Sunglasses and Eye HealthIn the summertime, it’s second-nature to apply tons of sunscreen on our children to protect their skin from the harmful effects of the sun. But many times, as much attention as we give to their skin, we often overlook another area that can be damaged by the sun – their eyes.

We put sunglasses on to shield our eyes and our children should have the same protection. This protects them now and also helps to prevent them from developing common eye problems later on in life. Keep in mind that UV rays are radiation and radiation is damaging to the eyes just as much as it can damage anything else. Here is just a partial list of those common eye problems that you should be aware of:

  • Over-exposure to the sun’s UV radiation can cause the cells of the eye – inside and out – to divide abnormally. This abnormal division can cause tumors – both malignant and benign.
  • “Surfer’s Eye” is common in coastal regions and is caused by sun exposure. This affects the cornea which can affect your ability to focus clearly.
  • Overexposure to the sun also effects the lens of the eye as well as the retina which can lead to macular degeneration and cataracts later on.

A good rule of thumb to help protect your children’s eyes is to put sunglasses on them if they are going to spend any extended amount of time in the sun. It’s never too early to start this practice. You’ll want to use standard tinted glasses not the colored lenses that are popular with kids.

If you have younger children who are having a hard time wearing the sunglasses, a large hat with a wide brim or visor is the next best thing. You can also try attaching an elastic band to the sunglasses to help hold them in place.

Sunglasses, sunscreen and your children should be a common routine in the summer!

For more information on childcare and parenting, check out Premier Academy’s Blog Page.

How To Get Children To Try New Foods“Jack will only eat white food, nothing else.”
“The only way I can get Simone to eat her vegetables is if I bribe her with ice cream.”
“Elia is so picky. I have to serve everything on separate plates so nothing is touching.”

These are all sentiments, or variations of, spoken by exasperated parents of finicky eaters each day in all parts of the country. The truth is, some children embrace new foods heartily while others, not so much. Being choosy about food is often a stage children go through, common when children are experimenting with control.  And it is true that many children will grow out of it, at least to a manageable level.

But what is also true is that many children become choosy because of the way we introduce and consume food. And those children often remain choosy, at least to some extent, into adulthood. This means they will spend a lifetime missing out on important nutrients and food experiences. Of course, there may be a medical reason a child is a finicky eater and this deserves professional attention, but typically it is a choice they are making.

While picky eating can be a battleground, there are a few things you can do to minimize it from starting or getting out of control. Remember that each child is different and has varied preferences; celebrate progress, rather than hold out for perfection. At the same time, know that turning a child who picks at their food into a willing and eager eater is quite possible.

  • From infancy, introduce a variety of food to expand your child’s palate: flavors, textures, smells, and temperatures.
  • Cook together. Making something always makes it more appealing. Even better, let your child chooses what to make (out of a few healthy options you provide, of course).
  • Try to avoid kid’s meals at home or restaurants. They typically have minimal nutritional value and do nothing to encourage diverse eating. Kids can and should eat what adults are eating.
  • Do not avoid foods you don’t like – let your child have a chance to develop his own tastes.
  • Avoid heavy snacking (including beverages) between meals to ensure your child is hungry at mealtime.
  • Don’t save room for dessert; it sends the message that other food is what you have to get through to get to the good stuff. Healthy food should be the prize. Dessert should be for special occasions and moments only.
  • Don’t bribe your child to eat. Their focus shifts from the food to the reward. This is a form of emotional eating; a bad habit to start.
  • No cutting crusts. It’s a short-term win, but a long-term loss. Avoid food preparations that encourage being picky. Sometimes parents do this before a child even asks, starting a habit without thinking about it.
  • Clean plates are over-rated. Sure, you don’t want to encourage wasting food, but forcing children to finish an item or meal teaches them to ignore their internal ‘full’ signal and potentially associate a bad memory or feeling with a specific food. Start with small portions and offer seconds.
  • When serving a new food, keep your expectations small: one spear of asparagus, one shrimp, etc.
  • Replace one thing at a time. For example, don’t stop baking cookies altogether, just switch to whole-wheat flour. Don’t eliminate juice; just try cranberry, peach, or mango instead of apple (100% juice, of course).
  • Create balance. Include a favorite at each meal when you’re serving something new.
  • Take the pressure off and introduce new foods away from the table: a whole-grain bread or cheese taste test, a “name that fruit” challenge, a French or Greek themed picnic at the park, grocery store sample challenge, etc.
  • As a last resort, introduce new things in favorite ways – if you have to fry zucchini once or twice to get your child to try it, it’s ok. They’ll be less hesitant when you add it to a salad or grill it later.
  • Do not, do not, do not make a face when you don’t like something. Be a good role-model.
  • Trying should be for everyone in the family – consider incorporating these ‘rules’ into your routine.
  • Family rule – try everything at every meal, even if it’s only one pea and even if you’ve tried it before.
  • Respect preferences. If a child doesn’t want to eat more, don’t force him. He may hesitate to admit he likes something in the future if he feels pressure.
  • Everybody tries. That means mom, dad, big sister – everyone.
  • Trying a food item one day does not exempt anyone from trying it again another day. It often takes ten or more tries to develop a taste for something.
  • Let kids not like a few things. No one likes everything. If a child clearly doesn’t like something, be okay with that.

To the parent of a choosy eater, this may seem impossible. But in actuality, most children respond to these methods. With a strong commitment to lifelong healthy nutrition and the willpower to withstand a few days of whining, you can turn your child’s eating habits around.

NOTE: If your child complains of physical symptoms after eating, doesn’t eat much of anything, is underweight, or has other potential medical symptoms related to eating, consult a physician.

How to Find the Right Bike for Your ChildWith bicycling listed as the second most popular outdoor activity in the US, it only makes sense that sometime in the possibly not-so-distant future you will be looking for a new bike for your child.

When you first start looking, the massive wall of bikes at your bike shop or retailer can be overwhelming to say the least. There are a lot of options to choose from and it may be difficult to know which one is right for your child if you aren’t sure what to look for.

The most important thing and first decision to be made is about the size of the bike. Bikes for children are measured by the wheel’s diameter and can be from twelve to 24 inches. The size you’ll need depends on your child’s age and either his or her height or leg length. An easy example – a two-year-old will likely start on a 12-inch bike.

To make sure the bike has a proper fit with your child, have he or she sit on the bike with hands on the handlebars. A bike that is a good fit will allow your child to sit comfortably on the bike with both feet on the ground.

Safety is also very important and no bike purchase is complete without a helmet. By purchasing a helmet with your child’s first bike, you are setting them on a course of good, solid habits early on, not to mention, some states – like Maryland – require helmets for any bike riders under the age of 16. Helmets can come in all shapes and sizes so be sure to pick one that fits properly: it should be tight against the back of your child’s head while the front is parallel with the eyes.  The helmet should also sit two fingers’ width above your child’s eyebrows.

You may also want to consider bells or horns for your child’s bike as a further added safety precaution. It never hurts to have your child get in the habit of alerting people that a little one is scooting by.

Tips for Potty Training at DaycareWe face many challenges as parents, but toilet training may feel like one of the more daunting ones. And now that your child seems old enough to begin potty training, you also wonder how potty training works in child care. Relax. Like every other aspect of child care, you and your child’s teacher will work as partners in the process of potty learning. Potty training while in a child care or daycare setting may be easier than it is at home.

At school, your toddler sees other children visiting the bathroom, which can create a powerful incentive and example. Teachers are usually very experienced in potty training and can offer you a lot of support. Many schools have toddler-sized toilets and sinks, which can make the process much less intimidating. Ask for the teacher’s insights, and try not to compare your child to other children in the center. Soon, your days of changing diapers will be over and your toddler will seem oh, so grown up.

Tips for Potty Training at Daycare or Child Care Center:

  • Get on the same page. Talk with your child’s teachers about the approach they use. They can help you watch for signs of readiness. These signs may include staying dry for lengths of time, expressing an interest in using the toilet, and being able to pull clothes up and down. You and your child’s teachers will work together to develop a plan for potty training. Share your own philosophy and any concerns you have. Mutually agree on how you’ll handle potty training and make sure that you consistently follow the plan during the evenings and weekends.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. Let your child’s teacher know when your child last went potty when you drop off in the morning. Ask for the same information when you pick your child up at the end of the day, and read the Daily Experience Sheet for detailed information. Find out about the times your child uses the bathroom at school and try to duplicate this schedule at home.
  • Come prepared. Accidents are bound to happen during the first few weeks of potty training, so make sure your toddler is prepared to cope with potty accidents. Be sure to send your child with plenty of clean clothes. Skip the onesies, blue jeans, or overalls, and opt for soft, loose pants with an elastic waistband. These clothes help your child be more independent, and they also simplify the inevitable changes. Send your child in shoes that come off easily and don’t forget extra socks.
  • Expect setbacks. Potty training is a major developmental milestone and it’s very common for children to make progress and then regress. Try not to get discouraged or express frustration to your toddler. Make sure that your child is really ready before you start potty training. The age of readiness varies from child to child, but most kids are ready to potty train between 20 and 30 months. Take it slow and use a relaxed, positive approach. Talk with your child’s teacher if you have questions or just need some extra support.
  • Push the fruits and veggies. What does nutrition have to do with potty training? Constipation is a common problem when children don’t eat enough fiber. Children sometimes develop a fear of toileting if they’ve experienced painful stools. Eating fruits and vegetables helps keep their digestive system regulated.
  • Accommodate special needs. A child with developmental or physical delays may need extra support to potty train. Talk with your child’s teacher about ways to help, which might include delaying potty training, using a visual chart, or practicing the steps of pulling down pants or washing hands prior to starting potty training.

As you go through the potty training process, try to keep perspective. Some children are very motivated and learn to use the toilet quickly. Others need more time before they completely master this developmental task. Remember that both you and your child are doing the best you can. Before long, your child will be diaper-free and ready for the next adventure.

Helping Children Make FriendsWhen it comes to child care, as a parent, there are a few things you should be looking out for when visiting daycare centers.  We all want to send our child to a high standard, and good working preschool. As parents, we should always want to give our kids the best head start in life, and by far the most effective way to start with this is to send your kids to a high quality child care center. Kids need to socialize with other children from a very young age, it allows them to become familiar to social interaction, sharing and good manners, this is what your child will gain from attending a preschool. Not only will they learn how to act and behave around others, they will learn valuable reading and writing skills.  Statistics show that kids who don’t attend preschools and head straight into schools have a much harder time learning than the children who did attend preschools. These statistics come in very handy when trying to give your kids the best head start in life, and it’s obvious which choice you should make.

When choosing a preschool for your child, you need to note everything you see when you are taken around the preschools:

  • How the teachers and teachers look after children
  • How do they react to children
  • How do they treat children

Another important thing to watch out for; the way teachers greet children, if they do, and see if teachers come down to kids’ eye levels to address them and talk with them. You can usually tell if a carer has a genuine love and passion for young toddlers when you first meet them, you’ll see their body language and the way they act around your kids, and then you will be able to tell if they are committed to their job or not. You want to find a preschool that shows a love for kids, their development, and one that has teachers who address kids in a grown up manner, but they take time to individually acknowledge each child, and help them with their needs, no matter how busy they are.

You’ll need to see how teachers answer your questions, if they do, this will tell you how interested they are in pleasing your needs, and how they pay attention to individual kids behaviors. You’ll also want to note the setting, is the area bright and pleasant? Or is it depressing and dull?  All these things will make a huge difference when it comes to your child actually enjoying the daycare center.

Another must is checking if the center is a licensed daycare or regulated, this will let you know what sort of center you are dealing with.

Overall, you need to get a general logistic feel of the daycare center. Does it make you happy, do you hear the sounds of laughter and fun, or the sound of silence? If the setting is good, the caregivers are exceptional and everything is legitimate, you will have found yourself the perfect childcare  center for your child.

Reading to Children: Tips for Making Storytime MemorableMore and more, research tells us that our children’s healthy development depends on safe and positive experiences during the first few years of life. If you are a parent who works during these early years, choosing good childcare is one of the most important decisions you will ever make for your child.

To help you make the right choice for childcare, Premier Academy has identified 13 research-based guidelines to think about when choosing a childcare program.

You might want to visit several different childcare, either centers or family childcare homes, before you decide which one is best for your family. Call each childcare program and schedule an appointment for your visit. Once you are there, stay for at least an hour to watch activities, check the surroundings, and ask questions. The checklist below provides a place for you to note which guidelines are met. Research shows that if a program follows guidelines, it is more likely to be a safe and healthy place for your child. Your state or county may have other guidelines to help ensure health and safety in child care programs.

Considering these guidelines can help you find a place where you feel comfortable leaving your child.


  • Are children supervised at all times, even when they are sleeping?
  • How do the caregivers discipline children? (Hint: Discipline should be positive, clear, consistent, and fair.)

Handwashing and Diapering

  • Do all caregivers and children wash their hands often, especially before eating and after using the bathroom or changing diapers?
  • Is the place where diapers are changed clean?
  • Do caregivers always keep a hand on the child while diapering?
  • Do caregivers remove the soiled diaper without dirtying any surface not already in contact with stool or urine?
  • Do caregivers clean and sanitize the surface after finishing the changing process? (Hands should be scrubbed with soap and warm running water for at least 20 seconds and then rinsed and dried. The water faucet should be turned off with a paper towel.)

 Director Qualifications

  • Does the director of a childcare center have a bachelor’s degree in a child-related field?
  • Has the director worked in childcare for at least two years?
  • Does the director understand what children need to grow and learn?

Lead Teacher Qualifications

  • Does the lead teacher in a childcare center have a bachelor’s degree in a child-related field?
  • Has the teacher worked in childcare for at least one year?
  • Does the teacher give children lessons and toys that are right for their ages?

 Child:Staff Ratio and Group Size

  • How many children are being cared for in the childcare program?
  • How many caregivers are there? (Your child will get more attention if each caregiver has fewer children to care for. The younger the children are, the more caregivers there should be. For example, one family home caregiver should only take care of two infants.)


  • Is your child up-to-date on all of the required immunizations?
  • Does the childcare program have records proving that the other children in care are up-to-date on all their required immunizations?

 Toxic Substances

  • Are toxic substances like cleaning supplies and pest killers kept away from children?
  • Has the building been checked for dangerous substances like radon, lead and asbestos?
  • Is poison control information posted?

 Emergency Plan

  • Does the childcare program have an emergency plan if a child is injured, sick, or lost?
  • Does the childcare program have first-aid kits?
  • Does the childcare program have information about who to contact in an emergency?

 Fire/Emergency Drills

  • Does the childcare program have a plan in case of a disaster like a fire, tornado, flood, blizzard, or earthquake?
  • Does the childcare program do practice drills once every month?

 Child Abuse

  • Can caregivers be seen by others at all times, so a child is never alone with one caregiver?
  • Have all caregivers undergone background check?
  • Have the caregivers been trained on how to prevent child abuse, how to recognize signs of child abuse, and how to report suspected child abuse?


  • Does the childcare program keep medication out of reach from children?
  • Are the caregivers trained and the medications labeled to make sure the right child gets the right amount of the right medication at the right time?

 Staff Training/First Aid

  • Have caregivers been trained how to keep children healthy and safe from injury and illness?
  • Do they know how to do first aid and rescue breathing?
  • Have they been trained to understand and meet the needs of children of different ages?
  • Are all childcare staff, volunteers, and substitutes trained on and implementing infant back sleeping and safe sleep policies to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, crib death)? (When infants are sleeping, are they on their backs with no pillows, quilts, stuffed toys, or other soft bedding in the crib with them?)


  • Is the playground regularly inspected for safety?
  • Is the playground surrounded by a fence?
  • If there is a sandbox, is it clean?
  • Are the soil and playground surfaces checked often for dangerous substances and hazards?
  • Is equipment the right size and type for the age of children who use it?

Premier Academy offers affordable childcare in Omaha and Elkhorn, Nebraska.  We invite you to tour our facilities and see what we can offer your child.  Contact us today!

Teaching Your Children About FriendshipFinding Preschool Daycare that suits a parent’s or grandparent’s schedule can often be difficult. Often, working parents can’t leave their jobs early to pick up their kids after school is over. There are also times when parents or grandparents may just need a few hours a month for daycare, so they can attend to needed errands, meetings or just need some time off from the kids.

At Premier Academy in Omaha, Nebraska, we offer guardians convenient solutions with our many daycare options. With Premier Academy, parents and grandparents can sign up with membership for just five hours of daycare a month. Drop your child off for a short time whenever you need.

Another great option at Premier Academy is our after-school pick-up service. Our staff will arrive promptly at your child’s school and drive them back to our facility. Healthy snacks are provided along with help for homework assignments. Special tutoring is also provided for those children who need it. Once the academics are all taken care of, there are plenty of fun activities that your child can engage in, such as crafts, games,dance, song, and playground fun. At Premier Academy, we think of everything to make life easier.

  1. Kindergarten ReadinessBrain development is highest during the first four years of life. The brain is forming important neural paths to help develop the child’s ability to perform and function and learn well. Their brain absorbs information and stores it, often feeling saturated with new input.  Your child can benefit when interacting in a quality preschool which is content rich with appropriate information and materials.  We have a first-rate staff of professional, certified teachers who are dedicated to providing Omaha and Elkhorn preschool children with the very best care and education available anywhere.
  2. Structure is vital for the young preschooler and the child thrives in a loving, structured environment with stimulating colors, sounds, textures, classroom layout, varying activities and books. The child learns routine and expectations and begins to look forward to the next activity.    We strive to make Premier Academy a fun place to be! We offer a program that combine fun activities, challenging developmental curriculum and first-rate child care.
  3. Social skills are important to learn at this age rather than waiting until Kindergarten age or later. One of the reasons older children may have difficulty in school is that they never really learned the social skills in preschool. Social skills such as learning how to listen, manners, taking turns, apologies, how to speak in a group, helping each other, learning compassion and empathy are the most important skills to learn when preparing for Kindergarten. Our activities will help your Omaha and Elkhorn preschool children to flourish with a healthy dose of self-esteem, curiosity and love of learning.
  4. Academics are now being emphasized more than in past years because there is more research substantiating that a child is able to learn and perform more than what we used to expect. Most Kindergartens are expected to enter school knowing how to print the alphabet, numbers 1-10 (some 1-20), write their first and last name, display basic social skills and have an ability to comprehend and follow directions.  We are not just providing preschool care in Omaha and Elkhorn; our teachers are dedicated to helping to enrich the lives of your children during the crucial formative years.

7 Play Based Learning Activities to Do With Your ChildA child is one of the most important members of society. There is no comparison when valuing life. For parents, one of the most difficult situations they are faced with is to entrust their child, whether an infant, toddler, or school aged child, into a stranger’s care. Unfortunately, both parents need to work, or the child comes from a split family, and sacrifices must be made, and daycare becomes essential. Premier Academy understands the sacrifices that parents make for their children and provides premium childcare that is not just babysitting, but, an environment to stimulate the child to learn and explore the world through their own eyes.

Today, the childcare industry is growing and being promoted in many different communities as per demand. It is not all providers, however, that provide the best environment for children. It is essential that the daycare have the experience and education, as well as, credentials to ensure the child’s health, happiness, safety and growth. The foundation of childhood is one of the most important foundations in life. It is essential that the child is properly cared for.Premier Academy makes sure that the fun element, which makes the wonderful world of a child so special, stays, and is reinforced, daily.

Premier Academy offers different packages:

  • Infants’ Growth Package
  • Toddlers’ Care Package
  • Pre-school children care
  • Pre-K children care
  • School age children learning program

It is difficult for parents to accept being away from their child, and put their child in a stranger’s hands. There are many things that must be taken into consideration. Affordable childcare centers in Omaha Nebraska is something that many parents search for. This is not enough. Parent also must seek childcare centers  that are accredited and approved by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Public Health, State of Nebraska. Centers listed in the DHHS Childcare Roster are the best options for your infant. The DHHS keeps a close eye on the childcare centers on a regular basis with cancelling registration and closing of centers not complying with the DHHS guidelines.

For children, it is essential to have a care giver that is well-trained and loving. The child should be in an environment with children their own age, where the parents can stop in, just to tell the child they love them, at any time throughout the day, and one that is stimulating and educational.

Daycare has to provide a service that supports and cares for the child and offers the parents security that their child is being nurtured, educated and loved. The center should bring out the child’s creativity and self-esteem. The child should receive a quality of life that nurtures his foundation for his academic years ahead. When parents seek daycare for their children, it is essential that they seek a daycare that specializes in services for infant, toddler, preschool, pre-K and school aged children. The daycare is often a place where a child starts young, and grows throughout the years, and you want a daycare that will be there for you throughout the years.

Gardening With Small ChildrenDid you know that most camp planning takes place in early winter and spring? Just when you were getting over the holiday stress and still bundled in your Snuggie, you need to find the place for your child to get out of the house — um, we mean thrive — this summer with affordable summer programs in Omaha, Nebraska.

If the thought of finding a camp just occurred to you, or you have just been putting off the research because you don’t know how to start, you’re not alone.

The best time to visit camps is during the summer. You get to see what they’re all about and the community of kids who go. So if you didn’t spend last summer touring, you’ll need to rely heavily on websites, camp reviews and discussions with camp staff and alumnae to help find affordable summer programs. Which means you need to know how to navigate sites, narrow down your options and ask the right questions.

1) Make it a Family Affair
Before you surf the Web, think about your child’s favorite activities and interests and start a discussion at an informal family dinner. Talk with him about what new things he has always wanted to learn and what kinds of things get him stressed. He might not answer you then and there but check back in a few days and he’ll probably have an answer that will help start the camp research and find affordable summer programs in Omaha, Nebraska.

2) Talk to Other Parents
Ask friends and family where their kids had wonderful camp experiences. But ask the right questions to weed through all the glowing reviews.

Talk about circumstances that concern you. Has your child ever been bullied and how did the camp handle it? If my daughter is shy or overweight, how will he be treated by other kids? What if my son is not the greatest athlete — will he have fun at the camp?

3) Search Online
Make a date to sit down at the computer with your child and research camps together. This needs to be a family decision. You’re sending your child to camp, but it has to be the child who wants to go. Keep a positive attitude and be enthusiastic about the process. With encouragement, even a reluctant child will channel your excitement. If you’re nervous, your child will be, too.

Get an idea of what he wants from a camp. Is it an overnight experience? A day camp focused on perfecting a skill or sport? A local religious program? Or a well-rounded place to do a bunch of different things? There are so many options. Start Googling your ideas like “best soccer camp in Kansas” as a jumping off point. Or use’s Camps site to find options based on zip codes and reviews.

4) Consider the Summer Goals
Just because your niece flourished at an adventure camp doesn’t mean your daughter will do the same. It’s critical to match the environment to your child and find affordable summer programs.

Camps’ websites often have videos that allow you to get a sense of the relationships campers form and the flow of the days. Does it look like your child will fit in? Does the camp appear to be rustic or more pampered? Ask your daughter about her goals for camp. Maybe she wants to develop her sense of leadership and explore nature or maybe she wants to be able to draw and paint all day without breaking a sweat.

5) Talk to the Director
The director is the person who should have all your camp answers. And you should be loaded with questions. A few things you want to know: Where most campers are from/go to school; dynamics of the kids in each age group; the kind of child who is most successful in that camp environment; the return rate. You don’t want to send your child to an environment that just replicates her school. A good sign: If campers flock back year after year, it says something positive about how the camp is run.

6) Make a Short List
When you look at too many camps, it’s overwhelming and it’s easy to get frazzled. Tipograph suggests narrowing down your list to three distinctly-different camps. If your son’s goal is to stay local and work on his backhand, consider: a day camp with a traditional setting that offers tennis as an elective; a day camp that focuses on multiple sports and not just tennis so he won’t burn out; and a tennis-only camp. Once you have everything narrowed down, you need to meet as a family once again and review the choices.

We want to hear from you. Set up an appointment today to find affordable summer programs in Omaha, Nebraska & how much your children will love Premier Academy!

Premier Academy Child Enrichment Center offers childcare in Omaha, Nebraska for infantstoddlers, preschool, and pre-k children.