Chinese New Year begins on February 19, 2015. It’s one of the most important holidays in the Chinese calendar. It lasts for 15 days and is cause for much celebration, and a feeling of renewal. Sharing the concept of Chinese New Year with day care children would open the door for some fun activities!
Many families will clean the house during the celebration, in order to sweep away bad fortune and welcome good luck into the home. Making cleaning a part of a celebration is a great way to get kids to help clean, and who wouldn’t want good luck?
Children might be fascinated by the story of the Nian, a mythical beast that would come to Chinese villages on or around Chinese New Year to attack people. In order to prevent the attack the next year, villagers learned to bang on drums and set off firecrackers, in order to frighten the Nian away with the loud noises. They also used the color red in lanterns, scrolls, and clothing. The story goes that a small child wore red and the Nian was frightened of the color, so it left the child alone. The Nian hasn’t attacked anyone since people learned these tricks, so they are now used at Chinese New Year celebrations. It would be fun for the kids to make some noise, and perhaps make some scrolls from red paper.
On Chinese New Year’s Eve, many Chinese families will eat a “reunion dinner”, usually having a chicken or pork dish. A fish dish is usually included, but it’s important that not all the fish is eaten. Some must be refrigerated overnight, from the previous year and into the new year, to ensure that each year has a surplus. People may give each other gifts of sweets, such as oranges, chocolates, or candies. These would be inexpensive and easily be prepared as a daycare activity for the kids.
You can find more fascinating information about Chinese New Year traditions on the internet. Learning about other cultures is so important for our children, and so much fun for them. This is a great learning opportunity!
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed on the third Monday each January. King’s birthday is January 15, so the observance falls around the time of his birthday. Many schools observe this holiday and are closed for the day, but many workplaces are not, so there will be lots of kids in daycare that are normally in school. These school age kids will likely learn about Martin Luther King Jr. in school, and there may be some activities in daycare.
Martin Luther King Jr. is probably the most recognizable figure in the American Civil Rights movement. He brought attention to race issues in the 1960’s. He rallied citizens to end racial segregation by use of non-violent protest. He also worked to end poverty and bring about an end to the Vietnam War, before he was assassinated in 1968.
The Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011, protesting social and economic inequality, also used nonviolent protest, championed by Dr. King and Mahatma Gandhi. These methods have been successful in bringing attention to various causes. The First Amendment to the constitution protects the rights of Americans, including the right to freedom of speech and the freedom to peaceably assemble, meaning that by following a few simple rules, protesters are free to gather and speak their minds.
It’s important for kids to learn not only about history, but how what has happened in the past affects current events and their futures. Children born in the 1990’s and 2000’s have never grown up with segregation and oftentimes, cannot fathom why anybody would treat somebody differently due to the color of their skin. This is Dr. King’s dream come true, and it was through the work of peaceful activists.
The children in daycare on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, learning about the man and his legacy, are also learning that ordinary people have the power to change the world for the good of all mankind. They have an opportunity to make their voices and ideas heard.
As parents, we have the opportunity to hear what our children have learned and discuss it with them. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is an excellent opportunity to discuss history and current events with our children. Dr. King is a wonderful example of how one person really can make a difference in the world. What an encouraging message for all of us!
There is something that has bugged me for some time as a parent: how to discipline a child for being a “tattletale”. It seemed kind of strange that a parent, teacher, or daycare provider would discipline the child that “tattled” to them regarding another child’s bad behavior instead of the child who is actually behaving badly. I dismissed this as “just what we do” for so long but that nagging feeling about this idea persists. As a parent, I have avoided it because it made me feel uncomfortable but I never realized why until now.
It’s Just Plain Laziness
First of all, children need to know what is right and wrong and it isn’t up to them to decide. Parents and daycare providers are supposed to do this. It is in fact one of the main jobs of being a parent or provider. Whether it is something huge like playing with matches or something small like not playing nice, it is the provider’s job to make the judgment, not the child’s. When the child who “tattled” is disciplined instead of the one actually being bad, it sends the message that we don’t care enough to step in and help when they can’t help themselves, or when they don’t quite know what to do.
Parents and Providers Need to Teach
We should not expect children to make decisions in arguments when they are so young. By the time children are old enough to know the difference between right and wrong regarding a certain situation, they shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. So the parents and providers should get involved to take care of the issue. Whether the situation is something new or old, huge or mundane, it is our responsibility as parents and providers to help them work through these situations.
It’s Name Calling
As simple as this point might seem, it is still valid. Calling a child a tattletale is name calling. Name calling at any time, for any reason, is wrong. It’s as simple as that.
Children Should Always Be Able to Talk
This is one of the most important points of this whole thing. A child should always, 100 percent of the time, feel safe about coming to a parent or daycare provider about anything. And I do mean anything. Parents and daycare providers can’t know or anticipate all of the situations a child might encounter and you do not want children to ever hesitate to talk to you. What if something bad happened to a child and they did not talk to anyone about it because they thought someone might call them a “tattletale”?
A Bully’s Playground
When children are disciplined and called “tattletales”, it opens the door for all kinds of other terrible things to happen. If a bully or an adult knows that a child will get in trouble for tattling, they can easily use that leverage to pick on and otherwise torment a child. They know the children who live under “no tattling” rules will hesitate to speak out when something is wrong. This is a terrible and easily abused situation which could be avoided if we would all agree that it is a good thing to speak out when something is wrong.
No More Tattletales
I hope that this list of reason is enough to illustrate why the whole idea of calling a child, or anyone else for that matter, a “tattletale”, is wrong. This can have far-reaching consequences even throughout adulthood. We are the parents and daycare providers for children and we must make sure that the children are always able to speak to us no matter what. As parents and daycare providers both, we need to take the pledge to end the destructive habit of calling children “tattletales” and take the time resolve whatever situation might be at hand. We owe it our children and their futures.
Back to school time comes with a whole mix of emotions for parents and children alike. Even if you don’t have kids that are in school yet, they are bound to be affected by those that are heading back to school. Some kids will love going to school, while other children will be terrified about a change from their usual daycare routine. Parents can have the same range of emotions as they try to deal with their children in different places and always the struggle of them growing up too fast. Regardless of how you feel, both the children and the parents are bound to be stressed at this time. Here are a few tips to help you along in these transitioning times.
Always Be Excited
Act excited, even if you aren’t! This will help your child be motivated and interested in these changes.
Always Be Interested
Even though you may feel overwhelmed, make sure you ask specific questions about school or their friends they might have who are going to school.
Take Some Time
Cut out some of the extras in your schedule to make time not only for your kids, but for yourself as well.
Make Sure to Show Attention to Your Kids Who Aren’t in School
It is a huge deal that one of your children is going to school, but you also need to make sure you give attention to those kids that aren’t. They will feel left out if you don’t.
Stay on Top of Schedules
Often during school, schedules become very complicated and hectic. Make sure your schedule matches up with your daycare providers.
It is a stressful and busy time for everyone when school starts and if you have children in daycare it can be very difficult to make everything work. It will be even more difficult if you do not follow these simple rules. You want your kids to be excited about school, happy about those that are going to school, and handling the changes well. As a parent you will need to have them responsive to being dropped off and picked up whether it is daycare or school. These simple rules should make it much easier for both children and their parents to make the difficult transition back to school from daycare.
What is it about kids and water? They are deliriously happy playing in the neighborhood pool or a wading pool in the backyard. It seems like such a basic part of childhood, that it’s hard to imagine that an average of 390 children under the age of 15 die annually from drowning, and 75% of those are children under the age of 5 (http://www.poolsafely.gov/drowning-deaths-injuries/). If your daycare provider takes your child to a pool, has a pool in the backyard, or sets up a wading pool during the summer, you might want to determine the precautions they take in order to keep the children safe.
It’s a definite plus for any day care provider to be certified in CPR and have taken classes in First Aid. When a pool is involved, knowing CPR may mean the difference between life and death. The pool should also be fenced off or, if it’s a wading pool, emptied of water when playtime is over.
It’s difficult to keep an eye on children at all times, but at the pool, it’s imperative. The daycare provider needs to pay attention to each of the children. Not only do they need to be watching the children, they need to know what to look for. On TV, drowning is always a noisy, splashy affair. In real life, it is more likely to be quiet and fast. As a parent, we know the kids are up to no good when it becomes quiet, right? When children play in the water, they are noisy. If they start splashing and calling for help, they need help. If they become eerily quiet, they may need help as well. You need to find out why they are so quiet (http://mariovittone.com/2010/05/154/). Even if they are not in danger, a quiet child in the pool may be exhausted or have another issue, and it may be time for them to take a break from the water.
As a parent, you can help prevent problems by taking your children for swimming lessons. Most recreation centers or city pools offer swimming lessons, usually for a reasonable price. There, the children will learn water safety and basics that will help them as they play in the water. However, don’t think that swimming lessons mean your child will not drown. Children need to be closely supervised when they are playing in or near water, no matter what.
Children love to play in the water. But it’s important for daycare providers and parents to take steps to prevent injury or death in a swimming pool: keep kids from getting into unattended pools, keep a close eye on kids when they are in the pool, know what drowning looks like, and teach kids water safety and give them swimming lessons.
One of the most frustrating things to both parents and their children is not being able to communicate properly. It takes children years to learn how to talk. As a parent you don’t have to wait years to learn to communicate with your child. How do you talk to those that can’t? Through sign language of course!
Sign language is something that your baby, even an infant can learn to use. It is comprised of basic motions and movements which are much easier for your baby to learn then a speaking language. Using sign language to communicate with your baby is a great way to ease much of the frustrations that come with early parenting and your child’s early years. Parents are able to ask infants basic questions aabout what they need and why they are sad. Infants are able to tell you want they want and when they need it.
Teaching children sign language before they can speak can have a profound impact on the rest of their life. By enabling early communication, building vocabulary and building a strong relationship with your child during the first three years, you are helping your child to develop the foundation for language and learning that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Teaching sign language helps you to do this. There is a growing body of research that suggests that signing has many benefits, including:
Strengthens parent/child bonds
Enables early language, vocabulary & expression
Reduces frustration and tantrums
Helps parents to be more observant and responsive
Promotes positive emotional development
Builds confidence and self esteem
Sign language is something that can and should be transferred over to your daycare provider. In fact many daycare providers already know and use sign language. If the teaching and use of sign language is used at home and at daycare you will see dramatic a dramatic increase of your baby using it.
Baby Signing Time has some great holiday deals going right now and there isn’t a better time to get started. This would make an amazing gift for any parent, grandparent and daycare provider.
I have used sign language with my children and it has helped dramatically in trying to calm upset infants. It works great to know if they are hungry, thirsty, or tired. It really is amazing how well it works. I know it has surprised many parents, it did me, that their tiny little infant has much more to say about the world around them then you ever knew. Sign language helps them to say these things. When parents use this at home and their daycare providers use sign language it can really help make the first few years before they learn to speak much better. It gives them a head start on learning, and gives parents, daycare providers and anyone else taking care of your children more tools to insure they are taken care of well.
It’s that time of year again. Time to start thinking about what to do with the holidays and what we want to do for those special people around us. As soon as your children are old enough to talk you can start to involve them in this wonderful season of giving. It is very important as a parent to start to teach your children the value of giving and doing special things for those people that we care for.
With the hectic schedule of the holidays its easy to overlook some of those that are most important to our child’s lives, their daycare providers. Make sure they are on shopping list. Daycare providers and nanny’s are such a vital part of your child’s life. They need to be reminded just how important and special they are. Involve your children in this if possible as they will just love to pick out things for their daycare provider. They will hold a special investment in the decisions and pride in giving it to them. This will help them to learn the valuable lessons around the joy of giving and showing appreciation.
Now is the time to score some great deals on things for the holidays. With the economy being what it is many retailers are offering deep cuts with their Black Friday and holiday deals.Take advantage of them while you can!
Black Friday and Holiday Deals
Great Toddler Gifts
This Brainy Baby deal is a great one, this could be the perfect gift for those that are expecting or have young kids. This set can get them started off right on the path to getting ready for school.
Daycare Supplies and Games
Here is a great source for daycare supplies. They have great deals year round and they are offering deeper discounts through the holiday season.
Kmart is has been slowly closing up stores but their online presence has been strong. You can find great deals with them through the holiday shopping season. The great thing about Kmart is that you can get a wide variety of things in one place at great prices.
Happy Halloween parents and daycare providers! This is usually a very busy day for everyone. It is very fun day for most but it is important to keep a few things in mind to make sure that you enjoy Halloween. With a little parenting advise and foresight we can make sure that this day is great for both the children, their parents and the hard working daycare providers.
Halloween is a fun time for parents, their children as well as their daycare providers. Most childcare providers have a host of fun activities and games planned for today. Make sure to talk to you children about this so they can be ready to try something new and exciting!
Parents and daycare providers should keep in mind that today breaks the normal routine of their children. So try to have a little extra patience and it will help to make Halloween that much more fun for everyone.
Halloween Celebrations at Daycare
Whether you take your child to an in-home childcare provider, a public daycare center or have a nanny at home to watch over the little ones today is a day full of fun for everyone. Both in-home daycare providers and public childcare centers should have a myriad of fun events planned for the day. Your child will likely have “too much fun” as well as too many candies and treats. Make sure to monitor this as kids will eat so much as to make them sick. It’s a great time to talk about healthy eating. Also be sure to mention that sweets are a treat to be enjoyed but not over indulged.
Halloween After Daycare
After daycare is a great time to head directly out to go trick or treating or any other activities that you or your children would like to enjoy on Halloween. The children are likely in the Halloween party mode already and it will make the transition easier for them. It’s a good idea to double check and make sure every child that is going trick or treating has their candy bucket, a flashlight and warm clothes. You may be spending an extended time outside so make sure everyone is warm and comfortable. It is also a good idea to bring along a spare set of regular clothes for everyone.
As a parent make sure to set a clear goal or plan out for your children. When they know what they are doing and how long they may be out it make them much more comfortable. This will also help you when it is time to stop as the children will be expecting it and the chance of a meltdown is less. To reduce the chance of a meltdown further follow this piece of great bit of parenting advise: Always give your children a countdown. Start at 10 minutes, then give them a 5 minute warning, and finally one final warning that you are almost done at the two minute mark. If your child can’t tell time you can even be loose with the actual time that spans. This just gives them warning that things are about to change and a chance to prepare for something new.
Alternatives to Trick or Treating
You may have very young children, the weather might not be suitable to trick or treating outdoors, or you may just want something a bit different to do on Halloween. Here are a few suggestions in case you are looking for an alternative.
Check your local senior living housing. These are often overlooked but a great place to take young children on Halloween. They are warm, friendly and child safe places where the seniors love to have the cute little kids as visitors.
Local farms or parks. These often have fun activities for children but they are outside so it may be too cold this time of your for the youngest of Halloween goers.
Stop by a local church. Churches often hold Halloween events and are usually very open to new people. They also are a safe bet for young children.
Head over to a local recreation center. Almost all local recreation centers have some kind of Halloween event going on. They usually have trick or treating along with a wide variety of activities suitable for the younger children.
Visit a local mall or shopping enter. They often have Halloween events or activities and are usually indoors out of the weather.
Visit friends, family and neighbors. Instead of canvasing a neighborhood stop by your friends and families houses. This is a great opportunity to see those that you may not get to regularly. They will just love to see those cute little costumes.
Your own home can be the best option. If the weather is bad or if you have infants, doing anything in a public place can be too much trouble and work. Have a few games ready at home and play with your children. You can even have them trick or treat from room to room as practice for later Halloweens.
Regardless of what you decide to do with your own family, make sure to have fun. Halloween is a great casual holiday where both the children and the parents can dress up and have a fun time. Enjoy it for what it is. Try not to let you or your child get sick eating candy and treats. Most importantly though, take this time to spend good, quality time with your family. Happy Halloween!
Summer is here and it’s an important time to make sure your daycare is following summer safety recommendations with your children. Even if a trip outside is supposed to be short, it’s best to make sure they always apply sun block, sunglasses, and wear hats when they are out in the sun. Granted, we should be protecting our children’s skin and eyes year round, but in the summer it’s especially important. We are all more likely to be outside, enjoying the nice warm weather!
When talking to your daycare provider, bring up sun and outdoor safety and make sure they are following good, healthy practices to ensure the safety of your children.
If you think your daycare provider may be touchy about you “questioning” them, you can try one of these questions to lead into a conversation about summer safety, and if there is anything you can do to help.
“Do you want me to bring in sun block or are you providing that for the children?”
“Would you mind if I left an extra set of sun glasses here for outside time?”
“I have a hat that my child just loves. Can we keep in in their cubby for outside time?”
“How long do the kids play outside on days like this? Do I need to apply sunscreen at home or do you do that before they go out and play?
These are just a few examples of how you can get into a conversation about sun safety with your daycare provider.
The first and most important thing that all parents and daycare providers need to know is the Heat Index. This is what the relative heat feels like when you take into consideration both the actual temperature and the relative humidity. Both of these factors play a crucial role in what effects the weather will have on your children.
Below is a Heat Index chart showing both the temperature and humidity and the areas of danger you should be aware of.
Green – Caution should be taken and you should keep an eye on signs that the children are showing signs of heat exposure.
Yellow – Limit time outside in the heat. Water should be provided. Remain in the shade when possible and keep outside play time in this temperature under 30 minutes.
Red – You should not be out in these temperatures unless you have to be. In times of extreme heat, children should stay indoors where it is cool. In these temperatures, you cannot keep them cool enough to stave off the effects of heat.
Health Effects of Heat Exposure
Heat exhaustion is a heat-related illness that may occur after you’ve been exposed to high temperatures for several days and have developed dehydration, which is an inadequate or imbalanced replacement of the fluids and electrolytes you’ve lost through excessive perspiration.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
Heatstroke occurs when the body fails to regulate its own temperature and the body temperature continues to rise, often to 105°F or higher. This can happen in extreme temperatures because the body loses its ability to cool itself off. This is extremely dangerous and can cause brain damage as well as organ damage. It is very important for everyone to stay out of extreme temperatures due to this reason.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
It is important to note that anyone showing signs of heat stroke should be seen by a medical professional. Heat stroke is considered a medical emergency.
Temperature over 104 degrees
Fast heart rate while resting.
Either heavy sweating or no sweating.
Skin that is red, hot, and dry, even in the armpits
Severe vomiting and diarrhea.
How to Stay Cool and Safe
Summer is a fun time and we all want to spend as much time outside as we can. It is important that we are being safe in the heat and even more important to ensure that your childcare provider is practicing healthy practices. To avoid problems, it’s best to keep trips outside to 30 minutes or less. This limits the children’s exposure to the sun and heat but gives them plenty of time to play and have fun. Make sure that water is available to them while they are playing. When the time is up and all the children come inside, they should drink a glass of water or two as soon as they get in. This is a great time to have them sit down for a snack and some water. Avoid giving them juice, pop or other drinks besides water.
If your child goes anywhere in a car or daycare van during the day (for instance, on field trips or to pick up other children), make sure the daycare provider has a procedure in place to make sure a child is not left in a car when an adult is not there. When the group gets to their destination, and when they return to the home or daycare center, make sure that an adult ALWAYS checks the car, van, or bus to make sure all the children are safely out of the car. It is easier than people imagine to accidentally forget a child in a car, and in the hot summer months, this can be a death sentence in as little as fifteen minutes. Ask that your provider never leave the children unattended in the car.
Whether you have a nanny, in home daycare provider, or drop your children off at a large daycare center, it is important, and it is your responsibility, to make sure they are keeping the safety of your children in mind in these hot summer months. It can be dangerous to assume that they know all of the best practices or that they follow the same guidelines you do as a parent.
Ensuring that your daycare provider follows good hot weather habits also makes it much more likely that your children will pick up on these good habits and carry them for the rest of their lives. Ultimately, you will be helping them to avoid so many problems that can arise from unhealthy and even dangerous habits in the heat.
As a responsible and caring parent, your child’s well-being is foremost on your mind. Car seats play a very important role in keeping your child safe in one of the most dangerous activities they will ever be a part of: riding in a car. Automobile injuries are the leading cause of death for American children (http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/childpas.htm). A recent report, released by the American Academy of Pediatrics and based primarily off of a 2007 study by the University of Virginia, showed that children under two years of age are 75% less likely to sustain a severe injury in a car accident if they are in a rear facing position.
Most parents, as well as daycare centers and private daycares, currently use age as their primary factor when determining how and if a child should be restrained in a car seat. Previous to this study, it was recommended that a child should be in a rear-facing car seat until the age of one year. At one year of age, many children’s car seats are turned around so they can face forward. Turning the child’s car seat around was often a major milestone for parents.
This new study and the suggestion of the American Academy of Pediatrics indicate children are much safer if they are kept in a rear-facing position for one more year. Though the convenience of turning your child around to face forward is tempting, we would urge you to follow the new recommendation. The rear-facing position is much safer for your child in a car accident because their entire body is supported during a crash. Keeping your child in a rear-facing position might even help you avoid crashes since you’ll be less inclined to take your attention from the road by turning around to look at your child.
Since driving is such a normal part of our lives, it’s easy to forget how dangerous it is. Driving is one of the most dangerous things we do, so as responsible parents we need to be sure we are taking every precaution while driving to make sure we are being as safe as possible.
It’s important to address these new findings with your daycare provider. It is likely they already know about them, but it is important to make sure. You may want to ask what kind, if any, policy changes they will be making. Be sure that they are being as safety-minded as any other responsible adult.
If your daycare provider drives your child anywhere, it is important to know how they are doing this and that they are keeping up with all modern safety precautions. Be sure to also check what kind of car seat they are using for your child. Make sure the car seat is installed correctly and facing the right way. Your child should have an assigned car seat and it should be adjusted correctly for them.
Check to make sure your own accommodations are as safe as possible and that you are setting a good example by wearing your seat belt and talking with your children about car safety. If you teach your children about car safety they can and will police themselves. They may tell you if they did something dangerous or were not strapped in for a short trip.
Remember, as a responsible parent your job is to make sure your child is as safe as possible. It is your responsibility to speak to your daycare provider, change your own habits or inform your nanny of the changes in care for the safety of your child. Make sure you do what you can to ensure a long, happy and healthy life for you and your children.