grandma providing daycare for her grandkids needs suggestions to stimulate them and keep me sane

Melissa - posted on 12/14/2008 ( 13 moms have responded )

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Hi grandmas! I am new to this group and am glad I came upon it. I will be providing daycare for our three granchildren starting in January. Two of the three live with us fulltime as does their mother. The older two of the three grandkids are boys and the two of them have a lot of energy. I am looking for suggestions on how to structure the day so that chaos does not completely occupy the entire day. Would appreciate any ideas. Thanks.

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Melissa - posted on 01/16/2009

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Sounds like you have a very busy household. It's hard to find ways to expend energy when it's cold outside. I'm thinking things will get much better when we can all go outside. Even if the boys can go out for a little while, sometimes it's still too cold for the baby. Will you be watching your grandchildren after your daughter has the baby?

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Shirley - posted on 02/28/2009

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I like the response from Alison D. on Jan. 17th. I also have grandsons that I provide daycare for while my daughter goes to college and work durring the day. Those activities sound like something that my 3 1/2 year old and I can do together while the 4 month old is napping.

Alison - posted on 01/17/2009

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I actually work in pre k so here are a couple of suggestions. Put together a cd or tape of some songs that they can sing to and even dance or move with. The hokey pokey is one. Set a space in the area you want them to do this activity in and name it. ie music area, or rug activity area etc. There are many cds available that offer cute songs and movement activities. Limit this activity to 15- 20 minutes. You can also set up play "centers" Collect age appropriate puzzles, duplo blocks, other snap together toys like mini waffle blocks, shoe laces and beads or animal shapes for string and lacing. Keep these in individual bins. These will be your table toys. We keep a supply of Styrofoam peanuts (from shipped items) add some shovels and other beach toys like pails. Our kids call this snow play. Keep crayons sorted by color in small containers. Give each child a notebook with their name on it, highlight the first letter of their name for letter recognition. After a read a loud of a book ask them to draw a picture about the story. Title the page with the actual title of the book you read them. With each activity limit the time. Try to discourage them from moving too much from one activity to the other. Maybe let them change activities once during the time frame. If you can set up a sand center. This can be easily done with a large plastic tub that has a lid so it can be closed. Put shovels, pails, cups,beach toys inside. Mostly set up your day with a schedule which includes times and post it. Show it to the kids and tell them that this is what you will be doing that day. Vary the schedule so neither you or they get bored. Occasionally allow them to watch a dvd, maybe as a special day activity. Most important have fun and enjoy your time with them because before you know it they will be all grown up.

Lisa - posted on 01/16/2009

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It is very busy at our house. Yes, I will be watching my granddaughter and the baby once my daughter goes to work. She moved in with us about 3-4 mos. ago so we could help her get on her feet. My grandson is in kindergarten. My husband is a truck driver and is gone all through the week, so I deal with all the day to day goings on.

We do have a garage, and that is an excellent idea. We have so much stuff stored in there though, that I don't let the kids in the garage.

[deleted account]

Lisa, do you have a basement or garage that can be used for an active play area for riding his bike? We use to let our kids rollerblade in our basement in the winter even though it isn't a finished basement. We just cleaned it up a little and put away anything harmful and let them get all their pent up energy out.

Lisa - posted on 01/15/2009

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My daughter and her two children moved in with us about 3 months ago with my two grandchildren. She is delivering my third grandchild this Thursday. The 6 yr. old (Ashton) is full of energy and is ADHD and on medication. He is so full of energy from the time he gets up til he goes to bed. It can be very stressful trying to get him to calm down. I have seen no improvement in him taking meds. I have found that he loves to draw and make things. He will sit for hours on end playing with plastic, SOLO cups. He loves stacking them up and putting them in different patterns. He loves to draw, so we get him a notebook and let him draw. He also loves trying to stack up cards on a table.
He loves riding his bike, but it is now to cold to be outside.

Melissa - posted on 12/30/2008

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Thanks for the ideas! I also found a website that had a year round preschool curriculum with themes and printable worksheets. I think it will be helpful. I know the boys will like the "fort" suggestion. Happy New Year!

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It's so important to just let them be themselves..kids! I ran a daycare for over 4 years when my children were little. Building forts/tents was one thing we did (inside with sheets and furniture and outside with sheets and the swingset)! Sometimes we did a craft or baking and we had a scheduled quiet time/nap time around 1pm each day. Those who needed naps (usually 18 months and younger) were put to bed and the older ones would lay down in the living room and watch a movie (kid appropriate of course). Once the movie was over or at least an hour went by of complete rest, the older kids had a snack and went outside to play. The little ones were allowed to finish their naps and I listened in for them to wake up with a baby monitor. We also had plenty of books to read. I read to them and they were able to read when they wanted to. We also took trips to the public library. Usually once a week there would be a story time for about 1 hour. This gives you some "time off" while they are entertained by the librarian. Sometimes there are planned crafts for them too. Check out small, privately owned book stores as well. They tend to have more available for the children. In good weather you could also go to the local public park or play ground! There's plenty to do for free!

Lesley - posted on 12/29/2008

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When my three boys were little we used to build dens under the table with old sheets and play pretend.

Melissa - posted on 12/25/2008

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The boys are cousins--one is 4 and lives with us (so, of course he is posessive of everything in our house) and the other boy is 2 1/2. I'll be watching my granddaughter as well who is just over one month and who also lives with us. The boys have a lot of energy and we live in the midwest where the weather is unpredictable and not often conducive to being outside.

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