My son will be 3 in less than 4 months and he has never been to daycare. I was all for him staying at home with dad during the day since my husband works midnight shifts but now that he is older I worry about him keeping up with other kids who have been in daycare for a while. At this age daycare isn’t usually just plopping them on the floor to play; they are learning colors, how to use certain motor skills, and increasing their language development.
Most of my worries come from my line of work which is assessing kids’ development to ensure they are where they need to be for kindergarten. So far my son seems to be right on track. He can say his first and last name. He can say his age and he knows he is a boy. He can count to 15 although we would like it to be 20 but were always working with him on that. His communication is through the roof which is common in kids with siblings because there is always someone who is having a dialogue with them and they are always listening to every word. These are pretty much the fundamentals in Cognitive development for a 2 year old. We have to work twice as hard since we are doing it all at home at the moment. Some things we have done to ensure our son is growing and developing typically are:
Always asking him questions – Whether it’s a toy, clothes, or food, we ask his about the color. It’s simpler for the kids to learn their colors if there are asked “Is this red or blue”? as opposed to “What color is this”? The first question gives them an option like a multiple choice test and the second question makes them choose from every color there is like a fill in the blank test (which no one likes). This has been very effective for us because he did have a difficult time grasping colors; literally everything was blue.
Ask and repeat daily – Every day I have my son tell me his first and last name, age, and we count to 20. It has to be repetition at first that way when it comes time for them to recall the information it’s easier to pull out of that area of the brain. Sometimes I will count with him while sitting at a red light so I can use my fingers and he can count them. Other times I have him introduce himself to other people when asked what his name is or how old he is.
Educational programs – I understand that this can be controversial since the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests to avoid any screen time for a child until 2 years old . This was not realistic for us. Whether it was early morning cartoons that my daughter would put on while getting ready for school or watching tv before bed, it would have been impossible for us to keep the tv off all day. We had to tailor the programs to things that we knew could enhance his development and not hinder them. Shows like Sesame street, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Octonauts, and Doc McStuffins show kids things like days of the week, numbers and letters, health, and science. They begin to retain the information and are able to repeat it back to you.
My husband and I decided that we are going to wait until our son is 3 before entering him into daycare/preschool. My personal plan is to start with part time daycare 2-3 days a week which can benefit kids who have possible attachment issues. After 3-6 months of part time, he will go full time until he is ready for VPK at 4. My son’s birthday is in October so he misses the age cutoff by 1 month and will always have to wait the extra year which for us at the moment is helpful. The track we have been on with him has been working really well and I am confident that he will be right where he needs to be when he gets to preschool.
The Hot Mess Mom