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Parents Zone

Wear face mask for long time during Epidemic.
How to make children learn to “look at people’s eyebrows and eyes”?

Parents Zone

Written by: Hong Kong Speech and Swallowing Therapy Centre
Senior Speech Therapist Eunice Siu

In our daily interactions with others, we not only observe others’ behaviors, but also “explain” and “predict” others’ behaviors. Theory of mind is the ability to infer or substitute other people’s mental states, such as their thoughts, beliefs, desires, and intentions, etc., and to use this ability to explain other people’s thoughts, perceptions, and predict their behaviors. Theory of mind can be subdivided into “emotion recognition”, “beliefs” and “pretend play”.

The developmental period for children’s theory of mind is from approximately 3 to 7 years of age. However, before the age of 3, children need to master the following skills to effectively develop theory of mind skills.

1. noticing and imitating the behavior of people around them
2. recognizing the emotions of others and using words to express them (e.g., happy, sad, angry, surprised)
3. participates in pretend play
4. understands that different people have different desires and preferences
5. understands that people will act to get what they want (e.g. reach for candy)
6. understands the causes and consequences of unsympathetic emotions (e.g. if I hit my brother, my mom will be mad and then she will scold me)

Ways to improve theory of mind are:

1. Use more psychologically relevant words when talking to your child

Using psychologically related words to communicate with children can help children understand their own and others’ psychological conditions more specifically. Examples of psychologically related words are “think,” “pretend,” “know,” “believe,” “feel,” and words related to emotions. Pay attention to what your child is trying to say and then respond. For example, “Ah! You want cake”, “Don’t be afraid! You think I’m gone, but I’m still here,” and “Mommy’s mad at you for hitting your brother. Parents can also explain to their children the psychological situation of others, e.g., “Mei-mei is smiling so much when she receives a birthday present, she should be very excited.

2. Participate in role-playing games with your child

Role-playing games encourage children to put themselves in different situations and characters’ perspectives to draw inferences about their behavior. To begin, children can pretend to be common everyday characters, such as mothers, doctors, teachers, and drivers. Parents should pay attention to the fact that both the words and behaviors in the game should be substituted for the role played. This activity helps children experience a variety of emotions, thoughts and interactions in different social situations, and learn to observe, imitate, anticipate, review and adjust their thoughts and behaviors.

I hope parents can make good use of the opportunity to share and communicate more with their children in daily life, so that they can learn to “look at people’s eyebrows and eyes” (meaning read people’s faces) and become a “mind-reading detective”!

Hollin, P., Baron-Cohen, S.,& Hadwin,J.(1999). Teaching children with autism tomind-read. West Sussex, England: Wiely Press

Lowry, L.(2015).” Tuning in” to others: How young children develop theory of mind. The Hanen Centre.

Spastics Association of Hong Kong (2005). Connecting: Developing social skills in children with autism. Spastics Association of Hong Kong.

To love children, first to love themselves,
3 moves to teach you to maintain the best mental state

Parents Zone

Written by :Family Dynamics Child Play Therapist
                   Marriage and Family Therapist, Ms. Lee Wai Zi

In today’s society, it is indeed not easy for parents to maintain a good state of mind and body. I have met with many parents and found that the difficulty most parents face is not that they do not understand their children’s feelings and needs, or that they do not know how their behavior affects their children, but that it is difficult to maintain a trusting and optimistic attitude towards their children when they are in a situation. Often, parents become increasingly anxious as they worry that their child’s problems will continue and worsen, and repeat ineffective ways of dealing with their child’s problems.

So, how can parents maintain the best mental state to face the stress and challenges of disciplining their children? Here are some tips for parents to consider:

1. Be more sensitive to your own stress levels
Parents are human beings, so there will be times when they are depressed or physically and emotionally exhausted. The purpose of parents being sensitive to their own mental state is to remind themselves that they need to take care of their own needs first. It is difficult for parents to be sensitive and responsive to the needs of their children when they are in a highly stressed state. Conversely, inappropriate responses may harm the child and damage the parent-child relationship.

2. Use resources effectively to relieve stress
When parents feel stressed, they should try to explore and make good use of their own internal and external resources to regulate their negative emotions. For example, find family members or friends to talk to, do things that can relax you, and find positive thoughts and beliefs to encourage you. The purpose is to give yourself a proper rest and temporary relief from stress.

3. Turn your mind around and reflect
If a parent’s stress continues and increases, professional help is needed. Sometimes, these pressures come from more than just external influences. Parents’ self-worth, worldview, and perceptions of things can affect how we parent. For example, some parents worry that they are not doing enough to fulfill their parental responsibilities and end up pushing their children to study or participate in activities, or even that they are not flexible enough to respond to their children’s needs when they are stressed and negative. If

parents are aware of and take care of their own feelings and needs, they can prevent their negative emotions from affecting the next generation.

Therefore, parents who love their children must first love themselves. Only when parents are healthy and happy can their children grow up healthy and happy.


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全港各官立及資助小學星期一(十一月十八日)公布有關二○二○年九月入讀小一的學校自行分配學位錄取名單。 教育局發言人今日(十一月十五日)表示:「今年有52 473名兒童申請官立及資助小學的自行分配學位,有23 340名兒童獲派此類學位。其中屬於有兄/姊在該校就讀或父/母在該校任職類別共13 211人,餘下10 129人則屬按『計分辦法準則』分配類別。」 教育局提醒所有曾經為子女申請自行分配學位的家長,應於星期一(十一月十八日)或星期二(十一月十九日)上午九時至下午五時,攜同小一入學申請表的家長副本,前往所申請的小學查閱申請結果。鑑於近日的社會狀況,家長如因交通或其他特殊情況未能前往所申請的小學查閱申請結果,可瀏覽學校網頁查閱申請結果或致電學校查詢。 獲得自行分配學位的兒童,其家長須於星期三(十一月二十日)或星期四(十一月二十一日)學校辦公時間內,前往所申請的小學辦理註冊手續。 家長須注意個別學校的註冊程序及要求,例如須攜帶小一入學申請表的家長副本及兒童相片的數目等。 發言人說:「家長若因要事或交通情況影響,未能在上述指定期間辦理註冊手續,須事先與學校負責人聯絡,以便作出適當安排,否則將被視作放棄該學位論。」 根據小一入學統籌辦法,所有官立及資助小學的自行分配學額約為該校小一學額總數的百分之五十,餘下的百分之五十學額將留待稍後統一派位階段時分派。 發言人補充說:「教育局會於明年一月上旬以書信通知未能獲得自行分配學位及只準備參加統一派位的申請者,於一月十八日或十九日前往指定的統一派位中心,辦理選校手續,以便進行統一派位。若家長在一月十九日後才為子女提出申請參加本年度小一入學統籌辦法,他們須前往教育局學位分配組辦理有關手續,教育局會於二○二○年六月為申請兒童另行安排小一學位。」 他提醒所有家長:「曾經獲派小一學位的兒童,日後不可再次重新參加小一入學統籌辦法。」 完 2019年11月15日(星期五) 香港時間15時00分

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家長須注意個別學校的註冊程序及要求,例如須攜帶小一入學申請表的家長副本及兒童相片的數目等。 如有進一步查詢,可致電2832 7700與本局學位分配組聯絡。