Tag Archives: Kids

Talking to Kids, Mr Rogers’ Way: Freddish

There is no doubt that Mr. Rogers has influenced not only myself but a multi generation of kids. How he talked to kids was very unique and carefully thought out. Freddish was his methodology’s nickname.

Per the pamphlet, there were nine steps for translating into Freddish:

  1. “State the idea you wish to express as clearly as possible, and in terms preschoolers can understand.” Example: It is dangerous to play in the street. ​​​​​​
  2. “Rephrase in a positive manner,” as in It is good to play where it is safe.
  3. “Rephrase the idea, bearing in mind that preschoolers cannot yet make subtle distinctions and need to be redirected to authorities they trust.” As in, “Ask your parents where it is safe to play.”
  4. “Rephrase your idea to eliminate all elements that could be considered prescriptive, directive, or instructive.” In the example, that’d mean getting rid of “ask”: Your parents will tell you where it is safe to play.
  5. “Rephrase any element that suggests certainty.” That’d be “will”: Your parents can tell you where it is safe to play.
  6. “Rephrase your idea to eliminate any element that may not apply to all children.” Not all children know their parents, so: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play.
  7. “Add a simple motivational idea that gives preschoolers a reason to follow your advice.” Perhaps: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is good to listen to them.
  8. “Rephrase your new statement, repeating the first step.” “Good” represents a value judgment, so: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is important to try to listen to them.
  9. “Rephrase your idea a final time, relating it to some phase of development a preschooler can understand.” Maybe: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is important to try to listen to them, and listening is an important part of growing.

Smartphone and Inattentive Parenting

The scene is an all too familiar one: A parent takes his/her kids to the park to play. The parent then gets on their cellphone to either talk or surf, leaving the kids to their own devices. The kids beg the parent to help them, all to no avail. The kid gives up and plays by him or herself. This is just morally wrong. Why squander the opportunity to spend some quality time with your kids, rather than give your undivided attention to a small 3″ x 4″ box? We are negatively addicted to our smartphones. All this observed in my predominantly Mainland Chinese community here in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Our Kids are Busy but Not Active: Consequences

The way we choose to live goes a long way to determining how long and how well we will eventually live. More troubling is that our choices are observed and learned by our kids, who then take on very similar choices and lifestyle. While kids theoretically have a choice, in reality they follow their parents, for better or for worse. This study from Active Healthy Kids Canada is really troubling, in that it points to what I call “Rich Country” disease, where here in Canada we have lots of organized sport activities, lots of proper environment and equipment, but not a lot of actual physical exercise. It would be more appropriate to have the best of organized sport, with great facilities, that results in the fittest, most healthy kids on the planet. This is certainly not the case.

Conformity vs Chaos in Daily Life

You need to fit in, somewhat, to live in harmony with society. This is true. Even those that are anti-social will form groups, of which there will be rules that govern who is part of the group and what constitutes acceptable bahaviour. I believe all societal systems run this way. It is part of who we are.

This is not to say that conformity is a bad thing. Without conformity there would be no way to drive down the street and not get hit by a car. Drivers, pedestrians and other users of the road need to conform to the road usage system, namely the Highway Traffic Act. We have laws that govern these things. Those that scofflaw the rules can hurt other people and get punished for their behaviour. In the name of safety this is good.

Beginner Robotics: Dagu Magician Chassis DG007

Automonous Bot: Arduino, Ardumoto board, and the Dagu Magician Chassis

Automonous Bot: Arduino, Ardumoto board, and the Dagu Magician Chassis

Late am I with this posting, but life gets in the way and takes over. The Little Weed wanted to delve into robotics, so we bought an Arduino Uno and the Dagu Magician Chassis. This chassis is a robot platform for a three wheeled vehicle, complete with two wheels and two motors, a single ball caster, and all the nuts and bolts to put it together. Programming of the robot is done with the Arduino IDE or in Eclipse. This posting steps you through our experience putting together this robot platform.

How to Cross a Traffic Intersection in Toronto, Canada

One of the many benefits of having kids is that you get to reexamine many aspects of life you easily take for granted. Because of the low level of driving skill and sometimes reckless attitude of local drivers, teaching my Little Weeds to safely cross the street terrified me. In our sleepy suburban neighbourhood in Scarborough, Ontario, it is not too bad, but when it comes to major intersections the concequences for a miscalculation are dire. No matter how well you teach your kids, they also rely on drivers to keep them safe. Here in Scarborough we have terrible drivers. Teaching my kids how to safely cross traffic intersections has been long in the making, Here is what I tell them.

Searching for GUM Red-cote Disclosing Tablets

GUM Red-cote disclosing tablets tint plaque bright red, showing your kids where they missed brushing. I want to buy some.

GUM Red-cote disclosing tablets tint plaque bright red, showing your kids where they missed brushing. I want to buy some.

My little weed, when it comes to brushing his teeth, is really lazy. Other more interesting pastimes attract his attention, such as watching tv, fighting with his older sister, playing with whatever, anything is more interesting than properly brushing his teeth. Our dentist can attest to his lack of vigilance, which also reflects on the parent’s vigilance. That would be me. Disclosing tablets are chewed and use a red dye to colour plaque a brilliant red, showing my little weed where he was hasty. Recommended both by my family dentist as well as orthodontist, I cannot seem to find GUM Red-cote disclosing tablets here in Toronto, Canada.

Swarmed by Black Kids at the Park

Crime, especially juvenile crime, is widespread throughout Toronto, Canada. A swarming, while somewhat uncommon in my area of Toronto, does occur. This morning while at the local park for preschool kids, I talked to a ~70 year old Grandmother who was looking after her five year old grandson. She told me that yesterday September 18 2010 at around 7:30pm she was at the local park for older kids, some 50 meters away and was swarmed by a group of 6 Black kids, ranging from 6 to 14 years old. The incident left her feeling vulnerable, afraid and unsafe in her Glendower neighbourhood, where she has lived for the last 20 years. When I explained to her that I was also a victim of swarming by local Black kids, she was also surprised. Her reaction and remorse did not surprise me because I had the same feelings after my swarming.

The Scary Monster is Not Shrek

McDonalds recalls Shrek glasses over fears of toxic cadmium levels

McDonalds recalls Shrek glasses over fears of toxic cadmium levels

Fear not the monster Shrek, for he is not to blame. But if not Shrek then whom? The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warned consumers early Friday to immediately stop using the glasses available for purchase from McDonalds, on concerns about toxic levels of cadmium. Twelve million glasses are recalled. Who is to blame? There are at least three parties involved: McDonalds, ARC International, of Millville, NJ, and presumably the Chinese factory that produced the glasses. So common is the fact that China makes most of our products and the fact that so many toxic products have been traced back to China in the past makes this a very good educated guess.