Encouraging Resilience and Perseverance in your Child

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Resilience and perseverance are essential traits for children to develop. They are life skills that children take into adulthood and can affect how they grow up.

Building resilience and perseverance in your child is important for their mental health as well as their physical health. It helps them to overcome obstacles more easily and reduces the chances of developing anxiety or other stress-related diseases.

Here are some tips you can use to help your child build resilience and perseverance:

  1. Building supportive relationships

The reliable presence of at least one supportive relationship can help lead your child through adversity. Your child will learn to develop vital coping skills and your presence can also help to reduce any changes that are activated by stress. This can prevent any damaging physiological effects on their developing brain, body, and immune system.3 Children learn better when they are loved, accepted, and understood.

  1. Encourage and support self-regulation

Self-regulation refers to how we regulate our behaviours and emotions. It is extremely beneficial in the long run for your child to learn how to manage their behaviours from a young age. It is important to talk to your child about their behaviours to help develop their understanding — what is the impact of their behaviour on others, what are the benefits? It will also help them to regulate any stress-induced anger or frustration they might feel in challenging situations.4

  1. Encourage regular mindfulness practice

Mindfulness creates structural and functional changes to the brain that can help regulate stress. It has a great positive impact on children’s, and adults’, cognitive development. There are numerous life skills that your child can develop when practising mindfulness and these skills can help build perseverance and resilience. You can read more about mindfulness and find exercises here.

  1. Read to them, or let them read good books

Children are more perceptive than we give them credit for. They can infer and learn from the stories they read. Here are a few books that share stories about problem-solving, self-regulation, and perseverance1:

  1. Engage in risky play

Risky play is thrilling and a perfect challenge for children to test their limits and build perseverance. It can also help your child develop risk management as they figure out boundaries and develop perseverance.1 Take your child to the playground, bring them hiking, let them play in nature. It is important that you don’t let your fear get in the way. Let your child take risks and learn from them. Experts suggest practicing the 17-second rule — i.e., instead of telling your child not to run too fast or climb too high, take a moment (or 17-seconds). Step back and observe how your child is responding to the situation so you can have a better sense of what they are capable of.5

  1. Set an example

Like many other life skills, modelling resilience and perseverance is beneficial for your child. They are more than likely to learn from watching you persevere through a problem you are facing. If it’s an appropriate discussion, share with them what you’re going through and what you’re doing to get through the problem. Studies have shown that showing persistence and perseverance yourself can affect how much your child perseveres through their tasks.1

Child-led learning is effective in developing resilience and perseverance

Resilience and perseverance are skills that can’t only be taught verbally. Your child will have to go through challenges and sometimes tough situations in order to develop these skills. By being in challenging situations, they will not only develop perseverance and resilience but also learn to problem-solve and manage risk.

If you enjoyed this week’s blog, and would like to find out more about encouraging resilience and perseverance in your child, head over to Piptree Kids to check out the full post!

References

  1. Arnerich, M. How to Build Resilience and Perseverance in Young Children. (Link)
  2. Bobbermen, J. Why building resilience in children is important. (Link)
  3. Young, K. Building Resilience in Children — 20 Practical, Powerful Strategies. (Link)
  4. Cowley, S. How to Build Better Behaviours in the Early Years. (Link)
  5. Toole, B. Risky Play for Children: Why We Should Let Kids Go Outside and then Get Out of The Way. (Link)

The Benefits of Virtual Reality in Early Childhood Education

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Physical play is an important and effective way for young children to learn. Similarly, when used correctly, technology is just as important to a young child’s development. There are huge investments into technology that can provide essential and important skill-building virtual reality and augmented reality games for children. Studies have shown that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have the ability to alter behaviour, thoughts, patterns, and attitudes.1

The benefits of virtual reality in early childhood education include:2

Fun learning

Children generally have shorter attention span. Many young children today are exposed to technology and digital screens at an early age. You’ll probably find that it is easier to catch their attention when there are moving pictures/objects. VR allows for immediate engagement which means fewer distractions. You can change the visual settings of the game to cater to each student’s visual engagement. The scenery is usually vivid and attractive, and that will engage your child and pique their attention.

Enhance motivation

As your child is engaged in the game, it will motivate them to want to play. Many VR games require full participation. If your child doesn’t move, the avatar doesn’t move — nothing happens in the game. Children learn best when they figure out concepts at their level, and they can do so through the VR/AR games. The use of VR technology can enhance traditional teaching methodologies as children are able to apply what they have learnt in the “real world”.3

Increase academic performance and understanding

A study done on the effectiveness of augmented reality apps in teaching the alphabets to kindergarten children revealed that students who were taught with AR had significantly better results than students who were taught using traditional teaching methods — a mean score of 27.57 in the experimental group and 15.43 in the control group.4

Develop positive attitudes and behaviour and Enhance social skills

In classrooms, the nature of AR and/or VR encourages children to work together, building their cooperation skills while improving their communication skills. The use of technology gives your child a sense of control over their learning, whether it is at home or at school. Self-directed learning can increase their level of concentration and information retention. It can also motivate your child to want to learn more and engages all children regardless of learning abilities.6

Using AR/VR to enhance teaching and learning

Technology will never replace traditional teaching methods and teachers as the main mode of educational and developmental learning. Physical play and human-led teaching are still critically important in helping young children develop, learn life-skills, and academic learning. However, technology can be used alongside these traditional methodologies in order to enhance young children’s learning capabilities.

If you’d like to know more about the benefits of VR and AR, head over to Piptree Kids to check out the full article!

 

References

  1. Ariel, Y. VR is a Powerful Tech Enhancing Early Childhood Development Must. (Link)
  2. Masmuzidin, M.Z., Aziz, N.A.A.. “The Current Trends of Augmented Reality in Early Childhood Education.” The International Journal of Multimedia and Its Applications, vol. 10, no. 6, 2018, pp. 47-58. (Link)
  3. Wenke, J. The Benefits of Using Augmented Reality in Early Childhood Education. (Link)
  4. Safar, A.H., Al-Jafar, A. A., Al-Youdefi, Z.H.. “The Effectiveness of Using Augmented Reality Apps in Teaching the English Alphabet to Kindergarten Children: A Case Study in the State of Kuwait.” EURASIA Journal of Mathematics Science and Technology Education, vol. 13, no. 2, 2016, pp. 417-440. (Link)
  5. AR VR Tech. Top 5 Benefits of Virtual Reality in Education. (Link)
  6. Youdale, K. Augmented Reality in Kindergarten? (Link)

How to talk to your child about serious issues

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In today’s world children can more often than not, be exposed to current local and global tragedies and dangers, no matter how much parents try to shield them. It can be hard for them to process these serious issues and their imagination can run wild.

Discussing these issues with your child may not be easy but by discussing them in age-appropriate language, it will help your child feel more secure and safe. This is particularly important as we go through the current coronavirus global pandemic. Younger children might not understand why they can’t go to school or childcare, or why they can’t see grandma and grandpa.

Here are some tips you can use to talk to your child about the pandemic, or other serious issues:

1. Provide just enough information about the issue1

Pre-schoolers

Most young children don’t have enough life experience to understand complex and abstract issues. News reporting can use words and phrases that can scare your child. Try as much as possible to limit your child’s exposure to the news to avoid causing too much anxiety and choosing media that is targeted to younger children.

Use age-appropriate language and examples to explain the issue2. For example, if they are asking about how people catch coronavirus, explain that when someone sneezes or coughs, they can spread germs through the air. Explain to them that the germs can also get on their hands and therefore, it is important to wash their hands and avoid touching their face. Here are some exercises you can do with your child to help them understand why they need to practice good personal hygiene:

 School-age children

At this stage, most children can read and write independently and are exposed to more complex news in the media. Wait for them to come to you if something is worrying them. When you encourage open dialogue and discussion in your house, they’re more likely to come to you when there is a difficult issue bothering them.

With teenagers, they’re often exposed to news on social media or television. As we know, there is a lot of false information out there on the Internet! Engage in discussions with them about the news and make sure your child knows you are listening. Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t have all the answers2. You can work together with them to fact-check information and calm their worries at the same time. With a lot of misinformation on COVID-19 circulating on the Internet here are some reliable sources of information:

  1. World Health Organisation Myth busters
  2. Australian Government Department of Health
  3. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

2. Acknowledge their feelings

Pre-schoolers:

Address their emotions when talking about serious subjects. Let your child know that it is normal to feel scared, sad, or confused about the situation. Share your feelings with them as well and reassure them that you will be there for them, and that the family is safe3.

Children are very observant and sensitive to how things affect the members of their primary relationships — parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. It is important that you are calm and reassuring when talking about the issue.

Do look out for reassurance seeking in young children — i.e. your child could be repeatedly asking the same or similar questions; try to determine whether their anxiety seems to be increasing despite the fact that you’ve been answering their questions. Health Direct has a list of resources catered to young children, or you can contact your family doctor or psychologist for more resources or help.

School-age children:

Similar to pre-schoolers, always acknowledge your child’s feelings and emotions. Teenagers might be less likely to open up about what they’re feeling but as a parent it’s still a good idea to check in with them from time to time. With COVID-19, restriction measures by the government will disrupt their daily routine — schools are now online, they’re not allowed to hang out with their friends; social activities like sports and dance classes are cancelled and can have an impact on their mental health. Direct them to online mental health resources if they feel more comfortable talking to a professional:

  1. Australian Government Department of Health – Head to Health
  2. Headspace
  3. Beyond Blue
  4. More resources can be found at Health Direct

3. Take care of yourself3

If your child is bothered by a serious issue that is covered constantly in the news, it is likely that you’re just as, if not more exposed to the story. With the current global pandemic, adults are likely dealing with higher than normal pressure and having to juggle between working from home and taking care of your children.

Take a break from the news and turn off the TV. Do some physical exercise, or just spend time with your family playing games or watching movies. Taking a much-needed break from the constant news cycle can be beneficial to both you and your child to calm down and relieve the stress and anxiety. This can make discussions about difficult topics a lot more productive and effective, rather than being too caught up in negative emotions.

Don’t avoid difficult topics!

Opening up about serious topics will not only reassure and reduce anxiety in your child but will also strengthen the bond between you. It lets them know that you’re willing to listen and help them, and it makes them feel safe and secure. The next time they have problems, they know that they can come to you for help without feeling judged.

References

  1. Sperling, J. How to talk to children about the coronavirus. (Link)
  2. Knorr, C. How to Talk to Kids About Difficult Subjects. (Link)
  3. American Psychological Association. How to talk to children about difficult news. (Link)

 

What can parents do to help children learn from home?

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As more schools move to online classes, you might now find yourself juggling between home-schooling your child while working from home.  This can be daunting especially if you have never done this before. This is new to many parents who are now stuck between work, caring for children, and ensuring that they are still learning effectively.

We have put together a few tips and tricks that you might find helpful to home-school your child:

1. Set up a learning space

A learning space for young children is a place where they can play safely. Unstructured, free play is the best way for young children to learn. If you have a backyard, let your child play and explore the natural environment. Nature play can reap many benefits such as problem-solving, risk assessment, and improved mental and physical health. Let their imagination run wild to fuel their creativity. You can be a part of your child’s unstructured play too, if you choose to, and if they want you to join!

Young children can also benefit from unstructured indoor play with toys. Toys such as building blocks and threading strings can not only fuel your child’s creativity but also improve their fine motor skills.

2. Create and keep to a routine

Children need structure and familiarity. Creating and keeping to a routine can help your child be more productive. Having a routine for young children can have long-term benefits — including increased skills and responsibilitiesbuilding healthy habits, and cultivating a sense of safety and belonging. Keep to the normal daily routine you might already have in place. If your child used to attend child-care, try as much as possible to follow the schedule typically set for your child. It will create a safe, normal, and healthy environment for your child to continue to learn through play.

3. Facilitate and support child-led learning

Child-led play is good because children learn best when they’re interested in an activity. When you follow your child’s lead, you can facilitate their learning by taking advantage of the things that interest them to help them learn something new or build on a skill. You can start by noticing what your child is doing or playing, and ask if you could join in. If they stop playing with their current toy and move on to another, move to the other toy with them.

4. Let your child get bored

If you’re working from home and can’t entertain your child 24/7, you might find that they can get a little bored. Instead of dropping your work to play with them, let your child work through it themselves. When your child can push through the boredom, it fuels their creativity and imaginative capacity and builds their problem-solving skills. They will learn the necessary skills needed to deal with slightly stressful situations while building on their independence and resilience.

Learning should be fun!

By encouraging your child to self-regulate their learning, you are allowing them to take ownership of their studies and gain independence. It is still important for you to ensure that they are progressing in their learning and hold them accountable.

But don’t forget that learning should be fun! You can encourage your child to draw, bake, paint, or go out to the garden. Take this opportunity to spend some time with your child — whether it is talking about school or playtime in the garden!

If you found these ideas helpful, head over to Piptree Kids to check out the full blog post with more tips and tricks to help your older children learn from home 🙂

Loving-Kindness Meditation for Mindfulness

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Mindfulness teaches your child to not look at what they would like, but to focus on what is already there. It is very easy to look at someone else and be envious or jealous of something they have.

Loving-kindness meditation can develop goodwill, kindness, and warmth towards others and themselves. It has tremendous benefits — ranging from healthy well-being to improving emotional intelligence — benefits that can help your child grow into a kind, loving, and well-rounded individual.1 Read more

Fine Motor Skills Development in Children

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The development of fine motor skills in early childhood will affect the physical and mental development of your child. Fine motor development allows them to become increasingly independent. This can build confidence and increase self-esteem and will, in turn, have a positive influence on their social interactions and school success.

Your child will go through 3 stages of development before acquiring fine motor skills:

  1. Whole arm development
  2. Whole hand development
  3. Pincer and pincher grasp

There are many fun activities that you can do with your child at home to help train their fine motor skills.

Check out our blog post here for some ideas!

How can you Help Your Child Settle into a New Environment?

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It can be stressful for both you and your child when they are introduced to a new environment. It could be their first day of school, a new classroom, or a new childcare. It can be emotionally challenging for children to be separated from their parents, even just for a little while. Settling into a new environment for young ones is a huge step and it is normal if they are having trouble with it.

Here are 6 tips you can use to help your child manage separation anxiety and settle into a new space:

  1. Familiarise your child with their educators and classmates
  2. Ask if they want to bring a comfort object with them
  3. Establish a goodbye routine to prepare them for the separation
  4. Empathise with them
  5. Stay connected with your child
  6. Create a routine — a fixed sleep/wake-up time

With these 6 tips, your child will be ready to step into a new social environment and learn how to manage their anxieties and worries!

Read here to find out how you can use these tips to help your child.

3 Ways to Help Your Child Break Out of Their Shell

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Building Social Interaction Skills

It can be tough to see your child struggling to interact with others in social situations. There are two components that should be met before they are comfortable interacting with others — understanding social concepts and using those concepts.

It is easy for children to understand the meaning and importance of social concepts. But most children struggle with putting those concepts into action. There are exercises you can do with your child at home to help feel more comfortable in social situations. These include:

  1. Coaching social behaviours
  2. Role-play
  3. Positive reinforcement

Going through these 3 exercises will equip your child with the necessary skills for them to interact with their peers at childcare or at school!

Read here to find out how you can use those exercises to help your child.

What is STEAM Learning?

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STEAM holistic learning

STEAM learning is a holistic approach to educating young minds. It stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics. As technology advances, more and more jobs are becoming automated. People now view the arts and creativity as skills that are valuable.

Children are now encouraged to embrace their creativity and to think outside the box. This allows them to look at matters from different perspectives and think critically.

STEAM sets out to help your child develop skills that will increase their social competence. The model will:

1.       Expose them to creative process

2.       Offer meaningful collaborations

3.       Increase critical thinking

4.       Facilitate creative problem-serving

5.       Provide hands-on experience

These skills will help your child grow into the best versions of themselves and become well-rounded individuals.

Check out this blog post for more details.

What is Pretend Play and Why is it so Important?

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Benefits of Pretend Play

Pretend play is a great tool for young children to learn valuable life-skills while exploring their imagination. Both pretend and physical play work together to train and develop your child’s fine motor skills.

Pretend play has many benefits including:

  1. Enhanced language development
  2. Creativity
  3. Social skill development
  4. Planning and organisation
  5. Independence
  6. Social norms

You should encourage your child to engage in pretend play as it facilitates the development of skills required in every aspect of their life!

You can find out more about pretend play and its importance here.