Parents Zone

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

Parenting Tips

September 2022

Written by: 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

Principal 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.

Parents Zone

Children are reluctant to open their mouths.
Does listening to music help?

Parenting Tips

September 2022

Written By: Pang Chi Wah, Certified Educational Psychologist, New Horizons Development Centre   

Parents expect their children to learn to speak, and the feeling of their children “opening their mouths” for the first time is something that only parents who have been parents can understand. Parents want their children to start talking as soon as possible and do everything they can to guide their children to speak. While oral training is important for the development of speech, parents should not neglect auditory training because it is an important prerequisite for language training.

Relationship between Auditory Stimulation and Speech Expression

Listening and expression, reception and output, are closely related and complement each other. In the early childhood stage, if a child’s reception is not sufficient, it has a direct impact on the amount of output. I give a more extreme example for analysis. People with hearing impairment have difficulties in speech expression, but this is not due to problems with their oral muscles or related abilities but to the lack of auditory input. Without the verification and comparison of sound content, even though the mouth is developing normally, there is no “inventory” and therefore no “supply”. Therefore, parents should pay attention to whether they are providing their children with adequate auditory stimulation.

Diversified auditory stimulation

Some parents may say, “Of course I know this, and I try to output a lot of sound to my child: I often talk to my child, tell stories, describe my child’s surroundings, etc., and I use different languages to do so. While this is ideal for auditory stimulation, the content is rich but similar in nature – it is all verbal. In fact, auditory reception can be very diverse, and music, for example, is a material that can help improve a child’s language skills. Conversely, parents can learn about their children’s language development by how well they listen to music.

Music is good for language development

From my years of experience in education, I found that children with poor phonetic ability will have more difficulty in learning music and vocal music, such as pitch, rhythm, range, etc. This is actually related to listening and sound composition skills. Among the different types of sounds, music is the ideal language teaching material, except for the human language. There is a wide variety of music, with different rhythms or themes, from which children can broaden their understanding of sound. In addition to its educational value, some soft music can even help to soothe emotions.

Play the harmonica and experience the sound and breathing changes

The same piece of music can feel very different when played by different instruments. This is also good training for your child’s listening sensitivity. In addition to listening to records or playing music files on the computer, it is fun and meaningful for children to get in touch with real instruments and actually play them so that they are more aware of the relationship between different materials and sounds. Harmonica is a good training tool among many musical instruments. When playing the harmonica, children need to exhale through their mouths, thus having the opportunity to experience the changes between sound and breathing. When children play the harmonica, they use their tongues and lips to create sounds that are coordinated with each other, which is an important foundation for the use of the mouth.

Singing children’s songs to learn to speak

In addition to imitating everyday conversations, singing a cute children’s song can have the desired effect of enhancing memory and deepening impressions by using music to carry language. If children can sing along, even if they can’t produce the right sounds at first, they can develop their speaking skills during the imitation process.

A building is built from the ground up, and training in early childhood is very important for children to have good language skills in the future. Through the use of music and musical instruments, children can build a good language foundation in a fun and relaxing way, so parents may want to try it out more often.

Parents Zone

Keep crying when going to school.
How to reduce the dependence of children on their parents?

Parenting Tips

September 2022

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

During the school season, we always hear sad cries at the entrance of the school, and it is always a headache for parents when children do not want to go to school alone without their parents. Because newborns lack the ability to protect themselves, survive and feed themselves, they must rely on their parents in their daily lives. This is not only true for humans, but also for babies of other mammals, such as dogs, lions, and dolphins, who must rely on their parents for survival.

As they grow older, some children are able to live more independently and gradually become independent of their parents, while others progress more slowly. For example, some three- and four-year-olds are not allowed to leave their eyesight even though their parents are still at home; some cannot go to playgroups or extracurricular activities by themselves, or they will scream and cry. In some cases, even if the mother is outside, the child refuses to go to the toilet alone.

Why do children rely on their parents?

Why do children become dependent? It may be because the child is not physically

active enough to take care of himself/herself, or it may be due to psychological factors, they are afraid or they are used to relying on their parents. In fact, parents can gradually train their children to be independent, mentally and habitually, so that they can reduce their over-dependence.

Increase the strength of using eating utensils

When children eat, they are passively fed by parents at first, then parents can hold their children’s hands to feed them so that they need to move their arms. Then gradually change the grasping part to the wrist, forearm, and elbow, so that the child needs to gradually increase the strength of using the eating utensil

Increase parental time away from the child and walking time

When children are accompanied by their parents at home, one of the parents can try to leave the child’s sight for a short period of time, and after the child gets used to it, both parents can leave together and let the child be taken care of by others. At the same time, parents can also increase the time of leaving according to the child’s progress.

When going out, parents can gradually reduce the time of holding the baby and ask them to try to walk home by themselves. Instead of carrying the baby all the way home, gradually change to carrying the baby to land at the door of the house, landing in front of the elevator, landing in the ground floor lobby, and landing after returning to the estate, gradually increasing the time for the baby to walk.

Inertia dependence of children is caused by parents

In fact, some children’s habitual dependence is caused by parents who take care of their children too much, give them too much, or give them too much help in the process of growth. Some parents think that their children are weak and cannot do anything well, so they do most of the work for them in order not to mess things up, and some parents even feel successful because their children are caring and dependent on them. If the situation continues, it will have many negative effects on the child in the future.

One day, children will be independent of their parents and need to take care of

themselves, so parents should let go of their children appropriately in order to let them grow up. There are many books about the growth of children and objective guidelines for appropriate behavior at each age for parents’ reference.