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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All about Children

Child Facts

Children in need

Poverty affects about 1 billion children or 1 in 2 children worldwide. Most of them live in developing countries, where 1 in 3 do not have proper shelter, 1 in 5 have no access to safe water and 1 in 7 have no access to health care services.

Hunger is the most extreme form of poverty, where families are unable to provide for basic needs for food. Famine or starvation may spring to mind, but hunger can also take the form of under-nourishment as well as vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The lack of nutrition can in turn lead to stunted growth, less energy, slow thinking and an increased risk of illness.

Education is something that most of us take for granted. But in poor countries, where shelter, safety and food may be hard enough to come by, going to school sometimes takes a back seat. About 80 million children around the world do not have basic primary education, many of them whom are girls.

Web Fun for Kids
Here is a list of web sites that I have found useful to educate and entertain my kids. Some are more suitable for younger kids, while others are for school going kids.
If you know of other useful sites do feel free to share it with me by submitting a comment to this post.

www.kids.nationalgeographic.com - The National Geographic for kids. Learn about the world around us and all its wonderful creatures through games and quizzes and other activities.

www.crayola.com - Perfect for an afternoon of creativity.
There are colouring pages and lots of simple yet creative craft ideas. Try digi-colour for super on-line drawings that you can print too.

www.sesameworkshop.org - A Fun way to Introduce Alphabets to Kids.
The Sesamestreet Street muppets star in a wide variety of fun educational games centred around the alphabet, numbers, sorting and matching.

www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies - Based on many of the UK children programs.
Children can have lots of fun activities like songs, stories and rhymes with their favourite characters like Tweenies, Little Robots, 64 Zoo lane, Fireman Sam and many others.

www.funbrain.com - online educational games for kids of all ages. (math, grammar, science, spell, history)
- Playground - for young kids to increase their hand-eyes co-ordination, matching of colours and shapes and many more fun activities
-Math Arcade - For Fun with Maths
-Plural Girls - For older kids to test their ability to spell plural forms of words.

www.kidsknowit.com - Free educational Websites For the young, and the young at heart. Fun and educational games, activities, worksheets, free online classes, and much much more, make learning fun.

Child Achievers - Be Inspired by these kids
# At 10, Tatum O'Neal was and still is the youngest person ot win an Oscar. Her supporting role in the movie "Paper Moon" in 1974, gained her the coveted Academy Award.

# Carlos Blanco from Spain was only 11 when he was admitted to the Spanish Association of Egyptology in 1997.

# In 1981, mathematics whiz Ruth Lawrence from England was the youngest person to enter Oxford University at age 11.

# Malaysian 4 year old, Kam Su-Sze raised RM33,000 for UNICHEF in 2005, through the sale of postcards featuring her original artwork. Following her own family's escape from the tsunami in Phuket in 2004, she decided to help other less fortunate children.

# In 1998,Tara Lipinski at age 15 won the ladies’ figure skating gold medal. She is the youngest gold medalist in Olympic Winter Games history. She began skating on wheels before ice and won a regional roller skating title in New Jersey at age 5. Took to the ice at age 6 and six years later became the youngest athlete to win a medal at the now-defunct U.S. Olympic Festival, when she captured gold

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Teaching Pre-schoolers Logical Thinking

What is Logic?
Logical Thinking Skills include classifying objects, recognising patterns, showing awareness of time and consequence, the ability to distinguish right from wrong, and make deductions based on evidence.
This skills are highly crucial to the development of a child.

Training your child in learning to make the right decision could affect the choices that he makes in life as he grows older. For eg., using logic, a child will realise that he should study for the exams instead of playing computer games when the exams are looming ahead. Thus the ability to understand action and consequence will mean choosing the most logical option of studying instead of playing.

At the pre-school age however, the child's ability to think logically is still limited. This is the age when your child is beginning to learn how to reason, but there will still be some aspect of everyday life that continues to bewilder him.

When water is transferred from a tall glass into a mug, a child will be confused as to why the amount of water appears to be lesser in the broader and shorter mug. Another example is when the parent gets irritated with the loud Whopping of small kids playing. As far as they are concerned they are having the time of their life, so why is Mum asking us to play quietly?

By teaching logic, you teach children how to think for themselves and find easier ways to sort out problems.

The ability to reason inevitably gives rise to the need to ask plenty of question. It is no wonder then, the pre-schoolers are particularly inquisitive and want to know all the whys, whats and hows. Thus its important for you to be patient with your child and be willing to explain things in simple terms so that he can understand.

Children learn better when all their senses are involved. They need to examine, touch and play with objects.

Developing logical thinking is best done with fun activities such as sing along sessions and games involving role-play.

Here are some ideas on how to encourage your child's Thinking Skills.

Supermarket Cashier - Teaches him to count objects and money.

Get artistic - Provide a large selection of crayons, pencils, markers and different kinds of coloured paper so that he is encouraged to develop his imagination and his thinking mind.

Measure up - To teach your child the concept of measurement, use pieces of string. Show your kids how to measure and compare the lengths of different objects; encourage them to think of other ways of measuring items.

Sink or float - Fill a tub with water and give your child a variety of objects to experiment with. Make it a game to see if he can predict whether the object will sink or float.

Share chores - Together, create picture charts for the chores and activities you would like your child to help out in the house. These will help him understand the concept of responsibility and cooperation.

Play pretend - The age old children's game of Doctor and Let's have tea, may be more valuable than you think. These role-playing activities help develop a thinking mind and grow a child's imagination. So give your child a chest of different clothes and accessories so that he can pretend to be a sailor, police etc.

Garden - Teach your child a little about nature by growing a green bean plant. Kids love to watch plants grow and gardening teaches consequences, responsibility and concepts about life.

Go on field trips - So that your child learns from seeing and doing first hand. Zoos, pet farms, vegetable gardens and markets are some example of fun learning trips.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Quirky Rules to discipline Children

Once I read from a parenting magazine about Quirky Rules that work. The rules that I too follow are:

1)I can't understand you when you speak like that -
this rule enables and encourages to stop the whining, screaming and general rudeness of tantrum making children.
Whenever your child orders (rather that ask or request) you to do something, whines or otherwise speaks to you in a way you don't like - whisper this " I can't understand you when you speak like that". Always calmly repeat this instead of raising your voice.
As the child who is whining or being rude is trying to seek attention, following this rule makes sure that attention is not given for bad behavior.

2) There's no such thing as boredom - is another rule that I also use. This way you prevent your child from saying " I'm bored", thus you teach her to entertain herself. When you tell your child "There's no such things as boredom, only failure of imagination or only mental laziness", now the burden of amusing herself lands directly on herself, which is precisely where you want it.
As your child learns how to entertain herself, there's truly no such thing as boredom. And that's a gift that will last all her life.

The following list some of the other quirky rules that some parents uses to disciplining their kids.

3)You can't be in the room when I'm working unless you work too - This rule will enable you to get your child to help with your chores or stop bugging you while you do your chores.
Lets say you are folding clothes and your child wants her missing toy to be found and wants you to help, you then tell her "Help me with my chores so that we can finish it up faster together, than I'll help to find your toy". If she chose not to help with the folding than continue doing your chores. Only once your are done with your chores should you help her.
As kids like to spend as much time with their parents as possible, they'll realise that even helping Mom with her chores means spending time with her!

4) I don't work past 8 pm - this rule enables you to establish regular bedtimes and time off for you.
Tell your child that the govt. has set up a new rule that states that you are no longer allowed to do any kind of mom jobs past 8 pm in the evening.
(Would work better with younger children as they can be easily impressed and would not argue back with you that there's no such law.)
This rule means that the parent will no longer be able to read books, play games, listen to everyone's daily happenings, give bath - yeah the whole mother package - after the set time.
Be firm, act as if it is out of you hands. ( Similar to Cinderella and Midnight).
Now that your child knows that after say, 8pm you will not be free, she will rush to get ready for bed so that she can spend time to read book with you etc.

Do you know of other Quirky Rules that work for you. DO share it with me by submitting a comment so that I can link to you in this post.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Save the Earth

As parents, its important that we teach our children while they are young about the need to Save The Earth through the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse & Recycle.

Only when the next generation is made aware about the environmental issues will they be able to play a part in Saving the Earth.

Reduce - Waste minimisation is the process and the policy of reducing the amount of waste produced by a person or a society. Waste minimisation is also strongly related to efforts to minimise resource and energy use. For the same commercial output, usually the fewer materials are used, the less waste is produced.

Reuse is using an item more than once. This includes conventional reuse where the item is used again for the same function, and new-life reuse where it is used for a new function.

Recycling is the reprocessing of materials into new products. Recycling generally prevents the waste of potentially useful materials, reduces the consumption of raw materials and reduces energy usage, and hence greenhouse gas emissions.

Remember to apply what you teach into your daily life so that you can be a role model for your child to follow.

Here are some examples of putting the 3 Rs into practice in our daily lives.

1. Buy environmentally friendly products. (Show the symbol in the package so that your child can look out for such products.)

2. Make crafts using recycling household products such as tissue box, toilet roll etc.

3. Save the trees - Use both sides of a paper.
- Use soft copy instead of hard copy whenever

4. Use clothe bag whenever you go shopping so that you can reduce the usage of plastic bags. Explain to your child how plastic bags cause severe damage to sea creatures such as turtles which suffocate and die.

5. Watch documentaries of "Save the Earth" and explain in simple terms so that your child can understand.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Easy Ways to make your Vacation trip Smoother.

When you go on a long trip with small children (or many children, or both), the following tips will help to keep your kids entertained.

Have a "Secret" supply of small games, toys and books. This would allow you to have a good few hours of queit travel. Do reveal new items slowly, one at a time, so as to have an element of surprise and to avoid boredom. If the kids know in advance whats available, they would not be excited or a fight over who gets to play what may also ensue. So take charge and bring along toys and books for each child as well as games that can be played together.

For small kids a bag of colourful pipe cleaners is great for hours of twisty, bendy fun.

A lap tray or clipboard can turn car time into art time. Do bring along paper and washable markers so that by the end of the trip, your child can produce a beautiful card/picture for her grandparent, uncle etc.(Whomever you'll be visiting)

For Older kids, try some word games. See my earlier post "Word Games" posted here at 21/07/07. All you need is just paper and pencil to have hours of fun.

Another way to entertain your children is to bring along a car or portable DVD player and some of your child's favourite DVDs.

Have a sing along session with young kids when you play their favourite songs during the trip.

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Friday, October 5, 2007

Building Your Child's Self-Esteem

Self esteem is an essential ingredient for a emotionally healthy childhood. We have always heard about the bullies and the bullied. Having a good self esteem will prevent our children from being a bully as well as to seek help when he is being bullied. I came across this great article about building our children's self esteem and I found it to be very useful and informative. Hope you will benefit too. Happy reading!

According to researchers, most children enter school with a good sense of self-esteem (at least as defined by psychologists) and yet leave high school with a poor sense of self-esteem. What happens in those years between starting school and finishing school?
If we are to define self-esteem as "having feelings of worth or value," then people with adequate levels of self-esteem should display a sense of realistic confidence in their abilities and performance. People with low levels of self-esteem would be expected to display feelings of inadequacy, a fear of failure, a sense of being unworthy, and perhaps depression.

It is estimated that 25-35% of children have Learning Disabilities. At least 5% have Attention Disorders. All too many times during the course of their academic careers these children are labeled by teachers (or parents) as being "lazy," or "stupid." Remarks of this type are typically interpreted by the child as, "You're no good," and the self-esteem levels drop.

At least 50% of children will experience the divorce of their parents prior to turning 18 years old. Most children, for whatever reasons too complicated to go into here, will tend to place at least a portion of the blame for the parent's divorce on themselves. Since the parents are typically placed on a pedestal in the eyes of the child, the blame for the divorce cannot be placed on the parents and must be placed elsewhere, most commonly on themselves. This also significantly impacts children's self-esteem levels.

There are other important challenges to maintaining reasonable self-esteem, such as merely being "average" in a world that worships only the good looking, the good athletes, and the well-to-do.

Can too much Self-Esteem be bad for you?
Let me say here and now that inappropriately high levels of self-esteem may be worse that low levels. Levels of self-esteem that are too high lead kids to believe that they are more important than anyone else, and that they should never be frustrated by work or challenges in life. It leads young people to believe that they should always have their way. Inflated levels of self-esteem ultimately discourages children and teens from learning how to work hard, and sometimes leads into criminal behavior. Anti-social and criminal behavior is fueled by the criminal believing that his wants and needs are more important than the needs, wants, or rights of others.

Inflated levels of self-esteem also are directly at odds with the development of one's spirituality and relationship with God. After all, who needs to develop a relationship with God when he believes that he is more important, or intelligent, or more powerful than God? People are cheated in every important aspect of their lives, emotionally, socially, and spiritually, when their sense of self-esteem is inflated.

So how can we instill appropriate levels of self-esteem in our children? Briefly, here are five key thoughts . . .
First, change the way that you look at this area of life from "self-esteem" to "self-confidence." There is a difference as wide as the sea. To "esteem" someone, including one's self, involves feelings of "reverence" or "awe" or "honor" or "glory." Words have meaning. Let's not get carried away with trying to make our kids feel good about themselves by starting to ascribe to them positions of honor normally reserved for Presidents and Kings, and perhaps for God. The majority of our society's problems are caused by people thinking that they are more important than anyone else in the world. This is not something that we really want to encourage in our children, or in ourselves.

Instead we do want to encourage self-confidence. This attribute becomes especially powerful and beautiful when paired with the virtue of self-control. Raise your children to have these two character traits, and you will have wonderful and successful children.

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., is a family therapist who has been working with ADHD children and their families since 1986. He is the clinical director of the ADHD Information Library's family of seven web sites, including http://www.newideas.net, helping over 350,000 parents and teachers learn more about ADHD each year. Dr. Cowan also serves on the Medical Advisory Board of VAXA International of Tampa, FL., is President of the Board of Directors for KAXL 88.3 FM in central California, and is President of NewIdeas.net Incorporated.

The Hunger Site

The Child Health Site

Oceana: Protecting the World's Oceans

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