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Beach Baby 11:36 AM 01-20-2012
Hi everyone! I'm Niki, I live in PA, and am currently a full-time student and SAHM. I will be finished with my Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education in May. I currently babysit for a friend on Fridays and as needed for another family. I would like to start a home daycare, but am feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all! My sons are in school all day and I have my daughter (17 months) at home with me. I'm not sure how to work out daycare with the layout of my home. The first floor is the living room/computer area (very long and open room), which leads to the bathroom. On the other side of the living room is the kitchen which opens up to the playroom. As of right now, I have my daughter and another toddler (20 months), so all the toys are toddler appropriate. I'm wondering how you all do it with different age groups? How do you keep the daycare from taking over your living space? Our basement is not finished, so that is not an option. I think my biggest fear is that I won't be paid. The family I babysit for on an as needed basis has been consistently late with payments. They have never not followed through, but it has taken texts from me and several days of waiting to be paid...each time. Do you have your clients pay up front? Do you charge even when the kids aren't there? I suppose I would love to hear a little about how your home daycares run, if you have the time and wouldn't mind sharing. Or maybe there is a thread already started somewhere? I'm sorry for making this so long...I'm excited to start, but have so many questions and fears!
melskids 12:12 PM 01-20-2012
Welcome MamaNik!

Those are a whole lot of good questions. You've come to the right place for answers! There are so many excellent providers here...and we all learn so much from each other!

First off, are you going to get licensed? Be sure you know what your state regs require.

As far as your set up, Post a couple of pics, if you feel comfortable doing so, and I'm sure you'll get lots of advice. You can google daycare images too and TONS of stuff will come up.

Will you use one room exculsively for DC? Do you mind having them walk through the living room to get to the DC room? Or will you use the front room as the Dc room and move the living room into the playroom? ...Just a few things to think about.

As far as not getting paid, you will need to have policies in place for that...and you will need the backbone to follow through with them.

You'll get alot of good ideas about that here too!!!

Personally, I get paid upfront, and for the spot...whether the child comes or not.

Good luck!

DC is alot of work, but very rewarding as well!
Sunchimes 12:15 PM 01-20-2012
As for getting paid, don't make the mistake I did and skip the handbook part. I had no idea you could get paid in advance until I found this forum. Use the search tool, or the sticky post above, and read some of the handbooks and contracts, then make your own.

You might also google day cares in your area to see if any have a handbook online so that you can see what might be standard in your area.

Good luck!
Ariana 12:23 PM 01-20-2012
Wow full-time student and SAHM and DCP?!! I am also in school (graduate degree in Child Studies, I already have my ECE) but I am only doing one course each semester, it's all I can handle!!

Personally I ask for 3 months worth of post dated cheques that need to be handed in before care begins. I cash them after care has been provided on a bi-weekly basis. I also charge for the "spot" that we mutually agreed upon. I have 1 part-timer who comes 3X a week and she gets charged for those 3 days whether the kid is here or not, same with my full-time child. I charge per day and don't do drop-ins. I also charge a part-day rate (4 hours or less) and a full day rate (4 hours or more).

As far as daycare space it sounds to me like you needs LOTS of storage!! You can then tuck bins neatly away in shelves when your daycare day is over. Working with different age groups is new to me too. I currently have a 21 month old a 2.5 yr old and a 3.5 yr old. The 21 month old makes things very difficult because when she's here there are certain toys I can't take out and certain activities I can't do but luckily she is only 3 days a week. Nearly every toy I have is in a bin so it's easy to rotate toys and keep them hidden when I need to

Good luck we're all here to help!!
Michael 01:45 PM 01-20-2012
Welcome to the Forum! I've upgraded your status. You can post freely now.
Beach Baby 07:28 PM 01-21-2012
Thank you for the responses! I DO need lots of storage! I have seen some pictures on here and am so inspired...and jealous! The kids that I have coming now, walk through the living room and go into the playroom. I currently have all toys in the playroom, and all arts and crafts in the kitchen. My boys also use the playroom as their space to play xbox. There is a huge floor model tv that is going to have to go to free up room. I've noticed that many of you use wall space for shelves. I also came across a picture of a bunch of plastic drawers in an upstairs closet. I have a closet in mind to do something very similar! I am so happy I found you mind is now buzzing with ideas! . I will take some pictures of our play room and get them up asap. It really is a blank canvas...I'd like to paint the walls a new color and add more storage. What colors have you found to be the best for daycare rooms? Instead of spending $800 or more to attend graduation, (I take online classes and the school is a few states away), I am going to take that money and put it into the daycare. I'm unsure about licensing yet. I'd like to, but I think I may see how well it goes first. I'm not sure how many clients I will get, and how well I will do with doing this on a full time basis. I haven't worked full-time (besides being a mom) in 6 years, so this will take some getting used to! I have already started working on a contract. I need to look into a handbook and other forms as well. The family I had issues with will not need me until Spring, when the dad returns to work. I plan to have them sign the contract and pay up front each week right from the start. I love the idea of being paid in advance! I still have tons of questions...I feel like I hit the jackpot by finding this wonderful site!
cheerfuldom 08:13 PM 01-21-2012
I hope you keep coming back for ideas. I wish I would have had this site when I first started. Please check into your state regulations regarding licensing requirements. Additionally, start working on your household budget and see what amount of money you will need to start making following graduation. I would start as small as possible to begin with. you might also look into a line of credit or other loan options to finish your basement. Since you have your own children, the reality is that you will very quickly be running out of room if you take many kids. It can be very difficult when you have the daycare in your living space and it can be difficult for your kids (especially the older ones) to not have a space a part from the daycare kids. Also, with licensing, you may need to provide a particular size space dedicated for just the kids and that type of thing. you already get the best advice possible. ALWAYS get everything in writing and ALWAYS get paid in advance. Do not let the kids walk in your door until you have money in hand. Do not feel that just because you are new that you should not expect respectful treatment. You sound like you have a great foundation of experience and education so price your services accordingly! Decide now what type of families and what hours work best for you and don't be tempted to take families that do not fit that scenario. good luck!
Tags:playroom ideas, policies - categories, rate - structure, training
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