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

I Can See Clearly Now

I recently came upon an article that stated, “Close to 175,000 American preschoolers struggle with common, untreated, vision problems”.  Read the article here:  They project that by 2060, the number of uncorrected vision problems in preschoolers will jump another 26%.  This may be due to the use of modern technology, although it wasn’t stated why.

Looking back over the years, I can only remember two children that were brought to have their vision checked.  One child was always complaining at circle time that he couldn’t see the story we were reading.  So, before circle time started, Jackie or I would make sure he wasn’t sitting behind a taller child.  If he was, we would move his spot to help him see better.  But, even with our efforts, he was still complaining that he couldn’t see.  The second child was a little girl who always seem to be rubbing her eyes.  When we mentioned it to her mother, she wondered if she had allergies.  After we spoke with the child’s mother, she began to be aware of how much her daughter was rubbing her eyes.  When it continued into the winter, after allergy season, she decided to bring her daughter to the eye doctor.  Both children needed glasses.

Reading the article reminded me of those two children, but it also made me realize how few parents bring their child in to an eye specialist for a basic comprehensive eye exam.  This article recommends that all children should have a comprehensive eye exam by 3 years old.

Very young children cannot understand or express when there is something wrong with their vision, so they are often heard complaining, “I can’t see that”.  Remember to bring your child in for a vision checkup, this may help them to be more successful in their early years of learning.

 

How About Making America POLITE again?

First of all, I just want to say how truly tired and disgusted I have become with all the rude and disrespectful behavior that surrounds us these days! Really? How can children be expected to be polite if the adults aren’t providing proper role models? I’m telling you that something absolutely has to change!

The change can begin right now with our children. Now I am talking about starting as young as a year old. Yes! As soon as they are starting to walk and a talk is when manners can start to be introduced. Let me just share some example of things that I have done and witnessed throughout my preschool teaching years. At a year, they do begin to ask for things using one word, they can be reminded to add the word please. Of course there is no expectation they will say it right away or even know how to use it right now but it is being said over and over and they will understand eventually. Truly they do! It really starts to kick in as they progress to the ages of two and three. It is building foundation! Just using a gentle “no” when they throw their food on the floor and watching an adult pick it up reinforces the idea of table manners. “It stays on your plate.” Encouraging them to wave hi and good bye when parents leave, again, the beginning of connecting with people. It is all quite simple and should come naturally as we interact with the little ones on a daily basis.

Of course this continues to build and grow as they age and the expectations will increase. By the time a child is three a teacher can ask a child who hurts another to tell  the aggressor to check on  the child he hurt and ask, “are u ok?” This will eventually lead to knowing how to say I’m sorry. I remember serving snack to my 4 yr olds and would ask them to say yes please or no thank you. I once had a conversation with a mom of a 4 and 7 yr old. She stated that her older child was always throwing garbage on the floor and asked when she should start teaching manners. Without missing a beat I expressed she missed the boat and that should have started years before. I don’t understand why some parents are so intimidated about teaching their kids manners! On a few occasions a child has raised a hand to me or a co worker right in front of a parent and they had no comment. Are you kidding? I would firmly say, “you may not hit me, that is not ok!”

So hopefully you will become more aware of how your child is reacting in social situations and ask your daycare/ preschool if manners are being addressed in their facility. They should be! It’s part of learning self respect as well as respect for others. Let’s remind them of the simple please, thank you, excuse me responses. This will lead to a more respectful adult and a much nicer world to live in!

Finally, I’d like to include a few books you may want to check out:

  • Excuse Me , A Little Book of Manners by Karen Katz (this is especially good for toddlers)
  • Monster Manners by Bethany Roberts
  • Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners by Stan and Jan Berenstain

 

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:

 

 

 

 

 

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