6. Usually when you're cooking or doing chores at home:

Sometimes it is safer for your child to be separate from you while you do chores. Other times, having your child help in the activity can build their skills and your bond together. 

If your child is watching TV or videos, on playing on a tablet, watch what she is watching. Studies show that young children cannot always tell the difference between watching violence on TV and seeing it first-hand. Choose shows that help children learn and encourage good things like friendship and sharing. And don’t forget about the commercials! Adults may have learned to tune them out, but your child hasn’t. 

Preschoolers can provide some real help in safe activities, especially those that interest them.
• Think ahead of time what you feel your child can help with safely. Give your child a couple of safe choices, so she gets to pick. If your child loves to sweep, give your child a chance to sweep and congratulate them on a job well done. If your child cannot help with what you are doing, provide safe toys that mimic what you are doing so she can participate safely. 
• Talk to your child about what you are doing. The more you talk to your child, the more words she will learn. Name objects and how they are used. Ask your child other ways that items could be used. Ask your child questions where they have to answer more than “yes” or “no.” 
• Pay attention to what your child likes and encourage her to talk about it and explore it. For example, the grocery store is filled with things to count! Let your child help you count out the number of potatoes you will need to buy for dinner, or the cans of soup that go into your shopping cart.

Check out Learning is Everywhere for more ideas.

Including your child in some daily activities can help her learn new words, how things work, and build your bond together.

Preschoolers can provide some real help in safe activities, especially those that interest them.
• Think ahead of time what you feel your child can help with safely. Give your child a couple of safe choices, so she gets to pick. If your child loves to sweep, give your child a chance to sweep and congratulate them on a job well done. If your child cannot help with what you are doing, provide safe toys that mimic what you are doing so she can participate safely. 
• Talk to your child about what you are doing. The more you talk to your child, the more words she will learn. Name objects and how they are used. Ask your child other ways that items could be used. Ask your child questions where they have to answer more than “yes” or “no.” 
• Pay attention to what your child likes and encourage her to talk about it and explore it. For example, the grocery store is filled with things to count! Let your child help you count out the number of potatoes you will need to buy for dinner, or the cans of soup that go into your shopping cart.

Check out Learning is Everywhere for more ideas.

Toys are important ways to build a child’s skills and have fun. Why not invite your child to help in your daily activities as well? 

Including your child in some daily activities can help her learn new words, how things work, and build your bond together.

Preschoolers can provide some real help in safe activities, especially those that interest them.
• Think ahead of time what you feel your child can help with safely. Give your child a couple of safe choices, so she gets to pick. If your child loves to sweep, give your child a chance to sweep and congratulate them on a job well done. If your child cannot help with what you are doing, provide safe toys that mimic what you are doing so she can participate safely. 
• Talk to your child about what you are doing. The more you talk to your child, the more words she will learn. Name objects and how they are used. Ask your child other ways that items could be used. Ask your child questions where they have to answer more than “yes” or “no.” 
• Pay attention to what your child likes and encourage her to talk about it and explore it. For example, the grocery store is filled with things to count! Let your child help you count out the number of potatoes you will need to buy for dinner, or the cans of soup that go into your shopping cart.

Check out Learning is Everywhere for more ideas.

Sometimes, taking care of kids and doing chores just don’t mix. Other times, you may be able to combine spending quality time with your child and taking care of daily activities.

Preschoolers can provide some real help in safe activities, especially those that interest them.
• Think ahead of time what you feel your child can help with safely. Give your child a couple of safe choices, so she gets to pick. If your child loves to sweep, give your child a chance to sweep and congratulate them on a job well done. If your child cannot help with what you are doing, provide safe toys that mimic what you are doing so she can participate safely. 
• Talk to your child about what you are doing. The more you talk to your child, the more words she will learn. Name objects and how they are used. Ask your child other ways that items could be used. Ask your child questions where they have to answer more than “yes” or “no.” 
• Pay attention to what your child likes and encourage her to talk about it and explore it. For example, the grocery store is filled with things to count! Let your child help you count out the number of potatoes you will need to buy for dinner, or the cans of soup that go into your shopping cart.

Check out Learning is Everywhere for more ideas.

7. Your child's playtime usually involves:

If your child is watching TV or videos, on playing on a tablet, watch what she is watching. Studies show that young children cannot always tell the difference between watching violence on TV and seeing it first-hand. Choose shows that help children learn and encourage good things like friendship and sharing. And don’t forget about the commercials! Adults may have learned to tune them out, but your child hasn’t. 

Preschoolers like to play with other children. They like role play and playing pretend. They are starting to build important social skills like taking turns and solving problems. They need to play in lots of different ways, with a variety of toys, near or with other children, and games. Children should have at least 30-60 minutes of active play, where they are moving around, every day.

Make the most out of playtime. Let your child choose what he wants to play with and how he wants to play. 
• Make art projects together. Use safe things like construction paper, and macaroni. You can tell a story about something that happened that day, or where you’d like to go together. This helps your child express his feelings through art so you can talk together about how he feels. 
• Listen to music together. Singing, dancing or playing along helps your child express himself. Recognizing patterns in the music will also help him with math! 
• When you are out, point out different people and things and talk about what they do. Point out a mailbox and talk about how people put important letters in them and the mail carrier takes them where they need to go. 

If your child is at a child care/early learning program, ask if children have at least one hour of free play a day. Other things to look for:
• Do children have access to different play areas that are developmentally appropriate, not too easy or too hard? 
• Are there enough toys?
• Do children get to move around as well as be quieter?
• Do teachers make sure children are safe, but allow the children to decide how they want to play?
 
 
It’s great that your child is spending time with other children. Preschoolers like to play with other children. They like role play and playing pretend. Playing with other children where they make up the rules teaches your child important social skills he can’t really learn anywhere else.

Play is how young children learn. When your child does finger plays with other children, he is learning social skills, language, even math!
 
Children should have at least 30-60 minutes of active play, where they are moving around, every day.

Make the most out of playtime. Let your child choose what he wants to play with and how he wants to play. 
• Make art projects together. Use safe things like construction paper, and macaroni. You can tell a story about something that happened that day, or where you’d like to go together. This helps your child express his feelings through art so you can talk together about how he feels. 
• Listen to music together. Singing, dancing or playing along helps your child express himself. Recognizing patterns in the music will also help him with math! 
• When you are out, point out different people and things and talk about what they do. Point out a mailbox and talk about how people put important letters in them and the mail carrier takes them where they need to go. 

If your child is at a child care/early learning program, ask if children have at least one hour of free play a day. Other things to look for:
• Do children have access to different play areas that are developmentally appropriate, not too easy or too hard? 
• Are there enough toys?
• Do children get to move around as well as be quieter?
• Do teachers make sure children are safe, but allow the children to decide how they want to play?
Lessons and sports are an important part of a child’s life. Did you know that some of the most important lessons for children happen during playtime when they are setting the rules? Play is how young children learn. When your child does finger plays with other children, he is learning social skills, language, even math!
 
Preschoolers like to play with other children. They like role play and playing pretend. They are starting to build important social skills like taking turns and solving problems. They need to play in lots of different ways, with a variety of toys, near or with other children, and games. Children should have at least 30-60 minutes of active play, where they are moving around, every day.

Make the most out of playtime. Let your child choose what he wants to play with and how he wants to play. 
• Make art projects together. Use safe things like construction paper, and macaroni. You can tell a story about something that happened that day, or where you’d like to go together. This helps your child express his feelings through art so you can talk together about how he feels. 
• Listen to music together. Singing, dancing or playing along helps your child express himself. Recognizing patterns in the music will also help him with math! 
• When you are out, point out different people and things and talk about what they do. Point out a mailbox and talk about how people put important letters in them and the mail carrier takes them where they need to go. 

If your child is at a child care/early learning program, ask if children have at least one hour of free play a day. Other things to look for:
• Do children have access to different play areas that are developmentally appropriate, not too easy or too hard? 
• Are there enough toys?
• Do children get to move around as well as be quieter?
• Do teachers make sure children are safe, but allow the children to decide how they want to play?
Giving your child the chance to play in different ways builds a lot of their skills.

Play is how young children learn. When your child does finger plays with other children, he is learning social skills, language, even math!
 
Preschoolers like to play with other children. They like role play and playing pretend. They are starting to build important social skills like taking turns and solving problems. They need to play in lots of different ways, with a variety of toys, near or with other children, and games. Children should have at least 30-60 minutes of active play, where they are moving around, every day.

Make the most out of playtime. Let your child choose what he wants to play with and how he wants to play. 
• Make art projects together. Use safe things like construction paper, and macaroni. You can tell a story about something that happened that day, or where you’d like to go together. This helps your child express his feelings through art so you can talk together about how he feels. 
• Listen to music together. Singing, dancing or playing along helps your child express himself. Recognizing patterns in the music will also help him with math! 
• When you are out, point out different people and things and talk about what they do. Point out a mailbox and talk about how people put important letters in them and the mail carrier takes them where they need to go. 

If your child is at a child care/early learning program, ask if children have at least one hour of free play a day. Other things to look for:
• Do children have access to different play areas that are developmentally appropriate, not too easy or too hard? 
• Are there enough toys?
• Do children get to move around as well as be quieter?
• Do teachers make sure children are safe, but allow the children to decide how they want to play?

8. At your child's checkup, you ask the doctor a question, but don't really understand the answer. You:

A doctor has a lot of medical knowledge, but you are the expert on how your baby is doing. It’s important that you understand the doctor and that the doctor understands you. You have the right to keep asking questions until you do understand what the doctor is trying to tell you.

Sometimes it is helpful to do some web surfing before you go to the doctor, but choose a reliable site like the American Academy of Pediatrics Symptom Checker. Online searches should never replace a doctor’s visit.

Before you meet with your preschooler’s doctor, teacher or other professionals, make a list of what you want to talk about. Write down questions. Give specific examples of what you are talking about to make it easier for the doctor to answer your questions. Bring paper and pen so you can take notes during the visit. Take as much time as you need to write down the answers, so you can later understand what you wrote.

Don’t be afraid to tell the doctor you don’t understand. Simply say, “I don’t understand, can you be clearer?” or ask another question.

You may also think of questions after you’ve left the office. Some doctors have ways to email them with non-urgent questions. Many insurance companies and hospitals also offer nurse hotlines that you can call with general questions.

These are great tips for talking with any professional about your preschooler. Again, you are the expert on your child, and what you have to say matters!

Check out the Be Your Child’s Champion resource for more ideas on how to communicate with other important adults in your child’s life.

Doctors, teachers and other professionals get busy. Sometimes you may feel rushed. Calling back later to talk to the nurse or assistant can be a less stressful way to get your questions answered. But it might also take more time if they have to talk to the doctor before they can answer you.

It’s best to ask the doctor in person when you are there, again and again, until they give you an answer you can understand. You have the right to keep asking questions until you do understand. Remember, you are the expert on your child and no one will stand up for your child more than you.

Before you meet with your preschooler’s doctor, teacher or other professionals, make a list of what you want to talk about. Write down questions. Give specific examples of what you are talking about to make it easier for the doctor to answer your questions. Bring paper and pen so you can take notes during the visit. Take as much time as you need to write down the answers, so you can later understand what you wrote.

Don’t be afraid to tell the doctor you don’t understand. Simply say, “I don’t understand, can you be clearer?” or ask another question.

You may also think of questions after you’ve left the office. Some doctors have ways to email them with non-urgent questions. Many insurance companies and hospitals also offer nurse hotlines that you can call with general questions.

Check out the Be Your Child’s Champion resource for more ideas on how to communicate with other important adults in your child’s life.

The best way to protect and care for your preschooler is to make sure you get the information you need in a way you can understand. You are the expert on your child and no one will stand up for your child more than you. 

Before you meet with your preschooler’s doctor, teacher or other professionals, make a list of what you want to talk about. Write down questions. Give specific examples of what you are talking about to make it easier for the doctor to answer your questions. Bring paper and pen so you can take notes during the visit. Take as much time as you need to write down the answers, so you can later understand what you wrote.

Don’t be afraid to tell the doctor you don’t understand. Simply say, “I don’t understand, can you be clearer?” or ask another question.

You may also think of questions after you’ve left the office. Some doctors have ways to email them with non-urgent questions. Many insurance companies and hospitals also offer nurse hotlines that you can call with general questions.

Check out the Be Your Child’s Champion resource for more ideas on how to communicate with other important adults in your child’s life.

It is a good idea to touch base with all the major adults in your baby’s life. That may include a teacher, family member, and others that care for your baby. Ask them about specific examples of things that you can share with your doctor at your next visit. 
It is also important that you and your child’s doctor understand each other.

The doctor has a lot of medical knowledge, but you know your child best. 

Before you meet with your preschooler’s doctor, teacher or other professionals, make a list of what you want to talk about. Write down questions. Give specific examples of what you are talking about to make it easier for the doctor to answer your questions. Bring paper and pen so you can take notes during the visit. Take as much time as you need to write down the answers, so you can later understand what you wrote.

Don’t be afraid to tell the doctor you don’t understand. Simply say, “I don’t understand, can you be clearer?” or ask another question.

You may also think of questions after you’ve left the office. Some doctors have ways to email them with non-urgent questions. Many insurance companies and hospitals also offer nurse hotlines that you can call with general questions.

Check out the Be Your Child’s Champion resource for more ideas on how to communicate with other important adults in your child’s life.

9. In addition to being safe, when your child is not with you, it is most important to you that he is:

You want your child to be safe, well cared for and given lots of learning activities. The learning activities should build on what your preschooler can already do, without being too easy or too hard. This is called developmentally appropriate. This will help prepare him for learning throughout school.

Here are things to think about when looking for a caregiver or child care/early learning program.

The resource, A Guide to Choosing Quality Child Care in Pennsylvania, has information to help you select a program that is best for you and your child.

These tips can also help.

  • To make sure your child will be safe, do a little research. Visit www.findchildcare.pa.gov to find a licensed child care program. Check to see if there are any violations against them.
  • Young children need to spend time with other children, called socialization, to learn. Babies enjoy watching other children play and playing near other children even if they aren’t ready to join in yet. In quality child care/early learning programs, children build social skills, like how to follow directions, by playing with other children. Playgroups also help build these skills.
  • Ask the caregiver or program if they have activities that are developmentally appropriate. If they don’t know of any, show them the activity calendars in the resources section that are based on Pennsylvania’s Early Learning Standards. 

If you are looking for home-based services or a child care/ early learning program, look for these programs:

  • Parents as Teachers
  • Parent-Child Home Program
  • Keystone STARS
  • Head Start
  • PA Pre-K Counts

These programs have developmentally-appropriate activities and use Pennsylvania’s Early Learning Standards.

Playing with other children is a great way to socialize your child and build skills that he can use for life! Preschoolers are starting to be more interested in playing with other children than playing with toys. This is an important time for them to learn social skills, like setting and following rules and taking turns. These are skills they will need for kindergarten. Children build these skills in quality child care/early learning programs by playing with other children. Playgroups can also help build these skills. 

Here are things to think about when looking for a caregiver or child care/early learning program.

The resource, A Guide to Choosing Quality Child Care in Pennsylvania, has information to help you select a program that is best for you and your child.

These tips can also help.

  • To make sure your child will be safe, do a little research. Visit www.findchildcare.pa.gov to find a licensed child care program. Check to see if there are any violations against them.
  • Young children need to spend time with other children, called socialization, to learn. Babies enjoy watching other children play and playing near other children even if they aren’t ready to join in yet. In quality child care/early learning programs, children build social skills, like how to follow directions, by playing with other children. Playgroups also help build these skills.
  • Ask the caregiver or program if they have activities that are developmentally appropriate. If they don’t know of any, show them the activity calendars in the resources section that are based on Pennsylvania’s Early Learning Standards. 

If you are looking for home-based services or a child care/ early learning program, look for these programs:

  • Parents as Teachers
  • Parent-Child Home Program
  • Keystone STARS
  • Head Start
  • PA Pre-K Counts

These programs have developmentally-appropriate activities and use Pennsylvania’s Early Learning Standards.

There are ways to guide children’s activities so they have fun but are also learning skills they will need for school and life.

Ask the caregiver or program if they have activities that are developmentally appropriate. This means activities that are not too easy or too hard for your child, but will help your child grow. If they don’t know of any activities, show them the activity calendars that are based on Pennsylvania’s Early Learning Standards.

Here are things to think about when looking for a caregiver or child care/early learning program.

The resource, A Guide to Choosing Quality Child Care in Pennsylvania, has information to help you select a program that is best for you and your child.

These tips can also help.

  • To make sure your child will be safe, do a little research. Visit www.findchildcare.pa.gov to find a licensed child care program. Check to see if there are any violations against them.
  • Young children need to spend time with other children, called socialization, to learn. Babies enjoy watching other children play and playing near other children even if they aren’t ready to join in yet. In quality child care/early learning programs, children build social skills, like how to follow directions, by playing with other children. Playgroups also help build these skills.
  • Ask the caregiver or program if they have activities that are developmentally appropriate. If they don’t know of any, show them the activity calendars in the resources section that are based on Pennsylvania’s Early Learning Standards. 

If you are looking for home-based services or a child care/ early learning program, look for these programs:

  • Parents as Teachers
  • Parent-Child Home Program
  • Keystone STARS
  • Head Start
  • PA Pre-K Counts

These programs have developmentally-appropriate activities and use Pennsylvania’s Early Learning Standards.

Learning, socializing and having fun are all important to your child’s growth. 

You want your child to be safe, well cared for and given lots of learning activities. The learning activities should build on what your child can already do, without being too easy or too hard. This is called developmentally appropriate. And playtime is learning time! This prepares him for learning throughout school.

Here are things to think about when looking for a caregiver or child care/early learning program.

The resource, A Guide to Choosing Quality Child Care in Pennsylvania, has information to help you select a program that is best for you and your child.

These tips can also help.

  • To make sure your child will be safe, do a little research. Visit www.findchildcare.pa.gov to find a licensed child care program. Check to see if there are any violations against them.
  • Young children need to spend time with other children, called socialization, to learn. Babies enjoy watching other children play and playing near other children even if they aren’t ready to join in yet. In quality child care/early learning programs, children build social skills, like how to follow directions, by playing with other children. Playgroups also help build these skills.
  • Ask the caregiver or program if they have activities that are developmentally appropriate. If they don’t know of any, show them the activity calendars in the resources section that are based on Pennsylvania’s Early Learning Standards. 

If you are looking for home-based services or a child care/ early learning program, look for these programs:

  • Parents as Teachers
  • Parent-Child Home Program
  • Keystone STARS
  • Head Start
  • PA Pre-K Counts

These programs have developmentally-appropriate activities and use Pennsylvania’s Early Learning Standards.

10. When you're looking for a person or child care/early learning program to care for your child, your biggest challenge is:

You have to think about cost and convenience. So how do you find the quality you want that is affordable and nearby?

Quality programs like Parent-Child Home Program, Parents as Teachers, Head Start, Early Intervention and PA Pre-K Counts are free for families that meet income requirements.

You may be eligible for subsidized child care through Child Care Works if you meet work and income requirements. Child Care Works (CCIS) provides financial assistance for care from a person or a child care/ early learning program. Most quality Keystone STARS programs accept Child Care Works. 

When looking for child care, try to balance cost, convenience and quality. Try to visit 2-3 caregivers or programs before you make a choice. Two programs may cost about the same, but quality may be very different. Bring your child with you to see if he’ll be comfortable there.

When you visit, please ask about:

  • Is this person or program safe to care for children? Do they meet regulations? Have there been any complaints? Visit www.childcare.pa.gov to see if there are any violations.
  • If it is a child care program, what is its’ STAR level? Child care programs may earn up to a STAR 4 rating by meeting quality standards. The higher the STAR level, the higher the quality.
  • What experience and education does the person/teacher have caring for young children?
  • Do the teachers and staff stay or is there high turnover?
  • Are you comfortable with the teacher and feel the teacher will treat you as a partner in your child’s learning?
  • Do teachers and home visitors encourage children to safely explore and try new things? 
  • Is there a kid-friendly atmosphere?
  • Will your child have access to a variety of activities that are developmentally appropriate?
  • How does the program feel? Is it clean? Are children having fun?
  • Can you visit anytime?

Check out A Guide to Choosing Quality Child Care to help you make a choice.

Your child needs to be safe. It’s important to know if there have been any complaints against a caregiver or child care/ early learning program.

First, find out what regulations or background checks are required. Do they meet the necessary regulations? For child care programs, you can find out about any complaints or violations at www.findchildcare.pa.gov. Search by address or provider name. Once you locate a provider, click View History to see the Inspection History, Waivers and any negative sanctions, like violations.

When looking for child care, try to balance cost, convenience and quality. Try to visit 2-3 caregivers or programs before you make a choice. Two programs may cost about the same, but quality may be very different. Bring your child with you to see if he’ll be comfortable there.

When you visit, please ask about:

  • Is this person or program safe to care for children? Do they meet regulations? Have there been any complaints? Visit www.childcare.pa.gov to see if there are any violations.
  • If it is a child care program, what is its’ STAR level? Child care programs may earn up to a STAR 4 rating by meeting quality standards. The higher the STAR level, the higher the quality.
  • What experience and education does the person/teacher have caring for young children?
  • Do the teachers and staff stay or is there high turnover?
  • Are you comfortable with the teacher and feel the teacher will treat you as a partner in your child’s learning?
  • Do teachers and home visitors encourage children to safely explore and try new things? 
  • Is there a kid-friendly atmosphere?
  • Will your child have access to a variety of activities that are developmentally appropriate?
  • How does the program feel? Is it clean? Are children having fun?
  • Can you visit anytime?

Check out A Guide to Choosing Quality Child Care to help you make a choice.

Only you can tell what caregiver or program is the right fit for your family. There are things you can look for that help you know it’s a quality program, where your child can be safe, happy and learning.

Try to visit 2-3 caregivers or programs before you make a choice. Two programs may cost about the same, but quality may be very different. Bring your child with you to see if he’ll be comfortable there.

When you visit, please ask about:

  • Is this person or program safe to care for children? Do they meet regulations? Have there been any complaints? Visit www.childcare.pa.gov to see if there are any violations.
  • If it is a child care program, what is its’ STAR level? Child care programs may earn up to a STAR 4 rating by meeting quality standards. The higher the STAR level, the higher the quality.
  • What experience and education does the person/teacher have caring for young children?
  • Do the teachers and staff stay or is there high turnover?
  • Are you comfortable with the teacher and feel the teacher will treat you as a partner in your child’s learning?
  • Do teachers and home visitors encourage children to safely explore and try new things? 
  • Is there a kid-friendly atmosphere?
  • Will your child have access to a variety of activities that are developmentally appropriate?
  • How does the program feel? Is it clean? Are children having fun?
  • Can you visit anytime?

Check out A Guide to Choosing Quality Child Care to help you make a choice.

It’s great that your child can spend so much time with you! What a great way to bond.

The time your child spends with others is important, too. You want to be sure that your child is safe and know anyone your child spends time with, even family and friends.

If you have an ex-partner with whom your baby spends some time, consistency can make the back and forth easier on her. Work with your ex-partner to make sure your child knows both of you love her. Try to set the same ground rules in both homes, and follow similar discipline and routines to help your child enjoy both homes and grow.

If your child doesn’t already spend time with other children, you can set play dates so she can socialize with other young children. Time spent playing with other children will help her get ready for kindergarten. Many child care/early learning programs offer part-day or part-week care that help add to what you are providing your child at home.

If you do decide to use a child care program to care for your child, try to visit 2-3 caregivers or programs before you make a choice. Two programs may cost about the same, but quality may be very different. Bring your child with you to see if he’ll be comfortable there.

When you visit, please ask about:

  • Is this person or program safe to care for children? Do they meet regulations? Have there been any complaints? Visit www.childcare.pa.gov to see if there are any violations.
  • If it is a child care program, what is its’ STAR level? Child care programs may earn up to a STAR 4 rating by meeting quality standards. The higher the STAR level, the higher the quality.
  • What experience and education does the person/teacher have caring for young children?
  • Do the teachers and staff stay or is there high turnover?
  • Are you comfortable with the teacher and feel the teacher will treat you as a partner in your child’s learning?
  • Do teachers and home visitors encourage children to safely explore and try new things? 
  • Is there a kid-friendly atmosphere?
  • Will your child have access to a variety of activities that are developmentally appropriate?
  • How does the program feel? Is it clean? Are children having fun?
  • Can you visit anytime?

Check out A Guide to Choosing Quality Child Care to help you make a choice.

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