Starting a Child Care BusinessJuly 13, 2022 | By Child Care Aware of Kansas
Starting a Child Care Business Just Got Way Easier.
By Beth Dibben, Child Care Health Consultant, Child Start. Originally published in the Spring 2022 Issue of Kansas Child Magazine.
A child care provider has two primary responsibilities. The first is the obvious one: caring for and teaching young children. This is the reason most people are attracted to early care and education. The second undertaking — and often the most challenging — is becoming a small business owner. When I started as a family child care provider over 10 years ago, I just wanted to teach young children. I didn’t realize how big that small business piece of the job was.
Over the last 10 years, the business of being a family child care provider has changed significantly — especially in regards to state requirements, background checks, curriculum requirements, and initial start-up requirements. All of these regulations are essential for keeping the children in our communities safe, but they have also made it a daunting process for new providers.
Fortunately, if you’re looking to start a child care business, you now have access to Child Care Health Consultants to guide you through the sometimes overwhelming process, to help you understand the importance of the health and safety regulations you’re required to follow, and to teach you about business operations, such as such as writing a contract, keeping track of receipts, and investing in your business and yourself.
In my position as a Child Care Health Consultant, I often hear from new child care providers who are overwhelmed by the specifics of the health and safety regulations, the minutiae of running a small business, and the expense of purchasing the items needed to welcome children on that first day. My job is to guide them through these challenges.
With the start-up stipend and the third round of sustainability grants, it’s a great time to enter the child care field. You’ll receive guidance and support during the start-up process and financial assistance to help you provide a fun, safe, comfortable, and educational environment.
In the past, it took years for home-based providers to purchase or create everything needed to teach a well-rounded program that supports the physical, behavioral, and educational needs of children. That’s no longer the case. Since 90 percent of children’s brain development happens by age 5, early childhood programs need to hit the ground running. With curriculum, toys, training, and an experienced consultant to walk them through the first weeks, months, and years of their early childhood programs, new providers can make a difference in children’s lives from day one.
Yes, you’ll face challenges starting a child care business. But you’ll have someone — and some funds — to guide you along the way. Plus, the rewards greatly outweigh the frustrations. As a family child care provider, you become the very first teacher for the children in your care. You are welcomed into other families and lives. You get to create an environment tailored to the needs of the small group of children in your care — unlike any other point in their educational journey.
What you do for the children now — providing the groundwork in reading, math, and science, as well as teaching social skills and kindness — will make an impact on generations to come. That is the biggest reward of all.
Beth Dibben lives in Derby, Kansas with her husband and children. She has a bachelor’s degree in education. During her 13 years in the early childhood field, she has worked as a pre-K teacher and been a family child care provider. Beth is passionate about the need for quality early childhood care.