View Full Version : Going Outside in Spring (ahhhh the mess!!)

04-07-2014, 11:29 AM
I would love some input on when you take your children outside to play.

Currently I take my group outside in the morning from 10:30 - 11:30. Now that spring seems to finally be here I have been thinking about switching it. My home is currently for sale which means I could get notice at any given time that my house is going to be shown that evening. For the most part we haven't had much traffic come through yet and my realtor has given plenty of notice. Today when we came in the kids were covered with a mixture of snow, grass, water, mud . I got them to leave their boots outside but still there is a big mess at my back entrance. My thought it to maybe switch our outside time to 4-5 and then the kids would be picked up while outside and it would greatly reduce the mess in my house. My driveway is gravel so right now with the mornings being cold there isn't too much mud tracked in by kids and parents but at the end of the day will likely have parents with very muddy shoes coming in to pick up kids.

Another nice thing about going out in the afternoon is the temperatures are warmer which would also reduce the amount of clothing I have to dress kids in.

There are two reasons why I am hesitant to switch. One is because I find the kids nap better for me after having an hour of fresh air and second is because pickup time varies from 4-5 so some kids would only get 10 minutes outside, sometimes no time at all. I would feel guilty not giving them time to play but I don't want parents purposely leaving them here until the end of the day so that they get time outside.

What do you think? What do you do this mucky time of year?

bright sparks
04-07-2014, 11:39 AM
I have sold two houses during the time I have run my daycare so I feel your pain on the ridiculous amount of work that goes into keeping the house in a "showhome" state on top of running a daycare. Honestly I just sucked it up. Boots come off at the back door as you said and that should really fix up any problems unless the kids have fallen in mud etc in which case you'd just have to clean it up after. You can buy those rubber backed mats that are huge that you could put in your front porch/hallway to save your floors from parents dirty footwear and again at the back door for the kiddies post back garden playtime. I think the idea of moving outdoor play to coincide with pick up could backfire on the days that it rains which would still mean parents coming in to pick up. How about putting those mats down and speaking to the parents and asking them to just be aware that you are trying to sell your place so to give their shoes a good clean off outside prior to coming in. Aside from that you are just going to have to clean it up at nap times and after work. Hopefully this will be short lived and your house sells soon :)

04-07-2014, 11:54 AM
If you do switch outdoor times, you could try a really high-energy activity inside before naptime if you have the space. Tag, dancing to music, relay races, etc, to have somewhat of the same effect as playing outside. Won't be the same, but might help...

04-07-2014, 12:00 PM
It isn't like they won't nap for me. We have been inside most of the winter so it isn't a deal breaker. I also don't allow running in the house so that wouldn't be an option lol.

04-07-2014, 12:05 PM
What I've been doing is a nice walk in the morning (kids stay clean and mud free) and then we do our outside play for the last 45-30 minutes of the day after picking up my son from the bus. The parents like outside pick-up too because it is faster and easier as they don't have to come in and wrestle their child into jackets, boots, etc. The kids still get some fresh air in the morning without the mess. Once things dry out, we will play outside morning and afternoon.

04-07-2014, 12:20 PM
today all my kids wore their slush pants and got quite muddy. Because it was pretty mild out, I had each child undress slush pants, coat, mitts and boots on the back deck. so this way none of it enters the house at all.
love the fact that we can get them outside for longer than a few minutes now!!
I have 8 sleeping kids right now!! Ahhh nap time!! :)

04-07-2014, 12:22 PM
Thanks sunnydays but even a morning walk would result in muddy kids. Our driveway and road is gravel so it would still result in muddy kids

5 Little Monkeys
04-07-2014, 12:30 PM
I do the same as sunny days. I put them all in the stroller for a morning walk and use it as my exercise because I can go faster and then play outside in the afternoon if there is time. Today I only had 2 though so we played in the backyard. Thankfully it wasn't too muddy back there yet because it wasn't warm enough yet.

I would ask parents to clean shoes before coming in as well. Do you have one of those shoe cleaning statue things? Do you know what I mean lol

04-07-2014, 12:50 PM
We added a wooden deck last year and that is where we play till the ground is clear and drier. They have the playhouse, ride ons, shovels for the snow, etc. so while stuff might get wet it doesn't get muddy.

04-07-2014, 12:50 PM
We just went through this (have been in our new house nearly 3 weeks now) so I totally feel your pain. For myself, I would hate too much to give up morning play time now that it's so beautiful out. It's too important to me and makes our mornings run so much more smoothly when they can unleash the energy from being pent up all winter. I just would keep it as clean and tidy as possible, and use up part of my break time (nap) to clean up the tricky areas like the floors. Now that it's nice out we go out twice a day morning and end of day, we love it!
So, that's what I did, but if giving up morning outside play is something that works for you and your schedule and if you think it will make life easier then by all means go for it!

04-07-2014, 12:51 PM
3rdtimesacharm - where do you leave their clothing? Do you leave it outside? I don't have a deck but a huge cement pad. That is where I got the kids to take their boots off. I left them outside. I brought all of their outdoor clothing in though and hung it up in my basement (where I have all their hooks). The part I hate is the clothes dry and the dead grass gets everywhere.

You would think parents would have common sense but certain one's of mine don't lol. I had to put up a note in winter saying to take shoes off at the back door. I have had issues with parents wearing their shoes down the stairs. You would also think that by leaving the kids boots outside that it means they are too dirty to bring in. I guarantee you today that some of the parents will bring them in when they pick up the kids! lol

Another issue I find is that kids go home with their wet mitts in their back packs and they never get hung up to dry at home.

04-07-2014, 12:51 PM
Hope your house sells quickly with no bumps in the road!

04-07-2014, 12:58 PM
Thanks Lou!! The house I have in mind has a cement driveway and morning walks would definitely be possible (or even playing in the garage with the garage doors open!!). I also would have a great big back entrance where I could hang all clothes. Right now I have that spot in my basement. Gotta sell first though so here's hoping!!

04-07-2014, 01:06 PM
We go out in the morn. and aft. at pick up. I keep the kids contained while taking winter clothes off so as to keep the mess limited to one room.

04-07-2014, 01:51 PM
During nice weather, I bring them out in the morning after breakfast for a walk in the stroller, then we play outside until it's time to eat lunch. I always bring them out in the afternoon from 4-5 (even during winter) unless the weather is really bad. I find pick-up is always smooth as kids are ready to go! I also do this when we are indoors.

I have the kids line up at the door, I bring them in one by one, I take off their gear and hang them up in my front entrance. I put a temporary clothing bar (pressure bar) in my entrance to let it dry. I usually don't have much of a mess. I have a baby gate in my doorway to keep the kids in/out my entrance while I get them ready so no one walks in my house with their boots, not even parents ;)

I tell parents in their daily report to dry their gear. So far so good!

Good luck with everything!

04-07-2014, 02:41 PM
I agree that outside play time makes for an awesome nap time ��. We go outside from 11-12 , and then we go outside from 4- home time !! I love having everyone ready to go !!!! The advantage is mine will nap until 3 and then by the time snack and diapers are done it's outside time !! So my playroom is spotless for the next day !!! ( I scrub while they eat lunch )
I understand your comment on the parents !! Not taking off shoes !!! Thankfully my dayhome has a separate entrance , so I undress on the cement stairs ( boots anyway) and our coat room is the first thing as you enter .
I feel for you !! A lot of added stress trying to keep everything looking spotless !!!

04-07-2014, 03:44 PM
Thanks Lou!! The house I have in mind has a cement driveway and morning walks would definitely be possible (or even playing in the garage with the garage doors open!!). I also would have a great big back entrance where I could hang all clothes. Right now I have that spot in my basement. Gotta sell first though so here's hoping!!

That must be so hard! What have the parents said regarding you selling the house, I imagine that they're looking for another caregiver? Or are you moving somewhere close by? Just wondering in case I ever have to sell.

04-07-2014, 03:52 PM
daycaremom9 - I am moving close by and more convenient for the parents so they are happy! I have lost 2 families since we listed so that could potentially be the reason but who can say. First spot was quickly filled but my upcoming spot seems harder to fill. I am hoping that now that spring is fast approaching that the showings will increase and we can get the house sold and hopefully get the one we want to buy! It would be absolutely perfect for my daycare and I think the parents will be impressed. Crossing my fingers!!

04-07-2014, 05:56 PM
mickyc - I went to an open house yesterday (just for fun, we aren't moving again until the kids are done school). Anyways, I saw one that was just perfect for daycare! I wish I was house shopping so I could have bought it.

04-08-2014, 07:19 AM
We spend most of our day outside. In warmer weather, I leave our stuff outside on our deck, maybe hang it on the clothesline if it's wet. In winter, we undress inside on a mat that the kids are trained to not leave until their stuff is off. I will hang their stuff up to dry and wipe up any snow that has been trailed through the house.

If I am honest, my house gets messy. By the end of the day, you can tell a herd of kids has been through here a few times :) I couldn't imagine having to have it showcase ready at the end of the day!!

Could you get some mats that you could easily shake off, roll up and put away at the end of the day if need be? We always leave muddy boots outside so that doesn't come in the house period. My group loves to clean, maybe hand them some paper towel when you come in and they can help wipe up the mess?

We are usually outside at pick up so they don't even need to come back in once we are out again. Maybe you could save your outdoor time for then?

04-08-2014, 09:23 AM
Thanks everyone for the suggestions!! I am really struggling with what to do still lol. We can't go out twice as the kids stuff is too wet from the first time and if I go out in the afternoon chances are 1 or 2 of my kids misses out on it or gets a very limited amount of time.

I am hoping this heat continues (supposed to be 10 today!!) and all this water dries up. My yard is so wet and the driveway is so muddy!! I have a mat at the back door but the worst is the dried grass that gets all over it. This morning I got up and my husband's muddy boots had left dried mud everywhere on the mat!! Sigh....I just feel like I am fighting a loosing battle lol.

We went out this morning. UGH...the kids were soaking wet and covered in dead grass. I took off their outerwear one at a time outside. I left all their stuff outside. I am hoping the parents take the hint and don't bring it inside (had 2 mom's bring in their child's dirty boots yesterday when they picked up). Hurry up summer! I can't wait! LOL

04-08-2014, 05:46 PM
I think too even though we have a best practice plan that says kids out twice a day there are circumstances that prevent that and I don't think we need to feel guilty by making adjustments. I still have an early arriver (6:20), morning nappers and that means early lunch - doesn't leave a lot of time so we do our outside at the end of the day only.

We are a military family and during house for sale times rules changed and parents were ok with it knowing I was trying my best to minimize disruptions like no showings during naptime. We never painted, didn't plaster what we did create all over the walls, I took down most teaching pictures, alphabet cards, etc. off the walls even in the basement playroom making it look a bit more like a recreation room. Put away some of our toys as in limited how much of everything was out. I kept a backpack in the garage with wipes, diapers for each one, snacks, juice boxes, books, a few toys etc. On short notice - we could go either out to the garage to play or take a walk to the park depending on time of day and amount of notice.

My point is don't feel guilty for making changes in daycare to facilitate the sale of the house - this is a home first and a daycare second. Parents are entitled to care with no guarantees that nothing will ever change.