- Buy an expanding file (or set up a file on your computer) and label it Activity Ideas. Then label sections/subheadings with Indoors, Outdoors, Rainy Day, Outings. You can break these down further if you wish eg Indoors: Toddler; Indoors: Preschool; Indoors: Crafts. Under these headings, sort all the ideas you have collected over the years and are still collecting, and add new ones as you go. We know that activity suggestions are very popular on our Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Rogan-Family-Care/208310935855127
- Make a weekly timetable. This is not about being regimented, 'ring the bell and change activities', it is to give you (and your client family) a guideline of what you are planning for the week. Just list the days, and put activities next to them. This will also help keep track if you have specific timetabled activities eg story time at the library; Gymbaroo. It also helps you not to fall into a rut, doing the same things all the time and that you get a balance of indoor and outdoor time. You also need to build in a routine of tidying up after lunch and each play activity so the house doesn't look like a bomb blast at the end of the day (even if you found it that way).
- While I've suggested a weekly timetable, bring with you each day a flexible attitude so that you can be spontaneous eg you've planned an outing to the park but it's raining cats and dogs. Just like adults, children vary in their moods and sometimes your initial plans just aren't appropriate on the day. Of course, too, they grow and develop new skills so what you were doing with them 2 or 3 months ago needs variation to still present a challenge.
- Set up a communication book with your client families. In the front list:
Parent(s) names remembering that parents may have different surnames, workplaces and contact numbers and emergency contact numbers
Children's names, dates of birth
Important medical conditions of children eg allergies, epilepsy
Name, address and phone number of family doctor
Each day enter what the children had for lunch, activities and reactions, any quirky
sayings, minor accidents etc. Ask parents also to contribute eg children unwell.
- Give yourself time greet the children and communicate with parents at the beginning of the day by being on time. At the end of the day, don't rush out the door when you hear the car in the drive, but take time to say goodbye to the children, give them a hint of what you'll do the next day you see them, and spend a few minutes with the parents.