The suggested time per day is about an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon.
We love our outdoor time so much that we often exceed the suggested time.
We might get in less time in the morning if we are on a certain field trip, or doing a special craft that takes longer to complete. But we will then spend more time outside in the afternoon, so the number balances out.
In the summer, if it's smoggy out or too hot, we change our schedule to go outside when it is coolest like first thing in the morning (as soon as everyone has arrived) and after 3 pm when it's a little cooler.
We like to make our own fruit popsicles and fruit smoothies in the summer, and spend lots of time playing in the sprinkler!
I like to use natural consequences and teachable moments as best suits the situation, but also use distraction techniques and calming techniques.
Children are encouraged to go over the house rules/guidelines together in a friendly manner, and reminders are given when a rule needs to be reinforced more often.
Time-outs are used sparingly.
We discuss together ways we can keep from making poor choices. This may include things like having help using their words when the children are frustrated about something, taking turns sharing toys using a timer, or perhaps even having some quiet calm-down time by switching to a more mellow activity when a child is over-stimulated.
When children are given the tools they need to cope well, we barely need to use time outs. Of course, children do go through phases where they need test their boundaries, as well as times when they need extra help to make good choices. We keep a "Problem Solving Traffic Light" poster handy to refer to when the children need help using their words to share their feelings.
Some of the children I've cared for have needed morning naps, and others needed afternoon naps. I try to adjust our routines to accommodate the needs of each child, according to their parent's preference.
For example, if your child is a morning napper, we would go do our morning outings earlier, to be back in time to accommodate their nap schedule. Sometimes children nap very well in the stroller, and if the parents are ok with that, they will fall asleep in the stroller as we are out getting fresh air on our nature walks, etc.
For the afternoon naps, any children who are old enough to not be napping anymore have a variety of quiet activities available to them, although the 'quiet' isn't too necessary. We arranged to have our home built with additional insulation in the walls, which turns out to be good sound proofing. So we have the benefit of keeping our home more energy efficient as well as barely having to hear any thunderstorms, and the children sleeping upstairs don't get woken up from children playing on the main floor.
There is a few different places for children to sleep - couches, mini foam pull-outs, play pens, or spare twin size beds.
I like to enhance the children's learning whenever opportunity allows. We love to fit in 'educational' moments in various situations.
I have worked with children who have had learning disabilities, and have worked closely with KidsAbility staff as well as occupational therapists from K-W Hab in order to support children and families with special circumstances. I have also done training through Community Care Access Centre and the Independent Living Centre.
I have taught beginner ASL (American Sign Language), participated in speech therapy sessions for children, tactile development coaching, central auditory processing support, auditory learning assistance device programming, brain gym, early literacy skills, reading programs, phonics lessons, and various preschool developmental programming.
When I have a client who requests that I become involved with their child's developmental programming, we go over together a strategy that can be customized to fit in to our daily routines. For example, we have fit in physical therapy sessions easily within our daily exercise routines, while brain gym can be done comfortably during free play time.
I encourage learning through play; a lot of learning can get done when we are busy having fun. My clients have said that I go above and beyond when it comes to caring for their children, but I wouldn't be doing this job if I wasn't compassionate about my work. As the saying goes, "The work is hard, but the PLAY is great!" And when you consider your work to be play, it's no longer hard work. :)
Yes, I do.
I've spent 5 years as a live-in nanny for a large family. Some of the children had different challenges, such as Turret syndrome, ADHD, dementia (caused by sleep disorders) and frequent brain seizures. I was able to help with the individual programming needs of these children, which allowed them to function as creative, energetic children. This is what fueled my dedication to work with special needs people of all ages.
After getting requests from other parents, I was encouraged to open my own home for child care through the Region's Home Child Care Program. I served for 9 years as a licensed Home Child Caregiver with the Region's Home Child Care Program. During that time, I have had the privilege of working with some very special children, many of which I still see when we have our 'reunion' visits.
After taking some time off with my youngest child, I have decided not to renew my contract with the Region's subsidized program due to current lack of need in my area for subsidized daycare. I still adhere to the same guidelines and policies that have become second nature to me since being in their program.
I have done respite care for children when their caregivers/parents needed a break, and only care for one special needs child/client at a time, to keep our ratio fair and manageable for everyone. I make sure that I only take on enough clients so that I can give fair and generous attention to each child, while meeting their emotional, physical, and developmental needs.
Many of the skills I have used to work with special needs children I find to be very helpful in working with all children. For example, we like to use sign language as actions to our songs, and it's great for communicating with infants. Many infants can sign more words than they can speak. Some of the skills I've used for ADHD children can come in handy for children who need coping skills when they are angry or frustrated in situations. I also like to keep my skills current; I like to read up on new techniques, attend conferences, seminars, and workshops in my field.
I do have a contract available on my website. This is printable, so you could either print one off at home, or I can print one off when a client notifies me they have read through it and are ready to sign up for care. This is my way of ensuring that all clients have read through my basic policies and are up to date. We go through this once a year together, and any amendments are added as needed.
I ask that parents commit to giving me two weeks notice if they will no longer need care, although I understand that there are times when this might not be possible, such as a client getting laid off from work. So time commitment would be about 2 weeks, with payment being made one week in advance for the upcoming week. This means that on Friday, you would pay me for the next week's care. I leave it on good faith that all my clients will give 2 weeks notice if they are going to be moving, having a vacation, taking parental leave, etc.
Yes, I do. I have taken emergency first aid and infant CPR as well as adult and child CPR.
I have been keeping my first aid current for over 20 years.