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Awards

E.L.C.H.K. Kwai Shing Lutheran Primary School 「復活節親子填色及繪畫比賽」

E.L.C.H.K. Kwai Shing Lutheran Primary School organized 「復活節親子填色及繪畫比賽」, here is the result of our students :

Merit of K3Wong, Wan Kiu
2nd runner up of K2Yeung, Tsz Yu
2nd runner up of K1Chan, Pak Hung
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Parents Zone

Why are children always distracted while eating?

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Written by: Heep Hong Society Educational Psychologist Team

 

Many children aged 4 to 5 tend to look around and fidget during meals because they are not yet adept at using utensils. Additionally, their short attention spans, still-developing sense of time, curiosity about their surroundings, or even a desire to avoid eating may contribute to their lack of focus.

 

Short Attention Spans

Children aged 4 to 5 generally need longer meal times than adults. This is partly because they are not yet familiar with using utensils, which can lead to clumsiness, and partly because their chewing and digestive abilities are still developing, necessitating longer meal times. Furthermore, due to their short attention spans, low self-control, and lack of time awareness, they are easily distracted by their environment. When they become engrossed in something interesting, they may even forget about their meal in front of them, often requiring repeated reminders from parents to continue eating, which prolongs mealtime.

 

 

Parents dealing with children who have short attention spans can try to create a consistent, quiet, familiar, and simply arranged dining environment. They can set a reasonable time limit for meals and remind the children periodically of the time limit to ensure they finish their meals within that timeframe.

Curiosity About the Surroundings

Additionally, some children are naturally “observational” learners with strong curiosity, often learning new things by observing through their eyes. Even during meals, they might look around, continuing to learn. Although this behavior might seem like they are not concentrating, they rarely “forget” to eat; they simply continue eating while indulging in their observations. For such observational learners, instead of letting them look around, parents might consider engaging them with books during meals to foster a reading interest.

 

Of course, there are also “mixed-type” children and those who look around to avoid eating foods they dislike, deliberately delaying or performing small actions to draw attention. Therefore, to address the issue of children looking around during meals, parents need to carefully observe and understand the underlying problems.

 

No Need to Rush Meals

The pace of life in Hong Kong is fast, and meal times are becoming increasingly shorter. Sometimes, seeing children eat slowly can make parents anxious. Ultimately, if time permits, children should be given ample time to chew slowly and savor the taste of their food. Lastly, parents might consider reducing the portion sizes for their children, making it easier for them to finish their meals at the table. This approach can reduce potential conflicts at the dining table and increase the children’s motivation to eat more when they feel hungry.

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Parents Zone

How to deal with a bad temper?

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Firstly, we must understand that it is extremely important for children to be able to express the emotion of anger for their development of autonomy. During early childhood (around two to three years old), the developmental crisis is precisely ‘development of autonomy’ versus ‘shame and doubt’ (Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt). What we should address is the behavior resulting from the child’s emotions, not to prohibit or even negate the child’s emotions.

 

Additionally, anger is a common emotion, experienced by both children and parents. When children attempt to express their anger, they often model their parents’ behavior. If parents display anger towards their children, or if there is arguing between parents, children will use these behaviors as important references for developing and controlling their emotions (Bandura, 1977). Arguments between parents, malicious teasing, or even violence can heighten children’s sensitivity to anger and disrupt their normal development (Cummings, Pellegrini, Notarius, & Cummings, 1989). Therefore, for children to have a good temperament, parents must first pay attention to their own ways of interacting.”

What methods can help young children better control and reduce the intensity of their anger? Berkowitz and Thompson offer the following suggestions (Berkowitz, 1973; Thompson, 1990):

 

  1. Ignoring offensive behaviors: If the behavior is aimed at obtaining a specific object (such as a toy), parents should not satisfy the child due to their behavior, nor should they punish them for it; simply not responding may suffice.
  2. Use of a ‘calm down corner’: Set up a quiet area in the home, free from any stimuli or attractions, as a space for children to calm down. When a child has an emotional outburst or behaves inappropriately, they can be sent to this calm down corner. This isn’t necessarily a form of reprimand but a way to allow the child’s emotions to settle, similar to the need to use the restroom; it’s a normal requirement. If used appropriately, when children feel emotional in the future, they might naturally go to the calm down corner to soothe themselves.
  3. Evoking emotions incompatible with anger, especially empathy for the victim.
  4. Reducing exposure to situations or objects that may trigger the child’s anger: Before children have fully developed self-control, reducing opportunities for anger also means reducing conflicts between parents and children.
  5. Explaining the consequences of their behavior.
  6. Examining the causes of the angry emotions.

(Development Through Life, Barbara M. Newman, Philip R. Newman, Wadsworth, 2003, pp. 197)

 

The above strategies can be tailored to different situations. For instance, if a child acts violently out of anger, parents can focus on explaining the consequences and evoking empathy for the victim. If a child is throwing a tantrum to obtain an object, parents can ignore their negative behavior. Additionally, these strategies can be combined; for example, after a child has calmed down in the calm down corner, parents can explain the consequences of their actions. Ultimately, the choice of strategy should depend on the child’s capabilities; for example, explaining the consequences in detail to a child who cannot yet speak might only increase conflict.

 

Once parents have decided on a strategy for each situation, the most important aspect is consistency. Simply put, consistency can be divided into two aspects: firstly, the same behavior should always result in the same outcome, avoiding a situation where ignoring is used one time and scolding another, which can confuse the child. Secondly, every caregiver should use the same approach to reinforce the message that “this behavior is inappropriate.”

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Parents Zone

What should I do if a child is overly attached to objects?

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Written by: Heep Hong Society Educational Psychologist Team

 

A friend’s five-year-old daughter has been exhibiting “object attachment” since she was two years old. No matter what she does, she must hold her old, worn-out teddy bear, almost never letting it out of her hands. The old teddy bear is her most important possession, and she must hold it tightly wherever she goes. If she finds it missing, she becomes irritable and cries incessantly. Recently, her mother threw away the teddy bear for hygiene reasons, and the girl cried all day long.

 

From a psychological perspective, a child’s attachment to an object is a stage in their psychological development, most commonly occurring from six months to three years old, and peaking around two years old. According to child psychology, these old objects and toys are a source of psychological security for young children. The duration of a child’s attachment to objects varies; some children’s attachments are short-lived, while others may continue until they start elementary school. Children may become particularly attached to familiar objects during sudden events or changes in their environment, such as a sudden change in living conditions, exposure to violence, or separation from loved ones, as these objects provide a source of comfort and stability.

Conduct a “Farewell to Attachment Objects” Ceremony

Educational psychologists believe that since a child’s excessive attachment to objects is caused by a lack of security, to solve this problem, one should start by increasing the child’s sense of security.

 

Generally, guiding children to give up their attachment to objects from the age of three is the best time, as the child already has sufficient independent ability. Parents and kindergarten teachers expressing care through language and timely hugs can also help alleviate the child’s feelings of insecurity.

 

On the other hand, parents can hold a “farewell” ceremony for the object of the child’s attachment, such as a “handkerchief farewell ceremony,” which involves asking the child to say goodbye to the handkerchief through verbal description or drawing. Together, they put away or bury the handkerchief, “cutting off” all possibilities that might make the child miss it, but at the same time letting the child know that the parents will keep the object safe for them to retrieve for reminiscing when they grow up.

 

In addition, many children become “addicted” to items like small blankets, little pillows, teddy bears, or their usual bath towels. When purchasing these items for young children, parents should consciously prepare other objects for substitution, so that the child cannot become overly attached to any particular item. If from the start there are two or three small blankets prepared, or a teddy bear family including grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, little teddy bear, and its cousins, allowing the child to alternate choices, they will not easily invest too much emotion in any one thing.

 

Give “Unconditional Hugs” Often

Parents should hug their children often, and pat their backs and heads. This kind of unconditional hug can suggest to the child “I am by your side, I love you, don’t be afraid, I am here! It’s okay to fail, you are safe!” and so on. Children who often hug with their parents will never treat a small blanket or teddy bear as their “spiritual guardian.”

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Parents Zone

Learning with movement and immobility

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Registered Educational Psychologist, Pang Chi Wah

 

In situations where social resources are scarce, children have little that is fun or interesting to engage with; however, when the objects in front of them show no minor changes and there are no detailed verbal or written instructions, children can still observe the differences and similarities between what they see now and what they have seen before, or make associations with other things they have encountered. They even try to describe their observations in their own words. This is active learning, which not only educates the mind but also unconsciously enhances psychological qualities.

 

With the continuous advancement of modern technology, everyone can travel the world instantly from the comfort of their homes through television or smartphones. But does watching TV or online information require concentration? It turns out that being able to watch video messages does not necessarily mean that children are attentively learning, as this falls under the category of passive learning. It requires colorful messages and continuous verbal narration, and lacking any of these elements might lead to a lack of focus.

 

Even though students still need to learn in classrooms today, with the help of information technology, it seems possible for them to see distant scenarios without boundaries. Unfortunately, there are still shortcomings; they need to experience these settings firsthand to gain a more comprehensive understanding and learning experience. Modern learning requires the involvement of more sensory channels to stimulate students’ motivation to learn. Are there other options available?

 

Human desires are endless, but resources are finite. Is it possible to endlessly stimulate learning through multiple senses? Should we pause and consider why more and more people are proposing vegetarianism, or having a meat-free day on Mondays? Some suggest returning to a simpler, more primitive way of life. Learning activities and arrangements might need similar actions to help children grasp the essence of learning and experience the authenticity of the learning process.

To achieve this reversal, guidance from parents and teachers is needed to change the trends and habits of this era; there are now some suggested activities for parents and teachers to consider, such as: trying to turn off the volume of the television, letting them experience what it is like to be deaf, only able to see and not hear to absorb information; they can also cover the television screen with cloth, making them feel like they are listening to a radio, only able to imagine the scene from other people’s speech, still able to grasp the plot without visual aid, and for example, placing some food in one of three cups, asking them to smell which cup contains the food, which is a lot of kinesthetic learning.

 

Parents and teachers make some small actions in teaching, which may produce some unclear factors that make them hesitate, but at the same time, it also generates more curiosity, and under guidance, they can have greater motivation to learn, starting from being moved emotionally and intellectually, then leading them to pursue what they want to hear and see, becoming active and enthusiastic learners!

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Awards

Tsing Yi Trade Association Primary School 「第一屆親子復活節創意繪畫邀請賽」

Tsing Yi Trade Association Primary School organized 「第一屆親子復活節創意繪畫邀請賽」, here is the result of our students:
First Prize Wong, Wan Kiu
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Parents Zone

I’m by Your Side

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Written by: Stage and TV scriptwriter Cheung Fei Fan

On a Saturday morning, I took my five-and-a-half-year-old son and three-and-a-half-year-old daughter to volunteer for flag selling for the first time. The little rascals were initially thrilled, but after the excitement wore off in three minutes, both of them started clamoring to go home. As parents, we of course understood; firstly, the weather was hot, and young children have limited patience; secondly, the streets were bustling with traffic and pedestrians rushing back and forth, and with their small statures, they were soon lost in the crowd. Passersby hurried on their way, paying no attention to them. The two little “emperors,” who are usually the center of attention, probably experienced being ignored for the first time in their lives. As a father, I secretly cheered, thinking this was a perfect opportunity for them to understand that they are not the center of the world. At the same time, it could also let them experience what it means to “every grain of rice is hard-earned.”

My wife and I observed from the sidelines, only intervening when absolutely necessary, letting the two little ones freely explore. Watching them go from being scared and disappointed to trying, failing, then helping each other, trying again, and finally succeeding, seeing the satisfied smiles on their faces when they received praise from passersby, my wife couldn’t help but tear up.

Coincidentally, that same evening, director Owen Jay invited my spouse and me to the premiere of his new work ” Distinction” The movie tells the story of a teacher (played by Jo Koo) at a special school preparing a musical with a group of special needs children, and a girl from a prestigious school (played by Jennifer Yu) who initially participates passively but eventually forms a deep bond with them.

The movie was certainly wonderful, but what moved me the most that night was after the screening, when the host invited one of the young actors to share his feelings about his performance. Without hesitation, the child loudly said in front of everyone, “I am very thankful to my mom for accompanying me during the filming of this movie.” At that moment, my eyes welled up with tears. For me, the most striking thing was the word “accompaniment.”

Special needs children may be slightly less capable in some areas compared to their peers, but they always possess an innocent heart. They are sensitive to love and can express their feelings candidly, and he just blurted out what is one of the most important responsibilities as a parent.

Sometimes, we may not need to ‘do’ something for our children; sometimes, simple ‘companionship’ may already be enough. This reminds me of when my son is at home building with LEGO, he often likes to ask me to sit beside him. Sometimes I wonder, thinking to myself, why do you need me sitting next to you while you play? But as I sit there, after a while, he suddenly turns his head, gives me a glance, and then continues to build his LEGO city with reassurance. In that fleeting moment, in his eyes, I saw panic, and then a fraction of a second later, he returned to calmness. It was then I realized that he had accidentally knocked down the LEGO building he had put together. But he did not ask for my help; he just wanted to confirm that dad was right behind him. It turns out, my ‘presence’ is his greatest pillar in overcoming difficulties. His big eyes seemed to say: “Great, you’ve been here all along, so I’m not afraid anymore.”

It’s important to know that companionship always has a time limit, and I only hope that we can live without regrets within that time limit.

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Parents Zone

How to raise children with a sense of security?

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Written by: American Association for Play Therapy, Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, Registered Social Worker Chan Tsz Wai

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a sense of security is the second basic human need, just after physiological needs. Children who lack a sense of security may exhibit many behavioral problems. Without sufficient support to confidently explore the world, and without enough confidence that someone can provide safe protection, they may send misleading signals through problematic behaviors to express their emotional needs. Often, parents think that managing behavior more strictly will solve these behavioral issues in children, but this approach can backfire, leading to even less fulfillment of the child’s emotional needs.

Years of research have found that a sense of security is based on establishing a secure attachment relationship with caregivers. Children with secure attachment relationships have a higher ability to regulate their emotions, solve problems on their own, have higher self-esteem and empathy, and possess better social skills and the ability to establish good relationships with others. However, how to establish a secure attachment relationship with children is a challenge for many parents.

Understanding the needs of children

Sometimes children need to explore the world on their own and use their abilities to solve problems, while at other times they need the help of their parents to regulate their emotions. Parents need to know when to let go and when to extend their hands to offer hugs and support, which requires careful observation of the child’s needs. Young children may wander far in the park, wanting to explore the world on their own, and older children may show displeasure when parents supervise their homework, indicating a need for parents to support their exploration. However, when a child falls and cries in pain or is troubled and in tears because they do not understand their homework, that is the time when they need their parents’ help to regulate their emotions.

Being Present with Your Child

When children are emotional, parents often try to quickly find a way to deal with it. However, being present with the child is what they need the most and is the most effective way to help them develop the ability to regulate their emotions. When children are emotional, parents just need to accompany them, accept and empathize with their emotions, and verbalize the child’s feelings to make them feel accepted and understood by their parents. This is the foundation of a secure attachment relationship.

 

Being a Firm and Controlled Parent

Parents might think that understanding their child’s feelings means losing control, but on the contrary, parents actually need to control and set limits while understanding their child’s emotional state to provide them with a sense of security. For example, when it’s time to leave the park and the child throws a tantrum because they don’t want to leave, parents can understand their child’s feelings but must also firmly insist on leaving. Or if a child often procrastinates on homework because they find it difficult, parents can understand the child’s difficulty but must also enforce the consequences of procrastination. Therefore, gentle yet firm parents can make their children feel secure.

 

Understanding How Your Own Upbringing Affects Your Parenting

We learn how to be parents from our own parents, and we also carry the baggage of our childhood. When we encounter difficulties in interacting with our children, it is often related to our own upbringing. Some parents, whose own parents were too busy with work to spend time with them, may give more time to their children when they become parents. However, when they invest time but still face emotional challenges from their children, and they themselves lack the experience of having their emotions satisfied and understood, they may struggle to meet their children’s needs due to their own unresolved emotions. Therefore, parents should first understand how their own upbringing affects them, and then they can adjust themselves when interacting with their children, carefully observing and responding to their children’s needs.

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Parents Zone

How to effectively reward children?

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Written by : Pario Children, Parenting Education Centre

 

Childhood and family have a profound impact on a person. How do parents influence their children’s growth? How to cultivate good behavior and character in children? Is it correct and effective to use rewards and encouragement?

 

Do not turn love for your child into a reward

It is often heard that parents say, “If you behave, daddy will shower you with love.” Parents think this is providing positive reinforcement, encouraging positive behavior in children, but shouldn’t the companionship of mom and the affection of dad be unconditional? Love and affection should not be contingent on being well-behaved! A child’s self-worth should not be equated with their behavior or achievements.

 

Do not turn existing habits into rewards

Some parents might say: “If you behave, we will go to the park on Sunday!” When the child behaves in a “naughty” manner, parents cancel the child’s original plan to play in the park, letting the child learn to bear the consequences. Although this is one of the parenting methods, if the child originally has the habit of going to the park every day, and the parents use “going to the park” as a reward, is this really a reward? This is just continuing the daily routine! Of course, if the child does not usually have the opportunity to go to the park, this reward would be very attractive to a child who naturally loves to play!

Clearly explain rewards and good behavior

Rewards are necessary! But parents must carefully design or choose them, and the most ideal rewards are those that can attract children and are different from the daily routine. For example: going to the park for only 30 minutes every day, but today they can play for an extra 15 minutes; eating only one type of cookie for a snack every day, but today they can have two types. When rewarding, parents should clearly tell the child the reason for the reward, “Because you ‘put away your toys on your own’, mom and dad really appreciate you, so today you get ‘an extra cookie'”, letting the child concretely understand what good behavior is, and also understand the relationship between good behavior and rewards, giving them the motivation to continue displaying good behavior.

 

 

Provide unlimited support and encouragement

Children often need the support and encouragement of adults to have enough security and courage to try; sometimes, parents give a lot of encouragement, but the child still does not dare to try as expected, and sometimes parents will blurt out in disappointment: “I’ve held you for so long and you still won’t try, so I won’t hold you or kiss you!” What comes next is the child crying louder and being even more unwilling to try; even if the child is forced to complete the task, there is an additional emotional scar. Therefore, parents should give children unlimited support and encouragement, telling them: “Mommy has confidence in you, try again next time, you can do it!” Believe that when children have stored enough energy from encouragement, they will step forward.

 

 

Perhaps, in the process of parenting, parents neither want to be tiger parents nor can they avoid the competition in society, sometimes they may feel lost, but remember to respect the child’s innate traits, and let your appreciation and encouragement accompany their growth.

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Parents Zone

Playing and toys

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Shirley LooPlaying and toys

 

Child, in my memory, you rarely asked me to buy toys during your childhood. I wonder if this has anything to do with that time when I took you away from home to “Fun World.”

 

Do you still remember standing in front of that plush toy? I made up many stories, saying that Ning Ning wanted to take them home, and they cried, saying “they didn’t want to leave their own home.” As a result, you believed it to be true and your heart softened, and you no longer pleaded with me to buy the plush toys. But it also let us know that plush toys were your favorite, so whenever we went on business trips, we would buy one to bring back for you as a souvenir. Do you still remember Dutchess, the cute brown pony?

 

Aside from plush toys, my memories related to toys are quite vague. I only remember singing games around the dining table after meals, playing with paper balls when you were recovering from a fever, and building sandcastles with you on the beach and catching crabs by the rocks, none of which involved spending money on toys.

 

 

I also remember setting a rule back then: no video games at home. You begged many times, asking why we couldn’t buy an X Paradise to play at home, and my response was: “Once a week at your cousin’s house is enough!” I wonder if this kind of “persistence” made you feel uncomfortable. I hope you understand the good intentions of your mother, which was not wanting your thoughts and attention to be captured by video games. Seeing you recently bought a video game console with your husband and are enjoying it at home, you’ve finally found someone to play with, haven’t you?

 

Recently, your father and I browsed through a toy store for a while, seeing a dazzling array of toys for adults, children, and babies. But we still firmly believe that no matter how fun toys are, they cannot replace the time parents spend playing with their children. After all, toys are not meant to “pass the time” for children, but are tools for creating happy moments between parents and children!

 

Ho YingToys

 

When I was young and went shopping with you, I would always see children crying and screaming at the entrance of toy stores, clamoring to buy toys. However, this situation rarely happened to me, not only because I had a deep affection for every toy but also because I had you to play with me, making every day feel new even if I was looking at the same toys. The stuffed toys at home would not only perform in stage plays but also interact with the “audience” (which was me), and they would go shopping with me and chat with “friends” on the street or in the stores.

 

The only toy I really wanted but never got was a video game console. Every weekend when I visited my cousin, he would always play different games with me, like basketball, ones set in the Warring States period, and racing games, which made me want to own one so I could play at home. But you would always say, “It’s good enough to play with your cousin; we don’t need to own one.” Honestly, I really hoped that one day, when you came home from work, you would bring home a box of X Paradise, but that never happened.

Now that I’ve grown up, my husband and I finally bought one to take home. At first, I was very excited, thinking that I could play as soon as I got home. However, there were a few times when I was alone at home, I would play the video game for ten minutes and then do something else. It was then that I realized that what I enjoyed about playing was not the game itself, but having someone to play with. So, what’s important is not the toy, but the interaction with family and friends.

 

Children of today’s generation seem to only play games on mobile apps, and toys have gradually lost their status. Whether in restaurants or on the subway, the laughter of children is less heard, replaced by people of all ages looking down at their phones, the adults reading the news and the children playing video games. Most mobile games are single-player, merely interacting with a pre-programmed system, lacking the exchange between people. If possible, why not put down the phone, take out a stuffed animal or a robot, and bring the child back to that world full of fantasy and innocence!