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Building Cranium Character – Raising a Respectful Child

Parents (and school teachers) often focus on developing a child’s academic and cognitive skills. Sometimes we overlook the importance of social and emotional development, which can be equally important. While cultivating a child’s reading and math skills is essential, instilling a strong sense of values and character traits that improve social and emotional wellness can be key in helping children succeed.

This is where character education comes in. Character education helps build a moral foundation for children, teaching them valuable social-emotional skills that they will carry with them throughout life. One important element of character education is teaching respect, which can be a complex concept for kids to grasp. To put it in simple terms for your child, you can teach your child that having respect for someone means you should act in a way that shows you care for that person’s feelings and well-being.

Here are some simple ways you can teach your child about respect:

Give examples.

After you explain the concept of respect to your child, it’s important to give them real-world examples. For instance, you can tell them that being quiet in a library is a sign of respect because it shows that you care about others who are trying to read without noise or interruption. By being quiet in the library, you are acting in a positive way towards others which shows that you care about their well-being. This is respect.

Expect disrespect.

There are times when your child will be disrespectful, it’s a natural part of growing up. When these moments arise, it’s important that you have a plan for dealing with them. If you don’t respond properly and consistently to these initial moments of disrespect, the moments are likely to repeat themselves.

Stay calm and earn your child’s respect.

When moments of disrespectful behavior arise, it’s important to stay calm. Don’t overact to the behavior by lashing out and yelling, because you’ll be sending the wrong message and modeling more negative behavior. Instead, ask yourself if your child is even aware that this behavior is disrespectful.

Gauging how to respond to your child will help you with the next step, and give you time to breathe and calm down. Responding calmly during these moments is a good way for you to exercise control over the situation, and earn respect from your child.

Identify the cause of the disrespect.

Sometimes disrespectful behavior is the result of your child’s inability to articulate a specific need, which results in frustration. It’s important for you to ask your child questions to help them express their emotions with words, also helping them understand where their anger is coming from. These heated moments can be great opportunities to show your child how to deal with their emotions in a healthier way. Show your child that, even in difficult situations, you can keep calm and respond respectfully too.

Set a good example.

There’s no better way to teach your child a valuable character trait than by modeling it yourself. Being a respectful role model involves you showing respect to others you encounter throughout your day. You should also try to treat your child with the same respect that you would treat other adults. One way you can do this is by accepting their preferences and independence in little ways.  For example, you can accept their decision to wear an outfit that they put together on their own, even if it’s a little wacky!

Raising a Respectful Child at Cranium Academy

At Cranium Academy, we take character education seriously.  Our exclusive character education program is built around the idea that essential character traits can be developed during early childhood. We believe that respect is one of the core character traits that should be cultivated in each child. One of our goals at Cranium Academy is to find fun, real-world scenarios that help preschool or elementary school age children develop creative strategies surrounding the value of respect. Reinforcing respectful behaviors both at school and at home helps build your child’s character, which will serve them well throughout their life.

 

Building Cranium Character – Fostering Fairness

Most parents worry about finding a school with the best academic education for their children. But sometimes we forget that cognitive skills are not the only skills that need to be nurtured beginning at a young age. To help children be successful in school and beyond, it’s equally as important to help them develop social and emotional skills.  This is where character education comes in. Character education helps teach children essential life skills and values that they will carry with them throughout their life.

To help preschool and elementary-aged children understand what it really means to have good character, it’s best to keep it simple. Providing basic explanations and examples of what each trait looks like in their day-to-day life is key. One important element of our character is fairness. Let your child know that being fair means treating people equally, honestly and with respect. Fairness also means playing by the rules, taking turns, and not playing favorites. Here are some simple ways to help teach your child how to be fair:

Be a Role Model

Your children are constantly observing you and modeling their behavior after yours. To create a positive influence on your children, try being fair to everyone – your spouse, strangers, waiters, cashiers, etc. As your children see you being fair to everyone, they will learn that fairness is not reserved for only one certain type of person. Your children will benefit from the example you set for them as they begin imitating your fair behavior and speech.

Use Relatable Examples

Children’s books and movies are great tools to use as ways of helping children understand the differences between fair and unfair behaviors. The next time you are watching a movie or reading a book with your child, pause and take a minute to explain the situation unfolding before them. You can ask your child what they think the characters did that was fair, or what they did that was unfair. Movies and books are great teaching tools for fairness because they can make it easier to bring up and discuss important topics with children.

Positively Reinforce Fairness

Recognize your children if and when they exhibit fair behavior in any scenario. If you see them offer another child a turn with their toy or game, that is a reason for praise. If they take responsibility for a mistake they made, let them know they made a fair choice. Make sure that your children know that this kind of behavior makes you proud and that you admire them for it. It’s important to create a link between fairness and positivity so that your children don’t equate fairness with loss or punishment. You can create this link by offering encouragement and praise if/when your children exhibit fairness. Help your children understand that when they are fair in their dealings with others, everyone benefits – including society.

Fostering Fairness at Cranium Academy

At Cranium Academy, we integrate an exclusive character education program into our curriculum. This character education program focuses on building many character traits, one of which is fairness. Using real-world scenarios, character traits are strengthened through creative activities that align with a child’s developing cognitive skills. Our dedicated staff at Cranium Academy understands the importance of character education, striving to help each child build cognitive, social and emotional life skills that they will carry with them as successful students and citizens.

More in the Cranium character series: Responsibility, Generosity, Respect, Caring, and Citizenship

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!