May 15, 2018 5 min read

Family Daycare vs Daycare Center: What’s the Difference?

Procare By: Procare

The two primary child care options that parents consider are family daycares and daycare centers. Both options provide outstanding opportunities for early childhood development, but the experiences are undoubtedly different.

As a budding child care provider, you might be asking yourself, what direction should I take my aspirations in? When searching for an answer, it’s important to consider what parents are going to be looking for, what you can reasonably provide, and what your goals are, both short-term and long-term.


Differentiating Between Family Daycare and Daycare Centers: Pros and Cons

To help you decipher which type of child care is best for you, we have compiled a list of the pros and cons of these two types while providing a more in-depth explanation of what it means.

Family Daycare


  • Providing kids with more individual attention

Spatial restrictions limit the number of children that a family daycare can house at any given time. However, the smaller classes and strong provider-to-child ratio present opportunities cultivating relationships that might not be present in a larger daycare setting.

  • Creating a unique learning environment within your own home

Comfort is one of the keys to strong childhood development in the early stages. You will have an opportunity to create a unique learning environment by opening your doors and developing trusting relationships with both the children and the parents.

  • Limited upkeep costs can improve profitability

Hosting a family daycare in your own home can limit the potential costs that a daycare center might deal with. These costs range from employing a large staff of childcare professionals to paying for the property where you operate your business. Instead of exhausting resources on those things, record-keeping software and security hardware can help you with carrying that weight.


  • Keeping your home up to the necessary safety standards

Family daycares are a full-time job because your home, especially the areas where you operate the daycare, must be kept in pristine condition. The conditions must reach parents’ expectations, and they must be within the requirements that are established within your licensing agreement.

  • Limited staffing options

Owning and operating a family daycare is a do-it-yourself type of role. You will need to have the bandwidth to handle everything that comes with it while being extremely selective about who you bring aboard.

  • You get what you put in

Getting your family daycare up and running is a challenge. Finding new clientele and keeping your existing clientele isn’t easy either, especially if you are running the show solo. Positive word-of-mouth is your best chance at marketing and keeping up with an established level of quality can be tiresome, but it’s rewarding if you have the drive and determination.

Daycare Center


  • There is a strong support system

Depending on what your aspirations are, opening a daycare center is a team effort and each member of your staff will be a valuable piece to the puzzle. Hiring established and ambitious child care professionals will make the operation run smoother, and help you reduce stress.

  • Create targeted curriculums for age groups

Family daycares deal with a large group and limited staffing, whereas a daycare center can afford to break down its students by age and development level. Creating targeted curriculums can help diversify your classrooms and bring your daycare center to the next level.

  • You have an opportunity for growth from a business perspective

Opening a daycare center is a versatile business decision because there is a lot of room for growth and you can build it up to whatever you’d like it to be. If there is demand for your services that go beyond your capabilities, you can always get bigger.


  • Keeping up with necessary safety standards

This is a con that daycare centers share with family daycares. The parallel that exists is when you are dealing with child care, safety is paramount regardless of the setting. In a daycare setting germs are more prevalent because of the number of students and age groups that you might be dealing with.

  • Higher costs of operation

Paying for the space to operate your daycare center is certainly more expensive than operating at your home, and employee salaries can add up too.

  • Balancing personalities and different levels of development

As children grow and continue to develop, personality traits manifest differently. You will have to prepare yourself and your staff for facing these challenges properly. Another aspect to consider is dealing with the parents who are trusting you with the continued development of their child. It might lead to some headaches if you stretch yourself too thin.

Identifying the Best Fit for You

There is a lot to consider around what the best fit for you might be, a family daycare or a daycare center. Each form of child care will lead to a unique environment that may or may not be a fit for your qualifications, goals, and financial capabilities.

Both options provide you with an opportunity to lead the way for childhood development in your area, but the pros and cons of each may push you towards one option over the other.

Looking for ways to simplify and optimize the administrative and business functions that go into opening and running a child care center? Learn how Procare can help!

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