3 Science-Backed Strategies for Raising Highly Creative Kids

tips for raising creative kids

Apart from focusing on academic skills, it is also important to allow room for your kids to develop their creativity.

It is widely assumed that creativity is a talent that kids are born with, but turns out, it is a skill which parents can help their kids develop as they grow up. Not limited to artistic and musical expression, creativity is an essential stepping stone that drives your child’s success in school and one which develops their social and emotional intelligence.

According to Adam Grant, a professor of management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, in order to raise creative kids, it is essential that parents encourage their kids to think for themselves and foster an identity that “I am somebody who doesn’t follow the crowd.”

Grant offers the following scientifically-proven strategies to help parents raise creative kids:

1. Praise your child, not the act

How should you praise your child when he/she proudly presents his/her artwork to you? Do you direct your praises to the artwork or do you acknowledge their creative abilities?

When faced with the same situation, Grant would tell his daughter what a creative person she is, as this act helps to develop in her a sense of self as a creative person with unique ideas. He explained that while is it natural for parents to reinforce the behaviour, it is important that they help their children see that said behaviour is a core part of who they are so that they don’t lose creativity when they grow up.

“When our character is praised, we internalise it as part of our identities,” Grant writes in his book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World.

Research has also found that when children are praised for who they are rather than what they have done, they tend to display positive traits more often.

 

2. Keep rules minimal

Studies conducted by the Boston College has revealed that there were vast differences between families of highly original children and those with ordinary ability children when it comes to rules. While the latter had an average of six rules that govern their children’s daily routine (e.g. set times for bed or homework), the former lived by with an average of less than one rule.

Although rules help to set boundaries to get children to think creatively, Grant explains that they tend to “encourage” children to stick to the familiarity of their comfort zone – especially when it comes to solving problems.

“If you want your kids to follow rules, then it’s much more likely that when it comes time to solve a problem, he/she looks to how it’s been solved before – what are the conventional ways to doing it – as opposed to saying, ‘Well, how can I approach this? What other solutions haven’t been come up with before?’”

The key here is to keep a balanced ground when it comes to setting rules for children. Lay out the necessary rules to set boundaries to their behaviour but do allow room for them to explore other options and possibilities, as they learn to make sense of how things work in life.

 

Parents of highly creative children use reasoning to develop their thinking skills and creativity. More on this and some helpful resources to help you nurture your child’s creative mind on the next page.

4 Important Things Your Child will Learn During the Toddler Years

things your child will learn during the toddler years

Congratulations, Mum and Dad – you’ve made it through your child’s first year!

By now, you might have started getting used to a routine filled with sleepless nights and relish moments of amazement as you watch your little one grow. Rest assured, things are about to get more exciting as he/she strides ahead towards the toddler years.

With brain development picking up, it is during this time that learning goes into overdrive mode as your child’s ability to learn the social, emotional, behavioural, thinking and communication skills needed for life grows rapidly. To help both of you sail through the toddler years, here are some crucial skills which your child will begin to discover during this time – and what you can do to encourage his/her developments:

1. Language

things your child will learn during the toddler years

At one year old, most children would have uttered their first word and have started using hand gestures to point to things around them. As time goes by, their vocabulary will grow from one or two words to an average of 50 words.

Kids at this age will go through the process of understanding language and figuring out how to communicate. You can help to move things along by interacting with him/her and engage in simple everyday conversations. Your child’s vocabulary will slowly increase over time and by the second half of the year, he/she may start using simple two-word sentences.

As with talking, your child’s understanding of language also improves during this time – you’ll be surprised when you realise how much they understand what you tell them!

2. Play with a Difference

things your child will learn during the toddler years

As an infant, your child might have played with toys by shaking, banging or throwing them. Now as a toddler, he/she is aware of the function of various objects and is more likely to do complex actions such as stacking blocks, listening or talking with a toy phone and pushing a toy car.

All these new actions happen as a result of improved hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity. When your child gains better control over his/her fingers and hands, he/she will be keen to explore toys and surroundings more than before. You can encourage your child by giving him/her age-appropriate toys and games that challenges his/her abilities.

It is also during this time that your child show interest in pretend play. According to a research carried out by American psychologist Sandra Russ, pretend play comes with a multitude of benefits for children. Apart from allowing them to express both positive and negative feelings in a world of their own, this form of play also teaches them life skills and values such as delayed gratification, problem-solving, empathy and creativity.

 

As a toddler, your child is bound to go through an emotional roller-coaster as he learns about the various emotions. All about this and more on the next page.

4 Ways to Curb Internet Addiction in Kids

The risks are very real. Internet predators do lure kids into meeting them, resulting in tragedies that include abduction and murder. So in the same way that you appropriately monitor your child’s physical whereabouts, you’ll want to supervise your child’s Internet usage and teach her web smarts, from net etiquette to web literacy and simple safety.

Where do you begin? Online, of course. Start by educating yourself – then you’ll be in a better position to protect and direct your kids. Just remember that while your kids may know more than you do about technology, you know more about life. And you are allowed to set the rules and enforce them. You are still the parent!

how to curb internet addiction in kids

Keeping your kids safe online doesn’t just mean keeping them safe from predators. The most common danger of kids using devices is the addiction. Most adults have a hard time managing their own device usage, so it’s not surprising that our kids beg for screen time and have a hard time turning off their devices.

Tired of fights about screen time? There are some things you can do to help your child avoid device addictions, beginning with these tips:

1. Face the Truth about Devices

They’re addictive, and they change the way our brains work. When we let our children use devices, we are leaving them at the mercy of this addiction. That’s why it is our responsibility to support our children in learning to manage their use of devices.

2. Take Responsibility for Your Child’s Use of Devices

Which devices are you going to allow in your house? How can you teach your children to use each one responsibly? At what age is it appropriate to introduce each kind of device to your child? It is your right as a parent to manage your child’s activities online because that is a public sphere (unlike a diary, for instance, which is private).

3. Walk Your Talk

Needless to say, if you barely look up from your phone when you’re with your child, you can expect your child to act the same way in a few years. Children often say “My mum snaps at me when I interrupt her when she’s on her computer….” That’s only natural. But is whatever you’re doing at that moment really more important than your child?

4. Guide Your Child

If you’re going to let your child use devices, you can expect some “addicted” behaviour. Don’t blame your child. Give him or her the support needed to manage his or her relationship with electronics. Make some family rules, such as:

  • Talk to your kids about each new social media channel or device when they start using it
  • Make written contracts
  • Keep all device usage in the public areas of your home
  • Constantly monitor and enforce your agreements
  • Use timers and monitoring software
  • Be the computer administrator
  • Schedule some technology-free time on weekends
  • Enforce the “No social media until after homework is finished” rule

 

See A Problem in Your Child’s Device Usage? Most Likely, There’s A Real-Life Problem Too.

Intervene appropriately. Don’t wait. Stay connected with your child so you know what’s going on in his life and sense when there’s a problem.

 

Suggested reading: All You Need to Know About Impulse Control

 

Republished with permission from Dr. Laura Markham, founder of AhaParenting.com and author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start Connecting and Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life

4 Guilt-free Mug Recipes to Help You Kick-start Your Day

 

These healthy breakfast mug recipes are here to save the day when you’re having a hectic morning.

Check them out now!

 

Omelette in a Mug

guilt-free mug recipes
(Photo: Pinterest)

Ingredients:

1 egg

1 teaspoon capsicum

1 tablespoon shredded cheese

1 teaspoon chopped onion

Olive oil or cooking spray

Salt and pepper

 

Steps:

  1. Coat your mug with olive oil or cooking spray.
  2. Add egg, salt and pepper to mug, and whisk with a fork.
  3. Add capsicum, shredded cheese and onion. Whisk all ingredients until completely mixed together.
  4. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and break up any large chunks of egg.
  5. Cook for 45 to 60 seconds until eggs are fully cooked.

 

HEALTH TIP

A powerhouse of ‘egg-cellent’ nutrients!

The American Heart Association (AHA) has given the green light for healthy adults to enjoy eggs in moderation, as they are rich in nutrients, such as:

  • Protein for muscle and bone health
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin that may reduce the risk of macular degeneration
  • Choline for brain development

 

Heard of the paleo diet? Check out a healthy paleo treat which you can whip up in minutes on the next page.

5 Lessons Kids Can Learn from Losing

lessons kids learn from losing

Pre-schoolers are competitive by nature, and it is not surprising to see your child looking dejected each time he/she loses.

According to Eileen Kennedy-Moore, Ph.D., co-author of Smart Parenting for Smart Kids, kids aged four and above are starting to figure out the concept of winning, so naturally they will compete over almost anything.

“They’re not always sure about the complexities of winning and losing, but they do understand that winning is good, so they want to win at everything,” she affirms.

As parents, you might see your child’s competitive streak as a good thing, but this could get out of hand when he/she does not seem to be able to lose gracefully. Although their peers may hate losing as much as they do, the presence of a sore loser is not a welcomed addition during playdates or when they get together.

If your kids have the tendency to throw fits and tantrums each time they lose, you might want to step in to help them cope with their losses. Take the time to explain to them that winning is not everything, and instil these important life lessons that they can learn when they lose:

 

1. It’s the experience that counts

It is inevitable that kids hope to come in first place when playing board games with their friends, taking tests and exams in school or participating in competitions. When they get discouraged with the results, you can encourage them by shifting the focus towards enjoying the act of participating. By focusing on the process rather than the end results, your child will gradually learn to enjoy the challenge, excitement, and the effort put in for that given task or activity.

 

2. Learning to cope better

It might take time for your child to get used to the idea that winning is not everything, but you can help him/her deal with losing better by “practicing” at home. Christine Carter, Director of the parenting programme at the University of California-Berkeley’s The Greater Good Science Center, says that kids who have practice losing will eventually learn how to be good sports. “If they don’t lose, they’re being set up to not be able to cope,” she emphasises.

 

You can help your child lose gracefully in all situations by setting him/her up on a challenge at home. Find out more on the next page…

MindChamps PreSchool @ Woodlands

Conveniently located near the residential blocks and industrial offices in Woodlands, MindChamps PreSchool @ Woodlands offers a bright and cheerful environment for Champs to play, learn and explore.

The centre is located on the first floor of the Woodlands 11 commercial building, which makes pick-up and drop-off a breeze for parents. It is also easily accessible via major highways such as CTE and BKE, and is a short walk away from the Admiralty MRT station.

Here’s a sneak preview of the learning spaces and activities conducted with the Champs at MindChamps PreSchool @ Woodlands:

mindchamps preschool woodlands
The bright and airy entrance welcomes your Champs at the start of the day.

mindchamps preschool woodlands

mindchamps preschool woodlands
The display of artwork and decorations by our Nursery 1 Champs.
mindchamps preschool woodlands
Champs having fun during lessons in the gym.

mindchamps preschool woodlands

For more details, please contact us at 63393296 or click HERE to book a centre visit.

Fight the Pressure to Over-Schedule Your Children

how to avoid over-scheduling kids

From early morning to late evening most families buzz with non-stop activity that shifts into overdrive during the school year. Extra-curricular sign-up sheets abound, and the impulse to engage your children in multiple endeavours becomes hard to resist.

Why Hyper-Scheduled Children?

Children want to do what their friends do and parents worry that someone else’s child may be getting an edge by engaging in a particular activity. Parenting has become its own competitive sport at younger and younger ages, with laudatory bumper stickers, test scores and college decisions as trophies. Kids soon learn that they are valued for what they do, instead of the kind of people they are. Resist the temptation to encourage multiple activities because you think your child will benefit from a crammed schedule or because neighbours and friends brag about their own or their children’s respective craziness.

With the increasingly competitive college application process, you and/or your child may wrongly assume that more in the way of activities is better. A packed resume is not an advantage in the college admissions game. Colleges often limit the amount of space designated for extracurricular activities, and many college admissions counsellors are advising prospective students to devote themselves fully to pursuits they genuinely love.

how to avoid over-scheduling kids

Fallout From Over-Scheduling

When you say “yes” to over-scheduling, whatever your children’s ages, you also say “no” to your family. Overburdened families are more prone to arguing than their less-frenetic counterparts; they are also less likely to spend time together. Twenty years ago, parents worked about nine fewer hours per week than those raising their families today, and today’s parents have many more options vying for their and their children’s available time.

With some 41 million children participating in organized competitive sports, between practices, travel and games, schoolwork and homework, and other commitments such as lessons in music or the arts, only moments remain for hanging out with family. And, those occasions are often spent with parents and children electronically and individually entertaining themselves.

While there are many pluses to enjoyable sports and assorted lessons, piling on commitments has an opposite, even negative effect on family connections and on children’s health. In an analysis of five decades’ worth of research, Dr. Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, found that today’s adolescents are overburdened to a degree once seen in child psychiatric patients.

According to a survey by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions, 43 percent of 13 to 14 year olds feel stressed every single day. Between the ages of 15 to 17, this number grows to 59 percent. Sleeplessness – usually blamed on late-night video game playing and online chatting – is more likely to be caused by stress. A Sleep in America poll reports that as many as two-thirds of children experience one or more sleep problems at least a few nights a week.

how to avoid over-scheduling kids

10 Pointers to Stop the Frenzy

Extracurricular activity participation is voluntary, and thus completely in your (and your child’s) control. Here are a few tips to counter the pressure and fight the urge to over-schedule your children:

– Embrace unstructured play time because it helps children develop creatively and learn how to fill time on their own.

– Fit in as many family dinners as possible especially during the school year. It’s one of the rare times you are most likely to discover problems your child might be having at school or with friends.

– Learn to say NO when your child begs and whines to add another activity to his already crowded schedule.

– Examine the request together. Just like saying “no” to commitment excess, good decision-making is a learned skill. Before your child signs up yet again, help her to figure out how many meetings or practices there will be per month, if there will be dues, competitions, fundraising…

– Consider your family size and ages of your other children. Is dragging your baby or toddler along doable without adding to your own stress and anxiety?

– Be a good stress example. Children learn how to manage stress by watching their parents. If you find yourself reeling with stress, screaming at life’s frustrations instead of finding a resolution, you can’t expect your children to understand the proper way to react when they are overloaded and exhausted.

– Accept the fact that children get over disappointment far faster than adults. It’s safe to presume that your child will not be on a therapist’s couch 20 years from now blaming you for the lessons you denied or the team you didn’t let her join. She’ll find something far more significant.

– Being less overwhelmed reduces the chances that you will lose your temper with your children, making both you and them miserable.

– Forget keeping up with the Jones’s.

– Reserve time to build family ties and memories that become critical touching points in later years.

 

Suggested Reading: Specially Designed Physical Activities Enrich Your Preschooler’s Brain Cells

 

Article republished with permission from Dr Susan Newman, social psychologist, parenting expert and best-selling author.

Young Champions® – A 2.5-Day Workshop that will Change Your Child’s Life!

A core requirement of MindChamps’ Professor Snyder’s Thinking Cap Learning System programme for P5 and P6 students, the Young Champions workshop is typically held over 2.5 days during the March school holidays at MindChamps HQ.

From sessions that push champs out of their comfort zone to hands-on activities that demonstrate that nothing is impossible when they put their minds (and the right strategies) to it, these form part of the exciting line-up during the Young Champions workshop. At every Young Champions workshop, it is truly amazing to witness the transformation of their energy as they strive to keep up with the fast pace of the programme and participate eagerly in all the activities and sessions.

Here’s a sneak preview of a recent Young Champions workshop:

mindchamps young champions workshop
Young Champs warming up at the start of the day.
mindchamps young champions workshop
Session in progress…
All geared-up for the activities
Participants all geared-up for the activities
mindchamps young champions workshop
Now, what could the trainer be doing with a squirt gun?
mindchamps young champions
The Assists demonstrating a key concept – can they still stay on in this position after that last chair is removed?
mindchamps young champions workshop
Mr David Chiem, Founder, Chairman & Group CEO of MindChamps, hosted a motivational session with the Champs.
mindchamps young champions workshop
A hands-on activity which demonstrates that anything is possible if we set our minds to it.
mindchamps young champions workshop
The 2.5-day workshop was wrapped up with the group performances.

 

A young Champ shares his thoughts on the Young Champions workshop:

mindchamps young champions workshop
Enson Yip (in purple t-shirt), a young champ who participated in the workshop recently shares his thoughts with us.

“After the workshop, I learnt that life and study time are like a game. There will be both fun and frustrating moments. While games have rules, there are deadlines and scores to work towards when it comes to homework. I am responsible for my homework and I need to put in not 100%, but 110% commitment.

“I enjoyed the hilarious stories from Mr Steve and Mr Faizal, and am happy that I managed to break through my physical and psychological barriers. I hope that I can join in the next Young Champions workshop at MindChamps.”

Enson Yip, 11 years old, Young Champions 2016 workshop participant

 

Find out more about MindChamps’ signature programme Professor Snyder’s Thinking Cap Learning System and how your child could benefit from it. 

 

MindChamps featured in The Business Times on 29 March 2016

Dear Parents,

It gives us great pleasure to share with you that The Business Times has featured the MindChamps ChampionGOLD Standard and the appointment of our Chief Academic Officer, Mr Steven Andrews, in their paper on 29 March 2016.

MindChamps-BT (29 Mar 16).jpg

As a progressive and innovative education institute, we do not believe in resting on our laurels and will continue to raise the bar for education with the development of our ChampionGOLD Standard, which is a comprehensive array of educational, operational and service-oriented benchmarks. This will allow us to implement our standards organisation-wide and ensure that the quality of our education and service is solid and scalable. Importantly, as MindChamps is already the mark against which other organisations measure themselves, the Champion-GOLD Standard is now the mark against which we, at MindChamps, measure our own performance.

Champion Gold LOGO
The ChampionGold Standard logo, our mark of distinction

We are also pleased to introduce to you, Mr Steven Andrews, who has joined us as our Chief Academic Officer. Steven’s distinguished career include his appointments as the former Senior Education Advisor to the United Kingdom government under the Tony Blair administration, former CEO of Tanglin Trust School, Singapore and the former Director of Education, Leicester City. Steven will play an important role in the implementation of our Champion-GOLD Standard and help us achieve the very highest standard of quality.

Lastly, we are proud to share with you that our Founder, Chairman and Group CEO, Mr David Chiem, was amongst the 56 out of 2,000 business leaders from the top Singapore 1000 corporations and SMEs who were featured in the Business Times (see below and attached) yesterday as well.

Business-Leaders-Feature-Page.jpg

Thank you for your continuous support and we look forward to sharing with you more of such exciting news in the near future!

5 Strategies for Raising Life-long Learners

“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.” – BB King

 How to Inspire the Love for Learning in Kids

Studies have shown that a child’s brain develops rapidly during the first five years of life. During this time, new connections are formed as he/she uses the five senses to understand how things work in the world. This will inevitably shape the way he/she thinks, feels, behaves and most importantly, learn, at this moment and in the future.

Children are born with a natural desire to learn and explore the world around them, and as parents, you can lead them in the right direction of lifelong learning. When you foster the love of learning in your children, you are setting them up for a lifetime of happiness and success by giving them a support environment where they can develop their own ideas, take chances, make choices and share opinions.

Here are some simple activities that you can do with your kids to inspire the love for learning in them during the early years:

1. Read to them

Literacy experts affirm that it is never too early to read to your children, so go on and start reading to them when they are babies to kick start their learning journey. Although they may not understand the words that you say in the beginning, hearing your voice stimulates their interest in sounds and helps them develop listening skills. Reading to your child also helps to build vocabulary, stimulates imagination and improves communication skills

By developing a regular reading routine from the start, books will become a natural part of your children’s day – one that they look forward to. As your child grows up, you can encourage him/her to practice reading by themselves so that they will keep getting better at it. By doing this, you would have taken the step to encourage them to learn something new each day.

 

2. Let them make choices

While you don’t have to give your child free reign to do whatever they want, you can still give them a choice in what they like to pursue. You can start by letting them choose their own books, movies and toys to play with.

Sandra Crosser, Ph.D., Professor of Education at the Ohio Northern University, states that the best way to help children learn to make wise choices is to start early.

When children are given the opportunity to make their own choices, they feel like what they think and feel makes a difference. On the other hand, this also teaches them the value of making wise choices and dealing with the consequences of decisions made – a life skill that will come in handy later on the life.

“If children learn to live with their decisions when they are small, and if they are given opportunities to make choices as they are growing up, then it is more likely that they will be able to make wise decisions when they are older. Practice can improve decision-making ability just as it can improve reading ability,” Crosser affirms.

 

Taking your children on field trips and providing a good variety of age-appropriate toys serve as a good start to inspire their early learning journey. More on this on the next page