for children, let the families know that you are offering daycare.  Ask them to also tell their friends.
·         Advertise with groups you are already a member of such as your church, your gym, your children’s school, etc.
·         Create business cards and hand them out to people as you are running errands.
·         Advertise in the newspaper and on Craigslist.

Working with Clients

To protect yourself and your business, it is good to have a welcome package.  You will want to include your rules, such as the hours you work, what the financial penalty is for late pick up, how you handle discipline, what would constitute a reason to no longer care for a child, etc.  You may want to check with a lawyer to make sure you have protected yourself thoroughly. 

Also, consider if you will have regular scheduled vacation times.  If so, give new clients a yearly calendar so they can plan for your time off.

Providing care for children is a good job to do from home while caring for your own children.  Many moms have provided day care while their children were young.  Follow the steps above, and you will be on your way to opening a successful home daycare.

What tips would you recommend for someone looking to open a home daycare?

Melissa, a mom to three little ones (ages 7, 3 and 1) blogs at Mom's Plans where she writes about living a fulfilling life on less and focuses on cutting expenses, budgeting, paying down debt, saving money and once a month cooking.


1 comment:

  1. Great article on Day Care... For more information and useful links you may want to look at:


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