MomTrusted on Parenting, Kids, and Early Education

Tips for Preparing Your Child for Summer Camp

Find Summer Camps

 

Not only is summer camp a good option for keeping kids busy, active and learning over the summer after school has wrapped up, but it could also set positive habits for the rest of their lives. Psychologists have found that sending kids to summer camp may make them less affected by stress as they mature. Camp helps kids form new relationships with new friends and learn from different adults. They learn to cope with unfamiliar situations and learn handle the unexpected. But sometimes experiencing a large shift in routine takes a bit of getting used to. Help make the transition smoother with these tips for preparing your child for summer camp:

 

Make a checklist

With so many things to remember, especially if your child is heading to overnight camp, it’s good to write everything down. Most camps offer their own checklists so that parents know exactly what to pack. Make sure you get this ahead of time, or write out your own if the camp doesn’t have one available. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to go out and buy any missing must-haves.

 

Include your child in the packing process

Often, kids feel less stressed about change when they know the fine details. Allowing your little one to help you pack can give them some added insight into what’s going on. That way, they’ll feel involved and know exactly what’s coming with them and what to expect.

 

Buy special camp supplies

Anything shiny and new will add to the thrill of summer camp. Maybe that means a new swimsuit or a brand new backpack in their favorite color. Then, tell them they can use their new gear as soon as camp begins and have them hold off to add a bit of positive anticipation.

 

Get excited about camp!

The whole point of summer camp is to have fun, right? Make sure your little one knows this! Talk about all the new friends they’re going to make. Mention some of the cool activities they get to do (think swimming, games, crafts, etc.).  Often, getting excited about something washes the jitters away for both the parents and the child.

 

Leave quickly

When the drop-off date finally arrives, do it quickly like ripping off a band aid, even if they’re only headed to a day camp and you’ll see them that night. Waiting around can make too big of a deal out of your departure, giving them a chance to think about what’s happening and get nervous. Plus, if you stick around too long, they might pick up on the sense that you’re nervous too. Make it easier for both of you by dropping them off with a big smile and waving goodbye.

 

No cares and woes beyond this point

 

Still looking for the perfect fit for this summer? Search for a great one near you now!

 

Sources:

-“Camp Prep” She Knows

-“Summer Camp Makes Kids Resilient” Psychology Today

-“Prepare Your Child and Yourself for Camp” American Camp Association

 - Photo credit: United States Navy & Peter Blanchard

NEW: Magical, Musical Children’s Book App

play piano on ipad - piano app

You know those interactive books that play sounds or maybe have something fuzzy to touch incorporated in them? Well, the apps that Box of Frogs Media creates takes those to the next level. They create downloadable books for children that allow kids to touch and interact with stories as they read. Pictures move, sounds play and children have the option to read the book themselves or have a narrator read the stories to them. As of now, the apps are available on iOS products, so owners of iPhone, iPads and iPod touches are welcome to download and share Box of Frogs Media’s stories with their children.

 

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Little Lost Note

This book refers to a musical note, not the kind that you scribble on a piece of paper. The story focuses on a note who gets lost and needs to find her way back home. She hops from instrument to instrument searching for her home, not only teaching children about musical instruments, but also allowing them to actually play to each one that the little lost note tries out. If children read it as a bedtime story, they can tap the Zzzz on the screen to activate a quieter, night light reading mode. Reviewers rave about this children’s interactive bookapp, and it’s easy to see why.
Download it here.

the little lost note childrens ebook musical instrument app

 

COMING SOON: Birgitte Berteldatter

This digital book, soon to be released, focuses on explorer and adventurer Birgitte Berteldatter, who has seen wild animals all over the world. As Box of Frogs Media summarizes, “Slightly confused that these beasts only seem to appear to Birgitte, she makes notes and sketches of all the fantastic creatures she finds on her adventures, where the Rolling Beagle knows no fear, the Urban Flox will nibble your socks, and a trick to befriending the beautiful but rather pompous Royal Crested Tiger is to give him pink sherbet.” The digital book will feature hand-drawn pictures, hidden animations that can be discovered through swiping and tapping the screen, original music and, just like Little Lost Note, the option to read the book or have it read to you. As a bonus, children will even get the opportunity to draw their own animals and wild creatures, just like Birgitte Berteldatter.

We’re expecting lot more from this company in the future…keep track of what they’re doing here.

Why We Love CHALK Preschool Centers

At MomTrusted, we have a lot of favorites when it comes to preschools. We devote our time to spreading word of outstanding programs and helping match parents with child care and education options. One of the preschool programs at the top of our list is CHALK Preschool, available at several locations in the Chicago and Los Angeles areas. Here’s why we love them:

 

Chalk Homepage

 
CHALK’s belief in the learning process

At CHALK Preschool, staff strives to appeal to all parts of learning in an effort to provide a well-rounded education and preparation for kindergarten. CHALK supports each child’s emotional, physical, social and cognitive growth through carefully chosen lesson plans. A warm and welcoming environment is what staff members of CHALK work to provide for every preschooler in the program. They stress hands-on activities, including, but not limited to, a wide variety of songs, games and crafts.

 

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CHALK prepares children for the leap into school

Teaching is the main goal at CHALK Preschool, and each center focuses on preparing its students for kindergarten, prepping them for a long road of academic success. While the lessons focus on math, science and literacy, a CHALK education reaches beyond the traditional sense. The preschools also work to help young ones perfect their motor skills and help children acquire social skills.

 

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CHALK offers an online program

CHALK Preschool gets a ton of bonus points for spreading knowledge around the world by offering an online preschool option. Parents can login whether or not their child is already enrolled in preschool. The lessons, which are focused around key points like literacy, math, science and more, can be used as bonus learning material for those already in a tradition preschool, or a unique, digital preschool option for those who don’t go to preschool every day. The online version is even free for parents to enroll their children in and use.

 

CHALK Preschool has a total of five locations spread between Chicago and New York. The first went up in 2005 and popular demand for the program resulted in more and more preschools. Children between the ages of two and five are welcome and the preschool accepts applications year-round, so don’t wait until next year to enroll. Schedule a tour and see if it’s a good fit for your child. Click here to find the closest Chalk Preschool to you.

 

See more examples of just one day of their online preschool program below.

 

Chalk Preschool Online free

 

Finding the Perfect Summer Camp for Your Child

Steps to Finding the Perfect Summer Camp for Your Child

Summer camp helps children discover who they are. Each camp is a hands-on learning opportunity that gives kids the chance to explore new activities and interests. From summer camp springs new hobbies, knowledge and solid life experiences. Beyond learning about the outdoors, science or animals, camp is also an excellent way for kids to develop top-notch social skills. But with so many out there, how do you know which one will be the best fit for your little one? Here are some things to consider when hunting for the perfect summer camp for your child:

 

Cost

Summer camps can get pricey, but that doesn’t mean that you need to spend a fortune to find a quality camp. Before you even begin looking, determine your summer camp budget. Figure out exactly how much you’re willing to spend and look only within your price range. Many go for a few hundred per week, but some can get into the thousands for just one week of camp. Determine your budget to find a summer camp for your child that you can afford.

 

Interest

Camp is a great opportunity to learn about new topics and get excited about them. That’s why it’s important to choose a camp that aligns with your little one’s passions. If they love running around, playing games, look into a sports camp. If they’re more into painting and coloring, search for art-themed camps. These days, there are camps out there for just about every type of activity so you should be able to find one that aligns well with your child’s interests.

 

Schedule

Day camps are a great option for parents who have to work all summer. During the school year, your child may have needed before or after school care, but now that it’s summertime, you’re looking for all-day options. Camp is a great alternative, at least for a week or two. Camps come in all shapes and sizes when it comes to schedules, from overnight to day camps to half-day camps. So you can select one that best fits your scheduling needs.

 

Camp Counselors

Before committing to a camp, you may want to visit with the camp staff, or at least give them a call on the phone. You can even read up on online reviews. Since you’re trusting these counselors with your child, you want to make sure they’re both fun and reliable.

 

To begin the summer camp hunt, visit MomTrusted.com!

 

 

 

-Photo courtesy of Worakit Sirijinda/freedigitalphotos.net

Bridging the Communication Gap Between Parents and Care Providers

Child Care App by Mom Trusted

 

Finally! Child care providers can connect more easily with parents, keeping them up-to-date on their children’s day-to-day care with an innovative application called Daily Connect.  The mobile and web application gives parents and care providers the ability to easily record everything from naps, feeding and diapers to mood, activities or sickness. You can even take pictures and record the type of games each child is playing. Parents automatically receive real-time updates via the application and a daily email summary at the end of the day.

 

Child Care Application by MomTrusted

 

Daily Connect eases the mind of worried parents, and helps bridge the communication gap between child care providers and parents. When picking up their children at the end of the day, parents already have all the details about their kids routine and can discuss more important matters with the caregivers. The app provides a less disruptive way to interact with the caregiver, with less phone calls during diaper changes or feedings.  This is also a great tool for tracking data over time and helping ease the transition between caregivers during shift changes. Because it’s quick and easy to enter information on Daily Connect, the data will be more accurate than it would be on a traditional, hand-written information daily sheet.

 

 Daycare App by Mom Trusted

 

Parents can also use the application to record events while the child is at home, for instance sleep duration, wake up time and breakfast time are very useful information for child care providers.

 

Baby Connect App by Mom Trusted

 

The handy app even has extra features that cater to those managing large child care centers: Attendance reports, classroom and teacher management help directors of child care centers make sure everyone is where they need to be. Customize the app with your own company’s branding to create a seamless experience for parents.

 

The best part? Daily Connect believes in providing the best customer service possible. Feel free to email them if you have any question or issue, they’ll respond to all emails the same day.

 

Daily Connect is available on iPhone, iPad, Android and as a free web application.  And, because we think this app should be the next tool in every child care provider’s tool belt, Daily Connect agreed to a special deal for MomTrusted members: for all their premium plan, the first month is free and the 3 following months are 30% off with the coupon MOMTRUSTED.

 

If you’re a parent, ask your child care provider to use Daily Connect!

The Master List of Questions to Ask When Seeking Boston Care

questions to ask child care

 

Are you a working parent in Massachusetts seeking Cambridge daycare or Boston care? The Boston area offers one of the most extensive child care opportunities out of cities across the country. After you’ve sorted through your options, using Mom Trusted’s search tool, picked your favorites and set up tours with your top choices, it’s time to lay out the questions to ask to figure out if you’re choosing the best Boston care option for your little ones. Here’s what to ask:

 

Fundamentals:

How long have you been in business?

What are your hours?

How is vacation time handled?

 

Safety:

Are you properly licensed with the state?

Are all of your staff members CPR and First Aid certified?

Are staff members required to go through background checks before hiring?

How would you handle a missing child?

 

The Numbers Game:

How much will it cost for my child to attend?

What is your late policy?

How is billing handled?

How many staff members are there?

What’s the child-to-teacher ratio?

How many of your staff members are required to hold a degree?

 

Food and Health:

What’s your sick policy?

Are there any food restrictions?

My child is allergic to ____. How would you deal with his or her allergy?

How are snack and mealtimes handled?

What type of food do you serve?

How does nap time work?

 

Learning Style:

Which teaching philosophy do you follow here?

In terms of learning, which approach do you find to be most effective?

What are some of the main subjects you focus on throughout an average day?

 

Behavior:

How do you deal with disciplining here?

Do you believe in spanking?

My child struggles with ____ and this is how we handle it at home: _____. Could you respect and continue to enforce our rules?

How do you handle potty training?

What do you expect from me as a parent?

 

Environment:

Can you describe an average day to me here?

How much time is spent inside versus out?

What is your policy on TV and computer time?

Can you show me some crafts kids here have made?

Can you describe some of the games children play here?

 

Find Boston Child Care Now

 

Sources:

-“Home daycare provider interview” Baby Center

-“Questions to Ask When Choosing Child Care” Al.com

-“Questions to Ask a Home-Based Daycare Provider” PDX

 

Photo By lee

Arts Based Early Education

As a substitute teacher, I sure have encountered a lot of different education programs. I’ve been at big and small schools, public and private, and have taught early education through high school. While a one-off day at a school is usually quickly forgotten, getting to see (and briefly be a part of) a really impressive program is a treat!

 

Recently, I spent the day teaching for the Kaleidoscope Program at Settlement Music School in Philadelphia.  My background (and my heart) is in Art Education, so I jump at any chance to work in an arts based early education environment – especially an award winning community based school in my own hood!

 

Throughout my day, I was excited to see young kids (pre-K) who were really getting a well rounded arts education! The kids in my art classes had obviously been exposed to the “elements of design”, and were comfortable with some fairly advanced color theory. The day I spent with them, we were working with hot and cool colors.  The students definitely had both the knowledge and vocabulary to talk about their own and others’ art work.

 

I was also able to observe the Kaleidoscope Plus program, Settlement’s new after-school program. Much like the day program, Kaleidoscope Plus has a major focus on the arts – visual arts, music, theater and dance. In my experience, there are some major benefits to presenting art, music, and movement in an integrated curriculum. Students gain skills in all areas – learning principles of art, developing fine motor skills, enhancing their listening skills and music making abilities, and moving their bodies in controlled and intentional ways.

 

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Above, students are enthusiastically engage in a game of “Freeze Dance Party “ – accompanied by live music!  Even some of the shyest kids were socializing in this dance game!

 

This cross-disciplinary approach allows broader topics and themes to be explored. Over the course of this school year, Kaleidoscope Plus kids will be learning and creating around three major themes – myself, my community, my world. While I was visiting, students we’re focusing on “myself”. In the choice-based art classroom, this meant learning about our bodies and making a larger-than-life skeleton. (I do love a good 3-d project!)

 

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On the more “dramatic” side of things, kids learned about storytelling, which culminated in mini-performances to rapt audiences of their peers.  It’s obvious that these guys are confident in front of a group!
 

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Here, kids participate in favorite game “mirror” – learning about the expressions they can make with their faces.

 

Overall, it was charming and fun to spend an afternoon with kids that were really learning – while not losing sight of the main focus: play. It was awesome to see kids really interacting, creating, and expressing themselves all afternoon. I found myself wishing I had been in a program like this when I was that little!

 

More information on Kaleidoscope Plus (including their mission statement, and enrollment pages) is available here.  You can still enroll or start in January, after the holidays!

 

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