• Did you know?

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    “KindyROO is where parents gain knowledge about important milestones that children need to reach” – Marianne Schriever, Neurophysiological Development Specialist

    Building the Learning Blocks for Life
    We were fortunate enough to catch up with Marianne Schriever, Neurophysiological Development Specialist and ambassador for KindyROO (also known as GymbaROO). Given her extensive experience of travelling abroad and talking to parents and teachers about KindyROO, we chat about the most common questions parents ask about the programme.

    In just under 5 minutes, Marianne covers:

    1. What is the KindyROO programme all about?
    2. How is KindyROO different to a playgroup?
    3. What is the recommended age to start KindyROO classes?
    4. What does a normal KindyROO class look like?
    5. What does KindyROO ultimately do for my child?

    Watch the video with Marianne here.

    For more information about KindyROO including programme descriptions for 6 weeks – 3 years, sample class rundown and KindyROO class schedule, visit our KindyROO@SPRING page.

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  • Did you know?

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    “Emotion coaching helps children regulate
    their emotions and develop the ability to soothe themselves.”
    – Winnie Keung, Psy.D., M.A., B.S.S.

    The Why’s and Wherefores of Emotion Coaching

    Now that we’re in an era where people put a lot of emphasis on grades and test scores, it has become more important to try our very best to help nurture and teach our children how to become emotionally intelligent individuals. Emotion coaching is all about helping your child learn about feelings, relationships, social behavior and the world around him/her. Emotion coaching helps children regulate their emotions and develop the ability to soothe themselves.

    Children who are able to balance their positive and negative emotions well are rated by teachers to be more friendly and assertive and less aggressive and sad. Such children are also able to respond more pro-socially to peers’ emotions, and are seen as more likable by their peers. This emotional competency is thus important to help form and maintain friendships.

    Parenting styles and the importance of emotion coaching

    Dr. John Gottman, a psychologist who has studied parenting emotion philosophies identified three types of parents who fail to teach their kids emotional intelligence and they are:

    1. Dismissing parents, who disregard, ignore, or trivialise children’s negative emotions;
    2. Disapproving parents, who are critical of their children’s displays of negative feelings and may scold or punish them for emotional expression; and
    3. Relaxed parents, who accept their children’s emotions and empathise with them, but fail to offer guidance or set limits on their children’s behavior.

    In contrast, parents who are able to validate and label their child’s emotions and model expressed emotions, are found to be related to a child’s ability to succeed in the preschool classroom.

    It is noted that children who at age 5 receive emotion coaching, (i.e. the ability to talk about emotions while having them), are not overly emotional with their peers at age 8 because they have developed the skills to handle situations appropriately. These children are typically more aware of their emotions, and can regulate their upset feelings more easily through their actions and behaviours.

    How can I emotion coach my child?

    The key to effective emotion coaching is the strength of the relationship between you and your child.

    Dr John Gottman and his research colleagues uncovered five steps in their studies of successful parent-child interaction:

    1. Acknowledge your children’s feelings.
    2. Help them to name the feelings, allow them to experience their feelings, and stay with them while they experience the feelings.
    3. Listen while trying not to divert their attention away from their feelings nor scold them for feeling that way.
    4. Respect their feelings and let them know that their feelings/wishes are valid.
    5. Set behavioral limits, discuss goals, and offer strategies to your child for dealing with situations that trigger negative emotions.

    Before responding to your child, it’s a good idea to ask yourself, “Will what I’m about to do help me connect with my child and help him/her cope better with similar situations both in the present and in the future?”
    Connection and closeness are crucial to a strong parent-child relationship. It is the context for all your interactions.

    Winnie Keung, Psy.D., M.A., B.S.S. is a Clinical Psychologist at HOME Psychological Services

  • Did you know?

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    “Play has loads of therapeutic benefits for a child and
    provides an outlet to process emotions and experiences.”

    Play as a vehicle for therapy

    As parents, we usually understand how our children feel by watching them and how they act. It’s easy to tell when they’re happy and content, and they show us by being cheery and playful. When things are not going so well, our children may behave in ways that can cause problems and they are not always able to express what they are going through. We and other people such as teachers and other parents observe that the child may stop doing what they are told, or become excessively anxious or withdrawn.

    Play can be a powerful platform to reach out to our children

    Play is one of the most natural ways for children to understand their world, to learn about themselves and develop their social, emotional and physical skills. Children also use play to express feelings even before they develop the ability to communicate properly through language.

    Just as the body heals from physical injury, a child has an emotional system that can be self-healing if certain conditions are present for the child. Play has loads of therapeutic benefits for a child and provides an outlet to process emotions and experiences.

    Play Therapy is an approach used to help a child activate his or her innate self-healing abilities, and to support the child’s growth and development on an emotional and psychological level.

    Play Therapy is used by therapists to help children experiencing all kinds of difficulties, ranging from experiencing single or multiple trauma; adjusting to family changes such as separation or divorce; feelings of aggression, excessive anger, fear, sadness, worry and shyness; chronic illness and hospitalisation; to sleeping and eating difficulties.

    Children do not necessarily have to “talk out” their problems using words to feel better; children can communicate through the use of toys and art materials to release feelings and experiences. For example, children who see their parents fighting may use puppets to act out these conflicts. Play therapy can therefore be used directly, making use of role-playing and art to aid children to freely express the feelings they have difficulty saying and to develop and devise coping skills.

    How can I assist my child to express and overcome their difficulties?

    The role of parents or caregivers is extremely important in achieving the goals of Play Therapy. Filial Play (a form of Play Therapy) involves the child and parents or caregivers and therapist to strengthen family relationships and enhance attachment between a child and his or her parents.

    In Filial Play, parents can learn the principles of Play Therapy and certain skills including how to create an open and accepting environment to improve the parent-child relationship. The effects of the supportive setting facilitated by a trained play therapist can be longer lasting – and help a child to develop appropriate ways of thinking and behaving.

    Through Play Therapy, even the most complicated of problems can be discovered, rehearsed, mastered, and adapted into life-long strategies.

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