These past few months have been unsettling and challenging in ways few of us imagined while toasting to 2020 on New Year’s Eve. Some schools and child care facilities closed temporarily. Others have been operating under different conditions. Yet, as strong parents and caregivers, we have adapted to the endless unknowns. It has certainly been a uniquely challenging time for parents. But as day camps and child care facilities start to reopen and you begin to look for high-quality, licensed child care in Colorado Springs, know that Colorado Shines has your back.

Work + Child Care

For me, one of the most stressful parts of this experience has been trying to balance work responsibilities with child care needs. To focus on work, I need to know my children are in a nurturing, safe space with caring adults. Feeling confident their educational and developmental needs are being met is one of the best ways to give me peace of mind.

Colorado Shines
Navigating all of the available resources on child care can be difficult.

Friends, family and online communities can help you develop a parenting toolset to aid you on your path. And I could spend hours combing through endless suggestions on blogs and reading good parenting books. But when it comes to choosing child care, everyone has an opinion. Though well-intended, not all resources have the most up-to-date and reliable information.

Enter Colorado Shines

Two of the best tools in my arsenal for conducting research are ColoradoShines.com and EarlyLearningCO.org. The free search tool on Colorado Shines is a huge help in finding quality, licensed care in our community and EarlyLearningCO.org has great information on children’s learning and development.

As my children move through different stages, these sites from the State of Colorado have helped keep me informed about milestones and developments. They have reassured me that the stages we are experiencing are normal. And they are excellent resources for age-appropriate activities, parenting support and of course, finding child care.

I have also found valuable information on other subjects like practicing safe sleep, food and nutrition, health care and financial assistance.

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Colorado Early Learning & Development Guidelines

During this time at home, the resources at EarlyLearningCO.org have given me comfort that my independence-seeking two-year-old is on track — even if we are not having the same interactions out in the world that we were before. Quality experiences and relationships are so important. Especially now. So is ensuring age-appropriate interactions and activities that lead to learning and healthy development.

EarlyLearningCO.org has reassured me that phrases and actions like, “watch me!” when showing off on her tricycle and “I do it!” when buckling her car seat are right in line with the guidelines for her age.

EarlyLearningCO.org even provides age-appropriate tips like the ones outlined below:

Kids This Age May:

  • Pedal a tricycle, climb ladders, or walk backwards a few feet.
  • Use thumb, index and middle fingers to draw or write with a crayon, marker, or pencil.

How You Can Help Them Develop:

  • Play games that require physical actions, like rolling, throwing and kicking balls or chasing.
  • Provide art materials like large crayons, markers and paint brushes or use play dough and clay to help the toddler develop squeezing, rolling, patting, and pounding skills with their hands.

Finding Quality Child Care

It’s been an unusual few months. Perhaps you are starting to reemerge into society. Maybe you’re waiting a little longer. Even though quality child care may look different given the current conditions, it is a good idea to plan ahead. Day care spots can be a challenge to find even in “normal” times. And now? Some child care centers may still be closed or slow to reopen.

Colorado Shines can help you be prepared in your search for quality child care, whether you need it now or are looking to the future.Colorado Shines

If you are having trouble figuring out how to find quality child care in your area, you can watch this quick tutorial on how to search for programs near you. Information is also available in Spanish.

For other ideas on what is available at ColoradoShines.com and EarlyLearningCO.org, check out these suggestions from Ashley

In the end, we’ll all come through this season stronger, knowing that the experiences we as parents and our children had together during these uncertain times counted as the best time for our children’s development. Keep up the hard work — you got this!

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Rachel, Senior Writer
Rachel is a native Coloradoan, though originally from the Western Slope. She followed her husband Chris to his hometown of Colorado Springs after having met in engineering school at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. Together they have four beautiful children, Tommy (2011), Tazzy (2014), Zach (2015) and Zinny (2018). Having a young and active family keeps Rachel on her toes trying to find ways to keep the ship sailing while still meeting all the demands of motherhood. Though Rachel loves her most important role as Mommy most, she also works full time outside the home as a Water Resources Engineer for the Colorado Division of Water Resources. This role helps keep her life centered, bouncing from detailed and complex discussions relating to Colorado Water Law with her husband ( a mechanical engineer) to daycare and preschool drop off and pick up schedules, while being constantly interrupted by the equally complex musings of her 4 year.

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