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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>My Child Will Be The Oldest?
Unregistered 07:26 PM 04-18-2013
This summer about 4 of my kids will graduate from my preschool/kinder ready program.

I am starting a new cycle of kids, mostly younger siblings of the 4 that are aging out. I have a dcf that is very concerned that their child is going to be the oldest child once the others leave at the end of summer.

the child will be the oldest, but only by a few months to two other kids in care. so the ages will be

2- 4 year old dcks
5- 3 year old dcks
4-2 year old dcks
2-20 month old dcks

I already talked to the dcf about it, telling them that I felt the child would be in a great position and would not be haltered in any way. I mentioned how the child will become a new group leader and a wonderful role-model for the other kids. I would never keep a child in my care if I felt that they could not benefit from my program entirely.

I also feel that age is just a number sometimes, because I do have a few 3 year olds that are light years above the 4 year olds in different things. I even have a 2 year old that has better verbal skills than that of one of the four year olds. I guess I would be concerned if the other children were much younger, but they arent.

would you be concerned that your child would be the oldest kid in care? What other things could I tell these parents to assure them that their child progress will not be hindered in any way just because they are the oldest.
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Rachel 01:33 AM 04-19-2013
In that group, no I wouldn't be concerned at all. If it was one 4 year old and all the other kids were 2 and under, maybe.

Studies show again and again being the oldest is good for kids; confidence, leadership, being the helper, etc. Reassure her you will still have time for the other activities you do with the older ones even though you will have little ones. Three of my 5 kids are within a month of the cutoff for school. They have all thrived being the oldest.
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Play Care 02:57 AM 04-19-2013
Originally Posted by Rachel:
In that group, no I wouldn't be concerned at all. If it was one 4 year old and all the other kids were 2 and under, maybe.

Studies show again and again being the oldest is good for kids; confidence, leadership, being the helper, etc. Reassure her you will still have time for the other activities you do with the older ones even though you will have little ones. Three of my 5 kids are within a month of the cutoff for school. They have all thrived being the oldest.

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mom2many 07:20 AM 04-19-2013
Originally Posted by Rachel:
In that group, no I wouldn't be concerned at all. If it was one 4 year old and all the other kids were 2 and under, maybe.

Studies show again and again being the oldest is good for kids; confidence, leadership, being the helper, etc. Reassure her you will still have time for the other activities you do with the older ones even though you will have little ones. Three of my 5 kids are within a month of the cutoff for school. They have all thrived being the oldest.
I totally agree with this! I have wtnessed this continually in my own children growing up, as well as dcks! It can most definitely be a positive!!!!
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Evansmom 07:25 AM 04-19-2013
It doesn't bother me personally. It's a natural progression. My DS is 5 and will now be the oldest as long as I do daycare since we are homeschooling him. We just make sure he has time to socialize with kids and adults of all ages.

My opinion is that it's really not a natural environment to corral kids in large peer groups like they do in schools.

That's my opinion. But I don't know how your DCF will feel.
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nannyde 08:17 AM 04-19-2013
This phenomena has a number of roots in parental thinking and it's tough to deal with.

Parents want their children to play with older kids because their kid shows the biggest interest in the older kids.

EVERY KID ON THE PLANET that is normal prefers older children because older children are more entertaining. Kids want to be the one who is entertained not the one who entertains.

Parents believe their child is advanced so when playing with older kids they are actually playing with their "age mate".

Parents see in their personal life that their kid prefers older kids (cousins, neighbors, friends kids etc.)

Parents do not believe there is an age difference when their child is the younger child. When their child is two they don't have any problem with their kid playing with a four year old. They do not consider the happiness of the four year old playing with their two year old. The two year difference is only important when their child is the older child.

The concept that their is a difference in "kids" that are under five is a product of center care where money/income to the business is dependent upon the age of the child. Centers separate kids by year because they make money doing so. Every state limits the number of kids in the room if the younger children are under two. Centers make money off of the three to five crew, break even on the two's, and loose on the babies. They separate them by year because of money.

So parents see the difference between five/four/three/two year olds because our society has attached money to these age splits.

Until this started happening our society didn't see an age difference between two and four year olds. Society just looked at them as little kids. I promise if you ask your parents if they played with kids younger than them when they were under five... they would say yes. Past generations EXPECTED the toddlers, preschoolers, and school agers to PLAY with the younger kids. We are the first generation to believe it's a hardship to a four year old to play with a 22 month old. It isn't... they are all KIDS and they should be fluidly playing back and forth between each age from two to five without a hitch.

Within my day care I purposely mix the older children in with the youngest walkers. I do not allow bff's or kids to just play with their age mates. If I see a kids happiness hinged on another child I separate them completely until I see the kid establishing happiness with younger less proficient children.

With your group I would have this oldest child play with the 22 month olds primarily. I would have him eat with his age mates and do whatever "class" activities with his age mates but his free play would be with the almost two year olds.. then two year olds... etc.

I also have a pack leader... who is named ONE who is the oldest child raised in my day care. My number one gets first everything. He/she has the most privledges and by far the lion share of my attention during the last year before kindy. All the younger kids know that one day they will be number one. Being one in my house is a BIG deal.

So by the time their child is number one the parents have learned that this is a cherished spot in the house. If I have two going to kindy they become ONE and ONE-POINT-FIVE. They co-share the oneness.

When parents grieve over the loss of the older kids I remind them that the age difference between their child and the younger kids is the same age difference or even less of an age difference of their child and X child who left the day care years ago. Remember how much your child liked playing with Susie? The difference between ages with your child and Susie was two years five months. Little Sam here is actually closer in age to your child then Susie was. Remember that????

This puts it into perspective. The parents has to GET that it was okay when their child played with a two year age difference kid two years ago... it's STILL okay for them to play with a two year age difference now. It wasn't a problem when your child was the younger one... it shouldn't be a problem now.

One of the most important things to get across is that the most growth actually happens when older children are mixed with the ones two to three years younger.... THAT'S when you start to see phenomenal play and growth with the older kid. If parents understood what a BLESSING it is to the older child to be able to play with two/three years age difference... it would be so much easier to sell. My life experience teachers me to make SURE I mix kids together with a conscious effort to make sure that the older child gets what they REALLY need which is play with children where the older child is the entertainer... not the entertainee. That is one of the blessings of home child care with mixed ages.

The easy way out is to have them play with age mates or older kids. What's BEST is the younger kid play. The younger kids will teach the older kid far more than I ever could... and LEGIONS more than an age mate or older kid could.
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Evansmom 08:27 AM 04-19-2013
I agree with and like what Nan pointed out above about littles being able to teach the older ones legions more than their peer group. My DS who is 5.5 is awesome with smaller children. They have easily taught him kindness, compassion, patience, caring, sympathy and empathy far, far easier and better than I or another 5 year old could have.

How many older kids who are in their peer group all day know how to deal with and talk to a one or two year old? I bet you won't see many. I know I didn't on the playground at public schools. The school has to keep the olders away from the littles because its a safety hazard. The older kids there would trample the kindergarteners! But a child who has been with smaller children easily and instinctively learns to slow down, have patience and be kind. A lesson far more valuable than anything an older child or adult could teach them.
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Unregistered 08:55 AM 04-19-2013
OMG thank you all so much for your insight... Nan that was such a wonderful post and brought out so much more than I would have ever thought of. EVER!!!!

Evansmom YES! I also agree with what you wrote.

The funny thing was that I was thinking along the lines that this was the last opportunity for this child to learn the things you wrote about, but was not too sure how to put it into words.

Nan, can I take some of your post and put it into a letter to send to the parents??

thanks again!!!!
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nannyde 09:10 AM 04-19-2013
Originally Posted by Unregistered:
OMG thank you all so much for your insight... Nan that was such a wonderful post and brought out so much more than I would have ever thought of. EVER!!!!

Evansmom YES! I also agree with what you wrote.

The funny thing was that I was thinking along the lines that this was the last opportunity for this child to learn the things you wrote about, but was not too sure how to put it into words.

Nan, can I take some of your post and put it into a letter to send to the parents??

thanks again!!!!
sure
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