Saturday, May 23, 2015

Notes From A Daycare Provider: Summer Vacation

Summer vacation is crazy busy around here. During the summer all of the school age kids come back to daycare. This gets interesting. I've got kids of all ages, sizes, and at different developmental stages. Remember last summer? I wrote a book on appropriate social behaviors with each other after an incredibly challenging morning with the kids that resulted in a daycare wide time out. Things get crazy. Like off the wall, exhausting, non-stop crazy.

Even through all of the craziness, summer is by far my most favorite time of the year with the kids.
Summers around here are referred to as: Summers of Fun. We do theme days, spend an insane amount of time outdoors, run through sprinklers, play in the mud, have picnics, and attempt to make the summer days unforgettable.  Sometimes it's tough to find activities that kids of all ages can participate in, but last summer we really found our knack with the themed days (check out Ice Cream Parlor and Bubble Day for examples). Not only did these keep all ages of kids entertained and learning, but it really enhanced all of the children's language skills, learning to share, listening, and the older children's leadership skills. If there was something they got bored with, I had the older kids lead (under my supervision of course) an activity or game.
So, why do I put myself in this exhausting position each summer? Because it's FUN and unbelievably rewarding. These extra kids that come back each summer are kids that I've watched grow up. I've changed their diapers, fretted about their skinned knees, potty trained them, helped them learn their colors, given them hugs and cuddles, and rejoiced in their accomplishments. I love having them as my Big Helpers during the days and I love being able to continue to watch them grow up. I love seeing the kid's relationships and bonds strengthen with each other as time goes on. I love seeing the excitement on the children's faces as I announce the day's theme or activity. I love seeing the older kids helping the younger kids with activities and I love seeing the younger kids look up to the older kids.
This summer I'm lucky enough to have found a helper for those crazy busy days. This should take away a lot of the craziness and pressure I feel on those extremely busy days when shit hits the fan (I'm speaking figuratively, not literally. Although I really hope I didn't just jinx myself). I'm very grateful for an extra set of eyes in, what I call our backyard, the danger zone. Where jump ropes are weapons, a swinging plastic golf club can knock someone out, swings can send a kid flying through the air, and the sand is a snack.
Welcome to our summer life. It is grand. Really it is. Maybe I'll let you borrow my rose colored glasses so you can see the magic I see during the summer. How will you be keeping your kiddos entertained this summer?