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  #1  
Old 04-26-2012, 09:13 PM
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bluemoose_mom bluemoose_mom is offline
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Default Help Me Translate 5 Years Center Experience to in Home Daycare

I've used this site for the last 2 months to help me start my in home daycare but now that I officially have my license, I'm looking for some more personalized tips and suggestions. Before I had my 2 1/2 year old DD (I've stayed home with her since birth), I worked in a large-ish (100 kids) center for five years, primarily in the 1 1/2 to 3 year old range, but I have extensive experience with birth to 12 years. I also did some minor office work, so I'm acquainted with that aspect. My biggest issues is taking that experience with kids and translating it to home daycare. Trying to get stuff done while entertaining my own child is tough enough, now adding more kids and more mess...makes me a little overwhelmed. Not to mention, beyond the age difference in schoolers, I've only ever cared for one specific age group before. How does it work with possibly five different ages?! I'm good on my policies and handbook--it's 12 pages long, and my social worker said it was perfect. I really just need tips for daily routines in the home environment. I'm planning artwork/traditional table time activities and what not (I do them any way with DD) but...well, mixing the two is kinda stressing me. Not to mention meal time...how on earth do you cook when you have all these kids of different ages??? Thank you to anyone who is willing to respond! My first DCG, aged 7 months, arrives on monday and I need some destressing tools!!

Last edited by bluemoose_mom; 04-26-2012 at 09:14 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #2  
Old 04-26-2012, 09:35 PM
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godiva83 godiva83 is offline
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First off congrats

I think having some form of working with children prior is great! You already have some good hands on know how; HOWEVER, lol home based child care is very different than large centres in many ways, in that it's a mixed age group, no other adult interaction or intervention, what you say goes and so on. It is also very similar... Same issues with behaviour, DCP not respecting policies, get to do what you love, have a positive impact on a child's early learning expierence ect.

I would suggest pre- planning set aside an hour or 2 each week to plan a program, get creative ready, sensory, file folder games all ready for your week.
I also would do a menu you can stick to and a lot of pre- cooking or prep the night prior.
If you can get all your children on the same napping schedule - may take a week or two but so worth it!! You will need that down time every day to clean, organize, and put your feet up... With out it I have seen DCP's burn out pretty quickly.

Also, have the right materials available to you and your children. Proper sleeping equipment, a swing for infants, high chairs or boosters, a way to get around (wagon, stroller, walking rope)

It will take some time to get into the swing of things but you will get there!
Have a daily routine outlined that works for you and your group but remember to be flexible.

Most importantly, start out confident. You know you have something great to offer these kiddos and their parents, stand up for yourself and follow your guidelines set forth in your handbook! Stay on top of enforcing rules like no late pick ups, illness policies, payment - get your big girl panties on and make sure that back bone is there! No 'special' at the start or it will snow ba

Good luck, don't stress Mumma! You got this
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Old 04-27-2012, 05:18 AM
Frizzled Frizzled is offline
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I too worked in center for 5 years before doing home care. I would say the transition was easy but the whole having a backbone is difficult. I like to encourage my parents at every given opportunity so that when they break a rule or I have to change something it's not as ugly a confrontation.

The different ages thing is tricky, I would make sure you have the older kids help. They can put activities away on their own and they can also initiate activities on their as well. I try and let them be creative, with home care you don't HAVE to stick to your schedule (although I would highly suggest trying) and that means more spontaneous learning can take place.

All in all it's not much different than center care if you think of it this way: you are the director, maintenance, lead, assistant, cook, and floater. Put on the "hat" necessary for that situation. If that made sense at all.

CONGRATS! And have fun with it!
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:51 AM
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I worked at a centre with 40 kids for 5 years befor starting a home daycare. I needed to start slowly. I took in a couple of girls part-time 2 days a week and built up from there. I still limit the amount of kids I have at least until my own DD goes to school. Finding that parent/caregiver balance is tricky and my DD is by far my most challenging child which you might find as well. Eventhough I have the same rules for everyone she's the most defiant! I think once she starts school I will be able to take in more kids.

Another adjustment for me was having to cook and clean myself and getting organized in that area. I have a dog so that help a lot with food on the floor I also find nap times a bit of a struggle because of the different ages and some of my kids are beginning to drop naps which is hard....and I don't take infants for this reason. I plan my meals for the week and make quick meals whenever I can. There was a point when I would have the kids sit and watch tv while I cooked because I had to go up to my kitchen with the kids and I didn't want them to destroy my living room! Now I don't need to because my meals are quick or consist of food we've had the night before or slow cooker meals. It takes time to find meals the kids will eat and are quick to make. I serve the same 6-7 meals basically. You do what works as you get used to it.

Programming is very difficult!! I belong to a childcare organization so they host workshops where you make and take resources for circle. The resources can accommodate many different age groups so it's perfect. Mainly though I cater to the average age and maybe make an aspect of a game more difficult for an older kid somehow. You have to be quite creative. The younger ones tend to want to follow the older ones so it works well.

I don't know how I could do this job without my centre experience!! Having the experience with different kids and different behaviors has helped me a LOT!!

You'll do great
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:00 PM
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cheerfuldom cheerfuldom is offline
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You don't HAVE to take a huge variety of ages. You can still stick with say, ages 2 through 4 and gear things towards preschoolers. Don't feel that you have to take babies and after schoolers. If you already have things going with a preschool type setting for your daughter (even if you dont do an "official" curriculum") I would stick with kids that in general, will be into doing the things that you already do during the day. You also dont have to offer food.....you can do morning and afternoon snacks (pre-made) and then have the kids bring a sack lunch, thats what I do. Otherwise you will be spending a good portion of the time cooking (even if things are pre-done that morning) and cleaning up. I would start slow with a basic routine and program and then add as you feel you can. You can even let parents know "Right now, I do not offer lunches but it is something that I will look into at a later date and will likely become a part of our program in the future". If you take babies, the reality is that you will need the kids, including your daughter, to be able to play nicely together on their own for longer periods because babies means bottle feedings, spoon feedings, up and down for naps, safe place for them to play (which could be a problem depending on your setup and if you have a separate napping area, etc.). IF you take babies, I would highly recommend that you only accept them as a part of a sibling group or that you take only one kid under 12 months at a time. Nothing more frustrating than your preschool/daycare turning into you taking care of babies all day while your daughter fends for herself. Just dont want you to overwhelm yourself with too many babies too soon because those are the calls you will probably get the quickest as well as people with odd schedules, people wanting a lot for a little, or drama daycare hoppers. Be picky on the families you take!!!
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ariana View Post
I worked at a centre with 40 kids for 5 years befor starting a home daycare. I needed to start slowly. I took in a couple of girls part-time 2 days a week and built up from there. I still limit the amount of kids I have at least until my own DD goes to school. Finding that parent/caregiver balance is tricky and my DD is by far my most challenging child which you might find as well. Eventhough I have the same rules for everyone she's the most defiant! I think once she starts school I will be able to take in more kids.

Another adjustment for me was having to cook and clean myself and getting organized in that area. I have a dog so that help a lot with food on the floor I also find nap times a bit of a struggle because of the different ages and some of my kids are beginning to drop naps which is hard....and I don't take infants for this reason. I plan my meals for the week and make quick meals whenever I can. There was a point when I would have the kids sit and watch tv while I cooked because I had to go up to my kitchen with the kids and I didn't want them to destroy my living room! Now I don't need to because my meals are quick or consist of food we've had the night before or slow cooker meals. It takes time to find meals the kids will eat and are quick to make. I serve the same 6-7 meals basically. You do what works as you get used to it.

Programming is very difficult!! I belong to a childcare organization so they host workshops where you make and take resources for circle. The resources can accommodate many different age groups so it's perfect. Mainly though I cater to the average age and maybe make an aspect of a game more difficult for an older kid somehow. You have to be quite creative. The younger ones tend to want to follow the older ones so it works well.

I don't know how I could do this job without my centre experience!! Having the experience with different kids and different behaviors has helped me a LOT!!

You'll do great
AGREE! my kids are the hardest. For each child that goes to school (my oldest will be going this fall), I will take on two daycare kids. My daycare kids are for the most part, easy.....parenting is 1000% harder, at least for me.
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