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  1. #1

    I need some advice from the pros, just opened daycare, please any tips!

    Hi all,

    I just started my daycare, and everything is going okay. But I am struggling with a few things....

    1. How to manage family life with the daycare.
    My daycare is open for 12 hours, and then after that I have to clean up, dishes, vacuum, mop, etc. when the kids leave. I am finding myself feeling burnt out. Then cooking dinner for my family and taking care of their needs, taking care of the pets, etc. I feel I have no energy and that there is never enough hours in the day. It doesn't help that none of the kids in my care even nap, or if they do its all at different times so I feel I never get a break.

    2. How to deal with picky eaters! Any easy recipes, quick recipes, snacks, healthy stuff that kids will eat. Please let me know some of your go to meals. I cook all vegetarian. If the kids aren't eating, I find myself serving different things to different kids just to get them to eat.

    3. Any tips on how to cut back on work overall? Make things easier for myself. Do you prepare things on the weekends?

    4. Figuring out activities to keep all the kids entertained. It's really difficult with the infants to do drawing, painting, etc. And sometimes the kids will tell me they don't want to do the activity anymore after just 2 minutes.
    What kind of activities can you do for all ages?

    Thanks everyone, that's all for now

    Appreciate the help so much

  2. #2
    Starting to feel at home...
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    Do you need to be open 12 hours? I would aim to get down to 9-10 hours in the next year, if you plan to do this long term. Do your clients need you to be open 12 hours a day, or do they use longer hours because it is available? Crock pots & freezer meals are great for having dinner ready after work. Mass cooking and prepping on weekends helps to make the week run smoother.

    What ages do you have in care? It is pretty common that all have an afternoon nap, or quiet time in the early afternoon. This would give you time to get morning dishes, and other odds & ends done.

    If they are hungry they will eat. Provide healthy nutritional and balanced food options throughout the day. It is up to them how much or if they will eat. They might be holding off on eating, if they think you will start making additional options.

    Activities: variety of blocks, dramatic play items, reading time, action songs, finger plays, dancing, outdoor time, musical instruments, puzzles, transportation toys etc. Maybe reserve art time for when the infants are sleeping.

  3. #3
    Euphoric !
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    Quote Originally Posted by daycarenewbie View Post
    1. How to manage family life with the daycare.
    Firm boundaries and a routine. First, you have to decide the boundaries of your business. 12 hours a day is ridiculous. Most parents do not work 12 hours a day. I think you are trying to have mass appeal by offering the long hours which might well mean that more people will consider your day home but you don't need mass appeal. Depending on which province you are in, you only need to appeal to 6 (or whatever your limits are but I think 6 is the highest allowed across the country). Ten-hour max is plenty. If that means that you open at 7 am and close at 5 pm, and a potential new client needs care until 5.30pm, then you need to understand that's outside the boundaries of your service and tell them NO and keep looking.

    The second part of the equation is routine. Children need routine. It's really important. It's important for their sense of security. They need to be sure that they are safe and know what is happening in their day and when it will happen. Sleep is also very important for developing brains. Unless you have a group of 4-year-olds, any child who is an infant or a toddler needs to be napping and anyone older needs a period of rest where they focus on quiet activities.

    As a group care provider, you need to fix a schedule for opening, arrivals, latest drop off you will accommodate, a good period of outside time so that the child is tired at naptime, lunch, nap, afternoon activities, pickup.

    Decide on your schedule and start enforcing it. Having children all napping at different times is total insanity because you cannot schedule your program goals when you have no idea who is napping when naps are happening etc. You are not providing a personal service. You are providing group care and the goal will always be to bring a new child into your routine not for everyone to accommodate the parent's routine or for you to mirror half a dozen different routines. You are setting yourself up for failure.



    My daycare is open for 12 hours, and then after that, I have to clean up, dishes, vacuum, mop, etc. when the kids leave. I am finding myself feeling burnt out. Then cooking dinner for my family and taking care of their needs, taking care of the pets, etc. I feel I have no energy and that there is never enough hours in the day. It doesn't help that none of the kids in my care even nap, or if they do its all at different times so I feel I never get a break.

    2. How to deal with picky eaters! Any easy recipes, quick recipes, snacks, healthy stuff that kids will eat. Please let me know some of your go to meals. I cook all vegetarian. If the kids aren't eating, I find myself serving different things to different kids just to get them to eat.
    You are a daycare not a restaurant. It is not your job to get a child to eat. It is part of your service to provide a meal. It's up to the child if they eat it. Stop making alternatives just to get them to eat. All that does is tell the child that if they don't want what you give them, they can not eat it and you will give them something else. Do you think that would happen in a daycare center? There's options B and C because a 2-year-old has decided that the meal they have been given isn't what they want? Heck no.

    Put the meal down. Remind a child to eat ONCE. Don't force them. Don't spend time encouraging them. Don't make the meal about how much or little someone eats. At the end of the meal, pick up the plate, wipes hands and faces and dismiss the table. No one gets an extra snack in a bit because they didn't eat lunch. The children will quickly learn that this is the meal they get and if they don't eat they will have to wait until the next scheduled meal.

    That said - make sure there are 2 to 3 things on the plate and try and avoid meals like Shephards Pie where it's all mixed together until you know that's a dish they all like. There will be times that a child has a real dislike of a food item and so it's important there are other things on their plate for them to eat. Don't like peas? Then eat the starch and the protein. There is a difference between a kid who is picky and using all the tricks for an alternative meal and a kid who doesn't like a food item which is a shame if that's all that's on their plate and they are hungry.

    3. Any tips on how to cut back on work overall? Make things easier for myself. Do you prepare things on the weekends?
    The above 2 things will help - stop offering crazy long hours which isn't sustainable, stop catering to individuals food preferences.

    I also double up family supper so the daycare lunch for the next day is done. I find that's a big help.

    Children are expected to help tidy toys as we transistion from one activity to another and at the end of the day. That helps too that the floor is clear. In the nice weather, we head into the yard after snack in the afternoon so as I prep the snack, the children put the toys away. Then as they eat a snack, I Lysol spray, or wipe over the hard surfaces, mop the playroom. Children then get their shoes on and use the washroom. I wipe over the washroom as we are done and then into the yard so pick up is from outside. That way, a lot of the clean up is done when the last child leaves and once family supper is cooking, I return to the daycare space and do the last bits of cleaning for tomorrow.


    4. Figuring out activities to keep all the kids entertained. It's really difficult with the infants to do drawing, painting, etc. And sometimes the kids will tell me they don't want to do the activity anymore after just 2 minutes.
    What kind of activities can you do for all ages?
    Little children are too little for these types of structured activities with instructions. That comes around 3 years and up. Infants need things like finger painting, or building blocks etc and lots and lots of outside time where they can build their confidence, exploration, push their boundaries, develop their motor skills and balance.

    Water tables are great for all ages. If they can stand, they will love it. Put beads or little rakes and similar toys in with some small containers and they will play for hours. Add bubbles.

    Use sensory bins. All different themes.

    You should search the web too for some PReK sites that have loads of ideas for children.

    Thanks everyone, that's all for now

    Appreciate the help so much [/QUOTE]

  4. #4
    Shy
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    12 hours is a very long day. I would suggest shortening the day to something more manageable for yourself and your family.
    I suggest making a nap schedule, so that most children are napping at the same time. You need a break too and this rest time is also a great time to tidy up somethings.
    I agree with the above post. You are providing childcare, you are not a restaurant. Get the children to help with the menus and serve what is on your menu for the day, they decide if they will eat or not.
    Any food prep that can be done early, I do on Sunday. Daily meals I prep the evening before so everything is set and ready for when I need to cook.
    Can you engage the children and see what their interests are? What kinds of activities do you offer?

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