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How To Give Constructive Criticism To Educate Your Kids

How To Give Constructive Criticism To Educate Your Kids

Parenting 5.0 – how to conduct constructive criticism to educate your children. This, in my personal opinion, is extremely crucial in building and shaping your children’s future. It is important because your criticism and your behaviour will greatly influence the life of your children.

Children hardly forget things, words and people. Often, many children, between the age four to six, tend to be sensitive towards everything happening around them. For example, my son, who is four years old, is quite sensitive. If we scold him, he reacts in a negative manner. We have to be very cautious in dealing with him in order to correct his mistakes, and we correct him through constructive criticism.

What is constructive criticism?

Constructive criticism is criticism without judgement that is expressed in a friendly manner, and is valued to be reasonable, logical and effective. These opinions are based on an individual’s work and have the blending of both positive and negative observations. The main purpose of constructive criticism is to improve the result of the individual’s work. For example, when you cook a meal for the first time, you ask your partner for their opinions. Instead of simply hearing, “This tastes so heavenly”, you would rather prefer constructive criticism like “Just add a little bit of salt and bake it for another 10 minutes, I think it’ll taste better”. As much as this is applicable to you, it is equally important to apply this to educate your children.

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How to provide constructive criticism to your children?

When we see our kids doing something wrong or dangerous, we often scold them straight away. But please remember that raising voices, calling them names, or even threatening them are not the ideal ways to bring up your kids. Blaming your children may instantly vent your anger and frustration, but this will hamper your relationship with them in the long-term. For example, if your kids refuse to listen to you and do something opposing, instead of yelling at them and calling them ‘stupid’, you can simply say, “I don’t like what you are doing because it may hurt you. Kindly stop doing it because I love you.”

Does this kind of constructive criticism help? Yes, it does. It highlights what is right and what is wrong in a positive manner, and it should be like the hamburger below formed by compliment and criticism.

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    Here are 6 ways in which you can educate your kid with constructive criticism:

    1. Point out the problem by using descriptive statement instead of language with judgement

    As I have previously mentioned, there is no point in scolding your kids for their mistakes. It will only worsen the situation. Using language with judgement, such as ‘how stupid you are’, or ‘you are behaving like a maniac’ won’t help either. The best solution is to recognize your kids’ previous effort and achievement first and then explain to them about their problems in an objective manner. For instance, if you are disappointed with your boy’s test result in Mathematics, instead of scolding him, tell him “I understand you are good at other subjects, but not Maths. Don’t worry, just practice harder. I think you will achieve a better result next time. If you have any problems in your learning, I can talk to your teacher or I’ll help you with it. I hope to see you having some improvement in the next test.”

    2. Figure out the root of the problem before criticising

    It is important to figure out the root of the problem and it is your duty to do so. It would be easier for you to explain to your child what has gone wrong. Think twice or as many times as you need before you express your dissatisfaction or anger. Your constructive criticism is always more useful than emotional outburst. Let’s continue with your boy’s Maths problem. Maybe he has some problems in the class. Maybe he’s nervous during the test. Just dig deep to find out the root cause and come up with corresponding solutions. Good problem-solving skills are what all parents have to master.

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    3. Control your anger

    Don’t let your anger take the upper hand. You are dealing with a child, not an adult. Remember, children have feelings too. No one likes hearing criticism in an a hostile manner. Next time before you lose your temper, try not to talk to your child. Take time, calm down, even if it takes hours. Only approach your kids when you become even-tempered. You must have a controlled, loving tone when talking to your children.

    4. Tell your children about the consequences of their mistakes

    Another important point is to only criticise about the wrongdoing, but not your child. When you are delivering your criticism, make sure your kids understand that what distresses you is their behaviour but not themselves. For example, if your children get hooked to television or tablet, tell them that you are worried because watching too much may lead to troubled eyesights. Explain to them that you wouldn’t like them to be wearing glasses. Guide them to get involved in different activities that will keep their mind activated.

    5. Be clear about your criticism

    Before you start criticizing your beloved small ones, make sure you know what to deliver. If you hesitate, your children may misinterpret the message. Your aim is to educate your child, not to embarrass or punish them. Think before you deliver.

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    6. Give your children an opportunity to correct themselves

    Be it failing in school or misbehaving, the ultimate goal of constructive criticism is to prompt your children to realize their mistakes and make corresponding corrections. In this way, your kids will learn to take responsibilities of their own actions in the future.

    Raising kids is not an easy task. Through constructive criticism, you can shape a better and more successful future of your children.

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    Sumaiya Kabir

    Sumaiya is a passionate writer who shares thoughts and ideas to help people improve themselves.

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    Published on May 7, 2021

    20 Energizing Brain Breaks For Kids

    20 Energizing Brain Breaks For Kids

    From coaching martial arts to children as young as four years old, I very quickly came to the understanding that if I wanted to help kids progress their skills, I needed to find a way to help them focus more consistently in my class.

    There are two key ways I found when it came to improving my students’ level of focus:

    1. Make what we’re doing more interesting. Nothing is off the table here—from having ninja clowns on the rampage in a lesson to including popular games with a martial arts theme, tapping into the student’s love of fun to help them focus.
    2. Introduce brain breaks.

    Brain breaks are small mental breaks that help the kids stay more focused. Think of the brain as a fuel gauge that shows the information you can consciously hold in your mind at any given moment. When the kids are focused and working hard on their tasks, the meter is usually full. They can easily concentrate and pass experiences into their long-term memory.

    But when the needle starts to drop, you may observe that your kids are feeling anxious or looking restless. New information, experiences, and knowledge are not getting processed from the staging area or working memory into the long-term memory.[1]

    It’s here that brain breaks make the most difference, as they allow us to “top-up the tank” or reset the gauge so that we can continue to learn and focus and at a higher level.

    If you’ve been home tutoring, you’ll appreciate that brain breaks can help kids in many ways. They can reduce stress and frustration. Think of those times when you’re helping your kids solve a difficult problem. It’s taxing for you both and when compounded with the energy loss after a day at school or watching TV. The stress effect can be compounded, and it’s here that brain breaks can be a lifesaver.[2]

    The following is a selection of brain break ideas for kids. You’ll see that some are physical activities while others are more relaxing. It’s always great to test them out to see which ones connect the best with your children.

    It’s okay to repeat the same brain breaks. Having a clear name and mission to a break can help keep your child excited, knowing that they’ll have the opportunity to take part in a future round of the activity.

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    Active Brain Breaks

    Here are some active brain breaks for kids that you can try out.

    1. Swapsies

    Have the participants stand behind a chair. Call out a character trait, like “everyone with brown eyes.” You then swap places with someone else who has the same characteristic. If you have nothing that matches, you stay put!

    Examples: “Everyone with trainers on.” “Everyone who is left-handed.” “Everyone who is wearing yellow.”

    2. Dance Party

    Put five or six different types of songs on Spotify, including a classic like “baby shark or the hamster dance.” Dim the lights if possible and have the kids dance to the tunes. Then, change the tunes and change the dance style. It’s silly and fun.

    3. Freeze Dance

    Similar to Dance Party except that when the music stops, students have to stay perfectly still until the music restarts. You can make this even more fun by trying to make the students smile. If they smile, they are out and have to sit down.

    4. Keep It Up

    Students must keep a balloon from touching the floor. You can add multiple balloons. You can make it more competitive by having different balloons of two different colors and split people into teams. Whoever keeps the balloons up the longest or the team with the most balloons in the air with a timer of 60 seconds wins.

    5. Simon Says

    This brain break for kids is an old favorite. You can also mix it up with martial arts moves, Fortnite dances, superhero moves, etc.

    6. Animal Movement

    Move like different animals. It’s fun for younger children. We use Flamingo where you stand on one leg, crawl like a bear, stand like a meerkat, run like a cheetah, and walk like a penguin.

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    7. Find It Fast

    “Find It Fast” is a scavenger hunt variation. Call an item out in the room and kids have to stand by it. For example, find a clock, find something with a face, find something smelly, find some money, find a phone, etc.

    8. The Frog

    Physical Challenges can be excellent fun. We have one in the martial arts class called “The Frog” where you squat like a frog, then lean forward so your head and feet are off the floor. These are all old yoga poses, so have a look through a booklet or website for some safe ideas. Other examples are grabbing your nose with your left hand and touching your knee with your right elbow.

    9. Pizza Delivery Time

    Give the students paper plates and tell them to hold the plates above their head on a flat hand. They then run around the room and try to keep the plate in their hand. You can make it more challenging by having other students try to knock others’ plates off. There’s usually a 3-star jump penalty if your plate touches the floor.

    10. Limbo

    We use martial arts belts and the students take turns going underneath the belts. Fun music creates an awesome atmosphere here.

    11. Human Knot

    Split the group of people and have everyone link hands under and over. That’s making knots between everyone in the group. Have the other students try to untangle them and return everyone back into a circle.

    12. Feather Balance

    This brain break for kids works well with gentle music, and you can use a balloon or a straw if you don’t have a feather handy.

    13. Stack them high

    The students should have plastic cups and paper squares. The goal is to make a tower as high as possible, or it could be to make a triangle or even a pyramid.

    Relaxing Brain Breaks

    We talked about brain breaks for kids that are being used to energize the students. But they can also be used to calm and relax them. We’re more familiar with the term mindfulness, but it’s the same idea. These are brain breaks for kids that reduce stress and anxiety.

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    14. Meditation

    Meditation

    is a popular way to reduce anxiety. There are lots of great examples already pre-recorded on YouTube that you can follow along with. Below is a useful classroom meditation example.

    15. Kaleidoscope

    Kaleidoscopes are fun ways to relax. They are mesmerizing and like a peaceful vortex that sucks you into them. Below is a great example of a visual online one you can use.

    16. Reading/Listening to a Story

    When I surveyed the members of our martial arts club about how their kids employ brain breaks at home, there was a clear winner among the families—listening to a story or reading a story. The feedback was that the process of daydreaming a little helps the kids to recharge. But it goes without saying that the story needs to be engaging.

    17. Doodling

    My personal favorite way to brain break as a kid was to doodle. Doodling gives your child a few minutes to draw anything they want. It can be calming for them, and it’s a lot more fun if you have different types of pens or crayons available to use. Add some soft music, and you have a simple way to take some time to relax.

    18. Coloring Sheets

    Coloring sheets are another way to relax the mind. There’s lots of great coloring in pads available, but here are some links to public resources shared on the internet that are great examples.

    19. Deep Breathing

    Deep breathing

    is an epic way to help your child slow down. It is a quick way to relieve anxiety so that they feel more ready for the next task ahead.

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    Try this: put your hands on your tummy, breathe in through the nose, and feel your belly expand like a balloon. Hold it here, then slowly breathe out through the mouth while feeling your stomach get smaller. Repeat this 10 times. Use the following counts: breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and breath out for 4 seconds.

    20. Going Outside

    Go outside was the second most popular response from our parent’s survey about brain breaks for kids at home. Fresh air always feels nice. You can combine this with a treasure hunt, looking for different colored cars, types of birds, or even types of trees, if you’re familiar with these.

    My personal favorite is using a mushroom spotting app on our phones and finding a mushroom or toadstool, then using the app to identify its name. This is surprisingly engaging for children. But a few safety rules about not touching them is important. It gives kids a change of scenery and helps revitalize the senses, providing a welcome break from their homework.

    How Often Should You Introduce Brain Breaks?

    The key to brain breaks is their timing. If you can introduce them before you notice that your kids are entering deep fatigue or their loss of focus has set in. You’ll find a great balance between breaks and effort.

    I’ve observed from my martial arts coaching that younger students have a smaller amount of working memory than older kids. My formula is for five minutes of technical training, we provide five minutes of brain breaks for students under seven years old. Plus, we coach to 15 minutes of training to five minutes of brain breaks for children under 12 years.

    Final Thoughts

    Implementing calming brain breaks for kids is a really efficient way of introducing brain breaks. You have a quick way to allow your students to learn about regulating themselves. Balancing their mind and energy is a useful skill, and you can take this with you everywhere you go.

    Our martial arts center revolutionized our approach to coaching by using brain breaks for kids. We found that although we were teaching less technical skills, there was now consistent progress from the students. Plus, everyone was less anxious, happier, and are having more fun. This is a win overall.

    If you’ve been having challenges with your kids focusing at home, maybe try a mixture of the calming and active breaks to see which types work best for your kids.

    Featured photo credit: Robert Collins via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] SimplyPsychology: Working Memory Model
    [2] BrainFacts.org: Kids Need Brain Breaks — And So Do Adults

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