Quality Child Care – 10 Essential Factors To Look For

There are many reasons why a parent chooses to put their precious child into a quality child care centre. Whatever the reason is, there are some essential factors you should take into account when you are looking at your possible options.

1. Certification – the first thing you should be ensuring is that the center has up to date certification. Do not be embarrassed to ask the latest inspection report which has been undertaken by the relevant agencies. This will put your mind at rest that all the necessary checks and balances have been complied with.

2. Child ratio – having too few staff can put your children at risk, but having too many staff will mean higher fees.

3. Help with Childcare Costs – check to see that the staff have qualifications which are relevant to the area they are working with. For example, it would be beneficial for staff working with the babies to have some nursing experience, whereas for the older children teacher training would be more helpful.

4. Environment – is the environment appropriate for the age group who are using it?

5. Child development and learning – there are many areas of development which need to be taken care of in a child care center. These include physical, intellectual, emotional, social and creative developments. One example would be, does the center get the children to participate in game and activities which help to develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

6. Nutrition – a quality child care center will ensure that the children are provided with nutritious snacks and meals at appropriate times throughout the day.

7. Child safety – this obviously plays a very big part when choosing your child care center. Is the center hygienically up to standard? Are there safety gates where required? Is the playground equipment well maintained and supervised? What are the procedures in place in case of a medical emergency? Once again, do not be afraid to ask questions of the staff and take a look at the relevant documentation.

8. Continuity -a more recent development is for quality child care to be provided for your children right from baby through to after school care. Many centers these days will provide different centers all on the same property, e.g. a baby center, an under two center, a preschool center and then another center which provides care for school age children, both before and after school. This system has many advantages. For parents, they know that their child care requirements are taken care of for many years to come. The children can move seamlessly from one center to the next, already being familiar with the staff in their new environment. This is a very family oriented approach and one which parents will love and find very convenient.

9. Is your involvement encouraged? A quality child care center will make the parents feel involved in their child’s day care experience by having regular events to which parents are invited, and making them feel welcome at any time.

10. Observe – one of the best things you can do is just to spend time at the child care center and observe. Look at how the staff interact with the children when they don’t think they are being watched. Look to see the children are happy.

This article only gives a brief overview on essential factors to be aware of when selecting a quality child care center but we hope it gives you a good starting point.

by Erin Brough

Phthalates Linked to Obesity and Insulin Resistance in Men

Phthalates, a class of chemicals used in the manufacture of plastic food packaging and linked to reproductive health issues, was recently implicated in causing abdominal obesity and insulin resistance in adult males. The study, recently published in the online edition of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, was conducted by the University of Rochester Medical Center.

The research adds to the growing body of scientific evidence linking phthalates to health problems in humans. Previous scientific research involving humans showed a link between phthalates and poor semen quality in men and subtle changes in the reproductive organs of baby boys. It was this connection between phthalates and testosterone that helped to establish a basis for the University of Rochester study, according to Dr. Richard Stahlhut, the lead author.

“Substantial declines in testosterone level and sperm quality have been observes in the United States and other countries over the last several decades, which urgently require explanation,” Stahlhut said. “While we can’t say yet that phthalates are a definite cause, I am certain that they are on the list of chemicals that demand careful study.”

The research team hypothesized that since low testosterone appears to cause increased belly fat and pre-diabetes in men, then phthalates might have a direct link to obesity.

They analyzed urine, blood samples and other data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a large, multi-ethnic, cross-section sampling of Americans. This data is collected routinely by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The researchers reviewed data from 199 to 2002, the most recent years that figures on phthalates levels are available. The NHANES studied data on phthalate exposure for 1,451 adult men, including obesity and waist circumference. For 651 of the men in the study, data was collected on fasting glucose and insulin levels, which are used to calculate insulin resistance.

The study showed that more than 75 percent of the U.S. population has measurable levels of several phthalates in their urine. “Unfortunately, there’s still a lot to learn about phthalates,” Stahlhut said. “The difficult issue is what combinations of common low-dose chemical exposures might be contributing to these problems.”

Consumer reaction and the resulting regulation which should result from studies like these should force consumer products manufacturers and food packagers to search for alternatives.

The phthalates compounds are used most frequently as softeners and plasticizers for products made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), such as plastics, which are used in a variety of consumer and personal care products including food packaging materials, toys, and medical/pharmaceutical devices and drugs. The most commonly used phthalate is DEHP. Food contamination occurs when plastic food packaging materials are made from PVC that was treated with phthalates.

Phthalates are also used in the manufacture of cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, lotions, lubricants, paints, floor tiles, and pesticides. One kind of phthalate is used in making perfumes and lotions, shampoos, make-up, nail polish and hairsprays.

In Europe, products containing phthalate chemical compounds are regularly evaluated and in 2005 six phthalate softeners used in PVC toys and childcare products that children place in their mouths were banned.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has done nothing to-date to regulate the use of phthalates despite calls for action by several consumer watchdog groups. California is the first state to attempt to regulate products containing this chemical. However, legislation to ban phthalate chemicals from children’s toys, teething devices, and other childcare products was rejected by the California Assembly.

by Syble James

Dora Dental Care Online Game Free / Cartoon Movies HD / Kids Channel TV / NEW

Dora Dental Care Online Game Free / Cartoon Movies HD / Kids Channel TV / NEW

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Affordable Childcare

Affordable Childcare

Tom Mulcair announces his plan for quality, affordable childcare for all Canadian families. NDP.ca.



5 Ways to Develop More Patience With Children

Which of the following situations send you over the edge? You ask your child to do something three times and he is still not listening. Your four year old is having a complete melt down over something you see as insignificant. You’ve had a long day and your teenager won’t stop arguing with you. As moms, we all have a patience meter. The gauge goes up and down depending on our mood, our personality, and our triggers. If there is one thing that moms wish they had more of, its patience (and time, of course). Just like there are time management skills you can learn, there are also patience management skills.

Examine Your Expectations

I know I am stating the obvious, but children are not adults. They don’t think like adults, act like adults or even have the same brain development as adults. As a matter of fact, their brains are not fully developed until about the age of 23. The last part of the brain to develop is the part that is involved in rational decision making.

So it makes sense that the expectations we have of our children needs to be age appropriate and situation appropriate. To expect a child to always remember his homework or other items that belong to him is unrealistic. Many adults have a problem with forgetting things. If you know a two year old and a teenager’s main focus is asserting their independence, then it can be helpful to put tantrums and strong wills into perspective. Sometimes we lose our patience because we are expecting our children to behave in a way they are simply not capable of. Take time to examine the situation and try to put yourself in your child’s shoes. How might she be feeling? What is important to your child in the moment? How might her perspective be different than yours?

Don’t Take Things Personally

Kids are like us; imperfect. And they are going to do things that are seemingly directed right at us. Your child might stare you down and defiantly say “NO”. He might not listen to your words of wisdom because he would rather do things his own way. Your daughter might even get pregnant, even though she knows how much it will hurt you. Some of a child’s misbehavior may be intentional and some may be unintentional, but none of it is personal.

As soon as we become personally attached to our children’s behavior, we begin using their behavior as a measurement of our adequacy as a mom. If they behave nicely, we are a great mom. If our children misbehave, we have somehow failed. These feelings of failure evoke an emotional reaction in us that can cause us to lose our patience. Instead of being emotionally involved in child misbehavior, practice being a curious observer. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about your child as well as yourself. Your child may need to learn some new skills and you may need to look at changing some of your own behaviors. We are all creatures of habit and we’re all learning how to master life. Taking child misbehavior personally will not serve you in finding a solution to the problem.

Adjust Your Parenting Style

I don’t believe there is a one size fits all style of parenting. Every child and every situation is different and learning to be flexible and open to what is working and what is not can make a world of difference in managing our patience. For instance, if you have a strong willed child, an authoritarian style of parenting is probably not going to be very effective. Being overly strict and controlling with a strong willed child will create more power struggles than your patience will be able to handle. That style of parenting, however, may work with a passive child.

Just like every child has a different personality, each situation needs to be treated independently. If you are in the middle of a situation that is escalating, examine your approach. Is what you are doing right now helping or hindering the situation? Be willing to adjust your approach to help the situation diffuse. There are always alternative solutions to losing our patience.

Develop a Consistent Discipline Strategy

Most of the time when we lose our patience, it’s because we have waited too long to discipline our children. If we think about the child behaviors that grate on our nerves, we usually think of behaviors such as whining, tantrums, arguing, not listening, and disrespectful talking. All of these and more are behaviors that need a consistent discipline strategy.

If you know your child has an issue with arguing, after examining your own tendency to argue, put a plan in place to handle this issue every time it comes up. For instance, if your child begins arguing with you, you patiently remind her that arguing is not allowed and if she continues she will be sent to her room. If she continues, send her to her room. If you do this consistently, she will eventually learn what the boundaries are. By being proactive and addressing the misbehavior immediately, you save yourself from the regret you feel when you lose your patience.

Take a Mommy Timeout

Even moms can use a timeout. There are two ways to take advantage of this strategy. First, take a timeout in the middle of an emotionally charged situation. It is okay to walk away if you are beginning to lose your patience. You might think your child is winning the battle if you walk away, but the opposite is true. Your child wins the battle when you lose control of your emotions. Some battles are not worth fighting and some battles need a timeout. You can always go back when you are composed.

The second way to use timeout is to take regular time for you to engage in self-care. More often than not, moms lose their patience when they are tired and worn down. Know your limits and when it’s time to take a mommy timeout. Go for a walk, have lunch with an inspiring friend, spend time in prayer/meditation or laugh yourself silly in a funny movie. Do whatever refuels and refreshes you. You will then return to motherhood with a whole new outlook and a healthy reserve of patience.

Patience is not something we are born with. It’s a skill that is developed with time and practice. With the right approach and the right attitude, we can all learn patience. What is the hidden gift of learning to be more patient? Our children model our behavior.

by Lori Radun

Tips For Planning a Daycare Program – Structure and Scheduling

Despite recent trends, there are still many daycare centers that don’t really offer a lot in the way of a program for the education and entertainment of the children they care for. For some business operators, daycare is just about catering to the physical needs of children and providing just enough in the way of toys and playgrounds to keep them entertained.

Thankfully, most daycares are now recognizing the need for at least some structured curriculum. The environment that a child under six is exposed to is so important in influencing their mental and physical development that we owe it to the kids to take daycare more seriously.

Good planning also makes good business sense as not only will daycare managers and staff feel more satisfied in their work but schedules full of educational activities look great when promoting a center to parents. Children that are kept busy with stimulating activities are also less likely to get bored and should display better discipline. Here are some ideas and tips for structuring a program for a daycare.

1) Don’t give children access to all the toys and activities at one time. Too much access will end up meaning that they get bored with all of it. Instead you can rotate toys and activities to offer variety and maintain the interest of the children.

2) Have a schedule written up each week for children and parents to see the basic program but also make it clear that you give staff permission to deviate from the program depending on the mood of the children. Have the schedule balance rowdy activities with quiet activities throughout the day. For example, when kids wake up from their mid-day nap and are still a little sleepy you can read stories to them. Rowdy and more independent activities can be organized for mid-morning when kids are feeling fresh and have a lot of energy and in the afternoons when they get a little restless you can organize activities that are more focused and supervised.

3) Have each family buy a ‘parent communication handbook’ and instruct you staff to make notes about what the kids did that day and any other points that parents should be aware of. Many parents will appreciate contact from daycare staff and this helps to build a relationship and shows that you care.

4) Allocate small blocks of the schedule for children to learn ‘life skills’ such as brushing their teeth or carrying their empty plates to the kitchen.

5) Have a schedule for the group as a whole but also allocate time for individual learning. Give kids a chance to develop any particular interests that they may have and support and encourage them. It is worth learning some more about the Montessori approach to early childhood education and adapting and implementing some of their theories in your daycare.

6) Take at least a couple of photographs of each child every month and give these to parents or email them. You can sell them but giving them away for free offers a nice personal touch to your customer service and will help parents understand your curriculum more.

7) Design a schedule that is well rounded in activities. Depending on the age group of children, a full schedule should include music, story time, art classes and play dough and physical activities outdoors. Guest speakers can be invited to your daycare to talk to the children and you can even organize excursions if you can organize transport with child safety seats.

Feel free to try out a variety of schedules to see what works depending on the children that you care for and the resources that you have available. Keeping kids busy and ensuring that all time slots have a designated purpose is the key to daycare success. Make sure that you put in the necessary research and planning to create an exciting and educational schedule and curriculum for your kids to grow and learn.

By Sienna Brown

Using FMLA to Care for Elderly Parents

Many adult children can find themselves responsible for the care of their elderly and ailing parents, even if the parents have hired professional home health care help. For those who have their own families to take care of in addition to full time jobs and other life responsibilities, this can be an overwhelming obligation. It takes extra time, effort, and sometimes money to care for an aging parent. Luckily, the government recognizes that sometimes people need time away from their full time jobs to prioritize their family over their jobs. This is why the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was established in 1993; this law gives eligible employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from their job to care for certain family members. At the end of 12 weeks, they are guaranteed to still have a job with the company. Employees will be allowed to keep their health benefits during their FMLA leave but understand that their time off will be unpaid. To qualify for FMLA, the employee must be employed by the company for at least 12 months. In addition, only companies that have fifty or more employees must legally offer FMLA. Many small businesses are under no obligation to offer FMLA.

The act was primarily established for employees to take time off to care for newborn children. However, the law stipulates that the care of an immediate family member – child, spouse, or parent – can be covered under FMLA. This is where adult children of elderly parents who need special care can apply for a leave of absence through FMLA. To be approved, employees should have clean attendance and behavior records and be on good terms with their superiors. A satisfactory or higher level of performance is also advised. In other words, employees who tend to abuse their job positions and benefits would not be in a good position to request leave.

For workers who are not eligible to apply for FMLA to care for elderly parents, there are other options to consider. Using sick leave, vacation time, or asking for a flexible schedule can sometimes help the employee gain valuable time to care for their parents. In every instance, having an open and honest relationship with your employer can be instrumental when asking for help. Achieving a healthy work life balance ultimately benefits everybody involved, including family and employer, and leads to greater productivity.

By Karissa Price

Operating a Daycare Center – Tips and Ideas to Make Your Child Care Business Prosper

Operating a daycare center can be a profitable venture especially for those who love to take care and teach children. If indeed you have the passion to teach kids, you can make money by putting up a daycare center.

Like any other business, starting a daycare center requires a lot of effort and resources. One important consideration is your budget. You have to make sure that you do have enough resources to start the business. This does not only mean having the building for your child care center, but you have to make sure as well that your child care facility is in a location that is safe and accessible to parents as well.

You also have to make sure that you can provide the best services to your clients and make sure as well that you can provide the facilities and amenities needed to take care of children while their parents are away.

In operating a daycare center, you have to keep in mind a few important considerations to make your operation successful. Here are a few of them.

1. Get a good manager or director. If you do not want to manage the center personally, you can also hire someone with the expertise and skills needed for child care. Of course, you can manage your own daycare business but you can also hire someone to focus on the task. Make sure you have a manager that takes care of your clients well and introduces your business well to your target market.

2. Plan your marketing and promotion. Of course, one essential part of starting your business successfully is to make sure you have a working plan on how to market and promote your business. Especially if you are just starting, it is important that you have to invest efforts on how to market your business. Explore cost-effective advertising and marketing methods and don’t forget to explore the many advertising methods online as well. Internet marketing is very useful these days, thus try to grab the opportunities to market your business online as well.

3. Make sure you have what parents are looking for on a child’s daycare. Of course, parents want the best for their children and you have to show them that you can take care of their child the way they want to. Have a little research on what facilities and amenities you can provide for the kids and carefully plan your programs as well.

4. Get the right personnel for your daycare center. Of course, to help you make your business progress, you have to make sure that you have the right person to teach and take care of the kids. You have to make sure as well that your business is licensed as well as your care providers so your clients can be assured that you have quality services that you can provide them.

5. In operating a daycare center, you also have to make sure you have carefully planned your center’s daily activities, as well as activity ideas that suit every age level of the kids in the center. Of course, you also have to prepare for emergency situations and make sure that your daycare can also handle such challenges.

By Carolyn Anderson