Kindergarten Readiness: Help Your Child Prepare

What is kindergarten readiness? What can you do to help your child have the best possible kindergarten experience?

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According to the Mayo Clinic, kindergarten is the start of formal classroom education. Even for children who have been in a preschool or child care setting, the transition is big. You might wonder — is your child ready?

Kindergarten readiness, or school readiness, is a term used by schools, policymakers and child development researchers. Definitions of readiness vary, and what readiness means may differ in individual schools.

Find out how kindergarten readiness is generally defined today and how you can help your child be prepared to start school.

School readiness isn’t easy to define. Typical development can vary significantly among children around the ages of 4 and 5. A child’s development in one skill doesn’t always translate to development in other areas of development.

However, there are milestones in childhood development that can help make the transition to the kindergarten classroom more successful. Children are likely to have some readiness in:

  • Demonstrating a curiosity or interest in learning new things
  • Being able to explore new things through their senses
  • Taking turns and cooperating with peers
  • Speaking with and listening to peers and adults
  • Following 1-2 step instructions
  • Communicating how they’re feeling
  • Empathizing with other children
  • Controlling impulses
  • Paying attention and being able to sit and listen for up to 15 or 20 minutes
  • Limiting disruptive behaviors

These skills develop over time, depending on the individual child’s abilities and experiences. As a result, school readiness might best be understood not as a single goal but as a process — providing early childhood experiences and an environment that prepares them to learn.

What is the parent’s role in school readiness? The parent’s role in preparing a child for school is to create a healthy, safe, supportive, and engaging environment throughout early childhood. This includes several strategies.

Reading aloud – Reading to your child can develop literacy. Benefits of reading aloud that promote school readiness include:

  • Understanding that printed words have meaning
  • Recognizing similar sounds, such as rhymes
  • Learning letter and sound associations
  • Increasing overall vocabulary
  • Understanding that stories have a beginning, middle, and end
  • Developing social and emotional skills
  • Learning numbers, shapes and colors

Encouraging play – Providing your child an opportunity to play and playing with your child is important for healthy child development. Benefits of play that promote school readiness include:

  • Improving physical health
  • Developing creativity and imagination
  • Developing social and emotional skills
  • Developing friendships
  • Learning to share and solve problems with other children
  • Learning to overcome challenges and be resilient
  • Exploring worries or fears in imaginative play

Formal and informal opportunities for early childhood learning experiences in your community can promote your child’s school readiness. Check out:

  • Preschool programs
  • Museums or zoos
  • City park or community programs
  • Neighborhood play groups
  • Story time at libraries or bookstores

Preparing for first day – To help your child prepare for the transition to kindergarten, start developing a daily routine a few WEEKS not days before school starts. Have your child wake up, eat and go to bed at the same times each day. Talk about your child’s new school and listen to any concerns your child expresses. If possible, visit the school. Reading books together about starting school can also help your child know what to expect.

We would love to help your child prepare for Kindergarten! Check out KCCC’s PreK programs and all we have to offer your child today!

It’s Only a Matter of Time…

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Will you or someone you know be searching for Preschool and/or Childcare options for a little one within the next couple of years? Put yourself a step ahead of the others and get on Kaneville Community Child Center’s (KCCC) wait list now. You’ll be so glad you did!

It’s a great idea to get on the wait list right away. Life changes for families all the time and usually quickly when it’s least expected. How great would it be to have peace of mind that when a space becomes available for your child that you will be contacted first? Put yourself in the driver’s seat and get ahead while you can. While you wait for the great news that a spot is available, you will receive regular fun family newsletters on topics like parenting, early learning, family fun, health, recipes, crafts, and more. Once you join the wait list, you are welcome to check your status on it at any time!

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What Exactly Is A Wait List?

Have you experienced the disappointment of discovering that your preferred child care program is full? Do you wonder when you should start looking into preschool and/or child care options? Do you have a toddler or a baby right now? We suggest you get your child on the wait list sooner than later.

A Wait List puts you at the front of the line when it comes to new enrollments and available spaces in the program you are interested. KCCC maintains a Wait List for our programs for this very reason. Whether you are currently expecting, have a child younger than three who is not quite of age to attend KCCC, or the program you are interested in is full, it’s a great idea to get on the wait list for several reasons.

Instead of waiting until your child is old enough, you can get your child on the wait list now so that you can be one of the first notified when they are old enough to attend. Family situations can change overnight and they do most times unexpectedly. A child care opening can become avaiIlable sooner than anticipated and if you are on the list, you will have opportunity to snag that desired spot right away.

Please click the link below to complete KCCC’s wait list form and get on the wait list today!

KCCC’s Wait List Process

  • Complete this online form.
  • When an opening becomes available all families on the wait list will be notified in the order their application/wait list form is received.
  • Priority will be given to siblings of children already enrolled and families whose requested schedule most closely fits the available opening.
  • Parents who are offered the opening have 24 hours to submit an Enrollment Application along with the enrollment fee.

Generally, all interested families are interviewed and tour before any decisions are made; however, in certain circumstances the opening may be filled before all of the scheduled interviews and tours are completed.

Child Care Waiting List FAQ’s

1. How long is the wait list?

The length of each class wait list varies. It is generally longer for the Preschool program and part-time care in Beginning Learners Daycare. KCCC keeps very low ratios for our 3-5 year old programs, a 30% difference in fact in comparison to the DCFS maximum ratio state requirements. We also do not fill our classrooms to the DCFS licensed capacity. This is a HUGE benefit to our families, our children, and our staff. Low ratios equals better quality and more successful developmental outcomes.

2. Will a part time opening be available sooner than full time?

Unfortunately, most of the time, part time openings are rare because most children are enrolled on a full time basis. Often a part time work schedule requires specific days for care and the openings may not fit with the schedule needed by someone on the wait list.

3. Can I stop in anytime and have a look around?

We are happy to have you visit and take a tour of our facilities! However, in order to provide a safe and secure environment for the children in our care, as well as avoid upsetting daily routines an appointment is required. You can click this button to contact us to schedule your tour.

4. What if my child doesn’t get off the wait list this year? Will we go to the bottom of the list?

We maintain one wait list for each of our programs. Your family’s name is added to the list in the order of original date of application. It will remain higher on the list than families who applied before you, regardless of your child’s age. IF your child age’s out of the current wait list, they will automatically be added to the next appropriate wait list for their age group.

5. Will we be told where we are on the list?

As much as we’d love to keep every family updated on their specific position on the wait list, it’s very difficult. The wait list is always evolving as families’ job situations, requested schedules, preferred start dates, etc. change. You are more than welcome to contact KCCC at any time to see where you are on the wait list or let us know if anything has changed that we can update.

6. What can we do to help get a spot sooner?

One of the most important things you can do is to start looking for care as soon as possible! Don’t wait for your child to turn 3 or 4 to get on the wait list. Get them on the list as soon as you are able which will always keep you further up the list than those that do wait.

Requesting a full time opening in daycare may also help you obtain a spot sooner than requesting a part time position. If we know you would prefer a part time schedule we can look for another family to fill in the open spots in your schedule, but enrolling full time would guarantee your position.

10 Ways to Play Inside in Winter

This may be the BEST $10 ever spent!

If you live in the midwest or northern part of the country, you are more than familiar with winter weather that keeps our children inside; too cold, extreme wind chills, and snow that’s too icy to actually play outside. Keeping your children occupied and engaged is definitely difficult. With the added challenges of children being home more than usual during school days and some parents working from home, the struggle is real.

Children tend to spend a significant amount of time indoors in the winter by default. This leads to them watching more television, playing video games, and inactivity. What do you do when you need to work or they are complaining “I’m bored!” ? Well, back when some of us were young, boredom led to either trouble or creativity. Hopefully, we can encourage more of the latter. How do we pull them away from their screens and interest them in something creative and fun that they can pretty much do themselves for a while?

Here are some suggestions that are SIMPLE, pretty much FREE, and perhaps once it gets nicer outside, the kids can take outdoors as well.

We find that these simple activities work with 3 year olds as well as 10 year olds here at KCCC. In fact, sometimes we have to work to get them to stop so they can move on to another activity in our daily routines.

1.) Paper Airplanes – You may have to make one or two for your little ones or maybe even show your older children how to make one. Once made, they can decorate, color, and fly them to their heart’s content. See how far they go, see if they loop-de-loop or even race if you have two children to keep entertained.

2.) Toss and Shoot – All you need is a target like an empty box, clean garbage can, basket, or even place a blanket on the ground and something to use to toss and shoot like a soft ball, a rolled up sock, a balloon, a small stuffed animal, etc. How many can you land in/on the target in 30 seconds? Who can land three on the target first? Score points for center, edges, or big areas.

3.) Indoor Bowling – At KCCC, we’ve used oversized bowling sets, paper towel or toilet paper tubes, cardboard blocks, and even play cups or food from the kitchen for pins. They can use a small ball, a pretend piece of fruit, or really anything that rolls for a ball. We’ve used masking tape or painters tape to help them set up the pins by placing markers on the floor or rug. They just love setting it up, knocking them down, and doing it again and again!

4.) Indoor Camping – Kids love to pretend they are camping! We have been known to set up small tents or use large empty boxes to place a sleeping bag and “camping equipment”. Ms. Michelle has used hot glue to make a campfire using paper towel rolls, colored tissue, and battery operated twinkle lights. The kids like to turn off the lights and use flashlights and “roast” marshmallows (cotton balls hot glued or strung onto metal skewers or dowel rods). She’ll place kids sized beach chairs around the “campfire” too. Oh the power of flashlights! They can’t have enough time to play camping. We enjoy the conversations and creativity from the kids.

5.) Scavenger Hunt – Hide any number of items around the house or in a specific room like 10 single socks, eggs from Easter, or small stuffed animals or balls. You could hide 10 items of the same color and use post it notes to number them. Give the kids a certain amount of time to find them and see how many they can find. There are SO many ways to change this game up! Use YOUR imaginations and THEIRS! Kids come up with the best ideas sometimes; ones you would never have thought to do.

6.) Domino Reaction – At KCCC, we have all sorts of blocks and objects in our classrooms that the children like to set up in a domino style chain reaction track. This lets them be creative, patient, work together or solo, and problem solve. After a few tries, they start to figure out what works best and the older children may even try more challenging chain reactions like having a domino knock a super ball off a table to start a new chain reaction that’s on a chair or the floor. This could keep them busy for hours!

7.) Play Catch – Use a soft ball or balloon to toss in a circle or back and forth and count how many tosses you can make without dropping the object or letting it hit the floor. Make it even more challenging by taking one step back after each toss. This of course, depends on space and what room you will allow them to play this.

8.) Create a Book Nook or Cozy Corner – Use blankets or sleeping bags, some “loveys” or “snuggies” to read with or to, of course, some of their favorite books or even some new books they’ve never seen or read, and maybe even place some snacks (choose easy to clean up like small crackers, popcorn, or mini pretzels) in their quiet place to read.

9.) Jigsaw Puzzles – Place a variety of sizes and maybe even a big one like 100 or 500 pieces for everyone to continue to add to over time on an extra table. You can set up a card table just for the big puzzle and some of the smaller puzzles can be left in their boxes to bring to a space where the puzzle can be completed.

10.) Big Cup Building – For less than $10, you can purchase a party pack of plastic drinking cups. Heck, you may just have a few stacks in your house already. From age 3 to 10, stacking and building cups is a big hit here at KCCC! The children will stack and build “rooms”, “castles”, towers, walls, forts, then knock them down and start all over with a new idea. This one is definitely a favorite! If you have yard sticks or rulers, they can even make doorways and windows. If you don’t already have a package of cups, please invest in a set. It will be the BEST $10 you’ve EVER spent!

Have fun and enjoy these activities! We know WE do EVERYDAY at KCCC!

Signs You’re an Early Childhood Educator

One of the best parts of connecting with other educators in the same field as you is sharing inside jokes, stories, and daily occurrences you can all relate to. And when that field is early childhood education, those moments can get pretty hilarious. Here are some signs you’re a true-blue, tried-and-tested early childhood educator.

You have at least one speck of glitter somewhere on your body at any given moment.

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You have extreme difficulty naming your own children because every name means something to you.

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You always have marker on your arms and legs.

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You are constantly counting how many people are in your group.

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You sing the clean-up song while vacuuming at home.

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You know the tell-tale signs of the potty dance.

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A few more…

  • You get a secret thrill out of laminating something.
  • You can never find pens, but crayons are aplenty.
  • Sometimes you refer to adults as “Boys, Girls or Friends”
  • You save EVERYTHING for arts and crafts.
  • You can’t hold a conversation with another adult without saying things like, “What kind of emotion did that make you feel?”
  • Your favorite chair sits six inches off the floor.
  • You always have a tissue in your pocket and have to stop yourself from wiping some stranger’s kid’s nose.
  • You spend more money on school stuff, than you do your own children.
  • You move your dinner partners glass away from the edge of the table.
  • You ask if anyone has to go potty when your our with a group of friends.
  • You spell out curse words, even when kids aren’t present.
  • At least 10 kids have called you Mom or Dad.
  • You feel the need to buy school supplies and tissue boxes any time they’re on sale.
  • You refer to yourself in the third person even when your students aren’t around.
  • You’re able to turn any situation into a great teaching opportunity.

But mostly, you know you’re an early childhood educator when you know how important the work you do is—and you wouldn’t trade your job for anything.

Television And Kids

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Winter time in Illinois can be cold and dreary. We know our KCCC students are rambunctious and ready to get outside to play. More times than not we use the Television to entertain them but how much TV is too much? Here are some positive and negative effects of television on children according to SAGARI GONGALA (Psychological Counselor)

Positive Effects Of Television On Kids

The television is not always bad. When exposed to the right shows or programs, your child can learn useful things. It can help them change their behavior and attitude for the better. Here are some more ways in which TV can have a positive influence on kids.

Educational content

A few television channels are dedicated to creating educational and informative content for the audience, especially children. Sesame Street, for example, is one such program which is aimed at preschoolers.

There are a few channels that broadcast only educational content covering subjects like art and craft, science, history, geography, and math. The TV is also a great medium that exposes children to different languages around the world.

Allowing your children to watch news channels, with a little guidance, will help them stay updated with the current affairs and names of significant people in the world. Please keep in mind to keep it age appropriate!

Entertainment

The sounds and colorful images on the screen appeal to children and also retain their attention. From movies to cartoon shows, there are several programs to keep children engaged. Moderation is key. The TV is not a babysitter.

Sports

Encourage your kids to watch different sports like tennis, soccer, baseball, and basketball, by co-viewing with them. Tell them about the gameplay, rules and other interesting facts about the sport. If they show interest in any, encourage them to play the game or sport.

Exposure to different cultures

The TV can help your child to learn about different countries and teach them about various cultures in the world. With the right choice of programs, your child might learn about various people around the world, their traditions, lifestyles, and cultures.

Television might Inspire

TV shows aimed at young children and adolescents are not only educational but also inspiring. Educational TV programs encourage children to try new things. For example, a TV show about creative fun can inspire a child to try something new with clay, paints, or paper. Likewise, a documentary about famous scientists, artists, and other public figures can also inspire them to do good deeds or achieve something big in life.

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Your kids can reap all these benefits from watching TV or the internet only when you guide them to watch the right shows for a limited time.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting screen time and the types of media that children aged six and older watch. For children between the ages of two and five years, screen time should be limited to one hour per day and must only include high-quality programs.

Digital media can quietly take over your children’s lives if you are not cautious. The “just one more hour” could extend if not corrected at an early stage.

Negative Effects Of Television On Children

TV affects children negatively as well. Unfortunately, the adverse effects seem to outnumber the positive ones when you do not pay attention. Here are a few ways in which TV can be a bad influence on your children.

Curbs physical activity

Addiction to TV shows reduces the amount of physical activity in children. Sometimes, they refuse to do anything else but watch TV all day.

  • Lack of proper physical activity and too much screen time can lead to vision problems.
  • Research has also indicated that there is a direct connection between TV time and obesity in kids.

Impacts social development

Kids who watch a lot of TV do not have time to play or socialize.

Less or no interaction with peers can affect their social development. TV eats away the time they get to interact with other children in their social circle, which may affect their knowledge and understanding of social interactions and behavior.

Affects brain development and behavior

TV shows may be educational, but excessive watching could affect your child’s brain development, according to studies. The first couple of years in your child’s life are very important for brain development.

  • Researchers found that prolonged TV viewing might lower cognitive abilities related to short-term memory, early reading, math skills, and language development.
  • Another study by The John Hopkins University states that toddlers who watch television for more than two hours a day can have behavioral problems.

Even educational shows like Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer are recommended for children aged six or above.

Exposure to vices

You may also not always be able to control what your kid watches on the TV.

  • Early exposure to inappropriate content that has sex, alcohol, and drugs, could bring up questions in children, the answers to which may be too complicated for them to understand. The worst part is that early exposure can even give them a distorted view of these elements.
  • The violence portrayed in a “positive” light in superhero movies and the like gives them an idea that it is “okay” to be violent. So, kids watching TV shows based on superheroes may start believing that violence is not bad.
  • It may even encourage violent and aggressive behavior in some kids, which can be detrimental to their social development. In some children, this behavior may surface immediately, while in some, it could come up during the later years.

Gives a distorted view of the world

Television might lead to the “mean world syndrome” in kids and teenagers.

  • Movies and other television shows may exaggerate reality and create extremely violent scenes online, which may be terrifying for kids.
  • The amount of violence and guns used on TV may give them the impression that the world is an unsafe place for them.
  • At the same time, animated and cartoon shows, which underplay the effects of violence, may desensitize kids to real-world events.

Consumerism

Another bane of television is consumerism. The number of ads that a child sees on TV exposes them to a variety of brands and products that they may not need.

  • Commercials encourage kids to consume unhealthy foods and drinks.
  • Children begin to believe that fast food, ice creams, and carbonated drinks are good.
  • Parents become the victims of consumerism as kids insist on buying something that they saw on TV. They are forced to spend money on things that their children want but do not need.

Use the button below for more good information and sources

What Can Parents Do?

Parents have to take a stand when it comes to television. If you want to protect your children from the damaging effects of television, here is what you can do.

Choose The Right TV Shows

The first step is to figure out what shows are appropriate for children. You will have to do some research to understand the content and the message that the show sends out to the audience. Do not pick a show just because it is for children. Keep in mind the following factors before you decide what to watch for kids:

  • The content of the show must be appropriate for your child’s age.
  • Pick shows with shorter duration. The longer they watch, the more the chances of them getting addicted.
  • Check the tone and pace of the show as you would not want your kids to watch an energetic show before going to bed.
  • Do not let them watch ads. Kids are naïve and commercials can be manipulative as their primary goal is to sell products by convincing their impressionable audience.
  • Encourage them to watch educational programs by watching them yourselves.

Limit TV Time For Kids

The number of hours children spend watching digital media are increasing at an alarming rate. While you may not be able to control how much TV your kids watch outside, you can surely limit it at home. Here’s how.

  • No television during mealtime: Do not allow your kids to watch TV while they are eating. Ensure that you have dinner together, if possible, at the dinner table with no TV in the background.
  • Remove TV from the bedroom: TV in bedrooms is a bad idea, especially for kids as prolonged exposure to screens can affect their sleeping habits.
  • TV is not a babysitter: It is common for parents to use the television as a babysitter when they want to do something without being disturbed by their kids. When you are busy, you may not be able to monitor what the kids are watching, and that can expose them to inappropriate content.
  • Television in the background: It is common to leave the TV turned on in the background when you are busy in the kitchen, doing the laundry or working from home. That will only draw the child’s attention to it. Do not switch on the TV unless you want to watch something.
  • Set TV time rules for school days: Chalk out specific TV time for kids for weekdays and weekends and stick to them. That will prevent them from watching too much TV on any given day.

Make It A Family Activity

Try to make watching TV a fun family activity, instead of a means to pass the time. That will discourage your children from watching it when they are bored or alone at home.

Encourage Physical Activity

One more thing you could do is encourage your children to go out and play. This might help in shifting their attention away from the digital media. If your kids are resisting, then try these:

  • Organize play dates with your neighbor’s kids.
  • Participate with them in some outdoor games.
  • Encourage them to participate in games and sports at school.
  • Reward them if they voluntarily ditch the TV to play outdoors.

Role Of Television In Your Kid’s Life

Let’s face the fact that television is not going anywhere anytime soon. So, not buying a TV to keep your child ‘safe’ does not guarantee that they will not be exposed to it. They can watch TV at school, at a friend’s house, or at any other place.

But this does not mean you cannot control the influence of television on your children. As a parent, you can decide how much TV your kid sees. If your kids are old enough to understand, then explain to them why you are limiting the screen time and how it can affect them; this might reduce the resistance.

References and Sources:

 Changing behavior through TV heroes; American Psychological Association
 3D is OK for Most Kids, says the American Optometric Association; Consumer Reports
 American Academy of Pediatrics Announces New Recommendations for Children’s Media Use; American Academy of Pediatrics
Steven L. Gortmaker; Television Viewing as a Cause of Increasing Obesity Among Children in the United States, 1986-1990; JAMA Network
 Screen time and young children: Promoting health and development in a digital world; Pediatrics and Child Health
 Childhood TV Viewing a Risk for Behavior Problems; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
 TV Violence and Children; American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
 Media Violence; Pediatrics- The Official Journal Of Pediatrics
 Kids and Digital Media; C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
L. Rowell Huesmann; The Impact of Electronic Media Violence: Scientific Theory and Research; NCBI(2009)

Holiday Travel With Kids

We will miss our KCCC families over the holiday break. Here are some great travel tips that will make your vacations easier with kids. Have a fun and safe break!

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Plan For Everything

Even the best-laid plans sometimes go awry, so try to go into your trip with a sense of flexibility. You’ve done all you can do to get ready for the trip, but kids are unpredictable. Know that however this trip goes, you’ll come out the other side. Your sense of calm and composure will also benefit your kids. If you are anxious and quick to react, your kids will pick up on it.

Divide and Conquer

Talk to your travel partner ahead of time to decide who does what. Can you trade off “in charge” shifts? If you have more than one, can you assign primary responsibility for each kid in advance?

Bring an Easily Accessible Bag of Essentials

This should include a change of clothes, any medications, some food and water, a light blanket, and anything else you may need in case plans change. Knowing that you have your “in case of emergency” bag packed can give you peace of mind in case of things like a vehicle breakdown or a missing checked bag.

Extra Snacks!

Who doesn’t love snacks? It’s perfectly reasonable to strategically relax certain rules during trips, and snacking (or eating meals) during trips can be a great way to keep kids distracted and entertained. Bring a variety, and include some new or favorite “special” treats as well.

Travel with Basic Medicines

One of the easiest ways to ruin a day of travel or possibly an entire trip is to have a sick family member. It can be even worse if the whole family gets sick. Whether your child has an upset stomach from the bumpy bus ride to your destination, or you find a new kind of tree pollen you’re allergic to, you want to be prepared to make the sick family member feel better as quickly as possible.

It’s always a good idea to take a few over-the-counter medications your family might need while traveling. Over-the-counter medications may include:

  • Headache medicines
  • Allergy medicines
  • Medicine for upset stomachs
  • Motion sickness prevention medication
  • Other medication that might apply to your family or the specific trip

If anyone in your family is taking prescription medication, be sure to bring it along. Whenever possible, take your medications in their original packaging, especially prescription medications. If you can’t take the original package, take a copy of the prescription from your doctor so you can show exactly what your prescription is and why you have it for border crossings and if your luggage is searched.

Before your trip, check regulations for your destination and confirm you’re allowed to enter the country with your medications without filling out additional paperwork or getting special permission.

Take Your Time

Leave extra time to get out of the house so that you don’t start the trip in a rushed or stressed frame of mind. If you can’t avoid a layover on your flight, try to get one that leaves some room for the unexpected. Tight layovers are risky for even the most seasoned traveler, and the travel scheduling variables only increase with kids.

Talk to Your Kids About Your Trip Plans

Talk to your kids in the days or weeks leading up to the trip. Tell them what to expect so it’s less intimidating when you’re actually doing it. Remind them about your talks, and recap the main points in the car ride to the airport or the day of the road trip. (This is especially helpful for younger children who may need more reminding than older kids.)

Discuss Sharing Space with Others

Have a conversation about how to be courteous to others. Let them know that they’ll be sharing space with other people, who may be trying to work or sleep or relax and remind them why it’s important to be respectful.  This is particularly important for plane travel, but also applies to being respectful of other family members in the car!

Games and Screens

Similarly, games or shows can help the hours pass quickly for kids of all ages. Don’t worry about screen-time. Allow your child to bring one (or a few, depending on the length of your trip) activity to keep them occupied when they’re not snacking.

Specifically for Airplanes: Headphones and Pressure-equalizing Earplugs

Headphones for iPad usage can help your child block out his surroundings, which can be particularly useful for kids who may be over-stimulated by the noise and activity of a plane. For kids with sensitivity to pressure changes on flights, earphones can be a godsend—make sure to get the children’s size. Also use gum, fruit snacks or sucker to help the little ones with ear pressure!

Pre-Book Everything You Can

Of course, you have your flights booked for your trip, but your pre-booking shouldn’t end there. You might be used to showing up at a destination, getting a feel for the town, and picking a place to stay. This doesn’t work with kids.

Pre-booking doesn’t end with flights and lodging. Anything you can book ahead of time is 1 less thing you have to worry about while trying to keep your whole family fed, amused, and happy on your trip.

Ask for Child Discounts

Asking for child discounts can really save you a lot of money every time you travel. Some people have a tough time asking for discounts, but I promise, once you’ve done it a couple of times, it will be much easier.

You’ll be shocked when you see how many places will give you a child discount when you’re traveling.

Ask for discounts on:

  • Transportation including buses and trains
  • Private guides
  • Tours
  • Attraction entrance fees
  • Restaurants (some have kids eat free promotions)

Sometimes you can find child pricing on the website of the company you’re dealing with, but just as often, there is no mention of a discount. Even when there’s nothing written, be sure to ask. A quick email ahead of time or a simple question when you’re buying tickets can save you as much as half of the cost when traveling.

Offer Travel Journals or a Camera to Older Kids

As soon as your kids are responsible enough, get them a small camera. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You can get them a durable point-and-shoot camera, or even let them use the camera on an old phone of yours to take pictures.

Having a camera and trying to get the best photos will help your child focus more on the things they’re seeing all around them. It will help them see the beauty in the landscape, the amazing features in the architecture, and the details of the crowds and bustle of the city.

The photos they take will be great for showing friends and relatives when they get back home and for helping them remember the trip for years to come.

A great way to get older kids to think more deeply about their trips is to get them a travel journal. Give them a journal and time each night to reflect on the day. Have them write down what they did that day, what they liked, and what they didn’t enjoy along with any general thoughts about the trip or the destination you are visiting.

Keeping a journal will help remember the trip in more detail once they return home and will also help them start to get a better idea of what types of things they like to do when traveling. This knowledge can help with planning future trips if there’s a consistent pattern in what your kids enjoy and don’t want to do.

The journal itself can be anything. It can be a small notebook or a binder. If your child prefers, it can be electronic or recorded on a phone or laptop that they brought along. If you can find a cool journal early in your trip, your child can get a neat souvenir and then have a perfect place to record their thoughts about the trip. 

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Accept Things Will Go Wrong

When you travel with kids, THINGS. WILL. GO. WRONG.

Maybe your little one has to go to the bathroom and you end up missing a bus. Maybe your son will leave his iPhone in a taxi with no way to get it back. Maybe you plan a great restaurant for kids at your destination, only to arrive and find it closed for renovations.

There’s really nothing you can do to avoid these situations. The sooner you accept the inevitable, the less stress you will feel when it happens. Most of all enjoy time with your children.

Is My Child Too Sick to Go to School or Daycare?

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Always go with your gut! You know your child best. If your child has the sniffles but hasn’t slowed down at home, chances are they are well enough for the classroom. But if your child has been coughing all night and has a hard time getting up in the morning, they might need to take a sick day.

Knowing whether your child is well enough to go to school or child care can be tough for any parent. It often comes down to whether a child can still participate. Having a sore throat, cough, or mild congestion doesn’t always mean a child can’t handle class and other activities.

When in doubt, check in first. Give your school or center a call and keep them in the know. They might be able to let you know of any symptoms they have observed in your child or other students.

At KCCC we require that a child not return until at least 24 hours after a fever has broken naturally (without fever-reducing medicines).

If your child has strep throat or other illnesses that require a dose or two of antibiotics, they must stay home at least 24 hours after their first dose of medicine before returning to school or daycare, which can mean staying home the day after diagnosis (or possibly longer). We follow this rule very strictly at KCCC.

Chickenpox sores should be dry and crusted over before your child can return to school or childcare (usually this takes about 6 days). Other contagious infections — like rubellawhooping coughmumpsmeasles, and hepatitis A — have specific guidelines for returning to school or child care. Your doctor can help you figure this out.

Licescabies, and ringworm should be treated before your child can return to school or daycare. You don’t want to spread to your friends! 

If your child has pinkeye they should seek medical attention. You can spread pinkeye to others as long as the symptoms are still there and up to 24 hours after treatment begins with an antibiotic eye drop.

Children with a minor cold or cough can come to school or child care if they feel well enough, don’t have a fever, and will not be miserable all day.

Of course, never send a child to school who has a fever, is nauseated or vomiting, or has diarrhea. Kids who lose their appetite, are clingy or lethargic, complain of pain, are drooling with mouth sores, or who just don’t seem like themselves will most likely be sent home. Save yourself the grief of leaving work early or having to call a neighbor to pick them up and make plans to keep them home.

KCCC follows the IL State DCFS licensing standards for administering medication. If your child needs over-the-counter or prescription medication you must contact or inform the center and fill out a medication form.

For more information about school health please click the button below to visit the Kane County Health Department School Health page!

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Tips to keep Your Child Healthy

Proper hand hygiene is the best way to prevent the spread of germs. Teach your child to wash their hands frequently, especially before eating, after using the bathroom or blowing their nose. It’s also important to wash hands after touching desks, doorknobs and handrails.

To help prevent the spread of illness, teach your child to cough into their elbow or to cover their nose and mouth with a tissue before a sneeze. It’s also a good idea to remind your child not to share food or utensils with classmates.

Ideas to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude in Your Children

At KCCC we strive to implement gratitude into our everyday routines. An attitude of gratitude is a positive way of looking at life.  Gratitude can increase our children’s happiness, teach them to be more empathetic and help them to be more thankful for everything they have. Below are some ways and ideas to help teach your child the concept of gratitude on a daily basis.

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Say please and thank you

Our manners show that we do not believe we are entitled to anything, and that in fact, we appreciate whatever comes our way.

Help someone less fortunate

This could be your neighbor down the street, grandma, or someone you know who is in a tough spot.

Volunteer

Help out at a homeless shelter, soup kitchen or non-profit.

Send out thank you cards

Express your gratitude for those who have added value to your life.

Look for awe-inspiring moments in your day

If the sunset is particularly beautiful, comment on it. If the sound of the baby’s laughter warms your heart, tell your children. Encourage them to look for their awe-inspiring moments and share them with you.

Share your gratitude at bedtime

Take five minutes at the end of the day to ask your child what he is thankful for that day.

Share your gratitude at the dinner table

Take a moment at dinner time to share what you are thankful for. Go around the table, allowing each family member a chance to vocalize their gratitude.

Compliment others

Encourage your children to do the same. Share the things you appreciate about another person.

Keep a gratitude journal

This can be in any form that works best for your child’s age, skill level and desire. Some kids will want to spend time writing their thoughts down. Others may be more apt to express their gratitude through drawing or painting.

Write a letter

Encourage your child to write a letter to someone who has touched his life in some way. If he is comfortable, make a visit to that person to read the letter out loud. If not, mail it.

Create a family gratitude list

Post it on the fridge. Add to it when necessary.

Create a family gratitude journal

Leave it somewhere where everyone can access it and encourage your family to write in it whenever they are feeling grateful.

Give someone a gift

Help your child earn the money and purchase the gift. Or make a gift together.

Always look for the positive

Find something positive in frustrating situations and discuss it.

Practice turning complaints in to praises

Coach your children to reword their complaint in to something that they appreciate instead.

Create a gratitude jar

Encourage your kids to add to it anytime they are feeling grateful for something or someone.

Donate to a nonprofit

Nonprofits serve people in need and at this time of the year they are always looking for basic necessities, meals and gifts to give to those in need.

Take gratitude walks

While you walk, look for the simple pleasures in the day, such as the warm sun or the birds singing and express appreciation for them. Use this time to ask your kids what they are grateful for.

Ask why

As your child gets better at expressing gratitude, dig deeper. Ask why he is grateful for something and how it affects his day.

Work through envy

Help your child work through any feelings of jealousy she may have. Envy can come when we are not feeling thankful for what we have, and are focusing instead on what others have.

Click the button below for a 7-day gratitude challenge

The Importance of Family Mealtime

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Here at KCCC we believe that family mealtime is an important part of each day. Jobs, children, after-school activities all contribute to families having to eat on the run. But, making time to sit down and eat together as a family is important and is sometimes the only time when all family members are in one place together.

According to Stanfordchildrens.org when a family sits down together, it helps them handle the stresses of daily life and the hassles of day-to-day existence. Eating together tends to promote more sensible eating habits, which in turn helps family members manage their weight more easily.

Expectations

The purpose of a family dinner may differ from family to family. In one family, good table manners might be the most important thing parents want to teach; in another, it might be communicating with one another, learning how to listen, and learning to respect each other.

Children need to learn a little bit at a time, experts say. If dinnertime is an interesting time of day for your child, he is going to learn how to sit, and say, “How was your day?” and “What was the best thing that happened to you today?”

Communication

Dinnertime is a time of respite from the hustle-bustle of everyday life. Your family can review the day that’s passed and plan for the day that’s coming.

Teach by example

Divide tasks, so Mom alone is not responsible for preparing food, serving, and washing dishes. The chores and joys of feeding, nurturing and cleaning up should be shared.

Don’t discuss things that would embarrass or humiliate family members. Certain subjects children may want to discuss might require more compassion, or more individualized listening. Otherwise, there are no taboo topics.

Build self-esteem

Dinner is a perfect opportunity to build self-esteem in children. By listening to what children have to say, you are saying, “I value what you do; I respect who you are and what you’re doing; what you do is important to me.”

Mealtime can be looked at as an opportunity or as a chore. If it’s viewed as an opportunity, then all sorts of possibilities are created; if it’s viewed as a chore, then the possibilities don’t exist. And it doesn’t matter if the food is filet mignon, or pizza and salad.

Seating

Parents should let children choose their own seats. If they fight over a favorite seat, help settle the dispute peacefully.

Family dynamics

One parent may feed the kids early, with the intention of protecting the other parent from a raucous meal. But this actually can isolate the absent parent from family dynamics and create distance. Certain scheduling conflicts cannot be avoided, but carving out family meal time on a regular basis can enhance family dynamics. 

Local Museum Adventures

Don’t forget to visit your local library to check out passes!

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Please click the buttons below to be directed to each museum website.

Get up close and personal with an A-7E corsair II Navy Attack Bomber, combat veteran from Dessert Storm that flew from the deck of the USS John F. Kennedy. Be the pilot of a Huey helicopter of Viet Nam fame.

Interactive children-friendly museum educating and exposing all children to the contributions and culture of African-Americans.

The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife and nature. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards.

In addition to vast formal gardens and picnic and camping grounds, Cantigny offers two history-rich museums: the Robert R. McCormick Museum and the Cantigny First Division Museum, fascinating for children and researchers alike.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is a 385-acre living plant museum situated on nine islands featuring 27 display gardens and surrounded by four natural areas

The only Natural History museum in the Fox Valley area, dating back to 1907. Elgin Public Museum offers exhibits and educational programs with natural history and cultural themes for families, school groups, scouts, clubs, organizations, homeschoolers, and anyone who wants to have fun while learning.

America’s largest railway museum, featuring many piece of historic railway equipment on display, and regular operation on out demonstration railroad. Take a ride on one of our many restored trains and experience a museum in motion.

Fun of the big city museum, close to home. Permanent and temporary exhibits including an 11-foot Mastodon and the world’s largest collections of picture postcards. Enjoy fossils, art and interactive activities with the family.

Step inside and you’ll feel as though you’ve just jumped in to the world’s biggest box of LEGO bricks! With over 3 million LEGO bricks under one roof, what will you discover?

The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian is one of only a handful of museums across the country that focuses exclusively on the art, history, and culture of Native American and First Nation peoples from throughout the United States and Canada.  It promotes public understanding of cultural diversity through first voice perspectives.

Naper Settlement is a family-friendly outdoor history museum featuring 13 acres of learning and interactive opportunities for all ages. Located in downtown Naperville. Visitors are immersed in history as they learn about the past and how it relates to the present, from pioneer times to today. Highlights include special events and programs and activities year-round, both on- and off-site.

The Oriental Institute Museum makes accessible to the public many of the highlights of our large collection of artifacts from the ancient Middle East (10,000 BC – AD 650), including objects from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Syro-Anatolia, Israel, Iran, and Nubia. Many of the objects on display were excavated by University of Chicago archaeologists.

Pleasant Home, also known as the John Farson House, is a historic home located in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Illinois, United States. The large, Prairie style mansion was designed by architect George Washington Maher and completed in 1897. Pleasant home is the only Maher building open to the public as a museum.

The St. Charles History Museum is a non-profit organization. The museum holds more than 10,000 photographs in its archive and 15,000 artifacts in its collection. The St. Charles History Museum houses permanent and temporary exhibits, the Colonial Anderson Room, photo and research archives, the Curious Fox Gift Shop, administrative offices, and the storage-preservation repository for the Museum’s collections.

The Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn is a place for families to learn, explore and soar together. It’s a place for children to be creative, role play and build.  It’s a place for parents to be the teacher in their child’s life.  It’s a place for discovery, learning and fun!

The Museum provides award-winning exhibitions and programs to 70,000 students annually and trains and provides resources for more than 2,000 Chicago teachers. The Nature Museum is one of the city’s best examples of eco-friendly building technology, including a green roof, solar panels, natural light sources and native landscaping. The Academy and its Museum are engaged in important conservation and research work, such as its Butterfly Restoration Project.

Explore, create, build, discover, wonder, think, play, and more! Every visit is an adventure in fun and learning. DuPage Children’s Museum ignites the potential of all children to learn through hands-on exploration.

Come and explore over 200 interactive STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) exhibits which inspire education and imagination. Every exhibit is a mini-experiment with information about what to DO at the station and the scientific explanation for what is happening. Bring the entire family! Young and old minds alike will discover science in the world around them. 

Wonder Works is 6,400 square feet of fun, a place of creative play for kids birth to age eight. Located in Oak Park, Illinois at 6445 West North Avenue, the children’s museum helps kids, their parents and caregivers unleash their imaginations through artperformancedesignbuilding and more.