F or many full-time working parents, whose children are in day care for long stretches of the day, your child’s activities are somewhat of a mystery. How can you know what your little one has been up to? The best way to know is to get involved.
A quality daycare encourages parents their utmost involvement both at preschool/daycare and at home. The way the center is set up should reflect that and welcome you to build a sense of community there to support your child. Here are some ways to help your involvement:
- Communication: Make sure that there is a reliable communication method between home and preschool/daycare. Whether it is a verbal recap of the day, a written note that is sent home with them, or an app that allows you to stay in touch, it’s important to know the highs and lows of your child’s day. Many centers have bulletin boards and weekly emails to keep parents in the loop of general information. Some child care providers are adopting new high-tech communication apps that allow them to communicate via email or text. Communication however goes both ways; make sure you are sharing relevant information with the child care provider too, like potty-training progress. If your daycare doesn’t use one yet, talk to them about signing up with a program such as Kinderloop, that allows you to know about your child’s activities throughout the day.
- Visits: Drop in occasionally, even ten minutes here and there can help you feel more in tune to what is going on. Look for child care programs that have an open-door policy. If visiting is not an option a new high-tech trend may be a good alternative, online video streaming that allows you to check on your kid any time of day. If your child care program doesn’t have video streaming, ask them about it and see if they would be open to installing one.
- Committees: If there is any sort of parent committee make a conscious effort to join even if you can’t make every meeting. Joining a group of parents who are just like you can be extremely helpful and you could gain access to resources you didn’t even know were available. If your preschool/daycare doesn’t have a parent committee, start one!
- Events & Activities: Ask to volunteer and offer your help at daycare. If your time doesn’t allow it, befriend a fellow parent who can volunteer and who would keep you in the loop. Also, keep in mind that many preschools and daycares organize special events in an attempt to involve not only the parents, but the entire family. It is crucial that your family makes a conscious effort to attend these fun events and open houses to support your child.
- Benefits: There are endless benefits to being actively involved with where your child invests their time everyday. As a parent you can use the cognitive and behavioral strategies used by the teacher at home. When a teacher gets to know a child’s parents and family better, the teacher is able to connect better with the child, which can greatly improve their performance and attitude.
Have other suggestions? Tell us how you are involved at your child’s preschool.