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Parenting Tips

Training Children’s “Brain Power” & “Intelligence”-Early Childhood Edition

Parenting Tips

June 2024

Written by: Ms. Carmen Leung, Specialist in Child Development Psychology

DHA only provides nutrients for children’s brain development. To make children smarter, their brains must receive proper exercise. This time, I will introduce some brain-training games that are very suitable for children aged 2 to primary school age!

1.Maze or Spot the Difference Brain Exercises

Although Maze and Spot the difference brain exercises were our childhood games, they are still good friends for children in this era. In addition to mazes and spot the difference, there are many different modes of brain exercises. In short, any image game that requires children to observe and focus to complete tasks belongs to brain exercises. Do you know Wally (translated as “Where’s Wally?” in Chinese)? It is one of the most popular brain games in the world.

In fact, brain games do not necessarily need to be purchased or printed in books. We can easily create brain games at home. For example, parents can place two Swiss candies in a pile of miscellaneous items, and the child will find them with great concentration!

2.Tidying Up and Categorizing Household Items

Everyday activities, such as tidying up and categorizing items, are excellent opportunities to exercise the brain. Organizing items systematically not only enhances children’s organizational skills but also stimulates their creativity. Sometimes, children’s methods of categorization may differ from those of adults, but they have their own logic. Parents should ask their children why they categorize items in a certain way, as this can reveal that children’s observational skills might be sharper than expected. They use the details they observe to categorize, so parents should avoid imposing adult methods of categorization to prevent discouraging their children’s initiative in problem-solving.

You might wonder, “What if my child doesn’t like tidying up?” If your child hasn’t yet developed the habit of tidying and categorizing household items, start with games to motivate them to complete the “mission.” For example, you can organize a “Room Tidy-Up Competition” or a “Cleaning Day” where family members help each other tidy up. These activities encourage children to tidy and categorize, while also exercising their “brain power.”

3.Memory Games

There are many memory game cards available, such as turning over a dozen cards and taking turns to flip two at a time. If the two cards match, you can keep them. Additionally, there are cards with different objects drawn on them. Parents can lay them out in a row, let the child look at them, then turn them over and ask the child to remember where a specific object is. These are excellent memory games, and both adults and children can get creative and change the rules to make the games more interesting.

Besides memory game cards, everyday life is full of rich memory games. For example, you can ask your child to find items they have seen you place somewhere before, or have them hide some items and then find them after a long period.

In summary, training children’s brain power and intelligence is not difficult at all. With a bit of thought and creativity, many everyday details can become opportunities for children to exercise their brains!

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Parenting Tips Parenting Tips

We should be grateful to others for being willing to ‘offer help’

Parenting Tips

June 2024

Written by: Dr. Cheung Kit

 

In this era, parents’ protection of their children surpasses that of any previous generation. This may be due to the decrease in the number of children and the improvement in living standards, leading to parents spending more time and providing more comprehensive care for their children. Under such (possibly excessive) protection, children often become very self-centered and disregard the importance of others. From the parents’ perspective, they are inevitably biased and more tolerant of their own children. When faced with their children’s inappropriate behavior, parents tend to make excuses for them. This common human behavior, however, may lead to children becoming unruly. Therefore, in the difficult situation of balancing right and wrong, if someone is willing to “offer help and guidance,” parents should be grateful. The following are “important figures.”

1.Teachers

Teachers are among the people who spend the most time with children. We would prefer teachers to directly point out the rights and wrongs to children during their daily interactions. This direct message can effectively “sink in” for the children. Sometimes, facing negative criticism, children will naturally feel unhappy, but it helps them understand the boundaries. Therefore, parents should appreciate the strict guidance of teachers and avoid casually complaining about their efforts.

2.Elders

Many elders may be very strict with their own children but tend to be much more lenient with their grandchildren, sometimes even more so than the children’s parents. However, the status and life experience of elders are actually superior to anyone else’s. Therefore, their “one word of praise” can be more effective than others’ advice. The question is whether they are willing to play the role of the bad guy. If they are, parents should be grateful for their assistance.

3.Medical Personnel

Medical personnel have always been relatively respected. However, children often have an aversion to medical procedures. Therefore, during consultations and treatments, children’s reactions often present a good teaching opportunity. If medical personnel (including doctors and nurses) are willing to provide guidance when children exhibit uncooperative behavior, the children will likely understand better. Although they may not correct their behavior immediately, it will certainly help in their life learning process.

4.Passersby

Sometimes, unrelated bystanders can immediately point out inappropriate behavior in children, which can have a startlingly effective impact. For the parents present, this might be a bit embarrassing, but thinking it through, it is beneficial for the child’s behavior.

Children in their growth and learning phase need proper guidance, especially when their behavior deviates. Therefore, if parents are unwilling to play the “bad guy,” we should be grateful and appreciative if others are willing to speak up and correct the child.

Encountering a ‘mismatched’ child is an opportunity for parents to grow

Parenting Tips

June 2024

Written by: Lai Shun Mei, Family Dynamics Counselor and Global Career Developer

When a child is born, people like to discuss his appearance, using his resemblance to his parents as a topic of conversation, and talk about which attractive features he has inherited from them. As he grows older and his temperament begins to show, they also like to explore whose personality he resembles.

It is generally easier to get along with someone who has a similar temperament because similar personalities and preferences make it easier to connect. If a child has a temperament similar to their parents, it seems to make parenting easier. However, it often seems like God enjoys playing jokes on us by giving us “mismatched” children: an outgoing and lively mother ends up with a quiet and introverted daughter; a hot-tempered father faces a sensitive and sentimental son; a mother who doesn’t understand fun encounters a hedonistic son.

Parents who seek help often share the common issue of having difficulty getting along with their “mismatched” child. They cannot accept the child’s nature, do not understand the child’s behavior, and do not know how to properly guide their child.

The outgoing and lively mother “complained” to me: “My daughter dawdles, is hesitant, and doesn’t dare to make friends outside.” She couldn’t understand: “What’s so difficult about brushing teeth? What’s so scary about attending English class? What’s there to be shy about when meeting other kids?” Why is her daughter nothing like her but instead resembles her indecisive, introverted, timid, and unambitious father? As she spoke, she indirectly revealed to me that her problem was not accepting her spouse and projecting her dissatisfaction with her spouse onto their daughter. Therefore, the issue was not with her daughter but with their marital relationship.

The hot-tempered father had to come for advice because his son only got along with his mother and not with him. He deeply loved his son and did not want him to grow up being overly sensitive and tearful like a girl. The older the child got, the more anxious the father became. However, under insults and strict orders, the child did not become stronger but instead became more withdrawn, clinging to his mother and refusing to leave her side. It was only after understanding the situation that it became clear that this father had grown up amidst beatings and insults. He believed his own strength came from such an upbringing, not realizing that those painful experiences had become implicit memories affecting his relationship with his son.

The mother, who claimed she did not know how to play and did not need to play, was at a loss with her son, who was solely focused on playing. She said her son was careless with his studies but persistently focused on play. How could she change her son’s attitude towards his studies? I was curious about this mother’s claim—who wouldn’t like to play? Seeking happiness is human nature, so why did she insist she did not need entertainment? It turned out that she was also playful as a child but was strictly disciplined by her mother, who did not allow her to “waste” time. Gradually, her life lacked playmates, and when she played with her mother, her mother remained serious and uncompromising, often causing her to lose and feel sad. Over time, she grew to dislike playing games. Her mother “successfully” shaped her into someone who “did not like” to play, someone who appeared strong and focused on studies but was also rigid, insecure, and lacking in joy. No wonder she did not understand how to get along with her naturally joyful son.

It turns out that God “mismatched” children for us with a purpose. He wants us to reflect on our relationships with our spouses and parents, and our own growth experiences through the frustrations of interacting with our children, thereby sorting out these relationships and resolving these emotional knots.

Parents’ lack of acceptance of their children is a reflection of their lack of acceptance of themselves. A lack of confidence in their children is a lack of confidence in themselves. By taking care of “mismatched” children, parents feel challenged and then become aware of their own pain points. With the help of a therapist, they begin a journey of self-exploration. They clarify and straighten out their family relationships, gaining rebirth and growth in the process. Children are born as they are, and there is no mismatch. Let us make good use of this opportunity for growth!