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2017 07 17 - Take it outside

TAKE IT OUTSIDE

Her eyes barely opened, still stretching herself in bed, half yawning while asking “Mummy, are we going to school today?”. I threw my arm over her and gave her a tight hug, then told her “no, sweetheart; it’s Sunday”.

“So can we go to the park?”

“Sure!”

And then, suddenly, I saw ‘energy’ in her eyes.

“Arnold, WAKE UP NOW! It’s MORNING! Faster brush your teeth. Mummy said we can go to the park. Are you listening? I say WAKE. UP. NOW.” and she went on as she stomped her way to his bed. #thingskidsdo

It was so early on a Sunday morning, but all of us were awake! We weren’t going to waste our time lazing on bed. Weather was awesome and we had to get out! We did.

2017 07 17 - Take it outside

Let’s take it outside!

2017 07 17 - Take it outside

2017 07 17 - Take it outside

Outdoor play is so important! It’s the best place for toddlers to practice and master emerging physical skills.

2017 07 17 - Take it outside

It is outdoor that children can fully and freely experience motor skills like running, leaping, hopping and jumping!

2017 07 17 - Take it outside

And it is outdoors that children are likely to burn more calories, thus preventing obesity and other kind of diseases.

2017 07 17 - Take it outside

Work it out, kids!

2017 07 17 - Take it outside

2017 07 17 - Take it outside

2017 07 17 - Take it outside

2017 07 17 - Take it outside

2017 07 17 - Take it outside

2017 07 17 - Take it outside

2017 07 17 - Take it outside

2017 07 17 - Take it outside

Benefits of outdoor play

Outdoor play is also awesome for bonding! We were playing at the swing when a random stranger asked if we would like her to help take some pictures of us! I thought, why not? So she took my camera from the ground and started snapping some photos of us. This is my favourite! I haven’t smiled like this in a long time. I thought I lost my happiness and there it was, happiness. My children brought me happiness, lots of happiness, a different kind of happiness. I’m so thankful and grateful. A stranger showed me what happiness is. Thank you, stranger.

 

BENEFITS OF OUTDOOR PLAY

  • Vision
    Ditch the tablets and go outdoor! A study reported by Optometry and Vision Science found that children who spend time outside have better distance vision than those who primarily play indoor.
  • Health
    With more room to play, children are often more active outdoor, which helps them build strong bones and good fitness levels. It also helps burn off extra energy and calories. Besides, being in the sunshine allows children, and even yourself, to naturally absorb vital vitamin D, a lack of which can lead to Rickets.
  • Explore
    Encourage children to play with slides, swings, see-saw or anything that may seem challenging to them. Teach them to push their boundaries and become good at risk assessment. It may involve children getting dirty, wet, or falling over, these experiences help to build their confidence and is an important part of learning about skills and limitations. Everyday life involves a certain degree of risk and children need to learn how to cope with this from an early age.
  • Social Skills
    Taking it outside, having unstructured play promotes a wide range of skills. It is less crowded and less intimidating; those helps children to naturally come out of their shells and be more social. This means that children will be more willing to join in activities, to play in groups, learn to share, learn to negotiate and learn how to resolve conflicts. They will also be more likely to talk to different children and make new friends. These all encourages children to learn social skills and how to interact with other children. It promotes self-confidence, resiliency and self-advocacy, all of which can help children learn how to develop healthy relationships and to become leaders.
  • Reduce Stress
    Who says only adults have stress? Kids have stress too! Spending time outside playing is such a huge outlet for stress. It’s relaxing and some say that seeing green spaces can help decrease kids’ stress levels. Besides, it is good for their mental health.

 

LEARNING OUTDOOR

Benefits of outdoor play

After exhausting their energy, we went to a nearby hut to have our breakfast. They had their favourite super awesome pumpkin porridge with cod fish, spinach and carrot. Even I love it too! After that, we did colouring, pictures after pictures…

Benefits of outdoor play

Benefits of outdoor play

Benefits of outdoor play

Benefits of outdoor play

Benefits of outdoor play

Benefits of outdoor play

Benefits of outdoor play

Arnold got bored very quickly so he took out his portable microphone and started singing. Sometimes he pretends to be a DJ “Good morning everyone, my name is Arnold Ong”. Now the entire neighbourhood knows his name.

Benefits of outdoor play

Benefits of outdoor play

Soaking in nature is lots of fun too!

Benefits of outdoor play

Benefits of outdoor play

Benefits of outdoor play

Benefits of outdoor play

Now Sonia and Arnold know what a bark is. Bark shading can be fun too!

Benefits of outdoor play

Sonia thought the bark was too rough. She wanted to shade on a smooth bark and so we went from tree to tree to shade.

Benefits of outdoor play

Benefits of outdoor play

Benefits of outdoor play

Benefits of outdoor play

But none was smooth enough. Finally she found one…

Benefits of outdoor play

…a lamp post… That’s NOT a tree! Haha… We all had a good laugh, but shaded against the lamp post anyway.

Benefits of outdoor play

So did Arnold. It was a day well spent.

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NUMBER ONE CAUSE OF DEATH AMONG CHILDREN IS CAR ACCIDENTS

If you are a parent or guardian of a young child, you may want to take some time reading this.

As a mother of two, keeping my children safe is paramount to me. There are more traffic accidents involving children in the recent years and that’s worrying. Last year saw an increase in the number of traffic accidents involving children under the age of 12 in Singapore. There were 179 accidents involving children from January to September, which is an increase from 150 in the same period the previous year. And in U.S., around 600 children under the age of 13 die in road traffic accidents. Most of them are in cars which crashed. These same crashes injured thousands more.

Some of these are unavoidable, but many can be mitigated or reduced by taking sensible precautions relating to how and where children are sitting. This includes the misuse of child seats in terms of fastening, position, size, and more. It also includes good driving behaviour.

road accidents

This is why Jenny Holt had written an extensive guide filled with information on how to drive safely with small children in the car. It covers the whole subject in great depth including statistics and good advice for parents. I thought it’s a good read and would like to share it with all other parents.

 

TOP 6 CHILD CAR SEAT MISTAKES

You can find a detail write up on Child Seat Mistakes here.

In summary, here are the 6 top child car seat mistakes parents make.

  1. Using the wrong type of child car seat
  2. Not registering child car seats with the manufacturer
  3. Not properly securing the child car seat in the vehicle
  4. Not properly securing the child in the car seat
  5. Not using booster seats
  6. Not responding to child car seat recalls

 

I hope this article will benefit parents in one way or another. Prevention is always better than cure. Take precautions before something dreadful happens; by then, it’d be too late to regret.

Click here to read more.

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Benefit of playdates

PLAYDATES ARE NO CHILD’S PLAY, THEY ARE IMPORTANT

Remember those days when we were kids, we ran out and played in the neighbourhood with other kids. Play was arranged by stepping out the front door. Arranging a playdate was probably foreign to my mum. Parents those days need not face this parenting challenge. Today, parents need to decide and arrange for playdates regularly. What happened to the kind of community environment that allows spontaneous play? Why are people more distance these day? Well, that’s another conversation for another post. Today, we want to talk about the importance of playdates!

 

IMPORTANCE OF PLAYDATES AND WHY THEY MATTERS

Playdates are VERY important for children! Do you know, from the time children are three years old and recognise that there are people their age on this planet, they want to interact with playmates (Sperling, 2014). Children develop their brain power through interaction with people. So playdates are a necessity in this increasingly isolating society of ours. Many times, kids battles over toys and crayons, or who plays the teacher (for example), but these also lead to problem solving skills, compromise, creativity, and the use of their imagination. The way your child interacts with others has impacts on their future character.

Affection, empathy, negotiation and appreciating someone else’s point of views are just some of the things your child starts to grasp during that playdate with her peers. “By interacting with their peers, children begin to learn about perspective-taking, where they can realise how others may have different thoughts and feelings,” says Dr. Theodote K. Pontikes from Loyola University in Chicago.

Children also learn from watching. When we (parents) show them how to share by divvying up the colour pencils, they are taking that in and filing it away for next time. Children also learn from doing. Practice makes perfect and kids get better at cooperation the more they work their sharing muscles. When you take your child out of your home and into another’s, she gets to work on her manners. She must ask nicely to play with those new toys. Both kids learn to take turns. Your child also has the chance to utilise her right brain without spending money attending Heguru classes. The kids can make-up games together, have a picnic, play dress-up or just put on an apron and pretend to be a chef.

Playdates are important for children. They are not a waste of time. As much as socialising is important for adults, playdates are important for children, maybe even more important.

 

BENEFITS OF PLAYDATES

Benefits of playdates

Source: Yummymummyclub

OUR RECENT PLAYDATE BY THE POOL

That saying, I’ve been setting my kids on playdates since Sonia was about one year old. Just recently, we had another playdate with the neighbours’ kids! This time round, my friend, Deb organised a picnic by the pool. That was so much fun! Both Sonia and Arnold had a whale of a time! We need to do this AGAIN!!

Benefits of playdates

The kids, all dressed in their colourful swimsuits, geared with their water guns, dived into the pool! If you must know, there were a total of five kids. Small groups are easier to handle.

Benefits of playdates

We seldom take Arnold to the pool, so he took a little longer to warm up and drop his fears. It’s a good thing that Sonia is now more confident in the water, so I had more time with Arnold.

Benefits of playdates

We sat at the stairs for quite a while a long while before he decided to take a step down into the water.

Benefits of playdates

Benefits of playdates

Jiejie now prefers hanging out with her friend than me! LOL… Through the 1-hr while we were in the pool, she was on her own with Heidi and Tiffany!

Benefits of playdates

Benefits of playdates

Benefits of playdates

And Arnold was by my side ALL THE TIME! We need to bring him down more often!

Benefits of playdates

Watching her play and socialise with her friends made me felt like she had grown sooooooooo much! Where is my baby?!?

Benefits of playdates

Benefits of playdates

After having a splashing good time in the pool, we came up for a picnic!!! Deb had prepared kids’ friendly food, drinks and snacks. And I simply brought an empty stomach. Opss! Let me prepare the food the next time, so I don’t feel so bad!

Benefits of playdates

Here’s Heidi distributing the drink to all the other kids (like a da jie da)!

Benefits of playdates

Benefits of playdates

Nom nom nom…

Benefits of playdates

This is probably my favourite picture! Precious bonding time, priceless.

Benefits of playdates

Benefits of playdates

Benefits of playdates

Benefits of playdates

Benefits of playdates

Benefits of playdates

Benefits of playdates

Benefits of playdates

Benefits of playdates

If you ask me, what have the kids learnt today? Plenty. They learnt to share, to mingle, to accommodate, to compromise, and the list goes on. And my kids tried new food. Though they are fussy eaters and refused the corn and chicken nuggets, at least they tried eating them.

They are already looking forward to the next playdate!

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Learning Vision

Back-to-school season is in full swing! Both mummies and tots are all prepping for the big day!

I’ve been prepping Arnold for his first day of school and this day finally arrived. Last night as we packed his school bag, I felt as if it was my first day of school! I was more excited than he is! I made sure he had a fresh set of clothes to change, a bag of diapers, a towel, two milk canisters, milk bottle, water bottle, hanky, pillow, blanket, and a sweater to keep him nice and warm. I was so keyed up!

That night, everyone went to bed early except me. I couldn’t sleep! My girl is going on N2 and my boy is finally going to school! I was exceptionally emotional. How did they both grow up so quickly? They were so little, I could wrap them in one arm, and with a blink of an eye, they ‘spouted’! I had mixed feelings about this whole saga. I know, I know, I’m kinda a drama mama but I can’t help it! I want them to grow up and not grow up, all at the same time! Little Miss Contrary Mrs Contrary.

So this morning, as soon as I got Sonia and Arnold changed, I grabbed my camera and decided to capture this special moment in pictures. I want to have something to look back and say “See, they’re my children’s first day of school. Boy, time flies! Back in 2016, Sonia just went on to N2 and Arnold finally joined his sister at Learning Vision! How cute they look in their school uniforms! Those days………”

The minute I started snapping pictures, I couldn’t stop and couldn’t decide which pictures were prettier so I’m about to show you those that I painstakingly picked. Even the blurred pictures has so much “feel”! Both of them were so natural. I didn’t ask for poses because I wanted to capture candid shots. I wanted to capture them being them and was pleasantly happy with how they all turned out!

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

I will remember this day dearly in my heart and I’m glad I took many pictures to relive good memories!

ARNOLD’S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

Many asked which school Arnold went to and why I chose that school. My answer was simple and short, “Because Sonia was in Learning Vision so I sent her little brother there too!”. Then came the next set of questions, “Why did you send Sonia to Learning Vision, what’s the curriculum like, what time they finish school, are the teachers good?” and the list goes on.

Instead of telling you stories about my children’s school in words, I thought you might be more interested in taking a peek at what’s school is like for Arnold. Just so you know, he’s turning two in a month and his class houses kids between 18 months young and 35 months old. The year they turn three, they will be promoted to N1 classes.

And if you would like to know why I sent my kids to school and what I look for when looking for a school, read here.

8am

We left home at 8am. Now with two kids schooling, we took a little longer to leave home, get up the car and check-in school. Arnold wasn’t foreign to the school procedures. He saw jiejie doing her routines almost everyday; in fact he was excited to be part of the routine. And jiejie was super super super excited to teach him all about school!

Learning Vision

First, they check-in school via this program called Little Lives. For the school, Little Lives assists them in running administrator’s work more efficiently in a paperless way, to keep track of attendance, reports, fees, and what not. For us (parents), it keeps us updated about our kids’ progress in school! I am the kind of parent who wants to know every little thing about my children in school. I want to know if they adapt well, if they eat well, if they finished their milk, if they pooed in school, if they enjoyed classes, if they read a book, if they learned a new song, etc. Well, Little Lives can’t tell me everything but it’s an awesome platform for teachers to share my kids’ progress with me. They show me pictures of my kids engaging in activities so I know what they are doing in school. And when they are home, we can talk about the things they learned in class. Everything else, I speak to their teachers and I’m really liking their school so much! I’ll let you know why along the way…

Learning Vision

After checking-in on the iPad, the school does daily checks on the kids before entering school to prevent HFMD or any other similar outbreaks. I like how discipline they are on kids’ health matters. My experience with Learning Vision for Sonia was nothing but awesome and I hope it will be the same for Arnold, if not better!

When it was Arnold’s turn, he knew exactly what to do. He opened his mouth, opened his palms, pulled up his shirt to show his tummy, then turned around and lift his feet. All’s done.

Learning Vision

They kept their shoes on their shoe cubbies and headed in to wash their hands. Very good hygiene routines, I thought. Well, I don’t have pictures of every single activities in school because looking after their well being was my top priority but whenever I can, I snap pictures and more pictures!

9am

At about 9am, the kids had their breakfast! Today they had cornflakes on the menu and I see everyone finished every bit on their bowls. Some even asked for second serving! Very happy kids with good appetite!

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

They may be young but very independent. All of them were able to feed themselves without assistance. Mess? Sure, there were mess but nothing major.

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

So far, so good. No cries, no bawls. He finished his breakfast and joined his friends at the play corner while waiting for the rest to finish their food.

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Once everyone was done with breakfast, the teachers gathered them at the table for water session. Yes, water session (like water parade)! They really keep the kids hydrated, all day. I like!

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

The kids will collect their water bottles from the tray, get seated, and drink!

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Arnold was getting a little bossy. He kept asking his friend to drink water. He made sure everyone was drinking because teacher said so -_-

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

And he forced his classmate to do a “cheers” before drinking. Boy, he brought his habits from home to school. Opss!

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

I think this is a mummy’s thingy. All mummies think their kid is the best. I find him so charming even when he’s drinking water, and took 50 pictures of him just drinking water! LOL!

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Don’t worry, I won’t bored you with 50 pictures of him drinking water. Just two. Haha…

10.30am

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

After breakfast, the kids went to wash their hands and headed to the music room. The music room is like a multi-function room with lots of toys, blocks, balls, cones, and instruments. They held their Parent’s Day and all other festive celebrations there too!

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Before any games, they had some sing-a-long session and introduced new students to the rest of the class, all using songs and more songs!

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

After warming up, the kids got ‘high’ with bubbles!

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Not difficult to guess which is Arnold, right? The one standing in the middle with the shortest short.

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision

Learning Vision

After the bubble craze, they played with balls…

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

And walked on beams…

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

10.50am

At about five to eleven, they went back to class for “water parade” again. Basically, the kids drink water in between every activity, so I need not worry if my kids are hydrated or not. They are always drinking water.

Learning Vision

Learning Vision

Learning Vision

It was play time until lunch was served. Before food, everyone went to wash their hands again. Good habits! I like!

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

 

11.15am

At about 11.15am, the school’s cook (whom the kids so endearingly calls auntie auntie) serves lunch! I guess Arnold was really hungry. He kept asking for rice and stood right in front of his teacher, waiting impatiently for his meal.

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Today, the kids had bee hoon soup with chicken, tofu and carrot. I tasted the food – it nicely flavoured yet not too salty, with meat and vegetable all in one bowl. And trust me, the food tasted better than it looked. Most kids, especially the boys, had two servings of bee hoon!

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Initially, Arnold was hesitant. After all he’s new to school, and everything in it, including food.

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

But after one mouthful, he went on and on.

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

And stuffed whatever left behind into his mouth. Opss, not very glam, uh!

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

When he’s done, he asked for more!
“Tee-cher, rice rice!”
Someone needs to brush up on his pronunciation!

 

11.35am

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision has two toilets of which consist of 3 to 4 cubical each and a sizeable shower area. At each given time, one toilet can hold one class of students, so they take turn to shower.

I like how they organise shower sessions and how they give priority to younger kids, so the tots get to shower first and take their naps. I didn’t “like” how they work just because my son is in a toddler class; don’t forget, I have a daughter in N2 too! It just made sense for younger kids to shower first because they needed to nap more than the older kids. Anyway, I’m impressed with the way Learning Vision upkeep their toilets. I’ve been to many preschools and none has a toilet this clean (no pictures though, because the kids were bathing and it was inappropriate to be taking pictures then).

I’ve seen how the auntie washed the toilet. She removed all safety mats, scrubbed every inch, and put the mats back in place. More importantly, the staff in Learning Vision carries a positive attitude toward their work, even the cleaners. They were all so helpful, diligent, thoughtful, kind and cheerful! They love their job. They love the kids. I’ve never seen such a strong and happy team like this before! Ms. Cheryl (the Principal) must have done something right!

 

12.20pm

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

After their shower, the tots gathered in class to keep their shower bags and took turns to blow dry their hair.

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

The teachers will help the kids to make the bed, then prepare milk for them all.

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Again, Arnold was first to scream “hungry”! He kept asking for milk and was the only one standing before the desk, waiting for his milk to be ready. He’s always hungry…. LOL!

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Soon after, the kids fell asleep and the teachers could finally take a break. It wasn’t easy being a preschool teacher and I really appreciate them a lot, especially Teacher Naz, Teacher Fasha, Teacher Syu, Teacher Sze Ying, Teacher Gwen, and Teacher Hwee Ling! These teachers are patient, caring, attentive, loving, thoughtful, considerate, energetic, cheerful and inspiring. It takes a great heart to help shape little minds!

 

3pm

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Arnold slept for only 1.5 hours and later went to play with balls while waiting for the rest to wake up! This boy hasdso much energy!!! Too much energy!!!

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Soon after, the teachers turned on the lights and kids started rolling off their mattress. Rise and shine! Again, they had water parade and headed to the toilet in an orderly manner with their diaper bags.

 

4.20pm

At about 4.40pm, the kids had high tea! Again, Arnold was first to scream “hungry, milk, milk!” -_-

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

 

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After high tea, lessons officially ends. Kids will engage in play, reading or singing while they wait for their parents to arrive. Technically, lessons haven’t started yet. This week is a warm-up kind of week. It’s for the teachers and students to better know each other better, form a bond and have common understandings. When lessons officially starts next week, they will have painting, crafting, show and tell, gym works and what not! School is so much fun! I don’t remember having this much activities in school when I was a tot!
Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

 

5.10pm

At 5.10pm, I decided to call it a day and told Arnold to grab his bag, which he gladly did so. He had been wanting to find jiejie! These two are almost inseparable. In fact, Arnold is more familiar with Sonia’s classmates than his own classmates. After all, he knew them since he was an infant.

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

I hope my little one will settle in school soon and enjoy what Learning Vision has to offer. To me, schools with happy kids are good schools (that’s why I spent so much time and effort looking for the right school). A branded school does not necessary be a good school. But a school with a group of dedicated teachers and staff who holds a positive attitude IS A GOOD SCHOOL. Good teachers breed good students! Our priority is to raise happy children, not geniuses (of course if they have exceptional intellectual, I’d be delighted).

Learning Vision @ Changi Business Park

Finally, after 10 minutes of goodbyes (yes, Sonia love schooling very much and has made a group of super awesome friends along the way, AND goodbyes take forever), we finally made our way to the check-out table.

Arnold’s first day in school has been wondrous and I hope it’ll be the same when he’s on his own. Sure, it will take some time for him to get use to and adjust to a new routine, but I’m certain he will make it there! What’s there not to love about schooling. I can’t thank the teachers enough. They had been wonderful!

I’m glad I’ve made the right decision to entrust my children with Learning Vision. Two years had passed and I hope Sonia and Arnold will continue to make memories in this beautiful school!

I love my gems!

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2015 had been an awesome year for WESA. Along the way, we learned so much. Parenting two toddlers was fun and enriching! We’re truly thankful for all that we have and all that we can give. It was an exciting ride and now, we look forward to the next roller coaster ride ahead of us. Bring it on, 2016! And to everyone out there, have a happy new year!

 

Click on below image to read blog post.

WESA HEALTH TALK - POTTY TRAINING WESA KIDS PLAY The Flu Bug Father's Day

Manners and Etiquette

2015 06 30 - WESAplay - Cool De Sac Why you need to read to your child everyday Arnold OOTD 1 2015 07 03 - Puppet Craft for Kids sponge painting with kids

2015 07 07 - WESAplay - Photographic Memory Game
siblings

Arnold OOTD #2 2015 07 17 - WESA Family - Airport 2015 07 18 - WESA Family - Gardening and playing bubbles flying off tonight

WESA Travel - Adelaide 2015 08 06 - WESA Travel - Top 3 best breakfast places in Adelai 2015 08 12 - WESA Travel - Himeiji Garden 2015 08 13 - WESA Travel - Hahndorf Farm Barn Chocolate Chip Muffin Almond and Chocolate Chip Muffin 2015 08 18 - WESA Travel - Hahndorf, Adelaide 2015 08 24 - WESA Travel - Kids' friendly malls in Adelaide 2015 08 31 - Gardens by the Bay

2015 09 08 - Parents' Day at LV WESA BEAUTY
WESA Bakery - Chocoffee Macarons CK Encounter Fresh Lovewesa

Snowskin mooncake Australian International School

 

 

 

 

 

2015 10 12 - Friso

2015 10 17 - Arnold's first playdate at the SEA Aquarium

S&A OOTD #22015 10 22 - WESA Parenting - ReadingCover2015 11 23 - WESA Bakery - Pandan Cake

2015 09 08 - Parents' Day at LV2015 11 28 - WESA Family - MIL or Monster-In-Law1Kids' STYLEPrintBest play mat in town

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2016 12 31 - WESA Parenting - Separation Anxiety

“Separation Anxiety” – Probably the top search words on Google this time of the year. School is starting tomorrow and I see some parents fretting. Well, getting into a dither isn’t going to help, reading this, is. So keep reading to the end.

I’m not a pro but have definitely gone through what most parents are about to go through. This is not exactly the most pleasant experience but there are things we can do to prep the kids. Today, I share some of my past experiences, why toddlers experience separation anxiety, what you can do before school, and how to combat the meltdowns!

 

WHY TODDLERS EXPERIENCE SEPARATION ANXIETY

Until Sonia was about 12 months old, she was so nonchalant whenever I leave the house. As I’d head off to work, she would glance my way, then resume chewing Sophie the Giraffe. I dodged all the separation anxiety drama that many of my friends had warned me about. All, until one morning, as I opened the door to leave, Sonia bawled and wailed, and clung to my leg. I was heartbroken and totally flummoxed. What just happened?

Separation anxiety can happen almost overnight, which leaves most parents in state of shock and bewilderment. They go through feelings of separation of anxiety for different reasons, but on the basic level, they believe their survival is dependent on you (parents or caregiver). Toddlers are too young to understand the concept of time. When you leave them (even for a few minutes), they thought you were gone and would not return; hence the tears and fears.

These can resurface in preschool years and pose new challenges to many but don’t be disheartened. It can be helpful to remember that separation anxiety is completely normal and even healthy. It is a ‘practice’ for building resilience. Thankfully, there are plenty you can do to minimise your child’s angst.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO BEFORE SCHOOL

FAMILIARISE YOUR CHILD WITH HIS NEW ENVIRONMENT

My almost 2-year-old son is starting school tomorrow but months before he had made multiple trips to his school as he tagged along while I send and pick Sonia from school. Before he even started schooling, he already knew some of the teachers and jiejie’s friends. It helps that they adore him a lot and I see he loves the attention. Some times, he refuses to leave school and helps himself with the toys on the racks. Sonia has to drag him out of class, literally. Haha…

 

INTRODUCE YOUR CHILD TO COMMON SCHOOL ACTIVITIES

Months before school began, I shared with him what kids normally do in school and what the schedule was like. I even replicated some activities Sonia did in school, at home, so he had a better idea what kids do in school and tell him that things they do are fun and cool! Kids draw and paint in school, they do heaps of crafting activities and have storytelling daily! They play ball games and occasionally go to the playground. They sing and dance, roll and spin. The key here is to let them know, school is a fun place to be in, not scary.

 

GET YOUR CHILD INVOLVE IN SHOPPING

Yes, absolutely, get your child involved in preparation to school. He’ll need a school bag, a water bottle, and perhaps a keychain (just for fun). Allow him to participate in your ‘shopping journey’ and let him choose the type, style and colour of those items. This type of interaction will help to create positive associations with going to school and a bridge between home and school. It will definitely get him all excited about the idea of schooling, thus less likely to reject the idea of going to school.

This is my favourite part on prepping my boy to school! I do a lot of online shopping because there are just more designs online and more importantly, prices are much much more attractive! I got him seated on my lap and we went through heaps of school bag designs together. This was his final decision ->>

Separation Anxiety

I had my mind set to buy only one school bag but he was such a sweet boy. He said he wanted to get jiejie a bag too and chose this for her ->>

Separation Anxiety

How could I not oblige? He always has his sister in mind and heart. Even if I were to buy him a bun, he will want to get one for jiejie too!

When buying school bags for your little ones, bear in mind that they are really little and have quite a lot of things to carry. If you must know, Arnold has 2 milk bottles, 2 milk canisters, 1 set of clothes for change, a few diapers, a towel, two handkerchiefs, a water bottle, and a small notebook in his bag. That’s a lot to carry for a two-year-old, so I opted for a trolley bag. Bear in mind to choose one that is durable! You know how kids toss and throw their bags around; the wheels need to be able to take those blows. And I’m a sucker for zips. I like the idea that my kids’ belongings are secured in their bag. And don’t let me start ranting on the trolley handle. It has to be solid and tough because toddlers just don’t know how to look after their things. I want it to last till they graduate from K2! This series of JANSHOT school bag fit the bill, perfectly! Besides, the colours are attractive! What not to like?

Click on highlighted text to purchase.
Keywords: 儿童书包

 

PRETEND TO GO TO SCHOOL

Separation Anxiety

This might sound a little nonsensical but I thought it was a good way to prep him for school, for real. I dressed him up in his new school uniform and we spent some good ten minutes downstairs with jiejie and their new school bags!

Separation Anxiety

We pretended we were on our way to school and I narrated how things would be like in school. It helped that Sonia was very into this whole pretend game that she started ‘bossing’ Arnold around like a teacher.

Separation Anxiety

On one occasion, she stopped to explained to Arnold how useful leaves were, and how her Chinese teacher actually used leaves as materials for painting during art class. Don’t worry, no plants were damaged (I told them we could only use dead leaves for painting).

Arnold speech bubble

After fooling about for a while, I told them it was time to go home and Arnold was reluctant to do so. He said “mummy, go school… jiejie… Arnold go school.” Translation “Mummy, I want to go to school like jiejie does!”

Children are generally less fearful when they know what to expect (same for adults). A few days leading up to starting, casually talk to your child about what he will be doing during his time at school, the teachers, other children, his uniform, school bag, and meal times. Pretending to go to school worked for me! And I hope it works for you too!

 

6 TIPS TO COMBAT THE MELTDOWNS AND EASE SEPARATION ANXIETY

It is difficult to say goodbye, especially to a two-year-old. So here are some tips on how to ease the separation anxiety!

  1. BRING COMFORT OBJECT FROM HOME
    Ask the teacher if your child can bring along a stuffed toy or favourite blanket to keep in his cubby in case he needed comforting. Sonia finds comfort in her handkerchief, so she brought her hanky on her first week to school. And that worked for us!
  2. KEEP GOODBYES SHORT AND SWEET
    I know goodbyes are difficult but try to keep your goodbyes short and leave promptly. Reassure your child that you will be back to pick him up from school, say goodbye and walk off. Remember, your child has no concept of ‘time’ yet, so say goodbye and tell your child in a non-clock way when you will be back to pick him up (e.g., after your lunch time). Do NOT tell your child you are leaving and then hang around as this has the potential to prolong the period of anxiety for your child. Most importantly, NEVER NEVER NEVER sneak away without saying goodbye. Keep farewells the same each time so you create a familiar transition from being with you to being without you.
  3. KEEP A HAPPY VIBE
    Leave with a smile. Keep the vibe happy and relaxing. If you are worried and anxious, your child will pick those up. Children are very perceptive and will sense how you feel. Be confident and he will model after you.
  4. KEEP INFORMED ABOUT CLASSROOM HAPPENINGS
    Read any newsletter or other communication available to find out about classroom routines, events and happenings. Use this information to talk to your child about the fun things they have been doing in class. At Learning Vision, we have this thing call the “LITTLE LIVES” and on this platform, teachers update class activities and photos. I really like how active the teachers are on LITTLE LIVES because it keeps me updated about my children’s progress in school and we always have so much to talk about because I know what’s going on in their little lives.
  5. TALK ABOUT FEELINGS
    Give your child many opportunities to talk about how he is feeling about going to school. Do not assume he fears school, or plant the idea in his head by asking, “Are you scare of going to school?” Try to figure out his concerns. Let him know that whatever he feels is ok and normal. I share my experiences with Sonia and Arnold, those times when I went into a new situation and ended up okay in the end. Let your child talk about their feelings. Don’t tell them what to feel. They own their feelings, not you. But you can share your experiences and encourage them to be a little bit more confident.
  6. BE PUNCTUAL
    Always be there on time to pick up your child. Being on time is especially important during the first few days of school. If he believes that you will be there to pick him up when you said you would, then he is more likely to separate easily.

IN THE NUTSHELL

  • Stay consistent with your routines, both at home and at school.
  • Plan ahead can cut down problems with separation.
  • Stay calm, be positive and trust the teachers can handle the situation once you leave.
  • Keep major changes to a minimum in the few weeks leading up to the start of school.
  • Be open and encourage your child to share his feelings with you.
  • Keep your promises.

Good luck and happy schooling!

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2015 10 22 - WESA Parenting - Reading

THE KIASU PARENTS

Start reading at birth

Hubby and I have introduced books to Sonia and Arnold since birth. Yes, since birth. In fact, we were already reading books to them when they were still in my belly (I know lah, we’re kiasu but we can’t help it).

Why we did what we did? Because we believe by doing so, we can build close bonds with our children and provide a window into a world of literacy that they will eventually enter.

 

SONIA’S MILESTONES

Is that an ant?

From the day Sonia said her first word, till she learned how to string a proper sentence, and later manage a paragraph, we never stop reading to her daily. Yes, everyday, every single day, we read to her, no matter how tired we are because it is the best way to instill love for and interest in reading.

Reading

I’m glad we persevered because today we reap what we sow. In her free time, she wouldn’t ask for toys or to watch cartoons, but pick books and sit by her bed to read. Sometimes quietly, other times aloud. She’s three-year-old and doesn’t know how to read those prints on the books (yet) but she knows the stories by heart and will recite them in her own words.

Reading books

So what she knows? A lot, actually. And we are so proud of her. Sonia knows the names of her favourite books. She knows how to hold a book correctly, turn pages, recall familiar words and phrases, pretend to read, and make up rhymes or silly phrases. She can also predict what might happen next in a story. And she knows we read from left to right, not the other way round.

Reading

Sonia and Arnold1

And I’m glad to see how Arnold rub off good reading habits from Sonia. He wasn’t exactly reading; just flipping and seeing pictures but that’s a good start.

We do not develop literacy by only reading, we take it out to the streets, supermarket and everywhere else. Sonia can recognise some prints on the street, stop signs, and familiar store signs. We help her to see how text is already a part of her daily life. Point out the name of her favourite snacks. And show her the labels on clothing.

When we are out and about, we play games involving letter and number recognition. She always screams in delight when she sees words containing alphabets that make up her name (S.O.N.I.A). She also always point out words that contain “W” and “E” because she recognises hub and my name (Winnie & Edmund). Learning was fun and we will leave it that way. Developing text awareness should never be a chore.

READING ACTIVITIES WE DO AT HOME

Reading

#1 – REPETITION AND RHYME

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

WHAT TO DO

  • Pick a story with repeated phrases or a poem you and your child like. For example, read:
    3 little pigs
    WOLF: “Little pig, little pig, let me in.”
    LITTLE PIG: “Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin.”
    WOLF: “Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down!”
  • After the wolf has blown down the first pig’s house, your child will soon join in and mimic after you.
  • Read slowly, and with a smile or a nod, let your child know you appreciate his or her participation.
  • As the child grows more familiar with the story, pause and give him or her a chance to fill in the blanks and phrases.
  • Encourage your child to pretend to read, especially books that contain repetition and rhyme. Most children who enjoy reading will eventually memorise all or part of a book and imitate your reading. This is a normal part of reading development.
  • When children anticipate what’s coming next in a story or poem, they have a sense of mastery over books. When children feel power, they have the courage to try. Pretending to read is an important step in the process of learning to read.

++++

#2 – ACT IT OUT

Acting

Children grow as readers by connecting feelings with the written word.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • A short story or poem. It could be from a book or something you invented.

WHAT TO DO

  • Read the story slowly to your child, and bring all your dramatic talents to the reading. The key is to ham it up!
  • Suggest acting our a favourite line. Be sure to award such efforts with delighted enthusiasm.
  • Ask your child to make a face the way the character in the story is feeling. Remember that facial expressions bring emotion into the performer’s voice.
  • Be an enthusiastic audience for your child. Applause is always nice.
  • If you child is comfortable with the idea, look for a larger setting with an attentive appreciative audience. Rope in the grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins. Perhaps an after-dinner “recital” for family members would appeal to your child.
  • Mistakes are a face of life, so ignore them.

MORE LITERACY ACTIVITIES FOR PRESCHOOLERS

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  • Younger children love rhyme, rhythm and repetition. They also love patterned and alphabet books. When you’re looking at these kinds of books, encourage your child to turn the pages and talk about what she sees. Use your finger to guide your child’s eyes from left to right across the page as you read, and point out certain words or phrases. Ask questions about the pictures, and ask your child to point to different things.
  • Children love reading the same book over and over again. You can make the most of this by asking your child to direct book reading – for example, ‘Where do we start from?’ Every so often, stop reading and ask your child what he thinks will happen next.
  • Link books with real-life experiences. If you’ve read a book about playing in a park, you might like to take your child to the local park and point out swings that look like the ones from the book.
  • Visit the library with your child, and encourage her to choose books she’d like to take home. I take my kids to the library once every fortnight to borrow new books. Having new books every week breeds excitement about reading!
  • When you’re out and about with your child, take a book along as well as a toy. We always keep books in the car and both Sonia and Arnold always pick them up!
  • Read books with rhymes to help your child develop awareness of sounds and words. Dr Seuss and Pamela Allen books are a hit with many children – try The Cat in the Hat or Doodledum Dancing.
  • Teach your child the separate sounds in his name. For example, ‘Sonia’ has three sounds – sss-ooo-nia’.
  • Make touch cards for babies and toddlers with objects they like to look at and touch – soft fabrics, wool, foil, paper that rustles. Then look through the book together and talk about how each page looks and feels.
  • Expose your kids to BIG ideas. Instead of the usual “How was your day?” kind of conversation, talk to them about something you read that was interesting. It stretches and excites your children and helps them prepare to enter the world of reading with more understanding.

More activities for kids can be found here.

Have fun reading with your children! Remember, READ & REAP!

 

Ciao!

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2015 10 12 - Friso

Both Sonia (3 years old) and Arnold (20 months old) love going to indoor playground. Which child doesn’t? But now we have our very own mini playground at home and my kids were delighted! This Friso Experiences Play Set worth $300 consist of a tent, a slide with a basketball hoop, 2 cushions, a storage box and a green carpet. Amid the haze period, this was a perfect gift. Thank you, Friso!

HOW TO GET THE FRISO EXPERIENCES PLAY SET FOR FREE

From 1 September 2015 to 31 October 2015, parents who spend SGD 350 on any Friso participating products at participating retailers will receive the FRISO EXPERIENCES PLAY SET (worth SGD 300) for FREE!

WHAT’S IN THE PLAY SET

It consists of:

  • A tent
  • A slide with basketball hoop
  • 2 cushions
  • A storage box
  • A green carpet

FRISO is giving away this set so that parents can bring the outdoors into their homes and experience more together with your child. We enjoyed ourselves so much and I hope you would too!

PARTICIPATING FRISO PRODUCTS

The participating Friso products included in this promotion are Frisomum, Friso Gold Cereal and Friso Gold 2, 3, 4. It excludes all infant formula for 0-6 months.

FRISO EXPERIENCE PLAY ZONES

There will also be special FRISO EXPERIENCE PLAY ZONES at selected outlets. Their ambassadors will be around on-site to snap photos of you and your little ones during the weekends.

Here are the details:

  • FP Xtra JEM Mall  (1 to 30 September 2015)
  • FP Xtra AMK Hub (1 to 30 September 2015)
  • FP Xtra Sport Hub (1 to 30 September 2015)
  • FP Xtra NEX mall (7 to 30 September 2015)
  • FP Xtra Jurong (1 to 30 September 2015)
  • FP East Point (14 to 30 September 2015)
  • Guardian Plus Taka (17 to 30 September 2015)
  • Guardian Compass Point (B1) (21 to 27 September 2015)
  • Guardian Causeway Point (B3-4) (28 September 2015 to 4 October 2015)
  • Cold Storage Compass Point (Atrium Space Level 1) (27 September 2015 to 4 October 2015)
  • Sheng Siong Woodlands 6A (1 to 31 October 2015)
  • Sheng Siong Bedok 209 (1 to 31 October 2015)

WESA FAMILY’S EXPERIENCE WITH FRISO EXPERIENCE PLAY SET

When Sonia came back from school to see this little playground at home, she was leaping with joy (literally)! And the first thing they wanted to do was to S.L.I.D.E.

 

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I really like how Sonia will always watch over Arnold and makes sure he doesn’t trip or fall. So warm-hearted!

 

19 months young but definitely capable of climbing and sliding all by himself. Yeah! Play needs no teaching, uh?

 

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He later realised that there was a hoop beside him and wondered what it was for. Patiently, jiejie explained to him and told him to grab a ball.

 

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There you go.. the big sister doing a demo.

 

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And now the little one is ready to shoot!

 

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I gave them 3 balls of different colours and sizes. Why? Because I want to take the opportunity to teach them colours and sizes. We have a small ball, a smaller ball, and the smallest ball. We also have a big ball, a bigger ball, and the biggest ball.

 

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It didn’t take Sonia long to understand comparison adjectives but it was quite a challenge for Arnold. Well, he’s only 19 months young, right? No stress, he will eventually learn those.

 

After a few throws, the ball went rolling under the table. When this happen, DO NOT PICK THE BALL UP FOR THEM. Let them problem solve. First, Arnold tried reaching for the ball but with no avail. After some ten seconds (yes, kids have no patience), Sonia asked Arnold to move aside and let her try. Because she has longer arms, picking the ball was a piece of cake!

 

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And they carried on playing…

 

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Until this happened – snatching of ball and refusing to take turns sliding. Things like this happen too frequently but I refused to interfere just yet. I want them to resolve conflicts on their own. See, there’s always something to learn, even in a fight. This is part of the “experience”.

 

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I left them to work things out on their own and they ended up crying for me. So I got them to sit together on the sofa (side by side) and talk things out. Again, both simply cry their lungs out. I guess, they both felt that they were RIGHT and wanted justice done in their favour. Here’s my usual practice – I tell them “Children, let me know when you are done. I can’t talk to you when you are louder than me.” and then I walk away. Soon enough, they will tell me that they are done. REALLY!!! So I stepped in to explain and try my best to not take sides. In such cases, both are in the wrong. Snatching is wrong, not taking turns to slide is wrong, and so BOTH should apologise to one another. I won’t let things pass until something is done. Soon enough, this happened…

 

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Arnold took the initiative to apologise by hugging jiejie.

 

Sonia reciprocated with a hug.

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And they wiped off each other’s tears. Aww…

Through playing, we can learn so much! Now that they are good together, they continued playing.

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I told Sonia to take a bigger ball and she did!

 

I told Arnold to take the orange ball and he did. He’s better with colours than comparison adjectives, so we work on colours first.

 

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And when I told Sonia to take the smallest ball, she did!

 

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And now, the biggest ball!

 

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After sliding, they looked at the box and asked me what it was for. I threw back the question and Sonia said “mummy, it’s a bus, for me and my Arnold to ride on”! Kids are imaginative, no? I’m just impressed at how the two of them managed to squeeze into that box?!?

 

Soon, yeye and daddy came home! We needed help with setting up the tent and they came just in time! This is what I love best about living under the same roof with 4 generations. We always have each other’s back! And we are always there for one another. So much love!!!

Here’s yeye, helping to fix the tent! Yeah!

 

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As soon as the tent it up, Sonia and Arnold rushed in!

 

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This tent wasn’t very big but big enough for my two imps!

 

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They love the tent so much, they wanted to spend the night in there.

 

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Now that the full FRISO EXPERIENCE PLAY SET is up, we spent a good 30 minutes monkeying around, with daddy!

 

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Boy, we had so much fun!

Even in their dreams, they were sleep talking about the play set. Family time is very important and precious. Thanks Friso for this amazing play set and for recognising the importance of bonding as a family. It’s a good thing to campaign on! You have our support! Go, Friso!

HOW TO REDEEM YOUR FRISO EXPERIENCE PLAY SET

You can find out more about Friso meaningful campaign and how to redeem your Friso Experience Play Set here.

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siblings

Most of us grew up with a sibling or more. We came from a generation where parents are more willing to have more kids. But when it came to my generation, when we became parents, we ‘studied’ too much into the whole parenthood wagon. We had more considerations, too many ideals, and those stopped us from wanting too many kids, or any at all. Common ‘excuse’, “TOO EXPENSIVE TO RAISE A KID IN SINGAPORE”. Sure, if you want him to go to Eton House Kindergarten . Sure, if you want him to dress in branded only apparels. Sure, if he requires two nanny, two maid, a dozen private tutors and a driver. Sure, if you want to give him the best material you could or couldn’t. But really, does your child need all of those ‘materials’?

I’m not sure what your child need, but my children need love, affection, care, hugs, kisses, attention, and above all, my time. The rest are good to have but not necessary. I was once the kind of parent who wanted only one child because I felt raising a kid in Singapore was too expensive. Our parents persuaded us to have a second child. “Ling (that’s how they call me), it’s nice to have a sibling. You want your child to have company right? A relationship with a cousin or friend will never be the same as one with a sibling. Turst me.” said our folks. And they were right.

Though we didn’t plan for #2, he came and we couldn’t have been more happy. Sonia has a little brother to dote on and we have another gem to love!

Do you know, sibling relationship is often the longest, and certainly one of the most important relationships a person will have in life?

I’m very consoled to see how affectionate and loving Sonia is to Arnold and vice versa. They would give each other plenty of hugs and kisses, share food and toys (though not all the time), and watch out for each other. Strangers we met at cafes, playgrounds, or just along the street would stop to ask “how you teach your daughter to love her brother huh” or “wah, jie jie so guai, she shares her biscuits with didi, how you teach her to share”, etc. Thank you, thank you, I am very proud of my kids and am very flattered but I wouldn’t give myself much credit in teaching them to share. Yes, I often tell them “sharing taste better”, but it wasn’t me who taught them how to share, they just did. But are they always this nice and lovey? Not all the time. There were moments when both refused to budge or share. There were moments when they kicked a fuss over who gets to play with the toy first, and both started crying. That’s where I come in to mitigate their disputes. It is important that I do this properly, appropriately, and correctly, because my doings may affect the siblings’ relationship. We parents play a key role in nurturing good sibling relationship and reducing sibling rivalry and conflict. Here’s how.

6 TIPS TO FOSTER A STRONG SIBLING BOND

1. PLAY AS A FAMILY

This strengthens the family bond and kids who learns to value family as a whole, will value their siblings more. Through playing, teach your kids how to play fair, and how to win/lose with grace. This promotes a healthier relationship, not only within the family but also with their peers. Spend more time playing with your kids when they are young because they won’t be playing with you as often as you like when they grow older. The more effort you put in early, the better they will play together later on in life. Family who have fun together will be less likely to have conflict.

2. DO NOT COMPARE YOUR CHILDREN TO TEACH EACH OTHER

I’m guilty of that but I’m trying to stop comparing them. Try not to say things like “Arnold has finished his dinner, why are you taking so long?”, or “Why can’t you listen as well as your brother does?”. These might backfired and build resentment. Not a good idea.

3. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO APPRECIATE THEIR DIFFERENCE

Every child is different and when there are difference, conflict will naturally occur. It is thus important to teach your kids to respect each others differences, and love each other anyway. For example, if Sonia wants to do painting and crafting while Arnold wants to go for a swim, I will work something out together with them on how to take turns or find other common activities that both kids have interest in. This is not easy, especially if your kids are only 1+ and 3+ year-old, but I still try to talk some sense to them, hoping they understands. Sonia, being the older sister, is more understanding and accommodating. In fact, most of the time, she willingly gave way to Arnold and put her ‘favourite’ activities on hold for him.

4. HAVE THEM WORK ON CHORES AS A TEAM

One way to get the siblings build a sense of teamwork and cooperation among themselves, is to make them work together. I always make my kids do “cleaning up” (clear their toys) together. They would race with hub and I to see who gets the job done faster. My goal is to have them working together towards a common goal.

5. EDUCATE AND REMIND THEM ABOUT THE LIMITATIONS OF YOUNGER SIBLINGS

Regardless of the age difference, developmental differences are bound to cause conflict between siblings. It is important to help your children understand why their younger siblings are not able to do or understand certain things. Explain to them that they were once in that phase and we all need to be understanding.

6. TEACH THEM TO RESPECT

Respect is essential to building good relationships, whether it’s between siblings, friends or partners. Remind them to treat others the way they want to be treated. Be considerate to others’ feeling. Be kind and helpful. Do not put other’s down and be mindful not to take things without asking for permission. Always knock on the door before entering.

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Why you need to read to your child everyday

The best mornings are those when I wake up to see my children reading. I read to Sonia daily, every single night before she sleeps and she enjoys bedtime stories. Sometimes we read a book or two, and many times, we read more than five books. She can go on and on with books. If she really likes a book, we can read the same book five times in a row and she still wants more. It’s a happy problem I gladly take on. In fact, I’m more than happy to read to her.

My gems reading

When she had nothing to do on some weekends afternoons, she would take out her favourite books and read them on her own. Nope, she couldn’t read the text, she couldn’t even recognise all twenty-six alphabets, but she could narrate the story by just looking at the illustrations. It helped that we have read those books a hundred times, she would have memorised the storyline.

WHY YOU NEED TO READ TO YOUR CHILD EVERYDAY

Help builds stronger relationship with you. As my kids grow older, they will always be on the move – playing, running, and constantly exploring their environment. Snuggling up with a book allows us to slow down and recapture that sweet, cuddly time we enjoyed when they were younger. It brings us closer.

Academic excellence. One of the key benefits of reading to your toddlers is a higher aptitude for learning in general. Tons of studies have shown that students who are exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well in all facets of formal education. This is logical – if your child struggles to string a sentence properly, how can you expect him or her to grasp math, science, social studies, history, geography, etc.

Build vocabulary and understanding. Through hearing stories, children are exposed to a rich and wide vocabulary. This helps them build their own vocabulary and improve their understanding when they listen, which is vital as they start to read. Sonia isn’t able to read on her own yet but I read to her daily. Even if she doesn’t understand every word, she will hear new sounds, words and phrases. She absorbs something from the context that may deepen her understanding of it the next time she encounters the same word or phase.

More logical thinking skills. Another illustration of the importance of reading to children is their ability to grasp abstract concepts, apply logic in various scenarios, recognise cause and effect, and utilise good judgment. As Sonia begins to relate the scenarios in the books to what’s happening in her own world, she becomes more excited about the stories I share.

Knowledge. Given the wealth of available resources such as the Internet and libraries, if your child can read well, you can be sure, for the rest of their lives, they will have access to all of the accumulated knowledge of mankind, access to all of the great minds and ideas of the past and present.

Improves your children’s attention span. Books with colourful pictures work even better than text-only books.

Reading can replace TV as a source of entertainment. Reading helps my kids utilise their time in a more constructive manner.

Reading is fun. Stories can free up imaginations and open up exciting new worlds of fantasy or reality.

 

Give your children plenty of reading material and talk about the stories with them. Books teach them so much – about relationships, situations, personalities, and about good and bad values. Fantasy books provide material for their imagination and free play. Fairytales fascinate them, and help them distinguish between what’s real and what’s not. If your child wants to hear the same story over and over again, that’s fine. Kids take comfort from familiarity and predictability of a story that they know by heart. There is no harm in that.

If you haven’t been reading to your children and don’t know where to start, this and this are good reads. Have fun reading with your little ones!

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Manners and Etiquette

I’m not an expert but I am learning everyday and I hope to instill good manners, etiquette, core values and ethics in my kids. Introducing them to the complex world of social interaction may seem a daunting task. But the basic principle for raising a thoughtful, courteous child is not at all complex – do what you preach. Always be the person you want your child to be (e.g., respectful, tolerant, considerate, honest, etc). Be patient. I wouldn’t expect my 1 & 3-year-old to fully grasp whatever I try to teach them or to behaviour exactly the way I wish they would. These will take a while, a long while, but I will stick to it. I believe the manners will sink in and become part of their behaviour. Last but not least, be CONSISTENT. I can’t emphasise this enough. You need to make sure both daddy and mummy are on the same page. If one parent decides the rules are too stuffy, it will undermine the other’s parent’s work and cause strife.

If I may, let me share my two cents worth of thought on learning/teaching good manners and etiquette.

We’ll start with respect.

 

RESPECT

This is one of the most important thing I felt my kids should learn. Everyone deserves to be respected, even the little ones. And they all deserve a degree of privacy.

  1. If the door is closed, it is respectful to knock and wait for permission to enter.
  2. If you want to borrow something, don’t just help yourself, always ask permission and make sure you return whatever it is you borrowed. Make sure you return it in the same or better condition.
  3. Never go looking through another person’s private possessions without their permission, that is extremely bad mannered.
  4. Clean up after yourself. Don’t leave toys lying around, flush the toilet after use, place soiled clothes in the laundry basket, return used dishes to the sink. And I will probably get my kids to wash their own dishes when they are older.
  5. Be a good sport. The loser needs to learn to accept that in good grace. It is good etiquette to thank the opposing team, shake hands and say, “well done!”.
  6. Try really hard not to embarrass anyone. Just think how you would feel under the same circumstances. So don’t use embarrassment as a lesson in manners and etiquette for children, just put yourself in their position.
  7. Teach your child to wait for their turn to speak and not to interrupt when you are speaking. I am still trying to make this work.
  8. When asking for something, say “please”.
  9. When receiving something, say “thank you”.
  10. If you must interrupt in a conversation, say “excuse me”.
  11. Do not comment on other people’s physical characteristics unless, of course, it’s to compliment them, which is always welcome.

 

GOOD MANNERS & ETIQUETTE IN PUBLIC PLACES

  1. Cover your mouth when you cough, sneeze or yawn, and don’t pick your nose in public.
  2. Give up your seat to the old, handicapped or pregnant.
  3. Do not eat on public transport. The smell of your food can be quite stomach churning to other passengers.
  4. Place your garbage in a bin, imagine if everybody just scattered their rubbish throughout the streets.
  5. To bully is cowardly. You wouldn’t like someone to do it to you, right?
  6. Saying so, don’t be bullied. Be polite, remember your manners and stand up for yourself. Even if it is an adult who tries to bully you, you have the right to defend yourself.
  7. Open the door for others. If you do enter first, don’t let the door slam in the face of those behind you.
  8. Before entering a lift, allow the people inside the lift to exit first.

 

TABLE MANNERS

  1. Wash hands before eating.
  2. Do not bring toys to the dining table.
  3. Place serviette on lap when seated, it is good etiquette and useful too.
  4. Wait for everybody to be seated before starting to eat.
  5. Don’t stretch across the table, ask someone to pass what you need.
  6. Say please and thank you.
  7. Don’t talk when you have food in your mouth and don’t stuff your mouth too full.
  8. Cut your food to mouth size pieces, don’t just stab the chicken chop and take bites from the fork.
  9. Chew with your mouth closed and don’t smack your lips noisily.
  10. Say “excuse me” when you burp.
  11. Eat slowly, don’t gobble up the food. Someone took a long time to prepare the food, enjoy it slowly.
  12. Don’t wave your cutlery around, it is dangerous. Place your cutlery on the edge of the plate when not in use.
  13. Use your cutlery and not your hands to eat.
  14. Don’t put your knife in your mouth.
  15. Don’t play with food.
  16. Rude comments about the food is not only bad mannered, it is also hurtful to the person who cooked the meal.
  17. Sit up straight, no slouching, no elbows on the table.
  18. Ask to be excused from the table.
  19. Take your plates and cutlery to the kitchen.
  20. Don’t pick or blow your nose at the table, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom.
  21. Do not pick anything out of your teeth, it’s gross. If it bothers you that bad, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom to pick.
  22. When eating at someone’s home, always thank the host even if the food isn’t to your liking. Remember, someone took time, energy, and expense to prepare the food, show your appreciation.
  23. Even if you are at home, thank the person who prepared your meal. He or she will really appreciate it!

 

HOW TO START

Manners can be taught as soon as your child understands what you are saying. Also, children need coaching and reminders on manners throughout their childhood. Praise more loudly than you fuss, correct with simple explanations, and don’t offer rewards for good behaviour. The explanations help kids feel empowered to make good decisions next time, and rewards only serve as a way to teach kids to seek rewards. Feeling good about one’s fine manners and etiquette will eventually be enough reward and will last a lot longer than a toy or treat.

MODELING MANNERS

Keep it simple. Start with one thing then work on that one thing for a week and then move on to the next. Kids model after you, so the best way to teach your children how to be polite and courteous people is to walk your talk. Sometimes I forget my manners and Sonia will remind me (like how I would remind her). “Mummy, I passed you the apple but you didn’t say ‘thank you’. You must say ‘thank you’ you know?” There were also times when I passed her the milk bottle and she would say “Thank you, mummy”. But I’ve forgotten to say “welcome”. And she would really bite on it and go on and on about me forgetting to say “welcome”. Talking about leading by example… opss!

POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT

Once your child starts displaying good manners, be sure to give recognition for the behaviour. Whenever Sonia or Arnold does something right, I will praise them in front of our family and they feel really good about it. When they know that they have done a good job, they are proud of it and will remember to display good manners. Soon, it will become part of their nature.

KEEP PROMPTING

A useful way is to give your child some lead-in words or ask a question. For example “What should you say now?”, and the child will almost immediately follow with either “thank you”, “you are welcome” or “I’m sorry”.

BE CONSISTENT

Never allow a bad behaviour to pass. Your child will be confused. For example, why is it that sometimes it’s alright to play with toys at dinner and sometimes not? Parents need to be consistent, and more important, sing the same tune.

MY EXPERIENCE WITH SONIA AND ARNOLD

Arnold is too young to understand all of the above. Perhaps only the simpler ones like knocking on a closed door before entering, placing his soiled clothes in the laundry basket, and wave to greet (sometimes blowing kisses too). We try to lead by examples and tell him what are good and bad manners, hopefully he absorbs what we are trying to convey. We sees that he takes cue from his sister, so I reckon he will be learning a lot from Sonia in time to come.

Sonia understands most of the manners and etiquette stated above but do not adhere to all of them. KIDS! I’m still trying to enforce basic manners. For example, she interrupts whenever I’m in a conversation and expects me to stop to engage with her. She did say “excuse me” but wouldn’t wait for her turn. I guess she assumes that by saying “excuse me” I should stop everything else and listen to what she has to say. I’m still trying to educate her on that but like I previously mentioned, it will take a while, a long long while. I will not give up! These will take my kids a long way.

I would love to hear about your experiences and views on inculcating good manners and etiquette for children and how you have dealt effectively with various situation.

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Father's Day

 

Dear husband,

 

I just want you to know what an awesome dad you are to our gems.

You are their number one fan (and mine too). Sonia may not tell you so, but she will look for you at every school ‘performance’ while she’s on the waiting bench. She’s definitely not the next Pablo Picasso, but she waited all day to show you her art work so you can display it in our room. Tell our children everyday that they can do anything. Tell them they can achieve anything. They can be architects, they can be scientists, they can be doctors, they can be artists, they can be Presidents of Singapore.

Talk to them. Share your opinion. Be their backup when I won’t budge, or when I’m being difficult. Help them decide what’s right and wrong. Be there for them.

You know I’m sooooooooo thankful for so many things. I’m so thankful that you are a dad who loves playing with our gems yet never spoil them. I’m thankful for the times you came home exhausted from your day, and still monkey around with the kids. I’m so thankful that you still listen to me rant about my day after monkeying with the kids.

Hubby, thanks for being so supportive and tell me I’m doing good when I felt like I’ve failed Parenting 101. Thanks for always prioritising us above everything else. Thanks for creating space and time for me to take care of myself, you know sometimes I really need my “me time”. Thanks for allowing me to chase my own dreams and for telling me not to fear. Thanks for hearing me. Thanks for encouraging me not to give up. Thanks for sharing, learning, loving and being part of our lives. You are the frame of our family.

Happy father’s day, sweetie!

 

Love you with all my being,

Wifey Win

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WESA KIDS PLAY

My kids do a lot of FREE PLAY. Nothing too structural, nothing too complicated. And it is healthy for the brain! No, you are not reading wrong. It is important for healthy development of the brain. Says who? Says Dr. Chew.

But if you ask which is better – structured play or free play? That’s like asking, which is better – fruits or vegetables? Both are important and very nutritional. Similarly, both kinds of play are important to your child’s growth.

What is structured play

Structured play has a set of rules with specific objectives. Activities like putting puzzle together, following directions to assemble a toy or model airplane, sorting shapes and colours, mandala, tangram, and iroita are structured play. Organised sports, such as badminton, tennis, soccer, and hockey, are also examples of structured activities. Generally speaking, any activity that comes with a set of rules and specific objectives to achieve the ending goal is considered structured play.

Why structured play

Kids do that a lot in school. It helps your child gain social competency, learn the importance of teamwork, learn to identify rules and boundaries, understand objectives, and learn how to achieve goals.

What is free play (unstructured play)

Free play is open ended with unlimited possibilities. Playing with Lego and blocks is free play. So is colouring, drawing, painting and doodling on a piece of blank paper. Playing pretend with dolls and toys is free play. Inventing games to play is free play. Running and jumping around the yard or park is free play. Generally speaking, free play is any time dedicated to allowing your child make up their own rules and objectives as they go along, and to create new limits within their own boundaries.

Why free play

Kids learn best through exploring on their own. It is crucial for your child’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive growth. It is needed for creativity. And believe it or not, boredom is actually good in moderation by stimulating kids to think and create. Play is your child’s way of learning about his body and the world, and he uses all five senses to do it. Through play, your child exercises key skills and qualities, such as independence, creativity, curiosity, and problem-solving.

What we do during our free time

I do more free play with my kids because Sonia already does heaps of structured activities at school, and Arnold will eventually will get there. But I still do structured play at home.

Some times, we will practice tangram, iroita and sorting of colours, shapes and animals at home (structured play). Just recently, Sonia is learning prepositions. I drew some objects on big drawing blocks and gave her specific painting instructions, for example, paint inside the chicken, paint outside the house, paint the bird on top of the tree, paint in between two blocks, etc.

art

Most of the times, we play with blocks and lego, play pretend with her countless stuff toys, go to the playground, or just anywhere to run and jump about! Just last weekend, while marketing at Marine Parade, we spent a good 30-minute jumping about at the empty space behind the market. The weather was good, air was fresh, and we had ample space. Most importantly, she had so much fun!

Sonia jumping

And last Sunday, we played with bubbles (it was her birthday present from Heidi & Tiffany). She decided that who catches the most bubbles win! Of course, she won. I was busy snapping pictures of her!

bubbles

Sonia playing bubbles

Sonia playing bubbles
pegs

After catching bubbles, she decided to play with clothe pegs before the sky turned dark and we all went down feeling happy and tired.

So which is better – free play or structured play?

I say, BOTH.

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WESA HEALTH TALK - POTTY TRAINING

 

When to start potty training

Make sure both you and your child are ready. Before potty training your child, you must be prepared to set aside the time in which you will devote all your attention and focus on your child. Don’t be in a hurry. You have not failed Parenting 101 if your baby is last in class to be dry.

Most children are ready to begin potty training between the age 2 and 3. I was ambitious and started Sonia when she was 18-month-old. Just as I was near to success, I sent her to school and all my past effort went down the drain. WHY? Because there were too much going on around her – (1) she was trying to adapt to a new school environment; and (2) I was pregnant with her little brother. She probably felt too overwhelmed to tackle these new challenges.


when do I know

I started potty training her again when she was about two-year-old. This time round, I felt she was more ready. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Your child will tell you when her diaper is soiled
  • Your child will tell you right before she is about to pee or when she is in action
  • Your child diaper stays dry for about two hours at a time during the day
  • Bowel movements come at regular times
  • You may notice your child making a face before peeing or pooping
  • Your child is more independent and wants to do things for themselves or have it done their way


tips

READ FUN PICTURE BOOKS ABOUT TOILET TRAINING
Toilet time for Girls
A month before potty training Sonia, I read a potty training book by Serena Geddes to her. She was able to “flush” by pressing the button on the book. That got her excited about flushing the real toilet bowl, and subsequently, the idea of using the toilet bowl.

SING PRAISES
I encourage Sonia by making a HUGE deal each time she tells me that she needs to pee or poo. Even if she tells me after she had wet her pants, I will praise her and thank her for letting me know and encourage her to let me know before it happens.

START A ROUTINE
If I were to ask Sonia “do you need to pee”, her answer will usually be “no”. So just sit your child on the toilet bowl until she pees, or for a reasonable amount of time, say 3 minutes. If your child did pee, take her to the toilet again in an hour time, if not, bring her to the toilet again in 30 minutes.

DRINK LOTS OF FLUIDS
What comes in, goes out. If your child is not drinking enough fluid, why will you expect output without input? Anyway, getting hydrated is good for your child. So drink lots of fluid.

COMFORTABLE CLOTHES
By ‘comfortable clothes’, I meant clothes that are easy to get on and off. I wouldn’t dress my girl in a jumper. Get the picture? During our toilet training days, she is usually in a dress and pulls up a knicker. You can get her to pick some knickers to buy and make a BIG deal of her becoming a big girl. It worked for Sonia. The key is to make her feel good about being a BIG girl.

USE A TOILET TRAINING SEAT
Allow your child to feel in-charge. By siting on a toilet training seat, she didn’t need me holding her on the toilet bowl and that made her felt like a ‘big girl’.

ACCIDENTS HAPPEN, IT’S FINE
Don’t get upset over accidents. Just clean up and move on. But don’t ignore the ‘accident’. Use this opportunity to explain to your child, why she should pee in the toilet bowl and not on the floor. Big girls go to the toilet, not wet their pants.

REWARDS
My rewards are no more than praises and affirmation. My acknowledgement was enough for Sonia, but remember, not all kids are the same. Some might need a packet of chocolate or some kind of incentive. I’m almost certain when Arnold is ready for potty training, he will ask for food.

WEAR DIAPERS AT NIGHT UNTIL YOUR CHILD IS READY
During the first three months of potty training, I omit diapers in the day but continue to wear diaper to bed. During that period, I continue to potty train her but I don’t want to be washing mattresses every other night. If she soiled her diapers at night, I would talk to her in the morning and show her the soiled diapers. Then tell her it would be nice if she could get up and tell mama she wants to go to the toilet. I know the textbooks will tell you not to play the guilt game but I’m guilty of this. I made her felt bad about soiling her diapers and that mama would be upset (but it worked for me, because she really didn’t want mama to be upset). On days that she woke me up to go to the toilet at night, I sang praises, and again, made it a BIG BIG deal. After about three months, she was ready to go diaper-less! Hurray! BUT there were still the occasional accidents. We all learn from mistakes. Today, I’m please to share that we have ditched the diapers entirely (since she was 2.5 years old)!!!

FOOD & DRINKS TO AVOID
Avoid food and drinks that act as stimulants such as chocolate, sugar and caffeine, particularly in the hours before bedtime.

MAKE YOUR CHILD FEEL PROUD
I will praise Sonia in front of our family and make her feel really proud of herself! When she feels that she is doing something right, she wants to do it right all the time.

 

setbacks

Of course I faced setbacks. I would be lying if I said I didn’t. Potty training Sonia had cause me much stress, fatigue, pressure, and happiness. I felt stressed when things aren’t working, fatigue after waking up multiple times in the night to either take her to the toilet or wash her soiled mattress and clothes, pressured when she doesn’t perform the way I wished she did, and happy when she finally slept through the night without wetting her pants.

FIRST THREE MONTHS
I would diligently ask if she needed the toilet every hour. Even when we were out in the day, I did not want to rely on diapers. Often, she would tell me that she needed the toilet at the last hour, and I had to whisk her off, finding the nearest toilet available. Sometimes we made it to the toilet on time, and other times, we were too late. I always had to bring a fresh set of clothes for her (for times like this). Trips to the malls weren’t as fun anymore. I’m always on stand-by, waiting to send her to the toilet. It was challenging, but worth it.

THE NEXT THREE MONTHS
I think she got used to the routine and could better control her bladder. I stop having to dash across the malls finding the nearest toilet. In fact, I had no problems with her in the day. She would tell me when she needed to go to the toilet and give me enough time to walk her there. But night time was still a challenge. It took a lot of discipline, reminders, motivations and encouragements, but again, all was worth the effort.

THEREAFTER
I felt like I’ve struck lottery, only even better. She had ditched the diapers altogether! There were about 5 or 6 busy nights but other than that, we had dry quiet nights! The number of disturbed nights decreases as the months go by, thankfully. And today, I would say, perhaps 2 busy nights a month. Don’t be discourage. Be positive. It will get better. Accident is part of learning too!


favourite

Over the past 3 years, I’ve bought 4 different types of toilet training seats, and my favourite is my latest snatch – the BUMBO!

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  1. Love Lucky Baby Ritzy Potty bought from Kiddy Palace
    This was my first buy and is the one that I regretted buying the minute I started using it. First, it wasn’t comfortable to sit on. The ergonomic is just wrong. Second, there were just too many pieces to a potty – a cover lid, a removable insert, and the chair frame. Too much hassle, too many things to wash and too bulky to keep.
  2. 2-in-1 Potette Plus bought from Mothercare
    It can be used on our toilet seat or by itself as a folding potty seat (you will need to place a disposable liner over it). Potette Plus has a non-slip base for safety but wasn’t very steady and comfortable to sit on. My kids’ bum went pinky-red after siting for mere minutes. It was however easy to clean and very portable but when I try using it by its own, it wasn’t feasible. The potty seat when used by itself is too low and if my child were to pee or poo, she would probably be sitting on her own pee or poo.
  3. Tossig bought from IKEA
    This one-piece toilet training seat has an anti-slip material on the underside to keep it firmly in place. Easy to clean and keep but like the previous toilet training seats, it was hard and uncomfortable to sit on. Sonia would prefer that I hold her on the toilet bowl seat then to sit on the toilet training seat.
  4. Bumbo bought from Takashimaya
    Why it’s a winner?
    It is a one-piece toilet training seat. My favourite so far, only because both my kids like it! The Bumbo seat easily fit on our toilet seat with nothing to attach or remove. Soft and spongy, and easy to clean. And above all, the contoured seat provides support and security for my kids. They love it!

So, which is your favourite? Mine is the Bumbo toilet training seat!!!

 

I hope the above information are useful to you. Have fun toilet training your toddler! Remember, start toilet training your child only when you are able to devote your time to it. There need to be consistency. Good luck!

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WESA HEALTH TALK - Clean Your Child's Teeth

Toddlers will not brush their teeth if you don’t tell them to.

Toddlers will not know why they need to brush their teeth if you don’t educate them.

If you haven’t started brushing and flossing your child’s teeth, start today because you can keep your child from getting tooth decay by starting their dental care early, as early as possible.

Most of us don’t enjoy visiting the dentist every half yearly, yet we ask our child to open their mouth for us twice a day. No wonder they protest. Let’s brush our teeth, the fun way!

WHERE DO I BEGIN?

ROUTINE

I was wiping Sonia’s gum and tongue with a washcloth until her first teeth sprouted at nine-month-old. We have established a routine since birth, so it wasn’t too tough getting her used to the idea of brushing teeth. And when her first tooth sprouted, I introduced her to (1) a toothbrush and (2) a fluoride-free blackcurrant toothpaste. Not forgetting (3) dental floss picks. Only recently, I introduced her to a (4) fluoride toothpaste.

Toothbrush toothpaste floss

She brushes her teeth first thing in the morning and in the evening after drinking her milk. Do NOT put your child down to sleep with a bottle of milk because sugary liquid cling to the teeth, feeding bacteria that can cause tooth decay. If you must give your child a bottle to take to bed, make sure it contains only water.

SING A SONG

“This is the way I brush my teeth,
I brush my teeth,
I brush my teeth.
This is the way I brush my teeth,
So early in the morning.”

Singing is useful because it makes the whole brushing experience more FUN! And most importantly, you can assure your child that brushing time is limited, because they know that brushing time is over when the song ends. The key is to keep brushing SHORT! You can lengthen the brushing time as your child gets older.

GIVE THEM DECISION MAKING AUTHORITY

Let them have a say! Allow them to choose their own toothbrush and toothpaste. I realise that when I allow Sonia to make her own decisions, she is more willing to engage with me and brush her teeth.

WALK YOUR TALK

Set the right dental care example. If your kids see you brushing and flossing regularly, they are more likely to pick up the good habits. Tell them the benefits of maintaining good oral hygiene in their language. For example, Sonia and I happened to watch a MTV performed by some kids some months ago. One of the girls had a black tooth and I took the opportunity to ‘preach’ on good oral hygiene. I gave her my pocket mirror and asked her to look at her nice set of pearly white teeth. “THIS” (pearly white teeth) is the result of brushing teeth religiously. But if she doesn’t brush and floss her teeth thoroughly every morning and night, then “THAT” (referring to the black tooth) is the consequence. Being such a vain girl (fortunately or unfortunately), it irks her to think that she might look ugly.

USE A GOAL CHART

I did this with Sonia when she was younger but now, she’s good brushing her teeth without any reward. Her motivation comes from wanting to look good. Click below image for printable GOAL CHART.

GOAL CHART

 

Have fun brushing teeth with your little ones!

Brought to you by WESA Health Talk!

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mylittlegirl

All traces of babyhood are gone. My girl is 3.

Just thinking how fast she is growing makes me emotional. She is my first love and first love has a special place in the heart.

The day I learned that I was pregnant, hubby and I started brainstorming for a name. We didn’t know the gender of our child, not until the sixteenth week, but I just knew it was a girl. Six sense, perhaps. I just knew. There were a few names we really liked – Faith, Lauren, Elora, and Sonia. I thought I might let the names sink in a little and decide along the way. We tried reciting different names to her and see if she responded. You wouldn’t believe, but she kicked when she heard “Sonia” and so we took it as a sign. Coincidence? Maybe. But it happened more than once. It was a sign!

On the eighth day of June, twenty twelve, she arrived. And we began our life as parents.

There were so much to learn. They say it takes a village to raise a child, they weren’t joking. Our first night with Sonia was particularly memorable. Like most first-time-parent, we were learning to take cues from our child’s cries. Was that a mummy-I’m-hungry cry or was that a mummy-I’ve-soiled-my-diaper cry? Was she feeling unwell or was she mere sleepy and grouchy? We alternated between feeding her milk and checking on her diaper every 15 minutes, rocking her on our arms, and playing different lullabies. We were figuring what went right and what went wrong, learning along the way, trying to build a bond and common understanding. It was a long long night but those short moments when we managed to coax her to sleep were precious. She looked exceptionally beautiful when she slumbered. Then dawn came before hub and I could catch a wink. Good morning, welcome to parenthood!

So, it wasn’t always a bed of roses but our hearts were always full, filled with abundance of love.

sonia

I remembered, on her first birthday, she stood up and started walking all by herself. My jaw dropped. If you could see through my heart with your x-ray-eyes, you would have seen my heart leaping with joy, dancing tango and doing a somersault. I was beaming with pride!

sonia is two

At about two-year-old, she could string a proper sentence, eat by herself, demand request for her favourite food, articulate her likes and dislike, drink milk in a cup using a straw (although she still prefer using her milk bottle to a cup), match her clothes and shoes, scribble spontaneously, and climb up and down obstacles at the playground. And by two-and-a-half, she is fully potty trained and has been diaper-free for the past few months. Of course, there were the occasional accidents but still, I’m so proud of her!

I watch my daughter grow into herself each day. It just amazes me how much she has changed and will continue to change.

Happy 3rd birthday, Sonia. You are our sunshine and we hope we are yours too!

This year, for the first time, Sonia celebrated her birthday at school. Two months before her big day, we started looking around for birthday cakes. I was thinking along the line of Awfully Chocolate cake (because I love chocolate cakes) or some fanciful princessy cream cake or maybe Little Miss & Mr themed cake, but she took fancy of a Lego agar agar cake instead. Just in case it was some random choice, I asked her repeatedly over a span of one month and she remained faithful to her choice – LEGO cake. Well, it’s her birthday, she calls the shot! So we ordered the Lego cake.

LEGO AGAR AGAR CAKE

LEGO AGAR AGAR CAKE  – This is our first time trying an agar agar cake. Back then, things weren’t as fanciful as today. It tasted just like any agar agar except it was so much prettier and aesthetically pleasing to the eyes.

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Just look at Arnold, he couldn’t wait to eat them! Did I mention? Arnold went to grab some real LEGO blocks and attempted to place them on the cake? We all had a good laugh!

 

sonia with daddy

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sonia

Family

Arnold with Daddy

 

myFriends

celebration at school

learning vision

We all had a great time at school. The kids enjoyed themselves and so did we. Finally, a big thank you to Teacher Fasha, Teacher Sze Ying, Teacher Gwen and all other teachers who helped out.

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“Colour inside the lines!”

Is that a good thing?

Inside or outside the lines

Hundreds of parents had debated if colouring inside the lines is right or wrong. Will colouring inside the lines damage the kids and stop them from being creative?

So should the kids colour inside or outside the lines?

I say, BOTH!

WHY COLOUR INSIDE THE LINES?

Colouring inside the lines helps children practice their fine motor skills, as does cutting, pasting, threading yarn through holes on cards, putting together puzzles, and many other activities. They work on their hand-eye-brain coordination. These types of motor skills is a good thing to develop early. Besides, it helps to teach children about control, discipline and restraint, and as well, teaches coordination and interpretation of parameters. This helps the children to define things.

Early this week, we just did painting and I got Sonia to paint inside the lines.

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I drew a few animals and asked her to paint inside the lines with whatever colours she liked.

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Whenever I ask for a smile, she shows me this cheeky face. Maybe to her, that’s a smile.

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The blue-red-blue feathers on the right were painted by me. I was trying to show her how to paint inside the line, and so, did a demo. The rest was done by her. Though she stills paint outside the line, that’s fine. She’s only three, so give her a break!

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I really liked her choice of colours. She alternated blue after a different colour and I thought she was being creative until I saw the peacock image on her book – she mimicked the choice of colours used. Still, I was proud of her!

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She was proud of her work too!

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Besides using paint brushes, I gave her other tools, such as a sticks with sponges. Sonia used that stick to dab on the ant head. This time round, I took her book away and she chose the colours by herself. She knows that ants are black in colour but still, she likes her ant to be pink and blue! “Lovely” I said.

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Again, proudly showing off her work.

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She painted a crocodile too, and this time in green. I asked her “why green”. She said “ma ma, I tell you, co-co-da is green and nai nai favourite colour is green, you know”. “Yes, I know, sweetheart! Keep painting.” I replied.

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I realised, the more she practiced, the better she is with staying inside the line.

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Polka dots are her favourite! She loves circle, anything round, and she calls them ball-ball. The bigger circles were done using a big paint brush. She dipped a generous amount of yellow paint, placed the brush on the paper, gave it some pressure and turned it (with some assistance). The little pink dots were easy. Just dap and print.

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There you go, this is Di Cat. Why “Di Cat”? Because she said the name of the cat was “Di”. I didn’t come out with that spelling, she did. “How to spell ‘Di’, Sonia?” I asked. She said “‘D’, ‘I’, no more.”

WHY COLOUR OUTSIDE THE LINES?

“It is our imagination that gives shape to the universe.” – Barry Lopez

Creative thinking and artistic energy are essentially good qualities. They enable us to discover new solutions to old problems. They allow children to view things differently and to express their inner feelings in new and exciting ways. I try to create an environment that encourage my kids to be creative. Sometimes, I lay the table with colouring materials and drawing blocks and my only rule is “do not drop the paint on the floor” (because I had to scrub the floor, no?). I do a lot of “wild” painting, colouring, and crafting with my kids because I know, as they grow, the more they learn and thrive for perfection, and I will see this trait disappearing.

Some months ago, I did abstract painting with Sonia. “Draw something that is “happy” and leave her to fill in the white void.

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She squeezed paint directly onto the paper and started painting.

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That’s her ideology of something happy.

Next, I told her to paint something sad. She did the same thing, squeeze paint directly onto the paper and started painting, this time round with her brushes and fingers. Fingers – because she accidentally touched the paint and decided not to waste it, so she wiped them off the paper. And since her fingers were already soiled, she decided to use her fingers too!

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Sonia’s idea of a “SAD” painting. I can understand that ‘blue’ is a gloomy colour but why yellow? She said “too sad, so I used lair-llo yellow“. For some reason, I really like this piece of work (that’s why I chose it to be my header image).

CONCLUSION

So I do BOTH! Some days, I set boundaries and we colour inside the lines. On other days, we have no boundaries (except to minimise mess, so poor mummy doesn’t need to scrub the wall or floor, too much) and allow the young minds to explode!

Parents, you know your child best. Just do what you feel benefits your child most. Ignore the noise and you will be fine. I don’t think your child will be “damaged” if you choose to let them colour inside the line or outside the line, or perhaps, do both.

Have fun painting

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Lately, many of our friends joined the “Parenthood Club” and there are so much to be happy about! All our children are about the same age. And I think we should organise one big gathering with all the babies and toddlers. It will be fun! It doesn’t matter if some of them don’t know each other yet, because mummies gel up very easily. Remember, we all have some thing in common – children.

There are some things that we, mummies, always talk about – the kids’ development milestones. Of course, every child is different and they grow at their own pace, but it is nice to have some kind of guidelines to at least know our kids are on track, and if there are problems, it is also good to find out soon.

Since most of my friends’ children are below one year old, let me share with you “Infant Developmental Milestones”.

Infant Development Milestones

0 to 3 mth old

  • Lifts head when on tummy
  • Move head from side to side while lying on back
  • Holds head in the middle in supported sitting position
  • Kicks feet when on back
  • Bring hands and fingers to mouth
  • Begins to bear partial weight on both legs when held in a standing position

 

3 to 6 mth old

  • Randomly move arms and legs
  • Hold head steady when held in sitting position
  • Begins to sit with support
  • Turn him/herself from back to side and tries to roll over
  • Reach out for toys
  • When on stomach, is able to keep head up, putting weight on arms and turn head from side to side
  • Stand when held, and able to bend knees
  • Touch knees and feet with hands when lying on back

 

6 to 9 mth old

  • Start rolling back to front and visa versa
  • Sits and plays with toys
  • Begins to crawl on hands and knees
  • Moves from lying down to sitting up
  • Begins to pull to stand on furniture

 

9 to 12 mth old

  • Be able to crawl over and around objects
  • Start to cruise around furniture
  • May stand without support
  • Move from sitting to lying down
  • Sits by falling down
  • Pull to standing position from sitting
  • Walk with two hands held

 

RED FLAGAs a parent, you are in the ideal position to first identify any problems your child may be having with her motor development – and that’s important, because catching development problems as early as possible offers the best change for improvement. If you notice or are concerned about some of the following things about your baby, you may want to talk to your paediatrician.

  • Your child’s head is flat
  • Your child doesn’t turn his/her head to both side
  • Your child drools and has difficulty eating
  • Your child uses one side of his/her body more than the other
  • Your child’s skills are regressing
  • Your child’s limbs seem stiff
  • Your child’s muscles seem floppy and loose
  • Something appears wrong with your child’s leg or feet
  • Your child has trouble grasping and manipulating objects

 

I hope the above information are of some use to you. Share it if you think it’s useful!

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