If you’ve been a blog reader for awhile you might know that I previously was a childcare provider. I did in home care from 2000 to 2008. I really enjoyed it but ended up burning myself out by trying to act too much like a childcare center and less like a home provider. Childcare registration agencies push and push new regulations all the time and it’s really easy to get caught up in them. Whether it was a recommendation or a regulation I jumped on board. I found myself simply burned out.
I took a seven year break and am not back at it again and I’m glad I am. This time I implement the regulations and examine the recommendations to see if they work for me and if they make sense in my particular situation. Here’s an example. Being I’m a business I have to adhere to the no smoking in public places so I am required to not allow smoking in my home and I must hang the no smoking signs at the entrances to my home. I hate having the signs there but it’s a regulation and I do it.
It is a recommendation that children wear helmets when riding on ride on toys. I tried this last time I did childcare and it just doesn’t work for me. The kids are on the toys for about two minutes and are off doing something else. They didn’t want the helmets on when doing the something else so they’d take them off then two minutes later they needed the helmets again. It just doesn’t work. Also to note helmets are then needed for each and every child. All must have their own helmet to prevent lice. I do have an older gal in care who is almost five and is active with the scooter we have and I think it’s time that she get a helmet though….For simple ride on toys…I’m okay that I’m not providing them.
Anyway, with my more relaxed attitude I’ve been enjoying childcare so much more. I snapped a few pictures this week of some of my adventures and I thought I’d share them.
This is oatmeal in her hair….She dumped part of the bowl over on her hair. We’ve been transitioning from the high chair to the table and for the most part, it’s gone well. This day..not so much.
I have such a lighter attitude this time and have embraced the simple. Previously I did all I could do to push school learning…alphabet, numbers, etc. This time around I’m working to give the kids what’s harder for them to get….
Examining and experimenting with bugs took up lots of our time. We had the usual invasion of Japanese Beatles and Box Elder Bugs. We spent lots of time seeing them up close.
We spend lots of time at the park. Fresh air is our friend. Our park has a sand box. One of my littles is learning to not eat sand. It’s not always successful but we’re working on it. She filled a bottle with sand and dumped it on her mouth. I cleaned her up and we went home. Once at my house we unzipped her coat and dumped out her boots to find this….
We bake lots and lots. Kids don’t have many opportunities to do this anymore. My philosophy is if I can choose between bread dough and play dough. Why not pick bread dough? Here we are making cinnamon rolls.
Earlier in the week one gal that stays late said to me..”Jo, I think we need to bake a cake for Roger.” We did and made one for their family to take home too. We had time to bake the cake one afternoon but didn’t have time to frost the cake.
The next day we frosted the cake. I put it in a cake take. I forgot to warn her not to carry it by the handle and you guessed it. The cake went on the floor. That’s just something that happens kids.
Previously doing childcare crafting was starting to be frowned upon as far as childcare recommendations go. They want art to be art…like free painting…not crafting. I left that recommendation behind. We craft. We make our crafting educational but we craft. We talked about trees and leaves changing colors. We read books about it. We went on a walk and observed it. We made this craft with a toilet paper tube and a piece of cardboard cut into a circle. It’s simple but was fun. The kids learned to follow instructions. They worked on fine motor skills. We used my scrap booking punches which the older kids love. Luckily I had leaf punch. (Toilet paper tube crafting is now frowned on too. Supposedly the tubes are germ ridden)
I let everyone who is interested to try the craft even if they are really little. This was finger paint day.
I have to say…I have such a good time every day hanging out with the kids. I couldn’t think of better people to spend my day with. They learn a lot but I am learning a lot too. There is not a day that goes by that I’m not found smiling, laughing and just appreciating the growing and learning process. Sure there are challenging days but all in all, it’s all good.
I am so blessed to have such wonderful kids and families to work with. I’m still looking for another kiddo but I’m waiting for the right family that fits into the schedule I have started. I couldn’t be happier with my choice to start childcare again.
Follow your blog daily (and I am ‘crumbing along with you ‘) even though i am a few years late Ha ha!
Loved this post, you sound like such a warm caring person, with common sense, that no government regulation can interfere with. You go girl ! Congrats for doing what works for you, your kiddos are getting a wonderful homely experience, and I’m sure their parents recognize your efforts.
Love what you are doing. The families are so lucky. Working with real lthings and watching a real woman around the house being an inspiration will last them their whole lives. I remember working with my mom doing normal everyday things far more than what toy we had. I remember walks in the woods studying nature and floating popsicle sticks down the drains after a rain. Loved pie making days when she gave us some leftover dough to make decorations or “cookies” and bake them. I am over 60 and these are still vivid memories.
Hooray for crafts! Some of us math types are not good at free art, but love the creating process when we are given a pattern and good directions. Speaking for myself, quilting and counted cross stitch are perfect for filling my desire to be creative within some parameters. I’m glad your child care kids can get some art experience even if they are not very naturally creative.
You sound like a great educator for your little ones that you are watching. If you are worried about the germs on toilet paper tubes, my local librarian said to put them in the microwave for a few seconds and that kills the germs.
You are awesome, Jo! If I had to put my boys in childcare I would choose someone just like you!
If I were a parent in your area and needed daycare, I would be knocking on your door. It’s exciting to see that you are letting kids be kids and exploring and learning in their environment. Baking and cooking is an excellent opportunity for them. Kudos for making life and learning fun for your little people. Keep it up!
I have spent a lot of time in school rooms during art lessons, and was disgusted with the lack of craft skills the children had at all levels of primary school. The kids did not know you could use a coloured pencil in different ways to create a different effect when colouring in, or know that they could mix pencil colours as well as paint colours. Teach the kids to use the tools and materials, and art will come naturally. Wish those kids had spent time with someone who teaches those basic skills.
The children you care for are so lucky to have you ! I usually have my grandkids wear their helmets even for a scooter ride in the driveway but in your circumstances (separate helmets required for each) I’d probably skip it. You are wise to focus on fresh air, walks and nature rather than pushing ABCs – they will have plenty of years later of being pushed along in some structured curriculum. What you are giving them with dough, cooking, crafts and sandboxes can never be replaced ;)
I’m not a parent but I was a 1st & 2nd grade teacher for twelve years. I think what you’re doing is great. Spend time outside, do crafts, and all the things you can think of. I love that you’ve integrated books and reading into their day. All of the tactile projects will help them with their fine motor skills. Paint with water on the sidewalk/driveways. I used to make jello or pudding with my classes and was surprised at the number of kids who had never measured anything. The things you do now will pay off when they’re learning about fractions and other math skills. There were lots of crafts using paper plates – some involved holding a partial one to a whole one by sewing with a long piece of yarn. I could go on and one but there’s no need as you’re doing all these things. I wish I lived nearby and could drop by and help. Even though there are the oatmeal days, there’s the special smile from someone or an extra hug from a little one or a grateful thank you from a parent which makes it all worthwhile.
Jo, those kids and families are so lucky to have you! I think you are absolutely correct that they are getting experiences with you that will help them grow and fit into the world. Keep going!
Many years ago I used to do after school child care for about a year until I qualified for in-state tuition. I don’t think I could do that again now. You are amazing!