Negative Language and the Word “No”

Keeping a positive learning environment can sometimes be a challenge for parents and teachers alike. Guiding children through the learning process often comes with some frustration. In these moments, it’s easy to use negative language, like the word “No”. But is it harmful to a child’s development to use these words?

How language affects thought

The Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis states that language has a strong correlation with one’s perception of the world to some degree. In short, the way one speaks affects the way one thinks.

This concept is universal across all cultures and all ages. In fact, the capacity to learn is greatest in the early stages of childhood. Children are most sensitive to words and their meanings, and the effects can have a great impact on general mood and attitude.

How this hypothesis applies to a parent’s word choice with children is a hotly debated subject, which boils down to whether using certain words can either maximize or hinder development.

Does “No” have an effect on children?

The answer is yes. “No” has as much of an effect on emotional and cognitive growth as any kind of word choice. While “No” is part of a binary (one or the other) expression that spans all cultures, it still has particular influences on children’s perception of the world and themselves.

Using “No”, and other negative words, tends to be immediately impactful for children. Even at infanthood, they analyze facial expressions that belong with certain sounds that their parents make. While negative language can be quite clear, it can also be emotionally compromising.

Interestingly, evidence points to the context of the situation having more of an effect than the word. When parents are frustrated, “No” and other negative words tend to get used a lot more often, coupled with anger and punishments.

It would appear the use of positive language with children tends to be in a more civil context, thus creating a more learning conductive environment.

Conclusion for parents on “No”

The word “No” is not naturally bad. If used with patience, compassion and a learning lesson in mind, “No” can be a helpful tool. However, parents who make the effort to utilize positive language more often don’t have to use “No” as much. Instead of telling your children what not to do, ask them to do what is right, after showing them what they did was wrong.

Using positive words leads to a more positive learning environment, but if you can exercise patience with your children when teaching them, using “No” is fine. What matters most is having a safe, loving family dynamic and keeping your child’s development in mind.

The Carpe Diem Approach

At the heart of Carpe Diem Private Preschool is a deep respect for children, their natural curiosity, and their incredible capacity to learn. We believe that to achieve academic success and true learning potential, the whole child must be nurtured and respected in positive and constructive ways.

The Benefits of Raising a Bilingual Child

Being bilingual is quickly becoming a vital asset for working professionals, and embracing cultures has become an important topic in new families. When deciding to raise your child to understand more than one language, consider these cognitive and social benefits:

The Bilingual Brain

Learning two languages at a young age has shown to help the brain function in areas other than language.

Children who are bilingual tend to have higher capacities for memory and attention. When children are exposed to, and practice, more than one language in early stages, brain activity is increased. Thus, development is more enriched.

Bilingual children have also shown to adjust better to changes in their environment. In learning two languages, the brain is exposed to two different thought and cultural constructs. This trains children in receiving new information and adjusting their approaches based on the context, much like when forming a sentence in one language vs. another.

Social Opportunities

If you live in a community that is multicultural, speaking multiple languages at home can help your child feel more comfortable making new friends. Being bilingual can also give your child more confidence in social settings, knowing they can communicate with almost anyone in the community.

Additionally, studies have shown that language plays a strong role in how people think. It’s called Linguistic Relativity, and it develops early in childhood. Being bilingual can be a tool for your child to learn empathy and creativity.

Bilingualism at Work

While your child’s “job” now is getting the most out of their education, in the future they will have to show employers the kinds of values and knowledge they have developed. One of the best ways to differentiate themselves, depending on location, is to be bilingual.

The world is now more connected than ever, and that means job opportunities are opening up around the globe. It also means there are a lot of new people competing for the same positions now. In order to keep up with the sometimes demanding competition, knowing more than one language becomes a vital asset for employers.

 

Being Bilingual at Carpe Diem

At Carpe Diem Private Preschool, learning different languages is a powerful tool in helping children develop into well-rounded individuals. We have dedicated experts teaching our students Spanish as a part of their daily curriculum.

 

Empathy in 3 Steps

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It can be considered one of the most important characteristics of social behavior and is something that should be taught early on in childhood.

Let’s look at the importance of, and how we can teach our children, empathy.

Why Empathy Matters

The ability to reciprocate feelings is an important social and emotional skill for everyone to learn.

For parents, empathy can be a highly effective child development tool. Having empathy can help to maintain an emotionally positive environment in the household, which keeps the family attitude positive and makes development easier for children. Being empathetic with your children also helps them learn to love and trust you more deeply, allowing for better communication.

For children, the benefits of empathy will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Practicing empathy helps children become more aware of their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Not only does this help children control their own emotions more effectively, it also assists in creating and maintaining healthy relationships.

Empathy is an emotional and social skill that children should begin practicing as early as possible, so parents should begin teaching it from day one.

Empathy in 3 Steps

In order to teach empathy, you must first be empathetic with your children. Follow these three steps when interacting with your children to practice empathy:

1. Recognition: Take a moment to recognize what your child is feeling. This initial emotional connection with your child shows them that you’re on their side, not against them.

2. Definition: Find out where the emotion is coming from by starting a dialogue with your child. This will let your child know that you are ready to listen to their feelings and that you understand them.

3. Solution: Offer a solution with your child’s emotional well-being in mind. If something must be done to improve your child’s feeling, give suggestions and ask if your child would be willing to do them.

At this point your child will be more open to changing behavior if necessary, because you have established your intentions to help and understand them using empathy.

Practicing at Home

Practice makes perfect when it comes to empathy. At home, it is important to lead by example. Be empathetic in any scenario that applies. If your child is excited, ask them why and decide if praise or celebration is in order. If your child is sad, be open to talking about it and offer solutions to make them feel better. It’s all about communicating with your child frequently.

Talking and listening to your child, and being empathetic with them, can greatly help their emotional and social growth. Following the three steps of practicing empathy, and teaching them to your child, can make a world of difference in the long run.

How Carpe Diem Teaches Empathy

At Carpe Diem Private Preschool, we understand that children meet their full academic potential when they feel comfortable and respected. We pride ourselves on having caring, trained teachers who take the time to learn each child’s name and make each student feel special when they come to class. Our teachers lead by example and demonstrate empathy every day by how they interact with our students.

The Benefits of Experiential Learning for Preschoolers

Preschool children have an instinctive desire to learn, discover and try new things. Their natural curiosity is attracted to anything they are unfamiliar with, so that makes children interested in trying everything. This interest in learning can be taken advantage of in schools and at home to maximize a child’s development, but only when done properly.

While preschoolers are naturally curious, they are also very active, mentally and physically. Oftentimes, they have difficulty paying attention to things they are uninterested in. So is there a way to make almost any topic instantly intriguing to children? The answer lies in experiential learning.

What is Experiential Learning?

Experiential learning is a method of learning where children actively participate in the learning process. It makes lessons personal to children by including them in the instructing process. Classes become fun activities for children in this way. For example, instead of the traditional approach of teaching them about cutting fruit, children would cut fruit themselves under adult supervision in the experiential learning approach.

What are the benefits?

Learning and growth happens quickest when a child is able to devote their full attention to a topic, especially if that topic poses an age-appropriate challenge. Experiential learning offers a fun alternative to traditional classroom teaching that can improve the following areas of growth and learning:

Memory retention: Children gain a deeper understanding of content when allowed to act on it, and when they are fully interested in the content. This causes synapses (nerves in the brain) to create stronger connections when a child associates motor functions to new information, which leads to higher memory retention.

Experiential learning demands effort and attention, simply by being an activity that children can participate in. Therefore, the lesson becomes a more personalized exercise of hands-on exploration.

Life-skill development: Practical knowledge is typically gained when children encounter obstacles and are given the opportunity to develop their problem-solving skills to overcome these challenges. Allowing preschoolers to actively participate in daily processes can establish life skills that will benefit their future growth and learning.

Emotional growth: Experiential learning gives children a sense of accomplishment that will develop their self-esteem and fuel their desire to learn. When they take ownership of a situation, with help from adults, children learn how to follow their ambitions without being afraid to try something new or struggle at first.

 

How Carpe Diem Uses Experiential Learning

At Carpe Diem Private Preschools, our educators utilize experiential learning to teach more effectively, and combine it with traditional interdisciplinary approaches to assist each child in reaching their greatest learning potential. Our unique teaching system challenges children with exciting projects that teaches them how to set goals, while also developing knowledge across multiple domains of learning.

Parenting 101: Making Self-Care a Habit

Raising a child isn’t easy. It is definitely a full-time, around-the-clock job! Even if your child attends a preschool or daycare during the day, you can still get overwhelmed with how much work and energy it takes to care for an infant, toddler, or preschooler. We strive to be the best parents that we can be. But being your best is nearly impossible when you are burned out, mentally drained and physically exhausted.

We get tired of picking up the toys, cleaning up the spills, and changing endless diapers while struggling to find time to eat or sleep. Things begin to pile up and we can quickly start to feel stressed and overwhelmed.  Parents devote so much time to caring for their children and often leave little time to care for themselves.

Benefits of Self Care

To be our best, we have to make time to care for ourselves. When we make self-care a priority, we begin to see many improvements in our lives. For instance, we will most likely experience lower stress levels. Good self-care habits such as regular sleep, relaxation, exercise, and eating well have been proven to reduce stress levels. These practices help maintain our emotional, mental, and physical health, helping us manage and prevent stress so we can be the best for ourselves and others.

How to Start Your Self-Care Journey

  1. Put “me time” in your schedule: Alone time is necessary. And something that we often forget to do when young children can command so much of our time. When you mark it down in your calendar, it forces you to take this time more seriously. A good time for this is in the morning when your child is at preschool or daycare, or in the evening when you can find alternative childcare options. What you decide to do during your “me time” is completely up to! You may choose to exercise, go shopping, go to the spa, take a long walk in nature, or any other activity that you find calming or stress-relieving.
  2. Meet with one of your friends: This is especially important if you spend most of your day around children and need an escape. Spending time with other adults without children around can be particularly rewarding. This allows you time to have mature, full-length conversations without having to censor yourself or fear interruption.
  3. Make a journal: Write in your journal for about 20 minutes every day and just let your thoughts flow onto the paper. This is a healthy way to release those feelings that you may otherwise keep bottled up or under the surface.
  4. Set limits: Sometimes we can get stressed because we don’t know how to say ‘no’ to others. Maybe your neighbor keeps asking you to host playdates at your house or you are being pressured to volunteer somewhere. There’s no shame in saying ‘no’ to one or even a few of these requests. Instead of automatically saying ‘yes,’ you can practice saying “Let me think about it” or “I’ll get back to you on that.” It’s best to keep your workload manageable, rather than let things pile up. This will help to avoid feelings of overwhelm.
  5. Download a meditation app: Even if you’ve never meditated in your life and think that its probably not for you, it doesn’t hurt to try. You can download apps that make it easy for you to follow guided meditations on a daily basis. These apps teach you how to meditate and do breathing exercises that can calm your mind and body.

When we take care of ourselves, we show our children that self-care is a priority. We serve as good role models when we lead by example, teaching our children that we value our own health and well-being.

Self-care is important because it helps us unwind after days or weeks of stress. When we feel more relaxed, we can be calmer, healthier, and overall better parents.

 

 

STEM education

The importance of STEM in preschool

In today’s society, where advancements in science and technology abound, it is no surprise that jobs in the STEM field have become increasingly in demand. In fact, jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math are expected to grow by about 9 percent between 2014 and 2024. As your child grows up and reaches the age when he or she is ready to enter the workforce, there will be more demand in these fields than ever before. That’s just one reason why it’s important for young children to build a strong foundation in these academic fields during their formative years.

Below are some more benefits of introducing STEM at the preschool level:

It sparks an early interest.

Preschool age children are constantly developing new interests, which is why it’s so important to capture their interest in STEM topics as early as possible. In fact, delaying the exposure could actually have negative consequences according to recent research. Studies have shown that by fourth grade, one-third of students have already lost interest in science and by eighth grade, nearly half of them have lost interest in it or considered it unnecessary for their future plans. Engaging a child’s interest in STEM early on could prevent this from occurring and could also lead to a lifelong passion for these subjects.

It sets them up for success.

Many early childhood experts agree that the sooner STEM subjects are introduced to a student, the more successful the students will be in those subjects in the future. These subjects in school turn into financially secure work options later in life. According to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 93 percent of jobs in the STEM field present wages that are higher than the average salary in the U.S.

It fosters neurological growth during the critical point.

From birth to age 5, children are at a critical point in neurological or brain development. These formative years are the perfect time to introduce children to the process of scientific inquiry because they are naturally so curious about how the world works. It is crucial for children to engage in active exploration and hands-on experiences in STEM during this sensitive period of development.

STEM Curriculum at Carpe Diem  

At Carpe Diem Private Preschool, we offer an interdisciplinary approach to learning with STEM as one of our core components. The curriculum at Carpe Diem places an emphasis on math and science, unlike most other preschools which only focus on the child’s literacy skills and social-emotional development. Through hands-on rigorous exploration, our STEM-based curriculum is able to tap into the child’s natural curiosity.

 

 

One for all and all for a tidy room

5 Ways to Make Chores Fun for Preschool Age Children

Involving children in household chores at the preschool age has many potential benefits. Gaining a sense of responsibility, independence, self-reliance, and empathy are just a few of the developmental breakthroughs that can occur as a result of your children participating in their household chores. Not only will it help you out by having one less thing on your to-do list, but it will help your preschool age children learn skills that will last a lifetime, including time management, task prioritization, and basic organization techniques.

Luckily, chores don’t have to be a drag! You can turn them into fun games and activities that your preschooler will love! Here are a few ideas that will get preschool age children started on their chores:

  1. Play the Freeze Dance Pick Up Game. Children at the preschool age are old enough to put away their own toys, but most kids don’t have as much fun putting them away as they did taking them out. The solution is turning this tidying up chore into a fun and interactive game of freeze dance. Blast your child’s favorite upbeat song as they dance and put as many toys away as possible while the music plays. When the music stops, well – you know the drill.
  2. Film a cleaning commercial. Whip out your smartphone or video camera next time there’s a spill and tell your kids that they are going to be the star of a new cleaning commercial! Hand them a wet towel and the cleaning product in a spray bottle (of course you’ll want to make sure that it’s a gentle one without any strong chemicals or fumes) and start filming away as they wipe up that mess!
  3. Kick off a laundry race. Make sure you have a few laundry baskets ready because your children will be eager to play this cleaning game. Blow your whistle and shout whites, colors, or darks! Your children will be racing to their rooms as fast as they can to grab their dirty laundry and come back with the color that you requested.
  4. Play cleaning Jenga. Here’s where you can really get creative by writing an age-appropriate chore on the side of each log in the Jenga stack. Your child will be directed by the cleaning activity written on the side of the log that caused the stack to fall.
  5. Hold a tidying contest. This one is all about speed. Who can tidy up their mess the fastest? You can make a scoreboard. Record all the times and give them the opportunity to beat their previous times, or the times of their friends and siblings. This is a great way to incorporate a little friendly competition and get the job done fast!

How Chores Help the Learning Process at the Preschool Age

At Carpe Diem Private Preschool, we use an interdisciplinary approach to learning in which children learn through doing and reflecting. Our experiential learning process helps children build character and leadership, as well as gross motor skills. We believe that involving your preschool age child in chores at home is a great way to continue this experiential learning process outside of the classroom environment.

 

Blog Post 69 Childcare 101

Childcare 101: Too Much of a Good Thing? How to Praise Kids Effectively

We all know that kids should be praised for doing something right or behaving well in various situations. But is there such a thing as too much praise? Many childcare experts say yes. It’s possible for too much praise to negatively impact the process of rewarding good behavior. The most important thing to remember when it comes to praising our children effectively, should be the quality of our praise rather than the quantity. Understanding when and how to praise your child can play a fundamental role in raising confident children with a healthy self-esteem.

When to Praise:

When she complies – Praise your child for following your instructions and complying with the rules. Your child also deserves praise for playing quietly and entertaining herself, so make sure calm and peaceful behavior doesn’t go unnoticed.

When he displays prosocial behavior – When your child interacts with other children in a healthy way, such as by taking turns, sharing, using kind words, or just getting along in general, you should reward this kind of prosocial behavior with praise.

When she shows effort – As a way of encouraging your child, you should praise them for learning a new skill or for their willingness to try hard. Your patience and strategic praise during these situations will motivate your child to keep trying until they have mastered the skill.

How to Praise:

Praise the process specifically – How we praise our children can affect their mindset. Childcare professionals have found that the best way to create a growth mindset is to praise the process. Children with a growth mindset, relate success to the act of becoming smarter, as opposed to showing that they are already smart.

So rather than offering your child a general statement of praise such as “You’re so smart” for doing something right, try praising the process instead. For instance, “You found a really good way to tie your shoes” or “I can tell you’ve been practicing this.”

Praise positively – Praise should never be mixed with criticism, or it will reduce the effectiveness of the praise. Instead of saying “I’m glad you didn’t cry this time,” try something along the lines of “I’m proud of you for staying calm when I said you couldn’t have the toy.”

Praise genuinely – Children will know when you’re being insincere, and praising them insecurely could cause them to lose trust in you. This may also lead to insecurity. If they don’t believe your positive words, it could cause confusion in trying to distinguish when you mean the praise and when you don’t. Instead of saying, “You’re the smartest kid in the world, try “You do a really good job getting your homework done.”

Praise at Carpe Diem Private Preschool

Our teachers at Carpe Diem Private Preschool – Southlake, Allen, Frisco, Richardson, and Cedar Park – Austin, are trained to develop the child cognitively, as well as socially and emotionally. Our programs are based on the best knowledge of education theory and research, and our teachers are well-trained to administer just the right amount of quality praise to each individual child.

Family Emergency Plan

Creating a Family Emergency Plan

As we enter hurricane season, we are reminded of the importance of being prepared for natural disasters. Creating a family emergency plan can help ensure that your family is safe if a natural disaster occurs. It is important that each family member understands what to do in the case of an emergency. Here are some tips to help your family be better prepared:

Create a Communication Strategy

One of the first steps of emergency preparedness is to figure out how you will receive emergency alerts and warnings. Websites such as weather.com allow you to sign up to receive text messages about severe weather alerts in your area. Check your local county’s website to find your evacuation area or route. You should also find a local TV channel to watch as the storm gets closer, so you know exactly when it is supposed to hit your area.

Make sure to create a family communication plan as well. Establish an emergency contact, such as a relative or close friend, that you can contact before and after the storm to let them know that you are okay. Find a nearby safe place that you and your children can easily get to, and make it your family meeting place. Tell your children that if they ever get separated from you, they should go to that place so you can reconnect.

Keep Emergency Supplies on Hand

When a hurricane is approaching, stores will very quickly run out of bottled water, nonperishable food, and important supplies such as flashlights and batteries. If you lose power, having a hand-cranked radio is important so you can listen to any important alerts or updates about the storm and recovery efforts. Purchasing these items in advance will likely save you time and money. It will also save you the stress of rushing to the store at the last minute only to find that something you need is sold out.

In addition to stocking up on emergency supplies, it is a good idea to make sure all current prescriptions are filled. This will ensure that you do not run out of any important medications during a storm. If you have pets, make sure you have extra pet food. And don’t forget to fill up your cars with gas before the storm if possible.

Remain in Shelter During the Storm

During the storm, it is very important that you remain indoors at all times. While it may be tempting to step outside to get a good look at what’s happening, this can be very dangerous. Inside of the eye of a hurricane, the sky appears calm for a while. However, this calmness is short-lived and the storm can resume at any point. Please stay inside your house until the storm completely passes and you receive communication that it is safe to venture outdoors.

Our Safety Plan at Carpe Diem

At Carpe Diem Private Preschool, we take safety very seriously. The staff at each of our locations – Allen, Cedar Park – Austin, Frisco, Richardson, and Southlake – has been trained to deliver the best outcomes in emergency scenarios. We also have comprehensive emergency plans developed by former Secret Service agents. All of our safety and security measures are designed to ensure that our students and their families feel safe and comfortable at our school.

Little girl feeding baby horse on ranch

5 Fun Things to Do with Kids in Southlake, Texas

Southlake, Texas is the place to be if you have kids! Located in the suburbs of Fort Worth, the city of Southlake is known for having a great public education system, as well as high quality private schools, like Carpe Diem Private Preschool.  As such, there are many kid-friendly places that you can take your kids to after school or on the weekend for some family fun!

Here are just a few family-friendly places that you can visit in Southlake, Texas:

Marshall Creek Ranch: For the family that enjoys the great outdoors, Marshall Creek Ranch offers 39 miles of trails to explore. From coyotes and white tail deer, to great blue herons and red-headed turkey vultures, there are plenty of beautiful sights to see while horseback riding at Marshall Creek Ranch.

Urban Air Adventure Park: With a warrior obstacle course, runway tumble track, trampolines, battle beams, a foam pit, and dodgeball, Urban Air Adventure Park is the go-to choice for families who enjoy an action-packed indoor venue.

Southlake Town Square: Every year in July, the City of Southlake hosts their annual Stars and Stripes event. Crafts, games, and inflatables for the kids are coupled with concessions and live music for the parents, making this event perfect for the whole family.

Taste Buds Kitchen of Southlake: Taste Buds Kitchen takes culinary entertainment to a whole new level by exciting culinary experiences and instructions for people of all ages. From classes for kids and private lessons for playdates to family classes and birthday parties, Taste Buds Kitchen of Southlake is perfect for the food-loving family.

Ride with Pride: This horsemanship school offers group lessons, private lessons, birthday parties, and a rodeo club. Focusing on building confidence and self-esteem, Ride with Pride teaches students how to care for horses and ride them safely.

From exciting events to a variety of kid-friendly attractions, there is never a shortage of fun things to do with your children in Southlake, Texas!

At Carpe Diem Private Preschool, we believe in the importance of families spending quality time together. While doing fun activities with your children, you can often discover many learning opportunities! Our preschools make learning fun with active, engaging curriculum. At our Southlake campus, we have three age appropriate playgrounds so that we can balance work and play, and sometimes even combine the two!