There are so many wonderful positives when you open your home as a child care service to share with other families and their children…but i'm not going to lie, it can also be frustrating, tiring, intrusive and you might often feel as though your home is no longer your home, just a place of work.
I'm often asked how I handle using my house rather than a garage or spare room or even a granny flat like many home day carer's do. Well, for a start of I actually don't have any of those things and I'm not going to spend extra money to make it happen.
One of the things I love about family day care or FDC for short (what we call home day care in Australia) is that children are entering a home environment each day for their care. It's not huge and scary, not filled with unfamiliar things, not to much unlike their own home and routines really. There are many wonderful spaces in FDC where educators have turned sheds and granny flats into special welcoming environments for children but my own personal belief is that a home care environment adds that something special and unique.
I also like to be able to move around my house during care hours and not be confined to one room or a garage space. Everyone is different though and what works for me might not suit another educator…and that is perfectly ok!
Since I have been asked quite a few times now though I wanted to share how I have set up our home for care but also tried to keep it a welcoming and homely space for my own family…we have to live here everyday after all!
Here's my top tips and strategies….
Keep your own style
Utilise movable furniture
Break up your spaces
By breaking your spaces up within your home it helps children to find their own interest area or quiet/busy activity and helps slow them down as they find new spaces to explore or work in.
Obviously you will need some childproof locks on your cupboards but if you don't like the look of them all over your house then try the magnetic locks, you won't see a thing!
Organisation and storage.
Choose your entry/sign in area very carefully.
Nappy Change/Toileting Area – Consider carefully what will work for you…
The funny looking thing on the mixer tap is our invention to stop children turning the handle to the hot water side. This saved us having to get a plumber in to reset the water temperature. There are always cost effective solutions, you just need to think outside the box.
Be creative – use the space you have outside your living areas
Easy to pack away areas
While the children are attending care I like to find ways to make them feel as if they belong and are welcome in our home. But when they go home I want my own family to feel as if the house is again their home so I make sure many of the obvious daycare setups can be packed away easily.
The items on this table below are stored in a box for easy pack up, daycare artworks are displayed on the verandah sign in and play area but inside is just for my own girls artwork, I love photos of children playing but I display them in the sign in area, not throughout my home. Even if your sign in area is inside you don't need to spread everything across your walls. You can use noticeboards and magnetic boards that are easily taken down at the end of the day or week or just keep the daycare art and notices to a specific area. Remember to respect the spaces of your own family members as well.
I spend 30 minutes after the children leave each day to pack up and tidy. It helps me to feel as though I am ‘clocking off' somewhat and can now reclaim my home!
Invest in some outdoor storage
I use a little shed that his patient self built into our retaining wall, we still need to add some more shelves so I can store more resources but it is working well. I usually set up the space on a weekend according to my program and the children's current interests and it will stay like that most of the week.
I tidy but I don't pack everything away and then pull it out again each morning!
Ensure you keep some day care free spaces in the home
Even if you have a small home, make sure you keep a few areas just for you. The door at the end of our lounge is always kept closed as this leads to our bedroom and the twins bedrooms as well as our other bathroom, this is just family space…and a good place to throw everything if I haven't had time to clean up and organise before kids or parents arrive.
If you have your own children I would suggest making their rooms an off limits area to daycare children if you can. It allows a space for your child to keep their special toys or escape to for a little time to themselves away from daycare children.
We also have our front verandah to relax on.
And for us there are always outdoor spaces to explore when the daycare kids have left for the day – have you left yourself some space just for you?
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Madeline Miller says
Thanks for sharing all this! The post is amazing and your house is beautiful! Congrats!
This was very helpful thank you for sharing I am in the process of starting a family day care, and I had no idea where to start
So glad it proved helpful to you Keshia – there are a lot more articles for educators which you might also like to view. Just click on the ‘for educators’ tab on my sidebar to the right of the posts 🙂
I love this! I agree with Madeline! Thanks for the ideas! I’m a new in home daycare Mom and it does get overwhelming sometimes…I’m definitely pinning you! 🙂
Thanks for sharing your home with us! I enjoyed it very much! I am also hoping to start a home daycare and will be writing back to you soon, shortly here, about projects & weekly ideas that you have set up already! -Joy
moving van says
fantastic picture it will inspire me to do the some thing thanks very much
awesome ideas! Do you have any tips for “nap” time for the little ones?
Christina Aleman says
Nice idea of arranging a house like that for the kids. I am pretty sure your kids will gonna love their room esp if they are very playful and want to explore new things. They can stay at the house with their friends, while playing and eating healthy foods. I love it.
hi! in nsw looking to start fdc, how do you find the paperwork side as in admin? do you recieve help? thank you
Joy Butler says
Thanks for helping me understand how to set up a home childcare. In my opinion, the environment must be very friendly and interesting. My granddaughter is already asking when she’ll go to school, that’s why we are looking for a friendly and creative child care center.
Brenda Steeves says
Great write-up! I just posted this on Facebook and my followers really enjoyed it. I browse your site fairly often but I’ve never thought to comment. Anyway, keep up the good work. I really enjoy your posts.
Training Express says
nice idea for setting up home for child care. kids are always important for us and we have to know the proper way of making the comfortable home for our kid along with safety. Well written. Cheers
Tammie Houston says
We used to set our backyard into a granny flat, my little twins are so excited to go to school even though they are only 5 years old. I’m planning to set up a place wherein they can be enrolled with a daycare teacher to teach them with the basic songs and letters in the alphabet. It is true that opening our house to be a care center for our children and their friends is quite frustrating, tiring, intrusive but their happiness is our main priority. I do not want to be the hindrance to their excitement towards schooling.
Ron Booker says
I like that you said that you can add a daycare look to your home with movable furniture and soft natural colors. My wife and I have to work during the day but we want to make our kid feel comfortable in a daycare. I’m going to talk to my wife and see what she wants to do with our kid’s care.
Dianne Miller says
I love reading your article when you talk about ways to have your home transform into a child care center. It fascinates me when you mention that having your home converted to a child care center is the leading cause of making the children feel at home, comfortable, and at ease while in a friendly home environment. Thanks for sharing this information.
Elle Jones says
I appreciate that you said that moveable furniture and gentle natural colors might give your house a daycare feel. Even though my husband and I must work throughout the day, we want our child to feel at ease in a daycare. I’m going to discuss her wishes for the care of our children with my spouse. Thanks for the article!