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What can I eat to refresh my brain and enhance my memory?

Parent Tips

What can I eat to refresh my brain and enhance my memory?

Written by : Registered Dietitian (Australia) 

Chung Yong Man

 

It’s exam season and students are studying hard for their exams. Many parents ask, “What are the best foods to help your child refresh and maintain a good memory?

 

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are digested and converted into glucose, which provides sufficient energy for the brain. Therefore, I recommend eating an appropriate amount of carbohydrates at each meal to maintain the effective functioning of the brain. Food sources include grains and cereals such as rice, noodles, bread, oats, etc., and high starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes, chestnuts and taro. Choosing high-fiber grains and cereals such as whole grain breakfasts, oats, whole wheat bread and red rice will help stabilize blood sugar and maintain concentration.

 

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA, are the main elements that make up the brain’s cell membranes and nerve tissues, maintaining the normal transmission of messages in the nervous system and helping to maintain good memory. Omega-3 fatty acids can be obtained from eating deep-sea fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, etc. I recommend eating 2 to 3 meals a week, with each meal being about 2 to 3 ounces (the size of the palm of your hand). In addition, almonds, walnuts and avocados are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Lecithin

Lecithin is one of the important elements in the composition of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, so adequate intake helps to revitalize brain cells, make thinking sharper and enhance memory. Eggs, soybeans and their products such as tofu, soy milk and baked beans with ketchup are rich in lecithin.

 

Iron

Iron is the main element in the production of red blood cells, which transports enough oxygen and nutrients to the brain to help keep it awake. Red meats such as beef, lamb and ostrich are rich in iron, and I recommend eating 2 to 3 meals a week at about 2 to 3 ounces per meal. Iron can also be taken from dark green vegetables such as spinach and red kidney beans, but since plant-based iron is more difficult to be absorbed by the body, foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, kiwis and tomatoes, can be eaten at the same meal to increase absorption.

Antioxidant Nutrients

Stress and poor diet can increase free radicals in the body, which can damage body cells and accelerate degeneration, or impair memory. Vitamins A, C, and E are antioxidants that protect brain cells from free radical damage and prevent memory loss. Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, pumpkin and spinach; vitamin E can also be obtained from nuts, eggs and dried beans.

 

The above nutrients can promote brain health, but we should not only focus on the intake of a single nutrient. I encourage people to diversify their diets as much as possible to get enough nutrients to keep the brain functioning optimally.

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If Nobita Nobi did not have Doraemon

Parent Tips

If Nobita Nobi did not have Doraemon

When I was a child, I loved watching the Japanese comic Doraemon, but what would happen if the real Nobita did not have the magic of Doraemon, what will happen? How can we improve the time management skills of children so that they do not become the real Nobita?

 

The characters in “Doraemon” are vivid and lively, with distinctive personalities – the gentle and quiet Shizuka, the bullying Takeshi, love showing off wealth  Suneo, the magical Doraemon …… but the one that impresses me most is the timid and often troublesome Nobita, especially his philosophy of “don’t do anything today if you can put it off until tomorrow” is a classic lazy person’s reflection.

 

I remember one of the stories: Nobita consistent with his character of procrastinating things again and again, to the day before the test to start studying, the results cannot cope with and have to ask for help from Doraemon. Doraemon took out the magic – memory bread to help him, as long as Nobita printed the textbook content on the bread, and then eat, he will remember the knowledge printed on the bread. Nobita was happy about this at first, but because the content of the text was too much, he had to eat a lot of bread to remember all the knowledge, and as a result, he ate too much and his stomach could not stand it!. After he had a bowel movement, all the knowledge was washed away with his stool, and he scored a zero on the test. This is exactly what the Chinese saying goes: “Clutching the Buddha’s leg in a hurry “, and lap up information without  fully digesting it will not yield good results.

 

I wonder if you have ever met someone like Nobita? These people usually lack a sense of responsibility, because they are not interested in the work handed down by their teachers/parents/supervisors, but they can’t put it off, so they have to put it off until the last minute to finish it. Due to the lack of time, the performance is naturally unsatisfactory; but there is another type of people who really want to do a good job, but unfortunately the concept of time is weak, or the work is too simple to think, to complete the work to be completed in 10 days only arranged in three days, the result is also due to the lack of time, have to drive at night to catch the deadline, the performance is naturally less than expected.

In the comic, Nobita’s son and grandson, Nobby, is living in poverty because of Nobita’s poor ancestors. In order to change the quality of life, he sent Doraemon back to the 20th century when Nobita was a child, hoping that he can use magic treasures to help Nobita, and thus change fate. Doraemon also really in Nobita every time he encountered a crisis to help him with magic. But I think, if Doraemon does not change Nobita’s bad nature, the problem will only keep repeating itself.

 

In addition, Nobita’s mother only scolded him after each trouble, but did not seriously think of ways to solve the fundamental problems of Nobita. In fact, if Nobita’s mother can cultivate Nobita’s sense of responsibility and master the skills of time management, even if Nobita does not have Doraemon, Doraemon does not have the magic bullet, I believe that Nobita will not repeat the same mistakes in the future. And a sense of responsibility and good time management need to be cultivated since childhood, otherwise it becomes a habit, and it is not easy to change in the future.

 

Due to the limitation of space, this article only focuses on sharing how to improve the time management skills of children. I think we might well start with the details of life, try to give an example, when my daughter was in the upper kindergarten class did a project study on the topic of “community”, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you how to consciously cultivate children to do time management through this project study. As you know, there are many steps involved in completing this project study, such as arranging time to take pictures of representative places in the district, such as parks, swimming pools, markets, libraries, post offices, etc.; then organizing the photos and adding a brief introduction next to them; children sometimes need to design report covers and draw illustrations… …It is certain that the above work cannot be completed in one day.

At this point, you can work with your child to plan a timeline for completing the entire project report and keep a calendar of tasks. If you can follow the schedule, I believe that your child will be able to do a good job on his or her project. On the contrary, without proper planning, parents see that their children are not able to complete their projects on time, so they rush to do it for them. As a result, the child becomes another Nobita, and the parents become Doraemon to save Nobita. Sometimes I hear parents complain, “I don’t know if it’s me or him who has to turn in his homework. This practice also violates the purpose of the teacher’s homework.

 

Doraemon” was a comic I loved to watch when I was a child, just like Nobita. Now I have grown up, but Nobita is still a child, living in the virtual world of comics. In real life, your child will grow up, he will need to face various challenges in the future, and we should not expect Doraemon to come out to save him when he encounters adversity, he will need to solve the difficulties he faces in life alone. For this reason, let’s work together to equip our children for a better future.

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“No!” “Not allowed!” “No!” Does it really work?

Parent Tips

“No!” “Not allowed!” “No!” Does it really work?

Written by : Child Behavioral Emotional Therapist
           Ip Wai Lun

 

Many times, parents get angry because their children don’t follow the rules or challenge some bottom line. For example, if a parent doesn’t want a child to touch something, the parent will just say, “Hey! Don’t touch it!” and “No!” and “Stop”, the child will hear many of these “No! and “No! In fact, this will often make children feel that they have done something wrong, which in turn will undermine their confidence and make them avoid doing things in the future.

 

As a parent, what can you do to make your child follow the rules without undermining his self-confidence? What kind of talking skills can parents use?

 

For example, if a child is angry and his face is red, we can use the following “three-step” approach.

 

Part I: Say How He Feels

“Mommy and Daddy see how angry you are ……”

“Look at your red face. ……”

Parents can try to help their children say how they feel. This is the first and most important step.

 

Part 2: Setting boundaries

When a child has a temper tantrum and may hit someone, parents should immediately set a line: “Okay, we can’t hurt others. Help him to set a compliance line.

 

Part 3: Arranging a platform for diversion

If the child has already hit someone, the parent should arrange a platform for the child to channel the anger.

 

For example, the parent can say, “Oh! I see you are so angry that your face is red and you want to hit someone! Why don’t you show Daddy how angry you are? “Why don’t you hit this shark doll?”

 

Maybe the child will say, “Yes, okay! and then hit the shark doll. At this point, the parent should tell the child, “Oh, Daddy is really angry to see you.

By allowing the child to express his or her emotions, the child will understand that when he or she has negative emotions, they won’t be accepted by the parents.

 

If parents use the above three steps, not only will they accept their children’s negative emotions, but they will also not condone their misbehavior, and most importantly, children will learn to follow the rules.

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Become a secure attachment for your child.Parent-child interaction is especially important.

Parent Tips

Become a secure attachment for your child.Parent-child interaction is especially important.

Written By: Ms. Lui Shuk Jing, Family Dynamics Personal, Marriage and Family Therapist

There is a Chinese saying “the age of three determines 80” and the West has another saying “The future is now”.It is clear that both Chinese and foreign parents have relevant parenting experience and believe that the early years are the golden age for shaping the healthy growth of their children. Many parents understand that they are the key influencers of their children’s growth, and that their children will learn by example, so they have to set an example and start to discipline them at a young age. 

I believe that parents focus on disciplining their children’s behavior, but recent studies in medicine, science, psychology, and early childhood development all point to the interaction and relationship between parents and children as the foundation for their children’s development.

Attachment Theory research clearly shows that as early as 0-18 months of age, a parent or primary caregiver forms a lifelong relationship pattern with the child that will be passed on for the rest of the child’s life. Once a secure attachment relationship is established, it is like a secure base that can be effective in dealing with future turbulent situations and in building the ability to have a successful family relationship. 

Conversely, once an insecure relationship pattern is established, it can have a negative impact on an infant’s future growth, emotional processing, and family relationships.

Secure Attachment 

The key to establishing a secure attachment pattern is for parents to establish a secure attachment when their child is 0-18 months old. Parents can build secure attachments based on the following suggestions

  • Be close to your child often, especially when they need it, such as when they cry and see their parents comforting them so that they know you are always there for them.
  • Invest emotionally in the parent-child relationship so that your child knows that you enjoy spending time with them and are interested in them, rather than being preoccupied with your own work. So parents need to play with their children from time to time to increase parent-child interaction and communication.
  • Parents are sensitive to their children’s emotional needs because children need you not only to meet their physical needs but also to care about their emotions and help them express and respond to them, especially negative emotions. When your child is dancing or smiling, you will help them say, “My baby is so happy! I’m so excited!” When your child is upset or crying, you will pick them up and offer protection and comfort. As they grow older, they will have more complex emotions, such as worry, fear, anger, frustration, and shame, and parents need to encourage and help their children express them, even though their negative emotions may have something to do with them.

Insecure Attachment

I have handled many cases in which the children are smart and well-behaved and have excellent academic performance, but they are very disturbed emotionally. Their parents think they are leading by example, loving their children and working hard, but they do not understand how their children can have emotional problems. If they look closely at the “attachment pattern” between themselves and their children to see if they are always close to their children, if they are emotionally involved, and if they can meet their children’s emotional needs, it will be easy to find the core of the problem and help parents rebuild a secure attachment relationship with their children so that they can rely on them and build a foundation for growth.

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What should we do if a child is having a tantrum?

Parent Tips

What should we do if a child is having a tantrum?

Written by:Dr. Hui Lung Kit, Psychiatry Specialist

 

Many parents have had the experience of taking their children out to play, and the family was in a happy mood and the children were having a good time. But suddenly, the child makes some unreasonable requests (such as seeing a toy to buy), and the parent does not allow it, the child immediately changes his face and cries. When the parent reprimands the child, the child becomes more aggressive, not only crying louder, but also having a tantrum fiercely and stomping on the ground, attracting the attention of passers-by (who may even suspect that you are abusing the child). Parents have no choice but to do their utmost to soothe the child, or even raise their hands in surrender and buy the child a toy in the hope of calming the storm. In the end, once the child has succeeded in his request, he would turn tears into laughter even when the toy is still not received. The previous crying is gone and makes parents unable to laugh or cry.

 

However, have parents ever noticed that if the number of times of “compromise due to pressure” increases, the number of children’s cries will increase instead of decrease? This is due to a psychological phenomenon – “Positive Reinforcement” consequence. Positive Reinforcement” means that when a behavior occurs, if a reward is given immediately, the behavior will occur again. The more the reward, the higher the chance that the behavior will be repeated.

To apply the example to the child, if the child cries a lot, if the adult satisfies his unreasonable request (such as buying a toy) when he is most agitated, this is a reward for his crying behavior, and in the future, when the child has other unreasonable requests, he will be more inclined to use the crying method to achieve his goal. In addition, children generally want to be loved and cared for by their parents. If parents usually ignore them, but the child cries, the parents will immediately become very nervous because even scolding is a form of attention, and over time, children will tend to cry as a means of attracting their parents’ attention.

 

Therefore, the first and foremost thing parents should do to properly handle their children’s crying is to maintain a gentle attitude, but at the same time, they should stick to their principles and not compromise easily, especially not to finally give in and meet demands just because the child continues to cry. If parents cannot control the situation, they can try to reduce their attention to the child, such as removing eye contact, being expressionless, or not talking to the child. In addition, if the crying occurs at home, parents can take the child to a quiet corner, cut off all attention to the child, let the child calm down, and then slowly explain to him what the problem is.

Of course, it is more important to give children appropriate attention from time to time when they are behaving well and not crying, so that they feel safe and do not use fussing as a “bargaining chip” to win the love of their parents. This is the solution to the problem.

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Keep crying when going to school. How to reduce the dependence of children on their parents?

Parenting Tips

Keep crying when going to school. How to reduce the dependence of children on their parents?
 

Written by: Pang Chi Wah, Registered Educational Psychologist, New Horizon Development Centre

 

During the school season, we always hear sad cries at the entrance of the school, and it is always a headache for parents when children do not want to go to school alone without their parents. Because newborns lack the ability to protect themselves, survive and feed themselves, they must rely on their parents in their daily lives. This is not only true for humans, but also for babies of other mammals, such as dogs, lions, and dolphins, who must rely on their parents for survival.

As they grow older, some children are able to live more independently and gradually become independent of their parents, while others progress more slowly. For example, some three- and four-year-olds are not allowed to leave their eyesight even though their parents are still at home; some cannot go to playgroups or extracurricular activities by themselves, or they will scream and cry. In some cases, even if the mother is outside, the child refuses to go to the toilet alone.

 

Why do children rely on their parents?

Why do children become dependent? It may be because the child is not physically active enough to take care of himself/herself, or it may be due to psychological factors, they are afraid or they are used to relying on their parents. In fact, parents can gradually train their children to be independent, mentally and habitually, so that they can reduce their over-dependence.

Increase the strength of using eating utensils

When children eat, they are passively fed by parents at first, then parents can hold their children’s hands to feed them so that they need to move their arms. Then gradually change the grasping part to the wrist, forearm, and elbow, so that the child needs to gradually increase the strength of using the eating utensil

 

Increase parental time away from the child and walking time

When children are accompanied by their parents at home, one of the parents can try to leave the child’s sight for a short period of time, and after the child gets used to it, both parents can leave together and let the child be taken care of by others. At the same time, parents can also increase the time of leaving according to the child’s progress.

When going out, parents can gradually reduce the time of holding the baby and ask them to try to walk home by themselves. Instead of carrying the baby all the way home, gradually change to carrying the baby to land at the door of the house, landing in front of the elevator, landing in the ground floor lobby, and landing after returning to the estate, gradually increasing the time for the baby to walk.

Inertia dependence of children is caused by parents

In fact, some children’s habitual dependence is caused by parents who take care of their children too much, give them too much, or give them too much help in the process of growth. Some parents think that their children are weak and cannot do anything well, so they do most of the work for them in order not to mess things up, and some parents even feel successful because their children are caring and dependent on them. If the situation continues, it will have many negative effects on the child in the future.

One day, children will be independent of their parents and need to take care of themselves, so parents should let go of their children appropriately in order to let them grow up. There are many books about the growth of children and objective guidelines for appropriate behavior at each age for parents’ reference.

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Wear face mask for long time during Epidemic.
How to make children learn to “look at people’s eyebrows and eyes”?

Parenting Tips

Parents Zone

Written by: Hong Kong Speech and Swallowing Therapy Centre
Senior Speech Therapist Eunice Siu 

In our daily interactions with others, we not only observe others’ behaviors, but also “explain” and “predict” others’ behaviors. Theory of mind is the ability to infer or substitute other people’s mental states, such as their thoughts, beliefs, desires, and intentions, etc., and to use this ability to explain other people’s thoughts, perceptions, and predict their behaviors. Theory of mind can be subdivided into “emotion recognition”, “beliefs” and “pretend play”.

The developmental period for children’s theory of mind is from approximately 3 to 7 years of age. However, before the age of 3, children need to master the following skills to effectively develop theory of mind skills.

1. noticing and imitating the behavior of people around them
2. recognizing the emotions of others and using words to express them (e.g., happy, sad, angry, surprised)
3. participates in pretend play
4. understands that different people have different desires and preferences
5. understands that people will act to get what they want (e.g. reach for candy)
6. understands the causes and consequences of unsympathetic emotions (e.g. if I hit my brother, my mom will be mad and then she will scold me) 

Ways to improve theory of mind are:

1. Use more psychologically relevant words when talking to your child

Using psychologically related words to communicate with children can help children understand their own and others’ psychological conditions more specifically. Examples of psychologically related words are “think,” “pretend,” “know,” “believe,” “feel,” and words related to emotions. Pay attention to what your child is trying to say and then respond. For example, “Ah! You want cake”, “Don’t be afraid! You think I’m gone, but I’m still here,” and “Mommy’s mad at you for hitting your brother. Parents can also explain to their children the psychological situation of others, e.g., “Mei-mei is smiling so much when she receives a birthday present, she should be very excited.

2. Participate in role-playing games with your child

Role-playing games encourage children to put themselves in different situations and characters’ perspectives to draw inferences about their behavior. To begin, children can pretend to be common everyday characters, such as mothers, doctors, teachers, and drivers. Parents should pay attention to the fact that both the words and behaviors in the game should be substituted for the role played. This activity helps children experience a variety of emotions, thoughts and interactions in different social situations, and learn to observe, imitate, anticipate, review and adjust their thoughts and behaviors. 

I hope parents can make good use of the opportunity to share and communicate more with their children in daily life, so that they can learn to “look at people’s eyebrows and eyes” (meaning read people’s faces) and become a “mind-reading detective”!

Source:

Hollin, P., Baron-Cohen, S.,& Hadwin,J.(1999). Teaching children with autism tomind-read. West Sussex, England: Wiely Press

Lowry, L.(2015).” Tuning in” to others: How young children develop theory of mind. The Hanen Centre.

Spastics Association of Hong Kong (2005). Connecting: Developing social skills in children with autism. Spastics Association of Hong Kong. 

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To love children, first to love themselves, 3 moves to teach you to maintain the best mental state

Parenting Tips

Parents Zone

Written by :Family Dynamics Child Play Therapist
                   Marriage and Family Therapist, Ms. Lee Wai Zi

In today’s society, it is indeed not easy for parents to maintain a good state of mind and body. I have met with many parents and found that the difficulty most parents face is not that they do not understand their children’s feelings and needs, or that they do not know how their behavior affects their children, but that it is difficult to maintain a trusting and optimistic attitude towards their children when they are in a situation. Often, parents become increasingly anxious as they worry that their child’s problems will continue and worsen, and repeat ineffective ways of dealing with their child’s problems.

So, how can parents maintain the best mental state to face the stress and challenges of disciplining their children? Here are some tips for parents to consider:

1. Be more sensitive to your own stress levels
Parents are human beings, so there will be times when they are depressed or physically and emotionally exhausted. The purpose of parents being sensitive to their own mental state is to remind themselves that they need to take care of their own needs first. It is difficult for parents to be sensitive and responsive to the needs of their children when they are in a highly stressed state. Conversely, inappropriate responses may harm the child and damage the parent-child relationship.

2. Use resources effectively to relieve stress
When parents feel stressed, they should try to explore and make good use of their own internal and external resources to regulate their negative emotions. For example, find family members or friends to talk to, do things that can relax you, and find positive thoughts and beliefs to encourage you. The purpose is to give yourself a proper rest and temporary relief from stress.  

3. Turn your mind around and reflect
If a parent’s stress continues and increases, professional help is needed. Sometimes, these pressures come from more than just external influences. Parents’ self-worth, worldview, and perceptions of things can affect how we parent. For example, some parents worry that they are not doing enough to fulfill their parental responsibilities and end up pushing their children to study or participate in activities, or even that they are not flexible enough to respond to their children’s needs when they are stressed and negative.

If parents are aware of and take care of their own feelings and needs, they can prevent their negative emotions from affecting the next generation.

Therefore, parents who love their children must first love themselves. Only when parents are healthy and happy can their children grow up healthy and happy.  

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Drawings peek into the inner world of children

Parenting Tips

Parents Zone

Written by: Unleashing Mind Professional Counselling Academy
Psychotherapist Lee Wai-Tong

Painting can give us room to express our feelings. I use a brush to create a dialogue with myself in another language, soothing my emotions or gaining insight and unlocking my heart.

Crying over trivial stuff

In my past child counseling sessions, some parents came to me for help. They did not understand why their son, Ming, often cried over trivial things, such as being late for TV, late for dinner, or when his father came home late, etc. They mentioned the situation to Ming, but they did not understand why, which caused them trouble. Therefore, I suggested conducting a drawing assessment for Ming to understand the environment in which Ming grows up in his mind, which may help to understand the reason why Ming loves to cry.

Drawing reveals the reason for crying

Ming drew a “family story”. While drawing, he expressed his feelings that his parents were busy with work all day, so he often played alone at home. When his parents came home, Ming wanted to play with them, but his father soon became impatient. In Ming’s mind, it seems that his father is always angry; whenever his mother sees this situation, she will argue with him. In Ming’s eyes, his mother always looks sad when she argues with his father. In Ming’s mind, he knew that his parents loved him, but when he saw that his father was angry and his mother was sad because of him, he felt sad. 

A peek into the inner world through paintings

Later, I met with Ming’s parents again. They never imagined that the quarrel in front of Ming was deeply engraved in their son’s heart. In addition, the father also found that his tiredness after work affected the quality of parent-child interaction. In this regard, I taught the father some relaxation methods and suggested setting up a “calm zone” at home to give everyone a space to relieve their emotions, and the parents promised to avoid arguing in front of Ming.

A month later, Ming no longer cried over trivial matters and the parent-child relationship was better than before. Painting can reflect children’s inner world view. In the process of creation, children project their inner world intentionally or unintentionally, so that we can understand their inner world and help them grow up healthily.