Running a home daycare requires you to make the most of every free minute, and naptime offers a great opportunity to boost your productivity.
As a home daycare worker, you may feel like there simply is not enough time in the day. Running a home daycare requires your full attention, and by the time the last parent has picked up their kid, you can still have many chores to do. There is, however, a great time for you to catch your breath and cross items off your to-do list: naptime. While the little ones are resting, you have a chance to brush up on your daycare training courses and complete other little tasks that can make a big difference in your day.
Gather Your Thoughts
Once your children have fallen asleep, you should enjoy a few moments of peace and quiet. Naptime is one of the few times of the day when you can rest and regain your composure. Consider doing some yoga stretches or simple meditations to calm down after what may have been a stressful morning. You should also revisit your goals for the day. Running a daycare has a lot of responsibilities, and it can be easy to overload yourself. Write down a list of what you need to accomplish and then place the most important items at the top. Those that fall to the bottom of the list can likely wait until the children go home or even tomorrow morning. By the time the kids wake up, you will be ready to jump right back into the day with a new sense of order and purpose.
Connect With Parents
Encouraging parent involvement is crucial in early childhood education, but it can be hard to connect with parents while the kids are awake. Once naptime has begun, pick up your laptop or phone and build relationships that really matter when running a home daycare. Start by returning any missed calls and replying to emails that came in during the day. Parents should not expect you to be available at any given moment because they understand you are caring for their child. You must, however, show that their questions or concerns are important by responding to messages as soon as possible. After you have handled pressing calls and emails, you can offer learning updates or discuss ways that parents can be involved in their kid’s education.
Sanitize Your Surroundings
Using naptime to get caught up on cleaning can dramatically improve the health of everyone at your home daycare. Any childcare worker will agree that trying to tidy up while kids are still awake is often a losing battle. Use nontoxic cleaning supplies to disinfect all the surfaces little hands may have touched to reduce the spread of germs and prevent illnesses. Remember that later you will also need to clean the mats your children sleep on during naptime. The National Association for the Education of Young Children recommends that you should clean a mat on a weekly basis or each time a different child will sleep on it.
Prepare a Snack
Many home daycare schedules include an afternoon snack shortly after naptime. Preparing healthy foods that meet preschool dietary guidelines can mean that you must spend time in the kitchen, which is always easier when kids are asleep. This time also allows you to sample the snack you are preparing and think about how you will encourage picky eaters to give it a chance. Describing food with positive words and keeping a happy expression on your face has been shown to make children more likely to follow your lead. Dedicating naptime to creating nutritious snacks and finding ways to make them also seem delicious will be helpful once it is time to fill little tummies later in the day.
Take Some Classes
While kids are sleeping, you can be learning childcare skills and techniques that are essential for running a home daycare. In the past, early childhood education classes required you to sit in a classroom and listen to lengthy lectures. Today, companies like Naptime Academy offer engaging daycare training courses that can be completed right from your home. Grab a pair of headphones and you will be ready to watch short videos courses that can count toward your professional development requirements, depending on the state in which you work. By completing childcare courses online during naptime, you can expand your daycare tool set without attending night classes or making your already-busy schedule any more hectic.
If you are interested in training courses for running a home daycare, sign up for classes at Naptime Academy. Watch a single course or sign up for a year to earn your state-required clock hours of training. For more information, contact Naptime Academy at 866-377-6824