Setting Up An Inhome Daycare

It’s now time to set up your inhome daycare as an actual physical facility. There are different options for setting up your facility, but as you make each decision be sure to make your home not only child safe, but child friendly. It's the parents you have to sell in the end, but if the children are fascinated with your facility that gets you points with the parents.

Do you want your inhome daycare to be a family style environment or a preschool setting?

A family style environment is possible to setup at a fairly low start up cost because you'd be able to use many of the items you have on hand having children of your own. The atmosphere is casual and nurturing.  

A preschool setting, on the other hand, would have a higher start up cost. You need to purchase items like a preschool learning program, kid-sized table and chairs, wall posters, book shelves, cubbies, etc.  The preschool setting is a more structured environment.

Both environments are good. Some children thrive from the family style environment, while other children thrive in the more structured preschool setting.

Toys For Starting an Inhome Daycare

Regardless of which type of setting you choose for your daycare home, you must have enough age-appropriate toys for indoors and out.  And because of the number of toys you will acquire, you need to consider storage necessary for both in your home and outdoors.

When it comes to purchasing toys for your daycare, let me give you a piece of advice from a veteran provider to a newbie...when you're buying toys for your new daycare, buy multiples of some toys to aide in the sharing issue, but buy all the same color or the children will fight over which color they want.  You may giggle, but trust me.  I've been there, done that way too many times regarding this issue.

As I shop for daycare toys, I always carefully consider the entertainment/value quotient, which means, “Is it daycare durable?” and “How many hours of interest from the children will I get from it?”  I also try to keep up-to-date with the coolest toys to peak their interest and get the highest entertainment value out of it.

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Kitchen Supplies for an Inhome Daycare

You need to feed the children, so you will need enough plates, cups, bowls, silverware, high chairs and booster seats. I provide every child with two matching sippy cups. I use sippy cups to cut down on the number of spills and I have two for each child so when one is dirty, I always have a clean one handy.

(Secret: A lot of the children need booster seats to sit at the table and I didn’t want to buy that many. So what I did was saved old telephone books. When I got two, I stacked them one on top of another and neatly duct taped them together, covering all sides. They make great booster seats.  They’re very durable, but when the tape starts wearing out or looking old, I just retape them. It's just one more use for duct tape!)

Bed Linens for an Inhome Daycare

They need a nap, so you will need the appropriate number of  beds, cots or nap mats, cribs or playpens, sheets, pillows and blankets. If you plan of caring for infants, a crib or playpen and a baby monitor would be required.

I let the children bring a blankie from home or I allow them to pick a stuffed animal or dollie from my supplies to sleep with.

I also like to put my children to sleep with music, so for that you would need music players for every bedroom, along with appropriate tapes.

Entertaining Kids in an Inhome Daycare

You need to entertain the children, so aside from general toys you will need:

  • Art and craft supplies such as paper, crayons, markers, coloring books or sheets or colored pencils. I, personally, prefer coloring sheets so that I can give them one at a time, rather than a child scribbling on every page through a coloring book.  There's a lot of coloring sheets available online with all different subjects and favorite characters.
  • Books for them to read and movies for them to watch.
  • Kids love music so a good supply of music tapes or musical instruments means hours of entertainment.
  • Board games and card games have good entertainment value.
  • And don't forget puzzles. Puzzles can come at many different levels. You can have board puzzles for the toddlers, 24 piece puzzles for the preschoolers and 60-100 piece puzzles for the school agers.

Other helpful pages:

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Bathroom Supplies for an Inhome Daycare

For the bathroom, you will need a changing table, a step stool, a potty seat or toilet ring, a single-use towel holder and lots of towels and washcloths.

I might also suggest buying a box of latex disposable gloves for the really dirty clean-up jobs!

Other helpful pages:

Extras Needed in an Inhome Daycare

There are always extras. For instance, if you want the kids to have cute, little cubbies with their names on them somewhere in your home, or separate hooks for them to hang their coats on. Being in Minnesota, I keep a supply of extra hats and mittens for the days kids forget theirs or they get too wet.

There are many, many more items that can be purchased to make your home into an efficient child care facility and to make life easier on you, the daycare provider, but this is a good starting point. You can slowly add more items as you go.

One More Hint: If you need to cut down on the start up cost of your business, check out garage sales, thrift stores and lending libraries.

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Marcia Reagan is the creator of DaycareAnswers and lives in Central Minnesota with her husband and two children.  She's been an in-home daycare provider for over twenty years and loves to share her experience and passion for daycare with other providers.  

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