The decision to send your child to daycare is not one that you take lightly. Maybe you’ve always known that your family would use daycare, or maybe you originally intended to handle childcare another way, but had a change of plans. Either way, you probably took great pains to research daycare centers in your area and choose one that suits your child and your family best. Still, that first full day of leaving your child in the care of a daycare provider can be hard on both of you. Here are a few ways to make it easier.
Take Some Time to Transition
Research shows that even babies as young as 15 months old experience higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol when they’re separated from their mothers. However, the findings also suggest that the child’s attachment bond with their parent stays secure, or even becomes more secure, when more days are spent helping the child adapt to child care.
What does that mean? Basically, it means that, yes, daycare will be stressful for your child at first, but it can help if the first full day of daycare isn’t the first day they see the inside of the daycare. If you have enough time before you need to begin using the daycare full-time, it’s not a bad idea to start off with a part-time schedule. At a minimum, you should bring your child with you to scope out the daycare, and spend some time letting them get used to the environment, the caregivers, and the toys at the daycare center with you there. You could also try dropping them off for an hour or so once or twice before the big day.
Bring The Blankie Along
If your child has a comfort object, such as a blanket, stuffed animal, or doll, let them bring it to daycare with them. Your child’s comfort object is something that makes them feel secure, and if they have it at the daycare, it will give them a tangible reminder that they’re safe and that everything is OK.
If nothing else, a comfort object can help your child nap at the daycare. Your child’s comfort object likely smells like home, which means it reminds them of you. It can be tough for anyone, even an adult, to close their eyes and sleep in unfamiliar surroundings, so if a teddy bear or blanket can help, it’s worth bringing it along.
Start a New Ritual
Kids like when things are predictable. Creating a new ritual for saying goodbye can help make the daycare drop-off feel predictable and safe.
A goodbye ritual can be whatever seems right to you – it could be saying something funny, like “see you later, alligator” instead of “goodbye,” or it could be giving them a kiss on each cheek, or a high five. Whatever works. But if you establish a regular ritual for saying goodbye, your child will get the idea that the drop-off is a normal part of their day, and they’ll realize that when you say goodbye, you always come back for them later.
Most importantly, stay calm and cheerful when saying goodbye. Your child will take their cues from you, so if you’re upset, they’ll be upset, too. Keeping your cool is the best way to help your child keep theirs. Click here to learn more about daycare centers in your area.
Your little one might be the child who greets strangers in stores and who feels at ease in new situations. Great! On the other hand, if your child is overly shy, he or she is missing out on a lot of fun. Of course, it’s normal for kids to feel a little bit intimidated by new situations. If it takes your child a long time to feel comfortable, there are some great things you can do to help him or her feel more confident.
Start At Home – Do you already set up play dates at your house? If so, set up situations that will help him or her to be more social at home. For example, when you hear the doorbell or a knock at the door, be sure that your child accompanies you to greet guests. When it’s time for treats, encourage your child to serve. If you haven’t had play dates for your child in the past, start with just one little guest. Later, increase the number of children who will be part of the group.
Going Out With Parents – Take your child with you as you run errands. Even if you don’t need the help, show your child how to interact with people by asking for assistance in different situations. For example, while you’re in the produce section of your grocery store, make it a point to ask a worker which apples are the best for making apple pie. You might know that already, but the point is for your child to see how the exchange of words helped you. When it’s time to order lunch, encourage your child to order his or her own food. Do you need extra ketchup for the French fries you’ve ordered? Show your child how easy it is to just say, “More ketchup, please.”
Child Care Helps – A great way for your child to be less shy is by being in a safe setting away from home and away from you. You’ve probably already left him with a friend or with relatives, but going to a child care center might be the best next step for your child. Start your child with just one or two mornings every week and then add more days. Having a nurturing caregiver will teach your child how to trust. Playing with other children might be scary at first, but soon your child will be making friends and joining in the fun. In addition, he or she will learn about taking turns and sharing toys. In addition, your child will be preparing for the time that he or she will be attending kindergarten. Educational toys, reading time, music time and outdoor play will be part of every day spent in a great setting.
At the end of every day, get your child to tell you the parts of the day he or she liked best and ask your child to help you plan activities for the next day. For further assistance, contact a local child care center, such as Kaye Kare Child Care Center.
As a parent, you know how important it is for your child to get a full night of deep, restorative sleep. Great sleep can affect a child’s mood, creativity and performance in school. When you’ve tried everything from limited caffeine and electronics to a regimented sleep time, it can be frustrating that your child doesn’t seem to get great sleep. What can you do to help them feel sleepy at the right time and wake up rested? Try one of these tips.
Tart Cherry Juice
If your child enjoys cherries, you’re in luck! Tart cherry juice helps the body naturally create more melatonin. It improves the quality of your sleep and sleep time. For children who don’t enjoy the taste of cherries, mix the juice with grape juice and call it a fruity drink. Melatonin works slowly, so it’s best to give your child the drink around dinner time so it has time to work its magic.
Melatonin Drops or Pills
Melatonin is a natural hormone that prepares the body to fall asleep. It is naturally created in the body about 6 hours before bedtime. However, some people may not produce enough melatonin to sleep properly on their own. Natural melatonin drops or pills before bedtime can help you reset your child’s internal clock. Just be sure to talk to your doctor for dosage and possible side effects before giving your child melatonin.
Your child might not be able to fall asleep because they have trouble calming down. When their mind is racing from anxiety, too little exercise, or ADHD, essential oils can help. Lavender, vetiver, sandalwood, roman chamomile and ylang ylang are all great oils to induce sleep and calm the mind. Use in a diffuser or apply topically with carrier oil if appropriate (check label for instructions on topical use).
Chamomile has long been lauded for its calming properties. If your child is sensitive to smells in essential oils, you can prepare a cup of chamomile tea for them to sip on at night. The ritual of drinking a warm drink before bed gives your child a routine, which can help them prepare better for sleep. Not to mention, warm drinks can calm the body and nerves.
When you have tried everything and your restless child still doesn’t seem to get quality sleep, try a mix of the above techniques to help them out. For more information on melatonin supplements for your child, check out a site like http://www.tiredteddies.com/.
Originally developed in the 1940s, the Reggio Emilia concept–a child-education philosophy–is experiencing a rebirth in preschool and child care settings. Many high-profile schools and daycare centers are jumping on board. For example, Google recently adopted the philosophy to use in their child care facility. Even if your program hasn’t adopted the philosophy officially, some core concepts of the philosophy may still be present in your child’s curriculum. Following are three such concepts that are being implemented in preschools, child care centers, and elementary schools everywhere.
In this philosophy, children are not expected to simply absorb information fed to them by an instructor. In fact, the instructor lets the child take the lead. The curriculum is fueled by the child’s natural curiosity. For example, if a child shows interest in a particular object, the instructor helps them explore it and learn all they can about it. Instead of teaching concepts, the instructor becomes a friend that goes on a journey of discovery with the child. It is thought that this approach fosters curiosity in a child and a love for education.
Children are encouraged to express themselves or their understanding of a learned concept in a multitude of ways, and the child gets to choose which method they want to use. Mediums for expression include art, song, dance, story-telling, writing, etc. What this means is that your young child can demonstrate what they are learning using a medium that feels comfortable and natural to them.
In a Reggio Emilia classroom, several students may be learning the very same thing but in a unique and different way. For instance, during a lesson about the sky, one student may draw a picture of the sky while another simply stares out the window in wonder. Through both views, the instructor is there to guide them and answer their questions.
Focus on Experience
This philosophy focuses on the experience and process of learning rather than the product. Instructors following this philosophy take pictures or videos of the children while taking notes about how each child approached the project. Often these notes and pictures are sent home so the parents will know what their child learned about, how they learned about it, what questions they asked and so forth. Talk with a professional, like Kid’s Country Child Care & Learning Center, to see how to best engage your child’s learning approaches.
Many preschools and day care centers have started using concepts adopted from this philosophy. Yours might have a curriculum based on at least one of these concepts.