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10 Ideas to Help Kids Understand That Honesty is the Best Policy

June 12, 2012 in Interpersonal Intelligence, Intrapersonal Intelligence

(Adapted from a piece on fulltimenanny.com. Used with permission.)

One of the greatest challenges that both parents and teachers face is helping kids to learn the value and importance of honesty. Children learn to fudge the truth at a shockingly early age, and the habit can be difficult to break if not acknowledged immediately. Here are ten ways to make sure that your little one doesn’t make dishonesty a practice.

  1. Practice What You Preach – Teaching your children not to lie is likely to be a challenge if they overhear you saying things that they know to be untrue to others. It’s important to practice what you preach, especially when it comes to impressing upon kids the importance of being honest. They can pick up habits at an alarmingly fast rate, so make sure they’re good ones.
  2. Create an Atmosphere of Acceptance – Kids often lie out of fear that the truth will cause them to be ostracized. Creating a “no-judgment” zone in your house or classroom can help kids to feel safe enough to tell you the truth, even when the truth is something that you don’t want to hear.
  3. Talk About Outright Lies Versus Those of Omission – Small children may not understand the difference between actively telling a lie and simply opting not to say all that they know. Explain that both options are dishonest, and help them understand why it’s important to be honest in the first place.
  4. Reward Honesty – When a child tells the truth, it’s important to reward or at least acknowledge that truth. For instance, lessening a punishment because she told the truth can be akin to “time off for good behavior.”
  5. Avoid Situations That Can Lead to a Lie – Instead of setting a child up to be dishonest by asking if they did something, ask them why they did it. Saying “I know that you spilled your milk, now let’s clean it up,” is much more effective than asking, “Did you spill your milk?” This accusatory tone makes kids defensive, and they may lie reflexively just to avoid getting into trouble.
  6. Be Careful With “White” Lies – Instead of telling a child that their disgusting cough syrup doesn’t taste that bad, explain that it’s unpleasant but will make them feel better. A child will know the second that they take the first dose of that medicine that it tastes horrible, and may not understand why you would lie about it when they aren’t allowed to lie about things themselves.
  7. No Name-Calling – Never call a child a “liar” or other derogatory names. This only makes them feel like you don’t trust them to ever tell the truth, and that there’s no interest in doing so if you aren’t going to believe them anyway.
  8. Leave the Past Where it Belongs – When gently confronting a child about a situation in which they’ve been untruthful, avoid the urge to bring up past incidences of dishonesty. They’ll only feel as if their past mistakes can never be forgotten, and that you don’t believe that they can ever tell the truth.
  9. Don’t Make Threats – Don’t threaten a child with vague statements like, “if I found out that you’ve been lying, you’ll be sorry!” In this situation, they’ll only feel as if they must protect their lie in order to avoid a mysterious punishment, rather than feel secure enough to admit to being dishonest and making an apology.
  10. Be Patient – Kids who have trouble with telling the truth won’t change their stripes overnight, and it will require patience and effort on your part as well as theirs. Understand that there will almost certainly be missteps along the way, but your child is still learning the intricacies of telling the truth.

Kids can be further confused when they’re reprimanded for being “brutally honest,” so it’s a good idea to explain that telling the truth is a delicate balance of not making hurtful observations about others, even if they’re true, while also not saying things that are dishonest. Talking to them about only saying positive things about another person’s appearance or habits can help to prevent embarrassing statements made by kids that are trying to learn the difference.

Many thanks to Hannah Anderson for allowing us to repost this terrific article from fulltimenanny.com!

What matters in life…and how do we teach these values to our kids?

May 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

First, let me just say that I am a HUGE documentary fan. For me, there’s something so rich and compelling about things that really happened or people who believe that they may be really, truly onto something.

In the documentary I watched last night, “Dying to Have Known” by Steve Kroschel, the last few minutes of the film really moved me and I thought it was a good topic for Kidzmet’s blog.

Do you agree with the following excerpt? If so, what are you doing in your classroom (if you’re a teacher) or at home (if you’re a parent) to help make sure the next generation embodies and carries forward this mindset? How do we reinforce this thinking in an age where media is EVERYWHERE and is no longer something you can just “turn off”?

As Joel & Heidi Roberts put it in a seminar I attended this past weekend (much more eloquently than I’m about to) there are a cacophony of voices out there and it’s increasingly hard to be heard in a noisy world.

How do we drown out the voices in our kids’ lives (peers, magazines, videos, television, billboards, etc.) that are shouting the importance of currency instead of character? I expected to have to help my kids navigate the importance of what’s INSIDE versus what’s OUTSIDE in the tween/teen years. I didn’t expect to start dealing with Queen Bees and Wannabes in Kindergarten and first grade.

Here’s the excerpt. Hope it touches/resonates with you like it did with me:

“It won’t matter where you came from or on what side of the tracks you lived at the end. It won’t matter if you’re beautiful or brilliant. Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant. So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured? What will matter will not be what you BOUGHT, but what you BUILT. Not what you GOT, but what you GAVE. What will matter is not your SUCCESS, but your SIGNIFICANCE. What will matter is not what you LEARNED, but what you TAUGHT. What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example. What will matter is not your COMPETENCE, but your CHARACTER…A life lived that matters is not of CIRCUMSTANCE, but of CHOICE.”
~Dying to Have Known by Steve Kroschel (also available on NetFlix streaming)

YOUR favorite (or least favorite) teacher story

May 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

Favorite teacherIt seems like very few days go by when I don’t hear one story or another about the positive impact a teacher that “got” them made on someone’s life. I also hear lots of stories about unbearable school years where a teacher just didn’t connect with someone and this lack of connection made a negative impact on the individual’s perception of school in general, the subject matter being taught, and (most importantly) their own self esteem.

These examples are backed up by numerous recent research studies which conclude that positive teacher-student relationships have been shown to support students’ adjustment to school, contribute to their social skills, promote academic performance, and foster students’ resiliency in academic performance. (Battistich, Schaps, & Wilson, 2004; Birch & Ladd, 1997; Hamre & Pianta, 2001)

In fact, ASCD’s email newsletter just yesterday stated, “students as learners are also students as people, with hopes, fears, and needs. That’s why it’s so important to build adult-student relationships that support and encourage each student’s academic and personal growth. The frequency and perceived worth of interaction (PDF) with faculty, staff, and other students is one of the strongest predictors not only of student persistence but also of student learning.”

This belief is the foundation upon which Kidzmet is built. And it shouldn’t be something that we expect just from interpersonally gifted instructors that have an innate talent for connecting with people. We should expect a fervent attempt at true connection from EVERY teacher a child has in school. It doesn’t just benefit the students, it gives the teacher the experience of having a room full of students that are not only more engaged throughout the school year, but who wrap up the school year thinking, “s/he was the best teacher I’ve ever had.”

Throughout May, we’ll be looking for blog comments that tell stories of their most POSITIVE and most NEGATIVE teacher relationship experiences. (It can be yours or your child’s.) It can be a story of a teacher that made you love science because he presented it in a way that “clicked” for you. Or a teacher that used the *wrong* approach to motivate you and you spent the year dreaming up excuses about why you couldn’t make it to her class. Or even the story of a teacher that came highly recommended by another parent, but that just didn’t “get” your child.

Everyone who posts a story will get a Kidzmet Classroom Account gift card to pass along to a teacher, so that she can understand how each individual student in her class ticks and hit the ground running with new student relationships. Save it until you know who your child’s next teacher is in the Fall; pass it along to a sports coach, tutor or summer activities leader; or even gift it to this year’s teacher so that he is better prepared to welcome his new batch of students this Fall. It’s entirely up to you.

We’re looking forward to hearing everyone’s stories!!

To our kids’ collective success,
Jen Lilienstein
Founder
Kidzmet 

Learning Tricks & Treats

September 12, 2011 in Interpersonal Intelligence, Linguistic (Verbal) Intelligence, Logical/Mathematical Intelligence

Reading Tricks & TreatsIn our house, we’re working with my 1st grader on quickly reading letter blends instead of sounding them out. (E.g. ing, ack, ou, tion, kn, etc.) But, flashcards are boring–not just for HER but for ME.

Being that I am all about making learning FUN for kids as inexpensively as possible, I re-purposed an old board game that she’d recently become bored with–Candy Land–and made it into a reading “trick” game.

The result? My “people smart” daughter who has less of an interest in the reading-to-herself realm asked to play four times in 36 hours. It was a real treat for me to see her have so much fun learning…and to see it translate into much more fluid bedtime reading last night.

This game can easily be aged up based on your child’s grade/skill level. Try it with Latin roots to expand vocabulary or help with spelling… Try it with math skills based on their level… Or even with language verb conjugation, historical events or the periodic table.

(Want to just mix in questions with the traditional deck? Try our Candy Land printable template to insert the questions in an easy-to-use form, then print them on Avery Clean Edge business cards.)

Here’s how to do it:
1) make a BIG index card for each color with the key skill being practiced (we used the letter blend). Cut index cards in half for 6 examples of use. In the picture, we were practicing the ACK blend, so I made small index cards that used the letters BL, SN, SH, CR, R, P.

2) Use a matching symbol on the opposite side of the card so you know which little cards go with which big cards. We used hearts, diamonds and stars of each color, which gave us 18 blends to start.

3) Have your child pick one symbol “set” of each color.

4) Play Candy Land as you would normally with the CL deck, but…

(a) when you pick a SINGLE color, you have to get the right answer to make the move.
In our case, my daughter had to make the correct sound. If using it with a Latin root, the child would have to know that “rupt” means “break”; if using it as a Chemistry game, they would have to know that H=hydrogren; if using for Spanish practice, the child would have to know that “jugar” means “to play”.

(b) If you get a DOUBLE color, you have to get the blend correct to move forward.
In our case, my daughter had to know that “TH” and “ING” together made the word “THING”. Using the same examples as above – if the child got a double color, the question might be what does “INTER” “RUPT” mean? If using with Chemistry, what’s something that H and O make together? If using for Spanish practice, how would you conjugate “jugar” for “we”?

5) As with traditional Candy Land, whoever gets to the end first wins.

ALTERNATE VERSION: If you’ve got several kids and want to make it a learning game for the whole family, assign each child a different symbol with different skills they’re working to learn. If your 1st grader selects a red, the question will be different than your 6th grader.

 

by kidzmet

Make It Your Mission! Part 6

August 29, 2011 in Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence, Interpersonal Intelligence, Personal Mission Statement

It’s time for your next mission meet-up!

Talk to each other about what your experience was with your responsibilities from Part 4. Did everyone do what they said they were going to do? Did some people do more than they had planned?

Analyze your results by writing down these 3 numbers for each of the different techniques you and your fellow advocates tried:

  • How many people were you able to connect with about your mission?
  • How many of those people could understand why it’s important to you…and should be to them.
  • Use a calculator to divide the number of people you were able to inspire by the number of people you were able to connect with.
Talk about which techniques were most effective in terms of:
  • Reach (how many people you were able to connect with using that technique)
  • Conversion rate (what percentage of people you were able to get excited about your mission using that technique)
  • Evangelist rate (the number of new “advocates” you were able to get to join your meeting as a result of using that technique)

What techniques to “get the word out” do you want to try this time around? Will you use the same ones? Do you want to try new ones? Has your mission changed course as a result of your efforts? Has your focus narrowed or broadened?

Before you go home, be sure to set a date and time for your next small group meeting.

Return to Part 1 with your growing group of advocates and spread the word about what’s important to you to even more people.

CONGRATULATIONS!

You are helping to change the world for the better in ways that are important to you. You should be extremely proud of yourself. :)

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