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THE NEW AGE

PARENTING IN A NEW ERA

www.thenewageparents.com

Is Saying Sorry to our kids a sign of

Weak Parenting?

Taming the Temper Monster

10

Unhealthy Parenting

Habits to Leave Behind HEGURU SPECIAL

What goes on in a Heguru Class

W E N OK LO


table of contents

THE NEW AGE

CONTENTS 04 Editorial Note 06 Health

Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy Wean on These! Top 10 Weaning Food For Babies

30 New Year Special

10 Dental

Common Causes of Protruding Teeth in Kids

12 Growing up

40 For The Parent

18 The New Age Parents Coverpage Contest

The New Age Parents

Supporting Children with Mild Developmental Delays

Parenting Then VS Now: 10 Changing Trends Activities To Inspire and Instill Gratitude Zodiac Forecast 2016 10 Unhealthy Parenting Habits to Break

Fit-Me Up: Raising Strong and Fit Kids Taming the Temper Monster Skills of A Successful Child

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22 Special Needs

First-Time Mum Series: Don't Sweat The Small Stuff Teaching our children The Value of‌ Saying Sorry


editorial note

THE SECRET TO HAPPINESS Want to be happier in the coming year? Brother David SteindlRast, a monk and interfaith scholar suggests in his TED talk that happiness is born from one thing – GRATITUDE. Some of the happiest people I have met in my life don’t have much; what they have is contentment and gratitude. And they don’t just think about being thankful; they talk about it, write about it and practice it. Before we count down to the new year, let’s reflect on the things we can be thankful for. We give you some ideas in Activities To Inspire and Instill Gratitude. Have you ever said ‘sorry’ to your kids? It takes courage to apologise and we believe it’s got nothing to do with weakness. In the last part of our ‘Value’ series, we talk about Teaching our Child The Value of… Saying Sorry. What sort of unhealthy parenting habits are you holidng on to? Perhaps it’s time to say goodbye to them. Read more in our list of 10 Unhealthy Parenting Habits To Break. New things are brewing at The New Year Age Parents. Besides unveiling a new look for for our e-mag, we are in the process of giving our website a make-over. I’m also excited to share with you our upcoming projects for 2016: A Breastfeeding e-guide, a printed Enrichment and Preschool Resource Guide and our annual Parenting with Love Seminar. Join our mailing list or follow us on Facebook for more details! My wish for the new year? Be thankful, stay humble and have faith. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all! My best,

Do you have any stories, tips or any feedback to share? We love to hear from you! DROP US AN EMAIL AT mailbox@thenewageparents.com CONNECT WITH US AT www.facebook.com/newageparents FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/thenewageparents

CORRECTION: In our our previous issue, “Orthaopaedic Conditions for Babies and Children (Part II)” by Dr Wong Chin Khoon (page 10), the word “Orthaopaedic” should be “Orthopaedic”. We regret this spelling error.

Editorial Team EDITOR Michelle Ang WRITERS Dorothea Chow, Som Yew Ya, Jenny Tai & Rachel Tan

Art & Design ART DIRECTOR Michelle Ang COVERPAGE MODEL Joseph Emmanuel Dela Cruz PHOTOGRAPHY Photograhpy By Yew Kwang

Marketing & Advertising MARKETING HEAD AND ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Elaine Lau For advertising enquiries, email us at advertise@thenewageparents.com

Web Administration WEB DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR Seow Poh Heng FEATURED EXPERTS SBCC Baby & Child Clinic, SBCC Women’s Clinic, T32 Junior Dental Centre, Kinderland Educare Services Pte Ltd, Julia Gabriel Education Centre, THK Therapy Services (The Children’s Therapy Centre) & Sparkanauts If you wish to contribute to the magazine, we will love to hear from you. Do email us at mailbox@thenewageparents.com For advertising enquiries, email us at advertise@ thenewageparents.com 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.


health

remedy, Ginseng, is capable of causing malformations in rat embryos. Although studies are not available in human embryos, its use should be limited especially during the first trimester. Beware of these Food-borne Infections!

Listeriosis

Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy Expert: Dr Ben Choey Specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology SBCC Women’s Clinic (Clementi) Practice Address: Blk 443 Clementi Ave 3 #01-53 Singapore 120443 Tel:(65) 6774 1654 www.sbcc.sg

Alcohol Scientific data shows that moderate drinking (one or two drinks a day) has been associated with increased risk of miscarriage, complications during labor and low birth weights. Although there is limited evidence that occasional alcoholic drinks will

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be detrimental to the fetus, it is best to avoid during the first trimester when organs are forming.

Coffee and other caffeinated drinks

Consuming over 200 mg of caffeine a day reduces the absorption of some essential nutrients and increases the risk of low birth weight and miscarriage. An average cup of coffee contains about 80 mg of caffeine so drinking two cups a day is fine. It would be better to restrict daily intake to four cups of tea, or five cans of cola, or three energy drinks or five bars of chocolate.

Ginseng

There are animal studies suggesting that early exposure to the herbal

This is an infection caused by a bacterium named Listeria monocytogenes. It can occur in pregnancy and severe infection can result in miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, and newborn infections such as meningitis. Possible sources of listeria include the following: Unpasteurized cow’s milk and cheese Mold-ripened cheeses, blue-veined cheeses Unpasteurized sheep and goats milk and their products Pates of all types Cooked food chilled for reheating Ready-prepared coleslaw

Salmonellosis

The bacterium Salmonella typhi can cause severe diarrheal illness. Salmonella bacteria are hardy organisms and can withstand light cooking. Potential sources include poorly cooked poultry and raw egg. Hence it is important to cook eggs and poultry thoroughly to destroy all traces of infection.

Toxoplasmosis

The organism toxoplasma gondii, can potentially lead to brain damage or blindness in the baby. The organism is carried in the feces of animals, particularly cats, but also present in soil and in raw and undercooked meat and poultry.


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health

Wean on these! Top 10 Weaning Food For Babies

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Weaning refers to the period during which an infant is gradually introduced and becomes accustomed to a range of foods. Up till the age of six months, all the nourishment an infant needs comes from either breast milk or infant formula milk. After six months, it is important to introduce the infant to a range of foods in order to meet their changing nutritional needs. Expert: Dr Tan Zhen Han Paediatrician SBCC Baby & Child Clinic (Mount Alvernia) Practice address: Mount Alvernia Medical Centre (Blk A) 820 Thomson Road #01-01/02 Singapore 574623 Tel: (65) 6354 1922 www.sbcc.sg

“Infants should gradually be introduced to a wide range of foods with different tastes and textures. Do remember to give your baby time to get accustomed to the new foods, as well as to set their own pace of feeding.” An infant’s first food must suit his ability to eat. As such, the first food should be soft, smooth and runny in consistency. As an infant’s ability to chew and bite develops, texture of the food can be varied (e.g. mashed, lumpy, minced), to allow the infant to experience a wider variety of food. An infant should be exposed to a variety of foods from the four main food groups:

Rice and alternatives (e.g. cereal, potato, bread) Vegetables Fruits Meat and alternatives (e.g. fish, chicken, beancurd) Some of these weaning foods are as follows: 1 RICE is a good first weaning food as it is least likely to cause any allergic reaction. Infant rice cereal is relatively bland in taste and is thus likely more acceptable to babies especially when mixed with breast milk or formula. It also provides necessary iron at a time when the infant’s levels of iron are most depleted – this usually occurs at around six months of age. 2 SWEET POTATO AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH are good sources of vitamins and fibre, have a smooth texture when pureed, and mix well with other vegetables. 3 CARROTS are rich in vitamin A, and make an excellent weaning food as they are naturally sweet. 4 SPINACH is rich in iron, calcium and vitamins (A, C, K and folate). 5 BROCCOLI is a popular weaning

food due to its easy to grip stalk, and is another great source of vitamins, minerals, calcium and fibre. 6 APPLE AND PEAR are great first fruits, and are easily digested when cooked and pureed. 7 BANANA AND PAPAYA do not require cooking, and can be easily mashed up with a spoon or fork. Banana can also be served in large chunks for baby to hold and gnaw on. 8 TOFU (SOY BEANCURD) is rich in iron, protein and calcium, and is a very versatile food which can be eaten raw, sautéed, or incorporated into soups. It also serves as a good baby finger food, and is a great alternative for meat. Tofu (along with other protein sources like meats) is generally given around eight months old as it may be more difficult to digest. 9 LEGUMES (E.G. LENTILS, CHICKPEAS) are rich in protein, fibre, vitamins (A, C, folate), and minerals (including calcium and iron), and are typically introduced at around eight months old, as it may be more difficult to digest. ⓾ WATER AND JUICES – Although the infant will still drink plenty of milk when they start solids, they can also begin to enjoy other drinks during mealtimes. Water or welldiluted fruit juices (one part fresh fruit juice to 10 parts boiled cooled water) can be given. Remember that good eating habits start early, so it’s important to introduce your baby to a wide variety of foods during the weaning process. Experimenting with new and varied textures early on also leads to fewer food refusals and a better acceptance of new foods later on in childhood.

The New Age Parents

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dental

Photo: T32 Dental Centre

Common Causes of Protruding Teeth in Kids Expert: Dr Boey Pui Yunn Orthodontist, T32 Dental Centre Practice address: T32 Dental Centre Camden Medical Centre One Orchard Boulevard, 17th Floor Singapore 248649 Tel: (65) 6733 1388 Emergency Dental Services: (65) 6398 5578 Email: t32@t32dental.com www.t32dental.com

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The New Age Parents

Q

My child’s teeth are protruding and it affects the way she closes her mouth. Is this normal? Will it change as she grows older? In a normal set of teeth, the upper front teeth are positioned slightly in front of the lower teeth. When the upper front teeth are too far in front of the lower teeth, the teeth will appear protruded. Protruding teeth are caused by numerous factors, some of which are developmental while others are due to

habits. One cause of protruding teeth is an imbalance in the growth of the upper and lower jaws. When the upper jaw is large or when the lower jaw is small, the upper teeth will be positioned far in front of the lower teeth. If the upper jaw is protruding, headgears may be used to help control the growth of the upper jaw. If the lower jaw is small, it is sometimes possible to hold off treatment and wait for lower jaw growth to catch up. In other instances, orthodontic appliances may be helpful in guiding the growth of the lower jaw. Another cause of protruding teeth is large tooth size. If the teeth are of larger size than normal, they take up more space and may appear protruded. In most cases, braces treatment may be required when the child has changed most of his teeth, usually from age eleven onwards. Thumb sucking or pacifier use may also cause protruding upper teeth. The constant thumb or pacifier in the mouth hinders proper growth of the front teeth and causes the teeth to flare outwards. If the child has this habit, efforts should be made to cease the habit to prevent permanent changes to the arrangement of the teeth. Help the child understand why they have to stop the habit, and offer constant encouragement and rewards. If the habit is stopped early enough, the teeth may spontaneously realign and no treatment will be needed. However, if the habit persists beyond age seven, there may be permanent protrusion of the teeth. These do not correct spontaneously, and usually require the use of orthodontic appliances to straighten the teeth.


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growing up different movements. These activities can be individual or in a team. As the child participates in the different activities, he or she will constantly learn new skills. However, do consider your child’s interest and abilities when introducing these activities. The activity has to be of their interest and something that can be a little challenge. Allow your child to have the freedom to make choices too. The focus is on fun and to be active.

Fit-Me Up

Raising Strong and Fit Kids How can we prep our kids to be fit and ready for physical activities in Primary school? Here are five ways to raise a fit child.

Expert: Rebecca Goh-Quek, Education Specialist, Kinderland Educare Services Pte Ltd

Physical activities not only strengthen your child’s muscles and bones, it also develops your child’s competency as they are capable of doing movements most children are able to perform. Healthy, physically active children also are more likely to be academically motivated and successful.

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1

INCORPORATE PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES DAILY Encourage your child to engage in physical activities for at least 180 minutes daily, as recommended by Singapore Health Promotion Board (HPB). Physical activities do not limit to just exercising. Playing at the playground, cycling, walking to the supermarket or walking up the steps are also form of activities.

2

PROVIDE A VARIETY Offer a variety of physical activities so that your child will be exposed to

3

GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP Team sports encourages children to engage in active listening and play a role of a team member; seeking team spirit. It is important to talk to your child about setback and losses. Encouraging, praising and talking to them will help overcome any potential fears.

4

BE A ROLE MODEL Set a good role-model and participate enthusiastically in the variety of physical activities with your child. Why not gather and involve your extended family, relatives, friends or neighbours to take part too!

5

SAFETY ASPECT Stress on the importance of the proper use of equipment and put on safety gear, if needed. Drink plenty of water when engaging in physical activities. If the child is unwell on that day, avoid any physical activities. Parents can make a difference to guide, support and encourage your child. Make it a priority and look for opportunities to have family-oriented activities. You can help and build a supportive and safe environment that welcomes your child’s efforts.


THE NEW AGE PARENTS & NEW AGE PREGNANCY PRESENT w w w. t h e n e w a g e p a r e n t s . c o m |

w w w. n e w a g e p r e g n a n c y. c o m

Preparing Your Child For Primary School

CLIQUE CONFLICTS: SAYING NO TO PEER PRESSURE GETTING YOUR KIDS STARTED ON MONEY MANAGEMENT

COPING WITH COMPETITION IN SCHOOL HOW TO BULLY PROOF YOUR CHILD FALL IN LOVE WITH MANDARIN

EXCELLING IN ENGLISH

The New Age Parents

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growing up

Taming The Temper Monster 14

The New Age Parents

We’ve all been there or seen it far too often. A crowded mall. A tired mum and her two kids trying to finish up some last minute grocery shopping. The boy wants an ice cream, and his mummy says “No”. And then all hell breaks loose on the supermarket floor.

BY DOROTHEA CHOW


Too often, we find ourselves enraged by the inconvenience, embarrassment, illogicality or injustice of the moment and lose our cool. We try to take back control of the situation with harsh words, yells or severe ultimatums. But is there a different way of managing the situation? Here are eight strategies you might want to try the next time you’re caught in a temper tantrum situation. Some might seem contradictory, and all are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but we say it really depends on the personality of your child and the context of their tantrum. 1. STAY FACTUAL Lay down the facts. Eg. “You are really mad with mummy because you want to have another ice cream and I said ‘no’. You already had one scoop of ice cream, which is what I promised you. Maybe the next time we come here, you can have a scoop of ice cream again." 2. EXPLAIN WHY Sometimes children need a bit more help to understand the rationale for our “do” or “don’t do”, “yes” or “no”, so unpack it for them. Eg. “Ice cream has a lot of sugar, and too much sugar is really bad for your body. I don’t want you to be sick or unhealthy, so I don’t want you to eat so much sugar at one go. Do you understand?” 3. TALK AT EYE LEVEL To a young child, a standing adult can seem to tower above him – formidable and frightening. We

recommend that you always try to get down to your child’s eye level when you are talking to him – temper tantrum or otherwise. Nobody likes to be talked down to, kids included.

is make sure he is somewhere safe, and let him get the anger out of his system. If you are at home, a bed or sofa is a good place to put him; if you are at a shopping mall, bring him aside to a quiet corner or back to the car.

4. GIVE OPTIONS A direct and abrupt “now” or “no” can spark off a huge protest. Find ways to avoid saying “no”, such as by naming the options that he does have. Eg. “You can’t have any more ice cream today, but you can have ice cream again the next time we come.” Or “You can choose your flavor for next time you come if you want. Then you’ll have to remember which flavor to order when we come back again.”

7. GIVE THEM A HUG There’s something very calming about a hug. A hug releases a powerful hormone called oxytocin in your bodies that inexplicable draws you both closer in solidarity. Your child needs to know that you are on his side, trying to help him cope with his pain. You are not the enemy. That said, if your child is still in meltdown mode, do not hug at this point. For one, it would be useless since he’s already over-stimulated. For another, he might hurt you if he’s kicking or jerking around. Wait until he has calmed down.

5. BREAK EYE CONTACT If talking to him isn’t helping the situation, sometimes the best thing you can do is to break off eye contact and stop berating your child. Instead, carry on doing whatever it is you were going to do, such as packing to leave the store or paying the bill. It’s not about ignoring your child per se, but more about not paying attention to his tantrum. 6. LET THEM RAGE Sometimes, a tantrum can cross over into a meltdown, which is when your child feels completely overwhelmed by the force of his emotions and can’t take in any new information for the moment. You may notice your child squeezing his eyes shut or blocking his ears with his hands. When your child is having one of these meltdowns, the best thing you can do

8. TALK ABOUT HOW BOTH OF YOU COULD HANDLE THINGS BETTER NEXT TIME It’s one thing to work things out in the heat of the moment, but how do you prevent it from happening it again next time? In a calmer moment, such as later that day, or even the next day, ask your child what would help him to manage his frustrations and anger better. After all, these feelings are perfectly normal and will come and go many times over, but we can all grow in learning how to process these emotions and respond appropriately. Coach your child in being socially and self-aware, so that he is better equipped to avoid similar scenarios in the future.

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growing up

Skills of a Successful Child Expert: Selene Diong, Principal Instructor of Sparkanauts

#1 PAYING ATTENTION Movement is very important to children’s cognitive development. A good physical curriculum includes a good mixture of balance, mobility, motor skill strengthening and body co-

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Photos: Sparkanauts

In this day and age, learning must go beyond rote learning such as memorizing number bonds and writing ABCs. A good curriculum focuses on developing and equipping children with the right skills that strengthens their learning abilities and thinking skills.

ordination activities. Balance activities are extremely crucial in stimulating your child’s vestibular system. A strong vestibular system plays an important role in children’s ability to pay attention for any learning activities. At Sparkanauts, children are engaged in a carefully designed rigourous active play time aimed to stimulate their brains and ability to pay attention. What you can do at home: Introduce action songs to your children that are coupled with movements. Incorporate actions that involve the large motor skills, fine motor skills, co-ordination of the body or basic gymnastics routine.

#2 EMOTIONAL QUOTIENT When presented a challenging task, some children respond with a “I-cannot” attitude. Children with such mentality often take a negative attitude towards learning new things. On the other hand, research indicates that an optimistic mindset is predictive of high academic achievement, health, happiness and career success. Emphasis must be placed on helping them become more resililent. When children feel secure, valued and encouraged to take intellectual risks, they develop an optimistic, can-do attitude. This attitude will carry them through difficult topics in school and


setbacks in life. Such children will be undaunted by setbacks and persist until they succeed. What you can do at home: When completing routine tasks such as getting changed, eating a meal, refrain from intervening, criticizing and correcting. Give your child time to explore ways to meet their end goal. You can empower them by modelling the right way to complete the task, give them time to try and refining their own solutions.

#3 SELF-CONTROL There is a scientific reason behind why young children have shorter attention span, throw tantrums and cry more often. The prefrontal part of the brain which controls their executive function takes a longer time to mature. Developing your child’s executive function is important. It helps your child to control their impulses and inhibit inappropriate responses. Students in Sparkanuats class pick up these self-regulation skills through active participation. The activities require children to curb their impulses and aims to strengthen children’s self control and executive function abilities. Children learn better if they are able to resist distraction and focus on their learning. Research showed that children with higher executive functions ability during the preschool years scored better in mathematics knowledge, letter knowledge and phonemic awareness.

When children feel secure, valued and encouraged to take intellectual risks, they develop an optimist, can-do attitude. to manage their impulses and inhibit inappropriate responses. They more they put these abilities into practice, the better they are at using it.

It's The Process That Counts

Don’t just teach children what to learn, teach them how to learn. For a young child, the process of learning should be a parent’s and educator’s key focus. Equipping them with the right skills will not only set them up for success in any learrning

activities, it will also make learning a pleasurable activity for the little ones! Designed to be fun, engaging and purposeful, Sparkanaut’s curriculum adopts a holistic approach towards early childhood development with the goal of helping children enjoy learning and develop the joy for reading.

From January 2016, Sparkanauts will be launching a new playgroup programme for children between the age of 2.5 years old to 4 years old. A non-parent accompanied class, the 3 hour daily holistic bilingual program integrates the learning of languages, important skill sets and concepts. For more information, go to www.sparkanauts.com

What you can do at home: Establish and inform your child of their schedule. When children are engaged in a predictable schedule, they are better able

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T H E

N E W

A G E

PA R E N T S

COVERPAGE

CONTEST

FIRST PLACE

Joseph Emmanuel Dela Cruz


RUNNER UP

Kayla Seah Le Xuan

The New Age Parents

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SECOND RUNNER UP

Donald Chong Jun Hao


Parents

The New Age Pa ren ting

w in the Ne

a Er

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21


special needs

Supporting Children with Mild Developmental Delays in Preschools Have you noticed that your child is a little different from his friends in school? Perhaps you've noticed that his is clumsier than his friends. Or no matter how hard you try to work on his ABCs, he just doesn't seem to get it. What could be wrong?

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Experts: Rebecca Ng (left), Speech Therapist & Nur Nadiah Zailani (right), Occupational Therapist THK Therapy Services

Skills of a Developing Preschooler What are the age-appropriate developmental skills a preshooler need in order to learn, participate and interact well with others in school? Language – able to communicate effectively with peers and teachers Attention - able to participate and listen well during lessons Motor skills – ables to play with


friends, participate in music and movement classes, and write legibly Behaviour – able to engage and learn effectively in school Social skills – able to play, interact and build relationships with friends What if children do not display the above skills? Areas of concerns raised by both parents and teachers: Paying attention to lessons and having high distractibility Recalling and applying what was taught in class Writing and copying during table work Engaging effectively in play activities with others Communication; understanding language and expressing themselves adequately Some speech difficulties rendering he or she difficult to understand Behavioural difficulties Are there any help or support provided for children who do not display the ageappropriate skills? Introducing the Development Support Programme (DSP) A team from the DPS will help preschool children with mild developmental needs and those who have difficulties participating well in school. The programme aims to equip these children with developmentally appropriate skills, and close the skills gap between them and their peers. How does it work? It starts with preschool teachers. Preschool teachers will highlight

children with mild developmental needs, and the Learning Support Educators (LSEds) will screen them to determine their needs. Support and intervention are then provide to the child depending on their area of needs; it could be speech and language, social skills, motor skills, behaviour, literacy or a mixture of these. Specially trained early childhood professionals (LSEds) and therapists will provide direct support for the child, working closely with parents and the preschool teachers, to ensure skill development and consistency across all environments. Best of all, the intervention is done in the preschool itself! The programme adopts an integrated community-family based approach where children, parents and teachers are involved in the whole process. Intervention ranges from an individual to a small group basis, once a week for 45 minutes, over 6 to 15 weeks, depending on each child’s needs. What therpaists do to help as part of DSP Children with mild developmental needs may require certain techniques and methods to gain the skills required to participate and learn better in school. Therapists help parents and teachers recognize developmental needs in a timely manner. This is where they will receive the extra help from our DSP professionals through interventions and in-class support sessions. On the other hand, it is common for preschool children to project some of the areas mentioned, since building of skills are still in progress at a young age. In fact, the brain is

known to only fully develop at the age of 25, questioning our level of expectations placed on preschool children in the areas mentioned. Ideas to help your child build skills for development: Build their understanding of themselves Acknowledge their capabilities and working together to problem-solve tasks Re-evaluate and organise routines Expose them to different kinds of play and learning activities with others Word of Advice from Therapists We encourage parents to effectively communicate with teachers on your child’s participation level, engage in discussions with teachers on what their perspectives are and whether your child is engaging well in both areas of learning and play in school. Since teachers spend a large amount of time with your child in school, it is crucial for parents to collaborate with teachers to gain a better understanding on how your child is developing. Compare your child’s skills in school and what is seen at home, discuss together as to what strategies have been used, which ones work, and whether the both of you may need additional help in facilitating your child’s gaining of skills required before deciding on accessing help. Sometimes all your child need is more one to one attention and guidance from you, to let them know that they are able to and can do well.

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Heguru Special

“The best investment I made for my child’s education.” Starting Off Right at Heguru Education Group (One KM, Sengkang, Waterway Point) What’s all the hype about right brain training programmes? TNAP spoke to Lee Pei Lin, a mother of three, to find out why she chose to send her children to one. Hi Pei Lin! Tell us more about your boy, William. How was he like before the programme? When William was 6 months old,

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I started reading books to him and exposed him to flash cards. When he grew a little older, he became active and I found it harder and harder to get him to focus. I got anxious and that was when I discovered Heguru Education, when he was two years old. William is my second child and I sent him to Heguru Education before his elder sister. Right now, he is five and attends the classes once every week. Why Heguru Education? Since I was unable to engage my child,

I did some research and scouted for different brain development schools to find out more. Then I met Mr Kuah, Principal of Heguru Education (One KM and Sengkang) and Head Teacher Paige. Both gave me a very good first impression and answered all my queries about the programme. I was even more assured when I learnt that Heguru Education right brain training methods have been supported by more than 30 years of extensive scientific research. It has been well studied and developed by its Japanese founders, Hirotada and Ruiko Henmi. The curriculum of the programme appealed to me. It focuses on developing the right brain; helping it to absorb new information quickly. I am also delighted to discover that on top of brain development, Heguru Education helps to discover a child’s hidden talent, hone their critical thinking skills and boost their confidence to become more independent. Any difference in William after he attended the programme? Definitely. William has been attending the programme for the past three years and has graduated from the toddler programme to the pre-schooler programme. His improvement is tremendous. Just three months into the programme, I realised that William was able to concentrate better and had a longer attention span. Some of the activities conducted like link memory, f lashcards, speed listening, colour mandala, Iroita, character building songs and puzzles, have helped William build


up his knowledge and confidence. Thanks to the guidance of the teachers at Heguru Education One KM, especially Head Teacher Paige, I saw how my boy has grown from a shy to a confident and active learner. William’s preschool teacher also gave me positive feedbacks regarding his performance in school after I enrolled him in the programme. His teacher praised his keen word recognition and memory skills. Now, he is able to read English and Mandarin story books effortlessly. I had an even bigger surprise at home when I saw him working on his elder sister’s Primary One homework! William is always looking forward to attend classes at Heguru Education One KM. He takes pride in his learning and is very motivated to practise what he has learnt at home as well. As for myself, I am very pleased

with his progress, and how he has benefited from the programme. What makes William (and you) come back for more? I believe the teachers in Heguru Education One KM play an important part in William’s interest and progress. Especially Head Teacher Paige, who has been teaching him for the past three years. A very dedicated and passionate teacher, she takes the initiative to conduct meetings with parents and keep us updated on our child’s progress. Head Teacher Paige also give good advices on how we can engage our children at home too. Any advice to parents out there looking for a right brain development programme? I would recommend parents to try Heguru Education (One KM and Sengkang). Also, it pays to

be persistent and complete the programme till your child is at least 6 years old; because the first six years are the most crucial period for right brain stimulation. It is during this time frame that children can achieve optimal development with right brain stimulation. In fact, Heguru Education has right brain training programme for children up to 12 years old. I believe my children, and others as well, will reap the benefits when they complete the programme. To know more about Heguru Education Centre right brain training programme, please visit www.hegurueducation.com.sg Heguru One KM Centre T: 6346 4646 Heguru Sengkang Centre T: 6686 6566 Heguru Waterway Point Punggol Coming soon in Feb 2016!

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Heguru Special

taken aback by how quick the lessons were going. But I have now learnt why each lesson has to be fast-paced and conducted by a teacher with a strong voice. The speed helps to stimulate the right brain while the strong voice helps in maintaining the children’s attention for the entire duration of the class.

What Goes On In A Heguru Class Michelle Hon shares her daughters’ learning experience at their weekly classes. We've been attending Heguru classes at Heguru Education Centre at OneKM for more than 4 months now. Luckily for us, the classes for Lauren (aged 3) and Georgia (aged 1) run concurrently every week. That saves us time but I can't be at both classes at the same time. So my husband, Nick and I take turns to

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accompany each child. ATTENDING LESSONS AT HEGURU EDUCATION I still remember my shock during my first class. The lead teacher who greeted me sweetly when I arrived, started the class with exuberant cheers and claps. Her voice must have gone up a few decibels too. I was

CLASS TIME AND TEACHERS Both classes run for 60 minutes, with two teachers assigned to each class. This is to facilitate a seamless transition of activities and maintain the high energy level. There are usually 4 to 5 students together with their parents. I must say the teachers play a big part in making sure the atmosphere and the learning environment is conducive and enjoyable. My girls’ teachers are very welcoming and look genuinely happy to teach the kids. Despite the pace of the lessons, the teachers are observant to each child and quick to call them out when they are losing focus. I should know, because my younger girl Georgia sure gets called out a lot. WHAT GOES ON IN A TYPICAL HEGURU TODDLER CLASS The objective of the class is to input a stream of information at rapid speed, until the left brain is unable to process the massive influx of data in such a short time. This causes the right brain to be “activated”. Hence, there is a great deal of stimulation happening in that one hour. A range of holistic activities (motor, linguistic, musical, spatial, mathematical) are covered in each


Lots of flashcards! The teacher covers each card in a splitsecond speed, using a loud, dynamic voice.

General knowledge on art appreciation. Learning about Mary Cassatt and her famous paintings.

Linguistic development. Learning to count in a different language.

General knowledge on World heritage. Getting to know about famous landmarks.

Link memory cards. Remembering the pictures in the correct order by associating it with a make-believe story. For example, My mother puts on a blue ribbon straw hat for the baby after placing her on the stroller‌

Iroita time. This reinforces on a variety of skills such as fine motor development, mathematical concepts and their ability to problem-solve through trial and error.

Counting 3D blocks. This helps to develop their counting skills and their visual and spatial awareness.


Heguru Special

Song and movement. Here the teachers demonstrates how to sing an Aqueous solutions song.

class. All in all, we do 40 to 50 activities per lesson. Yes, we go through all that in one class. When I said the pace is fast, I wasn't kidding. But don't worry about the children not being able to follow the lesson, some of the activities repeat every week for a month or a term so that the children can learn and absorb much better. TOWARDS THE END At the end of every class, the teacher goes through a ‘Parent’s Lecture’ handout explaining the purpose of the special activities conducted, how these activities aid in your child’s development and how parents can replicate the same teaching methods at home. For a mother like myself who sometimes has no idea what to do with my girls, I find this to be extremely helpful.

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Phonics and writing. This heightens their language capability and word recognition.

MY CHILDREN’S PROGRESS Georgia, 1 year old, Baby class

Georgia is a little inconsistent when it comes to paying attention during the class. Some days, she surprises

me with her ability to participate in some of the activities which I thought are too advanced for her. She seems to be able to understand instructions well and complete the


tasks set by the teacher. Other times, she is distracted by everything else that goes on in class. The only thing that is sure to get her attention is music, which is great, because many activities are taught through songs and movement. Lauren, 3 years old, Toddler class

I must say Lauren has grown leaps and bounds since we started Heguru 4 months ago. From an extremely shy girl who didn't like strangers looking at her, she is growing out of her shell and becoming more confident. She gave both teachers big hugs after just

one class! Now, she participates enthusiastically in class and will even speak out when she knows the answers to the activities. She is extremely good with puzzles and activities related to visual memory, and enjoys going up to the class during peg memory exercise. Lauren has also become a better reader. She now reads by using her finger to lead and point at the words, a technique she picked up during class. Whenever we read at home now, she would point at the words and try to read along too. As for me, besides my daughters learning new things every week, I'm most pleased to see them enjoying their classes. They get very excited every week when we tell them it is ‘school' day and they can’t wait to get to classes.

This is the second part of The New Age Parents and Heguru Education series. In the next part, Mum Blogger Michelle Hon will go in-depth into how some of the lessons are conducted and ways to replicate these lessons at home. For more information, visit Heguru Education Centre website at www. hegurueducation.com.sg MICHELLE HON is a mother of two, writer

and founder of The Chill Mom Baby Planner & Maternity Concierge. A certified early childhood educator and carer, she has helped many busy mothers-to-be plan and manage the arrival of their babies. Michelle has been featured on The Asian Entrepreneur and Harper’s Bazaar Kids. Besides being a contributing writer at The New Age Parents, Michelle shares her motherhood tips and experience on her website at www. thechillmom.com


Parenting Then VS Now

10 Changing Trends Research and studies constantly throw up new ideas and statistics about how we are living our lives. Changing trends in parenting is no exception. Some of the changes may be seen as more positive than others, but what is evident is the co-relation between these trends with technology.

By Fiona Walker, Principal of Schools and CEO of Julia Gabriel Education

Research and studies constantly throw up new ideas and statistics about how we are living our lives. Changing trends in parenting is no exception. Some of the changes may be seen as more positive than others, but what is evident is the co-relation between these trends with technology.

#1 I AM A _______ PARENT Research and studies in the field of pedology have helped to raise awareness of how we parent. Though categorisation of parenting styles came about in the 1960s, a plethora of scholarly opinion has become available in the past decade. For example, parents can determine if they are ‘authoritarian’, ‘authoritative’, ‘permissive’ or ‘uninvolved’ in their approach to parenting and how - combined with an understanding of their child’s temperament – their approach affects the cognitive, emotional and physical development of the child.

#2 YOU FAILED? IT’S OKAY,

TRY AGAIN In Singapore particularly, pressure on

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new year special

children to ‘succeed’ from very young is immense. We still live in a results orientated society. But more and more, parents are accepting that the concept of ‘failure’ is a positive part of learning, and that facing challenges ultimately increases knowledge and skills, helps build self-esteem and aids problem solving.

#3

FIGHTING WITH SCREEN TIME Today’s reliance on technology frequently dictates how parents model behaviour to their children. With one eye on the smartphone or iPad while talking to our children, are we really listening to them? Consequently, are we affecting their own ability to use language and focus attention?

#4

LET’S TALK…IN THE GROUP CHAT Similarly, how we communicate with our children has changed drastically in the last decade. Parents with children old enough to handle a smartphone may find themselves texting or discussing plans via chat apps, just as much as talking to them in person!

#5 RISE OF THE PARENT

BLOGGERS Wittingly or unwittingly, parenting today plays out very much in the public domain. The rise of Mummy and Daddy blogs, as well as sharing our children’s photos and videos on the social media, has got us documenting our children’s every move on the internet. Also, more parents today look towards online discussion groups for tips and advice from other parents or experts unknown to them.

#6 MODERN FAMILIES The definition of ‘family’ no longer includes simply the traditional mother, father, child model. Though Asia generally remains more conservative, globally, diverse forms of parenting (single parents, same sex parents, common-law couples) are more widespread and widely acceptable. In some countries, such ‘untradtional’ families are also afforded the same parenting rights and benefits as traditional family set-ups.

#7 DADS ARE GETTING

RECOGNISED Gender equality in terms of childcare within the family has witnessed an increase in recent years, with the importance of the role of fathers more widely recognised. In 2012 the Ministry of Family and Social Development (MSF) announced ‘there were more than 25,000 claims made to the CPF Board in respect of Government-paid childcare leave taken by fathers, just slightly below the 27,000 claims for mothers.’ Also,

The definition of ‘family’ no longer includes simply the traditional mother, father, child model.

there are official apps and websites encouraging and citing the benefits of more father involvement.

#8

OLDER FIRST-TIME PARENTS With a gradual increase in the average age of first-time parents since the early 2000s, the actuality of becoming a parent has changed. Marriage and parenthood trends in Singapore indicate that both men and women are remaining single for longer. This means that when they do eventually marry, they are older when their first child comes along.

#9

SPARE THE ROD… FOR GOOD! Education and communication have helped spread the value of positive discipline and decrease the fear that this is somehow a soft option to success in later life. Leading early childhood educators have helped us understand the adverse consequences of harsh discipline that rarely considers the rights and individuality of the child.

#10

ENDLESS SUPPLY OF SELF-HELP PARENTING BOOKS Every year sees the publication of new books intended to help parents along the parenting path. Parenting this… Parenting that…. The 1,2,3s of parenting… Each has its appeal, and let’s face it, we can all do with as much help as we can get! At the end of the day however, the one thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that much of parenting is a case of trial and error, and just as for our children, learning from experience.

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growing up

Activities To Inspire and Instill Gratitude Grateful kids have a higher chance of becoming welladjusted, happier adults. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Jenny Tai shows us six fun activities to instill gratitude in your child.

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If you want your kid to have a better chance at happiness in life, instill an attitude of gratitude. That’s the key. Beyond lavishing praise on them and teaching them the importance of grades and success, we need to teach them how to be thankful. Because thankful kids are better equipped


to remain optimistic even in tough circumstances.

1. Thankful Tree

Collect a few large tree branches and arrange them in a vase. Cut out leaves from construction paper and have your kids write what they’re thankful for on them. Hang them on the branches with string. Over time as more leaves “grow,” the Thankful Tree will fill out, making a gorgeous and meaningful centerpiece.

2. Thank You Deeds

Keep a box of Thank You Deeds. Ask your kids who and what they’re thankful for, then write them on individual notecards. On the other side of each notecard, come up with a related activity. For example, if they name grandma as someone they’re thankful for, then the corresponding deed could be, “Give grandma a kiss and hug.” If they mention that they’re thankful for the pretty flowers in the garden, the matching deed could be, “Help water the flowers.” And if they say how much they love their new Elsa dress, suggest that they donate a few clothes for children in need to enjoy. Once they fill up the box with notecards, they can pick one each week to carry out. The point is to identify what they’re grateful for, and then to go one step further by doing something to show their appreciation through action.

3. Handmade Thank You Cards

Snail mail is a rarity these days, which makes receiving one even more of a treat. Ask your kids who they’re

thankful to have in their lives, whether it’s their cousin who lives overseas, the bus driver, or their teacher. Then make Thank You Cards together and have several art materials on hand to decorate with, such as stickers, markers, glitter pens, sequins, adhesive rhinestones, etc. They can even sprinkle a small handful of tiny colourful paper scraps inside the card so that when the recipient opens it, they’ll be pleasantly surprised by a mini shower of confetti. If your little one is too young to write their own thank you message, you can offer to transcribe it for them, and then let them do the decorating.

4. Gratitude Marble Jar

Every time your kid feels grateful for something, let them drop a marble in a jar. By the end of the week or month, they can see how full their jar is. When little children are beginning to learn about feelings and values, it’s helpful for them to have a visual representation. A Gratitude Marble Jar helps them understand an abstract idea like experiencing thankfulness. Using a small token like a marble works especially well for kids who can’t read and write yet. They can be independent enough to drop an object in the jar the moment they feel thankful, without having to wait for you to write anything down.

short description; and add a keepsake such as a family show ticket if they’re thankful for family time, a receipt from a daddy-daughter lunch date, or a memento from their birthday party. It’s up to each individual to decorate their entries as they see fit. A Book of Family Blessings is a great collaborative project with your loved ones. It would make a lovely coffee table book for anyone to peruse at any time – especially when Thanksgiving rolls around.

Xmas Special: Thanksgiving Turkey

Have your kids trace their hands. The thumb is the turkey’s head, and the rest of the fingers are the turkey’s feathers. Ask your kid for the top 5 things they are thankful for. For example: family, friends, playgrounds, toys, ice cream, etc. Then they can write their five things inside the outline of each finger (turkey head and feathers). Display their Thanksgiving Turkey on the wall for all to see!

5. Book of Family Blessings

Use a blank notebook or 3-ring binder with clear sheet protectors for the scrapbook. Every month, have each family member add an entry about what they’re grateful for. They can draw a picture; insert a photo; write a

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Zodiac Forecast

2016

By Master Jo Ching Jo Ching, Founder and MasterTrainer of DestinyAsia, is an expert in Feng Shui, BaZi and Qi Men Dun Jia. Effectively bilingual in English and Chinese, Jo provides trainings and coaching to enthusiasts and Feng Shui advisory services to corporate companies. Find out more about him at www.masterfengshui.com

Rat

2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948

A positive year for the Rat in terms of career and money luck because of the presence of Golden Chamber and General Star. Those in business can expect more partnership opportunities or meeting new investors may pump in more funds to allow you to expand your business. For those who are employed, your boss will entrust you with new projects and is prepared to reward you. Nevertheless, due to the presence of 5-Ghost and Flying Dagger, please observe what you say and remain humble, especially if you achieve success as these two stars attract petty and jealous people. Dating couples need to be more trusting and be more candid in their feelings toward each other to avoid unnecessary accusations. Those who need to always travel overseas need to be careful when they are on the road.

Ox

2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, 1949

A much better year as compared to the rocky 2015, people born in the year of the Ox will expect a smooth-sailing 2016 in their job prospects and overall personal luck. The presence of Sky Happiness signals a timely year for couples to plan for weddings. The presence of auspicious stars like Grabbing Saddle and Emperor Seal Nobleman will bless students who are sitting for important examinations this year, with the Nobleman star offering powerful divine help to tide you through challenging moments and escalate your career to a greater height. Take this opportunity to venture out of your comfort zone to seek better reward overseas. Nonetheless, you have to safeguard yourself against illness and accidents due to the arrival of bad star like Sky Dog. Avoid attending funeral wakes too.

Tiger

2010,1998,1986, 1974, 1962, 1950

It is a year of roller-coaster ride for the Tiger since it is in direct confrontation with the energy of the Monkey year, i.e., the Tai Sui (ĺ¤Şĺ˛ ). Tiger people tend to feel physically and emotionally stressed in 2016, largely due to a lot of job movements, overseas business trips, potential changes in residence or at the office. Because of the presence of negative stars like Big Loss and Hinder Pole, try to avoid dangerous sport, being a guarantor for loan, going to the Casino to gamble and avoid starting a business with someone. It is advisable to be prudent and conservative in your plans if you do not wish to suffer monetary loss or break-ups in business partnerships, and even personal relationships with loved ones and close friends. Be more tolerant and try to avoid engaging in head-on conflict with anyone especially on the roads. Those born in 1948 and 1960 should drive carefully and take care of blood related health issues or injury to the limbs. Having said that, Earth Relief is a positive dangerrelief star that assumes the role of a White Knight to rescue you out of your predicament.


Rabbit

2011, 1999, 1987,1975, 1963, 1951, 1939

People born in the year of Rabbit have valid reasons to smile as the Emperor star and Dragon Virtue star will bestow great luck and positive energies in this entire year on them. The Emperor star usually benefits people who work for the government, the uniform group or people who are in managerial positions. It is a star of power, authority, fame and money. Expect a promotion, better reputation, fatter bonuses or taking on a bigger managerial role in your company. Investment and windfall luck will be enhanced. If you have been thinking of coming out to be your own boss, then it is a good time to act in 2016. The Dragon Virtue star will give you that added blessing for a smoother head-start. Those who are unattached should start to network and socialize more since the Cupid’s little arrow is aiming at you.

Dragon

2012, 2000,1988,1976, 1964, 1952, 1940 People who are working in the creative industries, performing arts, fashion design, advertising and even academic researchers will find themselves receiving good inspirations and ideas that aid them in their creation and innovation. The effort that they put in will also in return give them due recognitions and commendations from their superiors and peers. The Dragon sees the auspicious Talent star which is a star that governs one’s creativity, planning and strategising skills. It is also a star that influences one to be attracted to mysterious subjects like Feng Shui, BaZi, religion, philosophy and abstract art. So, in 2016, you may see yourself getting more inclined to learning topics as such. Dragon and Monkey also form part of the lucky trinity which implies that Dragon people will receive more support and help as compared to last year. There will be opportunity for making new friends and enhancing your network.

Snake

2013, 2001,1989,1977, 1965, 1953, 1941 Keep a close tab on the old folks at home this year especially if they have chronic health issues. Nasty star like the Funeral Clothes moves to the Snake sign in 2016. This means that snake people will experience anxiety over their parent’s health. Even if the parents are healthy, it is still advisable to bring them for a normal health checkup if they are already at their old age. Besides, this is a year that you will incur high expenses. Do not dabble into high risk investments and gambling as the Robbery star is here to stay. Do consider buying travel insurance when you are overseas for holidays because there is a chance that you may be pick-pocketed or robbed or misplaced a valuable item. Be more vigilant so that you can minimize all these losses. While the gaming or windfall luck is not in your favour this year, you will still receive good monetary compensation from your own business, commissions or performance bonuses as a result of your hard work.

Horse

2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942 Politics in office and injury due to cuts are something that the Horse people need to watch out for in 2016. There will be lots of frustration coming from everywhere and you will see yourself easily losing your temper over little things. Learn to control and keep your cool especially during driving. Otherwise, you will be entangled in heated arguments or fights in office, home or public places. Remember this, your friends can turn fiends and they are preying on your mental weakness. Once you explode, they will pounce on you to pull you down. Due to the presence of the undesirable Hanging Guest star, try to stay away from funeral wakes or visits to hospital if possible because it can have a negative impact on your energy level. I would suggest that in order to mitigate all these potential negative events as mentioned above, it is perhaps a good year to channel some time into the practice of meditation or take a sabbatical leave to pursue higher learning.


Goat

2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955, 1943

One of the better performing animal signs in 2016 in terms of romance and money luck. Yes, there is the presence of Romance star that makes you look radiant and charming. If you do not have a boyfriend or girlfriend yet, you stand a very high chance to get hitched this year. Otherwise, this star also enhances your public relationship with people. Certainly a very important star for those who are in the sales business or entertainment and media industries. However, if you are married, you have to exercise self-control to cut off any temptations. Failing which, you will get into a serious tussle that can end up as a police case. In terms of wealth luck, the arrival of the auspicious Golden Cart will drive up your fame, income and business. Good time to start on an investment plan too. Due to the presence of Illness star, those who have to travel to new destinations will fall sick easily because of a combination of anxiety and poorer immune system. Ladies who are pregnant should take extra precaution during travel.

Monkey

2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956, 1944

Monkey people is said to be offending the Tai Sui this coming year. However, this does not mean that everybody goes through lousy luck and ill fate. In terms of career performance and advancement, the Monkey sign is fortunate to have good stars like The Academic and a couple of positive career-related stars to give them good result and reward at the work place. Presence of such stars also implies that their hard work and effort can be seen by the management, making them shine in the limelight. For the students, they will enjoy new learning curve and they will also meet good teachers who are dedicated and committed. Nevertheless, health will be a major concern. Pregnant women have to be cautious due to Sword Edge and Lying Corpse stars that could trigger a premature delivery or unplanned C-section. Others need to eat more vitamins to defend themselves against common cold and flu virus. The key is to learn to relax and maintain a balance diet.

Rooster

2005,1993,1981, 1969, 1957, 1945

A year of great fortune and harvest because of A-Grade stars like Heaven Nobleman and Tai Ji Nobleman are present in the house of those born in the year of the Rooster. Such stars are extremely useful when it comes to career advancement or the start-up of a new business because they represent powerful support coming from bosses or clients who are big players in the market. In 2016, whenever you are in trouble and need a helping hand, you will receive one. Money luck also looks upbeat. On the other hand, Rooster people who are looking for love will be exceptionally lucky because of the influence of Peach Blossom star or Tao Hua that co-exists with the other positive stars. However, this star can be a double-edged sword especially for those who are married or attached. It can pose as a threat of lustful temptations. To top it off, there is this Rob Wealth star which normally causes a sense of emptiness and loneliness to invade you. Hence, be cautious and always remind yourself to toe the line.


Dog

2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946

People who are born under the Dog animal sign have to be careful of signing major contracts this year and this may include inking on the dotted line of the marriage certificate or pre-nuptial agreement. The presence of inauspicious star known as Dividing Edge tends to create contractual disputes that could end up in courtroom. In order to neutralize this malefic effect of the star, one needs to really pick an auspicious timing to sign on it. Otherwise, get a colleague or a legal adviser to help you vet through complex documentations before signing. Dividing Edge makes one very susceptible to backstabbers and scandalous accusation. Hence, avoid making sensitive statements or comments on Facebook that can potentially land you in hot soup. Besides this, due to the presence of Funeral Door, it is advisable that you stay away from funeral wakes, cemetery and visits to hospitals. Do also keep a close tab on the health of elderly at home especially if they are sleeping in the northeast sector at home. In terms of annual Feng Shui energy, the northeast sector sees the arrival of illness star in 2016.

Pig

2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947

In the study of Chinese fortune telling system, BaZi, the pig is harmed by the energy of the Monkey year. At times, you will experience a sense of loss, false hopes, and disappointment with your loved ones that can result in emotional upheavals. It is very likely that you will suffer from insomnia or poor quality of sleep. As a result, your lack of focus will cause you to lose precious personal belongings like your wallet, mobile phone or jewelry. For men, be tactful of what you say or do to women so that you do not offend them unknowingly. On the other hand, for women born under the year of the pig, feel free to approach your lady friends, lady boss and lady clients when you need any form of support because the ladies are your Gui Ren in 2016. As a word of advice, regardless if you are a man or woman, pay more attention to and be more sensitive towards your partner’s feeling. You need to work hard to improve on communications.


BREAK IT Comparing One can compare possessions, type of school, parents of the child. Even capabilities between children and personalities can be compared. Strangely speaking, it is so common in our society that one becomes desensitized to it. It is not uncommon to hear adults using comparative descriptions as a tool to get the child to do something they want. "Look, Jayden is able to finish his food in one sitting, you are only halfway through. Can you be as fast as him?" Comparisons can happen so regularly in daily life that it even sounds normal.

10 Unhealthy Parenting Habits

To Break What sort of habits would you like to break in the new year? Som Yew Ya lists some parenting habits to leave behind.

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BREAK IT "Faking" your presence You have a movie night with your children. Halfway through the movie, you flick out your phone and start to surf behind the guise of the sofa cushion. What about having dinner with your children and half reading the newspaper? Of course there's no law ruling that we cannot get some of our own 'adult things' done while being with the kids. It may even be reframed as a "win-win" situation. However, we need to distinguish between catching up on the things we need to do versus the time promised to the children. When you are with them, don't give them half of you. BREAK IT Making our children wait for us How often do we tell our children, "I will be there in 5 minutes" but in actual fact we will take way longer


new year special

than that? Certainly there are times when children need to learn to wait for one another in the family. However, we need to be aware that it does not become a dismissive excuse to buy time. Say X minutes and mean what you say. Let our children know there are times we are readily available for them as well.

Some moments are so fleeting that it is missed if parents are always to get a shot of it. There is a time and place for photography to preserve special moments, but not all the time.

BREAK IT Bad-mouthing in front of your kid

There may be times of stress and on bad days, communications can run counter-productive. It is important not to run into a pattern where you threaten or yell at the child. Using your authority to “power down” a child blocks communication and demeans them. It is an opportunity to learn to control our emotions at such times and be a role model on how we handle stress. We can choose to focus on the issue, not on the child.

Perhaps it is the misconception that the young ones do not catch on when adults badmouth people they know. It may be something annoying a family member did, a school teacher or the classmate's parents. Let our children enjoy relationships without preconceived bias that they subconsciously receive from us. BREAK IT Bad-mouthing your kid in front of others Your child can see and hear how you describe him/her and the reactions of the person you are talking to. It affects self-esteem and damages feelings – how does it come across to the child if “Mummy thinks it is okay to talk bad about me to her friend?” It is not constructive for the parentchild relationship either. BREAK IT Capturing everything As precious as some situations are, it would be worthwhile to enjoy the moment as it unfolds as opposed to trying to photograph or video it.

BREAK IT Intimidation

BREAK IT Double standards “Do what I say, not what I do”. Children learn not just by listening but by watching what we do. To expect them to listen to what we tell them not to do, this will never work if we are doing it ourselves (i.e. playing video games during dinnertime). It can also be confusing to the child if this double-standard is conveyed in a way that it is a privilege only entitled to adults, but not to children as they are still ‘too young’. For example, telling the toddler, “Daddy /Mummy can smoke because we are adults.” It blurs the line as to whether it is an adult thing or if it is something the child should not consider doing for now but is okay to do when older.

BREAK IT Criticizing and not coaching If your child has attempted to follow and instruction but yet didn’t complete it properly, acknowledge the effort instead of just focusing on the mistakes. This is not to water-down or avoid mentioning mistakes, it should be balanced with the intent to buildup. Instead of “What happened to the bed! Some corners are hanging out”, acknowledge the effort and suggest assistance with the corners. BREAK IT Asking your child to hug or kiss people It is not uncommon to hear parents asking their kids to hug and kiss others goodbye. Consider the better option that the child is given the freedom to hug or kiss if they feel comfortable with the person and want to do so. Say “It’s time to say goodbye we are getting ready to go”, give your child the space to choose what they want to do. Especially for the younger ones, they need to know they can choose not to hug or kiss someone they don’t want to, not because Mummy and Daddy says so.

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FIRST-TIME MUM SERIES

Don't Sweat The Small Stuff Sometimes, the daily grind can get to us till we are unable to see anything beyond the task at hand. Rachel Tan reminds us why it’s important to take a step back and remind ourselves to look at the bigger picture.

You may be stuck in traffic after an unusually long meeting at work and late to pick up your child. Or you may be exasperated over why the baby is resisting yet another nap. The stress that comes with schedules and commitments are not to be dismissed easily, and sometimes, it can be positive in that it drives us to maintain some kind of order in our daily lives. But stress can work against us and

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render us in states of anxiety if we are not conscious in managing it well, and that is when we need to take a step back, breathe a little and remind ourselves that if everything else fails, it is all about the big picture. This is, of course, easier said than done.

New day, new challenges Being a first-time mum, each day presents new parenting and caregiving

obstacles that baffle me, some of which are more easily handled than others. I have accumulated a grand total of zero experience in tackling each new challenge and naturally, I get flustered when certain situations appear to escalate in severity. For example, when my daughter was younger and still being exclusively breastfed, I would fret over how much she drank. She refused the bottle and I


for the parent

had no way of measuring the quantity she was taking in. This frustrated me quite a bit, especially when I had conversations with parents who could quantify how much their babies drank, until I realised that the numbers did not matter, so long as she was healthy, reaching her milestones and happy. That was the big picture I needed to see when I was so caught up in the absence of numbers. Once I grasped the big picture, breastfeeding became so much more enjoyable and I grew a lot more intuitive about her nutritional needs. Even though my daughter is 2.5 years old now, the chase to overcome challenges in parenting has no end because the obstacles simply take on different forms as she grows older. For instance, my daughter generally had no problems in the eating department save for a few one-off episodes in the past. But it has been two weeks since she went on a meal strike. It came swiftly, caught me offguard and she would not eat, no matter what I offered her, even her favourite foods and snacks. She has barely eaten anything for the past fortnight and I cannot help but wonder out loud to my husband if she has the capacity to even feel hungry. I have, truth be told, been so worried on a few evenings that I lost sleep over how best to nourish her. Whilst I tore my hair out over her recent meal strike, I do, however, know that she is not ill, appears to be happy and is very much herself.

that I need not worry about, unless it affects her health and development. This big picture brings me back to the here-and-now and reminds me of what is important and what I should not get hung up on. These are just two of the countless things that bothered me as a first-time mother; I am certain that there will be more to come. And I know that however miniscule the problems are, they can wear us out and bring our confidence as parents to a new low if we do not let go of certain details to focus on the big picture. Naturally, we want to give the very best to our children and that is why we tend to

obsess over the microscopic aspects of whatever we do, but the point is there is no cookie-cutter approach to doing the parenting gig right. I know for a fact that my friends and I take care of and parent our children in vastly different ways at times, but the kids turn out alright, regardless. The big picture is what matters at the end of the day, and if we can take a step back to have a look at it, being a first-time mum may just be a lot more manageable than what we think the role entails. Stay tuned for the next part of our ‘First Time Mum’ series in our next issue!

The kids are all right

This big picture is an excellent indication that she is alright and that the meal strike is likely to be a phase

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But are these same parents familiar with saying sorry to their own kids?

TNAP Value Series

Teaching Our Children The Value of…

Saying Sorry BY JENNY TAI

If little Jimmy takes his friend’s toy, we tell him to give it back and say sorry. Audrey gets a time-out for not listening to mummy, and at the end of it she must apologize for misbehaving. Most kids are familiar with the act of saying sorry – their parents make sure of it.

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Growing up, I never heard the words “I’m sorry” come out of my parents’ mouths. I heard my mum say it to my dad for being late, and my dad said it to his friend for not being able to attend his wedding, but to us? Not a chance. If they were an hour late picking us up from school, they had a good reason. If they broke a promise, it couldn’t be helped. If they blamed one of us for something that the other did, the mix up was dealt with but not apologized for. If they yelled at us, it was because we provoked them. But if we yelled back, we had to say sorry – many, many times. The thing is, I don’t recall ever expecting my parents to apologize for anything. It just wasn’t done. They weren’t bad parents – in fact, they were supportive and generous and always put us first. But saying sorry just wasn’t part of the deal. Frankly, it would have been weird if they apologized to me for anything. All of us would have felt uncomfortable and a bit awkward. Why? Perhaps it just wasn’t part of our culture for adults, parents and authority figures to apologize to children. We were supposed to respect those older than us. Some parents viewed saying sorry to their kids as a sign of weakness. In many families today, this still rings true. It just doesn’t happen to be true in my family, the one where I’m mum to three-year-old Chloe.


for the parent

I’m an emotional and impatient person by nature. But when you have a kid, it’s essential to be as patient and calm as possible because someone very small is looking to you for guidance. My someone very small can really test my patience though. Like when she takes two and a half hours to fall asleep. Or when she does the exact opposite of what I ask. Or when she runs like wild in a crowded mall – farther away each time I call her – only to crash right into someone’s knees. There have been moments when I lost my patience and yelled at her, louder than I had to, and even as the angry admonishments f lew out of my mouth, I knew I would regret them later. Because over and over again I have told her that when she says or asks for something, she must “Say it nicely. No yelling, no screaming.” And yet there I was, losing my temper, perhaps even scaring her by my volume – and going against my own words.

to never have bad days, to never be in a bad mood, to never be irritable, sleep-deprived, sour or rebellious. And yet as adults, we experience these feelings all the time. Could we be holding unrealistic expectations and punishing our children for falling short of them?

Are we being hypocritical? I never consciously made a choice to say sorry to my daughter. It just felt like the right thing to do after I treated her in a way I wasn’t proud of. In a way I knew was wrong. “I’m sorry. Can you forgive me?” I’d say. And she’d always say yes. Apologizing for being wrong doesn’t mean you’re a weak parent. As your kids grow older, they’ll

recognize more instances where you’re doing the very thing you taught them not to, whether it’s breaking a promise or saying a bad word. And if you don’t acknowledge that you acted wrongly, what message are you sending to your child? A mixed one. When you say sorry to your kids, you’re also letting them know that it’s okay to make mistakes sometimes. No one is perfect. Those who admit wrongdoing and make amends show bravery. That’s right - it takes strength to apologize. It’s got nothing to do with weakness. This marks the end of our ‘Value’ series. For the past articles in this series, go to www.thenewageparents. com

Is it possible that we expect too much from our children? We expect our active toddlers to sit still and behave through hour-long dinners at restaurants even after they have long finished their food; we scold them for screaming and acting out when they’re clearly just grouchy and overdue for a nap; we measure them against their peers and say, “See? Ben can do that” or “Kayla’s so polite and quiet and well behaved.” From our actions, it would appear that we expect our children

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The New Age Parents Dec 15 Jan 16