My youngest daughter is just about to celebrate her fourth birthday.  Is it just me, or does this feel like an unexpected yet huge milestone to every parent?

In the last few days she suddenly seems to be so much more talkative, articulate and opinionated. She’s interested in what others think of her ideas and even wants to share her games and toys with her older sister.  I know, can you believe it!?

There’s also a milestone that I’ve noticed in myself in the last few weeks. I can’t help but start thinking about how sad I’ll feel when she’s no longer going to daycare, even though it’s still a year away. This is the place where both kids have been so well nurtured. They’ve thrived with the support of their incredible teachers, as have I as a parent! I know I’d have learnt so many things the hard(er!) way without them and their wise words over the years. So letting go of that community will be a whole family affair.

And then there’s planning for what’s to come next. Now that school is only a year away I’ve found myself plotting out the possible scenarios. Will both kids go to the after school club together? Will we instead have an in-home carer so that they can come home straight after school every day? Will we mix it up a bit and try out a few different after school clubs if pick up is simpler with both kids being at the same place? Will me and my husband try and change our work patterns so that we can be at the school gates more often than we’ve managed so far? I’ve no idea to be honest, but there’s a lot to think about and plan for.

When my eldest daughter turned four it turned out to be a much more dramatic milestone than this (second) time around. I was so bewildered with what was to come in the final year-long run up to school with its 3pm finish times and school holidays every ten weeks. I spoke to some other parents who had older children than me and asked them how they managed it all. Most of them gave a variation on a theme of, “I don’t really. It’s so much harder than when they were at daycare. I muddle through and try to make the best of it.” It seemed that everyone finds the transition to school life really challenging. To cut a long story short, I decided that all parents across New Zealand shouldn’t need to solve this problem all on their own, but that we should do it together. That’s when My Kids Village was born.

Over three years on, My Kids Village helps me, and lots of parents like me, to make this huge transition without feeling like it’s impossible. I’ve got access to heaps of awesome providers in my neighbourhood that offer all kinds of childcare and kids activity services. Whether I’m looking for holiday programmes, after school care, swimming lessons or drama classes, I know I can look online and find so many fantastic providers who haven’t had to spend a cent to put their profile up there. The best thing about My Kids Village is that the search results are based on my search criteria, not on a search engine’s bias that I don’t understand. That means I can find all the best providers in my area regardless of how much money they have spent on advertising!

So as my youngest daughter enjoys her final year at daycare, I can play around with my scenarios knowing that any of them are possible because the options are all there, on My Kids Village.

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