Financial Literacy For Children at Every Age

money lessons for children

Having basic financial skills is crucial as it helps our children navigate through life as an adult. Not only will they be able to plan ahead for the future, they will also be aware of the importance of keeping their spending within limits and make wise spending decisions.

While it will be years before our children get to experience first-hand the complexities of managing their finances, there are lots we can do right now to teach them the concept of money and savings. Here are some hands-on activities to start off with during your children’s early years:

5 Years Old and Below

Introducing coins and the piggy bank

During the early years, our children’s brain soaks up new concepts and information like a sponge and it is during this time that learning takes place at a rapid rate. As they learn best by observing others and repeating their actions, you can make the most of this by introducing the various coin denominations and putting money into a piggy bank. The more they practice this, the concepts of “money” and “saving” through the piggy bank will become second nature to them. However, do bear in mind to introduce this exercise once they are past the stage of putting things into their mouths.

Create “Saving”, “Spending” and “Sharing” jars

Here’s a fun activity to teach your children the concepts of saving, spending and sharing. Set aside three jars (or plastic containers) and label them as “Saving”, “Spending” and “Sharing”. Each time your child receives money – i.e. during his/her birthday or major celebrations such as Chinese New Year or Christmas – get him/her to place the money in the jars. The money in the spending jar can be used for simple treats such as sweets or stickers, while the sharing jar can be used to help someone in need or donated for a worthy cause. Lastly, the saving jar acts as the most basic lesson in saving – your child can accumulate the money in there for bigger purchases, such as his/her favourite toy.

Play “Supermarket” at home

Set up your very own supermarket at home by preparing DIY grocery items (think, plastic fruits and vegetables, and empty sauce bottles) and giving each item a price tag. Arrange them neatly in rows and give your child a basket and paper notes to “shop” for groceries, while you play the role of the cashier. When their basket has been filled up, count the total amount and get your child to give you the correct notes and coins to “pay” for their purchases. For older children, you can take this to a higher level by giving them a shopping list and introducing discounts and offers on selected items.

 

6 to 10 Years Old

A lesson on allowances and savings

Most children receive allowances when they start primary school. At this age, they understand that money is used a means to exchange for goods (i.e. food or stationery items from the school book shop). To establish good spending habits, you need to set down some ground rules such as to inform you what they spend their money on. This is also a good opportunity to encourage them to save, instead of spending all the allowances. You can keep them motivated by offering to match the amount saved so that they can see their money “grow” over time.

Get them involved in real-life purchase decisions

You can now include your children when making real-life purchase decisions – starting with the weekly grocery trips. Start by setting aside a budget for a set of items (e.g. $10 for milk, eggs, bread and fruits). Here, you can carry out price comparisons with them by choosing items that are on offer while keeping to the set budget for the items required. Through this exercise, you are essentially teaching them simple budgeting skills that will definitely come in handy later.

Encourage them to give back

There are many ways to teach your children to give back at this age by sharing their blessings with others. This can take the form of donating a small amount of their savings to a worthy cause (i.e. there will be plenty of opportunities to meet people with donation cans on the streets) or clearing out their toy boxes every now and then to give away their toys to children from needy families. Through these exercises, you are also inculcating important life lessons to your children, such as the value of compassion and gratitude.

Discuss needs versus wants

While you are shopping with your child, you can include them in the process of making wise financial decisions by getting them to weigh the importance between a need and want. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Do we really need to buy these buns? Or can we skip it since we are going out for dinner soon?
  • Is this bowl the best we can get, or would it cost less elsewhere?

 

11 to 13 Years Old

Teach them banking concepts

You have started a savings account for your children since they were little, so now’s a great time to introduce the more complex banking concepts of ATM, online banking and interest rates.

To show them that “digital money” will run out the more they spend, you can set up an excel sheet to record their spending and keep track of the amount saved. As for explaining to them about the abstract concept of interest rates, Beth Kobliner, author of the New York Times bestseller Get a Financial Life, recommends that we use specific numbers and simple terms such as, “If you set aside $100 every year at 14, you’d have $23,000 by the time you turn 65. But if you start saving at 35, you’ll only have $7,000 at 65”.

Introduce long term saving goals

By now, your children might be well versed with the concept of saving up for the things such as their favourite snacks and toys. You can take their saving efforts to the next level by getting them to set a longer-term goal for big ticket items and holding back on their regular purchases. For example, if your child has the habit of buying snacks and stationery from the school bookshop, he/she might want to hold back on those and save up for a watch instead. By setting long term goals, your child will learn about the concepts of delayed gratification, trade-offs and opportunity costs – which essentially involve giving up the things that they like in order to save money.

 

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

MindChamps Academy helps to prepare your child for the challenges of the future with effective learning techniques, thinking skills and more. Find out more and book a complimentary personal coaching session for your child now!

This article was first published on the MindChamps blog.

5 Effective Ways to Avoid Power Struggles with Children

avoid power struggles with children

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the sense of power and dominance is a basic emotional need that we all seek to fulfill. The need to satisfy this craving for power begins as early as the age of two, as this is when children begin to see themselves as separate individuals from their parents. This phase of life leads children to discover that they are capable of creating or triggering various emotions and reactions in their parents – which also marks the start of a very long journey involving power struggles.

By three years old, most children have developed sharper skills in this area which causes parents to feel overwhelmed, overpowered and determined to set their child on the path of good behaviour. However, attempts by parents to overpower their children often leads to opposite results, leaving their children feeling more angry and defiant than ever.

Parents can turn this phase into a rewarding lesson for both themselves and their children by looking at this behaviour from a different light and responding to the battle of wills in a creative manner. Here are some suggestions to help you ease the power struggles with your children:

1. Side-step the power struggle

To deal with power struggles positively, one method which was shared by Karan Sims, instructor at the International Network for Children and Families, involves side-stepping the power struggle. In order to do this, you – as the parent – would need to refuse to give in to your child’s invitation to join his/her power struggle.

Here’s an example on how to side-step a power struggle situation:

When your pre-schooler gives you a flat “No” as an answer when you ask if he/she is ready for a bath, try your best to stay calm. You can turn the situation around by asking, “Can you walk to the bathroom with me or do you want me to carry you?” If your child is feeling cheeky, he/she might answer, “I want you to carry me – piggyback style – and gallop like a horse!”

In this case, although your child’s answer acts as the ticket for you to join a power struggle, you can side-step the situation by not fighting or giving in. You can turn the situation into a happy and loving one instead of starting yet another battle of wills when it comes to bath time. According to Sims, when you side-step the power struggle, you are telling your children, “I am not going to fight with you. I am not going to hurt you. I am not going to overpower you and I’m not going to give in either.”

2. Give choices – not orders

Once you have successfully side-stepped the power struggle, the next thing to do is to give your child choices. For example, if your child kicks up a fuss about leaving the house right away to attend swimming lessons, you can let him have a choice of which swim goggles to use. Once that is done, let him lock up by choosing which set of keys to use (assuming you have a master set and some spare sets). With this gradual transition, you have succeeded in getting your child to go for his swimming lesson and dissipate the power struggle about leaving the house.

Do ensure that the choices you give your children are ones which you can accept. For instance, when your child misbehaves while eating out, do not give him/her the choice of either sitting down quietly until everyone has finished eating or to leave the restaurant if you don’t intend to leave so soon.

It is also important to make sure that the choices you give do not represent alternatives of punishment. Thus, when you give your child an ultimatum by saying “You either clean up this mess or go to the time-out chair”, this creates fear and intimidation rather than empowerment.

3. Use more “Do” commands

“Don’t stay up too late!”

Does this sound familiar? Most of us tend to use “Don’t” commands to get our children to do what we want them to. However, most of the times, it gets us nowhere near what we want them to do in the first place. “Don’t” commands require your child to double process (“What does mum wants me to do in the first place?”) as most of what he/she gets from your message is what you don’t want him/her to do. This can be confusing and discouraging, especially for younger children.

To turn things around, parenting expert and best-selling author Amy McCready recommends that we calmly state what we want our children to do right from the start. So, rather than saying “Don’t run”, try “Please use your walking feet” instead.

4. Find alternatives for your child to be powerful

The next time you find yourself in the midst of a power struggle with your child, do find a way to give your child more power to ease the situation. For example, if your child often kicks up a fuss about buckling up in the car, you can put him/her in charge of making sure that the rest of his/her siblings are safely secured. Apart from making your child feel important, it helps to divert his/her attention away from the power struggle over buckling up.

5. Teach your child to say “No” respectfully

As parents, it is natural for us to react negatively when our children give “No” as an answer. However, the last thing we want to do is to send the message to them that they should not give “No” as an answer, as there will be times when they need to stand up for themselves in the face of peer pressure and inappropriate situations.  What you can do instead is to teach them to say “No” or to disagree in a respectful and appropriate manner. This can involve them explaining the reason behind their disagreement to help the other party understand their point of view better.

Looking to give your child a good head start in character building during the early years? Find out how this in incorporated into MindChamps PreSchool’s cutting-edge curriculum – book a visit to your preferred centre now!

This article was first published on the MindChamps blog.

6 Habits of Happy Parents – How to Find Joy in Parenting

habits of happy parents

Amidst our duty to raise successful children, finding joy in parenting may pose as a challenge. As parents, our children are the centre of our universe and we take great joy in seeing them live in their happy moments. Apart from the effort we put in to raise them to be happy, well-adjusted individuals, psychologists confirm that parents have a great role to play to set a good example to their children on how to live a happy, fulfilling life.

As with most things in life, living life to the fullest is easier said than done – especially when raising children comes with a whole new set of challenges. To help you fill your life with joy and love and to achieve a great balance in parenting, we offer you the following tips:

1. Get help when it’s needed

When it comes to parenting, there’s always an endless list of things to do in a day – from arranging your children’s pick-up and drop-off from school to making sure that meals are prepared for the family and that the house is in order. Add in a full-time job to the equation, and getting it all done by yourself could prove to be challenging and may leave you worn out and unsatisfied by the end of the day.

Here’s how to do it: As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child” – know that parenting and running a household need not be a two-person show and that it is perfectly fine to get help when it is needed. This could involve asking for help from family and friends or getting a live-in helper or nanny who can share the load of house chores and childcare with you.

2. Set aside some time for fun!

Giving your children the greatest life lessons and experiences does not need to be a serious affair. In fact, renowned educator Maria Montessori once said that “Play is the work of the child” and it is through play that children learn best about the world around them during the early years. So, here’s a reminder for you to inject some fun in the activities that you plan for your children throughout the week. After all, this also gives you the chance to destress, recharge and feel good about life all over again.

Here’s how to do it: Plan for some fun activities during the week that serve a learning purpose to your children. This includes the likes of exploring the Singapore Botanic Gardens where they get to learn and experience nature first-hand, or taking a trip to the museum for an educational journey about our country and its humble beginnings.

3. Be happy with what you have

The grass may be greener over the other side, but that does not necessarily mean that having the best things in life – for example, better-behaved children, a bigger house, or nicer car – will make you happier. The key to your happiness lies in counting your blessings in life instead of focusing on what you deem as the “shortfalls”. For all you know, you might be living the dream life in the eyes of someone else.

Here’s how to do it: Resist the temptation to compare your children to that of your friends, or to check their growth and development against the “standard guidelines”. Every child develops differently and at their own pace, with unique strengths and weaknesses. Focus on those instead and work together with your child based on where his/her passion and interests lie to help him/her become the best that he/she can be. At the same time, do not neglect your spouse. Make time for quality bonding sessions to keep your marriage and relationship alive – this also gives both of you the opportunity to recharge and carry out the role as parents to your children.

4. Be flexible with the rules

Rules are created to teach your children values such as self-discipline and learn the value of giving our best in everything that we do. However, as the person who decides on the rules, you get the flexibility to tailor those rules to each of your child’s needs and personalities. As it is often said that when it comes to parenting, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution that will apply for all children – our job is to nurture them based on their abilities and do our best to impart good values and important life lessons to them.

Here’s how to do it: Get to know the strengths and weaknesses of your child and what motivates them to move forward. For example, your five-year-old might be motivated with screen time upon completing the day’s activity sheets, while the only push factor to get your seven-year-old to complete his/her homework is a healthy snack. You can use their likes and preferences as a hook to encourage learning and to create happy moments at home with your children – just as long as you are consistent in applying them

5. Focus on what lies ahead

We all have parenting goals that we work towards to and we try our best to do the right things when raising our children. However, during the toughest times, we either find ourselves losing our temper, being inconsistent and/or blaming ourselves for not doing a better job at raising our children. In line with the popular idiom, “Let bygones be bygones”, sometimes we need to remind ourselves to let go of past mistakes and focus instead on what you can do to be there for your children during the crucial growing up years.

Here’s how to do it: We are all learning to be the best that we can be for our children, and that there are days when things do not go as planned. Do let those tough days go and get on with life as a mum or dad by thinking of what to do next instead of pondering on what has been done. This can involve spending quality time with your children to get to know them better or plan a fun family bonding activity for the weekend.

Whatever you choose to do, remember that these tough moments will not last forever and with this, the highlights of parenting your children while they are young (i.e. the frequent “I love you” that they say so willingly) will be rare as the years go by. So, do use this time to cherish the precious moments and carry on with the journey.

6. Make time for hugs and kisses

Here’s another great reason to plough through the toughest moments of parenting while your children are young. As mentioned before, these moments do not last long and at this age, they can be easily diffused with something as simple as a hug and kiss. Apart from melting the tension from the situation, hugging and kissing also helps to spread those “feel good” feelings between you and your child.

Here’s how to do it: Gather your child for a cuddle every chance you get, even when they are unhappy or are adamant at throwing tantrums for as long as possible. You’ll be surprised how quickly this can turn around a sticky situation. But do note thatthis “secret weapon” may not work for long as your child grows up – so, seize the moment and use it to your advantage while you can!

This article was first published on the MindChamps blog.

Want to know what makes MindChamps PreSchool the Number 1 Choice of Singapore parents? Click here for more details and to schedule a visit to your preferred centre!

 

MindChamps PreSchool @ Changi Airport

Singapore’s No.1 Premium Preschool Meets the World’s No.1 Airport!

The unique MindChamps PreSchool curriculum for children aged 18 months to 6 years old is now available at Singapore’s Changi Airport, a world-class airport which has held the prestigious title of the World’s No.1 Airport for 5 consecutive years.

mindchamps preschool changi airport

With an emphasis on wide learning spaces, MindChamps PreSchool @ Changi Airport is spread across a floor area of 11,000 sqm, making it one of our largest centres to-date.

Located on the 3rd level of Changi Airport Terminal 3, the centre opens up to a spacious common hallway and high ceilings, with some natural lighting from the sun streaming in. This provides a refreshing and conducive environment for our Champs to learn, play and explore.

mindchamps preschool changi airport

mindchamps preschool changi airport

mindchamps preschool changi airport

mindchamps preschool changi airport

Each classroom (which comes in comfortable sizes) is separated with glass panels, which helps to maintain an open ambience and allows classroom activities to be visible from the hallway. The centre also comes with dedicated rooms for enrichment programmes that are incorporated in the curriculum such as Neuromooves, Gourmet Moments, as well as a fully-equippped reading room.

mindchamps preschool changi airport

mindchamps preschool changi airport

mindchamps preschool changi airport

mindchamps preschool changi airport

Indeed, the entire layout of the centre provides ample space and ventilation which promotes the health of our Champs, stimulates the brain for learning and encourages creativity.

mindchamps preschool changi airport

mindchamps preschool changi airport

mindchamps preschool changi airport

Join our weekend trial class!

Let your child experience the MindChamps PreSchool curriculum at our Changi Airport centre. Our well-trained teachers will conduct exciting activities such as story-telling, Gourmet Moments, Neuromooves and Art & Craft.

Every Saturday in November

Session 1: 11am

Session 2: 2pm

We welcome children between 18 months to 5 years old. Limited spaces are available – the maximum capacity for each session is 18 children.

Sign up now!

 

What Not to Do When Raising Bilingual Children: 8 Common Mistakes

mistakes parents make when raising bilingual children

Many parents today recognise the importance of getting their children to speak, read and write effectively in more than one language. Apart from the numerous benefits that bilingualism brings, being proficient in two or more languages brings great advantages when it comes to study and career opportunities.

If you have made the choice to expose your child to two languages at home, it is important to get ahead with helpful tips to introduce multiple languages properly to your children. However, it is also worthwhile to take note of some common mistakes that parents make in their attempt to raise children who are effectively bilingual.

As shared by Bilingual Kidspot, here’s a list of errors commonly made by parents when raising bilingual children:

1. You think that your child will automatically become bilingual

One of the top common mistakes parents make when raising bilingual children is assuming that just because they speak a language, it is only natural that this will be passed on to their child. What they fail to realise is that the development of their children’s ability to speak and understand a language takes a lot of effort and patience. When parents take this for granted, their children can end up being a passive bilingual, whereby they understand what one is saying but are unable to reply using the language.

So, do set aside some time each day to talk, read and do activities with your child in more than one language. Work together with them to ensure that they can speak and understand the languages used at home well.

2. TV alone will not teach your child a language

While some exposure to TV programmes in a particular language can help to complement the activities that you do with your child, do remember that human interaction is the only way for one to truly master a language. Simply putting your children in front of the TV will not help them speak and understand the language, as they need someone to practice with and to guide them along the way.

3. Relying on expensive toys and materials

Before you go overboard and invest in the latest toys and materials that promise to help your child learn a language better and faster, do bear in mind that expensive materials do not guarantee that your child will be able to learn a language effectively. The best way for your child to learn a language is through interacting and conversing with people who are fluent speakers of that language.

However, if you are looking for supplementary materials to make the learning process more fun and interesting, there are simple materials that you can prepare and use at minimal cost to encourage your child to converse with you in that language.

4. Correcting your child too often

While it is essential to point it out when your child makes mistakes when learning a language, do try not to do this too often as it disrupts the flow of talking and discourages him/her from persevering with the learning. Although it is important to correct major mistakes, do try to let the little ones go – in time, they will learn to get a hang of it and understand the rules of the language.

 

It is never too late to teach your child new skills and languages! Find out what other mistakes parents make when raising bilingual children 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.

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!

 

 

Study: Watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood Helps Pre-schoolers Develop Social and Emotional Skills

Your child starts developing social and emotional skills from the moment he/she is born, and this growth continues in the years that follow. The development of these skills during the pre-school years is crucial for your child to excel in primary school and beyond. In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics also states that early social-emotional development “is a fundamental part of a child’s overall health and well-being.”

A group of researchers at Texas Tech University wanted to find out if watching educational kids’ TV programmes such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood (aired on Disney Junior daily in Singapore at 8.30am) could also help in the development of social and emotional skills in pre-schoolers.

developing pre-schoolers social and emotional skills
(Photo credit: Youtube)

What did the study reveal?

In the study conducted over two weeks, 127 pre-schoolers were asked to watch 10 episodes of either Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood or a nature show. Children who watched Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood showed higher levels of empathy, self-efficacy (they displayed confidence in social situations) and the ability to recognise emotions compared to those who watched the nature show.

However, there was an important factor that led to the correlation between watching the show and the socio-emotional skills displayed by the pre-schoolers – the frequent TV sessions had to be complemented with regular parent-child conversations about the content of the show.

Thus, it is apparent that children (especially those below 4) benefit more from watching the show when parental involvement is present.

Looking to enrol your child in preschool? Click this sentence to book a visit to a MindChamps PreSchool centre of your choice to find out more about our programmes!

What does this mean?

The results of the study highlighted the fact that educational TV programmes have evolved to the point whereby they have the ability to maintain a child’s attention, they are developmentally appropriate, they feature characters with whom children can identify with and they incorporate effective teaching techniques that help children learn.

On the other hand, it also means that parents need to play their part by reinforcing the lessons taught in their children’s TV programmes. Propping your children in front of the TV and expecting them to grow academically and develop good social skills would not lead to the desired results.

 

There are some simple activities that you can do with your child to build his/her social and emotional skills during the early years. More on this on the next page…