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Old 10-30-2013, 11:59 AM
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Default Adjusting to Group Care--HELP!

So, I've been licensed for about a month. I have 3-4 toddlers (between 15 months and 25 months) each day. Three come from nanny situations, one has never been in daycare before (at home with parent), and one was in a daycare home part-time and with a parent part-time (child is still part-time here).

Needless to say, they aren't pros at handling group care. They want to eat NOW, they don't like what's served and point at the snack cupboard asking for crackers, they don't like to wait to get down after lunch, they hate if I put a gate up anywhere, they cry if they want to go outside and everyone else is still playing, and nap time has been quite a struggle as well. The only child who has adjusted very well is the one who was in a daycare home before--even if it only was part-time. He never seems to have an issue like the other children. He waits to be served, eats everything, hands me his empty plate with a smile, goes to sleep without a peep, plays happily.

I am trying to figure out what to do with my group. I know that I have been letting them dictate what I do. I've totally been caving in... getting the crackers, taking down the gate, changing snack time because everyone is climbing up their highchairs. Ah!!

I'm open to any advice. I know I need to be more firm. I have some specific areas that I'm really wondering about.

1. Meals and snacks. I have kids who want to eat NOW. Then they don't like what's served. I have been trying not to offer anything else--there are always two or three healthy choices, and if they don't like it, they don't eat anything. But then they have meltdowns later because they are truly hungry. I'm not sure how firm I should be on this issue.

2. Wanting to eat NOW (outside of meal/snacktime) or wanting to get down NOW (without eating anything)... and then asking to eat 20 minutes later. My gut tells me to stick to the schedule and not have the children eating on demand... I also would like the kids to all sit at the table for at least 15 minutes so I can clean up the meal before they go to the playroom. This has been very difficult. I've offered books, crayons. They just cry to get down. Thoughts??

3. I also have a child who dumps and splatters all of the food when they are done eating. I have to watch him like a hawk because the second he's finished, SQUISH. He's 18 months.

3. Refusing to stay in the gated playroom. I rarely put up the gate. But sometimes I am cooking or I need to clean up, and it's dangerous to do with toddlers at my feet. I don't need much time to do what I'm doing, but I have some kids who scream their heads off if the gate is up... even if they were playing fine before. Would you just redirect them? Explain patiently? That's all I've been doing, but the crying/screaming is getting hard.

4. Nap time. Now, after a morning of screaming for various reasons, I have two who will only sleep for 45 minutes and then scream. I don't believe a 45 min nap is long enough. But I can't force them to sleep... and they really scream angrily when they are in there awake.

I'm trying to stick to my rules, but it's very difficult with this age group because they don't entirely understand. The 2 year old gets it when I explain things to her. She may not LIKE it, but at least she gets it... the toddlers don't understand yet.
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:10 PM
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How about a picture schedule? There might be one here:

http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/resourc...ng_infant.html

I used to have my cellphone set for different songs, too. When the "gummy bear" song came on, it was time to sit down to eat. Then, you can say "we are waiting for the gummy bear song", using your picture schedule to reinforce it.

BTW, I have a lot of that here, too. My 11 mo is part-time, and an only child. Things are pretty much on his terms at home, so there's a lot of protesting about waiting for anything. Sometimes X4. ugh..


I'm glad to hear your having the same issues I have...lol. Not happy you're suffering, but glad not to be alone.

All mine sleep well, though, accept my newest addition. They are on the far end of my house with closed doors and fans on everywhere. So, if one wakes up, he waits (accept little man). Even PT boy no longer makes a stink. He has a book, rattle, and pacifier, and occupies himself quietly.

The gate thing...yeah! If one starts crying at it, it's 3 right away. ayayayay!
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by preschoolteacher View Post
I'm open to any advice. I know I need to be more firm. I have some specific areas that I'm really wondering about.
This is what I would advise:

Quote:
1. Meals and snacks. I have kids who want to eat NOW. Then they don't like what's served. I have been trying not to offer anything else--there are always two or three healthy choices, and if they don't like it, they don't eat anything. But then they have meltdowns later because they are truly hungry. I'm not sure how firm I should be on this issue.
Very firm. Meals are at mealtimes and that's it and it is what it is; take it or leave it. You'd be offering snacks all day long and cooking constantly if it were on demand. They'll learn quickly if you don't give them food outside of meal times.

Quote:
2. Wanting to eat NOW (outside of meal/snacktime) or wanting to get down NOW (without eating anything)... and then asking to eat 20 minutes later. My gut tells me to stick to the schedule and not have the children eating on demand... I also would like the kids to all sit at the table for at least 15 minutes so I can clean up the meal before they go to the playroom. This has been very difficult. I've offered books, crayons. They just cry to get down. Thoughts??
I'd reconsider having them sit after they're done. My kids all eat in kid-height chairs, and leave the table when they're finished. (Takes some learning about "we sit when we're eating" and staying there until finished, but worth it for the empowerment and respect it gives them). There can be just a few simple after-eating choices for them to play with. Here, they head to the bathroom for potty/diaper, hands, teeth; then can go look at books. I clean the kitchen once they're all looking at a book or otherwise settling for nap, then I go join them to help them to sleep.

Quote:
3. I also have a child who dumps and splatters all of the food when they are done eating. I have to watch him like a hawk because the second he's finished, SQUISH. He's 18 months.
See above. He wants to get out of there. I'd try to catch the plate as soon as he lifts it, constantly reminding "You're finished? You can give me your plate when you're finished," or whatever you want him to do with it.

Quote:
3. Refusing to stay in the gated playroom. I rarely put up the gate. But sometimes I am cooking or I need to clean up, and it's dangerous to do with toddlers at my feet. I don't need much time to do what I'm doing, but I have some kids who scream their heads off if the gate is up... even if they were playing fine before. Would you just redirect them? Explain patiently? That's all I've been doing, but the crying/screaming is getting hard.
Is it really necessary? I cook with kids about my feet. I bet they'd be more willing to keep playing in the playroom if there weren't that gate telling them they were locked out of the interesting stuff going on in the next room.

Quote:
4. Nap time. Now, after a morning of screaming for various reasons, I have two who will only sleep for 45 minutes and then scream. I don't believe a 45 min nap is long enough. But I can't force them to sleep... and they really scream angrily when they are in there awake.
45 minutes is a sleep cycle. Everyone "wakes" after a sleep cycle, but most of us just roll over and go back to sleep without noticing. But if they are stressed (as it sounds like they are, understandably), they may wake, be upset, and stay awake. I'd make sure it's the same then as it was when they fell asleep (same darkness, same sounds, etc.) and if necessary, plan to be there when they open their eyes at 45 minutes and soothe them right back to sleep. I agree, it's too short.

Quote:
I'm trying to stick to my rules, but it's very difficult with this age group because they don't entirely understand. The 2 year old gets it when I explain things to her. She may not LIKE it, but at least she gets it... the toddlers don't understand yet.
They'll all get it. If the routine is very clear and consistent, they'll learn it soon.

Lots of empathy for you as you struggle through this!
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:19 PM
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The only child who has adjusted very well is the one who was in a daycare home before--even if it only was part-time. He never seems to have an issue like the other children. He waits to be served, eats everything, hands me his empty plate with a smile, goes to sleep without a peep, plays happily.

I have no advice but please PLEASE clone this one and send copies to all of us here!
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:31 PM
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melilley melilley is offline
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I have 5 kids hare and they are also 15- 25 months. But, mine don't ask for anything outside of our eating times and they all sleep (except for my own ds sometimes) so I am lucky there.
This is what I do:

1) My meal and snack times are 7-8 bfast, snack between 9:30 and 10, Lunch between 11:30 and 12 and pm snack around 3:15 so they don't really go too long before each meal/snack. I only offer what is for snack and that's usually only one thing. Sometimes I do feel bad and will give them something else, but not usually. My kids will eat just about anything though...lol
For meals they get what is served, but I am a softie and sometimes (rarely though) if they don't eat, I will give them something else-not anything big, just a piece of lunch meat or cheese for instance. But I do ask them to try. I know people say just to have them eat what you serve, but sometimes I just feel bad if they don't.

2) I don't let them eat outside of eating times. My kids don't usuallly want something now. Maybe it's because we eat about every 2 hours with the exception of pm snack?. What are your meal/snack times?
I do let my kids get up when they are done. I have them go into the family room and play while I clean up. (I can see them in there-we have a living room that is the daycare/playroom that has a gate, but I can't see them).
They won't sit and read for long, their attention spans are so short!

3) My ds does this and it drives me NUTS! All I can do is tell him "no". I do show him where to put his cup if he throws that, then he usually throws it again. I'm not sure what to do about this either.

3(second one) My kids don't like it when I close the gate either. So now I close the playroom when I'm making lunch and have them pick some toys to bring into my family room. It seems to be working. They do come in the kitchen sometimes and I let them play with the pots and pans and oven mitts etc...

4) For nap time, my kids usually sleep. I do have one that only sleeps for an hour and sometimes my son only sleeps that long so I let them get up and play with quiet things, it's better than them waking everyone else up. I do separate nappers. One is in my room in pnp, 2 are in my sons room, my ds either is out with me or in his crib and if he wakes up, I rush to get him so he doesn't wake the other two.

YES, toddlers are a different species....lol I love them, but it takes sooo much patience and a lot of repeating and listening to fits. I just talk and talk to them and hope that one day they will understand.
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by preschoolteacher View Post
So, I've been licensed for about a month. I have 3-4 toddlers (between 15 months and 25 months) each day. Three come from nanny situations, one has never been in daycare before (at home with parent), and one was in a daycare home part-time and with a parent part-time (child is still part-time here).

Needless to say, they aren't pros at handling group care. They want to eat NOW, they don't like what's served and point at the snack cupboard asking for crackers, they don't like to wait to get down after lunch, they hate if I put a gate up anywhere, they cry if they want to go outside and everyone else is still playing, and nap time has been quite a struggle as well. The only child who has adjusted very well is the one who was in a daycare home before--even if it only was part-time. He never seems to have an issue like the other children. He waits to be served, eats everything, hands me his empty plate with a smile, goes to sleep without a peep, plays happily.

I am trying to figure out what to do with my group. I know that I have been letting them dictate what I do. I've totally been caving in... getting the crackers, taking down the gate, changing snack time because everyone is climbing up their highchairs. Ah!!

I'm open to any advice. I know I need to be more firm. I have some specific areas that I'm really wondering about.

1. Meals and snacks. I have kids who want to eat NOW. Then they don't like what's served. I have been trying not to offer anything else--there are always two or three healthy choices, and if they don't like it, they don't eat anything. But then they have meltdowns later because they are truly hungry. I'm not sure how firm I should be on this issue.

Serve what you plan on serving and nothing else. They wont starve themselves and they will catch on quickly.

2. Wanting to eat NOW (outside of meal/snacktime) or wanting to get down NOW (without eating anything)... and then asking to eat 20 minutes later. My gut tells me to stick to the schedule and not have the children eating on demand... I also would like the kids to all sit at the table for at least 15 minutes so I can clean up the meal before they go to the playroom. This has been very difficult. I've offered books, crayons. They just cry to get down. Thoughts??

Stick to your schedule! too many children to be eating on demand. If they need to sit at the table for 15 min then make them. They are not in control. Im assuming they are strapped into highchairs or booster seats? Give them a couple options of things to do and then let them cry. They will learn the routine.

3. I also have a child who dumps and splatters all of the food when they are done eating. I have to watch him like a hawk because the second he's finished, SQUISH. He's 18 months.

*** i hate this! just try to catch the plate as he is lifting it, remind he not to dump and have him hand you the plate. I have almost broke his habit with two of my dcks

3. Refusing to stay in the gated playroom. I rarely put up the gate. But sometimes I am cooking or I need to clean up, and it's dangerous to do with toddlers at my feet. I don't need much time to do what I'm doing, but I have some kids who scream their heads off if the gate is up... even if they were playing fine before. Would you just redirect them? Explain patiently? That's all I've been doing, but the crying/screaming is getting hard.
I ignore the screaming/crying. I couldnt cook with three littles in the kitchen with me. I would be tripping, they would be grabbing onto my legs, touching the oven, ect. My kids are gated from the kitchen. If they are screaming/ crying I just talk to them as i continue what im doing. They are not in charge.

4. Nap time. Now, after a morning of screaming for various reasons, I have two who will only sleep for 45 minutes and then scream. I don't believe a 45 min nap is long enough. But I can't force them to sleep... and they really scream angrily when they are in there awake.

no advice here, sorry

I'm trying to stick to my rules, but it's very difficult with this age group because they don't entirely understand. The 2 year old gets it when I explain things to her. She may not LIKE it, but at least she gets it... the toddlers don't understand yet.
Stick to your schedule (being a little flexible) and stick to your rules. They are used to doing everything on their terms. Its a hard transition but they will catch on and learn your routine and rules
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by jenboo View Post
Stick to your schedule (being a little flexible) and stick to your rules. They are used to doing everything on their terms. Its a hard transition but they will catch on and learn your routine and rules


I love NWOJ, but having multiple young toddlers in the kitchen while you're cooking is not a safe choice. If they're 3's and 4's, they'd at least have some comprehension of danger and could even participate. Even 1 toddler or baby is doable if you have older ones to help, but not 4 crawling, climbing, pulling kiddos.
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Old 10-30-2013, 01:01 PM
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I love NWOJ, but having multiple young toddlers in the kitchen while you're cooking is not a safe choice. If they're 3's and 4's, they'd at least have some comprehension of danger and could even participate. Even 1 toddler or baby is doable if you have older ones to help, but not 4 crawling, climbing, pulling kiddos.
I have to disagree. I've had 5 infants/toddlers in and out of the kitchen while I prep meals with no problems. Most of the fun stuff is in the adjoining room, so most of them would play there. I might have a baby playing with pots and pans in the toy kitchen (at the side of my kitchen, out of my way) and maybe a toddler helping me, but they're all safe. (I keep knives way back on the counter when not in use, pot handles turned away from the edge, etc, and I move slowly).
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Old 10-30-2013, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by nothingwithoutjoy View Post
This is what I would advise:


Very firm. Meals are at mealtimes and that's it and it is what it is; take it or leave it. You'd be offering snacks all day long and cooking constantly if it were on demand. They'll learn quickly if you don't give them food outside of meal times.


I'd reconsider having them sit after they're done. My kids all eat in kid-height chairs, and leave the table when they're finished. (Takes some learning about "we sit when we're eating" and staying there until finished, but worth it for the empowerment and respect it gives them). There can be just a few simple after-eating choices for them to play with. Here, they head to the bathroom for potty/diaper, hands, teeth; then can go look at books. I clean the kitchen once they're all looking at a book or otherwise settling for nap, then I go join them to help them to sleep.

See above. He wants to get out of there. I'd try to catch the plate as soon as he lifts it, constantly reminding "You're finished? You can give me your plate when you're finished," or whatever you want him to do with it.


Is it really necessary? I cook with kids about my feet. I bet they'd be more willing to keep playing in the playroom if there weren't that gate telling them they were locked out of the interesting stuff going on in the next room.


45 minutes is a sleep cycle. Everyone "wakes" after a sleep cycle, but most of us just roll over and go back to sleep without noticing. But if they are stressed (as it sounds like they are, understandably), they may wake, be upset, and stay awake. I'd make sure it's the same then as it was when they fell asleep (same darkness, same sounds, etc.) and if necessary, plan to be there when they open their eyes at 45 minutes and soothe them right back to sleep. I agree, it's too short.

They'll all get it. If the routine is very clear and consistent, they'll learn it soon.

Lots of empathy for you as you struggle through this!
Awesome advice!

You got a really tough group right out of the starting gate! Hope things start to turn around soon!
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Old 10-30-2013, 01:09 PM
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I have to disagree. I've had 5 infants/toddlers in and out of the kitchen while I prep meals with no problems. Most of the fun stuff is in the adjoining room, so most of them would play there. I might have a baby playing with pots and pans in the toy kitchen (at the side of my kitchen, out of my way) and maybe a toddler helping me, but they're all safe. (I keep knives way back on the counter when not in use, pot handles turned away from the edge, etc, and I move slowly).
ok...agree to disagree. Maybe it's just my kiddos. I have 2 older infants and a just 2, plus a 4mo. I'm not a fan of the whole pulling Tupperware out of one cabinet, yanking on my pants (lol),etc. If they are just playing with toys nearby, great. There are plenty to choose from.

So, I leave them loose when I cook...until they get to the pulling/tripping hazard point. Then they go in their clip-on chairs with a puzzle or toy. If they throw it, they whine and wait. I talk to them, sing to them, etc., but sometimes, they just want to yell at me to hurry.
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Old 10-30-2013, 07:09 PM
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I wonder how big your kitchens are and if that makes a difference? We have a teeny, tiny galley kitchen. When the kids are in there, I literally can't walk. There's one tiny section of counter space where I have to prep food AND squeeze serving plates on to before they go to the table. Then there's the fridge, sink, and oven. Dishwasher doesn't work, so I'm washing everything, too. I can't make it work with kids in there with me!

Ok, so I am doing the picture schedule (great idea), being super firm about meal times and what's on the menu, keeping my same meal schedule (it's actually the same as melilly's!), and keeping the kids out of the kitchen when I'm cooking on the stove top but forgetting about the gate the rest of the time.

We will see how it goes!!! I know the constant snack demands and pickiness will be the hardest parts...
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by preschoolteacher View Post
I wonder how big your kitchens are and if that makes a difference? We have a teeny, tiny galley kitchen. When the kids are in there, I literally can't walk. There's one tiny section of counter space where I have to prep food AND squeeze serving plates on to before they go to the table. Then there's the fridge, sink, and oven. Dishwasher doesn't work, so I'm washing everything, too. I can't make it work with kids in there with me!

Ok, so I am doing the picture schedule (great idea), being super firm about meal times and what's on the menu, keeping my same meal schedule (it's actually the same as melilly's!), and keeping the kids out of the kitchen when I'm cooking on the stove top but forgetting about the gate the rest of the time.

We will see how it goes!!! I know the constant snack demands and pickiness will be the hardest parts...
I think others have given some fantastic advice.

I do agree with Heidi though about the toddlers in the kitchen. I would let them be in there and help if they were MY kids in MY home with me being mom.....I would NEVER allow any of the toddler/infants in the kitchen when cooking/prepping meals now.

Way too much liability. What if I tripped over one or spilled something hot on one of them? I just can't take that risk with other people's kids.

The only exception to that is when we are doing a cooking activity and ALL the kids are included in the prep. But in that case, it is usually something kid-friendly and manageable for a large group.
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