5 Effective Ways to Clear Your Mind – According to Neuroscience

5 Effective Ways to Clear Your Mind – According to Neuroscience

 

We all want to achieve great things and rise to the challenges that come our way with the mindset of a Champion. However, at times, the only thing standing in your way of doing your best is a troubled mind.

Here, we present you five simple tips that can help you clear your mind and stay calm, as researched by neuroscientists and shared on Psychology Today. Through these tips, you will be on your way to getting ahead in life as you set out to achieve your goals and make a difference through the things that you do.

 

1. Mindfulness

A study conducted by researchers at Brown University in the United States has found that people can learn how to manipulate their alpha rhythms in the somatosensory cortex (the area of the brain that receives sensory input from the body) as they shift their attention through mindfulness training. Thus, to put it simply, mindfulness involves consciously thinking about the thoughts that go through your mind and accepting them without getting carried away. This form of “active thinking” helps you free your mind of negative and depressive thoughts and push forward to achieve your goals with renewed confidence.

 

2. Distraction

Our minds work by thinking of one thing at a time. Thus, when you shift your attention on one thing, you are purposefully ignoring other thought processes that might be going on at the same time.

This act of ignoring involves finding a “distraction”, whereby we forget about the unpleasant thoughts that go through our minds and rely on external sources to draw our attention away from them. Some examples of these external sources include talking to a friend who reminds you that everything will turn out well in the end, or to volunteer your time and energy towards a worthy cause, putting all selfish thoughts aside.

 

3. Suppression

When your mind gets overwhelmed with various things to think about, bad feelings and negative thoughts are bound to crop up amid it all. In your bid to avoid that unpleasant feeling, you do what it takes to ignore and put these thoughts at the back of your head. This thought process is called suppression, which involves us consciously ignoring something to avoid further complications.

Although this method may temporarily work to block out distractions, do note that suppression requires a lot of willpower for it to work, as we need to keep our emotions in control. At the end of the day, there is only so much that we can contain until these bottled-up feelings bring out the worst in us (i.e think of a can of carbonated drink bursting open). Before you get to the point of breaking down, another block-out method which you can consider is substitution – which will be discussed in more detail below.

 

4. Substitution

Do not lose hope just yet if suppression does not help to clear your mind when you really need it to – there may be hope in substitution. Researchers at the University of Cambridge found that memory substitution is supported by caudal prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain which determines one’s personality) and mid-ventrolateral prefrontal cortex which controls one’s memories. Together, these two regions work together to bring specific memories to light amidst distracting memories.

Substitution involves using your imagination to replace unpleasant thoughts with more positive ones. It allows you to create new memories by pretending you are in a different place or experiencing something new, although this may be short-lived. However, do use this method with caution, as it can cause some people to live their lives based on what they imagine that they stray so far away from reality.

 

5. Meditation

Lastly, meditation is another popular method used to calm a troubled mind. While there are several ways to meditate, they all share a common purpose: to observe your thoughts consciously and watch them drift by. There is no specific sitting posture required in order to meditate – all you need to do is to assume a comfortable position, sit still and focus on the rhythm of your breathing.

Read also: How to Motivate Your Child to be Successful

5 Activities that Teach Children about Love

5 Activities that Teach Children about Love

While you have been showering your children with love from the moment they were born, understanding the true meaning of love may be challenging for them. Teaching children about what love really entails helps them develop values such as empathy and kindness, as well as improves their relationship with the people around them.

Apart from role modelling acts of love to your child during the early years, you can also incorporate lessons on love through age-appropriate activities that promote this essential life value. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

 

1. Read stories on love

Add books that focus on love and friendship to your children’s bedtime story collection, as stories make great tools for explaining abstract concepts and emotions. Some great titles include “Guess How Much I Love You”by Sam McBratney which illustrates the love of a parent towards his/her child while “Lost and Found” by Oliver Jeffers tells the tale of a boy who finds, then loses his penguin friend, making it a good story to tell your children and talk to them about the importance of love and friendship.

 

2. Make love-themed crafts

Get your child to express their love to their friends and family by making a love-themed hand-crafted item. Some ideas which you can start off with include:

Lollipop flowers
Ladybug heart craft
Friendship bracelets
Cupcake liner cards

For younger children, you can help them out with the cutting and writing of note to add that heartfelt touch to their handmade craft. This activity can be done any day, anytime and there’s no need to wait for a special occasion to get creative.

 

3. Giving back to the community

Encourage your child to show love and compassion beyond their circle of family and friends by extending it to the less fortunate in the community. The options for volunteer opportunities are plentiful and includes distributing packets of rice to needy old folks, serving meals at the Soup Kitchen, and donating their toys and clothes to the Salvation Army to help needy families. Through these initiatives, you can talk to your child about how he/she feels to spread love and happiness to those who in need.

 

4. Talk about the people your child has met

Among all the people whom your child has known up to today, get her to think back of the time she made a new friend. Ask her to tell you a few positive traits she noticed about this new friend, the series of events that led to them becoming friends and what she like most about him/her.

You can also talk about how we should love and accept everyone for who they are, although they may look and behave differently from us (e.g. speaking a different language, doing things differently or having physical challenges). To demonstrate this, you can carry out a simple role-playing exercise by taking turns to pretend that each of you are meeting a new friend for the first time, and how to show love to the other person.

 

5. Play a game of “Loving Charades”

As we show love in different ways to the people in our lives, it is important to teach your children the appropriate way to show their affection. You can do this by playing this game of “Loving Charades” where everyone take turns to come up with creative ways to show love to various people in different situations.

Here’s how the game is played:

  • Get ready a stack of cards with loving actions written (e.g. Greeting someone, cheering up someone, offering a food/drink)
  • Have some photos of people you know (e.g. family and friends) as well as strangers (you can use illustrations or stock images)
  • Each person draws a card and a photo to act out the loving action to person without saying it out
  • The rest will need to guess what the action is

At MindChamps PreSchool, children are instilled with values such as gratefulness and compassion to bring out the champion in them. Book a visit to your preferred centre to find out more.

How To Teach Your Children Respect

How To Teach Your Children Respect

Every child is born with a different personality, but all of them need to be taught how to be respectful. Proper etiquette and manners are not merely surface-level niceties. In fact, these reflect deeper values of respect and even empathy.

We’ve all come across personalities who are positive and respectful, making them a joy to be around. They take an interest in others, are supportive and kind, and do not force their views on others.

Similarly, we can be role models for our children. Brainstorm ways on how we can show respect to the different people that cross our paths every day. This can include holding the door for a stranger, greeting our neighbours, saying ‘thank you’ to the cleaner at the food court, and so on.

Instilling respect takes time and intentional effort. Here is a simple 3-step process that you might want to use.

 

Step 1: Set expectations

Find a quiet, uninterrupted time where you have your child’s full attention, and explain the behaviour that you expect from them in any given situation. For example, if you want to reinforce the custom of giving respect to elders, explain to your little one why and how they have to greet their elders when visiting any home, or at a gathering.

You can also encourage your child to be friendly and strike up conversations with others at family gatherings, or when they meet new kids at the playground.

Remind them of the expected behaviour prior to going out.

 

Step 2: Hold a debrief

Take a few minutes after each family outing to debrief your children privately. Share with them specific things they did right, and where they can improve.

If they managed to interact with others in a friendly and respectful way, affirm your child for doing so. Talk about how these actions made others feel.

This is not meant to be a ‘scolding’ session, but to reinforce the etiquette standards you have set as parents. There will be times when they show disrespect to us or their elders, and it can trigger us to react in anger. Take a moment to calm down before communicating with our children.

We will be more effective teachers if we demonstrate respect and kindness to our kids even after they’ve made a mistake.

 

Step 3: Praise often

Praise and affirm your child when they show respect, especially if they struggle to do so. This will help to reinforce the behaviour and boost your child’s confidence along the way.

Remember that teaching values such as respect is a continual process that will take hard work and intentional effort on our part.

Take heart that as you sow the seeds of respect in their lives, you are also ensuring that they will grow to have deeper, more positive, and more enduring relationships with others.

 

Written by Judith Xavier

©2018 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved. 

Dads Matter! How Fathers Can Help their Children Succeed

Dads Matter! How Fathers Can Help their Children Succeed

 

Every parent desires to see their children grow up to be confident, resilient and successful adults – and this comes from giving appropriate affirmation to build up their self-worth and esteem. Every child needs to feel and believe that they are loved. And as parents, we need to give that message of affirmation regularly, through the stages of development in our child’s life.

While both parents play equally important roles in this endeavour, mothers are often more inclined towards the role of giving care and affection to the child, while fathers take on the role of “play buddy” or the disciplinarian. While each parent should play to their strengths, it is good to share these tasks, and not segment their parenting roles strictly. In fact, in the case of fathers, research[i] has shown that children who have involved fathers tend to have better cognitive ability and are better problem solvers.

Dads, these are some self-esteem boosters to try with your child today:

 

  • Celebrate your child’s milestones together as this keeps a celebratory and encouraging atmosphere in your home (E.g. diaper-free day, first word/book read, first tooth dropped)
  • Apologise when you make a mistake
  • Help your child become an “expert” on a topic he cares about
  • Give your child the chance to make simple decisions (E.g. what she would like to wear for an outing)
  • Show enthusiasm about your child’s questions;
  • Parenting sons and daughters also requires very different approaches – here are some tips to adjust your parenting style accordingly:

Raising Confident Sons

 

Don’t praise your son only when he is tough, strong or brave. Be sure to compliment him for being sensitive and kind, for taking care of friends and siblings, and for being curious and asking questions.

Encourage your son to pursue activities he likes and is good at, and don’t force him to do things he does not enjoy. Take an interest and participate with him in those activities.

Comfort your son when he is sad, upset or hurt and let him know it is ok to cry. Don’t laugh at him or shame him. This will encourage him to be himself, and to understand his emotions and express them appropriately.

Nurturing Secure Daughters

 

Don’t just compliment your daughter on her clothes or looks. Give her specific praise on what she is good at, (E.g. being a talented artist, smart with numbers, good at sharing, a caring big sister, knows how to tie shoe laces).

Many girls and women suffer from low self-esteem due to the messages they get from the media, which advocates the idea that beauty is all that matters. Praising your daughter’s inner beauty will help boost her self-esteem. Tell her that she is valuable, special and important, not because of how she looks but because of who she is.

While we can attest to the fact that parenting has its challenges, there is a great pay off when you are done raising your children to be confident and well-adjusted adults. Fathers play an important role as nurturers and confidence-builders in this journey, and we encourage you to try some of these tips and ideas with your children today!

©2017 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved

Article contributed by Judith Xavier, Focus on the Family Singapore.

 

 

References:

Amato, P. R., & Rivera, F. (1999). Paternal involvement and children’s behavior problems. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61 (2), 375 – 384.

Gottman, J. M., Katz, K. E., & Hooven, C. (1997). Meta-emotion: How families communicate emotionally. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Yogman, M. W. Kindlon, D., & Earls, F. (1995). Father involvement and cognitive/behavioral outcomes of preterm infants. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 34, 58-66.

The Ultimate Parenting Tip for A Great Start to the Year

The Ultimate Parenting Tip for A Great Start to the Year

 

With highly packed schedules for work and school in addition to a myriad of external commitments and other social activities, years pass by in the blink of an eye. A typical Singaporean family has a variety of activities and gatherings to attend, from music and swimming lessons to tuition classes – the list goes on.

As parents, we might have a clear idea as to why we choose certain activities over others. However, these motivations also need to be communicated to our children, which is why there is a need to come up with a family mission statement and vision.

A family mission statement and vision may sound contrived to some, but it is an effective way to keep the family focused on undertaking meaningful activities while setting the family up for a purposeful year ahead. Here are a few ways to get started:

Think like a visionary coach

 

As parents, we have to resist the urge to talk down to our kids. We can’t dictate a family mission statement to our children. We must communicate in an affirming manner like a visionary coach – one who has a clear idea of what she is aiming for with his or her team. This type of coach communicates his or her vision and owns it. This is where a mission statement can be really powerful.

How to write a family mission statement

 

Set a date for a family meeting. Write up “Family Mission Statement” on the agenda.

As a family, discuss what values you are going to live by and what character traits you aim to show.

The list of words below might be helpful:

  • Celebrations are valued
  • Community focused
  • Creativity is valued
  • Generosity
  • Learning is valued
  • Healthy
  • Hospitality
  • Loving
  • Loyalty
  • Music is valued
  • Obedience
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Time together

Brainstorm these questions as a family when coming up with your family vision and statement:

  • What will the atmosphere or flavour of your home be?
  • What do we hope our kids will treasure as memories when they grow up?
  • What words would your family like to use to describe the relationships between family members and those outside your immediate family?

Then, organise the ideas and analyse the suggestions. Decide which ones gel best with the family and come up with a final draft of your family mission statement. The following statements might help.

Our family is about ___________.

We always value _____________________.

To those within our family, we will _______________________.

To those outside our family, we will ______________________.

A family mission statement will be a helpful reminder to the entire family throughout the year. It can influence the way we allocate our family’s resources, in terms of time, energy, finances, and the many talents and gifts that each of our family members has been blessed with. In this way, instead of mindlessly rushing from one activity to another and chasing individual goals, each year is spent meaningfully in ways that would draw the whole family closer together.

 

©2016 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.

Article contributed by Elvira Tan, Focus on the Family Singapore

5 Ways to Prepare Your Child for the New School Year

5 Ways to Prepare Your Child for the New School Year

 

Once, a passenger onboard a plane was greeted by the air-steward who said, “Hi Sir, I served you onboard the last time,” to which the passenger replied, “Holiday’s over. A great year is about to begin!”

Like the passenger, we can certainly look back with pride as we embark on another exciting time for our children, some starting school for the first time, to achieve their milestones in the new year.

Opportunities abound with more to learn, more friendships to forge and greater discoveries to make, all through fun and engaging activities. With the Champion Mindset and the Education and Life philosophy of 100% Respect Zero Fear, coupled with the practical checklist below on how to start the year, the beginning of 2017 will prove a fruitful time for all.

1. Make Use of Your Public Holidays – especially New Year’s Day

 

It proves great to have New Year’s Day because after all that partying and celebration, we all need a day off to sleep well, wind down and get our children ready for school.

On this day, tell your child about school, explaining that it will be a new place filled with a kind teacher and kids that are his age. Open up his school bag together with him, and delightfully explain to him some fun activities in his text book. Once you see that joy on his face, tell him there are more to come, together with nice, yummy food, a fun time with other children, singing and art.

Remember to let your child know that you will be waiting for him to tell you all about school on the first day when you pick him up. That way, you can gauge your child’s response and experience at school, doing the necessary to balance out the details for him, such as getting him more stationery.

2. Thoughtful Orientation Programmes

 

As most schools offer orientation programmes, be sure you attend them because they offer you some vital facts surrounding the school, such as information about the school premises, classrooms and gyms. At times, information will be obtained from you and documented on paper or digitally during orientation.

MindChamps’ orientation for parents are superbly thoughtful and exhaustive, applicable not just for the start of Playgroup, Nursery and Kindergarten but for all Champs who are commencing classes basically. What is more, at orientation, Champs meet their teachers, with whom they will be spending a lot of time.

In addition, your child will familiarise himself with the school premises, while you gain an understanding of the key learning outcomes and what to prepare for your child through the curriculum talk/update. This usually occurs at the start of the year. This is applicable to all Champs, whether they are starting school for the first time or otherwise.

3. Play with Your Child, for a Securely-attached Kid

 

In the book Talking with the Sky, authors Brian Caswell and David Chiem address the secret behind “securely-attached children” who are “able to separate from parent with confidence.” The secret to such children lies in the fact that their parents tend to play more with them.

The book lists the quote from Reverend Jesse Jackson, “Your children need your presence more than your presents.”

Thus, spend quality time in playing and bonding with your child; the benefits could well be seen on the first day of school, when your child is able to enjoy school right from the start, fully aware that Mummy will be there for him when school is over.

The book continues to explore that “bonding with children is different from spoiling them,” and that bonding is “the easiest parenting task of all”, being the “least expensive too”.

And all it takes is a hug. So go ahead, plan for the first day of school with a hug!

4. Make Friends

 

Another confident booster for your child lies in making friends. When conversing with your child about school, throw light on how interesting it will be for her to find out about the similarities as well as differences there are to the friends around her. Nurture her inquisitive nature as a child to find out about the right things, such as cultural differences and different pets. Before you know it, your child will have good friends so that she will enjoy school in this aspect too.

5. Establish A Sound Sleep Routine

 

Your child will probably be highly excited with all the occurrences at school, including the new friends he’s made, so understandably, you’d have to introduce a wind down time so that your child can get the necessary sleep he needs.

In Talking with the Sky, Caswell and Chiem write about the importance of sleep, as it affects children’s concentration the following day. Indeed, at the tender age when “three- to 10-year-olds need 10-12 hours [of sleep] a night,” the authors suggest that “children spend 30 minutes unwinding with a quiet activity such as doing a jigsaw puzzle, reading a book or quietly playing with a favourite toy before starting their bedtime routine.”

The bedtime routine takes another 30 minutes and they include wearing pyjamas, brushing teeth, a goodnight hug and then soft music.

“This way, your child will anticipate sleep at a non-conscious level.”

Indeed, that is sound advice, and your child will be ready for school the next day, all fresh and ready for more learning.

4 Simple Ways to Teach Gratitude and Generosity

4 Simple Ways to Teach Gratitude and Generosity

 

In a developed and affluent society where we enjoy a relatively high standard of living, it is easy to take these comforts for granted.

For parents, our challenge is not only to fight apathy in ourselves, but also to ensure it doesn’t take root in our children. It can be hard — with easy access to a good education, comfortable homes and ample toys, how do we help our children develop a spirit of gratitude and even generosity towards others? It will take an intentional effort for us to cultivate these values in them.

Consider these four simple strategies that are easily implemented:

1. Count Your Blessings

 

Research has shown that individuals who practice gratitude enjoy a better quality of life overall. They are healthier, more positive and more resilient under pressure. While gratitude may not come naturally to everyone, it can certainly be nurtured.

Try this simple exercise with your children each night before they go to bed. Take turns to share three things that you were grateful for in that day. These may be simple things such as having a comfortable bed to sleep in, or a favourite meal at dinner. Over time, our children will become much more attuned to the positive aspects of their lives and get into the habit of showing gratitude for these things, people and occurrences.

2. Say ‘Thank You’

 

Another way to inculcate this value is to get our children to express gratitude tangibly. Encouraging them to say ‘thank you’ after receiving help is a good habit to cultivate. Writing simple notes to express their thanks is another option. A quick look at our calendar features a number of dates when we can encourage our children to do this, such as Teachers’ Day, Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day.

3. Start Where You Are

 

Once we have successfully set our children on the path to practicing gratitude, we’ll notice that they will be more inclined to feel greater empathy for others, and express a desire to help them.

We don’t often need to look very far to find someone who needs our help. Observe your immediate neighbourhood, and keep a look out for opportunities to help a neighbour or even a specific group in your community. You and your child might volunteer to do the weekly grocery shopping for an elderly neighbour, or even babysit a young child so that the parents can enjoy a much-needed date night.

Remember to get the children involved and get their suggestions on who you can help together. With practice, they will learn to be more sensitive towards other people’s needs, and be proactive in helping when they can.

4. Use What You Have

 

What passions, talents and resources do your family members have? Write these down together and brainstorm how you may use them to contribute to your community. An older child with a flair for language and drama may want to host a weekly book reading session at the neighbourhood library. A child who plays an instrument may want to hold a small concert to cheer up the residents in an eldercare facility. There are many opportunities to impact our communities and enrich their lives by channelling our children’s talents and interests this way.

As we begin to express gratitude and practice generosity with our children, we might find that opportunities present themselves often so we just have to be alert and respond. Ultimately, we need to give our children the space and time to practice these values and let these take root in their lives. These values will certainly place them on the path to a more empathetic, socially conscious and fulfilling life.

 

© 2017 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.
Written by Judith Xavier

10 Questions You Should Ask Your Infant Care Provider Before Enrolling Your Baby

10 Questions You Should Ask Your Infant Care Provider Before Enrolling Your Baby

 

Choosing the right infant care  for your baby can be daunting, but it does not have to be if you know which questions to ask.

After you have garnered the basic information about an infant care centre, including its location, license and awards, hygiene and fees, it is time to ask more specific questions that give you key information about the centre and whether it is the most suitable one for your child.

Here is a handy list of 10 questions to get you started.

Is the infants’ area separate from childcare?

 

Enquire about the layout of the centre, including whether or not the day-to-day care for infants takes place in a separate area from the rest of the childcare centre.

Infants have different needs than older children and may be more sensitive to noises and stimulation. Providing a designated area for infants ensures their safety while giving them the freedom and space to play and explore. Some infant care centres allocate specific areas for sleeping, activities, bathing, and food preparation.

What is the care routine at the infant care centre?

 

Infants thrive in a regular routine. Ask for details on the infant care centre’s care routine, and do not be afraid to ask for specifics (i.e. What are the steps they take in bathing the infants? What is the naptime routine?).

What is the ratio of time that the infants spend in their cots versus outside of their cots?

 

Some parents may be concerned that at an infant care centre, babies are essentially put in their cots all day – or the majority of it, anyway. The key concern is that their babies are not getting enough stimulation.

To quell those worries, ask how much time the infants spend in their cots, and what they are doing when they are in their cots. Some sensory exercises between caretaker and baby may actually take place while the baby is in the cot, in which the baby is highly engaged – which is far from the situation of “leaving” the baby in the cot.

Related to this question is how much time the infants get to spend out of the cot interacting with the world and people, including other babies, around them.

What parts of the curriculum is backed by research?

 

Infants are capable of more than we may think. They are experiential learners, and one of the biggest responsibilities of any infant care centre should be to provide infants with diverse opportunities and age-appropriate stimulation to learn and grow. That is where the curriculum comes in.

The mark of a trustworthy and effective curriculum is one that is expert-approved and backed by research. It is not enough to know the daily schedule and what programmes are taught in a curriculum. Go one step further. Ask what science these programmes are grounded in, if any. Additionally, does the curriculum feature a semi-individualised approach?

What are the caregivers’ qualifications and training?

 

Would you entrust your health to a doctor who did not have the right qualifications and training? Similarly, when choosing an infant care provider, it is crucial to ask what the caregivers’ qualifications and training are, and how often they undergo additional training to stay up to date on the best research-backed practices.

What is the teacher-student ratio at the infant care centre?

 

Generally, the lower the teacher-student ratio, the more individual attention your child will receive. The teacher-student ratio at MindChamps is 1:3 to better ensure that each child receives ample attention, one-on-one engagement and care.

What should be packed?

 

Some infant care centres ask that you pack a small bag for your child every day while other centres let you store basic necessities at school (diapers, extra clothes, bath soap, etc.).

Is there the option of packing your child’s own food from home once he or she moves onto solids?

If you pack expressed breast milk for your child, how will it be stored and reheated at the centre?

Does the centre allow you to pack a “lovey” or favourite toy for your child?

How does the centre communicate with parents and how frequently do they provide updates on the children’s progress?

 

Parent-centre communication is key in developing trust and keeping parents abreast of their babies’ developmental progress. Ask which modes of communication the centre incorporates and prefers: apps and check-in portals, communication books, emails, text messages or newsletters. How often are caregiver-parent meetings conducted? Does the centre provide you with the educarers’ phone numbers for ease of reaching them directly?

From bigger inquiries about what is currently being covered in the infant curriculum, to smaller matters such as how long your baby napped that day – you should feel like the infant care centre prioritises your concerns.

Situational question: What will the caregiver do if a child will not stop crying?

 

Sometimes it is helpful to pose situational questions, which may give you a better idea of how an educarer or principal problem-solves or thinks in a specific event.

For instance, you may ask, “What would you do if a child will not stop crying?” Depending on what the response is (i.e. “check the baby’s diaper; see if he or she needs to be burped; check if the baby is hungry; carry and soothe the baby”), you may enquire further with, “What if the baby is still crying?” and so forth, to further explore what the educarer’s plan of action is and whether or not it agrees with you.

You could use a situational question that brings to light how your baby’s specific needs or temperament would be handled. For example, if your baby has colic, you could try a situational question that lets you know whether the caregivers are experienced in taking care of colicky babies.

How does the infant care centre keep track of the babies’ developmental progress?

 

This is an important question because if the infant care centre assures you that their curriculum will boost your child’s cognitive, motor, linguistic, social skills, etc., then the centre should have an organised system to keep track of and document the babies’ progress.

Many infant care centres may have a routine report or chart with the skillsets listed, which they give to the parents. Ask whether or not you can see a sample of the report (one that has not been filled in) to find out how detailed and comprehensive it is.

 

6 Empowering Lessons to Teach Your Children

6 Empowering Lessons to Teach Your Children

From the day your child was born, you have envisioned a bright future for him/her – one filled with huge dreams and potential that serves as an inspiration for those whom he/she is bound to meet in life. So, what can you do to ensure that your little one makes that fearless spirit and the confidence of a champion a part of who he/she is while going through the ups and downs of life?

Here, we share six important life lessons that you can incorporate into your children’s lives to empower them to grow up into that strong, resilient person that you have imagined since day one:

1. Your happiness is in your hands

We often stress to our children on the importance of being responsible for everything in life, no matter how big or small they may seem. At the same time, it is also crucial that we help them understand that there will be times when roadblocks happen and things may not go as planned. Instead of letting situations like this pull them down, we need to bring across the message that their happiness is not dependent on the circumstances of their lives – rather, it is up to them to take charge of the situation and find ways to make things work. In short, there is no need to sit back and wait for someone else to make things better when they can do it themselves.MIndChamps Parent Blog

2. The power of gratitude

As parents, it is natural for us to go the extra mile for our children to give them the best things in life – some of which they are completely oblivious to. To avoid them from developing a false sense of entitlement or to take things for granted, it may be worthwhile to point out the wonderful things that we (and the other people in their lives) do out of our love for them. This essentially teaches children the value of gratitude and emphasise the importance of being thankful for everything that they have in life. At the same time, it also brings to light the value of paying it forward by doing something nice for others, whenever they get the chance to. After all, this also allows them to live up to the saying, “One good turn deserves another”.

3. Confidence in your own body shape

Through the messages that are communicated by the media these days, children are led to believe that their self-worth and confidence are tied to the size and shape of their bodies. This eventually leads them to develop an image of “the perfect body shape” in their minds, one that leads them to go to great lengths to achieve in order to fit in.

To turn this around, our children need to realise that their accomplishments are not reflected merely in the shape of their hips and thighs, nor the size of their muscles. We need to help them see that the world is filled with successful individuals such as doctors, politicians, businessmen and women, and scientists who come in various shapes and sizes. Thus, they should make it their mission to find the one thing in life which they are truly good at that brings them joy and a sense of fulfilment, rather than focusing on achieving that “perfect body shape”.

4. True beauty lies in your behaviour

We often define a person’s beauty through their external appearance. However, there is another side of beauty that is often overlooked – and that involves the way a person behaves (i.e. when they show positive values such as kindness, compassion and generosity).

Our children need to realise that it is the way that they behave towards others that really defines their beauty, as this helps them become a better person. When they shift their focus from the external aesthetics (e.g. having the perfect hair or face shape) to the qualities that make them beautiful on the inside, there are many things they can do to inspire others and to make the world a better place to live in.

5. Making the best of your intelligence

We all have a skill or area in which we are good at. In fact, research shows that girls often have an advantage when it comes to language and emotional skills, while boys tend to do better in their motor skill development. Our children shouldn’t have to doubt if their unique strengths are good enough, nor should they feel like there is a need to “hide” their intelligence in order to fit in. Instead, we need to encourage them to take pride in their strengths by letting them make the most of it and to give them the opportunity to develop it further. Along the way, do be generous with your praises by acknowledging their efforts to give their best.

6. Stand up for your beliefs

It takes a lot of strength and self-confidence to stand up for the things we believe in, and the toughest part often involves making our stand to those who do not agree with us. Despite the challenges, this is by far, one of the most valuable lessons that we should impart to our children.

From going after their dream job to standing up for friends who are being unfairly treated, there are various situations which give our children the chance to step out of their comfort zone by standing up for what they believe in. On our part, we need to do all we can to model this behaviour and encourage them in their pursuits of making tough choices.

At MindChamps PreSchool, children are instilled with positive values such as compassion and gratefulness through their day-to-day lessons. Visit your preferred centre now to find out more!

8 Ways to Encourage Curiosity in Children

8 Ways to Encourage Curiosity in Children

An essential component in education and in life, curiosity drives us to learn new things and discover how things Encourage Curiosity in Childrenwork around us. While there are various ways to stimulate our curiosity, it is crucial that we instil this in our children from young.

“Stimulating your child’s curiosity is a wonderful gift because it enables them to continually learn, grow and question the world they live in,” author of the Molly Moccasin books, Victoria Ryan O’Toole, shares with HowToLearn.com. She further explains that curiosity also helps children develop a healthy imagination and a sense of creativity, as well as acts as a stepping stone towards a successful future.

While most children are curious by nature and will always be up to discovering new things, there are others who need help to stimulate their curiosity. To help you along, here are some things you can do to encourage your children’s curiosity during the early years:

1. Answer their questions

Answering your child’s 1,002 questions every day can prove to be a challenge, but the last thing you want to do is to reply with a “Because I said so” or “Because that’s how it works” for convenience’s sake. Not only will this confuse her further, it will also discourage her from putting her learning and thinking caps on.

As much as possible, try to give your child an answer and engage her by discussing about the topic further. If you don’t know the answer to her question, you can suggest that both of you work together to find out. Do get her to contribute ideas on the possible places to look for answers (i.e. books, magazines or the Internet). At the end of the day, you’d want to assure your child that it pays to be curious and learn about how things work.

2. Be curious yourself

Your children learn best from observing what you do, so do take this chance to role model and pique their curiosity. Make it a point to raise questions that serve as a learning point for them as you go about the day’s activities. For example, while cooking dinner, you could ask “This sauce makes the stir-fry taste so yummy. I wonder what’s in it?” or “Why does the rainbow appear after that heavy downpour?”. You can brainstorm with your children on the possible answers, and then do some research together to find the right answers.

See also: Play is Important in More Ways Than One

3. Break away from routine

While having a set routine of activities helps to keep the day running smoothly, making small tweaks in your children’s daily activities can help to stimulate their thinking and encourage their curiosity and creativity. For example, you can change their daily breakfast menu (i.e. from the usual omelet with toast to blueberry pancakes) to expose them to new dishes and flavours. From here, get them to share with you on which one they like better and what other dishes they would like to start the day with.

4. Let them pursue their interests

Drawn by her curiosity, your child will show interest in certain activities and topics. Although you may have expectations when it comes to activities that are deemed appropriate for your child, do give her some freedom to explore those that she is interested in as well. Your child’s interest and curiosity paves way for learning which opens her mind to knowledge and new experiences. So, instead of saying to her “Stop playing the guitar and focus on your homework”, go on and encourage her by going through online tutorials to perfect her strumming.

5. Share open-ended stories

There are many ways to freshen up your children’s bedtime story routine and spur their creativity in the process. Instead of reading the same stories numerous times – although they can’t seem to get enough of it – try making it more fun by leaving the ending up to their imagination. Besides this, you can also get them to think of a new title and create a different beginning of the story to better retain their interest and attention in the story.

See also: How to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read

6. Visit new places

Visiting new places (e.g. a foreign country or a different neighbourhood/state) opens up your child to a world of new experiences and stimulates their curiosity. Through this, she will be able to experience new cultures and being in a different environment than the one she is used to, as well as witness how other people live. This certainly beats relying on documentaries on TV or turning to books or online videos for answers to her questions.

7. Leave little surprises

From a short note stuck on their lunchbox to wish them a good day at school to having a surprise guest over for dinner, positive surprises do wonders to boost your child’s mood and drive their curiosity. This experience will stimulate their thinking as they ask themselves questions such as “When did mum/dad slipped in that note?” and “How did they manage to track down our previous neighbor and invite him/her for dinner?”.

8. Cut out the B-word

The last thing you want to do is to lead your child to think that boredom is the easy way out, so do be extra careful about labelling activities or situations as “boring”. When a routine activity gets to a point of being monotonous, encourage your child to look at it from a different light and find new ways to make it interesting. For people who are constantly curious, there is always something new to learn, discover and understand – even if that something has been done over a dozen times.

Find out how children are encouraged to be a life-long learner, among other life lessons, during their time at MindChamps Nursery. Schedule a visit to your preferred centre now!

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