Tag Archives: child

Live and Learn: Household Chores for Kids

DSCF8261

Why household chores are good for your kids

By Neil Amas, School Director

IMG_2845 Panyaden International School Director, Neil Amas
I read recently that 82% of today’s parents did regular household chores when they were young, but only 28% expect the same of their children1. Not wanting to be part of that 28%, I decided during the last school break that it was time my kids did more to help around the house. The ensuing battle was almost epic…. and is still being fought! But new research shows it is worth pursuing because the benefits to your child’s wellbeing are significant.

“Parents today want their kids spending time on things that can bring them success, but ironically, we’ve stopped doing one thing that’s actually been a proven predictor of success – and that’s household chores,” says author and developmental psychologist, Richard Rende2.

DSCF8168 Panyaden student doing chores at school in Chiang Mai during Giving WeekNo doubt the growing tendency to fill our children’s free time with play dates, outings, entertainment and after-school clubs has contributed to the dwindling emphasis on household chores. But research by Dr. Marty Rossmann of the University of Minnesota found that young adults who began chores at ages 3 and 4 were more likely to have good relationships with family and friends, to achieve academic and early career success and to be self-sufficient, compared with those who didn’t have chores. Dr. Rossmann believes that household chores help children build a lasting sense of mastery, responsibility and self-reliance3.

Learning to be kind and helpful at home builds empathy and leads to happiness. Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro points out that generosity is the cornerstone for cultivating a sense of wellbeing for oneself and between people. That is why Caga (being generous) is one of the school’s 12 Wise Habits. It is a catalyst for family togetherness because, as Ajahn Jayasaro notes, “few things enhance the sense of connection between family members as group acts of generosity”.

The theory is all well and good, of course, but many parents know that the actual practice of getting our children to do – let alone enjoy – household chores is another matter! With gentle but firm perseverance, though, it can be done. While my own kids remain reluctant and resistant at times, I have seen a growing acceptance as the routine becomes embedded and I have even noticed some singing along the way!

Here are some tips that may help get your kids to the washing-up bowl.

Make a chores schedule. A schedule of chores made by the child himself which he can tick off each day, creates a sense of personal accomplishment as well as serving as a visible reminder of what need to be done.

Are extra piano lessons necessary? Instead of scheduling another after-school club or a weekend of visits to the cinema or water park, give priority and due importance to household chores. Then your child will get the same message.

Start small. Add fun. You are more likely to get children involved if the tasks are manageable at the start and build up to bigger ones. Add tasks that your child might find fun, like learning how to use the washing machine.

Avoid rewards and punishments. We know that promising an ice cream or pocket money for completing a task does not develop intrinsic motivation. In fact, research suggests external rewards lower inner motivation. Similarly, saying: ‘Of course we can go to the park, just as soon as you finish your chores’ is better than ‘If you don’t do your chores, you’re not going to the park’. The first indicates that there is a natural consequence of not completing something on time. The second is presented as a threat or punishment which is likely to lead to resentment and doing one’s chores begrudgingly.

Benefits to all. Caga and empathy are more likely to be developed if chores benefit the whole family (like doing the family laundry or feeding the dog), not just oneself (like tidying one’s bedroom). Describing tasks as our chores instead of your chores further puts the focus on taking care of others.

Let your child know he is a being a helper rather than helping. Research shows that young children are more motivated by the idea of creating a positive identity – being known as someone who helps4.

Add choice. Involving children in choosing the tasks makes them more likely to buy in.

Don’t make chores into ‘chores’! If you yourself complain about doing the dishes or the pile of laundry that needs to be done, so will your children. Modelling a positive attitude towards household work is probably the best encouragement you can give.

Be consistent and stick to the time frame. If you don’t monitor the chores schedule or follow up every time tasks haven’t been done, your child will soon understand that she only has to do chores some of the time. Make sure that the chore is done within a time frame previously agreed with your child and that whatever was supposed to happen next – such as going outside to play – cannot happen until the chore is done.

It’s OK to help too! If your child is trying but really struggling it’s OK to say, “Well, it looks difficult for you today. Let me give you a hand to get it done before we go out”. Model such a behaviour and, who knows, our child might reciprocate one day and help us when we find it difficult to do ours!

—————

ทำไมงานบ้านจึงมีประโยชน์ต่อเด็กๆ

โดย นีล เอมัส School Director

Live and Learn_TH_page1 (2)
Live and Learn_TH_page2 (1)Live and Learn_TH_page3 (1)
Live and Learn_TH_page4 (3)

Download Thai version here.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–
1See Why Children Need to Do Chores by Jennifer Wallace in the Wall Street Journal
2Ibid
3Ibid
4Ibid

Article for Parents

Angela Duckworth photo from New York Times

Grit by Angela Duckworth. Photo from NY Times Blog It’s OK to quit, but not when the going gets tough!” Psychology Professor Dr Angela Duckworth, who studies resilience in children, suggests that parents who worry that their child tends to regularly give up on things to try something new should relax. This can help help build up interest and passion. But walking away from something just because it is too hard is another matter…..Read the New York Times review by KJ Dell’Antonia here.

Live and Learn: Helping My Child at Home

DSCF2872

How can I best support my child’s education at home?

By Michel Thibeault, Head Teacher

Michel Thibeault, Panyaden School Head Teacher

Relax, have fun together, share your passions and give your child lots of space to be his own person!

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the time spent helping with homework that is likely to make the biggest difference in our children’s education. In fact, research shows that only high school students benefit from doing homework, while elementary school students gain little or nothing. What does make a positive difference then? Well, “Relax, have fun together, share your passions and give your child lots of space to be his own person!” seems to be what is needed!

The usual “What did you do at school today?” rarely yields more than the monosyllabic “stuff” or the extended version, “I don’t know”. What we would like of course is for them to share the exciting moments of their day, the learning highlights but also the challenges they faced and the way we dealt with them. In “How to Talk so Kids will Listen & Listen so Kids will Talk”, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish suggest we simply talk about our day first and model what we would like them to do! Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work right away. Staying relaxed and avoiding interrogation sessions is likely to do the trick over time.

One of the key elements of the Panyaden approach is support the development of the wonderful Wise Habit of Chanda, the love of learning for its own sake. This requires that we create an environment that will be conducive to inquiry, that will support creativity and make discovery and learning a fun activity. Pressuring students takes them in exactly the opposite direction. Whether it’s from Buddhist principles, new data on how the brain works or research by people like Carol Dweck or Alfie Khon, the conclusion is the same: feeling pressured and stressed kills creativity and limits our learning potential1.

Besides modeling, there are many small things that can help boost our children’s learning:

  • Make sure they get enough fresh air and opportunities to run around after school.
  • Avoid high sugar and other unhealthy snacks.
  • Read to them, never mind how old they are.
  • Read yourself and do it in front of your children: children will follow their parents’ example.
  • Work together on home activities.
  • When there is homework, provide a set time and quiet environment for it to happen. Patiently help out if needed but don’t feel you have to do the teacher’s job. Send a note to school to inform the teachers if you encounter any problem.
  • Look up information together when you’re not sure about something.
  • Listen to his ideas and respect the level of his attempts.
  • Understand and accept that while the goal is always mastery of a concept, skill or knowledge, we can only take the next step today. Tomorrow might take us closer to the goal.

img_3178 (1)If your child is reluctant to do his work, it might help to ask him to estimate the time needed for various sections and set a timer to see if his prediction was accurate or not, “how long do you think it will take you to read the text?”. The next questions, after the text is read, could be something like “how long do you think it will take to answer the first 5 questions?”. You could also build in an incentive such as “dinner will be served as soon as your homework is done”. Or “I hope you’ll be done before I go to your uncle’s house because I would like you to come with me”. In this case, dinner is not withdrawn, nor is his chance to go to his uncle’s house but it’s clear that something else must happen first. The child then has to decide by himself to do his homework and reap the benefits or not do it and assume the consequences. The wording is important to make sure it is not perceived as a reward. It’s best to avoid statements such as “If you do … you will get …”

If, as the saying goes, “practice makes perfect”, let’s allow our children as many opportunities as possible to practice making decisions. If they feel they have a choice – even if it has to be limited – about when and where they do homework or other duties, when to have a break and so on, they are more likely to feel empowered…and from there Chanda will follow.

So, relax, have fun with your child, share your passions and give him lots of space to be his own person!

 

_____________________________
1See also recent New York Times article by Adam Grant: “How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off”, January 30th 2016

Panyaden 12 Wise Habits: Avihimsa

IMG_8449 Panyaden School wise habit, Avihimsa (not harming)

Avihimsa (pronounced awihingsa in Thai (อวิหิงสา)), is a Pali word which means not causing harm. It originates from the Sanskrit himsa, meaning injury or harm which, when a- is added, takes on the opposite meaning, non-harming (a-himsa). Not causing injury or harm has a broader meaning than simply not physically hurting a fellow human being or animal.

To practise avihimsa is not to say or do anything that creates suffering for oneself or for others and also not to say or do anything that creates or encourages the cause of suffering in oneself or others. This includes avoiding words or conduct which provoke negative thoughts or instigate harmful actions. For example, we might say something to a friend which, though not directly hurting them, may lead to angry thoughts and therefore creates negativity within that person’s mind.

Avihimsa relates particularly to the Buddha’s teaching on moral conduct. He taught about the benefits of ‘’right speech’’ and ‘’right action’’ and proposed an essential minimum of 5 moral precepts (sila) for lay people to follow:

  1. To abstain from killing any living creatures
  2. To abstain from stealing
  3. To abstain from sexual misconduct
  4. To abstain from false speech
  5. To abstain from intoxicants

These are not an empty formula dictated by tradition or religious scriptures, but rather a practical means to ensure one’s speech and actions harm neither others nor oneself. They are essential pre-conditions for the development of a peaceful mind (samadhi) and arising of wisdom (panya).

False speech is not only about whether we are telling the truth or lying. It is defined by the intention of one’s speech and whether that intention is against the best interest of the other person or is for personal interest or gain. A child who teases a classmate because she is ‘fat’ may claim she is only telling the truth and so is not breaking the sila. But if the child’s words cause the classmate to feel inferior and depressed, she is causing harm.

Grade students presenting examples of harmful things to avoid
Panyaden students presenting examples of harmful things and actions to avoid

We are teaching our students that avihimsa means not harming others with your actions, your speech and even your thoughts. Whether thinking badly of others or saying something mean to them out loud, we are creating harm. Thoughts of revenge make us unhappy. Gossiping about somebody else, even though they are not in the room, creates a negative mind and atmosphere for oneself and those present. We can use our children’s actions and reactions in the classroom and at home to teach them the negative impact of harming, and the positive impact of avihimsa, such as pointing out how bad an atmosphere is after someone has used hurtful words. Or we can reflect on how much more fun it is playing with friends when there is no teasing or name-calling. We need to help children see negative thoughts as they arise and redirect them to something positive, to encourage them to see the good aspects of others instead of getting caught up in ill-will or resentment. This is using the Wise Habit yoniso-manasikara, or applying the mind skilfully.

Avihimsa means neither physically nor mentally hurting humans, animals and nature. From killing ants to polluting rivers. We want to help our children understand that harming others is unwise, not because it is a ’sin’ or breaks a ‘rule’, but because of the very direct consequences such actions, words and thoughts have on us as well as others. Practising avihimsa creates a community based on trust and good intention, one which knows how to forgive instead of blame. Moreover, making it a habit in daily life will help us to reduce our own negative thoughts, making our lives lighter and increasing happiness.

lotus2 transparentClick here for the Thai version of the above article.

Live and Learn: Inattentional Blindness

“Hello? Is anyone listening to me?”

Why it is so difficult to get your child’s attention

by Neil Amas, Panyaden International School Director

Neil Amas, Panyaden International School Director
Neil Amas

“Do I have to repeat myself three times?’’ Ever said that to your children? They are engrossed in a book, or watching the TV and despite your attempts to get their attention – including turning up the volume of your voice, waving, dancing, holding up a bar of chocolate – all you get is…blank!

But experts in neuroscience are telling us that our children may not be deliberately ignoring us, in fact they are experiencing ‘inattentional blindness’. Knowing this may not only help parents to be more patient with their glazed-over little ones, but also helps raise our awareness of important safety issues.

Professor Nilli Lavie

Inattentional blindness is the difference between hearing and listening, or seeing something and actually registering its presence. An article featured on the BBC draws on research by Professor Nilli Lavie of University College London which demonstrates that children have a limited ability for awareness outside of the focus of attention.

“Parents and carers should know that even focusing on something simple will make children less aware of their surroundings, compared to adults. For example, a child trying to zip up their coat while crossing the road may not be able to notice oncoming traffic, whereas a developed adult mind would have no problem with this. The capacity for awareness outside the focus of attention develops with age, so younger children are at higher risk of inattentional blindness.”

The reason for this is that the primary visual cortex, which is the part of the brain responsible for perceiving things, is less developed in children. They simply have less peripheral awareness than adults.

However, we adults do also tend to miss the ‘blindingly obvious’. The now infamous ‘selective attention test’ has shown that adults focusing intently on one thing can totally miss another object that very obviously comes into view. (Click on the link and try it for yourself!) Even experts in observation can miss what’s in front of their very eyes. One study found that 80% of radiologists from the Harvard Medical School did not spot the image of a gorilla that had been photoshopped on some of the 239 chest scans they had been asked to scrutinize for signs of lung cancer.

We are all prone to inattentional blindness it seems, but it is worth remembering that while parents may be more aware of what is going on around them, when we get zero response from our spellbound child, it does not necessarily mean they are ignoring us. Patient understanding and a gentle touch on the shoulder is likely to get us a lot further than yelling across the room while also lowering the frustration levels for everyone!

Helping Your Children with Their Learning

Ten things you can say to your child that will make all the difference

Panyaden kindergarten student reading in the school library

1. Say to your child the word ‘yet’ as often as you can.For example, when your child says ‘I can’t do fractions’ you say ‘you can’t do fractions yet’. Help them to see the possibility that they will be able to achieve it in the future.

2. Say to your child: ‘you’re getting better’ whenever the opportunity allows.

Learning is all about improvement and learning a skill needs patience and practice and practice and practice to improve. Your child needs lots of support along the way.

3. Say to your child: ‘what have you learned today?’This question is a lot more specific than ‘what did you do today?’

4. Say encouraging things as often as you can when your child is beginning to learn something new and encourage them when something still isn’t perfect.

Remember how much encouragement you gave your child when they took their first wobbly steps? Children need that same encouragement whenever they start learning something new. Learning is always harder at the beginning.

5. Say things to your child to show you can see that there’s improvement, however small. Compare ‘then’ and ‘now’ and praise the difference.

Learning is about getting better; lots of ‘getting better’ steps.

6. Say to your child: ‘Of course you’ve made a mistake, but keep going, you’re learning.’Every child needs to know that making mistakes is all part of the learning process. Mistakes can be good because you can learn from them. You never really learn something well if you don’t make mistakes along the way. Make sure your child knows that mistakes are alright.

7. Say to your child: ‘your brain works in lots of different ways, some ways are better than others.

Let’s try to make each part work as well as it can.’Few of us will be excellent at everything but we can get better at everything.

8. Say to your child: ‘take a break, do some exercise, then start learning again.’The brain needs blood, oxygen and rest to keep going. If it doesn’t get them then it doesn’t keep going.

9. Say to your child: ‘if you find facts difficult to remember then it’s ok to use a ‘hook’ to help you remember.’

There are just too many facts to remember so your child should only worry about remembering the ones that really matter. For those, it’s perfectly fine to give their brain some help if they need to. For example A for Apple or Gor Gai in the Thai alphabet; anything to trigger the brain to remember is good.

10. Say to your child: ‘I found x easy to learn, but I had to work harder at y.’

Make sure your child knows you went through similar learning struggles as they are going through. Show your child realistic models of learning; don’t fake your own excellence. On the other hand don’t promote inabilities either – unless you are promoting how much better you could have been if only you’d kept trying.

Summer School: Course Details

 

LOVE THE EARTH!

PANYADEN SUMMER SCHOOL MARCH 2011

INTRODUCTION

This year’s Summer School will be five weeks of fun and educational activities based upon experiencing, appreciating and taking care of our environment. With a focus on learning through experience, using our hands and hearts as well as our minds, we will explore and appreciate the key elements of nature.

LEVELS

The Summer School will be taught in three groups:

Group I: Nursery and Kindergarten 1 (2 – 4 years old)

Group II: Kindergarten 2 to Prathom 2 (4 – 7 years old)

Group III: Prathom 3 to Prathom 6 (7 – 11 years old)

TOPICS for ALL LEVELS

Week 1: Love the Earth

Week 2: Water

Week 3: Earth

Week 4: Air

Week 5: Trees

LEARNING and DEVELOPMENT OUTCOMES for ALL LEVELS

Students will become aware of and understand the key elements of nature and how these support life. They will learn how to interact with them wisely, to save not exploit.

Our activities will focus on 4 aspects of your child’s development:

1. Intellectual Development

2. Physical Development

3. Moral Development

4. Emotional Development

BY THE END OF THE COURSE WE EXPECT YOUR CHILD WILL ACHIEVE THE FOLLOWING:

LEARNING and DEVELOPMENT OUTCOMES for GROUP I (2-4 years old)

1. Experience how our surroundings consist of different elements of nature.

2. Improve fine motor skills.

3. Make friends with each other and nature.

4. Feel the calming effect of nature.

LEARNING and DEVELOPMENT OUTCOMES for GROUP II (4-7 years old)

1. Identify man-made and natural aspects of our environment. Show appreciation for time spent in natural surroundings.

2. Develop fine motor skills, physical coordination skills, agility and balance.

3. Be capable of working together with friends in pairs and small groups.

4. Develop personal awareness of, and love and care towards, living things.

LEARNING and DEVELOPMENT OUTCOMES for GROUP III (7-11 years old)

1. Use creativity and independent thought to identify ways to use and save the environment and avoid exploitation of the environment.

2. Improve physical coordination skills, agility and muscle strength and learn how to take care of the body.

3. Be capable of playing the role of both team member and team leader and be able to positively influence people; be able to explain the global aspects of changes in nature.

4. Be able to explain why it is important to use our natural resources efficiently and demonstrate good habits and self-discipline in regards to consumption.

TIMES and DATES

Panyaden Summer School will run from 28 March to 6 May 2011 with a one week break between 11 and 15 April. The School will open at 08:30 each day until 15:00.

INFORMATION and CONTACT

For more information and details on enrolment, please contact

TEL : 080-078 5115 and 085-484 6095

E-mail : info@panyaden.ac.th

Website : www.panyaden.ac.th