What can parents do when preparing their children for elementary school?

Source: Unleashing Mind, Psychotherapist, Dr. Lee Wai Tong


Next semester, K3 children will start to prepare for elementary school. Apart from getting to know the new school, preparing stationery, and learning to wear school uniforms, what else can parents do to help their children transition smoothly and make a good transition to elementary school? It is often the case that children will feel anxious when they encounter many unknown things. To deal with the anxiety of children, it is best to prepare for the situation in advance.


What’s for preparation? Open the schedule before school and remind the children, “Look, there will be a recess after these two classes, and then another recess after these two classes.” They will know in their minds when there will be a short break, then lunchtime, and then the school will be over after a while.


In terms of teachers, they don’t know who the teacher is, so we can say, “This teacher should be a male teacher, and this one is a female teacher.” This is the advance preparation so that the children know more about the things that have not happened and are better prepared. In particular, many elementary schools will hold orientation activities. Parents should not think that they don’t need to participate now because they are busy and their children will only return to school in September. If you can participate, you should do so, as it actually helps children know more and be well prepared for the unknown.


With all the preparations we have just made, what are the other minor things that we need to pay attention to? We say that children are anxious when they enter first grade because they are unprepared for something that has not happened yet, and then they feel worried. When they have a good grasp of what they need to do in each class, their anxiety will be much less.


Some issues are beyond the control of the parents, namely, his classmates. Children face some situations, such as when classmates next to them make a lot of acts like going to the child’s place to take a look at his things suddenly. These are not good times for children, but there is no way to prevent them, so they need to be nurtured, especially if they have just entered the first grade. Talk to them more after school and ask them if they have encountered any unpleasant things so that they can express themselves. They will find that even if they are worried, they can talk to their parents after school, and they will be comforted by their parents, and their anxiety will be reduced a bit. Then, the next day, when the unhappiness is over, they will be happy to go back to school again.


Every parent wants to ask their children more when they come home from school and know more about the school picture. Parents should learn more questioning skills so that children can say more and the picture is more complete. Some children are more extroverted and talk more, so it is easier for parents to understand; some children are more introverted. A major characteristic of an introverted child is that he or she has not yet grasped the situation internally and therefore does not know how to express it.

When dealing with introverted children, you can make it simple by drawing a poster with many different emotions and asking them what they are feeling today. When they see the pictures, they will think about them, and sometimes they will point to “angry,” sometimes to “sad,” and sometimes to “happy.” This way, they can be asked what they are happy, angry, or sad about. They will then have room to express these emotional things.

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.

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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.

How can children learn to take care of themselves?   

Source: Shirley Loo, Executive Director, Family Development Foundation


As we may notice, in today’s society, the children of the previous generation have grown up and are now working in society, but it seems that their parents are involved in many things. It made me think back to my own childhood—did our moms always take care of us in a pampering role? Did everything seem to be taken care of so well that the kids could just focus on school and academics?


In fact, this is definitely not a healthy phenomenon for the growth of children, but I also understand that mothers think that children do not need to care about anything, mothers take care of everything for you, remove any adversity and difficulties for him, establish a protection zone, and tell him to focus only on studying well. But being a good student is not the same as knowing how to be a good person. Both things should be balanced.


They may find it very profound to know how to behave. If you narrow it down, it means the ability to take care of oneself. Parents should know how to let go and let their children learn to take care of themselves; that is, if they know how to do things themselves, they should let them do as much as possible. For example, he knows how to pack his schoolbag, and how to put things into it. Of course, you have to teach him first and then let him do it.


This ability to care for oneself is also a survival skill; from the initial tying of shoelaces and packing of a schoolbag to growing up a little to take care of one’s own bookshelves and desks, and later applying to university, all are very basic survival skills. For example, what does it mean to “pack a schoolbag”? First, he must know how to write a handbook. He did not write everything down at first, but he can ask his classmates, and mothers can take the initiative to find different parents to chat with and compare the handbook with.



Second, check if he is shortsighted because many children do not copy properly because of eye problems. Third, in addition to the handbook being fully written, is how to organize in accordance with the timetable. Mom can demonstrate how to organize once a day before. The next day, ask him, “Get the General Studies book.” Slowly, he learns to organize, his mother can praise him, and some parents even use those reward tables. Give him a stamp if he packed the schoolbag today so that he has some sense of achievement. When he knows how to pack his schoolbag, it means he knows how to sort things.


Many times, parents are preoccupied with their own lives or work pressures, or their moods do not always remain positive. “Don’t do that; I’ll help you do it instead.” There will be times when there is no way; we will miss and be exhausted. But if you really do his homework for him, there is a risk because it’s dishonest and you don’t let him learn, because he would only learn and remember after making mistakes. I remember once a mother telling me that her daughter’s writing was crooked, so the mother kept erasing and breaking paper.




I said, “You can use some creative methods to teach children in first grade.” I like to tell her that every word has its own home, and that home is inside the square. Those words like to return home, and you can help them be securely placed in their home. Parents need to be patient and wait for their children to improve slowly. Each child has his or her own pace of growth. I hope parents will respect the rhythm of their growth and respect their pace. In fact, while they are learning, we are also learning, so we can all progress together.

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!

Children are “jealous” of their newborn siblings. What can parents do?

Source: Psychotherapist, Lee Wai Tong

Have two babies in three years. It is a joy to welcome a new life. However, it can often make an older brother or sister feel jealous. However, it can often make an older brother or sister feel jealous. This challenge is not only for the parents but also for the child, who has mixed feelings about being an older brother or sister. 

In the past, his parents were only looking out for him, giving him all their care and love, but now they are giving it to his brother or sister. At the same time, he does not completely despise his brother or sister and may even like him or her on occasion. Therefore, parents need him or her to understand that being the eldest son or daughter has a very complicated feel to it. What should we do as parents?

Help your elder brother or sister enter a new role. How could we help them? And the way he gets cared for is no longer the same as when he was a child, but if he can become an older brother or sister, he gets cared for by his parents, so the parents need to change their thinking that the child is their little helper to take care of the newborn together.

When the older brother or sister is able to take care of the newborn, the more care he or she will get. This is the new way for the eldest child to be cared for by the parents, so as a parent, when the newborn is still in the mother’s womb, you have to start teaching the older brother or sister, “When the newborn is born, you have to help mom and dad take care of him.”

When changing the diapers after the birth of a newborn, the older siblings could help pick up the diapers, and every time the older siblings helped, the parents would praise them, “Good job!” You really love us! You can help mom and dad! The older siblings are naturally happier to receive their parents’ praise, so they will help more and more, and naturally, they will be able to fulfill their older siblings’ responsibilities, and their parents will be a little more relaxed.

Should parents stop children throwing toys? 

Source:Registered Educational Psychologist, Pang Chi Wah

When parents encounter children in the toddler stage picking up toys, they will throw, throw, throw! In fact, this is a normal developmental process, especially between the ages of 1 and 2. Because picking up toys and throwing them causes objects fall down, it is easier to see the cause-and-effect relationship.

Pick up, let go, and there will be sound and action. The action means that after he does the action, the object will fall down and feel very funny. However, as he grows older, he should stop throwing toys. It is not appropriate for parents to stop him and say that it is wrong for him to throw toys again. He may not know what is right and wrong, but he finds it fun. Parents can appropriately let him continue to throw and set some rules so that he throws into some of the appropriate ranges. Even with the wrong color, it does not matter; at least put it back in the appropriate range.

Parents can also let him throw the ball; it can be thrown relatively far away. In the home area, you can use some trays or different boxes so he can throw it in like a storage toy. Of course, ask him to be a little less forceful. Another thing that is very important is that parents remember to pay attention to the fact that if you tell him not to throw when he throws, it will strengthen his desire to throw. Because this statement is not positive enough, parents should remember that when he throws the toy, they should not say, “Do not throw the toy again.” Instead, you can say, “We try to slowly put it down.” Put it here, a little more gently.”

On the one hand, we provide opportunities for him to throw himself appropriately into the environment, and on the other hand, we speak in a positive way to guide him on what he should do so that there is a chance to improve his behavior.


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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.

Why do children always fail to remember their classmates’ names?

Source: Aristle International Kindergarten, School Supervisor, Vivian Wu

In fact, this question is asked by many parents, especially those whose children have been friends since the baby group and have grown up together. Why do my children seem to play by themselves and not with other children when we meet so many times?

Especially for children who have just started school, aged 2 or 3, they are actually interested in all the school objects and all the new things around them when they return to school. So when they are exposed to a lot of information every day, the sensory system has to deal with a lot of novel information every day, so being interested in so many things around them that, in fact, they may not remember the names of their classmates is very normal.

Secondly, it actually depends on each person’s preference. If mom and dad put some effort into paying attention, they would know some children would like to play with other people, but some children would like to play with toys. They like to explore toys on their own and even play with their own toys in their own way. Most of these children go back to school and may only remember their favorite toys and not be impressed with their classmates.

Third, the general 0 to 2-year-old children, even the 3- and 4-year-old children, some of the later months of birth, especially the younger children, in fact, are more self-centered. In the early stages of growth, this is absolutely normal, so he is concerned about who takes care of himself. That is to say, he is more impressed with his caregivers, such as his father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, grandfather, grandmother, and even the domestic helpers. So it is normal that he may remember the teacher’s name in the class but not necessarily the names of his classmates.

Children generally begin to develop the ability to understand the feelings of other children after 18 months of age and gradually learn to care about other children, thus knowing how to build relationships with others. All these skills have to be mastered slowly, so many children start to learn how to share with others in the playgroup.

Finally, I think it is important for parents to understand their children’s personalities and to respect each child’s different personality. In fact, just like adults, every child has a different personality. For some children, you may wonder whether boys are more active or outgoing. But I have a boy student who is a bit more introverted, thinks a lot, and likes to observe, but is never the first one to come out. Just like adults, some adults like to have a large group of friends to play with, and some adults may have a few confidantes that they feel are enough, so these are not problems.

Growing up, but not willing to walk. How to improve the children’s twisting and hugging habits?

Source: Psychotherapist, Lee Wai Tong

At the age of one, children gradually learn to walk. At first, children will be very excited to explore everywhere. But gradually, they will ask adults to hold them and not be willing to walk by themselves. Parents will be feeling headaches, sometimes the child may be really tired, and sometimes they just want to be held out of a sense of affection. What can parents do when their children ask for a hug?

Some parents have mentioned to me that their children couldn’t walk when they were one year old, but they wanted to walk very much. When they learn to walk later, they especially like to walk at that time. The parents were happy that the stroller could be left at home, thinking that the child would walk in the future. However, after the children became familiar with walking, they would want to be held by their parents, and even the parents would need to take a stroller and go everywhere in the stroller.

If you don’t have a stroller, it’s a big test of the parents’ physical strength. Of course, parents want their children to walk again, and some parents say, “If you don’t walk, we won’t go out.” Parents actually want to go out with their children, have fun, and walk around, so why not set a goal with them? For example, if you go there, you will hold them, and if you go there, you will walk, and you will make this commitment before you go out. For example, when the child is just out of the lift door and says he wants to be held, we have just said that we have to go downstairs, from the entrance of the estate down to the gate, before we can hold him. We have a goal for the child; the child moves naturally downstairs to hug, and the parents promised to carry him to the gate and place the child back on the ground. 

Sometimes children would suddenly say they wanted to be hugged; parents could tell their children to walk to the other side of the light before hugging. On the one hand, we all enjoy parent-child fun, and secondly, children have a goal, know where to walk to hug, and are naturally more willing to walk a little more. Sometimes children are really tired, or the feeling of hugging is actually very intimate, so they want to hug to get the intimate feeling. So we need to let the children know that we will hug them, but there is a goal, for example, to walk there and hug them at that time, so that everyone will be happy.