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feb/mar

2014

My Valentine, My Mrs. ntine’s Day e l a V Special

Germ Attack Common Germs & Bacteria Parents Should Know

Building Sibling Bonds 6 Sibling Bonding Activities

Our To Learn and Play 4 Fun Weekend Activities To Do

Name of Models: Jae & Sesha Photographer: Photography by Yew Kwang

Tips for Parents How To Answer Your Child’s Difficult Questions


table of contents

Contents 06 Editorial Note 10 Health

44 For The Parent

16 Dental

48 Finance

Common Germs & Bacteria Parents Should Know

Does My Child Need Braces?

18 Special Needs Down Syndrome

24 Preschool What Makes A Wholesome Preschooler?

26 Photogenic Children Contest: Siblings Special

28 Growing Up Building Sibling Bonds Shyness in Children

34 Play 4 Fun Weekend Activities To Do

40 Valentine’s Day Special My Valentine, My Mrs.

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Answering Your Child’s Difficult Questions It’s A Date Bub! Make A Date With Your Other Baby

Understanding Different Types of Financial Products


Our Experts PAEDIATRY

DENTISTRY

SPECIAL NEEDS

Dr. Ian Ong A mother of two children, Dr Ong graduated from the Royal Free and University College Medical School in London. She returned to live and work in Singapore after working and gaining experience in London for 5 years. She attained her postgraduate qualifications with the RCPCH, UK. Prior to joining SBCC, she worked as an Associate Consultant in the Children’s Emergency Department at KKH. Dr Ong has special interest in early childhood development as well as infant feeding and nutrition. She is also an active volunteer in the community in her own time, particularly in areas of health promotion.

Dr. Pui Yunn BOEY Dr Boey Pui Yunn is a Specialist Orthodontist registered with the Singapore Dental Council. Her interest in braces (orthodontics) led her to pursue a full-time postgraduate program, and she graduated with a Master of Dental Surgery (Orthodontics) degree and a Membership in Orthodontics from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. In her spare time, she enjoys spending quality time with her family and nurturing her three young children.

Ragini Talreja Shahani Ragini is a Speech and Language Therapist, currently working at The Children’s Therapy Centre (THK Therapy Services). She received my Master’s Degree in Science (Speech language pathology and Audiology) from the University of Mysore, India in 2010. She is currently providing speech language therapy services in both centre and the community. For more information, log on to www.moraltherapyservices.org.sg

Practice Address: SBCC Baby & Child Clinic Blk 721 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8 #01-2803/2805 Singapore 560721 Email: info@sbcc.sg

Practice Address: One Orchard Boulevard, 17th Floor Camden Medical Centre Singapore 248649 Tel: (65) 6733 1388 Email: t32@t32dental.com Emergency Dental Services: (65) 6398 5578

FINANCIAL PLANNING

Tan Ooi Sim Winston Winston is a Chartered Financial Consultant, with 12 years of experience in Financial Planning. Becoming a 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 _ winston@hotmail.com

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Have a question for our expert? Comment and post your question on our Facebook, or drop us an email at mailbox@thenewageparents.com with the subject title "Question for TNAP Expert".


Education

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 www.juliagabriel.com Kristie Lim Principal & Co-Founder of Mind Stretcher Education Group, Kristie is a doubledegree holder from the National University of Singapore and the University of London. She is both a trained accountant and a lawyer, and holds a Certificate in Early Childhood Education. Since leaving the legal profession, she has immersed herself full-time in Mind Stretcher. Besides being in charge of operations, she also helps develop the curricula for Science and Mathematics. Her eldest son is the 2012 President’s Scholar and a very outstanding all-rounder and perennial prize winner at Raffles Institution and the very prestigious Wharton Business School. For more information, go to www.mindstretcher.com

Expecting your first

child?

New Age Pregnancy is a comprehensive and holistic online resource portal for parents-to-be and parents of new babies. Learn more about your pregnancy journey and your baby’s growing years.

Get tips from our experts and be inspired by other firsttime mums as they share their stories.

New Age Pregnancy Holistic Pregnancy for Mums

Your one stop online pregnancy guide: www.newagepregnancy.com Connect with us on Facebook on: www.facebook.com/newagepregnancy


contributors

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 www.facebook.com/dottieshop creating customized paper cards and art pieces for birthdays, weddings and other occasions.

Som Yew Ya A stay home mother while pursuing her Masters, Yew Ya has returned to the workforce last year. Working in a Swiss pharmaceutical, she enjoys her work in the clinical field as well as being a hands-on mother cooking and planning activities with the family.

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’, (www.facebook.com/ImperfectionsMadeBeautiful), creating personalized and customized plushes and buntings for any special occasions.

Words To Inspire

The Sun Just Naturally Shines Love is an opening of the heart. It’s like the sun shining. The sun just naturally shines. It doesn’t discriminate, shining on this person but not on that one. It just shines, be-

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cause it’s the nature of the sun to give warmth. Some people go inside and close the doors and windows; that’s their problem. The sun is shining anyway. And it’s that quality of

heart which we have to develop. That quality of open, unconditional loving, no matter what. Jetsunma Tenzin Pa l m o


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editorial note

All you need is… Love. There’s romantic love, parental love, platonic love. In this issue’s cover page, we wanted to showcase love between siblings. We featured adorable sisters Jae and Sesh. From the photos, I could see the chemistry and closeness these two sisters share and this made me reminisce about my childhood years with my two brothers. I remembered the many scuffles we had and the tears (sometimes blood) that were shed. There were also the usual bouts of sibling jealously and rivalry from time to time but more importantly, I realized having them around brought a lot of laughter, fun and joy to my childhood years. Without them, I wouldn’t have a play companion and growing up would have been pretty lonely. quote of the moment “If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.”

y brother wasn’t m y, tl n re a pp a ve lo g n Sibli all that convinced. In Building Sibling Bonds, we share how parents can cope with sibling rivalry and suggest 6 sibling bonding activities. Running out of things to do over the weekends? Scoot over to 4 Fun Weekend Activities To Do for some fresh ideas. In our Valentine’s Day Special My Valentine, My Mrs., we spoke to two daddies on their Valentine’s date and how they keep their relationship strong. Love is boundless and endless. Why not share and spread your love not just to your children and spouse, but to one and all this Valentine’s Day? Yours sincerely,

- Osho

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

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Germ Attack!

Common Germs & Bacteria Parents Should Know By Dr Ian Ong, SBCC Baby & Child Clinic

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health

Germs are found everywhere. Bacteria and viruses are two major types of germs. They are extremely small and invisible to the naked eye. Since they are always around us, they can invade our bodies and make us sick. For this reason, parents worry and monitor their children very closely due to their delicate immune system.

B

acteria and viruses have the potential to make a healthy body ill. When they invade the human body, our immune system counteracts them to defend the body. This results in the many signs and symptoms we show when we visit the doctor, such as fever, cold, cough, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. Some common bacteria are listed below: Haemophilus influenza: one of the most common bacteria causing infections of the respiratory tract, meningitis (infection of the lining of the brain) and ear infections. Not commonly seen nowadays due to immunization. Staphylococcous: Also known as staph, this bacterium can be found in our bodies, on our skin. It causes skin infections such

as boils, rashes, abscesses and impetigo. Streptococcus: This common bacterium can also be found in the body, particularly in the throat. It causes several infections such as sore throats, respiratory tract infections, chest infections (especially streptococcal pneumonia) and scarlet fever. Escherichia Coli (E. Coli): This bacterium colonizes the gastrointestinal tracts causing dysfunction, producing abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. It can be transmitted through direct and indirect contact with an infected person’s stools and can also be transmitted through raw or undercooked food (food poisoning).

Not all Bacteria are Bad However, not all bacteria are harmful. There are friendly bacteria essential for

proper growth and function of our bodies. These bacteria include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Lactobacillus is found in milk and dairy products and form part of our oral, intestinal and vaginal f lora. It utilizes lactose and produces lactic acid. Together with Bifidobacterium, also found in our gastrointestinal tract, they help in our digestion process and inhibit the growth of unwanted bacteria that can make us sick. Some common viruses that make us sick include: Common cold viruses (e.g. parainfluenza virus, adenovirus) and influenza: These are highly contagious viruses that cause the common cold or “f lu”. They lead to infections of the upper respiratory tract, causing fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, muscle aches, fatigue and even diarrhoea. The infection can usually last 3-5 days, with a range of 7-10 days. The viral agents spread through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs and doesn’t cover their mouth. It can also spread through indirect contact via contaminated objects. Varicella Zoster: A highly contagious virus causing chickenpox, a familiar childhood infection characterized by

Rotavirus A common cause for diarrhoea and vomiting in the young. Accompanying fever and abdominal pain may also be present. Most children recover spontaneously in 3-7 days. The New Age Parents

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health

Washing your hands well after coughing, sneezing, using the bathroom, playing and before eating or preparing food is the best way to beat these baddies! Following the proper steps to wash for 15 seconds with warm water and soap is important.

Photo credit: Health Promotion Board

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health

a severe rash on the body. The virus is spread through nasal droplets via sneezing and coughing as well as contact with contaminated objects. It leads to fever and an initial rash, starting on the face, scalp, body and limbs that subsequently develops into itchy blisters. The blisters then burst and the open sores crust over to form scabs. The illness lasts about 10 days. Coxsackie Virus: This causes the well known Hand Foot and Mouth Disease in children. Like the varicella virus, this is highly contagious especially amongst childcare facilities. It is characterized by fever, a rash primarily on the hands, feet and buttocks, and painful ulcers in the mouth. Like chickenpox, this lasts about 7 to 10 days. Because they are highly contagious, infected children should stay away from crowded places and avoid travelling.

How Can You Protect Your Children? Health is the greatest gift you can give your child. Of course providing a germ free environment is every parent’s wish, but more importantly educating them to protect themselves during their developing years should be the priority for parents. This sets the foundation for the rest of their lives! Most bacteria and viruses are spread through the air in sneezes and coughs as well as through direct or indirect contact. Direct contact includes touching the stools of an infected person, mostly likely during diaper changes or toileting assists. Indirect contact refers to a person who has the bacteria or virus present on their hands, touching an object which then subsequently transmits the same bacteria

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Steering clear of these bacteria and viruses is the best way to protect oneself. This is as simple as handwashing properly. These bacteria and viruses fear soap and water. or virus to anyone who touches it. On the go, if soap and water are not readily available, alcohol based hand rubs can be used. These hand rubs need to contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective. They do not eliminate all types of bacteria and viruses; hence they cannot be a substitute for proper handwashing. They also do not work if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy. Another important practice is to cover your sneezes. Don’t just use your hands; using tissues for your sneezes and sniff les allows you to throw the germs into the trash! Remember to wash your hands as well! Parents can equip their child to fight against infection by ensuring routine immunizations are kept up to date with the local government’s recommendations. Shots may be unpleasant but they help to build strong immunity keeping your

child prepared to battle the baddies! Of course, you can also help to keep your child’s immunity strong by the following the advice below: Providing an healthy, balanced diet Toothbrushing twice per day  Good exposure to sunshine and fresh air Good sleep hygiene Proper and effective handwashing No one wants their little ones to fall ill due to an unhygienic environment or habits, so let’s strive together to keep our little ones strong! Practice Address: SBCC Baby & Child Clinic (Ang Mo Kio) Blk 721 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8 #012803/2805 Singapore 560721 Tel: 6456 8874


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dental

Q&A

Race

To Brace

Does My Child Need Braces?

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Your child’s baby teeth have now been replaced by a new brood of permanent teeth. But junior’s mouth seems to be overcrowded with his new teeth. Should you get him to start wearing braces? Dr Boey Pui Yunn, Dental Specialist in Orthodontics, T32 Junior ans­ wers some questions on dental braces. Q: When is a good time to start wearing braces? Dr Boey: Braces treatment can be started when most of the permanent teeth are out. This usually occurs between the ages of 11 to 13 years. Some children, however, may require braces at an earlier age. These individuals may have problems such as abnormal tooth eruption, delay in tooth eruption, early tooth loss, extreme crowding, trauma to the teeth, or developing jaw disharmonies. In these instances, early braces treatment is required to assist the growth of the teeth or the jaws. This can take place anytime from 7 to 11 years of age. Very often, these problems can remain undetected, which is why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should seek an orthodontic assessment by age 7.

pearance of the teeth. This is beneficial for most children as straight teeth are easier to clean. In addition, after the teeth have been straightened, there is usually an increase in overall self-esteem. However, the braces process can be uncomfortable when the teeth are being moved. Braces can also trap more food than usual, so great attention to good oral hygiene is required to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Q: What should I expect when my child puts on braces? Dr Boey: In the initial period after the

braces have been installed, it is normal to experience some discomfort due to the movement of the teeth. Some may also get soreness of the lips and cheeks. During this period of adjustment, a soft diet may be helpful. These symptoms usually go away in a week or two, and most patients are able to resume a normal diet after that. Braces do trap more food around the teeth, so more time and effort is required to clean them daily. It is important to clean the teeth and gums at least twice a day, with f luoride-containing toothpaste to prevent decay. Special small brushes are useful in removing plaque around the braces. Brushing well daily will help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Have a question to ask our expert? Post your question on The New Age Parents Facebook or get in touch with the experts at t32@t32dental.com Pr actice Addr ess: One Orchard Boulevard, 17th Floor Camden Medical Centre Singapore 248649 Tel: (65) 6733 1388 Email: t32@t32dental.com Emergency Dental Services: (65) 6398 5578

Q: What are the pros and cons of wearing braces? Dr Boey: Braces improve tooth alignment and positions, and enhance the ap-

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special needs

As new or expectant parents, learning that your baby has Down syndrome can be overwhelming. Parents want to find out what it all means, what they can do, how to plan for the future. Health care professionals, such as speech and language therapists or occupational therapists can help parents with these questions. This article provides an overview regarding Down syndrome. B y Ragini Talreja Shahani, Speech and Language Therapist, The Children’s Therapy Centre (THK Therapy Services)

D

own syndrome is a genetic condition caused by the presence of an extra chromosome in the body’s cell. It is not a disease, and it is not a hereditary condition. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has 47 chromosomes as opposed to 46 chromosomes in a regular cell, specifically people with Down Syndrome have a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome. A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. However, what’s important to remember is that each person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees, or not at all.

What causes Down syndrome?

The cause is currently unknown, but there is a definite link with advanced maternal age. However, due to higher birth rates in younger women, 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age. There is no definitive scientific research that indicates that Down syndrome is caused by environmental factors or the parents’ activities before or during pregnancy. The additional partial or full copy of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome can originate from either the father or the mother. Research indicates, approximately 5% of the cases have been traced to the father.

How is Down syndrome diagnosed?

Down syndrome can be diagnosed prenatally (before birth) and at birth. There are two categories of tests for

Down syndrome that can be performed before a baby is born: screening tests and diagnostic tests. Prenatal screens estimate the chance of the fetus having Down syndrome. Most of these tests only provide a probability. These screening tests involve a blood test and an ultrasound. Diagnostic tests can provide a definitive diagnosis with almost 100% accuracy. The diagnostic procedures available for prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome are chronic villus sampling and amniocentesis. Down syndrome is usually identified at birth by the presence of certain physical traits: low muscle tone, a single deep crease across the palm of the hand, a slightly flattened facial profile and an upward slant to the eyes. Because these features may be present in babies without Down syndrome, a chromosomal analysis called a karyotype is done to confirm the diagnosis.

How does Down syndrome affect development?

Children with Down syndrome learn to walk; talk and toilet train just like typically developing children however, they may meet these developmental milestones later than their typically developing peers. Early intervention services aid these children to reach their full potential in skills such as communication and physical development. These programmes can include speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy as well as home teaching programmes for the child and family. With early intervention and the right levels of support, people with Down syndrome go to school and college,

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make life-long friends, find and keep a job, and make decisions about their lives and futures.

How does a child with Down Syndrome develop?

Just like all children there is a great deal of individual variation in the age at which different skills develop. The following table outlines the usual development of children with Down syndrome for some of the major developmental milestones. Some children with Down Syndrome may have additional health

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complications which may affect the rate of their development.

Speech language characteristics of children with Down syndrome

Children with Down syndrome have strengths and challenges in the development of communication skills, including receptive (understanding) language and expressive (speaking and composing sentences) language skills. It takes a team to help children develop their communication skills;

that team typically includes speechlanguage therapists, physicians, classroom teachers, special educators and families. Speech and language therapists have information and expertise to help address the communication difficulties that are associated with Down syndrome. Parents play an important role in their child’s speech and language development because home and daily activities are the core of communication learning. Research and clinical experience demonstrates that some areas of lan-


special needs

guage are generally more difficult for children with Down syndrome while other areas are relatively easier. Children with Down syndrome have strengths in the area of vocabulary and pragmatics (social interactive language). Some may develop a rich and varied vocabulary as they mature. They have good social interactive skills and use gestures and facial expressions effectively to help themselves communicate. They generally have the desire to communicate and interact with people. Syntax and morphology (including grammar, verb tenses, word roots, suffixes and prefixes) can be more difficult, possibly because of their complex and abstract nature. Children with Down syndrome frequently have difficulty with grammar, tenses and word endings and use shorter sentences to communicate. It must be noted that some children with Down Syndrome may not develop speech, Speech and Language therapists help these children to develop by teaching them to use alternative methods of communication such as sign language or using pictures to communicate.

What Does a SpeechLanguage Pathologist Do?

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) can provide evaluation and treatment for the speech and language difficulties experienced by individuals with Down syndrome. They can help develop a comprehensive treatment plan to address all of the areas in which the child may be experiencing difficulty, including receptive and expressive language, semantics (vocabulary), syntax (grammar), prag-

matics (uses of language and social and conversational skills) classroom language skills, speech, oral motor planning and oral motor strengthening. SLPs can work with families and teachers to design and implement an effective school, home and community program to help children develop stronger communication skills.

What Can Parents Do to Help their Child to Develop their Speech and Language skills?

Parents are the primary communicators interacting with their babies and young children; thus, parents can do a great deal to help their children learn to communicate. Many of prespeech and pre-language skills are best learned in the home environ-

ment. To help their children develop those skills, parents can:  Remember that language is more than spoken words. When they are teaching a word or a concept, they should focus on conveying meaning to the child through play or through multisensory experiences (hearing, touch, seeing).  Provide many models. Most children with Down syndrome need many repetitions and experiences to learn a word. Adults should repeat what a child says and give him or her a model to help reinforce a word.  Use real objects and real situations. When teaching a concept, parents can use daily activities and real situations as much as possible. They can teach the names of foods as their toddler is eating, names of body AGE RANGE (MONTHS)

AREA OF DEVELOPMENT

MILESTONE

Gross motor skills

Hold head steady in sitting position Sits alone Stands alone Walks alone

3-9 6-16 12-38 13-48

Fine motor skills and eye hand coordination

Follows object with eyes Reaches out and grasps object Passes objects from hand to hand Builds a tower of two 1” cubes Copies a circle

1.5-8 4-11 6-12 14-32 36-60

Communication skills

Babbles ‘Dada’, ‘Mama’ Responds to familiar words First words spoken with meaning Shows need by gesture Two word phrases

7-18 10-18 13-36 14-30 18-60

Personal and social skills

Smiles when talked to Feeds self with biscuit Drinks from cup Dry by day Bowel control

1.5-4 6-14 12-23 18-50 20-60

DOWN SYNDROME

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special needs

parts while bathing the child, and concepts such as ‘under’, ‘in’ and ‘on’ while the child is playing. Communication is part of daily life.  Read to their child. They should help their child learn vocabulary and concepts by reading about them.  Follow their child's lead. If a child shows interest in an object, person or event, parents should provide him or her with the word. There are many milestones as the child progresses toward using speech. The child responds to a familiar voice, recognizes familiar faces, experiments with many different sounds, produces strings of sounds over and

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over and makes a sound to refer to his or her parents (dada, mama). Many children enjoy looking in a mirror, and increase their sound play and babbling when vocalizing in mirrors. Effective ways to work on these skills at home can be learned through early intervention sessions, through books, workshops and speech and language professionals.

When Should SpeechLanguage Pathology Services Begin?

Speech-language therapy services can begin in infancy. Treatment may involve sound stimulation, language

stimulation accompanying play or help in the area of feeding. Ideally therapy should include the family so they can continue therapy goals at home. Early language intervention are the services provided to infants and toddlers from birth. Speech-pathology services should be part of a comprehensive overall treatment plan for infants and toddlers. This may involve sessions at home or in a center, and may be part of a team approach involving physical, occupational and other therapists working together with the family. For more information, log on to www. moraltherapyservices.org.sg


Raising A Wholesome

Pre-schooler In this six-part series, Kristie Lim, Principal & Co-Founder of Mind Stretcher Education Group shares tips on raising a wholesome pre-schooler. Part 1: The Art of Raising a Wholesome Pre-Schooler After every Mind Stretcher seminar or workshop, parents inevitably come forward and ask me this question: “How did you train your son to become a President’s Scholar?” I find this question more difficult to answer than any PSLE question! Thinking back, after your child was born, did you, at that point or any point during his or her preschool years, pen down what you want him or her to be in future and then systematically work towards trying to achieve that goal during his or her growing-up years? I do not think so. What was predominantly on my mind then was how to bring up a happy child. That, to me, was good

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enough! Having this simple, yet sincere and genuine love-filled mindset provides a good starting point to raise a child who is ready to face the 21st century. There is therefore no set methodology on how to train one to become a President’s Scholar. In fact, one cannot even apply for a President’s Scholarship; he or she has to be nominated by the organisation which has awarded him or her the underlying scholarship. Nevertheless, I believe strongly that there are fundamental building blocks that we, as parents, must pave for our child during his or her preschool years. If a strong foundation is laid, the child can then learn more complex concepts and gradually become independent learners.

As they grow, they are exposed to a varie­ ty of things through observing, reading and interacting with people and the environment. These, amongst others, start to shape their interests, inclinations and passions. From here, the child would be able to start working towards enhancing the latter’s strengths, which would then shape who they will be or influence what profession they would pursue in adulthood. Though I am unable to list down the dos and don’ts of becoming a President’s Scholar, I am more than happy to share some of my experiences in bringing up my children. I do not profess to be the perfect parent, but in hindsight, I believe there are things I have done right and others I could have done better, all of which I will highlight here, so that young parents can try to get as many ‘rights’ as possible. Every child is born to learn. Leaving the nature-nurture debate out of the equation, all children start on a clean slate. They come into the world, all ready to absorb whatever is thrust upon them. Without going into detail on the well-researched area of brain cell development through complex neuron connections and how that can affect or enhance learning, the birth to the preschool years is fundamentally the most important period in a child’s growingup phase. Parents must not just let it pass without cementing a strong foundation. Getting these fundamentals right would mean a smoother transition to Primary 1, fewer worries over primary school exams and definitely a much less stressful PSLE. This will also facilitate a hands-off parenting approach when the child goes on to secondary school and beyond. Look out for Part 2 in our April / May issue.


MostPhotogenic ChildrenContest:

Siblings Special

Jae & Sesha


Fiqh & Alya

Josh & Brianna


Building Sibling Bonds As a parent of two or more young children, you constantly clean up after, scold, praise or bathe one or the other. Some days, the neverending running around after them can drive you up the wall. What’s more, dealing with the almost moment-by-moment squabbles and tussles can be physically exhausting and emotionally draining as well. By Dorothea Chow

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growing up

W

hy can’t you be nice to your sister?” you yell. Or “Don’t you let me see you hit your brother like that again!” And the ultimate “You don’t want to share? Fine. No one gets to play. Go to your rooms NOW.” (Cue loud wails and screams of “It’s not fair!”) You ask yourself “What did I do wrong?” Where is the magazine-worthy scene of brothers playing trains together or sisters dressing up Barbies for the ball? After all, the whole reason why you decided to have kids so closely spaced is because you wanted to give them a playmate, someone special to grow up with together. Take heart – you are very much not alone. And it’s okay.

Siblings Fighting? It’s Normal Sibling rivalry is very much part and parcel of the growing up experience of any young child with a brother or sister. It doesn’t mean they hate each other or will never share whispered secrets or that last donut on the plate, but it does mean you may have to drastically adjust your expectations of what ‘a loving family’ looks like, especially during these early years. What’s key is creating an environment that encourages your young ones to play together without fighting toothand-nail over every little thing. Seek ways to nurture their skills in problem solving, so that they don’t have to run to you for every dispute. For example, teach them how to ask for permission if they want to play with the same toy, and what it means to take turns. Sim-

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growing up

ply enforcing a “Just share!” rarely improves the situation, especially in the long term.

6 Bonding Activities For Siblings One of the best ways to encourage your children to play together is to assign them a task to complete side by side, so they have a common goal to work towards. Here are some suggestions for activities that can be conducive for building strong sibling bonds:

1 Sensory Play

Any type of play that stimulates the senses of touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing, will likely engage your young children. Seasonal and themed sensory bins are a great way to occupy your children for longer periods of time and promote their collaborative efforts. Simple art-and-craft activities (e.g. play dough) or music sessions (e.g. shaking various noisemakers to the tunes of their favourite songs) are also great ways to encourage your children to have fun together.

2 Role Play

Young children, especially toddlers, love to play dress-up! Role-playing is a great way to engage your children’s creativity and imagination, and allows them to experiment with and develop their own fantasy worlds. And since you can’t role-play by yourself (Doctor needs a patient, teacher needs a student, etc.), your children will learn to cooperate and communicate such that the world that is ‘created’ is one that both enjoy.

4 Gardening

Give kids a project they can call their own. And besides, most kids love dirt and

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3 Cooking & Cleaning Who doesn’t like being “a big help to mummy”? Include your children in handling various chores around the house. Little hands can peg up towels, wipe dishes, pick up toys and books, and magic mop the floor. They can also help you in the kitchen – whisking, stirring, counting out spoons and forks, passing you ingredients, etc. It’s good training for young ones, we tend to spoil and molly-coddle them too much most of the time anyway. Best of all, when they’re working on helping you together, they’re not working against each other anymore. watching ants scurry about. A garden plot – whether it’s a proper outside lawn or a row of indoor plant pots – offers them a new happy place to just sit and watch and poke around. Include your kids in fertilizing the soil, planting seeds, watering the ground, picking the weeds, and tracking the growth of any produce! You can even get them to keep a log book and draw what they see is happening on and around the plant(s) from day to day.

5 Have Daily Reading Time

Set aside a pocket of time for reading time where your elder toddler can practice reading to your younger child. You’d be surprised how much he might enjoy having such a captive audience. And then, you read to your older toddler while your younger child flips through picture books. Everyone gets their ‘fix’ and your firstborn

learns that he can put his newfound skills to good use!

6 Organize A Game

Think of a game that offers your children of varying ages some challenge, but gives them a common goal to work towards, and doesn’t have an obvious winner or loser. For example, arrange a treasure hunt for items around the house, or create an obstacle course for one child to lead the other, blindfolded, through. Explain the rules clearly to them, encouraging them to work together to reach their objective. Avoid asking your elder one to show the younger one what to do, so you maintain as level a playing field as possible. Of course, you’ll need to supervise the game to make sure all children are actively taking part. Praise them at every turn, and enjoy the moment!


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Shy Dealing with

Children B y Fiona Walker, Principal Of Schools / CEO, Julia Gabriel Education

My child is now in P1 and is really soft spoken and timid. I am afraid her peers may bully her. Will sending her to speech and drama class help boost her confidence?

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The leap from preschool to primary school is a big one and can be quite overwhelming for many children until they become fully familiar with their new surroundings, routines and the school’s expectations of them. Even children who are normally confident may find the early stages of

Primary One daunting, so the experience is bound to be especially challenging for a child with a naturally shy personality. If your child is timid and quiet, this does not mean they will automatically be bullied. While this is a legitimate concern, there is a difference between


growing up

Now that your child is in Primary One however, an extra boost of confidence, especially if they are timid by nature, will go a long way to helping ease the transition into ‘big school’. Attending a quality speech and drama programme is certainly one of the best ways to do this. Many children are softly spoken and timid because they are not equipped with the tools necessary to communicate effectively. They may have a weak speaking voice, limited vocabulary or the inability to express their feelings. They may feel overwhelmed by the choices confronting them in a large school or lack the ability to solve problems easily.

the very serious nature of bullying and children of different personalities simply finding their way, learning who they get along with, or who they don’t, as they confront the challenges of higher class numbers and more complex spatial environs. Remember, all your child’s peers are in the same boat!

Can Speech & Drama Help Your Shy Child? Speech and drama provides children with the skills that improve and enable them to handle all of the above in a positive, supportive, encouraging and safe environment through drama games, role-play (one of the best ways to experience a new or challenging situation), voice and speech exercises, poems, rhymes and stories. A quality speech and drama curriculum combined with an experienced or well trained educator able to present well planned, structured activities, that allow room for adaptation, in the most enjoyable way, is the best recipe for success. Speech and drama encourages children to use their imagination, to offer ideas and think creatively. A quality programme focuses on standard speech sounds that enable children to articulate language and speak expressively. Your child will learn skills that strengthen his speaking voice and en-

courage him to speak up and speak out. The chances are your child will love his speech and drama class, especially if the educator is lively and engaging and the programme is packed completely with stimulating and fun activities. In the event that he continuously struggles to enjoy a class (of any description) however, it is best not to persist, as this could be detrimental to his confidence. Instead, there are a number of ways you can boost your child’s social and linguistic confidence within the home:  Role-play scenarios your child is likely to encounter at school. This encourages social skills and language use. Provide them with simple phrases such as “thank you”. This helps them respond to others while eliciting a positive response in turn. Talk to your child about the importance of maintaining eye contact during conversation. And have fun together!  Read and enjoy stories together regularly. Let your child listen to you reading out loud and encourage your child to read to you.  Expose your child to different social occasions and outings to new places. The more varied your child’s experiences are, the less anxious they will feel when having to deal with a new situation without you.  Arrange and exchange play dates with your child’s classmates. This allows children to get to know each other and forge friendships in the comfort of their own homes.  Encourage and praise your child constantly, concentrating on their efforts. The greatest confidence is nurtured when your child knows that you are listening to them, understand them and love them.

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play

4

Out To and

Fun Weekend Activities To Do

LearnPlay! “Where can I bring my child to other than water play areas or indoor playgrounds? What can I do with my child so that they can be meaningfully engaged?”

These are common questions I would often hear from parents whenever the weekend is here. While these parents are thrilled to spend their precious time with their kids, they often wonder if there are alternative locations to bring them to. Here are 4 meaningful activities you can do with your family around the island.

Compiled by Yvonne Chee

1

The Animal Resort Location: T81, Seletar West Farmway 5 Singapore 798061 Nearest MRT: Sengkang (NEL), Yio Chu Kang (NSL) Bus 86, 103 (off Jalan Kayu) Landmark: Ju Eng Home along Seletar West Farmway 4. Tel: 64821160 Opening hours: 10am to 6pm daily (closed on public holidays) Website: www.rictedkennels.com Free Admission What’s fun: Meet and feed farm animals such as the peacocks, chickens, horses, goats, rabbits and guinea pigs etc. The Animal Resort is made up of the following sectors:  Boarding (kenneling) Import/Export/Transshipment Dog Training Educational Tours Grooming Retail Event Venue Note: Animal Feeds are for sale to feed their residents. No outside food is allowed.

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Review and photo credits: www.rictedkennels.com and Mrs. Ruth, http://themommycafe.net/, a Singapore mom blogger, freelance writer, wife and mom to a precious boy.


play

2

Fire station open house Central Fire Station 62 Hill Street 68481524, www.scdf.gov.sg Website: http://www.scdf.gov.sg

Photo credits: Mr Lim Chin Leng and family

Every Saturday, many of Singapore's fire stations open up for tours for the public. Child(ren) are invited to explore a fire truck, try out their equipment such as spraying special water guns, and wearing of their kids-sized uniforms and hats, and learn how firemen slide down the fire pole! It will also be a super exciting experience for the little ones to meet the uniformed men – firemen and understand more about that these heros do for our community. The tour of the fire station generally takes about an hour - perfect for an after-breakfast weekend adventure. Walk-ins are welcome. However, they did mentioned on their website that for those who are keen to go together in a group of 10 or more, they are required to make a booking 2 weeks in advance to avoid overcrowding at the fire stations. Best of all, there is no admission fee is required for the fire station open house.

Which fire stations holds Open House to the public? 1. Alexandra Fire Station 2. Ang Mo Kio Fire Station 3. Bishan Fire Station 4. Bukit Batok Fire Station 5. Central Fire Station 6. Changi Fire Station 7. Clementi Fire Station 8. Jurong Fire Station 9. Paya Lebar Fire Station 10. Sengkang Fire Station 11. Tuas Fire Station 12. Woodlands Fire Station 13. Yishun Fire Station 14. Tampines Fire Station

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3

Interesting Libraries in Singapore My Tree House, Central Library National Library Board 100 Victoria Street Singapore 188064 Opening Hours: Mon - Sun 10.00am - 9.00pm Tel: 63323255

Review and photo credits: Ms June Yong, an avid local mom blogger and writer who walks alongside Focus on the Family in their mission to help families in Singapore thrive: http://www.mamawearpapashirt.com

My Tree House is a "green" library for children to learn all about caring for the environment. Other than the collection of 45,000 books within the Tree house, with 30 per cent focusing on green topics, children can learn about the environment through a multi-sensory experience during their visit. Green building materials were used extensively in the construction of the library, including the energy-efficient LED lighting, the cardboard armchairs, refurbished bookshelves and carpets! Spaces have been thoughtfully carved out in the library – into different reading and activity areas for children of various ages, not just for the older ones who are able to read. On top of that, there are also meaningfully activities such as the wall-towall screen with moving cartoon characters (without sound), and questions popping out on the walls from time to time, testing children on their ‘green’ knowledge and they can answer them by touching the correct answer on the screen! Other activities include story-telling sessions, reading programmes, and art and craft workshops.

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play

Library @ Chinatown Location: 133 New Bridge Road #04-12 Chinatown Point Singapore 059413 Opening Hours: Mon - Sun: 11.00am - 9.00pm Closed at 5.00pm on eves of Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year Closed on Public Holidays The Library@Chinatown offers a wide collection to arts and cultural enthusiasts as well as to the general public who are keen in learning more about our Chinese culture and arts. The library has articles and exhibits displayed to allow one to read about Chinatown during the olden days. There are also some fun stamping activities of familiar icons of Singapore like Singa the lion, Singapore Changi Airport & the Dragon playground etc. In addition, there is also a brightly lit Children's section for the children to find their favourite books and corner to read on their own.

Review and photo credits: Ms Serene Seah, an avid local mom blogger and writer: http://xavvy-licious.blogspot.sg

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4

Eat.Play.Love CafE www.eatplaylove.com.sg 28 Aliwal Street #01-07, Aliwal Arts Centre Singapore 199918 Tel: 64446400 Eat.Play.Love Café is a child-friendly craft café where one can leave their toddlers to do ‘freeplay crafting’, while the adults spend a quiet time on their own over a cup of coffee or catch up with their friends over a meal. If the adults would like to, they can also join in the freeplay crafting together with their child(ren)! On a normal weekday, for just $5 per head, one can do art and craft using all the materials provided in the cafe for two hours! (Weekends and public holidays would cost $7.50/hour or $10/2hours). There are plentiful of little materials such as fabric balls, felt cloth, paper, strings, glitter glue, scissors, colouring pencils, hole punchers, markers etc. You can also find many recycled materials such as egg crates, cardboards etc. You can find retro and vintage snacks and toys in that café to buy or just reminisce over our childhood days.

Reviews and photo credits to ‘Loving Mum’, an online avid blogger in her 30s who documents her growth and experiences in her journey as a mother of one daughter, Ayra: http://thelovingmum.sg


my

Valentine my

Mrs This Valentine’s Day, Michelle Ang puts two daddies in the spotlight on how they keep their love strong with their Mrs.


valentine's day special

Daddy #1

Andy Lee

daddy blogger, sengkangbabies.com Wife: Teo Meng Choo Occupation: Homemaker No. of years married: 13 No. of kids: Four - Boon Wee 10 years old, Boon Kang 8 years old, Boon Yee 6 years old and Boon Xin 4 years old 1. Where and when did you meet? In my first job, she was my customer. We always hangout in a group, and eventually she agreed to be my first

girlfriend. 2. Who’s the one who wears the pants in the relationship? We complement each other. I am impatient she is calm (homework), I am good at house-cleaning (before CNY), she keeps everything. She is predictable, I am spontaneous. If you really need to know, she wears the pants.

Especially now that our time is constantly stretched by family, work and kids. I find it even more compelling to find time for each other. We prefer to dine (pragmatic) then to shower each other with gifts. ♥ Check out Andy’s idea of a date night at www.sengkangbabies.com/ love/yes-to-date-nights

3. Who is the more romantic one and why? I am always the one wooing, romancing, and initiating date nights. And I do not mind.

4. How has having children changed married life for the both of you? We both love children, and we both underestimate how a child will change

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valentine's day special

our perspectives and lifestyles. Very often we want the same objective, but differ on the approach. Decisions no longer affect only two of us, and we need to “consult” the kids too. We miss the last minute holidays and midnight shows!

“Decisions no longer affect only two of us, and we need to “consult” the kids too. We miss the last minute holidays and midnight shows!”

5. How do you keep the flame burning? Any tips to share? Little acts of Love like holding hands, a little peck here and there, and we show the kids that it is ok to express our love for our spouse. We hope they grow up to respect and love their partner too. Now that kids are more independent, I look forward to more date nights with my wife. 6. What’s your secret to a successful and happy marriage? Do not try to change the other person, we accommodate and grow together as a couple. Agree to disagree.

“…we show the kids that it is ok to express our love for our spouse. We hope they grow up to respect and love their partner too.” 42

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been very useful.

Daddy #2

Dr Kenneth Chua Paediatrician, SBCC Baby and Child Clinic Wife: Grace Occupation: Literacy coach No. of years married: 9 No. of kids: 2

1. Where and when did you meet? We met in 2003 while rollerblading in East Coast Park. Grace’s cousin was the one who introduced us. 2. Who’s the one who wears the pants in the relationship? As the husband, I am the head of the household. But that does not mean I make all the decisions single-handedly. All major decisions are made with mutual loving discussion and much prayer. 3. Who is the more romantic one and why? Now that’s a tough question! I would say we both try to show each other love daily through loving words, hugs (and kisses)

and simple gestures. She would take the effort to prepare loving meals for me (she cooks Italian food well!) and I like to surprise her with gifts. For example, for one of her birthdays, I had quietly made the necessary childcare arrangements while surprising her with a short getaway to a nearby island resort, giving her just 2 hours to pack before taking the ferry. 4. How has having children changed married life for the both of you? Having children is a real blessing! Having children adds another facet to our marriage and while we really enjoy our family time, we make an effort to set aside time to communicate with each other. We also try to have ‘date nights’ regularly. Despite being a father and mother, we are first and foremost, husband and wife. 5. How do you keep the flame burning? Any tip to share? Keeping the marriage exciting and fun is more a daily process rather than just celebrating special events. Understanding the 5 love languages and communicating in the languages that matter to each of us has

6. What’s your secret to a successful and happy marriage? Marriage is a commitment to love your spouse wholeheartedly. Of course our marriage has not been plain smooth sailing and there have been ups and downs in our marriage. But it is our commitment to love each other that keeps us going. Being Christians, it also is very central to our marriage that we have a common faith and a common understanding of what marriage is. For us, it is the small daily steps that are very important. After putting the kids to sleep, rather than watching television or using our electronic devices, we would spend time talking with each other, go for walks together or exercise together. We also make it a point to constantly verbalize our appreciation for each other and not to take things for granted.

“Having children adds another facet to our marriage and while we really enjoy our family time, we make an effort to set aside time to communicate with each other.”

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By Som Yew Ya

Answering Your Child’s

Difficult

Questions 44

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for the parent

Som Yew Ya shares 7 useful tips for parents on how to tackle some of these difficult questions.

Gender Questions

The awareness of male and female is something that kids catch on at a young age. A baby will know to go to Mommy to nurse while Daddy may have a chin that tickles when he leans close. Boys come to know that their privates are different from girls. Answer tip If your child asks a gender related question, it means they are wondering and it makes no sense to avoid it. Do not lie, but give an explanation that is age-appropriate. For young children, there is no need to go into detail. For older children, such as 10 years and above, it may be appropriate to explain further and teach some basic values.

Crude Questions

Children are like sponges; they are quick to absorb know­ ledge from their surroundings. Coupled with their inquisitive nature, they can ask us the cutest and most interesting things. Some of their questions may even stump us or catch us off guard.

Kids get exposed to many expletives and crude language. “What does BS mean?” “What’s the F word?” In their innocence, they are trying to make sense of what was heard and used. Answer tip Refrain from shutting the kid up or panicking. “Don’t you dare say that again!” would hardly be an appropriate response. Try to explain what the word means in simple terms, or you can ask her what she thinks the word means. Teach why it is not appropriate without reacting emotionally.

Relationship Questions

Living in the same family, there are

inevitably times when children witness friction between the adults or in unfortunate situations, the split of the family. “Why do you two yell at each other?” “Why did Daddy move out?” Answer tip While the contexts may vary, a general direction would be to provide neutral and sensitive answers. Protect the child from adult issues and your emotions; children are too young to be able to process or take this burden. Answer honestly to help the child understand what is happening so as to help her cope with the situation. However do not provide details beyond what she needs to know or give false promises. Avoid giving a response that is emotionally charged or that causes the child to have to take sides. Reassure and be available.

Rude to the Parents Questions

There will come times when children talk back, or even ask questions that provoke you to anger. “Why are you so annoying?” “Can’t Mummy just shut up?”

Answer tip Try not to respond if you are very angry. Refrain from getting into a verbal fight or to punish on the spot. Take a time-out if needed. Subsequently, attend to what is actually the root of the issue. Explain your position as a parent and how some decisions both parent and child make may differ. It is not so much about convincing or winning your child over but to explain your position without getting entangled in negative confrontations.

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for the parent

Birth and Death Questions

“Where do we come from?” “Why did the hamster die? What happened to it?” Answer tip Avoid giving typical fictional answers which gloss over the questions such as “The stork gave you to us” “The hamster will be having a very long sleep….” Give ageappropriate answers as always. To a toddler, explaining that babies grow in their mothers’ tummies would suffice while to a 12 year old it may be helpful to broach the subject on the birds and the bees. Death questions may be answered with some explanation on life and sickness. Questions may be a way for the child to cope with the event in a bid to understand it. Don’t brush aside the questions but try to empathise on the feeling your child is trying to convey.

Comparison Question

“Why does Jody get to play Maplestory?” “Do you love Jayden more than me?” Answer tip Comparison questions usually come with a pre-conceived thought. The child may have the impression of being unfairly treated or unloved at the back of her head. In these situations, it may be best to gather information from her. “Tell me about Maplestory; what makes you want to play it?” “What makes you think I love Jayden more?” It is important to be sensitive and to see things from the child’s perspective. This pro-

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vides a better understanding of her feelings and platform to explain your position. Listening to her side of the story will make the child feel heard.

Too-Deep-TimeConsuming Questions “Why is the sky blue?” “What is the Milky Way?”

Answer tip It is ok not to have answers all the time. Parents also have to find answers. No matter how overly complex the question is or how clueless you are, refrain from brushing over it. “Don’t ask funny question and just finish your lunch” would be bet-

ter replaced with “That’s an interesting question. Mummy does not know, shall we find out together?” If the situation does not permit sufficient time for discussion, it is fine to reschedule it to later. Be specific. “Mummy is fixing the curtain right now, can we discuss about this after lunch?” It takes a fine balance of honesty and age-appropriateness to present healthy responses to children. By being available and approachable to our children, we will have opportunities to offer input into their lives that are accurate as well as teach values and principles. Keep the questions coming!


It’s A Date Bub! Make A Date With Your Other Baby

While it’s true that bringing your child out on your own can be a daunting task , there is much to gain from intentionally carving out regular pockets of time to spend with your child, where the relationship be developed significantly and experiences shared meaningfully.

Make it a point to start building your relationship with your child now – don’t wait until it’s too late! If you’re stumped for ideas what you can do on your date with your kid, here are 5 ideas to try.

1

Eat – Let your child choose his favourite café or restaurant, order the food, and make decisions like when to ask for the ice cream. Talk about how

your week has been. Movie – You can stay in the comfort of your home for this, as long as no one else is around! Watch a new DVD, snuggle on the couch, and munch on popcorn and chips. Then discuss what you’ve watched over hot chocolate and marshmallows.

2 3

Picnic in the park – Pack a simple picnic basket and head

to your nearest park or reservoir on foot or bike (or scooter!). This would be a great opportunity to teach your child how to ride a bike or skate.

4

People watch – Find somewhere where you can just sit and watch the world go by. It could be in the window of a café that’s right next to the road. You can learn a lot by observing the world around you, and so can your child.

5

Treasure hunt – Go to the beach or the park, and let your child wander free, picking up anything that catches his eye to admire and/or keep. You’ll be surprised how many items qualify for “treasure” in the eyes of our little ones. Find out why.

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Understanding Different Types of

Financial Products By Tan Ooi Sim Winston

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finance

There are so many financial products in the market that people are spoilt for choice, much like when they are selecting a new phone. No matter how varied the financial products are, they will never veer too much from the basic categories which I will be touching on.

I

have always mentioned to my friends and clients, financial products should be the secondary focus in financial planning as they are merely tools to help you achieve your financial goals. The primary focus should be on how a financial planner can help you uncover your financial goals, and provide you with ideas or advice on how you should structure your finances to achieve your goals. Once you know what you need to achieve, it is a matter of selecting one or a few tools amongst the myriad of financial products to reach your goal. Here are three basic categories of financial products.

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INSURANCE

Life Insurance Benefits: Provides Death coverage for whole of life (typically up to 100 years old) and Total Permanent Disability coverage till 65 years old. Premiums are paid till age 85 or more. There will be bonuses and cash value 3 years after the start date of the plan. Paid in one lump sum to beneficiaries.

Term Insurance Benefits: Provides Death and Total Permanent Disability coverage for a fixed period of time. Total Permanent Disability coverage typically stops before age 6Premiums are paid for the entire duration of the plan. There are no bonuses or cash values for term insurance. Paid in one lump sum to beneficiaries.

Variants of this plan: One can now opt for a shorter premium term, i.e. 10, 15, 20 or 25 years while coverage remains whole of life. Life Insurance plans with multiplier effect. Depending on which company and the age when a person buys this plan, there is a multiplier effect added to his chosen coverage. E.g. If person A takes up S$100,000 coverage before age 65, he gets to enjoy a multiplier effect of up to 3x, i.e. S$300,000 when claims occur.

Variants of this plan: Group Term Insurance is a term insurance that is bought among a group of people. Usually has a lower premium than an individual term insurance. The drawback of this plan is it typically stops before age 70, when a person may need the coverage the most. CPF’s Dependent Protection Scheme (DPS) is a good example of a group term insurance plan. Mortgage Reducing Insurance is a term insurance that reduces in coverage through the duration of your plan, according to your reducing housing loan. CPF’s Housing Protection Scheme (HPS) is a good example.

Why people like this: Bonuses added to the life insurance coverage will help to soften the impact of inflation in the long term. People who prefer some form of returns on the premiums they pay.

Why people like this: Cheap affordable coverage, especially for people who need a high coverage but may not have the budget or would prefer to deploy their cash flow to other uses.

Personal Accident Provides reimbursement coverage for expenses incurred due to accidents. Provides lump sum coverage for Death and Disability caused by accidents. You may refer to my article on Personal Accident planning in the 2013 October/November edition of the New Age Parents for more details.

Critical Illness Benefits: Provides Critical Illness coverage at early stages or end stages of critical illnesses or at both stages. This can be purchased as a standalone plan or as a rider to a life insurance or term insurance plan. For End Stage Critical illness plans, person can choose to cover for a period of time or for whole of life. For Early Stage Critical Illness plans, person can choose the period of time as well, but typically the plan will end before 85 years old. Premiums are paid for the duration of the plan. There are no bonuses or cash values for Critical Illness plans. Paid in one lump sum to the insured person. Variants of this plan: Some Critical Illness plans can actually cover up to 3 Critical Illnesses claims. Why people like this: Important coverage for people to help them with living expenses if they choose to recuperate at home when they contract critical illnesses, instead of rushing back to work. Coverage is helpful for people who may want to seek alternative treatments overseas. Coverage is also helpful for a patient’s family who may want to do home renovations for the patient to be taken care at home. E.g. change of floor tiles to anti-slip flooring, hand railings in the toilet for mobility. If this plan is added as a rider to a life insurance plan, the bonuses and cash value from the life insurance plan can soften the impact of inflation over the long term.

Health Insurance Provides reimbursement coverage for Hospitalisation, Surgeries (Medically Necessary) and certain outpatient treatments (e.g. Cancer Treatments and Kidney Dialysis). You may refer to my article on Health Insurance in the 2013 April/May edition of the New Age Parents for more details.

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ENDOWMENTS (A.K.A. SAVINGS PLANS) Benefits:  Typically used as a long term savings instrument for a fixed period of 10 – 40 years.  Lump Sum Maturity upon the stated duration.  There will be bonuses and cash value 3 years after the start date of the plan. Bonuses are typically higher than Life Insurance plans.  Provides nominal coverage for Death and Total Permanent Disability throughout the plan duration. Coverage is typically lower than Life Insurance plans.

Life Insurance Provides Death coverage for whole of life (typically up to 100 years old) and Total Permanent Disability coverage till 65 years old.

ENDOWMENTS

finance

Variants of this plan:  Some endowments have a yearly cashback feature that enables you to withdraw some of your future lump sum maturity earlier before the maturity date. These are known as Anticipated Endowment plans. Returns for these plans are typically lower compared to normal endowment plans.  People can now opt for a shorter premium term, e.g. 5, 10, 12, 15 years, similar to the newer variant of Life Insurance plans. E.g. If your lump sum is maturing in 25 years, you may choose to pay premiums for only 15 years. Why people like this:  With the low interest rate environment in banks, endowment plans provide a better return over the long term for a person’s spare funds idling in the bank.  People typically use this for their children’s university education fund and part of their retirement fund planning.

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INVESTMENT-LINKED PLANS (ILPS)

finance

Whole Life InvestmentLinked Plans Benefits: In essence, this is a term insurance plan, with an added feature of investment returns for whole of life. One can also say this plan is similar to a Life Insurance plan. Instead of getting bonuses in Life Insurance plans, this plan’s cash value is based on the market value of the investment-linked funds a person had chosen. Provides coverage for Death and Total Permanent Disability for whole of life. Flexibility to vary coverage amount throughout the whole of life. Premiums a person pays are diverted to pay for coverage and the remaining premiums are used to invest in funds of his choice. Why people like this: Flexibility to vary coverage amount anytime. If more coverage is required by a person, he need not buy a separate plan, he can just top up the coverage (and any increase in premium) with the same plan. Flexibility to withdraw (partially or wholly) the investment value anytime. Premium holiday feature of stopping premiums for a certain period of time and resuming premiums at a later date. The above list is by no means exhaustive but it covers the main financial plans that are being offered by financial institutions in Singapore. I would like to reiterate that the above are general information with the aim of equipping my readers

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Whole Life InvestmentLinked Plans Provides coverage for Death and Total Permanent Disability for whole of life. Pure Investment-Linked Plans (ILP’s) Benefits: These plans have nominal coverage for Death, typically 105% to 125% of their invested amount. Premiums that a person pays are used to invest in investment-linked funds of his choice. Typically used as an investment tool for a person’s retirement fund planning. May also be used as a tool for children’s tertiary education fund planning. My professional advice, however, is not to do so. For more details on why, you may refer to my article on Children’s Education Planning in the August/September edition of the New Age Parents. A person may choose between these options of investing: investing lump sum once, investing monthly and topping up your investments via lump sums anytime. Why people like this: The ability to participate in the stock market at a lower cost. Shares of established companies like Apple, IBM, Samsung, DBS Bank are expensive and may require high capital outflow from a person. Through ILP’s and its corresponding investment-linked funds, they can have the opportunity to own the shares of these companies and participate in these companies’ growth. Provides a minimum death coverage amount. When the investment value is below a person’s initial investment and death occurs, the beneficiaries will get the death coverage instead of the current investment value. Flexibility to withdraw the investments (partially or wholly) anytime. Flexibility to increase your investments anytime. These plans typically do not have a fixed time frame. One can remain invested for as long as they would like. with enough knowledge to help them understand what they have or what they may be purchasing. For the exact details of a financial plan, it would be best to ask a financial planner as there are so many variants of the above-mentioned plans

and it is impossible to cover everything in this article, lest all my readers use this article as a before sleep reading material. Have a question? You can email Winston at tanooisim_winston@ hotmail.com.


editorial team

Editor: Michelle Ang Experts: SBCC Baby & Child Clinic, T32 Junior Dental Centre, The Children’s Therapy Centre, Julia Gabriel Centre, Mind Stretcher Education Group & Winston Tan Regular Contributors: Dorothea Chow, Yvonne Chee & Som Yew Ya

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 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.

The New Age Parents

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The New Age Parents Feb Mar 14  

The New Age Parents Feb Mar 14