• Last Updated:
  • Jun 11th, 2017 9:57 pm
Tags:
[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 3, 2013
629 posts
106 upvotes
Toronto

Home-based daycare

Do you send your kids to an unlicensed, home-based day care? If so, what's the age and going rate currently? Do they follow the 5-child rule?

What do you like about your unlicensed daycare and are there any negatives?

I'm contemplating sending my child to one or perhaps, be a stay-at-home mom and opening one...
14 replies
Newbie
Jun 1, 2017
37 posts
5 upvotes
I used a home based daycare for my first daughter and will again (I have a 2 month old). There are pros and cons. Pros would be that it is cheaper than a center, usually have longer hours and/or can accommodate 'one-offs' when you will be late or need an earlier drop off and you can usually find someone in your neighborhood or on route to work so could be easier to get to than a center.

Some cons are:
- you don't know these people, their ad and your interview just isn't enough to really know, sure you can check references, but they'll only give you ones from clients that were happy with them. I had one lady that just plopped the kids in front of the TV all day long, said the kids had separate sleeping areas only to find out (when my daughter was old enough to have conversations) that all the kids were just napping on the dining room floor. Also, the same provider friended me on facebook and I could see that she was just playing games all day when she was supposed to be taking care of kids! I also tracked her on kijiji (see all posters ads) and she was selling diapers! So she was stealing the diapers parents provided and selling them!! You really have to go with your gut and the minute something seems fishy, find something else.

-if the provider is sick or has a family emergency, you're out of luck. Unlike a center, there is only one person working so if they can't work on a specific date or dates (lengthy illness or death in the family) you have to miss work or find alternate arrangements. Some of them even have in the contract that they have X amount of paid personal days, so you still have to pay (also have to pay stat holidays and days your child misses for whatever reason).

-once you leave their care, you could get stiffed on the receipt for taxes. This just happened to me, I found a lovely provider that my daughter loved and I wanted to use her for again for baby #2 but she wouldn't give me a receipt, she said I was 'very part time' so no receipt was issued. Luckily, we paid by cheque and CRA said I could claim it as I have backup proof if questioned. ALWAYS pay in a manner than you can use as proof if this should happen.

-home providers can only have '2 under 2' so it makes it difficult to find a space for a child under 2

Rates would depend on your area and how saturated it is. If you lie in an area that has a lot of home daycares, you're likely to pay less. Some offer teacher schedules, so you pay a higher daily rate, but do not hae to pay for summer, march break, christmas, pd days, etc because the daycare would be closed those days. I live in London and it looks like the going rate is 40-43/day...where a center for an infant is $55ish per day.

I too have thought about just opening my own, there are very few in my neighbourhood. I don't think it's easy work though, not only being with kids all day but also dealing with some of the parents could be quite difficult. You're also pretty much capped at what you can make ($XX per day x 5 kids) and there would be times when you don't have the full five kids and are looking for more clients. I'm sure there are huge tax write offs though. Another thing is losing your 'place' in the work field. If you decide to stay home and do this, once your kids are older, do you/will you still want to do this? If not, you've just 'lost' X amount of years in the workforce and may have to start all over again.

With all the 'cons' I still will place my daughter in a home daycare when my mat-leave is up. You CAN find good providers, they are out there. Look for someone that has a website or private facebook page for parents (some will have open facebook pages but block out the kids faces) so you can see what kind of activities they do, some providers will take them to parks, libraries, fire stations etc. Also ask for a 'trial' period in which time you can pull out if the daycare doesn't fit with you and your child and vice versa.

I hope this helps with your decision! I'm a long time reader of the forums and have never commented, but this one I had to. It's never easy leaving your kid(s) with anyone.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 3, 2013
629 posts
106 upvotes
Toronto
Tinka844 wrote:
Jun 2nd, 2017 12:21 pm
I used a home based daycare for my first daughter and will again (I have a 2 month old). There are pros and cons. Pros would be that it is cheaper than a center, usually have longer hours and/or can accommodate 'one-offs' when you will be late or need an earlier drop off and you can usually find someone in your neighborhood or on route to work so could be easier to get to than a center.

Some cons are:
- you don't know these people, their ad and your interview just isn't enough to really know, sure you can check references, but they'll only give you ones from clients that were happy with them. I had one lady that just plopped the kids in front of the TV all day long, said the kids had separate sleeping areas only to find out (when my daughter was old enough to have conversations) that all the kids were just napping on the dining room floor. Also, the same provider friended me on facebook and I could see that she was just playing games all day when she was supposed to be taking care of kids! I also tracked her on kijiji (see all posters ads) and she was selling diapers! So she was stealing the diapers parents provided and selling them!! You really have to go with your gut and the minute something seems fishy, find something else.

-if the provider is sick or has a family emergency, you're out of luck. Unlike a center, there is only one person working so if they can't work on a specific date or dates (lengthy illness or death in the family) you have to miss work or find alternate arrangements. Some of them even have in the contract that they have X amount of paid personal days, so you still have to pay (also have to pay stat holidays and days your child misses for whatever reason).

-once you leave their care, you could get stiffed on the receipt for taxes. This just happened to me, I found a lovely provider that my daughter loved and I wanted to use her for again for baby #2 but she wouldn't give me a receipt, she said I was 'very part time' so no receipt was issued. Luckily, we paid by cheque and CRA said I could claim it as I have backup proof if questioned. ALWAYS pay in a manner than you can use as proof if this should happen.

-home providers can only have '2 under 2' so it makes it difficult to find a space for a child under 2

Rates would depend on your area and how saturated it is. If you lie in an area that has a lot of home daycares, you're likely to pay less. Some offer teacher schedules, so you pay a higher daily rate, but do not hae to pay for summer, march break, christmas, pd days, etc because the daycare would be closed those days. I live in London and it looks like the going rate is 40-43/day...where a center for an infant is $55ish per day.

I too have thought about just opening my own, there are very few in my neighbourhood. I don't think it's easy work though, not only being with kids all day but also dealing with some of the parents could be quite difficult. You're also pretty much capped at what you can make ($XX per day x 5 kids) and there would be times when you don't have the full five kids and are looking for more clients. I'm sure there are huge tax write offs though. Another thing is losing your 'place' in the work field. If you decide to stay home and do this, once your kids are older, do you/will you still want to do this? If not, you've just 'lost' X amount of years in the workforce and may have to start all over again.

With all the 'cons' I still will place my daughter in a home daycare when my mat-leave is up. You CAN find good providers, they are out there. Look for someone that has a website or private facebook page for parents (some will have open facebook pages but block out the kids faces) so you can see what kind of activities they do, some providers will take them to parks, libraries, fire stations etc. Also ask for a 'trial' period in which time you can pull out if the daycare doesn't fit with you and your child and vice versa.

I hope this helps with your decision! I'm a long time reader of the forums and have never commented, but this one I had to. It's never easy leaving your kid(s) with anyone.
Thanks so much for your insight/feedback. I'm still leaning on opening one but will be doing it with my sister as I plan on going back full time while looking for a part time position at work. I'm glad you have a somewhat positive experience and will do it again. I agree, opening one, you wouldn't be doing it for the money but to be able to stay home, for sure!
Newbie
Jun 1, 2017
37 posts
5 upvotes
Yep, you wouldn't be doing it for the money. You could see if there is a daycare facebook page for your area and join...then you could see what parents are looking for and what other home daycare's offer (hours, rates, qualifications, meal plans, activities etc.). London has a 'London & Area Home Childcare ' facebook page. This would probably be helpful for you too.

On a personal note - if I were to open a home daycare, I would follow the teachers schedule...then you get summer, March break, Christmas and PD days off (my sister and her husband are teachers and I am insanely jealous of all the time off they get). :)) Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
Deal Guru
Aug 22, 2011
13564 posts
3279 upvotes
Ottawa
In my previous neighborhood, there were many and the going rate was from $20-$40; with the former cost not including meals or snacks.
I nothing against un-licensed daycares, provided they have updated CPR training, references and also provide a clean criminal check.
However, my choice for a licensed daycare was for the social benefits of interacting with more than a handful of kids and security.
Sr. Member
May 14, 2010
526 posts
69 upvotes
Mississauga
I felt home based day care was the best choice for my wee one. We went to visit many and some were down right terrifying and some felt too good to be true. In the end we had to go with our gut feeling on whose beliefs and disciplinary style most matched our own. One of the reasons we wanted to keep him in home care, was that feeling of being at home and being taken care of by what felt like a family member.
Sr. Member
Oct 18, 2014
968 posts
264 upvotes
New York City
Is money the only (main) reason to go with home-based?
Jr. Member
Aug 5, 2008
112 posts
69 upvotes
McKinsey wrote:
Jun 5th, 2017 7:14 pm
Is money the only (main) reason to go with home-based?
Well, also, there are less children but I don't know how important that is other people besides me.
Sr. Member
Oct 18, 2014
968 posts
264 upvotes
New York City
Great point, never considered that.

Guess that also applies to private schools with less students:teacher.
Sr. Member
Nov 13, 2013
599 posts
205 upvotes
McKinsey wrote:
Jun 6th, 2017 6:45 am
Great point, never considered that.

Guess that also applies to private schools with less students:teacher.
This is not a good analogy. Very young kids can adapt a bit easier in a home daycare but generally you get what you pay for. Professional ECEs make a big difference to safety but also other outcomes.
Newbie
Jun 11, 2006
79 posts
80 upvotes
I've only had my kids in a centre or with a nanny, though if I had to do over, I would consider homecare. There are great and bad homecares, but I would say the same for centres. The trick is just finding the right one.

I originally only considered centres because of the concerns given above. But later I met a caregiver in my neighborhood who I thought would have been great. She clearly enjoyed children and interacting with them, and I think my son would have been just fine. (Even better than the centre maybe). At the centre I used, I found the food mediocre and had both good and not so great staff. They never left the property. It did help that I knew one of the staff personally.

I never switched to home care because I ended up getting a live out nanny (as I had more kids), and I far prefer that over the other options. She was able to plan interesting outings (museums, playgroups, library etc) & be more flexible in schedule. The kids & I didn't have to rush out the door, and I didn't have to worry about (the kids) sick days. She was wonderful and we still keep in touch though she no longer works for us. A nanny is more like having a SAHP, though I think she was far more patient than I would be, LOL! Of course, a nanny is expensive and I kept her even after it didn't make financial sense because she was that good!
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Mar 31, 2008
9111 posts
1052 upvotes
Toronto
stack1 wrote:
Jun 6th, 2017 9:54 pm
I've only had my kids in a centre or with a nanny, though if I had to do over, I would consider homecare. There are great and bad homecares, but I would say the same for centres. The trick is just finding the right one.
Definitely agree. We send ours to a licensed one though through wee-watch. They go follow a curriculum. So basically like a pre-school. I'm not sure if its standard but my daycare lady does it. Now, we hadn't planning on one. But it happened by chance and through natural observation through my sister in law who observed and got to know her at a library circle time (would bring the kids there).

Then my wife met, observed her too at the libary, and talked to her. She is more old-school (caring but disciplinary in a very constructive way). From what we saw and after I met her, we both felt it was a good fit. Now, she's retired, they have their mortgage paid off, her husband works, and she genuinely loves kids. Has two kids in their 20s. She specifically isn't doing this for the money. The most important thing for her is taking on the right kids, which means younger, so you can teach them from the start, instead of bringing certain 'older' engrained habits that can disrupt their routine. And she basically interviews you too as it's more about right fit than money. It's easy to collect the money, but it's harder to get through a month if you're only in it for the money.

Another home daycare provider we know, she was an ECE worker here, and also very calm in her demeanor, and actively focuses on teaching and interaction techniques. She has 2 young daughters too, and can see how calm they are, and just the way their family interacts as a good example. My SIL sends her kid there due to scheduling/location reasons. We did as well as a temporary bridge.

I was talking to my friend yesterday who sends her daughter to a daycare. They send their kid somewhere in North York (good area). Her 4 year daughter recently came back saying her favourite activity is snapchat. Apparently there's a newer 22 year old worker there, tatoo'd up, dyed hair etc., that's her favourite worker there and goes on her phone often. And she has also picked up on all these sayings, back to her mom that is very teenage like (use your imagination here).

When I went to visit the potential daycare (UofT Scarborough), I saw a young worker just sitting there, and just basically watching to make sure no child gets hurt/hurt another, choke, etc. Think of the "Thinker". Just there to collect a paycheck. Some workers I've seen just seem to minimize interaction and it's literally just make sure you don't "harm yourself" type thing. Of course not all are like this, but not all home daycares are bad. I personally think at a really young age (1-3), if at a right home daycare (Big IF), it could be more beneficial to some kids, especially if the giver is really engaged, has a regiment, active in teaching/certain activities. Of course there are good larger daycare, but often, they're tight on money/profit motivated, and will hire the entry level person who's only there to earn a paycheck (I would be pissed if my daycare had that type of Snap Chatting worker). Having said that, if I didn't find a home care provider, I would have been fine sending them to a larger daycare since they need to learn how to operate in a larger, classroom institution type setting sooner or later.
Deal Guru
Aug 2, 2001
13693 posts
4261 upvotes
stack1 wrote:
Jun 6th, 2017 9:54 pm
I never switched to home care because I ended up getting a live out nanny (as I had more kids), and I far prefer that over the other options. She was able to plan interesting outings (museums, playgroups, library etc) & be more flexible in schedule. The kids & I didn't have to rush out the door, and I didn't have to worry about (the kids) sick days. She was wonderful and we still keep in touch though she no longer works for us. A nanny is more like having a SAHP, though I think she was far more patient than I would be, LOL! Of course, a nanny is expensive and I kept her even after it didn't make financial sense because she was that good!
If it's not too personal - how does a live out nanny work?

I have always thought this is a great idea, but have no idea how it works:
- We would need care for 10 hours / day. Does this mean every week we are paying OT (in our province it would be 6 hours a week)
- How much of a premium are they to daycare since you are expecting them to take the children places?
- Did you provide the vehicle to use?
- Do they have education in the field (e.g. early childhood development diploma/degree)?

We (well me at this point) are wondering if this might be a good option once we have #2. Even though we have a daycare we like, they cannot provide the support that a single individual is able to (just not possible). I just know of no one personally that does this option - everyone I know that doesn't stay home is either with a live in nanny or the child is physically at another location (daycare, homecare, grandparents, etc.).
Newbie
Jun 11, 2006
79 posts
80 upvotes
TrevorK wrote:
Jun 10th, 2017 2:35 pm
If it's not too personal - how does a live out nanny work?
A live out nanny (or live in) is your employee. You pay per hour plus all the normal govt contributions. They are allowed to work a certain number of hours, beyond that is OT. Most live out nannies make between $15-20/hr. I'm sure it varies by region, I'm not in the GTA. For my city, that figure is probably the norm. I paid for stat holidays and 2 weeks paid vacation.

In my case, I had her work 8 hrs/day. She was entitled to an hr unpaid for lunch, but since she had to work during her lunch hour, I just paid her for 8 hrs. My husband and I staggered our hours so I would be home when she arrived and he would be home when she left. That said, she didn't nickel and dime us to the hour though we were generally on time.

She would prepare the kids lunch with whatever was in my fridge. She used our van to drive them around. We had a few museum memberships already, but also she would look on her own for free activities to do with the kids. She had playdates with other caregivers/friends she knew, or even with my friends who were SAHMs. For any cost incurred (agreed by me beforehand), I would pay her (eg, she took my daughter swimming)

I didn't generally have her clean for me, though some people I know have their nanny do some cleaning and some light dinner prep too.

I know it is quite expensive, but when I started, I had 2 kids out of school and 1 in half day. So daycare would also have been expensive. I have not known anyone personally to do this, but some people do a nanny share with another family to reduce costs.

It's also not easy to find a good nanny, I found mine by luck on Kijiji, but it's probably better to use word of mouth. I only ever had one nanny but I think mine was uncommonly good. She never took a sick day in the entire 4 yrs she worked for us. She was patient and good with the kids, and as I mentioned, looked on her own to do things with the kids. My neighbours commented on how she would actually "play" with the kids instead of just "watching" them. She's more like an aunt to them now.

I kept her even after the oldest 2 were in school because by then I was convinced it was better for our family. The cost was mitigated a bit by the fact I didn't have to pay for before/after school care, plus I didn't have to pay for any summer camps. Also, when there was only 1 at home, she did some cleaning as well.

With a live in nanny, I think all the same rules apply except you are allowed to deduct from the wages for living expenses. When I had a nanny, the going rate for a live-in nanny was also less, but that was not something we wanted.
Deal Guru
Aug 2, 2001
13693 posts
4261 upvotes
stack1 wrote:
Jun 11th, 2017 7:52 pm
...
Thanks for all the information - I appreciate it!

Top