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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Can Bigger Be Better
MommyMuffin 08:11 AM 08-21-2015
Hi ladies,

I know we have different amount of children in our care for different reasons.

How and why have those of you grow to 6 - 12 kids? How do you manage?

But I feel unsatisfied and BORED.
I was wondering if any of you felt unfulfilled with a small home daycare (4 or less).
I am thinking about slowly growing to 6 dcks. Right now I like being able to go to the library or different activities that require driving. But I thought if I had a "full house" our time would be so filled up I wouldn't miss the trips.

I'm trying to stay happy in my provider role. I want good income and I don't want to be bored. I also don't want it to be so chaotic that I hate what I am doing.
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mommyneedsadayoff 08:14 AM 08-21-2015
I am curious to see what others post. I am in the same boat. Not sure if I should take on more kids or keep the flexibility of being able to leave and do the fun activities in the community and play groups that we like to do.
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midaycare 09:06 AM 08-21-2015
I have 6, but 5 is my magic number. I prefer smaller so I can teach more.
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Blackcat31 09:23 AM 08-21-2015
Originally Posted by midaycare:
I prefer smaller so I can teach more.


My thoughts are that I prefer larger so the kids can learn more.

That is NOT a dig at you.

.....just how I feel about large/small groups. (see my post below)
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Blackcat31 09:24 AM 08-21-2015
Great question!

Personally I think bigger IS better for many reasons.
This is going to be lengthy so...

I prefer to be active and busy, both mentally and physically.

A smaller amount of kids gives me more time to focus and dwell on some of the issues the kiddos have. While that might seem like a good/positive thing in some ways (I am sure it can be) I do not feel it is a good/positive thing for me because when that happens I make mountains out of mole hills and that rarely ends well.

I still notice, attend to, and work on issues kids have but on a smaller scale because, well because these kiddos aren't mine and while I do have them in care during the day, my role is really not that big in the grand scheme of things. HIGHLY important yes, but not as big as some of us like to believe it is. (the previous comment is MY personal opinion and should not be regarded as a factual statement for all )

When I notice an issue, I bring it to the parent's attention and let them parent. I support, network, resource and work with them during the time in which the child is in my care but again have I specific boundaries and expectations in regards to responsibilities and what/which responsibility belongs to whom.

In regards to the kids themselves, I feel bigger is better for the same/similar reasons. Kids grow weary of the same play mate day in and day out and I sometimes think being limited to only one playmate or only a couple severely impacts the social growth and development of the child as there are very few examples of what others can be like and what traits and personalities are okay or not okay. For example if Janie only has Billy and Susie to play with, Janie is more likely to gage her social skills and what is and isn't acceptable according to only what she has learned from Billy and Susie. I think sometimes being restricted to one specific social group actually impedes a persons horizons and ability to think for themselves as well as think perspectively.

I think sometimes when TOO much time is given to one child, the child learns to become dependent on that person for everything. Opinions, comments, feedback, assistance, resources etc... While ALL of that is important, an overload of that kind of attention also creates a negative dependence in their own thinking process. "I can't do this by myself". You see this clearly in large families.

The children born into large families are often MUCH more independent and confident. They also become independent and confident at earlier ages because the ONE (or two) parents they have didn't always have that "Free time" to devote to them so the child learned to do things on their own much earlier than others (thus gaining that feeling of satisfaction of being independent when mastering those self-help skills). This is clearly evident now days as families are no longer the sizes we used to see as normal.

In my experience as a provider over the years I will say that the children that come from families that have MORE than 2 children are much more confident, self-motivated and independent than those children who come from smaller families.

I have tons more reasons for thinking a large group is better or more positive than a small group but I won't expand any further as what I've already typed is probably a lot to chew on.

I also want to make a point of saying that I am not knocking small families or small groups. I myself have only 2 children BUT because I (as my DH does as well) come from a large family and the differences between my kids and my siblings as we grew up is vastly different for a myriad of different reasons (some positive and some negative) so I can clearly see both sides. I am merely giving my stance on whether or not I prefer as a caregiver to be a large or small group.

I normally have a mixed age group M-Th of 10-12 kids ages 1.5 to 5yrs but on Fridays, I have only 5-6 kids and I will say that I have MORE issues (squabbles, boredom, non-sleepers/nappers, less outside time, more complaining and generally a less enjoyable atmosphere) on Fridays than I do in comparison to the other 4 days of the week combined.
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laundrymom 09:34 AM 08-21-2015
I echo what BC ha said.
Plus, I work for money. Hubs for insurance and retirement. The truth, when you are completely honest and take out the emotional part, I earn more money having ten enrolled at 130-140 per week than if I had 6 at 150.

I try to stay at capacity.
I loathe days when some are missing because they fight and argue when the group is smaller. I get paid the same so that's not why. I enjoy the controlled chaos of ten under five. They seem to thrive in it so I feel it's best for my program
That being said, I sometimes long for a trip to the library or a walk to the icecream shop.
However, we get to do things that smaller groups can't. Like..... Hmmmm. Well. I'm sure there's something. Lol.
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
Great question!

Personally I think bigger IS better for many reasons.
This is going to be lengthy so...

I prefer to be active and busy, both mentally and physically.

A smaller amount of kids gives me more time to focus and dwell on some of the issues the kiddos have. While that might seem like a good/positive thing in some ways (I am sure it can be) I do not feel it is a good/positive thing for me because when that happens I make mountains out of mole hills and that rarely ends well.

I still notice, attend to, and work on issues kids have but on a smaller scale because, well because these kiddos aren't mine and while I do have them in care during the day, my role is really not that big in the grand scheme of things. HIGHLY important yes, but not as big as some of us like to believe it is. (the previous comment is MY personal opinion and should not be regarded as a factual statement for all )

When I notice an issue, I bring it to the parent's attention and let them parent. I support, network, resource and work with them during the time in which the child is in my care but again have I specific boundaries and expectations in regards to responsibilities and what/which responsibility belongs to whom.

In regards to the kids themselves, I feel bigger is better for the same/similar reasons. Kids grow weary of the same play mate day in and day out and I sometimes think being limited to only one playmate or only a couple severely impacts the social growth and development of the child as there are very few examples of what others can be like and what traits and personalities are okay or not okay. For example if Janie only has Billy and Susie to play with, Janie is more likely to gage her social skills and what is and isn't acceptable according to only what she has learned from Billy and Susie. I think sometimes being restricted to one specific social group actually impedes a persons horizons and ability to think for themselves as well as think perspectively.

I think sometimes when TOO much time is given to one child, the child learns to become dependent on that person for everything. Opinions, comments, feedback, assistance, resources etc... While ALL of that is important, an overload of that kind of attention also creates a negative dependence in their own thinking process. "I can't do this by myself". You see this clearly in large families.

The children born into large families are often MUCH more independent and confident. They also become independent and confident at earlier ages because the ONE (or two) parents they have didn't always have that "Free time" to devote to them so the child learned to do things on their own much earlier than others (thus gaining that feeling of satisfaction of being independent when mastering those self-help skills). This is clearly evident now days as families are no longer the sizes we used to see as normal.

In my experience as a provider over the years I will say that the children that come from families that have MORE than 2 children are much more confident, self-motivated and independent than those children who come from smaller families.

I have tons more reasons for thinking a large group is better or more positive than a small group but I won't expand any further as what I've already typed is probably a lot to chew on.

I also want to make a point of saying that I am not knocking small families or small groups. I myself have only 2 children BUT because I (as my DH does as well) come from a large family and the differences between my kids and my siblings as we grew up is vastly different for a myriad of different reasons (some positive and some negative) so I can clearly see both sides. I am merely giving my stance on whether or not I prefer as a caregiver to be a large or small group.

I normally have a mixed age group M-Th of 10-12 kids ages 1.5 to 5yrs but on Fridays, I have only 5-6 kids and I will say that I have MORE issues (squabbles, boredom, non-sleepers/nappers, less outside time, more complaining and generally a less enjoyable atmosphere) on Fridays than I do in comparison to the other 4 days of the week combined.

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Blackcat31 09:46 AM 08-21-2015
Originally Posted by laundrymom:
However, we get to do things that smaller groups can't. Like..... Hmmmm. Well. I'm sure there's something. Lol.
We get free time.

I have TONS of (personal) free time during the day when everyone is here.

The smaller the group, the more of my input/guidance is needed.





Oh, and we got into our county fair for free. $1 per person for everyone else. Groups of 10 or more....free. LOL!
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Snowmom 09:51 AM 08-21-2015
I also whole heartedly agree with everything BC said.
I started out with a small group for about a year and really found myself getting bored with it and feeling burnt out after my first year.
Since then, I've enrolled near my capacity (10-12) for the last 7 years and find that not only do I have more fun, but so do the kids.

Adapting to daycare seems to be much easier with large group versus small group. When a new child starts, there is so much activity going on at drop off, that they can't help but be interested in what's going on, so I've noticed I spend less of my time helping that child conform to the new environment.

They tend to learn more from each other... which sometimes isn't ALL GOOD, so I do have to be on my toes a bit more with behavioral issues.
But, they motivate each other when it comes to learning activities and my curriculum activities/projects.

Overall, I find larger groups to be easier for me and more engaging for my kids (with the exception of the occasional child who is better suited for one-one care).
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Unregistered 10:46 AM 08-21-2015
I totally agree with BC. Here the max for a licensed fcc is 6. When I had 6 children I could do more with individual children because the others played with each other and didn't need my attention as much. This summer I lost half of my group to preschool and the remaining 3 dcks were so needy and required more of my attention since they had less playmates. I am so happy now that my new dcks have started. I felt more tired when I had less dcks than when I was at capacity. As for going on trips outside the home, I choose not to do that because of liability driving them in my car. Instead I plan 1-2 field trips for the school year where the parents transport and accompany their child, less stress for me.
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midaycare 10:56 AM 08-21-2015
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:


My thoughts are that I prefer larger so the kids can learn more.

That is NOT a dig at you.

.....just how I feel about large/small groups. (see my post below)
I think I am really bad at discipline. I believe in recognizing faults, and this is one of mine. I mean - my hitter is still hitting and I've tried everything I know. He is removed from the situation, let back into the group, and he does it again. I talk to him 20x a day. Today he upped it to biting and throwing something (hard) at someone's face. Probably discipline is the wrong word. Classroom management. But ... I'm a really great teacher. However, more kids = more management skills I am not that great at.

Either way, 6 is our state max here. With 5, though, I can easily control any issues that come up. 6 just adds issues for me.
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Laurel 04:28 PM 08-21-2015
I haven't read all the answers but I think depends entirely on your personality, comfort level, etc. It also depends on ages. Some only take one infant and some take several infants. Some like school aged and some not. I did it 20 years and have had 6 (our licensing limit) and felt mostly too worn out so near the end (I'm retired) cut it to four and then at the end had 3 and didn't look to fill that 4th spot. Also, age and length of time doing it made a difference for me. When I was younger and in another state I did summer care and thrived with all schoolagers and often had 8 or 10 but I had no littles then. You have to do what makes you feel good.

I think 4 would be my ideal number of mixed ages because I don't want anyone to feel 'lost in the crowd.' Now my grandson is in a center and it is a good one but I pick him up for my daughter on the early side so he can get out of the crowd and have some one on one.

If you're bored, add on one and see how it goes and then add on another one if you want to.

Laurel
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