Finding Your Why
Many providers start in the field because they have young children themselves and need or want to find a way to supplement their household income. They have varying levels of experience with children; some have degrees and have worked in schools or child care centers, others never held a baby until theirs was born. There are a few questions a potential provider should ask themselves prior to beginning their home based child care business.
Why is this a good fit for me, my situation, and my family?
What interests me about caring for young children?
What aspect of my life and professional experience so far will help me in this career? What do I need to learn about children and child care to do this well? What resources are available to help me?
How do I foresee my relationships with the families and children?
What will the impact be on my home and family?
What will a typical day be like?
How much income would I need to earn to make this a worthwhile venture?
Anticipating Your Workload
What hours, and how many per week, can you reasonably dedicate to this profession? Keep in mind the hours that children aren’t in care; there’s still cleaning, planning, grocery shopping, paperwork, and often classes to take.
What are the needs in your area? Are you near factories where early mornings or late evenings might be in high demand? Do more families need care for infants and toddlers, or before/after school care for older children?
How many children can you care for, and what ages? There’s nothing wrong with starting slowly and adding children as you become more comfortable with the work.
Finding Your Path
These resources from Child Care Aware America provide a thorough guide to what prospective providers need to do to get started. Plan to take some time to really work through them and see if this is the right choice for you!
This guide offers much of the information you will need to get started in your family child care business in Illinois. There are sections about planning for your business, preparing your home, creating a contract, planning meals, and much more. This overview of the process is a helpful resource for understanding the steps in becoming a licensed family child care home.