3 Reasons Summer is the Best Time to Enroll Kids in Daycare

If you’re considering putting your child in daycare, you may wonder when it is the best time to enroll. While Children’s Academy takes children as young as six weeks, most pediatricians consider six months to be the youngest beneficial age to enroll an infant in daycare. 

Parents of early preschool children (around the age of three to five) who seek to enroll their child in an early educational program consider the beginning of the school year to be the best time for enrollment. However, there are compelling reasons to enroll during the summertime before the school year begins. Let’s examine each below!

Gradual Change

Change is hard for young children, especially if they have stayed home with a parent all their life. Starting school in the fall is an overwhelming change and they may not grasp academic concepts like they should because they’re trying to learn the schedule and new social rules. This can put them behind before they can even get started! 

Enrolling a child in a daycare program over the summer will help them better prepare for an academic experience in the fall. Children can become accustomed to a daytime routine without their parent, so going to school won’t feel overwhelming. This will yield better academic results because the child will be comfortable and able to focus on their learning. 

Children’s Academy offers enrollment on a full or part-time basis, which means that your child can attend Children’s Academy a few days a week. This is the perfect solution for a shy child! They can still have a few days with their parent but gradually ease into a full-time schedule by the fall. This boosts the child’s confidence, which allows them to focus on their education.

Even better, Children’s Academy has an early preschool program, so your child doesn’t have to learn any new routines, teachers, or friends in August. They can stay in their new comfort zone, which makes the schooling experience less stressful for your child–and you!

Summer Work Solution

Most jobs don’t take a summer vacation, which makes childcare challenging for many parents! Even if you wanted to stay home with your child every day, practically speaking, it’s impossible: you still need to work.

You might be able to juggle a childcare schedule between relatives, friends, educational camps, and VBS events, but it’s a Jenga puzzle that could collapse the moment the adult slated to watch your kid gets sick, has car trouble, or has to work a longer shift. What happens to your child and your job?

The far simpler solution is to enroll your child in Children’s Academy. We are open6:30 AM-6 PM, which gives you tremendous flexibility to get all your work (and a few child-free errands) done so you can be fully present with your child when they are home. 

Unlike the constant shuffling of babysitters, Children’s Academy is open rain or shine to care for your child.  You can rest easy knowing that you have a reliable childcare solution. 

Our teachers will be consistent familiar faces instead of a shuffling of babysitters. Many parents and children enjoy the relationships they build at Children’s Academy so much that they continue with after-school care once school begins!

Keeps Brains Sharp!

Children lose many academic skills throughout the summer because they’re not practicing them. In fact, teachers dedicate a week or more to re-learning academic concepts from the previous year at the beginning of the school year. 

While this refresher period can help your child catch up, adults all remember how the frustration of forgetting academic concepts over the summer and re-learning them in the fall.

If your child is already in school, enrolling them in Children’s Academy is still an excellent childcare choice! This is because our modified academic routine keeps kids sharp. They might not be learning new concepts, but they’re practicing ones they’ve already learned so they don’t feel behind and frustrated in the fall. 

These are just a few reasons why enrolling children in Children’s Academy during the summer is a wise childcare choice. 

Fun and Free Activities to Do With Your Child This Summer

Summer is right around the corner! Summer is celebrated all around the country with fun, leisure, and special activities. With some planning and intentionality, you can make this a summer to remember! 

The Key to a Fun Summer: Planning

At the beginning of summer vacation, you feel like you have all the time in the world. It’s easy to let a few weeks go by–but before you know it, the first day of school is right around the corner. Take advantage of your summer break with just a little planning!

Plan the Big Events First

Put the big items on your calendar first: vacations, day trips, visiting family, or other out-of-town trips. Summer camps can be a week or more out of your summer vacation, so these need to be scheduled in advance. 

Reach out to friends and family for playdates. It takes collaboration to meet up with friends because they have schedules, too! Putting these get-togethers on the calendar early will help you take advantage of every opportunity

Don’t Forget About the Work

Summer is about fun, but work still needs to be done. Write out some household or yard projects, planning for no more than one a week. 

Summer is an excellent time to include your child in these projects! Let them help you paint the fence in the yard, plant or weed the garden, or hang pictures on the wall. Putting these special projects on the calendar will help you feel accomplished at the end of the summer. 

Look Up Local Events

Once you have planned the big items your calendar, you can fill in the gaps with fun local things to do. 

Social media pages, local news sources or magazines, and neighborhood bulletins can help discover local events, new parks, parades, and so much more! You can also search for “summer events near me” in a search engine.

Don’t Be Exhausted From Your Summer Break!

When planning your summer activities, be sure to schedule regular breaks. Your child shouldn’t be exhausted from their summer break–if they are, they may struggle when school starts. Be sure to schedule a few days off a week for leisure and to recover from busy activities. Take your child’s personality into consideration, too: some children need more rest, while others can handle more activity. 

Ready for some fun and free summer activity ideas? Here are our favorites!

Tap Into the Library

If you haven’t discovered the resources in your neighborhood library, summer is the perfect time! Most libraries have weekly scavenger hunts, baby-kindergarten story times, arts and crafts events, culinary events, LEGO play dates, science experiments, and so much more! 

Many libraries have reading challenges where kids can win prizes. These help children stay motivated, improve their reading skills, and keep their brains sharp during the academic break. 

Most events at libraries are free and require no registration, so they are the perfect activity to add to your calendar. 

Camp In the Backyard

Camping provides many wonderful childhood memories. Luckily, you don’t have to pack up your whole house or forfeit indoor plumbing when you camp in your own backyard! 

Children are just as delighted with pitching a tent, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire, and stargazing in their backyard as they are in the middle of the forest. Backyard camping is a low-risk activity because if things don’t go well, you can just go inside! But if your child loves camping, you can try an official campground later. 

Watch an Outdoor Movie

Going to the movies can be expensive and you’re limited to what you can watch. But with just a projector, a big sheet, a speaker, and some blankets and pillows, you can have a memorable outdoor movie experience!

Invite over some friends or keep it small; go all out with a candy and s’mores bar or just pop some popcorn. The details are up to you! Either way, your kids will love watching their favorite movie outside.

Nature Hike and Picnic Lunch

There’s only so much video gaming and television watching that a kid can (or should!) do in the summer. Time to get outdoors and explore nature! Pack a picnic lunch and find a local hiking trail. Many parks in your area have walking paths or easy hiking trails. Even better, pick a park that has a splash pad and pack a swimsuit to cool off after your hike!

To make your nature hike more engaging and educational, bring along a bird or insect identification guide, print out a scavenger hunt page, or bring along a bag or cup to collect interesting nature items and flowers for a bouquet. 

Enjoy the Water

Children of all ages love to play in the water, even if it’s just splashing in a shallow pool. While adults typically think of swimming in a pool as the main summer activity, this isn’t always possible from a time and financial standpoint. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on water fun! Here are some easy ways to enjoy water activities:

  • Splash Pads: Many local parks have splash pads in addition to their playground equipment. For extra fun and creativity, bring some plastic cups or bath toys.
  • Water Balloon Fight: There are countless ways to enjoy water balloons on a hot day: games, races, battles, and more! Make it a neighborhood event or keep it small–either way, it’s sure to delight your children!
  • Sprinkler: This old-fashioned backyard water fun never goes out of style! While there are hundreds of colorful blow-up sprinklers, any yard sprinkler would do!   
  • Squirt Guns: Another favorite that never gets old! Similar to a water balloon fight, you can make a squirt gun battle a social event or keep them handy for when boredom strikes. 

Have a Nature Evening

Nature is full of beauty and magic at night, but children are often sleeping by the time it gets dark. But one night, plan a special night to soak up all the beauty and enjoyment of nature, even if it goes past their bedtime:

  • Watch the sunset
  • Catch fireflies
  • Stargaze on a night with a full moon
  • Find the constellations

No matter what your summer plans include, there’s always time to make memories with your children that will last a lifetime!

Navigating the Conversation: Childcare in Kentucky

Childcare is a necessity for families—it’s a cornerstone of early childhood education and economic growth. In Kentucky, discussions surrounding childcare challenges and possible solutions are continuing to find solutions for all families currently struggling to find reliable daycare facilities that meet their needs and standards. The demand for early childhood education programs continues to grow, highlighting the importance of addressing childcare issues at both the state and local levels.

In Frankfort, policymakers are actively engaged in discussions aimed at improving childcare access, affordability, and quality across the state while addressing key issues such as:

  1. Funding and Subsidies: Lawmakers are exploring ways to increase funding to support low-income families in accessing quality childcare services. Families in Kentucky can look into Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) which helps low income families pay for child care.
  2. Licensing and Regulations: Policymakers are considering updates to existing regulations to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of children in childcare settings. The Division of Regulated Child Care is responsible for current and new licensing regulations.
  3. Workforce Development: Recognizing the critical role of early childhood educators, there is growing attention on workforce development initiatives aimed at attracting and retaining qualified childcare professionals. Efforts are underway to provide training, professional development opportunities, and competitive wages for early childhood educators. Daycare centers can work with Child Care Aware for the latest research based information.
  4. Parental Engagement: Frankfort is also exploring strategies to enhance parental engagement and involvement in early childhood education. By empowering parents with information and resources, policymakers hope to strengthen the partnership between families and childcare providers in supporting children’s learning and development.

As discussions continue in Frankfort, it’s clear that addressing childcare challenges requires a collaborative and multi-faceted approach. Kentucky can work towards solutions that ensure every child has access to high-quality early childhood education and care.  We can create a brighter future for the children of the Bluegrass State.

Developmental Milestones Parents Should Look For

Some children are early walkers, talkers, or readers. Some children want to do everything like their big siblings while others like to just watch. 

Every child develops at their own pace, but developmental milestones are one way that pediatricians and parents can anticipate upcoming skills and ensure each child is developing in a timely manner.

What Is a Developmental Milestone?

A developmental milestone is the approximately expected level of gross and fine motor skills, mental and emotional skills, cognition skills, and social skills for the age of the child. These will build on each other over time to accomplish greater strength, coordination, and comprehension. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a list of age-appropriate developmental milestones that many pediatricians use as a guideline in tracking developmental progress. These are not an absolute standard–in fact, they were revised in 2022! Many children eventually develop normally, even if they are “behind” in certain areas. 

While developmental milestones aren’t something to stress over, they can help determine necessary care and therapy if a milestone is missed or delayed. A pediatrician noting these delays can qualify your child for beneficial therapy or healthcare procedures that will benefit their quality of life. 

Why Parents Should Know Developmental Milestones

Because most children only see their pediatricians at well visits, months or even a year can go by before a pediatrician examines and observes your child. Even then, the pediatrician relies heavily on the parent’s subjective report because they can only observe so much in a 30-minute appointment.

Parents and guardians, then, need to know what to expect in the age range (or upcoming age range) of their child so they can give an accurate report. Many pediatricians’ offices will provide a handout of these milestones.  

You must be honest at the pediatrician’s office. The pediatrician is on your child’s side! Even if your child isn’t meeting developmental milestones, the pediatrician is the one who can help, so sharing honestly can only benefit your child. 

2 Months

By two months old, babies should be able to look at your face and be happy to see you. They should make other sounds than crying and be startled by loud noises. They should watch you move around the room and look at toys for several seconds at a time. They can hold their head up when lying on their tummy, move both arms and legs, and open and close their hands.

4 Months

At four months, babies can smile, chuckle, and make cooing sounds. They will look at their hands with interest and recognize that a bottle or breast means food. They can hold their head up, put their hands in their mouth, use their arms to swing at toys, and hold themselves up on their forearms while on their tummy.

6 Months

Your 6-month-old should be laughing, love looking at himself in a mirror, and recognize familiar people. They can squeal, take turns with you making sounds, and blow “raspberries.” They can reach for toys and put them in their mouths, roll from tummy to back, push up on straight arms when on their tummy, and sit (leaning on hands for support if necessary).

9 Months

At 9 months, your baby may be shy or fearful of strangers and react when you leave by crying or reaching for you. They will laugh at peek-a-boo, show various facial expressions (like happy, sad, mad), and respond to their name. They will say repeated sounds like “mama” or “baba” and lift their arms to be picked up. They will look for objects dropped out of sight, bang objects together, and transfer objects from one hand to another. They can get into a sitting position and sit unsupported.

12 Months

At a year old, babies play pat-a-cake, wave “bye,” say “mama” and “dada,” and understand “no”–even if they don’t listen! They like to put things in a container and look for objects you hide under a blanket as a game. They will pull to stand, cruise alongside furniture, pick up food between their thumb and pointer finger, and drink from a cup with help. 

15 Months

Around 15 months, toddlers love to copy what other children do, show you their toys, clap, stack objects, and show physical affection to toys and loved ones. They may say one or two other words, like “da” for dog. They will look at objects when you name them, follow simple directions (“give me the toy”), and point to someone or something for help. They may be stacking steps on their own and feeding themselves.

18 Months

Toddlers at 18 months point at interesting things, play away from you, look at books, and know how to help you dress them. They try to say more words and follow one-step directions. They copy your chores and mannerisms. They walk on their own, climb on and off a couch, scribble, and try to use utensils. 

2 Years

At 2 years, toddlers pay more attention to social situations by acting sad when others cry or look to see your reaction to a new situation. They can point to familiar objects in a book, say two words together (“more milk”), point to two body parts, and gesture more often with blowing kisses or nodding yes. They are interested in knobs and switches, playing with more than one toy at a time, running, kicking a ball, walking up steps, and eating with a spoon.

30 Months

At 2.5 years, toddlers begin to play with other children instead of beside them. They can follow a simple routine (“it’s time to clean up”) and like to get your attention to watch them. They can say about 50 words, using a noun and verb together like “doggie run.” They can tell you the names of objects in books and say “I,” “me,” and “we.” 

They begin to play imaginatively and use simple problem-solving skills. They can follow two-step instructions like “shut the door and take off your coat.” They can identify at least one color. They begin to use their hands to twist things, take off some clothes independently, jump with both feet and turn pages in a book.

3 Years

3-year-olds can self-soothe within 10 minutes of childcare drop-off, and play with other children. You can begin to have simple conversations, and they ask “who,” “what,” “where,” or “why” questions. They can identify an action in a book like running or jumping. They say their first name and talk well enough for other adults to understand them. 

They can draw a circle, string large beads on a string, use a fork, and put on some clothes independently. They avoid touching objects like a hot stove when instructed.

4 Years

Young children pretend to be something else during play, like a superhero or ballerina. They comfort a sad friend, avoid dangerous situations like jumping from a tree, like to help, and can change behavior based on their surroundings (home vs. school). 

Their sentences are four or more words long, ask simple questions, and can tell you something about their day. They can name colors, tell what comes next in a story, and draw a person with three or more body parts. They can catch a large ball, serve their food, unbutton buttons, and hold their utensil and pencils in a pencil grasp. 

5 Years

Children at this age can play games with simple rules, act or dance, and do simple chores. They can tell simple stories, answer simple questions, keep a conversation going with up to four exchanges, and recognize simple rhymes.

They can count to 10, recognize some written numbers and letters, and write some letters in their name. They can pay attention for 5 to 10 minutes, use words about time like “yesterday” or “afternoon,” button some buttons, and hop on one foot.

Developmental milestones should be used as a tool to help you and your pediatrician evaluate your child’s development. Some children develop faster than others, and some develop quicker in some areas and not others–like a socially aware child who is a late walker. 

If you have concerns about your child’s development, speak with your pediatrician! They can best assist you.

At Children’s Academy, we have a well-rounded curriculum for every age group that helps them meet their developmental milestones. We provide many opportunities throughout the day for children to develop fine and gross motor skills, cognitive skills, and social and emotional skills. 

Teachers Give Their Tips to Improve Patience in Children

While we tend to attribute impatience to children, everyone struggles with patience to a certain degree. Our fast-paced, instant-gratification culture usually allows us to avoid waiting for things we want.  

Children are already prone to impatience. It’s no surprise that children these days, surrounded by instant gratification, usually lack patience.

However, everyone would agree that patience is a necessary life skill. It takes time (no pun intended) to develop patience in children, but this character quality is vital to living a fulfilled adult life.

Why Are Children Impatient?

No one has to teach a child to be impatient; it’s human nature! Even before a child can talk, they want their toy or snack, and they want it now! However, there can be contributing factors to a child’s impatience. 

Technology

Cell phones, tablets, televisions, and game consoles are just a sampling of technological devices children have access to these days. Each one contains highly addictive programs that require minimal effort to enjoy but make it harder for children to persevere during real-life challenges.

Instant Gratification

Instant gratification comes in many forms: food from the drive-thru instead of a homemade meal, reading a book instead of watching a movie, or paying for same-day delivery instead of waiting a week for shipping. 

Modeled Impatience

Children learn how to respond to life’s circumstances from the adult role models in their life. If their parent models impatience, it’s likely the child will, as well. 

Why Is Patience Important?

Patience is vital to live a happy and fulfilled life. Patience improves your self-esteem, relationships, and life achievements, such as education, career opportunities, and financial stability. 

While many of our desires can be granted quickly, there are still things in life that take time, and there’s no way to speed up the process. Someone unable to wait will be incapacitated, jumping from one best thing to the next–as long as it doesn’t take too long.

Patience and perseverance go hand-in-hand. A child who doesn’t learn to persevere through hard times will not meet their potential and face continual discouragement. 

Ways to Help Your Child Develop Patience

It’s primarily the parent’s job to model and teach a child to be patient. This is because parents should be the biggest role models and authority figures in their child’s life. While other authority figures like teachers and grandparents are influential, if the parent isn’t consistent, the child likely won’t learn patience.

Luckily, there are plenty of practical and fun ways to model and teach patience. 

Modeling Patience

Children learn more by observation than by education. You can tell your child to be patient with their homework, but if you get frustrated at the Internet speed, your child will likely follow your example of impatience. 

Choosing to have a positive spin can help your child be more patient. For instance, if you’re waiting in a long grocery line, playing a game like counting all the candy that’s a certain color. Delaying gratification is a wonderful exercise for adults, too! 

Patience Games

Games are an excellent way to improve patience skills without children realizing it. Here are some favorite patience games:

  • Hide and Seek: This classic game teaches children to wait to be found
  • Mother, May I?: Also called “Captain, May I?”, this game teaches respectful questioning and patience skills
  • Freeze: Play a favorite dance song and pause at random intervals and for various lengths of time. The child should remain “frozen” until the music begins again.
  • Popcorn Game: Sitting in a circle, pass around a bowl of popcorn in which each child takes only one piece of popcorn to eat at a time. This game teaches turn-taking and patience.  

Delay Gratification

There are countless ways you can help your child learn patience by delaying gratification. Delayed gratification doesn’t mean you withhold anything–you just delay it.

For instance, you can bake cookies instead of opening a package of cookies. In both cases, your child still gets a cookie, but baking them stretches their patience (and is a bonding experience!). 

Other ways you can delay gratification include:

  • Work towards a goal: Whether it’s saving up for a new toy or cleaning up their room before going to the park, children experience greater joy and satisfaction in their reward when they’ve worked for it.
  • Save toys and treats for special occasions: Children who routinely get a trinket or treat develop an unhealthy expectation that they should get rewards all the time. While you can still surprise your child with a treat, saving rewards for special occasions helps children develop patience and realistic expectations.
  • Creating (and sticking with!) boundaries: Whether it’s a treat, toy, or breakfast cereal, children will often push your boundaries. But sticking with your boundaries helps children develop patience because they learn to not give in to every whim. 

Praise the Progress

Patience is a developed skill; children have no idea what patience is until you point it out. 

Praising your child for exhibiting patience should be easy and delightful–they did it! Rejoice and celebrate together! You may be surprised at how much your child wants to please you, and if patience pleases you, they are more likely to do it. So make it a big deal and enjoy the rewards of your hard work!

Patience is a necessary life skill for children to have happy and fulfilling adult lives. It takes a lot of effort and consistency, but the rewards are worth it!

At Children’s Academy Childcare, our teachers are skilled at helping children learn patience. Our schedule helps children learn patience through taking turns, learning fine and gross motor skills, and cooperative play. 

Children’s Academy Childcare and Preschool is proud to offer an outstanding curriculum that is educational, fun, and prepares your child for kindergarten per state educational standards.

If you’re looking to give your child a head start in school, contact Children’s Academy Childcare and Preschool today!

What’s Next

Unlocking the Magic: the Week of the Young Child Celebration in Childcare

Unlocking the Magic: the Week of the Young Child Celebration in Childcare

The Week of the Young Child is a special time dedicated to honoring the importance of early childhood education and celebrating the remarkable journey of young children. For daycare facilities, this annual celebration holds immense significance, serving as a reminder of the crucial role they play in shaping the lives of young learners.

What is the Week of the Young Child?

The Week of the Young Child, established by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), is an annual event held during the first week of April. It aims to recognize the needs of young children and to celebrate the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.

Importance of the Week of the Young Child in Childcare:

  1. Advocating for Early Childhood Education: By participating in events, sharing resources, and engaging with policymakers, childcare providers can raise awareness about the critical role of early learning in preparing children for success in school and life.
  2. Celebrating the Achievements of Young Learners: Childcare centers use the Week of the Young Child to celebrate the achievements and milestones of the children in their care. These celebrations boost children’s confidence and self-esteem while fostering a sense of pride in their accomplishments.
  3. Engaging Families and Communities: Daycare providers invite parents, grandparents, and community members to participate in special events, workshops, and activities that promote family engagement and support children’s learning and development. These connections strengthen the bond between childcare centers and the families they serve, creating a supportive network for young children.
  4. Promoting Professional Development: Childcare providers attend workshops, seminars, and conferences focused on early childhood education to best support the children’s growth and development. This week offers many specialized opportunities for this to occur.
  5. Embracing Diversity and Inclusion: The Week of the Young Child celebrates the rich diversity of children and families by incorporate activities and discussions that honor different cultures, languages, and traditions. By creating inclusive environments where all children feel valued and supported, childcare centers lay the foundation for future success.

By participating in this annual event, childcare providers reaffirm their commitment to providing high-quality early childhood education and nurturing the potential of young learners. Reminding everyone that childcare centers play a vital role in shaping the future of our youngest citizens and building a brighter tomorrow.