Welcome to this year’s A to Z Challenge! This year I’m talking Child Care. I’ll be blogging topics related to my many years in the family home daycare profession. I hope you can find a tidbit of information that is useful in caring for children whether you’re a parent, grand or another important person in a child’s life. And to end each post, I’ll share a bit of my creative side/relaxation time. Taking time for yourself is good for your health–both yours and your family’s 😉
I hear stories from new families, especially during interviews or within the first few days of enrolling in childcare, of how they don’t want their child ignored. If this were my soap box, I’d let you know my view on those who leave infants in playpens and other devices all day, in rooms with doors shut so that there is very little human interaction. And I guess it is my soap box, so to begin, I want to make a profound statement that everyone would be wise to listen to. And I hope you understand this is pretty much my theory on all people, young, old, and in-between. “There never is, and never will be, anyone just like you.” This is the number one reason why I try to do my best to treat each child who comes in my door as if they were my own. I have failures, let me tell you. But I sleep well at night knowing I gave my utmost best effort.
And this all starts with inclusion. Including infants and toddlers in all aspects of our day is where I’ll begin with this topic. For the wide age-range I care for, the happiness of the littlest ones is the way to succeed in daily accomplishments. This requires a little planning ahead, but it’s relatively easy to figure out with practice. Let me give you some examples.
If the children are playing “Dress Up”, many toddlers don’t like putting clothes or hats on. To get them involved, I keep scarves and little doll-size blankets available. They can drape them, wrap them, float them above their heads, or just hold onto them for experiencing the different textures they’re made from. The littlest infants can also be drawn into the fun with using them for peek-a-boo, hiding a toy and then letting them pull it away or just by letting them experience laying on one during tummy time to see the different colors and patterns. They also just love watching the other children move with them–while I’m holding them naturally 😉
If cooking together, have individual jobs for the children. They all want to help. But let a baby sit next to the action in a high chair while holding various cooking utensils, finger painting with edible ingredients (no eggs allowed), letting them feel textures of fruits and vegetables (washed first), and handing them a damp cloth to ‘clean’ the tray. Letting them hear the language of cooking may encourage that first word.
When playing with blocks, you will face a dilemma if not approached with caution. Babies want to knock down blocks. Plain and simple. To avoid hearing cries of pain and anguish each time the ultimate tower has been destroyed, remember to keep calm and try one of these two ideas. #1. To allow the dramatic-at-least-at-block-play child time to finish and relish in their creations, set them apart at a table that is out of reach to the younger toddlers. #2. Pair up a child with good humor and let them create a game with the infant of stacking blocks for the sole purpose of allowing the baby to knock them down. Lots of smiles will abound with this win-win situation. And for good measure I’ll add a #3. If nothing else works, make the blocks target practice or a bowling game. Sometimes the children just can’t bear to be apart, siblings or not.
Storytime is one of the most challenging times for a mixed age group, but my favorite time of day. You’ll need a daily routine, need to be patient, and eventually (no time frame guaranteed here), you will have eager listeners. Remember that at first, the wandering toddler really is listening. They just have their own agenda to accomplish first. But I promise you they are listening to the lilt of your voice, the giggles and other sounds of the children who Are listening, and will be looking in to see what all the fuss is about. Add some props for storytime and you’ve got them–hook, line and sinker. They think everything is theirs anyway. lol
Creativity was in the kitchen last night with some last minute baking. Had a mix in the cabinet and everything was included except for butter, peanut butter and an egg. So don’t get too excited about my cooking abilities. Trying to use what is in the cupboard. I’m not too sure there are many cookie mixes at our store. I haven’t went inside a store for groceries since March 13. Grocery pick-up is my friend right now. sorry, rambling a bit.