Do you get a little panic when your friends or relatives give food to your little ones without asking for your consent? In my opinion, I would say it is absolutely acceptable to politely remind your friends and relatives about your little ones’ food allergies and your personal preference of “please ask me before giving food to my child”.
Here is a list of festive snacks that adults cannot resist but not necessarily healthy snacks for children:
Flavoured dried plums
The tasteful flavoured dried plums are irrisistible (for adults). Did you know that it is actually made of lots of artificial flavoring and preservatives? Take a look at the ingredients list and I’m sure you can find very little natural ingredients.
It is bad for children as children’s detoxification system is yet to be mature. Moreover, children might risk swallowing the small seeds, a serious choking hazard.
Salted vegetables & dried meat related products
The high sodium content in this category of festive food can easy surpass one’s daily recommended sodium intake. Marinated food products are often packed with nitrite, aflatoxin and benzopyrene, that are the main cancer causing culprits.
Nuts & Seeds
Many parents might assume that as long as children have a mouthful of teeth, they should be able to safely consume nuts and seeds. In fact, children below 3 years old have yet to fully developed their chewing and swallowing skills, therefore they might not be able to productively chew the nuts and seeds into a digestible form. In rare cases, children suffer from choking hazard especially when they are eating while playing.
Honey is not suitable for toddler below 1 years old due to the risk of Botulism. Botulism is a rare and potentially fatal illness caused by a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The disease begins with weakness, blurred vision, feeling tired, and trouble speaking.
The colourful and tasteful jelly is another artificial food that you should not be giving to your children. Not only that it contains little or none nutritional values, it is also one of the common choking hazard.
It’s absolutely not all right to have a two-year-old sipping wine and beer, it provides absolutely no benefit to the child and it can be quite harmful.
Alcohol has very specific effects on the body that can be particularly harmful to a child. It causes the blood sugar to fall to levels that can cause irritability, confusion, and even seizures. It lowers the body temperature, and since children’s bodies have such a large surface area relative to their weight, they lose heat rapidly and can become hypothermic very easily. Additionally, alcohol has very direct effects on the brain. Since most of a person’s brain growth occurs during the first few years of life, repeated exposure to alcohol could interfere with brain growth and cause delayed development and lowered intelligence.
Ginkgo is known for containing a small amount of toxin, more if consumed uncooked. However if a child consumes uncooked ginkgo, the risk of food poisoning and fatality is much higher than adults.
Caffeine in coffee may hinder children’s brain and bone development. Who needs an even more hyper child when your child is already active without caffeine?
Glutinous Rice Balls, Rice Cakes
The main ingredient for this festive snack is glutinous rice. Although it is a relatively healthy option, but children’s delicate digestive system may not be able to handle them well yet. Overeating this category of snacks will cause bloated stomach, nausea and poor digestion. Definitely not recommended for toddler below 3 years old.
Sashimi, medium rare beef, alcohol-cooked seafood etc
Most of the sashimi slices on top of the Yee Sang are not hygienically prepared, so you can imagine the risk level of food poisoning, especially for those with poor digestive system and children.
Children do not have a mature digestive system to protect them against food-borne disease.
What should you be doing?
Keep an eye on them
Better be safe than sorry. Remind your children if they have any food allergies, give gentle reminders to your friends and family on your take of giving food to children.
Seek immediate medical assistance if needed. Better be safe than sorry!
Know your limits
It is impossible to ban your children to snack on every single type of less healthy snacks. Set your limit and educate your children to consume these snacks responsibly and sensibly. After all, the big part of CNY is food sharing, right?
A PEAK INSIDE THE MONTESSORI CLASSROOM:
How can children learn in a mixed-aged classroom? Would it be rather difficult for a teacher to take care of my child’s learning progress in the classroom? I couldn’t imagine how can my child learn better in a classroom with mix ages! As a new Montessori practitioner, I could still remember all these questions popped from my mind when I was still in my college, studying the philosophy behind Montessori’s pedagogy. The concept of mix-aged group in a classroom happens to be common around the world. However, how do we know if it is efficient for children’s learning?
If we study the philosophy of Montessori’s educational approach, teachers are well-trained being the “eye” of the classroom. They need to have the ability observing every single detail from children’s developmental growth, to a little small pot of plant at the corner of the classroom. Here I am, lucky enough to have the luxury observing how does a Montessori classroom look like.
Imagine our working environment as adults, do you work only with people who are the same age as you are? Definitely NOT! This is the main idea, we create a MINI SOCIETY for the children to learn from peers! Physically, you might see the children are growing differently, in fact, they are different in all ways, no matter cognitively, socially, emotionally and development of their language. We always learn from those who share different strengths that we might not acquire yet, this goes the same to the children. Their need to learn can be met by interacting with different age groups!
Other than that, in this ‘mini-society’, children learn to respect and response with grace and courtesy. For example, each child will learn to clear his/her workspace after completing their work. What does the child learn? Cleaning the place? NOT ONLY THAT. Children will learn that they need to respect the environment by taking care of the classroom, they will also learn that space is shared among everyone in the classroom. The younger children learn the rules; the older children have a deeper understanding of the reason behind the rules. Therefore, older children will be the guidance, the role model that lead the younger children to learn better in many ways. The older children will develop many positive values while helping the younger children to grow. They will learn to communicate according to the level of younger children’s understanding. I have seen a six-year-old child tried so hard to make a three-year-old child understand the way to paste a strip of paper on her book. She tried to explain verbally at first, but it did not work. Then, she found a way to help her by pasting her own strip in front of her. See that? It’s not only about learning skills, but how the child took the initiative to help and support the younger child.
Younger children learn by observing the older children in the classroom. If you have come across with the theory of zone of proximal development(ZPD) by Lev Vygotsky, children in their ZPD need support and aid to acquire new knowledge/skills. Hence, scaffolding is one of the most efficient ways that a teacher or a more competent classmate will do to aid a child’s learning. For example, if a child is competent working with embroidery, he/she can show the child who might be new to embroidery. Imagine if you have twenty children in the classroom, you will observe twenty individuals with different strengths and personalities. They all learn among each other by working together with respect and care. Thus, it never about the age, but the way they learn from each other. I have been asked if teachers are able to take care of all children in the classroom equally with the concept of mixed-ages in the classroom. Well, as educators, we have the responsibility to observe, to plan and to support children’s individual learning. (Yes, don’t worry, we are trained to do that every single day!)