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When Your Child Comes Home Messy
By Susan Ruane

Red paint in the hair? Blue paint on the jeans? Sand in the shoes? Peanut butter on the favorite shirt? White socks look brown? Sleeves a little damp?

YOUR CHILD probably…
Worked with a friend
Solved a problem
Created a masterpiece
Negotiated a difference
Learned a new skill
Had a great time
Developed new language skills

YOUR CHILD probably didn't…
Feel lonely
Become bored
Do repetitive tasks that are too babyish
Do worksheet tasks that are too easy
Do sit-down work that is discouraging

YOU probably…
Paid good money for those clothes
Will have trouble getting the red paint out
Are concerned that the caregiver isn't paying enough attention to your child

THE CAREGIVER probably…
Was aware of your child's needs and interests
Spent time planning a challenging activity for the children
Encouraged the children to try new things
Put smocks on the children
Was worried that you might be concerned

Susan Ruane, M.A.,is a faculty member at the City College of San Francisco. She recommends discussing your program's philosophy with parents and that you invite parents to discuss their expectations. By opening a dialogue, teachers and parents can work together to meet the needs of children