The Benefits of Raising a Bilingual Child

In an increasingly interconnected world, where diversity is celebrated now more than ever, bilingualism has become a main topic in many family households. Some parents have even made raising a bilingual child a top priority. There are many benefits to raising a bilingual child, including cognitive and social benefits. Here are just a few:

Positive Effects on the Brain

According to pediatrician Dr. Gwendolyn Delaney, when an additional language is introduced before age 5, there is a more pronounced effect on the development of greater tissue density in the areas of the brain related to language, memory, and attention. Many research studies, such as the one funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), show that bilingual children can also multi-task better than monolingual children. Other studies have found that children as young as seven months have displayed that they are able to adjust better to changes in the environment when they are exposed to more than one language.

Social and Cultural Opportunities

Being bilingual can provide children with plenty of opportunities to meet new people, and open many doors in their lives. Bilingualism also gives children the chance to interact with people from other cultures, which is especially beneficial when traveling. By knowing the local language of the place your family visits, your children can truly immerse themselves in the language and culture of that place, making them appreciate the trip even more.

Long-Term Health Benefits

There is growing evidence that proves being bilingual can delay the onset of Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Some other studies suggest that bilinguals are at a lower risk of having a stroke, and may recover faster after having one. Some research even links bilingualism to lower stress levels.

Educational Advantages

Being bilingual at a young age can give a child advantages in school. Studies have shown that bilingual students tend to be less distracted and more focused on tasks. According to the recent Millenium Cohort Study as referenced in Bilingual Kidspot, “children who are educated in their second language may initially lag behind around three, four and five years old, [but] they soon catch up and outperform their peers by age seven.”

Job Opportunities

Even though your child is still very young now, you want the best future for them when they grow up. Being bilingual can open up a world of job opportunities for your child when they finally enter the workforce. Many employers consider bilingualism a high priority. Since communication in the workplace is so important, your child could have a better chance of getting the job by being bilingual, even if the monolingual applicant is more qualified. In a competitive job market, being bilingual is an additional advantage that can help candidates stand out.

The Cranium Difference

At Cranium Academy, we recognize the benefits of teaching young children a foreign language. Our curriculum introduces children to several languages, including Spanish, Chinese, and American Sign Language (ASL). Our language programs take children on virtual journeys throughout the world. In our language classes, children learn about famous places and how children can use the powerful tool of language to live, learn, and play within various cultures.

Curing the School Day Blues

If you are a parent (and your child is not attending Cranium Academy), you have probably heard the dreaded words through pouty lips and clenched fists, “I don’t wanna go to school!” or worse yet, “I hate school!” But what exactly is it that gives children the school day blues just before getting out of the house to go to school?

Reason #1 – Your child might be bored.

In traditional schools where teachers must remain focused on preparing kids for standardized assessment tests and state exams, the magic of learning can get lost in having to memorize lists of vocabulary words, such as “mellifluous.” Needless to say, research often shows that children learn better and retain more information when they are having fun! In many of today’s classrooms, fun is the key element that is missing, and that can be one of the main reasons why kids don’t like going to school. At Cranium Academy, we balance gifted level academics with imaginative social and play experiences. We move beyond the memorization of facts and figures, into active critical thinking.  We seek to create an environment where students can’t wait to come learn!

Reason #2 – Freedom may be limited.

In many schools, educators offer students very few choices. Children are forced to learn and memorize a mountain of facts that may not interest them. According to Doctor Peter Gray, Ph.D., research professor at Boston College, “Children come into the world with instinctive drives to educate themselves. These include the drives to play and explore.” Many school learning environments are not created with the idea of optimizing these natural desires to learn and therefore unintentionally end up suppressing them by not giving children any freedom to choose their learning paths. At Cranium Academy, we encourage young minds to explore ‘how’ and ‘why,’ as we seek to engage children’s natural curiosity and develop a true love of learning.

Reason #3 – The learning tools may be outdated.

Although technology is becoming more widely accepted in the classroom, some teachers still see it as a distraction or even a threat to learning. However, this perspective doesn’t align with how kids learn today. A balance of hands-on learning and technology can help children become excited about learning and provide a more engaging way to teach new lessons. At Cranium Academy, we incorporate both hands-on exploration with the use of the latest technology in our classrooms to prepare children for success in the 21st century. From state-of-the-art smartboards, to laptops and iPad, our teachers balance technology-based learning with multi-sensory play and discovery.

So, what is the solution?

Teachers and parents can work together to find ways to keep education engaging and inspiring for children. Look for schools that place a high priority on instilling a love for learning in their students. Some hesitation about going to school is normal. However, if your child is consistently complaining about going to school, try to find out from them what it is about school that they do not like. Then ask to speak with their teacher to see if you can work together to find ways to help.

At Cranium Academy, our mission is to make learning fun! In our classrooms, we encourage each child to learn through play and exploration. We combine advanced learning with creative play and imagination. Our revolutionary approach to education builds critical thinking skills and fosters a lifetime love of learning.

Parents should not give up hope!  Sometimes children go through phases where they are less excited about school.  Try to stay positive and find ways to help make learning fun and exciting for you and your child!

How to Avoid Spoiling and Build Gratitude During the Holiday Season

With the holiday season in full swing and the wish lists getting longer each day, we often get carried away with presents. We all want our kids to feel special, but many parents worry about spoiling their children during the holidays. Sharing our time, values and traditions with them can often be more meaningful. The holidays are a great time to teach our children lessons in gratitude, setting limits and giving to others.

Here are some ways to give your kids gifts without overindulging them this holiday season:

Share Traditions.

Holidays aren’t all about the gifts! Remind your family of this by passing on traditions from your childhood, or starting your own “no gift related” traditions. For example, you could create holiday crafts together, drive through your community to see the lights, or bake and decorate some tasty holiday treats.

Build Gratitude.

Children tend to become more aware of gratitude when they see and hear their parents being thankful. You can model gratitude by regularly expressing your appreciation for the people or things you have in your life.

Give Back.

One of the best gifts you can give your children is one of service. Explain to your children the importance of generosity. Let them know that some families aren’t as fortunate as yours, so they need a little extra help this holiday season. You can teach your children how to serve others by going to the store with them and having them pick out toys or clothing that they think other kids would like. Have them help you wrap the gifts and deliver it to a family in need or a local charity. This is also a great time to go through toys and clothing in your home with your child to find things that may not be used anymore, and donate them to families in need.

Set Limits.

One of the easiest ways we can avoid spoiling our children with too many gifts this year is to set realistic financial limits and stick to them.  A great way to stay on budget is to make a specific list or have your child make their wish list with their most wanted items at the top. You can cross out the rest of the items that you know won’t fit into your budget.

At Cranium Academy, we believe in developing character, social skills, and good values. Taking the focus away from gifts alone will help to develop your child’s grateful spirit and build character while enjoying the holiday season!

Tackling the Tooth Topic – What To Know About Losing Teeth

Although it’s different for each child, most kids start losing their baby teeth around age 6 when they are in kindergarten or first grade. This can be scary for some children, and exciting for others. If you have an older child as well, then you already know the drill. But if you’re a first-time parent, then you might have a few burning questions. Here are some tips that can help you tackle this toothy situation!

Which teeth fall out first?

According to the American Dental Association, teeth tend to fall out in the order that they first appeared when your child was a baby. However, more often than not, the two bottom front teeth will fall out first.

How long do they take to fall out?

The length of time it takes for teeth to fall out varies by child, and depends on a few factors. Generally speaking, a tooth can fall out within a few days to even a few months after your child first notices that it’s loose.

Should I pull the tooth out myself?

Many dentists agree that pulling out a tooth is not a good idea. If the tooth is pulled out prematurely, it poses a risk of damaging sensitive gum tissue, which can cause infection, bleeding, and pain. The best thing to do is wait for the tooth to fall out by itself.

What should I do if my child is complaining about pain?

Losing a tooth shouldn’t be very painful, but if your child is complaining that it hurts a lot, it might be because they are trying to pull a tooth that’s not ready to come out. If they won’t stop crying about the pain, then you can put an over-the-counter pain relieving gel on the gum surrounding the tooth. Make sure that this gel is safe to use on children.

Is it dangerous if they swallow a tooth?

Surprisingly, nothing will happen to your child if she swallows her tooth. The tooth will simply pass through the body. If your child is worried about having nothing to leave under her pillow for the Tooth Fairy, reassure her that the Tooth Fairy will still come if she writes a nice note.

What happens if my child loses a tooth while at school?

When a student at Cranium Academy loses a tooth, our preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school teachers are prepared to handle the situation. Our teachers will guide the student to rinse out his mouth, helping the child if necessary. Typically, there is not much blood, so there is no need for gauze or additional treatment. The child receives an adorable tooth necklace to keep his tooth stored safely until returning home to proudly show off his new smile to family and friends!

Kicking the Bad Habits: Nail Biting and Picking

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 nail biting and picking. 

Nail biting and picking is the most common of the bad habits. Your child might bite her nails because of boredom, stress, or even just to imitate you. Nail biting is a bad habit that is also likely to continue into adulthood, so you should try to break this habit now while your child is still young. To nip the nail biting habit in the bud, try applying the following tips:

Address the anxieties.

Oftentimes nail biting can be a sign of stress. Figuring out what is causing your child’s stress is important so you can help him ease his anxiety. Sometimes it’s something as simple as the thought of growing up, or it could be a big change like moving into a new house or switching schools. You can help your child by talking him through his worries and reassuring him.

Keep their nails trimmed.

Long nails are almost always more tempting to bite and pick on. When they grow too long, they also have a tendency to catch on to things with their ragged edges. To reduce the nail biting or picking temptation, keep your child’s nails trimmed and filed down.

Offer crunchy snacks.

Chewing on food can be a good substitute for biting on nails. Offer your child crunchy foods like raw carrots or cucumbers to munch on.

Set goals.

Setting realistic goals with your child can also minimize their nail biting or picking habits. Set a goal of 24 hours without nail biting. If your child meets this goal, then you can reward her with something special, like an extra bedtime story.

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 nail biting 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 serious: Thumb Sucking, Hair Pulling, Nose Picking




Kicking the Bad Habits: Nose Picking

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 nose picking. 

If you’ve ever noticed your child digging for gold anywhere in public, you’re probably familiar with that immediate feeling of embarrassment that washes over you. As gross as it seems, nose picking is a normal behavior for young children, but a bad habit that should be broken at an early age. Here are some ways that you can prevent your kid from picking:

Increase Awareness

Oftentimes kids don’t even realize they’re picking their nose, especially when they are focused on something else like watching TV. Make sure you tell your child, in a gentle, non-shaming way, that you’ve noticed her picking her nose. You can even designate a secret word or signal to bring to her attention that she is engaging in the bad habit. This is especially useful in helping your child recognize the behavior when they are out in public.


You should help your child want to stop picking his nose on his own. You can do this by talking about all of the drawbacks that come with this bad habit, such as spreading germs and getting toys dirty.

Keep Them Occupied

Try to identify the times when your child is most likely to pick her nose and keep her fingers busy with something else during these times. Squeeze balls and finger puppets are good ways to keep your child’s fingers occupied. You could even encourage her to do something else instead of nose picking, like clenching her fists or squeezing the arm of her chair.

Stock Up

  • On Water. Make sure your child is well hydrated because drinking a lot of water is one way to keep nasal passages from getting dry and itchy. If your child is hydrated and his nose is comfortable, he will be less likely to pick.
  • On Tissues. Keeping tissues handy will make it easier for you to teach your child that tissues are the right way to get rid of boogers. Encourage the use of tissues as much as possible, and use them as a gentle reminder when you catch your child digging.
  • On Band-Aids. If your child still isn’t getting the idea, you can wrap their nose-picking finger with a Band-Aid. This will help them remember not to pick every time they try to stick their finger in their nose.

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 nose picking 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, Hair Pulling, Nail Biting/Picking

Caring for a sick child

No matter how much you try to shield you children from sicknesses, they will most likely come down with something eventually. That’s just a fact of life and while you can’t prevent the inevitable, you can prepare yourself for it. Below are some tips to help you care for your little one when they’re feeling under the weather.

Check for a fever.

Use a thermometer to take your child’s temperature. If the fever is high or prolonged, seek medical attention right away. Otherwise, give them ibuprofen or acetaminophen and make sure they rest completely.

Make sure they get plenty of fluids.

This will prevent dehydration, which is especially important if they are suffering from diarrhea or vomiting.

Use a humidifier.

Steam is an effective way to ease congestion, coughing, and sore throat.

Give them a warm bath.

This will soothe your child and ease her aches and pains. Make sure to dry her well afterward to prevent the chills.

Have them rest.

Make sure your child is comfortable and in a quiet environment so they can get as much sleep as possible. This will aid in the recovery process.

Elevate their head.

Keeping their head slightly elevated with pillows will help them breathe more easily.

Give them easily digestible foods.

Some safe options include Saltine crackers, toast, bananas, and applesauce. Chicken noodle soup is good for relieving cold and flu symptoms.

Know the signs of serious illness.

Watch for changes in breathing patterns, severe headache, changes in skin color, unresponsiveness, severe or persistent vomiting, sudden or prolonged dizziness, and pain or pressure in the chest or stomach. These are indicators that your child needs to be seen by a medical professional immediately.

At Cranium Academy, we like to keep our students as healthy as possible. Our devoted staff works hard to create a clean and sanitary environment in each classroom and play area to prevent the spread of sicknesses. We also teach our students the importance of personal hygiene, encouraging each student to wash their hands before eating and after using the restroom.

Technology Tips for Parents

In this day and age, we see more kids reaching for a smartphone before they’ve even reached for a sippy cup. This early and frequent exposure to the tech world makes it crucial to understand how your children are using their technology. The digital age has brought with it many possibilities that can be used to your advantage in educating your children, but must also be monitored to prevent contact with inappropriate and harmful web content. If you set a goal to use technology appropriately, you’ll be able to harness the potential it has to enhance your child’s cognitive learning abilities.

Guiding your child through their technological journey

  • Get involved. Monitor your child’s use of the computer or tablet. One way to do this is to designate an area in the house, such as the family room, where you can easily watch them and guide them if need be. Encourage them to come to you if they see anything on the Internet that disturbs them or if they simply have questions or need help.
  • Set rules. With so much downtime in the summer, your kids might want to spend countless hours online or on their gadgets. To keep them from spending too much time in front of the screen, set a time limit for how long they can use their computer or tablet and make sure they follow these rules.
  • Teach them about privacy. It is extremely important to make sure that your child knows that they should never give out their personal information online. Teach them that they should never give out their name, phone number, e-mail, address, password, postal address, school or picture without first asking you for permission. You should also stress the fact that passwords are private and that they should never give them out to anyone, not even friends.
  • Use your ISP. Your internet service provider can be used to set parental controls for free. These controls include limited access to website and communication features by age, content categories, and time. Be sure to block an access to any apps or websites you don’t want them to visit.
  • Teach them about links. Make sure that your child has a basic understanding of which links are safe and which ones may be suspicious, such as pop-up ads.
  • Talk to them about cyberbullying. Tell them that if they’re being bullied online they shouldn’t respond to the messages but instead inform you about it right away. From there you should save the messages and report them to either the website or your child’s school. If the messages contain threats, you should report it to the police. Emphasize that they should always log out of the computer when they are finished using it, this will prevent others from logging in after them and sending or posting something from their account without them knowing.
  • Conduct regular checkups. You should consistently check your child’s browser history to see where he has been going online. This allows you to familiarize yourself with the types of websites that he visits regularly.  
  • Know who your child talks to.  Always keep tabs on who your child is communicating with online. Check her contact list and make sure that she personally knows everyone she is talking to online or via messaging apps. Beware of friends of friends or people who claim to know her but that she has never met in person. Always keep tabs on who your child is communicating with online. Check her contact list and make sure that she personally knows everyone she is talking to online or via messaging apps. Beware of anyone who she has never met in person but claims to be a friend.

At Cranium Academy, we believe in using technology to benefit your children. We make use of the latest technology including smartboards in every room, laptops, and tablets combined with multisensory exploration to prepare success in the 21st century. Overall, we stress the value of creating a safe and positive learning environment where technology can be used to educate and engage each child both inside and outside the classroom.


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:


  • 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:


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.