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Parents and Guardians Forum>Need advice please - re: daycare switch?
Mazzy 07:28 AM 08-06-2012
Hi - my son, Luke, is almost 9 months. He's been in a daycare center since 2 months. From about 2 months until 5 months, he had every virus possible. Sick constantly - very stressful. I thought at the time that if I could find a home daycare, I'd reduce his chances of all of us getting sick, especially if all the children were less than school age. But, no one had any openings at the time.

Also, he has 4 different carers at the center. And that was after 1 of them left. Soon, he will be moving into the "waddlers" room because he's crawling, which means all of his providers will be changing again. At the present time, I like 2 of the carers, but not the other 2. The other 2 get stressed out very easily and I am not pleased with their reactions to crying babies, etc. Not to mention, they will listen to heavy metal and rap music on their shift (despite the fact that these are infants).

Well, I just got a call over the weekend that there was an opening at a home daycare in my town. The cost is less and payment more convenient, although it's a little further away. The home is gorgeous (brand new). The provider has 23 years of experience, takes care of 6 kids, with help from her mother and husband who are both licensed backups. Of the 6 kids, only 2 of them are under 2. The rest are 4, 3.5, 2.5, and 2.

Not sure if it makes sense to switch...my main concern is the quality of attention for my son's age. Because of the older children, this provider has activities planned for the older kids. Not to mention, it's very difficult to give an infant one-on-one attention when older kids have so much energy and demand more attention.

What should I do? My husband and I are both on the fence about it. He says that because it's not jumping out at us, that we should stay where we are for Luke's sake. But, I'm not sure he's happy there. Every night of the week he is wound up and I have to get him to settle, and I wonder if it's because of the constant ins and outs of the people at the center (just general activity) or because of the 2 girls that seem to get really stressed (as he seems worse after their shifts). I wish I could make a true decision rather than just staying where I am because I can't make ANY decision.

Home Daycare vs. Daycare Center

-new home environment -school-like environment
-Costs $800/mo -costs $920/mo
-Payment can be made monthly -payment can only be made per week
(we prefer monthly)
-same town, but 5 minutes further -closer to highway, pediatrician, and grandma
-provider has a large parrot -no animals
-6 children, mostly older -all children of same age/development in same room
-less sickness? (what about bird?) -constantly getting sick
-a single provider for attachment -several providers in and out, moving to new room
-brings all kids outside and on hikes -never goes outside currently
-provider seems "hyper" -providers vary in temperament, some very calm

Not sure what else...any ideas?
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SilverSabre25 08:29 AM 08-06-2012
Well, just take a look at your list of pros and cons...it seems clear to me! I would absolutely move him to the home daycare. He'll definitely get more attention, more love, more individualized care, more of everything he needs from the home child care.

Among other things that jump out at me as serious issues with the daycare center he's at--he shouldn't be hearing that kind of music, he shouldn't have so many different carers, he SHOULD get to go outside.

It's not as difficult as you may think to give an infant lovin' and attention while also caring for older children--parents have managed it for centuries . Your son is 9 months old and crawling--the hands-on stuff is diminishing, believe it or not. He's going to be best served by being on the floor surrounded by awesome toys, with bigger kids playing nearby to watch and learn from. When he needs snuggles and loves, the provider is almost certain more than happy to occupy her arms with snuggles--much more so than in a center.

I think you know what the best decision is, but are afraid to make that jump. Listen to your son's signals--he shouldn't be stressed and upset after a day at daycare. He will almost certainly be happier at the home childcare and I think you will ultimately be happier with it as well.
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Breezy 08:37 AM 08-06-2012
Welcome to the forum!!!

I agree with everything Silver said and also wanted to ad that he may be distressed and wound up after being there because of the stimulation of all the other children. The crying or the hustle and bustle. I recently read an ebook written by a woman who worked in a center (I think a lot of us here read it- what was it? Doing Time: What it Means to Grow up in a Daycare Center?)

Basically the author said that the kids would just get so wound up with everything going on and if they were having an off day, they had nowhere to go just have quiet time because there was just sso much going on.

For me, my babies stay super close to me all day and play on the floor next to me when I am playing with older children. I honestly think the babies probably get more one on one with me than anyone else because everyone else can walk or talk to eachother and are busy playing.

And yes as Silver said he SHOULD be going outside every day!!!
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cheerfuldom 09:36 AM 08-06-2012
I would go with the home daycare, no doubt about it. From a providers perspective, I personally think a mixed age is WAYYYY easier to care for then all the kids being infants.

Maybe you havent been around many older kids but your average 3 and 4 year old does not need to be diapered, bottle or spoon feed, or carried at all. Many 2 year olds do not need that type of hands on care either. Your child will really be the only baby in care and that is to his advantage! He will get more attention and more physical care than at the center and with the smaller number of kids and caregivers, he will be less overstimulated than at the daycare. Plus outside time! I would never, ever send my baby anywhere where they did not get some outdoor time. He is missing out on important learning and exploring times by being cooped up in the same room (with inappropriate music playing, yikes!). The lack of ventilation and access to fresh air is certainly making the illness issue worse at the daycare. I have had several infants here that have been sick at the most, 2 times for the first year of life. It is very rare for my babies to get sick. They have their own baby toys to play with that none of the other kids even use because i only take one baby at a time. Less contamination of germs!

You have a chance to go with someone that has DECADES of experience....I would bet almost all of the workers at your current daycare are young girls that are not parents, with little to no experience, paid a low wage for a lot of work and this results in a huge turnover.....not good for your baby at all!
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lil angels 10:23 AM 08-06-2012
I have worked center and home daycare. I have a
Ways said if I had a baby I would never put them in a center until at least the age of 3. I have two boys now and I went to home over center because I felt they didn't get any attention in the center vs at home. Just my opinion and not going outside would not fly well with me either. They need it just as much as the provider needs it. Good luck I think you now what your answere is.
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Mazzy 10:31 AM 08-06-2012
WOW! You guys are awesome! I didn't know if I would get a lot of responses, but I did. I really appreciate your feedback and will have a conversation with my husband tonight about it.
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itlw8 10:52 AM 08-06-2012
When a family adds a new baby is it neglected for the older children?

Are the older children neglected because of the new addition to the family?

I plan activites for the older children but you will find that crawler on a mat at my feet exploring his world. the older kids come over and say hi to baby and maybe play peek a boo before going off to play.Mixed age groups are WONDERFUL for all children . They learn so much from the older children and as older children practice what they know by teaching the younger children.

Children from a quality family childcare are secure, self sufficient and usually in the top group of their class when the head off to kindergarten.

Quality is the key though
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itlw8 10:56 AM 08-06-2012
most states require children go outdoors 1 hour a days unless above 95 or under 30 degrees.

I had to laugh at the hyper part. Yes I bet people think I am. You need to be in this business.We are messy here also. We paint weekly explore bugs and the outdoors. We have all sorts of fun learning .
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winecountrydaycaregal 11:06 AM 08-06-2012
Hi, I am a small family child care provider and i take care of mixed ages. I actually think your son would get more attention with mixed ages because older kids seem more self sufficient. Plus, he will be a big kid before you know it, it happens so fast and more kids will come in that are closer to his age.
I laughed at the hyper part too. I am pretty high energy.
As far as sickness, i have found that some kids just get sick more than others, even in my small setting.
The kids should get outside every day, no exceptions except rain!
good luck.
Debbie
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Heidi 11:18 AM 08-06-2012
I have been a family provider for many years, as well as being a mom of 4 (and now a grandma of 4!). I have also spent quite a bit of time in various centers.

I think there are some very good centers out there, and there are some good home providers and some not so good. The other ladies here all pointed out the good, and I agree with them.

The only disadvantage of a family provider that I can think of is the isolation. Being completely alone with children 50+ hours a week can be difficult. It sounds like this provider has this handled by involving her mother and husband. For those of us that don't have that option...we come here!

I honestly think this sounds like it could be a very positive change for your son. It sounds like it's somewhere he could settle in until he starts school. You know she does lots of activities already, so, no need to worry about "preschool" later!

Do your homework, check references, check your state database for violations (if your state has one), and read that policy manual. If after that, you still feel good about the provider...go for it!

Good luck to you and your little man...
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Mazzy 11:56 AM 08-06-2012
Actually, I did check the database for violations...and she had 1 violation that was rectified. I didn't really understand what it meant. It was "physical plant." What does that mean?

Also, she said during the interview that out of 23 years of doing the daycare, she's had only 5 perfect inspections (out of probably 10-15). All the other inspections had some minor issue like an outlet cover missing or something to that affect. (The outlet she was talking about was above a sink). Should I be concerned about that? Especially since my son is very mobile and loves cords but obviously can't reach above a sink...
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nanglgrl 01:56 PM 08-06-2012
Originally Posted by Mazzy:
Actually, I did check the database for violations...and she had 1 violation that was rectified. I didn't really understand what it meant. It was "physical plant." What does that mean?

Also, she said during the interview that out of 23 years of doing the daycare, she's had only 5 perfect inspections (out of probably 10-15). All the other inspections had some minor issue like an outlet cover missing or something to that affect. (The outlet she was talking about was above a sink). Should I be concerned about that? Especially since my son is very mobile and loves cords but obviously can't reach above a sink...
Physical Plant? I've never heard of that...maybe call licensing or the provider and ask. As for inspections I had a friend fail because she had an empty pill bottle sitting on her counter. It was for her daughters medication and she had it sitting by the phone so she would remember to call in a refill. We have a lot of goofy little things that can make us fail an inspection and one minor infraction in 23 years that has been rectified is nothing, I bet if you were to check the center you would find that they have had more infractions.
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youretooloud 03:14 PM 08-06-2012
That is actually a tough decision. The proximity is a big deal to some people. It really can make or break a good setting for parents if the daycare is harder to get to.

Daycare centers typically have a higher teacher turnover rate. It's not unreasonable to see three or four teachers leave in one year. It's one of the drawbacks of center life. But, if you see a REALLY high teacher turnover rate, or the teachers do not seem happy there, it could be that the teachers are not being treated very well at that center. A happy teacher is a happy class.
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Snapdragon 04:53 AM 08-07-2012
Originally Posted by Mazzy:
Actually, I did check the database for violations...and she had 1 violation that was rectified. I didn't really understand what it meant. It was "physical plant." What does that mean?

Also, she said during the interview that out of 23 years of doing the daycare, she's had only 5 perfect inspections (out of probably 10-15). All the other inspections had some minor issue like an outlet cover missing or something to that affect. (The outlet she was talking about was above a sink). Should I be concerned about that? Especially since my son is very mobile and loves cords but obviously can't reach above a sink...
Physical plant is usually related to the building (including outdoor playground) -- the facility in general. It could be the state of the building (i.e. peeling paint) to safety issues (building exits, fire protection, etc.).
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crazydaycarelady 10:08 AM 08-09-2012
I also would go with the home daycare for no other reason than having someone with 23 years experience is so valuable compared to most centers have young girls for caregivers. But there are so many more reasons also:

Benefits of Home Child care
What are the benefits of choosing in-home care? A family childcare provider continues the parent's role of caregiver, nurturer, comforter, and first teacher. The provider is not just a babysitter. She plans meals, schedules, and safety. She organizes the children's activities. She will appreciate your family values and child rearing practices. She is a professional and you can rely on her judgment. Working together as a team, you will provide the best for your child. The provider is not a substitute for you. You are the most important person in your child's life and the provider respects that.

Here are just a few of the advantages of home care:
1) Child Care Homes are required to have a lower child/adult ratio than centers so your child receives more individual attention.
2) There is more flexibility than in a center.
3) There is less illness because there are fewer people in and out, which means fewer germs are spread to your child.
4) Your child is cared for and taught by a trained childcare professional that is usually a mother as well.
5) Children have the opportunity to play and learn with other children in a much smaller group than in a center.
6) Many children cannot handle the noise level and increased stimulation of a daycare center and do better in a smaller setting.
7) Children are not grouped by age and have the opportunity to spend time with other children of all ages.
8) Your child has the same caregiver all day, everyday. That means one person who knows exactly what your child has done, eaten, etc. throughout the day.
9) Centers tend to have high employee turnover rates.
10) It is possible for your child to remain with the same provider from infancy up to school age
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love111 11:11 AM 08-09-2012
Well this goes against what alot of people are saying but I will say it sorry to offend (this is my experience).Sorry for the long post I am passionate about this. In home daycare with older kids mixed is NOT necessarily better and can be unsafe in many instances. Why you ask?

1. If the provider takes any age under 5 or before and after school care there will have kids coming and going. They can't guarantee that they will get good ones or bad ones or how long they will stay. Even a day with a bad kid can cause total havoc! Many parents in order to avoid fixing an issue or being denied won't tell a new provider why they REALLY left the last daycare. Hence their problems become your problems.

2. Alot of toddlers don't know how to behave correctly around a baby. And older kids are NOT always easier or self sufficient. They in my opinion require alot more work and attention. They potentially throw bigger fits, can do more damage, run through the house, get into things, throw stuff etc. Some are not potty trained so the provider takes alot of time with them while they are NOT looking at the baby on the floor ,while wiping the kids butt in the bathroom.

3. I initially had mixed ages and older kids literally running over the babies right in front of me, after I already told them to be careful. It can take time to teach a kid the rules of the house and some still never get it. Babies need to be on the floor to explore, not in a bouncy and you can't safely do that with alot of toddlers running around.

4. If the in home provider takes government subsidized daycare or charges overly cheap rates they can have issues with the parents and the kids. You tend to get the younger, less educated parents, poor nutrition at home, no money to take off to take their kids to the doc, or time to work with them, foster kids etc. All of that can tend to bring baggage related to behavior problems, that negatively affect your child because they are brought up in the environment.

Overall I would stay in the center daycare for now and keep looking. Try looking into a nanny share arrangement or a small in home with mostly infants or tighter admission standards ie: kids must be infants when they start the program. Check out Care.com or Sittercity.com and see if there is a mom who wants to stay home and just wants one kid. That can buy you time till your baby gets a little older and can talk. Or you can choose to do that yourself and stay home.

Yes the sickness sucks and is standard, the music thing is annoying but in the big picture is not that bad, and the number of people coming and going is pretty standard for a center. But you are almost looking at jumping into one mess right into another. Not all in homes are better options for infants.

Your child may also get just as sick at the in home with that many kids and most likely you will be dealing with issues of the kid getting accidentley hit or bitten or smacked because a toddler didn't want the baby taking it's toy. At least now you know your infant is only around babies. And the provider could honestly have a great bunch of kids now, but next week they get a devil of a 3 year old and THAT is when the problems can happen. Why do you think centers separate age groups.

Sorry so long but I stopped taking older kids while I had babies because of the problems I had. I won't get into details but I learned the hard way, and I know many providers still struggle with the same problems. Alot of my parents are teachers or Child Protective Services employees because THEY KNOW what types of kids are out there and how you really need to be picky in order to avoid some unsafe conditions and keep your babies safe. It's not being paranoid it's just being honest and NOT trying to be politically correct and protecting your family and in my case protecting my babies in my care.

I wish you the best of luck in your search, it is hard.
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MizzCheryl 04:32 PM 08-09-2012
I would normally say go with the home daycare. BUT... The parrot might be a deal breaker. I have read that birds can cause illness. Do and of you other ladies know about that?? Don't have any experience there but I would do a search on the board about birds. I could be wrong.
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Mazzy 08:41 AM 08-13-2012
Hi Love, thank you so much for your honest response. After a GREAT deal of thought, we have decided to stay with the center for now (even before I read your response).

Although the provider we met with was a good person and I'm sure is very capable, there were some things I was concerned about.

1. That there was only 1 person that was ultimately responsible day in and day out for my child. Yes, I am also just 1 person - plus my husband - and things can happen at home just as easily. BUT, it's in my home and under my protection (which is different than a stranger's non-familial protection)...Plus I have the *option* of leaving him in the care of an environment where there's a lot of oversight (such as a center), so I feel that is a better choice. Also, 1 person means that if my son doesn't really care for her, he's stuck with her. In the center, if he doesn't like one carer, he just has to turn to the other one.

2. I have read that birds can spread illness to humans in other forums, so does the whole illness factor get cancelled out because she has a large bird? I don't know. (This is a minor consideration)

3. At the center, there is 1 provider for 4 infants, with 8 infants and 2 providers allowed in a room. The room is not full, so there ends up being less than that most of the time - 4-6 total kids. My son is in a room full of his age group. I feel that the similar ages and the fact that there is a smaller ratio of kids along with 2 providers in the room if help is needed, outweighs the 1:6 ratio of a home daycare, and the mixed age groups. I feel he learns a lot of positive things from children his own age, rather than the negative things he might learn from an older child who has learned how to push his limits.

4. I'm a little concerned about the financial situation of the home provider. It may be a personal issue and something I shouldn't even bring up, but if I have to move him again in the near future, that would not be a benefit to me or to him. The reason I am concerned about it is because of the size of her home vs. what kind of money her family might be bringing in. Although she may have no financial issues whatsoever, it seems that the center is less likely to go out of business because it has so many children and is well established/has a lot more to lose.

5. The home provider is further away than the center. She is in a more remote area, although it's still sort of on my way to/from work. The center is right off the highway, next door to the pediatrician and down the street from Grandmas.

6. The time off...With the daycare center, I don't have to worry about taking my time off around their schedule. The home daycare provider is asking for Valentine's day, Good Friday, and several other odd holidays that I can't think of right now...which basically adds up to 5 additional holiday days that I don't get where I work (and I get about 8 holiday days per year). So she is essentially taking 13+ days as holidays. Also, she gets 5 PTO days and 2 full weeks of vacation to take at her discretion. Add that up, and you get 1 month of time I have to take off for her schedule that I don't take for the center. In addition, the center gives us 1 free week to take whenever we want. 5 weeks is a big deal. Unfortunately for the home provider, it's the cost of doing a home business. She deserves the time off, so I'm certainly not disputing that. But, when shopping, I always aim for the best deal.

7. I'm not getting that 100% feeling...of "YES!" this is the woman I want to leave my child with all day! I believe I have to get that feeling because of the lack of multiple caregivers. With a center, because you have 2 adults in the room, they have to be on better behavior - because they keep each other in check. Plus other adults are in the adjoining room. So there's always someone to keep check. Paranoid am I? Yes. You should see me at home! Maybe it would make sense to ask this woman for a 2nd interview. 1 interview may not be enough to determine if I have that "YES" feeling.

The one positive of the home situation was the outdoor time. She has a lovely home and property and takes the kids outside every day, weather permitting, goes on hikes, etc. I really wanted to switch for that reason alone - It weighs very heavily. Unfortunately, in the center, they don't bring the kids out until they are about 1-1/2 yrs old (walking). The reason is that it is very difficult to carry and handle 4 babies. Also, there are other parents who don't want their infants outside for the first year (crazy, I know!) According to the state, it is not a requirement for a daycare center to bring the babies outside, although it is recommended. I've contacted other centers, and their policy is the same. So, this is going to happen in any center in my area.

It comes down to this: keep him where he is and sacrifice his outdoor time or move him to the home and potentially sacrifice his safety? Since I'm a paranoid woman, I've decided to do the former and make adjustments by bringing him directly outside as soon as we get home. The benefit of this is that I also get my outdoor time.

Now.............all that being said, he contracted Roseola on Friday. Was sick all weekend and it was pretty crummy. This certainly made me want to reconsider my decision! UGH. I think they need to make a reality show out of the daycare world. It would certainly be interesting.
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Blackcat31 09:05 AM 08-13-2012
Sounds like you did an EXCELLENT job of doing your homework and finding the environment that works best for you and your family.

That is fantastic and I am glad you were able to weigh the pros and cons and come up with a decision that works best for your son.

Ultimately, that is what really matters the most!
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Mazzy 10:42 AM 08-13-2012
I do have one question though...Do you have aggression issues at a home facility, such as biting, hitting, etc.?

I have not experienced that yet with the center, but I'm assuming it's going to happen when he moves to the next room.
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Blackcat31 12:56 PM 08-13-2012
Originally Posted by Mazzy:
I do have one question though...Do you have aggression issues at a home facility, such as biting, hitting, etc.?

I have not experienced that yet with the center, but I'm assuming it's going to happen when he moves to the next room.
Absolutely! When you get a group of two or more little ones in ANY setting, there is going to be issues of aggression....some worse than others...but simply because children under age 5 lack the skills to address their frustrations and egocentric way of thinking.

Each home facitilty and/or center probably handles it in whatever manner works best for them but it absolutely happens in ALL environments.
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Mazzy 04:29 PM 08-13-2012
Thanks Blackcat31!
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cheerfuldom 10:45 AM 08-14-2012
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
Absolutely! When you get a group of two or more little ones in ANY setting, there is going to be issues of aggression....some worse than others...but simply because children under age 5 lack the skills to address their frustrations and egocentric way of thinking.

Each home facitilty and/or center probably handles it in whatever manner works best for them but it absolutely happens in ALL environments.
I agree, it does happen in all environments....

but another thing to consider is that with a small home daycare setting, its usually one or two kids that are at the age where this becomes an issue while they are going thru that testing phase.....not the whole group of kids. One of the reasons why my own children will never attend a daycare center is that aggressive behavior is a huge issue with the toddlers up to 3 year old. As the group ages, there are less teachers for the number of children and less eyes to watch for the behavior, less attention to deal with it appropriately, etc. And depending on the center's policy, it can be a long time, if ever, that truly aggressive children are asked to leave the center. Its an important thing to consider no matter where you send your child, of course, its just my belief that aggressive behaviors are more apt to happen with a large group of children, all the same age, with a limited number of teachers.

Check the toddler ratios at the center. I would imagine it nearly doubles once kids get over one year old, assuming the older classes are within the state regulations.
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Blackcat31 12:08 PM 08-14-2012
Originally Posted by cheerfuldom:
I agree, it does happen in all environments....

but another thing to consider is that with a small home daycare setting, its usually one or two kids that are at the age where this becomes an issue while they are going thru that testing phase.....not the whole group of kids. One of the reasons why my own children will never attend a daycare center is that aggressive behavior is a huge issue with the toddlers up to 3 year old. As the group ages, there are less teachers for the number of children and less eyes to watch for the behavior, less attention to deal with it appropriately, etc. And depending on the center's policy, it can be a long time, if ever, that truly aggressive children are asked to leave the center. Its an important thing to consider no matter where you send your child, of course, its just my belief that aggressive behaviors are more apt to happen with a large group of children, all the same age, with a limited number of teachers.

Check the toddler ratios at the center. I would imagine it nearly doubles once kids get over one year old, assuming the older classes are within the state regulations.
I agree Cheer... the number if incidences vary greatly between large centers and small home care environments.

I also think alot of that has to do with correct or proper fit. I mean as a family child care provider the families I enroll are sort of "selected" to match our environment and myself as a provider whereas large centers don't necessarily interview and match according to fit...they simply accept families/children who are interested in the space. That does make a HUGE difference in my opinion.

I also think that it is fair to say the level of aggression is different too, not just the fact that it is there. For example, I have had only ONE biting incident in 20 years but I have had several hitters, pushers or kids prone to tantrums. Every environment is definitely different.
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Sprouts 10:46 AM 08-16-2012
I have ome last option lol quit ur job, downsize, and be home with ur sweet little boy! That's pretty much what I did, except downsize....I do home child care, but if it didn't work out we were prepared to downsize...
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