We Are Open for First Responders!

If you are a first responder or health care employee working in response to COVID-19 and are in need of childcare, Mary Margaret’s Day Care can help. 

We are committed to helping our community during this uncertain time. We’re happy to report that our location at 3800 Watson Road has received permission from St. Louis City to provide childcare for first responders and health care workers. 

Our hours are 6:30 am to Midnight, Monday through Friday, and we serve ages 6 weeks to 12 years. Please note that these hours are for parents needing care for daytime or evening shifts, not an extension of the day. 

At Mary Margaret’s We Take Precautions to Keep Your Children Safe 

  • Drop Offs: Each parent is allowed to enter the building in the entrance area. We take each child’s temperature before admitting them. Temps below 100° will be allowed to stay. Parents will then sign their child or children in. 
  • Pickups: When parents arrive in the evening, staff will pick up their child from their classroom and bring them outside. 
  • Toys are being used in a rotating manner, where sets are sanitized and switched out on a daily basis. Surfaces are cleaned regularly. 
  • We offer healthy food to all children, including breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack, dinner, and an evening snack. 

We Are Committed to the Health and Well-Being of Your Children

At Mary Margaret’s we offer learning enrichment to all of our children, while building self-esteem in a secure environment. We also offer lots of opportunities for fun and play. When you pick up your child at the end of your shift, you’ll receive a daily report outlining how their day went. Our teachers are very open to suggestions. They are always available to answer your questions or concerns. 

Call us to sign up: (314) 752 – 2965. We look forward to meeting your kids! 

Tips to Help Your Newborn Sleep

Of all the exhausted, hard-working parents in the St. Louis MO area, few are likely as sleep-deprived as the parents of newborns. It makes sense, after all. For one thing, infants usually eat every two to three hours around the clock plus they can’t tell a difference between day and night. Sleep loss can negatively affect just about every area of life. Getting extra sleep is best achieved by helping the baby sleep all night, something that really is doable! Here are some tips to help your newborn sleep through the night.

Establish a Bedtime Routine for Your Baby

A recent study of mothers with infants discovered that some succeeded in getting their 6 to 8-week old baby on a bedtime routine that led to sleeping through the night. A bedtime routine for your baby can involve any combination of regular bedtime activities that you choose. The following are secrets to success:

  • Make it a habit of having active playtime with the baby during the day, which can result in her feeling sufficiently tired at night. In the evening, always have quiet play and avoid anything that gets your baby overly excited when it’s close to bedtime.
  • Repeat the nightly activities in the same order every single night.
  • Adding bath time to the nightly routine is highly recommended. The bath alone has a calming effect. Use lavender soap and lotion on your baby to further increase relaxation.
  • Make the bedtime schedule something your child looks forward to. Save your baby’s favorite activity for last and do it in her room so that doing something she enjoys is associated with time to go to sleep.
  • Maintain consistent conditions in your little one’s bedroom. After your baby wakes up in the night, establish the same lighting and sounds as when she went to sleep.

Lay Your Sleepy Baby Down

Tips to Help Your Newborn Sleep, mom with sleeping baby

It can encourage unwanted behavior if you continue holding your child as she is falling asleep and while she sleeps. Babies can get accustomed to being held while sleeping and struggle to give it up later on. When your baby is showing signs of drowsiness, lay her in her bed. She will get used to soothing herself instead of needing to be rocked and cuddled when she wakes up at night.

Ensure Good Sleeping Conditions

Always put your baby to bed with a fresh diaper so she doesn’t soak it through and become uncomfortable in the middle of the night. Keep a nightlight in the room and use it for nighttime feeds. Turning on bright lights can be disruptive to sleep. If your baby sleeps in your room, keep a white noise machine going so that your bedtime preparation won’t wake her up.

Visit Mary Margaret’s Day Care

When it’s time to put your precious little one in a trusted daycare in St. Louis, visit Mary Margaret’s Day Care. We provide nurturing care and have several locations in the area for your convenience. Mary Margaret’s Day Care proudly delivers the best childcare services. Visit the location nearest you today or contact us today to learn more about our caring daycare facilities!

7 Ways to Celebrate New Year’s with Your Small Children in Saint Louis

As the holiday season is coming to a close, we still have New Year’s to look forward to!
With the myriad of late night, non kid-friendly events around town, getting out and about with your small children on this holiday can be difficult. Fortunately, there are plenty of options in Saint Louis that also don’t require a ton of money to enjoy! Below, we list 7 ways you can ring in 2020.

Inexpensive, Family-Friendly New Year’s Events in Saint Louis 

Ice Skating at Steinberg Rink

The Steinberg Skating Rink in Forest Park is perfect for your whole family. If you haven’t been before, it’s a Saint Louis tradition you won’t want to miss. Enjoy party favors and noisemakers as a great addition. Visit from 10:00 am New Year’s Eve day until 12:30 am New Year’s Day. Reservations aren’t required but make sure to have cash on hand.

Family-Friendly New Year’s Events in Saint Louis

Dave and Buster’s Family New Year’s Eve Bash

Dave & Buster’s will offer a fun New Year’s Eve package, which includes food, face painting, a balloon artist, a live DJ, a $30 power card with unlimited video play, and more. All of this for $37 per person before tax, gratuity and fees. This family-friendly event will run from 5 pm to 8pm New Year’s Eve!

New Year at Painting with a Twist in Brentwood

Kids 12 and under are welcome to participate in painting a 16×20 canvas at Painting with a Twist in Brentwood. Note that children under 7 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Group reservations are acceptable. Ticket prices are more expensive at $25 per seat, but it will be worth it! This event occurs December 28 from 1pm to 3pm.

Concord Lanes New Year’s Eve Party

Give your family a fun experience at Concord Lanes for their New Year’s Eve Party from 4pm to 7pm! This event is reservation only at $75 per lane. Reservation-holders will receive a drink ticket good towards a large soda, domestic beer, wine or rail liquor. Feel free to bring in your own food if you wish, but no outside drinks.

Noontime New Year’s Eve Celebration

This Magic House in Kirkwood is an interactive children’s museum that never disappoints. On New Year’s Eve from 10am-2pm, visitors are invited for a countdown, ball drop, music, and dancing. Kids will create noisemakers and wish wands, and pose in a photo booth with fun 2020-themed props.​ The event is included with regular museum admission.

Time Capsule Workshop at Yucandu Art Studio

On December 31, 2019 from 10am to noon, you and your family can celebrate the new year by making a time capsule at Yucandu Art Studio in Webster Groves. This family-friendly New Year’s events in Saint Louis will also offer lemonade & popcorn with a countdown to Stomping of the Bubble Wrap. Ticket prices are $35 per person.

First Day Hike at Missouri State Parks

On January 1st from 9am to 4pm, start a new family tradition and stroll through Missouri State Park on a guided hike through parks and historic sites. Joining you for this free event will be hikers from all 50 states. Visit their website to find a state park near you that’s hosting this event: here.

What Will Your Family Be Doing This New Year’s?

When we compile these lists, we know we’ll inevitably miss an event. What is your family looking forward to this year? If you have ideas we haven’t mentioned, please let us know! Comment here or on our Facebook page.

Whatever you do this New Year’s, everyone here at Mary Margaret Day Care wishes you and your family love and happiness in 2020. For more information on our daycare facilities contact us today.

Car Seats & Child Safety

The weather is getting colder and that means more layers for your kiddos. Puffy coats, scarves, hats and blankets all help to keep your child cozy as the temperature drops. A fluffy coat may not be the best option for keeping your child safe in the car, however. Today we are going to take a look at car seats and child safety in the winter time, and offer you some tips on how to ensure your kiddo is safe getting to and from school.

This kiddo may look cool, but a bulky coat in a car seat may not be a good idea.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has offered a warning for parents this winter, big coats and car seats don’t mix. The gap created by the extra fabric can lead to injury in the event of an accident when is is flattened during impact. This has lead to children being ejected from their carseats, which is never a good thing. Instead the straps should always be fastened firmly against your child’s body.

To see just how much room your child’s coat offers you can try a simple experiment. Place your child in the car seat with their coat on and adjust the straps. Then, remove the coat and place your child back in the seat. Take a look at how much room between the straps and your child body exists, and make a note of where the buckles have shifted. Is the chest buckle still in place? Are the straps still snug? If not, you need another option.

How To Stay Warm & Safe

If you find that the coat is too bulky to be worn with your car seat, there are other ways to keep your kiddo safe and warm.

  • Start by dressing your child in warm base layers.
  • For smaller children, put a blanket or two over them; after they have been buckled into the car seat.
  • Look for aftermarket car seat covers to fit your make/model seat. These are specifically designed to add a layer of warmth to the seat without compromising safety.
  • For larger children, once they are buckled into the seat safely, turn the coat around and put it on backwards. This will allow the seat to do its job, while the coat acts as a warm layer on top.

Always remember, when in doubt most local fire departments are trained to install and check car seats to ensure that they are positioned properly in your vehicle. This is a great resource for parents, grandparents, and anyone who may need to install a car seat in their car.

At Mary Margaret Daycare, we believe that every child is precious. We want all of our families to be safe on the road, on the way to school or anywhere your travels may take you. If you would like to learn more about our facilities, contact us today to schedule your tour.

A Guide To Free Parenting Resources In Saint Louis

Parenting can be hard. It can be rewarding, awe inspiring, funny, silly, ridiculous, and amazing at the same time too. But it can also bring on challenges that you may have never expected. As you work to raise your little bundles of joy into amazing little people, it is important to know that you are not alone! There are many places, both online and in St. Louis, committed to helping you tackle all of the challenges of parenthood. Today we are going to feature some of our favorite free parenting resources in Saint Louis.

Educational Resources For Parents

Little Girl Indoors In Front Of Books. Cute Young Toddler Sitting On A Chair Near Table and Reading Book. Child reads in a bookstore, surrounded by colorful books. Library, Shop, Shelving In Home. The Library is one of many free parenting resources in saint louis.

Parenting can be hard. It can be rewarding, awe inspiring, funny, silly, ridiculous, and amazing at the same time too. But it can also bring on challenges that you may have never expected. As you work to raise your little bundles of joy into amazing little people, it is important to know that you are not alone! There are many places, both online and in St. Louis, committed to helping you tackle all of the challenges of parenthood. Today we are going to feature some of our favorite free parenting resources in Saint Louis.

The Saint Louis Public Library: Many people know that the library is a free tool for gaining access to a world of books, magazines, and other resources. Did you know that the library also puts on programs and events for people of all ages? From craft projects to story time, the library has a LOT going on!

NASA: Are you looking for some out of this world education opportunities? NASA has a free kids corner, dedicated to providing fun and informative content and games for kids.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis: Did you know that the Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis has a number of educational tools for kids of all ages? These are geared to help children understand money, banking, and history.

Free Health Resources For Parents

The Missouri Poison Center: Parents across the state have relied on the Missouri Poison Center to help with urgent poison related questions, from bug bites to accidental ingestions. The center is fast, free, and open 24/7.

The Nurse Family Partnership: For many first time parents, babies can be a little overwhelming. It is hard to know all of the answers to your questions. The Nurse Family Partnership is a free parenting resource in Saint Louis to help families with their pressing questions.

The Teen Helpline: For parents with older children, the teen helpline can be a lifesaver. Between raging hormones and outside peer pressure, teens can feel like a completely different child. The teen helpline is a free resource for parents to help them navigate the ins and outs of having a teenager at home.

These are just a few of the many free resources available to help parents in the Saint Louis area. Do you have any favorites? Share them with us and we will feature them in on our social media pages! Or drop us a line to let us know your thoughts. We love to chat with our parents.

Summer Safety Tips

summer safety
Make this summer the best ever with our safety tips.

Summer in St. Louis means grilling pork steaks in the backyard, going to festivals in the park, or hitting the pool. To make this your best summer ever, keep these safety tips in mind.

Safety Around the Pool

First of all, adult supervision is a must. We can’t emphasize this enough: watch your kids around water! Have life jackets or floaties nearby for the kids, check the water depth before they dive, and make sure they wear sunscreen!

Insect Bites and Bug Spray

Wet springs mean more mosquitoes, ticks, and other nasty bugs. If your kids are stung, they may experience redness, itching, swelling, and maybe a little pain around the bite. A store-bought anti-itch cream will do the trick, but there are home remedies you can use as well. Baking soda, oatmeal, or ice can help relieve the itch.

Before you go to a park or walk in a wooded area, spray your kids down with bug spray. Follow the instructions on the label and be careful not to get spray in kids’ eyes. After any outing in the great outdoors, check your kids for ticks!

Firework Safety This Independence Day

Every kid loves fireworks, and if parents are around and kids are careful, everyone can enjoy them! Always use fireworks outside, and have a bucket of water or hose nearby, just in case. If your kids play with sparklers, make sure they keep them away from their hair or clothing. Tell your children never to point fireworks at another person, even as a joke. This is another situation where parental supervision is key. Don’t hold fireworks in your hand to light them, and only light one at a time.

Stranger Danger and Amusement Park Safety

Hitting Six Flags or another public amusement park this summer? Keep an eye on your kiddos! They should know to avoid strangers and keep in sight of trusted adults. Establishing a meeting place, in case your family gets separated, is a good idea to help your child feel safe. Teach your child to follow the park rules, especially the weight and height limits on dangerous rides. Don’t forget the sunscreen, and make sure you’ve got water bottles or other drinks available so your kids don’t get dehydrated.

Need a Break, Mom and Dad? Mary Margaret’s can Help!

Mary Margaret’s Day Care has a number of summer programs available to keep your kids learning all summer long. If you have questions about any special activities coming up, be sure to let us know!

Caring for Your Newborn

We hear plenty of questions about caring for your new bundle of joy at Mary Margaret’s Day Care. Here’s some advice as you get to know the newest member of your family. Yes, these first few weeks can be tough. But they’re worth it.

Bathing and Grooming Your Newborn  

Let’s start with the umbilical cord. Whenever you change your baby’s diaper, gently wipe his tummy, but try to keep the cord dry. Don’t tuck it inside your baby’s diaper; this could trap moisture or make the area irritated.

For new parents concerned about bathing their new baby, an occasional sponge back is really all your baby needs during the first month. Wash your baby with a soft cloth and some warm water. You can use gentle, unscented soap if you need to, but don’t use too much. After that first month, you can begin giving your baby immersive baths – one to three times per week. You can also use a baby-friendly lotion regularly to keep your baby’s skin hydrated and perfectly soft.

Are you alarmed about blemishes on your baby’s skin? Don’t be. It’s very common for newborns to develop little baby acne on their nose, forehead, or chin. These are hormone-related, and they’ll go away on their own within a couple of weeks. If your baby develops a rash that just won’t go away, then it’s probably time to contact your pediatrician.

Remember to always handle your baby gently, and be mindful of soft spots on your infant’s head. The skin on your baby’s scalp is delicate, too, so avoid scrubbing too hard if you use shampoo on your baby’s hair. A gentle massage with unscented shampoo designed for babies is all your infant needs a couple of times per week. Be sure to use a brush with extra-soft bristles if you need to detangle your baby’s hair.

Until your baby learns how to control his hands, it’s helpful to trim his fingernails and toenails. This will keep your baby from scratching himself. Don’t use adult-sized clippers, which can hurt your baby. In fact, you can usually round out edges with a baby nail file. Baby clippers are okay to use, too, but do not bite your baby’s nails! This can spread bacteria.

Feeding Your New Baby

Many new moms worry about feeding their newborn. Fortunately, your baby will let you know, loud and clear, when she’s hungry and when she’s had enough.

Generally, new infants need to be fed every two to three hours. During the first six weeks, doctors recommend that you let your baby nurse whenever she wants. If you’re breastfeeding, you shouldn’t try to establish a feeding schedule too early because it might interfere with your milk supply. If you’ve chosen to use formula, here are some tips to make feeding easier:

  • Heat the formula in a bottle warmer or a pan of warm water. Don’t microwave! It can create dangerous hot spots that can harm your baby.
  • Use room-temperature formula within two to four hours. If the formula has been sitting around, discard it. You can use refrigerated formula within 48 hours.
  • If your baby leaves formula behind in the bottle, don’t save it. It can hold bacteria from your baby’s saliva.
  • Don’t freeze formula; that can rob it of its nutritional value.

What About Sleep? And What About the Crying?!

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: the first three months are going to be tough. Your baby needs to eat every two or three hours, so any kind of regular sleep schedule may feel like a unreachable dream. Don’t worry. You’ll get there. By three months, most babies can sleep for six to eight hours. While you’re waiting for that blessed day, try the best you can to get your child on a day and night schedule. That means not letting him sleep more than three hours before waking him up during the daytime. At night, let him sleep a little longer.

Even if you can’t get your baby on a sleep schedule right away, try to be consistent when it comes to sleep time. Experts suggest winding-down activities like baths, lullabies, rocking, or saying prayers. If you develop a routine in which you do the same activities in a predictable order, your baby will anticipate what comes next. You’ll make sleep time a little easier on baby and on yourself.

What about letting your baby “cry it out?” Some mothers swear by it; others find it appalling. The truth is, it’s okay to let your child cry a bit at night. Notice we say “a bit.” We don’t mean letting your baby cry for hours. Childcare experts argue that teaching babies how to “self-soothe” or calm themselves down is actually better for them in the long run.

Here’s something we don’t have to remind you: babies are going to cry. That sometimes piercing sound lets you know when they’re cold or hungry or need to be changed. Yes, it’s frustrating, but as your baby grows, you’ll begin to intuitively know what she needs. If you’re at your wit’s end, try a few of these tips:

  • Check to see if your baby’s clothing is too tight, if her diaper is soiled, or if she’s too hot or cold.
  • Let your baby suck on a bottle or pacifier. This helps to soothe a fussy baby.
  • Swaddle your child tightly in a blanket or hold him snugly while rocking him. Often, if you can recreate a womb-like environment, your child will calm down.
  • Babies respond well to gentle motions. Try rocking, walking, or taking your child for a stroller ride. If all else fails, put your child in an infant swing and take a break.
  • Try to remember that babies just cry sometimes. It will pass. If you can manage to keep yourself calm and relaxed, your baby will eventually feel that way, too.

When to Call the Doctor

When is it an emergency? We advise parents to always call a pediatrician if your baby shows any of the following signs:

  • Has a high fever. For babies younger than 2 months, any fever over 100 degrees F should be reported to a doctor right away.
  • Is excessively lethargic or unresponsive.
  • Displays sudden changes in eating patterns, such as refusing to nurse.
  • Has very watery stools. Or, has a distended abdomen, strains when moving his bowels, or vomits rather than just spitting up.
  • Has a red, swollen rash.
  • Is excessively fussy or cries inconsolably for longer than usual.

Call the Nurturing Staff at Mary Margaret’s if You Need Reliable Care

Again, these first few weeks can be tough, but you don’t have to do it all yourself. If you’re looking for compassionate, reliable care for your new baby, call the staff at Mary Margaret’s. We can give you some time off, and some peace of mind, too.

8 Ways to Enjoy Christmas with Your Kids in Saint Louis

Christmas with kids in Saint Louis

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

If you’d like to get out and about with the kids this holiday, and don’t want to spend a lot of money, you have plenty of options in the Lou! There’s no end to the kid-friendly events around town. Below, we list some of the light shows and holiday celebrations we’re looking forward to this season.  

Inexpensive, Family-Friendly Holiday Events in Saint Louis

(1) Holiday Lights at Anheuser-Busch  

This family-friendly feature isn’t just for beer-drinkers. Every year, Anheuser-Busch string up more than a million twinkling lights and sets up an ice skating rink and their popular Kid Zone, where kids can ride the Bevo Express train or enjoy Frosty’s Winter Wonderland. If you haven’t been before, it’s a Saint Louis tradition you shouldn’t miss. Visit Thursday through Sunday, 5pm to 10pm,  all the way through December 30th.

(2) Wild Lights at the Saint Louis Zoo

Our world-famous zoo never disappoints. During the holiday season, visitors are invited to view spectacular light displays as they say hello to the animals and drink hot chocolate. This event is taking place on selective nights through December 30th. Visit the Saint Louis Zoo website for details.

(3) Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops

There’s no purchase required when you take the kids to see Santa at Bass Pro Shop in St. Charles. From now through Christmas Eve, kids can take their pictures with Santa and participate in all sorts of fun, free, and family-friendly activities. Check the schedule for details.

(4) Polar Express Train Ride

This one’s a bit more expensive, but worth it if you want to give your kids a magical experience. The Polar Express Train Ride rolls out of St. Louis Union Station every day through December 30th. Kids will sing Christmas carols, hear stories, get hot chocolate and cookies, and see Santa himself! Deals and hotel packages are available now.

(5) Free Carriage Rides at Westport Plaza

If you’d like to give your kids the experience of their first carriage ride, Westport Plaza offers them for free every Saturday in December and on New Year’s Eve. Rides are first come, first serve and begin every evening at 6:30.

(6) Winter Wonderland at Tilles Park

You can also take a carriage ride at Tilles Park, or just drive through and look at the beautiful light display. Take note: some nights are only for carriage rides and walkers, so plan your trip accordingly.

(7) Garden Glow at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Stroll through the garden at night and marvel at the unique light installations. With s’mores, yummy holiday drinks, and plenty of photo opportunities, this is something the whole family will love. From now through January 1st, visitors should be prepared to be wowed. Check the schedule for your opportunity to visit.

(8) Steinberg Skating Rink in Forest Park

We couldn’t end this list without mentioning a fan favorite and a Saint Louis tradition. The largest outdoor skating rink in the Midwest is in Forest Park, and it’s open every day of the week. Never been ice skating before? Why not take your kids for an experience they’ll never forget?

What Will Your Family Be Doing This Holiday?

When we compile these lists, we know we’ll inevitably miss an event. What is your family looking forward to this season?

If you have ideas we haven’t mentioned, please let us know! Comment here or on our Facebook page.

Whatever you do this Christmas, everyone here at Mary Margaret Day Care wishes you and your family all the love and happiness of the holiday season.

How St. Louis Does Halloween: Fun Events for the Whole Family

Halloween events in St. Louis

Fall may be St. Louis’ best season. The leaves are changing, stores are filled with pumpkins and fresh apple cider, and there are festivals just about every weekend. There’s no better time to get out and about with the entire family.

If you’re in the mood for Halloween, then we’ve got the perfect list for you! Click on the links provided for more information on dates and times.

Halloween Events in St. Louis

(1) Halloween Hoopla in St. Charles

This free event in Frontier Park is perfect for all ages. With activities for kids and not-too-scary ghosts to interact with, your family can kick off Halloween trick-or-treating early. No reservations are necessary. This event takes place from 3:00 to 6:00 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 31.

(2) Halloween Fun at Purina Farms

You can bring your kids and your dog to this Halloween event on October 21st! Both will enjoy participating in Trunk and Treat. There will also be face painting, balloon animals, and more family-friendly entertainment. Tickets are required. Learn more at the Purina Farms Facebook page.

(3) Everyone loves Boo at the Zoo!

Bring your little ones for some trick-or-treating at the zoo! Admission is free at the St. Louis Zoo’s Spooky Saturday event on October 27. There will be activity stations as well as photo opportunities for your costumed kiddos. Learn more about all the activities the St. Louis Zoo has planned for Halloween at stlzoo.org.

(4) Halloween Fun at the Library

The Julia Davis branch of the St. Louis Public Library, near Natural Bridge and Newstead, is offering arts and crafts, mask making, ghost stories and of course candy! Registration is not necessary for this free Halloween Celebration. Get more information at slpl.org.

(5) Halloween Parade at Westport

Kids age 10 and under are welcome to show off their costumes at the annual All Hallows Eve costume parade at Westport Plaza. This event begins at 6:00, and reservations are not required. Simply bring your family and your sense of adventure to this free, not-too-scary event. Get more information at westportstl.com.

(6) Spooky Science at the St. Louis Science Center

Bring your kiddos to this event for hands-on science that will get you in the mood for Halloween. There’s a Haunted Lab where kids can make a slimy creation, Halloween-themed movies in the OMNIMAX Theater, and a pumpkin demonstration called “Spooky Science Goes Splat.” We’ll let you guess what that looks like! The entire family is encouraged to wear costumes and tour all of the events at the St. Louis Science Center. General admission is free. Get more information at slsc.org.

(7) Ghost Stories at Jefferson Barracks

Costumed storytellers tell spooky stories at Jefferson Barracks, right on the edge of the Mississippi River. This once-a-year exclusive experience comes complete with candlelight, creaking floors, and other spooky sounds that will thrill you and the kids. Advance registration is required. Get more information by calling (314) 615-8800 or by visiting stlouisco.com.

(8) Halloween Party and Parade in Lafayette Park

Dress up the kids in their scariest costumes and bring them to Lafayette park for a Halloween party and parade. This event includes trick or treating, carriage rides, carnival games, and more. Everyone is welcome, and it’s free! Get more information at lafayettesquare.org.

What Will Your Family Be Doing This Halloween?

With so many events in St. Louis, we’re sure we’ve missed some. Comment and tell us what your family is doing for the holiday! Or, post your cutest Halloween pictures on our Facebook page.

Happy Halloween!

How Parents can Boost Language and Literacy Development at Home

language and literacy development

If you’ve ever watched a toddler melt down, you know how frustrated they can feel when they’re unable to communicate. Language development – and later, literacy development – is fundamental to your child’s future. It allows your child to express feelings, it supports problem-solving skills, and it’s vital to relationship-building. It’s also the first step to learning to read and write.

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “reading is fundamental.” You may not have given much thought, however, to how true that phrase really is. Reading skills are the building block for students who want to do well in school; they form the basics for learning in just about every subject.

So, if you’d like to give your child a boost before he or she goes to school, what can you do?

Luckily, it’s pretty easy to support your child’s language and literacy skills. It really just takes lots of talking, listening, and reading together.

How to Encourage Your Child’s Language Skills

(1) Talk with Your Child

Beginning in your child’s first year, talk to him/her! It may seem silly, but having conversations with your babbling infant teaches him/her about communication. Babbling, in fact, is a sign that your baby is developing language. Your baby wants to be heard! So, show him/her that you’re listening. Babble back, repeat sounds, explain what you’re doing, and sing or rhyme to your baby. You really can’t talk too much … it all helps.

(2) Listen and Respond to Your Child

Don’t just talk at your child; Listen, too! Even if your child is simply babbling, gesturing, or trying out words, you can respond. Ask your child questions and repeat what he/she is trying to say. For example, if your child points to an object and says “toy,” you can respond, “Do you want to play with the toy?” When you do this, it encourages your child to communicate. By simply tuning in, you’re helping your child develop.

(3) Read with Your Child

Encourage a love of reading early by sharing lots of books with your child. Reading aloud to your child allows him/her to learn new vocabulary in different contexts. Sharing picture books helps your baby learn more about the world. When you point to certain words in the book as you say them, you show your child that there’s a link between written and spoken words. All of these activities help your child develop literacy and appreciate the value of books and reading.

Studies show that kids who have been read to at home are more prepared for school. Children who have not had exposure to books, on the other hand, usually start school with poor literacy skills. It’s easy to set aside a few minutes before bedtime to read with your child, and it’s so important to do so.

What You Can Expect as Your Child Grows

Generally, children say their first words when they are between nine and 18 months old. By age two, children can use over 200 words and understand many more. They begin putting sentences together as they grow.

Around age three, children begin speaking more and more. What’s interesting is they don’t use language just to ask for things; they also use language to play pretend.

By the time your child enters preschool, he or she has started to understand the rules of language. At that age, children use language to connect their thoughts, just the way adults do.

Common Concerns

Are you concerned about your child’s language development? It’s not uncommon. Many parents listen eagerly for their child’s first word, and worry about speech impediments or learning difficulties early.

If your child isn’t following the timeline outlined above, remember that it’s not an exact science. In fact, there’s a pretty long range of time for each language milestone. Some children are late talkers; others begin forming sentences quite early. Every child is unique.

If you do feel that there’s a worrisome delay in your child’s language development, discuss it with your pediatrician. Here are a few signs to look for as well:

  • Lack of focus or poor eye contact
  • Pronunciation that’s hard for you to understand
  • Trouble understanding directions
  • Lacking empathy for others or a sense of humor
  • Repeating what you say or repeating themselves

Mary Margaret Teachers Support Language and Literacy Development

At Mary Margaret, we understand the importance of language and literacy development. That’s why we provide a book-rich environment and build communication skills with the young children in our care.

If you’re looking for a daycare center that cares about the development of each child, come visit us! We’re happy to discuss our learning programs with you.

Expert Led Early Education Programs
Designed to Bring Out the Best in Your Child