Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Encouraging Children to Make Better Choices

I had been following Doctor's Becky A.Bailey's Conscious Discipline on Facebook since reading her book, Easy to Love, Difiicult to Discipline. 

Today, they posted below on their Facebook page. What a timely reminder. I need to remind myself to encourage my children. I'm guilty of having a sharp tongue and using it on the boys. This morning, I got cranky myself while coaching them.

Encouraging Children Who Have Made Poor Choices
We all make inappropriate choices. The last thing we need is a lecture. Focus on encouraging children to solve their own problems. Some examples include:
�� You almost did it. You were so close. Try again. You just need some practice. 
�� I am confidant you will think of another way to handle this.
�� You'll figure out a way to be helpful. I know you. Inside, you don't like to be hurtful.
�� That's a rough spot you are in, but I know you can work it out. Let me know if you need help. 
�� Oops! We all make mistakes. What could you do now that would be helpful?
�� You can do it.
As always, we wish you well!


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Upgraded Haze Mask

I saw the boys giggling while doodling on their magazine. I have no idea what air plus they are talking about.  Upon a closer look, I saw that they upgraded the haze mask to "air plus" for their magazine character. Air plus is the brand name for the mask I got them during this haze. I didn't even take notice of that. Kids are more observant than adults. 

I guess this is the result of successful marketing?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Book Club Thoughts and Review - Internal Drive Theory

My 2 boys had very different character when it comes to work. I have K who is unmotivated but completes his work just because he has to. I have Y who is quite competitive and wants to do well for his exams. He comes home with things he doesn't understand from school and bug me to go through certain work with him. This scenario is totally different from what I had envisioned 2 years back. K was a diligent boy who has a hunger for learning. Y was the lazy boy who swims on the floor, doing everything he can just not sitting down to do more serious work aka worksheets. We seldom do worksheets during their preschool days but when we do, it was a struggle with Y. I thought to myself then that this boy is going to have problem in primary school and I was so wrong.

The first term of Primary 1 went well with both boys enjoying school and they were very enthusiastic to learn. They did pretty well. But I noticed a change in K's attitude in Term 2. And completing his school work started to be a chore and any revision ended up in a fight with me. It had been about 6 months and his attitude didn't quite got back to how he was before. I wonder to myself what is causing this lack of motivation and the will to succeed. Then I saw this book in the library few days back, Internal Drive Theory - Motivate Your Child To Want To Study. I finds this book to be quite in line with my way of parenting, in a local setting.

The first chapter begins with the author trying to convince readers that internal drive for school work can be developed. I totally agree. It went on to give examples of how she managed to drive the kids while their parent can't. However, I believe that the parents are not wrong to say that their kids generally behave better with another person other than themselves. K has been a well behaved boy in teacher's eyes. Or at least, that's the comments I got from his teachers. However, he behaves differently with me. I have no problems with other children. Other than attributing the problem to the adult caring for the child, we should also look at the relationship between the person and the child. There is a reason why so many teachers pay other teachers to teach their child when they are so good with other children.

This book provided some insights and reminder as to how I should coach my boys with their work.

  • Attitude and Patience on the parent part.
I have to admit that I'm not very patient to my own kids. I guess it has to do with the relationship and expectations. I'm working on this one, especially with my younger boy. His character and mine clashed a bit and he is an expert at pushing my buttons.  

    • Choose their work carefully and make sure they know the topic before attempting.
    I made the mistake sometimes to just give them an assessment book and say, "3 pages" or "1 exercise" without looking into the work and see the suitability and if they know what to do. I expected them to know and to figure it out on their own if it's new. A little challenge will do fine but some kids may be turned off by something totally new and it will be an attack to their confidence level. I usually have different reactions, 1 will gladly take the challenge and the other will be fearful of making mistakes by attempting something new to him.

    • Regular feedback.
    With 2 kids, I sometimes assign work to one and he is expected to complete them without coming to me while I coach the other kid. It often ended up with scoldings as they couldn't complete them without coming to me like 1 million 10 times in a span of 30 mins. I ended up getting frustrated with them and nothing is accomplished and that made me felt worse. I should have assigned feedback time  and expect some interruptions from time to time as I helped him through completing longer periods of independently work.   

    Overall, this is a good read for parents with children in primary school. 

    Thursday, October 1, 2015

    Book Club - Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline

    I've read many parenting books and this is one book that has made the greatest impact on me as a parent. I used to think my sons had a problem with the frequent meltdowns. Well, they do. Their sensitive traits often create problems for me as their mother. But this book made me looked at myself. I realised I was highly stressed during their first five years. It was physical taxing to care for them for at least for the first three years. I had problems with my own self control. I snapped easily, probably due to the lack of sleep and fatigue. I had no energy left to discipline them and to look at each misbehavior as a teaching moment. When I can't compose myself to look at their whining objectively, their whining gets worse. It's a vicious cycle. It would not be wrong to say half of their meltdowns could be prevented if I had the energy and the composure to help them through. But I'm only human, I could possibly look at the first meltdown as a teachable moment, the 2nd of the day as another and just how many can one bear when the child treated you as their sandbag source of comfort. Anyway, things did get better. At 6 years old, they have learnt to have more self control and the meltdowns are almost gone. They are still learning to cope with stress from school. They still get anxiety meltdowns but we manage better now.

    This is a great book. It's not only a book about parenting. Discipline starts with looking at yourself, your behaviour before your child's behaviour.  


    Tuesday, September 29, 2015

    Old School Games - Animal Chess

    SG50 theme this year had us reminiscing many old school games. I think one forgotten game is the Dou Shou Qi. We only thought about this game when we wanted to introduce the Chinese chess to the boys. We went around many shops but we didn't have any luck. Y suggested going to the school bookshop to ask. It was a great idea. He got this at $1.

    The kids had fun playing with it. This makes a great family game and it is simple enough for the kids to play on their own. The kids learnt how to strategize their moves and the consequences of each move.  

    Literature Study - Pippi Longstocking

    We started reading Pippi Longstocking with the boys and I enjoy the book very much. The boys had different views about the book. Y can't stop laughing at the funny things Pippi does and K doesn't like her unusual behaviour. We did 2 activities this week.

    Activity 1 - Illustrate Pippi

    I love how the author described Pippi's physical appearance.

    "Her hair, the color of a carrot, was braided in two tight braids that stuck straight out. Her nose was the shape of a very small potato and was dotted all over with freckles. It must be admitted that the mouth under this nose was a very wide one, with strong white teeth. Her dress was rather unusual. Pippi herself had made it. She had meant it to be blue, but there wasn't quite enough blue cloth, so Pippi had sewed little red pieces on it here and there. On her long thin legs she wore a pair of long stockings, one brown and the other black, and she had on a pair of black shoes that were exactly twice as long as her feet. These shoes her father had bought for her in South America so that Pippi would have something to grow into, and she never wanted to wear any others." 

    They didn't see any other illiustrations of Pippi and I asked the boys to draw their own version of Pippi with the description. I drew my version too and this is what we had.

    I liked how this activity shows how differently one can illustrate with a same description. 

    Activity 2 - Create your own character. Illustrate and describe.

    Further to this, I wanted them to create their own character. They can choose to draw or describe first. I wanted it to be a person but the boys are very into fantasy books now and K did this. For a start, he is just using colors to describe the features of his character. I will be introducing some new adjectives to him that he can use for his character features.

    He was inspired by Beast Quest to do his character fact card. (check out my pretty Japanese paper doll magnet at the side... hehe)

    We will be continuing with more literature study activities as we continue reading the book together.

    Monday, September 28, 2015

    Learning Multiplication

    It's the start of Term 4 and I know the school will be covering the topic of Multiplication soon. The boys had grasped the concept of Multiplication during preschool but I never made them memorise the times table. I don't see the point of making them memorise so early when there's no need for them to use it at preschool level. They could do simple 2 -3 times tables though. And I had been going through the times tables every now and then but it was never a priority.

    Y came home one day very grouchy and cranky. I later found out it could be because he brought home the syllabus and test schedules for Term 4 and he was feeling stressed out. He told me he is going to fail the test for sure as his teacher told the class that she won't be going teaching the times table and they should all know it by now.

    I comforted him and told him that he knows the table from 1-5 though not very well. He just need to work on memorising some of them. And I will be helping them with times table 6-9. He felt so stressed up as he felt inadequate that he doesn't know something that all should know. And some of his friends who attended Math enrichment classes all knew by heart.

    **edited on 6 Oct to add.
    I went through his worksheets on multiplication done in school and they were just very simple multiplication concepts! All the drama for nothing. This is my kiasu kiasi boy... lol... He got his diagnostic test result home yesterday and was bragging over how easy multiplication topic is. haha. From this incident, I realized he needs more confidence in tackling new topics in school. Something to think about as I don't prep the boys for school syllabus. I expect them to learn in school and I will help them along. But they told me they want me to teach them first so they can raise up their hands to answer questions in class. Hmm.. **

    Anyway, to help him gain some confidence, we continued our multiplication learning activities.

    I used a few resources for our learning activities:

    - Multiplication Chart 
    They skip count and list out the times table, making their own chart.

    - Times Table Worksheet
    I printed the 6 times table worksheet from It helped to do the times table worksheet in sequence first.

    - 6 Times Table Chart
    I cut pieces of paper for them to do their own flip board for the 6 times table. I had a very happy boy here doing his own lift the flaps.

    - 6 Times Table Snake
    Fold a paper strip to let them write the 6 times table on it.

    - Bingo Game
    This was the highlight of the whole session. I randomly wrote some numbers from the 6 times table on a paper. They started with 1 dice. A player roll a dice and multiply the number on the dice by 6. They will circle the answer and try to form a row. A horizontal line earns them 1 point and a vertical (longer) line earns them 2 points. After a few rounds, we added another dice. The add the number of the 2 dices together to multiply by 6. I would say they picked up the 6 times table quite well with this game. It was effortless remembering at work. They even did division unknowingly, trying to see figure out what number they need to get to form a row.

    It was a fruitful session and we are continuing our multiplication learning with 7, 8 and 9.

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