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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

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!

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!

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.

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.