Dentist Visits Begin
Your child probably has all twenty of his teeth by now and is ready to have them examined. Pediatric dentists have many tricks up their sleeves to get even the most rambunctious three-year old to sit still for an exam. Some even have video screens on the ceilings. (Read more of what to expect during your toddler's first dental visit.)
Your child will receive a lesson from the dentist on how to take care of his teeth, even though, of course, he is already a champion tooth brusher already. (Right? We thought so!) The dentist may be able to give you advice on how to help your child maintain good oral hygiene, even when he is refusing to brush. Sometimes hearing about how important it is to brush teeth from someone of authority—the dentist—is all it takes to get him brushing again. Make sure to include him in the conversation with the dentist for full impact. The dentist will also assess if the teeth have grown in normally and whether or not there are any cavities or other dental concerns.
Typically, age three is when many parents take the plunge and enroll their kids in some kind of preschool program. Some already chose childcare in a preschool setting awhile back while others keep their babes home longer. Preschool is a great setting for children to hone the skills needed for social development. But, like everything else we have talked about, when to start preschool depends on the individual child and needs of the family.
If you are considering preschool when your child turns three, here are some tips so you can make an informed decision:
- This may be too late but hopefully you have allowed plenty of time to do your research. Many preschools have long waiting lists.
- Start out by talking to other families who have a child enrolled in a preschool. Parents are a great resource on the pros/cons of each setting.
- Think about how much time per day your child will spend in the program. This can be difficult if you are planning ahead but at least help you narrow down your decision to send him part-time or full-time.
- Important: Think about your philosophy of how children learn. Additionally, think about what sort of setting will make your child feel comfortable and want to learn. The hope is to find a preschool that matches your own ideas on how to support children's learning and is a comfortable setting for your child so that he'll want to explore and learn.
- Visit programs. Call and ask about a tour and the application process.
- If you have found a program that interests you, dig further. Find out about the staff qualifications, compensation, and the turnover rate. What is the teacher/child ratio? What are parent requirements? If your child has special needs, how will this program accommodate these needs? What is the philosophy on discipline? Is the program accredited or licensed?
- Visit the program again but this time with your child. Watch how the teachers are interacting with the children. Assess the setting for safety. Afterwards, ask your child what he thought of the program.
- Go with your gut feeling. You are the expert of your child and know what sort of preschool setting would suit him best.
We have talked to our parent readers about their experiences finding preschools for their children.