The Toddler Tantrum – How to Approach and Diffuse

Children are famous for throwing tantrums when they reach the toddler stage. Some parents will call them the ‘troubled twos’, others refer to the ‘terrible threes’, but what we all realize is the phase does pass. What we call or recognize as a ‘tantrum’ is often just a young child being unable to express themselves verbally. Even as adults, we get frustrated when we cannot make someone understand our feelings, but we have the know-how on how to handle ourselves. A toddler frustrated can only act out as they don’t yet know how to handle their frustration.

The Toddler Tantrums – How to Approach and Diffuse

The first step in handling a tantrum is learning what the cause is. It isn’t always easy as the tantrum can result from anger, frustration, sensory overload, fear, and a number of other reasons. While it is a very loud and attention-getting form of communication, it is not always a clear form and us as adults may not be able to determine the exact cause.

Tantrums are Usually Reactions

When a child is having a tantrum, you should assume they are reacting to a situation they are not able to handle. Since they cannot talk to you and explain how they are feeling and tell you exactly what they want or expect, the toddler will become overwhelmed by emotion and unleash feelings in quite a dramatic fashion – the tantrum. This doesn’t always mean they are consciously and willfully acting out wrong – it is more that they are displaying a learned behavior. Your goal as a parent or teacher is to help the toddler unlearn this type of response.

Assess the Reaction

The first thing you will need to do is find out what is triggering your particular child’s tantrums. Looking at what has happened immediately before, during, and after the tantrum might tell you a lot about why they are happening. Most kids prone to tantrums do them at very predictable times – bedtime, time to put toys away, not being able to have a toy or some other personal situation that involves their play or comfort time.

Reacting to the Tantrum

At the Montessori Preschool, toddlers who experience situations that they feel warrant a tantrum are met with positive reinforcement. As a school that is also a community of other children their same age, it is normal they will find themselves in situations from time to time where things are not going as they want them to. When the tantrum is met with a calm demeanor, persistence, and patience, the tantrum can almost always be diffused. Montessori instructors know how to choose a strategy that is in tune with each child’s individual needs and personality.

Contact Montessori Children’s House in the Bay Area today, and schedule a tour to see how their educational program will benefit your child. Speak with the instructors and learn how they value each student as an individual, ensuring your child receives the education he or she deserves.

Fall Crafts to Make at Home

Fall is a great time for kids to get involved in craft activities. Even your youngest kids will eagerly jump on the chance to learn more about the beautiful colors of fall and what the season is about. A hands-on approach will help ensure your child gets the most out of the activities.

Nature Tray Sorting and Counting

A nature tray is an important part of Montessori activities, and even toddlers can benefit from using one. Gather up items that include leaves or flowers, pine cones, rocks, twigs, and other items you might find outside on a fall nature walk. Your child will enjoy sorting and counting these items, and the fun nature walk focus will help make the counting part more enjoyable.

Fun With Apples

Fall is the ideal time to pick apples and otherwise have fun with this favorite food. You might do these activities separately or as part of a bigger unit on the harvest as a whole. Visiting an apple farm to see how the apples are harvested is an exciting lead-up to other activities that involve apples. When you’ve brought home some apples, consider some fun snack preparation, such as making candy apples.

Fall Leaf Artwork

One of the nicest things about fall leaves and their bright colors is the fact that they are perfect for artwork, even with toddlers. Kids will want to spend time focusing on remembering the colors, and sorting through the leaves to make pictures of trees or murals. If your fall travels won’t take you near fall foliage, consider creating leaves from colorful felt that can form the basis for an art project. Making your own mural with a tree and allowing your child to help add the leaves makes the idea of fall come to life.

Pumpkin Scubbing and Painting

Pumpkin scrubbing is a good activity fro toddlers, especially after having had the chance to select a pumpkin. Regardless of whether a pumpkin will be used in food or as a decoration, scubbing will help your child get used to cleaning vegetables before use. As an alternative to carving, consider getting some non-toxic paints to help your child decorate a pumpkin.

Play-Doh Fall Math Activities

Play-Doh makes a perfect tool for creating countable objects to help kids learn. Learning trays that feature full-color photos of bight apples and pumpkins, along with counters and cards, help make learning simple, and counting and math fun for you toddler or preschooler. Using objects they are seeing a lot of during the fall will help counting come more easily.

Montessori School in Newark offers the perfect environment for creative children who learn well with hands-on activities. Contact us today to schedule a tour to see how Montessori education will benefit your child.

Fall Crafts to Teach Thanks

Fall is the perfect time to teach children what it means to be thankful. At our Montessori schools, we love to teach through hands-on experiences and believe that crafts are a fun way to do this.

Fall Crafts that Teach Thanks

We put together a small list of some fun crafts you can do at home with your child to learn more about being thankful.

A Thanksgiving Tree – Colored construction paper and some tacks or tape is all you need for this craft. Cut out a tree trunk and individual leaves. Use these to create a tree on a space in your home that everyone walks by several times a day. Each day, decide on something you are thankful for. Have your toddler draw a picture on the leaves. Fill in a leaf and attach it to your tree. Each time you walk by, your family will see all the wonderful things you are thankful for.

A Thankful Book – You can use brown paper bags or create a book with sturdy card stock or paper. You will need 5 pages in addition to the cover. On each page write at the top.

  • At home I am thankful for …….
  • At school I am thankful for ……..
  • Outside I am thankful for ……….
  • In my family I am thankful for ……….
  • Other things I am thankful for ……….

Have your child fill in each page with drawings, writing or pictures cut from magazines.

A Jar of Thanks – This one is a simple craft. You will need a large glass jar, decorations and card stock. Let your child decorate the jar. Cut out small cards using the card stock. Now fill in the small cards with things you are thankful for; you can also have your toddler drawer pictures. When someone is having a bad day, they can go to the jar and remember all the things they are thankful for.

Create a Thankful Wreath – Cut out some leaf shapes in fall colors using colored paper or card stock. Have your child draw things they are thankful for on the leaves. Arrange the leaves in a wreath, securing them with glue or tape. You can have each child in your home make one of these and hang them on their bedroom doors.

These crafts are all great ways to help your child think about things they are thankful for and things they appreciate in life. It is never too early to start such a wonderful lesson.

Here at Montessori Children’s Center, we love to use arts and crafts to learn new things. If you are looking for a school for your child that includes hands on learning experiences, contact our school today to schedule a tour.

How Parents Can Support Their Montessori School

Montessori schools are a warm and friendly environment that will bring you and your child together with teachers, other families, and students into a welcoming community. Being part of this community will bring both of you many rewards. You will be able to make choices and decisions about your child’s education and your child will be allowed to learn and grow in a community that focuses on individuality. Supporting your child’s school, even if you do not have a lot of extra time, will keep you informed and help you bridge how your child learns at school with home.

Be Involved

There is always a need for an extra pair of hands and teachers welcome parents to come in and help with activities. There is also a great need for parents to come in and share with the children any special skills they have that could apply to school-age children. The teachers appreciate the help and the children, especially yours, will love the support and interest you will provide for them. You may consider sharing cultural celebrations with your child’s class or plan and supervise an outing or project. There are numerous ways to provide support that will benefit you, your child and the entire Montessori school community.

In or Out of the Home Support

If you are a working parent, the hours of the school day may not fit into your schedule for helping out during class times. Check with your school and ask about ways you can help from home. Providing in-home projects like editing the school newsletter, or helping with the school website is a fantastic way for you to support the Montessori school. There are also out-of-home positions such as serving on the school’s Board of Directors which would meet after working hours or perhaps helping prepare materials for classes that can be done during various hours. Discuss your schedule with your child’s teacher and find where he or she thinks your skills will benefit your child’s class and school best.

Stay-In-The-Know

One of the best ways to support your child’s school and education is to ‘stay-in-the-know’ about what is happening. Reading the school newsletter is a great way to understand what your child has been doing and know what is coming up. Make sure you keep up with communications from your child’s teacher with emails and by attending conferences. Asking your child to talk about his or her day is a wonderful look at how beneficial a Montessori education is and a great way to ‘stay-in-the-know’.

When you enroll your child in a Montessori school you will both be entering a great community. Many schools have parent education meetings where they learn and discuss general parenting issues. Contact Montessori Children’s Center in the Bay Area today to schedule a tour. Find out how you as the parent can support your child on their incredible, educational journey.

Prepping Your Home for a Montessori Student

If you have your child in a Montessori school or are considering placing them in a Montessori school, it is a good idea to have your home environment match up with their school environment. This can allow for the transition from home to school to be a whole lot easier and can give your child a continuous learning journey.

One of the most important phrases we have in our Montessori education is “Help me to do it by myself.” This is a concept that is great to keep in mind when you are setting up your house to mirror a Montessori preschool.

How to Prep Your Home Montessori Style

Bedroom/Playroom

  • Have low shelves with different activities available in baskets. This allows your child to explore what they want when they want.
  • A toddler-size table and chair can give your child a space to sit and read or do an activity.
  • Provide soft spaces where your child can lay down and read or rest.
  • Have low shelving and drawers with clothing options.
  • Provide tools and utensils that are sized appropriately for your child.

Kitchen

  • Provide 1 or 2 lower shelves in your kitchen pantry. Have a special plate, cup, and set of utensils that are child-friendly.
  • Put healthy snacks on the lower shelves so that your child can become capable in getting their own snacks.
  • A cloth and some water or child safe cleaning spray can be added as your child learns to clean up after themselves.

Bathroom

  • Make the bathroom as comfortable as possible.
  • Provide a step stool so your child can climb up onto the toilet.
  • Have a basket of books that either you can read to them while learning to go potty or that they can read to themselves.
  • Make toilet paper accessible.

As you can see, the Montessori student style is very much about independence in both learning and everyday living. Turning your home into a space where your child can practice this independence can help them put all the things they are learning at school into practice.

If you would like to know more about the Montessori style of learning or you are looking for a great school that promotes independence and discovery, come visit us at Montessori Children’s Center and take a tour today. We want to see your child grow and learn in every area of their life.

Bay Area Haunts for Your Young Ones

Whether you have just moved to the Bay Area or you are looking for new places to take the kids, there are plenty of Bay Area haunts for the whole family to enjoy. Here are just a few you may want to check out.

Bay Area Haunts for Your Young Ones

  • Inside the Children’s Creativity Museum you will find a fun hands-on museum in Buena Gardens. Join in on the activities, run and jump in the colorful playground or visit the historic carousel that is just a few minutes away.
  • In Oakland, you will find the unique Museum of Children’s Art. This is a museum that only displays the work of children. For a small fee, your kids can join in on one of the studio sessions. The museum itself is free.
  • The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is a great place to visit if you have kids that are interested in all that happens under the sea.
  • The Bay Area Children’s Theatre offers great adaptations of all your favorite children’s books.
  • Want to visit a farm and teach your children about history? Ardenwood Historic Farm is the place to visit. This is a Victorian era working farm that includes pigs, sheep, rabbits, chicken, turkey, goats, and cows.
  • Want to feed the Otters and Bobcats? CuriOdyssey at Coyote Point in San Mateo is the place to visit. Plus, they offer daily feedings.
  • The Oakland Zoo is less crowded than the San Francisco Zoo and is a great size for little ones to get around by themselves. Rides are additional but offer plenty of extra fun for the kids.
  • The Bay Area Discovery Museum is also a great place to visit. There are great playful permanent exhibits, an art studio and plenty of activities to keep the kids interested.
  • The Tech Museum in San Jose is another great place worth checking out. Social robots, exploration galleries, and a fun play zone make this a great place to spend the day. There is a cafe on site if the family gets hungry.

If your child is curious, independent and loves to explore the world, the Montessori style of education might just be a perfect fit. If you would like to learn more, come and take a tour or contact our staff at Montessori School of Fremont, who will gladly answer your questions. At our Montessori schools, we pride ourselves on helping children grow in all areas of their life, providing a safe space to grow and explore.

When Should Your Child Stop Napping?

Nap times are needed by both parents and children when children are young. For the children, it helps with the growth emotionally, physically and mentally. For the parents, it is a time to get things done or to recover from a busy morning. Naps are a wonderful thing, but maybe your child has stopped taking them, and you are worried they still need them or maybe you are wondering at what age does a child stop napping.

When Will My Child Stop Napping?

On average, many children stop napping altogether when they are nearing 4 years old. This is certainly not an age that is set in stone, in fact, many kids 4 and over continue to take naps. There are signs that your child may be ready to give up their nap; these include:

  • Restlessness and fidgeting at nap time.
  • No afternoon meltdowns when a nap is missed.
  • Consistent energy levels and attitudes.
  • Too much napping makes it hard for them to sleep at bedtime.
  • A consistent struggle to get your child down during the day.

If your child is at the stage of consistently showing the above signs, then nap time may be coming to an end.

How Much Should My Child Nap?

In general, your child likely needs the following amount of sleep during the day:

  • 0-6 months: 3-4 naps with a total of 2-4 hours at a time
  • 6-12 months: 2 naps a day with a total of 1-3 hours at a time
  • 12-18 months: 1-2 naps a day with a total of 1-3 hours at a time
  • 2- 3 years: 1 nap with a total of 1-3 hours
  • 4-5 years: 1 nap with varying durations

If your child is constantly fighting nap time yet you still feel like they need a nap for their physical and emotional health, there are a few things you can do to make napping a little easier.

  • Stick to a nap routine so your child knows when nap time is.
  • Put your child down to nap before they are overtired.
  • Keep the room quiet and dark – you may want to use a noise machine.
  • As they get older, read together at the beginning of nap time.
  • Don’t keep them up later at night thinking it will help with nap time – this can have the opposite effect.

If you feel your child is ready to give up their naps but you both still need a little down time, turn nap time into quiet time. Teach your child that it is time for reading or quiet play. This is a great transition and can allow you to have the time you need without fighting nap every day.

Here at Montessori Children’s House, we believe that children need downtime to be at their best.  To learn more about Montessori education and the programs we offer, contact us today and schedule a tour.

Kid Friendly Halloween Alternatives

Whether you just don’t care for Halloween or you are looking for some alternative ways to have fun in October, these kid-friendly Halloween alternatives are sure to be a hit with the whole family!

Fun Halloween Alternatives that are Kid-Friendly

  • Give Instead of Receiving – This activity can actually be done anytime of the year. Have your children help you bag up some candy, then deliver them to friends and family. No tricking here – just treating!
  • Host a Harvest Party – Instead of scary Halloween decorations and costumes, have a harvest party. Do some fun fall crafts, bob for apples, create a caramel apple bar, and have fun celebrating the season.
  • Decorate some Pumpkins – Whether you do this as a family or you have a fun party and invite some of your children’s friends over, decorating pumpkins is always a big hit. You can paint, draw, stick on googly eyes or carve, whatever makes it enjoyable for everyone.
  • Host a Neighborhood Chili Cookoff – A fun neighborhood block party doesn’t have to be fancy. Ask everyone to bring a pot of chili, set out a table, some bowls, spoons and voting cards. Let everyone taste and vote on each pot of chili. The winner gets the knowledge of knowing their chili is the best, until next year!
  • Pumpkin Bowling – For this fun activity, you need a big round pumpkin and 9 gourds that will stand up on their own. You can play this one on the footpath or in your driveway.
  • Pumpkin Chunkin – If you have ever been to a pumpkin throwing event, you might just get the appeal. If you have a garden, large yard or a park nearby, host a pumpkin throwing competition. Have prizes for different age groups and see who can throw that pumpkin the furthest. You may want to take it a step further and have friends and family create their own pumpkin throwing machines.

There are plenty of fun non-traditional and non-scary ways to celebrate this wonderful season – all it takes is a little imagination and some friends and family to help you celebrate.

If you are looking for a school that can help wake up your toddler’s imagination Montessori schools could be the perfect choice. Call Mission Valley Montessori today and  take a tour to find out why our schools are different to other preschools in the area. We focus on blending fun with learning, helping your child discover the world at their own pace.

Three Toddler Friendly Apps

The toddler years are a great time for children to get used to the idea of apps and the many ways they can teach them about the world. Even the littlest ones who aren’t talking much and have only started walking can get excited seeing the bright colors and hearing the sounds associated with these apps. Why not make the experience both educational and fun for your child?

Three Toddler Friendly Apps

The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends – First Words

This app is available for Apple devices, including the iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone and recommended for ages 2 and up. A digital format uses the pop-up images associated with the classic children’s book that teaches toddlers words. Because the app is available in five languages, it is perfect for parents who want to teach their child a second language. You can easily explore the app together with your child while knowing it’s easy for them to use alone.

The illustrations in the app are as high-quality as the illustrations from the book, helping a new generation learn to love this book. There is a conversational quiz that allows kids to practice their new words very easily.

Pat the Bunny

Available for the iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone, this app is another new, interactive take on a popular children’s classic. Several page elements are interactive, bringing the story to life in a unique way. You can record your own voice reading, which will help your child 2 and up learn the story by heart.

A fun coloring feature, activated by your child brushing a finger along the screen, will help foster creativity. Devices that have cameras can display your child’s face in pictures with a mirror. One of the things parents like the most about this app is how quickly children learn to navigate it.

Five Little Monkeys

Available for Apple devices, Android, and the Kindle Fire, the app teaches your toddler how to count by using a fun song. With a choice of three music styles, the song will never get boring for your child. There are other items that appear on the screen your child can interact with in addition to the monkeys.  Kids will learn to appreciate the good, clean humor behind this colorful app. Fun touches include the monkeys’ mom heading to the phone to call the doctor. The doctor, portrayed as a wise owl, gives the monkeys a gentle admonishment.

These are just a few of the fun apps for toddlers that will help them get a head start on learning in a very fun way.

Though much has been said about the academic achievements of Montessori children, the main value of the educational method lies in the self-discipline, self-motivation, independence, and love of learning that the children achieve.  To see if a Montessori education is right for your child, contact one our Fremont Montessori schools.

Transitioning from an In-Home Daycare to Montessori

Children develop and are able to transition at different ages which is often stressful for you as a parent. Knowing when and if your child is ready to move from an in-home daycare to a more structured environment is not always an easy decision. Choosing the appropriate environment can make the move a lot easier.

Transitioning from an In-Home Daycare

When you are considering the move for your child from an in-home daycare setting to a more structured environment, you should arrange to meet the teachers they will work with. Building a good relationship with your child’s future teacher will help to ease some of the stress you may be feeling. Talk to them about any concerns or anxieties you may have, and share how you would like to be contacted regarding your child’s progress.

Gradual transition

Many children do better if they are gradually introduced to a new environment. Discuss with the school whether it is possible to start out with shorter classroom times and slowly introduce your child to a classroom setting. There are also children who do better if they are not expected to go back and forth so you will need to know your child and which will work best for them.

Children need time to adjust

Children need time to adjust to change. Make sure you give yourself and your child the time to adjust and become comfortable in the new environment. Your child may need time to actually ‘grieve’ leaving the setting they have become attached and comfortable with. This is part of a transition period and your child will need time to build a new relationship and adjust to their new setting.

Expectations of the classroom

Many parents think that by moving their child from an in-home daycare which has been low-key and relatively quiet to a classroom will be drastic. They often envision a room full of bustling children creating a lot of noise. The Montessori environment radiates with respect and harmony. Parents will find a busy hum as the children interact, yet there is great respect for quiet play.

Students in the Montessori classroom are encouraged to work together and care for their environment. They take turns caring for the room and any pets, plants, or other items that need daily attending to. They are taught to live in a community and to become independent within that environment.

The Montessori classroom

There are often students of mixed ages within the Montessori classroom. The flow and design of the classroom is to create a learning environment for your child that will encourage choice and interest. Spaces are suited for groups to play and there are quiet areas where you child can find time to be alone. There are also well-defined areas for the curriculum where your child will be encouraged to investigate.

Start your child on a successful start to their future. Contact our Bay Area Montessori school today and schedule a tour to see what they have to offer your child.