In home childcare...

Discussion in 'Early Childhood Education Archives' started by jlkcek101504, Feb 12, 2006.

  1. jlkcek101504

    jlkcek101504 Rookie

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    Feb 12, 2006

    I have some questions for all of you that have childcare in your home. I currently work in a daycare setting as a preschool teacher. However once I decide to start a family of my own I would like to have a little childcare business in my home. Can you tell me the pros and cons to this ... also do I need to be state certified...is it legal to have childcare in your home if you are not state certified? I have lots of questions regarding this. Is it best to just go by word of mouth or advertise. What happens if you get sick? By reading this forum all of you seem to have great advice....please help :confused:
     
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  3. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Feb 12, 2006

    JenPooh is the one to answer you questions and I don't think she is online right now.
     
  4. kittnhawk

    kittnhawk New Member

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    Feb 12, 2006

    I have an in home child care in Washington State. You can contact your DSHS and have them direct you to a licensor for information on your State requirements. In Washington we can get all the information on the Washington State Gov web pages. You can email me at kittnhawk@aol.com if you need any help with contracts etc happy to share what I do with you . Carrie
     
  5. angncfl

    angncfl Rookie

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    Feb 13, 2006

    I would only do licensed care in my home, too many issues if you don't. Check your states Department of Children and Families site to see what the requirements are.
    Advertise with a small ad in the childcare column of the classifieds, that will usually give you many calls and it's cheap.
     
  6. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Feb 13, 2006

    Well, for starters, be prepared to love it and hate it at the same time. I'll give you my two cents first, the pros and cons, then go into legalities.

    My situation was a little more perfect than others have had to deal with. At the time I started my in-home, the daycare I had been running for another organization was closing, so I got to take 5 of those kids with me...all from the same classroom (my son's). I was a little spoiled because I didn't have to do any searching for kids, and still am because I have almost all the same kids. When you start out the kids may not come right away so be prepared to advertise and spread the word of mouth. The newer kids I have gotten since then have been by word of mouth. To be honest, I would rather trust someone through word of mouth than just anyone off the street, however, before you take any children you do interviews with them to figure out if those children will work for your home or not. I have an extensive 25 page handbook and run my home just like a regular group center. I make sure the parents and the children come over for a couple hours so I can get to know them and find out if the child will fit my home's environment or not. Being that this is in my home, I am a lot more picky about behaviors, etc. I would not allow and will not ever allow an extremely violent or difficult childr into my home daycare. Of course kids will be kids, but this is my "home" and do not tolerate extreme behaviors.

    If you can, take on one age group. I take ages 2 on up and do a whole kindergarten readiness curriculum with them. Others who I have known only take infants and toddlers. When you have your own children you can take kids that match the ages of your own children. Meaning, when you have a baby, take infants at that time. Then once the baby gets older change your age group as your child gets older. It is tough to take on a very mixed age group of children and I would never recommend it. The types of people who take on mixed age groups are generally the types who don't do any activities with the children because they simply don't have time due to having 2 infants, a toddler, a 2 year old, and a 4 year old etc. Those providers who do curriculum with them and stick to a single age group get better word of mouth and a better reputation. It's all a part of the marketing of your childcare business.

    When it comes to marketing and advertising you can do cheap things besides putting an add in the paper. Not many people around here answer ads in papers. Make fliers, brochures, etc. Register with your local Resource and Referral agency. Also contact other providers in your area that you can network with. If they are full they could bump them over to you, or vis versa.

    Pros are being with your own children, however, be prepared for your own children to give you the most trouble (in many instances, not all). I don't know why, but every provider I've talked to(including me) deals with this and I am not sure why. My son is a lot of times the worst behaved, yet when he goes anywhere else he's an angel!:confused: . Many providers will tell you they didn't know how easy it could be after their children went off to start school in K. HOWEVER, the pros in that area outweigh the cons. You get to see their firsts of everything, you get to spend quality time, plus it's the best of both worlds...socialization with peers while being with their mommy at home.

    Other pros are...you don't have to answer to a "boss", you kind of can write your own schedule (some people are open only certain times, I am open 7am-5:30pm, some only from 8-4), you can determine how many kids is too many (I'm licensed for 8, but I only take 6 on any given day so I can still have a small enough group), you get more done around the house than you'd think, it takes me only 15 minutes to get ready in the morning and I don't have to drive anywhere if the weather is icky, I can dress comfortably and declare any day a pajama day if I'd like, I can sit on the couch during naptime and read (although, I'm usually on here:eek: ), and I don't have to work with people who are not dedicated to their job.

    The cons are...you can't come and go as you please (you have to have an extreme amount of work ethic), you are stuck in your house without your conversations going above a preschoolers level, you can't holler at someone else for help if your day is going crappy because you work by yourself (sometimes that's a pro), if problems arise you have to handle it all on your own, all of the supplies and food comes out of your pocket (depending on the age and what the parents provide...I am on the federal food program and get money sent to me for purchasig of food, however, it doesn't come out to what I really spend, but it helps), you can't just have your home to yourself...the kids invade every corner except in my room and my son's room (I try to keep my home looking like a home though...nothing is put up, the kids toys are in nice looking pull out decorative shelves, etc.), and everyone thinks that because you are in your home that you just "babysit" kids (that's my biggest pet peeve, and I let it be known to those who say that;) ) I have also had family members that think they can just use me as a free service...I don't allow it...this is my "business" and my job.

    There are two ways to go...you can get licensed which is through your state, or certified which is through your county. Certification is way easier and much less work. However, being licensed has many perks...you can get more money from food programs, etc., parents take you more seriously and respect you more, and you gain a better reputation when you are licensed. Certification is recommended for people starting out. While you are certified and getting kids in your home you can start the licensing process during that time. However, if you have a lot of daycare experience and knowledge of licensing rules in group centers then you may feel comfortable going with licensing in your home right away. Once you have mastered the licensing for group centers, doing it in your home is a snap!

    As far as the legality of it all, if you decide to do it under the table (which I wouldn't recommend) make sure if they pay you by check that you DON'T give out your SS# or they will be able to claim it on taxes and you will get fined and possibly get thrown in jail. It would also be hard to find parents who are willing to pay you under the table. When parents fork over that much in childcare costs, they are going to want to claim in on their taxes. Here's the beneficial part of the taxes side...I pay our taxes quarterly. I have so much to deduct that I normally don't end up paying all that much. At the end of this years taxes I figured out that I grossed about $30,000, but I only brought home about $17,000 of it because of all the stuff I deduct, plus I got a $5,000 return. So, it really does pay to do it all legally and formally.

    Oh, as far as being sick. I have never been sick yet to where I have had to call the parents, however, it is written in my handbook that if I am ill I will contact the parents as soon as possible and they will not have to pay for those days I am sick. Any other time, they have to pay regardless if the child is there or not. If my kid is sick, I let the parents know and it is their decision to keep their child here or not, but also let it be known that if their child gets ill enough to not be able to be here, they will have to keep them home...it's their choice.

    I hope I answered all your questions. If not, let me know and I can help you out. The first thing to do is contact your local Health and Family Services agency and get any information you can because all states are different. Good luck!
     
  7. jlkcek101504

    jlkcek101504 Rookie

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    Feb 13, 2006

    JenPooh you are very helpful! Great ideas you said some things I would never think of. Where do you do work with the children? We are in the process of possibly buying a new house and in the back of my mind I am trying to find on where I can dedicate the entire basement to it. Is that needed or not? Like where do they sleep? On the floor on mats? How did you decide how much to charge? I would like to do this but I do not have any children of my own yet. What about when I have my own children how would that work with once I have the baby in terms of time off. Also, what do you do in the summer? Is yours run year round? How about family vacations? Sorry about all the silly questions but it is interesting to see what other people do... Thanks for all your help!
     
  8. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Well, in my handbook I state that I am able to take 6 personal days off and 1 week vacation off, all paid. Any other days I take are not paid. I allow them "voucher days", meaning a certain amount of days free they can take for vacation days or sick days. Once a child is here, like if they got sent home sick, they can not be used. They also may not be used on my vacation/personal days or on holidays (all which are paid adn I am closed). I allow 2 free days for every full day and 1 free day for every half day enrolled to use for each calendar year. You have to be fair to yourself and the families you are caring for.

    I live in a very small house...2 bedroom, 1 bath and not a finished basement. My kids sleep on our two sofas and on the floor. One of my girls who I have known since she was an infant sleeps on our bed. If it were anyone else I probably wouldn't allow it, but she is like another one of my own to me. The parents provide sleeping bags, pillow, and a blanket that are sent home to be washed every week. I have a seperate kitchen and dining room which makes it easier for space. I keep a fold out Little Tykes picnic table in my kitchen during the week for certain activities and meals. On Friday afternoon, it goes downstairs so I can have my whole kitchen back:). I keep all the toys in the dining room. Our friends that come over don't even know half the toys I have because they are in Asian looking pull out drawers that are decorative. An ideal situation would be to have it seperated from your house, like in the basement, but even then, you will find yourself using other portions of your home...bathroom, kitchen, etc.

    I do run year round. All the families I have are working families who need year-round care. I also do not do nights or weekends, only M-F from 7am-5:30pm. I also do not make exceptions, even if someone needs care until 5:45. I have $1 a minute late fee as well. I try to keep my business and home life seperate, even though I do things with some of my families on weekends with our kids, but they understand that my hours are my hours and they are respectful of that.

    Each area is different so you will want to call other daycares (group and home) for prices to figure out what you will charge. I go right in the middle...not the lowest in town, but certainly not the highest. You can't go wrong with in the middle!

    Any other questions, definitly feel free to ask. Going from a group center to home center was an easy transition. Don't worry. Once you've have the group experience, the in-home is a sinch...different, but it's an easy transition. You just have to make sure you are professional and VERY organized.
     
  9. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Feb 13, 2006

    Oh...one more thing. We do all our activities in the living room (non messy) and the kitchen. I do learning centers and have them set up throughout the areas for the kids to rotate with. We do our circle time in my son's room and they are NOT allowed to play with his toys...we are only there for circle time because I refuse to hang a child's calendar and weather chart in my living room or living areas of my home. After that, we have a potty break and come downstairs for our learning centers.
     
  10. Myname

    Myname Comrade

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    Feb 13, 2006

    I did daycare in my home for my neighbors and I was not liscenced. I had them bring their own lunches and I was super cheap so they could not claim it on their taxes. I figured what they get back in their taxes for claiming daycare and then I gave them the savings upfront. This worked out great. I would if I were you definately pick an age group that works with your own kids. I did school age when my daughter was an infant so that I could still be home with her alone. So I started out with before and after school care. That still gave me my days free with my own child.
     
  11. Lainie

    Lainie Companion

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    Feb 13, 2006

    This is what I've been wondering:

    If you could, would it be a giant pain in the rear to have a home daycare in a house you don't live in? Does it matter? I'm a bit leary of having a daycare center in my own home (let's just say I like my personal space to be personal), but have considered maybe finding a smaller house (a one-bedroom, maybe) to use instead.
     
  12. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    That would be called a group center then and you'd have to get a group center licensed. In home licenses are for the home you live in. You have to be living on the premises for an in-home license. Anything not being lived in by the provider has to get a group daycare center license.
     
  13. ad65shorty

    ad65shorty Companion

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    Feb 15, 2006

    This is my first year teaching preschool out of my home, and I absolutely love it! Here's what I've discovered, or things I've done that work for me.

    Like Jen said, make sure you're certified and that you know your cities legalities. Some places will only allow you a specific amount of kids before you have to hire someone else to help you. Otherwise, you could have the law against you! Plus, parents prefer sending their child to a licensed preschool.

    I teach out of my townhome basement. I keep everything down there so that my whole home is not a "daycare," and I have most of my house as my house. The kids know not to wander to any other part of the house, and I have had no problems with this whatsoever! On special days, we will do cooking in the kitchen. We also have a park nearby that I take the kids to for outdoor play. My basement is not huge, but the kids honestly don't know any different so it works for us!

    I teach 3 days a week for 2 1/2 hours per session. I do T,W,Th from 9-11:30, and 12:30-3. This way, I get a 4-day weekend, and I miss most Monday holidays. I follow the school district schedule for holiday breaks and summer vacation, etc. I also began a week later than the normal schools and will end a week earlier.

    I also agree with Jen about having one age group. I have pre-kindergarten kids, and my focus is preparing them for kindergarten in the fall. They had to be 4 by September 1st (our district cutoff date for entering kindergarten) so I've got some who are 4 and some who are 5. I love it and wouldn't have it any other way in that aspect!

    Because of this flu season, I've had to cancel two days because my son was sick. No one has ever had a problem with it, mainly because they're all moms and understand. I stated at the beginning that I'm allowed 4 sick days for family or personal reasons, without having to make it up or reducing the price. My tuition is due at the beginning of the month, and I do have strict late fees. Also, if their child misses a day or days, the price is still the same, too. I do not allow sick children either.

    As far as advertising, when you register through your city, most often, they'll put your preschool's name on a list for people who request it. I've received many calls that way. I also did flyers and word of mouth. I got really discouraged because I live in a very transient area and didn't have the numbers I wanted at first. Amazingly, I found many parents procrastinated, and I got my biggest rush in August! I also am already maxed out for next year, which is great! And I have done no advertising.

    I have also found that I have a lot more parental support. We travel by car for field trips, and I've always had way more parents than I need. The parents and I are on a very personal level now so when situations come up, I can discuss them. When a child is struggling with a concept, I mention it to the parents, and they do extra work at home to help. That's kind of the nice thing about this for me is that my parents wanted to put their children in preschool and are willing to help them be successful!

    I also love the small numbers (I have 6-7 children per session). Each child gets a lot of individual attention from me, and I know their unique personalities very well. I also love the fact that I can hug them and hold them in my lap, which you've got to be careful with in the public school system.

    Some other things I love, is I've found there's a lot less prep than when I was teaching public school. I dedicate Monday afternoon for prepping for the week, and about 1 hour at night to put things together for the next day (and most often, it's less than that). I love the fact that my little one is involved socially with the kids and is very social and verbal for his age. I also love that he can nap upstairs during the afternoon session and that I'm close by. I love that I have no recess duty, I can guide my own curriculum and do all those fun activities I always wanted to do, and I have no one to answer to except myself.

    I highly recommend this as a job!! It's so flexible (you set your own hours, your own pay, etc.). I love the fact that I'm not driving forever, and I'm not occupying my time with meetings. I can also pick and choose if I want to teach one year and not the next without having any penalties. The one thing I miss most though is conversing with other teachers to get ideas. I'm very much a team player, and it's hard to not bounce ideas off of others (my husband isn't as interested :) ). I have an old teaching friend who ran preschool out of her home for 12 years so I was able to rely on her a bit at the beginning to get ideas. But other than that, it's what I love!! I

    I hope this helps! Good luck!
     
  14. nutrasweet122

    nutrasweet122 New Member

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    I live in Indiana. Here you can have in-home center that are ran outside of your home. The licencing is the same as if you were having the center in your own home. I worked for someone who started small in their home with 5 kids, and when she grew 8 decided it was too much for in her own home. She then moved to a house with a detatched garage and ran a center from there. She eventually kept that center running and has now opened a second center in a house nearby.

    I would imagine that you would need to contact the licencing people in your state to see if having a seperate location would be an option for you.
     
  15. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Around here it also may depend on the number of kids. You may be able to get an in-home center liscense if you only want to be licensed for up to 8 kids total. Last time I inquired about that around here though they told me it was so such thing and that if I wasn't living there I'd need to get a group license...but you know how some licensers can be...every one tells you something different.
     
  16. angncfl

    angncfl Rookie

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    Feb 16, 2006

     
  17. jlkcek101504

    jlkcek101504 Rookie

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    Feb 16, 2006

     
  18. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Ang, I would contact people around the neighborhood you'll be moving to and find out what they charge...in-homes AND large group preschools and centers. Many preschools get about $100-$150 a month around here. Daycares who do all day care get about $150 a week for their full time child depending on the age. I get $165 a week for a 2-6 year old full time. I charge $38 a day for full days (more than 4 hours), $28 a day for half days (up to 4 hours) and I give a little bit of a break for the 5th full day if they are full time (that's why it's $165 for 5 full days).
     
  19. ad65shorty

    ad65shorty Companion

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    You'll have to ask around your neighborhood and see what the going rate is. You definitely want to be competitive with the rates where you live. Around here prices vary from city to city, and even from neighborhood to neighborhood. I live in a smaller city and charge $70 a month (for 2 1/2 hours, 3 times a week), but when I lived in a bigger city nearer to Salt Lake, I would've charged $100 a month because those are the going rates. Also, because I am certified and licensed, I charge a tad bit more than others (the other lady in the neighborhood does $55-60 a month and is not licensed). Good luck!
     
  20. angncfl

    angncfl Rookie

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    Feb 17, 2006

    Oh, I'm sorry, Girls, I confused you in my quick reply...I had to get back to work and didn't realize the way it sounded. I was trying to quote shorty, but it didn't take....so nothing worked for me, because I haven't done inhome preschool :))

    And...we have no immediate plans of moving, just sort of a "what if" we ever did thing. I'm a director at a full time center. We do offer part time from 8:30-12:00 for $60 a week right now, until we fill up. Once we're full and I can afford it, I will only fill with full timers. I have 3 out of 32 coming part time. I just wasn't sure what others would charge for an inhome preschool set up. The average full time rate w/out meals is between $95-125 here. With meals it goes upwards to $140+. We just opened in August and will keep our rates the same until August of 2007. At that time, we'll increase them a bit because we should be full and established...able to compete with the "big dogs" of the more well known centers in the area.
     
  21. Suzidc

    Suzidc Rookie

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    I did child care in my home from the time my son was 3 until last year (he will be 14 in a few weeks) I LOVED it, I feel 100% that it was the right things for me to do. I took it to many levels over the years, from babysitting to a full fledge preschool program to an after school program while I went to school full time. many states have tuition assistance for early child education magers. I know Pennsylvania is one. I have a good friend that has a home daycare there. It was difficult at times to establish myself (we are military and move) but once I did I was able to charge more then others, and remained full off of referals and I received the 5 star status available from North Carolina and also a grant worth $20,000. I am sure you have a lot of your answers already from posts in this thread I just wanted to add that home child care is a wodnerful way to stay home with your children while also building something for your self. You can take it anywhere you want to, many people fear that comeing from a home child care background they will not be taken seriously. I personally built up my daycare and was very well respected that I was able to land a great position outside the home when I was ready and felt mykids no longer needed me at home 24/7
     
  22. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Suzi, I agree. If you do it right and professionaly, you will be highly respected in every way. I think a lot of people just need to be educated on what family childcare really is about and there are many misconceptions.

    How did you get that grant by the way?
     
  23. jlkcek101504

    jlkcek101504 Rookie

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    All of you have given me such great things to think about. I have contacted the city where I live and they sent me a whole packet that lists all the requirements. Keep the ideas coming.
     
  24. Suzidc

    Suzidc Rookie

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    Feb 21, 2006

    Jenpooh, at the time I was in north carolina and the governor there was very pro early child education. I was the vice president of the child care association and we helped to write the smart start grant for our county. Every county in north carolina had the grant soem got more then others depending on how the grant was written. I was on the first round and got extra money at the end of the physcal year.
    I agree home daycare needs much more education umnfortunately I am at work and just got kids in so I will need to cut this short sorry, talk to you later
     
  25. JulieC

    JulieC Rookie

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    Feb 21, 2006

    I do Preschool for three hours the morning, four days a week I agree with JenPooh - having your own kid in with you is really hard - my little boy can be one of the hardest in the group. The law here wouldn;t be relevant to the USA, but I find the hardest thing is when people knock at your door at half eight on a Saturday morning looking to know if you have space. I have been called to the door in my dressing gown, interrupted while having dinner and (thankfully) called away while scrubbing the toilet! Then when you tell people that you don;t have space they abuse you, call you racist and try bully you into taking them. Some will even try to haggle fees! That's my bitching done - apart from that I find it a great way to combine making a living with being a full-time mom to three kids.
     

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