How to Raise an Emotionally Resilient Child – Tips and Advice from Experts

how to raise an emotionally resilient child

Some people always seem to bounce back no matter what setbacks befall them, while others seem to be greatly affected by their misfortunes. Those who bounce back from adversity are described as ‘emotionally resilient’.

People who are emotionally resilient have been found to be more successful in school and work – they are also healthier, happier, they live longer and are less likely to experience depression. Andrew Shatté and Karen Reivich, authors of The Resilience Factor, say that resilient people are better able to deal with stress and adversity, and more likely to explore new opportunities. On the other hand, children with lower levels of emotional resilience have been found to be at greater risk of poor educational performance.

The good news is that children can be taught to challenge their previous thinking and learn cognitive skills that will help them develop emotional resilience.

What is emotional resilience?

Emotional resilience is the ability to cope, change and persevere when things go wrong.

A resilient person is one who is able to recover quickly after a setback, which can be as simple as struggling to construct a wooden tower block, or as profound as coming to terms with the death of a loved one. People – including young children – who are emotionally resilient employ positive and optimistic thinking patterns to deal with life’s setbacks.

Emotional resilience is not necessarily something we are born with, but children can learn the cognitive skills that support resilience. These skills include activities such as thinking, reasoning, conceiving, imagining, fantasising and constructing a self-image.

More than the genetics of intelligence, resilience is determined by our thinking style – and as we will see, thinking style is something that we can influence, even in very young children. Thus, it makes good sense to start developing emotional resilience in children at an early age. When warm, caring adults foster realistic optimism and a positive worldview, the children around them develop lifelong emotional resilience.

 

MindChamps’ Thinking Cap programme fosters emotional resilience in your child and empowers him/her with effective thinking skills and learning techniques. Book your seats to our upcoming complimentary workshop to find out more!

 

Tips for building emotional resilience in children

Here are some key ‘resilience skills’ and some suggestions for how you, as a parent, can develop these skills in your children.

1. Impulse control

Impulse control is best defined as the ability to control impulses and ‘wait’, while avoiding being over-emotional or losing control. Poor impulse control can lead to problematic behaviour such as over-spending or violent behaviour in adolescence and adulthood.

How to help your child achieve it:

  • Calm your child down if s/he is about to lash out physically when upset
  • Encourage him/her to delay gratification by saying, “Good things come to those who wait” and “You can’t always have everything you want!” (especially while shopping)
  • In ‘the heat of the moment’, use strategies such as taking deep breaths, counting to 10…or just walking away

2. Understanding cause and effect

Understanding the notion of cause and effect is a necessary skill, as it helps to keep our impulses under control and plan future outcomes. This involves understanding where the responsibility lies in a given situation and whether it is within our control, and the fact that volitional choices can and do change the outcome of any situation.

An understanding of cause and effect is not only helpful in social and emotional circumstances – it also underpins all logical thoughts in areas such as science, mathematics and literature.

So, do take the first step to teaching your children to take responsibility for their choices and to understand that better choices create positive outcomes.

How to help your child achieve it:

  • If your child wants another child’s toy, explain that simply grabbing it from another will probably just lead to a fight
  • Talk children through an “I want it now” urge

 

How do you open up your child’s mind to other points of view and instil empathy and self-confidence in him/her? Find out more on the next page.

10 Ways to Raise a Well-Rounded Child

how to raise a well-rounded child

A happy, well-balanced child is one who feels safe, both physically and emotionally. He/she is also valued for who he/she is, and not what he/she can do. Parents can raise their children to be happy, well-rounded individuals by surrounding them with love, happiness and encouragement, for it is the combination of all these factors that helps them feel confident about themselves and motivates them to reach their goals.

“The goal as a parent is to help your child feel competent and confident, and to help her develop a sense of passion and purpose,” says Susan Stiffelman, MFT, an educational therapist and author of Parenting Without Power Struggles. Indeed, it is the education that happens before a child starts their learning journey in school that empowers a well-rounded development.

Thus, if you are looking to raise a child who is well-balanced, healthy and happy, do consider these 10 tips and strategies to help you get there:

1. Celebrate and praise efforts

Studies conducted by Dr Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University and leading researcher in the fields of achievement and success, revealed that a person’s mindset has the power to influence behaviour. She suggests that parents praise their children for their hard work instead of using labels such as “smart” or “talented”. This may lead to them having a fixed mindset, and people who are categorised as such are usually reluctant to take on challenges as they believe that their achievements are a result of their innate abilities. On the other hand, people with a growth mindset are usually more willing to face challenges with hard work as they believe that learning is a life-long process.

2. Respect and acknowledge different learning styles

You might find that you work best in complete silence, but that does not mean that your child should study in a noise-free environment too. Most of us tend to lean towards one or two types of learning style, so it may be worthwhile to take note how your child learns best so you can identify his/her learning style.

For example, if your child is a visual learner, using flash cards and drawing charts might help him/her learn better. And for kinaesthetic learners, turning a learning concept into a fun, hands-on game could be what it takes to help them study better.

3. Keep their curiosity alive

Children are born with an innate curiosity about the world around them, and it is important to leverage this trait to raise life-long learners. This should start with parents creating an intellectually safe place, where a child is free to ask any question or express his/her opinion – as long as it is respectful.

Meghan McCormick, an American elementary school teacher and research associate at MDRC, a non-profit education and social policy research organisation, says that children should be encouraged to ask questions while parents should refrain from just feeding them with answers or use phrases such as “Because I said so.” For instance, when a child asks, “Why are the leaves falling off the trees?”, she suggests that parents probe further by asking, “What do you think?”. This not only provides insights into the child’s opinion, it also doubles up as a teaching opportunity and sends the message that we value the opinions of our children.

4. The power of reading

It is never too early to start reading to your child!

Starting a good collection of books at home and reading to pre-schoolers comes with great benefits as it encourages language development, reading skills and their future success in school.

“Even if your child is still too young to understand everything you are saying, he will learn to notice the rhythms of language, which will help him build a listening vocabulary,” explains Susan M. Heim, author of It’s Twins! Parent-to-Parent Advice from Infancy Through Adolescence.

In fact, a study conducted by The Institute of Education in the United Kingdom found that 5-year-olds who were read to daily by their parents were less likely to develop behavioural problems in school.

 

Want to know your child’s reading and writing level? Find out now with a complimentary literacy assessment and learn how MindChamps’ Reading & Writing programmes could help your child!

 

5. Allow some free time

“Play is the major way in which children learn,” says Dr David Elkind, a child development expert and author of The Power Play. He emphasises the fact that children “learn social skills through games and playing with other children”, and that it is important for parents to allow their children time for both play and academic work.

“There’s this idea that education is a race, and that’s false. We want to go so quickly, but you stunt things when you go too fast,” Dr Elkind added. Although adding playtime to crammed study schedules can be tricky, there are simple ways to work around them which is worth a try, as this helps to maintain a good balance in your child’s life.

 

Giving your child a hug helps to ease the tension and improves his/her concentration. More on this and other tips for raising a well-rounded on the next page. 

8 Things You Can Do to Help Your Child Prepare for Pre-school

how to help your child prepare for pre-school

You have been looking forward to your child’s first day of pre-school. Amidst your excitement at the thought of your little one starting his/her learning journey, another part of you can’t help but worry that he/she may not have the necessary skills to learn and play alongside other children of the same age.

But early childhood experts have conferred that pre-schoolers do not need to know everything before taking this big step – they just need to be ready and keen to build and develop new skills.

Nancy Hertzog, the author of Ready for Preschool: Prepare Your Child for Happiness and Success at School, mentions that being prepared for school is a combination of being capable of learning reading and writing skills, as well as having the basic physical and social skills that were been formed during the early years.

If you are still having doubts about your child’s readiness for pre-school, you can step in to help by doing these things:

1. Teach him/her to communicate

When your child talks and listens to what you say, he/she is working on his/her language skills – and it is the combination of these skills that will shape your child’s success in school. You can help to expand your children’s vocabulary by introducing new words and expressions, and having regular conversations with them.

Dr Rebecca Palacios, Senior Curriculum Advisor for ABCmouse.com, a subscription-based online education programme for 2- to 7-year-olds, says that teachable moments come from the child’s own observations or from things they are interested in because children are naturally excited and curious to learn at this stage. “The trick is to be aware that [although] the things we see and do as we go through our day may seem mundane to us, to our children they are wonders,” she explained.

2. Encourage independence

Like adults, children learn from their successes as well as their mistakes. So, here’s a note to remind you not to rush to your child’s rescue whenever they encounter a challenging situation.

“Socially adept children learn from parents who have confidence in their child’s ability to soothe themselves in a difficult situation and make appropriate choices when allowed to or, at the very least, learn and grow from their mistakes,” shares Grace Geller, pre-school director of A Children’s Carousel in Weston, Florida.

Geller recommends that we encourage our children to master basic self-care skills such as hand washing, nose wiping, opening lunch boxes, zipping a backpack and covering their mouth when coughing and sneezing. Depending on your children’s age, you might also want to teach them to dress themselves in the morning, but be prepared to offer assistance at the beginning.

3. Organise and tidy up

One of the things which children are expected to do frequently in pre-school is to tidy up after each activity. You can start practicing this at home by teaching your child the art of being organised. After a play session, tell your child that it is time to clean up and show him/her where each item should be kept. Make it fun by singing a clean-up song and work with him/her on how to keep clothes, toys and art materials organised.

Once your child gets the hang of it, allow him/her to clean up on his/her own. Make sure to be generous with your praises when he/she does it well.

4. Develop social skills

Social skills are necessary for pre-school, and this includes the ability to share, take turns, play with (or alongside) peers and participate in pretend play. The best way for your child to learn these skills is while he/she is interacting with other children, so make sure to give him/her plenty of opportunities to go on play dates before starting pre-school.

 

After spending all their time with you at home, your children need to get used to the idea of being away from you during their day at pre-school. Go to the next page to find out how you can help them cope.

How to Choose a Preschool for Your Child: 10 Things to Look Out For

choosing a pre-school for your child

Your child’s early years in pre-school marks the beginning of his/her formal learning journey. Although a lot less structured than primary school, it is here that your child is taught to listen to teachers, interact with friends and pick up basic skills such as reading, writing and art. For some children, their foray into pre-school also marks the first time that they are away from their caregivers for the better half of the day, and this could be a huge transition for them too.

So, how do you go about choosing a pre-school that is right for your child?

Here, we have prepared a list of 10 things to look out for when selecting a pre-school for your child:

Note: The importance placed on each factor varies from person to person.

 

1. Location

When shortlisting pre-schools, it is advisable to opt for ones that are conveniently located near your home or workplace as this helps to make pick-up and drop-off easier. This also enables you to get to the centre with ease in times of emergency (e.g. when your child is ill). With a chosen pre-school in mind, do take note of factors such as what time your child will need to wake up, whether he/she will need to be on the school bus or if you can drive/walk him/her to school by yourself.

2. Curriculum

For all the pre-schools that you have shortlisted, do schedule a visit to the centres to check out the learning environment and to meet the principal and staff. Find out about the curriculum, whether it leans more towards academics or structured play-based. Ideally, you should have a set of preferences in terms of the learning style and curriculum which suits your child best as this will help you settle on a pre-school which meets your requirements.

 

Want to know more about the award-winning MindChamps PreSchool curriculum? Click this sentence to book a visit to your preferred centre now!

 

3. School values

Values are important as they shape your child’s development during the early years. Thus, it is important to find out the values that are emphasised in the pre-school you are considering.

Good values such as kindness, patience, perseverance, trust, honesty, graciousness and self-control are some good ones that we would want our children to learn from young. Find out from parents whose children are attending the pre-school if the teachers practice these values in their interactions with their students. At the end of the day, you should be looking for pre-school teachers who love the children they are caring for and are willing to work through issues with your child patiently, and not to push them to unattainable standards or view their role as an early childhood educator as “just a job”.

4. Teachers

When visiting the pre-school, ask about the strength of their teaching staff and the minimum qualifications required. Does the pre-school consistently train their teachers to keep them updated with the latest teaching techniques to make learning fun for the pre-schoolers?

If possible, do take your child along with you during the visit and observe how the teachers and principal interact with him/her. Do they make an effort to engage with your child? Also take note of the teachers’ interaction with the children during lesson time as this will give you an idea of what goes on during a typical day in pre-school.

5. Teacher-Child Ratio

While this varies among different pre-schools, all centres should meet the minimum requirements set by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), which can be seen as follows:

choosing a pre-school for your child
(Photo: ecda.gov.sg)

 

What should you look out for when it comes to protocols on hygiene and communication with parents set up by your pre-school of choice? More on this on the next page.

How to Help Children Deal with Change: Simple Strategies that Work

helping children deal with change

The world we live in today is constantly changing. From having to move house, to making new friends and welcoming new products and information in the market, the pace of change is progressing at a rate that is faster than what we are able to keep up with at times.

Change can be overwhelming, especially for children who thrive on routine and appreciate the comfort of knowing what happens when. While we try our best to shelter our children from the effects of the changes that happen in their lives, it is also important that we teach them to cope with change – both big and small – and arm them with valuable life skills along the way.

Coping with change starts with building resilience

Records of research conducted indicate that children learn how to cope with change and the ups and downs of life by developing resilience. Widely known as one of the inherent traits we are all born with, psychologists have confirmed that resilience is, in fact, one of the most important qualities that parents can teach their children – alongside compassion and gratitude.

Studies have shown that children as young as two years old learn about stress management and coping strategies by watching and copying the actions of the adults around them. In addition, there is also concrete evidence which indicates how good early relationships with carers can help to make children more resilient – and the earlier this resilience-building is started, the better.

5 simple tips for helping children cope with change

As parents, we can build resilience in our children by letting them know that although some aspects of life are bound to change, your love and care for them remains constant.

Here are some simple strategies which you can put in place to help your children:

1. Answer their questions

Your children will have a lot of questions on their mind, so you need to create an environment in which they feel secure asking you about the changes they are going through. Asking questions is a way of helping them process the change and the answers they receive from both mum and dad will help them deal with the transition.

2. Give them advance notice

Nobody enjoys coping with changes that occur out of a sudden, so we should not expect our children to embrace changes that are thrown to them without a moment’s notice. To ensure that both of you get a good head start in embracing the change, do talk them through the changes early to allow them to get their heads around it. Make sure to give them opportunities to ask questions as well, as this helps them cope with the change.

3. Keep to routines as much as possible

Do not attempt to change everything at once. As much as possible, try to keep all routines in your children’s lives in place – and this includes bedtime routines, TV and homework time and the books you read to them.

4. Give them time to grieve

When we move to a new place, change schools or make any changes in life, we leave memories behind. Let your children talk to you about what they miss and don’t jump into pointing out all the wonderful things about the new change right away. Give them time to “mourn” for what they have lost before helping them move on with life.

5. Expect some regression

While coping with change, it is common for children to regress to earlier behaviours. For example, a child who had been toilet trained may revert back to soiling himself/herself and one who have learnt to sleep without a night light would once again be afraid to sleep in the dark. Take comfort in knowing that it is normal for them to behave this way, and try to be patient as you work with them to get past old habits and behaviours.

 

Empower your child with effective learning and thinking skills which will help him/her excel in school and in life. Find out more about MindChamps’ Thinking Cap programme now – book seats to our upcoming complimentary workshop!

National Day Celebrations at MindChamps PreSchool @ Tanglin: A Lesson on Our Little Red Dot

In celebration of SG51, Champs at MindChamps PreSchool @ Tanglin were given an eye-opening history lesson on the early days of Singapore and the journey Lee Kuan Yew, our founding father, embarked on to bring our country to where it is today.

Champs were introduced to our Minister Mentor and his contributions to Singapore through a series of games and activities prepared by our Champion teachers.

mindchamps preschool tanglin

mindchamps preschool tanglin

mindchamps preschool tanglin

Stepping into the shoes of Mr & Mrs Lee!

To end off their learning journey, Champs did a Show & Tell project where they acted out some scenes and played the various roles in the Lee family.

mindchamps preschool tanglin

Here’s a snippet of our K2 Champs, Kaygen Wong and Emma Yong, acting as Mr and Mrs Lee:

mindchamps preschool tanglin

Watch the video now!

 

 

September School Holiday 2016: 12 Amazing Activities to Bust Your Children’s Boredom

It’s September once again, which means that the week-long September School Holiday is just around the corner!

While your children celebrate this revelation with rounds of cheers, you know that this is your cue to put together a schedule of activities to keep them happy and occupied during the week of their break.

Let us help you out with this – get started now by adding these must-not-miss activities to your list!

Watch

1. The Three Little Pigs

september school holiday 2016 activities

Follow the charming adventures of the three little pigs as they face the big bad wolf in the most surprising and witty ways possible. An original adaptation of the classic fairy tale, The Three Little Pigs doubles up as a lesson for children on how one can achieve success if he/she puts in the hard work and persevere.

Date: From now until 16 September 2016

Venue: KC Arts Centre @ Robertson Quay

Ticket Prices: Starts from $95 for a family package of 4

Book your tickets now!

2. Jack and the Beanstalk

september school holiday 2016 activities

Organised by ACT 3 International, this classic fairy tale brings plenty of surprises and twists as Jack sells his cow for 5 magic beans – and finds himself in the land above the clouds. It’s a perfect show for children (and their giants) filled with enormous shoes, tiny houses, showers of silver and gold and a big, leafy explosion.

Date: 6 to 18 September 2016

Venue: Drama Centre Black Box @ National Library Building

Ticket Prices: $28 (Weekdays), $38 (Weekends & Public Holiday) – Rates are applicable for both adults and children, excluding SISTIC fees

Book your tickets now!

3. Paw Patrol Makes Its Way to City Square Mall

september school holiday 2016 activities

The Paw Patrol makes their debut in Asia by pouncing into City Square Mall this September School Holiday 2016!

Catch Chase, Marshall and Ryder ‘live’ on stage as they respond to Mayor Goodway’s call for help to save the Adventure Bay Talent Show. With a minimum spend of $50 at City Square Mall, you will also get to redeem a meet & greet pass to snap pictures with the 3 heroes of the show.

After the show, make sure to also check out the Furry Fun Carnival at the outdoor City Green park. Pose for photos with the life-sized Paw Patrol vehicles and enjoy other activities such as a dog-themed inflatable and Dog Pirate Ship.

Date: 3 to 11 September 2016 (Except Mondays)

Time: Tues to Fri – 2pm & 7pm, Sat & Sun – 1pm, 4pm & 7pm

Venue: Level 1 Atrium, City Square Mall

More details here.

 

Play

4. Anlene Cycle Challenge

september school holiday 2016 activities

In celebration of Anlene’s 25-year track record as the leading bone health product in Singapore, the 250,000km At Your Best with Anlene Cycling Challenge will be held at selected heartland malls in August and September. The Cycling Challenge booths will be set up at Bedok Central and NEX heartland malls, where you and your family can ride for a good cause and contribute towards the 250,000km target. When the target distance is achieved, Anlene will donate $25,000 to help the underprivileged seniors at Lions Befrienders, the adopted charity for the At Your Best with Anlene campaign.

If you prefer to ride your own bicycles outdoors or at the gym, you can also pledge the distance that you will be completing and post a photo with the hashtag #Anlene250 on Facebook or Instagram.

Date: 22 to 28 August 2016 (Jurong Point), 2 to 5 September 2016 (Bedok Central), 8 to 11 September 2016 (NEX Mall)

Time: 12pm to 8pm

More details here.

5. Holiday Camp @ Playeum: Hands-on Budding Entomologists

september school holiday 2016 activities

During this 4-day holiday camp, children aged 6 to 12 will get up-close to the bugs (think, insects, spiders, worms, snails and more) living in and around Playeum’s Children’s Centre for Creativity. Through daily walks, photography, drawing and research, they will be encouraged to observe the way of life and habits of bugs and raise questions in which they will be guided to answer by themselves.

On the last day of camp, parents will be invited to a mini exhibition to celebrate the children’s learning journey and friendships formed along the way. By the end of the camp, children will be inspired to continue their observations of the world around them.

Date: 6 to 9 September 2016

Time: 10am to 1pm

Venue: Playeum @ 47 Malan Road #01-23 Gillman Barracks

Cost: $290 per child

More details here.

6. Family Time Precious Time @ Enabling Village

september school holiday 2016 activities

Organised by Families for Life, this free event aims to provide opportunities for all to enjoy family time while supporting the integration of people with disabilities in the community.

Some family-friendly highlights to look forward to includes:

  • Food Decoration Classes (conducted by a chef from SHATEC)
  • Indoor movie screening
  • Bouncy castles
  • Art & Craft corner
  • Talk on caring for an elderly

There will also be a donation drive booth, where you will receive a limited edition Families for Life Picnic Basket and a Sharity Elephant keychain with a donation of $10. All proceeds will go to the Community Chest.

Date: 3 September 2016

Time: 3pm to 9pm (Registration starts at 2.30pm)

Venue: Enabling Village @ 20 Lengkok Bahru

More details here.

 

Got kids who are taking the PSLE next year? Go to the next page for a list of holiday workshops to help them kick start the preparations.