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Parenting Column(記事)

The use of naps to improve your child’s academic ability and how to encourage your child to take naps

As the phrase “sleep brings up a child well”shows, sleep is very important for a child’s development. Although most parents require their child to take a nap when they are under 3 years old, research has proven that children over 3 years old also strongly benefit from taking a nap. In this article, we will introduce the effects of naps and how to encourage children to take naps.

昼寝は子どもの学力をアップさせる!? 昼寝の効果と寝かせ方

Why taking naps improves academic ability.

Many adults, who take a short nap to clear their brain in the afternoon, perform better at work. This is the same for children.

A research team from Massachusetts University performed an experiment with 40 children 3 – 6 years old during which they played a concentration card game and recorded how much the children remembered. Children who took a nap and those who did not take a nap were separated into two groups.

・When the children took a nap
They played the game in the morning before their nap and also in the afternoon after their nap.

・When the children did not take a nap
They played the game in the morning and then again in the afternoon without taking a nap

After asking both teams to play the game again the next morning, the researchers compared the scores of both teams and the children who took a nap scored 10% higher than the team who did not take a nap. The results remained the same on the following morning as well.
As a result, researchers believe that taking naps has a positive effect on one’s memory and performance.

Naps are an important part of a child’s development

Napping not only improves memory but also helps relieve stress and builds up immunity so it is a very important part of a child’s development. While they are awake, children are stimulated and absorb what’s going on around them which tires out not only their body but also their brain. Taking a nap allows them to calm down and relax before they move on.

While we sleep, we also discharge melatonin which helps improve immunity. Taking a nap can help protect our bodies from germs. Taking a nap at the same time each day will help regulate one’s sleeping schedule.

How can we make our child’s naps more effective?

Children need to be active in the morning to nap well in the afternoon. Therefore, it is recommended that parents bring young children to the park and play locations like Gymboree in the morning to tire them out. Being out in the sunlight brings out the sleep hormone that helps them sleep better not only during the day but at night as well. Taking a nap too late in the afternoon will affect their how they sleep at night so researchers recommend that children take naps between 1 and 3pm.

Providing a quiet environment after lunch will also help your child get ready for his/her nap. Parents should try to encourage their child to stay away from television and smartphones and instead curl up with a book after lunch. Listening to a book will help them relax and get ready to fall asleep. Patting them on the back will also help them fall asleep.

Napping is very important for your child’s development so let’s make sure we provide the appropriate sleep environment. If your child refuses to take naps or has trouble falling asleep in the afternoon, it is a good idea to rethink their morning activities and provide a quiet environment that encourages them to relax.

昼寝は子どもの学力をアップさせる!? 昼寝の効果と寝かせ方
Parenting Column(記事)

5 Movies That Will Encourage Children to Enjoy Studying English

Watching English movies is a great way for children to learn English while enjoying stories and music. In this article, we will recommend 5 English movies for parents to use including each movie’s individual characteristics.

子どもの興味を惹きつける! 楽しく英語を学べるおすすめの映画5選

1. Cinderella

Disney movies are great for encouraging children to learn English. Cinderella is a great choice for girls who enjoy romantic stories. The story is very easy to follow and the background doesn’t change too frequently which keeps children’s interests. The language in the movie is also easy for children who just started learning English to understand and the tempo is slow enough for them to pick up.

2. Tonari no Totoro

The English versions of Ghibli movies are also good choices for encouraging English learning. “Kiki’s Delivery Service” and “Ponyo” are recommended but the most popular choice is “Tonari no Totoro”. The language used in “Tonari no Totoro” is comparatively easy to understand and most children who have started to learn English can follow most of the movie. Given its popularity, many children will ask to watch the movie over and over again.

3. Curious George

Curious George is a popular cartoon in Japan and around the world. The best part of this movie is that the English language is very easy to understand. Many of the phrases are useful in real life and will help children improve their English language skills efficiently. The story is also easy to predict so even children who are not familiar with English can follow what is going to happen next.

4. Toy Story

“Toy Story” which is popular with boys is another good movie choice for learning English. With so many different toys playing characters, most children are guaranteed to be glued to the screen. The story moves quickly so children with limited English ability may find it hard to follow at times. Therefore, we recommend the movie for children who have started to learn English.

5. Back to the Future

“Back to the Future” is an action-packed science fiction movie which makes a great addition to a child’s English learning. The movie may be hard for younger children to understand but is good for elementary school and junior high school students. The conversation is simple and the characters speak with a native English language accent.

Children who dislike studying often will pay attention to a movie if they like the story and characters. It is a good idea to watch the movie in Japanese first so that they can understand the story. Parents should ask their child’s teachers to recommend movies for their child’s level. Once children find a movie they like they will ask to watch it repeatedly. This is a great way for them to increase their vocabulary and improve their listening skills.

子どもの興味を惹きつける! 楽しく英語を学べるおすすめの映画5選
Parenting Column(記事)

Why should English classes for young children focus on hearing and speaking?

If you want your child to gain English skills efficiently, it is important for them to be in an environment where they can listen to and speak English with native English speakers. In our global society, more and more parents are having their children attend English language classes from a young age. In this article, we will explain why focusing on listening and speaking English is important for your child’s language studies.


Why English classes for young children should focus on listening and speaking?

During the toddler stage, parents and teachers want to start by improving children’s listening and speaking skills. Reading and writing can be incorporated into the learning process when children get older. If parents and teachers force children to work on reading and writing when they are too young it may cause them to dislike English and effect their future language learning.

For parents who never really learned English themselves, listening and understanding to daily conversational English at a native speed is often difficult. However, young children have great ears and absorb new sounds very quickly. If children are placed in an environment where they hear native English speakers from a young age they will be more likely to understand difficult English words. As they develop their listening skills, they will also be able to speak with an appropriate accent.

What type of English language learning for young children focuses on “listening” and “speaking”?

At a young age, it is important to focus on English learning that improves “listening” and “speaking” skills. For children between the ages of 0 and 1, it is recommended to incorporate English CDs, DVDs and toys. Please create an environment at home where your child can pick up English with a Native speaking accent naturally. Reading English books to them is also a good idea.

For 2-4 year olds, it is important to find a way to improve “listening” and “speaking” skills while having fun. Singing and dancing to English songs is a great way to introduce English learning in a fun way.

For 4-6 year olds, children should be given the opportunity to use English in daily conversation. It is a good time for parents to take their children to English conversation schools and allow them to listen and speak English as much as possible. If children are not given the opportunity to use English, they will feel that English is special and not important. Let’s try to let our children experience English as much as possible.

English, like all languages, is a communication tool. Many parents feel that children should learn how to read and write from a young age. However, this often leads children to dislike English. If you want your child to study English in an efficient manner, it is important that the learning focuses on improving their communication skills.

Parenting Column(記事)

The psychology behind children’s lies and how parents should handle them

Children who are good at manipulating words tend to lie sometimes. Let’s look at why children lie and how parents should react when it happens.


Children often lie out of “self-defense”

The most common reason for lying among children is out of self-defense. For example, when they are scolded or when they break something, they often say “I didn’t do it” to protect themselves. They are afraid that adults will get angry if they tell the truth.

Not only toddlers but elementary school and junior high school children also lie out of self-defense at times. Older children often get in the habit of lying when they hit puberty because they feel uncomfortable telling their parents the truth.

Children’s lies come in various patterns

Children lie not only when they are trying to protect themselves but also when they want to attract attention or want something. For example, they might say “it hurts” when they are not injured or say that they were praised by their teacher even if they weren’t or even tell a friend that they have a game that they do not actually have. Sometimes, children’s imagination or fantasy is mixed with reality and they end up telling a lie.

Telling lies is part of a child’s development

Parents are often worried about the child-raising skills when their child starts lying. However, children often lie so it is important that parents don’t take it personally.

Many times, children lie because they are unable to tell the difference between right and wrong or their desires get in the way. Lying to protect oneself is often proof that their intelligence has developed. As children develop, their feelings for themselves and desire to protect themselves develop as well.

What is the best way to react when your child lies?

Getting angry at your child when he/she lies will often stimulate his/her self-defense mechanism and cause him/her to lie even more. It is important that parents create an environment at home where children feel comfortable telling the truth and speaking with their parents freely about what is going on in their lives.

When parents have a strong and open relationship with their children, it is easier to teach them the importance of telling the truth and how telling lies can hurt friends and family member’s feelings.

Parents should talk with their children about what they should do instead of lying in the future instead of getting angry at them when they lie. It sometimes helps to have their teacher talk to them as well to better understand their specific reason for telling a lie.


Join us for Winter Term and prepare your child for independent learning!


During our preschool program, children can participate in Gymboree original play, music, art and science activities while making friends with Japanese children. Although the class is conducted in English, many children speak in Japanese so it is a great way for your child to pick up some Japanese vocabulary. Gymboree’s age-appropriate activities will encourage your child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical development in a fun, global environment. Children will learn the skills needed for kindergarten while improving their English language skills. Please contact each site for detailed pricing and enrollment information.

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