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Parents Zone

Drawings peek into the inner world of children

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.

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Parents Zone

Emotional Language for Parents and Children

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

Growing up, we are seldom taught to express our emotions verbally. Schools and society focus on nurturing children’s cognitive, analytical, and problem-solving skills, so we are used to discussing things and opinions, and rarely express our emotions directly in words. Even when families communicate and talk to each other, we are not used to sharing our feelings.

Some parents may ask, “Isn’t it enough for me to express my care for my child through actions (such as hugging or kissing him/her)? Is it necessary for parents to verbally affirm and respond to their children’s feelings and needs?

While it is important for parents to express their love for their children through actions, it is also important for parents to respond empathetically to their children so that they can understand and accept their thoughts and feelings in a more concrete and tangible way. This not only strengthens the parent-child relationship and builds the child’s sense of security, but the child also learns how to verbally express his or her feelings and needs, which helps reduce the need for the child to express his or her inner turmoil through bad behavior.

In fact, the language of emotion is not the language we are used to. Many parents are concerned that affirming and empathizing with their children’s negative emotions may condone and exacerbate their children’s bad behavior. For example, when a child feels sad about the loss of a beloved object, parents are afraid that rehashing the incident will touch on the child’s sad feelings. Parents may say to their children, “It’s okay, just play with something else! or “Try to see if you can buy another one instead. Parents want to calm their children by solving their problems.

However, not only do children fail to learn from their parents’ responses how to access and understand their own feelings and effectively regulate their negative emotions, they also have no opportunity to learn from their failures and develop a sense of responsibility.

If parents can put themselves in their children’s shoes, understand their experiences from their children’s perspective, and try to tell them how they feel, even if it is as simple as “I think you must be very sad and upset about losing your beloved object. This is the most powerful support and comfort for children, giving them the confidence and courage to face the challenges of life.

 

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Parents Zone

Jan-Feb 2023 Reminder

1) 2/1 The day following the first day of January
2) 6/1 K3 Cantonese Opera Activities
3) 9/1 K1 Jordan Valley Park
4) 19/1 Lunar New Year Fair
5) 20/1-27/1 Lunar New Year Holiday
6) 1/2 1st Day of School in the 2nd Semester
7) 11/2 Parents Day
8) 24/2 Birthday Party for Jan and Feb

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Parents Zone

Exercise to strengthen the brain function. Three moves to make children love sports

撰文︰遊戲治療師馮祉禧

I participated in a professional development exchange program for teachers in Taiwan earlier, and I was inspired by the emphasis on sports in Taiwan education, which I would like to share with parents. One of the schools on the exchange was the “Tiger Forest Elementary School”, a version of the Sports Institute Elementary School. As soon as we entered the school, the students welcomed us with a gymnastic exercise promoted by the government. They moved their hands and feet together to the beat and made all kinds of warm-up movements, which made people feel that they were as lively as the old tigers, and I was like entering a forest full of old tigers.

Sports can strengthen children’s learning ability

rincipal Lau of Tiger Forest Primary School said the school is a government priority school, focusing on the physical development of students and believes that sports can strengthen their learning ability. Based on the research of John J. Ratey, MD, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, they promote a zero-hour exercise program. The program encourages students to be physically active at all times, i.e., Anytime. During recess, students run to the playground to play sports. They play dodgeball, climbing frames, or badminton, and all students enjoy every moment of exercise.

Benefits of Exercise to Strengthen Brain Function

Exercise is known to be physically stimulating, but in Ratey’s research, he points out more benefits of exercise for the brain. He describes the brain as a message processing center that transmits messages through different transmitters (chemicals) in different pathways. When exercising, the brain can effectively produce more transmitters and strengthen the pathways, allowing messages to travel faster and more accurately.

Applying the theory to learning, students use exercise to strengthen their brain function, which in turn improves their learning performance. Studies have shown that exercise improves students’ concentration and memory, both of which are necessary for successful learning. In addition, exercise enables the brain to produce Dopamine (a chemical that makes students feel happy), which makes learning more enjoyable and leads to better grades.

How can I get my child to love sports?

In order for children to enjoy the time and benefits of sports, parents need to get their children to love sports. Here are three suggestions:

  1. Sporadic exercise
    Give your child more opportunities to play sports, such as providing the right time, tools, and place, and make sure the environment is safe for parents.
  2. Healthy exercise
    Teach your child to do exercise for the love of health and mention the health benefits of exercise.
  3. Exercise together
    Enjoy the moment of exercise with your child and enjoy the good time of parent-child relationship.
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Parents Zone

Nurturing children’s interest in reading

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

A hundred years ago, illiteracy was a normal thing. But since education became widespread decades ago, it is now necessary to go to school to receive an education. Learning is not only through the direct transmission of knowledge by teachers through language, students also need to read textbooks by themselves. When doing homework or taking exams, students are tested on their concentration and speed when reading.

More than 30 years ago, the basic qualification for firefighters was graduation from the sixth grade, but today, even college graduates may not be able to get into firefighting. Modern fires do not only require firefighters to be physically fit and able to put out fires with water, but some fires are very complex and require special methods and chemicals to put out.

Reading skills are needed in all walks of life

Whether they are blue-collar or white-collar workers, they need to handle documents and files, read other people’s reports or instructions, and write their own reports. So the need to read and handle paperwork is everywhere. In the past, illiterate people could withdraw money from banks, but with modern ATMs, not only can we withdraw money, but we can also pay different fees, but our concentration and speed in reading is very much tested.

When we are adults, we have to sign many contracts, and there are many clauses in the contract, and the font size is small but quantity is large, it is also a big test of reading. Modern people often have to search for information on the Internet, which also requires the ability to read, that is, the ability to visually search for symbolic words and speed.

Nurturing children’s interest in reading

Cultivate children’s interest in reading and develop good habits. Although reading books is fine, reading newspapers is a good habit that everyone must develop, whether they are civilians or presidents and professors, they need to read newspapers regularly because this is the only way to keep up with the information of the society, to understand the changes around the world, and to master the liberal thinking.

Although there is now a very convenient TV news, as if they do not need to read, listening to TV news seems more convenient. But in fact, in addition to reading newspapers to learn the news and current events, more continuous training of the ability to deal with words and reading newspapers can be carried out at anytime and anywhere, newspapers can be said to be the textbook of the Society in general. This is everyone “to do old, learn until old,” the rule of thumb.

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Parents Zone

Educating your child is for primary school? Parent-child education is more important

Written by: Octopus parent, Mr. Leung Wing Lok

I remember when my eldest son, Hay, was in K1, I wrote, “Son, are you happy to start school? I ask my child “Are you happy?” one school year later. I don’t have to consider answer. My wife and I are very happy and thankful for the love and effort of the kindergarten, and Hay is very happy every day and is eager to go to school every day (especially to meet the teachers). Someone reminded me, “I’ll ask you again when you’re ready to apply for Primary One, are you happy? It’s just like a tray of cold water pouring on me.

Entering elementary school becomes the biggest shadow for parents?

I have heard many parents tell me that the biggest shadow in the three years of kindergarten is the promotion to primary school, how much do I have to do for my child? Should we arrange for interview classes? Should we take remedial classes in English or manners (no mistake, there are really training classes in the market to take remedial classes in manners)? Or is it enough to have 16 out of 18 arts? Or should we learn a cold skill to stand out from the crowd? For example, learning magic or acrobatics. Both parents and children are busy remembering to enjoy happy parent-child time, especially when all activities have a purpose, the mentality changes accordingly, and children may no longer be interested in interest classes.

Parents are worried about choosing their favorite elementary schools and making a resume

Especially when K3 students enter the “school enrollment season” in June, parents and children are faced with the choice of enrolling in 10 or 8 elementary schools. As a father, you would like to enroll in only one or two elementary schools of your choice, but will you be able to bear the responsibility of “no school for your son”?

Another problem is to make a resume, how beautiful does it have to be? Many schools say they will only accept a maximum of four pages, but I have seen other parents writing “work reports” for their children that are as thick as prospectuses and as beautiful as the Apple computer’s profile book. If you look at your child, you don’t see that he is particularly awake, nor is he a super “pretty boy”, are you brave enough to make a 4-page resume?

“The choice between “promotion to primary school” and “being a human being

To sum up what Hay has learned in kindergarten over the past year. The most precious thing is not how good the “academic performance” is, but learning to get along with others and being polite. Of course, I am most grateful for the teacher’s special instruction to Hay to “love Daddy and work hard”, so that I can change from “someone I don’t see all the time” to “someone I cherish seeing” in my child’s mind. This kind of education may not be helpful for the promotion to primary school, but it is a value that is cherished between parents and children for a lifetime

Think about it, does kindergarten specialize in nurturing your child to “go on to primary school” or to “be a human being”? Similarly, as a parent, do you educate your child only for the purpose of “moving up to primary school”?

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Parents Zone

Do not let children rely too much on the use of e-learning. Diversified learning is more helpful to enhance interest

Written by: Director of Program Development, Carmen Leung

In the midst of the epidemic, there is a wide range of educational animations or online children’s programs for parents to choose from. Many parents also download different tablet apps for their children to use in the hope that they can learn through interactive or interesting images and sounds. Which animations and apps are good for children’s learning? What should parents pay attention to when using multimedia to help their children learn?

Time to use e-learning according to age

In early childhood, as the brain area responsible for coordinating the five senses is developing rapidly, I do not recommend children aged 0 to 2 years old to rely too much on TV or tablet computers for learning. This is because the images on the TV or tablet are flashing at a very high frequency, and children’s eyes and brains will unconsciously receive stimulation continuously, and over time, visual stimulation will become a habit, and brain development will be affected, resulting in reduced concentration.

Some parents say, “My child is very attentive when watching TV and playing with iPhone, but not when reading books, so I buy a lot of learning animations for her to watch. Have parents ever thought that if the eyes and brain are accustomed to constant stimulation, relatively static things such as books and teachers’ explanations will naturally become uninteresting, if you continue to let young children rely on rich images to learn, what to do if one day in the future they will need to face books?

Since the brain of children over 2 years old is more mature, parents can let children over 2 years old use TV and computer to learn in a limited way. The time should be no more than 15 minutes a day as a starting point, and older children can watch a little more. As children grow older, the high-frequency flicker of the computer or TV will have a relatively lesser impact on brain development.

Multi-learning mode is recommended

Although displays have an effect on children’s attention span, I do not believe that using TV and computers for learning is undesirable. Multimedia or computer programs can make learning more interesting and interactive, so that children can enjoy learning more and learn more quickly. However, in addition to using interactive multimedia for learning, children also need to adapt to other less interactive learning modes, such as books and one-way lectures, and find the fun in learning.

Parents should provide their children with a variety of learning channels, such as taking them to the library, playing educational games with them, visiting museums, going for walks on nature education trails, or even teaching them to read the English menu at restaurants, etc., so that they can try different learning modes and methods to find the joy of learning.

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News

Nov-Dec 2022 Reminder

1) 5/11 2023-2024新生面見日 

2) 18/11 K2 參觀藍田公共圖書館 

3) 25/11 K3 佐敦谷公園

4) 9/12 11,12月份生日會

5) 12/12 K2 參觀惠康超級市場

6) 16/12 海洋公園親子遊

7) 22/12 親子聖誕嘉年華

8) 24-30/12 聖誕假期

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Parents Zone

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

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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Parents Zone

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

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.