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A quick method to calm down young children

Parent Tips

A quick method to calm down young children

Source: Pediatric Behavioral Therapist, Yip Wai Lun

 

Many times, as parents, when we see our children experiencing negative emotions like anger, tantrums, or extreme unhappiness, we often want to quickly resolve the situation by saying things like, “Don’t be so angry!” or we may scold them, sometimes even yelling, “Shut up right now!” or using a countdown like “One! Two! Three!” to command them. Some parents may try to reason with their children, saying, “We shouldn’t behave like this; we should stay calm.” However, these methods are not always very effective. Why is this the case?

 

It turns out that this is closely related to the structure of our brains. Understanding the brain’s structure can be very helpful in parenting. If we are familiar with two specific parts of the brain, it can aid us in disciplining our children. The first part is called the amygdala, which is a pair of almond-shaped clusters located in the posterior part of our brain. When we are startled or feel threatened, the amygdala sends signals that prepare us for either a fight or flight response. The amygdala operates on a reflexive level.

 

Another part is called the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for our flexibility and empathy. However, the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex cannot function simultaneously. The development of a child’s prefrontal cortex takes place from around the age of two to over twenty years old before it fully matures. Only then can they understand your reasoning and consider your thoughts and feelings.

 

As a result, most of the time, children are primarily influenced by the two amygdalae. This is why you often see children experiencing various emotions, becoming easily agitated, and prone to tantrums.

How do we stop the amygdala from functioning? This is very important. The way we make the amygdala stop functioning is by helping children express their emotions, especially when they have negative emotions. As parents, we should help them speak out, for example, saying, “I can see that you’re very unhappy,” “I can see that you’re very disappointed,” or “You seem very sad.” Because when you express and describe their feelings, their prefrontal cortex will send soothing messages to their amygdala, causing the amygdala to stop functioning immediately.

 

Whatever you do, don’t react negatively! When you see that your child is emotional, express your own personal feelings as a parent: “I’m really angry!” “What you did is not right!” or “I feel upset!” Doing this will only stimulate the child’s amygdala and make them more resistant. So the first step in disciplining children is not to control or teach them, but to first connect with their emotions and then readjust.

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Is an electronic pacifier a quality toy?

Is an electronic pacifier a quality toy?

Written by: Speech Therapist, Lee Wing Yan

 

With the advancement of technology and material abundance nowadays, it’s not hard to see that tablets are being used as “electronic pacifiers” for young children. Regardless of the occasion, whenever parents bring out this “electronic pacifier” and play YouTube videos, children sit quietly, and adults can focus on their tasks. Since tablets and smartphones can calm young children and provide educational games and videos for learning, does that mean they are quality toys?

 

The key to selecting “quality toys” lies in whether young children can genuinely learn from them. Indeed, educational videos and interactive games can offer the cognitive concepts that preschoolers need to learn, but we also need to consider how preschoolers actually learn language.

 

Recent foreign research explores the impact of the parent-child interaction pattern on language development one year later (i.e., at age 3). The study found that the presence of “connectedness” between parents and children during interactions most influenced the child’s subsequent language development, including whether both parties participated in the same activity in turns. Additionally, children’s learning of verbs, such as “I eat” in “eat” or “Mom drinks water” in “drink,” directly affects their future language development (from the three examples above, it’s clear that to form complete sentences, children need to recognize a certain number of verbs).

 

Seizing everyday life opportunities to teach verbs through activities

 

So, can tablets and smartphones achieve the mentioned “connectedness”? Based on my daily observations, children tend to use tablets and smartphones alone, and they resist it when parents want to intervene. Furthermore, most of what children learn from videos are limited to English alphabets, counting, nursery rhymes, cartoon character names, or specific dialogues from cartoon characters. But what about verbs? Verbs are often easily overlooked in videos because children can learn them more effectively by doing them in real situations! For example, teaching a child the action of “brushing teeth” doesn’t it involve singing a nursery rhyme “Up and down the brush,” repeatedly emphasizing the action of “brushing,” and brushing teeth together with them? In daily life, whether during bath time, cooking, playing with toys, or going to the park, parents can take the opportunity to teach relevant verbs used in different scenarios through interactive activities.



 

Furthermore, research also indicates that the quality of interaction between parents and young children during play and reading, including the vocabulary adults input to children and the spontaneous “baby talk” from children, is higher compared to when using tablets and smartphones. Scholars generally believe that young children’s language learning primarily occurs through interaction with people. Therefore, if young children excessively use tablets and smartphones, reducing interaction with family members, it may be detrimental to their language development.

 

So, what defines a “quality toy”? Whether it’s choosing tablets, smartphones, or traditional toys like dolls, puzzles, and toy cars, the most important aspect to consider is:

 

Does it promote interaction and communication between parents and children?

Does it replace original opportunities for parent-child interaction?

In parent-child interaction and communication, parents can use various communication techniques to enrich the child’s language environment. These techniques have been mentioned in the previous article on “Four Communication Styles.” Toys are, in fact, just tools. Through toys and quality interaction, we aim to enhance young children’s language development.

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How to cultivate a child’s manners? Respect and attention are essential

How to cultivate a child’s manners? Respect and attention are essential

Written by: Education expert, Principal Cheung Wai jing

 

At a talent recruitment event for a large multinational company, both Siu Cheung and Siu Choi successfully passed the initial and follow-up interviews. They stood out from over 100 competitors. Whether it was written tests or communication skills, both were equally impressive, leaving the human resources department’s evaluators in a dilemma, as the company would only hire one person.

 

In the end, the company manager decided to personally interview both candidates. Surprisingly, after just a few minutes, the manager chose to hire Siu Cheung. When asked for the reason, the manager candidly stated, “The reason is simple. When I was speaking to them, Siu Cheung maintained eye contact with me the whole time, while Siu Choi was looking around, indicating that he wasn’t good at actively listening to others. Being adept at listening and respecting clients is a crucial requirement for a sales supervisor.”

 

Expressing Sincerity and Respect through Eye Contact

 

This example illustrates a straightforward lesson: eyes are the windows to the soul, and people use their gaze to convey a range of emotions such as respect, attention, disdain, and indifference. Therefore, maintaining consistent eye contact during conversations signifies your sincerity. Moreover, those who can attentively focus on others’ words without shifting their gaze will naturally earn gratitude and respect from others.

 

Schools often organize activities centered around the theme of “politeness” to encourage students to be courteous to others. “Others” includes not only family members, elders, teachers, and fellow students but also unfamiliar people. Children should learn early on about polite phrases like “good morning” and “thank you,” but many still don’t proactively greet others, let alone observe other daily life etiquette. Schools focus on teaching students how to behave politely when interacting with teachers and peers in the school setting; the rest relies on family education.

The example of “job hunting” mentioned above might not be applicable to elementary school students for the time being, but they also frequently have opportunities for interviews. If they want to leave a good impression on others, children must learn to use their eyes to show their attention and respect when conversing with others. Therefore, parents need to teach children the skills and art of listening. Of course, when parents listen to their children, they should also give them appropriate respect and attention. This way, children will learn that politeness in interpersonal interactions knows no age or status boundaries. Here are three listening tips:

 

  1. When listening to someone, avoid looking around and instead focus on the person’s eyes.
  2. When you understand or share the same sentiment, use your eyes to communicate and show agreement.
  3. Gazing at someone doesn’t mean staring fixedly at them; doing so can actually come across as impolite.

In literature, characters are often described as having “eyes that speak.” In reality, everyone has eyes like that; as long as we utilize them well, they can be more persuasive than the words we speak.

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Happy kindergarten, how about elementary school?

Happy kindergarten, how about elementary school?

Written by: Octopus parent, Mr. Leung Wing Lok.

 

I’ve heard many parents share their experiences, and within the three years of kindergarten, the biggest concern is the transition to elementary school. How much should be done for the child? Should interview classes be arranged? Should extra English lessons or etiquette coaching (not a typo, there are actually training classes for etiquette) be arranged? Among the myriad of skills, is having sixteen talents out of eighteen enough? Or should the child learn niche skills to stand out, like magic tricks or acrobatics? Both parents and children are busy enjoying quality bonding time, especially when every activity has a purpose. As a result, attitudes change, and the child might lose interest in extracurricular classes.

 

Parents worry about selecting the preferred elementary school and creating resumes.

 

Especially for K3 students entering the “peak school application season” in June, parents and children face the decision of whether to apply to 10 or 8 elementary schools. As a father, you may hope to only apply to one or two preferred elementary schools, but can you bear the responsibility of “not providing enough education” for your child?

Another challenge is undoubtedly creating the resume, how elaborate should it be? Many schools explicitly state that they accept a maximum of only 4 pages, but you see other parents’ “work reports” for their children that are as thick as prospectuses, with an exquisite level of presentation rivaling Apple’s brochures. You glance at your child, he might not stand out particularly, nor is he an incredibly handsome “lad.” Do you have the courage to limit the resume to just 4 pages?

 

The choice between “entering elementary school” and “becoming a person.”

 

What’s most precious isn’t how outstanding the “academic performance” is, but rather the ability to interact with others, to be polite. Of course, what I’m most grateful for is when the teacher specifically instructed my son to “love Daddy, Daddy works hard,” transforming me in my child’s eyes from a “rarely seen person” to a “cherished person to meet.” These teachings might not necessarily aid in entering elementary school, but they hold everlasting value in the parent-child relationship.

 

Reflecting back, did kindergarten primarily cultivate your child for “entering elementary school,” or for “becoming a person”? Facing the same question, as a parent, is your goal of educating your child solely for the purpose of “entering elementary school”?

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How to enhance children’s resilience?

Parent Tips

How to enhance children’s resilience?

source: Education expert, Cheung Jok Fong

 

I attended a lecture by “Warrior of Regeneration,” Miss Yeung Siu Fong, earlier. She shared her experience of losing both hands in an accident at the age of nine. However, she did not give up and instead equipped herself more actively. With hard work, she not only became a swimming athlete in the Asian Games but also started art creation by using her feet in place of hands. She successfully enrolled in the Hong Kong Academy of Arts and became an inclusive artist. In 2011, she was selected as one of the “Ten Most Touching Hong Kong Figures” and became a “Hong Kong Spirit Ambassador” in 2013. After the lecture, I asked some classmates for their opinions, and they all expressed that if they encounter difficulties in the future, they will no longer be afraid because they believe that there is always a way to solve things and they want to face difficulties as positively as Sister Siu Fong.

 

Cultivating resilience from an early age

In the journey of life, we will inevitably encounter adversities. At that time, how should we face them with the right mentality and approach? Nowadays, parents often invest a lot of effort in their children’s academic performance, hoping that they can “win at the starting line.” However, while pursuing academic excellence, it is equally important to cultivate a spirit of perseverance. Unfortunately, some people choose different ways to escape when faced with difficulties, and some may even be so disheartened that they end their precious lives, which is truly regrettable. As educators, we have a responsibility to help students enhance their ability to cope with adversity, and this resilience needs to be cultivated from an early age.

 

Three key elements to enhance resilience

 

Experts point out that there are three key elements to enhance resilience: “optimism,” “efficacy,” and “belongingness.” “Optimism” is easy to understand literally; it means having hope for the future and believing that there is always a way to solve problems. This is the attitude one should adopt when facing difficulties. “Efficacy” includes how to manage emotions and establish problem-solving methods when facing challenges, which represents the ability needed to overcome difficulties. “Belongingness” refers to the care and support from people around the individual in question.

For children, the roles of family members and teachers are especially important. For example, when a child faces academic difficulties, if they can feel the care and support from their parents and teachers, and not be treated with disdain, scolded, or spoken to harshly because of low grades, but instead walk alongside them and seek ways to improve their academic performance, it will make them feel that their family and school are a place of “shelter from the storm.” In short, “belongingness” is the cornerstone for establishing “optimism” and “efficacy,” and it serves as the motivation provided to those facing challenges.

 

Cultivating resilience starts with small things

 

So, how can we cultivate children’s resilience in daily life? Should we wait until they encounter setbacks to teach them? In fact, we can start with some small things. Take skipping rope as an example. No child is born knowing how to skip rope. At this time, parents can encourage them and let them believe that they are capable of learning, which is the aforementioned “optimism.” Additionally, parents can assist from the side or demonstrate the correct way to skip rope, making them feel that their parents are accompanying them and going through difficulties together, which is the “belongingness” mentioned earlier. After the child experiences a taste of success after a few attempts, they can try to figure out how to coordinate their body and master the technique of skipping rope on their own, which is the “efficacy” mentioned above.

 

In conclusion, we can teach children from an early age to face difficulties with an optimistic and positive attitude and provide them with opportunities for self-challenge. More importantly, let them feel the support and care from the people around them.




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Children are two different beings at home and school?

Parent Tips

Children are two different beings at home and school

Written by: Dr. Szeto Wing Fu, Chairman of the Hong Kong Institute of Family Education 

 

A teacher asked me, “Many parents seek my advice on education and disciplining their children. As a new teacher with limited life experience, I often feel inadequate in dealing with complex education policies and child-rearing issues. What should I do?”

 

Every semester, the school arranges one or two opportunities for parents to meet with teachers and discuss their children’s performance at school. As a father, I always strive to attend these meetings together with my wife. After each brief gathering, our son would eagerly ask and want to know what we discussed with the teacher about him. Recently, the teacher mentioned that our son is relatively quiet at school, not very proactive, and often takes on the role of an “observer.” My wife couldn’t wait to say that he is completely different at home, very active and full of “many opinions.” The teacher’s reaction was not surprised but rather smiled continuously, seemingly very accepting of the fact that children can present different sides at home and at school.

My wife naturally looked at the teacher with expectant eyes, hoping to get some guidance on how to make our child more proactive in the learning environment. Fortunately, I spoke a few “fair” words, recalling how our son was fearful and often a “lone ranger” when he first started school last year. Over the past year, our evening prayers with our son have always included a request to our Heavenly Father to make him braver, and this year he has made much progress. On the way home, I also reminded my wife that there are no standard answers or miraculous remedies for many things, and the teacher, being younger than us and not yet a parent, still has experience in dealing with different children. Therefore, it is most important for parents and teachers to communicate more on the children’s journey of growth.

 

Embracing Our True Selves

Recently, a parent asked me: “My child is very well-behaved at school, a courteous and exemplary student, but at home, he often throws tantrums. Why does he have such different behaviors in front of others and at home? How should I handle this?”

 

During the first semester of my son’s primary one, there were two consecutive weeks of “inexplicable” incidents, such as his beloved “Sergeant” watch going missing, books found in the trash bin, exercise books doodled and torn. My wife and I were both baffled and still wanted to unravel the mystery in our hearts: who could be behind these incidents?

On Monday morning, my wife went to the school to discuss the incident with the teacher. However, just before leaving, I firmly told my wife, “No matter the doodles, tears, or books being treated as garbage, I am certain that our son didn’t do any of these.” She asked, “Why are you so sure?” My answer was, “Because he is my son, and I have been with him as he grew up. I know his temperament like the back of my hand.” Eventually, it was found that his neighboring classmate was responsible for those actions. Since that day, I noticed a “subtle” change in our child’s behavior between school and home – at school, he seemed to have learned that it is a community: crossing certain boundaries with books would upset classmates, and the teachers were like referees, and to “survive” he had to understand the “rules of the game.” But when he came home after school, he would immediately embrace his true self, because at home, he had his dad and mom, who understood him the most.

 

In fact, isn’t it true that in the adult world, we also have a different self during the day and at night?

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Regarding the issue of enrolling in preschool, experts will answer you

Parent Tips

Regarding the issue of enrolling in preschool, experts will answer you

Source: Education experts Leung Wing Lok and Chiu Wing Tak

 

Question: My daughter is currently in K2, and I want to apply for a private school for her. I plan to start her with tutoring and learning the violin. Is the chance slim? What kind of interest classes or academic classes should she take to increase her competitiveness?

 

Chiu: I think if you choose interest classes, you should consider what type of activities the school prioritizes. For example, many schools have orchestras, dance classes, or singing classes. If your child is learning the viola, her chances might be limited because the demand for viola players is not as high. If she learns the violin, as orchestras usually require many violin players, her chances will be better. Alternatively, learning to dance or sing can also be beneficial.

 

Leung: My opinion is relatively straightforward. Some parents pursue learning less common instruments, thinking that schools might prefer that. For example, learning the harp or African drums. However, I believe it is essential to consider the child’s genuine interests. During the interview process, if the school sees the child’s enthusiasm for that particular instrument or music, it will be a plus. Whether she learns a popular or less common instrument, I think the impact is relatively minor. The most crucial aspect is to let the school see the child’s passion for music.

Question: My child is about to enroll in kindergarten, but he is a bit timid and afraid that he won’t speak during the interview. What should I do?

 

Chiu: That’s a significant issue. If he doesn’t speak, it would be a pity, like “making a great effort but falling short at the crucial moment.” I have thought of a method that you can consider. When practicing the interview with your child, you can record the process as if it were a real interview. Then, when necessary, for example, if your child suddenly becomes speechless during the interview, you can show this recording to the school teacher and say, “Teacher, could you please watch this clip? Actually, my child speaks regularly.” Play the video for the teacher. If the teacher has empathy, I believe they will take a look. When the teacher watches it, the child will also show interest, and it will be easier for him to start speaking.

 

Leung: That’s a good approach, but the prerequisite is that parents need to be well-prepared. I think the most basic thing is to engage your child in conversations about topics and interests as much as possible in daily life, so that your child will speak more naturally when facing strangers. Another thing to note is that parents should not answer for their child when they are not speaking. When you answer for them, you are actually doing them a disservice, akin to cheating.

 

Question: Is there a problem if we don’t enroll in Pre-Nursery (PN) classes? Because the tuition fees are quite expensive, and some friends say their children take more sick leave days than going to school.

 

Leung: It’s hard to generalize. Actually, if the family environment permits, and there’s someone to take care of the child, not attending PN classes may not be a big problem. However, some parents worry that not attending PN classes might make it difficult for their child to progress to K classes, and that’s another concern. So, it depends on individual circumstances.

 

Chiu: Indeed, many parents are concerned that if everyone else attends PN classes and their child doesn’t, their child may lag behind in competition. This is a real worry. As for what to learn in PN classes, they typically focus on cognitive abilities, self-care skills, social skills, and communication abilities. As long as parents can teach these four things to their children, such as teaching them to recognize words, communicate effectively, make friends, and take care of themselves, there may not be a need to attend PN classes.

Question: My daughter was born in mid-January, which is an awkward month. Should I enroll her in the younger class (N class) as a “younger child” or put her in the older class (K1) as an “older child”?

 

Chiu: Personally, I prefer being an “older child” as there are many advantages to it. Firstly, you’ll be stronger and have the opportunity to become a leader or class monitor in the future. If you’re a “younger child,” others might pat your head, and younger kids being treated like little brothers or sisters might not be too happy. Secondly, being an “older child,” you’ll have more experience. You’ll be a few months older than other kids, so you’ll have more experience, making it easier to absorb knowledge while studying. Being an “older child” also means you’ll have stronger self-care, communication, and social skills, benefiting you in many ways.

 

Leung: The age difference between children might already be significant and being an “older child” entering school would truly give an advantage at the starting line. There’s another downside to being a “younger child” as it’s possible that your child might not keep up with the rest and could face repeating the same class. Facing the possibility of repeating can seriously affect a child’s confidence, and it’s challenging to regain once it’s lost.

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Common questions about promoting to Primary School: Experts answer for you

Parent Tips

Common questions about promoting to Primary School: Experts answer for you

Source: Education expert, Chiu Wing Tak

 

Question: In the scoring system for enrolling in Primary One, how are twins scored? If the two have different personalities, should they choose to attend the same school for convenience?

 

Answer: Actually, there is a system in place for twins. There are two possibilities: both are accepted, or neither is accepted. If both are accepted, both children will receive an additional 5 points. It is not a matter of distinguishing between “older twin” or “younger twin.” If the two children have different personalities, it doesn’t matter. In the school I used to work at, we often admitted twins, and if their personalities were different, we would assign them to different classes.

 

Each class is taught by teachers with different personalities, who can cater to students with different personalities, so parents can rest assured. It’s not necessary to enroll them in two different schools, as it would be burdensome for parents. However, in the case of direct subsidized schools or private schools, extra caution is needed, as there may be situations where one child is accepted while the other is not.

Question: Is applying to 20 direct subsidized or private primary schools the minimum requirement?

 

Answer: This really depends on individual circumstances, and every parent’s situation is different. Some parents apply to many schools out of concern. The key factor is how many schools you actually interview with. If you plan to apply to 20 schools, scheduling conflicts can become quite severe. However, the most important thing is not to burden the child too much. If the child is suffering, it will also cause distress for the parents.

 

Another question is, why are you applying to 20 schools? Some parents claim it’s to let their child “warm up.” But actually, you don’t need to apply to 20 schools just to warm up. If you drive the car a few times, you can warm up, right? So there’s no need to apply to 20 schools; around 5 or 6 would be sufficient. Additionally, if a child has to attend multiple interviews, their performance will gradually decline because they will become tired and exhausted. When they start giving up or feeling unsuccessful, it can greatly impact their confidence.

Question: If the first-choice primary school’s first-round interview clashes with the second-round interview of the second-choice school, both of which are popular schools, and the second-choice school has a higher chance of acceptance with the second-round interview, it seems wasteful to give up the second-round interview after the child’s previous efforts. How should I make a choice?

 

Answer: Are both schools equally liked by the parent? If both schools are equally liked, then of course, choosing the second-round interview school would be the option. Because with the second-round interview, there is a high chance of proceeding to the third round and then getting accepted. If you don’t equally like both schools, even if you have a second-round interview, it won’t be useful. So the key point is whether you equally like both schools. If you really like the first-round interview school, I think you should choose that one because if you are accepted to a school you really like, you will definitely go there. So the choice should not be based on which round of the interview but rather on which school you like the most.

 

Question: Do prestigious primary schools consider parents’ backgrounds? Will they discount the child’s admission if the parents do not hold prominent positions?

 

Answer: If it is a government or subsidized school, there is actually no place to fill in the parents’ background. They only consider whether you have hereditary status, whether your scores are sufficient, and whether you are lucky enough. So government or subsidized schools do not consider parents’ backgrounds. But if you are applying to a private or direct subsidized schools, there may be opportunities for them to inquire about your background or require you to provide such information. In the past, many parents were concerned that they didn’t have prestigious occupations, or their positions were ordinary, and they wondered if the school would reject their child because of that.

 

In my opinion, many educators, even in prestigious schools, do not necessarily consider parents’ backgrounds. They truly focus on the child themselves, and some schools may not even interview the parents. Of course, there are some prestigious schools that are concerned about the family’s income or support, but it may not necessarily be related to the parents’ occupation. However, parents should not decide not to apply to those schools just because they do not hold prominent positions.

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Setting boundaries is better than trying to prevent children from making mistakes

Parent Tips

Setting boundaries is better than trying to prevent children from making mistakes

Written by: Peggy Ho Pui Yee, Founder and Volunteer Executive Director of Good Love Passion

 

Being overly critical is the most common mistake parents make in disciplining their children. The phrase “love deeply, scold severely” reflects the emotions of most parents. Parents often fear that their children will develop any undesirable behavior during their growth, which may have lifelong consequences. Therefore, when disciplining their children, parents often resort to meticulous criticism as a way to remind them. In reality, making mistakes is an essential part of a child’s growth process. As children constantly change and grow, parents need to adapt to their developmental needs and adjust their approach to dealing with their behavior, even changing the way they interact with them.

 

For example, when a child fails to complete their homework on time, parents should calmly handle this common occurrence, as it is an opportunity for the child to improve and grow. Similarly, when a child talks back, it may indicate their emerging independence and critical thinking skills. It doesn’t necessarily mean they lack respect for their parents. As children grow older, they develop their own thoughts, opinions, and perspectives on various aspects of life. They also desire parental acknowledgment. As parents, we may not agree with these behaviors, but even in disagreement, we can understand the underlying needs of our children. This allows us to communicate more effectively with them and utilize appropriate disciplinary methods.

 

“While knowledge can change destiny, attitude determines everything!” Explosive anger and harsh accusations from parents are ineffective in discipline and serve no purpose. When parents understand how to gently and firmly assist their children and incorporate respect into daily life, children will develop a better understanding of rules and boundaries. Consequently, they will exercise more self-control and establish their own standards for behavior. With these standards in place, they will naturally become more independent, responsible individuals. Therefore, parents should establish boundaries in their children’s daily lives during their early childhood stages.

Since the age of one and a half, my daughter understood that writing is done on paper. Therefore, even at the age of 3, she has never stuck a sticker on the pristine walls of our home. She knows her boundaries and understands that a responsible child should keep the house clean. It is her responsibility. Parents establish guidelines for children to follow before discussing whether they are obedient or not.

 

When setting boundaries for younger children, it is important to be clear and specific. For example, you can say to a toddler, “If you can’t do it, it means you’re not behaving.” However, for young children, the term “not behaving” is vague and difficult for them to grasp. In addition, when setting boundaries, it is necessary to establish the consequences of not complying. It is important to emphasize that these consequences are “results” and not “punishments.” Consequences are simply the natural outcome of an agreement between both parties, operating under natural laws, and they are distinct from punishments. For example, after playing, if a child is expected to clean up their toys, they can continue playing next time only if they tidy up. However, if they don’t clean up, according to the previous agreement, their toys will be confiscated for two or three days.

 

At this point, parents must make it clear to the child that this is the natural consequence of not fulfilling the agreement, not a punishment. Another example is when parents discuss with their child the time limit for watching TV or using electronic devices and set specific time boundaries. Similarly, if the child exceeds the designated time and doesn’t turn off the device, according to the previous agreement, they won’t be allowed to watch or use it for the next three days. When setting boundaries, parents need to ensure they are reasonable. Otherwise, it would be unfair to the child, making them more likely to cross the boundaries and become disobedient in the future.

While parents have the responsibility to teach children proper behavior, if the methods used are too impatient and harsh, lacking an understanding of the child’s growth process, it may lead to negative effects. Therefore, we should provide children with experiences of taking initiative to change for the better, engage in serious discussions, rather than resorting to severe punishments. Approaching the situation with a calm and composed demeanor can assist children in transforming their mistakes into opportunities for growth. Just like how children inevitably fall while learning to walk, we encourage them to pick themselves up and take another step forward.

 

When faced with a child’s misconduct, it is important to consider how to handle the situation in a way that fosters their ability to change. People generally do not intentionally make mistakes; the reason for making mistakes is often due to a lack of awareness. Making mistakes is not inherently frightening for children; what is truly concerning is making mistakes without understanding where they went wrong or how to correct them. If parents can approach their child’s mistakes with the right mindset and guide them towards making corrections using appropriate methods, these mistakes can become opportunities for reflection and progress. It also enhances the chance for communication between parents and children. Let us transform our children’s mistakes into beautiful errors.

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How to use music to learn a language?

Parent Tips

How to use music to learn a language?

Source: Speech Therapist, Miss Carley

In order to help children learn a language, parents use various methods. Have you ever considered singing as one of the methods? Music is an international language and is highly engaging for children. We also have many different ways to use music to assist children in language learning.

One simple method is called “lyric filling.” This method can be used for children who may not yet be able to speak or can only say a few words. Parents can try using this method. Choose a familiar song that the child knows, such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” However, instead of singing the entire song, use a single syllable to sing the entire song, for example, “ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma.” Then suddenly stop and wait for the child to hum or sing the remaining syllable. Parents can encourage the child to vocalize that particular syllable.

The second method is to sing action songs with children, which involve movements. For example, the well-known song “If You’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” You can sing this song with the child while performing different actions. Through this, children can learn different movements and some nouns and vocabulary.

Interestingly, music can enhance children’s memory. Have you ever noticed that there are many songs we heard when we were young or many years ago, and even if we haven’t sung them in years, we can still remember the lyrics? Therefore, we can simply sing the ABC Song with children to teach them basic English letters. We can also learn numbers with children, for example, “One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians.”

If we want to teach children the English names of the days of the week, we can sing “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday” with them. By incorporating vocabulary into music, it makes it easier for children to remember the words.

The fourth method is to try singing out certain phrases, similar to singing. We can also use props to assist, such as simple flashcards. For example, if we want to say, “Chan Siu Ming is eating an apple,” we can sing it out using a musical approach, which enhances the child’s motivation and interest in communication.