TORONTO, Aug. 21 /CNW/ - Summer is winding down and back-to-school
preparations are beginning, even for parents with young preschoolers. Finding
the best childcare options, preparing children for starting at or returning to
daycare or kindergarten, and re-establishing those daily routines that will
help keep the whole family organized are only some of the ways families with
young children are getting ready as the busy fall season approaches.
"Back-to-school time is not only about preparing the children for the
first day of day care or school. It's about getting the entire family ready
and everybody working together on setting up and following new routines that
will minimize the surprises and reduce the likelihood of time crunch and
stress for both the parents and kids," says Chaya Kulkarni, child development
and parenting expert with Invest in Kids, a national charitable organization
dedicated to supporting the healthy social, emotional and intellectual
development of children aged 0-5.
Here are several tips from the Invest in Kids' experts that will help
families with preschoolers get an easier start with the back-to-school
Finding and Choosing Childcare Options
- Consider both home and centre-based care and the advantages and
disadvantages of each before making a final decision. Compare many,
have all your questions answered and meet the educators who will care
for your child.
- Make sure that the child care setting ensures your child's health and
- Look at the childcare environment and whether it will provide your
child with comfortable and organized spaces to play, explore and
interact, and a healthy balance of outdoor and indoor activities.
Preparing Your Child for Childcare
- Help your child transition into a new childcare routine by telling
him or her in advance what to expect once there. If possible, arrange
advance visit(s), make introductions to other children, and spend
some time with your child at the place of care when arriving and
departing to help him or her ease in and out.
- Provide your child with a sense of comfort and security by letting
him or her take something that will be comforting (e.g., a toy,
blanket or picture, etc.), call and talk to your child during the
day, touch base with your caregiver daily, and establish a timely
- If your child is adjusting to a new day care, be supportive and
encouraging, explore the new place of care together, get involved
with new groups and activities, and help your child find the
playgroups and activities he or she always enjoyed.
Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten
- Help your child build important learning skills by reading, telling
stories, playing games, writing words and letters and playing with
- Introduce routines and rules that will be in place once the school
starts and that will help your child be rested and enjoy the learning
experiences (e.g., bedtime and morning "getting ready" routine).
- If your child is anxious and doesn't want to go to school, talk to
him or her about his or her school fears and worries, but explain
that missing school is not an option. Feel welcome to approach your
child's teacher for help and advice.
Time Management and Self-Care Tips for Busy Parents
- To help parents make the most out of their time and to maintain
balance in their lives, try selecting a childcare option that is near
your workplace to cut down on the required travel time.
- Implement morning routines that will help the entire family prepare
for a new day while staying on time such as eating breakfast at the
same time, packing lunch and other daily necessities ahead of time.
- Make time for relaxation and take on only those activities that you
can handle to avoid over scheduling and stress.
For additional tips, check out Invest in Kids Parents' Back-to-School
Survival Guide at www.investinkids.ca/tips.
Invest in Kids is a national charity dedicated to helping parents become
the parents they want and need to be. By translating the science of parenting
and child development into engaging, easy-to-understand, relevant resources
for parents and professionals, Invest in Kids aims to strengthen the parenting
knowledge, skills and confidence of all those who touch the lives of our
youngest children to ensure the healthy social, emotional and intellectual
development of children from birth to age five. For additional information,
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