Dear Daycare Parent book coverWelcome to Dear Daycare Parent!

“An indispensable manual for parents venturing into the unknown territory of day care.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“This is an invaluable blueprint for navigating the land of drop-offs, snack time, and early childhood socialization.”
Foreword Reviews

“Leaving one’s child in the care of another can be nerve-wracking, but the authors’ upbeat, long-term perspective will assist parents in valuing their providers and doing best by their offspring. For all libraries.”
Library Journal (starred review)

The Dear Daycare Parent Blog

Ever See a Teal Pumpkin?

Halloween is quickly approaching and it should be a fun time for all children to enjoy! However, 1 out of 13 children deal with food allergies and Halloween only reminds these kids that they can’t indulge in the the sweet treats. Three years ago, FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) campaigned to educate  people about food allergies. During that time, a Tennessee mom created the Teal Pumpkin Project to allow these children to enjoy trick or treating with friends and family. Through this project, this mom made one simple change: she went to her local party or dollar store and purchased some items for children with allergies. Then, when they came to her house she had a sign that read, “We support kids with food allergies. Non food items found here.” Trick or Treaters were invited to choose a candy treat or prize (glow sticks, bracelets, stickers, spider rings to name a few.)

This project started in 2014 with great success. Last year, there were households in all 50 states participating, as well as in 14 countries. If you would like to join the cause in your area, please check out They have signs you can print off and offer suggestions for non-food treats.

Bravo! What an awesome and thoughtful idea!

Make My Day!

I just wanted to give a shout out to parents who make a difference in the day of a preschool teacher!  Ours is a unique experience as we are caregivers as well as educators and our bonds with you and your little ones are quite personal. So when we receive a thank you or compliment it really means a lot! Let me share some recent feel good experiences with you.

There is the dad who on a daily basis thanks us for providing a great experience for his son! One day he came in with a box of chocolate pretzels with a little note that said, “thank you for making my first week here so great!” Simple and so meaningful. And then the mom who just enrolled her child in the toddler room who said that she was thankful because she sees such a difference in the way he acts with others now. This thank you came along with a yummy plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies! Yeah ok, food and coffee is always a good thing. :>) One day a mom stopped me to say that her child so enjoys hearing me read the book, No David!, so she bought a copy to read to him at home.

Thank you for the little things you say and do to remind us that what we do matters and makes a difference in the lives of you and your children. I think we have one of the most important jobs there is, and believe me, it isn’t always easy.  So on those days we go home and want to eat chocolate, drink wine, and sleep, lol, your kind words and actions help us to get up the next day and start fresh with a smile on our faces!

Starting All Over Again

Yep! You can feel it in the air, we are just a few days away from September. I tend to think of this month as a time of new beginnings! Most schools have just started or are about to begin the new school year! This is also true of many childcare facilities that are transitioning children to their new rooms. Now this can be a time of excitement as they have grown and developed and are ready to move on but it can also be a time of uncertainty for both child and parent. Everyone was in their routine and now it’s going to change a bit. There will be new teachers, different rules, activities, expectations, etc…..

No worries, there are things that can make the transition easier. Hopefully your center has provided you with all the information you need to have ahead of time and maybe you have even attended an open house to meet with the teachers and let your child explore the new environment a bit. If you have ANY questions at ALL, feel free to ASK! I say no concern is silly and you shouldn’t be embarrassed to ask. Another good idea is if possible try to give yourself a little more time for drop off on the first day. This allows you the time to get your child engaged in an activity and maybe have a few words with the teacher. If you are feeling uneasy when you leave you can always call or e-mail later on for a quick update on your child’s day.

Keep in mind that the first week is in general somewhat chaotic and this is perfectly normal! Staff, parents, and children are getting to know one another. There could be children crying, lost or missing items, misinformation…. you just never know. We all need to cut one another a little slack. Rest assured the dust will all settle pretty quickly and you will be right back into routine before you know it! Have an amazing new year everyone!!!!

Child’s Play

Here is a great article by Erika Christakis posted on EKidsNews:

“What 1 expert says about play could change your child’s future”

I applaud this writer for addressing this issue and opening up the eyes of many parents to the importance of play. Very young children are being pushed to be more studious. Erika put it in a nutshell when she stated, “This pressure to perform academically is resulting in kindergarten becoming the new first grade and preschool becoming the new kindergarten.”

In the 1990’s in my own hometown, they offered a small magazine within the Sunday newspaper. In a summer issue of this magazine, right before the start of the new school year, an article came out that explained how another kindergarten classroom had to be opened up and the school was working on dividing up the children within these three classrooms. They stated that they were finding large gaps between what some of the children knew, compared to their peers. They went on to further explain that the children who had been in a full-day preschool (where they played and learned all day) had a slight advantage over those children who only went to a half-day program. However, they also pointed out that the children that did not go to any early childhood education program seem to be at a disadvantage compared to their peers. Imagine that. Back then preschools used “play” as the vehicle for learning, and even the town was able to see a big difference in the children. Today, things are different.

Some preschools are pushing academics, rather than play. Some say the reason for this is that the parents believe since they are paying for their child’s early childhood education, they should see some academics in it. However, I believe that technology and computers, as well as, President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind Act” of 2001 had a big impact on the change in preschools. The No Child Left Behind Act required schools to develop assessments in basic skills. It was supposed to be intended for the Elementary and Secondary Education levels, but it trickled down to the preschool level too, and assessments were created for them as well.

I remember working in a wonderful school that was child focused. The teachers would create a lesson plan, but in the meantime, if we saw that the children had an interest and were passionate about something we would change our lesson plan to focus on the children’s interest instead. For instance, one of the children in the classroom was talking about going camping with his parents (something he had never done before), he was so excited for the upcoming event and soon he had all the other children excited about camping and wondering what it was like. So, the next day, we set up a tent and made “a pretend fire”. The kids collected firewood to place over their camp fire and they pretended to cook their meals. They fished in a pretend pond and slept in sleeping bags. They all got to experience what camping would be like, all due to one child’s excitement of going camping with his parents.

What a great learning experience.

We’ve often heard parents say, “Is that all they do is play?” How a teacher cringes to hear these words! Preschool children should play. It is developmentally appropriate and it’s how they learn. They are developing socialization skills, self-control, self-confidence, manners, and creativity. These are the basic skills that they need to master. This concept is sadly getting lost. Erika is right: by making play more important in your young child’s life, you will change their future!

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