Bringing home a new baby is an exciting event for any family. Preparing your home for a new baby is the first step in creating a safe environment for them to grow and learn.

happy baby

There are a range of safety products on the market that can make parent’s life easier. However, there are also some simple and traditional safety practices that will keep your infant out of harm’s way.

Here are some tips for preparing your home for a new baby:

  • Add safety latches on all drawers and cabinets in kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and storage areas.
  • Check all electrical cords and remove any that dangle or hang down.
  • Cover all electrical outlets with spring loaded covers that automatically close when the cord is removed.
  • Roll all cords for blinds or drapes above the height that a crawling baby, toddler or infant can reach.
  • Have a new crib and mattress for the baby that is designed to prevent the baby from getting hands or limbs lodged between the posts. The mattress should fit correctly and extend to the frame on all sides.
  • Limit items in and around the crib and ensure any mobiles or hanging items on the crib are safe and secure and approved for use for a baby.
  • Always have the correctly sized, approved car safety seat for your baby and do not travel with the baby in a vehicle when the child is not secured in the baby car seat.
  • Avoid using air fresheners or air treatment products as an infant may be extremely sensitive to these products.

Most importantly, never leave your baby unattended unless they are in a secure location such as their crib. This will ensure that they can’t get into anything dangerous if you step away for a minute.

At Premier Academy, the safety of your children comes first. We offer affordable childcare in the Omaha & Elkhorn area, visit us at 

Returning to Work After Maternity Leave Holds Some Unexpected Moments

If you are returning to work after maternity leave, chances are you have done your research on what to expect. The fact is, however, no matter how well prepared a mother is to return to the office, she is likely in for some unexpected surprises.

In its article, 8 Secrets No One Tells You About Returning to Work After Maternity Leave, the Reader’s Digest highlights some of the more surprising things that new moms encounter upon their return to the workplace. Here are a few of those (pleasant and not so pleasant) surprises:

  1. You will begin to connect with your old self
  2. You don’t have to lose all your baby weight
  3. You will likely cry some
  4. You need to learn to delegate
  5. You need to concentrate on work while at work

The fact is, until you experience for yourself what going back to work following maternity leave is like, you can never be 100 percent prepared. So whether you think it is going to be extremely stressful or no big deal, you are likely to have a few surprises in store!

Premier Academy offers affordable childcare in the Omaha/Elkhorn area.

To learn more, visit us at


What to Expect When Your Return to Work Following Maternity LeaveReturning to work after maternity leave is never easy. The prospect of being away from your new baby, the pressure of performing at work and lack of sleep are just a few of the obstacles you will face. However, there are ways to make the transition easier on you and your baby and it won’t be long until your entire family adjusts to its new normal.

What 13 moms wish they knew their first week back from maternity leave

Knowing what to expect when you come back from maternity leave can be difficult. Advice from moms who have been there can prove invaluable.

Tips for Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

One of the toughest aspects of returning from maternity leave is easing back into the workplace culture. Thankfully, there are ways to make the transition back to the office easier.

The 5 stages of returning to work after maternity leave

Whether you are returning to work after your first child or third, it always takes some getting used to. And there are certain stages newbie and veteran moms alike go through when it’s time to head to the office again.

Schedule a Tour at Premier Academy Today!

Tips for a Smooth Transition Back to Work Following Maternity LeaveWe here at Premier Academy know that returning to work after maternity leave can be a difficult transition for mothers. The prospect of being away from your new baby coupled with the pressure of performing at work can lead to a great deal of stress. Throw sleep deprivation into the mix and it is easy to understand why this can be such a trying time for many women.

Going back to work following your maternity leave will mean a new schedule for you and your baby. While this can be difficult, it is important to remain as calm as possible during the transition. Babies are very in tune with their mother’s emotions so if you are extremely stressed out chances are that your infant will be, as well. Of course, this is easier said than done.

While bumps in the road are inevitable, there are ways to make sure that things go as smoothly as possible when returning to work.

  1. Get organized. Juggling your job along with your new title as “mom” calls for a high level of organization. Make a schedule of dinners and chores such as laundry ahead of time. It also is important to try to get your baby in a routine (easier said than done, we know!). A regular schedule of naps, meals and baths will help your baby learn what comes next.
  2. Do some dry runs. A week or so before you return to work, try a few dry runs where you get up and get yourself and your baby ready to head out the door on time. This is the time to figure out if you need to make adjustments.
  3. Find the best child care. Knowing your baby is happy and well cared for is the best way to ease your transition back to work. Make sure you find a child care center that meets all of your need and comes highly recommended.
  4. Don’t waste time at the office. Try to tune out as many distractions as possible while at work so you can get out on time. Long chats with co-workers about what was on television the night before or long lunches need to be kept to a minimum so you can leave the office knowing you put in a full day.
  5. Take care of yourself. When getting everything organized and ready for the work week there is one person that often gets neglected – you! Sleep and self-care are important considerations. After all, if you are stressed-out, tired and overwhelmed all of the time, you aren’t doing anyone any good. While it may seem impossible to get more sleep, going to bed as early as possible will help. Also, try to schedule in a few relaxing activities on the weekends such as a long walk, exercise class or quick manicure.

Finally, no matter how well you have planned, no matter how outstanding your child care, you are likely to become emotion when dropping your baby off for the first few days or weeks. Thankfully, a quality child care program will welcome your calls, texts or need for a picture of your sweet baby to get you through the workday!  While most mothers will tell you that going back to work after maternity leave can be challenging, they also will tell you that it won’t be long until you and your baby adjust to your new normal.

Schedule a Tour at Premier Academy Omaha Today!

Infant Sign LanguageAre there benefits to teaching your child baby sign language? Although some studies point to increased intellectual development, the primary benefit of using baby sign language is decreased frustration for both you, your daycare provider, and your baby. Babies can use sign language to communicate their wants and needs long before they begin using words. Premier Academy daycare introduces infants to sign language around eight months old.

Children who can express themselves are more likely to feel happier and more confident. Infants who are taught signs have fewer episodes of crying or temper tantrums. Parents also report feeling more confident because they have a better understanding of how to respond to their babies.

Some parents and childcare teachers have expressed concern that teaching infant sign language may hinder verbal language development. Research has shown the opposite to be true. Studies find that children who have been taught sign language may be a step ahead of children whose parents only encouraged vocal communication. Learning sign language may make other types of communication easier for your child to learn.

Best of all, teaching sign language to babies is easy!

Infant Sign Language Tips

  • Start small. Do some research on sign language books or websites to learn the basics. Your child’squality childcare center will be able to provide you with more information about the best signs to start with. Choose signs for words that will be used frequently by your baby, such as please, more, ball, or drink. To start, only teach your child three to five words.
  • Use signs during normal everyday routines and activities. Saying the word as you make the sign will help your baby learn sign language. For example, if your baby reaches for more food, say “more” while making the sign with your hands. Then give your baby their food as reinforcement. Consistently make this sign every time your baby asks for more food. Be sure to give lots of encouragement when your baby makes a sign independently. Say, “You did it! You told me you want more!”
  • Allow your baby to set the pace and progress slowly. As your baby masters initial signs, you can add a few more. Remember, though, your goal isn’t to make your child fluent in sign language so much as providing another way to communicate until verbal skills develop. Stick with basic signs for words that your child uses every day and introduce only a couple at a time. Premier Academy daycare is dedicated to being the best childcare for facilitating amazing communication skills, and social and emotional growth for your infant.
  • Keep it fun. Be sure to keep lessons brief and fun. The point of teaching sign language is to reduce frustration, simplify communication, and connect with your baby in a meaningful way.

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Teaching Your Children About FriendshipSome children are born social butterflies, intuitively understanding the art of making and keeping friends. Other children need a bit more support. Many children are naturally quiet or reserved and may not know how to start a conversation. Others need help in reading social cues, sharing toys, or taking conversational turns.

No matter where children fit on this social spectrum, they can benefit from the nurturing guidance and example of amazing teachers at a quality childcare like Premier Academy. Modeling how to be a friend is one of the most powerful lessons you can teach about friendship. Strike up conversations at the park with other parents. Be friendly and considerate to neighbors, teachers at your child’s daycare, and people in the community. Talk with your child about how to get someone’s attention, ask questions, and introduce himself. All these steps pave the way for later social interactions.

Once your child has learned some basic social conventions, it’s time to schedule playdates to help with social development. Invite just one child at first, which is less overwhelming for everyone and take an active role in the playdates. As your child gains experience, playdates will become more independent, with less direction from you.

Tips for Teaching Friendship with Playdates

  • Focus on interests and commonalities. Sure, learning to relate with diverse people is a valuable life skill, but for your child’s early friendships, seek out children with similar temperaments and interests. Conversation will flow more freely and your child will gain confidence and create friendships more quickly. Sports practice, classes or clubs are natural settings for children to meet potential friends with similar interests.
  • Schedule a playdate. Ideally, you’ll have opportunities to meet other parents before you schedule a playdate, but if not, invite the parents over for a brief get-together. When both children and parents seem ready, you can schedule a playdate without the parents. Keep playdates brief – two or three hours is plenty for young children. A great way to meet parents is at your kiddo’s childcare center!
  • Have structured playdates. In a perfect world, playdates would always run smoothly, with children happily exploring and creating together. The reality is often something different. What if your child refuses to share or play with the other child? Or worse, the children have such a good time that your house is in shambles? Plan playdate activities, such as play dough or puzzles, as ice breakers. Be sure to set some ground rules so everyone knows what to expect. Be prepared to kindly, but firmly, redirect behavior that’s run off course. Don’t hover, but stay nearby and intervene if things aren’t going well. Often, simply offering another activity is all that’s needed: “It’s not safe to jump on the bed. Let’s go outside and do sidewalk chalk.”
  • Use playdates to build social skills. When it comes to social skills, young children are eager, if imperfect, learners. Subtly observing your child during a playdate can help you understand her social strengths – and weaknesses. After a playdate, make a few gentle comments to nudge learning. Point out positive behaviors, such as, ‘I noticed that you let Layla swing first on the swing. That was really thoughtful of you!” These comments help children identify how to be a good friend and increase the chances of those behaviors being repeated. You can also help your child learn new behaviors. “It was hard to share your new truck, wasn’t it? How do you think Julian felt when you yelled at him? Next time, let’s put special toys away and get out only the toys you know you can share.”

From the playground to media, children are exposed to widely varying depictions of social interactions – some of them positive and some of them less desired. Playdates put parents back in the driver’s seat, allowing you to model and foster respectful communication, gracious manners, and supportive friendships. At Premier Academy it’s our goal to provide the best childcare to foster amazing friendships between kids and parents!

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Outdoor Play for KidsYou’ve probably heard about the benefits of nature and outdoor play for children. According to the National Wildlife Federation, outdoor play boosts fitness and decreases the risk of childhood obesity; increases focus and academic achievement; and reduces stress and increases feelings of well-being.

As a provider of quality childcare, we understand and agree with all these findings. While less tangible and quantifiable, the “fun” value of being outdoors can also be beneficial to children, particularly when they can share that fun with a beloved adult.

Conservationist Rachel Carson wrote, “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” We think she’s onto something there. Below are a few simple outdoor activities for kids that we at Premier Academy think can help nurture a love of the natural world within your child.

Infants and Toddlers

Offer safe spaces for babies to crawl, walk, and explore, such as a variety of textured surfaces (e.g. grass, sand, or dirt). Point out and label birds, squirrels, insects and plants.

Toddlers are at a vantage point to observe things that we adults often miss. A simple walk around the neighborhood with the family can open a whole world to them if we simply slow down. We believe quality childcare starts with giving children the freedom to discover and explore! Make time to explore with toddlers, keeping in mind the journey, not the destination. How many plants and insects can you find? How many different textures or sensations can you discover?


Offer your child a variety of natural and re-purposed materials, such as old metal pie tins, sticks, ribbon, wire, spoons, shells, or rocks. What can you make with these materials? How about wind chimes, a bird feeder, or an old-fashioned mud pie?

Speaking of old-fashioned fun, remember Winnie the Pooh and his game of “pooh sticks”? Gather several sticks of similar size and give each player a stick. On the count of three, drop the sticks from one side of a bridge. Run to the other side and watch for the sticks to float downstream. Which stick emerges first? Based on the natural world you see around you, improvise fun outdoor games for kids.


Get an up-close view of pond life. Cut the ends off a large cylindrical plastic container, such as a large food container or even a milk jug. Secure plastic wrap over one end with a rubber band or waterproof tape. Place the wrapped end of the container in a stream or pond. Look into the other end. The glare of the sun is diminished when looking through the container, so it’s easier to see plant and animal life in the water.

Grow something. School-age children are at an ideal age to learn about gardening. If you have the space, you can try easy-to-grow crops like lettuce, carrots, peas, and tomatoes in a full-size garden, a raised bed, or even pots. Try fast-growing flowers like pansies, nasturtiums, or sunflowers. How about a few herbs on the patio?

When asked why he felt optimistic that humans would find solutions to the environmental concerns plaguing our planet, physicist Freeman Dyson responded, “Because people will always love trees.” If children are removed from nature, though, will future generations develop this age-old wisdom? We believe at Premier Academy that experiencing nature with children through outdoor play has benefits today and for years to come as children become the stewards of our planet. So, get out there. Turn over a rock. Feel the breeze on your face. Get some dirt on your shoes.

Family Fun Time: Things to Do With KidsAfter a busy week of responsibilities, caring for children, and working in and out of the home, we cherish opportunities to be with family members. Shared quality time strengthens your family bond and helps everyone feel valued and respected. It is not necessary to make elaborate plans or partake in costly undertakings to enjoy family time.

Often, the simplest home-based activities foster the strongest connection because children and parents focus on each other – not outside amusements. At Premier Academy child care we think about the meaningful connection that occurs when you explore art materials, play charades and board games, connect to nature, walk around the neighborhood, or prepare a meal together. Below are a few suggestions from the best West Omaha childcare for fun family activities that you might want to try at home.

Family Time: Fun Things to Do With Kids

  • Be tourists in your own city. Have you ever wondered about the history and legends of Omaha? Have you noticed the types of architecture in your area? Do you know if Native Americans lived there, battles were fought there, or the significance of statues in the local park? By becoming tourists in your town, you can make amazing discoveries. At Premier Academy childcare we take our preschool & pre-k children on field trips so that they can explore their city. Start by contacting the Chamber of Commerce, Natural Historical Society, or local librarians. Just like on a vacation, bring cameras to document your discoveries.
  • Make stories come alive. All of us know the importance of reading to children. At Premier Academy daycare, we believe that reading is a critical part in building a foundation for your child’s education. As you read, you often discuss the storyline and characters. Have you considered setting up scenarios to enjoy similar quests as the characters in the stories? Below are a few examples of how you can extend stories into family adventures and pretend play.
    • Scarlette Beane, written by Karen Wallace and illustrated by John Berkeley, is the tale of a young girl, born with a face “as red as a beet” and green fingertips. Scarlette grows a magical garden that has veggies so big that the entire community comes to harvest them and make soup. This enjoyable book can inspire your family fun. Plant seeds in gardens or pots, make up stories about magical seeds, get involved in a community project, or even make vegetable soup.
    • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, by William Steig, is a classic story about a young donkey who can’t believe his luck when he finds a magic pebble that can make wishes come true. Search for magic stones, then talk about, illustrate and write about your wishes.
  • Play with rocks. Rocks fascinate many children. It’s fun to collect rocks, make sculptures, toss rocks, or use small stones to create designs or form letters. Explain that, like people, no two rocks are exactly alike. As a fun challenge during family time, look for rocks that are similar, in size, shape, color, or texture. Create a science laboratory where you can weigh and measure rocks; older children might research the different types of rocks, such as sedimentary or metamorphic.
  • Nurture your family with nature. Visiting fish hatcheries, farms, forests, and wildlife preserves are exciting, but so are local parks, streams, lakes, woods, and community gardens. Try incorporating outdoor play into your family fun. At Premier Academy daycare, we believe in having at least an hour of outdoor play each day. Use magnifying glasses to search for tiny insects; cameras to photograph the sights you see; tape measures to measure the circumference of trees or the heights of plants; or just enjoy time together outside. ParentMap is one of many websites that suggests fun things to do with kids outdoors, providing simple, nature-based family activities that require little planning or preparation.

Whether your family enjoys playing board games, blowing and chasing bubbles, searching for insects, having a picnic in the park, working on art projects, gazing at the sky, cuddling up with books, or volunteering in the community, time spent together builds strong relationships and satisfying memories.

Get Involved in MentoringMentoring is one of the oldest teaching methods in the world. Mentoring is really a personal coaching strategy where someone that has a specific skill or subject matter expertise works with another person to impart their knowledge in a very personal and connected way.

With January being National Mentoring Month, it is time for everyone to get busy in helping each other to learn something new or to master a skill they are having challenges with.

The Benefits of Mentoring

The great thing about mentoring is that it is a one-on-one learning method. When you first sat down with your kids and read them a story and they followed along with their fingers and said a word they recognized you were being a highly effective mentor.

Since mentoring is one-on-one the feedback is immediate and proactive. The learner doesn’t struggle through multiple mistakes; they are gently, positively and proactively supported so that they learn how to do the specific task or skill correctly the first time.

However, the benefits of mentoring go beyond just learning math, reading, the alphabet or how to print. It is about feeling the connection of learning and life, and also for the learning to gain self-confidence as they try to learn and master new skills.

If you stop and think about it mentoring is happening every day with your children. When you or their teachers teach them how to make cookies or how to use a new computer you are being a mentor. Kids that have this type of support are much more willing to try new things, to challenge themselves and to feel wonderful about the accomplishments that they achieve, even if they have a few difficulties along the way.

Get Involved

Talk to your child’s teachers about volunteering to come in and mentor a child. This is a wonderful way to not only help your own child see how you value school and education, but to also give to a child or small group of children that may not have an active parent in their life.

In addition, encourage your child to use mentoring services. Many schools have a “big buddy” system where children in higher grades come in and read or do basic math with a “little buddy” which is an excellent way to allow students to experience the benefits of mentoring in a very personal way.

Baby Safety Tips for the HomeBringing home a new baby is an exciting and magical event for any family. Preparing your home in advance for the big day helps parents to proactively provide built in safety for the new addition to the family.

There are a range of different baby safety products on the market today that can make Mom and Dad’s life a lot easier. However, there are also some simple and very traditional types of safety practices that will keep your infant out of harm’s way.

Before your baby is up and about crawling and playing look at each room of the home. General safety issues that can be put in place include

  • Baby safe latches on all drawers and cabinets in kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and storage areas to prevent injury if baby pulls the drawers or cabinets open or gets into the stored contents.
  • Check all electrical cords and remove any that dangle or hang down. Cover all electrical outlets with spring loaded covers that automatically close when the cord is removed.
  • Roll all cords for blinds or drapes up to well above the height that a crawling baby, toddler or infant can reach.
  • Have a new crib and mattress for the baby that is designed to prevent the baby from getting hands or limbs lodged between the posts. The mattress should fit correctly in the crib and extend to the frame on all sides.
  • Limit items in and around the crib and ensure any mobiles or hanging items on the crib are safe and secure and approved for use for a baby.
  • Always have the correctly sized, approved car safety seat for your baby and do not travel with the baby in a vehicle when the child is not secured in the baby car seat.
  • Avoid using any types of room freshening or air treatment products in the nursery or the home as an infant may be extremely sensitive to these products.

Last, and perhaps most importantly, never leave your baby unattended unless they are in a safe, secure location such as their crib. This ensures that the baby can’t get into anything that is potentially dangerous in the few seconds you step away.

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