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5 Best Daycare Tips You Can Apply to Your Kids at Home

If you have a little one in daycare, you may have noticed that half the parent/child battles you deal with at home don’t even exist when you’re away. Super-picky eaters will eat just about everything, and crazy-long bedtime rituals aren’t needed for the midday snooze (in a room full of kids, no less). So what gives? Does daycare have some sort of magic dust that they sprinkle on the kids every day? Nope — but they do have a few things down that you can try at home too. Let’s take a look at how it’s done.

1. Create a routine. Daycare is structured around a routine. This makes the daily expectations predictable for toddlers and infants alike. When your child knows what to expect, you’ve already won most of the battle. That’s because routines help to squash anxiety over your child’s wants and needs. With a routine, your little one knows when they’ll be able to eat, play, and rest, because the same routine has shown them to trust this expectation over and over again.

Pro Tip: You don’t have to have every second of the day scheduled, but keeping to a regular cadence of when eating, sleeping, and playing happen will help your child to understand what to expect.

2. Keep nap time and bedtime about sleeping. It’s amazing to see a room full of two-year-olds snoozing the afternoon away. It’s especially puzzling if you struggle to get your single toddler to sleep when the magic time hits at your house. This all goes back to creating a routine. The tots in daycare know that after lunch and clean up, they start to wind down and are expected to go sit or lay quietly on their cots or mats. The option for running around or reading another book isn’t there. If a toddler gets up to run around, a teacher quickly puts them back on their cot and reinforces that this is a quiet time. There’s no bargaining or caving in to requests for one more story or a sippy cup of milk.

Pro Tip: One surefire way to make sure a roomful of kids will sleep is to have active and engaging activities in the morning: They will naturally feel tired from all the a.m. excitement. As tempting as it is on a Saturday or Sunday morning to be lazy and watch cartoons with your little one, it’s important to plan out an art project, a fun adventure, or some outdoor fun to help them get their morning burst of energy spent.

A mother and daughter high-five

3. Avoid mealtime battles. When a meal is offered at daycare, the menu isn’t negotiable. However, there is usually a limited variety on that menu. This gives kids a manageable set of options to choose from. They may eat the whole thing or they may not, but the daycare teachers won’t resort to short-order cooking if a tot picks through their meal. Once your child experiences this a few days in a row, they begin to understand that if they’re hungry, they’ll need to eat (or at least try) what they’re given.

Pro Tip: Mealtimes at daycare are planned out in advance with tiny eaters in mind. Meals are also served around the same time every day. Save yourself some time (and the headache) and spend an hour each week planning and prepping easy mealtime options for your toddler. Also, ease up on the expectation to eat all of the food on the plate. Instead, serve your little one a decent array of options from a few different food groups and let them choose what they want to eat with no pressure to eat or try all of it. Try your best to avoid creating an entirely new meal if your toddler demands something different.

4. Use redirection or ignore negative behavior. Daycare teachers don’t have the time or energy to individually talk through every squeal, cry, or whine. They simply master the art of ignoring minor outbursts or using redirection to keep a kid focused on something else. Overtime, little ones learn that there isn’t a reward for throwing a fit when something doesn’t go their way.

Pro Tip: The next time your child becomes upset over something minor, resist the urge to make them immediately happy again. Instead, provide your little one with an alternative option, and if that doesn’t work, let them cry it out. The tantrum may be a lot shorter than you expected.

5. Have a plan for the day. Daycare teachers create lesson plans that alternate between constructive group activities and individual free play (and it all revolves around that daily routine). This heads off boredom before it starts while still giving little ones time to play on their own terms.

Pro Tip: When you’re home for the day with your little one, try to make the day as predictable as possible with a routine and map out a plan for what you can do as a family that day. Be sure to allow for some downtime when your tot can play on their own. For the family activities, it can be as simple as playing on the floor and reading stories or as big as creating a new craft project or going to the zoo.

Have you picked up a little toddler-related wisdom from your child’s daycare? Tweet us your tips @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)

Alright, folks. We've officially made it to fall. And if you haven't already started switching out your decor (as long as it's ready by Friendsgiving, right?) you still have time to do so. Draw inspiration from this round-up of new home products that includes harvest-inspired candles, cozy linens and textiles, and a v. practical piece of furniture. One scroll through these, and you'll have all the motivation you need to transition the seasons. Scroll on to start shopping.

Prism x LOREM Collection ($96+): Calling all Cali babes. The popular Long Beach boutique, Prism, announced a boho-fabulous collab with home decor line, LOREM, that we can't get enough of. Shop everything from plant hangers (eight options, to be exact) to artwork, all inspired by the very colorful vibes of the brands. If you were looking for a cheery way to tide you through winter, this. is. it!

Floyd Mattress (Price TBD): Fans of the cult-favorite Detroit-based brand will love their latest launch debuting on October 29. The highly-coveted Floyd Mattress will have the same made-to-last design and superior comfort as their other furnishings, tailored perfectly to fit the line's in-demand bed frame. Additional details for the mattress include a breathable foam material, highly-mobile packaging, and a low-profile design to secure your best night's sleep yet. Check back on the last week of the month to get one for yourself.

Dims 'Composed Vanity' ($595): Small space? No problem! Direct-to-consumer brand, Dims, is giving you a quick and stylish solution to your storage needs with their newest item that doubles as both a desk and vanity. The functional piece is made with non-toxic, chemical-free materials and can be assembled in seven minutes or less. Throw in four sleek shades to choose from, and this may just be your best purchase of 2019 yet!

Saatchi Art x The Citizenry Holiday Collection ($225+): Get ready to deck your walls this holiday season. Saatchi Art partnered with The Citizenry in a one-of-a-kind collection that features a curation of art across styles. Explore everything from modern to abstract creations in a selection so stunning, it's bound to spark a conversation at your next gathering.

NEST Spiced Orange & Clove Collection ($16+): If you haven't experienced the addicting aromas of the beloved NEST fragrance brand, this is the perfect time to get on board! The label recently released their latest scent — spiced orange & clove — just in time for all your gatherings. Inhale festive notes of orange pomander, spiced brandy, cinnamon, and gingered honey across their suite of candles and diffusers to bring all the good vibes to your home.

Bloomingdales x RiLEY Home ($19+): RiLEY Home gets millennials. So they teamed up with Bloomingdales to make shopping their selection more attainable than ever. Now, you can get in on long-lasting, luxurious staples like flannel sheets, bedding, printed throws, premium pet beds, and more, by shopping online and in-stores at the department store. (Trust us: These dream goods are ones you're going to be *glad* you stocked-up on.)

Italic Serene Towels ($12+): The luxury brand that prides itself on using the *same* factories namesake brands (like Calvin Klein and Lacoste) use, but without the price tag behind them, brings you a new product for fall. Treat yourself to Italic's ultra-soft towel set spun from fluffy, 100% Australian cotton, in a convenient set of six. Consider it the perfect indulgence after a long soak in the tub on a cozy FNI (Friday night in)!

Hyascent x Neiman Marcus ($169): 'Tis the season for a delightfully scented home. Warm your abode with scents like bourbon joy, cheeky rose and more in a unique diffuser that doubles more as decor than a fragrance-inducer. Fresh off the (online) shelves of Neiman Marcus, explore nine scents that last up to six months in a specialized hourglass holder. (Shhh! Your friends will never know the secret of why your place smells so darn good!)