View Full Version : in need of some support

21-02-2010, 07:35 PM
hi everyone... I'm feeling really tired these days and could really do with some advice and support.. I currently use my lounge and dining room for cm and I find I constantly have toys and activities out rather in trays, shelves etc. I don't know how to make my home a home again.. I miss this very much.. now I do have children myself but still I miss my lounge being a lounge and I'm beginning to feel bogged down with practically my whole downstairs being nursery like in feature... how do you all store your toys? I only have a small lounge as it is :panic: ...

I'm not sure if this sounds silly but because there is constantly stuff out, up on walls or paperwork in piles to do.. I'm not feeling like I'm getting a rest at all...

on Saturdays I'm rather cleaning my home, or my car coz it looks a tip or my garden or me :o ...

that leaves Sunday...where I'm feel totally frazzled and at this point still need to do environment plan, and activities, rotation of toys and more cleaning....

don't get me wrong in many ways I enjoy the cm'ing but would really really really value some support from you to help me stream line my business so I don't feel I'm constantly childminding even when no LOs are here..:(

21-02-2010, 07:47 PM
sorry i cant offer any advice because i feel exactly the same as you:( i've even thought about given up!!! i want a home!!!!!

21-02-2010, 07:48 PM
Oh hun, first make a cup of tea, then get a piece of paper and a pen and prioritise what you really need to do.... you sound like you do an awful lot of cleaning, the clutter prob isn't helping!!

maybe some cardboard folders to store away paperwork tidily and prettily would help... sort it and chuck/recycle as it arrives/piles up. I might get slapped for saying this but if you really have a huge backlog... cut your losses and don't do it... start afresh from now.... and keep on top of it.... it is supposed to be a useful process that helps you plan effectively for the child, there is nothing effective about doing paperwork from 4 months ago so make a plan of when you will do it and stick to it.. make it short and to the point.

now to the toys....I have two HUGE jolly boxes wedged in my understairs cupboard and the toys/materials go in there. I only put out what will fit on my shelves and most of it goes in individual baskets so that it looks pretty. I put picture/word labels on for the children to know what is in them but I can turn those around at the end of the day/week.

be brutal.... do you really need them all??? have a good sort out and keep the best quality/most played with and move the rest on to charity shops etc. the children may enjoy helping you and walking there to give them in... take a photo and make it an occasion and a learning experience!

make a to -do list every day but ONLY put three things on it that you KNOW you can achieve that day e.g observe X playing with toy garage.... write it up staright away. Sort out pens/pencils and make loo roll holders for them with the children. and clean the hallway. Three things for monday, achievable and useful!!

Hope some of that helps - Jen:)

21-02-2010, 07:51 PM
Hi newandlearning, I am pretty new to childminding and still finding my feet as it were, but just wanted you to know that I feel your pain!! Whilst I am LOVING my new role and all the challenges it brings, I often find myself awake at night thinking about childminding related stuff. I work weekends too so it is taking over my life a little.

With regard to storage, what do you use at the moment? Sounds like you could do with something that hides the toys away so you don't have to look at them all the time? Something like the Expedit units from Ikea which you can fix doors onto the cubes - would something like that help? :)

21-02-2010, 07:54 PM
Gosh I could have written that post myself. I totally know what you mean. I'ce just booked a cleaner to come in on a Friday so that at least I don't have to spend hours on a Saturday cleaning the whole house properly. In theory it should give me some more free time at the weekends. Saying that I am SO behind on some paperwork eg accounts / expenses etc so I'll probably end up doing it one evening this weekend. I also have the same problem with storage, like you I have a lounge / diner and the downstairs of my house resembles a nursery.
Sorry I dont have any answers but I can sympathise.


21-02-2010, 08:01 PM
I havnt actually started yet ( im not really at the same point as you )

I have though bought toys/resources

I have bought 2 garden boxes that sit nicely outside my back door padlocked causeing no obstuction .....I intend to use the pantry to store toys but for bigger things the box outside !!!!

dont no if thats somthing you could use

21-02-2010, 08:29 PM
Like Jen says it's all down to organisation.

You have to have a system and the children need to help you!

If they take toys around the house, fair enough but make sure they know they are expected to help put things away...

Make it easy for them by labelling boxes and having clear places where things can go etc.

It shouldn't take over your life!!

Hth :D

21-02-2010, 08:38 PM
I know how you feel, I felt the same at the start I remember! It sounds to me like you are doing too much work out of 'work' time. If you start with organising your storage - I've got some big boxes, colourful so they look nice, with lids so they stack on top of one another and can be put in the corner. Then tidying up has to be part of the mindees day - I make sure we are all tidy half an hour before the mindees go so that I don't get left with it all. Also you can do some bits whilst they are playing independently - get down on the floor with them with your papers in a box and sort through them whilst they are playing. Have a think about what could you do whilst they are playing happily? It's easy to get pulled into working all hours with this job but it doesn't have to be that way! :)

miss mopple
21-02-2010, 08:42 PM
Good advice from the others :thumbsup:

This job does take over your home and your life if you let it. I have tried many different ways of arranging my house to accomodate it and have finally found a way to keep my lounge as just that. I have no storage whatsoever in the living room, but have turned it into a lounge diner so that I can use the dining room as a play room. DH wasnt convinced as its such a sacrifice to give up an entire room buts its made a huge difference as I just shut the door on it at night and relax in a nursery free environment :thumbsup:

21-02-2010, 09:28 PM
It is extremely hard when you have one room that serves as living, dining and play room. I have the same problem. My toy basket fell apart this week so I decided to get rid of it and not replace it but got storage boxes instead. I put them in 'themed' clear boxes and put them under my stairs which is open and not a cupboard. I also have a large cupboard in the hallway full of toys.

I thought having clear boxes would help the children choose which one they wanted out and would also be a better way of rotating the toys and organise my planning. If all the toys come out of one box then they will know where to put them back at tidy up time!

Don't over complicate your paperwork, keep on top of your accounts..weekly if poss and do very simple obs. I use photos mainly with a brief description, link to EYFS and the next step. Make a note of wow moments through the day and record them somewhere.

Hope things get easier for you soon hun, I think we've all been bogged down from time to time. xxx

The Juggler
21-02-2010, 09:32 PM
lots of good advice just wanted to say hope you're OK. Don't try to do much, build up what you do slowly and the big storage boxes and little helpers to tidy, will help clear some of the mess in work hours. Then when the go, quick tidy, hoover then feet up. If you have to, fill in a bit of paperwork with your cuppa but try to have the evenings off. Set one aside each week for paperwork maybe.

I sometimes don't put toys away - not if I'm setting them up the next day, think I've just got used to my living room not being a living room any more.:blush:

I do resent it at times but I've got used to it.

You will be fine.

Carpet Monkeys
21-02-2010, 09:35 PM
Have you heard of the Fly Lady ... she says to do 15 mins in one room/Hot
spots each day, and don't forget to shine your sink before you go to bed - it's amazing how happy you feel when you get up in the morning to a bright shiny sink!

I'm currently working full time (not cm'ing yet), and after tea is made, dishwasher on I'll perhaps clean the bathrooms one day, tidy one of the kids bedrooms another .... take a peek at her site it's full of lots great ideas! Try the Beginner Baby Steps ... I know that some of them sound ridiculous, but I've managed to get back on track after having a live in maid for 3 years ... I was totally spoilt!

Good Luck .. you'll soon get back on track! As for storage Homebase/Argos do some nice units that take the plastic boxes, that can have lids put on them and stored for rotation ... that's what I'm thinking of getting.

Lady Haha
22-02-2010, 12:32 PM
When you say you use your lounge and dining room for cming, do you mean it is one big combined room or a seperate lounge and dining room?

If seperate, thats what I have and I had to sacrifice the dining room to use as a playroom. It's annoying that there is nowhere to eat at a nice table as my kitchen isn't big enough for one, so I end up eating on a tray on my lap or at the playroom table!

But! The plus side is that I have storage up three walls to the ceiling basically!, all my childminding stuff is in there, kids pics on walls/cupboard doors, etc. I have more toys that Toys r Us in there! I have a wall dedicated to our topics etc

But although the kids can play in the lounge as well, the toys get put back in the playroom at the end of the day and my lounge looks like a lounge, my kitchen looks like a kitchen and my playroom door is shut!

Might be worth considering if you have seperate rooms!

22-02-2010, 04:41 PM
ive no living room storage , and no playroom either. i set up each day with a selection of toys / boxes which are stored either in ds3s room ( mainly his toys as not been minding long) - or in the garage. its a pain setting up each day , and takes about an hour to do toys / displays etc each day. but at night its just our home. I think the main downside of doing it this way is that childrens choice is restricted , so im hoping to do a resource choice book / board , and ask the day before what they would like out next time etc. will have to wait though , sef is priority for now!!

22-02-2010, 05:08 PM
I bought lots of small clear plastic storage boxes and scaled my toys down so they fitted in to these boxes. The children could see what was inside and choose and I made sure everything went into the dining area and out of the lounge when people had gone so we had the lounge to us again.

Extras were stored either in garage or under dd2's bed! Rotation happened at weekends, records were updated every 2 weeks.(took about 1-2 hours) Planning/next steps/ evaluation was done monthly. (took me about 3 hours)

So most weekends were free.:thumbsup:

Tina O
22-02-2010, 08:17 PM
I am lucky that I have the understairs cupboard to use for storage and it's door is in front room, with a lock. I have a set of shelves that I store folders with paperwork in and plastic lidded boxes with toys seperated into age ranges. ....

When I was in my last house I had a wardrobe/cupboard in corner of dinning room for storage, but always I have been strict with getting rid of stuff not needed.......

as for paperwork, I agree with what was said earlier, start from now and keep on top of it ....don't play catch-up you will only get further behind...