Crèches or daycares as it is popularly called in Nigeria are facilities where care is given to babies, toddlers, and young children.
Daycare (also referred to as ‘child care’ or ‘preschool’) is the care given to a child during the day (or night) by a person who is not a parent, legal guardian, or a member of the child’s immediate family.
Unlike babysitting which is typically done in the child’s home, daycare services require the child to be taken to a different location (a daycare center) during specific periods especially while parents are at work or travel.
Having a creche is one of the viable businesses you can do as a woman in Nigeria. By nature, women all have motherly attributes, therefore starting one shouldn’t be difficult.
If you are thinking of starting a daycare business in Nigeria, here are some tips for you.
1. Find out what the law requires
There are laws that regulate crèches and daycare services. These laws may require daycare operators to be licensed or certified by a relevant government authority or professional association.
The Ministry of Women Affairs is saddled with the responsibility of certifying a creche in Nigeria. The fee to obtain the form is determined by the location of the Creche. The certificate is usually granted after a year of inspection by a representative of the Women Affairs Commission.
Most of these laws and regulations have become necessary to discourage and punish any form of child abuse. As a result, the strict guidelines may often increase the cost of running a daycare service business.
Some of these regulations specify the qualifications of the owner, minimum space and staffing requirements, the maximum number of children that can be admitted (depending on space), mandatory documentation, and many other things.
2. Register your business
Before you can get your creche up and running, it needs to be registered with the Corporate Afairs Commission (CAC).
3. Get a good location
Getting the right location for your crèche/daycare centre can often mean the difference between success and failure in this business.
The ideal location for a daycare centre is safe, clean, accessible and close to the homes or offices of parents who can afford your services.
Although a daycare operation can be home-based or in a dedicated facility around shopping malls, industrial and office areas, it’s important to ensure that all the potential dangers that could affect your business are kept to a minimum.
In addition to a good location, the building or space used for a crèche should have all the necessary facilities which include kitchen, toilets (and maybe bathrooms), beds, blankets, toys, and outdoor playgrounds.
4. Hire the right type of staff
Apart from a great location and full facilities, the kind of people who run and operate the crèche is key to the success of this business.
It’s essential that your staff is empathetic, sensitive, patient, and have natural energy and love for children. Above all, your staff must have the success of your business in mind at all times, which means building and maintaining a good reputation.
Your reputation is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to advertise your services and get new customers.
Training in basic caregiving and first aid is very important for your staff. Negligence and ignorance can often lead to avoidable accidents and mishaps at the centre (which you don’t want).
If possible, background checks should be done on new employees to ensure you are not putting the lives of the children in danger.
5. Keep accurate records
It’s very important that you keep very accurate and complete records of all your clients, transactions, and events. You should have a register that keeps track of all your clients and their children.
The vital information would include names, ages of children, parent’s contact details, medical history, allergies and diet preferences/restrictions.
You should make it a habit to make daily notes about the children’s behavior at your centre. Children’s eating habits, health, and behavior problems should also be closely observed.
These records will help to detect problems early, serve as evidence in case of any dispute, and help you improve the quality and efficiency of your services.
In addition to regular operational records, you must also keep track of your finances (income and expenses).
6. Develop a valuable curriculum and routine
Parents always expect good value for the fees you charge for your daycare services.
If parents can see an improvement in the mental, emotional and physical development of their kids, they will continue to hire your services and gladly recommend you to family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.
To help the kids’ mental development, work out a routine that encourages and engages their curiosity. Teaching simple rhymes, songs, numbers, and alphabets helps to develop the memory of children and aids their language learning ability.
7. Get the necessary equipment
There’s some vital equipment needed to run a creche. Equipment like beds, curtains, fan/A.C, toys, television, blanket, generator, rug and many more. You cannot run a successful creche without these equipment.