If your child gets anxious when severe weather threatens, being proactive is essential to calm their fears. The more children (and adults) know about unpredictable events such as thunderstorms and tornadoes, the more secure they will feel when they occur. Therefore, take the time to explain to your child what happens during thunderstorms and tornadoes on a level they can understand.

An article from Kids First Community, Helping Children Overcome Their Fear of Storms, suggest ways you can help your child cope with a fear of thunderstorms, tornadoes and other types of weather emergencies. One way is to make sure that your child does not see you panicking when severe weather is on the horizon. It also emphasizes the fact that children who have been directly impacted by a natural disaster or damaging storm be able to talk about their experience.

Finally, one of the worst things even the most well-meaning parents can do is to dismiss their child’s fears or scold them for getting upset. Instead, be empathetic and understanding and let them know that you will be here for them no matter what Mother Nature brings.

Premier Academy offers affordable childcare in the Omaha/Elkhorn area. To learn more, visit us at premieracademyinc.com.

COVID-19 has parents across the country wondering what the upcoming school year will look like for their children. Locally, many preschool and pre-kindergarten programs have been canceled due to the pandemic. This includes the Omaha Public Schools Foundation Parent-Pay Pre-K Program.

These closings are unfortunate because young children who do not attend a Pre-K program are missing out on the many benefits they offer. Research has shown that Pre-K is an especially important year because it provides children with their initial exposure to school and can set the tone for their educational journey. In other words, these programs get kids off on the right foot.

A report from some of the nation’s top early child education researchers, “The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-kindergarten Effects,” concludes that kids who attend Pre-K programs are better prepared for kindergarten than those who do not. According to the report, the best programs include instruction built on social and emotional skills, rich play, toys, games, art, music and movement. These complement explicit instruction focused on things like learning to count and matching letters to sounds and words.

Attending a Pre-K program offers children much more than an introduction to academics, however. Successful Pre-K programs teach children how to learn to learn, how to be curious about how things work, and how to find answers to problems. These programs also focus on things like self-control and behavior in the class, how to wait your turn, how to share, how to deal with frustration, and how to solve conflicts.

Many people believe that preschool and Pre-K programs are the same thing but this is not the case. Instead, Pre-K is a bridge between preschool and kindergarten. During the early preschool years, children develop vocabulary and language skills. By the time they reach the pre-kindergarten classroom, they continue to work on these skills but they also are gaining the confidence to work independently and complete more in-depth projects with their peers.

In Pre-K programs, everything students do takes on a richer quality because they are starting to do more abstract thinking. They are finding solutions to problems and taking leadership roles in the classroom. Pre-K programs prepare children academically for later school success by diving into the skills that they will use in kindergarten.

At Premier Academy, our Pre-K program will help your child get a head start on formal school. We have small class sizes, play-based learning, a handwriting curriculum, and much more. To learn more about our affordable Pre-K options in the Omaha and Elkhorn area, visit us at premieracademyinc.com.

scared kid

Tornadoes and thunderstorms are a common occurrence in the Midwest and causes weather-related anxiety. Children may experience high levels of stress in the spring and summer. And while it is true that fears surrounding severe weather usually decrease as a child gets older, parents can do more than just wait for their children to grow out of this common childhood fear.

Ease Your Kid’s Fears of Storms


As any expert will tell you, storms can trigger fear and anxiety. Fortunately, there are things you can do to ease your kids’ weather woes, both before a storm strikes and after it passes.

How to Keep Kids Calm During Severe Storms


Parents are the ones responsible for protecting children while teaching them one of the most critical skills in any emergency – stay calm.

Dealing with Kids’ Fear of the Weather


If volatile weather sparks a crushing wave of panic in your child, calm storm preparation, soothing relaxation techniques and a dash of Weather 101 may help ease his fears.

Premier Academy offers affordable childcare in the Omaha/Elkhorn area. To learn more, visit us at premieracademyinc.com.

One of the most common childhood fears is severe weather. Tornadoes and thunderstorms are particularly unsettling for children this time of year in the Midwest.

One reason that storms are so frightening to children is the fact that they are so visual. Children can see dark clouds forming and leaves being blown from trees by strong winds. Couple these scenes with tornado sirens blaring and a meteorologist on television flashing colorful maps and talking about the potential paths of destruction and you have the perfect storm.

One reason preschoolers and young children suffer weather anxiety is that they don’t have the ability to grasp time and distance. Therefore, even if they hear about deadly hurricanes in the South, they don’t understand that there is no threat to their home and family in Omaha. This is just one of the reasons why if the news is covering severe weather, the best rule of thumb is to turn the television off. Even if it is local weather, it is better to check your phone discreetly for updates.

Unfortunately, there are some kids who get especially anxious when it comes to severe weather. If you have one of these children, being proactive is critical. For example, let your child know how you will keep them safe in a storm. For example, tell them why you go to the basement when the tornado sirens go off. You also can make a tornado emergency preparedness kit. Letting your child be a part of the safety planning helps them to feel more in control.

While you need to let your child know that they will be safe, try not to dwell on their fears. Instead, reiterate that you will keep them safe and that you have a plan in place. Comfort them but then move on.

Pay careful attention to how you talk to your child about the possibility of severe weather, as well. When you dismiss their fears as baseless it can cause more problems because they will think that they can’t trust you. Severe weather is real and they know that.

Finally, make sure that you are aware of how you talk to your child about severe weather. When you use words that kids can’t understand such as inclement weather or torrential rains, they will fill in the blanks – often incorrectly. Instead, use words that are age appropriate. For example, big winds instead of gusts or lots of rain instead of flooding.

The good news is that fears surrounding severe weather usually decrease as a child gets older. Until then, do all that you can to keep your child calm in these situations knowing that their fears – like the weather – is likely to pass with time.

Premier Academy offers affordable childcare in the Omaha/Elkhorn area. To learn more, visit us at premieracademyinc.com.

The good news is that homeschooling has ended for most families around the country so the pressure to keep kids on track academically has lessened a bit. The bad news? Kids are bored and many summer camps that once kept them occupied and entertained are canceled. What’s a parent to do?

An article in USA TODAY, No Summer Camp? No Problem. Here are 5 Ways to Re-Create the Experience for Kids Stuck at Home, gives advice from camp counselors from across the nation about how to adapt to the current situation. These counselors have the following suggestions for keeping kids challenged and happy this summer.

  1. Take it outside. No matter what you are doing, if it can be done outdoors, do it outdoors.
  2. Make new friends but keep the distance. Pen pals are a great way for kids to get to know kids they have never met – just like they would during summer camps.
  3. Keep groups small, even on Zoom. Trying to hold a Zoom call with 30 other kids doesn’t allow for a lot of interaction. The smaller the group, the better.
  4. Use what you already have. At camp, kids are free to create on their own. Take a cue from that and use things you already have in your home to allow kids to build and play. Pillow and blanket forts are an example.
  5. Just keep them busy. Stop stressing over what they are doing and just get them doing. This includes things like simple craft projects and talking long walks.

Summer camps are about exploring and having fun. Thankfully, these are things kids can do in their very own homes!

Premier Academy offers affordable childcare in the Omaha/Elkhorn area. To learn more, visit us at premieracademyinc.com.

During the current COVID-19 crisis, many families are seeing their normal routines up-ended. This can cause stress and anxiety for all family members – especially children. Keeping a sense of calm can help kids manage their anxiety while also teaching them some important lessons about resilience. Lessons they can use long after the current pandemic has passed.

Parenting in a Pandemic: Tips to Keep the Calm at Home


Fear, uncertainty and being holed up at home make for tough times for families. To make children feel safe, it is important to keep healthy routines and manage their behavior.

Supporting Kids During the Coronavirus Crisis


As the coronavirus crisis continues, parents everywhere are struggling to keep children occupied. If you are anxious about protecting and nurturing your kids through this, you’re in good (virtual) company.

How to Keep Kids Positive Through the Pandemic


Helping your kids stay positive can help them deal with the COVID-19 crisis, it also can help them become better learners!

Premier Academy offers affordable childcare in the Omaha/Elkhorn area. To learn more, visit us at premieracademyinc.com.

Children grow and learn best when there is structure in their lives. Since kids don’t have a great deal of control, routines are a great way to allow them to feel a sense of comfort, organization and stability.
Research repeatedly shows that kids who have routines are better behaved and develop more self-control. With today’s COVID-19 crisis, many families are seeing their normal routines up-ended. This can cause stress and anxiety for all members of those families – especially children.
While the way families operate may have changed during the current pandemic, that doesn’t mean that routines are no longer necessary. In fact, establishing structure in the lives of children (and adults) has never been more important.
Trying to stick to the same routine they had in place before COVID-19 hit is not possible for most families. However, new ones can be established relatively quickly and they can be just as effective as the old ones. If you have had trouble establishing structure to your days since the pandemic hit, there is no reason you can’t start now. Here are some suggestions to help you do just that:

Keep it simple. Elaborate routines are not only unnecessary they are often quickly abandoned. For younger children, a visual chart is a good way to allow them to understand what is expected of them each day.

Stick to regular bedtimes. Children who are well rested and go to bed and get up at the same time every day are better behaved and able to learn more effectively.

  1. Get dressed. When you stay in pajamas all day it is harder to get motivated. Changing out of pajamas each morning can make a big difference in how kids approach the day.
  2. Serve meals at the same time. Regular mealtimes are comforting and prevent snacking all day. They also stave off mood swings created when children get hungry.
  3. Assign chores. Chores help kids feel as if they are a part of the family and gives them a feeling of accomplishment. Bonus: It helps parents!
  4. Get active. Family walks or bike rides do wonders for every family member. Even just sitting outside in the sunshine can improve moods.
  5. Encourage creative outlets. Painting, drawing and other similar hobbies are a great way to break up the monotony of the day. With school out, such activities also allow for interactive learning.
  6. Monitor screen time. While homework, games and even socializing all take place on electronic devices, kids should not spend hours a day on screens.

Structure and routine provide much-needed reassurance to children during times of uncertainty. They also help to maintain balance and normalcy and promote physical and mental health. The more a child can anticipate what is going to happen, the better they will be able to cope with life in times of uncertainty.

Premier Academy offers affordable childcare in the Omaha/Elkhorn area. To learn more, visit us at premieracademyinc.com.

The coronavirus has upended lives across the world. One of the most devastating effects of this crisis is the fact that so many families are separated. This includes seniors who can no longer spend time with their beloved grandchildren.

While Zoom and FaceTime seem to be the best options for connecting with extended family, many older Americans do not have tablets, smartphones or computers. Even those who do are often unsure how to use video-conferencing apps. Thankfully there are other ways to stay close amid the COVID-19 crisis.

An article in the Boston Globe, How to Keep Grandparents and Grandchildren Connected in New Ways, from a Distance, highlights the fact that keeping in touch with family members doesn’t always require an electronic device or downloading app.

The article lists some old-fashioned – but equally fulfilling – methods for staying connected. These include things like having a set time for a phone call, writing letters and making care packages. How about deciding on a TV show a grandchild and grandparent can both watch in their one homes and then following it with a phone call to discuss it?

Sheltering in place can be stressful no matter how old – or young – a person is. The key is to find ways to remain close even when we aren’t together.

Premier Academy offers affordable childcare in the Omaha/Elkhorn area. To learn more, visit us at premieracademyinc.com.


The need to shelter in place has taught us a lot about ourselves and our families, especially the importance of grandparents. Perhaps one of the most important things it has taught us is that dependence on extended family isn’t a bad thing. In fact, once some semblance of normalcy returns, the commitment to strengthen these family ties is likely to occur.


Pandemic Proves How Much We All Need Extended Families


It isn’t difficult to see the vital role that healthy families play at this time. And in many cases, large, extended and curated families working together have a better chance of weathering this crisis and its aftermath.


Far Apart but Closer Than Ever: How the Coronavirus is Helping Extended Families Connect


One silver lining to the coronavirus is that it provides people with an opportunity to rededicate themselves to the relationships that matter most. Though the words are communicated virtually, the affection is just as real.


Creative Alternatives to Family Gatherings During COVID-19


In one sense, the circumstances of COVID-19 have made family get-togethers difficult – if not impossible. But in another sense, due to technology, connecting with loved ones has never been easier. 

Premier Academy offers affordable childcare in the Omaha/Elkhorn area. To learn more, visit us at premieracademyinc.com.

baby on zoom

The COVID-19 pandemic is uncharted territory for all of us. While there is a lot of uncertainty, one thing we do know is that sheltering in place is stressful for everyone – no matter what their age.

Children who are used to spending a great deal of time with extended family members are likely to be confused by the fact that they are no longer able to see them – even though they have been told that it is only temporary. Grandparents and other relatives are likely to feel unsettled and lonely, as well, by this separation.

So how can extended families remain close while practicing social distance? Some of the easiest ways to do it is through phone calls, texts and video chats. Setting a specific time of the day or week for these interactions is a great way to make sure that everyone has something to look forward to. It also helps to establish a routine which is essential in times like these.

While the simplest way for families to keep in touch is talking on the phone, this is unlikely to hold the attention of young children for very long. That’s why a little creativity is in order. If children are close to their cousins, for example, consider a daily or weekly cousins’ video chat. An adult can read stories to the group or older cousins can take over this duty. This will keep younger cousins busy and will make older cousins feel important. It also will provide parents with some much needed free time.

It is critical to remember that everyone is in this together. Something as simple as video chatting with a niece or nephew may not seem like a big deal but it gives parents a much-needed break.

Another idea is to make and eat dinner “together.” Choose recipes as an extended family and sit down for a virtual meal. Grandparents might want to recreate some of the meals they ate when they were kids.

No matter what activities you choose to do while sheltering in place, be sure to give the youngest family members a say. Chances are they are feeling like they have no control in what can be frightening times. When they are able to decide activities their extended family does together, it gives them a sense of security.

Finally, while social distancing is important, try to think of it as physical distancing instead. Thanks to technology such as smartphones and video apps, there is no reason why families cannot stay connected until they can all be together – in person – once again. 

Premier Academy offers affordable childcare in the Omaha/Elkhorn area. To learn more, visit us at premieracademyinc.com.