Five Ways to Enjoy the Great Outdoors

In the age of technology, it can be difficult to get your kids to go play outside. With so many entertaining devices at their fingertips, they are often content with staying indoors all day long. Sometimes it’s best to get rid of their gadgets for a while and go outside for a breath of fresh air and wholesome fun.

Top 5 Ways to Enjoy the Great Outdoors

  1. Gardening. If you already have a garden, give your child their own patch and let her select a flower, herb, or vegetable of her choice to plant. If your backyard is small or you live in an apartment, you can do the same thing but instead have her plant it in a pot. Teach her how to dig a hole, plant the seeds, and water her plant regularly.
  2. Sunset/Sunrise Picnic. Dusk and dawn are some of the most beautiful times of the day, but few of us take advantage of the beauty that they offer. With all of the vibrant colors in the sky and the cooler temperatures of fall, sunrise and sunset can be the perfect time for a family picnic.
  3. Walking/Hiking. Going for a short walk or hike in your neighborhood or the nearest state park can be a good way to experience the outdoors. Teach your kids to appreciate nature by using their eyes, ears, nose, and fingers. Ask them to describe what they see or what they hear. A great idea is to bring a pair of binoculars or a magnifying glass so they can get a heightened sense of the world around them.
  4. Star Gazing. Do some simple online research on astronomy and find out what the constellations and planets look like so you can point them out and teach your child their names. Have him use binoculars or a telescope to get a better look at Orion’s Belt or the Big Dipper. Pay attention to when lunar eclipses or meteor showers are happening, so you can be sure to step outside that night.  If you’re lucky, you might even see a shooting star!
  5. Camping. Having your children help you pick the camping spot will make them more enthusiastic about going on the trip. Another way to get them excited is to have them help you set everything up and have a competition to see who could do their tasks the fastest.


There are so many ways to experience the natural world. You can use these all as opportunities to teach your child the value of nature. At Prep Academy, we recognize the importance of the great outdoors and believe that teaching our kids to appreciate it helps them in their development. Learning about nature also helps them become more environmentally responsible. Most importantly, spending time together as a family outside helps build stronger bonds and motivates your child to reach their full potential.


Travelling with Toddlers

Traveling alone can be stressful enough, but traveling with toddlers is a whole other ball game. The best way to get through the trip, with as little hassle as possible, is to plan ahead.  Here are some simple tips to help you do just that!

Before you go:

  • Give yourself extra time. Leaving your house hours in advance will be your biggest advantage. Toddlers don’t understand the time constraints of travel and will want to stall, go to the potty, or eat a snack at the most inconvenient moments.
  • Check their passports. Children’s passports expire every five years, so you should make sure your child’s passport is still valid before taking a trip outside of the country.
  • Print your boarding passes at home. This will save you time when you get to the airport and you won’t have to worry about entertaining your child while you wait in line to get the boarding passes.
  • Pack smart:
    • Pull-ups. Long travels can be a nightmare during the potty training days, and public transportation can sometimes offer less than desirable bathroom situations. Although potty training experts may advise against it, having your child wear a pull-up on public transportation could save you a lot of time and frustration if an accident does occur. Make sure to pack wipes as well!
    • Snacks. The wait at the gate can be a long one, especially if your flight gets delayed. Your child will most likely get hungry. You won’t want to wait to feed him until you get on the airplane. Many airlines no longer provide in-flight food services. Go prepared with a variety of your child’s favorite snacks.
    • Entertainment. Take a few books, a coloring book, a magic marker (crayons might end up rolling off the tray unless they are the triangular ones), a sticker book, a toy (that does not have pieces), and a cellphone or tablet with apps and games already downloaded on it.
    • Medicine. Remember to bring a first aid kit and motion sickness medication if you are traveling by plane or boat. A child’s immune system is often weakened during the hustle and bustle of travels, so bringing over the counter cold and flu medicine would be a safe choice, too.
    • Change of clothes. You never know what may happen on the trip! There’s nothing worse than having to clean vomit off your child’s shirt mid-flight. Make sure you pack a plastic baggie in addition to the change of clothes, so you can store the soiled clothing inside to contain the smell.

Things to avoid:

  • Big coats. Extra layers of clothing can be a burden to take off your kid when going through airport security. It’s easier to pack large coats inside your checked luggage instead.
  • Sweets. Giving your child sweets before a long journey can be a bad idea. Make sure the snacks you pack aren’t too sugary so you avoid a sugar rush when they’re forced to stay still and seated.
  • Connecting flights. Getting off of one flight and rushing through the airport with a child and bags of belongings to catch your next flight can be a hassle. If possible, try to book only nonstop flights.

At Prep Academy, we believe that traveling with your children is a great way to spark their curiosity and grab their interest in exploring the world around them. Traveling with toddlers can be fun and exciting as long as you go prepared!


10 Tips to Having Them Mind Their Manners

It may seem like manners have become a thing of the past, but teaching your kids how to be polite and courteous should not become a forgotten art. Manners will almost always be appreciated even though they are so often neglected in today’s society and a child who shows social grace will make a good impression right away. Learning manners will not only aid your child in their social development now but will stick with them throughout their future as a teen and eventually into adulthood.

You should begin teaching your children these 10 manners when they are around the daycare or preschool age.

  1. Please and Thank You. This is one of the first courtesies your toddler should learn. When they need something you should tell them that the proper way to ask for it is with a “please.” When they are given something, whether it is a gift or treat, you should tell them to accept it with a “thank-you.” Practice this with your child until it becomes a habit.
  2. Sharing. You’ve heard the age-old saying “sharing is caring,” make sure your child hears it too. You can encourage sharing by giving him two toys that are similar and then having him offer one to his friend during their playtime.
  3. Apologizing. If your child does something that injures another person, either physically or emotionally, teach them that it’s necessary to apologize. Tell them that the action they did hurt the person and that they should say they’re sorry.
  4. Conversation. Young children often don’t realize that it’s rude to interrupt someone when they are talking. A fun way to teach them how to wait for someone to finish talking is to use a toy ball that you pass back and forth throughout a conversation. Tell them that they can talk once they have the ball in their hand and when they are done speaking, they can pass it back to you.
  5. Eye contact. An important part of having a polite conversation is making eye contact. Teach your child to make eye contact with a person by asking them to notice the color of a person’s eyes and to report it to you after the conversation.
  6. Questions. Tell them that they should always answer questions when they are asked. Even if they don’t have an answer, teach them that it’s better to say “I don’t know” then to say nothing at all.
  7. Handshaking. When greeting a person for the first time, instruct your child to shake his hand. You can teach them how to shake hands at home by using this little trick: show them the web of your hand (the area between your thumb and pointer finger) and tell them that when shaking a hand, they should touch their web to yours. Practice this a few times until they get the hang of it.
  8. Eating properly. Table manners are important, especially if you want to take your child to a restaurant without having to worry about any yelling or incidents. Teach your toddler how to use a fork and spoon and how to wipe their own mouth with a napkin. Make sure they know that its not acceptable to talk with a mouth full of food or to walk around the house while eating.  By age 3, they should be able to sit at the table for at least 15 minutes. Do not let them throw food at home. If they throw their food, you should discourage them by saying, “If you don’t want your food, then I’ll take it away but we don’t throw our food on the floor.”
  9. Formalities. When introducing other adults to your child, introduce them as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” followed by their last name. If the person being introduced prefers to be referred to on a first-name basis, they will tell the child, “Please call me Ana,” and let your child know that it’s okay to call her that from now on.
  10. Getting attention. Make sure they know that interrupting is rude in almost all cases unless it’s an emergency. For example, if they need to use the restroom or if they are feeling sick, tell them that they can interrupt by saying “Excuse me.”

At Prep Academy, we believe that manners are a good indicator of a child’s gratitude as opposed to the entitlement that a child is naturally inclined to feel. Practicing gracious behavior is a great way to build character development, which we believe is necessary in order to support the growth of a well-rounded child. We make it a point to include character education as a part of our curriculum here at Prep Academy and we believe that positive discipline techniques are the key to nurturing life-long skills.

10 Tips on Taming Tantrums

It can be inconvenient, frustrating, and downright embarrassing when your child decides to throw a tantrum out in public. You’ll want to defuse the outburst right away or, better yet, prevent the tantrum from occurring in the first place. Here are some ways that you can keep those tantrums controlled and to a minimum.

How to defuse a tantrum

  1. Communicate. Young children, between the ages of one and four, often have a hard time expressing their needs because they have not yet learned the language skills to do it. When they don’t get what they need, they throw a tantrum because they have not yet developed the coping skills to deal with it.

However, if you tell your child that you know they want something and you acknowledge that he is upset, then you are letting them know that you understand them. Being able to empathize with your child is one way to help him feel better during a tantrum and ease the situation.

  1. Create a distraction. You can give your child a toy, a book, or some snacks to take their mind off whatever was upsetting them. You can even try changing the subject by asking a question that you know will engage their interest. This is also a good way to get them out of the public eye during the tantrum. For instance, if you want to leave a location you can ask her, “How many birds do you think we’ll see on the ride home?”
  2. Be funny. We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine. This rule of thumb is no different when it comes to taming tantrums. If you make a joke when your child starts throwing a tantrum, he will start laughing and his mood will improve.
  3. Stay calm. Kids often throw tantrums because they want something and they think that by screaming loud enough, they’ll get your attention and you’ll get angry enough to give in to their demands. But if you don’t react to their tantrum, they might realize that their efforts are pointless and they’ll give up testing your limits.
  4. Leave. Sometimes the best thing you can do when your child is having a particularly loud and prolonged tantrum out in public is to leave. This will also show your child that you are the one in control.

How to prevent a tantrum

The key to avoiding a tantrum is to understand what triggers your child’s tantrums in the first place. Sometimes tantrums can be the result of a lack of sleep or too much stress. Situations that involve change may provoke tantrums as well.

  1. Avoid provoking situations. By keeping your daily routine consistent and giving your child a warning five minutes before changing an activity or switching locations, you can avoid any surprise situations that might trigger a tantrum.
  2. Communicate. Again, communication is a key tactic in preventing tantrums from occurring. If you tell your little one your plans for the day and you stick with them, it will reduce the chances of your child being caught off guard by any changes in your routine.
  3. Meet her basic needs. Making sure your child is well-rested and fed before going out in public will put her in better spirits and reduce the chances of any outbursts due to hunger or tiredness.
  4. Hide temptations. Things like candy bars and other off-limit items that may spark a tantrum should be kept out of sight and out of mind, so they don’t result in battles between you and your child.
  5. Teach coping methods. You can teach your child to deal with frustration by telling them to try focusing on their breathing or on something else that is around them at times when they get angry.

At Prep Academy, our experienced faculty knows how to handle kids when they are being fussy. Our staff, 84% of which have college degrees, are highly trained in early childcare education and are prepared to deal with tantrums in the best ways possible for each child. With a little practice, you too will be taming tantrums with ease!


Finding the Right Preschool

We know you want the best for your little one and sticking them in any old daycare simply won’t cut it. After all, the foundation for a bright academic future for your child starts now. Finding the right preschool for your child can be a long process, sometimes even a year prior to enrolling your child in any school.

Tips to consider before choosing a preschool:

  • Start early. Give yourself enough time to research all the preschools in your area. Starting early gives you the upper hand in applying to the ones that you think have the most potential and allows you to enroll before those slots fill up!
  • Know the difference between daycare and preschool. While a daycare provides supervision and makes sure that your child’s basic needs are met, a preschool usually offers a curriculum and has a specific learning approach.
  • Pinpoint your priorities. It’s easier to select a preschool when you have specific things that you are looking for. For instance, you might have certain enrichments, learning philosophies, and curriculum in mind that you believe would make up an ideal preschool for your child.
  • Research. Ask your friends and family to give you the names of reputable preschools that they’ve had experience with. Word of mouth can be a huge help here as personal references can be used as an asset. Another option is to ask each preschool to give you a list of parents whose children have attended the school, which you can then call to find out what they like and dislike about the school.
  • Find out potty training policies. Part of your research should include finding out whether or not potty training is a requirement. Some schools will agree to help you in the potty training process while others make it a requirement that your child must be fully potty trained before beginning at the preschool.
  • Schedule tours. You should visit each school while classes are in session to get a feel of how the preschool is run. This is also a good opportunity see how low student-to-teacher ratios in the classroom compare with high student-to-teacher ratios.
  • Observe the signs. A well-run preschool will have high-quality relationships between students and teachers, high parent involvement, follow a consistent education philosophy, and emphasize positive discipline policies. If a preschool displays these signs, you will most likely be checking off many items that you put on your list of priorities.
  • Interview. During the tour, you’ll want to ask the administrators and teachers a series of questions. Make a note of the way each director or staff member handles the questions.

At Prep Academy, we’ve created an engaging classroom environment with a colorful and well-designed layout that makes children eager to learn. Our tech-savvy staff helps each young learner gain early exposure to technology by using cutting-edge educational technology that includes Smart Boards, iPads, and computer labs.

We offer a high-end curriculum designed so that students are educated at least one grade level beyond their chronological age and peer group. Our programs are advanced, proven, tailored, exciting, and accelerated. If you want your child to gain life-long learning advantages, have fun, and receive character education, Prep Academy is the preschool for you and your child.

The Ins and Outs of Potty Training

Although there’s no perfect time to potty train your child because every child matures at his own pace, starting in the summer can have its benefits. With preschool beginning in the fall, having your toddler toilet trained can be a huge plus or even a necessity, as some daycares and preschools, make potty training a requirement. Aside from preparing them for school, potty training during the summer has other perks too: preschool completely potty trained.

  • Less clothing = less hassle. It’s much easier to potty train when you don’t have to worry about taking off layer upon layer of clothing every time you want to put them on the potty.
  • More fluids = more opportunities. The summer heat makes it easier for your children to take in more fluids, which in turn makes them urinate more frequently. This is especially helpful if you are practicing the timed approach.
  • Outdoor accidents > indoor accidents. Kids love playing outside during the summer and it goes without saying that its way easier to deal with an accident on the lawn than on your new sofa or white carpet.

Even with all of these things in your favor during the summer, its important to remember that ultimately your child must be both physically and mentally ready before you begin the potty training process. Of course this time may come later or earlier for each child, but typically many children are ready to be potty trained around the age of two and a half. Here are some signs that your child might be ready to start shedding those stinky diapers:

  • Bowel and bladder control. These are both indicators of physical readiness. If your child starts pooping around the same times every day and does not have any bowel movements during the night, then he is displaying signs of bowel control. If your child wakes up from naps with a dry diaper or only goes pee around every two hours, he is showing signs of bladder control.
  • Body language. If your child starts making facial expressions and noises such as grunts, or squatting every time they are doing their business, then she is showing signs of physical development and readiness for the toilet.
  • Communication. If your child starts telling you when his diaper is dirty or if they ask you to change it when it is dirty, then they are beginning to understand cleanliness, which is a big indicator of mental development. If they start asking you when they get to use the toilet or wear big boy underwear or big girl panties, then they are definitely showing signs of emotional readiness.
  • Interest. If your child shows interest when you or any other family members use the bathroom, then they are showing mental readiness.

When your child starts showing all these signs, it’s time to start putting them on the potty! It’s not all peaches and cream from there though. Toilet training can be tough and some children take much longer than others to get the hang of it. Have a look at these tips and tricks that other parents have found helpful when potty training their little ones:

  • Patience. Accidents are unavoidable and its important to remember not to get frustrated when they do occur. Reassure your child that accidents happen and encourage him to do better next time.
  • Positivity. Make sure that your child knows that using the bathroom on the toilet is a good thing and tell her that she did a good job when she goes pee or poo like a big kid.
  • Timing. Some parents find the timing technique very effective. Putting your child on the pottyevery 15, 30, 45 minutes until it becomes a regular habit. This method reduces accidents.
  • Rewards. A lot of parents have sworn by this method. Every time your child goes potty you can give her a little reward in the form of a sticker or a nickel. When she hits a milestone, like first full day without an accident or first successful night in big girl panties, you can giver her a super-special potty prize. This can be anything from a toy of her choice from the dollar store or an extra big piece of her favorite desert.
  • Game-time.For boys, potty training comes with an extra step. Peeing while standing up is oftentimes hard for little boys to master. Many parents recommend making a game out of it. Putting a few Cheerios or Fruit Loops in the toilet and having your son use aim at them is great idea for target practice.
  • Monkey See, Monkey Do. If you have a daughter, allow her to watch a female role model such as mother or older sister use the bathroom. If you have a son, allow him to watch a male role model such as father or older brother use the bathroom.

At Prep Academy, potty training is a requirement to enter the preschool program. However, our passionate staff in the junior program is dedicated to preparing your little one for preschool by helping you in the potty training process. Here at Prep, we believe in positive reinforcement. Whether it comes to learning how to use the potty or learning how to read, we believe in using praise to build confident and happy youngsters that recognize the importance of building their own independence.