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  #1  
Old 08-12-2013, 11:08 AM
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Hello...

Just more of a topic for discussion rather than an actual issue.... I would like to hear about the age groups you provide care for. Do you have a favorite age group and why? Also, do you care for infants.. if so how do you manage other age groups?

I am asking this because I have yet to find a perfect balance of littles. I am not sure if it is because infants I have had in care up to this point have been the "needy/colicky" babies or if it is more of a pattern others have run into as well. Financially, an opening is an opening but I find myself questioning whether or not "it's worth it" to care for babies. I sure hope I don't come across as a snide caregiver as that is not my intention. I am just trying to be as honest as possible to try to elicit some honest responses/experiences.
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:18 AM
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I think that for the vast majority of providers, if you decide to care for infants, you need to set a reasonable limit on how many infants based on state regulations, the need and size of your own group, the personality of the kids, the personality of the provider. For my state, most licensed providers are regulated to two kids under two years old and that seems fair, especially considering the fact that the provider may have up to 10 other kids and not required to have an assistant, although many do at that number. For me, I always try to get older kids. I dont have the time or patience right now to deal with infants (under 6 months) because their needs are great and because I find many parents completely clueless about infant care. That leaves me to deal with the mess that comes from kids that are not napping regularly, are not being fed appropriately (usually it is way too much food/formula and table food at really really young ages) and also dealing with babies that really should be having that bonding time with mom. In my heart, I cannot morally take on many little ones when I know good and well they need more than just a place to nap and food to eat so I am very restrictive with when and how many infants I will take. I also know how much crying I can tolerate and that is important for me to respect. after a certain point, it becomes too much for a person mentally. and as I have four kids of my own, I have next to no recovery time before the next day of daycare. I cannot handle kids that scream and cry all day. I dont do colicky and sickly babies as I dont have the time and patience for it. I know that may sound harsh but i have to know my limits and know what I cannot handle. Right now I have two under one year old but they are both older babies that are crawling and one if my own son. I refuse to take anymore kids under one year old. I have one toddler here but she is 14 months, walking, and from a large family (aka she is very independent and not babied) so that makes me feel comfortable juggling three under two years old. you need to find out your own limits and know when to say no.
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:27 AM
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You do not come across that way at all. Where I live we are allowed two infants (2 under a year old). I usually care for ages 6 wks-3 years old. At times it can be utter madness getting everyone taken care of. I have found that if I have 1-2 babies it works well to have atleast 1 or 2 two year olds as they can do somethings for them selves. I actually prefer the younger kids because thats were I have had the most experience. Some providers do activities with there two years and such when the babies are asleep. You will find your balance it just takes time.
Deb
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:42 AM
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I can have three under the age of two and it's definitely the group I prefer.

That said I also maintain a small group of six kids or under (preferably five, which is where I'm at now).


As for how I care for olders, I really encourage independent play once they get ages 1/2+. I largely give them the materials to play and then play the part of observer letting then sort out what to do and how themselves. It leaves me available to the more frequent diaper changes, feedings and cuddle time infants demand.

I typically feel as if I have an over abundance of time because I do not micro manage past the infant stage.
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:45 AM
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My ages are 2 recently turned 1 year old's, a 23 mo. old, a 2 year old, a 2.5 year old and one 3 year old. One of the recently turned 1 year old's is my own son. Here we can have 4 under 30 months, but 2 of the 4 can be 18 months old and younger.
I honestly did not like having the two infants and decided that I will not take infants again unless I absoultely have to or I know the infant and know that the baby was a mellow one. The infant that isn't mine was a very high needs baby and it definitely took a toll on me! I was sooo close to terming, but couldn't bring myself to do it. He is better now (the parents found out that he has asthma and something else so he was sometimes in pain which accounted for much of the crying, but that 5 months that he was unbearable was he** for me! I do have to say though that if he was like my son who is very mellow and goes with the flow, I don't think I would be saying this. But it's a 50/50 chance that you will get a high needs/colicky baby.
As far as having the younger with the older and doing activities, it wasn't too hard for me except when the baby was screaming and crying (he even cried when being held).
Like pp said, know your limits! If I ever take an infant again and he/she is like the child I have now, I will for sure not hesitate to term. No screaming and crying all day is worth ANY money!
Ironically though, infants are my absolute favorite age group (as long as they don't scream and cry all day). If I had helpers and it was legal, I would like to have all infants. I did work in a center as a lead in the infant room and loved it, BUT there were a few teachers in there and it was easier with more hands.
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  #6  
Old 08-12-2013, 11:47 AM
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When I first began my family child care in 2009, I ended up having all my children who were close in age. These were the ages: 21 mos., 12 mos., 11 mos., 10 mos., and 8 mos.

By the time all of these became 2 and 2.5 years, two of them left and I accepted a 5 month old and siblings that was 21 mos. and 6 months. Needless to say I was burnt out. I ended up closing down when all of these children aged to 3 and 4 years old. I practically raised them.

I went out to work as a substitute preschool teacher for 7 months. I learned a lot while I was there, but still couldn't get with their program. I knew I could do it better. So, I came back and will be re-opening after labor day. Currently, I'm considered license-exempt until my licensing rep comes out to reinstate my license since I gave it up when I got burnt out. So, I have only one 21 month old.

But I definitely don't want any more infants. My youngest child is 17 years old. I don't have the energy anymore for infants. Even though that I know I can get these type of families easily, I don't want them. Everyone is telling me that I won't get any children older than 2 because of all the free preschools opening up. But I won't let that deter me.

These preschools might me free, but most of them aren't all day. If they were all day, it won't be from 6am to 6pm either. Regardless, some parents still want their child in a smaller environment and will need extended care.

But no. Not this time around I will be accepting infants. I might start as early as 15 mos., 18 mos., or 2 years. I will be offering a preschool program so that the parent's mind will be at ease on if their child will be kindergarten ready. When I had my other children from before, they left here already knowing the basics. They recognized all the alphabets, numbers 1 - 20 (some further), shapes, colors, Spanish words for numbers 1-10 and Spanish words for the colors blue and red. They identified their first and last names, and they knew how to at least spell their first. They knew how to live with each other in their own child care community, and they were just well-rounded. They were barely 4 when they left here.

So, I know I can do it again. This time, I wouldn't be raising them from infants.
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  #7  
Old 08-12-2013, 12:03 PM
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When I got pregnant with my triplets, I requested a state exception to provide 4 under 2 care and got approved. Then I changed that when one of the triplets naturally reduced into twins. I had the twins + one extra infant that was a couple weeks younger.I also had my 2yo and 4yo as well as a couple other 2yo's and 3 yo daycare kids. It was not easy and after having the mom of the infant leave the childcare after the first year to take on another job 2 hours away, I never took another infant full-time again. I did do a couple drop-in gigs and the babies just cried so I stopped doing drop-ins as well. I said 1 and older only which was great until my kids became school age and I had to drop them off! Then it was a nightmare going to and from everywhere with babies who needed a lot of help, even with the quad stroller.

So then it was 2 and older only. That worked a lot better for me. We had a rope they'd hold when I picked up and dropped off my kiddos and stayed with me. Things did take a lot longer, but it wasn't bad at all.
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:15 PM
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I prefer the 2-4 age group. They are much more independent but not yet bossy.

I will only take one infant at a time. Right now, I have an 8 month old infant. And then, two 2 year olds, three 3 year olds and sometimes I have a 7 year old girl that is the sister of the infant. School agers I'm not a fan of, they get bored easily.
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  #9  
Old 08-12-2013, 01:20 PM
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I prefer the under 5 crowd.

I used to despise taking infants but learned that I only felt that way when I had SA kids in care....they kept me so busy that I felt hurried/rushed while trying to care for the infants so I naturally assumed it was the neediness of the infants that was the issue....

...turns out it was the SA'ers.

Once I stopped taking SA kids, I learned to really enjoy the little ones.

Now however, I ONLY take infants of families I currently have in care. I find that by doing that, I already know the family and their parenting styles so integrating the infant into care is easy.

If I had my way....I'd serve the 2-5 crowd ONLY but that just isn't feasible where I am.
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Old 08-12-2013, 01:44 PM
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I think you need to figure out what works for you. When I first started out I did all ages but limited it to 1 under the age of 1 because of the amount of attention and one-on-one care they require and because I could always hold one while I was trying to do something with the olders. Now I only take preschool aged children. I prefer 3-4 (or 5 if they miss the cut off for K) but will take them as young as 2 1/2 if I meet them and decide that developmentally they will be able to work with our group. And I don't do school agers either.
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  #11  
Old 08-12-2013, 03:13 PM
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I only serve 2-5 year olds. I have done 3-5 at two points and really enjoyed that as well, as the 2-year-olds can be needier due to still being so young. 2-year-olds are so stinking cute, though, so I enjoy having 1 or 2 that are 2.
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Old 08-12-2013, 03:38 PM
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We only accept 0-4 year olds. Our state has full-day Pre-k at 4, so there isn't mush demand for daycare after 4.

We are a large home daycare license so we can have 12 kids with 6 under two.

Personally, I find that when by myself it it hard for me to manage infants and preschoolers. The immediacy ad unpredictability of their needs is hard for me to deal with while executing activities for the older children. Having only infants doesn't bother me nearly as much as a mixed age group.

Currently the way we are set-up, we have one adult who cares for the infants and toddlers in one room, and one who cares for 18m and up in the other room, kitchen and living room are shared space.

So while we currently have 3 infants and two toddlers, which sounds like a lot, they have one caretaker dedicated to them.
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Old 08-12-2013, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
I prefer the under 5 crowd.

I used to despise taking infants but learned that I only felt that way when I had SA kids in care....they kept me so busy that I felt hurried/rushed while trying to care for the infants so I naturally assumed it was the neediness of the infants that was the issue....

...turns out it was the SA'ers.

Once I stopped taking SA kids, I learned to really enjoy the little ones.

Now however, I ONLY take infants of families I currently have in care. I find that by doing that, I already know the family and their parenting styles so integrating the infant into care is easy.

If I had my way....I'd serve the 2-5 crowd ONLY but that just isn't feasible where I am.

Totally agree. SA'ers are just on ther own wavelength and really disrupted our flow.
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Old 08-12-2013, 03:49 PM
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I like having one infant- I have tried two and it was too much... Maybe because one was crying all the time I can have 2 under two years. If I could I would provide care for one infant and the rest 2-4. I do currently provide care for SA but my dd is 10. Once she is 13 I will try switching to only 0-4. I live in a pretty rural area so it comes down to who needs care a lot of times...
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Old 08-12-2013, 03:57 PM
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I currently have (full time) ..

A six week old dcb and his 20 month old sister

A two year old girl, three year old girl, and six year old boy

My own 10 year old daughter and five year old son.

Occasionally I have a 22 month old drop in overnight if none of the other dck are here.

I love the babies the best. I'd have all babies if I could lol.
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  #16  
Old 08-12-2013, 05:55 PM
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I am allowed to have 3 under 18 months. If I could pick all of my kids according to age, I would have all over 12 months. However, I live in a big city with a lot of daycares around, so I take what I can get.
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:58 PM
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Babies babies babies!
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:09 PM
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I take ages 6wks to 4yrs

I only accept one under 18mo (I can have more legally) and never part time under 12 months. I learned this the hard way with a pt infant that screamed 24/7

When I started I had 2 infants (a week apart, started at 4 months) plus my 2yr old crowd and I really liked the infant/toddler (under 2) but I've noticed over time my preference has been changing from the infants to the 18mo-3yrs age group.
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:23 PM
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I can have 3 under 2, one of which must be walking. I will be opening in 2 weeks and have 2 infants already signed up. I thought I had wanted to care for ages 8 weeks-5yrs until I had a little preview of what caring for an infant was like for a few weeks at the beginning of summer. I decided after 2 days that I didn't want to take infants. Just the thought of trying to run a preschool program plus the demands of an infant (at least 2 hours/day one-on-one care for each infant) just turned me off on wanting to care for infants.

Buuuuut that being said... I had already agreed to take these 2 way back in April. I figured the least I could do was try it and see how everything works once I'm open. I've already changed the ages I accept on all my paperwork. They'll be 6 months old when they start so hopefully it won't be too bad. (fingers crossed!!) Maybe in the future if I expand my daycare and need to hire an assistant I may offer infant care again.
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