Washington, DC family child care licensing: Licensing process
This post is a part of our series on Washington ...
Starting a new business can often be frightening. You’re taking a leap of faith and hoping that you can accomplish your goals and provide the best service out there. Truth is, you can do that. If you’re looking into starting a family child care business, having a plan, and weighing the advantages and disadvantages will prepare you for any situation and ensure you know what to expect.
Every business comes with a long list of ‘must-haves’ and ‘must provide services’. Family daycare is no different. While there are many things you’ll want to take into consideration before opening your child care services, we’ve broken down a few of the ones you’ll want to prioritize.
Depending on your state and local laws, you’ll want to look into what standards you’ll need to meet in order to receive your childcare license. This often includes providing a background history, teaching and education experience, and providing proof that you meet all local mandates for home or building safety.
For your business license, it’s important that you determine whether you’ll be a Sole Proprietor, LLC, or Corporation. While this is primarily for tax purposes, it also allows you to sign up for workplace insurances and will help legally determine how your family child care business is treated regarding liability.
Furniture, toys, materials for curriculum, food, licenses, a website, real estate, tuition billing systems, and any other business expenses all cost money. By creating a business plan and checking into pricing on items you’d like to have on-site, you can create a rough estimate on what it’s going to cost you in order to get your family day care started.
In addition to joining programs, people are always looking to re-gift items or learning materials their children have outgrown. You can reach out to other providers that might be closing down and may even be able to snag some free furniture. Participating in a service like Wonderschool can help here, too — all members receive discounts to different ECE vendors and resources.
Crafting a business plan might be the most pertinent step when it comes to determining if opening and operating a family child care service is the right choice for you. Your business plan will help you create a layout of things such as costs, needed materials, operational ideas and goals, and your marketing strategy.
Most family child care programs rely on their business plan to figure out things like:
The more detailed you make your business plan, the better you can comprehend what’s plausible when it comes to opening and operating on a healthy, long-term basis.
Depending on the size of your startup plans, hiring additional staff to help manage everything can be beneficial. Not only does this help ensure there are more eyes to watch and monitor the wellbeing of each child, but it takes some of the workload off of you. This can be great if your goal is to expand and scale in the long run.
Keep in mind that young children may have allergies. They might grow out of them, or they might live with them for the rest of their life, but being aware of each child’s food allergies or sensitivities can help prevent medical emergencies. When you’re planning the weekly or monthly menu, try to ensure you’re serving food that’s healthy and friendly for everyone. Common allergies in kids are peanuts and milk or dairy-based products.
Kids are like sponges, they soak up information whenever you’re willing to share it. Customizing the curriculum to meet a child’s needs and interests can make all the difference in how they accept new information. While it’s important that children learn the very basics, like speech and numbers, it’s also important that they have a routine that encourages them to desire learning new things. Helping support their drive for learning at a young age further helps them in the future when they begin to learn in more structured environments. For now, play is the name of the game!
Always be ready for unexpected emergencies. They’re waiting around every corner and can pop up at the worst of times. Having first aid kits that are routinely checked and practicing things like tornado or fire drills based on your location can assist in helping everyone know how to react when something unexpected happens. These practices may also be required by child care licensing. This is also where having liability insurance comes in handy. If a child falls and gets hurt, having the insurance to cover on-site injuries can make all the difference.
Be prepared to discuss your emergency plans and standards with any on-site staff, parents, and your local licensing office and plan to review and update it often.
Starting a family child care service is all about balance and consistency. If you’re looking into the idea, making a list of the pros and cons might be the final step in helping you determine if it’s the best option for you.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding opening up your own family child care, or you’re looking to enroll your child/children in an educationally active family day care, contact us at Wonderschool today. We have the resources you need to make a difference in the future education of the children of America.