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

Treasured Artwork

When your child joins a childcare center they soon discover all the art material available to them (play dough, crayons, markers, various kinds of paint, glue, glitter and scrap paper).  As teachers, we appreciate the value of exposing the children to art. Here are just a few examples of what they are learning:

  • Using drawing tools and manipulating doughs build their small motor skills to develop the dexterity needed for writing and other self-help skills.
  • The children use their cognitive skills while learning about shapes and colors (even creating new colors on their own).
  • They practice social skills while sharing, taking turns and working together to use the material.
  • It allows the teachers to follow the children’s stage of development moving from scribble art (making “random” lines, dots or marks), then moving into “controlled” scribbles and finally they can “name the scribble”. Such as, “Look, I made an A, like in my name”.  Then, the children begin to draw more “representative” art.  Creating circles, squares and lines to represent things in their world.  For example, a circle and two lines may represent a body with arms or legs.
  • Lastly, when the children work in the art area it builds on their creativity and problem solving. When the children see in their mind’s eye how they want their creation to come out, they find ways to make it happen.  Therefore, each piece of art is a way to express themselves.

When the children are creating, they show great pride in their work.  Even when a drawing is left on the table, without a name on it to claim it, all we need to do is hold it up and ask, “Who does this belong to?”  And the owner will race over to claim it.  There are great benefits to the children doing art, but at times, the parents get overwhelmed by all the amount of papers in their child’s cubby.  There have even been times when we’ve seen some parents throw their child’s art in the trash, as they pack up their backpack to go home and before they retrieved their child.  However, when their child sees them doing this, they get upset.

We get it, the amount of artwork your child creates and wants to bring home can be overwhelming.  When I was growing up, there were five kids in my family.  It was unrealistic to hang up all our artwork.  So, our mom bought us each a portfolio.  We could only display one piece of our artwork at a time, but everything else was put into our portfolios.  Then, when the portfolio was bursting at its seams, it was our decision what to throw out.  Often this task was easy, because we got to see our own growth and some of our art seemed too babyish by then.

In our book, Dear Daycare Parent, we suggest keeping memories and special projects, without the clutter, by taking a picture and starting a scrapbook.  Recently, I came across an article that offers other ideas to save or display your child’s artwork.  (Read the story here).  While using some of these ideas, you’ll be able to keep those treasured creations for your child to enjoy in the future!

 

Clean up, clean up, everyone do their share!

Recently, I was at the juice bar at Whole Foods and next to the cashier is an area where the kids play.  There were two children and their mom.  The little girl looked to be around 2 years old and her brother was about 4 years old.  While waiting for the cashier, I found myself watching the children play.  At one point their mother said to the little girl, “Kelsey, you seem to be done playing with the ball”.  When the little girl continued to play with her next toy, her mother gently touched her arm and said, “Kelsey, I need you to pick up the ball and put it back where it goes so the next child can play with it”.  With this simple reminder, the girl walked over to retrieve the ball and return it to the bin.  I was so elated with this mom, I had to say something.  “Wow, kudos to you mom”.  At first, she just stared at me.  But, I wanted her to know how impressed I was.  So, I went on to say, “I worked with little ones.  You did that very nicely.  First, you made a statement.  Kelsey, you seem to be done with the ball, and then you told her that you would like her to put it back.  She looks to be about 2 years old, it was nice to see you make her responsible for the things that she is playing with”.  The mom laughed and said, “It doesn’t always go that smoothly”.

I remember when I was 3 years old, my mother gave me two chores, one personal chore (to brush my teeth on my own) and one to benefit the family (to sweep the floor under the table after we ate).  Looking back at that today, I think my mother gave me that chore to teach me to eat without making such a mess.  As I got older, my chores changed, but I have always remembered when my mother said I was old enough to have my own chores to help the family, like my brothers and sister did.

Giving chores to children is a great teaching tool!  It teaches the child:

  • That they are part of a family or community
  • To respect and be responsible for what they are using
  • Team work
  • To follow directions to complete a task
  • Shows self-direction and life skills

Even within the classroom, the children are taught self-help skills and that they are part of the larger group.  As a member of the group, they have shared responsibilities.  Throughout the school day, the children participate together in activities.  By teaching them to work together to clean up after themselves, the children show that they can follow directions and cooperate with their peers to complete a task.  By caring for the things they’ve used, it shows they are responsible.  As the children get older and have demonstrated this, they are given more flexibility to use any materials they need, so they can organize more extensive play situations; which gives them great pride in their achievements.

Teaching the children self-reliance is huge, it builds a child’s confidence.  Therefore, when they enter new situations it is already easier for them, and they will be more successful because they have learned life skills along the way.

If you are like the mom that I met, and want to teach your child skills of self-reliance and to be responsible, you may want to check out the link below.  It’s a list of chores your child can do at home starting at age 2 – 3 years old.

Recently, I was at the juice bar at Whole Foods and next to the cashier is an area where the kids play.  There were two children and their mom.  The little girl looked to be around 2 years old and her brother was about 4 years old.  While waiting for the cashier, I found myself watching the children play.  At one point their mother said to the little girl, “Kelsey, you seem to be done playing with the ball”.  When the little girl continued to play with her next toy, her mother gently touched her arm and said, “Kelsey, I need you to pick up the ball and put it back where it goes so the next child can play with it”.  With this simple reminder, the girl walked over to retrieve the ball and return it to the bin.  I was so elated with this mom, I had to say something.  “Wow, kudos to you mom”.  At first, she just stared at me.  But, I wanted her to know how impressed I was.  So, I went on to say, “I worked with little ones.  You did that very nicely.  First, you made a statement.  Kelsey, you seem to be done with the ball, and then you told her that you would like her to put it back.  She looks to be about 2 years old, it was nice to see you make her responsible for the things that she is playing with”.  The mom laughed and said, “It doesn’t always go that smoothly”.

I remember when I was 3 years old, my mother gave me two chores, one personal chore (to brush my teeth on my own) and one to benefit the family (to sweep the floor under the table after we ate).  Looking back at that today, I think my mother gave me that chore to teach me to eat without making such a mess.  As I got older, my chores changed, but I have always remembered when my mother said I was old enough to have my own chores to help the family, like my brothers and sister did.

Giving chores to children is a great teaching tool!  It teaches the child:

  • That they are part of a family or community
  • To respect and be responsible for what they are using
  • Team work
  • To follow directions to complete a task
  • Shows self-direction and life skills

Even within the classroom, the children are taught self-help skills and that they are part of the larger group.  As a member of the group, they have shared responsibilities.  Throughout the school day, the children participate together in activities.  By teaching them to work together to clean up after themselves, the children show that they can follow directions and cooperate with their peers to complete a task.  By caring for the things they’ve used, it shows they are responsible.  As the children get older and have demonstrated this, they are given more flexibility to use any materials they need, so they can organize more extensive play situations; which gives them great pride in their achievements.

Teaching the children self-reliance is huge, it builds a child’s confidence.  Therefore, when they enter new situations it is already easier for them, and they will be more successful because they have learned life skills along the way.

If you are like the mom that I met, and want to teach your child skills of self-reliance and to be responsible, you may want to check out the link below.  It’s a list of chores your child can do at home starting at age 2 – 3 years old.

Read it here:

 

 

 

 

 

3 Things to Keep in Mind For The First Day Of Daycare

No doubt about it, the first time you drop your child off at daycare is truly a big deal ! This is true for both your child and you! I’d just like to mention 3 things you should keep in mind for that all important first day.

1. Check That List and Check It Twice!

Before you start, the teachers or director should provide you with a list of essential items to bring. The list may include diapers , wipes, nap items such as blankets, pillows, and favorite cuddle toy, and spare clothes. Please be sure all these supplies are clearly labeled with your child’s name!

Also, make sure all your paperwork is in order. This usually has to be sent in before your child starts. Double check that all the information you have provided is accurate. Especially phone numbers for you or an emergency person. If your child needs medication like Epipen it is extremely important that all medical info and prescriptions are up to date.

2. Don’t Linger at Drop Off

Saying goodbye can certainly be hard so we always encourage having a morning routine. We suggest things like coming in the room and getting your child involved in an activity, bringing  him/ her to a window and saying you will wave as you leave, setting the timer on your phone and saying you have to leave when it goes off. And if your child is having a particularly hard separation just signal the teacher to step in and help. With infants, you will probably be putting them into the arms of a teacher who will cuddle them until they feel safe and calm. Some babies really like to be in swings to settle down or a high chair with some toys.

Having that little routine will help ease your child into the day and they will know it is time for you to leave. A cheerful goodbye and stating when you will see them also helps. Like “ok I’ll see you after nap” or “I’ll be picking you up after lunch” If you have left your little one crying and you are worried, a simple phone call or e mail to check on them is a good idea.

3. You Are Not Alone

The first day can be full of anxiety for you! This is not unusual as it is a big step leaving your little one in the hands of others. If you have ANY questions or concerns at all, JUST ASK! There are no silly questions. If you need to make a quick call to check in on your child then do it. Having the line of communication open is very important from day one!

Just remember to be patient, every new experience takes some getting used to. But before you know it you will be a pro giving other new parents advice!

Ready or Not…Here We Go!!!!

Here we are again, excitement is in the air as the new school year is about to begin. Now most children are excited and ready for the new adventure of kindergarten. But, there are the few who do not like change. I’d like to chat about them for a bit.

These are the children who may start showing signs of anxiety. They may suddenly develop nervous habits such as nail biting, wanting to hold on to a favorite stuffed animal or blanket, sucking their thumb, or even having bathroom accidents. We have seen children start to cry over little things or become more physically aggressive. I remember one little guy who would get upset and ask over and over where we were going when we were just going for a walk around the preschool property!

If your child is experiencing some fear over this transition….

Not to Worry, We Have Some Suggestions:

  1. Read some books on the subject, here is a list of titles we like:
  • Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready For Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
  • Froggy Goes to School by Jonathan London
  • The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing
  • First Day Jitters by Julie Danneburg
  • Countdown to Kindergarten by Alison McGhee & Harry Bliss
  • Look Out Kindergarten, Here I come! by Nancy Carlson
  • Rufus Goes to School by Kim T. Griswell

2. Take a few days off before school begins.

In other words, try to arrange it so you don’t end daycare on Tuesday and kindergarten begins on Wednesday. Kids truly need that break.

3. Role Play

Let your child play with their new backpack, lunchbox, etc.. and pretend to be at school. Let her/him be the teacher and you the student. I remember doing this with my grandpa, he was such a good sport!

4. Find a buddy

If there is a child you know who is going to the same school have a little get together. Often children who  have been in daycare together will have some friends going to the same kindergarten, On a personal note here, “the little girl” my mom had me go to school with is still my best friend today! :>)

Well, I hope you find these tips helpful. A special “hug” to all you parents out there as your little ones take that first big step! It’s not always easy for you either!

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