Dear Daycare Parent - The Leading Resource for Parents with Children in Daycare

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

Take Time to Make Time

I came across a beautiful picture of a parent and small child standing on the beach in their winter coats admiring the ocean and seagulls flying around. The caption over the picture said….. To a child, “love” is spelled  ” T-I-M-E.”

In light of the recent headlines, I thought this simple yet meaningful sentiment would be appropriate. We get so caught up in the daily routine , it can be easy to forget what is TRULY important in the end.

Instead of saying, “I wish I had.”, be able to say, “I’m glad I did!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Achoo! It’s cold and flu season!

It’s cold and flu season and as one parent walks into the classroom she looks over at a little boy who obviously has something brewing.  A teacher is helping him to wipe his nose; the mucus that is bubbling out is thick and dark in color.  The child has red rimmed watery eyes and he looks miserable.  The parent says in frustration, “I can’t believe this!  I kept my child home because he had a slight cough and I didn’t want him to infect anyone else’s child.  Why is that child here?”

She points to the child that the teacher was helping.  This parent’s exasperated comment, alerted another parent and she chimed right in to the conversation.  “I know”, said the second parent.  “We had plans to go away last weekend, since I saw that some illness was going around in the classroom, I decided to keep my daughter home a few days prior, just to ensure that she would be healthy when we went away.”

We know that every parent doesn’t have the luxury to keep their child home, when there is a child in the classroom with a cold.  But, during cold and flu season, parents need to be diligent.  Parents must monitor their own child’s health, as well as doing everything they can to prevent their own child from getting sick.

While there is no sure fire way to prevent illness, there are some simple steps that can be followed in a child care setting to try and cut down on the number of germs and viruses:

  • As Ignaz Semmelweis discovered back in the 1840s, “HANDWASHING” is extremely important in the fight to control germs! It’s best to have the children and adults wash hands when they first arrive at daycare. Throughout the day they should wash before and after eating, after using the bathroom, and after wiping their noses. The children usually stand and scrub their hands while singing the happy birthday song which ensures enough time to combat germs. Teachers should also follow suit with washing hands in addition to wearing gloves during changing and helping children with bathroom time.
  • Another simple task is to be sure that your child’s nap bedding is taken home and washed on a weekly basis.
  • Ask your center if the room is sanitized every day. This means surfaces are cleaned with soap and water and a disinfectant and toys are cleaned on a regular basis.
  • And finally, and this is extremely important, please keep the staff informed of your child’s health. Don’t hide any issues! If they were not feeling well the night before, fess up please!
  • Be sure to be familiar with and follow the sick policy that is given to you before you enroll. It is typical for a child to be sent home with a fever of 101, 2 diarrheas, unexplained rash, or vomiting. They should not return to school until they are 24 hours symptom free without the use of medication.

Now we know that having a sick child is frustrating and it is difficult to miss work. But please understand that it is necessary to keep your child out in order for him/her to recover properly and help prevent further contamination to both peers and teachers. And by the way, teachers who are ill need to stay out too! Germs are germs right?

If we all cooperate, we TRULY can help cut down on the instance of illness. Stay Healthy Everyone!!!!

Play games! It’s time well spent!

Last year, just before summer, my niece sent me a note telling me that some of her fondest memories of childhood were the times that I came by just to play games with her and her siblings.  She said, “She was sure that time spent together was the reason she still loved so many games today”.  I know that playing board games with her siblings was truly a bonding experience.  Each one of them is now grown, but they still love games and will even organize game nights with friends and family.

She went on to say, that she is working on instilling game night with her own three young boys.  As a teacher herself, she said, “Playing games is not just the teaching of rules and going through the motions, but a lot of the appeal is the time spent together, working for a common goal”.  Playing games with children has so many benefits.  But, she is right, first and foremost, it allows them to spend unhurried time together, laughing and socializing, while enjoying the interactions of playing the game.

Other benefits offered by playing a game:

  • Learning to wait for a turn, as well as, actively taking a turn.
  • Understanding the set goal.
  • To learn color discrimination.
  • To work on reading skills, through letter or word recognition.
  • To work on math skills, through counting or spatial awareness.
  • Decision making and critical thinking.

After getting her letter, I quickly sent her three games that I played with the children at school.  But recently, I was introduced to a company called, Peaceable Kingdom, that makes games for younger children.  This company designs their games to be played cooperatively (to reach a common goal), rather than competitively (against each other).  The game that I watched the children play over the holidays was called, HOOT OWL, HOOT!  The children worked together to get all their owls back into the nest before the sun came up.  Since it’s a cooperative game, either everyone wins or they all lose.

After watching the children play the game, I was curious to see how many games this company had for young children.  They had many!  Some of the titles include: Willy’s Wiggly Web, Count Your Chickens, Feed the Wozzle, Monkey Around, The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel, Stack Up!, and Sunny and Stormy Day!

I was drawn to the last game listed.  One of the reviews describe “Sunny and Stormy Day! as this: “Peaceable Kingdoms latest cooperative game uses a weather metaphor to open conversations about emotions and how to understand them.  The delightful game presents a picture book, game and a sharing activity to encourage children and parents to talk about what made them happy, sad, or even mad on any given day.  These age appropriate tools serve as playful prompts to help build the social emotional skills needed to be kind, empathetic, resilient and confident.  And in a world dominated by screen time, these skills are more important than ever”.

As teachers, one of the things we are constantly doing throughout the day is to help the children understand their emerging feelings, identify them and how to deal with them.  They may have been sad because another child colored on their drawing, or angry when someone took their toy.  Or, they may have been excited to be able to do something on their own, without any adult help.

At times, Jackie and I would hear parents say to us, “(child’s name) never tells me about his or her day”.  This game would allow the child an opportunity to open the lines of communication with their parents about their feelings and events that impacted their young lives.

All the Peaceable Kingdom games are cooperative, and the play time is short (10 – 20 minutes), which is ideal for this age group.  Also, a few of their games offer a “level up”, which allows the game to grow with your child.

So, I encourage you to start your own tradition of having game night with your child; your child will reap the benefits, because it’s special time spent with you!

Merry Happy Everything!

Last week was the beginning of Hanukkah, and it reminded me how much Jackie and I loved the winter holidays. We used them as a way to teach the kids about diversity and introduce them to the fact that each family is unique and may celebrate differently according to their own traditions.

 

These traditions may include special foods they serve, decorations or trees that they put up and even who they celebrated with. We liked to discuss these holidays and traditions to give the kids a fun way to embrace cultural differences.

 

Right after Thanksgiving, we began to ask the parents in our classroom what holidays they observed as well as how they were celebrated. Knowing this information allowed us the opportunity to talk about these differences with the children. At times, we were fortunate enough to have a parent come into the class to share a story, prepare a special food or engage in an activity that represented their holiday.

 

We had one child from Holland whose parents told us they celebrated St. Nicholas Day on December 6th. “Sinterklaas” wore red robes and a tall pointed hat. He traveled by ship with a huge sack of toys for the children. The family told us that the ornaments on their tree looked like little wooden shoes. On this day, the children would put a pair of shoes or boots into a window with the hope that St. Nicholas would fill them with chocolate or small presents.

 

There was also a little boy in our class from Croatia. Their Christmas started on November 25th with St. Catherine Day; then throughout December they celebrated other saints. On November 25th they made a wreath of straw or evergreens with four candles on it. The wreath symbolized endlessness and the candles represented history and life. Like the little girl in our class, they too celebrated St. Nicholas Day. They put up Christmas trees and decorated them with ornaments in the shape of fruit. Finally, on December 25th, they added a fifth candle to the wreath for Christmas Day.

 

One wonderful dad came in to share how Hanukkah is celebrated and even made latkes with the children as well as playing the Dreidel game.

 

After learning about how their peers celebrated the holidays, the children eagerly began to talk about some of their traditions putting up Christmas tree, candles in the windows, making cookies as a snack for Santa or even leaving out carrots for his reindeer, lighting a menorah, and playing the dreidel game. The children were eager to share what was happening in their family.

 

In the book, Family First: Your Step By Step Plan For Creating a Phenomenal Family by Dr. Phil McGraw, he discusses the importance of creating family traditions with your children. These traditions bring your family together.

 

As you can see, we strongly believe in that sharing our holidays and traditions is what truly brings us all together and honors who we are. What a wonderful thing!

 

Wishing you all a peaceful holiday season!

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