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

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!

Raising Independent Children

Raising Independent Children

I can’t tell you how many times parents would come into our classroom and comment on the controlled chaos in the room.  They would say to Jackie and me, “I don’t know how you do it.  You have 16 children in here, they aren’t arguing, and they are all busy.  What is your secret?”

We’d say, “There is no secret, we are constantly trying to create a classroom to encourage the children to use their independence and self-reliance skills which would help them now and prepare them for Kindergarten.”

Recently, I found an article that offers seven tips to help you raise independent children, these are the same ideas we incorporate in the classroom.  (Read the story here) 

I will point out how we use these guidelines with the children.  Hopefully you’ll want to try them at home.

  1. Keep to schedules and routines.

By having a set schedule or routine, the children know what to expect and can start to monitor their own time.  They will begin to make their choices of what they want to do.

Even though they’ve yet to begin to tell time, they seem to have an internal clock and know if they will have enough time to finish their project or activity.  Sometimes they will even ask in advance if they can save what they were working on to finish it later.

Having a routine is comforting for children because they know what to expect.  If you ask your child, most of them can tell you their school’s schedule.  For instance, they may say something like this, “First we have free play, then we have circle time, snack, outside time, circle time, art project, lunch. . .etc.

  1. As they get older, let them do particular activities alone.

We encourage the children to work alone on a task or on an activity of their choice.  Doing this, encourages children to make choices on their own, which builds their attention span and helps them to be more self-reliant.  Lastly, working alone, encourages your child to problem solve along the way.

  1. Encourage chores in the house.

Even in the classroom, the children are taught to do activities that benefit the whole classroom.  If they were using the dress-up clothes, they are encouraged to hang them back up, so the next child can use them.

While working in a group activity, such as block building, the children are expected to participate in the task of cleaning up.  By sharing in these everyday jobs, this teaches the children to be responsible for the things they were using.

  1. Employ the “if you want it, get it” rule.

When children are being creative in the classroom, they often have in their mind’s eye how they want the outcome to be.  Therefore, they will have an idea of what they need or how they can make it better.

While they are playing and creating, we let the children get and use anything they need to accomplish their task.  Sometimes, they will even ask if they can go borrow an item from another classroom.

This kind of thinking expands their resourcefulness, inspires problem-solving and lets the children know they can do things for themselves.

  1. Praise them for their accomplishments.

Praise goes a long way in a young child’s life.  When they are praised for all the little accomplishments they make, they build an “I can do it” attitude.  Then, they will want to do more and more things on their own.

  1. Let them experiment and learn.

In the classroom, we always encourage and cheer the children to accomplish a task on their own, rather than rescuing them and doing it for them; since that teaches them nothing.

At the beginning of the school year, the children discover all the dress-up clothes they have at their disposal for pretend play.  Often, they would ask us to dress them, instead of doing it for them, we guide them as they do it for themselves.

Tasks such as getting dressed for outside play, putting on their own shoes, opening their own lunch items like yogurt, applesauce and potato chips are all skill builders.  If a child is having difficulty opening a bag of potato chips, their frustration can be lessened simply by asking, “do you think scissors would help?”

Having the children do things for themselves may take time and patience, but the time spent is worth it in the end.

  1. Remind them they have choices.

The article said it best, “Rather than relying on you, give your kids chances to make their own decisions, even if it starts out as something small, like choosing what to put in their lunchbox.”

In our class, the children were encouraged to make several choices throughout their day, such as: what activities they want to do, who they wanted to play with, what did they want to build, did they want to participate in an art project or even who they wanted to sit next to in circle or at snack.  Making choices on their own gives them power.

The guidelines mentioned in the article are the same that are incorporate within our class.  These guidelines are used daily to encourage children to grow and become more self-reliant, before heading off to Kindergarten.

We hope you incorporate these tips in your home to build stronger and more independent children.

 

 

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