childcare providers, Parent information

Questions Parents should ask when interviewing potential Home Daycare Providers

“I’m going back from maternity leave and need childcare, a center is too expensive for my income, but home childcare worries me. How do I know if my child will be taken care of? What questions should I ask? Where can I go to find home childcare providers?”

Childcare is everywhere, however in most areas waiting lists to get in are long and hard to predict if you are getting in. You could spend weeks interviewing centers to may not get a call until it’s too late. Cost unfortunately is also a huge issue and can really put a dent in your finances. So many people decide that home childcare is a better option financially for them. Many question rise when it comes to home childcare, Is it legal? Is it safe? Are the fees tax deductible? How do I find the right home for my family?

There are many places that you can find home childcare, referrals from friends, Kijiji, Facebook, the list goes on. When you call make sure you go for an interview. You want to make sure that it is a clean, safe environment where your child has many opportunities to learn. Also go during business hours, this gives you the opportunity to see the provider interact with the children. Look around, is there art work on the walls? What about how many children are there. Is it bursting at seems with more than five children? if so this is not the place to go to. As I discussed in my last article “So you want to start a home daycare? Advice and the pros and cons of a home childcare business”  There are limits to how many children a provider can have in their home.

Now for the interview, make sure you ask questions! I can not tell you how many times I have experienced parents during an interview not asking questions about my services. After all we are taking care of the most important piece of your life, ask questions! Over do it if you have to, but make sure you do. Here are some key questions to ask the provider during an interview:

1.) How many years of experience do you have working with children?

It may not be many years, however you can tell whether they have a true passion for working children with this question. If they seem uncomfortable or don’t know how to answer then this may be a red flag.

2.) Do you have a police clearance (criminal reference check)?

Hopefully, the answer is yes. Make sure that it is within the past two years, if they do not have one then request that they get one before enrolling your child.

3.) How many children do you have enrolled in your program? What are the ages?

You want to make sure that they have no more than 5 children enrolled, and that they a meeting the age ratios. for example, no more than 2 children under the age of 2.

4.) Do you have a set meal plan every week (menu)? Can I see it?

You want to make sure that your child is being fed according to the Canadian Food Guide. Also make sure that they are serving minimal processed foods. No Mac N Cheese!

5.) What Kind of activities will you be providing for my child?

If they have a posted program plan, great. If they don’t that is okay just make sure they plan on doing activities daily that will help your child’s development.

6.) Where do the children sleep?

Some places have a designated room for nap time, some use cots and playpens in the same room as they play. Both are good, however make sure they have enough beds, sheets, blankets, and that were they sleep is clean.

7.) Will anyone else be taking care of the children at any time?

Maybe the provider gets sick, will there be a person filling in or will they close for the day. If someone is filling in, they need a police clearance too. You should also meet them a couple of times before your child is left alone with them. The same goes for special visitors or volunteers.

8.) Do you have any parent and professional references?

References are important, with a phone call you can hear it in the persons tone of voice when asking questions about the provider if its a good place or not. Also see if you can get a previous supervisors reference, that way it’s not just the providers friends giving you good insight.

These questions can help get your interview started and steer you in the right direction. Of course you are not just limited to just them, you can ask as many as you want. And make sure you do!

Maddison Grey


childcare providers, Parent information

So you want to start a home daycare? Advice and the pros and cons of a home childcare business

Many people have considered starting a home childcare center for income, they may have a desire to work with children, or have children of their own and do not want to fork out their whole paycheck on daycare fees. Why spend money on childcare when you can be a stay at home parent, get paid, and watch your child grow. Sounds easy right! Here are some things to consider before starting.

Do you have adequate space?

You need to make sure you have enough space for the Children, Toys, and sleeping arrangements. In childcare centers in Ontario, Canada, it is required to have 2.75 square feet of unobstructed space per child. That should go with space in your home too, whether it is on the main floor of your house or in your basement you need space for the children to move.

Zoning Bylaws

Do you rent or own your home? some bylaws require that the daycare is in a home that the home owner lives in,  apartments are not allowed.

Yard Space

Do you have a fenced in yard? children need outdoor time for fresh air, whether its a the park on in the back yard it is required for them to be outside at least two hours a day except during inclement weather.

Amount of children allowed in your care

You will not get rich owning a home childcare center, however you can make a decent income to support your family.

Ontario Laws state in the CCEYA (Childcare Early Years Act) that all home childcare centers that are unlicensed are only allowed to have five children in total registered in your home. This also includes no more than two children under the age 2, and no more than five children between ages 2 and 12. In addition if you have children of your own, you have to include them in you registration. So if you have 3 children:  6 months old, 18 months old, and 4 years old, you are only allowed to register 2 more children in your home since both of your Infant spots are taken they would have to be in the ages 2- 12 years. This may mean that you may only bring in a part-time salary for a full time job.

So now that I’ve gone over the space and amount of children allowed, I would like to get into detail on how much to charge for childcare. To figure this out it is best to research other home daycare’s in your area and see what they are ¬†charging. Also see what kind of activities are provided for the children, this will give you a better idea of how you would like to structure your program (Learning Experiences).

Do not under charge for your services! You will regret it! You may think that if you offer a cheaper rate or discounts that you will fill fast and have a thriving business, This unfortunately is not true, you will be barely able to feed the kids and pay your bills and all sanity goes out the door. When I first started a Home Daycare the majority of my first clients were friends, the other two children were random people that responded to an ad I posted. Naturally I felt bad for charging my friends the full $35 per day per child, so I cut that amount in half charging only $17.50 per day. In addition I also made it so that they only paid for the days that they were present. Whoops! Big mistake. Not only did I undercut myself, but it was very hard work. I also ran into the the issue with them not valuing my services, Calling in sick all the time, not showing up, then eventually just dropping out because they didn’t want to pay anymore. They did not value my service because I did not value what I was worth. I no longer have them in my care, however the two random families that I didn’t know I still have. They respect me, my services and always pay on time. We have built a trusting relationship and they always refer more children to me when I have openings.

Knowing What I know now, My fees are based on the age of the child, under two years old it’s $45/day, and above two years it’s $35/day. I now make a good income that pays the bills and allows me to take vacations. I have families that enjoy coming and appreciate it greatly.

to conclude this article, When you plan properly to open your business, your rewards will show. You may have a business that you love for years.

Keep an Eye open for my upcoming article: Cheap and Easy Ways to Prepare Meals for Your Home Daycare (Tips and Tricks)