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Halloween at Daycare

daycare-center-cupcakesHappy 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.

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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.
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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!

 

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Daycare Winter Preparation

snow-at-daycareWinter is at the doorstep, so it’s time for you and your daycare provider to prepare for cold weather. Responsible parenting requires preparing for winter weather with warm clothes and planning for possible cold weather emergencies.

Daycare Provider

Now is the time of year to talk to your daycare provider to determine what your child needs to bring to daycare for the coming winter season. If you have been with your childcare provider for more than a year, they may still have the cold weather gear from last year. If this is the case, you may need to replace some items with larger sizes, and replace items that may be worn out. Don’t put off purchasing cold weather boots and clothes. Cold weather can hit unexpectedly and you don’t want your child to be cold or wet at daycare. Your location will determine your child’s specific needs. Make sure they have a hat, coat, and shoes appropriate for the winter climate in your area. It is also a great idea to make sure your child has an extra set of clothes or two at the daycare in case they need to change. Make sure these extra clothes are also appropriate for the season. You don’t want your child to be stuck in shorts when there is two feet of snow on the ground!

Winter Preparation at Home

Columbia Youth Core Gloves
Columbia Youth Core Gloves

Now that you have made sure that your daycare provider has what they need, it’s time to make sure you also have what you need for your children at home. Your child’s extra clothes may already be at daycare or they’ve outgrown everything from last year. You might find that you are now short on appropriate winter weather clothes at home! This is a good time to stock up and be ready for the winter weather before it hits. Between wearing clothes out, sending them off to daycare, and simply outgrowing them, parents can count on purchasing at least a few sets of clothes and a coat or two. If the winter weather in your area gets cold enough for snow, it is also a good plan to buy a few hats and a few sets of gloves as well. Gloves and hats are very important when it gets very cold and these are the pieces of winter weather gear that your children are most likely to lose.

Winter Ready on the Go

As a responsible parent you will also want to make sure that you have a set of clothes stashed away in your car for your children. As with the other winter weather stashes, make all the gear fits. You don’t want to risk not having appropriate clothes for your children in case of a winter emergency away from home. Accidents happen and anyone can get stuck on the side of the road. It is very important to have everything you need to stay warm during these winter months no matter where you are.

It is also nice for parents to have spare clothes in the car to change your children’s clothes wherever you might be.

Donate your Old and Outgrown Coats and Clothes

Columbia Preschool Boys' Summit Rush Jacket
Columbia Preschool Boys' Summit Rush Jacket

Parents invariably find themselves trying to keep track of the huge amount of clothes, coats, shoes, and other items that children seem to go through so quickly. Oftentimes they outgrow these things before they wear them out. If they are in decent condition I would urge all parents to donate these to your local charities. Winter is often much more miserable for parents and their children when they can’t afford all of the things they need. A donation of an old coat or winter boots that are too small can make a huge difference and keep those less fortunate warm for the winter. So please do not throw these things out, give them to those that are in need.

Teach Your Children to Plan for the Weather

Columbia Infants' Pigtail Hat
Columbia Infants' Pigtail Hat

Finally, and one of the most important things you can do as a parent, is work to teach your child to prepare for the winter weather themselves. Kids are often absent minded and can run out to the car in a snowstorm without a coat because they are excited to go somewhere. You may not even notice because you are wrestling the infant into their own winter coat. Then ten miles down the road you discover your four year old doesn’t have a coat in a snowstorm. It might sound silly, but it happens.

Make it your goal as a parent to help to teach your children to stop and think about the weather. Not just what is happening now, but what might happen later in the day. If it is winter, they should always take a coat. Even if the morning is warm it might get cold in the afternoon. This really helps your children think about the day and gives them a sense of being grown up and responsible. While instilling important habits in them, you are also giving yourself a safeguard against that rush out of the house where things might be forgotten. Now your child is also thinking about what they are doing and the weather they might run into. You will find that your child will put their own coat on, shoes or even remind you that their sibling needs a coat as well. Compliment and reward this behavior in your child and you will be amazed how helpful they can be!

 

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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

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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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Is Your Daycare Open Labor Day?

daycare_swingsLabor Day weekend is upon us already. The summer goes by so fast when we have so much going on with the family. Hopefully things are settling down a bit as we leave summer behind us and make our way into Fall. The older kids should be getting in the rhythm of school once again and the younger children should be back to their normal daycare and preschool routine. Hopefully everything in the land of daycare is going well for everyone. Don’t throw a snag in the works on Labor Day weekend by finding out unexpectedly that your daycare center is closed!

It is a good rule of thumb as a parent to never assume that your daycare will be open on any holidays. With Labor Day just around the corner it is a good idea to check with your daycare provider to see if they are open. Different kinds of daycare are more likely to be open than others.

Daycare centers, for instance, are often open during the holidays but they may have different hours so check with them to be sure that your schedules will match up.

In-home daycare providers are often open during Labor Day but each one may vary if they are open or not. They are more likely to change this policy from year to year so be sure that nothing has changed with your own daycare provider. If it has changed, make sure that you are taking steps to accommodate it.

Many in-home daycare providers use this time as annual vacation for themselves. They may try to capitalize on the high likelihood that the parents of the children will have the day off. This way they daycare provider doesn’t have to inconvenience their parents.

If you have a nanny then whether they are off or not should be worked out in your contract. There should be no doubt whether they are available or not. However, make sure to mention it to them to be sure that everyone is on the same page and there are no unexpected surprises come the holiday.

If your daycare provider is providing childcare for Labor Day, make sure to offer them an extra thanks or do something special for them since they are working on a holiday.

If your daycare provider is taking time off make sure that you also have the time off as well or have made other arrangements. It is easy to miss these simple and easy steps when things get hectic around the holidays. Just a few works between you and your childcare provider can help you to avoid a big hassle when you least want it.

Organize Your Family's Schedule In No Time
Organize Your Family's Schedule In No Time

This is also a great time to go over your fall and winter schedule with your daycare provider for the rest of the year. Moving into fall and winter we tend to have more holidays or take more time off. Make sure that your childcare provider knows when these times are and be sure that they match up with their own time off. It’s best to prepare for these as far in advance as possible to avoid conflicts. Many daycare providers are happy to work with their parents to accommodate as many varying schedules as possible.

With a little foresight, planning and common courtesy the parents, children and daycare providers can all enjoy the hectic holiday schedule. This will help everyone to make the most of their time off during the holiday season.

 

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Get to Know the Parents at Daycare and School

daycare_playgroundWith back to school now in full swing, the lives of all our families get much busier. It is a time of schedule changes and juggling our priorities to accommodate everyone’s needs. A bit of parenting advice that may be valuable to you is: get to know your child’s schoolmate’s parents like you do with the other daycare parents. You don’t have to be best friends or even do things with them outside of school. But it is a good idea to at least get to know their names and who their kids are.

Why should one parent get to know another parent?

We all have busy lives and we all have too much to do. This is true, but as a parent your primary responsibility is your children. When looking out for the welfare of your child either at school or at daycare, you should get to know those other parents and their children.

Not only does it make it more comfortable since you will get to know them, but it will allow you to stay more informed on what is going with daycare and school. As you talk to these other parents you can learn about them, their children and what they know of daycare or school events. They can help remind you if daycare is taking a day off or if school will be closed the next day.

Parental Payoffs

Not only is it nice to get to know other adults to talk to on the playground, you can also look to these daycare and school relationships in times of need. Maybe a big project is coming up, or your car broke down and you need help from someone, maybe getting your child to school. If you have even a passing relationship with another parent, you could contact them to see if they can help you out. You must be sure to never abuse these tentative relationships but most parents will understand the need to reach out once in a while for help. Most parents will also be happy to help you out since someday they may need to return the favor.

Make Dealing with Issues a Snap

Another one of the benefits of getting to know the other parents of the children that surround your own may make it easier to handle some issues that may come up. You don’t want your first words to another daycare parent to be about something negative, like behavioral issues. If you have already approached these parents and speak to them regularly, then talking to them about the inevitable issues that arise will be a snap. The situation will likely be much more amicable from the start and both parents can handle whatever issue arises with a smile.

Knack Parenting a Preschooler
Knack Parenting a Preschooler

There are many other benefits to getting to know those other parents of the children at school and daycare, such as being more comfortable at play dates, or at birthday parties, or knowing important information if something else comes up. You will already have an idea of who they are , which will go a long way toward building trust and ensuring your child’s safety. This will only help to strengthen your relationship with your children, their friends and their parents.

 

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Back to School Time at Daycare

daycare-center-classroomBack to school is an emotional and stressful time for both parents and children. Whether your child is heading back to school or not this time of year will likely mean changes for your children. Take the time and make the effort to make these changes as comfortable and easy for your children as possible.

A child who is not going to school will still be affected by others who are doing so. It is important to recognize this time and to prepare your child for the upcoming transitions.

All parents should take a close look at their children and make sure that they are prepared for this fun time. Make sure that you consider all your children, if you have more than one, and how they will see the changes in each other, themselves, and the nature of their days.

Daycare Children too Young for School

Even if your child is too young to attend school, they will be affected by school age children who attend daycare with them, or by changes the family experiences when older siblings return to school. Your child has gotten used to the various ages of the children they are around all day and during the summer this is often with school age children. Young children who are too young for school look up to older children with interest and admiration. They, like their parents, are often role models.

Pink Camo Peace Sign Backpack
Pink Camo Peace Sign Backpack

This is a great opportunity for the older children to help to show preschoolers how fun and exciting school can be. Then you can discuss with the younger children what they are looking forward to when they go to school.

In order to get children in a back-to-school mood, they can play school together. This can be a fun game for all of them and has many benefits. It offers the older children a sense of pride to show the younger children at the daycare what they do in “big kid school”, and helps ease the transition from summer to school days. It also fosters some excitement in the younger children about what school is and helps to teach them a little about it. This is great so when the day comes that they go to school, they will not be as scared since they will have an idea of what to expect, and they’ll be excited to learn. Lastly, this will give the children some good quality time together before the older children are gone for the day and not at daycare.

Daycare Child Heading into Kindergarten

A remarkably important and vital milestone for all children is when they leave daycare and head to school. Even if they are in a preschool daycare environment, the change to Kindergarten is huge and should be handled with care. This is a time when you will set the stage for your child’s success throughout their scholastic career. Make sure to start on the right foot!

It is very important as a parent and a daycare provider to speak excitedly about school. Even if you were one of the many people who really did not enjoy school or if you struggled with it, it’s important not to portray school as something to dread. Implanting that idea into your children as they enter school is very detrimental. It is vital that you help your child get excited about school. They need to be excited about learning and hungry to learn new things.

School is a time that will test your children so be sure to talk about it well before they start and to answer as many questions as you can. It may take days for your child to process the idea of going to school, spending so much time away from friends and those they know. You as a parent need to make a great effort to help them transition into the next stage of their lives and to set the groundwork for their success in school.

This is a great time to play school with them. Go through the alphabet or count with them. Try to play games that are both fun and similar to those things they will encounter in school. They should be ready to enter school excited about starting.

Bring these things up with your daycare provider as well. Make sure they know your upcoming school schedule and help you to prepare your child for school. By reinforcing this as a parent and as their daycare provider it will make this monumental transition from daycare to school easier and better for the child.

During this time, try to empathize with your child. This is a major transition, so they will need a little attention or a little more space to more easily adjust to the new situation. This will also help you as a parent see what they may need for you more easily. It can be hard to do this as a parent, but your children are growing up. Give them the room they need to grow.

Daycare Child going Back to School

With children that have already been in school, this time is a bit easier for them. However, do not neglect to tap into their experience in school. They are likely going to the same school as some of the kids are that are just starting. Use these school age children’s knowledge to help you understand how school is today and to help those preschoolers that are becoming Kindergarteners.

Crayola Crayons, 24-Count, Standard Size
Crayola Crayons, 24-Count, Standard Size

It can seem like the same old routine to those children that are already in school but parents need to remember the younger ones that aren’t in school as well. They may feel left out, alone or not as special as those who are heading back to school. So when you make plans for those children that are heading back to school also make plans for those children that are not going back to school. If you are going to go get back to school supplies for your older child, take your younger one as well and get them a few things.

Make sure to talk to your school age child and see what they thought about last year. What did they like? Was there anything they weren’t too fond of? Use their answers to help them through the next year of school. Each child is different and it is up to you as a parent to get them excited and ready to head back to school. I suggest having the child tell the younger ones about school and what they liked about it. This will help give them a sense of importance and pride and this alone can help get them in the mindset for school.

Back to School Changes at Daycare

No matter if your child is very young or almost done with daycare, this time of year is one of great importance. They will undoubtedly encounter many changes in the next month or so. As a parent you are responsible for making this time as easy as possible for them. Use what you know as a parent to make these transitions as easy as possible. Make sure to talk to your daycare provider and give them any insight or ideas to them about what you want to do. This is a fun and exciting time for both parents and children so do what you can to make the best out of it for everyone. This will help to lead you and your child to another successful year!

 

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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

Sunblock

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.

Sunglasses

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!

Hat

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!

Water

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.
daycare-playtime-heat-index
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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