According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), food allergies are common, affecting 4% – 6% of children and 4% of adults.
Infants and young children are at a greater risk of potential food allergy symptoms; as providers, we must be well informed and prepared. This fact sheet from the National Food Service Management Institute provides answers to common food allergy questions
Outdoor play is very beneficial for young children; however, as providers, we have to be aware of the weather. This handout created by Child Care Weather Watch can help you decide if it is safe to be outside and what clothing, beverages, and protection children need.
Webinar recording put together by the National Center for Early Childhood Health and Wellness, sharing tips and strategies on ways to support children’s physical development by providing them with fun movement opportunities in a mixed age group setting.
Stress affects people differently, and this stress can manifest itself in different aspects of our lives. Stress is not exclusive to adults; children, especially now, are also experiencing stress. This webinar put together by INAAP (Indiana Chapter American of Pediatrics), Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning, as well as Early Learning Indiana showcases strategies for addressing mental health needs for yourself and the families you serve.
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, I had to re-think my sick policy and revise the parent handbook to reflect the new changes instituted by the state Health Department and recommendations from the CDC.
A typical sick policy within a child care setting consists of children not returning until 24 hours after the last symptom (fever, diarrhea, vomiting, flu, etc.). A doctor’s note is not always required upon returning, just as long as the child has returned after the 24-hour wait. This policy has its flaws. Oftentimes, the children are still not well after the 24-hour time frame. Illnesses such as a stomach virus, strep throat, or flu seem to pass through a child care setting like wildfire, being passed between not only the children but staff as well, causing unforeseen shut-downs due to the lack of adequate staff to child ratios.
COVID-19 has changed the way we handle sick policies and has also changed the way parents feel about keeping an ill child out of the facility, for the better.
Our new sick policy was added as addendums to the old policy and reflects a longer exclusion period of 48 hours after the last symptom of fever and/or illness. A doctor’s note is also required upon the return of any child who was out with an illness, stating that the child is in good health and can return to the facility. These measures alone have substantially cut back on illnesses being spread throughout the program. I have seen fewer sick children and staff for this time of year as compared to previous years. Because of this reason, I have decided to make these policies indefinite.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) provides this tool outlining the scheduled immunizations based upon a child’s birthdate. This could also be a helpful tool to share with parents.
As a family child care provider, the well-being of the parents I provide services to is just as important as the children that I care for on a daily basis. Parents would often share how overwhelmed they felt balancing work, home and family. Having raised three of my own children, I could empathize with their frustration. I thought, what would have made raising my children a little easier? This thought gave way to Parents’ Night Out.
Parents’ Night Out is an opportunity for parents to spend an evening catching up on rest without having to worry about child care. I provide this free service quarterly to the parents of children 2 -12 years old that are currently enrolled. Children are allowed to sleep over Friday night through Saturday afternoon at my family child care home. During this time parents are encouraged to go out on a date, enjoy a movie or just catch up on much needed rest and relaxation.
Children benefit from this time away from their parents as well. During the overnight stay, all activities are child-centered. They help plan the evening and morning meals, play group games, select a movie (age appropriate) to watch, and participate in free choice activities with their child care mates!
Lots of planning and prep work goes into make the evening a success for both parents and children alike. I notify parents one month in advance of the event and I stress the importance of taking time to re-energize for their child’s well-being. This is especially important for single parent households. I develop activities with the children during the week before the event to help the children transition to spending the night away from home for the first time. Children are encouraged to bring their favorite toy, pillow, sleeping bag, or blanket.
It’s been twenty years since I began offering Parents’ Night Out and I am still amazed at the impact it has on the parents. They return less stressed and eager to know how their child enjoyed the evening. For me it’s just one more opportunity to continue supporting families in their parenting endeavors and what a privilege and joy it is!