Category Archives: Preschoolers

Social Distancing Survival Tips for Parents with Toddlers

[Note: These tips are from KFDC contributor, Emily Moise, mom of two little ones. Most of my strategies have been more for school age children, so Emily brings a fresh perspective to this new socially distanced world we’re all still figuring out how to navigate.]
 

If you’re like me, you’re seeing the plethora of virtual events, free online courses, streaming exercise classes, and binge-worthy TV recommendations, and thinking, “If only I didn’t have two toddlers!” Even though many of these offerings are geared towards preschoolers, a screen opens Pandora’s box for my nearly 3-year-old daughter and isn’t doable for my newly 1-year-old son.

Here are my social distancing survival tips for parents and caretakers of kids in the 1-3 range, using minimal or strategic screen time:

Change the scenery. Toddlers physically cannot stay in the house all day. It just ends badly. If it’s nice out and above 40 degrees we get outside (a nursery school rule), at least two times a day. Back yard, front yard, open field, tennis court, or “nature walk.” If stuck indoors, we change up the scenery there as well. Whether that’s making bath time a foam party, setting up a tent, or just moving playtime from room to room.  

FaceTime. This was always part of our little ones’ routine for family in NYC, but now we’ve added friends, more family, and even a whole nursery school class to the mix. Using a smartphone as a phone feels good! Kids get to converse or listen to conversation, see friends they miss, and then we can hang up without them wanting to scroll or watch videos. If your preschool class has yet to schedule a live group chat, encourage them to do it! We used Lifesize.

Hone in on the distraction-proof activities. My child can do puzzle after puzzle only looking up for you to hand her the next one, but give her an easel and paint and she’ll be done, paint spilled in about two minutes. We haven’t given up on painting, but we are really playing up the things that give her laser focus to kill an hour. Tip: Search the Facebook Marketplace for more puzzles, Play-Doh supplies, etc. You won’t have to wait for shipping…just be sure to sanitize well!

Choose your parent-DIY activities wisely. There are so many crafty ideas for toddler activities circulating out there now—but some can take way more time to create than use. I recently discovered @busytoddler on Instagram and her ideas using stickers (like this one) was an aha moment for me. My daughter loves stickers, as in she loves to just peel them off one by one until the sheet is done—five minutes max. With @busytoddler guidance, I’ve since created sheets of words and landscapes for her to match stickers to.

Aim for 45-minute intervals. The majority of those gym and music classes our children cannot attend at the moment are just 45 minutes long. For us, on non-school days we would have one or maybe two classes/open gyms on the schedule. If we can set up one of our social distancing activities and go for 45 minutes, I consider that a win and there is less pressure on the rest of the day. This is a good way to think about digital activities like Cosmic Kids Yoga. You can also try starting an activity with 20 minutes of your own “circle time” using music like this.

Love thy neighborhood walks. When the workday is over, we’re likely strolling through our neighborhood with the little ones in a wagon. We find neighbors out on every block willing to have a 6 foot-separated chat, or giving the kids a friendly wave and smile—much needed, real-life face time! The sidewalk chalk art movement is making these walks even more cheerful for everyone. Tip: Search your toddler’s favorite characters on this drawing tutorial site and be amazed at your sidewalk art skills.

Lastly, find your child’s TV obsession and milk it for all it’s worth. My daughter is fan-girling over Paw Patrol at the moment. Our routine is to watch two episodes in the morning and two in the afternoon (~40 minutes total). So now that’s all she asks for rather than an endless stream of requests. If she asks for more we say, “But you already watched four Paw Patrols today!” —which sounds like a lot. We have a stash of activity and reading books to support the fandom without the need for more TV.

What are some of your strategies for this social distancing with toddlers? If you have some good tips to share, please do so in the comments!

 

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DC Way Kids Academy – Spring Soccer for U4, U5, & U6!



This post is sponsored by DC Way, however, I only promote programs, services, and events that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under 2020, Class, DC, Gradeschoolers, Outdoor, Preschoolers, Sports, Spring

International School of Music: Lessons in All Instruments & Giveaway!

[This is a sponsored guest post contributed by International School of Music.]

Does your child love to sing or pretend to play a guitar? Are they the next Mozart or Justin Bieber?

If your kid loves music — or maybe you want to introduce them to it in a fun way — there is a school whose specialty is just that!

International School of Music, with two locations in Bethesda and Potomac, is the premier provider of music lessons in all instruments and voice to students of all ages and levels. They bring together a community of dedicated, experienced, world-class faculty that offers personalized lessons in piano, guitar, voice, violin, viola, cello, flute, drums, saxophone, clarinet, harp, recorder, trumpet, trombone, bassoon, ensembles, group classes, toddler and preschooler music classes and amazing performance opportunities.

Their teaching methods are student-centered and focused on individual learning styles and personal goals to help each student reach his or her full musical potential. With a flexible curriculum that rewards practicing and achievement, their students get to explore music they are passionate about, whether they play classical, rock, pop, jazz, folk, etc. And with our same-time sibling scheduling, the families enjoy convenience and flexibility!

Music lessons teach kids valuable skills that they can carry with them through life. Children practice basic math when they count the rhythm, reading comprehension as they learn how to read music, and creativity as they figure out how to express themselves. Bonus: They also benefit from better concentration, self-discipline, self-expression, and confidence. Even more, all of these skills are mixed in with fun music making!

Check out International School of Music to see how you can book an introductory lesson for your child, try classes yourself, or make it a family affair!


Giveaway! Three KFDC readers can win a half-hour private music lesson at the International School of Music in any instrument or voice with one of their amazing teachers! Want a chance to win? Simply leave a comment below telling me what kind of music your child loves to listen to. Get an extra chance to win by entering on the KidFriendly DC Facebook Page, too! Contest is open to new students only. This giveaway will run through Wednesday, March 11, 2020, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!

For more information about International School of Music and its programs and performances, visit their website.

 

This post is sponsored by International School of Music, however, I only promote programs, places, and services that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.

 

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Filed under Class, DC, Giveaway, Gradeschoolers, Maryland, Music, Preschoolers, Teens, Tweens, Weekdays, Weekend

Play: A Necessity for the Child and the Student at Rochambeau The French International School

[Note: This is a sponsored guest post contributed by the staff at Rochambeau, the French International School.]

“Start by closing your eyes…the intensity, power of laughter, the pleasure and the joy are incomparable and unforgettable. Open your eyes, cut the sound: the joy on their faces, the enthusiasm, friendships, exploration, total and absolute engagement: pure enjoyment,” advises Fréderic Tavernier, the Director of the Maternelle Preschool at Rochambeau The French International School.

For a teacher, this small experiment is a way of reminding us that preschool and kindergarten are all about fun.  “For the child, play is a source and a vehicle for learning,” he insists. This principle is at the heart of France’s official Maternelle program and at the core of the curriculum taught at Rochambeau The French International School Maternelle for children ages 2 through kindergarten.  

While Rochambeau offers a comprehensive education all the way to 12th grade, “Maternelle is an essential step in the journey of students to ensure their academic success,” emphasizes Frédéric Tavernier. It is a school where children will learn together and live together. Here they develop their oral language and begin to discover writing, numbers, art, sciences… in both French and English. They learn through play, reflection, problem-solving, practice, recall, and memorization.

This attention for the well-being of the child, with a curriculum adapted to their rhythm, ensuring a balance between academics and recreation, meets the recommendations of American specialists. In August, the American Academy of Pediatrics sounded the alarm in a report expressing concern about the decline in the amount of time devoted to play in the lives of toddlers. “From 1981 to 1997, children’s playtime decreased by 25%. Children three to 11 years of age have lost 12 hours per week of free time. Because of increased academic pressure, 30% of US kindergarten children no longer have recess.”

The Maternelle teachers have one central goal: to ensure that the children are excited to go to school to learn, gain confidence, and develop their personality.

“Mission accomplished,” say parents like Erika Aparakakankanange. “When my children are at Rochambeau, they have so much fun that they don’t always realize that they are learning things, and for children like mine, who are not native French speakers, it makes the immersion process much easier…I can honestly say that my boys like to go to school every day and that is one of the many things we love about Rochambeau.”

“What I like,” says another parent, Sabine Durier, “is that the school combines classroom work, where all activities are intentional, with moments purely reserved for free time, where they can be children before they are students.”

Quoting Montaigne, the French philosopher, Maternelle teacher Bénédicte Le Nouën Maurice notes that “a child is not a vase that you fill, but a fire that you light”, which you let grow. “It’s important to give children free time to play, to make choices. This free time is not a waste of time, quite the contrary! During these moments of freedom, the child thinks about what he could play; he can make choices, invent, create, reach out to others. Many skills are built during this time. The child must not always be waiting for instructions, he must be able to learn to think for himself, to make his own choices, to invent, to create… and for this he needs free time.”

Preparing Global Citizens
Beginning at the preschool level and continuing through 12th grade, all students at Rochambeau, the French International School receive regular, guided instruction in both English and French, and can start a third language as early as elementary school (Arabic, Spanish).

Students represent more than 80 nationalities and communicate in over 25 different languages. As the only accredited French school in the Washington, DC, area, Rochambeau proudly enrolls children without any knowledge of French until the 4th grade. Our adapted immersion program gives students the opportunity to be part of and benefit from this extraordinary community. 

Graduates of Rochambeau go on to study at top universities in the US, Canada, UK, France, and all around the world. Students receive their US high school diploma at the end of 11th grade and the French Baccalaureate at the end of 12th grade. Starting in 2021, Rochambeau will also offer the IB dual language diploma. 

Tours of the school are offered on Thursdays and Fridays on all three campuses — register for them here. For more information about Rochambeau, The French International School, visit the website.


This post is sponsored by Rochambeau The French International School, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.


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