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Hong Kong Professional Dance Competition 2024 Chinese Mini-Bronze Award

Hong Kong Professional Dance Competition 2024 Chinese Mini-Bronze Award

Hong Kong Professional Dance Competition 2024 Chinese Mini-Bronze Award

全港專業舞蹈大賽2024 中國舞 銅獎 ENG
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Parenting Tips Parenting Tips

Stranger anxiety: Anxiety towards strangers

Parenting Tips

May 2024

Written by:  Hong Kong registered psychologist, Ching Wai Keung   

When discussing the formation of attachment, it is not difficult to observe that children, from infancy (approximately from birth to two years old), already exhibit feelings of anxiety, including stranger anxiety and separation anxiety. These anxieties typically begin to appear between six months and one year of age. This time, we will focus on discussing stranger anxiety.

Simply put, stranger anxiety is what parents often refer to as fear of strangers, and the behaviors derived from it are what we commonly call “recognizing people.” The intensity of fear of strangers can vary; mild cases may only show reluctance to be held by strangers or avoidance of strangers’ gazes, while severe cases can involve extreme discomfort or even crying loudly just from a stranger’s glance.

Firstly, I must explain that under normal circumstances, fear of strangers should be seen as a positive developmental signal, indicating that the child is capable of distinguishing between caregivers and others. Parents should not be overly concerned.

Secondly, an infant’s reaction to strangers often changes depending on the external environment, including the current objective environment, the stranger’s actions towards the infant, the distance between the infant and their primary caregiver, and the caregiver’s reaction to the stranger (Keltenbach, Weinraub, & Fullard, 1980). For example, if the primary caregiver interacts with the stranger in a positive manner, using friendly speech and tone, the child’s response is likely to be more positive as well (Feinman & Lewis, 1983).

Therefore, if parents want to reduce their child’s anxious behaviors when facing strangers, they can start by modifying their own behaviors. When interacting with others, they can increase their smiles, be more proactive, improve their tone of voice and body language. Don’t forget that parents are the lifelong teachers of their children! Of course, parents do not need to rush to change the behavior of infants and toddlers in a short time. As they develop the ability to self-regulate, their performance in managing anxiety may greatly improve!

The emotion of fear of strangers actually follows us throughout our lives. Are you able to speak freely in front of strangers? Do you feel anxious during job interviews? Therefore, a little anxiety is normal. The most important thing is how we can improve our performance when anxious.

Finnish Students Learn Home Economics in the “kitchen classrooms”

Parenting Tips

May 2024

Written by: Mr. Kwan Hin-Pan, Director of Curriculum and Training at the Financial Quotient Education Academy

Cooking, housekeeping, financial management—would you let your child take such classes? Learning to cook? Learning to do household chores? Learning economic management? What exactly are these courses? It turns out that these are the three main themes of the “Home Economics” class that starts from elementary to middle school in Finnish education, where we deeply understand the educational philosophy of Finland, which is to insist on letting students learn abstract theoretical concepts in experiential settings, truly learning by doing. What important insights does this provide for parents and students in Hong Kong?

Actually, this course is not directly related to economics; it is originally a life education course aimed at letting children master the daily life skills of cooking, doing household chores, and managing family finances. Mastering these skills not only teaches them to live independently but also helps sustain the environment.

The first skill is “learning to cook,” which includes cooking and baking. Students not only learn the knowledge and skills of food preparation and baking, such as preparing ingredients, understanding recipes, identifying the nutritional components of food, and using an oven to cook; they also learn about food culture, such as food safety, the food chain, dietary culture and religion, and how to properly set tableware, napkins, and cups. In practical operations, they gradually learn food knowledge and dietary culture. Surprisingly, doing this small thing has become a venue for Finns to cultivate students’ creativity and imagination.

To provide students with a real learning environment, every school has a “kitchen classroom.” In the morning, the first and second periods are not academic theory classes, but cooking instead. The food prepared in class is what they eat for lunch that day, which is very interesting.

The second life skill is “doing household chores.” The home economics class is not just about teaching children to do housework; it is also about cultivating sustainable living habits through these chores. Under the influence of this class, children develop the habit of promptly cleaning kitchenware, using the dishwasher to wash the family’s dishes, and knowing how to hand wash dishes in a water-saving manner; they also possess environmental awareness, understanding the importance of cherishing food and waste sorting; at the same time, they can read the washing instructions on clothes and use the washing machine more effectively.

The third life skill is “managing household finances.” This skill is profoundly meaningful: through these deeply involved household activities, children gain a comprehensive understanding of the structure of family consumption, how to plan, allocate, and arrange family life with limited money, instilling in them from a young age a sense of consumer awareness and financial management ability, thereby cultivating their financial intelligence.

It turns out that Finnish parents give their children an “allowance” every month, with some families distributing it weekly. If they take good care of their younger siblings or actively clean the house, they can also earn money.

For example, a pair of parents have five children. From the age of 10, they discuss with their children their own wages, how much money is needed to buy food, how much it costs to send their younger siblings to kindergarten, and how much money is left for hobbies. This way, the children can fully understand the structure of family consumption.

School teachers also teach students how advertisements can influence their shopping and how to better use the internet to be a rational consumer, to avoid being deceived by advertisements and buying things they do not need.

Finally, as family consumers, students start to understand a family’s income, budget, and expenses from junior high school, which is beneficial in guiding them to use money correctly and develop financial and savings skills. At the same time, learning how to buy items that are both practically valuable and aesthetically designed with appropriate money is a very practical course that can make life sustainable.

Finnish students can go from “kitchen classrooms” to home economics classes, allowing them to personally experience, understand, and master cooking, housekeeping, and family financial management. Through the learning process, they fully acquire life instincts and self-management skills, enabling comprehensive development in their lives.

What important insights does this provide for parents and students in Hong Kong?

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Parenting Tips

Chronic cough? Bronchitis? Or Asthma?

Parenting Tips

May 2024

Written by:Cheng Sui Man

The children can’t stop coughing, often continuing for an entire month, especially severe in the middle of the night, waking up from coughing, leading to insomnia, and then falling asleep from extreme fatigue. This is torturous for both children and adults! What exactly causes this persistent coughing? Is it sensitivity or inflammation of the trachea? Upon consulting a doctor, it turns out this is also a form of asthma!

Children are naturally more prone to having narrower airways due to their young age, making them more susceptible to nasal congestion, snoring, and even shortness of breath even with just a common cold. However, unlike bronchitis, a common cold usually recovers within a week, but the cough from bronchitis can last over twenty days, so it’s not surprising that the coughing continues for a month from the onset of the illness.

This leads to another question: Why does bronchitis occur? According to doctors, one common cause is the child contracting the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). This is a very common virus that spreads through droplets and air. It causes the airways to constrict and become inflamed, producing mucus that accumulates and further narrows the airways, stimulating the patient to cough and creating a vicious cycle. Doctors indicate that in these cases, bronchodilator medication may be prescribed to reduce symptoms and allow the child’s immune system to fight off the virus. However, once a child has been infected with RSV, the airways are somewhat damaged, increasing the likelihood of developing asthma in the future. As the doctor explained, my eldest son had indeed been hospitalized due to RSV infection in the past, and since then, every time he catches a cold and coughs, his recovery time is longer than that of my younger son!

“So it seems your eldest son might indeed have asthma,” the doctor’s conclusion was definitely the last thing I wanted to hear. Asthma, in its worst case, can be fatal! Wait, that’s the worst-case scenario. The doctor added that asthma is actually classified into four stages.

Stage 1: Intermittent Asthma

Usually caused by respiratory viruses such as RSV or filtrable viruses, occurring sporadically a few times a year, with normal conditions the rest of the time. Therefore, it is only necessary to use a bronchodilator during episodes of airway constriction and shortness of breath to relieve discomfort without significant side effects, and there is no need for long-term medication.

However, if the airway constriction is not properly relieved, the airways can become increasingly prone to narrowing, and the asthma could progress.

Stage 2: Mild Persistent Asthma

Patients have episodes about once or twice a month, and bronchodilators are insufficient to manage the condition. Inhaled steroids are needed to “treat the root cause” and control inflammation. Inhaled steroids come in different strengths, and the doctor will prescribe the appropriate dosage as needed.

Stage 3: Moderate Persistent Asthma

Patients have asthma attacks on average once a week and need to use a bronchodilator daily.

Stage 4: Severe Persistent Asthma

Patients need to use a bronchodilator daily, three to four times a day, while also using inhaled steroids to control the condition.

Following the doctor’s advice, I should no longer be afraid to let my child use inhaled bronchodilators! Relieving the child’s coughing and asthma symptoms early on can also hopefully prevent the worsening of asthma conditions in the long run.