Should You Become an In-Home Childcare Provider?


Moms who stay at home with their own young kids often look for ways to earn money without having to commute to work (and find someone else to watch their children). Becoming an in-home childcare provider is an oft-considered option. Blogger Toni Langdon has personal experience as an in-home childcare provider and offers the following tips to those thinking of following in her footsteps.

Do you ever wonder if you should provide childcare to other children to bring in some extra cash flow for your family?  Maybe it would be an extra bonus amount of money or maybe it's a necessity.  Whatever the case, make sure you consider the big picture before making the commitment.

  1. Do the math. The cost of caring for just one or two children is usually not a huge amount of money. The reason is that you are competing with childcare centers that are able to cover the expenses differently and have a higher ratio. That being said, if you want a few extra dollars, it could be perfect for you. Just make sure the extra money is worth it to you. However, don't forget to put a number on your own children!  If you have to work outside the home, you will be paying for your children to go to childcare, which is costly!  But if you want to make a decent amount of money it may be necessary to watch a handful of children. It may be helpful to calculate what you will be making per hour.
  2. Consider the responsibility involved. Caring for children, especially younger children, is not easy. They demand a lot of time and can be stressful when they go through potty training, terrible twos or even if they experience allergies. Daycare centers charge extra for infants and require help for children with special needs. Why should you be any different? 
  3. Find a good family/families  If you already have a family or two in mind (that you like and trust) you will be in a better situation to succeed. It took me a long time to find good families that I could depend on to pay on time, pick up on time and have children who had a successful experience in my home. Remember, you're interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you, so be picky about who you choose. If it's not a good fit, don't do it.
  4. Consider all factors involved. Watching children on the side is essentially starting your own business. It's important to have a plan and set clear boundaries from the beginning (especially if you watch family or friends' children). It may sound easy to take in a few extra kids, why not? You're already taking care of your own kids, right? But make sure you consider all aspects before making the commitment. How will you handle sick kids (yours or theirs)? What if you or your husband is sick? What if they don't pay you? Will they be bringing their own lunches/snacks? Do they want to deduct childcare expenses from their taxes? Will they be accommodating for vacations? Will the kids get along with your children?

Although caring for other children in your home can be a great business for many parents who are already at home with their kids, it's important to make sure you consider everything involved and how it will impact your family overall before making the commitment.

Toni Langdon is a stay-at-home mom of two daughters and an in-home child care provider. She is a black belt in martial arts and has worked with Chester County, PA children with special needs. This post is adapted from her blog, Tickles and Time Outs


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