Parents Zone

How to discover hidden talents and potential?

Parent Tips

How to discover hidden talents and potential?

Written by: geneDecode Genetics Education Professional Team


Innate potential is an ability that everyone is born with, a genetic characteristic that is present before growth. From birth, each child possesses their own unique talents. In the process of a child’s growth, emotional intelligence, IQ, and the ability to withstand setbacks, among others, are all necessary conditions for success. Among these conditions, each child’s talents are different. Can we discover their innate talents in the innocent eyes of children? Can we be sure to capture these talents and guide the children on a path of growth that suits them?


Here is a mother’s experience:


‘Amy is 4 years old this year. As she grows up, she is becoming more and more curious about the things around her. Amy’s father noticed that she seemed to show a special interest in doodling when she was 2 years old. I casually gave her some paint, and she could use a brush, crayons, or her fingers, even a bottle of ketchup, to paint. No one knows what she is painting, maybe only she knows. Amy’s father and I both think that she should be allowed to grow freely. I found that she seems to like painting very much. If she is really good at it, I think we will definitely cultivate her well.’


Amy’s parents are wise. Each child has different talents hidden in different fields. When a child’s talent is found, if it can be cultivated and paid attention to by parents and teachers, it will save a lot of detours in the direction of success. However, the most important thing is for children to have a sense of success from a young age and grow up to be happy and confident people.


Scientific research confirms that the period of infant growth is the fastest and most sensitive period of brain development, and it is also the best time to develop a child’s talents. The cultivation of talents is time-sensitive, and scientists call this irreplaceable stage the ‘talent time window.

Only at the most important and appropriate moments, with the right education and cultivation, can innate potential develop into real abilities. Missing these key moments of development, a child’s talents may relatively weaken, and their innate potential may no longer stand out. Here are some key moments for reference:


Key Moments for Talent Development


Memory: 12 months to 12 years old

Emotional Intelligence: 2 months to 22 years old

IQ: Birth to 13 years old

Music: 2 months to 5 years old

Drawing: Birth to 15 years old

Sports: Birth to 12 years old


‘Whether Amy can become a painter when she grows up, I can’t confirm, we are just observing. It can be said that it is completely based on feeling. Talent is hard to say, maybe she has talents in other areas, or sometimes it is not obvious, then it is hard for us to discover. We can only do our best and observe her from as many angles as possible.’


This is not just a worry for Amy’s mother. Every parent dreams of their child’s success, but the key is how to accurately discover a child’s talents.


Many parents are trying, hoping to find clues in their child’s behavior, hoping to find ways to discover a child’s talents early. Those parents who seem to have found a method, according to their own judgment and willingness, send their children to various specialty classes and youth classes to learn various skills, hoping that one day, they can become experts in this field. For this goal, parents spare no effort to invest a lot of money and time.

However, doing so seems to not only waste a lot of money and time, but also those originally intelligent children are more likely to lose their spirit in the multitude of educational directions, their talents are delayed or even obliterated. They passively move from one tutoring class to another specialty class, learning things they neither like nor are good at.


Childhood, for children, is no longer a memory of happiness and beauty, but of pressure and worry. The saddest thing is that when they grow up, they have more complaints about their parents.


Is there a better way to understand a child’s talents, personality, and traits, so as to teach students in accordance with their aptitude and cultivate them in a directed way?

Parents Zone

How to reduce the side effects of rewards?

Parent Tips

How to reduce the side effects of rewards?

Written by: Pang Chi Wah, Registered Educational Psychologist at the New Horizons Development Centre


Some parents have the following thoughts about rewards: “The original intention was to praise the child’s good performance, but now the reward seems to have become a bribe.” “He has become utilitarian, calculating the degree of his effort based on the size of the reward.” “Sometimes I even feel that the child has become greedy. The rewards that once attracted him no longer have the original effect. Only by providing richer rewards is he willing to make an effort.”


In fact, in the commercial society where adults are located, bosses also use rewards and bonuses to praise employees’ outstanding work performance and inspire employee morale. Many early childhood education experts have also proposed a reward system, using children’s favorite food, toys, etc., to train and cultivate their good behavior habits. Rewards have become our usual way, but parents’ worries are not unfounded. How can we reduce the side effects of rewards?


There are mainly two directions to reduce the side effects of rewards. One is that parents can change the type of rewards, and at the same time, they must not encourage children with money, otherwise it will make children prioritize money and everything will be based on materialism. The rewards given by parents can be changed from one-time enjoyment such as food, gradually transformed into long-term gifts, such as entertaining toys, academic stationery, etc., and later can be rewarded spiritually, such as parents giving certificates, applause and other non-material encouragement.


The second approach is that parents can gradually reduce the proportion of rewards given according to the following three criteria:


1.Increase the number of expected behaviors completed by the child before giving a reward.

Example: If parents expect the child to put the toys away in the toy box after playing, initially, parents may need to give stickers as encouragement for the child to be willing to tidy up the toys; afterwards, the child should put the toys in the toy box several times on their own before the parents give sticker rewards.


2.Raise the standard of requirements according to the child’s performance, and only give rewards after the child completes behaviors of higher difficulty.

Example: Initially, as long as the child puts all the toys in the box, they can be given sticker encouragement. Then the requirements can be raised, the child needs to put all the toys in the box, and carefully organize the toys and place them properly to get the sticker.

3.When the child is relaxed and happy or makes a request, parents can make demands on the child without providing rewards.

Example: The child requests to watch their favorite TV show, the parent proposes that the child needs to tidy up the toys into the toy box before they can watch TV.


Through these two principles, parents can systematically dilute the function of external material rewards, let children internalize the motivation behind completing good behaviors, gradually reduce dependence on external encouragement, and make them gain a sense of success from within as the main source of their learning motivation.

Parents Zone

What should I do if my child has a habit of sucking their fingers?

Parent Tips

What should I do if my child has a habit of sucking their fingers?

Written by: Early Childhood Education Specialist, Teacher Chan-Chen Shu-an


According to Dr. David Levy’s research, children who finish a bottle of milk within 10 minutes (possibly because the bottle’s nipple hole is larger) are more likely to exhibit finger-sucking behavior than those who finish the entire bottle in 20 minutes. Dr. Levy also conducted an experiment feeding puppies with a dropper, preventing them from sucking while feeding. The result was that they resorted to sucking their own or other puppies’ skin, some so vigorously that the skin peeled off. From this, we can understand that the behavior of infants sucking their fingers in the first few months is due to the lack of satisfaction from sucking, it is a need, not innate, and not a bad behavior.


Breastfeeding Fosters Parent-Child Bond


When a mother can breastfeed her baby, the baby is the happiest. This is because the baby not only receives proper nutrition and warmth and security from being in contact with the mother’s skin but also enjoys the soft nipple while sucking, which provides not only sustenance but also a profound love and emotional connection between mother and child. This deep love and family bond cannot be compared to feeding from a cold bottle, especially considering the supreme satisfaction the baby gets from sucking.

However, most mothers work outside the home due to various reasons, and sometimes have to feed their children with a bottle. In such cases, special attention should be paid to the frequency and duration of feeding. Mothers should calmly allow their children to eat slowly, paying particular attention to the size of the bottle nipple hole. Only when the child is satisfied with sucking will they be less likely to develop the habit of finger-sucking. When an infant starts to enjoy sucking their fingers, it is an unconscious behavior. Their little finger moves around and unintentionally goes into their mouth, bringing them pleasure and satisfaction, leading to sucking.


Releasing Psychological Tension


However, if a child continues to suck their fingers at the age of 4 or 5, it takes on a different meaning. This may be a way of releasing psychological tension. For example, due to parental conflict, the child feels anxious; or because of a new sibling, they fear losing their parents’ love; or because the parents are too busy to care for them, they feel lonely and lack the warmth of a family; or because the child is sent to kindergarten too early and lacks a sense of security due to inadequate care. These factors can lead to anxiety, unease, tension, and fear in children, all of which are causes of psychological tension.


Like adults, children need to release psychological tension when they are anxious. This is a natural phenomenon. Adults often smoke to relax and relieve psychological tension. Children may suck their fingers or rock back and forth to release emotional tension. In this situation, parents should not only improve their attitude towards their children but also be extra patient. They should maintain a calm and gentle attitude to help the child relax and feel no pressure. On the contrary, if parents show worry, and nervousness, or are eager to correct and blame, or if they tie the child’s fingers or apply bitter medicine, it will only backfire, increase the child’s unease, and create a vicious cycle. This will prolong the habit of finger-sucking, as the child wants to quit but cannot control themselves.

Preventive and Corrective Methods


  1. Whenever possible, breastfeed, as it is the most natural and suitable feeding method for infants, and it reduces the chance of developing a finger-sucking habit.
  2. When using a bottle, parents should pay special attention to the feeding time, aiming for 15 to 20 minutes, which is ideal.
  3. Engage the child in activities with toys and dolls to redirect the finger-sucking habit.
  4. Spend more time with the child, playing, telling stories, and singing songs together to prevent the child from feeling lonely or bored, which can lead to finger-sucking.
  5. When a child sucks their fingers vigorously, parents should remain patient and calm. Sometimes, ignoring the behavior can lead to its natural disappearance.
  6. If a child has had a finger-sucking habit for several years before the age of 6, it will naturally diminish over time, especially if the child only sucks their fingers when sleeping. Parents should patiently wait, as hasty correction is ineffective. Particularly after starting kindergarten, the habit may disappear naturally due to the child’s reluctance to suck their fingers in front of peers or being occupied with other activities at school.
  7. Fingers sucked on will have an unpleasant odor. If a 5 to 6-year-old child still has this habit, letting them smell the unpleasant odor may help correct the behavior.