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Pregnancy & Parenting > Parenting Preschoolers

Advice from a Day Care Provider

After the day care has been chosen and a child enrolled a parent may feel that they have completed the important parts of the process. However, there are other things to keep in mind to help make the transition smooth between the Day Care and home as well as make things a little easier on the Day Care workers so that they can provide the proper and best care for a child.

TOYS FROM HOME

The basic rule is: don't bring them. Bringing toys generally will only cause frustration amongst the children. The child with the toy will not always want to share and the other children will be angry at this. Or, if the toy is broken the owner will be even angrier and his/her parents may want the parents of the other child to pay for the item. This will cause a lot of tension between everyone.

The only exception that a day Care worker might allow, is for newly enrolled children who might need a toy as a “security blanket.” A favorite toy or item from home helps a child stay connected to their home or parents and reassures them that they are going home again. However, limit the item to just one. Caregivers will understand that they need this, let's say blanket, but will also attempt to put it away at some point. A Day Care worker wants the child to feel secure and loved without the toy. They might mention to the child “can we put your blanket over here while we eat?” or “let's leave the blanket inside so it won't get dragged in the dirt.” This helps the child gain security without it, but it is there and will always be handed back when necessary.

A "Show-N-Tell" is also an exception but in this case every child brings something. Oftentimes a “Show-n-Tell” will be held and then everyone is encouraged to bring an item and talk about it. But do this only if the Day care has requested it.

LABEL EVERYTHING

Often, Day Cares will ask the parents to bring in supplies for their children to keep at the Day care. Most Day Cares should mention that they want names on everything brought in but even if they don’t it is a good idea to label everything. This alleviates the Day Care workers from having to do it themselves and saves them time. It will also help prevent confusion. It is a good idea to write the child’s entire name in case there are any other children with similar initials.

MEDICINES

Day Care workers will administer medicines but are generally not licensed medical technicians or have any medical/nursing background. Never assume that a Day Care worker will know how much or when to give medications. It is advisable to check with the Day Care policies before bringing in medications in case they have their own requirements. However, most Day Cares follow the same rules. They will administer medications with a doctors note and if the medicine is brought in it's original container. All medicines are locked up and the head teacher in each room is the only one allowed to administer it. However, if you can schedule the doses for times that the children are not in day care it is much better. There is less risk of any error. For instance, if a child needs medicine in the morning and at night then give it to them before bringing them to the center. Centers have forms to fill out for administering medicine (ask about these). Do not just drop the medicine off and say “give him this.” They will need to know how much, when, the side effects and what it is for (also why we need it in the original container).

COMMUNICATION

They are there for your children and for the parents and children. If there are any questions about their qualifications just ask. A Day Care worker will tell you what their experience is and if the refuse then you might want to question why they are refusing to tell you. If there are questions about the center, just ask. If looking for advice or tips on anything regarding children, then ask.

Some centers may even have books to check out or free brochures full of advice. If you feel there is something a Day Care shouldn't do or aren't doing at all then tell them. On the opposite side of the spectrum, if they are doing a good job then compliment them.

FOOD

Another problem is letting children bring food into the center. This creates the same problems as toys. Unless you are bringing a treat for the holidays or birthdays and there is enough for every child, leave the food at home. A child is fed meals and snacks every 3-4 hours at day care. An example schedule might be: 7-9 breakfast is offered, 11 is lunch, 2 is snack, children go home by 5 or 6. Children will not starve to death and no child will go hungry. If there isn’t time to feed them at home tell their staff and they will give them a snack at the day care. This way, if the others see them eating they can be offered the same since it is food on hand. The only exception is for infants (under 1 year) that are eating baby foods or formula or perhaps a child who has severe food allergies or dietary restrictions and needs to bring a lunch from home.

Continued: Accidents Happen, Do's and Don'ts and Conclusion

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Dealing with Tantrums

Choosing Toys for Toddlers

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