If you’ve ever dropped off your child at daycare for the first time, you know the guilty feeling – that somehow you aren’t being the best parent you can be.  Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  What many parents don’t see, though, is how much fun their children are having just minutes after their parents leave.

Quality daycare centers and preschools are experts at helping children transition from parent-time to the center environment.  They offer a wide range of engaging activities and a structured day that helps children of all ages adapt, learn and thrive.  One of the hallmarks of a good preschool is a well-rounded curriculum, like that found at each of the Kids Depot Preschool Academies locations.

 A well-designed curriculum engages children, challenges them to learn, appeals to all learning styles and helps children develop important life, social and academic skills.

Just like elementary and secondary schools, though, parental involvement can help children, and parents, get the most from the opportunity.  Here are a few tips for busy parents to stay engaged, spend quality time with their children, and feel less guilty.

  • Ask about their day – Don’t just ask “how was your day?”, ask probing, open-ended questions like “What made you smile today?” and “Tell me about something you did today that was new.”  Of course you can adjust the questions to your child’s age.
  • Ask the teacher – Stay involved with your child’s teacher or caregiver.  Ask them about the day or week’s lessons, and what you can do to support the learning goals.  If you have an infant or toddler, ask about motor skills and what they’ve learned about your child’s personality.
  • Show off – Children enjoy bringing items home for their parents and everyone likes recognition.  Put artwork on the refrigerator or in a special place in your home.  Even if it’s a flier or handout your child was asked to bring home, you can make them feel special by posting it on a bulletin board or by the phone.
  • Share – Share what your child is doing in preschool with other family members and encourage them to ask your child about activities at daycare.
  • Volunteer – Ask your child’s teacher or center administrator if you can volunteer in your child’s class, even if it’s just for an hour to read a book to the class or help with an activity.  Your child will appreciate you being there, and so will the teacher.

Lastly, look for little opportunities to connect with your child – the drive to and from the daycare center can be a conversation time, instead of a boring commute.  Your child is learning and growing daily and just a few well-placed questions will help you know a little more about how they spend their day.