Thank you for submitting your questions on my website. I’d be happy to answer them as best I can.
1. “Where do I find actual guidelines on safety issues in the home such as shampoos, toothpastes, that sort of thing . . . do they need to be out of reach as well?”
You find the guidelines in an information packet you can obtain from the Department of Human Resources in your County. Anything that would be toxic if a child swallowed it, must be kept in a locked cabinet or high enough to be out of their reach. If the label says “Keep out of Reach of Children” or has the skull with crossbones, then it must be inaccessible.
2. “Is it feasible to take 5 or 6 pre-school age children to our next door park for possibly an hour in the day (mornings when very few people are there).”
It’s not only feasible, but highly suggested. How lucky for you to have a park right next door. Definitely, take advantage of it. I take my daycare kids to the park, but it’s quite a walk for us. Before we start going to the park for the summer, I sit all the kids down and go over the rules of the park, stressing how important it is not to walk away from the park. Some will understand the rules, some will not, but it will help. While at the park, I constantly count heads to be sure everyone is accounted for. And I don’t get involved in conversations with other mothers. I politely explain to them that I’m watching a large number of children and need to concentrate on the children.
3. “Oh, and since using whole house, do we use blankets on top of my kids beds for naptime for other children? Or mats?”
You can use whatever works for the area you have. I, personally, have never used floor mats. When I first started daycare, I bought kid-sized cots that I set up every naptime and took down when it was over. Then, at some point, my two kids wanted bunk beds, so we put bunk beds in both their rooms. I then had four beds, plus 3 pack-n-plays. When my kids got older, they no longer bunk beds, so the beds were separated. There are now two single beds in each bedroom and I still use the pack-n-plays.
On the bunk beds, I do use blankets that lay over my children's bedding. And I have separate pillows for the daycare kids. I never put a child in my own children's beds that could have an accident. I put rubber sheets on the "extra bed" in each bedroom.
You mention you're in a small house. I started my daycare in a very small house, so I'd like to give you a piece of advice. It means a lot of work by you, but give your family their home back at the end of the day. Keep as much of the daycare picked up and put away as you can for the evening and on weekends. Doing this will help them tolerate other things in the daycare that intrude on their family time.
Vicki, I hope I answered your questions completely. If you need more information or have further questions, please do not hesitate to ask. I love helping people set up their daycare.
Thanks and good luck to you,