Day Care and Babysitters Tips

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How can I make it easier for my child to start daycare?

Easing Day Care Fears

To help your child adjust to a new daycare, visit the daycare a few weeks before the start date. Ask your child's future caregivers to pose for a photo with her. Display the photos in a regularly viewed spot, such as the fridge, and point them out regularly. This should make your child more familiar with the caregivers and ease the transition.

How can I choose a daycare?

Spend the Day

Choosing a day care can be a big problem. You want to make sure that your child is cared for properly, the environment is clean and the staff is caring. When going to look at the center, talk to the director and ask to spend a day with your child there and just observe. You'll have to leave the room from time to time and peek in to make sure things are going smoothly, but you'll get a good idea of how things work. Your choice should be a lot easier to make after your trial day.

How can I get financial help with daycare?

State Help

If you are single or qualify check with your local department of social services for programs that can assist you financially with day care.

How do I learn what my babysitter does when I´m not home?

Have a Trial Run First

Before you leave your child for an extended length of time with a new babysitter, consider having a few trial runs of having the babysitter watch the kids while you are home. You can spend the time cleaning, working in the yard, sewing, or just relaxing reading a book. This will give you a chance to observe how well the sitter handles your children and will give you some much needed time to get some things accomplished that never get done because of constant demands from your children. Make sure you feel comfortable with the way your children are being treated and that you are able to trust the sitter. If she spends all of her time parked on the couch watching television, or on the phone, you better keep looking. If you have doubts about what may be going on when you are not home, you may want to make a surprise visit home earlier than you had anticipated or with an excuse that you forgot something. Your children's safety and well-being are more important than hurting someone else's feelings.

How can I ease my child´s separation anxiety?

Kisses to Go

To ease your child´s separation anxiety, place pretend kisses in his/her pocket before you must leave. Blow a kiss or two into her pocket and make a point of closing it tightly so they won´t escape. If your child gets lonely after you are gone, he can reach into his pocket and a kiss will be waiting.

Do I need to send my child to preschool?

Do We Need Preschool?

Before sending your child off to preschool, there are a few factors to consider.

(1) Cost. Is this something your family can afford? With the economy still on the recovery, preschool can fall under unnecessary expense. If it's still something that you want to do, but find it puts a stress on the pocket book, consider letting the child go two days a week instead of three or five. Try church based pre-schools as well because sometimes they are far less expensive than private daycare/preschools. Usually, it does not require you to be a member of the church for the child to attend.

(2) Socialization is essential for children and preschool offers both good and bad examples of this. If the child is more of a wall flower, preschool may help and the child can learn to become more self-sufficient and possibly make life long friends. They also learn about how to act in a social situations and how to follow instructions by someone besides their parents.

(3) Preschool can be enriching, but some experts stress that kids can learn the same skills at home if they are adequately nurtured. Teaching the child at home is easily obtainable, but some parents don't have the patience to sit through day after day of talking about letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. After watching the Wiggles for the nine hundreth time can cause even the most sane parent to lose it. Know that another way to teach these things is to watch for them at the grocery store, while driving/walking around town, and at home. Sometimes the best teaching and learning occurs in a much less informal situation.

(4) Going to preschool also increases exposure to illness and kids in daycare and or preschool can get sick more often. On the flip side, other kids get sick less because their bodies are exposed to viruses and illness and they fight them off, increasing their immune response.

(5) If the program is high stress and performance, it can lead to toddler burnout. Talk to other parents who have their children at the preschool you are considering and watch a class or two with your child. I'd also recommend watching a class without your child there so you can completely devote to observing the teacher and students.

How do I say goodbye to my child at daycare?

Saying Goodbye

When leaving your baby or child at daycare, it's better not to sneak away, even if it's tempting to avoid a big teary scene. Give baby a hug and a kiss and say a warm but firm goodbye. Your goodbye can be short and sweet; it doesn't have to be painfully drawn out. Baby or child may scream when they know you're leaving, but in the long run they feel more secure knowing that you respect their feelings and will cue them when you leave.

How can I prevent my child from using someone else´s cup?

Sippy Cup ID

I have noticed that in playgroups many children often have matching sippy cups, and they are mistakenly taken by the wrong child. Since most young children cannot read their own name, I decided to place a photo of my child on his sippy cup, and now everyone (including him) knows which cup is his. There is no longer any drinking from the wrong cup.

How do I get my kids to listen to the babysitter?

Listening to the Babysitter

If your kids are giving your babysitter a hard time and not listening, tell them that if they don't listen, the babysitter's wages will be coming out of THEIR allowances.

How can I ensure that my child listens to the sitter while I´m away?

Respect the Sitter

To make sure your child treats your babysitter with respect, let them know that if you hear any bad reports of poor behavior, there will be specific consequences. With your child and sitter present, explain the rules for the evening and remind your child that you expect them to do what the sitter tells them. Also, consider hiring your sitter when you are home so they can learn which parenting techniques are most effective with your child.

How can I lessen separation anxiety for my child?

Lessening Separation Anxiety

To help your child ease into being away from you on the first day of school or daycare, try drawing a picture of a happy face or kiss on your child's hand with permanent marker. Tell your child that if he gets sad or lonely he can look at the picture you made for him and remember that you will be there smiling at him at the end of his day.

How can I ease my guilt about returning to work and leaving my baby?

Ease Back-to-Work Worries

To ease worrying and guilt when returning to work after maternity leave, try packing disposable cameras in the diaper bag to take to your child's caregiver. Ask your babysitter to take periodic photos of your child's day. This will help you to see the good times your child is having and ease the apprehension about returning to work.

What should I send to daycare with my child?

What You Need at Daycare

When bringing your child to day care you want to make sure you don't forget anything. Their cubbies should be well stocked for any emergency. These are just a few things you might want to keep in their cubby:

1.A change of clothes
2.Extra diapers, wipes and rash cream (or underwear if they're potty trained)
4.A hat(seasonal-heavy with gloves in the winter, baseball cap the rest of the time)
5.A pair of socks (you'd be surprised how many they lose)
6.A favorite toy for naptime
7.A list of allergies and any other things the teachers need to know
8.Spare bottle/sippy cup with nipple and collar (if needed)
9.Make sure all emergency numbers are correct and updated. (place a spare set of the numbers in the child's cubby)
10.A picture of mom and dad (helps the child get through the day)
Don't forget that everything should be clearly labeled with your child's name.

How do I interview a potential babysitter?


When interviewing people as potential babysitters for your children, you need to find out as much as your can about that person. What experience do they have with children, what's their educational background, do they have references from past employers? Get the names and phone numbers of past employers and contact them. Ask the sitter how they would handle temper tantrums, emergency situations, or a child wanting to stay up past bedtime. You may want to find out how they were disciplined as children. If they indicate there was abuse in the home, you may want to steer clear. Studies have shown that adults who were abused as children grow up and become child abusers themselves.

How can I lesson separation anxiety?

Comforting Kisses

If your child suffers from separation anxiety and cries whenever he/she is left at a babysitter or daycare, try putting on lipstick and kissing both of his/her hands before leaving, explaining that you are leaving those kisses behind with the child. He/she can "see" your kisses long after you are gone and may find this very comforting.

Another possibility is to kiss the palm of their hand and have them close their fist. Tell them to save this kiss for a later time, when they stressed or worried about something. You can also do this with a purse, bag, or small (plastic) container.

Kids need to feel secure so this extra act of kindness and love will go a long way and certainly melt your heart.

How can I stop kids from spreading germs in their playdough?

Cutting Down on Playdough Germs

Playdough is a great way for kids to create and work on their dexterity, but it's also a wonderful way for kids to share germs.

With the kids heading back to school and cold and flu season around the corner, children are going to be bombarded with germs.

To reduce the chance of kids sharing more than playdough, teach the kids to wash their hands prior to playing. If they suffer from a running nose and/or cough/sneezing, have the child use his/her own playdough and not share that particular color. As for the molds, clean between kids (as best as possible) uses.

If the playdough is something that is used repeatedly, place the part the child used and then put into a plastic bag. Label it with the child's name for future use.

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Guru Spotlight
Patricia Walters-Fischer