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You love being home with your little one, but the stress of one paycheck is starting to get to you. Or you're worried about your child never learning to play with other kids. And all of a sudden, starting an in-home day care seems like the perfect solution. Here's the info you need.

Mom with Children at Daycare

Starting a home day care business is a natural move for some moms. Once you've got the baby care routine under control, you might feel ready to tackle this challenge. But there are a few things you should know before you take the plunge.

A home day care center offers several advantages over larger centers: fewer children generally means more personalized care for each one. Parents like that, but they also worry about whether you can provide the same quality of service that a larger center can offer. Your job is show them that you can.

First things first

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.

Are you experienced?

Now, it's time to consider your qualifications. You might laugh -- you're a mom, right? So you obviously know how to care for children. But think about what you'd look for if you were a prospective parent. Child Development Associate certification is sponsored by the Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition ( 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.

Professional and personal rewards

Most day care providers find the job personally rewarding, but many admit that they're rarely viewed as true professionals. Think about your own needs, and if you're a person who requires professional validation. On the other hand, you might be someone who finds a child's hug to be priceless. It's a personal decision -- and there's no right or wrong answer.

A home day care can be fulfilling and financially rewarding. Have you started your own business? We'd love to hear from you in the comments!

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Comments on "How to start a home day care"

Judith D Torres April 04, 2014 | 9:43 PM

Hi, Am interested in starting a daycare at my home. What do I need to do? What are the requirements? If you could send a list of step by step please. Thank you Judith

MissTonya March 19, 2014 | 4:01 PM

Hello, I'm interested in opening a home daycare, but don't know where to start. I have three kids and a spacious back yard. Where do I start?

anna March 12, 2014 | 7:20 PM

hi, i am planning to open a daycare at home. i have 5 mo old son.I have secondary education degree back home and took care of twins from 0- 4 years old. do I need certification or an ECE certification? do I need to get a license? where? do I need to get insurance? permit? is it easier to franchise a daycare?? can u give me ideas of what and how to accomplish the requirements?please. thank you

Joyce March 07, 2014 | 11:51 AM

I want to start a home day care, what are the requirements? I'm currntly studying Pre school Administration and Management online course with Proffessionals Child Care College.pease advice me on my decision. I have a passion for kids and I enjoy working with them. Thank You!

simone March 02, 2014 | 6:52 AM

I am thinking of opening a in home daycare,what do i need to start,and how do i go about it please give me your advice thank you

ankita February 19, 2014 | 11:49 PM

I am thinking of opening a in home daycare,what do i need to start,and how do i go about it please give me your advice thank you

Amelia Van Antwerpen February 19, 2014 | 8:06 AM

Hello. I don't want to start a day care, but I have a school project on designing a home into a day care , and I cant seem to find the official regulations and requirements for the building, as well as for the playground. Can someone please help me, or assist me to someone who will be able to help. I really want to do a good background check before designing. c:

Katherine January 29, 2014 | 10:09 AM

I would like to start a home daycare, but my disadvantage of starting my in home daycare, is that I don't have the funds or resource to start my business. I have a degree in Early Child. I would like so adivce on how can I start my home daycare.

Laura January 14, 2014 | 7:37 AM

Do I need any certifications for a home daycare/after school care? If so what kind and where do I go? I don't know where to start?!

sabrina January 08, 2014 | 10:19 AM

Do i need any certifications for an in-home daycare? and if so what kind and where do i go??

Sharon Scott January 04, 2014 | 10:39 AM

I want to start a daycare from my home I have five kids and a grandson that is 3 year old so you can see I love kids I have my grandson all day long so I am looking for kids that are 4mo to 2yr and 3yr

lisa December 28, 2013 | 4:55 PM

I want to start a daycare for the love of children and also tired of working for other people want to b into business for myself thinking bout 3 and 4yrs olds cause I have a 4yr old grandson who needs interaction with other children his age please advise how to get started

Emily Huston October 24, 2013 | 12:55 AM

Good Post rather i would say an eye opener for many who are considering to start up with day care centers, since it is a not a single day affair, which requires our patience & time to acquire all relevant document to start up with business. But from my experience i can say that to mingle with every kids & feeding them from time to time basis can be a big challenge, which one needs lots of patience & stamina to deal with them, at the same one can enjoy their innocence which we cannot brought even with money.

dimakatso August 25, 2013 | 3:18 AM

hi i would like to open my own day care, ive been longing to do this since i was 17yrs old beause of the love of the children. what do i need to open one for myself?

ceciel August 22, 2013 | 12:56 PM

I am thinking of opening a in home daycare,what do i need to start,and how do i go about it please give me your advice thank you ceciel.

Riekie July 15, 2013 | 6:04 AM

Hi. I just moved to the Freestate in a small town. There is a number of parent looking for a daycare but its impossible to find the righ one. I want to start a Day care ages 0-35months. I am alos starting home studie in January 2014. for pre-school so is it possible for me to open a day care with out a certificate?

Kathy June 27, 2013 | 9:59 AM

I am thinking about opening a small daycare in my home. I have worked in a daycare as an assistant before and loved it. We had lots of things for the children to do. I worked with 12 mth -18mth olds. Though I'm thinking more like working with age bracket of 3 year olds. Also having it only weekends. You don't see many that offer this. I have an education in the medical field not child care. I really want to do this. Just not sure where to begin. I'm ready to work for myself and provide a caring and structured safe and fun environment for children whose parents have to work weekends. I've been there and it's tuff. Any suggestions please?

kedibone June 06, 2013 | 3:30 AM

i want to start a day care

BRENNA WILSON October 23, 2012 | 6:20 PM

I Want to start my own daycare in my home my children attend school all day so it gives me the opportunity to work with children,plus I have being working in childcare for ten years now so I do have the experience.

Shelby June 20, 2012 | 5:27 AM

I've looked into this before and it can be expensive to get started. There are a lot of licenses that are needed in order to run an actual daycare out of your home. If you're up for it, though, start doing research and make it happen. It can be great because it allows your kids to socialize and allows you to be with them all day.

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