After school bonding
The worst part of my day is always having to drop Annabelle off for daycare. You’d think I’d be used to it by now, and in a way I am, but it doesn’t make it any easier. I hate not knowing what she’s doing, how she’s spending her days and missing big milestones, like taking steps or saying new words. It bothers me to no end that I just can’t stay home with her and teach her myself.
One the plus side to daycare is the social interaction she gets. Annabelle loves being around other kids and mimicking the older ones. It helps her development and she has a structured day full of activities that I wouldn’t be able to replicate at home. She knows that I always come back and pick her up, even on the days she’s having soo much fun and wants to stay and play (that in itself is heartbreaking too, but much better than her crying all day and hating where she is).
Anyways, if you use daycare you know that what happens at daycare can potentially change the rest of your day and night. Did they nap/ not nap, did she not eat at all, was she grumpy, did she pull on her ears, has she not gone to the bathroom much? So many questions, so little time. I always have about a thousand questions when I pick Annabelle up and then usually think of a few more once we get home. If she doesn’t want to eat dinner I wonder if it’s because she’s eaten so much of her food that day or if she hasn’t really been eating much that day or maybe she just doesn’t like it. There’s not always time for an at length conversation about Annabelles day when I pick her up. Sometimes there is time, but more often than not either I’m in a hurry or there is just too much going on when I get there.
I needed some sort of communication about what was going on with Annabelle other than the few seconds or minutes standing at the door while we’re leaving. A lot of daycares have something in place to give parents feedback about the day but ours didn’t and I wasn’t sure which would be the best way to get feedback. Then I found these little notepads by Tiny Tales. I love love love them! It’s a little piece of paper you send to daycare every day so that the caretaker can fill out: how much they drank, did they eat and was it yummy or gross (helps make future lunchbox decisions), has she gone to the bathroom or could she be constipated, was she fussy and how she napped. All the crucial information that will help guide your evening and prepare you for what’s to come, especially if it’s been a fussy day with no nap.
My favorite part of the sheet is where they write down what she did. I always take it out of her bag as soon as I get in the car so I can see what it says she did that day. Then I can have a conversation with Annabelle about her day on the way home. I ask her questions and make comments related to what she did that day. Annabelle only has about 4 words in her vocabulary so far so she doesn’t answer my questions with words. Sometimes she babbles and ‘talks’ to me the whole way home, ‘answering’ questions, adding remarks. Other days she just sits quietly and listens to me go on and on. Some days she even screams the whole way home until we get home and I nurse her. Either way, it makes me feel closer to Annabelle and lets makes me feel more involved in what’s going on when she’s at daycare. I know that starting this now and doing it everyday will pay off. Eventually, the day will come Annabelle will be able to talk and we’ll be able to have a conversation about our day. Time is flying and that day will be here before I know it.
What are some of your favorite ways to connect with your kids? Do you have special rituals or games you play to bond at the end of the day? I know some folks use special conversation starter cards at dinner time with older kids. I’d love to hear some of your ideas and the creative things you do with your kiddos no matter how old.