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The Change From Daycare to Summer Vacation

by Tania Cowling | May 9th, 2016 | Care, Infants/Toddlers

baby beachChange, at any age and especially toddlers, can be difficult and sometimes produce anxiety. When school is over, this change is a time for growth – not only skills and concepts, but also emotional growth and gaining independence. With more unstructured time during the summer, young children have the opportunity to engage in more activities and play. Your child can help you water the plants, wash toys outdoors, help with lawn clean up, and much more. Remember toddlers learn by doing. But, don’t be surprised if your child is not too enthusiastic about her new opportunities and freedom at first. Structure and routine during the school year have been like a security blanket and sometimes new adventures can be just as traumatic as the fears and tears of the first day of school. Until your little one feels comfortable with these new habits, she can feel a little lost even in her own home.

One way to ease this transition from school to vacation is to maintain some of the old routines until they are replaced with new ones. For example, keep breakfast time the same, make sure to provide naptime, and bedtime routines should remain constant until you slowly work into a summer schedule.

Do you know the activities your child does at daycare? It wouldn’t be a bad idea to visit the center before the end of the year to observe the daily curriculum and see what your child really enjoys. With a little imagination you can replicate some of these activities and projects at home.

Can you provide a small space in your home to look like school? Set up a table and chair with crayons, paper, play dough, favorite books, plastic numbers and letters to invite your child to engage in the same types of activities that he is used to. Other than free play, plan special projects to do with your child in this space daily. Visit craft sites and Pinterest to get ideas for art projects and games to amuse your toddler. These teachable moments also reinforce skills that your child has learned, and you don’t want them to forget them for the next school year.

And, let’s not forget about play dates. Try to keep in contact with other children from your child’s school. Set up play dates where the toddlers can play and you can spend some time with other mommies. Seeing friends is an excellent way for toddlers to bond with children their own age and participate in age-related play.

Use these ideas for inspiration during summer vacation – the time will go by quickly and your toddler hopefully will become inspired for the upcoming new school year come September.

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