8 Ways to Encourage Curiosity in Children

curiosity in children

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” – Albert Einstein

An essential component in education and in life, curiosity drives us to learn new things and discover how things work 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 neighbour 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.

This article was first published on the MindChamps blog.

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

March School Holiday 2017 – 12 Amazing Activities for Children

The March School Holiday is upon us, and both parents and their children are all set to enjoy this short break from the usual school routines and homework marathons. To help you make the most of this week-long break, we have put together a list of activities that are happening during the holiday week – ranging from enriching school holiday programmes to must-not-miss theatre shows and exhibitions.

Check them out now:

Stage and Theatre Productions

1. A Peter Rabbit Tale

March school holiday 2017
(Image: SISTIC)

Based on the much-loved Beatrix Potter children’s classic, A Peter Rabbit Tale follows the musical adventure of Peter as he discovers the importance of family and the value of being true to yourself by exploring new places and the people he meets along the way. In true Peter Rabbit style, he gets up to all sorts of mischief and lands himself in a web of troubles – the last straw came when he breaks the rules and steals from Mr. McGregor’s garden. Worried about what his beloved mum might say, he decides to leave his comfy rabbit hole and run away into the “big world”.

This show is recommended for children aged 4 to 8.

Date: 24 February to 14 April 2017

Time: Weekdays 10am, Weekends and Public Holidays 11am & 2pm

Venue: KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT

Ticket Prices: Starts from $25

Book now!

2. The Ant & The Grasshopper

March school holiday 2017
(Image: SISTIC)

In the original fable by Aesop, the ants were a hardworking bunch who worked all day while the grasshopper did not understand why one should work hard. With unexpected twists and turns to the tale, there are many lessons we can learn from this interactive musical which revolves around friendship, rewards for hard work, generosity and judging others.

This show is a must-watch for the whole family!

Date: 18 February to 19 March 2017

Time: Various timings available

Venue: SOTA Drama Theatre

Ticket prices: $32 (For both adults and children)

Book now!

3. The Wonderful World of Disney on Ice

March school holiday 2017
(Image: Singapore Sports Hub)

Join Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy as they take you on a walk down memory lane to relive the wonderful Disney moments through your favourite films. From diving into the East Australian Current with Dory, Nemo and Marlin to discover the true meaning of family to prowling the Pride Lands of Africa with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa, there’s something magical for everyone in the family to enjoy during the school holiday.

Date: 15 to 19 March 2017

Time: Various timings available

Venue: Singapore Indoor Stadium

Ticket prices: $25 to $120

Book now!

 

Check out the holiday programmes that are on-going during the break, and enrol your children now – before seats run out! More on the next page…

5 Ways to Help Your P3 Child to Love Science

primary 3 science

Here in Singapore, students embark on the learning journey to discover the wonders of science in primary 3. While most students start off the journey filled with high hopes and excitement (after all, science truly is a fascinating subject filled with amazing discoveries), they may soon lose interest in the subject upon learning that their love and interest may not be enough to help them score well in the science exams.

So, what can you do to help your children retain their passion in the subject and motivate them not to give up hope? Charmaine Choo, Assistant Director of Curriculum and Training at MindChamps shares the following tips to help parents instill a love in science in their children from the start:

1. Make learning fun

The rule of thumb to spur your child’s interest in Science is to make it comprehensible, engaging and fun.

You can achieve this by conducting simple Science experiments with your child such as making slime with cornflour, creating static electricity or making ice lollies. On a good day, you can also “wander and wonder” together. This could involve a trip to a nearby park, the Botanic Gardens or the Science Centre. Alternatively, you can also introduce your child to Science games and/or simulations online.

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

2. Make science relevant

When children see how the knowledge learnt in school is applicable to their lives, they will naturally become curious and interested to learn more.

Watch Science documentaries on channels such as Discovery Channel Animal Planet and National Geographic with your child and ask him/her questions such as:

Q: Why is it common practice to spread and hang towels after using them?

A: This increases their exposed surface area, thereby increasing the rate of evaporation of water.

Q: Why is it necessary to brush your teeth before going to bed?

A: Some bacteria in your mouth respire anaerobically and produce lactic acid that causes tooth decay.

Q: Why is it important to exercise regularly?

A: Aerobic exercise makes the heart stronger.

Q: Why is it important to put fresh milk in the fridge?

A: Low temperature slows the growth of bacteria.

When you relate the things that are taught in school to what your child already knows, this helps to increase his/her retention of the new information.

3. Be supportive of your child’s efforts to learn

Form a learning partnership with your child where partners are equal rather than adopting an instructor/student (master/slave) model. Ask your child what he/she is learning in school and encourage him/her to “fill the gaps” by seeking clarification. Empower your child to understand that learning is a process, and that failure is an important part of that process. Also, focus on your child’s strengths and recognise and celebrate your child’s achievements (no matter how small) as these forms of positive reinforcement will keep your child motivated to learn.

See also: Top Ways to Encourage Your Child to Learn Chinese

4. Inculcate healthy study habits

This includes being ready for class, paying attention during class and revising the material that was covered in class as soon as possible. It is also important to help your child stay organised and in control of his/her work. You can help your child by setting up a system when filing his/her school papers and assignments, and drawing up a simple and realistic timetable to follow every day. With everything in place, your child will be able to take charge of the learning schedule without feeling overwhelmed, and in turn, he/she will be more motivated to learn.

5. Communicate

Encourage your child to express his/her opinion, talk about his/her feelings, and make choices together. Good learners have the confidence to be heard without the fear of being judged, put down, discouraged or ignored.

On the other hand, it is also beneficial to catch up with your child’s teachers every now and then. This will give you a better understanding of the school curriculum and activities and help you support your child better. A positive parent-teacher relationship also demonstrates to your child that he/she can trust his/her teacher.

 

Does your P6 child need help in PSLE Science? Find out more about our PSLE Success™ programme now and book a one-on-one PSLE Learning Strength Evaluation for your child. 

Teen Dating: “Mum, When Can I Start Dating?”

teen dating

The tween years are an interesting time for your children, as they begin to take their first steps towards puberty, and naturally, start getting curious about the world of dating and relationships. The good news is that in those fleeting tween-age years before your young one crosses over from childhood to being a full-fledged teenager, he or she is likely to be open with you about their thoughts and feelings. This is a good time for parents to guide their children towards a healthy understanding of love and relationships.

Get Inside your Child’s World

One of the most valuable ways that you can invest in your parent-child relationship is to connect with your child and understand the world through her eyes. Spend time together, and be present as you initiate conversations on who her friends are, and what she likes, dislikes, dreams and worries about.  This will give insights into your child, and enables you to guide her views on relationships, while addressing any misconceptions that you might pick up on.

Keep Clear of Negative Talk

It can be tempting to steer your child away from all conversations about love and relationships. Some parents may be fearful of their child dating before he is emotionally ready, or dating someone unsuitable. However, avoid making blanket statements about dating such as, “dating is bad for you” and “dating will distract you from your studies, and you will fail!”. Instead, encourage conversations and engage with your children as they share their thoughts with you.

See also: Social Skills for Children – An Age-by-age Guide 

Emphasise Positive Friendships

The most vital relationship advice you can share with your child is that all positive romantic relationships are rooted in strong friendships. Discuss with your child the traits found in good relationships such as mutual respect, compromise, being supportive and having healthy boundaries. Take the time to clearly share how these are also traits that are found in solid friendships. You might even share about the positive experiences of relatives and family friends to provide your child with real-life examples that she can relate to. Provide your child with the opportunities to form healthy friendships with both boys and girls, and open your home to these friends so that they can safely meet  and bond with some parental supervision.

Set Boundaries Early

Some parents opt to take a ‘wait and see’ approach to dating and relationship boundaries, clamping down on when they believe their child has crossed the line. This will likely lead to resentment towards the parents and conflict in the family. Instead, it is advisable to set boundaries with your children even before they start dating. Have an upfront discussion about the do’s and don’ts of dating, and even friendships with the opposite sex. For example, you might want to stipulate that friends of the opposite sex are not allowed in the bedroom, or that an adult must be present when they come over to visit. Setting the expectations right at the start will minimise conflict and miscommunication in future.

See also: 5 Activities that Teach Children About Love 

Be a Positive Role Model

As a general rule, your children will observe how you behave in your relationships and follow the example that you set. In fact, this is probably the most effective way you can positively influence your child’s attitude and behaviour towards relationships, and other areas of life. Invest time and effort in your own marriage to model what a healthy relationship looks like. As your child watches how you interact with your spouse, it sets the standard for the kind of relationships that he will pursue in future.

Explaining dating and relationships to your child can be a challenging task, but also an extremely rewarding one for parents. Ensuring that your child has the right attitude and values in this area will set them up for success in their future relationships – and both your child and their spouse will thank you for it.

Copyright © 2016. Focus on the Family Singapore Ltd.

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

This article was first published on the MindChamps blog

5 Activities that Teach Children about Love

teaching 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.

See also: 10 Life Lessons and Values to Teach Your Children Before They Turn 10

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:

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.

See also: 6 Ways to Teach Your Child to be Grateful in Life

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

This article was first published on the MindChamps blog.

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.

8 Things Parents Do to Raise Successful Children, According to Research

things parents of successful children do

As parents, we want our children to grow up to be happy, healthy and successful. While there is no set technique that is linked to raising successful children, research carried out by psychologists have shown that there are a few things parents of successful children do to bring out the best in them.

Here are some common things that parents do to raise successful children:

1. Give their children chores right from the start

As reported by The Washington Times, research conducted by the University of Mississippi revealed that getting children to help with house chores from as early as 3 or 4 brings about huge benefits. According to Marty Rossmann who led the study, chores teach children about the importance of contributing to the family and give them a sense of empathy as they grow up. Those who grew up doing chores from young also turned out to be well-adjusted, enjoyed better relationships with the people in their life and tend to be more successful in their career.

However, researchers also warn against offering children an allowance in return for chores. Tying chores to a “carrot” may lower the motivation of a child in getting the chores done, as at the end of the day, he/she will only be doing it for the sake of the expected reward.

2. Teach their children good coping skills

With setbacks and disappointments being a natural part of our lives, one of the most important lesson we can pass on to our children is the ability to cope with these defeats. Dr Marie Hartwell-Walker, a US-based psychologist and marriage & family counsellor, shared in a PsychCentral article that children who pick up the skills to cope will gain the strength and confidence to carry on and face life’s challenges – such as when they do not perform as well as expected in exams or when their friends let them down.

One of the best ways to impart this skill to our children is by leading through example. Create opportunities that allow them to observe how you tackle your own challenges head-on and the process you go through when solving problems. In time, they will learn to apply these strategies when faced with similar situations.

See also: 5 Ways to Ease Pre-school Separation Anxiety in Your Child

3. Set high expectations according to their children’s abilities

Oftentimes, the achievement of children is linked to the expectations that their parents set for them in the first place and the things they do to help their children get there. For example, parents who expect their children to further their studies in university will do what they can to nurture their academic achievement and guide them towards success.

The practice of setting high expectations for our children in order to inspire their success is in line with the Pygmalion effect, a psychology finding that states that what we expect of others often becomes a reality. To help your children live up to your expectations, you might want to work with them to find out where their abilities lie, and then set a goal that encourages them to go beyond what they are capable of – taking care to keep it within reasonable limits.

4. Develop their children’s social skills

In our world today, having the knowledge and skills to do a job well is simply not enough to ensure one’s success. It is equally important for one to possess the soft skills to maintain good relationships with the people in their lives, and to have values such as empathy and compassion. These social skills can be instilled in children from young as they go a long way to help them attain success in life.

The correlation between one’s social skills and success in life is affirmed by a 20-year study conducted by researchers from Pennsylvania University and Duke University which tracked more than 700 children across the US from the time they started kindergarten up to age 25. Among the findings generated from the study included the fact that children who were socially competent had a higher likelihood of graduating from college and have a full-time job compared to those with limited social skills. While socially competent children were helpful, cooperative and are able to resolve problems on their own, those with limited social skills had a higher chance of having issues such as getting on the wrong side of law.

See also: Social Skills for Children – An Age-by-age Guide

 

From letting them learn from their failures to resolving your own conflicts in a positive manner, check out the next page for more tips for raising successful children.

MindChamps Allied Care Creates Social Awareness for Children with Developmental Delays

PRESS RELEASE 

MindChamps Allied Care working closely with teachers and families to support a child’s development

Singapore, 8 February 2017 – Figures from the Ministry of Family and Social Development (MSF) show that the number of educators providing learning support to students have increased by three-fold since 2013, thus allowing children with mild developmental needs to seek help. More specialists are working in preschools to help teachers identify developmental delays or needs in children.

MSF stresses the importance of these children benefitting from a mainstream and inclusive learning environment. With early intervention, the child will develop the competencies he or she requires for Primary One.

In most situations, it is beyond a parent’s ability to treat or even detect a child’s developmental delays or needs. MindChamps Allied Care will be organising a series of dedicated events which promote the close working relationship between therapists, teachers and families to support a child’s development.

Early detection is key, for it is the foundation on which therapy can be built upon.

Supporting the capacity of a child to meet the expectations of their school context

School is a context in which children learn how to be strategic learners, treasured friends,  valued community members, creative performers and efficient workers. Being a school student comprises many roles that can be appreciated or challenged by the academic and social expectations of teachers and classmates. In the 21st century, students need to be discerning in an information-saturated world, rather than reciters of facts.

For some students, the classroom can be ‘hard work’ and the playground can be a lonely or unhappy place because of executive functioning difficulties. Hence, using an occupational therapy perspective, our Guest Speaker Dr Susan Lowe’s talk will outline executive functioning abilities that support readiness for learning, presenting a strategic approach to promote student’s engagement in learning across academic and social domains.

The talk will also focus on the importance of strong partnerships between teachers, parents and allied health professionals and provide opportunities to explore the following:

  • How can we identify the strengths and difficulties of a student’s executive functioning abilities during performance in the context of their everyday school activities?
  • What are some effective cognitive strategies which can support a student’s increased engagement in learning within academic domains at school and social domains at home?

Table of Events

Table Of Events - MindChamps Medical

Guest Speaker’s Background

Dr SusanDr Susan Lowe, PHD MAppSc(OT) GradCertHlthSc (OT) is the Owner and Principal Occupational Therapist at Skills for Kids (a paediatric occupational therapy and speech language pathology private practice) in NSW, Australia. She is also Visiting Professor of the Bachelor of Science (Honours), Occupational Therapy degree at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT).

Dr Lowe positions herself strategically in schools in partnership with teachers to increase their capacity to teach students who have executive functioning difficulties. By doing so, she aims to increase students’ readiness for learning through more efficient thinking strategies to develop resilience in vulnerable students.

How to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read

how to raise a child who loves to read

Reading brings a host of benefits to your children during the early years, as it helps to build the neural connections in their brain and sets the pace for cognitive development. Many parents start off this journey by reading to and with their children, which is highly recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

“Reading to children and with children is a very joyous event and a way of fostering a relationship, as well as [helping] language development. And we don’t have to wait until we’re getting them ready for school. We can make it part of regular routine,” says Pamela High, the lead author of the AAP policy statement.

Apart from this, there are many things you can do to build the love of reading in your child – some of which also double up as a fun bonding activity. Here are some of our suggested tips:

1. Visit the library regularly

Your child’s fascination with books and stories usually builds up from age two onwards, and this gives you a great chance to keep his/her reading adventure fun by taking him/her to the library. There are shelves of books to discover and explore, and you can both go on a book hunt after making a list of recommended book titles to check out at the library. There are also story-telling sessions held at our local libraries which your child can join in as the storytellers bring the tales to life.

2. Continue reading to your child, even when he/she can read solo

Your child enjoyed being read to when he/she was a teeny tot, and chances are, he/she will still love this even when independent reading is achieved. So, don’t stop reading to your child and keep this reading routine going for as long as he/she will let you. Not only will this help to retain your child’s interest in reading as he/she moves along, it also gives you the opportunity to talk to your child about values and life choices through a good story.

3. Take your child to the next reading level

At this age, your child’s attention span may not last that long, which explains why some children lose interest in reading once they can read by themselves. To keep them interested, you can take their reading level up a notch by picking books that are slightly harder than the ones they are used to.

For example, if your child seems comfortable with picture books, do add on books with slightly more words and an exciting storyline to the collection. Read together with your child in the beginning and introduce new words and concepts to him/her. As you both move along, gradually work on having him/her read and enjoy the book alone – for example, by leaving your child with the book halfway through the story.

See also: 5 Things You Can Do to Prepare Your Child for Primary 1

4. Model reading and discuss books with your child

Children learn by observing what their parents do, so take the lead and settle down with a book during your children’s reading time at home. You can make things more interesting by reading “grown-up books” aloud to them such as a relevant piece from Time, then discuss the reading material with the whole family. If there is a movie version or theatre production of a book that your children enjoy reading, make plans to catch the movie together. After that, talk to them about the movie/theatre show and ask them what was done differently in the show compared to the original from the book.

5. Draw a line to screen time

In this digital age, spending time with the TV and computer/tablet trumps quiet time with a good book. Before your children develop an addiction to these gadgets, it would be worthwhile to set some rules with regards to screen time and encourage them to find joy in reading. Once their reading is more established, you can make tweaks to the rules by allowing them to explore reading apps. Some good reading apps that are worth checking out include MeeGenius, Tales2Go and the MindChamps Read-Along app which is used during the MindChamps Reading & Writing (MRW) programme – offered both as a standalone enrichment programme and as part of the MindChamps PreSchool curriculum.

See also: Play is Important in More Ways than One

6. Entice your child with comics and art & craft

For children who are struggling to enjoy reading time, you can pique their interest by turning to two of their much-loved interests: comics and art & craft. Some children see comics as less intimidating compared to regular books, while others are attracted by the rich illustrations. You can start to build their interest with comics first, with choices such as Calvin and Hobbes and Geronimo Stilton (the graphic novel series) that are great for vocabulary-building and instilling positive values.

On the other hand, younger children would be able to relate to the books that they are being read to, through book-themed art & craft activities. You can find some good suggestions here and here.

This article was first published on the MindChamps blog

Find out how the MindChamps Reading and Writing programme helps to nurture your child into a Champion reader and writer for life – Register for a Complimentary Literacy Assessment for your child.

What You Need to Know about Teaching Children to Share and Take Turns

teaching children to share and take turns

Learning to share and take turns while playing can be challenging for young children – especially those under six – but it is a vital skill that they need to pick up during the early years.

According to AskDrSears, sharing teaches children about empathy and gives them the ability to see things from the viewpoints of others. Sharing also teaches children about compromise and helps them learn that if they share what they have with others, this good deed will come back to them one day. When they share, children learn to take turns for play-learn situations and cope with disappointments – two very important life skills that will get them ahead in life.

When can we expect children to share?

During the early years, children are still learning to make sense of the concept of sharing as they learn more about themselves and their favourite possessions. Here are some guidelines to help you through when teaching toddlers and pre-schoolers to share and take turns:

Toddlers

At this stage, toddlers believe that the world revolves around them and everything that comes into their sight belongs to them. Although putting forward the consequences for not sharing does little to get your toddler to learn to share, with encouragement and practice, he/she will slowly get there.

By 3 years old, your toddler will start to understand the concept of taking turns – but tantrums are still inevitable, especially if another child takes a toy that he/she was eyeing.

Pre-schoolers

While most pre-schoolers understand the concept of sharing in the simplest form, some of them might not be keen to put this knowledge into action, and can be impatient when it comes to taking turns. You can develop your pre-schooler’s sharing skills further by praising her for taking turns (especially when she does it well) and encouraging fair play. If she still refuses to share, do talk to her about how she will feel if her toy was taken away or if she is denied a turn in playing. Talking to your pre-schooler about other people’s feelings will help her see things from another person’s view, and this is an important skill to have in making friends.

See also: 5 Ways to Ease Pre-school Separation Anxiety in Your Child

How to teach children to share and take turns

There are various tools and methods you can use when teaching children to share and take turns. Some of these include:

1. Showing a good example

Children learn best from observing the actions of others, especially mum and dad.  So, take the chance to model good behavior when it comes to sharing and taking turns. For example, you can show how you share your favourite snacks with the whole family during movie nights at home, or how mum and dad take turns to use the bathroom.

2. Playing sharing games

Fun activities such as games help children learn and understand a concept better than drilling the basics at them. Here are some fun sharing games that you can play with your children to teach them about sharing and taking turns:

  • Share Daddy/Mummy – Place one child on each side of your lap and do fun things like letting each of them have a go at “riding the rocking horse”. This teaches children to share a special person in their lives.
  • Share Your Favourite Things – Give your child his/her favourite snack or toy, and get him/her to share them with everyone in the room. The message to convey here is that sharing is a way of life and that it spreads joy and happiness to those around us.
  • Play family games such as “Snap”, memory card games or “Pop up pirate” where everyone needs to wait his/her turn to have a go. This gives them some first-hand experience about sharing the game with everyone in the family and the value of taking turns.

See also: Social Skills for Children – An Age-By-Age Guide

3. Introducing time-sharing

When children are having problems sharing a toy, you can use a timer to stop the squabbling and ensure fair play. Here’s how to use the time-sharing method:

  • Think of a number in your head and get each child to choose a number
  • The one who chooses the closest number you thought of gets to play with the toy first
  • Set the timer for 2 minutes
  • When the times buzzes, the toy goes to the next child for the same amount of time

If your children still refuse to share after explaining the time-sharing method to them, your last resort is to put the toy back in its original place and explain to them that nobody gets to play with it until they learn to share. Expect some sulking and protesting initially, but once they realise that they are better off sharing the toy, they will learn to cooperate and come to a compromise.

4. Bringing toys to playdates

If your children have problems sharing his/her toys during playdates, do ask the playmate’s parent to bring some toys along. Children, being intrigued with toys that are new to them, will soon realise that they must share their own toys in order to have a go at their playmate’s toys. Similarly, if your child is going to a playmate’s house for a playdate, do pack some toys for him/her to bring along and share with the other children.

 This article was first published on the MindChamps blog.

Find out how children at MindChamps PreSchool are taught values such as compassion, confidence, gratefulness and more. Visit your preferred centre now to find out more!

10 Life Lessons and Values to Teach Your Children Before They Turn 10

life lessons and values to teach children

There are many skills that our children are expected to learn and master in order to excel in today’s fast-changing world. In our bid to give them the best things in life, we do what we can to give them the foundation to these skills. At the same time, there are many life lessons that parents should not miss out on teaching their children. These life lessons and values will help your children cope with the challenges of the real world with grace and confidence as they grow up.

Here are some life lessons and values to impart to your children during the tender growing up years:

1. Lessons on good manners

Good manners should be inculcated in children from the day they are born, for this helps them interact with the people they meet in their daily lives and shapes them into a loving and considerate person.

You can teach your children the basics of good manners from the day he or she is born. Use common phrases such as “Please” and “Thank you” when you are interacting with your child, and keep up with this as he/she grows up. Do make it a habit to use these phrases when he shares his favourite items with you. Although your child may not be able to express himself during the early years, he is observing your moves and actions and learning to make sense of the interactions taking place. The more you model the basics of good manners, these examples will become a part of your child’s life in time to come.

2. The value of honesty

It is important that we teach our children about the value of honesty and explain to them the consequences of lying. As children learn by taking our actions as an example, we need to make a conscious effort to show them that they should always strive to tell the truth. For example, if you tell your friend that you can’t attend their party because the whole family will be away and then head out for dinner with the family instead, your child will think that it is alright to tell a white lie occasionally. Instead, explain to your child that he/she should always aim to tell the truth – and that they should not attempt to make others feel better by telling white lies.

3. The joy of learning

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go” – Dr. Seuss

The quote above by popular children’s author, Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel, puts across the fact that learning is a life-long journey and that it leads to a world of opportunities. While you help your children to develop a love of reading, do also point out to them that there are many ways to learn new things apart from reading. Encourage them to open their minds to new experiences and learn from life situations and the people that they cross paths with.

See also: Top 3 Qualities That Will Help Your Child Grow Up To Be Successful.

4. The courage to speak up

As much as you’d like to protect your child as he/she goes through the ups and downs in life, you may not be able to step in all the time. Thus, teaching your child to speak up and stand up for himself is one of the most valuable lessons that you can impart during the growing up years. This helps to give him the courage to ask questions when he does not understand what is being taught in class and the confidence to put across his thoughts and ideas to others as an adult.

5. How to manage money

We go to great lengths to teach our children essential life skills such as reading, writing and to play various games, but we don’t seem to spend time or do enough to teach them about money management. This life skill should be taught from the moment your children start receiving an allowance for school, as it helps them learn about the importance of saving, how to budget their money and the consequences of spending more than what they can afford. By giving your children a good head start in money management, they will grow up with a sense of responsibility when it comes to money matters.

 

From learning to resolve disagreements peacefully to lending a helping hand to others, go to the next page for more life lessons and values to teach your children.