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

Protect the Children

I recently read an article that stated that the New Jersey governor had just signed into law a bill that requires home day care workers, and anyone living within that home, to undergo a background check.  (Read article here)

I’m totally amazed how behind the times some of these states are and I think it’s archaic not to have laws already in place within every state to protect the children that attend home day cares.  Federal laws were established a long time ago to protect the children who attend preschool and daycare centers.   These federal laws require that anyone who works with children (care givers, teachers, administrators, bus drivers, etc.) must undergo a background check.  Every individual’s name and fingerprint goes through three different data bases:

~ Criminal History

~ Child Abuse Registry

~ Sexual Offender Registry

Go Ahead and Burn Those Bridges

We had a parent in our preschool who while she had a son with us, had to enroll her baby in a home daycare because we had no room.  She expressed her concerns about being uncomfortable with the home daycare that her daughter was in.  She said there were always unquestionable people going in and out of the house and it made her uneasy.  Although she felt uncomfortable with what she saw, she didn’t want to say anything because she didn’t want to burn her bridges.  We didn’t miss a beat and told her better to burn bridges than to have harm come to her little one.  You need to always trust your gut feeling.  If you are that uneasy then there is probably a good reason!

What You Can Do

If you are considering placing your child in a home day care, check your state licensing agency to see if they require background checks on the individual running the home daycare, as well as everyone that lives in the home or helps with the children.  If not, you may want to research other home care facilities.  Getting recommendations from other parents who have sent their child there is always a great idea as well.  Other options may be hiring a nanny or finding a facility-based daycare center.  The bottom line is. . .  do your research and see what feels best for you and your child.

 

Happy Father’s Day!

Just want to wish all of you dads and male role models out there a wonderful day! :>)

And in memory of my dad, Tim Shaw. He believed that family was the most important thing and was totally dedicated to us.

I cry because I miss you still and I smile because of all the wonderful times and the very happy life you gave me! So truly lucky to have had such an amazing father. Your beautiful and playful spirit lives on!

One of the best tips I got from him concerned driving. He said, “Jack, when you’re out there on the road, don’t trust that people are gonna do what they are supposed to!”

One of the many funny remarks was when I would come out in a new dress and his famous line was “first time I’ve seen a burlap bag with sleeves!” Always said with a great big smile. :>)

You were the best!

Love,

Jack

 

 

Leaving is Not an Option

In our book we address the problem parents have of getting their child to leave the daycare at the end of the day. So common and not unusual at all! However, if this is a daily situation it can be aggravating for parents and teachers as well.

Ah…the child that doesn’t want to leave will do things like cry, run amok around the building, refuse to put toys away, break rules… just to name a few! And then there is the parent who will say “ok, you can stay longer” or ” do you want me to come back?” And there you go. Typically, we have seen if you give those options once, it can become a habit.

We had a child who every night would see his dad come in the room and start to cry and take out more toys and even get to go out and play on the playground after closing time. It became a normal routine! Meanwhile, the conversation bubble over the teacher’s head is saying, “Please come on; I wanna get out of here!” LOL!

Another story that stands out is the dad who would arrive right at closing every day and say to his kids (who were the last ones there), ” do you wanna go home?”  The response was always no and the teachers would be waving goodbye as he was watching his kids continue to run around the playground.

Let’s face it, the typical number of hours a child spends in daycare is 8 or more hours. Truly, they have had more than enough time there.

You may be thinking…So what do I do?

So glad you asked because of course there are things you can do.

*First of all remember that YOU are in control.

*Don’t ask if they are ready to leave because that gives them an option. And remember – leaving is not an option.

*Say that it is time to get ready to leave. No need to be abrupt. Children like a little heads up on what’s coming next.

* Have a routine. For example, coming in and saying hi or giving hugs and announcing,  “Ok, put your toys away and lets get your things ready to take home.”

*Take a few minutes to look at the special project your child did that day.

*I have seen parents even set a timer on their phone for 5 minutes and say when the timer goes off it’s time to say good bye.

*Take a cue from the teacher. If all the toys are put away and the room is straightened out and chairs are up on the table, then you know it is closing time and everyone is ready to call it a day.

*If you are still struggling with your child, you may want to call the teachers ahead of time and tell them when you will be arriving. That way they can prepare your child and get his/her things ready for take off. :>)

When I worked closing hours I would have the children help me start to clean the room at the last half hour while I announced it’s almost time to close the school and we have to get ready to go. Then I would put out a simple activity on the floor mat like coloring or read them a story. Children respond well to routine so when certain things are happening they know what is coming up next. It makes them feel more comfortable. If any of you have a good suggestion, please feel free to share!

The Benefits of Boredom

I just read an excellent article by Victoria Prooday titled The silent tragedy affecting today’s children. Read it here.

As a person who has been working with preschoolers over 20 years, one thing that really stuck out for me in this article was the statement, provide opportunities for boredom as boredom is the time when creativity awakens! Love it!!!

Shrinking Creativity

I have realized how things have changed! And not for the better. When I first started teaching, I could put out a bunch of materials ( i.e. glue, paper , scissors, glitter……) and the kids would come running anxious to experiment and start creating!. Fast forward to the present and they are not so excited and will sometimes look and say, “what do we do with this?” They are losing the ability to be patient, think, and figure out what they can do! To imagine and create! They are getting used to constantly being entertained and told what to do. Tablets and cell phones are being used for entertainment. There are too many outside influences and their imaginations are not as strong.  Now this is a scary thing!

Learning How to Think for Themselves

How do I remedy this situation? Well, I always provided time in my classroom for free play. That means to go ahead and find something YOU want to do with little interference from the teachers. I felt my role during that time was to be an observer and provide guidance when needed. It was also during this free time I found children loved to come over and chat a bit and share a feeling or story from home. So many important skills were being used such as problem solving, socializing, creating…. all important life skills! I also liked to just stop once and a while and say, “hey guys, shhhhhhhhh! What do you hear?” They would give answers and be curious about some of the sounds. This lead to some spontaneous learning. If they heard a bird, then it would lead to wanting to learn more about that bird and nature!

The bottom line is this, if children are not allowed the time to just be and think for themselves  then how do they grow to be self-sufficient and responsibly-thinking adults some day?  What kinds of things do you do to give your children down time?

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