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Movingforward 03:46 PM 03-05-2015
Hi All! I'm new to the family day care business and was wondering how you guys handle mixed age care. I care for children from 3 months-6 yrs old and I have a few questions in mind.

1) I was wondering at what age should the children be before we try to get them on the same schedule as the older kids. I was thinking 1 1/2 years old? Infants obviously are one their own timeline but it would be a lot better if we can have the 1 year olds participate in the same activities as the older kids.

2) How do you bring them out on a stroll/park/field trips? Right now my sister and I are only caring for 3 kids (a 5 month, a 1 yr old and a 2 yr old) and we put them in a stroller (a single for the infant and a double for the 2 older kids). We figured this is not going to work when we accept more kids into our program. Pushing a double stroller up a hill is no joke haha. What do you do? I know some providers use ropes for the kids to hold on to but how do you get them to do that and at what age are you confident to let them walk with you?

3) I'm stressed out when we bring them to the park. I care for the 1 year old while my sister cares for the infant. The toddler is allowed to play on his own but I have to constantly keep an eye on him because he might run out of the park. I mean we are almost 1:1 and I'm uncomfortable with watching a active 2 yr old play on his own. How do you do it when there are more kids?

The last two questions has to do with our daily outings, and it is not something we can compromise because they need the space to run around and be active as our house is not able to provide that.

Any other tips for a newbie as a child care provider would be greatly appreciated as well.
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Gemma 06:29 PM 03-05-2015
Welcome to the business

I can tell you how I do things, but most depends on your space, settings, your tolerance, your ways and expectations and so on..
Only time will teach you what does, and doesn't work for You!
I started out much differently that now, time taught me what I needed to change, so that I could keep doing this job.
but here's what I do:

1) Kids are different, so I don't schedule around the babies, I keep babies on their own schedule until they can nap at least 2 hours straight, most kids are well integrated into the rest of the group between 12 to 15mos
I have a large settings, I keep the active play away from the babies.

2)I do not take the kids on trips of any kind! I live on a few acres, we walk within the premises ...I have a double stroller for the younger two, the rest can walk

3) I would never take the kids outside of daycare grounds, too much liability, way too much stress....I just couldn't do it!
You said you do not have the room for the kids to run around, but do you have any outdoor space at all?

Tip for a newbie? Never Ever keep a family that makes you hate your job!...no matter how bad you need the money, you owe it to yourself and everyone around you, to Term, when it is clear you wish you could!
..and that, is the hardest thing I had to learn
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Gemma 06:32 PM 03-05-2015
Originally Posted by Movingforward:
1) I was wondering at what age should the children be before we try to get them on the same schedule as the older kids. I was thinking 1 1/2 years old? Infants obviously are one their own timeline but it would be a lot better if we can have the 1 year olds participate in the same activities as the older kids.
Sorry I misread this one...you weren't asking about a baby so, I would start the kid on the same schedule, right from the start!
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spinnymarie 12:19 PM 03-06-2015
Originally Posted by Movingforward:
1) I was wondering at what age should the children be before we try to get them on the same schedule as the older kids.

2) How do you bring them out on a stroll/park/field trips?

3) How do you do it when there are more kids?
1. Here, we move kids from pack-n-plays to cots at 15 months, so by then they should be on the same nap schedule as everyone else - eating schedule they switch at 1 yr.

2. We have 12 kids 6 and under, and if all the babies are awake, we will take a triple stroller and a double stroller. We'll wear the smallest baby in a wrap, plop the 6 mo and the 9 mo old in the double stroller, and the 1 yr old, 16 mo and 20 mo in the triple stroller. Everyone over 2 (the other 6 kids) can walk. We've practiced walking around town, we have nice sidewalks and not too busy streets. Kids are allowed to walk ahead of us and they stop at each driveway, so never too far. Kids who can't follow the rules or be trusted hold our hands or the stroller the whole way, and they don't like that. But we also don't have far to go. At the park there are also specific boundaries and if you can't follow those rules or be trusted you will also sit in the stroller for a few minutes or be confined to my very specific area of the park. At the park we keep close to the younger kids and the older ones know that we won't go to the park if they can't handle it.
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Movingforward 01:40 PM 03-06-2015
Thanks for all your input/advice! As a new provider I feel like I'm walking on thin ice haha.

I agree that my experience would help me narrow down what does or doesn't work for me. It has just been a month and I already know some of it

I live in the city and as you may all know, space here is very limited. We have a outdoor space but not enough for the kids to be running around. If we don't bring the children out they would be bouncing off the walls. Our walk to the closest park is around 15 minutes and has a few slopes along the way. Also since we are in the city, we are walking where there is quite a bit of traffic passing by so that's another concern of getting the older children to walk on their own.

It's really great to have this forum to discuss issues and have a community that understands your line of work.

Thank you!
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Movingforward 10:21 PM 03-07-2015
How does mixed aged care look like? I'm a little lost at what to do with the children when they are at different levels of learning, playing and attention span.
Are the infants and toddlers separated or together? Do you generally have one schedule for the toddlers and the infants join in when they can? What is your ratio for teachers:child? Is it normal to have one person to look after 3 infants and another person look after 3 toddlers? Right now we have sparse activities together and most of the day is free play with the three kids we have at different ages, its hard to get them to join in to do stuff together.
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Tags:age, care, mixed, newbie, outings, park, travel
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