My sister did this. My suggestions, have a contract made up for parents to sign with things like giving you notice before pulling a child for whatever reason. This protects you from some one picking up their child and never coming back, then you will always have notice of how many children you will be caring for and can find a replacement asap. Also, I would include rules for sick children, needing doctor documentation for a missed day, what you will charge for an unexcused absence, what items (if any) parents are responsible to provide to you.
I wrote my sister's contract for her and may still have a "generic" copy lying around. I would be happy to look for it and email it to you if you are interested. Just email me @ jenjen21502 AT yahoo.com. Also, ANYTHING you spend money on for the daycare; toys, computer games, crayons, video games, diapers, wipes, even food, or if you buy special or extra pieces of furniture that the daycare children will be using, ANYTHING the children will be using SAVE ALL RECEIPTS. After her first year of doing this we were very surprised at what can be written off for taxes, sometimes you can even take a percentage of utility bills as a tax write off. Hope this was helpful. and Good Luck!
I had a home daycare for 11 years and the hardest lesson I learned and the best rule I ever made was to have them prepay for the week or month. They paid on Monday for the week and the 1st of the month for the whole month. That way you don't have to stress about people leaving or pulling their kids out without paying. I was very fortunate to end up having very good kids and parents but as you know being a teacher, every kind will come your way. Have a contract and update yearly. I started with 4 or 5 pages and it ended up being 18 pages long after 11 years. Stick to your rules. Even the best of parents will take advantage of you, but ONLY if you ALLOW it. Good luck! (12/21/2008)
When you take a new child you are taking on the whole family as well. Decide what behavior you will tolerate and what you will not. Children are very aware of what will work with the parents and what will work with you. Stay sweet but firm. Always have them pay in advance on Monday for the weeks care. I have them pay me for the whole week and then 1/2 if they are on vacation. All of the federal holidays should be paid for you.
Call the local child care centers and find out what their policies are and fashion your contract accordingly. Keep it simple. Mine is one page. Pay me on time. Don't bring your child if they are sick. Hours of operation. Simple and to the point. I also have the children in my care make up the rules and I add what I expect of them.
They all have to sign it and it is posted on the refrigerator. This makes it easier to enforce the rules. If one child hurts another child they need to apologize to the child's parents. This has stopped most problems. Realize that you are working really hard and plan part of your day when no one can interrupt you. When I eat lunch, about 15 minutes, it is quiet time and the kids know to leave me alone. This is accomplished in a positive way with a cheerful reminder if necessary. Best of luck to you. I have been doing this for over twenty years. (01/13/2009)
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