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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>How Do You Do It By Yourself?! I Need Help! :(
Christina72684 09:28 PM 08-02-2011
My mom and I are equal partners in our daycare, but she also works part time at a daycare center at the local college in their business office. Since she does that I have to work at our daycare by myself sometimes. It hasn't been a problem.....until today!

I had my 4 month old, VERY vocal, daughter who is discovering new noises she can make daily! Then at 9:30 I got a 5yr old boy who will start Kindergarten this year and has been constantly lying and getting into trouble lately. Then at 10:15 my sister-in-law brought her 2 boys that started yesterday. They are 3yrs old and 3 WEEKS old.

Everything was fine at first, with the 2 older boys playing and my daughter in a bouncer and my 3wk old nephew in his car seat. Before you know it, all hell (sorry I never cuss!) broke lose! The 3wk old needed fed so I made his bottle before taking him out of his car seat. Then as I'm feeding him my daughter started to get fussy because she naps around 11am every day but has to be held to fall asleep (I know, my bad!). Next thing you know the 5yr old boy wanted a drink, even though I just offered snack @ 10am because I knew things would get crazy, but he didn't want it. So as all of this starts to build up, I'm feeding the 3wk old and next thing I know WHOOOSH! Formula comes pouring out of his mouth and nose and I swear it even looked like it came out of his eyes!!! He only ate 2 oz but I'm sure this was way more than that! I was soaked, he was soaked, and the couch was soaked! Meanwhile my daughter is crying, the 5yr old is bugging me about wanting a drink......and my mom is still not here!

I told her to be here by 10 or 10:30 and this was 11am. I'm getting upset and call her and she tells me she's railroaded. She walks in a few minutes later and REEKS of cigarettes! She supposivley stopped a few months ago and when I asked her about it she said, "She just couldn't take it anymore." SHE COULDN'T TAKE IT? REALLY? Good thing I don't smoke, drink, or do drugs and never have because I could really have used something at that moment! I was furious and frustrated, and I tried to keep my cool as much as possible. I didn't cry or break down, which is really good for me because I tend to be emotional, esp in situations like that. Oh did I mention we just opened our daycare 2 months ago and are still learning as we go?!

Oh, back to my point in posting this: How do you guys do this on your own? I know many of you have your daycares in your homes, which I can't imagine doing, but then you watch 5 or so kids are your own too! Do you not watch certain ages? Do you still to your schedule tightly? We didn't yesterday or today since it was my nephews first few days, but need to get into a routine, even though it's all going to change in 2 weeks when school starts. Ugh! I'm so worn out! Thanks for listening/reading this. I have no one else to vent to
sharlan 10:03 PM 08-02-2011
We all have days like this. I've had a baby on my hip since I was 12 and there are still days I wonder "WHY". Yesterday was one.

Just take things one day at a time start tomorrow fresh. As you gain more experience, things will get easier. IMHO, the youngest baby's needs come first, the older ones can wait it out a bit.
spud912 11:44 PM 08-02-2011
I have 4 who are all the same age (2) and then one who is an infant (8 months). I try to only have one infant at all times. The others are all in the same age group so I cater the activity schedule around them and fit in the baby's needs as the day progresses (feed when I need to, diaper, and nap).

The main advice I can give is maintain a strict schedule for the older children and listen to the needs of the babies. Try to get everything the older children would need prior to catering to the infant(s). For example, I have the older children all go potty and have their drinks available to them before I feed the baby. Then I give them an activity to occupy their time while I'm feeding the infant (such as blocks). I prep myself as well (with something to drink and my phone) and I sit in the room with the other children while I feed her. I also always try to have a burp cloth in reaching distance for spit ups. Lastly, try to sleep train your daughter so she can fall asleep on her own. It will make your life SO much easier!
heyhun77 05:53 AM 08-03-2011
For me personally it's gotten easier over time because I realized what works for me and what doesn't as far as the mix of ages goes. Since you have 2 infants and an older child my recommendation would be to make sure you have things available to the 5 year old for self service. Either a water source he can reach and his cup available or get a water bottle and keep it filled. Maybe put some snacks in a low spot so you can tell him to grab one if your hands are full.

I only take one child under the age of 18 months and each time we get a new baby from then until about 10months I keep a "baby is fussy" box with extra special items in there to capture the attention of the other kids while I attend to the needs of the infant.

If nothing else, my backup plan is my retired neighbor. She LOVES holding babies and that's perfect for the times when I have 6-8 tired,hungry preschoolers and a crying infant and lunch that needs to be prepared and on the table. She is a lifesaver!
AnneCordelia 06:32 AM 08-03-2011
I also think that my key to success is routine, routine, routine. Yesterday I had a 10mo, 2 12mos, an 18mo, 2 3yos, a 6yo and a 7yo.

In the beginning I would prep my entire day's worth of food prior to open. For the first month this was a lifesaver. Once we were all on a routine I learned to use my naptime/free play time to do most of my meal prep/cleanup.

But, having a routine will make your day easier. Everyone knows what comes next so that there is less time to feel stressed. The days go faster too. We all wrote up our routine together so that the older kids would feel included. Now they all know when they get fed, when they play, when we read, ect. It makes it worlds easier.
Solandia 06:33 AM 08-03-2011
It takes a good week or more settle into a routine with new kids.

Planning & prep is key.

A 5yo can get his own drink of water, at any time. Keep a water bottle on the kitchen table for him, if that works better ( not one with caps that a baby could choke on if dropped and lost)

Snack for 1yo on up be at a set, and no grazing or they will always want so ething when they are bored and/or want your attention.

Have bottles ready to go in the fridge, and easy to clean up when done snacks ready to go for the cheese, veggies....crackers &yogurt are way messy, why make more post snack clean up when you do t have to? When the babies are more independent, revisit messier snacks.

As far as 2babies... Well, learn not to stress when one is crying. They will learn that you will tend to their needs, their wants will get tended in good time. They are both still leaning and adjusting. You will find item that entertain each one for a precious 5min, in order to do things that need to be done. Learning to play in their tummies will help loads. All in good time.

Good luck!
cheerfuldom 06:56 AM 08-03-2011
Everyone is on a tight routine. Also, I would never take a child as young as 3 weeks. My limit is 8 weeks. The 5 year old would wait and the 4 month old would have to wean off the holding to sleep, thats just not going to work in a daycare setting unless you plan it where everyone else is occupied for a certain window of time so you can do that.
Country Kids 08:15 AM 08-03-2011
I would be so careful in taking a 3 week old. I think our regs say they actually have to be older in order for us to take them. Maybe like 6 weeks or so? Also, I never had babies because I had my own baby and that is all I could handle. I have always done 2 and up and it is so easy to have that age group. Everyone can feed themselves, are potty trained within 6-12 months, like to color, etc. So maybe rethink your age group and if you and your mom are going to do this together she is going to have to be there on time are it won't ever work for you guys.
SandeeAR 08:38 AM 08-03-2011
Originally Posted by cheerfuldom:
Everyone is on a tight routine. Also, I would never take a child as young as 3 weeks. My limit is 8 weeks. The 5 year old would wait and the 4 month old would have to wean off the holding to sleep, thats just not going to work in a daycare setting unless you plan it where everyone else is occupied for a certain window of time so you can do that.

Agreed, except I take them at 6 weeks. Write down a schedule, to refer to the first few weeks. Soon it will become old hat and you can quote it for someone.

I have 20mo, 16 mo, 12 mo and 14 weeks. (2 are part time).

For an example my schedule is: (others might post theirs for her too)

7:30-8:00 arrrival
8:00-8:30 Breakfast/ 14 week old naps
8:30-9:00 play time (I clean breakfast and do diapers)
9:00-10:00/10:30 Nap time/ 14 wk, bottle and then nap
10:30-11:30 Playtime (I get lunch ready)
11;30-12:00 Lunch time
12:00-1:00 Playtime (I clean up lunch, reading time and diapers)
1:00-3:30 Naptime
3:30-4:00 Snack time
4:00-5:30 Diapers, playtime, Music time, outside when good

Hope this helps some. Hang in there. It will take 2 weeks at least for the new kids to adjust.
permanentvacation 09:13 AM 08-03-2011
Yes, routine, schedules, and YOU tell the children when they will do what, not them telling you.

First thing I noticed about your post is that the child was bugging you to get them a drink. Could you imaging having 8 children telling you all day at different times of the day that they have decided that you will drop everything and rush yourself into the kitchen to get a drink for them at their command?!?!? OMG, you would be driven crazy in an hour and never get anything done! So, you need to stop having the children tell you what to do when, and you need to tell them what to do when.

I think of my day as a day in a school. The teacher has a routine/schedule, and plan of what to do with/teach the children during the day. Yes, children need to be able to have choices, voice their needs, desires, etc. So, they can't be just bossed around by you, but for the most part, you need to get them on a schedule and you be the one in charge, not them.

Develop a schedule/routine. Decide your meal times. The children will only eat and drink at the scheduled meal times. Unless it's very hot and they have been playing outside, they only eat and drink at meal times. This might sound mean, but it keeps them from driving you crazy. Meals should be served every 2-3 hours. If they are eating and drinking every 2-3 hours, they really shouldn't need to eat/drink in between meals.

You said you just opened your business 2 months ago, yeah, you will learn as you go. As you get practice working with multiple children it will get easier.

In your routine/schedule, put everything you will need to do with the children. First list out all the things that you do with and for your children. List arrival times, free play, art, circle time, times to go to the bathroom, meal times, outside time, etc. whatever activities you do with the children, put into the schedule. After you list everything, make a timed schedule with the times that you want to do each activity. Since you have babies that are on their own schedule, try to get an idea of their schedule of feedings, diaperings, naps, and work your older kids needs around the baby's needs. Of course the baby's needs come first and the older ones can occupy themselves through free play or another activity that doesn't really require your assistance while you tend to the baby. So try to arrange the older kids schedule around the baby's schedule.

Decide ahead of time what you will do to keep the majority of the kids under control if there's an emergency/big incident with one of the kids. You might decide that if something happens with one of the kids, you might want to immediately have the kids watch a tv show while you tend to the emergency. That will keep the children occupied (especially if they don't usually watch tv there) while you tend to the emergency/big incident (such as the baby exploding all over you, someone throwing up, someone getting seriously hurt, etc.) You could have the children have book time, tv time, have individual carpet squares that you throw down quickly for them to be separated from each other yet able to play on their carpet squares. Whatever you decide, but it should be something that you can get them to do quickly and that really will keep them still and occupied by themselves while you tend to the emergency. Make sure to practice whatever you decide you will do with them every couple of days for a couple of weeks to get them to learn what you need them to do so when you do have an emergency, they will know what's expected of them.

I did have a daily helper for a while ( mainly because I went to 3 schools every day and didn't want my younger children to live in a van going back and forth to schools). So I hired someone to work with the younger children at the house while I went on the school runs. She wound up staying throughout the day and helping all day long. It was LOVELY!!! Seriously made things so much easier! However, for the most part of 20 years I have done this by myself.

Just stick to it, try not to get overwhelmed, and in the evenings after a crazy day, try to think of how you might have been able to have the day have gone smoother. Maybe at first, you can try only having the same age group, maybe at first, you can try not to do as many activities, or do more activities (to occupy them), if you have one child that seems to ruin the day, give them notice, etc. When you are first starting out, you are trying to figure out how to make this work for you. Especially for the first year, it's a learning experience, a trial and error time. Get yourself in the habit of contimplating your day and thinking about what works and what doesn't work for you and your business. You will make some changes and tweak it a bit until you create a program that works for you. This is your business, you need to make it work for you, not drive you crazy!

However, this can be done all by yourself if you get the kids on a routine, and plan ahead for the unexpected. As with any new job or new experience, as you go along day after day, gaining experience, it will get easier.
permanentvacation 09:29 AM 08-03-2011
Also, when you are interviewing, remember that you are interviewing them at the same time they are interviewing you. If the parents say things about the child/child's needs/ parent's expectations that simply won't fit into your program, tell them during the interview that this will not be a good fit for their child. If your nap time is 1-3 and they sleep 11-1, you know that that child will not be able to immediately fit into your routine. While you're doing activities 11-1, he will be tired and hateful. Yes, he can eventually be weened into your schedule, but right now, while you are trying to get your business into a routine and already a little frustrated, you might not want to take on someone that will definately add to the frustration.

On the interview, tell the parents your routine, activities, etc. and make sure that they (and you) feel that the child will fit well with your program. Not every child fits every daycare program. It's better to let the parents find another daycare that fits their child rather than drive yourself crazy trying to make their child learn to accept your way of doing things.

I have told a few parents on the interview that in my opinion, they would be better with a babysitter or nanny because of things they say during the interview. I have also suggested a larger daycare center for some kids because of things said by parents on the interview.

As with any company, I run my business a certain way. A prospective client and I discuss the way my business runs, and we decide if we believe that we would make a good fit with each other. If not, they go elsewhere to find a daycare that will better suit them.

So, do your best to get to know as much as possible about the children and their parents that you interview with. Make sure they understand your routine, activities, rules, etc. and allow them to become a client of yours only if you believe it's a good fit.
Sunshine44 09:51 AM 08-03-2011
::Hugs:: I think we have all been there at some point. For me, it helps to think one day at a time. What I have always done is try to be as prepared as can be. I know infants feed on demand, but most of them have a 'schedule' of some sort. Some eat almost every 3 hours on the dot (or other variation). When it is getting close to another feeding I will make the bottle/food for that baby and start getting the other kids ready. Take them potty, give them something to do while I am feeding the baby. If for some reason they need something, they can either wait or you can put the baby down for a minute and figure it out.
Tags:overwhelmed, provider - burnout risk, provider - family, provider - own child, working with family, working with friends
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