2 Chapter 1
Set Your Hours of Operation
When setting your hours of operation, consider your family commitments.
Determine the hours you can be open for business that won’t put unnecessary
strain on your family. For example, if most of the activities in your home take
place after 6:00 pm, then this would be the ideal time to close each day. Or you
may decide that operating your child care business in the evening or during early
morning hours works best with your family schedule.
Before setting your hours of operation, you’ll also want to consider your
prospective families’ needs. Speak to families in the area about their schedules, then
you can set convenient hours based on their needs. For example, if you live near an
assembly plant, there might be requests for child care during the afternoon shift
that runs from 3:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Could you accommodate those families? You
may live near a bakery whose employees’ children need child care from 5:00 am to
1:00 pm. Would this schedule work for you? In the end you may decide to set your
schedule and accept children into your child care within the time frame you create
based on your needs. Remember, your hours need not be set in stone. Determine
your hours and adjust your schedule to accommodate the families in your program.
Determine the Number of Children You Will Care For
When planning your child care business, you must decide how many children you
can accept into your program. Your state child care licensing department has a set
capacity for the number of children each child care provider can accommodate. I
recommend you start with your state’s Department of Human Services Web site,
and look under “child care licensing” to get the most accurate information, or you
can refer to the appropriate section of your child care licensing manual. In addition,
there are two national Web sites that list information:
The National Child Care Information and Technical Assistance Center Web •
site (http://nccic.org) has a link for the definition of family child care under
The Child Care Aware Web site (www.childcareaware.org) has a listing of each •
state’s licensing department. Look under “Parent Information” then “Licensing”
to reach your state’s profile.
As a family child care provider, you want to strive to offer quality care for
every child. Quality care involves allowing enough space for children to move about
freely and participate in a variety of activities throughout the day. It is difficult to
offer quality care when you have too many children in your home. No matter what
your state’s limits are, consider your child care space when deciding how many
children you will allow into your program.