Grandparent Daycare

grandparents holding their grandchildren

Becoming a grandparent is one of the most rewarding and fun parts of growing older. The innocence and sense of wonder that your grandchildren possess can make you feel young again. Being a grandparent is exciting, but it’s also a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. If you are in charge of watching your grandchildren while their parents are away, here are some tips to keep the little ones safe and sound.

Child Care Tips for Grandparents

  • You are more than just their babysitter. Grandparents can play an important role in any child’s life. Your knowledge, values, and stories can impact their lives and play a crucial role in their learning process. Your teachings can follow them to adulthood and influence who they become.
  • If you assist in dropping off or picking up your grandchildren from a childcare center or babysitter, there are a couple things you should do. First, make sure that you introduce yourself and provide the babysitter or childcare center with your contact information should an issue or emergency occur. Next, while you are there you should determine the quality of the facility and make sure it is up to your and your grandchildren’s parents’ standards. Lastly, make sure the child is properly buckled and in the appropriate car seat at all times.
  • Learn about new medical discoveries through your children, your grandchildren’s pediatrician, and other credible sources. Medicine and childcare are constantly evolving, and it is important to know the latest childcare and medical practices. What may have been the best method when you were raising your own children may not be the best practice now.
  • Make sure that your medications are out of reach and properly secure so that your grandchildren can’t get to them. It’s easy to forget to put something away that is part of your daily routine, so making the conscious effort to properly store potentially dangerous medicines, cleaners, etc., is a wise choice. Children are curious and will get into anything and everything.

Source:  Healthy Children

Daycare Drop-Off Tips

baby playing with toys at daycare

Dropping off your child at daycare can be challenging for everyone involved. You and your child may experience separation anxiety and that is normal, but it is important to find ways to overcome that anxiety. Here are some tips to make it easier for the both of you each morning.

Early Infancy

The truth is, at this stage daycare drop off is probably going to be harder on the parent than the baby. Usually, the infant can be anywhere from 0 to 7 months old and needs to be cared for and comforted, but it’s unlikely the baby will experience separation anxiety. The infant should transition quite easily to a daycare employee but the parent may be the one experiencing separation anxiety. Over time, you will find you become more comfortable with it.

Seven to Twelve Months

During this stage, your baby is anywhere from 7- to 12-months old. At this age it is normal for your baby to be weary of getting handed off to a stranger. Between the new environment and the new people, your baby may become reluctant to leave your arms. It is recommended that you do not begin childcare at this age when possible, but if you have to, slowly transition into it. To help the transition process, try creating a goodbye routine and keep it consistent from day to day.

One to Two Years Old

This age range is when your child is going to have the most difficulty being dropped off at daycare. Their separation anxiety peaks between the ages of one and two and they may kick and scream to prevent you from leaving. The toddler often thinks you will not return and will become upset when you walk away. It is important to reassure them that you will be back to get them and that everything is going to be okay. While you want to comfort them, it is important to stay firm when doing so. Once you leave the room, don’t come back in if they begin to cry.

Not every child is the same and some may experience separation anxiety at different ages. No matter their age, it is important to stay consistent and be specific, keep your promises and create short, fun goodbye routines.

Source: Healthy Children

Curfews & Growing Up

teens sitting together on a wall

Everyone is a teenager at one point in their lives and chances are at that time, you wanted to stay out late and have fun with friends. The story seems to be the same time and time again; parents want their teens home by a reasonable time and teens do not always oblige. This is where curfew enforcement comes into play.

Implementing curfews

Curfews are a great way to create routine in the household. Whether it be for your young child or teenager, curfews set standards and help hold everyone accountable. For those with younger children, practice getting them showered and in bed 10 to 15 minutes before “lights out” at 8:30-9:30pm. This type of curfew should be a piece of cake compared to enforcing one with your teen.

As your children grow up, they’ll become preteens and you’ll start to notice how they start to ask for more time out with their friends. A common question you’ll be asked as the parent is, “What time should I be home?”

For some parents, having a set curfew that never changes except under special circumstances might work, and for others, having a fluid curfew and discussing it with your teen each time they go out may work, too. No matter your parenting style, make sure communication is clear and open and make sure that the curfew set is not open for interpretation once discussed.

Enforcing the curfew

Now that you have set a curfew, it’s time to stick by it. Don’t let those last-minute, late-night calls asking to stay out later or sleep over a friend’s house fool you. The only way to get your teens to respect not only the curfew, but also you as the parent, is to enforce it. If they come rolling in around 11pm, make sure they check in with you before going to bed. Make it clear that there will be consequences if the curfew is broken. The purpose of setting a curfew is not to make your teen’s life miserable, but to keep them safe and teach them what responsibility, self-control and time management are.

Source: Healthy Children

Finding the Right Childcare Center

child care center

There are many things to consider when searching for the right childcare center for your son or daughter. Not only is enrolling your child in childcare an investment, but you must feel comfortable enough to trust your child with them while you are at work. Whether it’s called a childcare center, preschool, learning center or nursery school, make sure you do your research before settling. Obvious factors like hours and price are rarely overlooked, but other features like qualifications, communication and references are often overlooked, and they should not be. Note: as measles is making a comeback, ask if the daycare allows unvaccinated children. If it does, look elsewhere.


Hours: One of the first things to consider when researching childcare centers is the hours. Do they fit your needs? Is there flexibility if you have to work late? What about vacations and holidays?

Price: A big deciding factor will be the fee. How much will it cost for your child or children? Are there any extra/hidden fees? How are the payments made? Weekly, monthly? Do they accept state aid? What is included in the cost?

Qualifications/Staffing: Are the staff highly trained and certified (CPR/First Aid, infant care, early-childhood education)? Are they staying up to date with annual certifications and trainings? What is the adult-to-child ratio? How many children are in a room at one time? Can the childcare center provide you with health and safety inspection reports?

Is there a qualified health professional on call for the children? How often do they visit? The national standard recommends that a health professional should make a visit to childcare programs with infants and toddlers once a month, and every three months for all other programs.

Visiting and Communication: Visiting the center before deciding can be helpful – does the center allow that? Once enrolled, can you visit at any time? Are visitors screened and approved before entering the childcare center? As for communication, do they provide feedback to you about your child(ren)? When it comes to discipline, is it similar and in line with how you discipline your child(ren) at home?

Policies/ References/ Licenses: What are the center’s written policies for health standards, nutrition, discipline, transportation, media, outdoor play, etc.? Is the center licensed, accredited or registered with local government agencies as required? What is the drop-off and pick-up policy? Can the childcare center give you a reference list of current parents that you can contact?

This may seem like a lot to consider, but all of these factors are important when making the best childcare choice for your son or daughter. Do your research, take your time, and take into account online reviews and references to help you make the right decision. Creating a checklist with the above questions for the childcare centers you are considering is a good place to start.


Healthy Children

Teaching Children The Importance Of Giving Back

Child's craft

At The Children’s Medical Group, we have locations throughout the Hudson Valley. Each town we serve has its own unique personality and local needs. Still, one of the things that makes this area so special is that we all share a common love for the nearby natural areas and the Hudson Valley community at large.

While there are parts of this area that struggle with poverty, there are many organizations that work to meet the needs of our community, as well as individuals who make a difference in the lives of our children.

Responsibility of Parents

Though our lives are incredibly busy, it is important to take a step back to remember what really matters. The communities our kids are brought up in contribute to who they are, and there are ways as a parent that you can become a leader in the community and a hero in their eyes.

  1. Show kindness – though we don’t know all of our neighbors, all of our neighbors deserve respect. When kids see how a role model treats others, they begin to mirror that behavior.
  2. Be an advocate – the power of sharing positive stories in the community with local news outlets can change the way people perceive young people in public. So often only the worst of the worst and the best of the best is reported, which skews how we think of one another. Sharing with local journalists about a classroom research project or a way in which your child’s extracurriculars are making a positive difference could have an immeasurable, positive ripple effect.
  3. Instill the importance of giving back – volunteering from a young age can have a profound effect on children. It helps them understand people who come from another perspective and teach them that no matter how much or how little they have, a community is made stronger when we all pitch in to help one another.

When you foster the importance of charitability within your child it has a profound impact on the way they view the world for the rest of their lives. It helps create more resilient communities and empowers each child to see how their actions have effects on the people who live around them. Get involved in any way you can today through something your child is interested in. Here are some ideas:

  • Soup kitchen – does your child love cooking and baking shows, or love to help in the kitchen? Help them prepare a dish to donate to a local organization or show up to help prepare food at local soup kitchens. Check out all the good that The Lunch Box does in Dutchess County.
  • Animal shelter – is your child always asking for a puppy? Take them to the local shelter so they can see firsthand how much responsibility is involved, and give back in the process. Hudson Valley SPCA and Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary are great places to start.
  • Clothing donations – kids grow out of clothing quickly. Take your child with you when you donate clothes, such as to United Way’s Children’s Corner so they can see how the whole community comes together to give back and the impact that can have.


Healthy Children

Overcoming Your Past as A Parent

Mother and son having fun in a park

Part of being a parent involves self-examination. Once becoming a parent, feelings about your own childhood can bubble up to the surface. It is important that you address your past and those negative, not-so-easy experiences to better your own child’s upbringing. As a parent you don’t have to bury your past, and instead learn from it and share your experiences and feelings with your little one as they grow up.

Ask Yourself

As a parent, you’ll want to set standards and expectations for your parenting style. One of the first places that your mind will go is to your own childhood. Use this to your advantage and take time to recollect your favorite memories, what you liked and disliked about your parents and home life, what you struggled with academically, socially, mentally and physically and where your greatest difficulties tended to lay. All of this can be used in a positive way to better yourself as a parent.


Consider your strongest, healthiest relationships growing up, what made them this way? Whether it was with your mom or dad, or sibling, think about why you enjoyed that relationship. Depending on your upbringing and family dynamic, you may have grown up in a quiet, more reserved home or a home where there was constant arguing and chaos. No matter the environment, it has had some effect on you and keep that in mind when deciding the best ways to parent your own child.

Memories & The Past

Being able to reflect upon your greatest and worst memories when you were younger will allow you to relate to your own child and what they may be experiencing. If they are struggling in school with math, feeling left out, having difficulty adjusting to a new home, losing a family member or a pet or can’t find something they are good at, chances are you went through some of these very same experiences. You will find it is easier to be more sensitive and understanding with your child in times like these and will be in a better place to communicate and offer solutions. When your child learns that their parent has gone through some of the same struggles, they may feel a sense of relief because they aren’t the only ones, and it may be easier for them to keep their head up and think positively.


Healthy Children

Positive Reinforcement Parenting

Positive Reinforcement Parenting

Most but not all children will do the right thing without a reward and this is where positive reinforcement comes into play. Though praise and recognition should be your first instinct, if that doesn’t work, consider the use of positive reinforcement through a rewards system. This type of encouragement system tends to be effective for parents with middle childhood aged kids. For this to be successful, the positive behavior goals must be clear and specific.

Desired Behavior

Creating a chart that incorporates the desired positive behaviors is a great place to start, almost like a chart of chores you would make for your child. Consider both short-term and long-term goals that you want your child to work toward; so, you may want to create a week-by-week section and even a month-to-month one, too. Each time your child engages in the positive behavior, they can earn a point or star. A reward system with the points or stars should be put into place and as your child reaches a goal, an appropriate small or bigger reward should be given to your child. The goal can be as simple as working towards becoming more polite and small rewards can be used for that, and bigger goals like an outstanding school report card may be more appropriate for a larger reward. The larger rewards should be saved and only used as the points or stars add up enough to being large-reward worthy.

List of Rewards

As an incentive, create a list of rewards with your child as you’ll want them to be meaningful. Deciding on an appropriate number of points it will take to earn each specific reward is important. This reward system should be strictly followed to teach your child that they have to work hard.


To keep your child incentivized, reinforcing the rewards system is important. Frequent reminders and encouragement are a great way to keep them interested and working hard.


Lastly, success is always the goal, but chances are that your child will fall off track at some point. When this happens, light punishments such as a timeout are appropriate and will still keep your child encouraged to keep working toward a goal. Eventually, this program should teach your child to internalize their behaviors and the reward system will gradually be forgotten about or not needed.

Healthy Children

Fostering the Importance of Handwriting

Fostering the Importance of Handwriting

Schools are beginning to utilize tablets and laptops, resulting in less paper and pen work. Though this technology can enhance the child’s learning experience, we still must foster the importance of handwriting. In today’s digital age, children sometimes have the ability to type and text before they can write their name on a piece of paper. This raises the question, how important are handwriting skills and should this be what a child focuses on?

Studies on handwriting have actually raised some interesting relationships. Children who are capable of writing quickly and neatly are more likely to express their thoughts and ideas better through writing. Researchers were able to link increased cognitive activity with better handwriting when children in grades two through five were asked to brainstorm a composition.

What Can the Parent Do?

Your child’s success in their educational journey is important. One of the very first steps in this journey is learning how to write out letters and numbers and eventually, write out their name. There is no doubt that when your child first starts out, it is going to be messy and illegible, but as they practice you should see improvements. As a parent you can encourage your child to draw, color, trace shapes and play “connect the dots” games, before learning the alphabet is even a thought. These types of activities can be effective in helping your child develop the motor skills and the cognitive skills for neat handwriting.

The next step could be teaching your child how to color in the lines, which will help develop their hand-eye coordination. Exercise and proper posture are even proven to help aid in a child’s writing journey, since the better “in shape” the muscles of their hands, arms and shoulders are, the easier it will be for them to move and control their motions while writing. So, reduce the use of tablets and video games and encourage your children to use their creativity on paper through writing and drawing.


Healthy Children

Violent TV & Video Games

Boy in front of computer monitor playing video game

Though video games and television are supposed to be forms of entertainment, science has confirmed that there may be more serious consequences of engaging in violent TV and video games. Research shows that children who are exposed to violence in video games and TV experience a change in how they behave and resolve conflict. As a parent, you want to think that your child won’t be the one to be affected in such ways, but it can happen.

The reason for children and teens committing acts of violence or becoming aggressive in situations is not completely due to the violence they experience in video games and TV. Though there is some influence, it has never been proven that an act of violence was the result of violent media consumed. We can say that violent media contributes to the behavior or thought process behind the act of violence and that there is a link between the two.

Parental Controls

The parent does have a choice in the type of media their children consume, how often and in what ways. It is recommended that children under the age of six years old do not engage in or watch violent media, whether that be watching a movie or TV show, or playing a video game. This recommendation stems from children not being able to distinguish reality from fantasy.

Staying on top of the media your child consumes is one of the easiest ways to filter out the violent content, especially when they are young. Activating parental controls on devices is one place to start. Be sure to do your research before purchasing popular games, so that you know what to expect.

Choosing the Right Games

Often in violent video games, the player is rewarded for completing a mission or winning the game through killing the other players. This type of reward system may influence or teach your child that acting violent is a way to be rewarded or feel empowered. Luckily, there are hundreds of video games available on the market that are educational, non-violent and fun for your child. Sports-themed games may be a better option than gory, war-themed games.


Healthy Children