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5 Must-haves For A Daycare
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If you run a daycare, you already know about all the paperwork that must be filled out, the licenses that must be applied for and the first aid and child psychology courses you must take. What about the fun stuff? Running a daycare should be safe, fun and relaxing for both the provider and the kids.
Must-Have #1: Comfortable and Safe Places to Sleep
While nap time may come around only once a day, it is a treasured time for the daycare provider and the kids. Provide comfortable spaces for kids to crash, on or near the floor and well-padded for their comfort. For the little ones who have not yet learned to control their bladders, make sure all your sleeping spaces are easily cleaned.
Must-Have #2: Age-Appropriate Games and Toys, Especially Outdoor Activities
Games and toys are obvious must-haves for daycare facilities, but which types should you choose?
* Safety first. If there are little ones around, the older children must play with toys which are safe for everyone.
* Games that provide movement and encourage teamwork are great additions to the daycare.
* Don't forget outdoor activities such as a sandbox or safely constructed play set. Getting the kids outdoors as often as possible keeps everyone happier.
Must-Have #3: A Good Set of Quality Videos and Music CDs
Everybody needs a little quiet time throughout the day, and good quality videos and music CDs provide a nice background for resting. When used appropriately, videos can provide learning experiences and all children love music, so keep them occupied with these structured noises.
* Videos should be parent-approved, but don't stress out too much about this. Just look at the ratings for every video you buy so there are fewer objections from parents.
* Explore a range of music, such as classical, rock and roll, country, reggae, and everything in between.
* Choose both quiet music and dancing music so you can get the kids slowed down or moving to the beat.
* Don't use videos as babysitters, although they can be used to keep children occupied while you are fixing lunch.
Must-Have #4: An Arts and Crafts Center
All kids love to do arts and crafts which provide structured activities to keep the little ones busy and learning. Plus, kids love to bring home gifts to mom and dad, so you will be creating a wonderful connection between home and daycare by doing arts and crafts with kids on a daily basis.
* Invest in a library of activities books. You can never have too many. The kids will find particular activities they especially love, but introducing new ways to manipulate arts and crafts keeps things interesting.
* Keep a well-stocked cabinet full of supplies. You will need large sheets to spread out over the room to protect floors and furniture, and safe crayons and paints. You'll also need plenty of paper, yarn, macaroni, kid-friendly glue, cloth and material, safety scissors and so on. Read the directions for any activities you are planning to do so you can be sure you have all the supplies.
* Keep disposable cups, plastic spoons, paper plates, and paper towels nearby in abundant supply.
* Engage older children in helping younger children so everything goes smoothly.
* Set aside time each day so the kids can do these activities when they are rested and well-fed.
Must-Have #5: A Stocked First Aid Kit
Always have parents permission to administer medicines to their children. Let them see your medicine cabinet and first aid kit so they know what types of medicine you think are appropriate. Make a list of dos and don'ts from each parent, cross-referenced by child, and keep it in the first aid kit.
* You will need the usual items: a digital ear thermometer, tweezers, nail clippers, a nasal aspirator with a bulb for drawing out mucous, and scissors. A medicine dropper or calibrated spoon is useful for administering medicines. Measure the medicine into a disposable cup to avoid spreading germs among children.
* Stock your first aid cabinet with diaper rash ointment, calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream, antibiotic ointment for cuts, and non-aspirin pain reliever.
* You will also need a supply of baby shampoo, baby lotion, and mild, antibiotic soap for washing.
* Supply yourself with cotton swabs and cotton balls, gauze, adhesive tape, and bandages of all sizes.
* Don't forget plenty of baby-safe sunscreen and insect repellent.
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