- If you child is not quite adjusted to the new program, or if your child just tends to be uncomfortable during tours and visits, arrange for them to be somewhere else during tours and visits with new families
- If your child is present and exhibiting challenging behavior, treat your child exactly as you would another child in your care - use the same positive guidance strategies, boundaries, and follow through with all children
- If your child isn't used to you interacting in this way with them, practice practice practice during non-child care times. Practice is good for children, parents, and educators alike!
- Talk with your child in advance about the child care program, new friends joining, toys that will be available for all friends and toys that are special/will stay away from the group, and what they can expect during tours and visits. As adults we like to feel prepared and like we know what to expect, and the same can be said for children, too - even really young children
- Some people find they are unable to work effectively when their own child is also in their care, and decide to enroll their child in another program for some or all of the time their program is open
Parents will notice if you have a different set of standards and expectations for your own child versus other children in the program. Keep that in mind as you think through how you will interact as the leader of a group of children, and include your own child within that group.
Most important reminder - have fun! This is an opportunity to work with your own child in an expanded capacity.
Want more advice, from providers just like you? Keep reading!
"This issue caught me on the blindside. It never crossed my mind that my daughter would suddenly become almost defiant and resistant as a student! A night and day difference to how I know her at home. I had to ask help from my teacher networks and all of the teacher-moms said: "You are not alone! It is a common issue we all face!"
So I started stepping back and began to analyze what she was really telling me every time she would exhibit some negative attention-getting behaviors. I realized that we were both going through lots of big changes in our lives. She was sharing her her space, playground, toys AND her mom with other children.
"Mom, are you now mom or teacher?"
This was an eye opener! Her 3 year old brain was trying to wrap her head around the change of roles I play! I assured her through words and actions that even if I am her teacher, I will forever be mom. I stayed consistent with the rules and routines of work and of home.
With all the realizations came a shift in perspective so instead of letting her behaviors upset/worry me, I began to make an effort to involve her in some decision making in setting up the classroom space or buying materials for the class. I also became more sensitive about her personal belongings and space. I would ask: "is this toy for the class or do you want to keep this in your closet for personal use?" One day she said, " Mom, I think I am finally ready to share this toy with everyone. I'll put it in the classroom now instead of the closet." I am humbled by her maturity.
One of the other things things I did was to share some of my daughter's issues with some of my parents. Now this is a slippery slope as I see the importance of separating personal and business but the kind of relationship I have developed with some parents is more a a co-parent /community type. I trusted that relationship enough that I was comfortable to make this decision. So they helped me by validating my daughter's feelings when they come and pick up. "Thank you for sharing your space and toys, Valerie!" "What a wonderful hostess and helper you are! Thank you for being a friend to my son." This helped tremendously.
Giving her more one on one time after work, being considerate and understanding of my child's (2.5 year old) needs/point of view, staying loving but firm when behaviors are less than desirable, respecting her space/belongings and including her in the different aspects of the homeschool and asking the parent community for support were the ingredients for a now happy, well adjusted, secure and still strong-willed daughter (wouldn't have it any other way!)..well, those things above AND lots of deep breaths on my part all helped us though this work in progress."
"Whom ever said it was going to be easy lied. But one thing remains for sure -
is its not going to be easy but one of the most fulfilling jobs I have ever
done is to be my son's first teacher. I suggest keeping home and school
separate when possible including toys for school and toys for home. My son
even has his own cubby like everyone else. This keeps him feeling like
everyone else. He naps on his cot not his crib, he eats whatever everyone
else is eating, he even gets snacks or treats when all the kids go home like
my other students occasionally get.
I also have worked to organize my home so that he is able to have his
personal space in our home separate from school life along with the rest of
my family. This is important for the entire family. Separating work from
home whenever possible."
"My recommendation would keep them part time in your own program and look for extra curriculums to place them in. Soccer and music class have been super helpful and he comes back in a much better mood. I hope this helps!"