As far back as I can remember, I woke up to kids in my home, and I’m not only referring to my siblings. My mom started her in-home childcare business when I was only a year old in a career move to spend more time with her kids. For a young girl like myself, it was amazing. I had an instant group of playmates waiting for me in the basement every morning. I was surrounded by toys and crafts and a space for imaginative play that was just waiting to be harvested.
I always had someone to play with, learn alongside and grow up against. My mom became licensed, installed her small business in the lower level of our home, transformed it into a colorful, learning & play environment and eventually developed her own preschool program. She’s been doing it ever since.
I’ve witnessed some incredible child transformations under her care. She has a method of disarming turbulent children that is soothing and transformative. She’s found the balance of being firm, yet nurturing to spirited personalities without dimming their flame. I would go as far as to say she’s perfected it over the past 30 years.
Her kids are impassioned. They love learning. They play hard. And they absolutely adore her as their Mrs. Lisa. And because she is a vault of untapped knowledge and the person I go to for motherly advice, I decided it would be fun to pick her brain about early childhood development, what to look for when interviewing a daycare provider, and where to begin if you’re considering starting your very own in-home business.
Keep reading for some solid advice from a 30 year preschool teacher and my beloved mama, which includes 15 Questions to ask Your Daycare Provider before enrollment.
What are some important questions parents should be asking potential childcare providers before enrolling? Can you offer any extra advice on the interview process?
Parents should ask if a provider is licensed or registered and if so, check the Division of Licensing Website for a list of visits and violations. Important questions can be found on the graphic below.
We here at Rockitmama are big on promoting outdoor play, as mentioned in the graphic above. Why do you think it is so important to get the kids out once a day if possible?
Kids are made to move! Running, climbing, and exercising those gross motor muscles is pertinent to a child’s physical development. Fresh air, sunshine and a change of scenery is good for everyone. The children have better attention span, better attitudes and rest harder at nap time after their outdoor recess. Not to mention the nature learning opportunities with insects, leaves, birds, nests, turtles, bunnies, etc. that we encounter! It also sets the tone as they get older and are exposed to screens and devices. Children who are conditioned to outdoor play & exploration at an early age are more likely to enjoy it later on in life.
What is the most important component of child behavioral transformation? How do you get them to respond?
Success in behavior transformation really depends on the age, but consistency is crucial at every stage. For very young children such as toddlers, redirection is best. As they become preschoolers the tantrums can be rough. Allow them to feel their full range of emotions without reinforcing the behavior. It’s easy to give in to the wails and meltdowns, but it will make it more difficult to follow through the next time. Children must know that your words are true and you mean what you say. Save the strong tones for extreme behaviors and issues that really matter to emphasize that the negative actions will not be tolerated. In other words, choose your battles wisely. Time away, removal from the situation to discuss what happened, and conversations about how the situation could be handled differently in the future are also useful tools to inspire behavior change.
What values should parents be instilling in their children from an early age to help them find success in life?
Empathy – show it towards your child and others.
Honesty – always be truthful with your children and make sure that they always see you being honest with others. Trust and unconditional love is crucial to any child/parent relationship.
Accountability – give praise when your child admits to their mistakes and owns them. Let them know that we all make mistakes but that we are responsible for our actions and cannot place blame on others for what we do.
How do you motivate children to focus and get excited about learning?
For those interested in becoming a provider, where should they begin?
Thanks for the Q&A, Mom. Any additional thoughts as a mother of 3 now-adult children?
For moms: your love for your children is enough. You will make mistakes or wish you had handled certain situations differently in hindsight, but if your child rearing is done with the best of you and the best of your intentions, that is enough. Be confident in your role as their parent because no-one can love your child the way you do. Children pick up on insecurity- own your decisions and be consistent! Your self-assurance enables your children to feel safe and secure.
Hooray for enriching educational experiences, and providers like my mom who continue to ready our littles for success with love and attentive care.
Did you enjoy our Tips and Advice from a 30 year preschool teacher? Leave a comment below! Also be sure to check out our post 7 Tips for Returning to Work After Baby and how to survive your first week back!