Do you have a plan for backup child care? What would you do if your child care provider was not available for one or more days?
Many parents do not have the option to take time off from work without notice, so they turn to drop-in or hourly child care services. You can find out which providers in your area offer this service by calling your local Child Care Resource and Referral agency. You can find your local agency by visiting http://childcareaware.org and using our Free Child Care Search tool. Your local agency will be able to provide you with a list of state licensed child care providers.
Since you may be short on time, one way to quickly get information about providers, is to check their inspection history. Some states offer this information online, and for those that do not, you can contact the licensing agency for more information. You can locate either the licensing or the inspection website at Child Care Licensing Inspections Reports. At the bottom of that page you can select your state to get more information.
Because child care providers who offer this drop-in/hourly service usually require some advance notice, try to start your search as soon as possible. Once you choose a provider, you’ll want to prepare information the provider may request, such as on your child’s medical records and needs, like food and other allergies, medications, hearing/speech issues, etc.
Keep in mind that the process for finding an hourly provider is much like finding a full-time child care provider. The better you are informed about your choices the better choice you will make. Taking these steps will help insure that your child is safe and provide you with peace of mind. For many parents, the quality of child care is only as good as they feel about the care of their children. Having a sound backup child care option will help you feel reassured and prepared.
As parents, we all have our own definition of what creativity means. Why is creativity such an important part of childhood? Research shows that creativity among children gradually decreases as they get older. Creativity gives children the opportunity to express their ideas in new and original ways. When we think of creativity, we may think of drawing a picture or playing an instrument, but creativity is endless. All children are creative, so it is important to offer your child as many opportunities as possible to think, play, explore, and express curiosity!
What are the benefits of creativity?
Being creative at a young age helps develop the process of self-expression. These experiences can help children express their feelings and develop individual qualities. Another important part of expressing creativity is that it promotes mental growth in children by encouraging them to use problem-solving skills.
Ways to inspire creativity in everyday life.
There are many ways to encourage creativity in children. You can include activities in your everyday lives, such as making up silly songs while driving your children to and from child care, or asking them to find blue food while grocery shopping with you. Here is a short list of ways to express creativity among young children:
● Engage children in storytelling and dramatic play (include dressing up as characters). You can even change the tone of your voice as part of playing!
● Listen to music and incorporate dance movements. The sillier you and your child dance, the more fun you both will have!
● When the weather is nice you can look at the clouds and find faces, animals, and objects. Do you see a horse, or a pirate? What do you see?
● Ask your children open-ended questions; instead of telling them a story have them tell you a story.
● Let your children help with meal preparation (age-appropriate, of course). It can vary from putting the napkins on the table to giving them lettuce so they can tear it in to different shapes.
● Engage in imaginative play. This is your chance to act! Have fun!