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10 Essentials for Opening a Daycare
Expert tips and ideas for your child care program.

by Wayfair Supply

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We interviewed two expert child care and daycare advice bloggers, Noa Aria of Cribsters.com and Jennifer Carsen of DaycareInDemand.com, for their best tips and ideas. If you are planning on opening a new daycare, or already operate a daycare, here are some big ideas and top product picks to consider integrating into your program.

1. Literature Rack



"Perfect for displaying not only literature about your program, but other resources that would be of interest to current and prospective parents (community events, info about potty training, and so on)." - Jennifer Carsen - DaycareInDemand.com 

Marketing Tip! "In terms of general advice for getting started, I would say having some kind of marketing plan is a must. I know "marketing" can be an intimidating word for child care professionals, but all I really mean by that is having some sort of strategy for getting the word out about your center on an ongoing basis--whether it's flyers or events at your center or submitting articles to your local paper or whatnot. So many child care providers have terrific programs that are under enrolled only because nobody knows about them!"
- Jennifer Carsen - DaycareInDemand.com

2. Love Seat



"[Pick a comfy love seat,] big enough for two visiting parents, a parent and his/her child, or an expectant mom!" - Jennifer Carsen - DaycareInDemand.com

Offering a nice place to sit makes pick up, drop off, and meetings much more relaxed and professional — parents don't want to sit in child-sized chairs.

Drop off and Pick up Tip! Parents are going to be dropping their kids off and running to work, so you want to make drop off as easy as possible for them. Busy street corners where parking is limited are tough, and potentially unsafe. Pick a location where it is easy to find parking, the parking restrictions are minimal and there isn't too much traffic for safety reasons.

3. Coffee Table



"Gives prospective parents and guests a place to set down their coffee and fill out their paperwork; much nicer than a clipboard balanced on a knee!" - Jennifer Carsen - DaycareInDemand.com

Communication with Parents Tip! "I loved that our daycare provided us with a schedule and details on how our child behaved throughout the day when she first enrolled in daycare. We don't get these kinds of daily updates anymore, but it would be great to get some kind of schedule update on a weekly or even monthly basis." - Noa Arias - Cribsters.com

4. Single-cup Coffee Maker



"So you can offer touring parents a hot beverage." - Jennifer Carsen - DaycareInDemand.com,

This is also great for teachers or parents needing a quick pick-me-up!

Hours of Operation Tip! "If you are considering opening a daycare center in a major metropolis or in a suburb outside of a major metropolis, then you must consider extended hours. I can't even think about a daycare that is only open until 5:30pm, and most other working parents are in the same boat. One of the major factors in parents' decisions on daycare versus nanny is hours of work - 9 to 5 jobs aren't that easy to find these days!" - Noa Arias - Cribsters.com

5. Mini-fridge



"For storing snacks, infant breast milk or formula, and juice boxes for visiting kids. " - Jennifer Carsen - DaycareInDemand.com

​Based on how long your programs run and how many children you serve, you should have multiple refrigerators with age-appropriate snacks and meals. 

Food Provision Tip! ​"It makes my life a hundred times easier now that my daughter eats solids and daycare provides breakfast, lunch and snacks. It's one less thing I have to worry about in the morning when I am trying to get her out the door to daycare and myself out the door to work. If allergies are a concern, you can simply request that parents provide you with a list of foods their child cannot eat." - Noa Arias - Cribsters.com

6. Bright and Colorful Rugs



Rugs provide a soft, safe place for young children to crawl, walk, and play on. Many daycare and preschool rugs are equipped with safety standards like anti-microbial, fire-proofing and protection against stains. 

Décor Tip! "Think it's just a silly rug? Think again! A rug can make or break the daycare center atmosphere. Our daughter's daycare center replaced their dingy rug one day, and voila! It looked like an entire new center. Daycare walls are usually left somewhat bare to display children's artwork so a nice, colorful, educational rug can brighten up an entire daycare center. Plus, it's where most infants will end up spending their entire day so you will want to give them something fun to look at during tummy time." - Noa Arias - Cribsters.com

7. Storage Cubbies



"These cubbies are fabulous for the entryway at daycare because they have compartments to leave important notes and artwork for the children's parents as well as storage for the children's shoes, hats and jackets." - Noa Arias - Cribsters.com

Storage Tip! ​Take a door off of a storage closet and replace with a saftey gate. This will help you to access necessary supplies and materials without having to leave the room. Clear bins with labels are a lifesaver, for quickly finding toys, books, and more.

8. Outdoor Activity and Snack Table



"Our daughter's daycare has something similar to this table and I love that it's good for use indoors and outdoors, complete with umbrella. It's plastic so it's easy to clean after meals and messy art projects. The best part is that it folds for easy storage when you don't need it and space is limited." - Noa Arias - Cribsters.com

Private Outdoor Play Area Tip! "Ideally your daycare will be located within walking distance from some nice playgrounds, but when the weather forecast is a bit iffy, it's always nice to have a fenced-in outdoor play area next to the center so you can move the children in quickly in case the weather takes a turn for the worse." - Noa Arias - Cribsters.com

9. Playards



Playards make transitioning to nap time easy and safe. Some popular features include folding, bassinet, changing table, wheels, and storage. Many models come with a transitioning platform for the playard to "grow" with the child.

Nap Time Tip! "We have to provide our daughter's daycare with a pack n play, but if you want to make your clients' lives easier, then think about providing these playards - they are affordable, portable and the bassinet is great for your littlest clients. I especially like that all four walls of the playard are mesh for breathability." - Noa Arias - Cribsters.com

10. Sandbox with Cover



"This adorable sandbox only weighs 11 pounds and can double as an indoor ball pit during the winter. The rounded corners are safe for the little ones and it matches the color scheme of the Hip Hop to the Top rug!" - Noa Arias - Cribsters.com

Sandbox Tip! Sandboxes can be known to foster bacteria, so sand should be changed regularly with non crystalline silica beach or play sand. Check the label, as crystalline silica is very dangerous and a known carcinogen according to OSHA.gov. Always cover sandboxes when not in use, and rake regularly to clear out debris.

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​Click here for a printable PDF version of this article. 

Read these articles for additional information and helpful tips:
  1. Setting Up a Daycare Buying Guide
  2. Top 10 Movement Resources for the Classroom

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Jennifer Carsen
Jennifer Carsen is a mom of two and "Chief Chickie" at Daycare in Demand. She specializes in marketing for child care centers, helping them boost their enrollments and attract/retain the very best teachers. You can visit her website and check out her ever-expending library of free reports here

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Noa Arias
Noa Arias is a self-proclaimed "daycare guru" and the co-founder of Cribsters.com - a website that helps parents find daycare centers and preschools. Cribsters.com has over 175,000 child care listings and reviews nationwide as well as a blog and other helpful parenting resources.

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