Moms Expertise

Starting home daycare: how difficult is it?

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Before you start advertising your business, contact your local licensing agency and request a copy of the child care regulation. You want to be an informed provider. Not only will the preparation be good for you and your program, but it will show the licensing specialists and prospective parents that you care about the law.

Consider joining the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) or any of the other reputable national organizations to promote quality child care.

Next, think about the age group you want to host. Most likely, you're looking for companions for your own child, so that will be a factor. Age also has an impact on how many children you can care for. Do you really think you could tend to six infants? Would you want to? Start small.

The NAEYC recommends the following guidelines:

Age Max. Group Size Adult-Child Ratio0-18 months 6 infants 1:3
18-35 months 8 children 1:4
Three years 16 children 1:8
Four-six years 20 children 1:10

Unless you're planning on hiring an assistant, stick with the lower number, and be realistic about your abilities and the space you have to work with.

Child Development Associate certification is sponsored by the Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition (http://www.cdacouncil.org/) a nationally recognized program that seeks to improve the quality of child care.

The cost is about $350 for a three-year certification. Not all states require that home day care providers maintain CDA certification, and it may seem like a lot of effort to invest-especially if the point is to be at home with your own children. But it makes good sense. If you were looking to place your child in a home day care, you would want the provider to have these qualifications. Your children will benefit from the skills you learn as well.

You don't need to have all of this right off the bat, but if you can tell prospective parents that you are actively working towards this certification, that's something.

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