January 22, 2019
Ever wonder why it seems like your child listens, plays, naps and eats well at daycare but at home things are more chaotic than you’d like? Early childhood educators (ECEs) at daycare care for children day in and day out so they’re experts at managing child care as smoothly as possible. They are an excellent resource for learning all the tips and tricks you need to help your infant, toddler or preschooler. This week we’ll give some daycare tips for managing a common parenting problem: transitions.
Parent problem #1: Transitions are a nightmare.
Daycare fix: Simplify your routine
Schedules and routine are imperative for children. Predictability feels safe, especially for kids who are working on language skills. That sense of security breeds confidence in toddlers and preschoolers, and why most daycares keep their routines as simple as possible, with consistent times for play, naps, lunch and snacks, day after day.
If you work full-time, it’s tempting to try to squeeze as many activities into your weekend as you can. But if you can, minimize the number of transitions in your day, and schedule your weekend activities at the same time your toddler or preschooler would be active during daycare.
Daycare fix: Capture your routine in pictures
Charts and pictures help daycare staff and kids know their daily routines, and parents can do the same at home. There is an online program called Boardmaker which creates charts with images of daily activities (play, eat, use bathroom, sleep). Parents can personalize their charts further by using photos of their kids doing these activities.
Daycare fix: Give warnings
Being interrupted from an activity can be irritating to anyone, but for kids who don’t yet have the skills to manage their frustration, it can seem like the end of the world. Still, we don’t always have the luxury of moving from point A to point B on our kids’ time. Do what ECEs do: Offer a warning before the start of a new activity. Parents could do the same with visual or audio cues, like timers or a smartphone alarm. Tell your child in advance that when the timer goes off, it’s time to clean up. Children accept transitions better when they know what’s coming next.
Daycare fix: Create the illusion of choice
A lack of control is a big reason some kids put up a fuss around transitions. You can get around this by offering a “false choice”. For example you can “Do you want to wash your hands now or in two minutes?” This diverts the focus from feeling out of control to feeling back in control, but in the end you’re getting the results you want.
Daycare fix: Make it fun
Transitions can be made easier by helping kids envision a future activity in a positive way. When daycare staff lead kids through the transition, they may say something like, “What are we going to play with when we get to the playground?” Be creative and customize your questions to your kid’s interest. If your son likes cars, for example, but hates the idea of having to stop playing with his cars to have a bath, turn the bath into a car wash. Children are incredibly creative so use their imaginations to your advantage.
Here at Discovery Point Nursery and Academy, our daycare in Vaughan, have fully trained and experienced ECEs with a wealth of information. Feel free to talk to your child’s caregivers for advice on how use their tried and true tips for managing the day.