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Parenting Column(記事)

Is it true that “Living Room Studying” is a good idea? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Many moms worry about creating the perfect studying environment for their children. Until recently, most parents thought that they needed to provide their child with a studying desk in their own room. However, within the last few years, it has become popular for children to study in the living room where the family congregates. In this article, we will introduce the concept of “studying in the living room”.

幼児学習には「リビング学習」が良いって本当? メリット・デメリット

What is “Living Room Studying”?

Instead of buying a special desk for studying and placing it the child’s room, parents encourage their child to study in the living room where other family members are hanging out. According to research, one out of every two elementary school students do their homework and study in the living room. Many children are not bothered by the background noise and are able to concentrate on their homework in the relaxing environment of the living room.

What are the advantages of “Living Room Studying”?

1.They can study without being distracted by the surroundings in their room Children who do not like studying can often concentrate better in the living room. When these children sit at a desk in their rooms they are often distracted by their toys and other objects in their room. For this reason and also because it easier for parents to observe, studying in the living room is often effective for younger children.

2.Sense of tension & security
There is always someone else in the living room. As a result, the combination of feeling the need to study and the sense of security that comes from family member’s watching encourages children to get their homework and studying done.

3.Parents can observe their child study
When children study in the same room as their parent(s), it is easier for them to observe their studying habits and also grasp how much they understand and can do on their own. Parents can also help their child when they need it.

幼児学習には「リビング学習」が良いって本当? メリット・デメリット

What can parents do to help make studying in the living room more effective?

1.Don’t get angry
It is important that parents do not get angry at their children when they stop without answering all the questions. They may be trying to figure out the answer or just taking a short break. Please try to support them as much as possible.

2.Answer their questions whenever possible
It is important that parents answer their children’s questions even if they are busy with other chores when they are asked. This will show your child that you can be trusted and pay attention to them.

3.Don’t sit directly in front of your child
If you sit directly in front of them, they will be worried that you will say something and may become intimidated. If you plan to sit at the same table please try to sit next to them or diagonally across from them instead.

What are the disadvantages of “Living Room Studying”?

1.Sitting at the living room table is not good for your child’s posture
The living room table and countertops are not made to be used as a studying desk and sometimes have high chairs where children’s feet cannot touch the ground. It is best if the chair your child uses for studying has a back and allows them sit up straight.

2. Studying in the living room may lead to vision damage
Downlights are often used in the living room as the main source of lighting. As a result, depending on where your child is sitting, there is a chance that it will be a little dark in front of him/her which can cause a strain on one’s eyes. If this is the case, it is a good idea to have a small desk lamp ready.

3.Pieces of eraser may be left on the dinner table
After studying children may leave pieces of eraser on the table. It is best to separate the space used for studying and the space used for eating to avoid having to clean up every day.

“Living Room Studying” has advantages and disadvantages. Providing the studying environment that best fits your child’s needs is an important responsibility of parents. Please observe your child when he/she studies in the living room and determine whether studying there is effective for him/her or not.

Parenting Column(記事)

What is “4C Education? Why is it important for children to succeed in the future?

All parents want to provide their children with the best education possible. Did you know that in today’s society, children need “4C Education” to succeed? “4C Education”, which consists of “communication”, “collaboration”, “creative thinking”, and “creativity”, is important because it helps children deliver their best potential. In this article, we will explain about “4C Education” in detail.


The Four “Cs”

“4C Education” was proposed by the US Ministry of Education, Apple, Microsoft and 20 other organizations and education experts. The concept has gained interest among education experts in Japan as well including the founder of Tokyo International School, Patrick Newell. The goal of this educational policy is to raise proactive employees who can work individually and within a group. The main components of “4C Education” are listed below.

「Communication」Ability to communicate with people from various backgrounds

「Collaboration」Ability to collaborate and work with others

「Critical Thinking」Ability to come up with your own answers rather than relying on other’s answers

「Creativity」Ability to use your imagination and be creative

The goals of “4C Education”

There are no text books or manuals to show teachers how to education children in the 4C’s. It is important that children learn these qualities by themselves from their daily school and home life. As a result, parents should be aware of the 4C’s and encourage their children to have experiences that promote these skills. Please refer to the examples below for ideas.

・In addition to finishing projects as a family, it is important to give your child the opportunity to work with his/her peers to accomplish a project together by communicating and sharing ideas.
・Have your child experience creating objects using his/her imagination
・Instead of stepping in as soon as there is a problem or trouble, give your child the chance to think of a solution on his/her own.

Thinking and taking actions on one’s own may be a difficult concept for adults who have only experienced Japanese traditional education. It is important that parents are aware of the “4C’s” and can help their children gain these skills.

Parenting Column(記事)

IT engineers around the world need to read & speak English!

Today, where technology is becoming a more important part of everyday life, there is an increased need for IT engineers. Although becoming an IT engineer is definitely a possible future profession for children, it is often disregarded because of its strong science image. However, to become a successful engineer, candidates are required to have strong English skills in addition to professional knowledge and technical skills. Which situations require IT engineers to have English skills? In this article, we will explain the importance of English skills for IT engineers.

ITエンジニアにも英語は必要! 小さいうちから英語力を鍛えよう

English skills are required to follow the latest IT information

Google, Yahoo!, Apple, Intel, Facebook and Twitter are famous, global IT companies. These companies all have their headquarters in the Silicon Valley, which is in California, USA. As a result, most of the cutting-edge IT and computer-related information originates in the Silicon Valley. There are IT companies around the world but based on scale and influence no place compares to the Silicon Valley. The foreign media are known for delivering new technology and product information the quickest. So even if you live and work in Japan, as an IT engineer, it is important for you to be able to read and understand English as much as possible.

Sharing IT information is part of an engineer’s job

English is the standard language in the IT industry so even when sending IT information from Japan it is best practice to use English. When developing new IT technology, engineers can often share the technology not only in Japan but around the world. When new IT technology is released in the world market, someone needs to make an English presentation. Rival companies exist in the English-speaking market so if Japanese companies want to compete in the world market they need employees who can speak English.

English ability is required for engineers to develop global strategies

40% of Japanese IT companies require engineers to have English language skills. Most of these companies are global companies that are involved in global strategy so they need staff who can communicate in English. Of course, there is a demand for IT engineers here in Japan as well. However, even in Japan, IT engineers who are proficient in English have more opportunity then those who are not.

Proficiency in English will expand our children’s options but it takes time to learn a new language. The earlier children start learning a foreign language the better so it is important for parents to expose their children to language education as soon as possible.

ITエンジニアにも英語は必要! 小さいうちから英語力を鍛えよう
Parenting Column(記事)

Why is Mine Craft a great educational tool for your child?

Do you know the game, Mine Craft?
Mine Craft, which was created in 2009, has sold more than 1 million copies and is a very popular game around the world. The game has also received recognition from experts in the education industry for its ability to bring out children’s talents and capabilities. In this article, we will introduce why Mine Craft is a useful educational tool.


What kind of game is Mine Craft? Why is the education industry recognizing it?

Mine Craft, was developed by a Swedish programmer, Markus Persson. The goal of the game is to use various kinds of blocks to create your own town or village. Blocks are made of “wood”, “stone” or “gold” and players can choose which blocks they use; so, if they would like to make a wood house they can choose wood blocks and if they want to make a stone building they can choose stone blocks. Sometimes zombies and monsters appear to add challenges but the real goal of the game is to create your own world. Mine Craft is defined as a role play game without a story. The original game was created for the PC but there are currently versions for the smartphone, tablet and Nintendo Switch as well.

Fundamental programming education

In the PC version of Mine Craft, there is an option to allow the player to enter coding using the MOD technology incorporated in the game structure. Adding your own code is a form of programming. Programming will be a required subject in Japanese elementary schools from 2020. Playing Mine Craft is a great way for students to experience what programming is all about.

The addition of MOD using coding is a functionality that appears only in the PC version of the game. However, in the smartphone version of the game, players can create “red stone lines”. By lining up “red stone blocks”, players are creating their own electric circuits which enable them to move various blocks automatically. To create a dynamic gadget, players must create a complicated red stone line, which is like creating a computer program.

A game that improves one’s problem solving

While playing Mine Craft, children combine blocks with various qualities to create their own world. Although players do not start from a blank slate but instead with a natural environment to work from, there are no restrictions on what type of building they construct within that environment. The great thrill of Mine Craft is that there is no storyline so players are free to create what they want. Using MOD and red stone lines makes the game even more complicated and challenging.

Of course, when young children try programming for the first time they are often not successful right away. However, when children experience problems when they are playing they are encouraged to think for themselves how the problem can be solved. Through play, they practice trial and error and usually they eventually come up with the answer.

Figuring out where the problem is within the code or line helps children learn how to better use trial and error to solve problems. In Europe, there are even schools that use the game as part of their regular curriculum. Please try using the game as a learning tool within the home and see how your child likes it.

Parenting Column(記事)

Two Reasons Toddlers Should Have Access to PCs

Many parents are worried about allowing their children to have access to PCs from a young age. However, there are many benefits that young children can gain from using a PC. In this article, we will share the benefits and cautions related to the use of PCs by young children.


Benefits of Using a PC from a Young Age

1.There is no interference with your child’s creativity
Many children begin to draw pictures early. Parents need to prepare the room so that it does not get dirty and provide their children with crayons. However, even if the floor, walls and tables are protected, children always find a way to make a mess and write on the sofa, table, wall or floor and cause their parents to get angry.

There are many apps that allow children to choose their favorite color to paint a picture using the PC. This helps parents avoid spending time on preparations and worrying about their children making a mess in the house. Children can also focus on using their imaginations and creativity without worrying about getting dirty. Using the PC also makes it easy for children to see their finished product which improves their self-confidence and satisfaction.

2.Using a PC will expand your child’s interests
Children often ask the question “why?”. “Why is the sky blue?”, “Why do rabbits have red eyes?” Parents can answer some of these questions but other questions leave them wondering how to explain the answers to their children. When it comes to finding answers to difficult questions, if parents are near a PC they can look up the answer together with their child and discuss the answer with them. This will encourage children to go and look the answer up when they do not know something.

Also, using a PC every day will help children gain interest in programming. In addition, many children become interested in languages by watching videos.

What should parents be careful about when letting their children use the PC

It is important for parents to set rules for PC usage such as 20-minute limit per day, not entering personal information and talking to a parent when something happens. Parents should also watch what their child is doing on the PC. Once children can use the PC on their own it is important for parents to use filtering applications to prevent them from accessing sites which are not appropriate.

While children gain benefits from using the PC, use of the PC also sometimes causes children to have difficulty in forming personal relationships. It is important for parents to understand that the PC is only one tool for educating your child. It is also important for children to attend mommy and me and drop-off classes, play with friends in the park, use instruments and sing and dance and have plenty of opportunities to interact with children their age and grown-ups, other than their parents.

Stopping your child from using the PC because it is dangerous or on the opposite side allowing them to use it with no controls is not a good idea. Parents should set rules and limits and use the PC with their child so that everyone can benefit.

Parenting Column(記事)

How to raise children with a high [EQ]

In recent years, [EQ] has become more of a desired trait than [IQ]. Please refer to the previous article, « It is important to raise children with a high [IQ] as well as a high [EQ] » for a definition of [EQ]. As we stated in our previous article, [EQ] can be cultivated. In this article, we will introduce ways to improve your child’s [EQ].


What can parents do to improve their child’s [EQ]?

・Show them love and a feeling of trust from when they are a baby
Parents should show their child love as much as possible from when they are born. When children are between the ages of 0-2 years old, parents should hug them a lot and protect them from fear and anxiety. This feeling of trust plays an important role in the first rebellious phase, which takes place between the ages of 2 and 4 years old. Children who were shown a lot of love before they turn 2 years old will say “no” a lot during the their first rebellious phase. However, this is not just a child acting selfish but actually proof that even if they say “no” to things they do not like that they believe their mom will still love them. During this phase, there is a big difference between children who have this feeling of trust and those who do not. This feeling of trust also plays an important role in how your child will interact with others throughout his/her life and is directly related to his/her EQ.

・Watch them study from the sidelines
Children will be expected to study subjects like English and Math. During these times, whether parents watch their child from the sidelines or not, plays a big role in whether you improve your child’s EQ or not. If you are only after academic development then forcing your child to study on his/her own may be enough. However, from an EQ improvement perspective, this method is not as effective since how much parents are involved in their child’s studies strongly effects their EQ level.

・Decide on “Family Rules” as a family
The most effective exercises that are said to improve EQ have the following point in common and this is how strong a relationship the child has with their parents. Recently in a Twitter account run by a close family, there was mention that the child in the family creates the minutes from their family meetings. This tweet soon gained popularity on Twitter. The reason behind starting a family meeting was to create a place where the family can decide on goals together and ended up being a great place for children to learn how to make goals on their own. Being able to set one’s own goals is closely linked to being able to control one’s feelings and emotions. Having both of these qualities is important for improving EQ.

A child’s family environment is said to play a large role in the improvement of his/her EQ and this is mainly due to the importance of the relationship between adult and child. Please take all the procedures possible to help your child improve his/her EQ as soon as possible.

Parenting Column(記事)

It is important to raise children with a high IQ as well as a high EQ

Most parents have heard the word “IQ” (Intelligence Quotient) before. People tend to think that the higher one’s IQ the smarter they are. However, recently, in addition to IQ one’s EQ has also become a popular topic of conversation. In this article, we will explain what EQ is, why having a high EQ has become an expectation and how we can raise our children to have high EQ.

IQだけじゃダメ!  早いうちから育みたい「EQ」とは

What is “EQ”?

EQ is the abbreviation of “Emotional Intelligence Quotient” and was announced in a joint paper written by Americans Peter Salovey and John Mayer, which was published in 1989. In the paper, they stated that people’s actions and movements are decided based on their emotions and psychological state. EQ is defined as the ability to effectively control and use one’s emotions. The paper also stated that through understanding and practice it is possible to raise one’s EQ.

Why do we value EQ?

Until now, having a high IQ and being able to process and analyze things successfully led to receiving good results and grades. However, according to recent surveys, we have learned that just having a high IQ does not lead to success. To improve labor productivity it is essential for workers to make use of their emotions and the emotions of those around them. This is the main reason why our society has come to value EQ as well as IQ.

Individuals are able to make the right decisions and take the right actions in various situations when they understand their current emotional state and prevent their emotions from getting in the way of their actions. Having a high EQ enables us to grasp the emotional state of those around us and take actions that will be positive for all sides. Being able to communicate smoothly with peers and co-workers makes it easier to take advantage of everyone’s skills and succeed in both work tasks and personal relationships. Having effective communication skills is important for both public and private

How does one’s EQ develop?

EQ is a combination of the following 3 intellects : « emotional intellect », « human interaction intellect » and « situational judgement intellect ».

Emotional intellect is the ability to understand your own feelings and emotions.
Human interaction intellect is the ability to effectively encourage others.
Situational judgement intellect is the ability to acknowledge the situation of oneself and others at the same time.

Usually people are born with these intellects but depending on the education method used they can also be taught. When children enter school and society, the higher these intellects are the better so it can’t hurt if parents remember how to improve their child’s EQ. Methods on how to improve EQ and how to raise children with a higher EQ can be found in the next article “How to raise one’s EQ” so please take a look.

IQだけじゃダメ!  早いうちから育みたい「EQ」とは
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