Child Care

The Playdate Dilemma

Parents often wonder about the right age to start playdates for their children.  Bottom line- there’s no magic number and a lot of factors enter into the decision. Following are a few questions to start the thinking process for your family.

What are you hoping to accomplish?

Some parents are looking for socializing opportunities for children who may not have siblings, relatives, or neighbors to play with. In some cases, parents are trying to help a child develop a deeper connection with a classmate to help school transitions go more smoothly. Sometimes parents are just trying to find ways they can have a little “me time” in the midst of busy lives. Any of these are reasonable!

 

Has your child spent time away from you before?

If the answer is yes, they are a lot more likely to be comfortable with a playdate. If not, you may want to take a few small steps first, like leaving them with a relative for a short period of time, taking them to a story time where you can sit in the back of the group, or having a babysitter come to your home for a trial session in surroundings that are familiar to them. In any case, start with short periods of time until your child gains confidence in their safety and ability to be without you.

How well do you know potential playdate partners?

Are you setting something up with a trusted friend or neighbor? Is the playdate with a classmate whose family you don’t know at all or may only know casually? There’s a fine line between being a “helicopter parent” and being a cautious one. Children are vulnerable, and we need to be comfortable that […]

By |September 25th, 2018|Child Care|0 Comments|

The Interrupting Child

It never seems to fail. As soon as you start an adult conversation with someone, your child appears and begins demanding your immediate attention. While you no doubt find this behavior extremely annoying, the bottom line is that many adults are frequent “interrupters” too. If we want our children to grow up to be polite people with solid social skills, we can start to teach some basics early on.

Babies and young toddlers rely on adults for everything. When they have a need, they often try to make that known to us immediately and we generally respond right away. As children grow into two and three year olds, they can already start the process of seeing that sometimes there is a brief wait for the attention of adults. A great technique to begin teaching at this stage is the “hand on the arm.” How does it work? When the child approaches you and begins interrupting you, show them how to place their hand on your forearm (which you make easily available to them.) Teach them that this is their way to politely tell you they want your attention.  Next, you put your other hand on top of the one they have on your arm. Tell them that that’s YOUR signal that you will be with them in a minute. Practice, practice, practice. It won’t happen overnight, but they will begin to use the technique if you consistently reinforce it. At first, try to respond very quickly to them when you get their “signal” but as they get older and more adept at it, you can gradually increase the time before you respond to them.

One last thing? Be a good example yourself. Try to become more […]

By |January 30th, 2018|Child Care|0 Comments|

My Child Ignores Our New Baby

Families often worry that when a new baby comes into their family, their toddler or preschooler will be less than welcoming. Siblings can often exhibit a great deal of jealousy when a little bundle of joy takes over the spotlight that they previously enjoyed.

But what about the child who shows no interest in the new baby and basically ignores them? It happens more often than you think. It’s normal to envision your little one with a heart bursting full of love and affection for the baby but the reality is that many siblings don’t find the baby terribly interesting for the first few months at least. Toddlers and preschoolers are generally pretty active and babies just don’t have much to offer as playmates.

There are some things you CAN try to spark some connection between siblings. It’s sometimes helpful to give the older child a baby-related job. Depending on the age of the older child, they can be asked to count how many diapers you have stocked in the diaper bag for an outing, fold the baby’s washcloths when you do laundry, or pick out the outfit the baby will wear from a few you have pre-selected.

Some parents also find it works well to compliment the older child, such as “The baby LOVES you! Look how you can make them smile/laugh. “Children often take pride in being the chosen person the baby responds to.

It goes without saying that it’s important to find one on one time for the older child to remind them how important they still are. Children are less likely to resent a baby brother or sister if they still feel they are a key part of their family. It can be useful […]

By |December 21st, 2017|Child Care|0 Comments|

Gift Overload

Before you know it, the holiday shopping frenzy will be starting. This is a great time to plan ahead if you feel that gift-giving  for your children got a little out of hand last year. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the season and spend far more than we should on gifts. Parents often find that when their children receive an abundance of gifts, it creates higher and higher expectations each year. The more gifts received, the less children seem to appreciate each individual one. In addition, when excessive spending occurs, a great deal of stress for adults can follow when reality hits and credit card bills arrive in January.

For some families, the issue may be other relatives or family friends who “over-gift.” For others, they themselves are the source of the avalanche of presents. Take a good look at your feelings on this topic and create an action plan now so you can be better prepared.

First up, communicate with those friends or family members who buy gifts for your child. Tell them very directly that while you appreciate their generosity, you are trying to scale things back a little to help your child be more appreciative.  Ask if they have something in mind already or if they would welcome  a suggestion of something your child might enjoy. If the person lives near you, an alternative to a gift could also be spending time together, like a movie date or meal out somewhere that the child enjoys.

For yourself, follow your own advice and keep purchasing reasonable. Make lists and write down every gift purchased so you have a running list of what you have already bought. Set a budget for […]

By |October 23rd, 2017|Child Care|0 Comments|

Bath Time Blues

Some children LOVE bath time and would stay playing in the tub for hours. Others have the opposite relationship with bath time. Since basic hygiene is a necessity, what can you do if your child falls into the “reluctant bather” side of the equation?

Bring on the toys! Look for ways to make bath time more fun. Consider trying bath markers or paints, strainers, squirters, or new floating toys.
Change up the time of day. Some children fight bath time because they know it will be followed soon after by bedtime. Try a morning or afternoon bath when your family schedule allows it.
Add something special – place battery operated tea lights in the bathroom, turn on some music and turn it into a junior spa experience.
If your child is old enough it may be time to give them the option to shower instead.
Fill the tub with bubbles and read to your child. When the bubbles are gone, finish up the story and finish washing your child.

No matter what it takes to get your child in the tub, remember that safety is critical. There is no magic age at which a child is safe in the bath tub. Sadly, drownings occur in bathtubs every year. Young children should always be supervised carefully in the tub. One final note – for many reluctant bathers, it’s a short phase. Try a few of the tricks listed here and everyone will be happy. And clean.

 

-Regina

By |September 18th, 2017|Child Care|0 Comments|