Child Care

Leaving Your Child With a Babysitter the First Time

When you become a parent, you experience a lot of “firsts” in your life. The first night your baby sleeps through the night, the first time the child runs a high fever, the first time your child takes a step on their own. One “first” that can cause a lot of parental anxiety is deciding when you are ready to leave your child with a babysitter for the first time out as a social being again, or when you are ready to break in a new babysitter.

All situations are different and we’re all different in our comfort level for doing this. Following are a few things to think about to help you ease into this next part of your life.

How old is the babysitter and how much experience have they had? In some cases, you may want to hire the person first as a “mother’s helper” and be in the home while they care for your child. By doing this, especially with a very young or inexperienced babysitter, both you and the sitter can ease into the situation.

Keep it short at first. Start out by having the babysitter there for an hour or two while you run errands, meet a friend for coffee, etc. Try not to have the time include putting the child or children to bed until they are more comfortable with the babysitter. While many children enjoy the company of a new babysitter while they are actively involved in playtimes, bedtime can bring on fears or renewed separation anxiety. If children are old enough, you may want to pre-plan an activity for the sitter to do, like a movie or new board game.

Provide pertinent instructions and information.  Does your child have […]

By |May 16th, 2017|Child Care|0 Comments|

When “Because I Said So” Doesn’t Work

Some children seem compelled to argue about everything. Every. Little. Thing. As parents, that can be incredibly irritating and extremely frustrating. When we bring that little baby home from the hospital, we envision fields of daisies, puppies frolicking about, and sweet little children who smile and immediately do whatever we ask with a big hug and an adoring look.

Flash forward ahead a few years and things could look very different. If you have a child who argues, you’re not alone. Children love to be right. In their minds, they’re the smartest person they know. For some it’s just a part of developing their independence and learning all about who they are and what they can do. Others just seem to have an overwhelming need for power. Grownups appear to have a lot of power and children set out to challenge those grownups in order to pick up some power for themselves.

Arguing with your child is a no win situation. Calmness is your best defense. A power struggle is not very rewarding when the second party refuses to engage in that struggle. Be that second party that refuses to engage. State what you need calmly and set reasonable consequences if your child does not cooperate. Acknowledge that you understand your child may not like what you are saying but repeat that you have made a decision that will stand. Remind them that you make your decisions because you love them and want them to be safe. If possible, walk away and give them time to comply without hovering over them. Standing over them and pushing for an immediate response often results in a child just digging in deeper. Likewise, avoid making “deals” or your child […]

By |April 20th, 2017|Child Care|0 Comments|

Adults Get Divorced – Children Don’t

Even statistical “experts” argue about how to accurately measure the divorce rate in the U.S.  Ultimately, that number isn’t important to your child. What IS important is how you handle your own divorce with respect to your child or children.

Divorce is clearly a difficult and emotion packed event. Human nature is to be defensive for self-preservation and that can often lead to negative talk. Once that gate is opened it can be very difficult to close and negativity can escalate at an alarming rate. A few simple things to keep in mind to benefit children as a family goes through a divorce.

Approach every move by examining the impact it will have on the children.
Don’t get drawn into a trap. If your ex is not playing fair and talking negatively about you stay calm. Have a few neutral responses ready to say to your child if they bring up negative comments. For example, “This is very hard for all of us. Your Dad (Mom) must be feeling pretty upset when they talk like that.”
If you have to vent, do it to a trusted friend or counselor. Your child is NOT your best friend. In later years, children often express how difficult it was to be caught in the middle. Your ex will remain your child’s parent forever – don’t expect them to take sides.
Look ahead. Things are sensitive and hurtful in the beginning of the divorce process, but how you handle things now will stay with your children when they are 5, 10, and 15 years older than they are now.
Talk to your children about how THEY are feeling. Consider some counseling for them also.
Keep in mind that your […]

By |March 30th, 2017|Child Care|0 Comments|

The Child Who Doesn’t Play Well with Others

Picture a group of seven or eight four and five year olds playing together. Everyone is smiling, sharing, taking turns, talking kindly to each other, and including everyone, right? Well, maybe. When adults think about getting children together for play times, we often assume that all it takes is a group of kids and a pile of toys and everyone will be happy. The reality is that any group of children will contain a wide range of personalities and sometimes those personalities may clash. Many children will work through minor disagreements and the end result WILL be happy play, but what if you’re the parent of a child who struggles with play situations involving others? How can you help your child improve their social skills so they can become better able to join in the fun?

First of all, keep this basic concept in mind. Some children need to be shown HOW to play with others.  Sit with your child and practice taking turns with a simple game. To reinforce the concept, keep verbalizing what you are doing – “It’s your turn. Now I get to take a turn. It’s your turn again….” Encourage your child to participate in a few play dates with first one other child, and as their skills improve, add a few more children. Stay nearby so you can assist with keeping positive play on track and gradually distance yourself more.

Many children have limited opportunities to practice social skills if they don’t attend preschool or play groups. Neighborhoods used to provide children with frequent opportunities to play with each other but families are less likely now days to know their neighbors or be home at the same time so that children […]

By |March 7th, 2017|Child Care|0 Comments|

What Exactly IS 4K?

In Verona, the program is called PreK, but in other communities, it may be called 4K, or even 4 year old kindergarten. First of all, it’s NOT kindergarten. PreK, as I’ll refer to it here, is a play-based, publicly funded program to offer four year olds an early school experience prior to the kindergarten year.

PreK offers universal access, meaning it is available to all age eligible children in the school district, regardless of income or special conditions. The program is optional and families may choose to participate or decline, with kindergarten being the first mandatory school experience in Wisconsin. In 2015, out of 413 total public elementary school districts in Wisconsin, 399 offered a PreK program.  Enrollment in the programs has more than doubled since 2001. Many people feel the difficult economy over those years contributed to the growth, as fewer families could afford to privately pay for preschool classes.

In many districts, PreK is offered through a community approach, with the program operating within existing community sites who work in collaboration with their school district. In Verona, this is the case, with private sites employing their own staff as teachers for PreK. The focus is on a play-based curriculum with social/emotional skills a key part of the goals established for children. In addition, children are introduced to early academics to build strong skills which will be further developed in kindergarten and the early elementary years.

One of the best ways to explain PreK is to look at the vision statement for the program in the Verona Area School District:

“Effective 4-year-old programming needs to include hands-on learning, culturally competent instruction, developmentally appropriate curriculum, access to early learning experiences for all 4-year-olds, and continued community, family and […]

By |February 10th, 2017|Child Care|0 Comments|