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Age Does Matter: The Best Age to Conceive

The ABCs of Common Childhood Illnesses


day special Child Of Our Time: Introducing Gen X, Y And Z


What happens in your womb

Name of Model: Freja Birgersson Photographer: Photography By Yew Kwang

From Egg to

Feature interview with Janet Doman, Esther Lim & Brian Caswell

table of contents

Contents 6 Editor’s Picks

38 Language

12 Pregnancy

40 Kid’s Gallery

Jump for TOY!

From Egg To Baby: What Happens In Your Womb When is the best age to conceive?

16 Your Baby

Crib-sleeping VS Co-Sleeping: Which is better?

20 Growing Up

Is your child ready for primary 1?

22 Children’s Day Special

Child of our time: Introducing Generation X, Y My Wish For Today’s Children Is…

42 Photogenic Baby Contest 44 Camouflage Kids Fashion Spread

48 Dental Hidden sugars

50 Health and Wellness

26 Feature Interview 32 Activity

Honouring the Grands

34 Recipe

Parenting Generation Z

Let's Get Green & Crafty

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Shape up with Art!

The ABCs of Common Childhood Illness

Those were the days


Raising Eager Readers And Writers

56 Grandparents Special 60 For The Parent Grace Under Pressure: Handling Unwanted

Wholemeal crepes


Homemade Peanut Butter

Your Hubby Matters Too



Dr Eugene Han Dr Han obtained his medical degree from the National University of Singapore. He is a member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (UK) and an accredited Paediatric Medicine Specialist by the Singapore Medical Council. He was formerly a Paediatrician at the National University Hospital and a Clinical Tutor at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. Besides general paediatrics, his clinical interests include asthma, allergy and chronic cough.

Dr Claudine Tan Dr Claudine Tan received her degree in Medicine and Surgery in NUS. She completed her internship and residency at KK Women’s & Children’s Hospital and National University Hospital. Following which, she was accepted into the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London. As a mother of two, Dr Tan understands the physical and emotional demands of pregnancy, childbirth and post-delivery. With focused antenatal care and thoughtful childbirth planning, she has faith that every woman can enjoy all three trimesters of pregnancy, followed by painless and uncomplicated labour.

Practice Address: SBCC Baby & Child Clinic Blk 726 Ang Mo Kio Ave 6 #01-4154 Singapore 560726 Tel: 6456 8874 Email:

Practice Address: Blk 709 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 #01-2597 Singapore 560709 Tel: 6554 7040 Fax: 6554 7041 Emergency Hotline: 6397 6966


Children’s Therapy Centre The team of speech-language and occupational therapists at The Children’s Therapy Centre are dedicated to helping children with special needs participate in their community as well as supporting parents, caregivers and teachers on ways to play, teach and connect with their child. They aim to maximize the skills of children in the areas of communication, self-care, play skills, socialization, literacy, and handwriting. For more information, log on to

Dr Ben Choey Dr Ben Choey is a gynaecologic surgeon who has been committed to women’s health for more than 10 years. He obtained his Master of Medicine (O&G) and became a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (United Kingdom) in 2007. He was appointed Clinical Tutor in Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School. A prolific writer, Dr Ben has also contributed numerous articles on fertility and general gynecological issues. An avid traveler, Dr Ben enjoys cycling, swimming and badminton in his free time. Practice Address: SBCC Women’s Clinic (Clementi) Blk 443 Clementi Ave 3 #01-53 Singapore 120443 Tel: 6774 1654

EDUcation Esther Lim Esther Lim is the CEO and Founder of LEAP School House. Born and educated in Singapore, she holds a Master Degree in Education (NTU/NIE), Bachelor Degree in Arts (NTU), Diploma in Marketing – Top student for the year 2000 (Chartered Institute of Marketing). Esther has more than 10 years of teaching experience and has taught widely in both Secondary and Primary schools. For more information on LEAP SchoolHouse, go to

SLEEP Tammy M. Fontana Ms. Fontana is the founder and therapist for Babysleepfairy, helping parents manage their children’s sleep through an evidence-based approach of sleep and sleep training. She has been doing sleep consulting for more than four years, both to families in the U.S and in Singapore. Ms. Fontana is also a relationship counselling expert. For more information, go to can contact Tammy attammy@ or 9030 7239.

SEXOLOGY Dr Martha Lee Dr Martha Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching in Singapore. She is a certified sexuality educator with AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists), as well as a certified sexologist with ACS (American College of Sexologists). She holds a Doctorate in Human Sexuality from Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, as well as certificates in practical counselling, life coaching, and sex therapy. She is available to provide sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conduct sexual education workshops, and speak at public events in Asia. For more information on Eros Coaching, go to

DENTISTRY Dr Chin Shou King Dr. Chin graduated from the National University of Singapore, Faculty of Dentistry, after winning two scholarships from Singapore Press Holdings. He served his bond as a Dental Officer in the Ministry of Health and eventually became the Head of Dental Services at one of National Healthcare Group Polyclinics. Dr Chin also enjoys and is proficient at treating and managing children, having spent one and a half years at the National University Hospital Dental Centre. Dr Chin also has a special interest in dental phobias and is adept at managing fearful patients and making them feel at ease during treatment. Practice Address: One Orchard Boulevard 17th Floor Camden Medical Centre Singapore 248649 Tel: (65) 6733 1388 Email: Emergency Dental Services: (65) 6398 5578

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editorial note My parents’ childhood was one of climbing trees, catching spiders, longkang fishing, playing five stones, chapteh,goliand kite flying, just to name a few. All these games didn’t require any fancy or expensive tools. Often, I would imagine what their childhood was like, because I grew up playing less than half of the above games mentioned. My parents were from the Generation X era, while I belonged to Generation Y. Our Children’s Day special Child Of Our Time, we introduce the three different generations; what are their common characteristics and how parents can communicate with them. In Parenting Generation Z, we compared how parenting has evolved with a new generation of babies. Our feature interview, Those were the days, I spoke to three prominent educators, Janet Doman, Esther Lim and Brain Caswell on what their childhood was like and got them to share some of their thoughts on how parents can bridge the generation gap with their kids. What is your wish for today’s children? We asked some preschool educators in My Wish For Today’s Children is… on their hopes and dreams for children. As for me, I wonder what sort of childhood stories kids today wouldtell their children in the future. Was it one filled with going to enrichment classes, where Angry Birds was their favourite childhood game? Or was it one filled with weekend family trips, spent with mum and dad? I hope it would be stories they can retell fondly, filled with bittersweet but warm memories, just as I recalled mine. To all the kids out there, may they live their childhood days to the fullest! Yours truly,


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editor’s picks




We can’t deny – children love toys. However, a toy does not necessarily only have to be something fun and enjoyable, it can be educational as well. In fact, all toys can be educational if you allow them to be. The new board game you bought for your child develops virtues such as patience and fairness. Even a simple stuffed teddy bear can teach your child to share. Here are some indoor and outdoor toys that will make great Children’s day gifts.

Clay Kingdom “CarToon”, $18.90 From Funovator

Tickle the imagination of your kids while developing their motor skills and spatial thinking with A-clay. This non-sticky, extra soft ultra light clay can be easily moulded into any shape, and can be mixed to create new exciting colours. There are 4 clay colours included in this set with a step-by-step instructions and car base for your child to work on. What’s more, the hardened A-clay can also be reused by sprinkling some water on it and storing in its box. Suitable for ages 5 years and above


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Alphabet Marks the Spot, $81.90 The Learning Store Leap to learn your ABCs! A fun and versatile game, this is great for kinesthetic learners. Besides encouraging gross motor skills, it also helps children to learn their alphabets, letter sounds, beginning sounds and more. It includes 8 different alphabets, letter sounds, spelling games and 5 inflatable cubes illustrated with familiar objects starting with different letters. Game markers and an activity guide are also included with the wipe-clean vinyl mat. Suitable for ages 5 years and above

Bubble Wands Eco Kit, $35.90 From Jam ‘n Muffin!

Make your own special toy this children's day and not just buy one off the shelves! Every child loves bubbles, get your bubble wand kit to bond with your child this children's day and develop creativity. Our Art projects are also the perfect way to fill up long, sunny days on the deck, rainy days indoors, or vacations on the road! Bend high quality copper wire with marbles into two beautiful, sturdy wands. Blow huge bubbles, decorate a garden or use for magic! Kit Includes: Artist-quality 14 gauge copper wire, 2 wooden wand sticks, glass marbles, jig patterns, bubble recipe and ideas sheet.All Arttero kits are made from Eco-friendly materials in USA. Suitable for ages 7 years and above

editor’s picks

ploring the fundamental concepts of geometry, space and balance as he tried to complete each structure.

Architecto Series Bundle, $93.70* From Nurture Seeds

Get not one, two, three, but four Architecto Game Set! Architecto is a puzzle game that helps to develop children’s spatial visulatization. In each game set, childern are encouraged to build the strucutres in the illustrated game book with the solid plastic blocks included. Each structure is more complex after the previous one, building on your child’s eye-hand coordination, fine motor skills, creativity and perserverance. Your child will also be indirectly ex-

Phlat Ball XT, $29.90 From Smart Alley

Phlat Ball’s unique hinged panel design, along with its innovating time-delay mechanism, allows the toy to be easily compressed and thrown as a disc, then “magically” pop into a ball in flight! Offered in both foam and soft plastic versions, Phlat Ball is ideal for indoor and outdoor fun, as well as water play. Throw a disk, or catch a ball! When you squash this lightweight, hollow ball, the large suction cup inside holds it flat until the suction gives in and the ball pops back into shape. The rigid, canvas like easy grip fabric makes this a favourite for throwing and catching games. The suction also acts as a time delay for a hot-potato-style of fun. Plus, it floats, making it great for water games too. Suitable for ages 5 years and above


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The game also allows your child for free play and welcomes the player to build whatever they can imagine. Each Architecto game set comes with a book. Equalibrio Game set, for ages 5 years and above Tangramino Game Set, for ages 6 years and above Architecto Game Set, for ages 7 years and above Clicko Game Set, for ages 8 years and above *This offer is only valued at Nurture Seeds till 7 October 2012


Blings For Mummies No, we are not referring to the ones that sparkle and cost a bomb. These blings are for mummies and babies. Yes, a necklace that is also a teething toy! Who says you can’t wear jewellery with your tot around your arm? Teething Bling®, the original teething jewellery, not only helps your baby to manage his teething and relieve his pain, it also entertains and keeps your babies’ hand busy during breastfeeding. Celebrity moms love it and so will you! Super safe for curious tots to chew, bite and hold, Teething Bling® pendants are non-toxic, phthalate, BPA, PVC, latex and lead free. Easily washed in warm soapy water, each pendant comes with a breakaway clasp as an added safety measure, and attached to a long cord, providing plenty of reach for you baby. Most of all, what separates this teething toy from the rest is how it doubles up as a funky accessory to jazz up your outfit! Now,

you don’t have to compensate your fashion style when you become a mum. Available in a whole array of colours and patterned designs, mummies will be spoiled for choice. Look chic and stylish with your tot, and no one would ever know the true purpose of these ‘jewellery’. Teething Bling®, $29.90 - 31.90, www.

DINGaRING-a-ling You have 5 Baby showers to attend in the coming month! Lost for gift ideas? We suggest DINGaRING toy, because it’s not just a toy - it’s also a rattle and teething toy all rolled into one! A natural wooden teething ring with 10 cute soft plush toys designs to choose from and a gentle jingle rattle, these ador-


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able DINGaRING toys from Australian is an innovative way of introducing your baby to sensory experiences. Your baby can touch it, shake it, bite it or hug it. Oh and one more quirky trait? Each character has an occupation and their own unique likes and dislikes. With so many character designs to choose from, this makes a unique and creative gift for baby showers. DINGaRING 3-In-1 Baby Toy, $29.95,

Getting The Right Tools For Feeding Overturned soup bowls, pieces of peas, carrots or rice on the floor, a bib full of food sauce. Most mothers can say that training a toddler use a spoon and feed himself is no easy feat. Tip #1: One tip to consider is to start your child off with a bowl that can be attached to your baby’s high chair or table. You can try using a suctions pad for this. This will help to keep your floors foodfree and ensure that most of the food stays on your baby’s table. Tip #2: Another useful tip to your child’s self-feeding journey is to get the right eating tools. While some baby cutlery may look really cute or fancy, more importantly, can your baby hold and handle it well? The cutlery should be bigger and broader, designed to suit your baby’s small fingers and hands. There should also be extra handles on the sides of bowls and cups to help with your baby’s grip. Tip #3: It’s never too late to start them young. Do not put a spoon and fork in front of your child and expect him to know which to use. Pass your child the right cutlery for the right food job. For example, use a fork to spear chunks of food, and a spoon when eating porridge or rice. Tip #4: One final tip – Little hands grab fast! Remember to keep any sharp items or scissors you used while preparing your

baby’s food away from his reach. For the right feeding tools, we recommend Mother’s Corn Growing Up Set, $82.90, from Getting proper toddler cutlery is the stepping stone to your tot’s road to independent feeding. The Growing Up Set comes complete with all necessary cutlery needed when weaning begins. Made from PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) which

is extracted from corn starch, Mother's Corn cutlery is stronger than conventional plastics and possesses no harm to the environment. One of the first corn-made containers to survive heat exposure in the microwave oven, you can now reheat your baby’s food in the microwave oven. Set comes with a feeding spoon, bowl, 4 way snack cup, meal plate, selftraining spoon & fork and training cup

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Where it all begins…

From Egg To Baby What Happens In Your Womb Have you ever wondered how your little precious bundle developed inside you? Every baby is unique and develops at his/her own pace. Here is a general scheme of how it all started in you. Dr Claudine Tan, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at SBCC Women’s Clinic


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It all starts from two little organs called ovaries at the side of the uterus (womb) for the woman. The ovaries start of with millions of oocytes (eggs) from birth and the number decreases as the years go by until menopause. During each month of the menstrual cycle, the oocytes mature upon hormonal stimulation and the “destined” egg is then released from the ovary. The egg is transported through the fallopian tubes into the uterine cavity. This is known as ovulation. Ovulation timing for every woman is different depending on the length of the menstrual cycle. In an average 28-day cycle, ovulation is most likely mid cycle and can range from day 12 – day 15, using the 1st day of menses as day 1. The life span of the oocyte is about 24 hours after release. If it does not meet up with a healthy sperm then it will disintegrate naturally and the next menstrual cycle will start. Once the egg is fertilized by a sperm, it will start to develop into an embryo. Only when this embryo has travelled through the fallopian tube and implants in the uterus are you considered pregnant. An ectopic pregnancy can occur if implantation occurs outside of the womb. This usually happens in the fallopian tube and sometimes, surgery is required for its removal before it damages the tube or even ruptures.

The 1st Trimester Aside from missing your period, you might start to experience some tell-tale

signs that you are expecting. From the 4th week onwards, your breasts might start to feel tender and you might even feel nauseous. These are due to the surge in pregnancy hormones. Some of you might feel perpetually tired and even have frequent headaches. At the 5th-6th week, your little one is about the size of a small seed and your baby’s heart will start to beat and major organs are starting their development. The neural tube that protects your baby’s spinal cord is also developing and closing over. This is where folic acid plays an important role. A defect in the neural tube can lead to spina bifida, a condition where the protective covering of the spinal cord is not complete and this can result in permanent nerve damage. Initially, your little one would look just like a little tadpole but as the weeks go by, the little tail would disappear and the major organs would develop more complexity. His face would start to form and limbs would start to develop. Your baby’s heart rate is usually twice that of yours. Once you reach the 9th-10th week, the placenta would be fully functional and your baby’s organs would start to develop rapidly. You might see fetal movements during your antenatal ultrasound but you won’t be able to feel any of it just yet. Towards the end of the 1st trimester, many of the vital organs would have been formed and will start to rapidly grow and mature.

The 2nd Trimester Your baby will start to grow ultra fine hair all over which is also known as lanugo hair. This will usually disappear before birth. Your baby’s muscles are also

starting to work and he can even suck his thumb. The arms and legs are rapidly growing and all his joints and limbs can move quite well now. By about 16 weeks, your baby will be nearly the size of your hand and his blood circulation and urinary tract will be fully functional. From as early as 16 weeks onwards, you might start to feel a little tingle in your tummy which is the first time you can feel fetal movements. This is known as quickening. Between 18 – 22 weeks, you would have a mid-pregnancy ultrasound scan to look at how your baby has developed and grown. This scan also screens for any defects in organ development and to assess the placenta and umbilical cord. You should also be able to see if you are expecting a little boy or girl. Your baby will weigh approximately 350 gms and measures about 15 cm from crown to rump. Your baby will also be covered with a whitish substance called vernix caseosa over his entire body. This protects the skin during his long weeks in amniotic fluid. You might still see your little one covered with this layer after he is born. At 24 weeks, baby would have just reached a big milestone. She is now considered viable and may survive with specialist care if she is ever born prematurely. In the following weeks, she will be able to respond to sounds like your heartbeat and also respond to light. She will also start to have breathing movements though it’s just in water. You might start to feel your baby “hiccup” which is very common and this will happen quite frequently throughout your pregnancy. Her eyes can open now and she will sleep and be awake at regular intervals.

During your visit to your doctor, you might even catch her sucking her thumb.

The 3rd trimester You have reached the last few weeks of your pregnancy & the countdown starts now. Your baby’s brain development is very rapid these last few weeks and her nutritional requirements will reach its peak. She would now weigh about 1kg at the start of this trimester and will gain weight steadily in the next few weeks. Your little one will still be actively moving but she won’t have much space to stretch out anymore. By 34 weeks, baby should already be in the position for birth ie. Upside down with her head pointing down but some babies do decide to somersault back up again. Your doctor will monitor your baby’s position at every visit till birth. Around 36 weeks, you might feel that your tummy has decreased in size. Not to worry, this is called engagement or lightening where your baby has descended into your pelvis. By the end of this week at 37 weeks, your baby will be term and no longer considered premature if she was born. If you have passed your due date and still have no signs of labour, your doctor will discuss with you your options of hanging on or to induce labour. Just remember, all babies grow and develop differently so enjoy your pregnancy and be sure to have a well-balanced diet throughout the 9 months. Practice Address: SBCC Baby & Child Clinic Blk 709 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 #01-2597 Singapore 560709 Tel: 6554 7040

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When Is The Best Age To Conceive? By Dr Ben Choey, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at SBCC Women’s Clinic


The clock is ticking… When we are talking about a woman’s fertility, there is such a thing as a ticking clock. The age of the egg is the single most important determinant in achieving a successful pregnancy. Fertility begins to decline from age 28, and rapidly declines over age of 40. The biological basis of this decline in fecundity with increasing female age involves several factors; germ cells in the female are not replenished during life. Women are born with 1.2 million eggs, and these undergo a slow decline throughout their reproductive age. At puberty, the number of eggs would have diminished to about 200 000 and at age 20, about 50 000 eggs remain. By age 40, this figure would have dropped drastically to less than 10000, in which less than 1% of these will ovulate. This natural atresia of eggs is a biological mechanism for reasons which still remain unknown to doctors. It is an inevitable occurrence that even modern science and technology cannot retard. Besides a decline in the quantity of eggs, the percentage of eggs left in the ovary that is genetically normal also declines with a woman’s age. This decline is much more significant than what doctors used to think. By the time a woman reaches 35 years of age, we see common mishaps such as genetic disorders due to splitting of the genetics at the meiotic stage and cause syndromes such as Down syndrome.

Age does matter A 20-year-old woman has a 86% chance of getting pregnant. By 35, this drops to 52%, and by 45 years old, a woman has a mere 5% chance of getting pregnant. Therefore

the younger the woman, the younger the eggs and the better the genetic health. Many women have the misconception that if they still have periods, they are still fertile. The average age of menopause is about 51. But if we look at most natural populations, the average age of women with last child is about 41. This is because of decline in the egg quality. The eggs ovulated by older women are more likely to contain chromosomal abnormality, and hence a higher miscarriage risk.

Pregnancy in older women (> 35 years old) Compared to women under age of 35, those giving birth at 35 and over are more likely to have pre-existing high blood pressure and to develop high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia, a serious pregnancy complication in which high blood pressure and protein in the urine develops after 20

need for instrumental vaginal deliveries and premature placental separation. Maternal age also impacts adverse birth outcomes and birth defects. Women aged 35 and over were at higher risk of preterm births, with rates more than 20% higher than for those age 20-34 years old. First-time mothers 35 and over, particularly those 40 and over, were at increased risk of delivering small-for-gestational age babies compared with their younger counterparts, those age 20-34. The risk of women over 35 delivering babies with chromosomal defects can be as much as fourfold higher than that among younger mothers

What about men’s age and fertility? There are good studies to show that men’s semen quantity peak between 30 – 35, and declines to the lowest after age 55. Besides quantity, sperm motility also

A 20-year-old woman has a 86% chance of getting pregnant. By 35, this drops to 52%, and by 45 years old, a woman has a mere 5% chance of getting pregnant. weeks gestation. They are also more likely to develop gestational diabetes, and experience abnormal placental implantation (placenta praevia – a condition in which the placenta is sited low in the uterus and may obstruct the womb entrance). They were also more likely to require a Caesarean delivery. Among first-time mothers 40 and over, one of every two may have a caesarean delivery. Rates of labor complications and interventions are also disproportionately higher, such as the

declined with a man’s age. Similar to women’s age-related decline in egg quality, genetic quality of male sperm also declines with age. This may lead to decreased fertility, increased chance of miscarriage and increased risk of birth defects. Practice Address: SBCC Women’s Clinic (Clementi) Blk 443 Clementi Ave 3 #01-53 Singapore 120443 Tel: 6774 1654

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Crib-sleeping VS Co-Sleeping

By Tammy Fontana

Which is better? By age 5, studies have shown that that there are no significant impacts on attachment, emotional or social development based on how a child sleeps. There are many factors beyond sleep that determines a child’s attachment and development. More importantly, parents should look at the quality of sleep. Poor quality sleep has been linked to postnatal depression in women and disruptive behavior in children, resulting in reduced academic performance.


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Co-Sleeping Pros Co-sleeping with a newborn baby or young child may be easier because they wake frequently and it makes night feedings easier. Co-sleeping also means you don’t have to give up a room for the child to sleep in. Cons It is a 5 year commitment. Transitioning your child out of your bed before this

age can be very difficult and many parents get “stuck” with their child in their bed. A parent’s privacy, intimacy and sleep will be compromised with a child in the bed. Co-sleeping does not guarantee a good sleeper and research shows co-sleepers wake up more often than cot sleepers. Cot Sleeping Pros Parents will get more privacy and time for

your baby

intimacy with a child out of their room Cons In the short-term, for the first 6 to 9 months parents will need to get up to feed their child. However, children no longer need to feed from 9 months of age onward. Waking to feed after 9 months is a sign of a sleep problem. Cotsleeping doesn’t guarantee quality sleep for your child. Notes on Both Approaches Children need to learn how to fall asleep independently for optimal sleep regardless of where they sleep. Night feeding or waking up after 9 months of age is a

sleep problem regardless of where child sleeps. It also impact the child’s immune system, temperament and ability to learn. Making sense of “research” Whatever you decide, make sure that you make an informed decision based on evidence, and not based on cultural beliefs and pop-psychology. Make sure to check the source and understand how clinical research data may be translated by the author who is often not clinically trained. Research does not look at individual one off cases.When in doubt, do not hesitate to ask your doctor or mental health professional.

Historical and Cultural Roots of Co-Sleeping vs. Crib Sleeping Historically, co-sleeping started out as a practical solution to a space problem. Even today, poverty or high costs of living force parents to keep their children in their roomsdue to space constraints. Often practical solutions evolve into customs within families or cultures not because they are necessarily better but because everyone else did it before me. You can contact All in the Family Counselling at 9030 7239 or www. to get help on your child’s sleep needs.

Facts about Sleeping

Regardless of where you decide to have your child sleep,here are some important facts about sleep you should take into account before making your decision. The ability to learn how to fall asleep independently is a learned behavior regardless of where your child sleeps.

Neither cot nor crib sleeping guarantees a good sleeper. What matters is that the child is able to fall asleep 100% on his or her own.

Co-sleep can be a safe choice, but parents must take note of these safety steps: 1. Never sleep with you child if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol 2. Ensure your child will not be pinned or have his or her faced blocked 3. Take extra precautions if your child is premature and if you are smoker as these 2 factors increase the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

Regardless of where your child sleeps, if your child is still waking up at night at 9 months old, this is a sleep problem. Night waking isn’t something you can “love away” or something your child will outgrow. The night waking only goes away when parents properly change their behavior to teach the child how to fall asleep when the child FIRST goes to bed at night.

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your baby

Finding the right bed/cot to snooze

For your Baby: For you and your baby: ibenmaQueen Size Adult Bed, Available at ibenma, FunanDigitalife Mall This adult bed is made from 100% Finland pine wood with non-toxic clear lacquer andthe sturdy and ventilate web base slats allows you to sleep at ease together with your baby. The 100% latex mattress made from Belgium also promises you a comfortable and cool sleep.ibenmaalso provides up to five years warranty against manufacturing defects for all customers.

Bonbebe Vermont 4-In-One Baby Cot from Infantino, $399.00 Available at Takashimaya & Kiddy Palace Measuring at 13700mm x 735mm, this 4-in-1 Bonbebe Vermont babycot is made from New Zealand Pinewood with non-toxic paint with an elegant Australia design. It has 4 position mattress positions, includes non-toxic teething rails with 4 castors, and is easily convertible to different stages, as your baby grows.

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growing up


Is Your Child Ready For Primary School? By The Children’s Therapy Centre


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ompulsory Education has been implemented in Singapore since 2003. At the age of six, children are generally expected to attend Primary 1 and to begin their formal schooling. In Singapore today, educational expectations are of a high degree and often many stresses are placed on a family to ensure a child’s attendance and success at school, to attend extracurricular activities as well working to meet the financial demands associated with schooling and education. With all the expectations and hype associated with a child starting school, one simple yet highly important question can often be overlooked – Is my child really ready for Primary School? When we talk about deciding whether a child is ready to begin school or not, we talk about School Readiness. So, what is school readiness? School readiness is a measure of how prepared a child is to successfully meet the demands of formal education. In Singapore context, whenever the topic of school readiness is discussed, very often the focus is on academic readiness. However, it takes more than academic readiness for a child to succeed in school. School readiness, in general, encompasses many areas of development which include physical and motor development, social and emotional development, learning approaches, language development, general knowledge and cognition. When considering school readiness, it is important that parents do not compare a child to another child. It is quite common for some children to develop certain skills earlier than another. Just because your child is not yet to be able to do certain things does not necessar-

ily mean that your child is not ready for primary school. What are the characteristics of a child who is ready for mainstream primary school in Singapore? General readiness involves a child being able to: Follow structured daily routines Take care of personal grooming and hygiene needs Work independently without supervision in tasks that he/she has the skills to do Listen and pay attention Follow simple rules Play and get along with other children Communicate and to seek help when needed Academic readiness means a child can: Write their own name Count meaningfully up to 10, recognize numbers, and arrange numbers in the correct order Recite and recognize the letters of the alphabet Recognize between 10-15 commonly used words (from high frequency word list) Identify shapes and colours Copy words and numbers from the board (from near the board and far away from the board) So with such demands placed on both children and parents with regard to schooling, what can parents do to promote school readiness during the preschool years? Establish and implement household routine to provide some structure to your child daily activity Develop your child’s sense of wonder and curiosity by encouraging your child

to think about the world around them. Encourage play that stimulate your child creativity, imagination, and problem solving skills Encourage cooperative play involving other children to develop your child’s social skills Instil sense of responsibility by assigning simple chores such as putting toys, laundry and other personal belongings away

Teach skills that allows your child to do things for themselves competently Read to your child daily Enrol you child in a preschool programme and ensure his regular attendance What can you do if you have concerns regarding your child’s school readiness? Ask your child’s teacher if she also shares the same thoughts. Your child’s teacher is rightly sited to compare your child’s development to his peers. Seek the opinion of professionals such

as an educational psychologist or a developmental paediatrician if your concerns are not resolved thereafter. What to do if you feel your child may not be ready for Primary 1? When a child may not yet be ready to attend Primary 1, deferment of Primary 1 is an option for parents to consider. Deferment is a provision to delay entry to Primary 1 that parents may consider when there is a strong reason to do so. Deferment may be considered in situation whereby a child displays symptoms of not being sufficiently mature, ready, or suitable for Primary 1. Parents may wish to defer for the purpose of allowing time for intensive early intervention. When utilised effectively, deferment allows a child to narrow the gap and to be more on par with the cohort at the starting line. How do I apply for deferment? To explore the option of deferment, your child’s school readiness needs to be professionally assessed. This is usually done by an educational psychologist who may be found in restructured hospitals and private practices. Assessment reports, supporting documents, and completed forms are to be forwarded together to the Compulsory Education Unit of the Ministry of Education for consideration 6 months ahead of the commencement of the next school year. It should be noted that recommendation for deferment is not binding. Parents hold the prerogative to decide what’s best for their child. For more information regarding schooling in Singapore consult the following government website: compulsory-education/

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children's day special

Child Of Our Time Introducing Gen X, Y And Z "You’ve probably heard this phrase a couple of times or maybe, you have said it so yourself! So, how are children from this generation different as compared to the past generation? By Som YEwYa


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Let us take a glimpse of the different generations of children from the 1960s to the 21st century. Gen X: Also known as “The Lost Generation” Born between 1965 to 1980 This was the period of faltering econ-

omy and rising divorce rates. Double income families were common as more women joined the workforce. With that came the emergence of the ‘latch-key’ kids. Gen X saw how their parents strive for the family and undergo times of recession. Gen X was the first generation where technology was introduced and integrated into the everyday life. Common characteristics of The Gen X child:  independent, adaptable and resilient  recognises the importance of hard work and family  competitive  short attention span  pragmatic approach to life Gen Xers are in their 40s now and mostly parents to Gen Y or Gen Z kids. They are usually independent, adaptable and resilient. Family-work life balance hold value to them. Gen Y: Also known as “The Millenials”, “Net Gen”, “Echo Boomers”

 has a strong sense of entitlement  ambitious with high expectations  not afraid to ask questions  good multi-tasker and team player  learns on the go and grasps new concepts  is tech-savvy  is impatient  i s tolerant of diversity in opinions, different races and culture Communicating with the Gen Y: New ways of communication have to be used to engage the constantly wired Gen Y. They are better engaged kinaesthetically and visually. Technology is a helpful tool to introduce learning to Gen Y. They prefer f luidity of time when doing things as opposed to rigid deadlines. Feedback drives their performance. Gen Yers are commonly misunderstood to be apathetic and self-indulgent, when possibly they just have a different mentality of doing things. Gen Z: Also known as “iGen”

Born between 1981 to 1999

Born between 1999 - 2009

Gen Y grew up in the world of information technology. Instant gratification was key. When they like a song, they rarely wait for the album. They download it. Gen Y was brought up during the empowerment years where parents began to be more educated and hands-on. Common characteristics of The Gen Y child :  self-expression of opinions is valued over self-control

‘Digital” is in their DNA. They grow up in a world of avatars and out-multitask Gen Y. Their consumption and use of entertainment is on equal footing with their parents – it’s not unusual to have parents as Facebook friends or as allies in an online multiplayer game. iGen kids are not kids for very long before they are also consumers. iGen customises and processes things on the go. Instead of downloading a song, they rate and review it, re-post it or

even blog about it. Common characteristics of the iGen child:  i s constantly connected socially and emotionally  has higher awareness of global issues and environmentally aware  celebrates individuality  is self-directed  processes information rapidly; multimedia can be an interactive teaching tool  tendency to compare with others Communicating with iGen Some people lament the loss of communication for Generation I. Perhaps another way of looking at it is the evolution of communication. For instance, Skype and Whatsapp have redefined communication in a new way, allowing children to keep in touch with parents on business trips. Being highly exposed to internet content has its cons too and as parents, it would be wise to keep a discerning eye out, or even teach your child how to screen information. It is also good to disconnect at times and have some unstructured outdoor play. What comes after Gen Z? Sociologists and social researchers have claimed the next brood of babies (born from 2012) to be Generation Alpha, or Gen A in short. According to experts, they will be the most formally educated generation in history, and they will begin school earlier and study longer. Growing up in an era where information is abundant and easily accessible, children from this generation are expected to be more tech-savvy and materialistic than their predecessors.

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children's day special

“My wish as a mother and as an educator is for the process of growing up to be a happy and enjoyable one for all children. Children should be nurtured to think, not given a road to travel to a common destination, they should decide on their own route. Their time is not a colouring book, we should not fill them up till we can't see any white space. Free time for play is an integral part of growing up, you will be surprise with what they actually learn when playing.” Eileen Yeo, Executive Director of Kids Gallery Singapore (Eileen with her two girls)

“Good moral values, develop resilience and a sense of personal responsibility, strong sense of community and fairness, a passion for learning and a desire for excellence and more support for children with special needs.” Joranna Ang, K2 Teacher at Learning Vision at Ministry of Education

“My Wish For Today’s Children Is…” In conjunction with Children's Day, TNAP asked a few preschool educators what are their hopes and dreams for today’s children. “Stay curious and bright even in the face of adversity, be imaginative and always dream about possibilities.”

“To build and raise resilient children which can provide them with the tools they need to respond to the challenges of adolescence and young adulthood and to navigate successfully in adulthood.”

Lim Yu Jie, Tots Teacher, Between 2 Trees Preschool

Jasmine Teo, English Teacher at LEAP SchoolHouse(Teacher Jasmine, in orange, with parents and their toddlers)


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“It is my dream for today’s children to be nurtured into confident individuals who are able to make the right decisions for themselves. They should be individuals who contribute to the society and be people who have strong morals and core values strongly instilled in them.” Kavitha Rajahendran, K2 Teacher, MindChamps Pre-School at Paragon(Teacher Kavitha, far left with her class children)

“Happiness and acceptance for all my children.” Kris Edward Borja, Occupational Therapist at The Children's Therapy Centre (Teacher Kris with his client, Sage)

“I hope to see the children under my care be successful as they get to live their dreams. I believe that today's children are tomorrow's best hope for the future!”

“I hope for them to be able to build their confidence in coping with the academic demands of today, not give up and eventually strive towards becoming what they want to be.” Sangeetha Periasamy, K1/K2 teacher at Blossom Creative Centre (Teacher Sangeetha, with a child from her class)

Daya, K1 Teacher, Kinderland Child Care at Ministry of Manpower Building

“I hope that, in a world which bombards children with new technologies and consumerism, they manage to hold on to fundamentally good values in childhood, such as love, kindness, awareness and play. I also hope that all children in every part of the world can enjoy education, health, love, confidence and have their human rights satisfied.” Huang Ying, Head of Chengzhu Mandarin Centre(Huang Ying, with her son)

“My wish for today's children, especially in their early years, is to grow to become aware, and embrace diversity in one another. Through supportive relationships, that they recognize that they are valued and loved, and grow to feel positively about themselves.” Cynthia Tan, Vice Principal, The Caterpillar's Cove


Those Were The Days Feature interview with Janet Doman, Esther Lim and Brian Caswell Ever wondered what was it like growing up as a child for these educators? Janet Doman, Director of The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential (The Institutes) grew up at The Institutes and was pitching in to help brain-injured children by the time she was nine years old. Esther Lim, CEO & Founder of LEAP SchoolHouse, remembers how her childhood mostly revolves around doing things with her mother and playing catch throughout the whole block of flats with her neighbours. Brian Caswell, Dean Research and Program Development for MindChamps, grew up in the mountain country of North Wales and England, before moving to Australia at the age of 12. Michelle Ang brought them back to nostalgia lane, as they shared with TNAP where they grew up, how they spent their childhood and their thoughts on today’s children growing up. TNAP: Which childhood era were you from? Janet: I am a baby boomer. I was born in 1948 and I graduated from High School in 1967.


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Brian Caswell

Esther: My childhood days range in the 1970s era. (Now you know my age!) Brian: Late 1950s to mid-1960s. TNAP: Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Janet: I grew up at The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For me it was an ideal childhood. First, we are very lucky to have a beautiful campus that gave me a woods to play in, a large garden to plant every year and beautiful shrubs, trees and flowers to care for and enjoy. As a child, I loved every inch of it and I still do. Second, although my parents were working very hard they were always close by and I could be with them whenever I

wanted to be. This was wonderful because it allowed me to be a part of the world of the children and adults who were brain –injured and needed help. Esther: I grew up in a ‘no-room, no hall’ rental flat in Toa Payoh as a young child till I went to primary school. My father was the sole breadwinner. My childhood mostly revolves around doing things with my mother and playing catch throughout the whole block with children from the same block of flats (that’s how we became friends). I think those were really pretty carefree days! Brian: I was born in Wales in 1954. I grew up in Wales and England, before moving to Australia at the age of 12. I had a wonderful childhood considering we had very little

money, because my parents never allowed anything to become a barrier. My early years were spent in the mountain country of North Wales, where there was great opportunity to explore Nature and connect with the land. As we could not afford to buy books, and there were no libraries, my mother solved the problem by writing stories during the day and reading them to us at night, bringing the characters to life for us, and encouraging us to join in with the story-telling. I grew up with the understanding that stories were something you created and shared, not something you bought and consumed. I think it is largely responsible for making myself and my brothers comfortable with our imagination and creativity, in turn enabling us to spend our lives ‘pushing the boundaries’ when necessary. TNAP:How did you spend your childhood? Janet: I was permitted to help from a very early age and this gave me opportunities that were invaluable as I grew up. I always thought that I was a staff member. Of course I went to school which was fine but I loved to be home with my parents, the hurt kids and the staff working in the clinic doing whatever job they gave me to do. Esther: We were a middle class family so there were no fancy toys to play with and outings to look forward to every weekend. I do remember going to my grandma’s place every Saturday evening. On my maternal side, I have 9 Uncles and Aunties so I had loads of cousins to play with. Mid-Autumn and Dumpling Festival, Chinese New Year Eve, I remember having loads of fun during those occasions! We would makekuehs along the HDB corridors (Yes, we did that! ), steam homemade bak-chang and fight for

that last morsel of mooncake. My mother, I must say, is really creative in planning things out for my brother and myself to occupy our time. She would suss through papers to see if there are interesting community centre activities for us to participate in and trips to the library was always an agenda. So as a young girl, I participated in block art competitions, attended sewing and crochet lessons at the community centres. On the rare occasions when my father did not have to work, there would be morning walks in the parks or to the Macritchie Reservoir for a jog. I always look forward to those days as it means a hearty breakfast treat after that! Brian: In Wales, we spent a lot of our time exploring the meadows and woods around where we lived (often with adult supervision, but sometimes when it was safe, we explored alone). Our parents believed in ‘discovery learning’ – that you remember best what you discover for yourself, rather than what you are ‘taught’. In England (from the age of 6 onwards), we played sport, went on trips along the canals in a boat that my father built in the back-yard, and had a house full of animals (My father, by that time was an RSPCAinspector). The ‘hands-on’ experiences with the animals taught us more than any course in biology. My father had left school early, without much formal education, so he spent the rest of his life educating himself. He was interested in everything and the house was littered with books on all subjects.Because of my early exposure, this inculcated a life-long love of reading. I naturally devoured, boosting my general knowledge exponentially. As a result, school was never a difficulty, as there was nothing they tried to teach me that was

anywhere near as challenging as what I was reading on my own at home. TNAP: In your opinion, what is the biggest difference between children of today versus children of the past? Janet: When I was a child most mothers were home with their children. Brothers and sisters spent a lot of time with each other and with other kids in their neighborhood. We were outside, in bare feet, building forts, climbing trees and playing every night and all weekend long from April to November when it got cold out. Then we switched to winter gear and did pretty much the same thing. We did not spend our time inside, ever. Inside was a punishment to us. I know of modern kids who are never outside, who have never walked in bare feet except on a beach, who have never climbed a tree or built a fort or played capture the

Esther and her second daughter, Liz Evalynn

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flag until midnight. We would leave our houses and go for adventures in the woods or down in the big city independently. We spent time with our parents of course but we also had a lot of independent time when we explored and went on adventures by ourselves. This was so important. The modern child spends huge amounts of time in front of a TV, or a computer or an iPad or iphone being passive and frankly producing very little. I wonder do brothers and sisters play much together these days? How much do they take care of their younger brothers and sisters? I was a second mother to my baby brother who was four years younger and this was a huge part of my early life. I loved taking care of him and it taught me a lot. Do modern kids have that opportunity or are their little brothers and sisters off in day care all day?

Esther: Children nowadays have a great many more opportunities to literally see the world than I had. In my time, we could only read about different countries and their culture through books. Now, there is digital media to support that experience and of course, not to mention the opportunity to travel and experience first-hand. Parents are also in a better position to support and afford learning and exposure. For myself, even a meal to a fast food restaurant then was considered a treat. Affluence has definitely opened up opportunities for children to see and experience more than I did. Brian: The most telling difference between my childhood and the present, however, is today’s lack of time. Time to explore, time to experiment, time to be a child – which means, most importantly, time to play. Today, many children, especially in a built-up, Janet and her father, Glenn Doman

‘citified’ environment like Singapore, lack a connection with Nature and the stimulating complexity of the natural environment. An urban environment is certainly complex, but it can tend to be overwhelming rather than stimulatory in its sensory demands. It is a hard-edged environment which tends to exclude, isolate and compartmentalise – to present barriers to engagement – except when the commercial aspect almost hysterically invites consumption (but not necessarily engagement). The natural environment, on the other hand, whilst it is at least as complex, presents few barriers to engagement – and is not trying to sell you anything. For a child, it presents the opportunity to explore, engage and experiment, in a way the ‘bricks and mortar’ (and steel and glass) do not. TNAP: What qualities or values do you think today’s children may lack, as compared to children who grew up in the past? Janet: I worry how modern children can have a love of nature and any affinity for animals when they spend so little time in contact with nature. I worry that modern children have such scheduled lives that they have no time for adventure, exploration or discovery. These three things are the heart and soul of what being a kid is all about. I worry that modern children are exposed to so much “adult content” and abnormal adult behavior via, TV, movies and the internet that they may end up with a very confused idea of right and wrong. I noticed when I go to plays and movies that youngsters in the audience often cheer the villains or sneer at real moments of affection or tenderness. Why is this so? Esther: Because things come so easily (through their parents) for kids now, I feel

the sense to treasure and appreciate is really lacking in children. They also are not as sensitive to other’s feelings and the need to care and share is not as deep. Brian: I don’t think our children ‘lack’ qualities and values. I think that they lack, often, the experiences which provide the opportunities to develop them. TNAP:Howdo you think parents can do to make up for this ‘loss’? Janet: Spend more time at home with your children when they are babies or little kids Read to your children from a very young age until the day they move out Get out of the house with your older kids and go for those adventures Do real things: walk, run, bike, swim, climb, build, explore! Make clear rules of conduct and stick to them - be consistent Teach your children what is right and what is wrong Teach your children about what is important in life and what is not important Don’t get a television or use it rarely Make strictrules about the use of the computer Enjoy each other - the time together will go by very, very rapidly - you will regret every minute that you were not with your kids Esther: Build opportunities for the children to see the importance of these values. Time to reflect and appreciate is the key. Kids today are born in an era where they take many things for granted and as a given. I don’t blame them because they have not been through the process of having to work hard for something, and need not too. I am hoping to share with my children, when they

Brian Caswell as a child

are older, opportunities to do community work so that they understand that what they have is a gift, not a given. Brian: All children have imagination. It is up to us as parents, grandparents and care givers to provide opportunities for that imagination to flourish. All children are capable of empathy and caringfor others. It is up to us to encourage these qualities, perhaps by introducing the responsibility of caring for a pet, or involving them in the care of a younger sibling or an old person. Responsibility is harder to develop if we have a maid (or a parent) who picks up after us and does the jobs which in previous generations were the ‘responsibility’ of children (a way of training the expectations of the child, so that responsibility was slowly developed). Children only come to feel ‘entitled’ if they are treated that way from a young age. Therefore, as parents, we need to remember that a certain level of expectation on our part is necessary, if future responsible attitudes are to develop. Give the child certain tasks

which are no longer the responsibility of the maid (or the parent), and he/she will not grow up expecting that the world will do everything for him/her. But above all, we must not constantly protect our children from ‘failure’. As a society, we have developed a belief that our children’s successes somehow reflect upon us as parents, so we tend to ensure success at the first attempt – even if that success is not truly the child’s success. Trial and error, failure and success are how children learn. It is far easier to provide the right answer (or the tutor) than it is to guide a child through a series of failed attempts before ‘the penny drops’ – but it is the process that is important, not the answer. A problem only has value if the child tries and fails and tries until he/she succeeds. It is only then that the true lesson is learned – the understanding that transfers to other learning situations. But in order to gain this advantage, the child must first ‘fail’ – perhaps more than once. TNAP: Any advice on how parents can bridge the generation gap with their kids? Janet: We have all been taught that there is a “Generation Gap”. It is an artificial gap that is a product of the unnatural and abnormal way that we are abandoning our children at a very early age. Tiny babies are placed together in large groups and taken care of by strangers all day long. Little children are put in “play groups” or “preschool” where they have little or no contact with their own mother, father or grandparents. Kids spend too much time with other kids of the same age from whom they can learn very little. They march in locked step with their own age group and come to have a kind of “group thinking”. Individuality is frowned upon.The “group think” is often that of the


least capable and least bright members of the group. Does all of this sound like a good idea or a bad idea? It is surely an experiment of modern times. So far the results do not look good. Children who are raised by their own parents and spent their childhoods learning from their parents develop a life-long love and respect for their parents. This is the natural bond that exists between parents and their children when the children get the time and attention that they need and want. Esther: It starts from when the kids are young. The younger generation needs to learn respect and trust and in return, the older generation needs to also understand and move with the times to catch up with topics to talk about and activities that as a family, both you and your children can share. I give an example: I cannot understand and appreciate the genre of music by many

of the popular artistes like Lady Gaga, but I learn to listen to those forms of music and use that to bridge the gap to talk and communicate with my eldest. I also learn to watch certain cartoon programmes and have conversations with my younger ones on what’s happening in the scenes. The presence of generation gaps occurs when you shut the door to sharing and communicating with them. Don’t you think so? Brian: I do not believe in a ‘generation gap’. More often than not, it is not the ‘generation’ difference that is the root cause of problems. Rather, it is something much more fundamental. More often than not, the problem is simply one of communication. In our book “The Art of Communicating with Your Child”, David Chiem and I set out ‘7 Golden Rules’ for communicating with young people.Essentially these rules can be summarised in a simple statement:

Esther, with her family


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Give yourself the time and opportunity to communicate. Time is an invaluable commodity in the modern world, but we all have to eat, so make sure that dinner is an electronic (and phone)-free zone. Try establishing the tradition that we had in our house, which was what we called, ‘Highs and Lows’. For example, during dinner time, we have a ‘High or Low’ session where each family member would ask each other what was the high-point or the low-point of their day. Simply choosing one aspect of the day to talk about opened up discussions which help solve looming problems or celebrate successes, but more importantly, it kept the lines of communication open. No-one ever said that parenting was easy (at least, no-one who’s ever done it!), but we don’t have to make it harder than it needs to be. If we simply respect our children enough to discuss things with them, rather than assuming dictatorial roles, they, in turn, learn to respect us and our position. A family is not a democracy – young children are not capable, always, of making the crucial decisions – but they do have the right to be heard; to contribute to our decision-making. On the other hand, though we have the responsibility to make key decisions, we owe them the respect of explaining those decisions – even if they don’t like them. The ‘generation gap’ will only result from a lack of this mutual respect – and that inevitably grows from a lack of communication. Whether it is growing up in a beautiful campus withlush flora and fauna, or growing up in a ‘no-room-no-hall’ rental flat in Toa Payoh, orspending one’s early years in the mountain country of North Wales, our own unique childhood experiences that our environment and parents provided, mould us to who we are today.

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Let’s Get

Green & Crafty! Duration: 3 days

Introduction Airplants are also known as Tillandsias. They are famous members of the pineapple family. They do not need soil to grow as they absorb the nutrients and water from the leaves instead of the roots. They require minimal care:  Good air circulation  Sunlight or artificial lights  Spray the whole plant thoroughly 1-3 times a week and the water on the plant must be allowed to dry within 4 hours. Purpose: Learn about science - Children can learn that some plants not only get their

By Poppletots

nutrients from roots but from leaves  Care and importance of nature A  great bonding session for you and your child A  ‘green’ and novel gift idea for special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas Materials Needed:  Airplants  Craft white glue  Soluble varnish gloss  Glue gun and glue sticks or E6000 glue  Pebbles  Acrylic paints and brushes D  ecorative items such as sequins, plastic gem stones, moveable eyes, feathers, sticks, pom-pom

Day 1 – Paint the Pebbles Method:  Paint the pebbles with any colours you want using acrylic paint  Time to be creative! You can use other tools such as the ends of a straw, your fingers, tooth picks or chopsticks to create different texture and patterns on the pebbles A  fter 30 minutes, apply a thin layer of soluble varnish on each painted stone A  llow the painted pebbles to dry for 1 day


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End Product after Day 1 Day 2 – Decorate the Pebbles Method:  Decorate the painted pebbles with different decorative items. E.g. Plastic gems, sequins, moveable eyes, pom-pom and shells  Use craft glue to stick decorative pieces on the painted pebbles  If your child is between 2 - 4 years of age, you may need to assist them in this. Have a conversation with your child and let them express their ideas for their stone. If your child is stuck, you can facilitate by starting the activity with a theme in mind  If your child is 5 years and above, allow him or her to self-explore and express his/her work of art  Allow the decorated pebbles to dry for ½ - 1 day

End Product after Day 2 Day 3 – Attaching the Airplant to the pebbles (requires parent’s assistance and supervision) Method:  Heat up the glue-gun with a glue stick or use E6000 glue  Identify the position of where you want to attach your Airplant on the decorated pebbles  Squeeze sufficient glue on the decorated pebble and place the Airplant  If child is below the age of 4, parent should be carrying this task out  If child is above the age of 4, the child can assist the parent in placing the Airplant on the required position

Caution: H  eated glue-gun is very hot, so keep it away from young children U  se only glue-gun with glue stick or E6000 glue to attach Airplant to the decorated pebbles as it has a stronger hold

About Poppletots Poppletots was started in 2010 by a mom who left her job to be spend more time with her child. Poppletots aims to provide unique, fun and useful children related products such as educational kits and apparels. Within 2 years, Poppletots has become a fun-going cosy community for reviews and parents to exchange ideas. Find out more at

Final Product

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Recipe for



Make: 7-8 crepes Ingredients 50g wholemeal flour 60g plain flour, sifted 300ml milk (at room temperature) 15g melted unsalted butter (refer to note 1) 1 large egg about 64g (at room temperature) Pinch of salt 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

Methods  In a large mixing bowl, combine the wholemeal flour, sifted plain flour and salt.  In another bowl, beat egg. Add in sugar and beat until sugar is dissolved.  Stir in milk and mix. Then followed by melted butter.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients in step (1).


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Fold in the wet ingredients with a hand whisk until well combined and the batter is smooth and creamy. Then change to a rubber spatula to scrap off the batter that sticks to the side and bottom of the mixing bowl.  To avoid lumps in the batter, use the back of the spoon to press it through a sieve.  Cover the mixing bowl and leave it to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature or chill in the fridge.  HNotes: eat a non-stick frying pan (20cm or 8 in) on medium heat. Lightly grease the pan with butter. Pour a ladle of mixture onto the center of the pan and swirl it to form thin layer of batter.  Cook for 1 to 1 ½ minutes until the edges begin to lift and lightly golden brown underneath. Slip in a spatula under the crepe and flip it over. Continue to cook for a further 30 seconds to a minute.  Continue with the same process until the batter is fully used up. You  Serve cold or warm with your favourite toppings and fillings. Notes: 1. Rather than using a mix of plain and whole wheat flour, you can use 100% of either one. 2. Cut butter into large cubes and put into a small bowl. Transfer the bowl to a sauce pan filled with water. Heat up the sauce pan under medium low heat. Stir the butter occasionally. When it’s fully melted, remove the bowl from the sauce pan. Set aside to cool. (refer to photo at this link) 3. For a short cut, you can skip step (1) to (4) and whisk all the ingredients in a blender. 4. It’s not a must to grease the pan each time before making the next crepe. 5. You can make the batter in advance and stored in the fridge for overnight.

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Homemade Peanut Butter Recipe for

Yield: 350g peanut butter (one normal jar size for jam) Ingredients 2 cups raw peanuts (plus extra ½ cup if making chunky peanut butter) (note 1) 2-2½ tbsp peanut oil or any vegetable oil (I used extra virgin olive oil) 3-4 tbsp raw sugar, brown sugar or honey (I used organic raw sugar) * ½ tsp salt * * It’s merely a suggestion. You can use any amount or omit them according to your personal preference.

Methods  Rinse peanuts under running water. Pat dry with kitchen towel and leave to air dry.  Preheat oven at 170°C.  Spread the raw peanuts in a single layer on a shallow baking tray and roast them for 25-30 minutes. The roasting time varies depending on the size of the peanuts. Shaking the pan and stirring the peanuts every 10 minutes to ensure that they are roasted evenly. If the skins turn dark brown, the peanuts appear to be slightly golden brown and smell fragrant, you can remove them from the oven. Give it a test taste to check. Do not overcook the peanuts as they will continue to cook and turn crunchy after


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cooling down.  After the peanuts have cooled completely, remove the skins.  Place 2 cups of peanuts into a blender or food processor and grind. During the blending process, the peanut texture will turn from being coarse to fine, and finally it

at step 5 to ensure that they are fully dissolved.) Continue to process until it becomes smooth and creamy or the consistency you desire. Taste the peanut butter and adjust the amount of seasoning to your liking.

becomes sticky (as seen in photo #3). You will need to stop once in a while to scrap down the side. I don’t have a powerful blender. So, I need to grind my peanuts in batches to complete this step.  Stir in sugar, salt and oil. (Note: If you are using raw sugar, add them together with the peanuts

Notes: 1. I used red-skinned peanuts which I bought from Hock Hua Tonic. You may use any kind of peanuts that are available to you. Be sure that they are good for roasting and not the type for making soup. If you’re not sure, check with the shop assistant. If you’re short of time, you can buy unsalted roasted peanuts from the local stores/ supermarkets. 2. Instead of roasting, you can dry fry your peanuts using the following method:“Rinse peanuts until running water. Pat dry with kitchen towel and leave to air dry. In a wok/ cooking pan, dry fry (without oil) peanuts with low heat until fragrant, the skin turns dark brown and the internal colour is tan. It will take about 20-25 minutes or so. Set aside and let them cool down.” 3. The oil helps to accelerate the blending process. It will also make the peanut butter thinner and smoother.

 Pour it into a jar and store in the fridge. It will be good for 2 weeks.

As peanuts also produce oil themselves during the grinding process, so wait until the later stage of blending to add in the oil. 4. For chunky peanut butter: Stir in an extra ½ cup of roasted and skinless peanuts after step 6 and process a few more seconds to create the chunks in your peanut butter. 5. You can use the same method to make other nut butter such as almond butter. 6. If you see a layer of oil appearing on the top of the peanut butter, never drain it off as they are full of good fats. Just stir it completely into the peanut butter. 7. As this peanut butter doesn’t contain any preservatives, it should be stored in the refrigerator. The chilled peanut butter will harden slightly, but will turn soft easily if spread on toasted bread or left in room temperature.

Low Lai Kuan is a stay-at-home mother who is passionate about providing a well-balanced and healthy meal to her family. Since 2008, she started her food blog to share about cooking for toddlers. Several of her works had been featured in newspapers, magazine and online media. Her website:

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Raising Eager

Readers Writers And

7 Secrets To Raise Kids Who Love To Read And Write


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Raising an eager reader and writer is not as difficult as one thinks. The trick is to start early and make the process a fun and exciting one. Better yet, create it as a bonding moment between you and your child. Nothing beats a great time squirming together with your child over a great read or creating that mystery story! By Esther Lim


Here are some secrets to getting it all started! 1) Pick up that book! Start by becoming a bookworm yourself. You will be surprised at how quick the children pick up the habit of reading just by wanting to be like daddy and mummy. Get the children interested in print by sharing a comic strip with them or an interesting advertisement that you have noticed in the magazine this week. Talking to them about what is being read about allows them to see the connection between communication and print.

More importantly, it builds understanding from learning to read to reading to learn. 2) Making, creating, processing Get children to start appreciating the value of reading and writing by surrounding them with things that they can have fun working on and in the process, enjoy the fun of decoding and creating. Colouring books, pen and paper, writing and craft materials are great to start with. Making and getting their hands working works on comprehension and problem solving skills, skills that are important for meaning making to take place. Start by making the reading and writing process something that is part of recreation and day-today activities. 3) Make reading fun, fun, fun Animate, sing, play with puppets. The literacy process should be inductive and amusing. It’s a great time for you to bond with your child and spend meaningful time together laughing and creating too. Write the lyrics of the songs that you are singing to and paste them on the fridge door. Encourage wriggles and squiggles as they are the beginning of writing. 4) Let’s play a game together Constantly make the link between ‘why read and why write’ explicit and simple for the child to find confidence and interest to do it. Visited the zoo recently?Find pictures of the animals you saw and spell their names together by tracing out the letters on paper. When children can see that reading and writing are ways to understand the world around them and respond, it will be much easier for them to move into meaning making with print.

5) Why and Why not? I love to get my children to draw what they like and then explain what they have drawn to me. After that, they would pick up a letter, word or sentence that they would like to learn how to read or write about. I would then write it out to them. For the rest of the week, we will go back to what we have written and reinforce the shared word(s). Familiarity is built from exposure and simple exercises like this makes children’s baby steps to reading and writing stress-free. Besides, it is really fun to hear what they have to say about the words they want to learn about. Try it! 6) Look around and discover Children learn best when there is meaning to what is being shared with them. Immerse them into role play and pretend games builds up vocabulary and content knowledge that is a precedent to making print. Learning about colours? Play with paint. What is sand? Bring them to the beach and take an evening stroll by the breakwaters to tickle their senses. 7) In time it will come Just as we celebrate when our little ones utter their first word, do not fret when they are not starting the reading or writing process as yet. In time and with the right encouragement, it will come forth. As parents, other than the knowledge, we must provide the patience and belief that our little ones are capable of being the next great orator or writer. Take those baby steps with them and when the time comes for them to take that giant leap into the world of words, support and excite them by surrounding them in print rich environments like the library or the bookshops. Have fun!

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kid's gallery Time to do it with mummy

Shape Up with ART! "H" for house

Give me a High 5

Circle Time

This term’s theme is on shapes! Teacher Ration gets the toddlers to warm up with a few stretching exercises and action songs during her 15 minute circle time. She sang some beloved nursery songs with the kids and encouraged them to speak by leaving pauses for them to complete her sentence.

Teacher Ration reads the book The Shape of Things by Dayle Ann Dodds

In two more lessons, we will have our own kites!

Teacher Ration

Warm and friendly, Teacher Ration demonstrates how each activity is done in simple and clear terms, and goes around to assist parents and the tots during the art activity. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communications and Major Advertising from LaSalle College of the Arts. Teaching at Kid's Gallery since it started in 2010, she has also worked with local and international with young children as a camp trainer.

Paint away!

We can paint

Having done the front of the kites the previous by drawing many week (stain painting), now it was time to paint big circles… the back. After painting with thick paint brushes (a good choice for young tots to get a better grip), they went on to paint their kite handles with their hands! The younger ones were a little apprehensive at first, but you can see how they slowly warm up to the paint. As their hands were already covered with paint, Teacher Ration proceeded to do some hand painting. With their coloured hands, the kids happily ‘painted’ on their paper. Not to worry, the paint used are all non-toxic and washable.


You can tell the curriculum has been carefully planned, with each class building upon the previous one, and how each activity flows seamlessly one after the other. Each theme spreads across 4 weeks. Kid's Gallery BookStart Program (for 16mth – 2.5 yrs) aims to encourage a love of language, through the use of storybooks, non-fiction books, art projects, role playing, games and singing. Parents are required to sit in with their kids during this 1 hour class. For more info Call 6235 5993 or go to

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Congratulations to the Finalists of

the Photogenic Baby Contest! Freja Birgersson

photogenic baby contest Meredith Wong

Justin Lee


Sneaky Sugars

Sugar comes in various forms! While feasting on sweet treats this coming holidays, watch out for these hidden sugars as well. Dr Chin Shou King, Director and Dental Surgeon at T32 JuniorDental Centre tells us more.  Watch out for sweets, sodas, canned fruit, biscuits, cookies, cakes, pastries, fruit juices, dried and preserved fruits. These are the common “hidden sugars” in a child’s diet.

 Avoid fizzy drinks and sodas like Coke. These drinks lower the pH level in the mouth and create an acidic environment where bacteria can thrive in.

 Try to avoid giving your child sticky chewy sweets like toffees and pastilles that cling on to the pits and fissures of teeth and are hard to brush off.

 Although healthy with natural vitamins and anti-oxidants, fruits and fruit juice also contains sugar and if taken excessively can still cause tooth decay.


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 Some cereals are sugar coated or contain raisins which also have high sugar content.  Ideally, all such snacks should be given directly after a meal as the salivary content in the mouth will be high and can dilute the harmful effect of the sugars effectively.  Avoid giving snacks in between meals when the mouth is very dry and the effects of the sugars are maximized. Practice Address: One Orchard Boulevard, Camden Medical Centre (17th Floor) Tel: (65) 6733 1388 Email: Website:


The ABCs

Of Common Childhood Illnesses In a general paediatric clinic in the Singapore heartlands, besides providing routine vaccinations, paediatricians care for a whole range of childhood illnesses. It may range from minor ailments to serious diseases requiring hospitalisation. Some of the more common conditions are discussed here.


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By Dr Eugene Han, Paediatrician from SBCC Baby & Child Clinic

A is for… Allergic rhinitis When there is an overreaction of the immune system to particles in the air, producing clear mucus, nasal congestion, sneezing, itch and eye tearing; allergic rhinitis is suspected. Cough may also develop when mucus drips from behind the nose down to the throat. Family history of sensitive nose is commonly present. Common triggers include house dust mites, mould, animal fur and cigarette smoke. Short-term relief with antihistamines, topical saline or decongestants may be used. Long-term control of symptoms may include allergy avoidance, oral montelukast, topical corticosteroids or sublingual immunotherapy.

Asthma Asthma is the swelling and narrowing of the airways from chronic inflammation that results in airway sensitivity to several triggers. Common triggers are exposure to house dust mites or animal fur; viral infections, exercise and cigarette smoke. Children with asthma may develop wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and chronic cough. In severe attacks, asthma can be fatal. There is no known cure for asthma, so treatment is targeted at reducing symptoms of asthma to enable the child to have a normal, active life. Acute attacks are treated with salbutamol, usually via an inhaler and spacer, or a nebuliser. Equally important, long-term control is achieved with either inhaled corticosteroids or oral

montelukast. The medications for longterm control need to be used regularly for a period of time and then reviewed – doses should be adjusted according to the severity of symptoms.

B is for… Bronchiolitis Bronchiolitis is a viral infection of the air passages to the lungs. It affects children below the age of 2 years, with the peak at around 6 months. Symptoms include fever, cough, wheezing or noisy breathing, breathlessness and lethargy. Treatment is supportive as most medications do not have significant effects. Encouraging plenty of fluids and getting rest is enough in most cases. Severe cases, however, may require hospital admission for oxygen and/or an intravenous drip.

C is for… Chickenpox This is also a very contagious viral disease that causes fever and itchy red blisters all over the body. The illness lasts around 2 weeks and recovers spontaneously. Chickenpox vaccination can prevent this disease, but this is not part of the routine vaccination schedule. Most children will

have mild disease and do not need specific treatment other than anti-itch medications. However, in certain cases, the antiviral acyclovir may be used to lessen the severity of the disease, provided it is used within 24 hours of the rash onset.

Cold (Upper respiratory tract infection) This is the most common reason for a child’s visit to the clinic. Colds are caused by a viral infection and spread very easily. The symptoms are runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever. As this condition usually lasts a week and improves on its own, medications are not necessary. Medications may be used to control fever or for relief of severe symptoms.

Colic Defined as uncontrollable crying in a healthy baby for more than three hours in a row on three or more days a week for three weeks, colic can be a handful for baby and parents. It starts at 2-3 weeks of life and can persist until 3-4 months of age. Parents of these babies should avoid overfeeding and feeding juices. Breastfed mothers can avoid milk and dairy products; formula fed babies can switch to hypoallergenic formula. Swaddling, walking the baby with his legs drawn up, white noise and physical stimulation can also be helpful. Probiotics may be benefi-


This is the inflammation of the membrane which covers the eyeball. Your child may have a viral /bacterial infection or be allergic to something they have come into contact with. Your child’s eyes will feel red and sore and they will be itchy. Bright lights may be uncomfortable, and after sleeping the eye may be sticky and difficult to open. You should find out what is triggering the reaction – if it is an allergy, the source needs to be found. Consult your doctor.

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cial, but other colic medications should only be given after consulting a doctor. Overall, it is an episodic and self-limiting condition.

Constipation Constipation is characterised by hard, dry stools. Causes include withholding, a change in diet, and/or an inadequate intake of fluid or fibre. Children with constipation need to increase their water and fibre (fruits, vegetables and cereals) intake, together with a regular toilet routine. Laxatives are used for the more severe cases.

D is for… Diaper rash This is used to describe a red rash over a baby’s diaper area. Common causes include direct irritation from urine and stools, fungal (candida) infection. Treatment would depend on the cause and may include removing diapers for a few hours a day, anti-inflammatory or anti-fungal creams. Diaper rash can be prevented by keeping the diaper area dry, regular diaper change, limiting use of harsh soaps in diaper region and use of barrier creams (those containing zinc oxide).

E is for… Eczema Eczema is a genetic defect of the skin structure leading to chronic inflammation, causing dry, itchy skin commonly over the neck, arms and legs. There is usually a family history of eczema and is associated with asthma and allergic rhinitis. Most children outgrow this condition, but some may have to deal with it for several years.

Babies with eczema should be exclusively breastfed until the age of 6 months. Affected skin should be moisturised at least twice a day. Harsh soaps should be avoided. Corticosteroid creams may be required for active eczema. Treatment target is to prevent skin infection and improve quality of living.

G is for… Gastroenteritis (“Stomach flu”) This is an infection of the stomach and intestines, causing vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and abdominal pain. Most cases recover spontaneously, but dehydration may occur if oral intake is inadequate. Therefore, frequent but small amounts of fluids should be offered. Mild medications may be used to alleviate symptoms under doctor’s advice. Children with dehydration (extremely poor oral intake, lethargy, poor urine output), prolonged or bloody diarrhoea should be brought to medical attention.

H is for… Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease As the name suggests, this infection causes mouth ulcers, blisters on the palms and soles. A high fever commonly occurs. It is a very contagious viral disease that usually lasts 7 to 10 days and recovers without any specific treatment. The biggest concern is dehydration as a result of poor appetite from the painful mouth ulcers and fever. Thus, treatment is with oral pain relief and fever medications. In severe cases where oral intake is


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very poor, hospitalisation for an intravenous drip will be required. The blisters on the palms and soles do not need any treatment.

Heat rash Babies are prone to heat rash because they are unable to regulate their body temperature well. This tends to appear over the face, neck, shoulders and creases over the knees, groin and underarm. It is not serious and will soon disappear. Do ensure that the environment is not too hot and that there is adequate ventilation. Overdressing your baby can also cause heat rash.

Head injury Trauma to the head from a fall or getting struck by an object can result in scalp, skull and/or brain damage. As the scalp and face has a rich blood supply, even a small wound can cause profuse bleeding. Bruising and swelling can take days to weeks to resolve. Wounds should be kept clean and swelling improves with applying an ice pack. Vigorous rubbing of a bruise or swelling is not advised. However, it is the damage to the brain that is of greater concern. This is more likely in falls from heights or from high speeds (e.g. road traffic accidents). Signs of brain injury include drowsiness, irritability, persistent vomiting, abnormal walking and changes in behaviour. Should these symptoms appear, do seek urgent medical attention.

N is for‌ Nosebleed When the blood vessels in the inner lining of the nose break from trauma,


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Urinary tract infection

Bacteria can get into the urinary tract from the intestines, an abnormal urinary tract or through poor hygiene. Presenting with urinary pain or cloudy urine in older children, the only symptom may be fever in babies and young children. It is important to treat these infections with antibiotics because if left untreated, it may lead to kidney damage. By being aware of the common illnesses seen in children, parents can better monitor and understand their children. However, this article should not take the place of a professional medical consult if parents suspect that their child is unwell. sneezing hard or vigorous rubbing, profuse bleeding may occur. This is especially so in children with colds or allergic rhinitis. It is not serious in the majority of cases. In a nosebleed, sit the child up with the head forward and pinch the nose to control the bleeding. Do not insert anything into the nostrils. Do seek medical attention if the bleeding does not stop in 5 to 10 minutes.

S is for‌ Stye This is the inf lammation of the oil or sweat glands of the eyelid. It is caused by a bacteria infection and it causes redness, swelling and pain over the eyelid. Treatment involves applying a warm compress to the affected eyelid, antibiotics eye drops or ointment.

U is for‌ Urticaria (Hives) This is condition where red, raised patches appear suddenly on the skin. It is caused by release of histamine within the skin, causing itch, swelling and redness. Common triggers of urticaria are allergies to food or medicine, viral infections, changes in temperature or even direct pressure on skin. Treatment is with oral antihistamines and topical calamine lotion to relieve the itching. Severe cases may necessitate use of corticosteroids. Seek immediate medical attention if associated drowsiness, wheezing or breathlessness develops. Practice Address: Blk 726 Ang Mo Kio Ave 6 #01-4154 Tel: 6456 8874/ 6397 6966 (Hotline) Email:

Do you face the following problems? Your child dislike veggies? Your child has constipation? Your child fall ill easily?


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grandparents special


The Grands 56

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By Sarah Wong

Did you knowthe fourth Sunday of November has been designated Grandparents’ Day in Singapore? Grandparents are an important and special part of our children’s life. Their lavish love help the little ones blossom. Through sharing their life stories, they impart important values that help our children develop a strong sense of identity and history. How can we as parents encourage our children to have strong ties with their grandparents?If our extended families are living in different countries, how can we still foster a sense of closeness? Or if our children have never had the privilege of meeting their grandparents, how do we remember and honour their lives? Here are some ideas on how we can preserve our precious memories ofour Grandparents in our family legacy:

Photo Memory Books

We lived abroad for the first years of Baby Lee’s life. But during those early years, we made a simple album filled with the photographs of all our loved ones. We would look at the album often, almost daily, tell him who the different family members were and tell him how much they loved him. Our photo memory books soon became digital folders that were sorted by events and occasions like birthday celebrations and outings. It doesn’t matter whether it is just a basic photo album or a fancy scrapbook. What matters is that the children are able to look at pictures of these shared family times and be reminded of those special moments with Grandpa and Grandma.

Heritage Cuisine

Food has such an important place in our homes, not just because they fill our

hungry stomachs. Every family would have some signature dishes that someone would claim to be ‘the best ever’ or something that is always eaten at every family gathering. Record these signature family recipes from Grandpa or Great-grandma in a special family recipe book. Learn to prepare these from the experts themselves, and involve your children in the preparation.

Letters from Grandpa & Grandma

I recently found wonderful keepsake ‘About Grandpa’ and ‘About Grandma’ journals at a stationer. These are filled

with writing prompts for Grandpa or Grandma to complete, and with wide ranging of questions from ‘What is your favouritecolour’ to ‘How did you meet Grandma?’, you’ll be guaranteed an interesting and insightful read into the lives of the Grands after they are done. If the Grandparents are not too hot about writing, then how about having them do a voice or video-recording? Do it interview-style and cover their life stories while at it. Here are a few prompts for you to draw out their life-stories: What are the most important lessons you’ve learnt in life? What is the funniest thing that has happened to you? If you could be anyone in the world, who would you be? In our Asian family structure, grandparents play an important role the extended family. Although you own grandparents may not be around anymore, why not take this opportunity to bond with your in laws and parents as well?

My Grandpas’ Briefcase ($22.90)

Check this out!

Filled with 25 activities, 60 objects, mementos, life lessons, and educational games, My Grandpa's Briefcase is a treasure chest of wisdom and surprises! Open grandpa’s briefcase to play the ABC game and check out his secret spider collection. Enjoy knock-knock jokes behind a lift-the-flap door and have fun with the real whoopi cushion. There are shoelaces to tie, a clock for learning how to tell time, even grandpa’s original decision maker with a spinner that points to yes, no, or maybe. My Grandpa's Briefcase is a portrait of a wonderful character with a curious, passionate nature, a weakness for practical jokes, and a real love for life. Available from The Genius Kids,

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Creating A Whole New

Learning Experience At Blossom Discovery Centre, we believe in offering diverse opportunities for children to explore, discover and create, motivating them to become life-long learners. Apart from indoor activities, some of our outdoor play includes water play, sand play and Chinese calligraphy.

Activities such as water and sand play are a predominant part in a toddlers’ learning journey. Research has shown that sensorial play is important for the development of the child. Not only do these gross motor activities improve their physical dexterity and eye-hand co-ordina-


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tion, they also develop social skills when interacting with one another through play. Cognitive skills are picked up too when the children explore concepts and learn new words! Chinese calligraphy is a unqiue programme offered to our K1 and K2 children. This particular art form

helps to promote concentration, patience and persistence. Calligraphy introduces and enhances literacy and handwriting skills, eye-hand coordination and gives the children opportunities to refine their personality, behaviour and promotes growth and development of the brain. Most importantly, at Blossom Discovery Centre, we truly believe in cultivating good values to our children from as young as playgroup through our character development lessons. Good manners are practiced and inculcated in the children’s daily learning through stories and incidental experiences. Through these various activities, we are proud to provide our children with a well-rounded learning experience at Blossom Discovery Centre.

Your daughter’s friend came over to your place for a sleep over. After dinner, she left her plate on the dining table. You asked her to bring her plate to the sink for a wash. Then she commented, “At home, I don't need to bring my plate to the sink, my maid does it.” Does this experience sound familiar? By Yvonne Chee


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Generation Z Ms Minnie Chia, a mother of two and a Polytechnic associate lecturer in Singapore, shared her experience on today’s children, “The way a family functions at home has an impact on a child’s behaviour and eventually, this will translate to how she functions in the world. I would not take my daughter’s friend comments

personally as she was only stating a fact about her family environment.” Ms Jamie Sim, a stay-home mom also finds that the children today are different from the past. She finds them to be more inward looking and lack determination in overcoming life obstacles.

for the parent

Due to the need for both parents to work, most children today are brought up either by their grandparents, or a helper. With these different caregivers who have different values and rules, our children may be confused. On top of that, our children are also “brought up” by the mass media around them. They are constantly exposed to news and information from television programs, magazines, newspapers and the Internet. This could also mean that they may receive information and values which could be exaggerated, misleading or misinterpreted.

Parenting in the Past

Similarly, the ways our children are parented today have also shifted. The parents in the previous generation believe that the best way to raise their children is to prepare them for their future, such as providing the best education and equipping them good character habits. Many believe in purely setting strict rules and failing to follow them would result in corporate punishment such as disciplining with a cane, feather duster or ruler. Also, parents were not expected to provide any explanation for the punishments. Likewise, my mother showed her love to my sibling and I by helping us to narrow the best options, and providing for our needs. Her goals were to ensure that we would not become spoilt, disobedient or self-centered. We were taught to be diligent to the tasks given, to be respectful to one another and to be honest. Failing to follow would often result in a painful session of caning.

sure good behaviours instead of corporate punishment. This could be due to parents being more educated and more aware of parenting resources derived from researchers and psychologists. Dr Diana Baumrind, a developmental psychologist in the 1960s did a study on understanding how parents can impact a child’s development. According to recent article published by The New York Times, she suggested an optimal parent is one who is involved and responsive, who sets high expectations but respects her child’s autonomy. Some moms like Jamie, believes that corporate punishments still have a place in parenting today. On top of other disciplining methods like timeout and reasoning, she still canes her daughter Hailey who is three this year. “It is still the most effective disciplining tool. I would explain the reason for disciplining her and caning will be my last resort.” Other parents on the other hand,

believe in avoiding corporate punishments. They would use other disciplining methods such as removing of privileges, encouragement and providing rewards as positive reinforcements. Like Jamie, my husband and I find that it is necessary to implement corporate punishments gently and appropriately, to enforce discipline when needed.

It all begins at home

Indeed, the way our family functions at home and the values that we hold would have an impact on our child’s behaviour and eventually, how he relates to the world. It is only right for us as parents to start parenting by setting the right values at home, to be involved and responsive to our children, so that they can learn the values from us. I think my husband and I should start listing our family values and have them frame up on the wall in our home soon. What changes would you make in your current parenting journey?

Parenting in a new era

Many families today place more focus on positive reinforcements to en-

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Grace Under Pressure By Dorothea Chow

Handling Unwanted Opinions

When I was expecting my first child, I prided myself on reading up on virtually everything baby-related under the son in the months before he was born. Breastfeeding, sleeping patterns, potential sicknesses, learning developments‌ I had all these covered.


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But something my husband and I quickly learned in the first few days after our son’s birth was that dealing with all kinds of input from family and friends is something no pregnancy book or article can ever adequately prepare you for, especially for firsttime parents! It’s not even that I had particularly nosy or pushy relatives, or know-itall friends. In fact, from the stories I heard from other new mums, I have come to realize I actually had it pretty good. But the fact still remains; out

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of goodwill and well-meaning intentions, people will still have an opinion, and many will still comment. Some will only share their thoughts aloud – they don’t really care too much if you agree with them or follow their advice. Others will be more opinionated, and might come across quite strongly. And then there are those who don’t say it to your face directly, but go through various other channels, like giving suggestive gifts or talking to your mum. So what’s a new mummy supposed to do with all this often unwanted (although well-meaning) feedback?

Take a step back, then listen First and truthfully, a lot of what you will hear may not be wrong. Even those so-called old wives tales do sometimes have a grain of truth in them, and you would be wise not to dismiss them prematurely. What stings most is when the suggestion is couched in a cloak of superiority, that the other has got it ‘right’ and you haven’t. It’s only natural for you to feel indignant or angry in such situations, and to come back with a cutting retaliation, hide in the room, cry, or give the cold shoulder. But before lashing back in frustration and, if we are being honest here, some measure of pride, try to take a step back and listen. Maybe they didn’t say it at the right time, or they said something completely opposite of you, or they weren’t supportive when they should have been, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw out the baby with the proverbial bathwater. For what it’s worth, consider what they have said. And if you don’t agree, firmly but tactfully state your preference.

Sometimes you might not even need to say anything in response, especially if the comments are related to something you should do or not do at a later time. Just a simple acknowledgment that you have heard the other person may be enough for that moment. Ultimately, a little bit of humility and grace goes a long way.

Stand firm in your beliefs and values Secondly, it helps to really know why you believe what you believe. For example, if you think that breastfeeding baby is the best option, then know what the benefits are, be prepared for the potential setbacks along the way, and find out how you can tell if your baby is getting enough milk. That way, you’ll have an answer to give anyone who might think otherwise. Arming yourself with knowledge will give you and your husband a sense of peace and confidence in the choices you make.

a toddler, then a child, a teenager and a young adult. People’s opinions will always be there at every single stage. Choose to respond with grace, and to learn from the benefit of others’ experiences, where applicable.

You are your child’s mother At the end of the day, always remember that you are your child’s mother. Everyone may have a say in how you raise your child, but ultimately, you are in charge of choosing what you feel is best for him or her. Choosing wisely requires great humility, openness and conviction. As said in the movie Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.” I couldn’t agree more.

Answer smart Thirdly, how you answer someone can determine where the conversation (and relationship) goes from there. It’s great that you feel more certain of what you think, but be careful not to impose your opinions onto others. Simply state your reasons for what you believe, and leave it at that. Be gracious to allow the other person to disagree.

Handling future opinions Lastly, how you respond to stressful situations, critical comments and unwanted advice at this early stage in the journey of parenthood will have implications for how you handle the continuing pressures of parenthood as your infant grows into

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Hubby Matters Too By Dr Martha Lee


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for the parent


hough I am not a marriage expert, as a sexologist, I have met young parents who have relationship issues develop after their child’s arrival. I would like to share six tips with the hopes you might better understand your husband and be happier in your marriage:

He’s trying Your husband may not pick up the bath towel after himself or fold the laundry despite your repeated reminders. However he did hear you and is trying. Just because he does not perform household chores the way you would does not mean he does not care. He may genuinely not remember. He is your other half, your life partner of choice and deserves your patience and respect. And you need his support through the journey of life. Accept that things may not be go the way you prefer. Otherwise do it yourself if it needs to be exactly the way you want. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

He matters Many husbands compliment their wives on being great mothers, but express considerable pain over not being shown love, affection, or sexual interest. The challenges of life and being a new mother may sap you of all energy. Placing all your attention on your child can put him in a conflicted position of feeling competitive with and resentful of his child whom he also loves. Get the support you need to manage your fatigue better. If he offers to help in child rearing duties, let him. Do schedule date nights and alone time with him. There is no marriage without your husband!

He’s just different There are certain differences between men

and women which we cannot just explain away. Men tend to respond to things physically, women verbally. He may be your opposite but isn’t this what attracted you to him and vice versa in the first place? In fact,

want, and what he should say.” Put aside such romantic notions and work at being a better communicator yourself. The clearer you ask for what you need, want and desire, the easier it is for him to fulfil

Placing all your attention on your child can put him in a conflicted position of feeling competitive with and resentful of his child whom he also loves. Get the support you need to manage your fatigue better. the two sexes are just right for each other! Accept that he is just different rather than fighting it and trying to make him more like you. Let him be him.

Not every thought and feeling needs to be said Women who treat their husbands the same way they do their girlfriends realise that it is not necessarily a good thing. While women tend to be more verbal and expressive, they can tire out men mentally without some restraint. Communication without clear outcomes can confuse, frustrate and turn off your husband! You can try being specific, concise and to the point when communicating. Ask for the support you need that very moment – whether in the form of a listening ear, specific suggestions or concrete action. See if you receive a better response if you adjusted your communication style.

He is not a mind-reader Men are generally not as intuitive as women. I know many women who bought into the idea of “if he loved me, he'd just know what I'm thinking, what I

your wishes – and the good thing is, he wants to! There is a saying, “You are more likely to get what you want if you ask for it.” Respect your differences and what he needs from you to be good to you.

Sex is not just about sex A new baby takes a bigger toll on a mother due to her hormonal changes. Breastfeeding can delay her desire for sex. Husbands are generally understanding about the time it takes to adjust to adding a new member into the family. However at some point, husbands will expect sexual activity to resume. This could happen in the form of “outer play” involving hand or blow jobs even if one way for a start. He may want sex not just because he needs the physical release, but also the closeness he feels from sexual activity. Also physical intimacy in the form of sex reassures him that he is loved and accepted more than words might. Realising his reasons for wanting sex might help you stop resenting “giving” him sex and embrace sex as an integral part of your marriage.

The New Age Parents


editorial team

Editor: Michelle Ang Contributors: Dorothea Chow, Low Lai Kuan, Yvonne Chee, Sarah Wong, Som Yew Ya, All In The Family Counselling, Eros Coaching, LEAP Schoolhouse,Poppletots, SBCC Baby and Child Clinic,SBCC Women's Clinic, T32 Junior Dental Centre & The Children's Therapy Centre

Art & Design Art Director: Elaine Lau

Marketing & Advertising Business Development Manager Jess Tee

Web Administration Web Development Director Seow Poh Heng

If you wish to contribute to the magazine, we will love to hear from you. Do email us at For advertising enquiries, email us at While every care is taken in the production of the magazine, the publisher, editor and its team assume no responsibility for any inaccuracies and omission, which might arise. Opinions by the contributors and advertisers are not necessarily those of the publisher and the editor. The articles in the magazine are for references only. If you have any queries on any health condition for you and your child, you should seek professional medical advice.


The New Age Parents

The New Age Parents Oct Nov 12  

The New Age Parents Oct Nov 12

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