Preventing Separation Anxiety In Preschoolers

Monday mornings can be hard. After a nice, relaxing weekend, getting back into the hustle and bustle of the week is stressful for the entire family. Nothing could make a Monday worse than a screaming and crying child that doesn’t want to you to leave him or her at daycare. At Mary Margaret’s Daycare we train our teachers to help make that transition as simple as possible, but there are days when we see the hurt in parents eyes as they have to walk away from their child. So today we want to offer some of our best tips for preventing separation anxiety in preschoolers, both from the experts and our years of experience.

Dos And Don’ts For Preventing Separation Anxiety in Preschoolers

Little girl crying, preventing separation anxiety in preschoolers

Sometimes mornings are hard!

Do Talk About It Before Hand

One of the best ways for preventing separation anxiety in preschool, even if they have been going for years, is to talk about it with your child. According to Parent’s Magazine, the main source of anxiety around entering school in children is the fear of the unknown. New people, new rules, or even just a new day in a familiar setting is enough to set off your average toddler or preschooler. Reviewing what lies ahead will help to ease the transition as your child can be assured that there are no nasty surprises ahead.

Do Create Routines

Repetition and consistency can go a long way in making a child feel comfortable in a new surrounding. We practice this every day at Mary Margaret’s Daycare, and our routine helps make the day run more smoothly for everyone as the children know what to expect with each transition. Over the years we have seen many novel ways that parents create a routine around drop off and pick up. From playing I-spy on the way to school or simply talking about their favorite activities at daycare, each little routine helps give each child something to look forward to everyday.

Don’t Just Disappear

Another tip from Parent’s Magazine recommends a happy and firm goodbye before leaving.
We understand the desire to sneak off to work if your child is distracted by a fun toy or a new friend, but this can lead to separation anxiety in preschoolers later in the week. Leaving while your child is distracted can make them feel abandoned and more clingy the next time you leave.

Don’t Linger

On the flip side, it is important not to linger. It is tempting to try to stay and comfort your child when they cry and fuss at drop-off. Sticking around to help comfort them sometimes teaches the child that a crying jag will make mommy or daddy stay. You may find an even bigger scene the next morning. Instead, a happy and firm good bye with a promise to see them after school is the best way to start the day. Children will calm down faster than you think.

Do: Bring In A Small Memento

A little something from home can help ease some of the stress of being away from family for the day. A small laminated picture is the perfect, pocket sized reminder from home. Or maybe it is a little bit of fabric from a favorite blanket to carry around.  Sometimes, putting a special toy in a cubby is the perfect solution to separation anxiety in preschoolers. Just knowing that something special from home is nearby and ready for them at the end of the day can calm an anxious child.

Don’t: Bring In Your Whole Toy Box

On the flip side, we caution against bringing in too many mementos from home. There are two key reasons, The first and most pressing is that preschoolers are learning to share. Toys from home, especially those really special toys, may not help ease separation anxiety if our new friends all want to share it. Also, it is easy to misplace toys from home as they can get mixed up with toys from school. A forgotten lovey can lead to an awful night for parents at home. Any toys from home should be stowed in a child’s cubby. There it’s close enough for a quick hug but in safe place so it won’t be forgotten.

Do: Breathe Easy

Going to school, especially the first few weeks, can be a trying time for parents and kids. This is a normal part of child development. Parents, breathe easy knowing that it will get easier every day. Moments like this are important lessons that help teach your children routine and trust. They quickly learn that their family will always be there at the end of the day to get them. They also learn that there are new adventures to be had in new places! These are the lessons that we try to teach at Mary Margaret’s Daycare. Even if there are tears when you drop your child off with us, you can rest easy. Your kids are in for a fun and educational day that they can’t wait to tell you about after school!

Indoor Summer Craft Ideas for Preschoolers

summer craft ideas

Store aisles are stocked to the brim with school supplies, and you can feel the first day of school is just around the corner. But don’t get too carried away with back-to-school prep and forget that it’s STILL summer! Summer is a kid’s favorite time of year  – endless play, swimming lessons, and all the time in the world to catch fireflies and get dirty outside.

But what about those sticky hot or rainy summer days? Well, we came up with a list of some of our favorite indoor summer craft ideas to keep your kids having fun the rest of the season – rain or shine. Some are even educational and will give their brains a kickstart for the upcoming year.

Incredible Indoor Summer Crafts for Preschoolers

We love these ideas because they are inexpensive, easy, and perfect for all age groups so that you can do them with the whole family. Click on the titles of each craft for instructions and supplies. 

Paper Plate Tambourine

If you choose to make this craft with your little ones, be prepared for some noise. These are so fun for the kids because they can get creative and decorate them however they like. Another plus to this craft is you can probably find all the supplies at home.

Egg Carton Sail Boat

This craft is awesome because it is also part of a reading lesson. It’s perfect for all ages because you can make it very simple or more creative and advanced.

Nature Collage

This project leaves you with a memorable piece of art you can admire all year long. Go hunting for nature pieces on a beautiful day or save a few items from a beach trip. Pull out their collections on a hot or rainy day to make an art piece of memories.

Garden Rock Caterpillar

This art project takes painted rocks and pet rocks to a whole new level! We think this would be a perfect accompaniment to the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Coffee Filter Umbrellas

These are so cute to make on a rainy day. Preschoolers will love creating these colorful mini umbrellas that catch sun rays in your window.

Shaving Cream Marbled Rainbows

This is a wonderful sensory activity to do with your little ones. Sensory play is important for preschool aged children. Warning – this one gets messy!

DIY Kaleidoscope

Have extra Pringles cans? Turn them into awesome DIY kaleidoscopes!

At Mary Margaret’s Daycare Center, we have fun making crafts, participating in sensory activities, and creating art masterpieces all year long. We can’t wait to have all our school year buddies back at daycare. We hope you have fun making these indoor summer crafts. Share your creations with us and let us know your favorites.

Back to School Prep for Preschool and Kindergarten

Can you believe it’s already July? We feel like the little ones just left for summer yesterday! While some of your kiddos have been with us at Mary Margaret’s Day Care this summer, other’s have been home, and a few are coming back next year, all kids will have some trouble getting back into school mode come this August. And maybe you even have a first-time Kindergartner to send on their way. Pro tip: don’t hold back the tears, they will come no matter how hard you try. 🙂

Getting back into the swing of the school routine is especially hard on parents, but your kids need a little prep too. So we have a back to school prep list of a few things you can practice with your children this summer to help their minds and schedules prep for the new year.

Back to School Prep

What to Teach Preschoolers:

  • Empathy:

Over the summer keep talking to your child about feelings and empathy. Understanding other’s feelings is an important part of forming and sustaining friendships at school and in life. Kids who are aware of others emotions can play more fluidly and have less conflict with others. Talk to your children about their feelings and help them identify them. Summer is a great time to do this because they are having more play dates, interacting with family, and going to camp, the park or other public places.

  • How to Follow Directions

Even preschoolers can learn to follow directions, and it’s so important they can to do well in the class setting. Your child should be able to follow two-step directions such as sit at the table and listen or put on shoes and follow outside. In preschool, they will be asked to complete many tasks on their own so it’s important they can listen and follow directions from the teachers. Learning to follow directions also goes along with learning to share and take turns.

  • Fine/Gross Motor Skills:

Summer is the perfect time to enhance your child’s motor skills. To improve their fine motor skills give your kids crayons and paper often and let them draw, write, or even just scribble. For gross motor skills give them plenty of unstructured outdoor play so they can run, jump, and climb. When kids can run and play on their own, they get to know their bodies,  practice balance, and gain strength.

What to Prep Kindergarteners For: 

  • Math:

Kindergarteners should have a basic understanding of counting and numbers. Over the summer spend time counting with your child. When you walk upstairs, count with them. Snack time is a great time to learn numbers; count out crackers with them, have them add a few and take away a few and have them count again.Real life counting and number use is the best way to learn math.

  • Reading: 

Reading is a big topic in kindergarten and can be easy or more challenging for a child; every child is different at the age. The best way to help your child learn to read or become a better reader is to encourage a love for books. Visit the library over the summer and read a little every day. Have fun and read rhyming books, sing-along books, and stories with interesting characters.

  • Independence:

In Kindergarten your child will need and have a lot more independence than preschool. Give them a few small independent responsibilities over the summer such as cleaning their room, completing chores, or taking care of the family pet. Even if your child is young, you can instill skills that will build confidence and independence for school.

Back to School Tips For Parents:

  • We love this “Get ready for school!” checklist that can help the whole family get out the door in the morning.
  • Make mealtimes a routine before the school year starts. Young children need time to adapt to new things. Plan meals and snacks at the same time everyday so when school comes, the routine is familiar to them.
  • Talk to all the teachers.As preschool teachers, we love meeting the families of our students! This is the same for all teachers, no matter the age. When you talk to your child’s teachers, ask about homework, their teaching style, and any significant dates or events for the year.
  • Have a calendar. If you have multiple kids in different schools, it’s important o have a master calendar. This is a centralized place for all family events. You’ll need a family event calendar to track after-school activities, school programs, volunteer work, and teacher conferences.  Add specialized calendars and schedules, and you have it: a one-stop shop for family time management.Post the family event calendar in a public place so everyone in the household can see.
  • Have a practice run before the first day of school. Have your kids pretend it’s the first day of school and see how much time the morning rally takes.

Whatever stage your family is at, it’s always good to use some of these back to school prep tips. For those that are joining us for the first time or coming back to Mary Margaret’s for the  year, we can’t wait!

At Home Summer Activities for Preschoolers

At Home Summer Activities for PreschoolersHello, summer! We are in the season of water fun, vacations, the St. Louis hot, hot, heat, and no school! While some of your kiddos are with us for summer care, you are likely looking for some fun at home summer activities for preschoolers. We decided to write up a list of some of our favorite ideas that don’t break the bank and keep their brains stay active during the break.

Families can combat the summer slide (not the one at the pool) by spending time at home with learning activities that are also fun. So here are a few of our favorite ideas to incorporate learning into summer fun with the kids this season.

4 Fun At Home Summer Activities for Preschoolers To Keep Them Learning

1. Visit the Library
The key to reversing the summer slow down is to keep reading over the summer. Whether your child is reading age or you are reading to them, visit the library and have them pick out a few books all on their own. Encourage them to explore new stories and topics. Libraries also have tons of fun free events throughout the year, so check out when story time is or if they have a reading club. When you ready together, talk about the stories and pictures. Ask your child questions and help them engage.

2. Play in Nature
Nature has so much to teach us and summer is full of opportunities to talk about it, from a run through the sprinklers to the clouds in the sky, to playing in the garden. Invite your child to talk to you while they play outside and ask questions. Speak to them about nature, the water cycle, and how things grow; kids are so curious!

Turn a regular day at the park into a scavenger hunt for shapes and colors in the natural environment where they have to identify trees shaped like triangles, interesting shapes in the clouds, or colors in flowers. Encourage your child to call out shapes and colors as they seen them on your hunt.

Camping is also an enriching way to teach your kids about nature and get them away from screens. Even if it’s a tent in the backyard, make the most of it and join them! You might enjoy the digital break too.

3. Visit a Farmer’s Market
Head to a farmer’s market in our community. Show your kids the fruits and vegetables and have them ask the farmers questions. Purchase a few items and cook together or talk to them while you cook. Kids love helping in the kitchen.

4. Make a Sensory Tub
Sensory tubs are a good activity for your little ones, especially toddlers and quick and easy to put together. These are so important for toddlers and preschoolers to learn how different textures feel, and for hand coordination and building muscles. Check out these ten fantastic sensory bins you can make at home.

We hope you have fun at home this summer with your kids! At Mary Margaret’s, we are enjoying summer with the kids already. Whether you are at our south St. Louis county daycare center or our Florissant daycare center, we have plenty activities planned for a full season. Out summer program includes focused learning and many activities. Find out more about our programs here.

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