Today was one of those days — I called it ‘busy’. Parents asked what we did that was so exciting but I couldn’t really answer that because we didn’t really do anything.
According to the dictionary ‘busy’ means ‘full of activity, eventful, demanding, tiring, and hectic’. It is the last three of these that most accurately describe today.
Now, one of the things I like about Family Child care is the variety. Sometimes I have more infants and toddlers enrolled so feeding, changing and cuddling take up much of my time.
On school holidays when the school-age children are here all day we often get immersed in elaborate activities that continue for hours, days or more. I actually find these days to be the least busy as the children take the lead. I mostly just follow along, ask questions, observe and provide supplies. These are my favourite days.
Currently I have an older preschool group – no infants – and with the school-age children away all day and one Kindergarten child away half days I have a small group most of the time. The problem is that we don’t have any blocks of time where the children can really engage in anything.
Our day looks like this; Come in, play, say good bye to the school-agers, play, clean-up, eat morning snack, bathroom break, circle/calendar time, get dressed for outdoors, play outside, clean-up, walk to the school to get the Kindergarten child, come back, undress, play (very quickly), clean-up for lunch, greet school age child, eat, clean-up, bathroom break, say goodbye to school age child, get cots ready, nap time (clean the kitchen), get children up, bathroom break, play, clean-up, greet the school-age children, eat afternoon snack, clean-up, play and the parents arrive.
Now keep in mind that some days – like today — each one of those transitions requires me to repeat instructions to each child individually and sometimes several times. Then there are the questions and stories and games that go along with the instructions. It is all the mundane conversations that get to me. My head hurts and I really just want this day to end.
Then at afternoon snack we have this conversation as I hand out yogurt, crackers and juice;
What kind of yogurt is this?
Mmmm, my favourite.
Mali (the cat) get out of the closet or you might get locked in.
Why are you going to lock Mali in the closet?
I don’t want to. I opened it to get a bib and she tried to sneak in. If I didn’t notice I might have accidentally closed the door and locked her in there.
Is she being bad?
No, just curious.
Are you going to lock her up?
Where is my friend?
Not back from school yet.
Are you going to put her in the closet too?
No! Why would I do that?
You locked the cat in the closet.
I didn’t lock anyone in the closet!! Eat your food!!
If I spill my juice are you going to lock me in the closet?
NO ONE IS GOING TO BE LOCKED IN THE CLOSET!!!!….
They’ve gone home for the day. I want to go to bed. I haven’t even had supper yet. I’m expecting phone calls from parents who ask their child ‘what happened at daycare today?’