Promote Your Child’s Development in a Daycare Setting

For many families, and for a variety of reasons, children attend daycare for a large part of each week. Most daycare programs provide fantastic opportunities for your child to gain a sense of independence and develop necessary social skills. Regrettably, many daycare programs are not designed to foster a young child’s development in all of the other 7 Key Developmental Areas linked to success in school.

children in daycare environment

By working with your child’s daycare provider, you can help identify the areas in which your child may need focused attention and how the daycare can provide your child with the attention necessary to make sure he is prepared to begin school once he graduates from daycare.

4 Tips for promoting your child’s development in daycare

  1. Meet with your child’s daycare provider. During this meeting, explain that you are beginning to think about “life after daycare,” when your child starts preschool or kindergarten. Discuss how you are beginning to think about what skills your child will need to be prepared for school and how you have begun working with your child at home to help develop some important skills. Ask your childcare provider for thoughts on your child’s readiness to begin school as well as information on the areas in which your child may need a little extra help.
  2. Keep your child’s daycare provider up to date on your child’s progress at home. As you work with your child at home in the mornings, evenings or on weekends, keep your child’s daycare provider informed about the activities and skills your child is working on. As you drop your child off in the morning, take a minute once or twice a week to tell your child’s instructor what areas of proficiency or concern you have been observing, so that the instructor can monitor those areas also.
  3. Make sure your child has access to appropriate tools and materials at daycare. If you are working with your child on a specific developmental area such as fine motor development and the pincer grip, it is important that he be able to continue practicing those skills while at daycare. Do not hesitate to send your child to daycare with a collection of appropriate materials such as golf pencils, an ergonomic pencil grip, or crayon rocks. Your child’s daycare provider can use these materials with your child while other children nap or engage in other activities.
  4. Be proactive. Speak with your daycare provider on a regular basis to gain information about your child’s progress and to discuss any concerns you may have. By talking with your child’s daycare provider on a regular (weekly or bi-weekly at most) basis, you and your child’s daycare provider will be able to productively and seamlessly continue working on increasingly advanced skills from the week, through the weekend, and to the next week. Also, these conversations will give your child’s daycare provider an opportunity to highlight the progress your child is making under their guidance. In my experience, most daycare providers enjoy talking with parents about the progress your child is making, as it gives them an opportunity to highlight the focused work and extra attention they are giving your child.

What can you share with other parents?

How did your choose which daycare program was right for your child? How frequently do you meet with your child’s daycare provider to talk about your child’s progress? Have you ever tried sending your child to daycare with activities, worksheets, or special tools like ergonomic scissors or crayons? What was the daycare center’s response?

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