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  #1  
Old 03-31-2012, 09:48 PM
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Default Assistants/How Many In Your Childcare

CheekyChick, Nan, and I were having a discussion on another thread and having an assistant came up.

I know I have asked or someone has asked how many of you have an assistant.

What my question is do you have an assistant and if so how many children do you watch?

For my state you can watch up to 10 children before bringing in an assistant. Those 10 can be all school age/4 school age and 6 preschoolers/4 school age, 4 preschoolers, 2 infants. You can never have more than 6 preschoolers in the end is what it comes down to.

So really the most a person will have full-time would be preschooler/infants and a total of 6. This would only change when kids have school off/summer time/vacation breaks. Pretty much though you are going to only have 6.

For me to bring in a part-time assistant it would take me one full-time child to pay them. This is pretty much why no one has assistants for this number. Its not economically sensable. Also, I know parents would more then likely think that if you had an assistant for 6 children then you aren't really capable of watching children because really it isn't that many.

So I'm just curious, if you have an assistant what are your numbers?
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:32 PM
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What my question is do you have an assistant and if so how many children do you watch?
I only take in six children at a time and I actually have TWO young adult assistants who work for room and board and college money.

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Also, I know parents would more then likely think that if you had an assistant for 6 children then you aren't really capable of watching children because really it isn't that many.
Hmm...I find my parents feel the exact opposite, actually, and many have been quite vocal about their concerns regarding the issue of provider-to-child ratios during our interviews.

I have been told more than once that is one of the main reasons why they chose my dc.
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Old 04-01-2012, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Country Kids View Post
CheekyChick, Nan, and I were having a discussion on another thread and having an assistant came up.

I know I have asked or someone has asked how many of you have an assistant.

What my question is do you have an assistant and if so how many children do you watch?

For my state you can watch up to 10 children before bringing in an assistant. Those 10 can be all school age/4 school age and 6 preschoolers/4 school age, 4 preschoolers, 2 infants. You can never have more than 6 preschoolers in the end is what it comes down to.

So really the most a person will have full-time would be preschooler/infants and a total of 6. This would only change when kids have school off/summer time/vacation breaks. Pretty much though you are going to only have 6.

For me to bring in a part-time assistant it would take me one full-time child to pay them. This is pretty much why no one has assistants for this number. Its not economically sensable. Also, I know parents would more then likely think that if you had an assistant for 6 children then you aren't really capable of watching children because really it isn't that many.

So I'm just curious, if you have an assistant what are your numbers?
Here in Iowa there are four different registrations. As long as you are registered you can have a staff assistant. If you aren't registered you aren't supposed to have an assistant without approving them thru the dhs.

The number of kids goes from six to 16 depending on your registration. The most you can have is four under two... with eight full time age two to five... and two part time from two to five.. plus two school agers. Once you hit the ninth kid you have to have the second person onsite.

I've had all the registrations except for the six kid one and I've always had an assistant. My current registration is eight with four under two. I can expand that tomorrow to the 16 as my staff assistant qualifies to be the second person in the expanded registration. We may do that if I decide to take a ninth child full time.

Parents LOVE the second person onsite. It's a huge draw to the average parent. During the interviews I explain the hard costs of having the second person and that their fees enable me to have that person. I explain that the current one to four ratio we have here is a rare thing to find in home child care and centers only keep this ratio for the birth to two. We have it for birth to five. Having a low ratio for the two to five year old years is something that becomes very valuable to the parents once the child hits two. Now some parents can't afford the low adult to child ratio over five years so this wouldn't work for them. I can usually screen them out on the first phone call.

If the parent viewed the assistant as an indicator that the provider was incompetent then that parent wouldn't possess the insight to fully understand the services I offer. It would cause too many issues along the way. I wouldn't want to even interview that parent. It would be a waste of time because an interviewing parents viewpoint would not have enough weight for me to change my services. It's easier (way) to find the parent who digs the low child to adult ratio. It's not easy to find the parent who will pay for it but once you find that group it's easier to give slots to the ones who want the extra person. It would be a very rare parent who would be willing to pay for it but not want it. Once you get into the higher paying parents they WANT to see what their dollars pay for. A staff assistant is something that is very easily understood as an expense that is a part of their fee.
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Old 04-01-2012, 06:45 AM
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I have 10-12 kids by myself (10 under SA).

If I add an assistant, I can have 2 additional children. Those additional children would have to be SA kids.

MAX is 10 under SA regardless of whether there is 1 or 10 adults present.
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Old 04-01-2012, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Mary Poppins View Post
Hmm...I find my parents feel the exact opposite, actually, and many have been quite vocal about their concerns regarding the issue of provider-to-child ratios during our interviews.

I have been told more than once that is one of the main reasons why they chose my dc.
Me too

I've actually never heard a parent say that they were worried that the helper was an indication that I was unable to manage the kids. I've never heard that or thought about it. I suppose it is possible but I haven't seen it yet in 18 years of having helpers.
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Old 04-01-2012, 06:47 AM
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I have 10-12 kids by myself (10 under SA).

If I add an assistant, I can have 2 additional children. Those additional children would have to be SA kids.

MAX is 10 under SA regardless of whether there is 1 or 10 adults present.
You are my hero.

Have you ever considered a high school kid for the afternoon and summers? I did that for quite a few years. One of them was with me 7.5 years and the other three were with me for three years. I had a couple of time periods when I had two of them at once.

I like to get them at 14. They are hungry for some mooohlah and no one else will hire them. I have had great luck with that back in the day.
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Old 04-01-2012, 06:55 AM
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You are my hero.

Have you ever considered a high school kid for the afternoon and summers? I did that for quite a few years. One of them was with me 7.5 years and the other three were with me for three years. I had a couple of time periods when I had two of them at once.

I like to get them at 14. They are hungry for some mooohlah and no one else will hire them. I have had great luck with that back in the day.
We are allowed to have helpers (kids 13-17) but having a "helper" allows us no additional children.

I used to have past daycare kids come be helpers in the summers once they aged out but in all honestly since I stopped taking kids over Kindy age, I haven't really needed an extra hand or an additional adult.

My DH comes in and assists me everyday at lunch and getting everyone down for rest time so that is a great help. Especially since lunch is really the only time I feel an extra set of hands is useful.

If I have an activity or field trip planned that does require an additional adult, I have two grown children that are always happy to help out. (for free)
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:27 AM
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I have a helper and I have 12 kids. Our rules are such that as a family child care provider you can only have 5 kids..period regardless of helpers. As a center in a residence, which means I have to follow all of the center rules instead of family child care rules, I can have either 10 kids 0-5 or 12 kids 1-5. But we have to follow the ratios for adults:children based on the age of the youngest child. So if the youngest is under 1 yrs, then a 1:5 ratio, 1-2 yrs 1:6 ratio, 2-3yrs 1:9 ratio, 3-4 1:10 ratio, and 4-5 1:13 ratio. I think I can go to 14or 16 if 2 are school aged, but I don't do school aged so I'm not sure of the numbers.
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:02 AM
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KC,

It may not be financially "feasable" for you to have an assistant, but it would make your quality of life SO much better. I believe your parents would think it would be a positive thing. If you are sick, have to run errands, go to your children's school activities, etc., your assistant could sub for you. I think they would be HAPPY to not worry about closures AND (safety wise) four hands are always better than two.

I have 16 children per day and halve 2 assistants in my preschool class and five in my infant class. They are mainly college students, so I have to work around their ever-chaning schedules. It's worth it though. They are all INCREDIBLE and my little ones and their parents LOVE them.
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:57 AM
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I seriously don't know what I would have an assistant do! With only six and being in one room it's not like there would be alot for her to do. When we go outside, I really don't want to pay someone to stand around because when we are outside, I just let them go for it and Play.

I have a feeling we would do alot of bumping into each other-.
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:58 AM
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I could, technically, have 12 preschoolers all by myself here.
I do not, however.

I plan on hiring an assistant when my numbers reach 7 students for both my part-time spots (M/W/F and T/Th). Before that point, it wouldn't be financially feasible.
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:19 AM
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I have a lady who comes in every morning at 11 am and stays until 1 pm. She is here to help during what I find to be the most difficult part of the day. This is when the kiddies are all getting tired and hungry and it is getting close to nap time so they are getting cranky. Not only is she my second set of eyes/hands during this time when I am preparing lunch, she also cleans everything that I would normally clean in the afternoon. By 1 pm when all of my children have gone down for naps the toys are all picked up, the craft/paint areas are all freshly cleaned, dishes are done, kitchen is clean, floors are washed and she has done a load of laundry plus cleaned the bathroom that the children use.

My children all sleep until 3-330 everyday. When they get up the are toileted/are changed, have snack and then we sit at our table and do table activities until pickup. All of my children are picked up by 4-4 30 pm so this works great for me as everything stays nice and neat until the next morning and I have a nice relaxing break during nap time. I also prepare my families dinner during this time which is ready each night by 5 and the kiddies have a home cooked lunch for the next day. All I do the next day at lunch time is reheat and serve.

I also hire a summer student every summer and I have been doing this now for 6 years. I have had great luck with finding amazing summer students and each one has stayed with me for at least 2 years. This will be my 7th year and I just hired my fourth summer student/assistant who turns out to be this lady's daughter.

I have 5-6 children everyday plus my nine year old son when he is not in school.
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Country Kids View Post
I seriously don't know what I would have an assistant do! With only six and being in one room it's not like there would be alot for her to do. When we go outside, I really don't want to pay someone to stand around because when we are outside, I just let them go for it and Play.

I have a feeling we would do alot of bumping into each other-.
My helper and I don't run into each other at all whether we have two or eight. It's the same shedule every day and the workload just depends on our census of kids and their ages. If we are low on kids she does a lot of deep cleaning, paperwork, food prep, organizing etc. We use low census days to get ahead on things that will help us out on busier times.

She would rather have a full boat of kids then have low numbers. Supervision and care of the kids is easier than the deep cleaning etc She cleans the entire house every other week during nap time and the high traffic areas every week during naptime. She averages about four to five hours a week doing the house cleaning and running errands for me.

When she goes on her lunch break everything is done and set up for the playtime after nap. When she leaves in the evening everything is set up for the next day. All laundry, dishes, etc. are DONE when the kids are not here. The only thing I really do off of hours when the kids are UP is food sourceing and cooking. I love preparing meals in advance so what i feed my family is sometimes done on times the kids are either in the house and sleeping or on the weekends.

There are a few yearly things we have to do when the kids aren't here like vent cleaning and carpet cleaning but fortunately they aren't everyday things. Other than the food stuff we get everything done when the kids are AWAKE and up playing. When the are sleeping or gone the house comes to a standstill and we rest.

The thing that works for me is to have the staff assistant in constant motion when she's here. She's trained to do two or three things at a time. (supervise up and playing kids, fold laundry, and rotate the kids thru our toy collections.. or feed the baby and supervise the kids up playing or supervise the kids playing and clean toys) I just make sure that the things that are out for the kids require very little or no adult other than supervision and that ANYTHING that CAN be done while she is supervising kids play IS done while the kids are up and running. That way she stays busy doing child care, household, and future busy times.
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Old 04-01-2012, 11:30 AM
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My helper and I don't run into each other at all whether we have two or eight. It's the same shedule every day and the workload just depends on our census of kids and their ages. If we are low on kids she does a lot of deep cleaning, paperwork, food prep, organizing etc. We use low census days to get ahead on things that will help us out on busier times.

She would rather have a full boat of kids then have low numbers. Supervision and care of the kids is easier than the deep cleaning etc She cleans the entire house every other week during nap time and the high traffic areas every week during naptime. She averages about four to five hours a week doing the house cleaning and running errands for me.

When she goes on her lunch break everything is done and set up for the playtime after nap. When she leaves in the evening everything is set up for the next day. All laundry, dishes, etc. are DONE when the kids are not here. The only thing I really do off of hours when the kids are UP is food sourceing and cooking. I love preparing meals in advance so what i feed my family is sometimes done on times the kids are either in the house and sleeping or on the weekends.

There are a few yearly things we have to do when the kids aren't here like vent cleaning and carpet cleaning but fortunately they aren't everyday things. Other than the food stuff we get everything done when the kids are AWAKE and up playing. When the are sleeping or gone the house comes to a standstill and we rest.

The thing that works for me is to have the staff assistant in constant motion when she's here. She's trained to do two or three things at a time. (supervise up and playing kids, fold laundry, and rotate the kids thru our toy collections.. or feed the baby and supervise the kids up playing or supervise the kids playing and clean toys) I just make sure that the things that are out for the kids require very little or no adult other than supervision and that ANYTHING that CAN be done while she is supervising kids play IS done while the kids are up and running. That way she stays busy doing child care, household, and future busy times.
Our minimum wage is right at $9.00 an hour and I know paying someone that would break my bank unless I had them for a minimum amount of time, like maybe two-3 hours. Even then that is a big chunk of money. There is no way I could afford to pay anyone to do the things that your assistant does. Around here most people would be looking at $10-$15 dollars an hour. I think they would basically see it as being a housekeeper and that is pretty much what they charge an hour.

I think I would have to have 6 full, full timers or go up in numbers which I have no disire to do. Even with 6 full timers I would probably have to give an assisitant at least one of there payments if not more.
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:06 PM
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Our minimum wage is right at $9.00 an hour and I know paying someone that would break my bank unless I had them for a minimum amount of time, like maybe two-3 hours. Even then that is a big chunk of money. There is no way I could afford to pay anyone to do the things that your assistant does. Around here most people would be looking at $10-$15 dollars an hour. I think they would basically see it as being a housekeeper and that is pretty much what they charge an hour.

I think I would have to have 6 full, full timers or go up in numbers which I have no disire to do. Even with 6 full timers I would probably have to give an assisitant at least one of there payments if not more.
It definitely is some housekeeping but I do the kitchen which is always the hardest room when you have a house full of ten/eleven people you are feeding from scratch meals and snacks. I think if I offered to switch the kitchen with the rest of the house she would decline the offer.

I don't have to hunt for a staff assistant very often. They stay about three years average. But when I do I get a LOT of inquiries. It's not hard to find someone at the wage I pay because it's right on with an assistant director at a center but finding someone physically fit enough to do the job is a huge chore. Not someone who SAYS they can do it, but rather someone who actually can. It's a very physical job especially in the winter when we are doing the walk with full winter gear on the kids. The hardest part of the job is really the walk. Finding someone who can manage and get eight kids in full winter gear, lug them upstairs, walk a mile plus and then come back and do it in reverse then lunch immediately afterwards is a tall order to fill.

I always offer any new staff assistant to opt out of the full housecleaning hours of the job because that's SO easy to find here. I've never had anyone who didn't want the hours.

It would be tough to find a comparable job here in this field money wise, paid time off wise, christmas bonus, and security wise. It's way easier to find the worker than it is the parents to pay a portion of the worker.
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Country Kids View Post
I seriously don't know what I would have an assistant do! With only six and being in one room it's not like there would be alot for her to do. When we go outside, I really don't want to pay someone to stand around because when we are outside, I just let them go for it and Play.

I have a feeling we would do alot of bumping into each other-.
I'm fortunate in that we have the entire downstairs (1200 +/- sq feet) for daycare. There are two playrooms, a bathroom and a arts&crafts/preschool room so we definitely don't bump into one another.

I am also fortunate that my helpers are my older teen children who I don't have to pay a set wage, they each were given a car and are getting college paid for in exchange for helping me. I homeschool so one is finishing highschool (and earning dual college credits) online while the other is doing a lot of his first year college stuff online so this works brilliantly for us.

As far as not having anything for them to do, here is how it works for us:

Right now I have an 8mo, a 10mo, a 2.5yo, a 3yo and a 5yo (he is in kindy in the mornings). We all do breakfast and then I assign one helper to tend to the littler ones while I do circle time, music, etc. with the older ones in our larger playroom. My other helper is cleaning up after breakfast.

Then, when the noisy stuff is over, it's time for the babies to have morning naps, so we put them in the smaller playroom to sleep and one helper stays in there to keep an eye on them while myself or the other goes down a long hall to our arts/crafts room to do quieter stuff. While the babies sleep, the naptime helper can use their laptop to do schoolwork. Whoever isn't in the other room gets a break.

When our kindy guy comes, at 11:30 the babies are usually awake by then and two of us go outside with all the kids while one stays in and takes a break and sets up for lunch.

After lunch is naptime, so the one who didn't do morning nap goes with the babies in the smaller room and does school work while one of us goes into the larger playroom while the preschoolers nap and the other takes our older guy (who doesn't need a nap) into the arts/crafts room to do quiet stuff.

My dcks leave between 2:30 and 5 so the rest of the day is really easy for us.

I am quite spoiled to be honest. If I had to hire outside help I wouldn't do it, and would find a way to make it work with just myself and the children alone but my program would not run nearly as smooth and I would feel much more stressed and burned out by the end of the day.

When it is just me, and someday it will be, I probably won't take more than 4 kids at a time.
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:49 PM
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CA has licensing for a small home daycare: Capacity 6 - no more than 3 infants or 4 infants only. Capacity 8 - no more than 2 infants, 1 child in Kindergarten or elementary school and 1 child at least age 6. A large daycare requires an assistant and capacity goes up to 12-14, with age limits that I can't remember since I have no desire to go that big anyway.
My 3 children take away from my capacity until they are 10 yo, so I can only have 5 more dcks. Financially it would be tough to get a good assistant, especially a full time one. It just wouldn't make sense for me.

Now, if I could be paid for the other 3 spaces, then it would be doable.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:59 AM
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I'm hiring my mom to come in 2 mornings per week. I think it will help with the hardest part of the day which is during lunch prep and having a second set of hands for outside prep time. That way I can also get some cleaning done while she is here. She will be fresh and ready to interact with the kiddos. Then when I need her to substitute for days I need off, the kids will all be familiar with her and she will know the routine. This will take 10% of my income, but possibly save my sanity. Totally worth it for me! On the days she is coming I have: 6 mo, 15 mo, 21 mo, 2.5 yr, 3.5 yr, 3.5 yr. The other days of the week I do not have the youngest.
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:27 PM
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My staff assistant works about 20 hours a week, is paid weekly and is equivalent to one of my full time child. While she is here, she is supervising children, changing diapers, serving up lunch, cleaning the kids after meals, assisting with daily activities, outdoor play, daily walks, crafts, putting away toys and sanitizing the equipment each week. She also runs an occasional errand for me.

About half of my kids are Monday through Thursday only so I don't have my staff assistant here on Fridays unless we are doing deep cleaning. I had her come in last Friday for 2 hours. She sanitized everything, swept and mopped the floors and wiped down the fronts of the cupboards.

My families love me having a staff assistant. If I'm dealing with an inconsolable baby, I can take the baby into another room and take care of her in there without the other children getting stressed out and they still have supervision. Being a parent of 5 of my own helps too. I've been a parent for 16 years. Parents know what I'm doing.

I could do everything I do without an assistant. It just makes it much easier to have one. Not only can I afford it but I enjoy having someone to help me out. It keeps me more on an even keel than getting stressed out.

If I didn't hire an assistant, I'd be hiring a housekeeper. They cost about the same.

And, yes, my staff assistant's income is that of one of my full time children. And it's worth every penny!!!
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:39 PM
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May I be real nosey and ask what your minumum wage is? Ours is right at $9.00 an hour so even 20 hours a week would be costing me $180.00 a week! That would be more then a full-timer for sure for me. At the end of the month that would be a good chunck of income.
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:44 PM
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I can have a maximum of 8 by myself with no more than 2 children under age two years. Or I can have a maximum of 6 children if I have 3 children under age two.

I can have up to 16 children here at any given time (no more than 4 under age two) if I have my second helper (my son) here.

We have 20 children on our books as some come while the bigger kids are at school.
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:50 PM
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According to what I can find on Google, the lowest minimum wage is $6.65 per hour and the highest is $9.04. I pay right in the middle (for a starting wage with someone with no experience.)

They are also given raises accordingly and have paid holidays and receive an exceptional Christmas bonus.
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