Putting your baby or toddler in a childcare program can be a nerve-wracking experience for both you and your little one. However, the right childcare program can help your baby learn new skills, give her fun activities that aid development, and set her on the right foot toward getting ready for preschool.
An excellent way to make sure your baby gets everything she can out of the childcare setting is to take steps to foster and support her learning and development.
Steps to Childcare Success
For your child to be successful in a childcare program, it’s important to find a center that meets your needs, stay involved with her program, and reinforce her learning.
Find a Childcare Program That Supports Your Needs and Wants
A quality childcare program that aligns with your values, expectations, and needs can make all the difference in your baby’s success. In this article you can read about how to find a childcare program that’s a good fit for your family. Scheduling a visit to tour the center will help you get a feel for how caregivers interact with children, how clean the rooms are, and what activities are available for your child.
Communicate with Your Baby’s Teacher
Staying in touch with your baby’s teacher keeps you up to date with her progress, so you’ll know what she’s learning, what she might need some help with, and what you can do to boost her skills.
Quality programs usually have ongoing assessment processes that help teachers keep track of areas in which your baby excels, needs extra help, or is right on target. It’s important to keep an eye on your child’s milestones at home, but it’s also a good idea to check in to see how the teacher thinks she’s doing, too.
When enrolling your baby in the program, ask your teacher how you can get a hold of her for any questions you have and how she prefers to schedule conferences if needed.
Volunteer in Whatever Ways You Can
Another way to stay in the loop is to volunteer to help your baby’s class and teacher. You’ll see what your baby’s working on and what kind of activities her teacher has available to target different areas of development.
Although you can donate some time in the classroom with tasks like setting up for, or cleaning up after, lunch or snack, laying out activities, or assisting with music or storytime, you can also volunteer to help at home. Offer to cut materials for craft time, send in some books for the teacher to borrow, or type up the teacher’s lesson plans.
Work on Independent Skills
Children need to learn how to do a lot of things when they reach preschool, like put on a jacket, hat, and gloves, use the potty, and get drinks from the water fountain. Your baby or toddler won’t master these skills just yet, but you can work on developing some independent skills at any age.
With your baby, you’ll want to encourage hand and finger skills with fine motor activities that can fine-tune her muscles. Think grasping, squeezing, and building.
Toddlers can start to do a little more for themselves, like grooming, helping to dress and undress, and learning to use buttons and zippers. The “Self-Care” area of our BabySparks development program is full of ideas for teaching independent skills!
Try to Stick to Routines
It’s not always possible to have a set routine for your little one each day, but the more you can stick to one, the easier it will be to make the transition from home to childcare, and vice versa. Keep bedtime and wake-up at similar times each day and keep the tasks for each in order. The more she knows what to expect, the easier the transition will be for both of you.
Did you know that BabySparks isn’t just for parents? Our BabySparks professional development program can be used in daycares, preschools, and other childcare settings!