Archives: child

We Celebrate You, Fathers!

Fathers-Day-Super-Dad-450x200Father’s Day is a celebration honouring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. It has long been established that fathers are critical anchors in the society. Studies have shown that a father’s love is just as important to a child’s development as a mother’s, and sometimes more so: “…in some cases, the withdrawal of a father’s love seems to play a bigger role in kids’ problems with personality and psychological adjustment, delinquency, and substance abuse.”

It really is not about who is more important between a mother and a father, but in recognising that the role that fathers play in child development and education is both crucial and unique.

Studies have shown that children with involved fathers:

  • are often better adjusted to socialising,
  • tend to do better academically,
  • tend to do better economically,
  • have better emotional stability,
  • have more meaningful relationships,
  • tend to have less behavioural problems,
  • have a better sense of self respect.

The celebration of Father’s Day was started in the USA in 1910, and has grown worldwide since then. It was Father’s Day just two days ago, and another opportunity to celebrate fatherhood and our fathers. We hope that the fathers among us got some special attention and appreciation on that day.

We celebrate fathers today and always, because we know that your presence in the life of your children makes  difference. We celebrate you because you matter. The time you spend with your children, playing with them, providing care, training them, and helping out with their school work is time well spent. It is an investment that will yield great rewards year after year, and even when you are gone. Many children remember with fondness the precious discussions and exchanges that they had with their fathers.

We hope that you indeed had a happy father’s day! We celebrate you always.

BUILDING A ROBUST VOCABULARY IS IMPORTANT

vocUcover2Your vocabulary is the totality of all the words known and used by you. This hinges a lot of things on your vocabulary. Here are a number of reasons why possessing a larger vocabulary is important:

  1. It improves your vocal and written communication. you are able to say what you mean with finer precision and detail. Sometimes, the difference between one thing and the other is a tiny difference in definition.
  2. A broader vocabulary boosts your thinking and analytic ability. You are able to be more pinpointed in your thinking.
  3. A broader vocabulary will help you understand other people better.
  4. While it may seem vain, a broader vocabulary makes a good impression on others. The more effectively and skilfully you are able to communicate, the better the impression you make on others.

Now that you understand why developing a broader vocabulary is important, how do you go about it? Here are a few tips to help you build a wider vocabulary:

  1. One way to improve your vocabulary is to get a thesaurus, or other books dedicated to helping you do so. For example, First Veritas has a range of books and resources that help students build their vocabulary.
  2. Get a website, a smartphone app or a magazine that provides “word of the day” tips
  3. Read. Read books, newspapers, magazines and everything you can lay your hands on
  4. Listen to people who have a broader vocabulary. Listen to the news.
  5. Then write down the new words that you find as you read and listen, and use those words as often as you can, so that they become a part of your every day thinking processes.

Do not forget: the point of a broader vocabulary is not to confuse or impress others. It is to think and communicate wit greater precision. Start building a more robust vocabulary today.

WHAT WERE YOUR CHILDHOOD DREAMS ?

We were all once children, and like all children, we had childhood dreams. Many of those dreams changed weekly or monthly. Whatever the intervals, they certainly changed. From wanting to be pilots to policemen, and then engineers, children swing across a range of desires and dreams. This is perfectly healthy, and no adult should have sleepless nights over such childhood fantasies.

Sometimes, a child would come home and announce that when she grew up she would want to marry her father! Kids do say hilarious things. We should never have knee-jerk reactions to such things. It is all part of the process of discovering and becoming. Eventually, with time, everyone settles down with a few things and apply themselves to those things. Years later as an adult, a person may end up adopting a vocation that he never even fantasized about as a child.

Because of the rapid changes going on in the world, especially in the field of technology, certain jobs and roles didn’t even exist ten years ago. As such, it is essential that we keep exposing children to keep them abreast of new developments. Thankfully, the internet is there. Also, there are books and periodicals that serve the purpose as well. Television, if well channelled, can also serve to help continually expose children to how the world is changing. There are television channels devoted to scientific developments and current affairs. Along with educational TV shows and audio-visual products, these are potent resources for ensuring that whatever it is that your children dream of today, they are best equipped for the realities of tomorrow.

In the meantime, over to you: what were your childhood dreams, and how many of them have you embraced as an adult? Do share your stories in the comments section below.

CHILDREN NEED US TO SPEND TIME WITH THEM

If there is one thing that children need – ALL children – it is attention. Not only do they need it, but they should demand it. As  matter of fact, if your child does not demand attention, chances are that they are emotionally unhealthy, which is the more reason why they need that attention.New Picture

The need for attention is not restricted to children. It is a basic human need, and no-one outgrows it. However, it is perhaps strongest in childhood. What are the things that children desire attention for? Children need to know that they are loved and that they matter. In practical terms, what does this mean?

  • We need to meet their basic human needs i.e. the need for food, shelter and clothing. These are the most basic things we can do for our children and wards. For the most part, many parents and guardians stop at this point. Yet, there is more.
  • We need to spend time with our children and wards. We need to talk (not necessarily lecturing and sermonising) with them, play with them and share activities together

Children who do not get this attention unconditionally soon learn that they get it some way or the other when they act up. And so begins a pattern of misbehaviour just because they are starved of attention. In many cases, such children also seek out attention from elsewhere, and some pay for it dearly.

  • Do we hurry up our children when they have things to say to us, or do we sit down, look them in the eye, listen to what they have to say and enjoy the moment with them?
  • Do we treat their opinions like rubbish and  dismiss them when they share things with us, or try to interact with them at their own level and guide them?

There is no way around giving a child attention as parents, guardians and caregivers. Children need us to spend time with them.

 

HELP YOUR CHILD DEVELOP COGNITIVE SKILLS

Cognitive skills are how children assimilate, process and understand information that come their way. Cognitive skills include problem solving, creativity, imagination and memory. These are skills very vital to their personal development and education. The question now is, How can we help our children develop these skills?New Picture

The following list isn’t exhaustive, but gives a few pointers that everyone can follow. One key thing about all of the pointers is the need to give the child time and attention.

  1. Tell stories to your child or read to them. Story telling is an age-long way of stimulating the minds of children. Tell your children stories, be they fiction or your own real life experiences of years back. First Veritas “Grade Readers” features a wide range of interesting and educative stories for children in Level 1-6.
  2. Ask specific questions. This can be done in combination with story telling (in which case, you are asking to see how well they comprehend what they have heard), or it can be done as a standalone exercise. A TV show or DVD might be playing, and you interrupt to ask about something just mentioned or visualised.
  3. Explain simple concepts and items to them. Explain how a car works in the most basic terms. Or how a TV works. Stimulate their curiosity.
  4. Find them mind developing games to play. While it is okay for children to engage in physical exercise, which is vital for their physical development, likewise mind games will help develop their mental faculties. Games like Puzzles, Draughts, Snakes and Ladders, and Scrabbles are good examples.
  5. Have your child tell you a story or narrate an event to you regularly. For example, on return from school each, it can be very helpful to ask your child to tell you about what happened at school or in class, or what they did with their friends that day. The idea is to encourage the child to process the information that they were exposed to all day.

The objective is to help engage and develop their minds so that they can learn to figure out things for themselves. That is key to their education.

HEALTH IS VITAL TO EDUCATION

During the school assembly session at a primary school in Lagos, a child suddenly went limp and slumped to the floor. First aid was immediately given to her and her parents called on phone. In the meantime, the child was given a bed at the sick bay. The mother arrived in about 15 minutes. The girl had no temperature or any other perceivable symptom. She also confirmed that her daughter had a proper meal before leaving home that morning. As such, the mother was advised to have her undergo a medical check up. She seemed hesitant. Again, she was asked if her daughter had experienced a similar incident before, and she said yes.

According to her, the girl had suddenly slumped some months earlier but recovered quickly (similar to what happened at the assembly session), and so she had assumed that it was nothing.

We must never make such assumptions about our children. As a matter of fact, we cannot afford to take their health for granted. Sometimes, an early intervention can save both child and parents years of pain and agony later.

Health is vital to education. A child in constant pain or limited by a medical condition might not be in the best shape to learn. What can we do?

  • Pay attention to their nutrition. Good food is the first step to healthy living.
  • Ensure that each child gets adequate rest. Does your child observe siesta? That is a short nap taken in the early afternoon, often after the midday meal.
  • Play: let your child spend adequate amount of time playing and exploring things. This is good stimulant for their minds.
  • Apply first aid in case of accidents
  • Follow up with a visit to the hospital in cases of unexplained occurrences e.g. slumping, fits, etc.

In the case of the mother whose daughter slumped, the school officials insisted that she needed to take her for a medical check up right away. Hopefully, she did. It is a new month. Let us be health-conscious with our children! God bless.

LEARNING AND TEACHING IN THE AGE OF TECHNOLOGY

Information and communications technology (ICT) has changed the landscape of the world. No area of life and living has escaped its tentacles. Education certainly has. Like any other field, education has had to adjust and metamorphose in accordance with how people live.New Picture (3)

For example, while traditional paper books are not going extinct any time soon, there is no arguing the fact that a significant portion of people on the planet are changing their reading habits. With more and more people switching to consuming information on electronic devices, education simply must adjust. Be it desktops, laptops, tablets or smartphones, more people are consuming their content digitally. Even more important, they are spending their time on digital media.

As such, we must adapt to the changing landscape of how humans live. We must explore the worlds of e-books, audio books and visual aids in teaching our children. And as teachers and parents, we certainly must adapt to these if we must learn and keep up with the times ourselves.

The transition to digital learning is real and sweeping. What can we do to adapt and adjust?

  • It is a good idea to expose our children to digital media as early as possible
  • have a laptop (even if only a cheap, lower-end model) at home for the children to use
  • if possible, have at least one tablet available for them to use as well.

Why are these recommended? Isn’t this sort of exposure dangerous for children? The exposure in itself does not have to be dangerous for the children, especially in our internet-connected age. Parents can monitor the use of these devices in order to restrict exposure to the dangerous part of the web.

But it is essential that children learn the skills that enable them to search out information by themselves. We used to have physical libraries filled with books. While they still exist in some areas, today’s library is digital. It is also global and almost limitless. Educating children without exposing them to this new reality early is the equivalent of educating children 30 years ago without exposing them to books.

DISCIPLINE: A KEY PILLAR OF EDUCATION

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Instilling a sense of discipline in children is a must if we will succeed in educating them. In very simple terms, discipline is the ability to do pick up a task or commitment and stick to it till it gets done. This means, getting our children, pupils and students to read and study daily. It is a very good idea to help your ward develop the habit of spending time with books on a daily basis, even if it is a play book or work book at the pre-school level.

At more advanced ages, story books and text books need to become a part of a child’s daily routine. In today’s world, the word routine is not liked much, but discipline and routine go hand in hand. Life is routine. We get up everyday, get ready for school or work, head out, get our work done, and return home again. It takes a lot of discipline to succeed in life.

This is why we must teach our children discipline. A child may ask, “I studied yesterday. Why must I do it again today?” It is important that we provide a clear answer to help him understand. Sometimes he will understand and co-operate. At other times, he will want to have his way and do what pleases him. We must insist. While children are still developing their sense of values, it is our responsibility to guide and train. Often that means we have to be firm with them. Contrary to what some believe, being firm with a child is not the same as being unloving or harsh.

Without our firmness, children will never learn discipline, and we will end up with adults who are unable to commit and deliver. All the knowledge in the world, and all the skills in the world, are useless in the hands of a person who is unable to stick to a task by sheer force of discipline and habit.

We want our children growing up knowledgeable and highly skilled, but we also need them growing up disciplined.

CELEBRATING CHILDHOOD

As we celebrate our children today as part of the annual Children’s Day activities, we need to remember that we owe them a duty to love, provide for them, protect them, educate and train them, and to leave for them legacies that will last towards making their world a better place even long after we are gone.IMG00087-20140527-1319

A good father leaves good legacies. Good teachers do the same. They inspire loyalty and a desire to achieve in the children that they watch over. Long after our children have passed through our schools and gone on to live their own lives as independent adults, they will have memories of the times that they spent in our care.

They will remember those teachers, parents and others who gave them attention, helped them in their rough times, inspired them to be better and made a lasting impression on them. They always remember. Their minds never jettison memories of primary school, secondary school and universities. Those are memories that become a strong part of their adult psyches.

This is why we must take up our duties and responsibilities to them with passion and integrity. We are molding lives. We are always being watched and listened to. We are never off-duty. In truth, every day is children’s day. Once a child is born, the parent never goes on leave till death calls.

Here at First Veritas, we wish all our children happiness, health and years of growing in knowledge, wisdom and understanding. And to you our teachers and parents who still have parents who live, we wish you a happy children’s day, for you are still children to someone. Go back memory lane a bit and enjoy the memories of the wonderful childhood that we hope you had. Whatever your childhood was like, we hope that the memories ginger you to give today’s little children the childhood of your dreams.

Happy children’s day!

WHEN A CHILD QUESTIONS THINGS…..

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A child who does exactly what he is told to do all the time without questioning anything may cut the picture of the ideal, obedient, well-behaved child. However, that child may be missing out on learning skills that will help him excel out in the real world. The ability to question things will serve them well as adults when their parents are no longer there to shield them from the realities of life, and from wolves and snakes that prowl the jungle that is life.

It is a good thing when your child, pupil or student hears your instructions, plays with them in his mind and fires questions back at you. Here are a few questions:

  • “Dad, can we stay up later than usual? We are on holidays after all.”
  • “Aunty, why can I not go to play outside now?”
  • “Mom, why can I not choose what school to attend?”

Sometimes, he asks to get a clearer understanding. At other times, he is merely pushing the boundaries to see how far he can go or how much he can get away with. Whatever the reason behind a child’s questioning, it is a good idea to provide rational answers. Why? By so doing, you will be helping that child to develop critical reasoning skills.

When he becomes an adult, he will come face to face with life and all sorts of limitations, hindrances, and circumstances that tell him that he cannot do this or be that. This ability to test, prod, question, and challenge is exactly what he will need to handle those situations.

It may look like a child is being a rebel when he or she questions your instructions, whether you are a parent or a teacher. The reality, however, is often that he is processing information and trying to understand why he has to do this or that. His information processing may still be flawed, but as you respond with intelligent answers, you help him get better at it.

Your comments are welcomed. Share with us some of the questions your child have asked you 🙂