Tools For Learning

Inspiration for Parents & Educators

Cranky Kid? 6 Great Ways to Deal!

Like adults, kids want to be understood but trying to communicate their needs can make them feel frustrated, cranky, and unhappy. Here’s how you can help.

1. Make Eye Contact
Getting your child’s attention in a calm manner is the first step. My daughter-in-law is a master at this and it works well for her everytime. If your young one is not paying attention to you, she’s unlikely to listen to what you say, or to change her behavior.

2. Keep It Simple
Just like adults, kids who are angry and frustrated get caught up in their own thoughts and feelings, which make them physically and emotionally less able to listen to reason. So save the detailed discussion you’d like to have for another time. Limit your message in the heat of the moment to just a few words. perhaps, just use one word if your child is under two years old. Deliver a clear and concise message that is easily understood and always be consistent.

3. Find Out What’s Wrong
It’s normal for little kids to be sad, frustrated, tired, hurting, or some combunation of these conditions. Rather than focusing or simply trying to stop the undesired behavior, start by finding out what’s wrong. This approach can pay dividends in the heat of the moment, as well as long term. Encourage your child to use her words about why she is unhappy. My daughrt-in-law uses such prompts: “Ask for help.” or “Use your words.” She even taught my granddaughter the gestures in sign language for the words: please, help, and thank you to use if her words don’t always surface first in a frustrating situation. Using this approach puts you in the best position to help you solve the problem. Showing respect for your young one’s feelings will help her feel loved and may encourage her to do the same to you and others.

4.Acknowledge Your Child’s Feelings
One way to calm a very young child who doesn’t have the language skills to express her feelings, is to mimic her body language, facial expressions and tone of voice. Using simple words or very short phrases express in words what you think she is feeling, and match her body language. It can calm her down to know she’s being understood. She may even be so fascinated by what you’re doing that she forgets what she is upset about. I’ve used this strategy with my granddaughter who is now two years old and it worked each time when she was upset about something. Try it. You’ll be surprised about the positive results you’ll experience.

5. Reward Good behavior, Not Bad
The time to bring out a favorite snack or treat is not when your child is misbehaving. Even very young children learn that their actions have consequences. Some kids act out because thay want more attention from their parents; if that sounds like your child schedule extra play time and time to be together – just the two of you. When she misbehaves and the situation escalates, a short time out (a few minutes away from you) might be just the incentive she needs to change her negative behavior into being more positive.

6. Master the Time Out
It may be heart wrenching to walk away from a crying child but many child behavior experts advise that, when used correctly, a time out can be an effective and kind way to let your child know that she has done something wrong. Not all behavior deserves a time out, so decide in advance which behaviors make the time out list, and let your young one know what they are. When a time out is needed, calmly settle the child in a safe place, and stand nearby, but don’t interact with her. Keep the time out short – start with a minute or two – and when the time out is up be sure to reconnect with her with a hug and to re-enforce good behavior when you see it.

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Activities to Stimulate the Eight Types of Intelligence

Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory emphasizes the rich diversity of ways in which kids show their gifts within and between the intelligences. According to Gardner, individuals don’t have one fixed intelligence but at least eight distinct ones that can be developed over time. These eight kinds of intelligence are listed with some pertinent activities to stimulate each type of intelligence.

Verbal/Linguistic – the ability to be at ease with reading and writing skills

Play word games or language oriented ones (Scrabble, Spill and Spell) or crossword puzzles. Choose a favorite movie or TV program and write a aequel or tell what you think will happen in the next episode or in next year’s series.

Logical/Mathatical – the ability to reason deductively or inductively and to recognize and manipulate abstract patterns and relationships.

Select a project requiring you to follow directions. Assemble a model car, follow a recipe and bake cookies, download a software program on the computer

Visual/Spatial – the ability to visualize shapes in three dimensions

Express yourself! Share ideas, opinions, and feelings with different media: magic markers, oil paints, play dough, pottery, and ceramics. Plan a scavenger hunt with friends. Draw a secret map with many details and the location of the treasure for all players. Wtite a play and perform it with the help of family and friends. Write a book and illustrate it.

Intrapersonal/Interpersonal – the ability to understand yourself, and be aware of your inner feelings, intentions, and short term and long term goals/strong>

Keep a journal. Record key events from your day. Express your feelings about the events. Reflect on them. Evaluate your thinking strategies and patterns you use in different situations. Develop alternate plans for any given situation.

Interpersonal/Social – the ability to get along well with others and to work with them effectively

Try to guess what others are thinking and feeling. Use your intuition! Experiment with supposing an individual’s profession, background, or talents just by observing non-verbal cues:dress, accent, gestures.

Bodily/Kinesthetic – the ability that involves the body to solve problems, create products, and convey ideas and emotions/strong>

Express your mood by various activities: dance, jog, or perform a pantomine. Try role-playing to express an idea or opinion of feeling. Play a game of Charades.

Naturalistic – the ability to recognize and classify numerous speies – the flora and fauna – of an individual’s environment

Research topics of great interest: cloud formations, mountains, volcanoes, or whales.

According to Gardner, the question should be “How Are My Kids Smart?” not “How Smart Are My Kids?” His ideas focus on the fact that the eight types of intelligences can be developed and nutured. His premise is not meant to be a way of “pigeoninholing” kids into set categories. For students to develop these eight intelligences, parents and teachers need to perceive kids as having a combination of these intelligences and being capable of growing in all of them.

As a parent, you must never loose sight of the fact that each of your children, no matter how they are special, must have an environment where they can thrive and succeed.The eight intelligences must be nutured. Just as students must be taught the alphabet, how to sound out and make words, and how to read and write, they must also be taught such things as how to use an active imagination, how to do a graphic presentation, and how to see relationships between different objects in space. Give your kids the opportunities and the support needed to exercise and practice using all of their intelligences at home.

As a parent, you know very well that there’s much more to life than school. You are aware that life success doesn’t always rely on grade point averages. Some kids have trouble seeing beyond what happens in school. You can help your young ones gain perspective, and even a little self-esteem boost by guiding them toward those activities that play to their strengths, and offers more continued opportunities for success now and in the future.

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How Are My Kids Smart?

How smart are my kids? Let’s rethink this age old question. The question should be: How are my kids smart?

Every child is special in some way. Intelligence is not a single dimensional, unchanging, easy measurable quality. We don’t always look at enough variables in determining exactly what our kids need and exactly how they are unique. The intelligent quotient (IQ) score used by school psychologists measures only two (verbal and math) of the eight types of intelligence identified by Howard Gardner, a Harvard psychologist and researcher.

The essence of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory (MI) Theory is to respect the many differences among children, the multiple variations in the ways that they learn, and the numerous ways in which they can leave a mark on the world. In his theory, Dr. Gardner seeks to broaden the scope of human potential beyond the confines of the IQ score. He suggests that intelligence has more to do with a capacity for solving problems and creating products and services in a context rich and naturalistic setting.

Key Points of the MI Theory

1. Each child possess all eight intelligences: (Verbal/Linguistic, Logical/Mathmatical, Visual/Spatial, Intrpersonal/Introspective, Interpersonal/Social,Bodily/Kinesthetic, Musical/Rhythmic, Naturalist).
2. Most children can develop each of the eight intelligences to an adequate level of competency given appropriate encouragement, enrichment, and instruction.
3. The eight intelligences usually work together.
4. There are many ways to be intelligent within each category.

Some proponents of the MI Theory proposed a spiritual or religious intelligence as a possible additional type. Gardner did not want to commit to a spiritual intelligence, but suggested an “existential” intelligence may be a useful construct. The hypothesis of an existential intelligence has been further explored by educational researchers.

MI Theory emphasizes the rich diversity of ways in which children show their gifts within and between the inteligences. What about the other six intelligences not routinely measured by psychologists? According to Gardener, individuals don’t have one fixed intelligence but a least eight distinct ones that can be developed over time.

Next blog post:Activities to stimulate each type of intelligence.

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Reasons For Inappropriate Behavior Part 2

Are Your Kids Get-Even Seekers?

Usually kids who seek revenge, after losing a power struggle with their parents, want to get even with them. They may say or do something that is both hurtful and harmful. Get-Even Seekers may be rude in word and action, often times, they say untrue things about either or both parents. The result may be an ongoing “war” between them and you if left unchecked.

Parent Strategies for Get-Even Seekers

* Refuse to comment or argue
* Simply ignore the incident
* Talk with your kids when everyone is calm
* Engage in another activity

Are Your Kids Giving-Up Seekers?

Sometimes, children give up trying when something is hard for them, such as schoolwork or sports. It is usually an area in which kids feel unable to succeed. When kids get super frustrated and give up, parents feel like giving up also. When this happens, the kids’ goals are met: the parents have verbally and/or non verbally have agreed to expect little or nothing from their kids.

Strategies for Giving-Up Seekers

* Be careful not to pity your kids
* Encourage your kids with your words and actions
* Go to their sports’ events and say: “WOW! What a great catch! I knew you could do it.” or “Good effort” I’m so proud of you for hanging in there.”
* Comment positively on kids’ school activities and homework. You may consider saying: “Your paragraph and illustration are the best ever! or ” I really enjoyed reading your story and really think the picture you drew was perfect!”

For children who are in need of some behavior interventions, your focus should be that your needs and theirs are considered. When ythis happens, all concerned feel valued. This proactive approach is effective because it is grounded in the belief that kids resist be controlled. In trying just to “control” your precious ones, you expend and inordinate time and energy. This type of reactive control takes away their opportunities to develop confidence, responsibility, and self control.

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