Helping Your Child With Their Homework Might Do More Harm

Do you help your children with their homework?

Well today I’ll surprise you by sharing with you that Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland found out that not all types of homework assistance lead to equally positive outcomes.

Wait what? Are they saying that a parent that helps their child with homework might unknowingly produce a negative outcome? But how?

Well, as research goes, there are two types of homework assistance provided by parents. One is whereby parents offer more opportunities for the child to do more autonomous work and the other is where parents provided assistance by concretely helping the child.

It turns out that the group of parents that offer opportunities for autonomous work make children who are more persistent. In large because parents also send out a message that they believe in the child’s skills and abilities. This in turn makes the child believe in him or herself and their skill and capability.

Similarly, concrete homework assistance, especially if not requested by the child, may send out a message that the parent doesn’t believe in the child’s ability to do his or her homework. The child lacks self belief and becomes less persistent overtime, in turn needing more and more help from parents.

So it is important for us parents to take the child’s needs into consideration when offering homework assistance. Concrete help is not something that should be made automatically available in every situation – only when needed.



Do Each of Your Children Feel Important?

The hubbub of work and school sometimes leave little space for us to give attention to our children individually. Nonetheless, In our family we have figured out 3 effective habits to let each child know that they are special, because they are.

1. Acknowledge their contributions or bigger achievements. Make a point of speaking about the things that you like about each of your children. You can do this as you go about your daily life or you can try what our family has been doing:

Every Sunday night we have a mini family bedtime routine whereby we come together and everyone starts sharing

– “I love it when [so and so] ….. [does something]” or

– “I like [so and so] because ……. “ or

– “[so and so] makes me happy when [he/she]…

We did not only restrict the sentences to our children but each family member gets to tell at least one thing they like about all the other members in the family.

A lot of times we hear happy giggles during this session, sometimes silly sentences come out. Even then, laughing together promotes bonding, just make sure there is no teasing involved because that would have defeated the purpose of making someone feel loved and special.

2. We have monthly dates with our boys on specific dates. They know exactly which day is their date night with either one of the parents. This is how it goes:

– the day of their birthday will be their monthly date for their date. For example if your child was born on 5th of June, we would make his date with a parent on every 5th of the month. They LOVE looking forward to their special date on the calendar as they know exactly when it is. It’s already fixed for the whole year!

– we alternate the parents that go out on these dates. For example January is mummy’s turn to date 3 boys on their own individual days. Then February is daddy’s turn, and back to mummy in March and so on. This way each child gets an undivided attention for some period of time every month and each parent gets to give their time to one child fully in that period of time.

For the child it’s like being an only child once a month. Isn’t that nice? 🙂

– to make the date even better? Let them choose what they want to do on their date day (within reason). You’re guaranteed a happy child for those few hours 🙂

3. Allow for open communication. In our family, we try very hard to let the kids be heard. Sometimes it’s easier said than done. Sometimes we just want to tell them what needs to be done and how they should behave and we forget that they have their own reasons or logic to do certain things.

Listening on the part of adults make children feel that they are loved and that they matter.

To sum up, each child will feel important if parents can

– acknowledge their contribution
– give them undivided attention consistently
– listen.

If you have not been doing the above, here is a challenge for you to take for the next one week.

  1. When my child has done something right, I’m going to praise his/her effort by saying ______________ .
  2. I’m going to decide on the frequency and duration I want to give each child my fullest attention. The frequency is __________ , for a duration of _____________. I’m going to start on _________________ (date)
  3. After my child expresses himself in words, I will make an effort to rephrase what he/she had just said so they know I was listening.

Let me know how it goes in the comments!

10 Ways You Can Make Your Kids Exclaim “You’re The Best!”

It was easy to make babies, toddlers and even preschoolers smile their biggest smile. A simple peek-a-boo can have your baby laughing away for 10 minutes. Chasing bubbles can make a toddler squeal their happiest sounds. A family ride on the top deck of a double-decked bus can have your preschoolers excited for the whole 20 minute-ride. But these things hardly bring out the biggest smiles on our 7 and 5-year-olds now. They claim that everything is boring and that only the iPad can make them happy. Well, sorry boys, that’s not going to happen. You only get a limited amount of screen time each week. So you’re gonna have to learn to enjoy life without the iPad! I survived mine when I was younger!

Nonetheless, there are still so many things that could bring out that biggest smile you’ve been missing. Here are some of my favourites:

  1. Let them run in the rain. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen Oliver’s biggest smiles on the days I let him run freely in the rain. My tummy does some butterflies whenever I see that level of contentment on his face. It’s just priceless. Running in the rain gives them a sense of freedom and a chance to release any tension they might have. Water helps to reduce anxiety and calms a person down. So let them run, let them get wet. Allow them to let loose. Just make sure they have a non-slip pair of sandals on and that there are no possibilities of falling branches in the vicinity.
  2. Make slime together. Nothing makes kids more excited than being able to make their own toy! They love knowing that they can make something found in the toy shops. It’s like they have special abilities! Even my dear Oliver who has a slight tactile hyper-sensitivity enjoys slime. Whew!
  3. Family movie nights. In my 8 years of parenting, I haven’t come across any child that does not like looking at the screen. So of course, when we proposed a movie night, our 3 boys jumped in pure excitement! I love that feeling when you know your kids are happy with your suggestions. Our movie nights are right in our own family room in the comfort of our own cosy sofa seats. You don’t have to make a trip to the cinema, but you can do it once in a while.
  4. Favourite Characters In Town. Keep a look out at your local malls for any visits by Paw Patrol, PJ Masks, Peppa Pig or Barney, etc. They would be over the moon to get to meet their favourite characters. It might be equivalent to us getting to meet Meryl Streep. You get what I mean.
  5. Play chase. I have to admit that joining my children in their games of chase or hide and seek and soccer takes a lot from me. I would rather be seated with my book. But every time I want to say “no”, the images of those happy smiles while I chase them and the memory of the sounds of the happy squeals when they try to run away from me tell me that it’s going to be worth it. Get in the game. Don’t just sit at the bench. Join them when they play with other children at the playground. You have no idea how proud they feel when their friends say to them “your parents are so cool!”.
  6. Get an indoor swing. Our occupational therapist said that swinging helps calm the mind, especially for children with sensory processing disorder. Well, after that session, we went to IKEA and got our very first indoor swing! For those of us who live in an apartment or simply do not have that big of a yard space, an indoor swing is the perfect solution. They can swing as they switch between different activities inside the home. They do not have to wait for “playground time” or “backyard time” to get to enjoy the benefits of swinging.
  7. Surprise them with puddle-ready sandals or boots. Last week I did something I had never done before. It was a rainy day, I picked up my children from school with their Crocs sandals ready in hand for them to change into. They put on their raincoats and was allowed to run wild and jump in all the puddles on the way home. Those smile and giggles were priceless.
  8. Art and craft. I realise that ever since Edward goes to Primary 1, he craves for more art and craft activities at home. I suspect it’s because he has less art and craft in school than he used to have in K2. So I try my best to give them one art and craft slot per week to let them express their creativity.
  9. Say “yes” to playdates. Edward is going to have his first playdate with his Primary 1 classmates tomorrow and he’s so excited! Even Oliver is excited too because he knows them as well. They plan to play badminton and some other games. Imagine if I had said no, what would they have missed out?
  10. Play their games. We all love it if our partner joins us in our favourite activity. I love it when my husband accompanies me to the museum and he loves it when I accompany him to an Apple shop. Ha! Children also crave for parents to participate in activities that they like. Right now Edward and Oliver are into Pokemon cards. Until today I still do not understand what is so fun about playing Pokemon cards but I play with them anyway and it makes them feel loved when we play what they like. What do your kids like? Play with them, they’ll love it!