The Importance of Toddler Oral Health

The month of February is National Oral Health Month, and this is a good reminder of the need to start teaching good oral health habits early. The toddler years are a good time for children to start learning how to take care of their teeth. Children at this stage are learning and getting used to daily routines, making oral care something that is easy to turn into a habit.

Fun Tools to Help Your Child

There are many fun things you can use to help spark further interest in oral care for your child. Some of the options to consider include:

  • The Tooth Fairy app from Colgate that includes a game, map to see where teeth come in, and information for parents.
  • Child-size toothbrushes featuring favorite cartoon characters.
  • Songs like Sesame Street’s “Brushy Brush” that encourage children to brush for two minutes.

Give Help As Needed

A toddler isn’t likely to have the fine motor skills to use a toothbrush very well without help. Make sure your child’s toothbrush is the right size and has soft bristles. Fluoride rinses geared towards younger children are helpful, but you should supervise your child to ensure he or she doesn’t swallow the rinse.

Encourage your child to eat fruit or other produce items as a snack, instead of sugary items. Even when your child snacks in between meals, encourage them to brush their teeth anyway. They will begin to treat this as part of their normal routine.

Other ways you can help your child follow good practices include:

  • Changing out the toothbrush about three or four times a year, plus after illnesses. Make things interesting by having your child pick out their toothbrush.
  • Make sure your child sees you eating healthy and brushing regularly. You will be setting a good example by doing these things yourself.
  • Schedule regular visits with a good pediatric dentist. These dentists know how to make younger kids comfortable and make the experience fun.

Good Dental Health Helps Later

Your child’s dental health early in life will also make an impact on their life later, especially as they progress into school. Pain issues from bad teeth and difficulty chewing foods can negatively impact a child’s quality of life. Even younger children often become self-conscious if their teeth become discolored and other children notice. If you help your child take charge of their oral health from an earlier age, they are likely to have greater self-confidence.

At Montessori School of Pleasanton, we understand the impact that personal habits can have on a child’s development and focus in school.  We encourage students to take proper care of themselves, including their dental health.  To see how Montessori education emphasizes developing the whole child, contact us today to schedule a tour.

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.

Fun Summer Math Projects for Toddlers

Before your toddler starts kindergarten, it is a good idea that they have some basic math skills. The summer before school begins, there are a few fun math projects that you can do with your toddler to help them learn these basic skills.

Counting With Egg Cartons

This is a great game to teach children to count, and you likely have all of the necessary items right in your home.

You Will Need:

  • An empty egg carton
  • A bag of M&M’s

Number the spaces in the egg carton from 1-12. Have your child place the number of M&M’s in each numbered hole. If they get all of the answers right, they can eat the M&M’s as a reward.

Number Recognition Game

This game will teach your child to recognize numbers 1-9. It is also fun.

You Will Need:

  • Bag of balloons
  • Laundry basket

Blow up 9 of the balloons. Number each balloon and place them on the ground. Give your child a number and have them find the balloon that coincides with that number. Have them place the balloon in the laundry basket. This time, give the child a number again and have them find it in the laundry basket. When your child finds the balloon, they can pop it.

Counting in Nature

This game will give your child a chance to get some fresh air while they are building their math skills.

You Will Need:

  • A notebook
  • A pen

Before your nature hike, make a list of things in nature for your child to find. The list should include one item, then two of another item, three of another item, and so on. The game ends when your child has found all of everything on the list.

Grocery Shopping Fun

You can make your weekly grocery shopping trip, and turn it into a learning game.

You Will Need:

  • A supermarket trip

While you are shopping, but your child in charge of putting items in the cart. For example, you can tell your child to get 5 cans of vegetables. They would need to count out the 5 cans and put them in the cart. You can even add some subtraction to the game, and tell your child to get 7 potatoes, and then take 3 away.

Funny Money

This game will not only teach your child to count, it will also introduce them to money and budgeting.

You Will Need:

  • A package of play money
  • Post-It notes
  • A sharpie marker

Write money amounts between $1 and $9 on several Post-It notes and stick it on various items around the home. Have your child choose the items that they want to buy, and pay you for each item with their fake money.

The Day Star Montessori Children’s Learning Center applies the educational philosophy and methods of Maria Montessori, M.D., a renowned Italian physician and child educator. For our Montessori children math is more than rote memorization. Our children learn the base 10 system with cube material that is properly scaled. For more information on math for toddlers, contact us today.

 

Summer Science Activities at Home for Kids

Just because school lets out for the summer, it does not mean that your child should stop learning or even that they want to stop learning.

Since Science is such an important subject, it is important that you keep your child interested while school is out. There are a few summer experiments that you can do with your children to peak their curiosity about Science, while teaching them something at the same time.

Build a Fizz Inflator

When baking soda and vinegar combine, ab acud based reaction is created. When the two chemicals come into contact with one another, they create carbon dioxide. This is a great way to teach that to your children.

You Will Need:

  • An empty soda bottle
  • A small balloon
  • A funnel
  • 1/2 cup of vinegar
  • Baking soda

Instructions:

  1. Pour the vinegar into a bottle
  2. Stretch out the balloon and fill it half way with baking soda, using a funnel.
  3. Put the neck of the balloon over the bottle, and try to avoid letting any baking soda into the bottle.
  4. Raise the balloon and allow the baking soda to pour from the balloon to the bottle. It will mix with the vinegar and then start fizzing.

Make a Paperclip Float

This experiment will teach your child about surface tension. This means that there is a ‘skin’ on the surface where the molecules hold together tightly. If the experiment is done properly, the paperclip will float.

You Will Need:

  • Clean, dry paperclips
  • A pencil with an eraser
  • Tissue paper
  • A bowl of water

Instructions:

  1. Fill a bowl with water, and put the paperclip in. Watch it fall to the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Tear a piece of tissue paper the size of a dollar bill.
  3. Drop the tissue paper onto the surface of the water gently.
  4. Place the paperclip on the tissue without touching the water or the tissue with your fingers.
  5. Using the eraser on the pencil, poke the tissue but don’t touch the paperclip. Push on the tissue until it sinks. The paperclip should continue to float on top of the water.

Blow Up a Balloon With Pop Rocks

This is a great experiment to teach kids about pressurized dioxide gas and how it can put air in a balloon.

You Will Need:

  • A 1-liter bottle of soda
  • 1 balloon
  • 1 packet of Pop Rocks

Instructions:

  1. Stretch out the balloon so that you can fit it over the top of the soda bottle quickly and easily.
  2. Slowly pour the packet of Pop Rocks into the soda bottle.
  3. Quickly, fit the balloon over the top of the bottle before the gas can escape.
  4. Watch the balloon inflate after the two ingredients combine.
  5. Explain to your child that Pop Rocks containe a small amount of pressurized carbon dioxide, which caused the balloon to inflate.

If you are interested in learning more about our authentic Montessori Preschool program, contact us to schedule a tour.