Parents Zone

How do we develop children’s reading habits?

Source: Shirley Loo, Executive Director, Family Development Foundation


Reading habits are best cultivated from a young age, and every school and every teacher should encourage students to read. I think a “book” at the starting line, which is a book, will allow children to win at the end of the line. It can be cultivated in infancy. There are many kinds of books available for babies, such as Muppet books, soft books, books with no words and only pictures, and many tactile ones. Let him try to open and read books.

In addition, there are many parents who wonder whether it is necessary to recognize words from reading. A book has its own gold house, meaning that as long as it’s well-read, wealth and profit will come naturally. There is a beautiful world in books. First, do you know what the most important thing is? It is to pick up a book, and parents should like to read. If you don’t like to read but you keep telling your child, “Read it,” how will he read it? Will he see the side shadows of his mother and father reading? I always say you can pick up a book and say in amazement, “Look at this book, it’s cute!” “How cute is this little bird!” This entices children to read it.


And should we tell the story from beginning to end? This is not necessarily the case, you may see a picture here. Then you can ask, “Guess what she went into the kitchen to do?” When he can’t understand the story, you can make him feel it and let him guess, and there are other ways to play. You should not underestimate children; their powers of observation and the density of their minds are usually far beyond what parents can imagine.

Parents can also teach him to count things, such as by asking him the time shown in the storybook. I often feel that reading is not straightforward. We want him to be interested in the pictures in books, and the second level is to learn to read, memorize, and write.

In fact, we can also incorporate some of the stories in books or character settings into the challenges or new environments that he may face in the future so that he can experience them in books. When K2 or K3 children have more vocabulary, they can even sit and listen to you tell stories. However, many parents feel that their storytelling is not vivid enough. But it doesn’t matter because you are the best storyteller for him since you are his mom and dad.

It’s not necessary to read the story, but I think it’s better to make it oral so that he feels it fits the scene. If most of the family speaks Cantonese, you want the story to penetrate his mind, of course, in the language he is most familiar with. I think the most important thing is to be close to his life, to his language, and to his interests. The most important thing is that the parents read the book first so that they can instill a strong infectious power in their children!


Parents Zone

Since childhood, children have learned the great method of storage and how to pack up toys without difficulty

Source:Taiwan Professional organizing advisor, Yu Zhi Lin

One of the parents’ nightmares is working hard to pack up the toys every night, but the next morning they were scattered all over the floor again. Pack up your stuff. How can parents teach their children to pack up their toys?

We decide how big the storage box should be based on the child’s age, which is about 1 to 2 years old. To prevent children from putting toys in their mouths, toys at this time are usually larger, so we need a slightly larger storage box. When children are younger, our standards can be very low, mainly to let them know that they need to clean up after playing with toys, pack them up in the storage box, and put all the toys in it. At this age, we need to train them to be tidy.

By the time children are a little older, about 3 to 5 years old, they can already have a preliminary classification. Know that there are different types of toys. At that time, the storage box does not have to be so big, we can change a smaller storage box, according to the different types of toys a little classification. We adjust the rules of the game a little higher; you can paste some classification labels outside the box, with patterns, colors, or word cards, so that children can easily identify. For example, a car, with a car pattern or a word card “Car”, so that children can slowly learn to remember this classification.

When children go to elementary school, they will have their own ideas and know what to put away where, so our storage box can become smaller. Then we can store many small things for children, such as little girls’ ornaments, small beads, and accessories for Barbie dolls. We can also use such a small box to sort, because after such a long time of training, children will find it very natural to clean up, and parents will also feel very relaxed.

Parents Zone

Why don’t children want to do homework?

Source: Senior Parenting Education Expert, Bally

After school every day, asking children to sit down and do homework is like sending them to war. Usually, there are several reasons why children do not like or do not want to do their homework. How can parents help their children?

First, they really do not know how to do it. How can we tell if they really don’t know how to do it? I have found that many children go home and find that 80% of the homework requires parent guidance, so they can’t handle it on their own and naturally wait for their parents to come home. From the parents’ perspective, they will feel that their children do not want to do homework.

Second, the child actually understands how to do the homework 80% of the time, but they actually want their parents to accompany them, so they will fight for time with their parents. Once the parents are together, they pretend not to understand. In fact, they are not trying not to understand but are unconsciously hoping for their parents to accompany them and do homework together.

Third, they may be too tired. The parents may not have given the children a proper schedule, causing them to do homework in an unfavorable state, which is why they don’t want to do it.

If the child does not understand how to do the homework at first, the parents should communicate effectively with the school. If the school is willing to adjust the level of homework to suit the child, the parents won’t have to worry about the level difference. If the child doesn’t like doing homework, over time they will dislike going to school and eventually lose motivation to learn. Therefore, we must communicate with the school to see if they can give him some easier homework so that the child can enjoy the process of doing homework.

If the school is unable to cooperate, then the parents need to think about how to guide from the sidelines. Let the child gradually take some courses that start from easy to difficult on weekends, or give some words that the child can recognize, or through some games, let the child understand and slowly enjoy doing homework.

In fact, the biggest concern in the education sector is that students have already resisted learning, resisting going to school, and resisting doing homework. So we must seriously face the reasons why children are unwilling to do homework. Some children love to stick with their parents, but what do most parents do with their children when they get home now in our society? It’s doing homework; this is their only parent-child time. If the only parent-child time is not good or pleasant, it will cause many problems in the family or marriage.

If the child does not want to do homework and just wants to wait for the parents, the parents can play with and accompany the child while doing homework. You can read a book or do something similar to homework near the child, such as bringing work home to do, to make the child feel like you are accompanying them and both of you are doing something.

A worrying situation is when many parents say, “Okay, you do it; I’ll be here,” but in reality, they are watching TV, using their phone, or playing games. This makes the child feel that you are not really accompanying them and that you are not doing the same thing. Even if the child knows how to do most of it, it is preferable for the parent to spend some time watching him or her do it rather than doing something else. Continuously complimenting him/her while watching: “Good job; you can really do it!” gives more praise, which is the best approach.

If the child reaches the end of the K3 school term, they have already grown up and are quite independent. Parents may believe, “They are so big now, I shouldn’t go with them to do their homework anymore.” But in reality, parents should have a schedule in place for their children to follow from a young age. For example, when the child comes home from school, they need to take a break, have a snack, and play for a while. After maybe half an hour or 45 minutes, it’s time for homework.

In K1 and K2, parents can accompany their child while they do homework. But when they reach K3, parents can use a reward system. For example, “If I come home from work today and see that you have finished your homework, I will give you a sticker.” “If you are well-behaved and take a bath after finishing your homework, I will give you another sticker.” Give the child a schedule to follow and reward them with stars or hearts for each sticker they earn. On the child’s schedule, if they accumulate enough stars in a week, the mother should make some promises, such as going to the park. The rewards are best for parent-child activities, not toys, gifts, or candy.

Parents Zone

What kind of rice is suitable for children’s eating?

Source: Founder of Kat-Spirit Nutrition Health Centre, Senior Nutritionist, Ng Yiu Fun

In modern society, we all pay much attention to the nutrition of children. What type of rice will provide more nutrition to children, and will they be willing to eat it? We often cook brown rice or red rice for children to eat, but they do not like it very much. The main reason is that it takes longer to chew or is harder, so they can’t swallow it after chewing for a long time.

This rice may even cause stomach aches in adults. Children’s digestive abilities are not as good as adults’, so we are worried that they may have stomach aches. Nowadays, many people do not eat white rice; they may switch to germ rice, millet rice, or oatmeal rice, and among them, I would recommend millet rice the most!

The price of millet rice is relatively inexpensive, about ten dollars or so a catty. If it costs less than $20 per catty, it is both nutritious and inexpensive, a kind of smooth and creamy food that can even be cooked into porridge. This is a good choice for cooking millet rice; even if you add rice, you will not notice a difference in texture, which is typical of white rice. Children will not feel that you have added something strange to it; they will naturally eat. It’s soft and wouldn’t cause a stomach ache.

If you do not eat this, there are other options, such as germ rice, but if you pay attention to what germ rice is, it is brown rice, and then peel a layer of the shell, there will be less fiber. But it retains the most nutritious part of the germ; the vitamin B complex is also in this part, so it is very nutritious, but the fiber is less than in brown rice. The taste will be smoother, and it will not feel as hard, but the price will be relatively high, possibly sixty to seventy dollars.

Another mid-priced option is quinoa. Quinoa is available in black, red, and white. If children are nervous about the color and don’t like to eat it, they may choose white quinoa, which is rich in nutrients. Black quinoa is higher in iron and anthocyanins.

I don’t recommend ten-grain rice for children, as their stomachs are more delicate, and the rice may need to be soaked overnight before it becomes soft. They may feel like there are many different kinds of rice in it and not like it. Of course, some children are more curious and may like it. But many children are accustomed to eating regular food when they are small and will only try different foods when they grow up. We may wait until they are ten or eight years old before giving ten-grain rice. However, we still need to soak it before boiling it with other rice. Otherwise, even if it is healthy, it will cause stomach aches.

Some people will put red beans in; how exactly do we put them in? We have to pre-soak the red beans until they are soft, or even boil them until they are soft, before cooking them with rice. In fact, red bean rice is very nutritious; for example, Japanese like eating red bean rice. Also, there are other types of rice, like sweet potato rice, corn rice, and chestnut rice, which is suitable for eating in autumn. Different combinations make eating rice more interesting than just plain white rice. Chestnuts are high in calcium and iron to enhance bone growth and help prevent anemia, and people will be more energetic and not so easily fatigued.

Parents Zone

What should be noted for full-day face-to-face classes with self-prepared lunch boxes?

Source: Senior Dietitian, Ng Yiu Fun

Many parents are worried about whether the self-prepared lunch boxes are attractive and nutritious enough for their children, so that when they open the boxes, they will feel like eating everything. Parents also like to check their children’s lunch boxes after school to see if they have eaten everything. First, they want to prove their love and care, and second, they want their children to have some nutrition. But what kind of lunch boxes will make them exclaim, “Wow!” I’m so happy! “I love it!” when they open it.

First of all, we should let children develop the habit of eating without choice. If they can choose all day, they may think that if they don’t like this lunch box today, their mother will make something they like tomorrow. Therefore, they deliberately won’t eat this lunch box, which will force their mother to make a second lunch box that they like. Gradually, they will develop a habit of pickiness.

I have two daughters who are also in elementary school. Our habit is that from Monday to Saturday, they don’t have a choice. Whatever their mother says to eat, they have to eat it. They know they can’t choose, and they have to eat, even if they are hungry. So she rarely complains about not eating certain things. On Sundays, she can have a meal of her choice, go to restaurant A or B for a meal,

or be rewarded with some snacks. Then she will feel that this week she has been well-behaved and obedient.


What can be done to pique her interest just a little? First, if it’s some fried rice or noodles, she would eat a little bit more easily when she opens the lunchbox; for example, if it’s an egg fried rice with meat and vegetable pieces, when she opens it, she won’t feel it’s stuffy and the ingredients won’t stick together, which can increase her appetite. Furthermore, some vegetables, meat pieces, and eggs are actually nutritionally balanced. For example, stir-frying udon with some cabbage or mushrooms and adding some meat slices or minced meat to the udon, with a little salt and soy sauce, is actually a pretty delicious one.

Parents Zone

What constitutes a language development delay in a child?

Source: Speech Therapist, Mok Yee Tuen

Typically, babies start making sounds as soon as they are born, such as different crying sounds to express their demands. From 4 to 8 months, they start babbling, which is part of the language preparation period. Children actually go through a ladder of language development, starting with just learning single words and ending with being able to tell stories with their words.

Babies from 9 months to 1 year generally start producing their first meaningful word, such as “ba,”  “ma,” or “ball ball.” From 1 to 2 years old, their understanding and vocabulary expression increase greatly, with the accumulation of single words forming two-word phrases, such as “mommy drink” and “eat bun bun.”

From 2 to 3 years old, children generally speak in longer sentences and can express different needs. For example, they like to add a word to the two-word phrases, forming three-word combinations, such as “Daddy eat bun” and “I want grandma.” Some children start using adjectives, such as “sister eats a big apple.”


Young children generally recognize more different sentences and start using conjunctions after 3 and a half years old, and by 5 years old, they slowly understand how to combine different sentences and use more conjunctions and start to narrate things logically, that is, by telling stories.

In fact, the language development of young children is slightly different for each person, but through empirical research, we also have some important reference indicators to see if a child may have a speech delay.

The first is that there are no words at 2 years old.

Second, no sentences appear before the age of three.

The third is that speech is unclear and hard to understand after 3 years old,

Fourth, sentences are still unclear after 5 years old.

If the child is not speaking more and more as they grow, parents should seek the help of a professional to assess and train them as soon as possible.

Parents Zone

Poverty leads to change, change leads to adapt” Let children learn to be flexible

Written by:Gigamind English Primary School Principal Law


There is a Chinese saying: “Raising a child for 100 years old is a long-term worry for 99 years. This speaks to the heart of thousands of parents. As the weather turns colder, you are busy adding clothes for your child, but when you see other people’s children running and jumping around wearing only a single coat, you may worry that he is too warm and less able to adapt. If your child doesn’t listen to you and does what he wants to do, you will be annoyed, but if he asks you for everything, you may worry and say, “Oh! Didn’t I teach you that? Why don’t you always know how to adapt?


The power of adaptability from the movie

Spontonsive Flexibility is an element of creativity. If you know how to adapt, you can solve a problem in a different way.


Have you ever seen the movie “Apollo 13”, which is based on a true story? One scene of the movie tells the story of the runaway spacecraft, filtering toxic gas equipment is broken, scientists found that to solve the problem, we need to connect a round interface to a square interface above. Different sizes of water pipes cannot be reliably connected, but they want to connect the round interface? Sounds like you know it is impossible, but if you cannot connect the filter cannot pass the toxic gas, the three astronauts will not be able to return alive! In the end, with the cooperation of each other, they used plastic bags, cardboard, tape and other things to connect the two different interfaces, successfully solved the problem.



Inclusion of children’s ideas

We need to be mindful that developing children’s adaptability requires an attitude of tolerance and acceptance of seemingly silly solutions to problems. Since adults have more experience and are better at solving problems than children, they sometimes feel that the solutions children come up with are not good enough. However, the most important thing is that these solutions were thought up by the children themselves, and they can work. Even if they don’t work, they probably make some sense and can barely do it. No matter how “dumb” a child’s approach is, every success and every parental support gives him or her more confidence to solve problems in the future.


Letting your child try

Adults may be able to figure out solutions to problems faster than children, so we need to give children enough time to think and try, and not rush to tell them what they think. Parents should let go of their children and let them face difficulties on their own. “Poverty leads to change”, and the motivation for “change” will be weakened with too much help.


This is the difficulty of being a parent. If you help too much, you worry that your child will not know how to solve problems on his own; if you help too little, you worry that he will not be able to catch up with others; and with so many things to deal with every day, how can you have time to let your child take his time to finish what he has to do every day? However, there are times, such as during the holidays, when we really need to consider slowing down the pace of life and allowing our children to do more of their own work, learn to solve problems in their own way, and develop adaptability.

Parents Zone

What should we do if a child is having a tantrum?

Written by:Dr. Hui Lung Kit, Psychiatry Specialist


Many parents have had the experience of taking their children out to play, and the family was in a happy mood and the children were having a good time. But suddenly, the child makes some unreasonable requests (such as seeing a toy to buy), and the parent does not allow it, the child immediately changes his face and cries. When the parent reprimands the child, the child becomes more aggressive, not only crying louder, but also having a tantrum fiercely and stomping on the ground, attracting the attention of passers-by (who may even suspect that you are abusing the child). Parents have no choice but to do their utmost to soothe the child, or even raise their hands in surrender and buy the child a toy in the hope of calming the storm. In the end, once the child has succeeded in his request, he would turn tears into laughter even when the toy is still not received. The previous crying is gone and makes parents unable to laugh or cry.


However, have parents ever noticed that if the number of times of “compromise due to pressure” increases, the number of children’s cries will increase instead of decrease? This is due to a psychological phenomenon – “Positive Reinforcement” consequence. Positive Reinforcement” means that when a behavior occurs, if a reward is given immediately, the behavior will occur again. The more the reward, the higher the chance that the behavior will be repeated.

To apply the example to the child, if the child cries a lot, if the adult satisfies his unreasonable request (such as buying a toy) when he is most agitated, this is a reward for his crying behavior, and in the future, when the child has other unreasonable requests, he will be more inclined to use the crying method to achieve his goal. In addition, children generally want to be loved and cared for by their parents. If parents usually ignore them, but the child cries, the parents will immediately become very nervous because even scolding is a form of attention, and over time, children will tend to cry as a means of attracting their parents’ attention.


Therefore, the first and foremost thing parents should do to properly handle their children’s crying is to maintain a gentle attitude, but at the same time, they should stick to their principles and not compromise easily, especially not to finally give in and meet demands just because the child continues to cry. If parents cannot control the situation, they can try to reduce their attention to the child, such as removing eye contact, being expressionless, or not talking to the child. In addition, if the crying occurs at home, parents can take the child to a quiet corner, cut off all attention to the child, let the child calm down, and then slowly explain to him what the problem is.

Of course, it is more important to give children appropriate attention from time to time when they are behaving well and not crying, so that they feel safe and do not use fussing as a “bargaining chip” to win the love of their parents. This is the solution to the problem

Parents Zone

Children are reluctant to open their mouths. Does listening to music help?

Written By: Pang Chi Wah, Certified Educational Psychologist, New Horizons

Development Centre   



Parents expect their children to learn to speak, and the feeling of their children “opening their mouths” for the first time is something that only parents who have been parents can understand. Parents want their children to start talking as soon as possible and do everything they can to guide their children to speak. While oral training is important for the development of speech, parents should not neglect auditory training because it is an important prerequisite for language training.


Relationship between Auditory Stimulation and Speech Expression

Listening and expression, reception and output, are closely related and complement each other. In the early childhood stage, if a child’s reception is not sufficient, it has a direct impact on the amount of output. I give a more extreme example for analysis. People with hearing impairment have difficulties in speech expression, but this is not due to problems with their oral muscles or related abilities but to the lack of auditory input. Without the verification and comparison of sound content, even though the mouth is developing normally, there is no “inventory” and therefore no “supply”. Therefore, parents should pay attention to whether they are providing their children with adequate auditory stimulation.


Diversified auditory stimulation

Some parents may say, “Of course I know this, and I try to output a lot of sound to my child: I often talk to my child, tell stories, describe my child’s surroundings, etc., and I use different languages to do so. While this is ideal for auditory stimulation, the content is rich but similar in nature – it is all verbal. In fact, auditory reception can be very diverse, and music, for example, is a material that can help improve a child’s language skills. Conversely, parents can learn about their children’s language development by how well they listen to music.


Music is good for language development

From my years of experience in education, I found that children with poor phonetic ability will have more difficulty in learning music and vocal music, such as pitch, rhythm, range, etc. This is actually related to listening and sound composition skills. Among the different types of sounds, music is the ideal language teaching material, except for the human language. There is a wide variety of music, with different rhythms or themes, from which children can broaden their understanding of sound. In addition to its educational value, some soft music can even help to soothe emotions.


Play the harmonica and experience the sound and breathing changes

The same piece of music can feel very different when played by different instruments. This is also good training for your child’s listening sensitivity. In addition to listening to records or playing music files on the computer, it is fun and meaningful for children to get in touch with real instruments and actually play them so that they are more aware of the relationship between different materials and sounds. Harmonica is a good training tool among many musical instruments. When playing the harmonica, children need to exhale through their mouths, thus having the opportunity to experience the changes between sound and breathing. When children play the harmonica, they use their tongues and lips to create sounds that are coordinated with each other, which is an important foundation for the use of the mouth.

Singing children’s songs to learn to speak

In addition to imitating everyday conversations, singing a cute children’s song can have the desired effect of enhancing memory and deepening impressions by using music to carry language. If children can sing along, even if they can’t produce the right sounds at first, they can develop their speaking skills during the imitation process.

A building is built from the ground up, and training in early childhood is very important for children to have good language skills in the future. Through the use of music and musical instruments, children can build a good language foundation in a fun and relaxing way, so parents may want to try it out more often.

Parents Zone

Children wet the bed at night, but cannot control themselves.

Written by Chinese Doctor Yiu Yee Chiu


Every parent wants their child to develop well and quickly, not to lag behind, if not to be better than others. In medicine, there is a condition between “disease” and “physiology” that both parents and children find very disturbing. This is “nocturnal enuresis in children”.


Nocturnal enuresis is a stage of physiological development, but it is a problem if a child is still unable to control his or her urination and wets the bed after the age of 5. Nocturnal enuresis in children can be divided into two types: primary and secondary. The former is a pathological cause, such as spina bifida, or developmental delay. In the case of secondary causes, the child has control over the urine, but then for some reason, it gets out of control. The most common cause is an unexplained delay in development.


Medication, Physical Therapy, and Life

In Chinese medicine, the production of urine is related to several internal organs. The causes are kidney qi deficiency, spleen-lung qi deficiency, and liver stagnation and heat. In clinical practice, the main cause is kidney qi deficiency. Unlike adult enuresis or secondary enuresis in children, the condition will generally improve with several months of treatment. However, the treatment must be combined with medication,

physical therapy, and life support.

Chinese herbal medicine treatment: the main ingredients are mulberry cuttlebone, puzzle nut, whole cherry, Schisandra, yam, and mulberry.


Physical therapy: Acupuncture and massage, mainly for the bladder and kidney meridians in the back


Strict abstinence from food: Avoid cold and raw foods and beverages to avoid further damage to kidney energy


Food therapy: Use peaches, tzatziki, Chinese yam, etc. as a meal or dessert


Hot compress before bedtime: Apply hot compresses to the kidney points on the back of the bladder meridian every night before bedtime. For a more pronounced effect, use cumin, white pepper, or peppercorns and then wrap them in a cloth bag.



It turns out that nocturnal enuresis is not a rare occurrence and most children recover completely. Therefore, the most important thing is how to let the child pass through this stage smoothly. If parents don’t handle it properly, it may affect their self-esteem. Therefore, it is important to see a doctor for a formal examination of the situation so that you can really help your child.