Day care activities can help draw many new customers. More and more parents want someone to not only look after their children, but to help them learn and have fun. Introducing stimulating day care activity to a child’s day can help them physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Any day care activity should be tailored to the ages of the children. Infants and young toddlers will need more basic, gentle play, while older children will need more challenging activities. When you are dealing with a wide range of children, it may be more challenging to come up with child care activity to meet all of their needs. With a little creativity and patience, however, it is possible.
Infants and toddlers need good day care activities as much as older children, but they need activity suited to their age. Younger infants need plenty of floor time to help with muscle strength and mobility. They will also love playing with brightly colored rattles and soft toys. As they get a little older they may enjoy pull toys, riding toys, large blocks, and stacking toys. Games like peek-a-boo are very popular at this age, as is music and singing.
Older toddlers need day care activity that helps them learn new skills and concepts. Puzzles, building blocks, arts and crafts, and outdoor play are all important at this age. Memory games would be a fun day child care activity, as well as dress up. This age group is learning not only mental skills, but social ones as well. Try to find activities that help in both of these areas. Older toddlers also like to help adults. With close and careful supervision, they could be encouraged to play with and ‘help’ the younger babies.
Pre-schoolers need books in any day care activity. Books and reading are crucial at this age. Read to them as often as possible. Keep plenty of colorful picture books and encourage children to create their own stories to go with the pictures.
If you are dealing with multiple age groups, day care activities should be scheduled for each. You could, for instance, have preschool activity during infant naptime, or vice versa. All schedules should be flexible however, as children do not always cooperate with your plans. Combining age groups for day care activities when possible is one option, but you may need to make sure you have at least one adult for each group if you are dealing with a large number of children.
Outdoor play is an important child care auckland for all age groups, even infants. Older children may prefer games such as baseball, tag, or hide and seek. Most children of any age group love to swing and slide. Babies may simply enjoy the sunlight, but many like to swing or play in the grass.
With a little careful planning, you can easily find suitable day care activities for any age group you are working with. Above all, listen to the children. If they enjoy certain day care activities, try to find other similar things to do. If they don’t like something, look for alternatives. Even the most well intended day care activities will be worthless if the children do not cooperate.
© CG Groth Inc 2007
by Christine Groth
Whether you’re a single parent, you desire to have a career, or you must work out of financial necessity, you need a childcare solution that you feel comfortable with. Many parents are opting to put their children in day care, and it may be the right option for you too. From there, your child can socially interact with other children and actively play and explore the whole day long, all under the careful supervision of licensed professionals. Before enrolling your child in a day care center, there are a few things to take into consideration.
First, you want to thoroughly research local day care centers. Putting your child in the care of others can be nerve-racking, not to mention dangerous, if you don’t have complete confidence in the care providers. Getting references from people you trust, such as family and friends, is a good place to start; you can also ask the day care you are interested in for references from other parents. Once you have a few potential day cares, visit each one with your child. The environment should feel comfortable and safe, for both you and your child.
Secondly, keep a positive attitude. Children will pick up on how we react to situations, so if you want your child to be excited and happy to go to there then you should act that way when you discuss it and when you drop them off. If you feel confident in a place you’ve chosen for your child, then you should have no problem being confident and having a positive attitude, which will help your child to have the best experience possible.
by Graham Pratt
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The key to record keeping is to simplify, simplify, simplify. As with any other repetitive task you want to make it as easy as possible so the main goal is achieved. At the end of the chapter I will reprint a copy of what the IRS is providing to its auditors when looking at child care centers. This information will give you some insight.
The end result of keeping accurate records is two-fold. Sometimes we get all caught up in defending against problems with the IRS and tax return preparation and that we forget the purpose of record keeping. We should be using the information from the records to advance our business and allow us to make decisions on how to run the business more effectively.
Good record keeping will allow you to keep track of the health of your business. Again, seek professional help or read as many books as possible to aid you growing your business effectively and keeping it on track. Don’t become overwhelmed with everything in your business and allow this area to be the one that always falls short. Remember the rule – simplify! Get the information you need to make a proper decision and give the government the information they need in the form of tax return or reports.
Lets’ get started.
There are a number of logs that are necessary in the preparation of good records. They are: time, food, auto, and asset. In addition to these logs we need to keep track of income sources: private pay, government pay, grants, and food program. The other sources of funding must also be tracked: bank loans, vehicle loans, and loans from others. The final things that need to be kept track of are the valid expenses of the business.
Lets’ break down each of the above in a little more detail.
1. Private pay from parents by child
2. Food Program (USDA)
4. Government Programs
I recommend that you keep track of each source of income separately and then report them separately on your income tax return. Each source can be verified by the IRS so if you report it this way there is no question to its accuracy. All money received should be deposited into a business bank account. This allows you to easily verify the income to the deposits that were made during the year.
Time, Food, and Auto
Many states provide a calendar for the tracking of these figures. In the end we need to know how many hours the day care was in operation to calculate the time space percentage (discussed previously.) Do this daily and weekly, (record on the calendar) to be able to answer all questions at the end of the year on your tax return. If you’re anything like me, you can’t explain what you did last week much less what you did eleven months ago.
In 2004 the IRS made a significant change in the calculation of food expense. Prior to 2004 the only way to track food was to provide receipts of food purchases. This method was always in question to providers on how to determine what was personally eaten food, (non-deductible) and what was consumed by children, (deductible). We now have a new log to keep. You now need to provide the number of breakfast, lunch, dinner, A.M. snack and P.M snack. The IRS provides a rate that is equal to the tier-one food rate for the USDA food program.
This new program eliminates the tracking of food receipts. I still recommend keeping the food receipts to prove that you have spent at least what you are claiming. You are still allowed to keep actual receipts and use those for expense. Just realize that on audit the auditor will do a test of meals served and if your expense is higher than the calculation of meals times rate they will argue to reduce the expense.
The auto log is simply the record of miles driven on a personal vehicle for the pursuit of business. If the vehicle is used 100% for business you may take the actual expenses for that vehicle. If you share the vehicle for personal and business you need to determine the percentage of business that the vehicle was driven. The choice of using actual or mileage method is made in the first year of service. In both methods you will need to keep an accurate mileage log. The total miles driven are also necessary. The other information needed is date, miles driven, and what the business purpose was. This can be recorded on your calendar or a special book specifically for this purpose. Again, if you do it daily, it becomes natural to you and the information is readily accessible for tax time.
Asset Log is defined as: what is in your home that will last longer than one year. There are two types of assets: those you owned before you started operation, and those you purchased after you started operations. These assets can be further broken down into those that are 100% used for business and those that are shared by you personally and the day care. No matter which kind the assets are you need to record information about them.
Owned before operations started
1. Asset Name (ie refrigerator)
2. Location (room from floor Plan)
3. Fair Market Value at date of start of operation
4. How you determined value
5. Asset type
Purchased after operation started
1. Asset Name (ie refrigerator)
2. Location (room from floor plan)
3. Date Purchased
4. Where purchased
5. Asset Type
Based on the above information you will be able to create a depreciation schedule and claim the proper amount of expense. The depreciation schedule will either go directly to the business return or be further reduced by the time space percentage depending on whether it is a shared asset or a total business asset.
You will need to keep track of the monies that are entering your business and from where. When you make a loan to the business it needs to be tracked. The bank wants to get their money back when they loan you money and you should want the business to return that money back to you as well. The money you loan to the company should be deposited into your business bank account, and the expenses that the loan was needed for will be recorded in the business checking account.
Many times I will have a provider complain that they are not being treated as a business person and instead are being treated as a baby sitter. Keeping accurate records and acting like a business requires you to have good records. Be sure to keep strict separation between personal expenses and business expenses. By doing this you will be treated as the professional that you are, and will give you piece of mind when tax time or decision time arrives.
Lastly, Direct Expenses
All direct business expenses should be written from your business checkbook. I have found that using a credit card has been very helpful. If you use a credit card use it for business purposes only, and pay the balance monthly, you will be able to track expenses easily. Debt is a burden that will many times destroy a new business. Good record keeping will allow you to better keep track of the monies coming in and going out. You should keep the receipts associated with the expense and organize them by category, not the month. The IRS wants to know the amount of supplies, not January, February, etc. This will allow you to easily assemble the information for the tax return or financial statement purposes.
Whether you decided to use a computer with the many programs that are available for record keeping or not, the overall goal doesn’t change. You need to systematically assemble the information in a way that you can make decisions from, and also comply with the laws of your state and federal government.
I thought it would be helpful to take a look inside what the IRS auditor would be looking for. In 2004 the IRS published an audit guide for child care centers. This publication is used by auditors to get up to speed on a certain industry segment. If you know what they are looking for you can better be prepared when the time comes. It is too late to prepare after you are selected for audit, because the audit will happen between two and three years after the year that they are auditing.
The IRS has given its auditors specific guidance that lets you know what issues the examiners are looking for. This is not an absolute list because the individual auditor can ask for anything they want to look at but this is a great starting point.
From Child Care Providers Audit Techniques Guide
1. Be prepared to discuss the business history including the starting date, a brief description of a typical days activities, and internal controls for income and expenses information
2. If you are taking a deduction for the use of your home, provide a floor plan, blueprint or other significant documents to reflect the square footage of the residence. Provide the escrow and/or closing statement to verify the cost of the property. Mortgage company statements showing the paid property tax renting your home provide substantiation of the expenses and a copy of the rental agreement.
3. Provide copies of Federal Tax Returns for prior and subsequent years, prior Federal and State audit reports, any related returns: partnership, corporation, or employment tax returns and any Forms 1099 filed and/or received.
4. Provide journals, ledgers, records, notebooks used to keep a record of clients and the amount they paid (weekly, monthly, etc)
5. Provide all bank statements, business and personal, for the period beginning _______ and ending _______.
6. If you are participating in the food program, provide copies of the reimbursement statement, name and address of the food sponsor, attendance and meal count record, and time record.
7. Provide copy of any benefit or retirement plan.
8. Provide substantiation in the form of canceled checks, receipts, statements, or invoices for expenses identified for examination.
9. Provide all business licenses, approvals, registrations, and certifications.
When facing an examination by the IRS, it is best to provide the auditor with exactly what they ask for and nothing more. Answer only the questions they specifically ask and avoid offering additional information that they don’t specifically ask for. You don’t want to expand the scope of the audit by offering information that will lead to additional areas of inquiry. Do not go to the inquiry alone and preferable bring your tax advisor to assist you. If the tax advisor has complete knowledge of your return he/she may prefer to complete the audit without you present. This normally avoids the expansion of the audit and allows it to proceed to a conclusion as quickly as possible.
If you take the process of record keeping one step at a time and do one thing every day you will stay on top of the work and benefit from the wealth of knowledge that can be derived from that information.
by Christine Groth
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