Registration for Mother’s Day Out /Parent’s Day outs are quickly approaching. Because of this, I thought I would offer some helpful tips to consider in case this is your first rodeo with Mother’s Day Out. I had my oldest in a program for 2 years prior to becoming a teacher myself and I would have found this information helpful starting out. So – you’re welcome!
1. Send a full-sized backpack
Toddler backpacks are the most precious thing ever, I agree. And it’s great when a kid can carry their bag because it’s actually proportionate to their body. BUT- you are likely sending your child with a lunchbox, diapers, extra clothes, a water bottle, and 1-37 blankets or stuffed animals (shoot for 1, see later tips). In addition to these items, your children are sent home with papers and crafts that are usually larger than a toddler-sized backpack. My advice is to forgo the small bag and splurge for a good quality large one early on, and your child will have a backpack that will grow with them and last!
2. Dress your child appropriately
Oy vey, y’all. I can’t even. The things I’ve seen.. Your child’s clothes, undergarments/diapers, and shoes should all be thoughtfully considered. If your child is potty training or potty trained, send them to school in clothes that they can easily pull down and pull up on their own (toddlers + belts = ACCIDENTS). If they are still in diapers, send them in clothes that are made for quick diaper changes because your child’s teacher likely has double digits of children to tend to at once. If your child isn’t potty training, don’t send them in pull-ups. It’s a waste of your money and makes our job significantly more difficult. If you have a shoe-shedder, send them in shoes easy to throw back on before pick-up. And finally, don’t dress them in anything you don’t want painted, dirtied, ripped, or lost. I’m great at my job but these kids act a fool at times and it can’t be helped.
3. Communicate with the teacher
Every bit of information you share with your child’s teacher is valuable. We want to know about allergies, new behaviors or problems, situations at home, and fears that you may have. All of these tidbits give insight for your child as well as each individual day/stage. You and the teacher are on a team, you both want the very best for your child so give them something to work with. Also, if you aren’t happy with how something is going at MDO please discuss it. And express that your child’s teacher do the same with you.
4. Have a school-only blanket
Germs. Ew. CONFESSION: I am the worst violator of this tip. I attempt to bring only the “school blanket” but most of the time my daughter sneaks out with one or all 37 of the things she likes to sleep with at home. And it grosses me out because she drags them all over the floor at school and then wants to take them to bed at home again that night. Don’t be like me. Have a school-only blanket, and stand firm. ‘Nuff said.
5. Remember kids are kids
Depending on the age of your child, you may have to experience some wounds or wounding, whether with words or hands or teeth. Developmentally, kids are learning about themselves and their bodies and this can turn ugly at times. For the parent of the biter- I was a biter. I am not a sociopath. Your child is okay. Do research and talk to your pediatrician if this is a repeating habit, but don’t beat yourself up over it. For the parent of the bitten- we are so sad whenever your child is hurt. You are probably sad and maybe even angry, and that’s normal. But I assure you that no one sending their kid to a MDO is standing idly by and letting their child bite. Be patient with the biters and their parents as they work through that difficult lesson. Same goes for hitting, saying hurtful words, pushing, etc. But don’t forget to communicate with the teacher over any concerns, you may find some helpful information or peace of mind.
There you have it folks, the best tips I have to offer. I’ve been blessed by my kids’ MDO teachers and programs and hope that you have/had the same experience! MDO definitely helped in the transition from preschool years to Pre-k and if you love kids, consider teaching as well!
For a list of MDO/daycare/preschool programs in the metro area click here.