If you are like most families, the past few months have been spent together. From early in the morning until bedtime, most children have become accustomed to being with their parents all day, every day. Whether those parents were working from home, helping siblings with homework or doing the laundry, they were hardly ever more than down the hall or up the stairs from their children.

Now that many parents are going back to work, children who have become accustomed to having their parents with them 24/7 now will have to become re-accustomed to going back to school or daycare. For some children, this will be a welcome change and an opportunity to reconnect with playmates. Others may have a more difficult time adjusting.

The adjustment will likely be more challenging for children between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old. This age group is more prone to separation anxiety and may struggle with the idea of leaving their parent’s side.

There are things you can do to make this transition easier on everyone. Child development experts suggest the following tips to reestablish what was once a seamless routine (and will be again):

  1. Be upfront. If your child is old enough to understand that they will be going back to school or daycare, let them know ahead of time. This is not something you want to spring on a child the night before.
  2. Get into a routine. As soon as possible, settle into a consistent bedtime routine, get up at a normal time, get dressed, eat breakfast and so on.
  3. Do some trial runs. If you can get someone to watch your child for an hour or so a few days now, do it. This will help children to remember that just because you are apart for a bit, you always come back together!
  4. Talk things out. Depending on the age of your children, ask them how they feel about going back to school or daycare. Don’t dismiss their worries but rather reassure them that everyone is feeling a bit unsettled but that it will get better.
  5. Expect a period of transition. Everyone (including you!) may be tired and stressed the first few weeks. As much as possible, try to cut everyone some slack as they adjust.
  6. Set apart some special time. Once you are back to work and your children are back in school or daycare, try to make some special one-on-one time with them in the evening or on weekends to let them know that while schedules change, your relationship will always remain strong.

Getting back into a regular routine of work, school, daycare and other activities is something we all will have to deal with at some point. However, it isn’t going to be like turning on a light switch. Be patient with your kids and be sure and cut yourself some slack, as well!

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

Children and TechnologyAs technology becomes more accessible and affordable, more and more families are using it and when you are looking for a Nebraska daycare, you should look for a center that understand the correct use of technology for all ages. According to a 2013 study by Common Sense Media, an organization dedicated to helping families use technology wisely, 75 percent of children under the age of 8 have access to a tablet or mobile device, an increase of 25 percent in just two years. And that number is growing every year.

Are your children technology junkies? If so, you might be wondering about how to make the most of technology in your home. How should technology be used, depending on your child’s age? How can you choose high-quality content? And, what types of limits or guidelines are appropriate? First, understand that technology can never replace or replicate the benefits of unstructured, creative play at a daycare. Children need real-life opportunities to imagine, create, and explore. They also need the supportive warmth that comes from face-to-face interactions with loving adults. On the other hand, technology isn’t going away and it can offer educational value when used appropriately. Read on to learn more about technology for kids in the home and learn about our favorite media for children.

Toddlers and Technology

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), passive technology viewing has little value for infants and toddlers; the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that parents limit or omit technology use altogether for children age two and under. At this age, unstructured play and human interactions have more educational value. If you do allow technology such as toddler tablets, use it in “the context of human relationships,” suggests NAEYC, as you would picture books. Load tablets with photos of family members or animals. Hold your child as you look at and describe the photos. Use your digital device to share picture books, many of which have interactive features.

Technology for Preschoolers

Preschoolers are naturally drawn to technology. But before they begin learning with technology, they will need to learn the basics. Allow your child to explore inexpensive mobile devices stored in rugged frames. Demonstrate how to swipe and touch the screen. Later, your child can learn how to use a mouse or keyboard.

Continue to participate with your child with technology. Download simple, age-appropriate games and eBooks or listen to audiobooks. Take photos of your child’s work, such as a block tower or painting, to instantly send to family members. Download a storymaker app and help your child write and illustrate digital stories, which can also be shared with others. Search videos about topics that interests your child, such as the international space station, jungle or arctic animals, or cooking. Use a balanced approach to technology and education, offering it as one facet of a rich learning environment. Be conscious of how much time your child spends with technology and don’t allow it to supplant other activities, such as reading, unstructured play, or outdoor play time.

Some of our favorite technology tools for preschoolers:

  • Curiosityville, the brainchild of Susan Magsamen, is produced by education publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. This subscription-based service features six adorable animal characters who guide children through science, math, art, early literacy, cooking, and community service activities.
  • Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. While exploring Daniel’s world, young children learn about everyday topics, such as bedtime, mealtime, going to the doctor, or crossing the street.
  • Reading Rainbow offers a host of high-quality children’s literature along with video clips and audio versions.

Online Safety for School-Age Children

By the time your child is in elementary school, he’s probably well-versed in technology. At this age, most children can use a mouse, open and close apps, and even search the internet. It’s time to talk with your child about internet safety. Set clear guidelines and internet safety rules about what types of media are acceptable and carefully support and monitor your child’s technology use. Tell your child to never share her name, address, or personal information online or on social media. Talk with your child about what to do if he comes across inappropriate content (close the screen and alert you), and make sure you have a high-quality web filter and security system in place.

Help your child understand that technology is just one of many tools for learning. Download educational games, read books, and conduct research. When your child asks a question, conduct an Internet search to find the answer.

Some of our favorite technology tools for school-age children:

  • Starfall offers a complete reading and phonics program, as well as early math activities. The basic program is free; a subscription service is available for even more content.
  • PBS Learning Media offers a free round-up of videos, games, and activities on almost any topic. Come here to learn about history, science, math, and literature.
  • DreamBox is a subscription-based online math program for children. We like it because it delves deeper than most online math programs. Children don’t just learn rote math facts; they gain true math literacy.
  • Storyline Online features celebrities and public figures, such as Melissa Gilbert, Annette Bening, and even Al Gore, reading beloved children’s stories.

Remember, technology is just one tool in a parent’s toolbox and an important part of learning at Premier Academy daycare. Use it to support and enhance other activities, such as playing board games, reading together, or exploring nature. Children generally find technology engaging, but their need for hands-on learning hasn’t changed.

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Reading to Children: Tips for Making Storytime MemorableReading is a perfect way to spend quality time with your children. While helping children to develop essential literacy and reading skills, stories spark children’s imaginations and create memories that last a lifetime. Here are a few simple tips from Barefoot Books for making storytime a memorable and enjoyable experience for families.

  • Ask your child for book suggestions. Even the youngest of children have preferences in books. Find out your child’s favorite books for storytime and then suggest some of your own from when you were a child. Don’t forget about classic tales and adventures, such as myths and legends about knights and castles. You can also choose to read bilingual stories or stories from around the world as a way for children to experience different languages and cultures.
  • Consider your child’s attention span or your family’s schedule. When reading to children, it’s not always necessary to read an entire book. Reading one chapter a night at bedtime or even a few pages at a time will keep your child engaged and excited for the next storytime with you. It also helps build suspense and recall.
  • Consider different times of the day to read to your child. Reading time doesn’t always have to be at bedtime. Some families enjoy reading with their children early in the morning as a special way to start the day. Premier Academy promises to provide quality childcare in Omaha and Elkhorn by helping to foster a love of reading in your child all throughout the day.
  • Keep your child engaged in reading. Ask questions along the way to help promote speech development and comprehension. Point out words that might be new to their vocabulary and talk about how the words are used and what they mean. Are there far-off lands that are featured in the book? Find them on a map together. At Premier Academy we incorporate books into our weekly theme and curriculum daily. We ask questions that evoke emotion and reflective inquiry, such as, “What would you do in this situation?” “Why do you think the character behaved in that way?” “Have you ever encountered a similar situation?” “Who does the character remind you of?” “How does the character feel?”
  • Read aloud together with your child. If you have an experienced reader, rather than reading to your child, try reading with him or her. Ask him or her to read a page aloud and then you read a page. Sharing the story in this way will help you discover new things about each other and elicit dialogue.
  • Be creative during storytime. Use your personality to bring children’s books to life. Using different voices for each character or acting out parts of the story can make story time even more memorable and enjoyable for you and your child.
  • Find different places to read to children. Under the trees in the evening with a blanket and flashlight; swaying on a hammock; cuddled up on a favorite couch; at the breakfast table; sitting on the front step watching the world go by…a place to read can be just as unique as the stories themselves.
  • Continue engaging with books after the last page. Look for creative ways to extend the learning of the book. Some ways to do this may be to do a family craft together based on the illustrations or theme in the story; listen to music that is in some way related to the story; research recipes from where the story is located and cook them together; act out the story with your child; write a sequel to the story together, etc.
  • Keep a children’s storytime journal together. It’s never too early to begin teaching children to write. Note the book or story shared, the date, the reactions of other family members. Younger children may wish to draw a picture representing the book. Older children can help complete the journal entry. The journal will become a beautiful memento to look back on the books shared during storytimes together.
  • Take pictures of your family reading. There are few things sweeter than pictures of family members curled up listening to stories together. You can use these pictures to illustrate the passage of time as family members grow, tastes in books evolve, or the books become longer as the children grow older.

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Importance of School ReadinessWe here at Premier Academy know the importance of school readiness. The first five years are critical to a child’s lifelong development. Early experiences influence brain development, establishing the neural connections that provide the foundation for language, reasoning, problem solving, social skills, behavior, and emotional intelligence – characteristics that often determine how well a child will do in school and in life.

Because early childhood is an important stage of any kid’s life, today’s parents share high expectations for early achievement, including school readiness. 90% of parents surveyed cited academic preparedness as the most important factor in their child’s preschool experience. They want to ensure that their children enter school ready to meet or exceed academic expectations and with a demonstrable ability to apply their newly developing skills in reading, writing and math.

Teacher Perspectives on School Readiness

In a recent study, elementary school teachers shared their views on what they believe to be the most important school readiness factors for any child to succeed in a public or private school setting.

Teachers were unified in their feeling that children should enter their first years of school with an ability to comprehend broader language and math concepts, as well as to be prepared for the social and emotional demands of school. In fact, 96% of teachers surveyed indicated they believe that social and emotional preparedness are the most important outcomes of a child’s preschool experience in order for them to be poised for academic success in the elementary years.

  • Teachers agree that key indicators of the children’s social and emotional readiness for kindergarten and first grade are readiness to accept new responsibilities and greater independence; a strong enthusiasm for learning; an ability to make new friends; and the ability to respect others. At Premier Academy, we focus on making sure your child has the emotional and social maturity required to succeed in Kindergarten and beyond.
  • 96% believe the child’s pre-K experience played a critical role in the child’s preparedness for school.

Common Myths about What School Readiness Means for Your Child

There’s no reason for most parents to be anxious about school readiness. Children who come from homes where adults read, spend engaged time with their children, value literacy, and/or have some social interactions with other children in child care, playdates or groups, or preschool are usually well prepared for kindergarten.
But there are some common myths of which to be aware.

  • Myth #1 – Learning the ABCs is crucial to school readiness.
    The Truth: While important, learning the ABCs is a memorization skill. It’s more important that children recognize letters and identify their sounds to prepare for school.
  • Myth #2 – Children need to count to 50 before going to grade school.
    The Truth: Again while it is important that children understand the order of numbers, when it comes to school readiness, it is far more important to understand the idea of 1-to-1 correspondence (each number counted corresponds to an object, person, etc.) and understanding quantity.
  • Myth #3 – The more teacher-directed the learning, the better.
    The Truth: Children internalize concepts more fully when they are actively engaged in exploration and learning versus being told by someone else. Teachers should be there to guide learning.
  • Myth #4 – The more a program looks like the school we remember as a child the more children will learn.
    The Truth: Young child learn best in an environment that allows them to make choices; to select their own materials for at least part of the day; and empowers them to try new things with a teacher who guides the learning.
  • Myth #5 – Children need quiet to learn.
    The Truth: Children need a language-rich environment where adults provide responsive language interactions and where vocabulary is regularly introduced.
  • Myth #6 – Learning to write is all about letter formation.
    The Truth: While letter formation is one part, even more important is understanding the idea of recording one’s ideas on paper. When a child makes some scribbles and says “This is my daddy,” write your child’s words on the picture and she will begin to make connections between spoken and written words.

Learning some “school skills” like lining up and raising hands before transitioning to school will certainly help make the transition to formal schooling easier; however, the best way to prepare your kids to enter school is giving them the chance to fully explore and experiment in an environment with caring adults who guide, support, and extend their learning. We can offer you all of that and more at Premier Academy.

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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.

Talking to Children About Healthy Eating Habits and Positive Body ImageFew topics are as sensitive to talk about with children as weight and body image. How do we as parents contribute to positive body images in our children and teach healthy eating practices without making anyone feel guilty or bad? That can be a tall order. We know we need to start young and set the stage for healthy lifetime habits early. Before we even talk about the topic, however, we can model positive practices.

Children Learn Healthy Eating Habits from Modeling

If we have healthy eating habits, chances are our children will too. Or if we are selective eaters and avoid fruits and veggies, they will likely follow our lead. We can model by building family nutrition and fitness into our family’s day on a regular basis. Can we share meals together – lunch or dinner – at least four days per week? Are there ways we can exercise together, for example, swimming, walking or bike rides to promote healthy exercise habits?

While modeling healthy eating habits, be careful about the messages you send to children about food and eating. Try to avoid the practice of requiring children to eat everything on their plate at meal time which may have been required of us as children. There are different opinions on this, but some health educators encourage children to try one bite of everything, never pushing or forcing. Others advocate for offering children a favorite food and a new food together so they will have at least one healthy food option that they like.

Steer clear of labeling different foods as “bad” or “unhealthy”.  If you label a food unhealthy, it is confusing to children when they then see a beloved caregiver or friend eating that food. You can say that healthy eating refers to the whole of what we eat, and not one individual food or foods which are “bad” for you. The Partnership for a Healthier America is embarking on a campaign to encourage everyone to eat more fruits and vegetables. Taking the approach of encouraging healthier snacks may be more productive than singling out “bad” foods. offers “Go, Slow, and Whoa!” as another approach to healthy eating:

  • “Go” foods are the healthiest options for kids and can be eaten almost anytime
  • “Slow” foods are those you can eat sometimes but not every day
  • “Whoa” foods should make you think, “Wait, should my child eat that?” These are the least nutritious and should only be eaten occasionally.

Healthy Eating Habits for Young Children

  • Infants: With infants, we pay attention to their cues, and stop feeding them when they indicate they are finished by turning away or refusing the breast, bottle or spoon. Be careful what food choices you make for your baby. Solids are not recommended to be served until at least 4 months of age or often later. And even infants can develop preferences for sweets over other foods, particularly if their first solid foods are desserts or fruits.
  • Toddlers and Preschoolers: With toddler and preschool children, provide healthy snacks and beverages such as water. Eating slowly together as a family is a good practice. Never require children to eat when they are not hungry. And try not to use food as a reward or punishment. If you notice that your child is developing eating issues, they should be discussed with your pediatrician right away.

Talking to Preteens and Teens about Positive Body Image and Healthy Habits

From their earliest years, children are immersed in images and talk of the “ideal” body, typically slim, light skin tone and well-proportioned. And yet we all know genetics gives each of us a unique body type, few of which fall into the “ideal” category. And even those with “ideal” body types often feel pressure to maintain their “ideal” body.

With tweens and teens, subtle and not so subtle messages about weight and body type have an impact. These body images come from people, television, magazines, social media, etc. If your son or daughter opens up the subject, use it as an opportunity to communicate that very few people look like models; models also feel stress about their bodies; and being really skinny isn’t a good thing.

If your child says “I’m too fat” rather than jumping to “No, you’re not” right away, ask “What makes you think that?” to try to keep the conversation open and keep your child talking about this issue. It’s important to know how to communicate with your teen. Spend time listening to him or her. Express your feelings about the topic, but rather than negating your child’s feelings, try saying, “Here’s what I think. . . ” so it feels more like your personal thoughts than a judgment on your child. At the same time, if you ever suspect an eating disorder, talk right away to your pediatrician to find resources.

Talking about weight, body image and health can be sensitive, but it is also very worthwhile to keep the topic on the table and encourage children to talk about what they think and feel. Remember that feelings about this body image start early so be thoughtful about the impact of your words and actions in your child’s life.

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

Preparing A Child For A New BabyWhen is that baby going back to the hospital?” asked the preschooler to her mother holding her new baby brother.

For you, the arrival of a new baby is a happy event. This is not necessarily true for an older child. The excitement and adjustment of a new baby in the house may naturally cause an older sibling to feel left out, abandoned, and less special – even as you reassure him that that isn’t the case. Many children may be jealous or tired of all the commotion and attention towards the new baby.

Sibling Rivalry & How to Help Siblings Build Relationships

What is sibling rivalry?

All children want the love and attention of their parents, and when a new child arrives, parents must divide their attention out of necessity. It’s important to remember that a child’s feelings of jealousy and fears of abandonment can exist simultaneously with feelings of love and pleasure about the new baby. Children may feel the new baby is a replacement or not yet understand how to assume the role of a big brother or sister.

With a little effort, parents can help foster sibling relationships and guide older children through this family transition.

  • Accept that sibling differences are normal.It’s natural for parents to track milestones between their children especially if they are keeping a baby book. Rather than compare, accept that children are different and come with their own unique characteristics.
  • Acknowledge your child’s feelings.Your child may display a wide range of emotions towards the new baby. Rather than dismissing it, acknowledge his feelings: “Is it frustrating that I have to help the baby while I am spending time with you?” Spend time remembering your own experiences and feelings as a sibling or talk to friends about their sibling relationships. Share your own stories with your child that help to illustrate that sibling differences are natural and it’s okay to have various feelings about the new baby or becoming a sibling.
  • Walk down memory lane with your child.Show your child pictures from his “babyhood” to illustrate the love and attention you gave him when he was an infant. Tell your child stories about all the wonderful baby things she did.
  • Plan one-on-one time with your child.Schedule special dates with your child and keep them. One-on-one time doesn’t have to be elaborate, a simple walk outside or snuggle time with a book are great ways to connect with your older child.
  • Integrate your child in the infant care routine. Make one of the baby’s daytime naps a special time to spend with your older child. During feedings, have your child join you to read a book or play a simple game such as iSpy. Give your child a special job during diaper changes or have her gently pat the baby’s back when he or she is crying.
  • Give it time.Some children may take longer to accept a new sibling into the family. Try not to force the relationship but let it grow over time.

Individual Reactions Children Have to New Babies

Why is it more difficult for some children to adjust to a new sibling? The University of Michigan Health System suggests many factors that can contribute to a hard adjustment:

  • Research indicates that a child’s personality has the greatest effect on how he or she reacts to a new baby.
  • Children with the closest relationships with their mothers have shown to become more upset after the baby is born.
  • Your child’s developmental stage may affect how well they can share your attention. Often toddlers have more trouble getting used to a new baby, because their needs for time and closeness from their parents are still great.
  • Stress on the family can make your older child’s adjustment harder.

Children’s Books About Adjusting to a New Baby

There are many great children’s books available about pregnancy, birth, adoption, and new baby siblings. Reading together will help your child realize her feelings and ideas are normal and that no matter what happens, you love her in a very special way and always will.

Toddler books:

  • Waiting for Baby by Rachel Fuller
  • My New Baby by Annie Kubler
  • We Have a Baby by Cathryn Falwel
  • The New Baby by Fred Rogers
  • The New Baby at Your House by Joanna Cole

Preschooler books:

  • Baby Brother by Tanneke Wigersma
  • Julius, the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes
  • Will There be a Lap for Me? by Dorothy Corey
  • When the New Baby Comes, I’m Moving Out and Nobody Asked Me if I Wanted a Baby Sister by Martha Alexander

Pre-Kindergarten through School-age books:

  • A New Baby Is Coming! by Emily Menendez-Aponte
  • My New Baby and Me by Dian Smith
  • Arthur and the Baby by Marc Brown
  • Pinky and Rex and the New Baby by James Howe
  • Welcoming Babies by Margy Burns Knight

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.

Teaching Children About Dental HealthIt’s never too soon to teach your children about the importance of good oral health and get them in to a routine that will carry them throughout their lives. While some children will take to the task at hand easily and without much fuss, everyone learns differently and may take a little extra coaxing. Here are a few tips for you from us at Premier Academy to help your little ones keep their teeth and gums healthy.

  • Teach your children about their teeth. Explain the different types of teeth, how many they have, where they are located and even what their jobs are. As adults we have 32 teeth – twelve molars (in sets of three and are in the back of the mouth), eight premolars (also known as bicuspids and are used to crush and tear food), four cuspids (next to the bicuspids or premolars and are pointed which make tearing food easy) and eight incisors (located in the front of the mouth and are used to cut food.)
  • Read books specifically about dental health. A trip to your library or local book store will provide plenty of age-appropriate reading material that talk about good dental health. For younger children, books with more illustrations are a better choice. If you are able to connect to the Internet, the American Dental Association’s website offers an animated book about going to the dentist.
  • Experiments are fun, too! You can come up with your own experiments or, if you prefer, Crest offers a great experiment on their website that shows how teeth can become soft and weak if they are continuously exposed to acids that are normally found in foods we eat every day.

The younger your children are the better when it comes to teaching about good oral health habits. Don’t put it off another minute!