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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>How Do You Separate Your Ages, Or Don't You?
Francine 08:42 AM 08-08-2011
I reopened a year ago after taking two years off, I have things set up differently this time around than I did last time. Our house has a livingroom and a family toom, the livingroom is now my playroom and the family room which is right off of the kitchen is where I keep the infants so they don't get trampled my the older kids. Up until now I have had infants and toddlers, but this week I have a 3 year old starting. There are toys etc. that he will be allowed to play with that the toddlers and infants are not. Even my one two year old is a very very immature two year old, he acts more like a 13- 15 month old. The 3 year old also has a baby brother, so I will have the 5 month old, a 17 month old, a 2 year old and a the three year old. I'm trying to figure out how to give them all what they need and keep them all safe. I don't think it's fair to not let the 3 year old play with things appropriate for his age group just because I don't want the 17 month old to play with it but yet at the same time I don't want to make the 3 year old play by himself in a different room.

How do you all manage the different age groups all at the same time?
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melskids 09:06 AM 08-08-2011
usually when i have alot of older kids, i seperate the little ones away from them. but in your case, since you have all littles, and only one 3 yr old, i would seperate him from them. so for example, i would set up the majority of the area to accomodate the little kids, and then maybe gate off a special "big kid" area for just him that the babies cant get to.
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Cat Herder 09:12 AM 08-08-2011
I added some tags below that will take you to several helpful threads...
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laundrymom 10:02 AM 08-08-2011
Originally Posted by melskids:
usually when i have alot of older kids, i seperate the little ones away from them. but in your case, since you have all littles, and only one 3 yr old, i would seperate him from them. so for example, i would set up the majority of the area to accomodate the little kids, and then maybe gate off a special "big kid" area for just him that the babies cant get to.
I do this too. I let big kids sit in a pack and play with puzzles or small toys & babies can't torment them.
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JenNJ 10:21 AM 08-08-2011
My daycare room is large, so I just split it with the dividing gates if there is a conflict. If the big kids are dancing, I put the babies on the other side of the room with their toys.
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AnneCordelia 10:23 AM 08-08-2011
I have 4 1yos and 2 3yos. We all play in the same area. My 3yos COULD play with lego but prefer duplo, which isn't chokable by the 1yos. I only keep baby-safe toys here. The preschoolers aren't lacking though...lots of puzzles, lacing boards, books, little people, dollhouse, kitchen, ect. All those toys are 'baby safe'.
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Crazy8 11:12 AM 08-08-2011
I have anything from 3 months old to 3 or 4 years old and they all play in the same area. My playroom is safe for all ages. I can't think of any toys the 3 year old needs that the little ones can't play with - they all can play with the blocks, dinosaurs, little people, etc.
Anything that is for the bigger kids is kept up higher and only taken out if little ones aren't around.
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Francine 11:25 AM 08-08-2011
Originally Posted by LittleDiamonds:
I have anything from 3 months old to 3 or 4 years old and they all play in the same area. My playroom is safe for all ages. I can't think of any toys the 3 year old needs that the little ones can't play with - they all can play with the blocks, dinosaurs, little people, etc.
Anything that is for the bigger kids is kept up higher and only taken out if little ones aren't around.
I was thinking more of the three year old not wanting the little ones to ruin what he was doing...building blocks, lining up cars, puzzles etc., it's not that the toys are unsafe.
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MommyMuffin 12:04 PM 08-08-2011
I have problems with babies and toddlers ruining the 3 year olds projects. Also, the 3 year olds sometimes get excited and start running around and trample the babies. You cant be everywhere all the time. The babies rip the big kids books.

I seperate my living room and dining room. The 3 year olds have the living area, if they want to do projects they go in the dining room is for puzzles, coloring, lacing, curriculum and then I bring the babies in the living area. Babies 15 months and younger stay in the dining area with me usually, either in a high chair, exersaucer or on the play mat on the floor.

Basically, they are seperated back and forth depending on what activity we are doing. I think 12 m - 2 years is the hardest because they are big enough to hurt those 12 and under and they are not old enough to play with the 3 year olds...(they DESTROY) lol thats the toddlers jobs.
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Sugar Magnolia 12:38 PM 08-08-2011
Sent you a private message. Its a link to my website and my multi-age approach to learning. We are a center, and the only center in my area using this approach. If anyone else is interested, pm me. Most of you home daycare ladies do this approach anyways, wish more centers would....
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Francine 12:46 PM 08-08-2011
Thanks for all of your replies! I can keep the playroom gated off with the toddlers in there, the baby in the livingroom with me and the 3 year old can play with his bigger stuff in the diningroom so I have the space. It's just that the playroom has two entrances, one onto the dining room where 3 year old will be playing and one onto a hallway. When I gate off the playroom the toddlers are all going to hang on the gates and scream......hundreds of dollars worth of toys to play with but yet all they want is full run of the house. They hate to play with toys
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Meeko 03:43 PM 08-08-2011
I am licensed for 16 children. We are still a FAMILY group. The parents we have like the idea that their children are with a mixed age group and that siblings are not kept apart all day. We run our day care as a FAMILY. The bigger kids help the younger ones etc.

Now we CAN separate if we need to. If big kids are painting or doing some art project with small pieces....then the little ones are gated off until it's done. But on the whole, I like having them all together. I think the little ones learn from the older ones and the older ones have to learn to be considerate of the small children around them.
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Francine 08:00 PM 08-08-2011
I'm not saying that I want to keep them apart all of the time but I do think that there are times when seperating is necessary and I don't think any of my parents would disagree. I don't want to have to tell a 3 or 4 year old that he can't do something because it's not age appropriate for the toddlers. Nor do I want my infants being run over by toddlers while I am trying to make lunch or go to the bathroom.
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Cat Herder 08:06 PM 08-08-2011
Originally Posted by Francine:
I'm not saying that I want to keep them apart all of the time but I do think that there are times when seperating is necessary and I don't think any of my parents would disagree. I don't want to have to tell a 3 or 4 year old that he can't do something because it's not age appropriate for the toddlers. Nor do I want my infants being run over by toddlers while I am trying to make lunch or go to the bathroom.
I feel the same way although a bit more dramatic than most, I guess.

The first time a 3 year old injured an infant here I would most likely make the paper...

I am sending you a pm so you can see how I do it, Francine.
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Tags:age appropriate, infant - safety, infant care, playroom layout, separate areas
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