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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>What Does Your Pick Up Time Look Like As Parents Walk In?
Indoorvoice 06:09 AM 01-25-2019
I have parents contracted to pick up between 4:30 and 5:00 but lately pick up is anywhere between 3:30 and 5. It's a long window and I never really know if someone is coming early or at their contracted time. I like to have everyone fed, diapered, and pretty much ready to go at pick up time but this is hard when it can be over an hour between when parents may come and when they actually come.

My main daycare area is downstairs and out of view from the entrance upstairs. So I do all the diapers and feeding down there and then move everyone upstairs to the living room where the entrance is with a few easy to clean up toys so I can see when parents arrive.

I have a small young group. Daycare kids are 3 months, 10 months, 1.5 years. My kids are 8, 6, and 2 and my kids plus another school age kid arrives at 4 right in the middle of possible pick ups needing a snack and then directed to do something which of course they never want to do. I'm having such trouble keeping daycare kids occupied and my own kids occupied during this long wait. I don't like my own kids to be in the living room or entrance area at pick up because they demand attention whenever a parent comes in, but trying to keep my kids out of their own living area for that long,especially my 2 year old, is so hard and I'm finding myself putting them in front of screens for over an hour while I'm waiting for everyone to leave. I feel like all I can do is sit and wait for parents to come and try to keep my kids away and it's such an unproductive time. My daycare kids are so little and it's not like I can keep them occupied with table activities or something and they only can tolerate playing on the floor for like 10 minutes before they get bored and start fussing and here we are waiting for over an hour sometimes. Also, if parents don't come early,I usually at least have to one more diaper change with the infants and sometimes another feeding to which I have to contain the other kids in playpens which they hate and then diaper the child downstairs. Of course parents always arrive while I'm diapering or using the bathroom myself. It's such a pain.

What are you doing as parents come in for pick up? What are your daycare kids doing? If you have your own older kids,what are they doing? Are there activities I can be doing with the infants other than just playing on the floor? What am I missing here?
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Pestle 06:14 AM 01-25-2019
I prefer to do pickup outside, but we've been hit with freezing weather and heavy rainstorms for MONTHS now and we have as many days inside as days with outdoor play. The Tennessee Valley had the most rain ever on record last year and this year is shaping up to be a doozy, with school delays due to flooding.

Anyway, I want my pickups to look like story time in a tidy space, but they actually look like one kid having a sloppy bowel movement thirty seconds before the parents pull into the driveway. Also all three cats, who spend each day hiding and napping, come out and swarm the parents while they're getting the kids' shoes on outside of the daycare area. Some days I take a minute to track down each cat and shut it up in the bedroom where they can scream at each other and barf on the bed.
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boy_mom 06:18 AM 01-25-2019
I used to have parent pick up between 3:30 and 5 and honestly we were just doing whatever was scheduled during that time.

Some days the room was messy and parents saw kids in the middle of activities, they saw my kindergarten aged son coming home and getting settled in. That's home daycare. They are choosing to have their child be a part of a home and sometimes that includes busy transition times.

I wouldnt sit and wait for an hour of parent pick up, just do what you normally do until they get there!
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Cat Herder 06:30 AM 01-25-2019
What are you doing as parents come in for pick up?

I usually see the parent pull into the drive on video, if I don't see them the driveway alarm clues me in to their arrival. I check their child's diaper one last time, change if necessary, put the child's jacket on, then walk them to the front door; locking the baby gate behind us as we leave the playroom. My first pick up is at 345, the last at 520.

What are your daycare kids doing?

Typically playing in the center of their choice. Infants have their own gated playrooms within the larger playroom, so no risk of injury from toddlers.

If you have your own older kids, what are they doing?

Back in the day, they would be working on homework in their rooms and generally goofing off in there when they were done until closing.

Are there activities I can be doing with the infants other than just playing on the floor?

In the floor with toys, in a safe space, is the best place for infants.

What am I missing here?

For me, my playroom environment does most of the work. It took years to work out the best setups and must be changed up with ages and stages. I also do Buh-Bye outside as nothing else works as well for parents, kids and me. I know their general routines and plan for them, if they are a bit early it really is not an issue for me. A diaper change takes 2 minutes, tops as they walk up the drive to the porch. It simply has never been an issue, they like being able to grab and go, they worked all day, too.
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littlefriends 06:37 AM 01-25-2019
Most of mine come between 4:30-6:00 so at 4 we clean up from snack and I put out 3 stations for free choice. At 5 we clean up one station and put on shoes. At 5:30 we clean up the other 2 stations and sit on the couch for a video. I usually pick something educational from YouTube. Mine donít get tv except for this half hour. It keeps the few I have left in one spot with the house clean and as I see their parent pull up I have them get down put on their coat, hat, etc and then sit on the rug by the sign in table. They arenít allowed off of the rug. Parent signs out takes the kid and leaves. I usually stand there just in case tho I have a couple that want to run back in to try to rile up the others. If they do I just block them off and remind them they arenít allowed off the rug.
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Ariana 06:52 AM 01-25-2019
I personally wouldn’t change my routine at all. Just keep doing your thing. When a parent comes, send their kid to the door or carry them out and then go back. The parents are responsible for dressing here. Let the parents know that if it takes you a while to get to the door it is because you are in the middle of something like diapering and to just be patient. This is what I do!
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Josiegirl 10:01 AM 01-25-2019
First p/u is at 3 and yesterday it turned into a tornado as soon as dcks knew a parent had arrived. It doesn't matter what wonderful activities they have going at the minute.
Next p/u is 4:40 and usually I'm chasing the 2 yo who has to use the bathroom for the 4th time in as many minutes, persuade her older sister to be a good role model and put her jacket/boots on so everyone else will want to. Yeh, like that'll work, all while lugging around the very solidly built 8 mo while my shoulder is swearing at me from shoveling 2 straight days. I go to get dcm's bottles out of the fridge in a small cooler and 2 toddlers start bickering at who's going to bring it to dcm(my job kiddos) then 5 yo starts in on how she never gets a turn). Then I attempt to put 20 mo dcb's jacket/boots on only to have him screaming bloody murder at me so it sounds like he's getting beaten. Then older sister starts chasing 2 yo sister around the living room despite my voice starting to raise through the decibel levels. Then their dcm pulls in and both dcgs go running for cover; 5 yo dcg starts crying because springing out of hiding didn't elicit the truly surprised response from mom that she wanted. So 5 yo throws off her jacket and boots, slings herself on the couch crying and 2 yo little sis struts over to dcm looking like the sweet little angelic one of the two sisters(NOT). 20 mo dcb is still upset with me for attempting to get his coat/boots on. What's the point, he just throws them off too. Last p/u is supposed to be 4:45 but nearer to 5+, and she comes in all sweet tempered, embraces her poor and recently 'beaten' child, asking him all kinds of questions and telling him she knows how hard transitions can be, etc., etc. The kid is 20 mo, please don't use words like transitions and respect right now, pick him up and go. I'm done already.

I'm sorry. What was the question? Kinda got caught up in the moment.
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Mom2Two 12:46 PM 01-25-2019
I wouldn't worry if it's been an hour since the diaper change. Unless they poop of course.

If I understood the OP, you mainly do daycare upstairs, but you need to wait downstairs for 1.5 hours, because kiddos are picked up downstairs during that window.

ITA with environment doing most of the work for me. My first thoughts are to have some kind of mini-daycare downstairs. Like have some tubs of open ended toys that you keep special for downstairs.

I would change all diapers before heading downstairs and just explain it to parents. Keep a diaper bag downstairs for those special, stinky moments while you are waiting.
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much_lovee 05:37 AM 01-26-2019
I keep my routine the same. My pick up can range from 2-5:30 some days. Parents are always welcome to come whenever except between 12-2 because of nap. If they plan on coming before a meal time I have them let me know so I know what to prepare. I do diapers at certain times unless they are soaked or they poop. If I know someone will be leaving close to a diaper time I change them first. Sometimes theyíll get picked up right at diaper time before I can do them, I just tell parents ďIím just starting diaper changing, s/he is probably due for a diaper, would you like me to change them really quick?Ē Iíve yet to have a parent upset, and most say they will get it when they get home.

Most times I hear someone come in, but when I donít parents just call ĎIím hereí or come back to the play room to get their child. All the other children stay in the playroom with the gate up so the departing child can focus on getting ready to leave. Babies come with me or go in a pack n play until I come back. I actually plan on getting a driveway alarm soon. Maybe you could look into getting one of those so you donít have to move the children. I was looking on Amazon just the other day for one.
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284878 07:15 AM 01-27-2019
Originally Posted by much_lovee:
I keep my routine the same. My pick up can range from 2-5:30 some days. Parents are always welcome to come whenever except between 12-2 because of nap. If they plan on coming before a meal time I have them let me know so I know what to prepare. I do diapers at certain times unless they are soaked or they poop. If I know someone will be leaving close to a diaper time I change them first. Sometimes theyíll get picked up right at diaper time before I can do them, I just tell parents ďIím just starting diaper changing, s/he is probably due for a diaper, would you like me to change them really quick?Ē Iíve yet to have a parent upset, and most say they will get it when they get home.

Most times I hear someone come in, but when I donít parents just call ĎIím hereí or come back to the play room to get their child. All the other children stay in the playroom with the gate up so the departing child can focus on getting ready to leave. Babies come with me or go in a pack n play until I come back. I actually plan on getting a driveway alarm soon. Maybe you could look into getting one of those so you donít have to move the children. I was looking on Amazon just the other day for one.
I have a driveway alarm and love it. I also have a small one from harbor freight that I use for the back steps, so I hear when the get to the door.

The fp does not surprise me as much as she use too. Neither did my surprise inspection last fall.
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jenboo 07:53 AM 01-27-2019
We just continue with it normal day. Sometimes the room is mess, sometimes it's clean... parents like seeing their kids playing so it works. I do pick up the toys more when dcp start to arrive so it's not a total disaster and no one is tripping, but we aren't doing table activities or anything.
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knoxmomof2 05:02 PM 02-09-2019
Haha, just saw this. Make me laugh out loud.. Literally!

Originally Posted by Pestle:
..... where they can scream at each other and barf on the bed.

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knoxmomof2 05:59 PM 02-09-2019
I have pick up anywhere from 4:30-5:30. I care for 4 children age 3 and under. 2 are siblings. 2 of the 3 families text me when they're on their way - 1 does it because their time varies and I can make sure they're ready to go when he gets there, the other does it in a group text with the spouse that way they know who is coming to get her. The last one is just generally here at 5:30. They text if they'll be earlier but they all know their child will have had snack and be ready to go by 4. I didn't ask them to text, they just do it. I didn't always have it this good, though. I had some really unpredictable parents previously and I just dealt with it because I was new.

We bought a house 3 years ago. We have a basement with my family's living room, plus my bedroom and bath. Then, I have a main level with my children's rooms, main bath, kitchen / dining room as well as a living room that is my daycare room and an adjacent den that is the nap room and the pick up / drop off room since it has a side door just off the driveway. I have big picture windows in the daycare room that face the road / driveway so no surprises about arrivals. For our schedule, everyone is fed snack, dressed and ready to go by 4. From them to close is free play. I have 2 teens who are homeschooling or hanging out and available to lend an extra hand and my 15 month old stays in the daycare space with me until close (but I step over a gate to take the DCK to the doorway for pick up, so sometimes my baby fusses but it is what it is...)

The way I see it for you, you can either keep things downstairs with some modifications or keep going upstairs with some modifications. For downstairs, I would use the 8 year old to answer the door and have parents come downstairs. If anyone is picking up before 4, they need to text you with an ETA so that you can have everyone contained (gates or pack n plays) and bring their child up for a 2 minute exchange. Just explain that you don't have extra hands before then and staying upstairs is too much on everyone. The SA kids can snack downstairs (either have it set up ahead of time or make it easy for them to grab and go) and do homework or planned activities. It might require you buying a gate or 2 or whatever to set things up for everyone to coexist happily, but it's doable. With your older kids, you talk about what you expect of them behavior wise and enforce it. You are working, they have things to do and you need them to be big kids and go about their business until closing time. This is a family business and their cooperation and help is an important part of that. (It's a great way to teach them responsibility!)

The other option is to better adapt your upstairs to meet the needs of your group at the end of the day. Safety gates, pack n play, more toys, etc. Your SA kids could be in the kitchen / dining room with a snack (that you set up early or make them easy for the kids to help themselves) and homework / table activities or in their rooms. With the 2 year old, you do the best you can 😁

I've done this for 6 years, my oldest 2 were 9 and 8 when I started and we are a homeschooling family. We were in a small rental home where our only living room was the daycare space AND the nap space and all meals happened at the dining room table. I definitely had to "get good" at adapting the daycare needs to my family's needs and in such a small space. Make your setup work for you. That's the beauty of being self employed 😊 Your third option is to have all your parents text and have your older child let them in and do pick up downstairs with a safety gate boundary where you hand their child over the gate.
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Tags:buh-bye outside, pick up time - appearance, pick up transition
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