We Are Not Babysitters!

Certified childcare providers are so much more than a babysitter.

Babysitters usually have minimal experience, are usually teenagers, who get paid by the hour for just a few hours at a time.

Certified childcare providers are required to get certified and remain certified.  To achieve this, we have  to follow state regulations, and I’m not talking about a few regulations, it is a whole lot of regulations.  If you are a Star rated provider, there are even more regulations.

If you aren’t certified then you are probably a babysitter.

We have the state representatives, Star representatives and food program representatives coming and going without notice.  We have a schedule and a routine.  Most of us offer a curriculum, teaching preschool.  I don’t know of any babysitters that do that.

I really get irritated when providers say, “I’m not a babysitter, I don’t sit on babies.”  All joking aside guys, this is not the definition of a babysitter, sorry.

Babysitter: Noun – a person who looks after a child or children while the parents are out.

If parents use the word babysitter, all we can do is correct them in a positive way and move on, they may not realize it feels like a slap in the face to most of us.

I personally have only been called a babysitter one time and the parent immediately correctly themselves.

If you are a parent and have your child going to an in-home childcare provider, keep in mind this post and never refer to her as just a babysitter.

 

Stay tuned for my next post……

Love is a four-legged Word!

Here at Whole Lotta Love Early Childcare and Education, my dog is family.  He is loved like one of my own children and is treated like one.

Some parents may not like the fact that my fur baby interact with the children  and is in the house with us daily. I had a new child start and during the interview before the client hired me I told them about my pets and the client was fine with it.  The first week the child was here, the grandpa came to pick up the child who was 11 months old.  Of course, my dog is going to growl at him because he is a stranger and dogs are protective of their home.  So I told my the dog to stop and to go lay down and the grandpa went on his way.  The next day grandpa returns again and with the grandma also, the grandma tells me her husband does not like dogs.  So then grandpa says to me ” Is that dog always in the house around the kids?”  I answered in a positive way even though I was offended by the question, I said yes he is, he is apart of our family and is very good with children.  I reassured him that the dog was not violent and I sometimes separate him with gates so the little ones don’t get accidently knocked down.  I feel parents need to trust that I am going to do what is best for their child and I would never allow a violent pet to be here if it was a danger to the children I care for.

My pets in the past, present and future are socialized with children from the first day they enter my home.  They are trained very well in order to be able to interact with the kids.  They are trained not to jump and the most important thing, not to bite.

My pets are required to have a rabies vaccination to be allowed in a daycare setting.  If there was an incident, the children are protected.

You not only have to train the pet, but you have to train the child as well.  Children should never be left alone with your dog.  Children should not be allowed to get in the dog’s face ever.  Children should not be hitting, kicking or being mean to your dog in anyway.

I try to assure parents that if my dog was violent in anyway, I would not have him in my home period.

People in general jump to conclusions about certain breeds of dogs and their behavior.  I believe not one dog is born with  violent behavior no matter what the breed.  This behavior is taught to them and not corrected.

Dogs are like children, they have to be trained with consistency and taught to act a certain way.

I understand some people are just not animal friendly and that is perfectly fine.  I  am probably not the daycare lady for their child.

My home is my home and my fur babies are a big part of my home.

 

Stay tuned for my next post…….

Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody Do Your Share

 

I have posted in our daycare room, clean up posters like the one above.  I teach children as soon as they are able to walk to put up the toy they are playing with before getting out another toy.

We sing a clean up song when we all need to clean up the room before moving on to a different activity.  Just a simple song to use at clean up time below.

“Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share”

“Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere”

When first teaching children around 1-2 years of age, you have to consistently remind them to put a toy in its right place.  Sometimes you have to literally have them pick up the toy and take them to where the toy belongs and have them put the toy in its place.

This becomes routine to them and eventually you don’t even have to remind them to clean up, they just do it on there own.

This really does make things so much easier in a daycare setting.  There is never a mess left to clean up and the day goes so much smoother without all the mess.

Stayed tuned for my next post……..

“The Unappreciated”

When I first decided to be a daycare provider, the main reason was so I could be home with my own children and still make money.  In the beginning, I started learning time just to give the children something to do as a group.  I didn’t put too much thought into it and didn’t really care about teaching them.

As the years went by, I felt I needed my program to grow an be better for the children I care for and for future children.  I started using a curriculum and started using Ages and Stages screenings to monitor the children’s development and I sent home little report cards letting parents know what their children learned while in my care.  I went as far as getting a CDA and Director’s Credential in early childcare and that was not an easy task.  I also worked really hard on my program, from the set-up to the curriculum to more regulations and finally got a Star III rating.  This took a few years of struggle to obtain.

I was so excited achieving all of those things, but what bothers me is parents just don’t care about any of it.  I have had a few amazing parents who did care about it, but not many.  To most parents, I am just a babysitter.

All parents really care about is that their child is being well taken care of and feel at ease going to work everyday.  Some parents look for the cheapest daycare they can get.  Some parents don’t care about how much TV they watch, whether they learn anything or not, or how much you do.

So we shouldn’t be discouraged when we don’t achieve certain things with this job, because it doesn’t really effect the business, doesn’t effect how many kids we get or keep.

Everyone is human, we all have busy life’s, but when a person, who just might be your daycare lady, is doing everything and anything for your child, you need to recognize.

She puts a lot of her time into her program and in the meantime supporting her own family as well.  At times, it can be overwhelming and she really doesn’t have to do all that she does for you.

Stayed tuned to my next post……..

 

Mind Boggling, Why Is Daycare Sometimes the Last Thing Parents Budget?

I still do not understand why parents are quick to put daycare payments last on their budgets.  We are caring for their most precious gift.  You would think this would be the most important thing to them.

I am a part of a few daycare groups and a majority of the complaints are late or nonpayment.  As a daycare provider, parents SHOULD NEVER owe money for daycare services.  We all have families and bills to pay, or we wouldn’t be doing this job in the first place.

Parents should be paying in advance for daycare services.  No care should ever be given without payment period!!

I have been that parent with a child in daycare.  On payday, the first thing to get paid was my daycare lady.  The only thing she should have to worry about is teaching and taking care of my baby, not worrying about how she is going to take care of her family because of nonpayment.

Believe me, I learned the hard way when I first became a daycare provider.  You can’t let people think you work for free and providing for your family is not important.  It a business agreement and if the agreement becomes compromised, agreement over.  It’s that simple!!

The agreement should be enforced no matter if it’s friends, family, or the President’s kid.  Parents should never have an outstanding balance ever.

If providers would just stand firm, this would never be a problem.  Don’t be that provider always complaining about not getting paid.  Stop this from happening, get payment before care begins.  I promise you will thank me later.

Stayed tuned for my next post……..

Rules, Rules Rules!!! Why, Why, Why???

It’s pretty funny, but the above rules are very true for toddlers.

Rules become rules after you have had the privilege of working with children.  Before I was the daycare lady and my daughter went to a daycare provider’s home, I myself thought some of the rules were out there.

As soon as I started working with children, I finally understood the reasoning behind them.  When the rules are in place, the day goes much smoother and with less stress for everyone.

In this post, I would like to explain some pretty self explanatory rules.

Payments are due on Friday mornings at drop off for the simple reason of not taking care of children with nonpayment.  It makes the day stressful worrying about getting paid.  We all have bills and have families so doing this takes the stress out of collecting money.  Then you are not worrying about money over the weekend.

No drop offs or pick ups during our naptime.  Kids need their nap.  If parents come at this time, kids get woke up and they wake the other kids up.  I let parents know they can come before or after nap to drop off or pick up.    For most providers, this is the only break in the day we get to  sit for a minute, clean up or catch up on paperwork.

No outside toys, blankets, hats, jewelry, etc., are allowed.  Children tend to be territorial when it comes to their things.  So to avoid fighting and not wanting to share I enforce this rule.  I have plenty of toys for everyone.

No outside food or drink is permitted.  As above children do not like to share and there is not enough for everyone.  The food I serve has to meet USDA regulations, so I enforce this rule.

Parents need to come in, sign their child in and kiss them goodbye.  Prolonged drop off upsets the child and sets the other children off their routine.  Kids always act different when another parent or grown-up visits.   It goes much smoother with this rule in place.

Drop off is handled the same way as above for the same reasons.

No outside cups or bottles with drinks in them are permitted.  Same as with food,  it may not meet USDA guidelines and there is not enough for everyone.  I provide everything they need at meal times.

Baby’s can’t be put to bed with a bottle.  It is against the USDA guidelines and causes poor oral hygiene.  There is also a risk of choking.

Diaper bags are also not permitted.  You have to be careful of bed bugs, lice or other germs that may carry in with them.  I put all the supplies for each child in a cubby with their names on it.  This way no child’s things are touching other children’s things.

It all makes so much sense to me now that I am the daycare lady.  I am sure there are some other rules I have in place, and there is a reason for each of them.

Stayed tuned for my next post…….

 

 

 

The Importance of Curriculum in a Daycare Setting

Early Childcare Education is extremely important for this day and age.  Schools these days expect so much from our kids.   Kids need an early start to succeed in school.

This is one of the main reasons I chose my childcare provider for my own daughter.

My oldest son struggled at a very young age.  I was a young mother with little experience with dealing with learning disabilities.  My son did not talk until he was 3.5 years old.   He had speech therapy, but no other disorders were diagnosed at that time.

I believe it was about 1st grade when the disabilities started to show.  His attention was short and he would get up in class and bother other kids, couldn’t sit still and had a hard time in a classroom setting.  After lots of testing and tutoring, he was diagnosed with ADHD and labeled mentally challenged.  He was put on medication for his ADHD and put on an IEP at school.  I was told he would never catch up to his peers and he would be about 5-10 years behind his peers in mental development.  This broke my heart as you can imagine.  We weren’t lucky enough to have had a childcare provider who offered curriculum.  The resources they have now, like First Steps, was not even known about.

We ended up taking him off his medication because it turned him in to a zombie and not our sweet little boy.  The whole process was a struggle, dealing with pediatricians, ADHD medications, speech therapy, tutoring, and all the IEP meeting, and the worst thing was watching my baby getting teased and feeling heartbroken he wasn’t like the other kids.

When my daughter was born, I was determined to find a provider who made learning apart of their program.  I was lucky I found the best daycare lady ever.  She was a retired school teacher who homeschooled her own children.  My daughter learned so much from her and was beyond ready for kindergarten.  This inspired my own preschool program.

I was nervous in the beginning because I really wasn’t sure how to teach or if I was even qualified to teach.  What I found out is anyone can be a teacher.  When I saw the kids actually learning, I knew I was doing something right.

I started out using Mother Goose time.  It was a monthly kit that came with everything you needed for a lesson.  It was a little pricy, but was well worth it.  I used this for a couple of years until I got familiar with what the curriculum was made up of.  Thanks to Mother Goose Time, I learned to make my own curriculum for free.

You don’t really need much time to do curriculum with any age.  I take about 20-30 minutes a day doing curriculum with the kids.  The rest of the time is learning through play.

I found a free curriculum that you could download with lots of printables for my preschoolers.  I am not even sure where  I got it.  It is called “Look What I Can Do”.  I was impressed with how my 3 and 4 year olds learned so much from this.  I also use a Scholastic magazine called Clifford’s Big World.  This is very reasonable.  It is a short lesson and the the kids get to take a magazine home to keep.  The kids absolutely love this.

Basically, I think of a theme for the month.  I pick a letter, number, color and shape for the month.  I pick a few sign language and Spanish words that corresponds to the theme.  I print songs to sing, books to read, crafts to do and music that also corresponds with the theme.

All ages from age 1-5 can participate, you just need to adjust the activity per the child’s age.

I take pride that all my kids are kindergarten ready.  I have had people compliment my program.  I’ve had a few go to their kindergarten screening and have had the observer ask what preschool the child went to.  I love when parents respond with “My child didn’t go to a preschool, they went to an in-home childcare provider”.  Love it.

If you are struggling at all with curriculum, I’d be happy to help.

Click on the title of this post, leave a comment please.

Stay tuned for my next post…….

A Successful Interview

When potential clients call seeking childcare, I do a brief interview over the phone.  I ask the age of the child, hours needed, ask about the child’s former daycare and tell them a little about myself and my program.  I answer a few questions that they might have.  If that goes well, then a set up a time for them to come visit me.  I like to do this during business hours so they can see how things are with the children here.  I ask them to bring their child so I can see how the child interacts with the other children and with me.

Before the interview, I make sure I have my contract, policy handbook and all necessary material available.

When they arrive, I go over thoroughly my contract and policy handbook with them.

In my experience, the relationship with parents goes a lot better when they know what you expect, as well what they expect from you.

Do not be afraid to sell yourself.  After the review of all the paperwork, I describe my accomplishments and my program.  I show them around and point out the important things, such as the sign in sheets at the door, the parent bulletin board which holds important information and the areas we use on a daily basis.

I try to relax and be as friendly as I can but firm with my rules.

I answer any questions they may have and give them the paperwork to take home to review.  I also give them a few references and tell them to check out my daycare facebook page, Whole Lotta Love Early Childcare and Education.

I end the interview with “It was nice to meet you and hope to hear from you soon”.   I also tell them if they have any further questions to feel free to call me anytime.

Stayed tuned for my next post on Curriculum…..

Please feel free to click on the title of this post and leave me a comment, thanks in advance!

Naptime Routine

Naptime is a big deal for most daycare providers.  It is our only time of day that we can get caught up on things, clean up or just sit down and relax.

My naptime is approximately two hours.  Children under 2 sleep in foldable cribs in a separate bedroom.  Children ages 2 and up sleep on their assigned cot with their own sheet and blanket.  As new children enroll, I assign them a sheet and blanket that is theirs until they are no longer enrolled.  The cots have their names labeled on them.

Before naptime begins, we have a calm down period.  This starts right after we clean up from lunch.  I have the children all go to the potty and I change the children in diapers.  We then all sit down for circle time.  I read them a book and we sing songs together.

I have them all line up and wait for me to get the cots set up and then one by one I lay them down for nap, covering them with their blanket.  When I have infants under 9 months, I rock them and sing them to sleep.

I play soft music during naptime so it is soothing and blocks out outside noise.  Children know when the music stops, then they are free to get up.  If a child wakes up before naptime is over, I ask them to remain quiet and remain on the cots until naptime is over.  I am lucky right now and all the children sleep for the entire 2 hours.  I teach them that naptime is quite time and a time to sleep.   They don’t have to sleep, but need to lay quietly so the other children who are tired can nap.  No child in my care is exempt from nap.

I also have an open door policy so parents are free to drop by whenever, but I do not allow parents to drop in, drop off their children or pick them up during our naptime.  I don’t think it is fair to disrupt sleeping children who need their sleep.  So I ask parents to either come before nap begins or after nap is over.

Stayed tuned for my next post on how to have an effective interview with new clients……….

Morning Drop-off

For new children that start your daycare, this can be a scary time for them.  You have to try your best to make it as easy as possible and less scary for them.

I remember as a small child, my family was visiting a relative out of town.  I remember my aunt asking me if I wanted to go to Sunday school at her church.  She said it would be fun.  I remember being put on this church bus and being very afraid and confused.  My aunt had explained what was going to happen, but to a little kid it can still be scary.  I cried and cried and I remember thinking I wont see my family again.  Seems silly, but it isn’t to a child.  Once I got there, I calmed down and it turned out to be fun and wasn’t at all what I was thinking it was.

When children are being dropped off, you have to keep the conversation to a minimum and for some kids it is just better to come in, sign them in and kiss them goodbye and leave.  It is hard for some parents to do that, but it is best for the child.  The longer parents hang around the harder it is for the child.

I had a parent once when I first started daycare come in and hang out for 15 to 20 minutes everyday.  The child would hang on them, get in stuff they weren’t aloud to get in, run all over the place.  The other children would be all chaotic and doing all kinds of crazy things.  Kids always act this way when an adult is here other than me.  I had to ask mom to stop doing this because it caused so many problems and interrupted our schedule.  It took twice as long for the child to adjust with  mom hanging around too long.

When the children are dropped off, I take the child by the hand or pick them up and remind them mommy and daddy love them and will be back soon.  I always say mommy and daddy have to work to buy you nice things.  It would be no fun at work with mommy and daddy.  You get to play all day here with me and your friends.  Smaller children have to be held and hugged for a short period to calm down.  Most of the time, once mom and dad are gone, they go to playing and don’t think of it again.

I had a new little girl once, she would come and mom would hand her to me and immediately she is fighting me, hitting, kicking, screaming and throwing a horrible fit.  If you have a child like this, they do not want you to hold them or hug them.  All you can do is reassure them mom and dad will be back and correct the action of hitting and kicking.  I hadn’t had this behavior happen in a very long time, so I just took the child into the playroom with their blanket and sat them down and gave them time to calm themselves down.

Separation anxiety is awful, but children do get past it once they get to know the routine and realize that mom and dad always come back.

Stay tuned for my next post on Naptime………