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Celebrating Chinese New Year at Day Care!

Celebrating Chinese New Year at Day Care!

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!

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Daycare Pool Safety

decide-on-daycare-child-pool-sideWhat 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.

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Is Your Daycare’s Car Designed for Car Seats?

Baby at Daycare in Car SeatA new article by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety was recently published going into detail about the safety of 2011 vehicles in regards to the LATCH system for child car seat restraints. The results were surprising, and a little disappointing. Even though the standards for child restraint safety have been in place for some time it is amazing the amount of modern day vehicles that do not seem to have child safety and car seat installation in mind.

As parents we try our best to keep our children’s safety at the forefront. However, the difficulty of many car seats to install along with many car models which are not set up correctly for the LATCH system. This has turned out to make it surprising difficult to make sure child car seat installation is correct. This has made for a potentially dangerous and even life threatening situation for our children.

Only 21 of the 98 top-selling 2010-11 model passenger vehicles evaluated have LATCH designs that are easy to use.

I know it might seem strange to question your daycare provider regarding your child’s safety. However it is absolutely essential that you do. It’s not a matter of doubt in your daycare provider ability, it’s about assuring your child is safe in any vehicle. If a daycare or childcare provider baulks at your insistence as a parent to inspect their car seat, make sure they know you trust them but you want to be absolutely sure that your child’s car seat is installed right. There is nothing wrong with being an over protective parent. It can save lives!

Unfortunately it is hard to say exactly how to install a car seat because there are so many different designs. Along with all of the different designs each model of car is a little bit different. This is the crux of the problem. However, there are a few things that you should keep in mind when installing a childs car seat.

Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air Baby Car Seat
Safety 1st onBoard Air Baby Car Seat
  • Make sure the car seat is built and designed for the correct age, weight and height of your child.
  • Car seats should always be in the back seat of a vehicle. They should also be in the middle of the seat if there is a proper LATCH system. This maximizes their safety from both frontal and side impacts.
  • Tether’s should always be used for forward facing car seats.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing the car seat.
  • If you are unclear on how to install your child’s car seat in your car find a certified car seat inspection center near you.

For a  complete run down check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations website.

The bottom line is that our children may not be as safe as we are led to believe. As a responsible parent it is your duty to make sure not only your vehicles have their car seats installed properly, but also that your daycare provider has their car seats installed properly for your child.

Here are some of the most popular vehicles they tested and reported on.

2011 Models that Meet All 3 Easy-Installation Criteria

  • Audi A4 Quattro
  • Cadillac Escalade
  • Chevrolet Equinox LT
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew cab
  • Chevrolet Suburban LT
  • Chevrolet Tahoe LS
  • Chrysler Town & Country (2010)
  • Dodge Caliber Mainstreet
  • Dodge Grand Caravan Crew
  • Dodge Ram 1500 crew cab
  • Ford Escape XLT
  • Ford F-150 SuperCrew Cab
  • GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab SLE
  • Honda Pilot EX-L
  • Kia Sedona LX
  • Land Rover Range Rover Sport
  • Mercedes-Benz C300
  • Mercedes-Benz E350
  • Mitsubishi Eclipse coupe GS
  • Mitsubishi Lancer ES
  • Toyota Tacoma extended cab
  • Buick Enclave CX
  • Chevrolet Impala LT
  • Dodge Avenger Express
  • Ford Flex SEL
  • Ford Taurus Limited
  • Hyundai Sonata Limited
  • Toyota Sienna XLE

2011 Models That Don’t Meet Any Easy-Installation Criteria

  • Buick Enclave CX
  • Chevrolet Impala LT
  • Dodge Avenger Express
  • Ford Flex SEL
  • Ford Taurus Limited
  • Hyundai Sonata Limited
  • Toyota Sienna XLE

For the entire article on child car seat safety and more information visit: http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr041212.html


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Cyber Monday Deal on Baby Signing Time

daycare-babyOne 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.

Holiday Special!! For A Limited Time Only, Save 35%
Holiday Special!! For A Limited Time Only, Save 35%

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.


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Daycare Costs – Is Working Worth It?

kid_blocksDaycare is a hard parenting decision. It can be difficult to decide if you want to send your children to daycare or if you should stay home with them. It’s worth it to look into the real cost of working. It might sound strange, but working costs money, and it costs more money when both parents work. The cost of working can outweigh the benefit of staying home with your child through those few short, formative years.

There are a great many arguments to be had debating both sides of the issue on whether or not you should stay home with your child. We have addressed some of those here at Decide on Daycare and will address many more of them in the future. However, this article is strictly designed to help you as a parent look at the monetary side of whether or not to send your child to daycare.

The spreadsheet link below will help you accurately assess your current financial situation and the financial burden or benefit involved in staying home with your children. The spreadsheets fields will automatically calculate for you to make this assessment easier.

Daycare Cost Calculator

This is a excel spread sheet but should be compatible with many different programs. It is presented this way so you can easily save it and change it at home or make minor tweaks to your own copy as you find the answers to the questions.

You will need to gather some financial information for the worksheet. You’ll need to know how much you spend on:

  • Daycare itself? (The total cost of enrollment, fees and misc. charges)
  • Daycare extras? (Extra car seat, clothes, medicine, diapers, wipes)
  • Gas for your vehicles? (To and from work, and daycare)
  • Other travel expenses? (Tolls, subway, train, parking)
  • Vehicle maintenance? (Oil changes, repairs, tires, maintenance)
  • Food for work? (Coffee, meals, vending machines)
  • Work supplies and equipment? (Laptop bag, cell phone, tools)
  • Work clothes? (Suits, business clothes, shoes, handbags, other accessories)
  • Your appearance? (Makeup, manicures/pedicures, salon treatments)
  • Other things at daycare? (Birthday parties, field trips, crafts, gifts)
  • Weekly Take Home Earnings? (After taxes and other deductions)

There are several lines below these that are highlighted in orange on the spreadsheet below the other questions. These are for you to add your own special expenses or anything else that goes into the cost of you sending your children to daycare or associated with you working.

After filling out this spreadsheet, you may be surprised by what you find. However, leaving the workforce for a few years has its own lifetime cost that is much harder to factor in, as is each parent’s own individual career circumstances.

You’ll need to determine what those numbers mean to you, and how they fit into your own particular circumstances. Having a number to work with, to really know what it costs for a parent to work and send their children to daycare, may help with those difficult decisions.

Yearly Cost Calculator

Stay-at-Home-Parent's Survival Guide
Real-Life Advice from Moms, Dads, and Other Experts A to Z

I have also included on the spreadsheet a yearly cost calculator. This is a great tool to use to convert either monthly or yearly expenses down into weekly costs so they can be calculated properly. This is important because there are many things that may go unaccounted for since you really do not pay for them on a weekly basis but they affect your budget through the course of the year. For example, your miscellaneous car expenses don’t occur each week. You may spend $500 a year in the winter for new tires, or $1000 a year for a tune up before vacation. However, these costs do not get factored in. When you look at how little you will drive compared to taking your child to daycare and driving to work every day you will see that these car expenses may go down dramatically. If you drive 100 miles a week instead of a day the wear and tear on your car is much less and you will not need these kinds of repairs annually. This kind of expense is what gets overlooked when figuring out the true costs of daycare.

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Outside at Daycare and Home

daycare_beachWe just covered about how you should prepare to spend time outside with your children. It is important to teach them all the proper things needed before they head outside. The goal is to not only to teach them and make sure they have good habits while outside, but to get the children to do this on their own. If you’re dedicated and consistent with the rules, you will help keep them protected during their many hours of outside play time. In doing this you will also get your children to insist on safe habits at your daycare. This ensures a happy and healthy time outside, at home, at daycare, at other people’s houses.

The Children’s Play Time

As the children head out into the sun for play time, make sure to take note of the time. Check the Daycare Heat Index Safety Chart to see if it is hot or humid enough to limit your time outside. If it is, make sure to bring the children inside after that time limit has been reached in order to avoid any heat- related health issues.

It is very important to stick to the rule of keeping sunglasses and hats on at all times, unless the activity prevents it, such as swimming. If a child takes their hat or sunglasses off, they need to be done outside. If they cannot go inside, then they can sit in the shade and watch the other children play. They most likely will put on their hat and sunglasses to get back to the fun.

Drink Water, Lots of Water

16 Ounce Chugger Water Bottle
Let the kids pick their own colors.

The very best thing that you or your daycare provider can do with the children’s play time outside is to make sure they drink plenty of water. Every 15 minutes or so prompt the children to get a drink of water from their sports cups. If the kids are taking a drink every once in awhile on their own, that is great, and you should praise them for such behavior. However, this shouldn’t stop you from making sure everyone is getting a drink every 15 minutes or so. Have them drink as much as they want and if they run out, praise them for drinking lots of water and then happily refill it. When they are playing out in the sun it is almost impossible to drink too much water.

Watch for Signs of Heat Exhaustion

No matter what the weather is like it is a good idea to keep an eye on the children for signs of heat exposure. Children often play hard and this can bring on the symptoms of head exhaustion faster than temperature alone can. Watch for any of the children getting flush, very red, and unable to catch their breath, even when resting. If the children are playing hard use the 15 minute drinking breaks as a time to have them all sit down in the shade for a minute or two while they drink. Ask them about the game they are playing or talk to them for a few minutes about games they could play. This will help to get their attention and keep them at rest in the shade while they drink. Just a little time to stop in the shade is all that most will need. Then they can go back out to play.

If you notice that a few minutes, shade and a little water is not helping one of the children keep them a bit longer. Don’t let them go back to playing if they have not “recovered”. If they do not seem like they are recovering it may be time to call play time quits and all head back inside. If one child is having issues with heat exposure then the others are surely close.

A Long Day in the Sun

Play & Shade Pool
Toddler play in the shade pool.

If you are out on a trip or activity that will keep you out in the sun for many hours it is very important to make sure that you keep everyone hydrated and have plenty of water along with you. Keep the children, and yourself, drinking at regular intervals. Make sure that whatever the activity you are doing you plan to have access to bathrooms during the entire thing. It may seem like a hassle but you want the children going to the bathroom often. That means they are getting enough water.

You or your daycare should make sure that they take along more sunblock so the children can get reapplications every few hours. If you will be on an all-day trip, make sure to plan official stops throughout the day to reapply sunscreen and to do routine checks of all the children to be sure they are not showing signs of heat exposure.

Heat exposure can be a very dangerous, even deadly, health risk. If you see any of the children showing signs of heat exposure take early and immediate steps to help them. Give them water, sit in the shade and make sure they cool down. If they don’t or other children are showing signs of heat exposure, be prepared to call your outing off early. The health of the children is so much more important than any trip or activity you have planned.

Done with the Sun

Whether you have spent the entire day outside or you the children are heading back inside from their morning play time at daycare, it is important to take steps to make sure the children are all fine, especially when it is hot and humid. Next we will talk about how to cool down and relax from playtime outside.


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Healthy Outdoor Habits at Home and Daycare

daycare-kids-in-playgroundSummer is in full swing and it is important to keep your children safe both at daycare and at home. The best way to keep them protected from the heat and sun is to have great hot weather habits yourself! Your children want to emulate everything that you do and this includes how you prepare to spend time in the sun, what you do in the sun, and what to do after you have come inside out of the heat.

There are both short term and long term health issues when a person gets too hot, gets sunburn, or spends time outdoors without eye protection. It should be a rule at home to wear sunblock, sunglasses, and a hat whenever you go outside.

Many parents are shocked when they see my young children with their sun gear on. Even strangers ask how I get my children to wear their sunglasses and hats. It’s simple: If they want to play outside, they must have them on and keep them on. There is no debate, there is no compromise. If they want to go outside and have fun, they must follow the rules. If they don’t want to wear their gear outside, they will need to stay inside. Sure there are some struggles and fights with this, but now my children put their sunglasses and hats on without me even asking. If I say they can go play outside they tell me they can’t because they don’t have sunblock on. When you get to this point, it’s much easier for you, and much healthier for them. And if they do it at home, they will do it daycare. And when they do it at daycare it is likely that the other kids will do the same and they will all have a fun, safe time out in the sun.

Preparing for the Sun


Spray On Children's Sunscreen
Spray on children's sunscreen is easy for daycare.

Sunblock is a must! Scientists have linked many health and skin issues to sun exposure: premature aging, eye damage including cataracts, and skin cancer. It’s too easy to not worry about what will happen later in life but to take care of this threat now you are helping to teach your child good habits and possibly spare them much pain and suffering in the future.

A good rule of thumb is to use at least 45 SPF sunscreens. Anything less than that is not going to effectively block the sun, it will only “slow it down”. Your goal needs to be to block the sun and to keep the sun burns and other problems away. Not only should you apply sunscreen before going out in the sun, but also every hour for each 15 SPF of the sunscreen. So for 45 SPF, you should apply sunscreen every three hours. If the children are swimming or doing other strenuous activities that might wear off their sunscreen, cut that time in half, and reapply much sooner. It is all too easy to forget about re-application when you’re out having fun but it is very important to do.

Make sure to thoroughly cover all exposed skin, and get up underneath sleeves and pant legs a bit so the skin is protected when the child moves around. Make sure to apply sunblock to the ears and face, especially noses. Noses burn easily and ears are one of the most common places for melanoma.


The age of your child will determine what kind of sunglasses they may want or need so take this into consideration. Infants and toddlers can wear goggle-like sunglasses. It can be hard to get them to keep them on but if you put them on and then distract them with a toy or something else, they may forget they are wearing the sunglasses. If you just can’t get this young of a child to wear them, make sure they stay in the shade. By the time they can walk and run around, they are also old enough to learn to keep sunglasses on. For children a little older, take them with you to the store to pick out the sunglasses they want. This will get them excited about their own sunglasses and will make them eager to wear them outside. Be sure to pick up a few pairs as they will get lost and broken—it’s just the nature of kids. You will also want to put a pair in your purse, in the car, at home and a few for your daycare. You don’t want your child to go without protection for their eyes!


Childs wide brim hat
This childs wide brim hat offers lots of protection.

There are many different styles of hats, caps and other head wear. The important thing is to find something your child will like and use. With infants and toddlers it is a good idea to find a soft bucket hat with a brim, and preferably a chin strap to hold the hat on their head! When trying a new hat, use the same method as the sun goggles. When you put the hat on, distract them immediately with their favorite toy. Another useful trick is to have two of the same hat. Often they are not bothered by the hat they just want to see it and play with it. If you have a second one their curiosity may be satisfied. Hats for older children can be a lot of fun. Take them shopping and when you get their sunglasses also pick out some hats for them. Look for their favorite color or their favorite character. Make sure they have something they like and will want to wear. This will make it much easier to stick by the rules that everyone out in the sun must wear a hat. Sunburns on the scalp can be very painful and the top of your head is not something you can easily protect with sunblock!


Last but certainly not least, every child needs to have their own water container to take with them when they go outdoors. Try to pick something with a closed lid, like a sippy cup or a travel mug. It is too easy to spill their water while they are playing in the sun. If you can add a few ice cubes they may really drink it up! Cold water will really help their bodies stave off the heat as they drink when they are playing. Beware that ice may be a choking hazard so keep in mind the container you are using and if the ice can slip through the opening.

Time to Play Outside

Now that you are ready, make sure to praise everyone on a great job getting ready to go outside. Tell the kids that they are ready to go with their sunscreen, shades and a hat. Have them grab their water and head outside. If the kids put their water in the shade it will stay cooler longer. Encourage them to take frequent breaks to drink water, and drink as much as they want. Let them know you will happily refill their water containers if they need.

Now have fun playing with the kids outside!

Next up we will talk about what how to handle your time outside and what to teach the kids.


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Summer Safety at Daycare and Home

sun-shine-daycare-childSummer 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.
Stay safe in the summer with this daycare heat index chart.


Health Effects of Heat Exposure

Heat Exhaustion

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

  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Pale Skin
  • Rapid Heartbeat

Heat Stroke

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.

  • Convulsions
  • Unconsciousness
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • 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.

Have a great summer!


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Daycare During Summer Vacation

daycare-kite-flying_0Many older children attend school during the day and only need daycare for a few hours before or after school. However, when summer vacation comes around, they need to stay at daycare the entire day. At a daycare center, it is less of a problem, since the kids will be engaging in activities appropriate for their age group. In a home daycare, however, the thought of hanging out with babies and toddlers all day is not so appealing to older kids. After the daily stimulation that school gives them, they may fear they will be very bored at daycare.

You may want to talk to your daycare provider to determine their plan for the older kids. Some daycares have a lot more activities, outside fun, and field trips planned for the summertime when they are not limited by the children’s school schedule. Nannies may also take advantage of the less confining schedule as well. City recreation centers may offer fun programs during the summer, where school-age children can engage in arts and crafts, sports, theater, dancing, etc. Daycare providers may take their charges to a local swimming pool on certain days in the summer, or take the kids to playgrounds and parks more often. There are lots of fairs and festivals to attend in the summertime, and possibly a field trip to a local farm (complete with baby animals in early summer).

Depending on your child’s age and readiness, you may want to look into a summer camp for your child to attend for a few weeks during their vacation. With a fun camp experience to look forward to, your child’s concern about how they will spend the long break may be minimized.

If your child has a friend from school, you may want to see if you and the child’s parent can work out a playdate for a few times during the summer. Maintaining that connection with a school friend may be important to your child. It’s easy to forget what they learned in the school year once summer comes around. Seeing a friend from school may help them to remember the things they enjoyed about school, including their friends and how much they enjoy learning!

The Kids Summer Games Book
The Kids Summer Games Book

If you are planning a family vacation, you can work on making it a learning experience for your older child. A child who has some math skills or map reading skills can help determine a budget for the vacation or try to find some fun places to visit along the way on a road trip.

If you can help supplement your daycare provider’s activities with some fun activities of your own, your child may find they don’t mind the change from attending school during the day to attending daycare during the day. Just be aware, they might have so much fun in the summer they may not want to go back to school!


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Celebrate Earth Day with Daycare

magic_tree_2Earth Day is today, April 22nd, and it is a great time to celebrate our planet and talk to your kids about Earth Day, the environment, being “green”, and what you can do to make this a better place for us all to live. Hopefully your daycare providers are doing something special for Earth Day but if they aren’t, that doesn’t mean you can’t do something for Earth Day with your child! Preschools often have many activities around Earth Day but some in-home daycare’s may not. So be sure to ask your childcare provider what, if anything, they are doing for Earth Day.

It is so important for us all to be good environmental stewards of our planet. There is no time better to instill these great values then through some great parenting advise with your kids. This can and should be fun for the whole family! No matter how “green” you are now you can always be “greener” and your children, and their children will be better off for it.

Earth Day is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the environment. Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as a national day of observance of environmental problems held on April 22, 1970. While this first Earth Day was focused on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes, who was the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations. Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year. Numerous communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues. In 2009, the United Nations designated April 22 International Mother Earth Day.

Biscuit's Earth Day Celebration
Biscuit's Earth Day Celebration

Check your local area for earth day events that you can participate in. Many of the events may be centered around local parks or other outdoor areas. Check your local papers or news outlets for schedules of events.

Fancy Nancy: Every Day Is Earth Day

If you can’t find an official event, take the time to make your own. When you pick up your child from daycare today take them to the park and make a game out of cleaning up the trash. If you get home to late for this talk to your children about planting a garden. Talk to them about how you can grow your own fruit or vegetables. This could turn into a fun activity for the family, become a project of responsibility and teach your children many valuable lessons throughout the summer.

Here are some other great ideas:

  • Discuss with your child what they could do to help the earth.
  • Read a book or story to your child about being environmentally responsible.
  • Change out wasteful electronics for energy efficient ones. Replace old incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, clean out your furnace filter or look into energy efficient electronics.
  • Make sure you use biodegradable soaps and cleaning products.
  • Go over green practices in the home such as:
    • Open the curtains instead of turning on a light.
    • Turn off lights when you leave the room.
    • Thinking about what you want from the refrigerator without opening it.
    • Use washable containers for leftovers instead of disposable bags.
    • Use cloth napkins instead of paper towels.
  • Think of cold meals you can have instead of meals you have to cook.
  • Make sure you are signed up with your trash company for recycling.
  • Recycle everything you can, not just aluminum cans including glass, plastic, paper, batteries and bulbs.
  • Plant some trees.
  • Plant a garden with your favorite vegetables.
  • Start composting. Your children may love this and will enjoy helping you. Use this for your summer garden projects!

It's Earth Day!

The most important step is to limit our effect on the environment. The easiest step is conservation. Once that step is taken, we can work to repair the damage that we have already done, and help mitigate future damage. As avid camping and outdoor enthusiasts, we have a passion for our planet and it is up to all of us to do our part to make this a better world for all of us. Let’s strive to give our children a better Earth than what we have today. Happy Earth Day!

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