How To Start A Daycare – A Day In The Life Of A Childcare Provider

The best way to find out if a daycare business is right for you is to learn more about a day in the life of a childcare provider and then to find out exactly how how to start a daycare.

After all, it’s important to know what kind of a job you’ll be getting into if you’re going to be committing to taking care of other people’s children every day.  You might be looking to bring in extra money to your family budget each month, or perhaps you need to provide a full-time income for your family.  If you want to stay home with your kids, running a daycare might seem like the only option available to you.

I’m Joy Anderson and 3 years ago, I was in the same boat as you!  I needed to provide a full-time income for my family, but I desperately wanted to stay home with my kids.  Just like you, I thought that running a daycare was my only option.

As you continue reading, you’ll learn what your daily life will be like if you become a childcare provider, but you’ll also learn what your daily life could be like if you choose to start a… PRESCHOOL instead!  What’s a preschool?  It’s where you teach preschool classes in your home to children ages 3-5 for just a few hours each day.

You see, three years ago, after I did my own research about starting a daycare, I decided to start my preschool instead, and my preschool business has absolutely blessed my life!  I hope this short article will help you decide if you want to continue down the daycare path, or if you’d like to know more about how to start a preschool instead.

So without further ado, let’s dive right in and explore what a typical day is like when you run a daycare in your home.

Frequently Asked Questions


You might believe that every family you sign up will drop off their kids on the dot at 9 a.m. and pick them up promptly at 5 p.m.  Now I don’t know what world you live in, but it’s rare that anyone’s job schedule is 9-5.  Lots of parents work night shifts, and some have errands to run after work–not to mention the commute! What began as an 8-hour work day can easily turn into 10-12 hour child care shifts.

You’ll quickly realize that in order to sign up kids and get paid, you need to accommodate OTHER PEOPLE’S schedule.  After all, if you say your hours are 8 am – 6 pm, and a potential family says they need you at 7 a.m., what are you going to do?  Here they are, saying they’ll pay you if you just change your schedule by an hour.  So of course you’ll say “Okay.”  And the next family that wants to sign up will need you to watch their kiddos until 7 p.m. because the mom doesn’t get off work until then.  So of course you’ll say “Okay.”  And before you know it, your hours will have gotten so out of control that you end up being at the mercy of your paying parents!  And if you say no to them, they’ll stop paying you, and you’ll end up being so afraid of losing your paying parents that you’ll say “Okay” anytime they need to drop off their children earlier, or pick them up later.  So in truth, the only answer to this question is that if you want to get paid, you’ll work the hours that your paying parents want you to work. Which means putting in long, 12+ hour days, and sometimes even nights or weekends!

Remember how I mentioned that I started a preschool though?  My hours are a whole lot different – I only teach for 5 hours a day (9-11:30 a.m.) and (12-2:30 p.m.) and you can bet that I don’t bend to any requests to watch a child earlier or later.

It’s up to you of course, but I’ll tell you this: bored children usually end up misbehaving!  So unless you want to deal with fussy children all day long fighting with each other, you’ll need to set up a daily schedule full of activities for the children.  Have you ever tried to plan out every hour of every day? For weeks and weeks, and months and months?  It’s exhausting!  But these daycare kids will need a structured schedule and they’ll also need to be played with, cared for, and taught.  So you’ll end up searching the internet for hours each day trying to come up with new activities and things to teach them.

And if you think your own kids misbehave, just wait until you get a bunch of kids in your house who don’t have the same rules at their house as you do.  You’ll need to set rules and enforce them, otherwise kids will be jumping on the couch, hitting each other, using language that you don’t want your kids to hear, and acting out for your attention.

Unlike creating 12-hour schedules for daycare, when you start a preschool you only need to create lesson plans for 2.5 hours!  You can use our FUNDAMENTALS Preschool Curriculum to help you plan everything quickly, and the kids always behave better at preschool than they do at home!

Unfortunately, when you have to take care of other people’s kids all day long, you often have little energy left to devote to your own children.  And you’ll spend most of your time making sure your daycare kids are happy so their parents don’t withdraw them from your daycare.

Do you think your kids might act out if your attention is now divided by some other kids they don’t even know?  And what about your older kids–they might start resenting the daycare because when they come home, their home has been taken over by the daycare.  They’ve been away from you all day so when they come home, all they want is you!

On the flipside, one of the biggest benefits to starting a preschool instead of a daycare is that you get paid to spend QUALITY time with your kids!  And honestly, which child wouldn’t love to have their mom actually PLAY with them for 2.5 hours every day by singing, dancing, reading stories, doing arts and crafts and teaching them fun ideas about the world?  And, preschool is only held during school times anyways, so when your older children come home from school, preschool is already over!

Imagine this scenario: The last daycare kid just got picked up.  You’re so exhausted after taking care of other people’s kids that all you really want to do is go upstairs and lock the door to your bedroom so you can have some peace and quiet! But you’ll still have to cook dinner, clean up the house, get your kids ready for bed, and try to squeeze a minute or two of quality time in with each kid while gritting your teeth because you’re so doggone tired and just want one minute to yourself!

But when that’s all done, you can forget about watching a movie, reading a book, or spending time with your husband.  Because after a day like you’ve just had, you have to go to bed early, because in the morning, you have to get up early and do it all over again!

If there’s one thing I cherish most, it’s my sanity.  And I KNOW that I can’t watch other people’s children for 12+ hours every day and still have enough energy to share my love with the people that I care most about.  Instead, while I teach preschool for just a few hours each day, I’m actually giving my children true quality time and playing with them.  That way, when preschool is over, they feel completely loved and they’re fine with playing by themselves for a little bit, giving me an hour or so to enjoy a little bit of “Me Time.”  And I never get burnt out, so I have plenty of energy for my kids and my husband too!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this fun guide, and I look forward to teaching you lots more as you explore your options for making money at home.  Remember, starting a daycare is definitely an option to make money and stay home with your kids, but it is not your only option!  You can continue to learn how to start a daycare, or you can start a preschool instead and save your sanity along the way!

About the Author

Joy Anderson

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Preschool expert Joy Anderson is the creator of Preschool In A Box, the complete business kit to help women start preschools in their homes. She is the founder of the home preschool model and has helped thousands of women create a supplemental or full-time income by simply teaching preschool classes to 3- to 5-year-olds for a few hours each day. She still runs her own wildly successful preschool and can often be found running after her five children and husband in Boise, Idaho.

Comments 3

  1. portia thakheli

    im very much interested in this topic thanx for opening my eyes because from now on the love that i have for kids will be used in a very meaningfull way since when im planning to start my own pre-school right after i graduate next year.thanx once more

  2. sandra hurd

    I’m am very much interested in learning how to start a daycare and i enjoyed reading your guide on this topic!!I know the road won’t be easy but my love for kids will make it all the good.

  3. Myra SAboor

    Hi Joy! Thanks you so much for providing the opportunity to participate in your last drawing. I won the Teaching DVD, thank you. I enjoyed the DVD and I can see that you put in alot of time and energy in producing such a valuable product. I appreciate all of the different teaching styles and will be using some of them in my program. Once again Joy, Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you soon. Myra

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