Easy Ways to Rest and Recharge

Rest is just as important as play for children and adults. The holiday season is a time of celebration, but all the special events can leave parents and kids worn out. Here are a few easy ways to relax, recharge, and rest all year round.

Keep routines as consistent as possible.

Routines are a source of comfort for children because they know what is expected of them, and what to expect in their surroundings. Establishing a simple pre-bed routine can help make naps and bedtime a little easier. Infants and toddlers may enjoy reading a book and singing a song together before the last bottle of the night. Preschoolers may want to say goodnight to their toys and get one last parent snuggle before going to bed. Consistency is key, so remember to take some important elements with you if you travel.

Make transitions easier.

Many families struggle with transitions: getting from home to school, from playtime to bedtime, or from coloring to cooking. Set yourself up for success by building in time to wind down between activities. Many kids also like knowing what to expect next and having choices. Choose the next day’s outfit as part of your bedtime routine. Guide children to clean up toys or craft supplies while talking about what they want to do next.

Practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness can simply be taking time to pay attention to your external surroundings and internal thoughts and feelings without judging or “fixing” anything. Children tend to be better at this than adults, so follow their lead! Sit down for a special teatime with chamomile or lavender tea, and pay attention to the smell of the herbs, the warmth of the tea, and other physical sensations. Snuggle up together under a warm blanket and try to wiggle each toe and finger individually as you count them.

Get moving and get in touch.

The right kind of movement can actually be restful! Bundle up and take a walk outside with your child. Try doing some family yoga poses together. Slow dance to a favorite Christmas song. Safe physical touch can also be very calming for children and adults. Give hugs and kisses of different sizes. (You’d be surprised how different a big and little hug can feel!) Take turns rubbing each other’s shoulders and back. It won’t be a professional massage, but it will certainly lead to some laughs!

We here at Sprout hope that you have a wonderful, exciting, AND restful holiday season this year. We can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring!

Q&A with a Certified Sleep Consultant

Kristi Roberts, MS, MPH of Little Sleepers, Big Dreamers Pediatric Sleep Consulting will be presenting an infant sleep workshop at Sprout Early Education Center on December 6, 2017 at 6:30pm. There will be a 30-minute class and a 15-minute Q&A session. This workshop is free for all Sprout families. Please click here to register.

We spoke with Kristi to get some basic information about sleep consulting and healthy sleep habits.

What does a sleep consultant do?

My goal is to help someone put all the pieces in the right places so that way we can give a child the tools they need in their little toolbox to really set them up for success to learn how to do this new skill. I often forget about this, but my job is also to support parents through that process. When you’re tired and you’re going through a struggle, you tend to seek out your network of family or friends or google to look for information to work through that challenge.

I think it’s important to put all those pieces in place and my goal is to help the parent gain the confidence and really support them through the struggle of helping their child learn this new skill, so that everyone get more restful and restorative sleep. I help develop a plan that is unique to their child’s needs and encourage them throughout the training process to keep going in the right direction.

What training and education did you complete to become a sleep consultant?

I received a certification to be an infant and child sleep consultant in 2016 from the Family Sleep Institute with over 250 hours of coursework in addition to completing courses on reducing the risk of SIDS (American Academy of Pediatrics) and lactation management training. Since then I’ve completed coursework on reducing child anxiety, cultivating child mindfulness, postpartum depression, and child development.

All of those courses together are constantly expanding my knowledge, but at the end of the day, I’m a mom. I learned from experience and remember what it was like to feel tired and overwhelmed and not know what to do to best help my child overcome that struggle. I can relate to parents a lot because I remember how challenging that was…googling in the middle of the night, “What am I doing wrong? Why won’t my kid go to bed?”

I just remember when someone finally connected me with a sleep consultant, kind of agonizing over it and thinking, “Do I really need to do this?” I was frustrated and tired but I thought I was supposed to be because I was a new mom. It changed when I saw that my daughter was tired and frustrated too, looking to me to help her and i didn’t know how to do that. I had no idea that picking up the phone and discussing our sleep challenge with a sleep consultant would make such a long-term positive impact on our family. To this day, six years later, we are still reaping the benefits of being a well-rested family that can navigate these sleep challenges and help other people see those benefits and come out on the other side.

How many families have you helped?

I’ve helped over 50 families since I started a year ago, and for someone to be so pleased with how things turned out for their family that they recommend me to work with one of their dear friends or family members really says a lot. I do love getting to know families through this process and being able to get an email like the one I received today, “Our son slept through the night the past three nights. This is amazing!” feels pretty good. Seeing people have that excitement and that confidence that there’s light at the end of the tunnel is very empowering for them and rewarding for me. People are sharing my work because they’re living the benefits of it.

Can you describe a particularly difficult sleep challenge you helped work through?

It’s hard to think of just one because even if I look at their intake form and understand what’s happening and think about ways to tweak it, as soon as I get on the phone and hear how tired and frustrated they are, you realize their challenge is big because it’s impacting their family. So they’re all challenging to me because they’re challenging to those families. Whether it is a single mother with 8 month old twins that are up every 2 hours, the couple that hasn’t shared a bed in years that doesn’t include a little one, or the parent that just can’t get the pieces to come together no matter what they try, all those situations feel difficult to those families.

It’s not just new parents, either. I work with many parents who say things like, “My first two were great sleepers, but this one we can’t get things to come together.” It impacts every piece of their day because they’re tired, overwhelmed, maybe frustrated, and they don’t know how to get out of it. These parents are well intentioned, loving parents that know their child needs sleep and wants the best for their child(ren). They’re just unsure how to get it.

Do you ever meet resistance from parents regarding your suggestions?

I definitely find resistance. Change is hard! When you’re tired, it’s hard to tell somebody, “I know that you think what you’re doing is working because your child will sleep for a short period, but we still need to work to get the best quality and restful sleep.” Some people are willing to try anything by the time they contact me, but there are others who are reluctant to make the change, which I get.

But nothing changes if nothing changes, and sometimes parents think, “Well, I tried something like this, and my child did XYZ and it was terrible, so this may end up being terrible too so I’m nervous to try it.” And that’s where I come in to support and encourage and remind them that we’re now putting all the pieces in place, whereas before maybe they only had a few pieces that were abandoned after a few days. We want to be consistent in order to get the best long-term gain. The parents that are committed to consistency are the ones that are really going to succeed.

When is the best time for sleep learning?

You can work to establish healthy sleeping habits at a young age. I work with clients in terms of sleep training once their biological sleep rhythms are able to start coming together, and that is usually after 4 months of age. I work with clients ages 4 months to 5 years. The “best” time to sleep train is when all the caregivers are able to be consistent and commit to working together to help their child. That includes your child care providers as well. The “best” sleep training method is just the one you’re going to commit to consistently.

Of course, always consult with your pediatrician and make sure the child is healthy and developmentally ready before starting sleep training.

What are 2-3 sleep tips that parents can try with their children right away?
#1. Setting up a safe environment for success.

Parents can easily modify the sleeping environment to foster better sleep. For infants, following the ABCs and placing them down to sleep alone, on their back, in a crib. Children of all ages (and adults!) sleep best in a cool, calm, dark, relaxed sleep space. The use of electronics can interfere with the production of the hormone that prepares for sleep, which makes it harder for the brain as well as the body to prepare for rest. You can add time between screen use (iPad, TV) and sleep. I suggest at least an hour between screen time and sleep time.

#2. Don’t be afraid of an early bedtime.

It may not fix the problem in one day, but consistency with an early bedtime may help. If your child is struggling to go to sleep or stay asleep, they may actually be overtired even though that sounds contradictory. Sleep leads to more sleep. Moving bedtime up can help them get additional rest to help overcome whatever sleep debt they may be experiencing.

You can learn more about Kristi and schedule a complimentary 15-minute personal consultation at her website, Little Sleepers Big Dreamers. You can also read our previous blog post about electronics and fussy behavior that could interfere with sleeping.

Helping Little Ones Handle the Holidays

The holiday season is full of family, food, fun, and…stress! Children can be especially sensitive to changes in routine. That can lead to full-on meltdowns when you least expect. (And when you’re least prepared to defuse, of course!) The key is being flexible but consistent with your expectations and making a plan to address issues before they happen. Here are some easy ways to make the holidays a little smoother for the whole family.

Eating

While adults may anticipate the yearly Thanksgiving spread, kids might not appreciate the new menu. If you have a picky eater, don’t turn holiday meals into a battleground over new foods. They may already be stressed by being in a new environment and facing a variety of unknown and (to them) unappetizing dishes. Bring a dish to share that you know they will eat. If that means they eat nothing but rolls and stuffing for dinner one night, they will survive. Stash some healthy snacks to munch on if they (or you) get hangry waiting for the main meal. For children preschool age and older, teach your child to pay attention to their own hunger and fullness cues while reminding them that sometimes they need to be patient and accommodate other people’s schedules.

Sleeping

Travel and holiday parties can wreak havoc on regular nap and bedtime schedules. If your child can sleep in the car or on the plane, try to coordinate travel during their usual naptimes. (Just be aware that this kind of sleep tends to be less restful than a proper nap, so they may still need to go to bed early that day.) If you are going to be out late one evening, encourage them to nap in the afternoon beforehand. Make sure they have an early bedtime the next few nights to make up for any sleep loss. Ask your host politely to reserve a place for your child to nap or rest quietly if necessary. For overnight stays, bring familiar pajamas (perhaps a pair that hasn’t been washed yet and still smells like home), a sound machine if you use one regularly, and any loveys or blankies they need to sleep. You can also try giving your children a few chances to practice napping at home in the portable crib or cot to help them get used to sleeping on a different surface.

Playing

Depending on your child’s personality, big gatherings with lots of kids and adults they don’t know can be overwhelming. Bring comfort objects and a favorite or new toy they can play with on their own. Older preschoolers may appreciate headphones to play their favorite music. Even if your child loves meeting new people and playing with new friends, watch them for signs of fussiness or overstimulation and give them a chance to wind down by sitting with you, reading a book, or going for a walk outside together.

You can also read our post about traveling with toddlers for some more tried-and-true tips. For older children, make traveling an adventure, but with as many comforts of home as you can bring with you. While changes in routine are perhaps unavoidable during the holidays, making a plan for how to handle those changes can help you have a more enjoyable holiday season.

10 Ways to Practice Gratitude with Your Children

The Thanksgiving holiday provides an easy opportunity to talk about and practice gratitude with your children. Studies have shown that gratitude is related to a sense of well-being, supportive relationships, and positive social behavior, and may even promote academic gains through achievement motivation (source). Here are 10 easy ways to practice gratitude with your children during the holidays and year-round.

1. Manage expectations with grandparents and other relatives.

Many grandparents love to give children gifts for holidays, but that can quickly snowball into an avalanche of toys that are played with once and then forgotten. Some parents ask relatives to limit themselves to a certain number or dollar value. You can also make (limited) wish lists with your child and send them to doting grandparents. Or once the wrapping paper is cleared away and relatives go home, stash some of the gifts in a closet to be reintroduced throughout the year or, if you really don’t need an item, donated or regifted.

2. Slow down the gift-giving process.

Instead of doing one big unwrapping frenzy, take turns opening gifts so children can see the recipient express appreciation for their gift. You can also ask relatives to send some items earlier or later than the big day.

3. Help them choose and make gifts for others.

Most children really enjoy giving gifts (even if it’s just a rock they found outside!) and seeing you express appreciation. Plan an afternoon to bake a batch of cookies, draw some pictures, or do some chores for someone else. If your kids can tolerate an hour or two of shopping, take them with you to help pick out presents for family and friends. This will teach them to think about others’ needs and desires instead of just their own.

4. Model everyday thankfulness.

While infants and toddlers are almost entirely self-centered (this is developmentally normal, don’t worry!), children as young as 15-18 months can begin to develop a sort of proto-gratitude. They are starting to understand that they are separate from their parents, and their parents do things that make them feel good. In other words, they are beginning to realize and appreciate their own dependence on their parents. (Even if they insist they can, “Do it mySELF!”) Say please and thank you when talking to your partner, your child, and others. You can even show them the sign for, “Thank you,” if your child is not verbal yet.

5. Talk about gratitude with your kids regularly.

Children can start expressing thankfulness for objects, people, and actions as early as two years old. You can ask your kids what they are thankful for at the dinner table or bedtime. You can also point out things you appreciate in the course of everyday conversation, such as someone holding the door open, a tasty meal, or something they do.

6. Allow children to help you and others.

We get it. Sometimes (all the time?!) it is just easier to put the toys away yourself instead of asking your kids to, uh, “help.” But the more they do for themselves, the more they understand and appreciate the effort that goes into chores. While this may not stop them from pulling all the toys out from the bin, you will at least have a chance to thank them for putting them back in!

7. Encourage mindful generosity.

This doesn’t mean forcing your kids to give all their toys away! But try asking them to go through their toys, books, and clothes and pick out ones they no longer use (or perhaps their favorites that they want to keep, depending on your child’s personality). Ask if they think someone who needs them would be happy to receive them. Doing this cultivates empathy for others and gratitude for the items they have.

8. Write thank-you notes or make a thank-you call.

Don’t limit this practice to holidays, birthdays and other times your children receive gifts. Gratitude is always in-season! For younger children, you can pick a person and ask your child what they want to thank that person for. With older children, ask them who and what they are grateful for in different situations like school, family, or playdates.

9. Keep a gratitude jar or journal.

Give your kids a visual reminder of gratitude by writing down or drawing things they’re thankful for on slips of paper kept in a jar, in a special journal, or even on a big poster or chalkboard on the wall.

10. Set limits on new toys, treats, or experiences.

If kids always get what they want immediately, it’s hard for them to feel truly excited and appreciative about their desires. Hearing “No,” makes the “Yes,” all the more special. (Yes, this is hard with toddlers. Stick with it!)

It can be hard to remember to be thankful during the busy holiday season, even though one of the main events is Thanksgiving. But it’s so important to slow down with your kids and practice gratitude together. It can be as easy as pausing to say thanks, keeping a gratitude journal, or letting them pick a gift for someone as you finish your own holiday shopping.

Here at Sprout, we are so thankful for all our families in the Columbus area. We always welcome new children at our downtown early learning center. Please feel free to contact us to ask any questions or schedule a tour.

Best practices: traveling and vacationing with toddlers

Columbus child care tips from packing up to the car ride home

Summer vacations are in full swing, and millions of families are packing up and hitting the road for weeklong escapes. These getaways may mean a deviation from meal and <bedtime routines> for your children, but going on vacation doesn’t have to mean fussy kids and chaos. Consider the following helpful packing and travel tips this year for the fun, family trip you all deserve.

Packing tips

Columbus daycare downtown• Diapers – Be sure to bring extras in case there’s a flight delay, traffic jam or emergency.

• Clothes – Pack one to two outfits per day. Darker colored clothes hide spills and stains better. Also, pack layers for fluctuations in weather conditions and temperature.

• Clean-up supplies—You can never have enough mini hand sanitizer bottles, wipes or tissues on-hand. Bring laundry soap, too, for handwashing clothing that was soiled in the car or on the plane.

• Nightlight—If your toddler is used to having one during their bedtime, remember to grab his from home to use in their room at the hotel or vacation home. There’s a good chance these places come equipped with nightlights.

• Plastic bags – When an outfit gets dirtied, or an emergency diaper change is required, having a stash of bags handy could turn out to be a lifesaver.

 

Traveling tips

Columbus child care center• Consult your doctor—If your little one has never been in the car for an extended period of time or on an airplane before, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get a professional’s advice of what medicines to give for motion sickness or sinus pressure relief.

• Prepare for a late arrival—What’s inevitable about doing anything with kids is that things always take longer when they’re involved, and vacationing is definitely not an exception. Anticipate more pits tops on your road trip, and be prepared for breakdowns and temper-tantrums.  Have patience, and know that by expecting bumps in the road will make accepting these setbacks a lot easier.

• Don’t forget their favorites—Have your child’s favorite toy nearby to comfort and keep familiarity during the vacation, whether that be a stuffed animal, binky or blanket. Bring the second favorite, too, in case of the worst case scenario and the favorite becomes MIA in a lost piece of luggage.

• Prepare a goody bag—Don’t just shove an iPad in front of your child’s face if they’re giving you a hard time. Did you know that tablets and TV have been proven to make your toddler fussy? Have your child split their time with the electronic and a drawstring bag filled with busy toys, from coloring books, a few action figures or dolls, to a small container of play dough or puzzle books to exercise their minds.

• Put a bow on everything—To add an extra element of entertainment and distraction, wrap up everything in their goody bag, even their snacks! Kids will think this is fun, and for a real surprise, make one of the wrapped toys a brand new one.

Our Columbus childcare center will be awaiting your return

If you’re seeking a Downtown Columbus daycare that will take excellent care of your child during the workweek, check out Sprout Early Education Center today. Call today at 614.233.7776 to set up a tour or fill out our admissions application.

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Get your child to sleep: how to solve 6 bedtime problems

A Downtown Columbus day care lends advice

Throughout childhood, getting children to sleep is a struggle that many parents face. Although it’s natural for kids to be reluctant to settle down and call it a day, there are plenty of ways to control how long it takes to get your little one to bed, and help them become warm up to the idea that sleep isn’t so bad. You can start by explaining to them why sleep is so important.

Everyone needs sleep. Your Child needs it most. Why?

Sleep is just as important as the food, water and safety in your child’s life. Often, parents unintentionally don’t promote enough sleep for their child, simply because our busy lives overtake our schedules and sleep isn’t set as a high-priority item. Going to bed a few hours late or missing a nap here or there may seem minor, but when children miss sleep, it could lead to irreversible consequences.

Columbus daycareIn his book “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child”, Marc Weissbluth, MD says, “Sleep is the power source that keeps your mind alert and calm. Every night and at every nap, sleep recharges the brain’s battery. Sleeping well increases brainpower just as weight lifting builds stronger muscles, because sleeping well increases your attention span and allows you to be physically relaxed and mentally alert at the same time. Then you are at your personal best.”

How would a Columbus daycare resolve bedtime problems?

The foundational rule to getting your child to sleep is an effective manner is to institute a persistent, consistent bedtime routine. However, even when that’s in place, kids have these common behavioral tendencies. Here’s how to cope with these six common nighttime occurrences:

1. Frequent waking – This is common in children 12 to 18 months old. Try a fan to drown out the little noises that may wake them suddenly. Make their room look the same at bedtime than in the wee hours of the night. If you sit in the rocking chair or have a dim light on until they’re fast asleep, your youngster will be confused more likely to cry out for you rather than quickly falling back asleep.

daycare Columbus Ohio2. Wake up as soon as they realize you’ve left– As children grow older, they soon realize that the second they shut their eyes in bed that you’ll slip away and be gone. Knowing that, they’d much rather stay awake and make bedtime extremely difficult. End your bedtime routine with them still awake to accustom your child to fall asleep on their own.

3. Claiming there are monsters – Many toddlers are kept awake out of fear of monsters in their room. Put on a night light and spray some “monster poison” (water) in the closet and under the bed before bed to assure your son or daughter they’re safe. Some children are afraid of shadows on their walls at night. Lay down with your child for a night in their dark room and talk about what other fun, friendly shapes the shadows are making, to help them overcome their fear.

4. Asking for “one more” – Many children abuse bedtime routines by asking for just one more song, bedtime story, minute of cuddling or glass of water. Be firm and stick to a consistent bedtime ritual. Tell your child that the last time means the last time. The longer your child stays up past their bedtime, the more sleep-deprived they’ll be the next day.

5. Clingy/”I need you”- When your child calls from you from their room after you’ve put them to bed, come back to comfort them, say “goodnight” and that you’ll check on them soon to make sure everything’s okay. The trick is to strategically stage your appearances, returning at longer intervals each time. 

6. Night terrors- These scary dreams begin between the ages of three and six. Five percent of children have night terrors. They generally happen within the first two hours of sleep and children are waked by their own scream, flailing and breathing heavily. “They’re actually much worse to watch than to experience,” says Mindell, so try to remain calm.If you know night terrors are a part of your child’s life, the best advice is to do as little as possible.

How can Sprout Early Education Center help?

At Sprout Early Education Center, we promote effective routines and good habits for young ones throughout playtime and naptime.

If you’re interested in enrolling your child in our Downtown Columbus daycare, fill out our admissions application and contact us today for a tour.

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Five sit beside me activities: Keeping your toddler busy while you are, too

Turn to your Columbus daycare for must-try ideas

When you take your child out of a Columbus daycare staff’s care and back into your own after work, the busy part of your day has often just begun.

As much as you’d love to interact one-on-one with your child every moment you’re with them, preparing dinner, balancing the checkbook or making important phone calls are difficult tasks to accomplish with a toddler who isn’t being entertained. The solution? Sit beside me activities.

Here are five non-messy, stimulating activities that are fun for your child, therefore maximize your productivity so you can get back to one-on-one time.

Columbus child care1. Books – Grab a pile of your child’s favorite books and have them independently look through them. It may seem extremely simple, but looking through books is great for their development. Encourage your son or daughter to “read” the story, too. Although they’re not at reading age yet, it’s fascinating to hear what toddlers’ creativity takes them when telling a story solely off pictures.

2. Stickers—Have your child make sticker art on a poster board or construction paper. You can even make an educational game of it and have them organize stickers by color, shape or type. It keeps your toddler occupied, as an outlet for creativity, while exercising their motor skills, too. If the stickers are too hard to get off the sheets, give them a head start by slightly peel them off in advance or sticking them to the edge of a table.

3. Spice Jars and groceries— A little less noisy than pots and pans, spice jars are fun for kids to shake, stack and roll around and the perfect activity to give to your child while cooking dinner or doing dishes. Just make sure the lids are tightly secured. Another kitchen activity is to have your toddler play with all of the boxed groceries, stacking them into towers or arranging them into fun “set ups”.

4. Laundry Hamper— Have you child throw all of the clothes out of the hamper for you to fold. They’ll feel like they’re doing something they’re not supposed to, when really, they’re lending a hand. You can even have them help you out by having them match socks. And when they’re done, have them play make-believe, transforming the hamper into their own tunneChild Care Columbusl, hiding place or car.

 5. Rip and tear— Toddlers find destruction very satisfying, so why not channel that energy into something fun they can do? Have your child tear strips of construction paper into pieces and place into a container. Then, in the future, you can have them make the colorful pieces into a beautiful piece of refrigerator-worthy art by sticking them to contact paper.

Our Columbus early learning center is focused on building your child’s relationships

All children are innately curious. They are competent, capable learners who increase their understanding through exploration and discovery. Sprout Early Education Center’s philosophy lies in helping your child build relationships with not only those around them, but with the objects in their environment.  Choose a Downtown Columbus daycare that believes teaching and learning is an inquiry process. This approach to learning builds on a child’s natural inclination to question and investigate, just like the sit-beside me activities.

Download our admissions application and contact us today to arrange an in-person tour and meeting.

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Why is play essential to your child’s development?

Our Columbus daycare staff weighs in on its importance.

Making time for play is not only fun for children, but also vital in your child’s development. As children play, they gather important skills that form the building blocks for many cognitive and physical activities.

Whether at a Columbus daycare or at home, toddlers’ brains are hard at work as they play and interact, forming the foundation for completing more difficult tasks like running, jumping and being physically active. Allowing your child plenty of time to play is not only a way to encourage development, but can also be a way to build relationships.

Columbus day care

Types of play

Different types of activities work to stimulate different parts of the brain, forming memories and concepts to apply to the future. Giving your child the opportunity to interact and play with different kinds of objects allows them to become more familiar with language, relationships and creativity.

  • Object play Object interaction stimulates a child’s brain. Essentially, a child is using all five senses when they are playing with objects, developing problem solving skills and a creative imagination while also building curiosity about the world around them. Using simple objects or toys can be a great way to experiment through touColumbus daycareching, throwing and pushing. Join your child to interact with them. Adding this social factor generates interpersonal and language skills.
  • Symbolic Play – Use objects such as cardboard boxes to represent something familiar like a bus. Add a role play element to the mix by transforming hairbrushes into microphones to sing into. Using every day household objects can spark creativity and learning during play time.
  • Social Play – Play dates with other children are not only stimulating, but also important throughout the first year of your child’s life. Infants like to look, laugh and play with other babies just as much as adults like to socialize. At Sprout Early Education Center, our programs allow children to interact and play to build relationships and interpersonal skills.

How much time should you allow for play?

As a general guideline, the National Association for Sports and Physical Education (NASPE), advises roughly 30 minutes of structured play lead by an adult or 60 minutes of unstructured playtime is sufficient for developing those crucial skills that children need to develop.

Generally, children should not be inactive for more than an hour unless sleeping. This may be a lot of work for Columbus daycare staffs as well as parents, but getting outside or away from electronics is extremely important step for continued learning as well as staying active and healthy. Playing and learning is natural and fun for children. Giving your child as much time as they like to play will allow them to continue developing their skills under supervision, but make sure not to over do it. Each child has a different threshold for stimulation. If they become tired or fussy, it’s time for a break and/or some rest.

At Sprout Early Education Center in Downtown Columbus, our daycare center will offer your child the opportunity to enhance their social and developmental skills. We offer programs for ages six weeks to five years. Enroll today your child today.

 

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Choosing a Columbus daycare: 5 questions to ask yourself

Take advice from the experts at Sprout Early Education Center

Think of choosing a Columbus daycare like shopping for a new car. It needs to be dependable, safe, clean, and most of all, the best choice is often made after extensive research. So where do you start? Before beginning your quest for the perfect daycare match for your child, consider the following questions. 1. What are the daycare facility’s and staff’s qualifications? Choosing a daycare is a commitment to send your child to spend a substantial amount of time with the same childcare staff each and every day. It is crucial to get to know everyone who will be interacting with your child. Although it may be difficult, your child’s safety and education comes first and addressing even the toughest points is essential. Take these questions into account when you’re at your first meeting:

  • Have all staff members passed background checks? If so, what did that background check entail?
  • Is the daycare’s curriculum accredited?
  • Has their space passed safety inspections?
  • Is the curriculum certified?

2. What qualities does the daycare’s staff possess? Although a daycare may have all their ducks in a row on paper, the way they interact with your child and the content of their character is just as important. Here are just a few important qualities to look for in staff members:

  • Wants and likes to bechild care columbus ohio with children
  • Has a sense of humor
  • Feels a connection with children
  • Has common sense about what a child needs
  • Stays calm under pressure
  • Has physical energy to keep up with your child
  • Possesses a positive attitude

“The quality of childcare really depends on the adult-child interaction and how good that is,” says Linda Smith, executive director of the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies. “That requires someone who has the ability to focus in on a child, where she’s at, what her needs are (developmentally). The expectations are really important.”

3. What is the daycare’s philosophy/teaching style? Be sure your principles and expectations align with the mission statement and foundation of what the daycare is built upon. At Sprout Early Education Center, we believe that children are competent and capable learners in their own right. Knowing that, we embrace children as sources of their own learning and development, helping them to build relationships and explore their environment. Our internationally minded but locally engaged approach to helping children grow allows us to guide them through the learning process. Want to learn more about our philosophy and learning environment? Click here.

4. What is the teacher-to-child ratio? The fewer children tended to by each staff member is critical to quality childcare. The more attention and care your child receives from the daycare’s staff, the more your child’s growth and development are ensured. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services requires licensed childcare centers to adhere to its childcare staff to children ratio law. For example, one staff member is required for every five infants (under 12 months) and two staff members for every 12 infants. One staff member is required for every seven toddlers (children between 18 months to two and a half years old).

columbus early learning center5. How well kept is the facility? Whenever there are many people in a shared space on a daily basis, germs are bound to be a concern, let alone when small children are involved. Little ones have a tendency of putting toys in their mouth, eating art supplies and having little manners when runny noses and sneeze-spells happen. All toys and surfaces should be cleaned and sanitized often. Be sure that hand washing is encouraged and cleaning supplies are handy, but safely out of children’s reach. Besides cleanliness, an open, uncluttered, organized space with multiple areas for different types of learning activities is best.

DSC_0133 Are you ready to consider Sprout Early Education Center as the right Columbus daycare for you and your family? Conveniently located Downtown, Sprout possesses all of the characteristics of a quality childcare center. Download our program application today or call 614.233.7776 to schedule a tour.

Is your iPad and TV making your toddler fussy?

Columbus child care insights for parents

Many parents have been there. You’ve had a long day at work, just picked up your toddler from a Columbus child care center and still have to get dinner on the table and switch a load of laundry. To add to the mix, your child beings throwing a temper tantrum. In order to curb the kicking and screaming, what do you do? Click on the TV or swipe the unlock button on your tablet and hand it to your child. Instant silence. Problem solved, right? Not so fast.

Recent studies have shown a correlation between fussy children and a high amount of media consumption.

“The [study’s] principal investigator, Dr Jenny Radesky, said it’s impossible to tease out the chicken-or-the-egg answer as to whether it’s because parents are using TV and videos to soothe crankier babies, or Columbus daycarewhether the extra media time is creating sleeping and attention problems.”

In this day and age, media is only becoming more popular and convenient. The average child spends approximately eight hours consuming media per day, which is the second longest activity next to sleeping.

Dr. Adam Dewes, a pediatrician at Tidewater Children’s Associates encourages parents to consider these child care tips when it comes to media consumption:

  1. How involved are you during the electronic activity? When children are simply parked in front of the television or handed a tablet, it more or less acts as a pacifier. It’s much better, for example, to use an educational game app with your child in a social, engaging way.
  2. What sort of content is being viewed? For example, eBooks are a better option than cartoons.
  3. Do you practice what you preach? If your kids see you glued to your smartphone or turning on the TV as soon as you get home, they’re more likely to follow your lead.

Limit your children’s screen time by disallowing TV and Internet access in their bedrooms. Like most things, media consumption is perfectly fine in moderation, and when it is used, use it to your child’s benefit.

Alternate activities to TV for children

The key takeaway is to come up with alternatives to soothe your child. Although children do enjoy the light and sound that come from electronic devices, these medias don’t help teach a child to manage their own emotions, and eventually, using TVs and iPads as a way to remedy fussiness becomes a dangerous cycle. Consider some of these alternative suggestions:

  • Involve the kids in chores – While you fold the shirts out of the laundry basket, have your little helper match the socks. While you dust shelves, have your kiddo run a toy vacuum. While you cook, sit your child in their highchair and have him/her identify the colors of the veggies you’re prepping.
  • Make a busy basket—When you find yourself very busy, give your child their busy basket, filled with books, puzzles and toys.
  • Play storybooks on your iPod or CD player – Give your child an interactive book that comes with a soundtrack and recording of someone reading it to them. Shop online for some here.

How can your Columbus child care center help?

Choosing a Columbus daycare for you and your family is an important decision. We feel it’s important for children to learn through play and interact with others. When you send your child to Sprout Early Education Center, we encourage kids to explore the environment around them, build relationships and have fun in order to develop and learn.

If you’re interested in enrolling your child in our Downtown Columbus daycare, fill out our application and call us today at 614.233.7776 for a tour.

 

Photo credit: Wayan Vota via Compfight cc