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When I talk to my 7-year-old daughter about before school childcare, she says it is "boring" and "doesn't have friends to talk to".

My personal thoughts (not that this is necessarily helpful in a conversation with my daughter) is that boredom leads to creative thinking, and reflecting on the world.

I get that the situation is a bit dreary - what constructive things can I give to my daughter to make the best use of the time?

My question is: My 7-year-old daughter doesn't want to go to before-school childcare and dawdles making us an hour late - how do I engage her with the opportunities in this situation?

  • Could she bring a favourite toy to play with there? A (coloring) book if she likes those or even something that you need others to play with, so this way she could make some friends. Does she have friends at school? Maybe she does not like the idea to have to be somewhere alone while her friends and family are gone, she feels left out and "put away"? – skymningen Apr 4 '17 at 16:07
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You could offer to go into the before school program and let her show you all the 'stuff' that is there. (Call for 'permission' first, but it would be very bad form for the daycare to refuse.) Then you can show your child all the things she could do. Maybe one morning you could take a fruit snack or bubbles to help your daughter engage the others.

I can tell you that when I was a child, saying that I was bored led to being kept very busy.

There were always toys to put away or a pup to walk in our garden, or laundry to put away or dusting -- all things I could do by age four.

In my classroom, an idle child was given a task. If they found an activity, they were allowed to carry on until the next work period.

Perhaps you could ask the daycare to make sure your child is busy. If she finds something on her own, great. If not, she can tidy a shelf, or put toys away.

As to being late, that is unacceptable. Tell her that if she makes you late, she will owe you the time back. It could be she goes in her room to read before the usual time; it could be chores she has to do; it could be waking up earlier; it could be time away from something fun you do on that same day.

Let her know by using 'choosing language' that she is responsible for the consequences of her actions. (This is your choice. This is his/her/my choice.) 'Choosing language is not used negatively. "Do want eggs or waffles?" "Yes, you chose waffles." This is not an excuse to be angry. It is okay to commiserate. "I am sorry you chose that instead of this." If you are calm and matter-of-fact, you give her no reason to fight. This is simply the way it is. Don't back down once you've decided on an action. Be calm. Don't fight.

Perhaps make a commitment to do a fun activity after school -- it should be something you enjoy doing -- a bike ride, a trip to the playground or a board game. Devote an hour or so to that activity. Remove time if she 'spends' it elsewhere.

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    Nice answer. Making it her choice to be bored or not (how spend her time at childcare) is a real learning opportunity for her. Knowing what's available there will obviate the "I'm bored" lament, and possibly get her to discuss the real issue (whatever that is). My kids also learned pretty early on not to complain that they were bored to me. – anongoodnurse Apr 4 '17 at 16:28
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My kindergartner doesn't really want to go to school in the morning either often, so we have worked in a few ways.

First off, we have an incentive to wake up early (as waking up just before leaving means crankiness). If he wakes up in plenty of time (> 45 minutes early) and gets himself fully ready (dressed, shoes breakfast, etc.), he's allowed one episode (~20 minutes) of television that he wouldn't normally be allowed. Since he's under an hour screentime most days, this is a significant incentive for him; and since it ends up with him being fully ready to head out the door, it makes it very easy to transition to "bye".

Second, we talk to him about why he goes. In particular, when he goes to before-school language classes, I regularly talk to him about why he goes even though he doesn't like it and finds it boring just as your daughter does. It doesn't necessarily change his mind as to whether he wants to go, but it hopefully makes it a bit easier for him to go when he doesn't really want to. I acknowledge that his concern is valid, and talk about the reasons for going beforehand; I also talk about what he might do to make it more enjoyable.

Finally, I talk to the teacher about how to help him find things more enjoyable. He's very far ahead academically, and so it's helpful to find ways for him to enjoy what he's doing even if it's mostly boring stuff - whether that's more challenging activities or just helping out in the classroom. Perhaps your before-school program can offer her opportunities to help care for the younger kids, for example, or can offer her different activities if she's not of the same age as the others.

I also would recommend finding out if there's a kid or two in there she might be able to be better friends with, and arrange a playdate or two. Connecting outside of the daycare might help her better enjoy her time there.

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  • Your last paragraph is particularly great. I suspect that this is not really about boredom but a 'being left-out' problem. So you addressed it perfectly. – WRX Apr 5 '17 at 15:10

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