Saturday, September 5, 2015

Bookworm Club Sept 2015: 《我这样大幅提升日本幼儿的智能 - 脑科学阿妈的73个重要观念》

5th Sept 2015: To honor teacher's day, I am doing up a book review on parenting and kids!


 《我这样大幅提升日本幼儿的智能 - 脑科学阿妈的73个重要观念》(Loosely translate: 73 early educational concepts from a neuroscience-grandma)

What is this book about: For parents; related to children's development under the age of 3. Key concepts about parenting, parenting partnership and development milestone for children. On a side note, I love buying good books and in this context, parenting books, and write a little note in the book for my future kids. I got this in year 2012, oh! how time flies!

Downside ... But....
This is a Mandarin book, written by a Japanese grandma. But the entire book contains 73 concepts and one concept is only 1 page. Thus, it is very very very easy to understand. (Please refer to pic to see how short that 1 page is, haha). There is one highlighted point in each page, that would be the key statement.

Enlightening, even to someone (me) from early childhood background: 
Author being a grandma (also a professor researching on cognitive/brain development hor!), her perspective is from a home-based view instead of a school setting. I love the idea that it is a concept kind of book, it talks more about big ideas and key concepts in life, not solutions, so every parent can understand, tweak and apply it in their respective situations.

Enough said, let me share some interesting key points about the book with all of you. First few pages begins with brain development and how education is very crucial to children under 3 (tells me that she is not any Tom and Jerry hor - no offense if your husband is Tom or Jerry hor, Haha)

Concept 11: Let your child (0-3 years old) cry loudly once in a day
If the crying is loud, the baby have good lungs and breathing system. I totally agree with this, as an educator because people tend to be afraid of children's cries thinking that they are hurt or upset etc. Thinking deeper, isn't crying the only way of communicating with others? Yes, infant/toddler cries when they need immediate attention such as when they are unwell. However, they also cry when they are bored or sleepy or curious etc so try not to be overwhelmed whenever they scream. (Good luck to future me).

Concept 12: It is the quality of time spend with your child that matters, not quantity
Being an educator, I have the thinking (in the past) that I wish to home-school my child all the way to 5 years old because education is very important. But my perspective changes over the years. I see how important it is for children to attend school, to be surrounded with peers of the same age, communicating in their bababa language and not in our adult ABC123Doremi language. In their own way and at their pace, as well as, understand social rules in a large group setting. They will pick up concepts and skills along the way as they grow old but social-emotional aspect is difficult to teach, isn't that so? They need to observe and pick up from surrounding people. I wonder do you, early educators, also feel the same way as me? I am curious, hehe.

Concept 15: Learn to control your emotions and the way you reprimand
Talk with your eyes before your words. Give warning to your child before taking actions.
When your child throws a terrible temper tantrum:
"If you do that again, I won't be polite with you"(direct translate from Mandarin-> from Japanese) and if the child continues "If you do that again, I will use a big spoon and hit you". And if the child continues, please follow through your words and deliver the consequences.
*I am sure everyone has their own disciplinary methods. But that is not the key takeaway. Just change your consequences according. From my interpretation, giving the child warning provides 2 chances to consider, reflect and change for the better. By doing so, it significantly increases their success rate! If one handed punishment straight away, it is more likely that the child receives punishment and experiences failure every single time.

Concept 30: Try not to say no
I can (almost) see many shaking heads now, hahaha! The author states that it would be best to not say 'no' to a young child as you might hinder their sense of curiosity. If your child draws on the wall, provides an easel - drawing on vertical surfaces is crucial in fact. Perhaps it is a good time to bring your child to the garden if she starts jumping on the sofa? Try to create a "JUST PLAY" environment for your child.    
Concept 46: For children under 3, curiosity is more important than memory
Of course, don't even get started. Many would be keen to teach children colours such as red, blue, yellow and so on. Instead of only focusing on that (and for them to correctly name the colours etc), her suggestion is to introduce different shades of red yarns. A pale shade of red can be pink, what about a even paler shade of pink? What does it reminds us of? Totally reggio! (An educational approach that I personally believes in).  

Concept 25: Let your child remember the 'Smell’ of food
By talking about food, it makes the eating experience more fun and meaningful. Example in the book: The strawberry is overipe and it smells a little weird, let's smell it. Please refrain from using words such as 'Smelly' and 'Dislike' on food because those words connect bad thoughts to the dining experience/food items.
Concept 27:  You can use a spoon to develop the brain (This is interesting!)
 She suggests giving a spoon for infant/toddler as a toy for them to lick and manipulate. The size of the spoon would be the size of your child's tongue, with a long handle (the child can hold onto the spoon better). Licking involves the lips and tongue. These movements will in turn lead to children's speech development such as articulation. AND, if you notice that your child becomes bored after a while, put a little salt or sugar on the spoon and let them rediscovery the experience. Please let your child focus on the experience and refrain from cleaning up the drool on the face, hands, or the spoon (rein your inner ocd okay).
This also reminds me of what Lisa said, when children munch on food, the muscle movements stimulates the brain! Food is good, feast on!
Concept 34: Use Seaweed to teaching the importance tooth-brushing (I LOVE THIS IDEA)
We all know how Japanese are huge fans to seaweed. Sprinkle some dry seaweed bits on top of your child's rice and after mealtime, you may point out the seaweed that are stuck on the teeth and suggest to brush them. For a start to educate the importance of brushing teeth lah, not all the time. As young children learn from concrete (child can see the seaweed) to abstract experiences.     

Concept 41: Daddy will scold the children only after mum requests it
This is interesting! Author shares that most mums spend a longer time at home, taking care of the child thus, at times, she loses effect when reprimanding the children. Taking the above disciplinary method allows children to see that mum and dad are partners. *To my future kids, are you scared now? You should be. Hahaha!  
Concept 43: Daughter in law make use of mum in law, mum in law takes a step back, husband backs wives up 
Well!!! I think she just want to win favor over her daughter in law lah, hahaha!
Jokes aside, in a nutshell, husbands need to back wives up, wives enter bedroom, and husbands go and pacify their mothers - hahaha! More importantly, she suggest that daughter in laws to utilize their mum in laws strength and mum in laws to take a step back and for the husband to support their wives. Your son's wife is also your daughter.


There are other interesting concepts such as The importance of 'Stopping' rather than 'Walking', 'Teaching your child not to pee on the bathroom floor' (Also applies to adult --> I add in this myself hahaha!), 'Teaching filial piety'. I am dangling carrots right now. If you would like to find out more, please borrow/purchase the book. If you can't read Chinese, let me know, I will help you on it for sure!

AND PLEASE, if all above fails, please refer to her concept 2.
Concept 2: 尽量采用“自由发挥幼儿法” - Use your own parenting style. 
Aka JUST DO IT and don't need to be guilty. If she uses this as concept 2, I think it is essential right? Hahaha! Seriously, JUST DO IT, your child, your way.

Hmmm...What are some of your thoughts???


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