Category Archives: childcare

Ask Jo: Childcare

Every now and then blog readers send me a email or leave a comment in the comment section that I need to answer.  When I think other readers might be interested too, I answer them here on the blog. Today is one of those days…

Lace asked:
Congratulations to the whole family.! My 2 daughters gave me 2 granddaughters 10 months apart! Such an honor and a blessing to care for them while their parents are at work!! One 16 mo toddler and a very strong 6 mo old infant already crawling and pulling herself up to stand! We are busy!

Sometime when life permits, I’d love to know how you structure your daycare charges’ day. Where do they nap? Etc

I know I have several childcare providers that are readers and I know I have lots of grandmas that are doing childcare….and I know a bunch of you are curious so I’m tackling this question today.

First off I have to say that ALL OF THIS IS FLEXIBLE.  I learned long ago that with childcare one of the #1 things I need to do for it to be successful is to be flexible.  Kids are sick…or moody or I have a different mix of kids so we can’t always do the things I hope.

Kids arrive, for the most part, between 7:20 and 7:45.  I have one family that comes later.  At about 7:45 I often turn on Youtube and find Super Simple Songs.  The songs there are all fun and encourage movement.  I leave it on for about 20-30 minutes.  It seams to get everyone in a mood for play.  The sleepy ones gradually wake and the busy ones get busy dancing.

Image result for super simple songs

After that…breakfast.  As the kids are finishing up breakfast we have circle time.  I read 6 or so books and I do some finger play/puppet/felt board type things.  Typically the things we do relate a little bit to the season.  The kids adore this.  All of the things I do are all math and literacy based.  I have 5 two and three year olds at this time of day and four of them know almost all of their uppercase letters, all of their colors and quite a few of them know numbers.  I attribute much of that to this time of the day.

All of my kiddos take care of their own dishes.  I’ve taught them how.  They take their plates to the garbage and scrap them themselves.  Then we wash up.  After that it’s free play time.  Now is when I finish cleaning up and prep lunch as far as I can.  I also often prep an art activity.

By 10:30 my other family is here and we often do some type of art activity.  It’s nothing fancy…sometimes true art…sometimes something with do a dot markers…sometimes painting.  It varies.  Sometimes it’s a glorified worksheet or coloring page.

Play dough, kinetic sand, water beads, and mini construction toys with rocks are all big favorites for the kids.  We often do some of these types of things in the morning too.

After that we clean up and I get out what I call table toys.  We have lots of Melissa and Doug puzzles and other activities that are learning based.

Locks and Latches
Melissa & Doug Wooden Latches Board, Developmental Toy, Helps Develop Fine Motor Skills, Smooth-Sanded Wood, 15.5" H x 11.5" W x 1.25" L
Here’s another favorite Continue reading

Childcare Valentines Gifts

Since my sewing is clean, no place in my house is safe from a quick cleaning session.  This day, it was my laundry room.  I started cleaning and then ended up completely sidetracked with this….


Somewhere on the internet I saw that you could make crayon letters using molds and old broken crayons.  I loved the idea as most of my kiddos have names that they will never be able to get anything personalized.

I did them myself without the kiddos help and plan to give them as a valentine gift.  I was going to wait and blog about making these closer to Valentines Day but then thought if any of you want to make them for Valentines Day, you’d likely want a little time to get the supplies and make them.

They are SUPER cute and easy….here’s what you need:
I got mine from Amazon…these exact ones, Silicone Alphabet Molds

The letters are 1 1/2″ tall.

You’ll also need some broken crayons.  I just got all new when school started so mine were in pretty good shape.  I ended up grabbing these generic crayons from the thrift store along with others.  I have to say, when it comes to peeling the paper off the crayons, it was easiest with these generic brand and the RoseArt brand.  Crayola were okay but not as easy.


I dumped the crayons in a bucket with warm water and the helped loosen the papers.

I set the oven at 275 degrees and then set the molds out on a jelly roll pan.  I broken the paperless crayons into small pieces and put them in the molds.  I learned that I liked the look best if I stood the crayons on end vs laying them flat.  It was a little easier to predict the design.

I put them in the oven for about 6 minutes.  Then I pulled them out and added a couple more crayon piece to the mold to fill it.  Then back in the oven they went.  I kept them in the oven for about 4 more minutes making sure the last added crayons were melted.  Like this… Continue reading

Childcare Chronicles

We’ve been a busy bunch at childcare.  We haven’t been outside quite as much.  We’ve had several rainy and dreary days.  The sun doesn’t come out and dry the rain from the overnight so the little ones get too wet so…inside we are.  But if we’re inside, we’ve been doing some activities.

My three preschool (Wednesday only) girls are busy.

We had a big apple testing tasting and deciding what colors of apples are the tastiest.

This was a finger paint project.  To get the colors we did some color mixing….yellow was with white….red was red, white and pink…green was green, white and yellow.   Color mixing is always fun.

I had cut the apples out of the black paper.  Then we taped the finger painted papers to the back.

The construction vehicle below have been a huge hit.  These from Amazon.


Then I went to Dollar Tree and got a couple bags of decorative rocks.  I put them in trays.

It’s like personal sensory tables for the kiddos.  Being I have four boys all around Carver’s age, this has been a HUGE hit.  If you have a little grandchild, I highly recommend this!!  They need to be past the age of putting things in their mouth though.  Carver is two and will honestly sit for 25 minutes playing this…and be back a half hour later to play again.

Another fun thing I recently did was buy this set from Amazon too.  The kids have liked them.

They became a whole lot more popular after I took some eye screws and screwed them into some wine bottle corks.

The corks are the perfect size for objects to manipulate with the vehicles.  Corks aren’t heavy so they work great.  Carver loves them.  You can see him playing in the photo below…. Continue reading

Childcare Chronicles

I’ve had a time of things lately.  Summer was crazy with childcare.  Most of my little were part time then and I had several kids that were preschool and school aged.  It was crazy but do-able.  I had a nice childcare summer.  I was hard pressed to do any artsy activities with them but I balanced that off with LOTS and LOTS of outside time.  Most days we were out for 1-2 hours.  This kids loved it…I loved it.

Fast forward to fall.  The big kids went to school and all of my littles switched their hours to full time except one that’s no Fridays.  So I’ve had seven littles most days.  All the kids that I was once changing diapers on, were now moving to potty training.  I have two girls that are the oldest and five boys….right now, I’m training three of the boys at the same time.

The kids range in age from 18 months to 32 months.

Two of the boys got into a biting stage….all of them are at a hitting stage….all of them need more words and ability to express themselves without their hands.  It’s been miserable for me.  I would get in the bathroom with two to go potty and all #*#* would break loose and there would be screaming in the other room as someone got bit.  Then I’d get back to the bathroom and someone peed all over the floor.  It really was that bad….or I’d take someone potty and I’d come back and someone opened the back door to let Ruby in and the littlest one went outside while the door was open.  I also have three of the boys who like to simply run through the house screaming.  So I’d be taking someone potty and the screaming would start, I’d fly out of the bathroom only to find they were just running through the house screaming and no one was hurt.  That was a relief but trust me…ANNOYING.

It was too much.  I couldn’t take time to talk through the problems we were having.

If I sat down to read books to the kiddos, it would turn into at fight.  Someone would push as there wasn’t room on my lap…and hair pulling started too.  Someone would cry because someone else took “their” book out of their hands while they were holding it.  It was miserable.

I no longer felt like I wasn’t taking care of the kids the way they needed to be taken care of.  Originally when I accepted everyone when they were little I thought having lots of kids the same age would be awesome.  I’d have all these kids about the same age.  But now that they are at the toddler stage, it’s terrible.

I was totally dealing with a lot of this….

Image result for toddler rules

On top of that….Carver is here and he thinks I am his.  Truth is I am his, but it can’t work like that during childcare hours.  He’s been having an extra tough time with this all.

I could feel my patience dwindling.  I wasn’t able to do activities and projects with the kids as I was running from fire to fire to put out the flames.  At first I chalked it up to new adjustments.  Then I chalked it up to just a stage…then I tried this…then I tried that…then I just started pulling out my hair.

I tried to hide it but I was starting to feel like this…. Continue reading