How to Build Gratitude and Avoid Spoiling During the Holiday Season

It can be easy to get all caught up with material objects during the holiday season when the wish lists keep getting longer by the day. We all want our kids to feel special and that’s probably why we spend countless hours buying and wrapping presents during the holidays. But sometimes we can get wrapped up in the wrong way. We tend to forget that too many material gifts can lead to spoiling and many parents of preschool children begin to worry about this when they start getting those ungrateful “gimmes.”

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to give your child valuable gifts that don’t need lead to spoiling. Here are some ways you can give your child precious gifts without spoiling or overindulging them.

Share Traditions.

Remember, holidays aren’t just about the newest toys on the shelf. You can remind your family of this too by passing on traditions from your childhood or even creating your own “no gift related” traditions. For instance, you could have the whole family participate in holiday-themed arts and crafts together, drive through your community to see all the houses decorated and lit up, or you could even bake and decorate a delicious holiday treat!

Build Gratitude.

A child who learns to appreciate things will act grateful, rather than spoiled, whenever they are given a gift. Children usually become more aware of gratitude when they observe their parents being thankful. By regularly expressing your appreciation for the people and things you have in your life, you can set a good example for your child to follow.

Give Back.

One of the most meaningful gifts you can give your child this year is one of service. Take the time to explain to your child the importance of generosity. Teach them that some families aren’t as fortunate as yours, so it would be nice if your family got together to give them a little extra help during the holiday season.

You can show your children how to serve others by going to the store with them and having them choose the toys or clothes that they think the other kids would like to have for the holidays. Ask them to help you wrap the gifts and then deliver them to a family in need or a trusted local charity. This is also the perfect time for you to show them how to look through their closets and toy chests for things that they may not use anymore, which you can also donate to families in need.

Set Limits.

A simple way to avoid spoiling our children this year with an overabundance of gifts is to set a realistic budget. By putting a cap on how much you are willing to spend on each child, you’ll be less likely to go overboard this year.

Another good way to set a limit is by making a specific list of things you are going to buy your child. If they are old enough, you could even have your children write their own lists and ask them to put their most wanted items at the top. You can then cross off any items that you know won’t fit into your pre-set budget.

At Carpe Diem Private Preschool, we believe in developing character and good values. Sharing time and values or creating traditions are great ways to replace material gifts in a meaningful way that can still make each child feel special. We can take this opportunity during the holidays to teach our children lessons in gratitude, setting limits, and giving back to the community.

Teaching Your Preschoolers the Value of Money

Being able to manage money is one of the most important life skills that anyone can acquire – even at a young age. Attitudes and habits towards money can be developed early-on in life. This is why it’s a good idea to start teaching your preschoolers good financial habits as early as possible. Here are some tips to help teach your child about the purpose and value of money.

Money as a Currency

Young children can learn that money is something you exchange for something else. To demonstrate this, you can give your child a dollar or two and allow them to select a piece of candy or fruit from the store. This will help them understand the role of money in everyday life.

Preschoolers and young children also love to play “store” using play money, so help your child set up a small “store” and allow “customers” to purchase items using play money. Your child will learn that money is used to acquire different items, and that valuable items cost more money.

Counting Coins

When your child learns how to count, you can begin explaining to them the value of different coins and their relationships with each other. Help them understand that five pennies are worth as much as one nickel, and two nickels are worth as much as one dime. This will help them comprehend that all coins are valuable, but some are worth more than others.

Giving your child a piggybank is also a good way to help them understand the value of coins. Allow them to collect coins in their piggybank and pick a time to empty it out and count the coins inside. They will enjoy sorting the different coins into piles and adding up the value of each pile.

Using Coupons

Coupons are a practical way to save a little extra money on an item. Instead of recycling the newspapers and magazines that arrive in the mail full of coupons, use them as learning tools for your child. Since most coupons include pictures of the items, go through a coupon book with your child and have them help you select which coupons will be useful for your family. Clip these coupons and put them in an envelope.

The next time you go to the store, allow your child to carry the coupon envelope. If he is old enough, he can help you locate the items on the coupons. This is a good lesson on the importance of discounts and choosing the best deals.

The Importance of Saving Money

Perhaps the most important habit for a child to learn is how important it is to save money. A good way to reinforce this is by setting up a savings account for your child. Children will be very excited and feel like responsible adults once they have their own bank account. If your child receives an allowance, encourage your child to deposit a percentage of their allowance into their savings account.

When they get a little older, explain to them that when they put money into a savings account, the bank pays them interest every month, so they are earning even more money. To further reinforce the importance of saving money, consider matching whatever amount your child puts into their account. This will inspire them to use their savings account even more frequently.

 

At Carpe Diem Private Preschool, our programs are based on the best knowledge of education theory and research. We believe that preschoolers learn number concepts best, for example, by manipulating and counting real objects, not by completing workbook pages. We also teach self-control, cooperation, and responsibility, which are all great qualities to have when learning the value of and managing money.

Caring for a Sick Child During Flu Season

With flu season in full swing, there’s a pretty good chance that your children might come down with something – even if you’re trying your best to shield them from it. Although we can’t prevent the inevitable spread of sicknesses, we can prepare ourselves for it.

Here are a few tips that can help you care for your little ones when they’re not feeling the best this flu season.

Check for a fever.

This should be the first step you take if your children tell you they aren’t feeling well. If the thermometer shows a high-grade fever for a prolonged period of time, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. If the thermometer shows a low-grade fever, you can give them ibuprofen or acetaminophen and make sure they get plenty of rest.

Keep them hydrated.

Make sure that your children get plenty of fluids when they’re sick. This is especially important if they are suffering from diarrhea or vomiting, as these ailments can dehydrate them.

Use a humidifier.

The steam from the humidifier is a great way to clear up congestion, ease coughing, and help with a sore throat.

Give them a warm bath.

The warm water from the bath is a good way to soothe any aches or pains your children may have. Make sure you dry your children off well after you take them out of the tub so they don’t get the chills.

Let them rest, a lot.

One of the keys to a quick recovery is getting plenty of rest. create a quiet and comfortable environment for your children to get as much sleep as possible.

Elevate their head.

To help them breathe more easily, keep their head slightly elevated with pillows.

Feed them easily digestible foods.

Foods like Saltine crackers, toast, bananas, and applesauce are safe options. Classic chicken noodle soup is also a great food for relieving cold and flu symptoms.

Know the signs of serious illness.

Changes in breathing patterns, severe headache, changes in skin color, unresponsiveness, and pain or pressure in the chest or stomach are all signs of serious illness. If you notice that your child is exhibiting one or multiple of these symptoms, then they should be seen by a medical professional right away.

At Carpe Diem Private Preschool, we try to keep our students as healthy as possible, especially during flu season. Our dedicated staff works hard on a daily basis to ensure a clean and sanitary environment in each classroom and play area to prevent the spread of sicknesses. We also emphasize the importance of personal hygiene by encouraging students to wash their hands before eating and after using the restroom.

 

3 Ways to Deal with Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry can be stressful, but it’s a natural part of growing up with brothers and sisters. Parents may feel helpless, but there are ways to ease tension between siblings. Here are some techniques you can use to help minimize sibling rivalry:

  1. Keep Some Things Personal – Not everything needs to be shared by siblings. Ensure that each child has a few toys that only belong to him. Make sure your children know that the rest of the toys are communal and are expected to be shared. The same applies to space. Set aside areas for each child as their personal space where they can keep their own belongings.
  2. Avoid Comparisons – Try to avoid comparing your children to each other, or pointing out their differences in front of them. Sibling rivalry is a type of competition. Children can interpret comparisons as criticism and begin to feel that they are not as good as their siblings. This can breed jealousy and resentment. Instead of comparing your children, each child should be given individual goals and a level of expectation that relates only to him or her personally.
  3. Let Them Work It Out – Most of the time its best to let siblings settle their own differences. However, if one or both siblings is a toddler or preschooler, and the argument is unequal, you might have to step in and mediate. An example of an unequal argument is when an older sibling uses bigger words or physical strength to unfairly fight with their younger sibling. In this case, you should protect the younger sibling.

While at preschool, classmates often relate to each other more like siblings, and similar rivalries can ensue. At Carpe Diem Private Preschool, we strive to create a nurturing environment where children build healthy friendships and learn to interact and solve problems together.  And we are thrilled that many parents trust the care of multiple siblings to us!  Parents and teachers can try these simple techniques to help siblings and friends develop stronger relationships.  As they often say, friends may come and go, but siblings are forever!

How to Know if Your Child Has a Food Allergy

Food allergies are a dangerous immune system reaction that can threaten your child’s life if you don’t identify them right away.  To keep your child safe and healthy, it’s important to know what the signs and symptoms of a food allergy reaction look like.  Symptoms can happen rapidly, even within a few minutes to a couple of hours after eating.  They can also range from mild to severe, including:

Mild Symptoms

  • An itchy, runny nose and sneezing
  • A few hives and/or mild itchy skin
  • Mild nausea and/or stomach discomfort
  • An itchy mouth
  • A combination of mild symptoms on different areas of the body is considered severe

Severe Symptoms

  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, and/or a repetitive cough
  • A pale or blue color, fainting, weak pulse, and dizziness
  • A tightness in throat, hoarseness, trouble breathing or swallowing
  • A lot of swelling of the tongue/and or lips
  • Itchy skin rash (hives) over the body, a lot of redness
  • Vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhea

How Your Child Might Describe It

A young child with a limited vocabulary may not describe the symptoms of an allergic reaction the same way that an adult would. Additionally, their voices may change. For example they may become hoarse or squeaky and they may slur their words. Here are some phrases that a child may say to describe a food allergy reaction:

  • “My tongue itches,” “It (my tongue) feels like there is hair on it,” or “It feels like something’s poking my tongue.”
  • “My mouth feels funny,” or “My mouth is tingling.”
  • “There’s something stuck in my throat,” “It (my throat) feels thick,” “It feels like a bump is on the back of my throat.”
  • “My lips feel tight.”
  • “It feels like there are bugs in there,” (to describe itchy ears).

Common Food Allergies

People can experience an allergic reaction to any food, but the following foods are responsible for most allergic reactions:

  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Shellfish
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Wheat

At Carpe Diem Private Preschool, we care about the health, safety and well-being of each child. It’s important to share your child’s allergies with us, so that we know how to prevent allergic reactions from occurring.  This will also ensure that we are prepared to properly care for each child if a reaction does occur. With our commitment to safety and open communication, we work together with parents and caregivers to best protect and care for all our students.

Get Creative When Painting With Your Preschooler

Get ready to ditch those crusty old paintbrushes and replace them with something that your preschooler will love even more! Say goodbye to the struggles of dried up paint and frayed bristles, and hello to some unique ways to paint. Here are just a few ideas to help you get creative with your preschooler without picking up a paintbrush:

Sponge Painting

  1. Make a palette of paint in rainbow colors and swipe each color onto a sponge in the order of a rainbow.
  2. Say the colors aloud as you swipe each one onto the sponge and have your preschooler repeat them.
  3. Give the sponge to your preschooler and watch as they make their colorful masterpiece!

Bubble Wrap

  1. Use a sponge to paint the bubble wrap in any colors your preschooler chooses.
  2. Once the bubble wrap is covered in a decent coat of paint, flip it over onto a piece of scrapbook paper.
  3. Have your preschooler press down on it so that the paint sticks onto the paper and leaves a cool textured effect.

Fingers and Hands

  1. Finger painting is a great sensory activity for preschoolers which allows them to creatively express themselves in a hands-on way.
  2. Let your child dip his fingers in a container of washable paint and use his fingers as brushes to paint away.
  3. You could also paint your child’s hand and let her make a beautiful handprint design.

Straws

  1. Make water colored paint by adding a few drops of food coloring into a small bowl of water.
  2. Use a dropper/syringe to squirt some of the water-based paint onto a piece of paper.
  3. Give your child a straw so he can blow the paint across the paper into any direction he wants.

Cotton Swabs

  1. To make a rainbow painting, line up six cotton swabs in a row and tape them together until they are really secure.
  2. Dip each tip of the cotton swab into a different color of paint in the order of a rainbow.
  3. Give the cotton swabs to your child and have them press all of the tips onto one side of the paper and slide them across in a curved motion to create the shape of a rainbow. They might have to do this a few times so that the colors show up thick enough on both sides.

At Carpe Diem Private Preschool, we believe in letting children express themselves and allowing their imaginations to shine through on paper. Although we do many activities right here in school, it’s important for the fun to continue at home as well. These painting activities are just one way that you can spark your child’s creativity while adding to the growing gallery of artwork on your refrigerator.

Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten

The first day of Kindergarten can be an emotional experience, for both you and your child. You might be riddled with worry about how well your child will do in this new learning environment. Your little one might be scared to walk into a classroom full of other children he doesn’t know and adults he hasn’t met before. Thankfully, there are some easy ways to make your baby’s transition into Kindergarten as painless as possible.

Prepare socially                    

  • Set up play dates with children of various ages so that your child can get used to interacting with other kids. Observe your child’s behavior and notice if he struggles with concepts such as sharing or taking turns. These are social behaviors that you can easily teach your child before they start Kindergarten.
  • Leave your child with other trusted adults, such as an extended family member or a highly recommended babysitter, for a few hours at a time. If your child is not used to being in the care of someone other than mommy and daddy, this is a good way for her to adjust to being under the care of a teacher that she has never met prior to walking in on the first day of Kindergarten.

Prepare verbally

  • Give your child simple and specific directions and encourage him to complete the tasks. It’s important for your child to be able to listen attentively and follow through with what is requested of him before he goes into a classroom environment where this will be expected of him.
  • Read to your child daily and pause occasionally to ask questions. This will ensure that she stays engaged while you read to her. Here are some ways to make story time a more interactive experience.

Prepare cognitively

  • Teach your child his numbers. You can practice with him by counting aloud during car rides or helping him count objects in your home. Make sure he is able to identify the numbers 1-10 before beginning Kindergarten.
  • Talk about concepts with your child. It’s usually a good idea to start with an easy concept like opposites. Some common opposites include big/little, empty/full, and slow/fast. Positional and directional concepts are also important to go over with your child. Make sure they know the basics like up/down, over/under, in/out, behind/in front of, top/bottom, beside/between, off/on, and stop/go.

Prepare physically

  • Go outside and let your child run wild (under your supervision, of course)! Things like running, jumping, and climbing allow your child to naturally develop you his gross motor skills. Playing catch and skipping around are also great ways to do this.
  • Practice name writing. Not only will your child most likely need to know how to write her name on the first day of school, but name writing exercises are also one of the best ways to develop her fine motor skills.

At Carpe Diem Private Preschools, we believe that the best early childhood education starts with a good foundation. We believe that where a child learns has a direct impact on how well a child learns. This is why our preschool classrooms and teachers are so well-equipped to prepare the little ones for their big transition into our Kindergarten classroom. We have put careful thought into creating the perfect learning atmosphere for all of our students.

How to Get Your Tot to Be Tidy

Nothing is more frustrating than coming home from a long day and finding your child’s room a complete mess. With toys and clothes scattered everywhere around the room, it’s hard not to lose your mind right then and there. Thankfully, there’s another option – just teach your child to clean the clutter themselves!

5 Ways to get your tot to be tidy

Keep things at a child’s level. Looking at things from your child’s eye level will give you a better perspective on how to help them get organized. For example, closet hanging rods may be out of reach for your little ones, so lowering the rod and accompanying it with child-sized hangers will make it easier for them to put away his own clothing and keep the closet organized.  It’s also important to make sure that things like cubbies and dresser drawers are at their level so they can put things away on their own.

Teach your child organizational skills. Instead of getting mad at your children for leaving their room a total mess, teach them skills and maintenance methods that they can use to organize their room. This will allow them to adopt efficient ways to keep their room clean on a daily basis. One way to do this is to ask yourself what’s working and what’s not working for them. Also, be sure to know what is important to your child so you can explain to them why staying organized is important in a way that is meaningful to them.  For example, if they are frustrated because they can’t find a favorite toy, be sure to use that as an opportunity to explain how being organized and putting things back where they belong can help them find their things more easily!

Create a system.  Sorting, storing, and simplifying will make it so much easier for your child to keep their room organized. Start by keeping clothing sorted according to style and season. For example, you can keep all pants in one drawer and all shirts in a separate drawer. Things like jackets and hoodies can be stored in the back of the closet, under the bed, or on higher shelves during the summer months when your child won’t be using them.

Label everything. Printing out photos of the inside contents of a drawer and slapping them on the outside of each corresponding drawer, will help remind your child of where each item belongs. You can also put them on the inside of toy boxes or storage containers so if they decide to dump the stuff out, they will still know where everything goes back by looking at the photo inside.

Make a maintenance routine. Creating a regular routine can help your child stay organized and not feel overwhelmed. It’s usually a good idea to break things up according to time of day. So you can assign tasks like making the bed and putting dirty clothes in the hamper as the “morning pickup” and tasks like putting toys away and getting their outfits ready for the next day as the “evening pickup.”

Our Take

At Carpe Diem, our aim is to create an invigorating and orderly environment for your child. We believe that this kind of balanced environment leads to inspiring thoughts and good habits that will follow them into the future. That is why we keep all of the materials in our classrooms at “child level” – not the teacher’s /adult level. We know that when a child gets things and puts them away by themselves they are experiencing independence, which is a fundamental part of child development.

 

Make Your Space a Safer Place – Babyproofing Tips

A baby’s development happens fast! It can be fascinating to watch your infant go from a dependent newborn to an adventurous toddler in the blink of an eye. So you don’t want to wait until your child is already crawling before you start babyproofing the house. Here are some ways that you can make your house safe for your child.

Eliminate Household Hazards

  • Electrical outlets are a common way that babies can get shocked. They may try to put objects into them or stick their wet fingers in them. You should block off outlets with heavy furniture or close them with safety plugs or covers that snap close when the outlets are not in use.
  • Electrical cords are another hazard because babies like to chew and pull on them. This can yank down heavy objects or lamps that may fall on them.
  • Blind cords can strangle babies if they get tangled up in them while playing. Always make sure to tie them up and keep them out of your baby’s reach. If you want to be extra safe, go with cordless blinds. Also, avoid placing the crib near a window altogether.
  • Flooring poses a tripping hazard if there are any loose tiles or unsecured rugs. Make sure to repair any floor damages to tile or linoleum, and secure rugs with nonskid rug backing.
  • Furniture that is not sturdy or is not attached to the wall can fall over on toddlers who try to climb them. Repair any unstable furniture, or bolt pieces to the wall for extra insurance.  Put heavier objects on lower shelves to make the furniture less top-heavy.
  • Cabinets may contain everyday household items that are dangerous. For example, cleaning products that contain toxic chemicals are usually located in cabinets below the sink which are at child’s level. Make sure you move these items to a higher cabinet or purchase childproof safety latches for all of the cabinets in your home.

Avoid Accidents

  • Garbage cans. Every day you throw leftover foods and waste into your garbage can. You may have noticed that, for some reason, babies are intrigued by it. To keep them out of the bacteria-ridden disposals, place garbage cans on a high countertop or inside a latched kitchen cabinet.
  • Toxic tanks. The bathroom is another germ-infested place where a baby’s curiosity takes hold, as they like to open the toilet lid to take a peek inside. To prevent your baby from falling in head first or touching anything icky, you can either buy a toilet lock or keep bathroom doors closed at all times.
  • Stairs. If your house has stairs, invest in safety gates with plastic meshwork or vertical slats that you can install at the top and bottom of the staircase. These will keep your baby from getting injured if they tumble down the stairs.
  • Tables and tablecloths. To prevent your baby from getting hurt by the often sharp edges of coffee tables, end tables, and dressers, simply apply cushioned strips or padded guards to the edges of these low tables. It’s also a good idea to replace tablecloths with placemats because babies like to yank on the ends of tablecloths, which could send dishes, glasses, and cutlery flying off the table.
  • Small appliances and objects. Make sure you place your infant’s high chair well out of reach of kitchen appliances (especially those that generate heat) and their cords. Unplug any appliances in the bathroom when you are not using them. Keep knickknacks high up where your baby can’t get to them. Small objects like these present major choking hazards.

Our Take on Babyproofing

At Carpe Diem Private Preschools we make safety a top priority. We believe in creating an environment that you feel is just as safe as your own home. That’s why our campus is equipped with state-of-the-art safety features. We know that babyproofing the classrooms in our preschool is equally as important as babyproofing the rooms in your house.

Having Fun the Old-Fashioned Way

Remember how much fun you used to have when you were a kid? You probably played games that entertained you and your friends for hours! Think about all the fun your kids could be having if you reintroduced these classic games to them. Here are some ways you can have some good old-fashioned fun with your kids:

Indoor Games

  • Hide and Seek. Your kids will have a blast playing this game. A series of uncontrollable giggle fits will often lead you to their secret hiding spot, if it isn’t already obvious enough!
  • Hot Potato. Grab a bean bag, a stuffed animal, or even a real potato (if you want to spice things up with older kids) and get to tossing! This game is often more fun if you have a few extra kids over for a play date. You can have them all sit in a circle, turn on the music have them pass around the object of choice. Every time the music stops, the child caught holding the “hot potato” leaves the circle. The last kid sitting wins the game!
  • String cups. Before there were cell phones, there were string phones! Help your child discover the wonders of this method of communication. Click on this link to learn how to make your own and how to explain the simple science behind how it all works.
  • Paper airplanes. Fold up a piece of paper and get to flying! Here are some ways to get creative with the planes.
  • Puzzles. These are a timeless way to sharpen your child’s cognitive and problem-solving abilities. The best part is that puzzles come in many themes and sizes, so as your child gets older you can switch the easy ones out for some more age-appropriate ones.

Outdoor Games

  • Hopscotch. This is a great game to set up for your children if they find themselves bored on a crisp, clear afternoon. Here are some ways to add a twist to the traditional game!
  • Four-square. Get the family or some friends together because you’ll need four players for this game. A chalk and a bouncy ball are also required to play. Check out the rules here!
  • Freeze tag. Decide which child will be “it” and have him close his eyes and count to 10. While he is counting, have the other kids run and hide. When the “it” child is done counting, he can close his eyes and run around looking for the other kids and trying to tag them. Once another player gets tagged, that player must automatically stand frozen in place until another player comes and “unfreezes” them by touching their arm, shoulder, or back. The last one to get tagged becomes the next “it” child.
  • Backyard Bocce. This is more than just a classic game, it’s a sport that dates back to as early as 5000 B.C. Bocce can be played with as little as two or as many as eight players. All you need is a set of bocce balls and an open space or court. Watch this video to find out how to play.
  • Bubbles. Time to get soapy! Have your kids blow bubbles of different sizes. Make a game out of it by timing how long the bubbles last for. The one who blows the longest lasting bubble wins!

At Carpe Diem, we encourage social interactions with other children and adults through physical experiences. We believe that children learn best through experimentation and play, which motivates their interest and curiosity. Classic games like the ones listed above are timeless and can help inspire imagination while teaching children the importance of good old-fashioned values such as fairness, integrity, and honesty.