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Happy Kids, Happy Day Care
There is always a little anxiety about the setting of a day care. It starts with the parents who often feel guilty about leaving their children with "strangers". In parents that guilt is combined with worry because of stories they hear on television about bad thing that happen at day care. Of course the television doesn’t report about the thousands of happy day cares where children prosper and grow and go home happy after their time in day care. There also is sometimes anxiety in the children due to separation anxiety or shyness.
That is why if you make it your mission in the day care you open to send home happy kids from your day care, you will be doing both the parent and children population of your day care a great service. That service will be rewarded with long term relationships with those families and many referrals which will help you grow. Children have a common experience especially as they move into the public school system where they feel like they disappear into an institution only to somehow pop out 8 hours later to go home. So the more you can make their time in day care unlike that feeling of disappearing into an institution, the happier the kids will be in your day care. Part of that is learning every child's name.
But it also means creating a space where the children feel validated and valued. When you think of creating a child-centric day care, the image of children running out of control springs to mind. But in truth, children are happiest when adults have control over what is happening and when they see the adults as on their side and that they want the kids to have fun. If they can have fun but do so inside the rules of the day care, they will look forward to being with you each day. Making a day care a child-centric environment is a decision that is made early on at a high level, which of course is you as the owner of the day care. Too often an instinctive attitude sets in at day cares and other children's institutions to treat children as captives or to regard them as nuisances rather than valuing them and seeking to make their time with you as fun and enjoyable for them and you alike. You have a lot of leverage in what you will do each day with the kids in your day care. You don’t have a curriculum to live up to or exams to be taken at the end of a semester So you can devise activities and events that you know the kids will like and that communicate that this day care is all about the children more so than being about the day care's rules or making the life of day care staff easier. Once the young people in your day care come to really understand and believe that you want your day care to be all about the kids, their attitude will change to one of "doing time" to one of enjoying a very special place that they want to come back to often. It is easy to think that the only way to make a day care child-centric to let the kids play for hours on end and to not require anything of them at all.
But this is a misunderstanding about the psychology of children. In truth children are happy when they are given the opportunity to do something of value and not just be unproductive burdens on society. And while this may seem like an unorthodox suggestion, service projects are a great way to give the kids a big project to do and to send them home feeling good about what they did that day. That builds self esteem and self respect which will lead to the child pronouncing that day as "fun" even though it might have involved some work. Learn all you can about how to give the children in your care a happy and fun program each day. Variety is important but just as important is the attitude in the day care staff and administration that this day care will be all about the kids. And that means a bunch of happy kids which leads to happy parents which leads to a very happy day care. PPPPP Word Count 737 .
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