How to become a childcare paperwork ninja

How to become a childcare paperwork ninja

One of the most scary things about starting a daycare is the childcare paperwork. I remember that just the thought of it 15 years ago would give me the heebie-jeebies. But it really doesn’t have to be that way!

By figuring out what will help you stay organized and what works for you, you can get into a rhythm sooner rather than later.

I totally get it! It all feels overwhelming and the fear is eating you up and causing you to procrastinate! And that’s why my focus this week is on helping prevent you from becoming a slave to the childcare paperwork!

Start now, not later

For so long, I didn’t implement systems into my business. I was literally coming in to work everyday with zero plans for my day, living on a wing and a prayer. So I was struggling, because like good old Benjamin Franklin said, “those who fail to plan, plan to fail”.

As my business started growing, it became harder and harder to keep up with the ever increasing amount of childcare paperwork . I knew that if I didn’t get control of it soon, I was really going to be headed for a disaster. This is why it became so important for me to figure out what I could create or learn, to keep my paperwork in order, simple.

And we all know that when it comes to paperwork, getting it right sooner is definitely better than later. So start now!

Avoid being a copycat

The first thing I did was start researching what other people were doing to see why they could make it work. Long story short – I couldn’t. I tried to copy their methods but it just didn’t work for me! It was a game changer realizing that I had to do what worked for me…period.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to childcare paperwork. Everyone is different! However, the more options I had at my disposal, the easier it became for me to figure out what my paperwork “style” was. I give some tips and ideas in this week’s Youtube episode to help you fill your arsenal. But keep in mind that whatever system you use to take control of your paperwork, it has to work for you, so find one that comes natural to you.

Don’t force someone else’s style onto yourself! It will never work for the long-haul. And I’m sure you’re in this childcare game for the long-haul too right?!

Write down the essentials

Ok, so you need paper, a pen, and a Sharpie for this bit! Start by writing down the different areas of your business and begin formalizing your systems!

Grab your copy of your state’s childcare regulations and go through it checking the statutory paperwork required. Every state is different, but most will have similar things: procedures, agreements, forms… All things that are needed to keep the kids in your care safe.

Then you need to think about what paperwork YOU need for running your business. Payments, marketing, taxes, facility maintenance, etc. all need their own paperwork! So if you write it all down you can get clear on where to start. You’re also going to need paperwork to help your team stay at the top of their game. Get all of this written out and then you can begin with the organization!

Use back-to-school stationery

I’m a big fan of back-to-school shopping and I used to love helping my kids get organized for school! But don’t forget about all those everyday essentials when it comes to organizing your childcare paperwork. You can use stationery to help you stay on top of the seemingly endless mountain!

Once you’ve written out a list of all the different areas of your business and figured out state requirements, you need to start files. You might be a folder file kinda person, but I’m a binder woman myself! I like the way you can have dividers to separate out different sections. Use pockets for checklists and making sure the binder has everything you need in it. Smaller binders work well if you have one for each child. I use a larger heavy duty lever arch one for my finances!

Keeping all your paperwork for each area of your business separate makes it easier to find things! Label the sides of your folders really clearly so you can just grab them straight off the bookshelf.

Hopefully you can see that taking everyday back-to-school supplies and implementing them into your paperwork system works! Sorting out the paperwork side of running your childcare business doesn’t have to stress you out. It may take you a little trial and error to figure out what is best for you but I believe that sharing this info will give you a head start on figuring that out. For more tips on systems and getting organized, head here.

Hop over to my Youtube channel for even more information to help you set up your childcare business for success! Of course while you’re there be sure to SUBSCRIBE and grab my FREE  Back-to-school supplies checklist!

If you want to hang out with like-minded and aspirational childcare business owners, come and get involved in the community over on Facebook! Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be! Or if you prefer Instagram, we share ideas and tips there too. We’re an army of childcare professionals who are sharing ninja-sharp skills to transform our businesses into childcare empires! This is Childcare Ownership all Grownup!

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7 ways to get your childcare space set up like a pro!

7 ways to get your childcare space set up like a pro!

Over on my YouTube channel and in my Facebook group, I’ve been sharing the 5 steps to take to set up your daycare. And this week is all about the physical set up of your space. I want to help you get your childcare space set up like a pro!

One thing we’re all guilty of – probably as women! – is that we LOVE to overcomplicate and overthink EVERYTHING. Here I’m giving you some simple tips and strategies. I’ve been using these for the last 15 years! So you can make the process as stress free as possible too!

Let’s get started, Ninjas!

Firstly: Make a list!

Before you go shopping or even look at toys or equipment you want to take time out to think about the vision for your daycare. What do you want to offer? What’s the feeling or “vibe” you want to create. Create a list or brainstorm the types of things you’d love to offer at your daycare. And then set up your space with that in mind.

For example, if you want to have the kids to have self time, then make sure to have some comfortable child sized furniture or seating. Think bean bags, oversized pillows and ultimate comfort where the kids can sit quietly with a book or a toy! If you’re looking to provide arts and crafts then you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a table or easel, then somewhere to store the paint and utensils.

Knowing what you want to offer will help you spend wisely, rather than heading out and picking up anything that catches your eye. When you finally do go shopping you’ll be heading out with a defined list based on your vision for your daycare. You’ll know the activities and the atmosphere you’re intending on creating!

Make them feel they belong

Meeting the children’s basic needs means their experience and therefore learning is super important! Maslow’s hierarchy of needs shows that it’ll help them grow!

It’s key that they feel they have a little safe spot. You could start off with hooks for their coats and bags, or maybe bins. Or you can invest right away with cubby holes and places to store their stuff. And it can be a great spot to put their nap time things like a sleeping mat or a blanket.

You can use their names to label them – really great to help early readers with name recognition. I sometimes use numbers for younger ones.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a scalable vector illustration on white background

Gross motor skill toys

Even if you don’t have an outdoor space, you can have a couple of little trikes or riding toys for the children to move around on inside. This is important as they’ll be beginning to develop their gross motor skills and want to learn to travel about in different ways.

In one of my facilities there’s no yard, so we have 5 or 6 riding toys parked up against one wall. The children know that once they’ve finished playing they have to park it back in the same pot. You could even tape or paint the floor and each toy with numbers so they can start to match them up! In my original home daycare I had a porch where the kiddos could park the vehicles and that kept them out of the way and tidy.

Having somewhere that’s easy for the children to access themselves safely makes your life easier!

gross motor skills trike

Quiet spaces

It’s really important that we create some cozy reading spaces or spaces where children can just sit and relax. After all, none of us wanna be go go go all the time, right?! I’ve got little sofas for the kids in all my childcare settings because I’ve seen how valuable they can be.

These do not have to be state-of-the-art, store-bought couches!! I got some of mine second hand from a day care that was closing down, and other times I’ve found them on eBay or Craigslist. More ideas here for setting up on a budget! You can always brighten them up with colorful blankets and throw cushions!

Sometimes it’s nice to have a little table in the center of the chairs where you can put a couple of books to give them an idea where to start. Or maybe a photograph in a frame to stimulate conversation.

Bring on the drama(tic role play!)

Kids learn through play and repetition so you need to have some fun toys for acting out real life scenarios. Ones they can play with over and over again! Over the last decade and a half I’ve found that a play kitchen always creates some brilliant play opportunities. You can theme the area to go with what you’re all learning about, or have it as free choice all the time.

The kids can play house or make believe that there’s a restaurant. Include some toy phones, plates and cups, and even a pretend laundry machine. Maybe add a little soft area too so they can make each other “coffee”, then sit and chat or make those all “important phone calls”! Haha! I’ve even had a broken old laptop that the kids have LOVED to “work” on.

Don’t feel like you’ve got to spend a fortune on new toys. Check out local listings from Doctors surgeries who are upgrading their waiting areas. I’ve picked up some great freebies for my daycares over the years! Also, top tip: Every time I get take-out with my family, I grab a couple of extra menus to stick in my dramatic play areas. The kids adore “cooking” things they like the look of!

dramatic play

Learning area

For any adult-led activities, you might want to have a child-sized table and chairs for the kids to work at. This might be a space to practice numbers of writing, but also model with playdoh or do some coloring. I like to create displays in this area that are traditionally “educational”. Have the alphabet and show letter formation up. I like having numerals printed on the wall in a theme we’re loving – Gingerbread men or unicorns or whatever!

Make sure you have a book case in that area where you can not only store resources for learning, but also books that the kids can access. I love having a front facing book display too so that they see more books and I can rotate them so more get read. Use a wire across a shelf, spice racks or pallets, or look for a second hand catalogue one on freecycle or similar. And when it comes to buying books, you can pick them up in deals at Barnes and Noble but keep a look out online for special author sales!


Infant spaces

It’s nice for the tiny ones to have a safe space to be where the older ones know not to go. Think about “fencing” a little section off with a cushioned mat, where you can settle babies and non-movers with appropriate toys. Once the babies begin to move, you can open up the gate of this area to allow them to explore more! It’s always so exciting when they’re on the move.

I love changing the infant area regularly so that they get stimulation and can explore a range of different resources. But try not to overwhelm the babies!

Remember: There’s no rush

Don’t forget that you do not have to have EVERYTHING to get started. You can add in toys and resources and equipment as you go, and as your budget grows. The above things are key pointers to get you started! As you get into a rhythm, you’ll find things just fall into place and the items you need suddenly come into your horizons! And things you thought you MUST HAVE turn out to be distractions sometimes, so don’t get sucked into buying EvErYtHiNg!!

I’d love for you to check out my latest YouTube video, where I gave a quick tour of one of my smaller facilities to show you how to quickly set up your childcare space.

Hopefully it’ll help you get a feel for how simple it can be!

If you want to hang out with like-minded and aspirational childcare business owners, come and get involved in the community over on Facebook! Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be! Or if you prefer Instagram, we share ideas and tips there too. We’re an army of childcare professionals who are sharing ninja-sharp skills to transform our businesses into childcare empires! This is Childcare Ownership all Grownup!

childcare ninjas logo 2020

Your ultimate guide to setting up as a childcare business owner

Your ultimate guide to setting up as a childcare business owner

If you asked me what’s one thing I wish I’d had when I was setting up as a childcare business, it’d be a simple step-by-step guide. A guide of the things I needed to do to ensure my day care was legal, marketable and (most importantly!) AWESOME. Because when I set up 15 years ago, I had to make it up as I was going along.

So I spent years learning the ropes and figuring it out solo! It dawned on me that maybe I could create a road map for new childcare business owners.  Read on to find out more!

Wishing on a star

At the time I set up, I had no such thing. I was absolutely winging it. I  remember wishing that someone – a local mentor, a kind stranger, God…whoever! – might give me a hand figuring it all out. Setting up as a childcare business owner was something I wanted and needed to do, but a guide would’ve been super helpful!

So instead of you having to do the same thing, I set up Childcare Ninjas! I want to support you on your journey. My mission is to help Childcare Ninjas (like you!) build a 6-figure business you love, so you can live life on YOUR terms. No sitting, waiting, wishing for you!

live your best life drew barrymore

Congratulations on the best decision of your life!

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a friend about pivotal moments in our lives. Hers was pretty huge but tainted with regret. Mine, however, was full of positivity. Can you guess what it was, Ninja? That’s right! Mine was taking the leap to build my own day care business. Doing that gave me the security I so badly needed, but also the freedom I craved. I was then able to raise my babies AND be of service in my community, in a job that I adore!

So huge congratulations on making the decision to start your own childcare business! This is honestly going to be the best business decision you’ll ever make. Welcome to the magical world of autonomy and being your own boss! This is a role that will give you all the creativity, flexibility and financial security you’ve been yearning for!

Reminder: this is not an easy option

Now, before you let anyone tell you otherwise, setting up as a childcare business is not an easy ride. It is damned hard work in the beginning. The list of things to do can seem endless and the hoops you’ve got to jump through feel frustrating. There’s no getting round the fact that it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

However, it doesn’t have to be a miserable journey! I am here to make it SIMPLE for you, and I am here to SUPPORT you.  Truth being told, if you want to run a successful childcare business, you need the right information from someone that has already walked that road. Oh hello! That’d be me!

guide jiminy cricket childcare ninjas

I want to help you create a plan of action and get crystal clear on why you’re setting up as a childcare business. Because once you’ve nailed your why, everything else feels a little less draining! Like Jiminy Cricket, let me be your guide…

Knowing WHY you’re setting up as a childcare business

It might sound a little silly, but your why really does matter. And here’s a clue: it can’t be “to make millions”. Why? Because – although that’s nice and all – when things go wrong, as they no doubt will somewhere along the way, that isn’t a strong enough reason to persevere.

Your why is key to giving you strength to keep going. I love this TED talk by Stacey Abrams, where she explains that without having a clear reason that drives you, “the ‘do’ is meaningless”. And I know things might get hard if others stop believing in you and they might even try to tell you to stop chasing your dreams. Going back to your why time and time again will motivate you and help you block out the naysayers!

remember your why cardi b

Practicalities are boring but necessary!

There’s so much to think about when you’re setting up as a childcare business. Where will you run the business? From home or another location? Who’s your target market? Will you have a team to support you? What are the legal things you need to know?! So many questions. And by all means, you can Google each one of them every time a question pops up.

And so much of it is dull, right? When can you just look after the kids and help them grow into awesome human beings?! To get to the fun bit, there’s a few necessary bridges to cross first: licensing and getting registered, setting up systems, finding your families…

But having a practical plan to figure all of this out would be helpful wouldn’t it? I know I wish I’d been given some sort of guide instead of living on a wing and prayer!

living on a wing and a prayer

Step-by-step guide to getting started

When I first decided to offer childcare in my home around my job as an admin for a small church, I hadn’t a clue what I was doing. I knew I wanted to have the chance to spend time with my daughters and earn a living at the same time.

When I sat down to think of what my Ninjas truly need to set up their businesses, I realised that they need what I never had! So I created a guide to give you what you need to get started. It’s exactly what I wish someone had given me all those years ago.

This guide explains how to start your own childcare, from choosing your logo and choosing a location, to licensing and registration, choosing our team, and managing your day-to-day operations. It’s all broken down for you, and all in one place! No more Googling every. Darned. Thing. It’s insanely simple!

You can download your FREE guide today.

Your step-by-step guide to getting started!


We’re an army of childcare professionals who are sharing ninja-sharp skills to transform our businesses into childcare empires! This is Childcare Ownership all Grownup! Interested in becoming more involved in the community and to grow your business? Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be! Or if you prefer Instagram, we share ideas and tips there too!

childcare ninjas logo 2020