Having a kid is both an exciting and stressful time. You have just given birth to an amazing being but they take up so much of your time. After a couple of years you might see yourself wanting to get back into the workforce. However, you have a dilemma; do you send your child to a childcare centre or have a nanny?
Whilst there are a lot of advantages to having a nanny, sending your kids to a childcare centre that provides diverse socialisation and a change of environment can be beneficial for their development.
Sending your kids to a childcare centre actively helps them to prepare for school. It is essentially a school that operates for younger kids and caters to a range of needs due to the rapid development from ages 2-5.
Those who attend a childcare centre are able to adopt many of the skills that are valuable for school learning such as problem solving and being able to cope with extended periods away from their parents. This factor also helps parents to cope with extended periods away from their young ones – something they are unlikely to have experienced previously.
Early learning is extremely important for kids and sending them to a childcare centre at a young age immediately exposes them to a range of new activities, a new environment and the need to learn social and language skills.
Kids are encouraged to learn in a childcare centre environment with a range of activities available. The addition of other children is likely to ignite a competitive nature within the young ones further aiding their development. This element of learning can, at times, be more difficult to achieve at home.
Those who attend childcare centres are introduced to a completely new group of people to interact with. Those who stay at home will only get one-on-one interactions with adults and it is often the same adults over and over again. At a childcare centre the kids are exposed to group socialisation as well as experiencing interactions with other adults.
Here, kids will learn to interact with others in an appropriate way and share experiences together as they learn to develop relationships. Developing social skills early in life is important as it is difficult to train these in or out when they are older. There is no sugar-coating when it comes to the kids so they quickly learn the rights and wrongs of social interaction
Having a set schedule ensures that the little ones are always busy and don’t experience periods of boredom. Additionally, it allows them to get used to following a schedule and having a routine of day to day activities that will be necessary later in life.
This links in well to the preparation for school element but it goes beyond that as they will have to follow a schedule outside of school for things like sport and, when they eventually become adults, have to work full time.
Every parent knows that eventually their child will need to learn how to interact with and form positive and productive relationships with other people. Through doing this, your child will naturally begin to make friends that they will learn and play alongside.
Preschool is one of the first fixed environments where your child will interact with others their age on a routine basis. This means they will see the same kids each week and will start to see themselves as part of a community of peers.
As a parent, there are several things you can do to help prepare your child so that they have positive experiences with other children and learn the unspoken rules of social decorum.
When it comes to preschool age children and how they interact, there’s a broad range of normal behaviour. By the age of three, most children are regularly interacting with others their age through child care and playgroups.
At this stage, some kids may already be forming ideas of who their closest friends are and will be able to identify them by name. You’ll notice them look for specific children when they arrive at the centre and will often only play with them for the remainder of the day.
By the age of four, most children understand the difference between their close friends and other children they happen to know. At this stage they will begin to show favouritism towards their friends in terms of team selection in games or when sharing toys.
The important thing to remember is that children are all very different and won’t all respond in the same way to making friends. Some children may be very energetic and playful while others may be more introverted and find the typical play experience overwhelming.
Preschool is a great environment for you to observe your child’s organic reactions to others their age so that you can help them break out of their shell.
Kids need to learn friendship skills organically and make mistakes along the way. As they play with others they will build skills about how to respect boundaries, understand consent and the golden rule.
Through roleplay games and playing house, kids naturally mimic roles they see their parents and other adults take on. This gives them a chance to practise societal roles in a play setting.
For example, one child may choose to play as a shopkeeper selling groceries to the other kids who are shoppers. This gives the children defined roles and encourages them to cooperate in order to achieve the fantasy.
It also means that if every child wants to be the shopkeeper, they will need to engage in debate and reasoning to work out a solution. While this can sometimes lead to fighting between children, it is still good for them to experience conflict and practise how to overcome it in a social setting.
You can assist your child in learning the value of friendship and mutual trust by intervening at key moments. For example, you can teach your child about the values of sharing and being gentle while they are playing with siblings at home.
Another example is playing games at home, where you can show your child how to win and lose with grace as well as why they shouldn’t cheat.
Ultimately, your child won’t have trouble making friends as long as they are given a safe and positive environment in which to interact with other children. Our early learning centre is the perfect place for your child to learn and play while you’re busy with the other parts life
At Whiz Kidz, we have developed a new and fresh childcare model that incorporates all aspects of childcare development. We believe in creating a system of care that is holistic and enriching, one that expands your child’s numeracy and literacy skills, physical growth and coordination, creativity, social skills and emotional awareness.
It is also important, however, that this process of childhood development starts at home. As a parent or guardian, there are several things you can do to help your child get the most out of their childcare experience.
Currently, we have centres in Northmead, Baulkham Hills and Delahey. Our services are available to children all throughout Sydney. At the moment, we provide caring services for children in Keilor Downs, Sydenham, Taylors Hills, Taylors Lakes, Burnside Heights, St Albans, Caroline Springs and Albanvale.
Here are a few tips you can consider when enrolling your child in a childcare centre.
In reality, your response and approach to your child attending a childcare centre will influence their outlook as well. You can actually transfer some of your own anxiety onto your children, meaning if you’re anxious about your child heading off to day care, chances are they will be too.
Instead, build a positive environment at home and show your excitement at the prospect of day care. Develop a strong relationship with your child’s carers because hopefully your child will try to mimic that same bond. It’s all about setting an example.
A lot of children are really scared of leaving their parents and spending several hours at a childcare centre. Some children suffer from separation anxiety, which makes it harder for them to make friends and socialise with the other children. Leaving a “comfort item” can help reduce this stress and ensure that your child knows you are coming back to pick them up. Your departure is only temporary and the object acts as a reminder.
It may seem cruel but dropping your child off at the childcare centre and leaving quickly is likely the best option, even if there are some initial tears. Hanging around to stop the tears can actually just exacerbate your child’s pain and fear.
However, there should be no “disappearing acts.” The last thing you need is your child not knowing that you have left; this can degrade their sense of trust in you. Establish a quick drop off routine to maintain normality and help your child adjust to their new circumstances.
Don’t rush your child into day care. In actuality, the process should be gradual and slow. There is no set rule as to when a child becomes used to childcare life. However, gradually introducing your child into the program over several weeks has proven to be the most beneficial for the child’s wellbeing and comfortability.
A key component of ensuring your child has a positive childcare experience is you explaining their schedule. Tell them what to expect for nap time, rest and outdoor play. If your child has some idea of what is happening, chances are they will be more inclined to meet this challenge head on.
While preschool is largely a positive experience for children, there may be times when your child encounters some distress. It can be difficult knowing what to do when your child appears upset before or after preschool. He or she may cry, cling to you or throw a tantrum every morning, leaving you both feeling stressed and upset. While it is developmentally normal for a toddler to be anxious when first starting preschool (especially for certain personality types), there are things you can do to help make life easier for them (and you). Here’s a guide on some actions you can take:
Firstly, it is important to acknowledge your child’s feelings as valid, and not to dismiss or scold your child for feeling the way they do, as this will only cause them more stress. Acknowledging your child’s feelings will help them feel understood and supported and make them less inclined to seek out your attention through tears or tantrums.
If your child is tired, ill or hungry, they may not be in the best mood for preschool and may be more prone to emotional outbursts. This is also true if there are any significant events or a routine change that may be causing stress in the child’s life. By ensuring your child’s basic needs are being met, you can then consider other factors that may be causing their distress.
It may also be worth considering whether or not there is something going on at preschool that is upsetting your child (such as a lack of friends, difficulty in a particular task etc). You can resolve this by speaking with your child and with preschool staff.
Young children like routine and knowing what to expect. Going through the morning routine with them vocally beforehand can help ease their anxiety and make them feel more prepared. Saying something like, “We’re going to drive to preschool now. I’m going to kiss you goodbye and you can walk inside to go and play with your friends,” can be helpful.
Reading books or watching shows which illustrate morning routines can help normalise the experience for your child. Keeping to a schedule where possible can also be comforting for them.
Prolonging the drop-off experience may make it harder for your child to part from you. Saying goodbye and then leaving shortly after allows your child to transition more easily into the preschool environment. Try to stay positive and upbeat – being comfortable and relaxed yourself helps to put your child at ease, too. When picking up your child, focus on exploring the highlights of their day and praise them for attending.
Preschool doesn’t have to be a difficult experience for your or your child. By keeping these things in mind and dealing with any issues, you can get things back on track and have your child looking forward to preschool.
Children of any age can benefit from mindfulness. It offers a great way to improve emotional stability, reduce stress, and enhance mental functioning and wellbeing. All of these things will be invaluable to a child starting in day care.
For those unfamiliar with the practice, mindfulness is the process of focusing one’s awareness on experiences occurring in the present. While it has its roots in ancient Buddhist practices, it is becoming increasingly popular in the fields of modern psychology and health.
Mindfulness comes with a host of positive benefits which make it a great tool to use with your child. Some benefits include:
Research has shown that practicing mindfulness can help increase children’s self-control and focus, as well as their ability to pay attention in school. This is especially valuable for children who struggle with conditions like ADHD and anxiety.
Mindfulness can help improve a child’s social awareness and self-awareness. By paying attention to the present and acknowledging feelings and thoughts non-judgmentally, children are less likely to react emotionally to a situation or event. Breathing and grounding techniques can help a child to deal with stress and respond to a situation in a positive and helpful way.
Besides the aforementioned self-control and focus, there are many other cognitive benefits that mindfulness provides for children. It can also assist with critical thinking, emotional regulation, decision-making and resilience.
It is essential to use age-appropriate mindfulness practices with your children – for good reason. Asking a two-year old to meditate with their eyes closed for 10 minutes probably isn’t going to work. Thankfully, there are a range of different mindfulness activities you can use. Here are some ideas for practicing with a pre-schooler:
Practicing mindfulness yourself can help teach your child its value; it also helps to normalise the practice. Studies have also found that the children of parents and carers who practice mindfulness around them have increased self-esteem and self-worth. Point out to your child when you are using mindfulness to regulate your emotions.
Teaching children to use their breath as an anchor to the present moment can be helpful. Give your child a stuffed toy that they can place on their belly when they lie down. Have them watch the rise and fall of the stuffed toy as they breathe in and out.
The idea behind this is to practice paying attention to the senses as a grounding technique. As you walk, eat or brush your teeth with your child, have them notice the sensations they are experiencing. What sounds can they hear? What tastes are they savouring? You can practice this technique in virtually any situation.
These are just some of the many mindfulness practices you can do with your child. Try to make mindfulness a habit by practicing daily, as it is most effective when practiced regularly.
Sending your child to pre-school is understandably a daunting and scary prospect, especially if you know they tend to bump their heads and get themselves into trouble a lot. While kids are always
going to collect a few bumps and scrapes as they learn about navigating the world around them, its prudent to make sure they understand common sense rules around safety to protect both themselves and others when you’re not there to directly supervise them.
Short of wrapping your child in protective foam, there are plenty of sensible lessons you can teach them to ensure they stay safe at pre-school and avoid injuring other children too. Let’s look at 5 safety lessons you can teach them right now.
Of course, the most critical safety lesson you can teach your child is what they should do in an emergency. They should understand what the emergency number is (000), what the difference between ambulance, police and fire is, and how to make the call.
It’s a good idea to go over some practise scenarios such as “what do you do if the teacher hurts themselves and asks you to get help”. Giving children this basic training can save lives and shouldn’t be neglected.
Its crucial that your child understands the concept of stranger danger and the difference between centre staff and other adults outside. You should ensure that they know who the centre staff are and where they can be found.
This will give your child a clear understanding of which adults they should trust while they’re at pre-school.
You should make sure that you teach your child about the dangers of items like lighters and electrical appliances. They should know that water coming out of a tap may be very hot and that they shouldn’t touch electrical outlets either with their bare hands or with objects like cutlery.
Your child should know how to hold scissors properly (sharp end facing down) and to never run with them. Similarly, they should know that cutlery can be sharp and that it is only for eating and not playing with.
At pre-school your child will sometimes be exposed to the natural world and its important they know what to stay away from. They should know what snakes, spiders and other poisonous creatures look like.
They should also know not to touch, poke or attempt to play with a dead animal if they see one, so they can avoid contact with dangerous bacteria. Encourage them to respect animals and leave them alone if they don’t pose a threat or to tell centre staff so they can deal with it appropriately.
Your child also needs to know what things they shouldn’t touch or put in their mouth and what things are only appropriate for adults or in certain contexts. For example, they should know that
toothpaste isn’t a food and is only used for cleaning teeth.
They should understand what the universal poison logo looks like, so they don’t consume anything from a container that displays it. They should also know the difference between medications and candy.
While instilling these lessons in your child, it’s important that you don’t fill them with fear or anxiety about attending pre-school. It’s all about encouraging self-awareness and self-assurance so that they can always get the most out of pre-school while staying safe.
If you are considering enrolling your child at an early learning centre (preschool), then you would no doubt want to find them the best possible fit. Naturally, you want to enrol them at a preschool that’s safe, secure and nurturing for your little one.
When you’re looking for a preschool to enrol your child, make sure you check to see if they meet the following criteria:
Considering the educational philosophy of the preschool is important if you want to make sure your child has a highly nurturing learning environment. It should be pretty clear upon browsing their website and visiting their location what the overall vibe is and whether or not you think it will suit your child.
A preschool is a place where children should be able to get a taste for what interacting with others outside their family is like and to be introduced to new concepts in a safe way. Talk to the educators and ask as many questions as you need to so you have a robust sense of what the content of the program will be and whether or not it’s what you want for your child.
While you might think of it as ‘overkill’ to measure the progress of your child at preschool, this kind of non-academic assessment can help to identify areas where your child may be struggling and help them overcome the difficulty. For example, if your child has issues interacting with other children, then this is something preschool educators can identify and try to curb.
Behavioural issues and learning difficulties come in all shapes and sizes, with some requiring more advanced intervention than what is available at preschool. However, identifying any developmental issues in your child early-on is the best way to counter them.
You should notice that when staff talk to children, they literally get on their level and squat or kneel. This is a well-known means of relaxing children from a teacher who is supportive and approachable.
The younger your child is, the more the preschool teacher will act as a stand-in for you – so its important that they are able to make your child feel cared for. This also means developing a level of trust whereby a teacher can help the child if they have an accident and stop them from feeling isolated.
Teachers should also demonstrate how they diffuse disagreements between children. Ideally, they should seek to help children resolve the issue and learn from the dispute rather than dish out a punishment.
Of course, it’s a good idea to make sure you take a thorough look at the centre so that you can identify any obvious issues. The establishment should be clean, tidy and free of obstructions that would pose a risk to children such as sharp corners on tables, raised floors and loose curtains.
Make sure their outdoor space is also safe and that they have an easy way to supervise your child as they play. Teachers should be able to respond quickly if your child touches something they shouldn’t.
Don’t underestimate parent’s intuition! You should instinctually feel whether or not a centre is safe for your child and whether or not it will be the best fit for them. If you have any concerns that the centre staff can’t address for you, it may be prudent to look into another preschool.