Getting the Most out of Crafting Character
Although we will address frequently asked questions and share helpful information here, please feel free to drop us a note if we can help you understand or get maximum use out of our products.
Each set comes with a soft-cover illustrated book, large plushie, and 14 attachable foam accessories that can be kept as a keepsake after use. Kids will be instructed to read the story, plan and carry out specific daily acts, and record them on the accessories. The accessories are attached, one by one, to the plushie each night via magic (cue caregiver, aka "magic").
Your kids, of course! And others in the community as well, as giving and kindness is contagious. Once your children start to change their behavior, others who see it will be positively influenced to make a change too!
We also support five charities that we love for their missions! Those include the Children's Craniofacial Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Meals on Wheels, One Tree Planted, and Fisher House Foundation.
These book and interactive plushie combos are meant for kids ages 4-10. This intentional age range was selected for two reasons. First, some research indicates that the habits most ingrained in us are formed before the age of 9. Second, we wanted to help kids develop a foundation of character before they hit the tough years of puberty and open up that whole new can of worms. After learning and practicing how to give to others, spread kindness, express gratitude, respect the environment, and act like good citizens, kids will feel good about themselves and have increased confidence. Further, they will have tools to rely on when they face challenges in their preteen and teen years. These skills and perspectives can even be helpful in changing kids' moods and giving them control over their own happiness.
We do recognize the need for a system for older kids and are working on that too. Stay tuned!
We recognize that most four and five year olds have not mastered reading and writing! This age group will definitely need a bit more hand-holding throughout this process. Sit down and read the book to the child. They may have questions about the language used in the stories. This is good! Talking about these topics and explaining these terms to them is part of the process. If your little one is just learning to write, they may feel particularly proud when you help them write down their act on the accessory. Progress, not perfection, is the goal!
While older kids may be able to comprehend the concepts, carry out the acts, and write them out on their own, we believe it is important for caregivers to be involved at some level. Because consistency is key in creating habits, caregivers are encouraged to help create the routine and consistency for the child. For younger kids, assistance may be needed for reading, brainstorming ideas, or writing. We bet you'll find some good refreshers on building your own character as the principals apply to all ages! Remember, your kids are watching you!
Habit, habit, habit. Each book and plushie set is designed to be used for 14 days straight in order to begin creating a new habit and integrating the character trait into the child's personality. There is all kinds of research today on how long it takes to form a good habit or break a bad one. While one tech-founder and mom-blogger of Life Sorted claims there is a three-day rule for creating or breaking habits for kids, a University College London research project claims it can take anywhere from 18 days to 254 days to truly accomplish the task. We've settled on two weeks for our systems because we believe it is the perfect amount of time to start to see a difference in behavior, yet still hold a child's attention so they can finish the task and feel good about it. Nothing is worse than setting up a child to fail. Asking them to complete a month-long daily project, we fear, might do that for some. We want to celebrate and encourage these kids and make this a project they can complete and feel great about!
Allowing kids to make the choice is important. Experiments show that when kids are given a choice to share, instead of being forced to, they are roughly twice as likely to be generous later. (See theatlantic.com; Stop Trying to Raise Successful Kids and Start Raising Kind Ones by Adam Grant and Allison Sweet Grant, December 2019). Give the child as much choice as possible with the process. Let them own their character building and feel like it truly belongs to them. Choice is key!
If you miss a day, don't sweat it! Just get back on track and keep going. Changing habits is hard work but improvement is the key and the ultimate payoff will be life-changing.
The best advice we can give to get the most out of your Crafting Character system is to create a reminder (we find that daily phone alarms are great for this!) at a specific time each day to choose and plan out your daily act.
While we find that 14 days is the right amount of time for kids to begin to form the habit with their new character trait, character development is a life-long commitment. It takes practice, and like anything else in life, if you stop doing it, you will lose the habit you have created.
Once you complete the two weeks and your plushie has collected all of its accessories, you can and should continue to practice! Continue to ask kids about any intentional acts they are going to complete that day. These sets are meant to be used over and over. They require love, attention, and use.
Each system pairs nicely with a specific holiday, so consider creating a new annual family tradition by reinforcing your character around the holidays! (Loving Bug=Valentine’s Day; Charitable Chick=Easter or Springtime; Grateful Gobbler=Thanksgiving; Environmental Ed=Earth Day or summertime season; Patriotic Pete= Fourth of July!)
The foam attachable accessories are designed to permanently record the child's act. You may be interested in purchasing another set of accessories if you want to pass along the book and plushie to a sibling or for donation. Also, if an extended amount of time has gone by, we encourage another 14 days of practice to help re-establish or reinforce the character trait habit. Our plushies love getting new spots, feathers, medals, leaves, and eggs.
1. Pick your 14 days wisely: Since the 14 days are important for building a new habit, make sure you are choosing to start your system when you are free of anticipated major calendar conflicts. You want to set your child up for success! Habits can be hard to create, especially at the beginning. So if you can, avoid stressful times, major travel, or periods of change and aim for fitting it into a typical daily routine.
2. Set a reminder: Before you start the system, choose a time of day when your child will select their act for the day. This could be during breakfast, in the car on the way to school, or at dinner the night before. Try to be consistent so you help your child remember to complete the act. You can also set a phone reminder as a cue.
3. When possible, have your child write down the act themselves: Each day after completing their act, kids are instructed to write it down on an accessory. If you have a younger child, try to allow them to be as involved as possible in this step. The sense of ownership and accomplishment is reinforced when they reflect and physically engage in writing down their act. Additionally, families typically use marker on the attachables and the foam accessory can be kept as a keepsake. Extra accessories are also available for purchase.
4. Add a little fun: Kids crave adventure and fun. We suggest letting the child write their act and then leave it out for the plushie to grow or collect while the child is sleeping. This requires planning and commitment, but can add wonder for children as they anticipate the new visual growth, whether it's in the form of a new spot for Loving Bug, egg for Charitable Chick, tailfeather for Grateful Gobbler, leaf for Environmental Ed, or medal for Patriotic Pete. Additional added fun and adventure could include hiding the plushie each day, with its new accessory, in the same or new spot. Plushies could even develop a personality and get "caught" by kids in the morning doing silly things or showing off their hobbies or interests. The adventurous possibilities are unlimited, but not required!
5. Reward good behavior: Kids will feel a sense of accomplishment by completing their acts, recording them, and watching their plushie physically grow as their own character grows with it. However, having their new character recognized by their parents, grandparents, teachers, or caregivers is so important in this process. Kids crave praise so don't forget to recognize those kiddos for their hard work and commitment to building character!
The Crafting Character system is patent-pending for ages 4-10. WARNING: Small parts. Not for children under 3 years of age.