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View Full Version : Starting a home daycare - need tips



lilybean
06-14-2014, 12:49 AM
Hi there!

I will be starting a home daycare in a few weeks, and by August I will have 2 12-month-olds as well as my daughter, who will be 15 months. I'm excited and nervous at the same time. I have a couple of questions and concerns and would love some tips and advice for any or all of them if you have time:

1. How do you get 3 little ones down for a nap at the same time? I'm afraid one will start crying and wake up the other ones. Or maybe they need to be rocked to sleep, but I'll only be able to rock one at a time. I have a small home, so they will all be napping in the same room.

2. What do you think is best: playpens, those really low daycare cots (I've seen them on daycare supply sites) or mats?

3. Do you prepare meals the night before in case they don't nap well and you don't have time to do it during nap time?

4. How do you stay on top of the cleaning, especially after meals when there's food all over the floor and dishes to do?

5. I'm worried that this will be a huge adjustment for my daughter and heard that there may be jealousy issues. Has anyone experienced this, and do you have any advice?

6. For meal times, what is best: booster seats, high chairs, or a low table and chairs? Has anyone found low chairs with arms? I feel they'd be safer for this age group.

Thank you so much in advance. I've already got some excellent ideas for other questions from older posts, so I'm looking forward to hearing more great ideas.

5 Little Monkeys
06-14-2014, 08:09 AM
1. Until they are adjusted, naptimes will likely be chaotic. I put them all down at the same time and hope for the best! I don't rock children to sleep but if needed I comfort them or sit in the room until they are sleeping. I slowly cut this out over a couple of weeks. I let them cry it out for the most part but if the crying goes on too long or too extreme than I find other ways to help them nap. Ask the parents what their routine for nap is at home. I now ask parents to prepare their child for group care napping and that means no more rocking them, giving them a bottle, letting them fall asleep in their arms etc.

2. I think for that age playpens are your safest option. I change them over to cots once they are around the 2 year old mark.

3. I do a lot of food prep on Sunday and Monday's. I cook most of the meals for the week so I just have to reheat and I cut up all my veggies and fruit so it's handy to grab

4. When I first started, I did lunch and than put them all to bed and than cleaned up. Now that I don't have any younger than 13 months, I clean them up and send them to the playroom to read stories and than I quickly wash the table, tidy up lunch and do the dishes. This also gives them time to poop before bed! lol

5. I don't have children of my own so I have no personal experience but I would suggest keeping some of your daughters most special toys separate. I think it's important that she knows some things are just hers and she can play with them when dc is over. Find times throughout the day to bond with just her. Maybe put her to bed last or wake her up first and have those cuddle moments for example.

6. When I had boosters and high chairs, I much preferred boosters as I find highchairs take up too much room. I now have a low table (its actually an IKEA coffee table) and the IKEA kritter chairs and even my 13 month old sits at it just fine. I love it!! Chairs with arms would be great but I don't know if I've ever seen those?

Good luck and have fun!! :)

lilybean
06-14-2014, 01:54 PM
Thank you soooo much 5 Little Monkeys! This is so helpful, informative and encouraging. I will definitely be using your tips and advice. :D

Lee-Bee
06-14-2014, 07:35 PM
1. Mine all nap in separate rooms, but it sounds like yours are started with a good amount of time in between start dates so you will have time to get each child settled into routine before the next child starts. Unfortunately with group care, at times, children just have to cry as you are out numbered. Think ahead, don't start habits you won't be able to continue when the next child starts (rocking until asleep etc). Help the children learn to settle on their own. In the same room have them as apart as you can, have lots of white noise (fans, noise machines etc). Even the most difficult nappers can learn to sleep in a group setting...it just takes time and patience.

2. Mine all have full cribs, if space is an issue then playpens for cure. Don't add the trouble of teaching a 13month old to stay on a mat when having them settle into daycare!!! Wayyyy too much work for you!

3. I started preparing it the night before. Now that they nap good I make the food at nap time for the next day. So on Monday during nap I make my families supper for Monday which is also lunch on Tuesday. If Monday was a chaotic day and I couldn't make the food then I do it in the evening. I would NOT expect to be prepping food the day of when helping three young children adjust to group care. They need attention and my group still (five kiddos 13-18months) go running to the table when they see me head that way to warm up the food. If I had to actually cook it they would be melting down waiting. They are just starting to be able to self entertain enough to play while I prep the food...but not there yet.

4. After the kids eat they get wiped down and are given their cups. They drink (and play with their cups) while I quickly wash the floor and table. I then set them free to play while I do a good clean up (usually rewash the floor and put stuff away). Do NOT expect them to play while you do the clean up at first...they run right back to you (through the food). I learned that lesson the hard way before I started keeping them in their chairs with their cups.

5. My daughter hasn't started this yet...just try to give lots of hugs and cuddles throughout the day and deal with it as it arises.

6. I have a low table (18" high and 72" long by 30"wide) from a daycare supply store. I also have all kids in Chairies (9"). Four out of 5 kids can now climb into their chairs themselves, I still buckle them in and will for a long time coming as it contains them. They love the independence of their chairs. When I unbuckle them all 5 know how to reach forward, hold the table, push their chair back and stand up. Again this independence is awesome for them and saves me having to lift 5 kids in and out of chairs many times a day.

Stock up on your favorite treats now. I had so much pop and chocolate those first weeks as reward of really, really hard days. You will likely second guess yourself and think 'what have I done' and 'my poor child' but you will soon fall into routine and see how great a job this is and how great it is for your child. My 15month old LOVES having her friends come each day and she has learned so much from them. It was hard at first but is now smooth going for the most part.

mickyc
06-15-2014, 01:18 PM
In my daycare I have 2 rooms for napping - spare room and laundry room. The ones that don't nap well sleep in the laundry room and the others in the spare room. I use playpens only for kids under 2.5 (I have cots 2.5yrs and up). I do not rock anyone, just in your bed, lights out and goodnight. I also use the CIO method. If a child cries for 30 minutes I will go back in and lay them back down but usually they are asleep after 10-15. I also have been leaving them in their playpen until naptime is over. If they wake up they for the most part will go back to sleep. If they wake the others, so be it.

I have never had issues with having time to do any meal prep the day of (or right before mealtime). I don't hold child much during the day. You will find this will work best for your own child as well. When we do floor activities I would only let my own child sit on me and I always held her hand when we walked somewhere. It was a hard adjustment to share her Mommy. I also have my daycare separate from our living space so that helps keep her personal belongings separate.

I don't allow children to drop food/throw food etc. they learn quickly that they are not allowed to dump their plates, drop cups etc so the mess is somewhat minimal. I clean each child after they are finished and then they go play while I clean the next. once they are all done I wipe the table.

For little ones under 2 I use high chairs. I have a child sized table and chairs for kids over 2.

Congrats on running your own daycare. Just make sure you have a solid contract. Good luck!

lilybean
06-16-2014, 01:30 AM
Lee-Bee, your ideas are so great and your insight is very helpful. And I will definitely be looking into the Chairies! Have you found a place that sells them for a reasonable price in Canada? I've seen these on American sites, and they're so much cheaper. And nice tip about the treats! I've got some ice-cream waiting for me in the freezer. :D Thank you so much.

lilybean
06-16-2014, 01:31 AM
Thanks for your insight and the advice about cleaning up the children and letting them go play one by one after meals. That's a great idea. :D

bright sparks
06-16-2014, 08:26 AM
1. How do you get 3 little ones down for a nap at the same time? I'm afraid one will start crying and wake up the other ones. Or maybe they need to be rocked to sleep, but I'll only be able to rock one at a time. I have a small home, so they will all be napping in the same room. Initially separate them into different rooms until they have adjusted to you and their new environment and then once they are in a good sleep routine transition them into one room. you may find out that one or more of them needs to be kept separate on an ongoing basis if they always wake crying, wake earlier than the others or if they are a light sleeper. I have a guy who wakes up momentarily after 1 hour every afternoon but I don't jump up and get him. After 5 or 10 minutes he always settles back down and then sleeps for the additional hour or so like the rest of the group. It will take some time for adjustment and you will have to do some sleep training but its totally doable and worth the hardwork to have them all on the same schedule

2. What do you think is best: playpens, those really low daycare cots (I've seen them on daycare supply sites) or mats? Playpens for babies and then some time around the 2-2 1/2 yr mark depending on the child weight switch them over to the toddler cots.

3. Do you prepare meals the night before in case they don't nap well and you don't have time to do it during nap time? I never cook during the day and I don't spend every evening prepping food for the following day. Our days are long enough. Some providers serve leftovers while some providers actually make double their evening meal purposely to have a meal for the kiddies the next day. I have a 3 week menu and each of my recipes yields enough for 3 meals so I cook 15 meals and there is enough for 9 weeks worth of meals. It is one busy weekend versus regular extra cooking. Everything goes into foil trays and is labelled and then goes into my chest freezer. I pull the meal out the day before and then put it in the oven to cook or reheat low and slow, or if it is a crockpot meal just empty the contents into the pot to cook during the morning. The only prep I have to do each week is to chop fruit and veggies for snacks. That's what works for me but I have tried many different methods over the years and that may be what you do to figure out what works best for you and your family.

4. How do you stay on top of the cleaning, especially after meals when there's food all over the floor and dishes to do? I try to clean as I go but typically once lunch is over I clean the kids up and do our toileting routine and I put them to bed. Once this is done then I do the dishes, wipe the highchairs down and sweep and mop the eating area.

5. I'm worried that this will be a huge adjustment for my daughter and heard that there may be jealousy issues. Has anyone experienced this, and do you have any advice? When I first started out my son was 3 and my biggest regret was taking on my first child that was the same age as him. There were so many issues but your child is substantially younger, is more adaptable and if nothing else just isn't at "that age" lol I know there are lots of people who have started daycare with a 1 year old who could advise you better.

6. For meal times, what is best: booster seats, high chairs, or a low table and chairs? Has anyone found low chairs with arms? I feel they'd be safer for this age group. I use highchairs, the ikea ones stack really well, take up minimal room and the trays can go in the dishwasher to be sanitized oh and did I mention they are cheap too!! :) Once they can sit at the table that's where they eat. For snacks they sit on the floor or they sit at the small craft table

Thank you so much in advance. I've already got some excellent ideas for other questions from older posts, so I'm looking forward to hearing more great ideas.

Lee-Bee
06-16-2014, 09:44 AM
Lee-Bee, your ideas are so great and your insight is very helpful. And I will definitely be looking into the Chairies! Have you found a place that sells them for a reasonable price in Canada? I've seen these on American sites, and they're so much cheaper. And nice tip about the treats! I've got some ice-cream waiting for me in the freezer. :D Thank you so much.

They run about $100 each :-( without the tray and buckle. Occasionally they go on sale through Scholar's choice and you can snag them for a bit less.

I did not get any trays, I'd have liked them at first but they run about $80 extra (insane). My kids make due at the table...a bit more clean up but they enjoy being there with their friends. I made my own harness straps as they were near impossible to find and when I did find them it was about $25 including shipping, each which again is insane. I just bought backpack strap from the fabric store and some buckles and made them (made 5 for under $20).

They cost a lot but are well worth it in the long run. I got the 9" chairs which are a tad big for my kiddos now but they are comfortable and can get in and our on their own. They should still fit comfortably for 3-4 years olds, a bit small but still the right size.

I got my table through scholars choice as well. I managed to get a great sale but it was still about $400 with shipping (would have been over $600). Very expensive but so worth it in the long run. I wanted it big enough that they can do art projects with elbow room and so they aren't picking food off each others plates!

What I did before buying this table was get a solid wood table off kijiji and I had my husband chop the wooden legs down to size. It was perfect...the only catch was it had the leaf's to make it bigger and the food would collect in the cracks and annoyed me...I used a table cloth but it too annoyed me after a while. But, it is a still a really great way to get a good, solid, large table for cheap!!

lilybean
06-21-2014, 12:52 AM
This is all so helpful. Thank you very much! :D