Parents Zone

How to teach children to organize their books?

Parenting Tips

Parents Zone

Source: Taiwanese Storage Organizer, Yu Ji Lam


As children grow up, the number of books and textbooks in the home increases. If there’s more than one child in the family, the quantity of books can be staggering. How can we teach children to classify and organize their books properly?


Parents can begin by categorizing books based on their types, grouping together books from the same series, for instance. Books from the same series usually have similar sizes, making the arrangement neat and the process of finding them more convenient. Additionally, categorizing by age group is also helpful, especially when there are children of different ages at home. This way, you can have books for a 9-year-old child and books for a 3-year-old child separately. Apart from that, classifying books by their content type is also a good option, such as Chinese books, English books, puzzle books, magnetic books, and picture books.

  • After categorizing by type, the most important step is to have the books standing upright. Some people might stack books this way, but you’ll find that when you want to retrieve a book from lower down, it’s not easy to take it out. So the best way is to have the books standing upright. When you place books of the same type together, it’s actually easy to find a book. Children will definitely find the book they’re looking for, and they will also know where to put it back.

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How to reduce the side effects of rewards?

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


Some parents have the following thoughts about rewards: “The original intention was to praise the child’s good performance, but now the reward seems to have become a bribe.” “He has become utilitarian, calculating the degree of his effort based on the size of the reward.” “Sometimes I even feel that the child has become greedy. The rewards that once attracted him no longer have the original effect. Only by providing richer rewards is he willing to make an effort.”


In fact, in the commercial society where adults are located, bosses also use rewards and bonuses to praise employees’ outstanding work performance and inspire employee morale. Many early childhood education experts have also proposed a reward system, using children’s favorite food, toys, etc., to train and cultivate their good behavior habits. Rewards have become our usual way, but parents’ worries are not unfounded. How can we reduce the side effects of rewards?


There are mainly two directions to reduce the side effects of rewards. One is that parents can change the type of rewards, and at the same time, they must not encourage children with money, otherwise it will make children prioritize money and everything will be based on materialism. The rewards given by parents can be changed from one-time enjoyment such as food, gradually transformed into long-term gifts, such as entertaining toys, academic stationery, etc., and later can be rewarded spiritually, such as parents giving certificates, applause and other non-material encouragement.

  • The second approach is that parents can gradually reduce the proportion of rewards given according to the following three criteria:


    1. Increase the number of expected behaviors completed by the child before giving a reward.

    Example: If parents expect the child to put the toys away in the toy box after playing, initially, parents may need to give stickers as encouragement for the child to be willing to tidy up the toys; afterwards, the child should put the toys in the toy box several times on their own before the parents give sticker rewards.


    1. Raise the standard of requirements according to the child’s performance, and only give rewards after the child completes behaviors of higher difficulty.

    Example: Initially, as long as the child puts all the toys in the box, they can be given sticker encouragement. Then the requirements can be raised, the child needs to put all the toys in the box, and carefully organize the toys and place them properly to get the sticker.

    1. When the child is relaxed and happy or makes a request, parents can make demands on the child without providing rewards.

    Example: The child requests to watch their favorite TV show, the parent proposes that the child needs to tidy up the toys into the toy box before they can watch TV.


    Through these two principles, parents can systematically dilute the function of external material rewards, let children internalize the motivation behind completing good behaviors, gradually reduce dependence on external encouragement, and make them gain a sense of success from within as the main source of their learning motivation.

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Smart learning depends on exercise

Parenting Tips

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Written by: Ms. Fung Chi Hei, Game Therapist, Lok Sin Tong Leung Kau Kui Primary School


I previously participated in a professional exchange activity for teachers in Taiwan and was impressed by the emphasis on using exercise to cultivate children’s growth in the Taiwanese education system. This experience provided new inspiration, which I hope to share with parents. One of the schools visited during the exchange can be described as the elementary school version of a sports academy. Upon entering the school, the students welcomed the visitors with a government-promoted fitness routine. They performed various warm-up exercises in unison, exuding a lively spirit akin to tiger cubs, making me feel like they had truly entered a forest full of tiger cubs.


Exercise Strengthens Children’s Learning Abilities


Principal Liu of the Tiger Forest Elementary School stated that the school is a key focus school designated by the government, with a special emphasis on students’ physical development. The school believes that exercise can strengthen students’ learning abilities. They have adopted the “Anytime Exercise” program based on the research of John J. Ratey, MD, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. This program advocates for students to be engaged in exercise at all times, hence the name “Anytime.” During breaks, students would run to any part of the playground to exercise, some playing dodgeball, some climbing the monkey bars, and others playing badminton. All students enjoy every moment of exercise.

  • The Benefits of Exercise: Strengthening Brain Function


    It is well known that exercise has the effect of strengthening the body, and in Ratey’s research, he pointed out more about the benefits of exercise on the brain. He described the brain as the center for processing information, transmitting messages through different pathways using various transmitters (chemicals). During exercise, the brain can effectively produce more transmitters and strengthen pathways, allowing messages to be transmitted faster and more accurately.


    Applying this theory to learning, students can enhance their brain function through exercise, thereby improving their learning effectiveness. Research has confirmed that exercise can improve students’ concentration and memory, both of which are essential for successful learning. Furthermore, exercise can stimulate the brain to produce dopamine (a chemical that brings happiness), enabling students to learn joyfully, which naturally leads to better academic performance.


    How to Make Children Love Exercise?


    For children to enjoy the time and benefits of exercise, parents must help them develop a love for exercise. Here are three suggestions:

    1. Anytime Exercise

    Provide children with more opportunities for exercise, suitable time, tools, and space, while ensuring the safety of the environment.

    1. Healthy Exercise

    Teach children to exercise for the sake of their health and emphasize the benefits of exercise on health.

    1. Exercising Together
    Exercise with children more often, enjoy the moments of exercise and savor the wonderful time with family.

Parents Zone

Methods of Disciplining Children

Parenting Tips

Parents Zone

Written by: Ms. Chan-Chen Shu-an, Early Childhood Education Specialist


Parents often wonder if there is an effective method for disciplining children. Drawing from personal experience, the author has gathered practical discipline methods to share with parents, hoping to assist them in disciplining children with different personalities.


  • Diversion Method


Young children are easily influenced by external factors. When a child cries incessantly or insists on holding onto something, instead of engaging in a struggle, try using the diversion method. For example, if a child is crying non-stop, you can try pointing to the sky and saying, “Look, a big airplane is flying towards us.” Similarly, if a child is adamant about buying something in a toy store and refuses to leave, instead of pulling back and forth, say, “Look over there, some new and interesting toys,” diverting their attention so they are no longer insistent.


  • Diversion Method


Use the method of channeling water like Great Yu. Instead of blocking and resisting, it’s better to divert and open up. For example, with an energetic child, instead of forcing them to sit quietly and study, let them go outside to play ball, ride a bike, or take a walk before returning home to sit down and do homework. For a child who enjoys scribbling with a pen, instead of scolding and prohibiting, give them paper to draw on, satisfying their interest in drawing.

  • Venting Method


If a child enjoys hitting others, let them hammer nails, play with a ball, or knead clay to release their energy. For a child who loves to talk, teach them to sing, recite nursery rhymes, or take them outdoors or to a sports field to shout and jump, releasing their emotions. Children’s activities should be varied, as human growth is multifaceted. Being stuck at home studying all day can turn a child into a dull and lifeless individual. Therefore, extracurricular activities are crucial for a child’s healthy development.


  • Ignoring Method


Some children intentionally engage in behavior that displeases others, such as crying incessantly, refusing to eat, or making strange gestures, to gain attention from their parents. Parents can try the ignoring method, turning away without acknowledging the behavior, or adopting an indifferent attitude. The child may lose interest and stop the unwanted behavior.


  • Encouragement and Praise Method


Smiling encouragement or gently patting the head and cheeks are wonderful forms of positive spiritual encouragement and praise that children willingly accept as discipline methods. For example, if a child puts away toys neatly, you can notice and praise them by saying, “Very good.” The child will feel satisfied and strive to do even better next time. When a child joyfully brings home a drawing, if the mother appreciates it with a smile, the child’s sense of accomplishment and satisfaction will encourage them to work even harder next time and seek improvement. Parents’ encouragement, support, and positive attitudes have a significant impact on a child’s learning and personal development!

  • Indirect Method


The so-called “blame the cat, scold the dog” method is particularly effective for introverted, sensitive children with a strong sense of self-esteem who often cannot accept direct criticism and correction. When dealing with these children, it is best to use an indirect approach. This involves criticizing or pointing out someone else’s mistakes (which are actually the same mistakes the child made) as a hint. For example, to encourage a child to brush their teeth daily, you can start by saying, “The neighbor’s child has dirty and unsightly teeth because they refuse to brush. Your sensitive child might start brushing their teeth every day as a result, which is more effective than directly scolding them.


  • Isolation Method


Humans cannot live independently, and children are unwilling to be isolated. This method is particularly effective for children over the age of four who may be too disruptive or mischievous. If a child is causing too much trouble, try using the isolation method. Ask them to stand aside or move their chair away to sit quietly. Allow them to rejoin group activities only when they show remorse. At home, you can ask them to reflect quietly in their room (even if they cry or make a fuss, maintain an attitude of ignoring them). This temporary loss of freedom method is often very effective.

Parents Zone

Besides having fun, what else is there to travel for?

Parenting Tips

Parents Zone

The new school year has begun, and children can happily return to school. I wonder how everyone spent their recent summer vacation? Some parents choose to take a long holiday with their children, both for quality family time and to relax and unwind. Do you have any other reasons?


Some may say that traveling can broaden a child’s horizons. Indeed, ‘traveling ten thousand miles is better than reading ten thousand books.’ If children have firsthand experiences, it’s believed that they can have a deeper understanding of the knowledge they acquire. For example, when children learn about the ‘Great Wall of China,’ visiting the site can make them truly appreciate the greatness of this architectural wonder in human civilization. When I choose travel destinations, I also consider whether they align with my daughter’s learning materials. For instance, when she’s studying different types of animals, I incorporate visits to zoos during our travels, allowing her to interact with various animals, which is far better than just learning from books or TV.

I value the few days spent traveling because it provides an extended period of quality time for my daughter and me. By observing carefully, you can gain a deeper understanding of your child. When my daughter was younger, I paid special attention to the following aspects during our travels:


(1) How she interacts with strangers:


During our travels, my child encounters different unfamiliar people. How does she behave? Does she proactively greet elders? Can she respond politely and appropriately to their questions? Does she initiate play with children her age? How does she handle potential disputes? I like to observe from the sidelines, and in the evenings, I share and praise her for her good behavior that day, encouraging her to do even better the next day.


(2) Her self-reliance:


Since there is more leisure time during travel, and there’s no rush against the clock, it’s an opportunity to foster a child’s self-reliance. For instance, I have my daughter carry her own little travel suitcase with her personal belongings. I observe whether she can handle her personal items properly and whether she can pack her belongings neatly when leaving a hotel or heading to another attraction. When needed, I offer guidance or assistance as appropriate.

In fact, cultivating children’s character and self-reliance doesn’t necessarily require taking a plane to travel abroad. What I want to emphasize is that character development shouldn’t be confined to a theoretical level, and simply lecturing can have counterproductive effects. Therefore, character development should be practiced in everyday life. In reality, as long as there is ample quality time spent with children, more companionship, and careful observation of their daily behavior, offering guidance or assistance when needed, even just going for a walk in the countryside can achieve the same objectives without much difficulty.

Parents Zone

How to cultivate a positive learning attitude in young children from an early age?

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Source: Dr. LAU Yee-hung, Associate Professor and Deputy Head, Department of Early Childhood Education, The Hong Kong Institute of Education


Many parents hope that their children will develop a love for learning from a young age. However, children don’t automatically develop a liking for learning; it requires parents to gradually nurture them, bit by bit.


Encouraging Children in Interactions


Children won’t initially learn to persevere on their own. It’s the parents’ responsibility to encourage them to persist in the process, instilling in them an anticipation of success. When a child succeeds, parents can review the past with them, allowing the child to feel the valuable outcomes achieved through perseverance and encouraging them to continue exhibiting positive behavior.


Providing Intrinsic Motivation


Often, children need some motivation to excel in certain tasks. Parents should emphasize what the child gains without making comparisons, such as satisfying their sense of achievement, enjoying the process of effort, and receiving appreciation from parents. This helps children experience the joy of learning and establishes intrinsic motivation, enabling them to engage in learning activities willingly from the heart.

Parents set a good example


Learning knows no age limits, and parents can demonstrate proactive learning and curiosity in front of their children. For instance, parents can learn to cook new dishes online, expressing to their children that, even if they don’t understand initially, they persevere and learn from various sources. Even if the outcome isn’t delicious, they commit to improving next time. Allowing children to see their parents’ initiative and curiosity in learning through real examples is much more effective than mere verbal instruction.


There are no children who don’t love learning; there are only parents who don’t know how to teach their children to learn. A love for learning is inherent in children. Correctly instilling a positive learning attitude in children, can only be achieved through the parents’ persistence and continuous efforts, reinforcing the child’s motivation for learning through various everyday experiences.

Parents Zone

Willing to share – Parents set an example

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Written: Education expert, Cheung Wai Ching


The crow accidentally found a piece of soap. After washing its feathers in the basin, the crow became fragrant all over. Deciding to share this soap with other animals, the mouse, rabbit, little monkey, and big bear all took turns using it. Finally, it was the elephant’s turn. After the elephant finished bathing, the soap was nowhere to be found. The crow found it strange and anxious, thinking the elephant was playing a joke on it. The crow, with a kind heart, shared its good thing with its friends, but in the end, the item was gone. We all know that soap gets smaller as it is used, which is an inevitable fact. The crow didn’t expect that its well-intentioned sharing would result in losing what it originally possessed. Although the crow was a bit reluctant to part with its soap, when it smelled the soap fragrance emanating from its good friends, it felt happy and thought it didn’t matter.


With an increasing number of single-child families in society, coupled with busy parents compensating with material things, children tend to think that everything is for their exclusive enjoyment, and others are not allowed to touch. In such situations, what can parents do?


The joy of sharing is an abstract emotion that requires the accumulation of years along with the experiences of many life events. It is not something that can be achieved overnight. The most effective education on sharing comes from the example set by parents and educators. There is a lady who works as the chief editor in a publishing house. During her daughter’s summer vacation, she took her to the office. At that time, the company was handling a batch of books donated to children in remote areas, totaling a few hundred books.

The daughter asked her, “Mom, do you have to donate so many books? You could sell them for a lot of money! You might incur a huge loss this way. Can’t you donate fewer books?” The lady replied, “No one is telling me how much to donate, and no one is forcing me to do it. It’s my own choice. What are you worried about?” The little girl said, “I’m afraid you’ll donate all the books, and we’ll lose too much. Then we won’t have any money ourselves!” The lady teased, “Well then, I won’t donate at all. After all, those other kids aren’t my children. Why should I care if they have money to buy books?” Playing along, the mom intentionally teased her daughter. The girl clarified hastily, “I didn’t mean not to donate at all. I just meant you should donate fewer books! Keep some for later, and donate gradually!”


The mom, who works as an editor, told her, “Daughter, if I take these books to sell and make money, our family would certainly be happy. But now that I’ve donated the books, many children will be happy because they have books to read. I will also be happy because these books may give them some hope and dreams for life and the future. My happiness cannot be measured in terms of money.”

Parents are the best role models for children. In daily life, when parents show care and assistance to others, it naturally has a subtle influence on their children. Parents should set an example of sharing with others, regularly taking the initiative to care for and assist others. The place where the author lived during childhood was populated with many residents, resembling what Cantonese films call “one floor, fourteen households.” Although having many people naturally leads to friction, neighbors were accustomed to sharing delicious snacks they made with everyone. Additionally, in daily life, common items such as oil, salt, soy sauce, and vinegar were borrowed from one another. These small acts cultivated a sense of sharing in our generation.


The emphasis in “Willing to Share” is on the word “joy.” It is about feeling genuine happiness from being able to share with others. Only those who are truly tolerant, generous, and enthusiastic are willing to share with others. Similarly, only those who are genuinely confident, kind, and open-minded are happy to do so. In other words, if children can truly enjoy sharing, they possess all the valuable qualities mentioned above, which are more important than achieving good grades.

Parents Zone

Enhancing Resistance through Lifestyle Habits

Parenting Tips

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Written by: Registered Public Health Nutritionist (UK) and Nutritionist, Ng Pui Yu


In my online community, parents often ask, “What should children with sensitive airways/frequent colds eat to strengthen their immunity?”


When children are sick, it’s not only hard for them but also for parents who care for them day and night. There are many viruses that can cause colds, and since young children haven’t been exposed to them before, they haven’t developed the necessary antibodies, making them more susceptible to illness. It’s normal for young children to have 6 to 8 or even more colds in a year. Additionally, immune health is related to conditions like nasal sensitivity, airway sensitivity, and eczema.


Of course, if lifestyle habits can be improved to enhance immunity, recovery from illness can be faster.





Daily Exercise for a Strong Physique


Today’s children lead busy lives, attending school, extracurricular activities, and tutoring classes daily. Moreover, most parents work full-time, limiting the opportunities for their children to engage in physical activity. Besides paying attention to a child’s diet, it is crucial for parents to schedule 30 to 60 minutes of exercise for their children each day. Even activities like running, climbing, playing on slides, and swinging in the park are sufficient. Developing a habit of regular exercise should start from a young age. The author’s child, during the school years, has already begun the practice of going to the park 1 to 2 times a day, adapting to indoor playrooms on extremely hot or rainy days.

Early to Bed, Early to Rise for Good Health


According to a study by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, many children face the issue of insufficient sleep. They may be reluctant to go to bed due to busy homework schedules, waiting for parents to return home from work, and various other reasons. Some children may stay awake until 11 pm or even later. If this is the case, it becomes more likely for them to fall ill, experience poor concentration, and exhibit inadequate emotional control. Therefore, the author’s child typically goes to bed around 9:30 pm. If possible, an even earlier bedtime is recommended!

Parents Zone

Apart from having fun, what else is there in travel?

Parenting Tips

Parents Zone

The Christmas and New Year holidays are about to begin, and some parents choose to take advantage of this long break to travel with their children. It not only allows for family bonding but also provides a chance to relax both physically and mentally. I wonder if anyone has other reasons?


Some may say that travel can broaden children’s horizons. Indeed, “traveling a thousand miles is better than reading ten thousand books.” If children have firsthand experiences, it is believed that they will have a deeper understanding of the knowledge they acquire. For example, when children learn about the “Great Wall,” visiting the actual site can give them a greater appreciation for this architectural marvel in human civilization history. When choosing a travel destination, I also consider whether it aligns with my daughter’s learning content. For instance, when she is learning about different types of animals, I might include a visit to the zoo during our travels so she can interact with various animals, which is much better than learning solely from books or television.


I value the several days spent on a trip for the main reason that during this time, my daughter and I have an extended period of time together. If you observe carefully, you will gain a deeper understanding of your child. When my daughter was younger, I paid special attention to the following aspects during our travels:


(1) How the child interacts with strangers


During the trip, children will encounter different strangers. How do they behave? Faced with unfamiliar elders, do they initiate greetings? Can they respond politely and appropriately to the elders’ questions? When encountering peers, do they take the initiative to play together? How do they handle potential conflicts? I like to observe from the sidelines and then, in the evening, share and praise my daughter’s good behavior of the day, encouraging her to improve in certain areas the next day.

(2) Child’s Self-Care Abilities


As the time during travel is more ample, and there’s no need to rush against the clock, this is an opportunity to cultivate a child’s self-care abilities. For example, I would arrange for my daughter to carry her own small travel suitcase, where she manages her personal items independently. I observe whether she can handle her personal belongings properly and whether she can pack her items neatly before leaving the hotel or heading to another attraction. When necessary, I provide timely guidance or assistance from the sidelines.

In fact, cultivating children’s character and self-care abilities does not necessarily require taking a plane for an overseas trip. What I want to emphasize is that character development cannot be confined to the theoretical level, and mere lecturing may result in counterproductive outcomes. Therefore, character cultivation should manifest through practical daily life experiences. In reality, as long as there is ample quality time, more companionship with children, and careful observation of their daily behavior, providing guidance or assistance when needed, even just going for a walk in the countryside can easily achieve the above goals.

Parents Zone

How to help children who are rather clumsy?

Parenting Tips

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Family Marriage & Art Therapist, Ko Wing Oi (Wendy)


Parents often mention that their children are clumsy, often tripping or dropping things easily. This is related to hand-eye coordination and even the development of finger muscles. Many toys are now designed to train a child’s finger muscles from as early as a few months old.


Many parents are aware that various games can train finger muscles. But besides finger muscles, how can we train children to handle, grasp, or manipulate objects using their fingers? Balance is also crucial.


In fact, many toys can help train balance, and finger muscles can be developed in the process. For example, stacking games with different shapes, sizes, colors, and numbers can be used. When a child picks a die with a green side and the number 2, they have to find the corresponding green piece with a 2, and then pick another die, let’s say it’s blue with a 5, and find the blue piece with a 5, and continue stacking. This trains children on how to stack the pieces to maintain balance and prevent them from toppling over.

Another toy is the Russian stacking block puzzle, which is more complex in terms of layering and might be more interesting to children. Children can move the bottom block and then stack the Russian block puzzle pieces. This toy presents a certain level of difficulty, training children’s fingers, critical thinking, finger muscles, and balance.


Of course, clumsiness and accidents are also related to their level of concentration. For example, when a child is holding a cup of water, but their eyes are not on the cup; they are watching TV or listening to the adults around them. So, in addition to training their hand-eye coordination and balance, it’s also essential to train their concentration.