Saturday, 19 March 2011

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J Summary (2Y15D) - Avoiding ADHD


First train tracks built by J

Focusing and Concentration Skills

I shared with some friends that I have introduced Montessori activities, and some of them told me that those activities did not work for them, as their children were not interested, preferring to learn by watching TV or videos. That made me reflect: what would I do, if someday J is no longer interested? I will have to start thinking of a solution now, before it happens.

J is not one who is born with a natural ability to sit still and concentrate (most baby boys aren't, but most baby girls are). As a baby, J would protest and cry, each time he was left alone to play on his own, and I had to battle this with Blanket Time training (which I did not do very well, as I did not have the discipline to follow through).

As a preventive measure now, I am starting to lay down my action plan as follows:

1. Intensify with Room Time training

I did not do well with Blanket Time training, but I am more determined to follow through with Room Time training with J, although very often I just wish I can just relax and just let J play aimlessly.

2. Cut back on TVs and videos

I will cut back on TV and videos programme, even if they are educational, fun and entertaining. The cons far outweighs the cons, in my opinion now.

3. Continue Potty Time regularly and consistently

On hindsight, I am so grateful that we did potty training with J. When we started potty training, it was not that easy and it required quite a lot of discipline, but we are now reaping the benefits, without knowing when we first started it. Potty time is a very good time for J to focus without any other distractions, and I was able to introduce all the learning activities, that a running, jumping and active toddler would otherwise not able to do.

The Danish news source reported that the number of girls in Denmark in university is out-numbering the number of boys at an increasing rate. This is because girls are in general more motivated and can sit still in class, and boys can't and this problem is moving all the way up to university age, which by that time, is too late to make any corrections. This has serious social repercussions. It means that in general, boys will be less literate than girls, and they will have problems finding marriage partners, when they grow up. It will also be an ecocnomic drain to the society, if boys are not realizing their full potential, because they cannot sit still in class and learn. In Asia, we have less of such problems with boys, because Asian schools and parents are perhaps more strict in enforcing discipline. My mother-in-law told me that the students in Danish public schools are allowed to talk and jump around in class free and easy while the teacher is teaching - to my shock and amazement! (Yes, after 10 years of being in Denmark, I am still experiencing culture shocks!!! Perhaps my mother-in-law exaggerated this, but still I am shocked to hear this.) I am determined to find a school that does not allow such behaviour by hook or by crook, otherwise, we will move back to Singapore!

This aspect touches my heart very much, as with new research findings, I now realised that I came from a family of ADHDs. It affected the males in my family line - my dad, my brother, and now my nephew. It is a crippling disease and I now realised that it is one of the reasons why my family struggled with poverty when I was a child, as a person with ADHD finds it a real battle with his brain to hold down jobs and social relationships - and my dad was the sole breadwinner of my family. I worry for my nephew, J, and I hope and pray that J will grow up taking care of J to his old age, whom I have come to regard as our own son.

Language Development

J's Mandarin is improving after I have taken back some of the bedtime duties from Daddy and also some of the potty time from Daddy (J loves to read when he is at the potty). But I have started Montessori activities 1.5 week ago, and this eats into some of the potty reading time unfortunately. Can't have the best of both worlds. I am juggling a balancing act, and praying for wisdom to know when to do what.

I have scaled down the Speak English Day on Sunday to Sunday Playgroup after music class and church, as I realised that as a working mom, the exposure given to J on Mandarin is limited due to my limited time with him. Mandarin is after all a language much harder to master than English. I do feel guilty sometimes being a working mom, and wish I can stay at home to just focus on child development.

I am grateful that J is also progressing relatively well in English. He seems to be understanding most of the things I say to him in English.

J started getting interested in hearing to stories read out to him, instead of just picture books. His favourite is an English book on Oddieworld and the Police Oddie Sock. I realised that it was because I added a lot of sound effects when reading it, which I didn't when reading other books - English nursery rhymes, Tang dynasty poems and other Mandarin books. I need to be more conscious of developing my own sound effects when reading English nursery rhymes and Tang Dyansty poems, when reading this to J.

Language development is developing at a rate that I now gives up writing the new words that J speaks in my summary. In general, he is repeating 3 word sentences of any language I say - be it Mandarin, Danish or English.

J now automatically says, "Tak for mad", after dinner and on his way upstairs. I asked Daddy whether he told J to say that, and he said no. That's so sweet. J did it on his own. It is a Danish tradition, and it means "thank you for food".

Wooden Toy Train

J is more interested in his wooden toy train set now. Last Monday (14.3.2011), Daddy told me that he constructed the train tracks himself, which I couldn't believe it. Just the week before, he hadn't shown much interest and patience with train tracks. I could not see the work, as our cleaning helper had dismantled it. Last Tuesday, J built one more track. I took a picture of it as a memory of his first constructed train tracks.

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