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Day Care | Child Care Loans

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What Do You Need to Open a Daycare Center?

If you love children, starting a daycare center is a smart business choice. With a daycare business, you can go small, by having a home daycare, or big, by using a space with several different classrooms. You have to not only set up the daycare space, but must also have all of the legal necessities arranged.

Licensing and Legal Matters

Licensing requirements vary from state to state. For example, you may need a license for a home daycare only if you have a certain number of children that you watch. Licensing typically involves a visit to the site to check for safety and current paperwork on each of your children. To learn about the license requirements of your state, talk to the Department of Social Services, Department of Health or Department of Family Services.


You can operate a daycare in your home, provided you have enough space for the number of children you want to watch. Otherwise, you'll need a separate building. When looking for a location, look for a place that has a large outdoor area for children to play in. If you are starting a large daycare center, you'll probably want a building that has separate rooms so that you can easily divide the children by age. In this type of setting, you should design special bathrooms for the children, with low toilets suitable for potty training children.

Setting Up Shop

Set up a large play area for the children. You'll need a wide variety of toys, games and art supplies to entertain the children. It's easiest to focus on one age group so that you can purchase age-appropriate toys. Look for toys that offer learning opportunities for the children and that encourage both mental and physical development. You'll also need to be sure that the area you've created is safe. There should be no sharp angles for children to bump against and the outdoor area should be fenced. Plug any outlets with safety caps, lock cupboard doors and keep dangerous chemicals out of reach.

Daycare Extras

If you will be driving the children around--on a short shopping trip, for example, or to their preschool--you will want a van that has extra car seats inside to accommodate all of the children. You will also need to decide whether you are going to offer meals and snacks to the children, or whether parents are required to bring them. If you will offer them, you will need the space to cook and healthy foods to serve.

Hiring Staff

In large daycare centers, hiring staff to take care of the children is a must, but even a home daycare can benefit from having occasional help. The staff that you hire should have experience working with children, especially in the age group that they will work with. If possible, hire staff that has child development or educational training.

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