Helping Your Children Stay OrganizedDaily routines can be a challenge, especially if you have younger children who have a way of losing or misplacing things on a regular basis. Here are some great tips on how to keep your children, especially young ones organized:

  1. Have a designated work space for homework, projects, etc. Pick a room or a part of a room that your child can keep all of his or her supplies for homework, arts and crafts, reading. Use bins to keep supplies neat and in one place. Be sure you have enough room, if possible, to keep their books and try using a basket to keep papers that your child may need for school, studying for tests, etc.
  2. When you buy school supplies at the beginning of the year, color code each subject – Math is blue, English is green, etc., and use the same color for each subject throughout the year. This will make it easy for you to child to quickly grab what they’re looking for without having to rifle through every folder or notebook.
  3. Create a cubby hole at or near your front door to keep your child’s backpack, hats, gloves, scarves, shoes – anything they need to grab quickly if the morning gets away from them. Teach your child to put whatever they need for the next day in the cubby each night before they go to bed.
  4. Use a calendar. For your older children you can provide them with a calendar or appointment book. With your younger children, create a weekly or monthly calendar and use bright colors and pictures to help remind them of important days.
  5. Lead by example. If you want your children to be organized, keep yourself organized. They are more likely to follow by example. Make to-do lists, turn the television off at the same time every day/evening, pay bills on a regular schedule – anything that requires a routine. Let your children see you follow an organized routine and they will do the same.

Answering The Difficult QuestionsSometimes difficult questions can take parents by surprise. It can be good to plan in advance on how and what to talk to your children about when they ask about death. It is critical not to avoid or try to brush off the questions as that will only cause more confusion and perhaps even fear if children pick up your discomfort on the subject.  Here are some tips on how to talk to your children when they ask the difficult questions:

Stay Child Centered

It is very important to discuss death and dying at the child’s level of understanding. Taking in abstract terms or using common phrases about death to kids will only cause confusion. You certainly can talk about spiritual or religious beliefs about the death and dying with your children but keep them at an age appropriate level.

Be careful not to use terms like “sleeping” or “passed on” or “lost” but rather be compassionate and honest. Children need a clear description that makes sense to them. Even younger children can understand that a body can stop working when a person is in an accident or is elderly. Often this type of honest, clear and simple explanation is enough for a youngster.

Talk About Real World Examples

It is important, especially with younger children, to stay to simple examples and not to try to include too many concepts at one time. It is important for children to understand that death is a normal part of life without stressing the mortality of the child or of you as the parent. It is also important to remember that younger children, especially those under the age of 10, may see death as reversible.

Kids may ask about a pet, family member or loved one’s death repeatedly. Be patient and provide a consistent answer that provides the information the child is seeking. Talking to a counselor or reading a book about death that is at an age appropriate level can help a parent start the conversation and allow children to ask the questions they may be worrying about.

The Importance of Reading to Young ChildrenYour child isn’t going to become a great reader over night, but it can happen one book at a time. But what is the best way for you to choose the right book for your child to read?

It may be second nature to feel like you should be picking your child’s books, but the fact remains that letting your child choose their own books is a skill that they should learn at young age. By allowing your child to choose their own books independent of your input, allows your child to learn the different reason we choose a book to read in the first place.

If your child has reached reading age, here are a few helpful tips to help him or her learn to choose books that will make them want to read more:

  • When your child is ready to start reading, begin instilling the fact that we read for a purpose – whether it’s too learn something or if the purpose is simply for enjoyment.
  • Have your child browse through the books either at the library or the bookstore. If this seems to be too overwhelming, then have them narrow down their choices by either a type of book (fiction or nonfiction) or by action, funny or other subject.
  • Say “yes” as often as you can when your child selects a book that he or she is interested in. Rather than saying “no” try saying that a choice is a “not so great” selection
  • If your child selects a book that is beyond his or her reading ability, solve the problem by reading the book out loud with your child. Let them read as much of the book as possible, you can jump in if there are difficult parts for your child to read.
  • If your child has really enjoyed a particular book, remind him or her of the author name when they are selecting books the next time.

Need more information? Contact Premier Academy Today!

Have a Picky Eater? We Can Help!One of the most common struggles parents have is dealing with picky eaters. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

  • Your toddler takes a few bites of food and announces he’s “done”
  • You can stock your fridge and shelves full but your little one will only eat the same 5 things over and over.
  • Your toddler asks for one thing, you make it, then she asks for something else then decides she wants something completely different altogether.
  • Coaxing your children to just take “one more bite” is a constant battle in your home

First things first – meal times are supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable so you want to avoid these battles every time you sit down at the table. Toddlers between the ages of 1 and 3 typically have smaller appetites, so if they only eat a little at a time, that’s ok.

However, also realize that their appetites can change on a daily basis and even from meal to meal. If they like carrots, don’t be afraid to throw some in at breakfast. Do they prefer eggs? Who says you can’t have eggs for dinner?

Dinner time is typically going to be the meal that your toddler feels like eating the least. It’s the end of the day and they are tired and unless they have been doing a physical activity like swimming or playing outside or at daycare, chances are they aren’t going to be as hungry as they are at other times of the day.

If you are dealing with preschool or school age children who are picky eaters, you may be able to reason more with them and enforce the “one bite rule” – meaning they have to take at least one bite of every food on their plate and if they don’t like it, they don’t have to eat it again.

Here are just a few ideas for dealing with picky eaters:

  • Don’t nag or coax your toddler. Pick and choose your battles – plain and simply put, your child WILL eat when he is hungry.
  • Have realistic portions: Many parents set unrealistic goals for their children when it comes to mealtime. A good rule of thumb to follow: If your child is under the age of 5-6, use a tablespoon per year of age. If they ask for more when they’ve finished that then you can always give more.
  • Keep trying to introduce new foods – even if they haven’t liked them before. Tastes change and you never know when you find something new they like.
  • Avoid too much milk, juice and soda in place of food. Many kids will fill up on sugary drinks and have no room for food.

Remember, pick your battles and don’t make meal time miserable for everyone!

Need more information? Contact Premier Academy today!

3 Tips to Creative ThinkingHave a real one-on-one conversation with any preschooler, and you’re in for a treat — kids are soaring with ideas. As a mom, an educator, and an entrepreneur, I wondered: When do kids lose their imagination? And what can we do to foster creative thinking skills at home?

1) Ask Your Child to Describe His Work

Your preschooler may sometimes make pictures that look like a one-year-old made them– a series of lines, circles, and a mess of color. But what may look like scribbles can be a whole lot more when you ask your child, “Tell me — what did you make here?” I’ve learned to never assume, and once my kids start telling me about their scribbly-looking masterpieces, I realize they are just that — creative expressions of their ideas. Plus, drawing and describing their pictures is a very early step to literacy. It is the same skill set they’ll use to formulate and write a story someday.

Be sure to motivate your children rather than simply praise them. For example, instead of just saying “good job” or “nice picture,” you will encourage your child a lot more by saying “I love how you shaded the sunset with the colored pencils so carefully,” or “I can really tell you worked hard on drawing the little boat.” Mentioning something specific will motivate your child to be even more creative next time.

2) Let Kids Design Their Own Bedrooms

Support your child to take ownership of his own space by creatively coming up with ideas for his own bedroom design.

Designing their own bedrooms teaches children to step outside the box from one way of thinking and toward feeling comfortable expressing themselves creatively. Today, you see so many kids’ bedrooms that look like they’ve come right out of a magazine. Let your kids take the plunge! Soon he’ll be drawing plans, measuring, and problem solving about whether or not his desk will fit under the window.

3) Answer Questions with Questions

When your child has a question, avoid simply giving him an answer. Instead, respond with a question of your own. This allows him to start thinking with a creative problem solving point of view.

For questions you both don’t know answers to, it’s important to model how to figure out. Continue to prompt your children with questions that will gently lead them to the answer. It makes them feel the success of figuring it out for themselves. That success will give your kids the confidence to ask more questions, find more answers, and become more creative!

Looking for more fun things to do with your children? Contact Premier Academy today!

How to Help Your Child be a Gracious Playdate GuestHosting a playdate at home is one thing but going to someone else’s house – where the rules, snacks, and potty are different – is a whole new experience. Here’s how to prepare your child to have a great time – and be invited back!

The Invite – Say “yes” when you know (and trust) the family, the children get along, and the scheduling works for you. Don’t feel pressured to answer immediately if you’re unsure. Say, “Can I let you know in a day or two?” If you decide to turn down the invitation, for whatever reason, a simple “Thanks, but we can’t do it this time” will suffice. If your child is a playdate newbie, take special steps to make it a good experience. Accompany her to her friend’s home and stay the first time, so that she’ll be comfortable trying a drop-off playdate next time.

The Prep – Exchange contact info, pick-up details, and special issues such as allergies with the other parent. Then go over plans and expectations with your child ahead of time so she’ll be ready. “First, you’ll go with Maddie and her mom after school. They have an extra booster for you in their car. You’ll go to their house and play. I will come and pick you up later, before dinner. Ask Maddie’s mom if you need help with anything while you’re there, and remember to take turns with Maddie. Her mom says you’ll be baking cupcakes for the bake sale. Sounds fun!” Remind your child to be gentle with any younger siblings in the home, and to use her good manners.

The Exit – At pick-up time, spend a few minutes chatting with the host’s family, then give your child a “2 minutes until clean-up” warning. When it’s time, insist that your child helps tidy up, and debrief with the host’s parents to get a run-down of the events, and your child’s behavior. Make sure your child says “thank you” and “good bye.” On the way home, ask your child what they did and whether they had fun, and discuss any behavior snafus. Focus on the good times, and brainstorm ideas for the next playdate.

Looking for more fun things to do with your children? Contact Premier Academy today!

Shopping HealthierPlanning a family picnic is the perfect activity for fun summer learning. With all the outside games and food, it’s easy to see why your kids will never know you have a secret curriculum up your sleeve! Here are 15 great tips to make your summer picnics full of learning – AND lots of fun:

  1. Races: Running races, the egg and spoon race, hopping-on-one-leg races – anything goes! Lots of exercise is linked to more learning – and better behavior. Have the kids run for at least an hour during your picnic to maximize this fun learning booster.
  2. Ball Games: Playing catch and kicking the ball helps with a kind of coordination called Motor Planning, which helps your children get from one place to another. The more confident  your children are with their bodies , the more likely  they are to take on other challenges in life.
  3. Daisy Chains: Dandelions or other common summer weeds are perfect for making daisy chains. Help your little one create the chain to help fine motor skills develop – and don’t forget to count the flowers.
  4. Leaf Adventures: When your children are  busy with something else, collect leaves from a few trees. Then ask them to find which trees they belong to. When they do, tell them about the trees they’ve discovered.
  5. Bubbles: Blowing bubbles helps little ones build the oral muscles needed to improve their speech. Count the bubbles for more fun and learning.
  6. Scavenger hunt: Create your hints ahead of time, and have one adult hide the items while another facilitates  games with the kids. Aim for 5 -6 items for younger children; older kiddos can stay focused for a longer list.
  7. Chalk it up: Bring chalk to draw pictures, letters, numbers, and shapes. Show your child how to play hopscotch and four square, too.
  8. Duck, Duck, Squirt (Gun): This variation on Duck, Duck, Goose goes like this:  Whoever is “it” goes around the circle, counting “duck, duck, duck” until he picks a player to squirt with the water gun. Race around the circle to see who can get back to the open position first, and try not to get too wet!
  9. Geocaching: This fun activity takes some preparation, but everyone in the family will enjoy it. Look up the location of treasures stashed nearby, and find them with the GPS on your phone.
  10. Cloud Watching: Lie on the grass together and watch the clouds go by. Have everyone say what shapes they see to encourage creativity. See what stories your little ones can make up about their cloud friends. Let the imagination flow!
  11. Freeze Tag: This classic game is a great way to challenge little ones to control themselves, be patient, and have fun. Make sure everyone has a chance to be “it!”
  12. Visit the Fire Department: Many parks are adjacent to a fire station. Teach the kids about fire safety by arranging a tour before your picnic. Most fire departments enjoy showing off their equipment to families.
  13. Healthy Food: Plan to pack simple, healthy snacks for your picnic. Choose foods with brain-building Omega 3 fatty acids such as chia seeds (fun and yummy to dip fruit in), edamame, salmon, and trail mix with walnuts. Your child’s brain – and behavior – will benefit.
  14. Fresh Fruit Ice Pops:  Before the picnic, have the kids help select and prep their favorite fresh fruits. Freeze fruit chunks and coconut water in popsicle molds to enjoy at the park. Yum!
  15. Don’t Forget the Sunscreen! Any outside adventure needs sun protection. This is the chance to teach little ones about the dangers of too much sun – and how to avoid it. Bring along the bug repellent, too.

Need more fun ideas? Contact Premier Academy Today!


Importance of School ReadinessThis new journey of preparing your child for Pre-K is a very important time in your child’s life.  If you have placed your child in pre-school, this may be a very easy transition.  At Premier Academy in Omaha and Elkhorn, our goal is to not only help your children but to help our parents!

Pre-K is such a fun time.  Your child is growing up and this new stage in life is so exciting.  Your child is now gaining their independence right before your eyes.  Encouraging this behavior will help prepare your child for grade school and beyond!

Allow your child to “Do-It-Yourself”:

As we all know, doing things yourself is quick and easy but it won’t make your child self-sufficient.   Asking your child for your assistance is a great idea.  Kids want to be adults and will usually not take you up on your offer.

Praise your child for good behavior:

Praise is key; especially if your child is not in a cooperative phase. Try to catch your child being cooperative and helpful.  Kids repeat behaviors that get attention.

Give structured choices:

Preschool is full of choices and options.  From sharing to listening, your child will encounter this all throughout life.  At home, offering your child a choice allows them to make decisions on their own.  Although they will not always make the right decision, they will soon understand the consequence. A great tip for assisting is making an option less attractive.

Don’t redo what they’ve done:

If your child helps around the home, maybe setting the table, making their bed, helping bring in the groceries, keep these positive behaviors going.  Having responsibilities around the home will only help in the classroom.

Problem Solving:

As easy as it is to help our child make an easier decision for assembling a toy or reaching a high object, children need to learn to problem solve.  This can be a major benefit in math and science classes in the future.

Helping Around the Home:

Preschool is all about helping our peers and teachers.  Learning to share and cooperate are a huge part of life.  Giving our children easy chores around the house is a great way to encourage this behavior.  Making a bed or watering the plants is easy ways to start this behavior.

Is your child ready for Pre-K? Contact Premier Academy Today and schedule your tour!

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.

The Importance of Free & Unstructured Outdoor Play for KidsThere are two words that can send your summer spirit soaring: “I’m bored!” Your child has suddenly gone from an action-packed school year to the carefree days of summer. As much as you are both happy to be done with homework for a while, all of this freedom can be problematic. You want to chill out with some lemonade yet your kids expect you to be the peppy cruise director. But it is possible for everyone to feel the joy of the season, make wonderful memories and be truly happy together. No more saying, “What can we do this summer?”

Provide Structure

Your child’s day needs a beginning, middle and end. This means more work for parents since they have to create the structure kids normally have in school. But it’s key to having a sane summer. First, kids thrive on structure and knowing what comes next. It keeps them feeling secure, avoids crankiness and gives their day purpose.

Second, maintaining some level of structure will help ease your kids back into the school year.

Create a Plan

An easy way to help provide structure is to make sure your kids know the daily plan. Talk briefly before bed about what’s in store the next day or lay it all out in the morning. Remind them (and yourself) that everyone needs to be flexible during the day and that there will also be downtime for the summer.

Make a summer calendar and write in special events, parties and trips so kids have a sense of an extended time-frame.

Set New Bedtimes

Or keep the same ones. Either way you need to have something firm in place. Summer allows you to be a bit flexible but kids still need 9 to 10 hours of sleep. Otherwise you have a cranky, moody kid who won’t even be able to smile on a trip to the amusement park. Yes, it’s ok to let the kids stay up late here and there for a special occasion.

Take a Class

The school year can be so jammed with after-school activities that your kids might have to miss out on a sport or class they really want to partake in. Take advantage of a less-scheduled summer to sign up for that special activity. The woodworking class that fills up so quickly in September probably has more room in July, anyway! Any class or even a morning camp program will provide daily structure, help give them a full experience of summer and expose them to new environments, says Dr. Bartell. Even better? You get some much-deserved time alone.

Go Outdoors

Take advantage of activities and events that are special to summertime. Go swimming, play tennis, enjoy an outdoor family concert or nature hike. Create a backyard obstacle course or treasure hunt. Have the kids help you pull out some overzealous ferns in the garden. Visit the farmers’ market and ask the kids help you choose local foods, then cook a meal together. Talk about the stars and constellations, then let them stay up late one night to study the beautiful night sky. Rainy days will mean more time inside watching movies. But it’s also the chance to go splash in muddy puddles (just go with it and do the laundry later) and hunt for worms.

Make it Memorable

The sun is shining. The breeze is refreshing and your daughter is not mercilessly teasing your son. Life is good. But while you might remember these small moments, the kids probably won’t. Incorporate a couple of memorable activities into your summer. That doesn’t mean you have to buy overpriced tickets to see the Fresh Beat Band or fly to Disneyland. Just think about your child’s specific interests and what would make her day. Sometimes the most impromptu plans makes the biggest impact.


We all know that reading books is important for kids. But the bond of reading together is what a summer lull can bring. Pull your child onto your lap, or get as physically close as they’ll let you — and read together, Dr. Ludwig suggests. Make the story come alive. Use funny voices. Act things out. Find hidden objects. And start a dialogue about the book. Set aside 20 minutes each day for reading time. Doing this will reinforce to your kids that reading is fun.

Get Creative

Kids depend too much on technology and they need to come up with their own ideas about what to do this summer. Ultimately, spending too much time with TV and the computer is just not satisfying and won’t create a memorable summer. Limit tech time to 3 hours daily. Turn off the technology and see what happens (after the whining stops). Let them use their imaginations to garden in the backyard, design their own t-shirts with fabric paint or plan a family art show.

Hire Help

Don’t feel guilty that you need a break. Summer can makes parents feel like they are on overload with an extra sense of responsibility. Hiring a sitter to come in at least once a week will provide kids with a new energy level and variety to their day. They will seriously look forward to it! Then you get to recharge or just get the shopping done without someone sneaking lots of sugary cereal into the cart. As if you wouldn’t notice…eventually.

Keep Summer Memories

Give your child a camera and let her take photos all school break of things that she feels are super cool. Maybe a Lego tower, a rose bush in full bloom or the neighbor’s dog. Hold back on directing and you’ll be able to see summer through your child’s eyes. Review the photos weekly and talk about all the adventures you had together. Help her create a memory book or online album when the season ends.

Slow Down

Parents don’t feel pressure to start the day in the summer. Begin later and go slower. When there’s no school bus to catch or traffic to beat you don’t need to be dressed and out by 7:45. Stop chasing your son around with his jeans and teach him to put them on himself — in his own time. Cook up pancakes for breakfast instead of grabbing a slice of wheat bread. Savor your coffee, don’t slurp it hurriedly. Unless you have an a.m. activity planned, use the morning to relax. Summer goes by so fast!

We want to hear from you. Set up an appointment today and find out 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.