How to decide if starting a daycare is the right move for you

Starting a Daycare

by Fiona Lohrenz

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Savvy Business Start-Ups

What You Need to Start a Daycare

You've always dreamed about starting your own day care business. It's the perfect situation, which allows you to be with your kids whilst bringing in much needed money and being your own boss. But due to fear of the unknown you haven't done so. You're afraid to take that risk.

My advice to you is remove the fear. Get a taste of the childcare business first and see if it is a profession that you would enjoy. Immerse yourself in this environment for research purposes. Get a job or offer your services at a day care. Try to find one that will allow you to bring your children with you or get a kindly family member to help out while you are researching. Do whatever it takes get the time off work. Remember, this is your future you are planning.

Observation and practical application is great for figuring out what works and what doesn't. Plus there is nothing like on the ground experience to figure out your suitability for a particular profession. You can learn so much from an existing daycare that could save you a lot of time and effort in the future. They've already made the mistakes so you don't have to.

Your research period should be your sponge phase, soaking up every jot of information. Have a pen and paper at hand and take notes on your lunch break or right after you get home while it is still fresh in your mind. Absorb all paperwork, policies and procedures every chance you get. You won't remember it all now, but it will give you an overview of how it all fits together to facilitate the smooth running of the operation.

Don't be afraid to ask questions, especially of the owner or more senior, experienced staff. Observe how they work and their methods of interaction with children, parents and other staff. Identify the different staff roles. Does each room have a key worker and assistants? How is the team dynamic and could it be improved? Be aware of health and safety routines and issues. Notice the behavior policies and whether or not they are adhered to. You will notice weaknesses too, but use those to your advantage and learn what not to do.

Effective systems, policies and procedures enable a business to run smoothly and give management and staff structure and direction. The same applies to day care. Once you remove the fear of the unknown by immersing yourself in the daily operations of a day care, all the pieces will come together in your head, enabling you to get beyond the fear to a more confident and constructive place. Throwing yourself in at the deep end, observing all the nuts and bolts of a day care business, will give you an invaluable insight into your own suitability for this profession.

Most importantly though, it will give you a very good idea if childcare is a business in which you could thrive. You will need to love it because, like any business, there will be tough times and your passion is what will carry you through to success. So, get researching. You are on the path to the perfect business for you and your family.

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