Kicking the Bad Habits: Hair Pulling

If your child is about to start preschool or daycare, it’s time to start breaking some of their bad habits. In this series, we will cover some tactics that will help you kick those bad habits to the curb. Today’s bad habit is hair pulling.

Yanking hair is usually a quick way for children to exert control over their environment, when they’re still too young to communicate why they are upset. Once children discover the reaction they get from hair pulling, they make it into a habit to get what they want. If your child has ever yanked on your locks then you know how painful this habit can be! Here are some ways to break the bad habit of hair pulling:

Stay calm

Remember that by pulling hair, your child is actively trying to get a reaction from you. If you don’t let your emotions overcome you when your child pulls your hair, or when you catch him pulling someone else’s hair, then you will find yourself in the right mindset to come up with a constructive way to handle this habit.

Work out the reason

Toddlers pull hair because their vocabulary is still so limited, so they are often unable to find the right words to explain what is making them upset. You should try to work out the possible reason behind their hair pulling behavior. For instance, you could tell them that you understand why they are angry and then correct their behavior accordingly.

Talk to your child

It’s important to demonstrate that talking – not hair pulling – is the proper way to solve problems. Make sure you tell her that hair pulling is wrong because it hurts people.  As your child gets older and her vocabulary starts to grow, teach her to solve problems through alternative means. For instance, you could say ‘Instead of pulling his hair, what could you do the next time your brother grabs your toy?’ Then help her express herself in words.

Never pull back

Don’t try to teach your child “how it feels” by pulling their hair back. This only reinforces the hair pulling behavior by teaching them that hair pulling is the way to get things done. Always use the behavior that you want your children to imitate.

At Cranium Academy, our goal is to build character and leadership in every student. To provide consistency between school and home life, we work hand-in-hand with parents to help children break their bad habits. If you’re working on kicking the hair pulling habit, let your child’s teacher know so that we can help you with the process. One less bad habit is one step closer to building good character and being a leader!

More in this series: Thumb Sucking, Nose Picking, Nail Biting/Picking

Kicking the Bad Habits: Thumb Sucking

If your child is about to start preschool or daycare, it’s time to start breaking some of their bad habits. In this series, we will cover some tactics that will help you kick those bad habits to the curb. Today’s bad habit is thumb and finger sucking.  

During infancy, thumb and finger sucking is a completely normal way for children to soothe and entertain themselves. However, past toddlerhood thumb sucking can become one of the worst habits for your child. Not only can it be the source of teasing around age 5, but it can also leave permanent damage to their jaw shape, teeth, and speech. To nip this bad habit in the bud, try applying the following tips:

Talk it Out

Explain to your child why thumb sucking is a bad habit, such as how it can start making his teeth look funny. Let your child know that when he is ready to stop, you will be there for him.

Set a Limit

To start weaning your child off thumb sucking, you can tell your child that thumb sucking should not be done during the daytime. Limiting thumb sucking to bedtime or naptime is a good way to reduce the amount of thumb sucking your child does on a daily basis.

Praise Good Behavior

For every hour that your child goes without sucking her thumb, you should tell her that you noticed she didn’t suck her thumb and praise her for this good behavior.

Practice Self-Awareness

When you catch your child sucking his thumb, simply ask him ‘Do you know you’re sucking your thumb right now?’ Chances are he will say no because most kids don’t realize when they are sucking their thumbs. By asking him this question every time he sucks his thumb, you are raising his self-awareness.

Replace with Other Activities

You can distract your child from sucking her thumb with a substitute activity, such as a squishy ball or puppets.

Avoid Nagging and Punishing

Nagging or punishing your child and pulling his finger out of his mouth every time you catch him sucking his thumb can backfire on you. This will just make your child want to continue sucking his thumb even more and this will only result in a power struggle.

At Cranium Academy, our goal is to build character and leadership in every student. To provide consistency between school and home life, we work hand-in-hand with parents to help children break their bad habits. If you’re working on kicking the thumb sucking habit, let your child’s teacher know so that we can help you with the process. One less bad habit is one step closer to building good character and being a leader!

More in this series: Hair Pulling, Nose Picking, Nail Biting/Picking

Tips to Keep Your Child Safe While Swimming

Summer is the season for swimming! With all the fun that this recreational sport provides, it’s still important that your child stays safe while swimming. It is always a good idea to sign your child up for swimming lessons which will help them develop into strong swimmers. Here are some tips on other ways to take the proper safety precautions while your child swims this summer:

In Swimming Pools

  • Maintain constant supervision over your child and make sure they swim in areas that are supervised by a lifeguard.
  • Enforce that your child must swim with a buddy at all times.
  • Teach your child to walk slowly in the pool area. Because the area around the pool is usually wet and slippery, accidents are prone to happen if a child is running in this area.
  • If you are at a public pool, always follow pool rules.

In Lakes and Ponds

  • Always swim with your child in lakes and ponds. With these bodies of water, it’s usually difficult to see the bottom, so it’s hard to gauge their actual depth.
  • Make sure your child is wearing protective water shoes. Lakes and ponds have a tendency of hiding dangerous objects like jagged rocks, broken bottles, and trash.
  • If you are going boating, make sure that both you and your child are wearing life jackets.

In Oceans

  • When you first get to the beach, ask the lifeguard how strong the waves are. Stay close to your child if the waves start to get rough.
  • Always make sure your child is swimming in an area where a lifeguard can see him, and in areas that are specifically marked for swimmers to
  • Make sure your child does not swim too far from the shore to avoid getting caught in a rip current.
  • Instruct them not to swim close to piers. If a big wave comes suddenly, it could move them, causing them to hit a piling or a rock.
  • Teach them to face the waves, rather than turning their back to them. This can prevent a wave from knocking them down suddenly.

In general

  • Stay hydrated! Swimming is a sport, after all, and therefore requires a lot of physical effort. It’s important to make sure your child drinks plenty of water regularly.
  • Slather them with sunscreen! Make sure to keep reapplying the sunscreen (with a protection factor of at least 15) throughout the day. The sun is at its peak strength between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, so it’s best to limit the amount of sunlight you and your child receive during this time frame.
  • If your child does not yet know how to swim, make sure that her flotation devices are Coast Guard approved.
  • Don’t allow your child to chew gum or eat while he is swimming, as this poses a choking hazard.

At Cranium Academy, we strive to provide a safe and secure environment where our students have the best opportunity to learn, discover, and grow from preschool through elementary school. Making sure that children stay safe outside the classroom is just as important to us. To give kids a break from swimming over the summer, our summer camp programs offer the perfect combination of learning and fun in a safe, welcoming environment. We make safety a priority so that our students can focus on learning and having fun!

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.

Maximizing Your Child’s Cranium Capacity

Research has shown that 50% of the brain’s neural network is set by the age of five, and 80% by the age of eight. This means that a child’s capacity for developmental mind and body learning is expanding at an amazing rate, and at a very early age. We’ve designed the learning programs at Cranium Academy to reach children during this exciting period when important connections are being made, and when children have the greatest potential for building up their critical thinking skills. This unique approach is centered around teaching children to move beyond ‘what’ is happening into ‘how’ and ‘why’ it is happening.

Let’s use gravity as an example. Traditional teaching techniques might have a child memorize the definition of gravity and Newton’s Laws of Motion. Using the Cranium approach, children first explore and discover what happens when they throw objects up. Then they discuss why that object doesn’t keep flying up into space? Then each child might be asked to jump up and down. Why do we always fall back down to the ground? Why can’t we just jump up, and stay up? They will learn how gravity works and then discuss and predict how it effects different things around them.

Try taking the Cranium approach at home! You can start by asking your child more open ended questions. Look for opportunities to ask “why do you think that happened? “You’ll see those eyes light up and their wheels start turning… and you just might be surprised by their Cranium capacity!