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Auspicious Chinese Names for




Ideas To Do With

Horse Babies

Your Kids





Is It Too Early To Start Planning?

Are We Raising A Generation Of Narcissists?

C r e at i n g

Name of Model: Nigel Ching Photographer: Photography by Yew Kwang


J o i n t

Pa r e n t i n g

P l a n

table of contents

Contents 08 Editorial Note 10 Holiday Special Engaging your child during the holidays

12 Play The need for a holistic program

14 Your Baby Picking The Right Chinese Names For Your Newborns In The Year Of The Horse

18 Health Multi-Vitamin Supplements For Children

20 Diet Don’t Panic I’m Organic!

22 Dental Ask The Dentist: Frequently Asked Questions About Your Child’s Teeth Development

24 Your Child Little Hands At Work: Understanding Your Child’s Fine Motor Skills

28 Brain 2

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How Your Child’s Brain Develop

30 Photogenic Children Contest 32 Christmas Special 5 Fantastic Christmas Card Ideas

34 Growing Up Generation Me

38 For The Parent Creating A Joint Parenting Plan

42 Finance Retirement Plans: Too Early Too Soon?

46 Sexology Cup Runneth Over: Thrive to be Alive




Dr Goh Siok Ying obtained her basic medical degree (MBBS) from the National University of Singapore in 1999. She received her general paediatric training at the National University Hospital from 2000 to 2003, and obtained her postgraduate degree MRCPCH (UK) and Masters of Medicine in Paediatrics in 2003. She continued her advanced specialist training at the National University Hospital, with an interest in clinical paediatric endocrinology and diabetes.

Suzanne Khor Suzanne Khor has been practicing as a clinical dietician for the last 11 years. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Dietetics with honours from the National University of Malaysia and postgraduate degree (Masters of Health Science Education) from University of Sydney Australia. Prior to this, Ms Khor was working as a senior dietician in KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital for 7 years. Her special interests are nutrition in feeding difficulties, diet therapy for neurological disorders, eating disorders and weight management.

Kris Edward S. Borja Kris is a Paediatric Occupational Therapist who earned his Bachelor of Occupational Therapy degree at the University Of Santo Tomas- College Of Rehabilitation Sciences in the Philippines. Kris is a compassionate and devoted therapist who provides intervention for children with special needs and their families. He joined the team at The Children’s Therapy Centre in February 2012. For more information, log on to

Practice Address SBCC Baby & Child Clinic Blk 726 Ang Mo Kio Ave 6 #01-4154 Singapore 560726 Tel: 6456 8874/ 6397 6966 (Hotline) Email:

Practice Address: Thomson Paediatric Centre (The Child Development Centre) 10 Sinaran Drive; #09-04 Novena Medical Centre Singapore 307506 Email: Tel: 6397 6627/ 6397 6966 (hotline FAMILY & sleep

Tammy M. Fontana Ms. Fontana has resided in Singapore for over nine years and has worked with both the expatriate community and the local Singaporean community. She provides both individual, couple therapy, and has specialized training to work with children and their families. She is dedicated to improving the lives of others through well researched interventions. She is also the founder and therapist for Babysleepfairy, helping parents manage their children’s sleep. You may contact Tammy at or 9030 7239.


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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




Kuah Eng Liang The Principal of Heguru Education Centre @ Eunos and a certified Heguru Instructor, Eng Liang was offered the PLE-EDB Overseas Scholarship (USA) and pursued his bachelor's degree at Cornell University. After returning from USA, he continued to pursue a master's degree at the National University of Singapore. Having been touched by Heguru founders’ passion and witnessed for himself the effectiveness of the Heguru programmes, Eng Liang decided to bring it to Singapore, not only to benefit their own son, but all the little learners here. For more information, go to

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 became the Head of Dental Services at one of National Healthcare Group Polyclinics. Dr Chin enjoys and is proficient at treating and managing children, having spent one and a half years at the National University Hospital Dental Centre. He also has a special interest in dental phobias and is adept at managing fearful patients and making them feel at ease during treatment.

Selene Diong Selene Diong is the Principal Instructor of Gymnademics Early Enrichment Centre. The centre focuses on children from five months to five years old. As the Principal Instructor, Selene is responsible for creating a fun and engaging curriculum, to help young children learn through play. She also promotes a strong engagement with parents, working with them to develop a more meaningful and fun time with their little ones. For more information, go to www.gymnademics. com. You can contact Selene at


Tan Ooi Sim Winston Winston is a Chartered Financial Consultant, with 11 years of experience in Financial Planning. Being a new dad in May 2013, his business is focused on Insurance Planning and Retirement Planning for young families and individuals. For any queries, you can email him at tanooisim _ or reach him directly at (65) 6228 8311

Practice Address: One Orchard Boulevard, 17th Floor Camden Medical Centre Singapore 248649 Tel: (65) 6733 1388 Email: Emergency Dental Services: (65) 6398 5578


Fiona Walker Fiona Walker joined Julia Gabriel Centre in 1991 as a teacher and is now the Principal of Schools / CEO of Julia Gabriel Education. She holds a Masters in Early Childhood Education and is a qualified Montessori teacher with more than 20 years of experience in providing quality education for young children. She is committed to the ongoing development of teachers and curriculum in Julia Gabriel Education. For more information, go to

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The New Age Parents contributors: Dorothea Chow Dorothea is a dedicated Christian homemaker, mum to two darling little boys and wife to a wonderful and supportive man. She loves to plan fun learning times with her toddler, read to her sons, and hang out with them at playgrounds, parks and shopping malls, in the company of fellow mummy friends. Baking, writing, scrapbooking and shopping are some of her favourite pastimes. She also runs a small home-business, Dottieshop ( creating customized paper cards and art pieces for birthdays, weddings and other occasions.

Som Yew Ya Married with a young son, Yew Ya recently completed her Masters in counselling and is presently working in the clinical field. Ever since she became a mother, she has been relishing many books on parenthood. Her love for writing was nurtured at a young age and she believes writing with The New Age Parents is great way to connect with other parents.

Yvonne Chee Yvonne is a devoted homemaker, Social Worker and a mum to two beautiful children. She believes in the importance of building a strong marriage and investing in a child’s foundational years. She loves to read up on the different parenting books to help herself in her parenting decisions, and also aims to raise her children to become confident and emotionally healthy individuals. She also runs a small online home business ‘Imperfections Made Beautiful’, (, creating personalized and customized plushes and buntings for any special occasions.

Words To Inspire H e r e T o S tay Our children are here to stay But our babies are not, I'm sorry to say They grow and learn everyday In the most remarkable and intriguing way We watch and admire our babies so young Hoping someday they will go to be strong Wisdom and integrity are a hopeful thought too Their brilliance is amazing that much is true


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Now they are in school and you don't know what to do The house is so unnaturally quite and subdued You try to keep busy, a hobby of some sort But it doesn't quite fill the missing sound of children playing of course Off to college and all grown up, how could this be? Just yesterday it seemed they were three You can't wait to watch them grow

Then the day comes when you watch them go Cherish the little moments so tender and sweet They grow so quickly you can barely speak But remember this, as I reassure you with a tear in my eye Babies are your children and your children will never say 'Good Bye' C r y s t a l K a y l y n n Ac e r r i o


e believe in toys that never grow old. Offering a unique range of premium toys and games from Europe, our toys and games are open-ended, promote interaction and stimulate a child’s imagination. Here, you can shop according to your child's skill sets or age-group. Simple Toys. Timeless Joy. Website: Contact: 6387 1772 Available everyday, 11am to 10pm Showroom: Blk 26 Midview City #05-126 Singapore 573971 (by appointment only) Email: Just B. Just you. B. you.

180 Anni Di Emozioni

Toys for the enquiring minds to mull over

Trudimia, “sweetly yours, tenderly Trudi’s”

Timeless Toys

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editorial note

AND BEGIN AGAIN It’s the time of the year again where we say our goodbyes and welcome in a new year. School’s out and holidays are in! Lost for ideas? Read Engaging Your Child during the School Holidays to find out what you can do with your kids. Christmas is round the corner and there’s something special about handmade cards. One that’s made by a child, even more precious (and priceless)! Get inspired and creative with your child in Five Fantastic Christmas Card Ideas. The Chinese Lunar New Year also falls in January next year. For those expecting mummies, you may want to get some name ideas for junior in Picking the Right Chinese Names for Your Newborns in The Year of the Horse. As we usher in the New Year, let us strive to let go of our past mistakes, forgive ourselves, forgive others, and begin again. Wishing all our readers a blessed Christmas and a Happy 2014! Let us plant nothing but seeds of love. Yours sincerely,


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holiday special

By Fiona Walker, Principal Of Schools / Ceo, Julia Gabriel Education

Engaging Your Child S During The School Holidays Q

chool holidays are a time to be enjoyed, offering children a respite from school routine and a chance for families to spend some special time together. But it can be a stressful time for parents, anxious to ensure that their child’s time is well spent but fun too! Fear not, there are plenty of wonderful activities you can enjoy as a family, which will widen your child’s awareness and reinforce many of the skills they have learnt at school.

: I’m lost for ideas this school holiday. What can I do with my children that is fun and educational at home and outside?


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Activities for Preschool Children

Plan a bug watch. Take a magnifying glass and set off to the nearest park in search of bugs. How do they move? Do they live in groups or alone? How many legs do they have?

the clouds, for example, Mickey Mouse’s ears or a baby?

Activities for Primary School Children

Talk about and draw what you saw when you get back home. Make a book. Gather paper, colouring pencils and a stapler. Make up your story together then write it down, a line or two a page while your child illustrates it. Your little author can then proudly ‘read’ their book to friends and family. Join a holiday programme. Take all the stress out of planning daily activities by participating in a quality holiday programme together. Enjoy seeing your child socialise with new people, make new friends and building confidence as they have fun in a new environment.

Discover the geography of Singapore. Take a ferry boat between quays or walk along the river looking at the buildings. Which building is the tallest? Which building do you think is the oldest? Explore the rich flora and fauna in the island’s nature reserves, such as Bukit Timah, or the mangrove swamps at Sungei Buloh. Ride the cable car across to Sentosa or take a bum boat to Pulau Ubin and hire bicycles to explore kampong Singapore. Imagine what mainland Singapore looked like before there were cars, office blocks and condominiums. Draw a picture of old Singapore. Keep a journal / scrapbook. Save all mementos (entrance tickets, photos, receipts, leaflets etc) from your outings. Stick these into the journal along with a written of record your child’s experiences. Plan a family meal. Go through

some simple recipes and create a dinner menu together, preparing a shopping list of all the ingredients. Give your child the responsibility of buying the items and talk about how much it cost. Let your child help with cooking that particular meal. Create a family tree. Start with your child and work backwards. Use old photographs (or photocopy them if you don’t want to cut up the originals) and stick them on the family tree. How far back can you go? Learn something new with your child. This could be rollerblading or even riding a bike. This is a fun activity the whole family can get involved in. Renting rollerblades or bikes is easy at the East Coast so make a day of it and finish with a picnic on the beach. Use the school holidays to explore the wonderful museums, rich cultural heritage and nature of Singapore. Take the opportunity to spend more time together exploring as a family or enjoy some quiet relaxed activities at home creating keepsakes. Whatever you choose to do, you will all benefit from these special bonding experiences before the new school term begins.

Create ‘family’ art. Make your family the topic for creating unique portrait placemats. Talk about who lives in your house and who is related to whom. Stick a photo on a piece of coloured paper, decorate around the edges and finally laminate it or wrap in clear sticky paper. Create a weekly weather chart. Talk about the weather and record whether it was sunny, cloudy or rainy. If possible, catch the rain in a measuring cup and record that too. If it is cloudy, can see shapes in

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The Need For A

Holistic Program By Selene Diong, Principal Instructor at Gymnademics


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In the past year, I have written about the different purposeful play activities to develop your child’s visual, auditory, tactile, mobility, language and manual development. As we embark into 2014 with more play ideas for our children, we must not forget the importance of providing them with a balanced and holistic program. Here are some reasons why a holistic program is important.

Growing Brains The key reason behind the series of purposeful play activities lies in the need to grow the brain. The experiences our little ones receive in the first few years of their life is crucial to how their brain develops. Parents of young children are often awed by their ability to pick up a new skill or language quickly. This is largely because a child’s brain grows explosively from birth to six years of age. With the brain maturation process almost completed by the time they reach the sixth year of life, it is their early experiences that will determine the strength and function of their brain’s wiring system. The brain will only retain the connections and the pathways that a child frequently uses. The connections that a child does not frequently use will be pruned and discarded. By introducing an intellectual and physical program at a young age, we increase the possibility of our little children achieving their potential while their brain is growing at a fantastic rate.

Curious and Curious-ier Why do some dinosaurs have spikes on their tails? Why do some dinosaurs have neck frills? Are you constantly challenged by the number of questions your little children ask

you each day? Consider a 16 month old, he walks around the house and puts his finger into the electric socket, spills water on the table and tears up all your office documents. We assume that the little one is hyperactive from the way he conducts himself. But in fact, our little children do this because

When we intentionally or unintentionally limit the learning experiences for our children, we are slowly diminishing their desire to learn. they are curious about their environment and they want to learn every thing about it, from the way it tastes to the way it feels. While many have associated learning with schooling and tears, to the little children, learning is but the process of acquiring new knowledge. When we intentionally or unintentionally limit the learning experiences for our children, we are slowly diminishing their

desire to learn. Instead, we should fan their thirst for learning by feeding their neverending curiosity of their world through a holistic program that exposes them to different movements, sights, sounds, textures, smells and taste.

Move That Body! We are living in a time where children are pressured to develop intellectually at a very young age. Sometimes, this happens at the expense of a child’s physical development. They are spending a significant amount of time on sit down activities, watching television or playing with electronic devices. Our children are not engaged in activities that stimulate and develop the sense of movement. Children who lack the opportunity to run, jump and balance has shown difficulty in walking backwards. Similarly, they do not do as well in arithmetic and cannot accurately judge strength, speed and distances. It is developmentally inappropriate to expect our little children to sit still for long periods as they are still learning to control their balance. Without the opportunity to develop the physical abilities, the brain is unable to develop the skills that are necessary for intellectual development. This points to the need for children to be given adequate physical activities and sensory experience that will develop their brain for later learning.

The Heart Of Learning While engaging your child in a holistic intellectual and physical program, parents must be reminded that the heart of learning was never about competition, comparison or testing. Your children should associate their learning with a sense of joyousness, an involved set of parents and a good time of bonding. Have fun!

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Picking the

By Master Jo Ching

Right Chinese Names for Your Newborns in The Year of the Horse 14

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your baby

In the previous article, which I have written in the beginning of 2013 on Auspicious Chinese Names for Snake babies, I discussed about the implications of Chinese names on our destiny and went a bit deeper to elaborate what our Chinese surname, the middle and last names govern in relation to the various aspects of our life.


f you can refer back to that article, I have also detailed down the do’s and don’ts of using certain Chinese characters for babies born in the year of snake. Similarly, in this article, I would like to share with you again on some basic guiding principles when come to selecting Chinese names for babies born on or after the 1st lunar day of Chinese New Year 2014.

General Characteristics Of People Who Are Born In The Year Of The Horse Before I present you with the list of favourable and unfavourable Chinese characters, I think it would be interesting to understand the type of personalities that are associated with people who are born in the year of the horse. The horse has always been a well-liked animal since the ancient time. Swift, enduring, elegant and spirited are adjectives that have always been synonymous with the stallion. It has always been a trusted partner of the mankind primarily as

a form of transportation and many a time going through the thick and thin with our ancestors in the battle field. People who are born in the horse year love freedom. They are bold to express themselves and dare to pursue their dream. Such people are independent but they do enjoy social events. Nevertheless, they may appear to be aloof at times and this sometimes leads others to think that they are egoistic. Having said that, those that belong to horse zodiac sign do enjoy better luck in terms of inter-people relationship. They are often met with helpful bosses and friends. If there is something that those born in the year of horse needs to be mindful of, it would be their desire to be unrestrained. This would ultimately have a repercussion on their relationship with their working partner or spouse since the level of commitment may dwindle over times. When selecting the names for your baby, we should choose those Chinese characters that can accentuate the positive attributes of the horse because there is an affiliation

and resonance of energy between the zodiac sign and the way the character was scripted and evolved from the Chinese oracle.

Does Your Baby Have A Better Head-Start In Life? When we are born into this world, our surname has already been predetermined. Surname has a very heavy inf luence on the early part of our life. According to the principles of the Chinese Name Selection system, it governs our childhood luck, parents’ relationship with us, achievement in academic pursuit and upbringing. You can have 2 children born in the same year but bearing different surnames and this would give rise to different effect in terms of their destiny. For instance, it would be preferable for horse babies to be born into families carrying surname like: 王、彭、陳、朱、張、熊、姜、龔、 馮、許、丁、譚、 吳、黃、顏、蕭、蔡 and etc. It does not favour surnames such as: 徐、岳、孔、李、孫、郭、洪、汪、 泰、江、沈、溫、潘、呂、高、鄭、翁、 劉 and etc. However, if it is found that the horse babies are born with surname that have conf licting energy, we will need to make sure that the 2nd and 3rd Chinese names are carefully calculated to harmonise the impact. To recap on what I have written in our previous article, the second Chinese character or middle name represents one’s relationship with spouse, romance and rapport with peers and the last name has a direct

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your baby

impact on a person’s career, wealth and children luck. The approach to selecting good names for your baby is a rigorous and holistic one because not only there is a need to ensure the names complement the baby’s destiny chart, individual Chinese character within the name must also contain the right strokes, right sound, right shape that ultimately create the right result for the child. It is quite common nowadays that many children and adults are seeking help from name experts to enhance or improve their study, romance, career luck and even one’s behaviour.


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What Chinese Names Are Suitable For Babies Born In The Year Of Horse? Let us first try to understand some of the intrinsic characteristics of the horse so that from there we select Chinese characters that are appropriate for them. In the study of Chinese metaphysics, horse belongs to the fire element and hence, it is in conf lict with water element. Together with dragon, horse has always been regarded as noble and elegant. In terms of diet, horse does not eat meat as it only feeds on grass and grains. Horse loves to trot in the open green and it feels safe and

secured under the shelter. The following Chinese characters or radicals are some examples that are considered auspicious for people born in horse year:


艿、芊、芙、芝、芩、芬、芮、芳、 芷、苑、苓、茵、茹、莉、華、菁、 萱、科、秦、秀、谷、豐、艷 (Good to see radicals like「艸」「禾」 「豆」because horse is herbivorous and this implies the horse is well fed which will lead to a stronger and healthier body)


純、素、紳、紫、緯、維、緹、繆、 衫、衿、袁、裕、彤、采、彥、彩、

彬、彪(Good to see「糸」「衣」「 彡」「采」「亠」「爫」radicals as this implies only elite and outstanding horses are dressed up. This also implies the horse earns its respect from others and will lead to an increase in status as well.)


木、杉、彬、琳、杞、榮、林、柄、 霖、柔、杰、棟、森、楊、楚、村、 松、樺 (Good to see「木」radical because horses belong to the forest and they love to gallop and wander in it. This increases the adaptability and enhances the horse’s efficiency.)


守 、 安 、宋、 宗、宜、定、 宥、家、宸、容、榮、冠、莹 (Good to see「宀」、「冖」radicals because it means the horse is well rested and protected under a roof or cave.)


龍、攏、龐、辰、農、穠、寶、宸 (Good to see「龍」「辰」because in Chinese there is saying 龙 马精神 which implies one will be enthusiastic, passionate, energetic and will achieve success in study and career.)


彪、寅、獻、成、茂、城、建、 莲、达、凯、南、美、群、進、 盛、 翔 (Good to see「寅」「戌」 「巳」「午」「未」radicals because in the study of Chinese metaphysics, such words form a special resonance with horse zodiac and they have very positive and powerful inf luence on people born in the year of horse in terms of career, marriage, people’s luck, health, wealth and etc.) On the contrary, below Chinese characters are considered inauspicious for people having horse zodiac sign:


畸、留、町、畫、勇、由、當、 富、男、甸、界、單、畛、畢 (No good to have「田、甫」radicals because only mediocre horses will be used to plough the field. This implies people have to sacrifice or tend to receive the short end of the stick in their dealings with people.)


晶,喬、單、嘉、品、呂、器、嚴、 哥、喜、煦、吉, 昌(no good to have more than one「日」or「口」 radicals in the name because two 口form the Chinese word 骂 or “Scold” in English. People born in the year of Horse who have such combination in the Chinese name tend to easily be involved in disputes, attract petty people, say the wrong things and make enemies.)


冰、汪、泉、深、永、津、洲、 海、涵、淑、凌、子、孝、季 (No good to have「水」or「子」radicals because horse belongs to fire element and it is in conf lict with water element)


恆、悠、慈、思、心、志、忠、念、 怡、恬、恩、惠、意、愛、愉、慧、 育 (No good to have「心、月、忄」 radicals because horse does not eat meat and such words contain elements of heart which is part of our body. In reality, people having such radical especially at the last character of the name often run into money problem. They always complain they are not able to grow their savings.) 山、岡、 岳、岷、峻 、崇 、 峰 、 崢 、嵩、崑、 崎 、岱 (No good to have「山」radical because for a horse to run on mountain road it is an uphill task. This


implies one has to put in a lot of effort in their endeavours but it does not guarantee a favourable outcome. Not smooth-sailing.)


光、典、其、充、先、共、克、宏、 雄、弘、公、俊、芸、 振、 提 (No good to have「ㄙ」 「手」 「ㄦ」 in the name as such characters are very harmful to horse since it controls and restrains the movement of the horse, rendering it useless. It is also detrimental to the health of the horse. In real life, people found to have such characters are saddled with financial issues and they are not able to breakthrough and achieve what they want.) The above information serves to give you some insights and new perspectives on Chinese Name Selection for Horse babies. I would encourage you to seek professional advice if you are contemplating of picking auspicious names for your child to have a smooth-sailing path in future. With this, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for reading this article and wishing you a prosperous and healthy 2014!

Master Jo Ching is the founder of DestinyAsia Global Consultancy and Master Trainer of Destiny Academy. Besides providing professional advices to clients on their home and office feng shui, destiny analysis and auspicious Chinese Name selection, he also conducts professional feng shui courses and corporate talks. He is frequently quoted by media like Lian He Wan Bao, Asiaone, The New Paper, RazorTV, Yahoo and etc. You are welcome to visit his company website or contact him at: Website: Email:

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When is the best time to give them to my child? Multivitamins can be given anytime of the day. However, certain vitamins are better given with some foods to aid in their absorption. How do I know if my child needs supplements? In general, if your child has a balanced diet, and is not a fussy eater, multivitamins are not necessary. However, if your child is very selective about the kinds of foods he eats, he may require supplements depending on what his food habits are like. For example, if your child refuses to drink milk, some calcium and vitamin D supplements may help build stronger bones. In certain medical conditions, supplements may be required too. Your doctor will advise you if this is needed.

Mult -V tam n

Supplements For Children Do children need to take multi-vitamins? Dr Goh Siok Ying, Paediatrician, SBCC Baby and Child Clinic helps to answer some commonly asked questions.


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What are the things I should look out for when buying supplement for my kids? In general, buy supplements from reputable brands to ensure the quality of the supplements you give to your child. Also, read the labels to know exactly what you are giving your child. Do not try to give several supplements at the same time, as certain vitamins may be present in different brands of supplements you are giving, and this may lead to overdose as some vitamins tend to be stored and accumulated in the body. When in doubt, do check with your healthcare professional before giving any supplements. Practice Address: SBCC Baby & Child Clinic (Ang Mo Kio Central); Blk 726 Ang Mo Kio Ave 6 #01-4154; Singapore 560726 Tel: 6456 8874 Fax: 6453 6832


operation that wants to sell an agricultural product as organically produced. As a consumer, look out for this label:

Why an organic diet?

Don’t Panic, I’m Organic! What You Need To Know About Organic Food

Want to start on an organic diet? Dietitian Suzanne Khor from The Child Development Centre (an affiliation of SBCC Baby & Child Clinic) sheds some light on identifying organic food in Singapore.

What makes a food organic? In Singapore, many foods are imported from overseas. Some countries, e.g. the United States and Australia have agencies which certify certain foods as organic. For example, in the United States, The National Organic Program and the Or-


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ganic Foods Production Act are assure consumers that the organic foods they purchase are produced, processed, and certified to be consistent with national organic standards. USDA's National Organic Program regulates the standards for any farm, wild crop harvesting, or handling

Certified organic farming systems as a potential way to lower input costs, decrease reliance on nonrenewable resources, capture high-value markets and premium prices, and boost farm income. Organic farming systems rely on ecologically based practices such as cultural and biological pest management, exclusion of all synthetic chemicals, antibiotics, and hormones in crop and livestock production.

Is it practical and feasible in Singapore for my child? Organic food is indeed becoming more easily available in Singapore. It can be purchased at household departmental stores, including NTUC, Giant and Cold Storage: not only in specialty organic shops any more. If you would like to include organic foods in your child’s diet, his/ her exposure to trace amounts of synthetic chemicals may be reduced. The content of vitamins and minerals in certain types of organic produce may also be higher. However, organic foods are pricier than regular produce as well. Practice Address: Thomson Paediatric Centre (The Child Development Centre) 10 Sinaran Drive #09-04 Novena Medical Centre Singapore 307506 Tel: 6397 6627/ 6397 6966 (hotline) Email:

Ask The

Dentist! Frequently Asked Questions About Your Child’s Teeth Development

Some time back, we asked parents to post dental related questions on our Facebook page. Here are the replies from our dental expert, Dr Chin Shou King from T32 Junior. Q: What is the recommended age to start visiting dentist? Before the first birthday. Q: Is it necessary for toddler to go for dental check-up although there's no problem with their teeth? Yes, it is recommended so that dentists can spot potential problems and educate parents on how to prevent them. Q: My baby is 15 months. I notice his teeth are kind of yellowish. I use cloth & wipes to clean his teeth. Is it possible to remove the stain? The yellow discolouration is probably due to a build-up of plaque on the surface of the teeth. It can be wiped off, but if left for too long it will harden and for calculus (tartar) which needs to be removed by a dentist. Q: My 17 month old had her teeth grown straight but now I'm noticing a slight gap between her front teeth, is this due to the use of pacifier? Yes, very likely.


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Q: My 20 month old son has the habit of sucking his lower lip since 4 months ago. As a result, he has an overbite and I am concerned that it will get worse if he doesn't stop the habit. Any ways to correct it? If it is a habit, you must remind your son to avoid doing it. You may bring him for an orthodontic consultation, but they may only be able to treat the problem when he is older.

tain medications), asthma or some gastric reflux problems and you may need to bring her to see a paediatrician. More serious causes of persistent bad breath include diabetes, kidney failure and liver disease

Q: My son's two front teeth are starting to protrude. He is only two years old. How soon will he need braces? The protrusion could be caused by thumb sucking or some kinds of pacifiers. It is recommended to try and stop the habit. If the protrusion is genetic (i.e. one or both parents’ teeth protrude) then it would be best to bring your son for an orthodontic consultation at 7 years old.

Q: My girl has a split tooth (one root with two teeth forming a v shape). Will there be any effect on her teeth development and is this common? Fused primary teeth can cause crowding, atypical spacing between the teeth, and can cause problems with or delay the eruption of the permanent teeth underneath. Because of this, when a double tooth is found, you should have your dentist monitor the permanent teeth underneath it to ensure that they come in normal. Sometimes, your dentist will have to remove the double tooth in order to allow the permanent tooth to erupt normally. One thing to watch out for is the propensity for fused and geminated teeth to have deep grooves between the "two" teeth. This groove can be very susceptible to developing cavities as it is hard to get a toothbrush all the way down in the crevice to clean it properly. You may want your dentist to put a sealant in this groove to help prevent a cavity. Fused teeth are seen in 0.5 – 2.5% of Caucasians and 5% of Asians.

Q: Is it normal for my daughter who is turning 3 to have bad breath? No matter how much I try to brush her teeth or clean her tongue, her breath still smells bad. Any solutions or reasons for this? Bad breath may be caused gum disease or cavities. It would be good for her to see a dentist for a check-up. If the problem is not caused by any dental issues, she may have sinusitis, post-nasal drip, low salivary production (caused by cer-

Q: My daughter's permanent tooth is found behind the baby tooth. Is it true that the baby tooth can be extracted only if the milk tooth is shaky? We recommend only removing the primary tooth if the succeeding adult tooth is erupting and the primary tooth shows no sign of mobility (i.e. It is not shaky). If the primary tooth is shaky due to the erupting permanent tooth, it is alright to leave it alone to

Q: Do teeth come out in a specific order? My 15mth old already has 4 lower incisors and 4 upper incisors. Instead of the canine tooth, a premolar came out instead last week. Is this normal? Yes, this is normal if it is an upper premolar. The upper canines are shed after the first upper premolar has erupted.

shed by itself naturally. Q: My girl has a small gap on her bottom teeth. Any suggestions on how to close the gap? If the gap is between her primary teeth, it is best to leave it alone. If the gap is between her permanent teeth, it is recommended she goes for an orthodontic consultation. Q: My girl is 7 years old and none of her baby teeth has dropped. Is this a cause for concern? When should her primary teeth start to fall off? The normal age range is usually 6-7 years old. Perhaps your daughter is towards the later end of the range. For reassurance, you may wish to consult a dentist and have a x-ray taken to ensure the succeeding adult teeth are present and nothing is causing further delay of the eruption. Q: My 8 year old boy has brown stain at one of his tooth. He visited the school dental but can't attempt to clean for him. When prompt to ask, they said can't clean it. Why is this so? The stain could be caused by initial caries which is a cavity forming. It cannot be cleaned off as the discolouration has entered the enamel of the tooth already. Practice address: One Orchard Boulevard, 17th Floor Camden Medical Centre Singapore 248649 Tel: (65) 6733 1388 Email: Emergency Dental Services: (65) 6398 5578 Have more questions for our dental experts? Simple post your question on The New Age Parents Facebook wall or get in touch with the experts here:

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By Kris Borja, Occupational Therapist, The Children Therapy Centre

Little Hands

At Work

Understanding Your Child’s Fine Motor Development


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your child

When parents are asked about their child’s growth and development, they can remember the ages at which their child first rolled over, crawled, stood upright, or walked. However, who among them can recall the age at which their child transferred objects from one hand to another, pointed to objects or picked up small items?


ost parents are not able to remember. More often than not, a child’s fine motor skill development is overlooked. As much as gross motor skills are easily identified in a developing child, fine motor development is of huge importance and should be given equal attention. Fine motor skills refer to the manner in which we use our fingers, hands, & arms. These are motor skills that include reaching, grasping and manipulating objects. Fine motor skills also involve using different tools such as crayons, scissors and pencils to colour, cut and write. Feeding involves the use of our fine motor skills too (e.g. holding a spoon and learning to bring it to our mouth). In fact, we use our fine motor skills without thinking too hard about them, throughout the day. For our children, efficient hand use and coordination helps them to gain confidence and independence in daily tasks.


Motor skills gradually develop through each developmental stage of a child’s life; infancy, toddlerhood, preschool, and school age. Typically, between age 6 and 12, children will have mastered basic fine motor skills.

There are many developmental milestones that children attain to reach a functional level of fine motor ability. Parents, teachers, and primary caregivers need to have a clear understanding of how young children develop fine motor skills in order to promote their development. The following table outlines some early, significant milestones in fine motor development; Parents must understand that some children acquire new skills quicker than others; the information above should be used only as a general guide to your child’s fine motor development. If your child is not able to do some of the skills at the stated age, it does not mean that they are delayed. It may help to think of an average child as being capable of tasks in a range that encompasses some of the skills above & below those indicated for their age.

Age by year

Fine motor skills

Birth-1 year

waves his arms to swat at or bang a toy holds and shakes rattle when placed on hand looks at and plays with his hands directs his arm to reach out and grasp a toy holds bottle transfers toys from one hand to another picks up and places toys down using his thumb in opposition to his fingers points at objects

1-2 years old

picks up small objects using a pincer grasp (thumb and fingertip) uses and coordinates both hands together during play uses tools for a purpose (e.g. spoon; crayon; play dough cutters) scribbles on paper, using a palmar grasp

2-3 years old

releases objects precisely (e.g. stacking blocks; stringing beads) uses thumb and fingers to hold a crayon and draws a variety of strokes (lines and circles, dots) shows a hand preference, but switches when learning new skills

3-4 years old

draws shapes (circle, cross, square, triangle and diamond) eats and drinks by himself

4-6 years old

coordinates his hands to learn to dress himself, including zippers, buttons and other fasteners learns to cut with scissors learns to print letter and numbers

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Red Flags of Fine Motor Skill Impairment

Fine motor development can be hindered for a variety of reasons including injury, illness, and congenital deformities. An infant or child up to age five who is not developing new fine motor skills for that age may have a developmental disability. Symptoms of impaired fine motor development may begin to be evident by age two and are often associated with conditions such as cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, blindness, deafness, and diabetes. Signs of delayed fine motor skills can include the failure to develop the skills of reaching and transferring objects from hand to hand by six months, using a raking grasp by eight months, using a mature pincer grip

by one year, and when child has not established the skill of pointing by their first birthday. Other symptoms usually appear during the pre-school or grade school years. These may include a child having difficulty grasping and releasing objects in a controlled manner, holding small objects, struggling to catch and throw a ball as well as difficulty riding a bicycle and/or playing sports. Children who are having a hard time buttoning and zipping their clothes when dressing, may also be experiencing delayed fine motor development. Often children with delayed fine motor development may be described as clumsy. These children have difficulty coordinating their movements, especially with their hands and fingers. In school, a child who has fine motor difficulties may demonstrate a clumsy

Infants Sensory Play

Hold and play with sound producing toys such as rattle Play with toys with light Manipulate cause and effect toys

Hand Play

Hold and grasp and squeeze stuffed toys Reaching colorful toys Placing toys in a basket Stacking rings activity


Holding bottle

Toddlers Pointing and Poking

Pointing to pictures in book, objects, people Poking fingers in holes Pushing buttons and doorbells

Hammering and banging

Play hammer benches Banging a toy drum with a drumstick

In and out

Placing toys in and taking out e.g. shape sorter Scooping sand into a pail Pouring water into cups

Apart and together

Apart/together toys such as Lego blocks Pop beads Nuts and bolts Velcro food/fruits

Sensory play

Sensory materials such as sand and water Play dough Finger painting

Self Help

Finger feeding Drinking from a cup Using a spoon

pencil grasp and have difficulty with the skills of writing, colouring and cutting. They also may dislike completing mazes and dot-to-dot activities. Problems copying from the blackboard in class may also be an indication of delayed fine motor development.

Who Can Help?

Children with any one or combination of these symptoms should be


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your child

seen by a developmental pediatrician who specializes in motor skill development delays. Children who lose previously acquired motor skills should also be seen by a specialist. A referral to an Occupational Therapist with a strong focus in the area of pediatric occupational therapy may be necessary to help address any pressing concerns. Occupational Therapy targets the underlying cause, promotes coordination and teaches children how to compensate for impaired movements ultimately enabling them utilize their hands and fingers to the best of their ability.

Helpful Suggestions

Sometimes children need some assistance developing their fine motor skills. For these children, parents need to go that extra mile and use certain strategies to help facilitate this development. The following are some creative and practical play activities that promote fine motor development. As infants, the movements of arms are random and their grasp is a reflex. As babies develop, they gain more control over their arms & progress from reaching with both hands to reaching with one hand. Voluntary movement emerges & babies become capable of grasping & holding objects. Developing your baby’s fine motor skills can be as simple as having fun and playing using some of the activities listed below. As a child reaches twelve months old, he begins to move fingers independently of other fingers. The activities below can be implemented to promote a child’s control over their

hands and fingers. In the pre-school years, a child’s fine motor skills become more sophisticated as they learn more precise movements. At this stage, your child is preparing for the fine motor challenges of the school years. Parents can help by providing these activities. Children encounter many new challenges as they begin school. It is at this time that they learn to write and develop fine motor skills needed to ensure participation and success in school activities. Giving you child opportunities to do the activities listed below will help them develop their “pencil” grasp and eye-hand coordination. It is important that parents, educators and caregivers remember that building fine motor skills in children should be fun for both the child and the attending adult. During activities a simple ‘high five’ provides encouragement and motivation for your child and empowers you as a parent by taking an active role in your child’s development.

School-aged Children Manipulative Tasks

Constructive/building toys, and blocks Lacing Puzzles Rolling play dough using index and middle finger including thumb

Dexterity Tasks

Picking up small objects such as paperclip Inserting key into keyhole Placing coins inside a coin bank Pinching small clothespins

Arts and Crafts

Painting Coloring using small crayons to facilitate pincer grasp Spontaneous Drawing Cutting lines and shapes

Multi-sensory visual motor activities

Finger painting Sponge tracing/drawing Drawing in sand with a stick Stencil tracing


Tracing letters in print Writing in print, upper and lower case letters Copying


Manipulating big buttons and zippers Simple food preparation e.g. spreading butter on a piece of bread Tying shoelaces

Pre-school aged Children Practical play

Collect small objects from around the house e.g. buttons, beads or dry macaroni. Encourage child to use tweezers to pick up and place them inside a container Clipping clothespins, small and big, into a clothesline, or on a shirt Poking marshmallows with toothpick Tear and crumble newspaper. Play throwing game.

Play Tasks

Hide tiny objects or toys in play dough and get child to find them Kneading a play dough

Expressive art activities

Finger painting Draw shapes Cutting simple shapes

Arts and Crafts

Making necklaces or bracelets using variety of materials such as macaroni, cutup straws, beads and buttons Ripping paper Pasting pieces of colored paper to form a figure


Pull zippers and Velcro straps Using spoon and fork in feeding

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How Your Child’s Brain Develop Early exposure to a variety of learning experiences to build connections between the brain cells and maximize your child’s potential.


uah Eng Liang shares with us about the development of a child’s brain and why it is important to provide proper stimulation and develop the brain at a young age before 6.


Understanding the Characteristics of the Left and Right Brain You have probably heard or read about left or right-brained dominance, where each side of the brain controls different types of thinking. A “left-brained” person is considered to be more logical, objective and analytical while a person who is “right-brained” is said to be more expressive, creative and intuitive.

Left Brain

The left brain is the “reasoning” brain. It controls the conscious mind, logic and reasoning abilities. It processes information systematically (one by one) but slowly and in small quantity.

Right Brain

On the other hand, the right brain is the “visualization” brain. It controls the subconscious mind, imaging abilities, creativity and intuitive senses. It has the powerful abilities to process massive amount of information quickly, and has great memory retention ability. The characteristics of the left and right hemispheres of our brain are distinctly different. It is important for parents to understand the characteristics and to look for programmes that can help harness the powerful abilities of the right brain, such as high speed data processing, photographic memory, imaging as well intuitive senses, while not neglecting the analytical abilities of the left.

Richard Scammon’s curves of systemic growth summarize the differential nature of postnatal growth.

Understanding the Development of Your Child’s Brain with Age

Neural Curve

The “brain neural development” curve characterizes the growth of the brain, nervous system, and associated structures such as the eyes, upper face and parts of the skull. These tissues experience rapid growth early in the postnatal life. In fact, at birth, a baby will have more than 100 billion neural cells in the brain.

Missing at birth, however, are most of the connections between the cells. A baby’s experiences help create connections between the cells. There are ‘critical periods’ during which the brain has to be exposed to new experiences to develop new skills and competencies. By the age of 6, more than 80% of the brain would already have been developed! It is hence important to take advantage of this short critical window from birth to 6 years old to stimulate and develop the abilities of a child’s brain.

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Congratulations to the Finalists of the

Photogenic Children Contest Nigel Ching


Flora Fahmie


Fantastic Christmas

Card Ideas By Dorothea Chow

christmas special

Beautiful store-bought Christmas cards are so easy to get these days. But there’s something special about a handmade card – especially one that’s made by a child! This Christmas, rope the little one in and create some cards of your own that your friends will utterly love. Here are five fun ideas to try!


Layered effects

It’s amazing how very simple stencils can come together to create a gorgeous work of art like this! You can buy stencils from Art Friend, Spotlight or most other craft stores. Use coloured ink and stamp pads to layer the stencils randomly onto a thick sheet of water colour paper. Optional: You may want to add paper snowflakes or other cutout shapes below these layers. Colourwash the whole sheet with a kaleidoscope of water colours. Once dry, cut up the big sheet to get your preferred card sizes. #2

Thumbprint magic

Even if your child’s not adept with a brush yet, he’ll enjoy using his thumb to create little wreaths for your cards! Of course, you’ll need to guide him until he’s confident printing on his own. Lightly trace out a circle on some plain card, to use as a guide in

Then paint over with your water colours! That’s all there is to it, really. Use as many colours as you’d like – in fact the nice thing about water colours is how the colours merge and blend together on the paper. You can use any colour of crayon to draw, but there’s something really special about a plain white crayon on white paper, so that it looks like the pattern is just part of the paper when you’re done. the printing. Add some dots of red circles to represent holly, and a painted or fabric ribbon to finish it up! Simple but effective! #3

Tissues to the rescue

Tear up a whole bunch of coloured tissues. You can buy these from Art Friend, or ransack your kitchen for remnant pieces of napkin! Next have your kids glue these down onto paper with a glue solution and brushes (Equal parts water and white glue should work fine. Or invest in a tub of mod podge.) Brush over the tissue with another layer of glue and leave to dry. Once your collage pieces are all dried up, cut out shapes of your choice and adhere to coloured cardstock! You can cut triangles for trees, or star shapes, or hearts – whatever you fancy, really! #4


All that glitters

Using green triangles as your “Christmas trees”, ask your child to decorate each tree with glitter pens and glittery stickers! They’ll have such fun making their trees look pretty, and you’ll have many trees to choose from in a very short time! Let dry completely, and adhere to plain cardstock for a pretty card.

Waxing beautiful

Wax and water don’t mix, so wax patterns and water colours can make for some very pretty pieces! In a technique called “wax resist”, use a wax crayon or candle to draw a simple design on some plain thick cardstock.

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ME Generation


growing up

In May 2013, TIME magazine published a front page article on The Me Generation which caused some controversy. One main thing it points out is that the incidence of narcissistic personality disorder has escalated exponentially over the years. In Psychology Today, reference was made to the Narcissism Epidemic, where traits of narcissism have increased. By Som Yew Ya So…are we really in a Me, Myself and I culture? Are we raising a generation of narcissists?

Unrealistic Expectations & Self-Focus This is a visible fact in the current generation. With Friends list on Facebook, now there are “Follower” tallies that serve as a popularity index. People post their mood through the day, what they wear in the fitting room, what they eat for three meals, their vacations on the go. With Instagram and Twitter, an active online life can create a micro celebrity out of your youngster. Self-focus can be a good thing if done with the appropriate boundaries. As parents, it is up to us to nurture our kids to think for themselves and be empowered, yet not at the detriment of others. I have seen kids who make a beeline for what they want, disregarding the queue for the ride, the slide etc and yes, at times their parents were present and did nothing. Even as children are loved and esteemed as princes and princesses (you hear a lot of these terms at birthdays and first months) in their homes, it is important to cultivate in our children respect and consideration

for others as well.

Lack Of Presence With Others

Children are not as “present” as before. Take for example some visitors come to visit, but the children are invisible hidden away in their rooms. Either they are squeezed for time due to competitiveness in school or they are engrossed with some online game. The same can be observed at Chinese New Years or Christmases, social dinners and the like. Such encounters are not uncommon and many parents seem to have become accustomed to it. There are different sides to this coin. The generation of kids nowadays is more focused on what is necessary rather than what is socially appropriate. It is more efficient this way and they do get their own things done. However, it is also important to be involved in a bigger social context and not just socialise with people that the kids choose. It is also a good place for the adults to model good social skills.

Sense Of Entitlement

These are challenging times where our children grow up being bombarded

with commercials and advertising everywhere. It was said that this sense of entitlement is not a result of being overprotected but an adjustment to a world of abundance. When our children are seeped in a world where there are so many options and things readily available, it may be tough to teach our children how to wait for something, to decline them something or to save up for something.

Narrower Gap Between Parents And Children

Especially evident between adolescents and their parents, the gap between them has seemingly closed. Parents are not the authoritative figures they were before, but more peer-ish. There is a higher degree of negotiation and mutual discussion. The traditional hierarchy has somewhat faded and parents are now on social, Whatsapping or following what their children are trending. There is more common ground between the two with the technology in this generation. There are many general stereotypes of the Me Generation. These are just general observations out there; ultimately everything boils down to boundaries and to the individual. The narcissistic generation will emerge if the sense of individuality and empowerment is not tempered with a sense of empathy. In thinking of themselves, children who think for others as well will always be more balanced. Valuing their own rights and uniqueness but knowing that they are not above others. The Me Generation may not be that narcissistic if they are taught to think about the “You” in others.

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Heguru Education

Heguru Education Infant & Toddler Course (0-4 Years Old)

The Heguru Education is an effective and proven early childhood brain stimulation and development programmes developed by Heguru Japan over 30 years of extensive research and practicum. Our curriculum emphasizes imaginative exploration and critical thinking in a fun-filled learning environment. A heart-based brain development for children program that maximises the limited window of opportunity for right and whole brain development during your child’s first 6 years, Heguru Education offers specially designed Infant & Toddler right brain training programmes for children 0-4 years old, and Preschool whole brain development programmes for children 5-6 years old. Powerful right brain abilities include strong visualisation abilities, good concentration and mental focus, heightened awareness of the surroundings which aid in language acquisition and cognitive thinking, increased capacity to learn and creativity. Heguru Education Centre has recently opened its second school in Sengkang.

Heguru Education Preschool Course (5-6 Years Old)

Spatial intelligence General knowledge and confidence building

Photographic memory Training

Critical Thinking Heguru Education Centre (Eunos)

Heguru Education Centre (Sengkang)

Guthrie Building. 150 Changi Road, #04-04. Singapore 419973 (Near Eunos MRT Station) Tel: 6346 4646

10 Sengkang Central, #01-02. Singapore 545061. (Directly above Buangkok MRT Station, exit A) Tel: 6686 6566

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Creating a Joint




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By Tammy Fontana, Lead Therapist, All In The Family Counselling

for the parent

Marriage At Stake Parents are always focused on what is good for their kids. However, what most parents don’t realize is what children need above all things are for their parents to get along, support each other and work as team.

Hello Child, Hello Changes Many couples underestimate how having children will alter their marriage and don’t see the need to talk about each other’s parenting styles. They spend very little time talking about a parenting model that both of them will be happy with. However, it is crucial for parents not only to talk about it, but to implement it and put it in action. If husband and wife do not come into an agreement on what sort of parenting methods they would want to raise their kids, more disputes may occur especially when their children grow into their pre-teens and adolescent years. It can be very detrimental to the family or marriage if a couple cannot agree on how they want to parent their children. We tend to parent the way we were parented and because no one family is the same, there are bound to be differences. Heated debates may ensue about “what is right” for the kids.

When parents cannot agree and they spend their time fighting and being mad at each, this takes away time and energy they could be putting into their children. All this fighting between parents is role modeling for their children how to solve differences. Distracted disagreeing parents may mean more child misbehaviors. When parents are not getting along they risk putting their child in the position to pick sides, which is very unhealthy. Sometimes, children will play off the fact that their parents do not get along. Older children will be able to understand this even if they are not mature enough to explain it. One possible outcome is if a child receives a ‘No’ as an answer from one parent, they will go to the other parent who will either 1) not check with the partner and say ‘Yes’ or 2) because the parent is still angry at the other parent (for whatever reasons), they will overturn the other parent's decision to make a point or get back at them. This is very unhealthy in families and creates a lot of ambiguity for the child, thus resulting in more behavioral problems.

Merging Two Styles Into One If you and your spouse cannot seem to come to an agreement on each other’s parenting styles, you may want to put things into perspective. Both parents want the best for the child and there is no ONE right

way. Both parties will need to compromise a little; to modify their own parenting method to create a new version where both are agreeable upon. The key is to merge the two styles, blending both values and parenting ideals into one version where both parties are happy and satisfied. It’s important to remember there are many different ways to parent and both have good ideas.

A Joint Parent Partnership

 Keep the relationship and the quality of the marriage at the centre of all discussion. You cannot take the relationship for granted and start fighting for only what you want. Marriage changes our freedom and that means that you will not get your way all the time, even on parenting.  Compromise is not the same as giving-in. People often confuse the two as the same. If one person is giving-in, it is already a win-loss affair. Continue to communicate and try to think of ideas on how you can incorporate both parenting ideals. If one party keeps giving in, this may bring about several repercussions: a) they may feel resentful towards their partner and the marriage b) they will not follow through or will not do a good job because it is not what they want/ believe  Do not use the justification ‘It is in the best interest of the child’ flippantly. This is a very harmful remark, and to use the child as a ‘weapon’ against your

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cause people become stubborn and force their own wants and desires, instead of building on what both parties want.

Seek Help And You Will Receive If you are really struggling with your spouse on this, do seek guidance and advice from a health professional to equip yourself with the tools to creating a unified parenting model. Most importantly, parents should aim to cooperate, support each other and stay untied. Getting help early also can prevent possible disputes in your marriage.

Extra Tip from The

Expert spouse. What children really need are two parents who are willing to be f lexible and creative in order to work together. These are advanced marriage skills that must couples will learn together as they grow in their parenting journey. There is no hard and fast rule. It is important to remember that if you want your spouse’s support and help, you must first be willing to yield and incorporate


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your other half ’s parenting style.

The Root Of It All Parents need to be aware that forcing their partner to subscribe to their way of parenting “for the sake of the child" is putting one’s wants ahead of the needs of the marriage. This is often the root of all marriage counselling cases I see. There is a 66% decrease in marital satisfaction after the birth of a child be-

Most of us are not born or equipped with effective parenting skills and need to educate ourselves. You can start by reading books on different parenting styles and decide what works for you and your spouse.


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Plans Too Early Too Soon? By Winston Tan, Chartered Financial Consultant

With the advent of medical science, many people are living to a riper old age. Statistics have proven the more developed the economy is, its people will have a higher life expectancy. From a life expectancy of 65.8 years old in 1970, Singaporeans’ life expectancy have grown substantially to 82.3 years old in 2012 ^1. Retirement planning is increasingly becoming a very important component in financial planning, especially so for our “hamburger” generation. When Should I Retire? I have always told my clients that retirement planning is about giving them a choice of not working when they reach their desired retirement age. They may choose to continue working after their retirement age, but at least they have a peace of mind that their retirement is already taken care of and do not need to work for the money’s sake. So how should you decide your retirement age? There are a few steps involved here.

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Deciding When And How You Want To Retire A typical retiring age for my clients whom I have done retirement planning with falls between 55 to 65. Once you have decided when you want to retire, you need to think of how much retirement income you need every month to sustain your lifestyle should you retire now. If you were to retire now, do you believe S$3,000 per month is enough? Or would you prefer S$5,000? What kind of retirement lifestyle would you like to lead? If you would like to maintain your current lifestyle, you can use your current monthly expenses as a benchmark for your future retirement income. Working Out How Much Retirement Funds You Need Working out how much lump sum a person needs for their retirement is quite technical, it would be advisable to get a good financial planner to help you do the sums. Typically, a person retiring 25 years later and who has S$1 million, will get a monthly retirement income of S$2,076 - S$2,340 ^2. Sources Of Retirement Income A CPF Ordinary Account (CPF OA)  CPF OA can be used to: i. buy a home; ii. pay your monthly home mortgage loans; iii. invest in shares, bonds and unit trusts; iv. Your childrens’ university education fees.  CPF OA balance is currently earn-


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ing 2.5% interest per year.  If you have S$20,000 in your OA and S$40,000 in your Special Account (SA), Medisave Account (MA) or Retirement Account (RA), you will get an additional interest of 1.0% per year. B CPF Special Account (CPF SA)  CPF SA can be used to: i. pay your monthly home mortgage loans (special cases only); ii. invest in shares, bonds and unit trusts.  This account is mainly for your retirement.  CPF SA balance is currently earning 4.0% interest per year. C Minimum Sum Scheme (MSS) 4 5  At age 55, you need to set aside monies from your CPF OA and CPF SA for your Minimum Sum Scheme (MSS).  The MSS amount for this year 2013 is S$148,000. You need to set aside at least half of this amount from your CPF OA and CPF SA. The remaining half can be set aside using your property.  The MSS amount will be transferred to your Retirement Account (RA) at age 55.  RA earns 4.0% interest per year.  Your RA amount (MSS) will be transferred to your CPF Life before age 65.  CPF Life was started in 2009 to provide a basic annuity plan for Singaporeans, as most Singaporeans are expected to live beyond 85 years old with advancement in medical and science.  CPF Life provides a monthly payout for life.  CPF Life monthly payouts will start at age 65.  CPF Life has 2 plans: LIFE Stan-

dard and LIFE Basic. i. LIFE Standard provides a higher monthly payout but lower bequest amount to your family. ii. LIFE Basic provides a lower monthly payout but higher bequest amount to your family. D Investments via i. Stocks (Shares) ii. Bonds iii. Unit Trusts iv. Properties v. Endowments (Saving Plans) vi. Jewellery, Artwork, Coins, Notes, Stamp Collections A good financial planner will be able to help you project your CPF balance and investment value at your retirement age. In my work for my clients, I have noticed that their CPF SA works out to be a substantial amount when they retire as CPF SA balance typically accumulates faster after the age of 40. Also, I will not go into details with regard to the investment classes above as it would too lengthy. How To Achieve Your Retirement Goal I would typically recommend using Unit Trusts and Endowments (Saving Plans) to achieve my clients’ retirement goal. These instruments require less monitoring and gives my clients a more balance portfolio (in terms of investment risk). I will not go into detail of these plans as it is quite technical. It would be advisable to get more detailed advice from a good financial planner. Start Early! I cannot emphasise more on the im-


portance of starting early for your retirement plan. You may be young and thinking more of maintaining your current lifestyle, but it is never too early to start planning for your retirement by setting aside some monies for either investment or endowment.

I started with a small investment plan of S$150 per month 12 years ago, investing in unit trusts, slowly increasing the monthly amount and doing cash top ups when I have spare cash. I am now sitting on a sizable sum of money, which I know will only grow further when I retire 20 years down

A good financial planner will be able to help you project your CPF balance and investment value at your retirement age.

the road. I have also set aside some monies in endowments to balance out the risk from investing in unit trusts. As I always tell my clients, Rome was not built over-night, it took many years, much labour and material to build it. Your retirement goal may look daunting now. But more importantly, know where you are heading and take little financial steps towards achieving your goals. Everything good thing in life takes time. And having a good financial planner to hold your hand, not literally, along the way does help to smoothen and brighten up your journey. I hope my series of Financial Planning articles this year had brought more insight for you and your family. Remember, just like any game, Financial Planning is a game of finance. Once you know how to play it, Financial Planning can be fun! Wishing all my readers Merry Christmas and end the year with a blast! Do you have any ideas to share on Financial Planning? Please do share your thoughts, ideas and questions on The New Age Parents Forum or you could simply drop me an email at tanooisim_ 1 by_theme/population/time_series/keyind%20 population2013.xls 2 Based on reinvestment rate of 2.0% per year during retirement and inflation rate of 2.0% per year ^3. 3 by_theme/economy/time_series/cpi_1980.xls 4 index.htm?sourceType=3&search_ text=Minimum+Sum 5 htm?sourceType=3&search_text=CPF+Life

The New Age Parents


Cup Runneth Over By Dr Martha Lee, Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching


The New Age Parents

Thrive to be Alive


The saying “Cup Runneth Over” refers to one who had received so many benefits that they cannot contain them all. You are probably wondering how this is relevant to you.


ell, when was the last time you had a good night’s sleep? Are you feeling exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed by life? Is hubby playing his part or holed up in the study room infront of his laptop? Did you invariantly push him away because he was not doing it as quickly or as efficiently as you could? And he’s complaining about the lack of sex? And may I dare venture and ask: When was the last time you found an overflowing sense of joy, pleasure or even ecstasy to the effect of “Cup Runneth Over”? In your haste to do more in less time, and spend as much time as possible with your child (or children), you might have snapped at your spouse, alienated yourself from friends who care about you, and become isolated from the rest of the world – short of going to and fro home and work. In your constant struggle to get everything done, did you ask yourself how long you can keep this up for?

Here are some tips on how to thrive in life so that your libido might return:


Slow down. As Lily Tomlin said, “For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” To slow down, simply do the things you are doing slower. Just take a deep breath and slow down your movement and your pace when walking. Drive your car and ride your bike a little slower. Eat slower. Take in life around you a bit instead of focusing on setting a new speed record.


First thing first. Take in your surroundings for a minute or two to relax and reconnect with this present moment, and ask yourself: What is the most important thing I can do right now? Replace the frantic and stressed energy of a mind that is going too fast for its own good, and take action by doing the most important things one at a time. As you slow down it becomes easier to find a healthy perspective and to think things through in a clear and calm way.


Self-care time. Sit down in nature and watch the ocean. Or take a long shower. You could lie down on your bed and sofa and shut out the world for a time. Just chill – without thinking about what you want to do or about the past or future. When you don’t focus on needing to be or do this or that, your mind starts to relax and work on its own. This can extend to feeling more at-home with yourself and your body.


Start exercising. I know it sounds totally ironic since you feel so tired that you cannot imagine even exercising. We all know that exercises releases feelgood hormones, helps relax the body, as well as strengthens your body. If you are still not convinced, think of how much more effective you can become when you are physically stronger and mentally sharper?


Ask for help. Let go of the need to be perfect. Do you tend to keep comparing yourself with your peers? Or consistently worried about not being good enough? Did you really need to get to that cleaning and washing right away? Help can come in form of grandparents, part-time helpers, friends who do not have kids of their own and would jump at the chance to do some baby-sitting. If you don’t ask, you don’t get! I recognise that I am not in your situation or in your shoes. However I empathise with you and the challenges you must be experiencing. I have had many female clients who struggle with regaining their sexual drives after baby, not because they have not recovered physically after delivery but because of the relentless pace they are living. When you are OK inside, life is better on the outside. What needs to happen so that your cup can runneth cover? Think about it, discuss it with your husband, and start making some small steps towards making 2014 a great year for you! Want more tips and resources? Subscribe to

The New Age Parents


editorial team

Editor: Michelle Ang Experts: SBCC Baby & Child Clinic, The Child Development Centre, T32 Junior Dental Centre, The Children’s Therapy Centre, Gymnademics, Julia Gabriel Centre, All In The Family Counselling, Eros Coaching & Winston Tan Regular Contributors: Dorothea Chow, Yvonne Chee & Som Yew Ya Contributors: Master Jo Ching

Art & Design Art Director: Elaine Lau & Michelle Ang

Marketing & Advertising Business Development Manager Elaine Lau

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.


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