Chores for Children

Getting your kids involved in household chores at an early age has so many benefits. When you give young children chores to complete, they begin to gain a sense of responsibility, self-reliance, and empathy. They learn skills that will carry with them throughout the rest of their lives, including time management, prioritizing tasks, and basic organizational abilities.

If you want your child to start developing these behaviors and abilities, then you should get them participating in household chores as soon as possible. Here are some age-appropriate chores that your child can do to help out around the house:

Toddlers

  • Put their toys away
  • Put their dirty clothes in a basket or hamper
  • Put clean clothes away
  • Feed the pet
  • Throw trash away in the wastebasket
  • Fold simple materials, like pillowcases or washcloths

Kids ages 4 to 5

Any of the above, plus:

  • Make the bed
  • Empty the wastebaskets
  • Bring in the mail or newspaper
  • Clear the table
  • Clean up spills
  • Water the plants
  • Organize items, such as utensils, clothing, or books
  • Hang up towels in the bathroom
  • Prepare their own snacks, like a bowl of cereal

Kids ages 6 to 7

Any of the above, plus:

  • Sweep
  • Fold laundry
  • Put away the clean laundry
  • Set and clear the table
  • Help make and pack lunch
  • Keep their bedroom organized and clean

Kids ages 8 to 9

Any of the above, plus:

  • Vacuum
  • Wash the dishes
  • Put away groceries
  • Help make dinner
  • Prepare snacks
  • Take pet for walks
  • Take the trash out
  • Weed and rake leaves
  • Dust the furniture
  • Clean the bathroom

Ages 10 and older

Any of the above, plus:

  • Mow the yard
  • Do the laundry
  • Mop the floors
  • Make easy meals
  • Clean the kitchen
  • Wash the family car
  • Clean the inside of the fridge
  • Iron clothes
  • Wash windows
  • Help take care of younger siblings
  • Change the bedsheets

Tips to consider:

Communication.

It’s important to remember that the way you talk about chores will directly impact your child’s willingness to participate in them. Children are more likely to respond to “Let’s do our chores” rather than “Do your chores,” because it emphasizes that chores are not just tasks but a way of taking care of other members of the family.

Focus.

By putting the focus of chores on taking care of the family, your children will be more likely to want to share the responsibility of the family. They will be more willing to do the chores because they feel that they are contributing to the family’s overall success.

Timing.

Scheduling a chore time is a good way to maintain consistency every day and to avoid the all too common “I forgot” excuse. Keep in mind that children will not always get it done right the first time and you will need to supervise them during chore-time until they get the hang of things.

Allowance?

Allowances are not necessary for completing chores, however, it is strictly up to you whether or not you think you should give one. Some parents believe that allowances are a good way to teach financial responsibility and are a way to simulate a job-type experience. Other parents believe that participating in chores is just another way of participating in family life and being a part of the family community is not something that should be paid off.

Cranium Values

Teamwork is one of our core values here at Cranium Academy. We believe that when parents and their children work together, both will benefit from the collaboration. Kids will gain a learning experience and life-long skills by doing their chores, while parents might have some of the stresses of housekeeping lifted off of them.

10 Fast and Healthy Lunch Ideas

You know how important it is to keep your kids healthy. Making sure that they maintain a well-balanced and nutritious diet has become one of your main priorities. But going in the kitchen at least five times a day and spending hours cooking and preparing meals for the kiddos can be exhausting. And let’s face it, they’re probably getting tired of the same old ham and cheese sandwiches. Have no fear, though – Cranium is here to help you!

10 New Recipes Just for You

Here’s a list of fast and healthy snacks and lunches that will cut back on your time in the kitchen and facilitate the process of coming up with nutritious meals for your children.

  1. Wingers Sticky Fingers: These are the type of chicken fingers that you’ll want your kids to share with you. The best part is that they’re baked so you don’t have to worry about using any butter or oil! http://bit.ly/1rtBoB4
  2. Sweet Potato Kale Frittata: This recipe is basically as healthy as they get. It’s chock full of veggies and protein. It takes as little as 30 minutes and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! http://bit.ly/1XseV5m
  3. Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps: If your kids are craving Chinese, you should try out these healthy lettuce wraps as a substitute for takeout. They only take 20 minutes to whip up! http://bit.ly/1Gxytdh
  4. Tortilla Pizzas: Even the kids can get involved with this recipe! You can ask them to assemble the pizzas for you and then they’ll enjoy their lunch even more! http://bit.ly/1nVwrO9
  5. Zucchini Muffins: These muffins provide a sweet way for you to sneak in that serving of veggies. They’re so delicious, the kids will never know! http://bit.ly/QM1VHK
  6. Baked Vegetable Spring Rolls: These spring rolls are packed with vegetables and baked instead of fried! http://bit.ly/1YwIrq0
  7. Quinoa Pizza Bites: A great alternative to processed frozen pizzas or greasy delivery ones, these pizza bites are baked and contain quinoa, a nutritious grain. They’re also made with cauliflower, which the kids will never know is in there! http://bit.ly/261qKVb
  8. Mexican Pinwheels: These little Mexican-style wraps are a like a fiesta in your mouth and the kids will find them fun to eat. They’re also super easy to pack up and take with you when you’re on the go. http://bit.ly/1PdD4JX
  9. Baked Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese: Get ready to ditch those Easy Macs with this recipe for a homemade and healthy version of the classic kiddie lunch. Your child won’t even notice that you snuck some veggies in there. http://bit.ly/1WlNpWD
  10. Creamy Avocado and White Bean Wrap: This is a hearty and healthy recipe that only takes 25 minutes to make. The avocados, carrots, and cabbage in this wrap are a great way to include some fruits and veggies into your child’s diet. http://bit.ly/1xY5Dg8

Why Healthy Matters

In order for children to develop properly, it is just as important for us to focus on their physical growth as it is to focus on their mental and emotional growth. At Cranium Academy we emphasize nutrition because we know that the mind feeds off the body. Physical well-being has always been one of our focuses here at Cranium, which is why we offer a unique physical education approach that integrates cognitive learning as part of our curriculum. We encourage physical activity along with a nutritious diet in order to keep a balanced and healthy lifestyle that promotes your child’s development.

Summer Reading Tips for Parents

There’s no time like summertime to brush up on your child’s reading skills. If there’s one thing you want to avoid, it’s “summer setback” or the loss of comprehension skills after a long summer vacation without reading. As parents, you want your child to be prepared for the upcoming school year so it’s important to keep them reading throughout the summer. Here are some tips on how you can keep your kids cracking open those books:

Go to the library.

  • Making frequent trips to the library is a good way to get your child involved in the reading process. By getting your child her own library card, you will spark her interest in going to the library to check out books and other reading materials.
    • Have your child make a list. Before hitting the library, encourage your child to make a list of whatever books he wants to read. Summer should be a time for kids to enjoy the reading and have as much fun with it as possible.
    • Explore tech options. Although visiting libraries may seem outdated, many of them now offer many technology options, such as E-books, audio books, and GPS navigation apps to help students quickly find materials within the library.
    • See if your local library offers a summer reading program. Most libraries have programs in the summer for children that include events like puppet shows and presentations from storybook authors. Others may host book clubs for kids of all ages. Programs like these are a great way to get your child excited about reading.

Make reading fun.

  • Read aloud. Kids love interactive reading sessions. Reading out loud can help them sharpen their fluency and comprehension while increasing their vocabulary.
  • Find reading spots. If your child gets bored easily, it may be a good idea to switch up their reading spots regularly. You can try reading with them in the backyard, on the front porch, or in a park.
  • Connect books to summer experiences. If you go somewhere on vacation, choose some books that have a similar setting. If you take them to a special place, choose some books that have related materials, like stories that have a lot of animals if you went to the zoo. When a child is able to connect what they read in a book with the places that they go and the things that they see in real life, they will most likely have more meaningful experiences.
  • Create a reader-friendly environment. Make sure you have a lot of reading materials lying throughout your house. It could be anything from newspapers and magazines to brochures and pamphlets. The more access they have to these materials, the more opportunities they have to pick them up and start reading.
  • Download digital reading tools. If your child prefers to read digitally, don’t discourage him. Find apps that he can use to read and support his interests. Some of these apps even include games that improve reading comprehension.

Get involved.

  • Set an example. Your kids look up to you as role models and if they see that you make reading a priority in your life, they will most likely want to make it an important part of theirs too.
  • Communicate. Ask questions about the books they read. Who is their favorite character? Why do you think the character did that? What did you like about the story? What didn’t you like about it? This will get your children to think critically.

At Cranium Academy, we make it our goal to inspire each child to think both critically and creatively. We believe that one of the best ways to achieve this goal is through the power of reading. We stress the importance of reading not just because it supports a child’s cognitive development, but also because it can broaden your child’s understanding of the world.

Keeping Your Cool Over the Summer

If you’ve ever lived in Florida, you know that summers here can make outdoor play with your children almost unbearable.  Just step foot out of your door and you’re met with either a sweltering wave of heat and humidity, or a downpour! Taking the kids outside to play often becomes a dreaded part of your day and, at times, can be unsafe. Sun damage, thunderstorms, and bug bites are all dangers that come with the territory.

So how can you keep your cool when stuck indoors with kids who are out of school for the summer? We searched the web for some fun indoor activities to keep preschool through elementary school age children busy, plus help boost brain power over the summer.

Here are seven ways to have some cool fun out of the sun:

  1. Math Fact Islands is a great DIY game for keeping your child’s computation skills sharp this summer. Check out this link for more details –> http://bit.ly/28O08jC
  2. Marshmallow Popper Math is a favorite among kids because who doesn’t love shooting marshmallows around? With this version, however, kids will gain math skills when you have them measuring the distance of their shots, comparing their shots to others, and totaling them up in the end. Follow the link for further instructions –> http://to.pbs.org/U9DSUy
  3. Building a Rocket Ship is the one activity that your child will remember for years. It’s a great way to tap into your child’s imagination as they dream about all of the cool places that their rocket will take them! They’ll love you for this one and you’ll love that they’re learning about measurements and construction. –> http://bit.ly/28NZ76Q
  4. Making a Rainbow-Colored Water Xylophone is a quick and easy way to nurture your child’s love of music and to teach them about sound.                                                                                                 Click here to see how it’s made  –> http://to.pbs.org/1b0JpTc
  5. Cooking and Baking are both great indoor activities that you can do with your children. Through cooking and baking, you can teach your children how to follow a recipe, how to measure ingredients, and you can familiarize them with fractions. Here are some delicious recipes to try with your kids –> http://bzfd.it/1UdqwVB
  6. Reading aloud is the tried and true way to keep your child’s mind active when they’re stuck inside. You should let them choose books that they are interested in and make sure that they are at their reading level. Pay attention to what they read and ask them questions about it afterwards to get them to think critically.
  7. Card Games and Board Games are both fun activities that you can get the whole family involved in. Card games and board games are a great way to challenge your children mentally and teach them how to win with humility and lose with dignity. It’s important to remember not to let your child win every game. When your child loses a game, it provides you with the perfect opportunity to teach them how to handle a loss and not winning every game will make them appreciate it more when they do win.

At Cranium, we believe in striking a balance between work and play. We believe that when summer rolls around, this balance should be kept in mind because exploration and discovery do not stop when the rain starts or when it gets too hot outside. The indoor activities listed above should help keep your children entertained and educated during the summer months when inclement weather has them stuck inside. Keep boredom at bay the Cranium way!