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oct/nov

2014

www.thenewageparents.com

Children’s Day

Special Kids Say The Darndest Things Pain Pain, Go Away

10 Pregnancy Pains And Symptoms That Should Not Be Ignored Does Your Baby Have

Coverpage Model: Ayden Wee Photography: Photography by Yew Kwang

Kawasaki Disease?

Teaching Our Children The Value Of…

Empathy


table of contents

Contents 4 Our Experts 8 Editorial Note 10 Pregnancy

Pain Pain, Go Away: 10 Pregnancy Pains And Symptoms That Should Not Be Ignored

12 Your Baby

First Time Mum: Shopping For Your Baby

16 Health Kawasaki Disease

18 Diet

What Is Global Developmental Delay?

38 Creativity

Creating Creativity: 6 Bright Ideas To Spark Off Creativity At Home

42 The New Age Parents Coverpage Contest

46 Study Special

Time To Eat! Importance of Eating Regularly

20 Dental

54 Growing Up

22 Children’s Day Special

58 For The Parent

Kids Say The Darndest Things 10 Things To Avoid Saying To A Child

28 Preschool

Raising A Wholesome Preschooler Part 5: Public Speaking And Confidence Building

30 Language The New Age Parents

36 Special Needs

Stress-Me-Not! Creating A Stress-Free Environment For Your Child Study Smart: Fostering Good Study Habits

Top 12 Facts Your Dentist Wants You To Know

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Speech And Language: What’s The Difference? Help! My Child Can’t Speak And Write Well

Teaching Our Children The Value Of… Empathy

Let’s Fight: Violent Versus Non-Violent Toys And Games

62 Finance

Growing Your Money: Three Important Indicators To Look Out


Our Experts OBSTETRICS AND GYNAECOLOGY

PAEDIATRIC MEDICINE

FINANCIAL PLANNING

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

Dr Liew Woei Kang Dr. Liew obtained his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the National University of Singapore. He obtained his specialist qualifications of Membership to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (United Kingdom) in 2003. Prior to joining SBCC, Dr Liew held the position of Consultant Paediatrician in the Allergy Service and Rheumatology & Immunology Service, Department of Paediatrics, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Common conditions managed by him include allergy disorders, drug challenges, immunological disorders and rheumatological disorders. Practice Address: SBCC Baby & Child Clinic Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre #12-14 Singapore 228510 Tel: 6732 2292/ 6397 6966 (Hotline) Email: info@sbcc.sg

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

dental

Dr Lim Swee Teck Dr Lim graduated from the University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery in 1965 and earned the name ‘Dr. Friendly’ during his 42 years of practice in managing children’s dental care at his clinic in Singapore. From 2006 to 2009, he recorded his invaluable experiences on pediatric dentistry by authoring “The Healthy Smile Series”, a 12-volume series of books for children aims to impart the importance of oral health care to children. 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

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Suzanne Khor Suzanne Khor has been practicing as a clinical dietician for the last 11 years. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Dietetics with honours from the National University of Malaysia and postgraduate degree (Masters of Health Science Education) from University of Sydney Australia. Prior to this, Ms Khor was working as a senior dietician in KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital for 7 years. Her special interests are nutrition in feeding difficulties, diet therapy for neurological disorders, eating disorders and weight management. Practice Address: Thomson Paediatric Centre (The Child Development Centre) 10 Sinaran Drive #09-04 Novena Medical Centre Singapore 307506 Email: info@thomsonpaeds.com Tel: 6397 6627/ 6397 6966 (hotline)


PRESCHOOL

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

CREATIVITY

Ms. Pooja Ms. Pooja is the Chief Curriculum Officer at Nurture Education Group. She began teaching in 2001, garnering more than 10 years of teaching experience in preschools. Holding a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education) from University of South Australia (Dean’s merit list), she has taught all levels: from Playgroup through to Kindergarten 2. She is deeply passionate about pre-schoolers and believes that each child should be allowed to develop at his or her own pace in a supportive environment. For more information, go to www.kiddigroup.com.sg Special Needs

Rebecca Ng Rebecca is a Speech and Language Therapist working at THK Therapy Services. She graduated with a First Class Honours Bachelor of Science Degree in Speech and Language therapy from the University of Queensland. Rebecca joined THK Therapy Services in February 2014 and enjoys working with children with autism and children with speech and language delays. For more information, go to www.thkmc.org.sg/thk-therapy-services

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".

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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 creating customized paper cards and art pieces for birthdays, weddings and other occasions. Read more of Dorothea’s thoughts and motherhood experiences at www.apancakeprincess.com

Som Yew Ya A stay home mother while pursuing a Masters in Counseling course, 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.

Rachel Tan Rachel was working as a scientist and a healthcare analyst in London before moving back to Singapore to deliver her daughter in 2012. Since then, she has been a stay-at-home-mother, and loves to bake, cook, style and photograph the dishes when she has time to spare. She enjoys sharing the ups and downs of life, marriage and parenthood, and of course, write-ups on glorious food on her personal blog, The Pleasure Monger.

Jenny Tai Jenny Tai is a freelance writer, fledgling cook, and mother to a self-assured, playful toddler. She makes postcards in her spare time. Previously Jenny worked in a publishing company in New York.


What is the value of

keyboard music in the

Kinderland Curriculum? Playing Keyboard music enhances a child’s abstract reasoning skills which are important for learning maths and science. (1996 Neurological Research by Rauscher, Shaw, Levice, Wright, Dennis & Newcomb)

Keyboard music is a core programme in the Kinderland Curriculum since 1978. Taught by professional music teachers, it helps to:

develop spatial-visual skills accelerate early literacy build focus and confidence refine motor skills

a member of Crestar Education Group, is a leading provider of quality and bilingual infant care, preschool and kindergarten to children 2 months to 6 years of age.


editorial note

STRESSED THAT YOUR CHILD IS FEELING STRESSED?

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

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October is the time when most Primary School children (and their parents) start to fret as exams are near. Stressed that your child is feeling stressed? We share seven ways how you can create a less stressful environment in our study special Stress-Me-Not! Creating A Stress-Free Environment For Your Child. It also includes five stress-relieving activities you can do with your little ones. How do you get your children to study? And what does ‘studying smart’ actually mean? We asked some preschool experts for their advice in Study Smart: Fostering Good Study Habits. Children can say the most impossible things. Head over to our children’s day special Kids Say The Darnest Things and be tickled by the conversations there. We are also thrilled to introduce two new series: ‘First Time Mum’ and ‘Value’ under our ‘your baby’ and ‘growing up’ section. In our ‘First Time Mum’ series, we reflect on what it is to be a first time mummy - from dealing with routine changes in your life to shopping for your baby. In our ‘Value’ series, we talk about important life values we can impart in our children. In this issue, we kick start the series on the value of Empathy. We hope you will draw some insights and enjoy reading them! Wishing all the kids out there ( even us adults, the older ‘kids’), a delightful and carefree Children’s Day! Yours sincerely,


Pain Pain, Go Away 10 Pregnancy Pains And Symptoms That Should Not Be Ignored Pain is one of the most common symptoms that any pregnancy women will report when they see their obstetrician. While most pain symptoms are not serious and may be caused by backache, reflux, gastritis, ligamentous pull, there are serious conditions that may cause pain. Dr Ben Choey, Specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at SBCC Women’s Clinic (Clementi) tells us the pains and symptoms not to ignore.

#1 Upper abdominal pain This may be caused by by liver inflammation secondary to pre-eclampsia, a serious condition which occurs during pregnancy manifesting as elevated blood pressure, protein in the urine and upper abdominal pain. #2 Lower abdominal pain Abdominal pain is most frequently caused by ligamentous strain. Pain arising from ligamentous pull typically improves when

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pregnancy

lying flat and gets worse when walking. If more severe and constant pain occurs on either side of the pubic bone, ectopic pregnancy must be excluded if there were no previous scans to document position of the fetus. Ectopic pregnancy is a dangerous condition in which the embryo implants within the fallopian tube. This can cause massive internal bleeding and hypotension, threatening life. #3 Rhythmic pain in the abdomen May mean preterm labor. #4 Vaginal bleeding Vaginal bleeding is a very common symptom in pregnancy. There are numerous possible causes that can cause vaginal bleeding. In the first trimester, small amount of vaginal spotting may be caused by implantation of the embryo. It may also be due to miscarriages (threatened miscarriage, missed miscarriage). Ectopic pregnancy can present as vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain. An ultrasound scan should be able to distinguish the various causes. In later part of pregnancy, bleeding can be due to more serious problems. These include preterm labor, low lying placenta and placental separation. Do not forget the occasional cervical cancer during pregnancy presenting as abnormal vaginal bleeding. #5 Decreased fetal movement Fetal movement is subjective and if you feel that your baby is moving much less, consult your obstetrician as soon as possible. Fetal movement does not reduce nearer term. #6 Fever High fever due to respiratory tract infec-

tions, urinary tract infections (kidney infections) or other infections may be detrimental to baby’s health. #7 Headache Although common headaches can occur during pregnancy, serious conditions such as pre-eclampsia can manifest as headache in the later part of pregnancy. Pre-eclampsia is a dangerous condition and requires immediate medical attention. #8 Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Experiencing frequent urination, painful urination or fever associated with loin pain may be a symptom of urinary tract infection. This condition requires treatment with antibiotics as untreated condition may lead to more serious kidney infection, premature birth, growth restriction and miscarriage.

#9 Vomiting Some women develop severe nausea and vomiting (known as hyperemesis gravidarum) in the first trimester of pregnancy. This may lead to dehydration and requires intravenous hydration. Severe cases may need hospitalization. #10 Itch Dry skin can often result in your skin feeling itchy. However, if the itch is very intense and occurs predominantly at night, beware of this condition known as obstetric cholestasis. The latter condition occurs late in pregnancy and triggers intense itching, usually on the hands and feet. Whilst there is no long term risk to the pregnant woman, it can be dangerous for the fetus. Early delivery may be necessary to advert the risk of stillbirth.

According to a survey commissioned by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), 1 in 3 Singaporeans are reluctant to treat their pain. Did you know that unrelieved pain affects people's quality of life and relationships with others? “Pain, be it muscle aches or joint pain, can affect a person’s quality of life and relationships with their loved ones, so this is an important issue to address. There’s an opportunity here to educate pain sufferers on the options available to them so that they can make the right choices quickly and with confidence.” - Dr Alex Yeo, President of the World Institute of Pain (SEA Chapter) and Past President of the Pain Association of Singapore

Pain

Alert!

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your baby

Things F i r s t

Ti m e

M u m

Se r ie s

Your Baby

Needs (Actually)

By Rachel Tan


As much as you want to give your child the best of everything, the very thought of this can put a dent in your wallet. More often than not, many purchases end up as white elephants, and you will be better off whittling down the shopping list as much as possible, until you determine that your child needs yet another (cute) teether.

than purchasing two outfits that are a little dressier for special occasions with photo-ops, I didn’t get anything other than the staple kimono-style wraps and bottoms, and one week’s worth of onesies for casual jaunts out. Baby sling / carrier I made the mistake of purchasing a stroller before my daughter was born. She never took to one until recent months and yes, she has outgrown the stroller we bought. I did prepare two baby slings (to alternate when one is in the wash) and they were such lifesavers. I simply popped her in the sling whenever she needed to be cuddled at times when I had to free up my hands; this happened pretty often, as you would discover in the early months. When she got too heavy and her neck was rigid enough to stay upright

without any support, we switched to the soft-structured baby carrier, again, a must-have, especially when we didn’t want to end up pushing an empty stroller around. Some babies do very well in a stroller, much sooner than my daughter of course, but in the early months, a carrier of sorts is a godsend for most parents I know. Car seat This is a mandatory purchase for those who reside in Singapore and a number of other countries. We were very fortunate to be loaned an infant car seat. When she outgrew it, we spared no expense and invested in one of the best brands on the market. You will need this right from the day your newborn gets discharged from the hospital, so be sure to have one installed in your car in the weeks before your estimated due date!

Here is a list of some things that were essential for my daughter in the early months. Breathable and easily worn clothing It’s tempting to purchase an oversized heap of clothes for your darling, but in the early months, you only really need lightweight clothing that can be easily worn and taken off. It’s hot and humid all year round in this part of the world, so breathable clothing makes perfect sense. Your newborn is going to poop and pee so often, that you will want to dress him or her in clothes that can give you easy access to your baby’s bottom. I stayed home most of the time in the early months, so other

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your baby

Furniture with ample storage space I never bought into the idea of getting cutesy, miniature versions of wardrobes for the nursery. They offer enough storage space for only a few months, and once your baby’s collection of clothes, toys, essentials expands (this will happen very quickly with the influx of gifts from family and friends who adore your darling), you will be kicking yourself for not buying wardrobes and drawers designed for big people instead. You can decorate the adult-sized pieces of furniture with cutesy decals, which are widely available now, so why splurge on kiddy storage that wouldn’t give you good mileage? Books and open-ended toys I splurged on books. Cloth books for when my daughter was an infant, and board books for when she could hold books up easily. I find that these were and still are great ways of entertaining a young child, and these books are sturdy enough to withstand lots of wear and tear. We also shied away from musical toys (those that made all sorts of sounds when buttons are pressed), and opted for open-ended toys such as stacking cups and wooden blocks instead. You could do all sorts of wonderful things with these toys and stretch your dollar whilst you are at it. What’s your list of baby items? This list may differ, based on your child’s preference of course. In my case, I regretted quite a few purchas-

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es, such as the rocker, bouncer and ‘jumperoo’ as my daughter didn’t like them. And I was pleased that I skipped out on getting things like a changing table (I find it too small; I simply change her on the bed), walker, etc. My advice is to just get hold of the daily necessities, borrow stuff that you think might be good for

your routine and observe what your baby likes or dislikes before committing to certain purchases. And if you do this, you might feel less guilty for dropping a tiny bomb on two or three cuter outfits...just sayin’. Stay tuned for part two of our ‘First Time Mum’ series in our next issue!


health

Kawasaki Disease

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Kawasaki disease (KD) is an uncommon illness that mostly affects children under five years of age. There are approximately 200 cases of KD diagnosed in Singapore every year. KD is caused by inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body, including those of the heart (coronary vessels). This inflammation is known as vasculitis. There have been many theories for what causes this, but the most generally accepted one is an immune system overdrive after a viral infection trigger. There is no simple test for KD. The diagnosis is made by recognising the symptoms and signs of KD in a child who has a persistent fever with no other likely explanation. Blood tests may be helpful, and an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) may be performed to look for any changes in the coronary (heart) arteries.

Signs And Symptoms

The disease usually begins with a high fever (over 39 degrees Celcius) which continues for at least five days. Many, but not all, children also develop other symptoms such as: Extreme irritability (especially in young children) Large, swollen lymph glands in the neck A rash (varying morphology from flat rashes to bumpy rashes) Red shiny or dry cracked lips Red, lumpy (strawberry looking) tongue Red eyes (conjunctivitis) without discharge Swollen / red hands or feet Peeling of the skin on the hands and

feet (in the second week of the illness) An unusual nappy rash Joint pains Diagnosis of KD can sometimes be delayed, especially if the classical symptoms are not present. Other diseases may also mimic KD symptoms, and require different treatment. The most important part of KD is that it may cause inflammation of the arteries that supply blood to the heart, which can result in an aneurysm ('bubble' in the artery) that can cause heart problems in the future. This occurs in about 25 per cent of patients if they do not receive treatment.

Treatment

The treatment for KD is intravenous immunoglobulin. This is purified from donated blood transfusions and contains concentrated amounts of antibodies. Large doses of intravenous immunoglobulin are usually effective in stopping the fever and other symptoms of KD, and help to prevent coronary artery problems as well. In 10% of cases, a second dose of IVIG may be necessary. Resistant cases are treated with steroids (IV methylprednisolone) or anti-tumour necrosis factor drugs like Infliximab. Some parents worry about their child being given blood products. It is important to understand that the risks of this are very low, yet the risks from untreated KD are quite high. Doctors can manage the symptoms of

Kawasaki disease if they catch it early. The symptoms typically disappear within just two days of when treatment begins. Usually, if Kawasaki disease is treated within 10 days of when the first symptoms begin, no heart problems develop. But if the illness goes untreated, it can lead to more serious complications especially dilatation of the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart. Most children will also be given aspirin for a few weeks after the onset of KD. This helps to prevent problems with the coronary arteries.

Prognosis

A small number of children develop problems with either the heart muscle or the coronary arteries. The heart problems appear in the first phase of the illness and this is why the initial echocardiogram is performed. If the test is negative, then it is very unlikely that problems will develop later but a further check test is usually done at six to eight weeks. A small percentage of children have recurrence of the symptoms weeks or months later. If this happens, repeat treatment is usually successful. Consideration of other diagnosis like systemic vasculitis diseases may sometimes be necessary. The vast majority of children with KD recover and live normal lives. By Dr Liew Woei Kang, Paediatrician Practicing Address: SBCC Baby & Child Clinic (Asthma, Lung, Sleep & Allergy Centre) Gleneagles Medical Centre 6 Napier Road #04-15 Singapore 258499 Tel: 6475 0820 Fax: 6475 1903

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diet

Time To Eat! Importance of Eating Regularly

Keeping to a regular eating pattern is important for children. Ms Suzanne Khor, Senior Dietician at Thomson Paediatric Centre (The Child Development Centre) tells us why. Young children tend to eat better when there is a fixed timing or pattern for meals and snacks. Understanding children’s eating behaviour is important for our children’s future health as evidence indicates that dietary habits acquired in childhood persist through to adulthood. They are better prepared to eat as they have an idea of when is the next meal time (e.g. after time at the playground/ before bath time etc). As play is the ‘work’ of a child, usually they will not want to eat when they haven’t finished playing with something. Often, children have difficulty moving on from one activity to another. If you do not implement any fixed timing of meals and activities, a lot of protest may ensue. Pre-empt your child that it will soon be meal time a few minutes before, so they will be ready to stop playing. Some common problem eating behaviours may include: Meal-time tantrums and food refusal Grazing and snacking on sweets/ non-nutritive snacks Fussy eating Preference for certain textures (not age-appropriate)/ refusal to chew Overeating Reduced intake of food or reliance on drinks. Children will learn to eat what others in the

family eat if they are offered the same food and encouraged to consume it. As children have varied appetites, it is normal that they ask for small and regular snacks. As long as you do not force your child to finish all the food on their plate, they will stop when they are full. By providing healthy snacks, you will provide the energy and nutrition your child needs during the day. An example of a regular eating pattern is: Breakfast (7-8am)

Milk

Morning snack (10am)

Bread with jam + yogurt

Lunch (12.30-1pm)

Rice/ porridge + veg + fish/ meat + soup

Afternoon snack (3pm)

Fruit + Milk

Dinner (6pm)

Noodles with veg + chicken + fruit

Supper (8.30-9pm)

Milk

(Note: Timing can be adjusted according to child’s school time/ nap time/ activity)

Many parents worry about their child’s eating at some stage, particularly in younger children when food intake and appetite appear to change daily. You could ask for a professional for help if: You notice your child’s weight is stagnant or if he/ she has lost weight Your child is unwell, tired and not eating well most of the time Mealtimes are a cause of stress in the family.

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dental

Top

12 Facts

Your Dentist Wants

You To Know

Dr Lim Swee Teck, Specialist in Pediatric Dentistry at T32 Junior and author of ‘The Healthy Smile Series’ tells TNAP the twelve most important dental facts every parent should know. ❶ PREVENTIVE dental care is better than cure. ❷ MAKE IT A HABIT TO BRUSH YOUR TEETH well daily – at least two times a day. Brushing and flossing you teeth before bed is necessary and very important in the removal of food deposits and the subsequent acid activity on the teeth during sleep. ❸ SWEETS, CHOCOLATES, CARBOHYDRATES AND SUGARS IN DRINKS produce the highest amount of acid which damages the teeth and causes cavities or tooth decay. ❹ AFTER ANY SNACKS, Chocolates,

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sweets and sugary drinks, make it a habit to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth. ❺ EAT PLENTY OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES . They are good for your teeth and health. ❻ CHEW YOUR FOOD WELL before swallowing as chewing breaks down food and maximizes nutrition. Chewing also helps to exercise the muscles of the jaws and allows proper growth and development of the face. ❼ DO NOT BITE OR CRUNCH ON ICE and hard sweets as they frequently break teeth and fillings.

❽ CHILDREN who take part in contact sports should wear a mouth-guard to prevent injuries to their front teeth. ❾ LOOKING AFTER AND BRUSHING your teeth well are essential for health and looks. Dirty teeth and unhealthy gums encourage bacteria growth in the mouth and lead to gum disease and a smelly mouth. Use toothpaste with fluoride as they protect your teeth from decay. ❿ SMOKING IS BAD for the mouth and health. Smoking increases gum infection or periodontitis which in turn increase your risk to systemic diseases like heart attacks, diabetes. ⓫ SEE YOUR DENTIST EVERY 6 MONTHS to have your teeth, gums and mouth checked and cleaned. ⓬ LEARN TO PRACTICE PROPER and good tooth-brushing and oral health care. IT IS THE KEY TO YOUR OVERALL HEALTH.


On having another sibling...

Why mummy is the dearest... D: Mummy you are the best! M: Why so? D: Because you can help me finish my food when I am full, fix my stuff when they are broken and give me my pocket money when I run out. M: …..

Grandpa: X, why don’t you be a doctor when you grow up. D: Ok! But why? Grandpa: Then when I need a doctor, I can go see you for free. D: (in utter shock) FREE!! I need business you know, but I can give you a discount of 10%.

M: Son, what do you think if mummy wants another baby? S: Not good mummy M: Why? S: Because I still want to be your baby for a while more.

Kids Say The DarndesT Darndest Things! As I watch kids decipher the conventions of language and creating meaning for themselves, their innocence (in the way they communicate) shines through. Let’s hear it for the children! By Esther Lim, CEO and Founder of LEAP SchoolHouse

S: (on a long distance call home) Hi mummy how are you? Are you doing fine? Did you buy me a toy?

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Tt

children's day special M: Look X! Such a cute baby that mummy is holding now. We are going to bring the baby back and you can then become a big brother! S: That is not yours! Put the baby down now!

Reality bites... Son just got lost at a mega toy store and after getting trouble at home again, he sighed and said, ‘Mummy, today is such a crazy day!’

Staying a little longer in their fantasy world... D: Mummy, are tooth fairies real? M: Do you think they are? D: Yes! Are they boys or girls? M: I have never seen them but I think they have a mix of both. What do you think? D: I think they are girls because girls are the ones with the money. Boys just spend.

M: X! Why can't you give me all correct answers for your homework? Why are you always making mistakes? D: But I just can't give you all correct answers. M: Why? D: Because if I have all my answers correct, you will say it is because I COPIED...

D: Mummy, I think I will one day get married but I am not going to have children. M: Why? D: Just look at me! Kids are so troublesome!

D: Can I have a Facebook account? All my friends have one. M: Sure you can. But you must add Daddy and Mummy in as your friends. D: Huh?

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10

health

Things To Avoid Saying To A Child

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” 24

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The English phrase below from the mid 19th century, was coined as a way of persuading children, taunted by verbal bullying, not to retaliate with violence. Words do not cause physical harm but they can cause deep-rooted psychological distress and emotional pain, damaging our children’s self-esteem, motivation and confidence. Fiona Walker, Principal Of Schools & Ceo, Julia Gabriel Education shares with us ten phrases to avoid.

#1

Don’t cry - it’s no big deal! A grazed knee or losing a toy is part and parcel of growing up, so while you know your child will be fine, remember, to them it is a big deal. Acknowledge rather than dismiss their feelings. Give them the space to express their emotions rather than suppressing them.

#2

If you do that one more time…I’ll… Language that threatens causes fear-based learning, a loss of respect if you do not follow through and is never positive behaviour to model to your child. Help your child to understand the cause and effect of their actions rather than punishing them.

#3

Why did you do that? Possibly one of the most pointless questions we ask. Young children often act out of instinct and in the moment. They may not understand themselves why they feel as they do or have the vocabulary to put it into words.

#4

Don’t argue with me! Battling to gain control should not become the aim of a difference of opinion and certainly not if it puts a lid on personality. No matter how young your child is, their thoughts, feelings and opinions have value. When we shut our children up, the message we send out about self-expression is very negative. Allowing your child freedom of expression through respectful debate encourages positive development in many areas, including language skills, creative thinking, problem solving, self-esteem and confidence.

#5

Why can’t you be more like your brother / sister? Each sibling is an individual with his or her own unique personality and special qualities. Celebrate their differences rather than comparing them and causing them to feel inferior!


children's day special

#6

Don’t be naughty! There is no such thing as a naughty child! Children act out because they do not understand adult expectations of them. Rather than immediately labeling behaviour as ‘naughty’, try to understand your child’s learning style or why they are behaving in a way that you consider negative.

#7

Wait ‘till your dad gets home! Not only is this a threat that leaves a child fearfully anticipating the arrival of one parent who unwittingly becomes the ‘bad guy’ but it also diminishes your effectiveness to discipline and be taken seriously. If necessary to discipline your child, do so immediately yourself rather than postponing it to a time when they have most likely moved on and forgotten the incident.

#8

You’re making me really angry now! Losing our temper is a choice we make. We must take responsibility for the way we react to our children’s behaviour, not blame them. It’s ok to feel disappointed or upset but the onus is on us to guide and role-model expectations.

#9

Because I said so! Always try to give your child some context for why you are asking them to do something. They have the right to an explanation and this will also help their own understanding of a situation. You may be pushed for time but show your child you do listen to what they have to say and that their feelings matter.

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#10

If you are a good girl, you can have an ice cream or If you don't stop doing that, you won't get an ice-cream! Avoid any reward and punishment system that involves food - turning certain food into a treat or something that a child believes they will never deserve. Studies have shown

that food used in this way can lead to an unhealthy attitude towards food and in some cases eating disorders. Busy, exhausted and at times exasperated, we all blurt things out sometimes without realising the affect words have on our children. But we should be aware of the language we use, particularly if it humiliates, devalues, threatens or blames.


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Raising A Wholesome Preschooler Part 5

Public Speaking and Confidence Building In this six part series, Kristie Lim, Principal & Co-Founder of Mind Stretcher Education Group shares with us what it takes to nurture a wholesome pre-schooler.

E

ducation is more than just a paper-and-pen exercise. Our education scene has also evolved with the times to move closer towards cultivating students with the ability to speak confidently in the presence of a crowd. Primary 1 and 2 students often have ‘show and tell’ sessions. More of such presentation exercises will be introduced when children progress to secondary school, junior college, polytechnic and university. In the working world, one cannot escape from making the occasional business presentation. It is a sad fact that many Asian children are not equipped with public speaking skills and lack confidence when they stand in front of a crowd to speak. The inhibitions grow even stronger as they get older. Just like learning a new language, such skills, when taught to children from young, become second nature to them. Confidence in speaking starts at home. From the onset, parents must encourage their children to give their opinions and views on a wide variety of

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topics. I find that a good starting point is at the dinner table. Very often, when my family sit down to have dinner, I would ask my children about their day at school. If there is something interesting, we discuss it. Every member of the family is encouraged to give his or her views. Another way to do it is just pick up an article in the newspaper and ask everybody to express his or her opinions on the topic. You could even start an interesting conversation by asking your children what they thought of the movie you have just watched together. There will always be parts of the movie that spur discussion or even debate! What has this got to do with public speaking? The purpose of this exercise is to get children to think from different angles. Coupled with the sharing by different family members, they will learn to see the same issue from many different perspectives. Confidence in speaking has everything to do with having a good grasp of the content and being able to handle any situation on the spot. Hence, the chance to critically think through many differ-

ent issues in a non-stressful setting, such as during family bonding time, is important for a child to slowly and gradually develop the confidence and ability to speak in a structured, logical and coherent manner when asked to present in front of the class. Having the platform to practise public speaking or to express oneself freely during one’s early years is critical. Learning is best achieved when it is gradual and unconscious. Thus, as much possible, children should be encouraged from a young age to speak up in the classroom. Over time, they will develop the ability to speak confidently and to express themselves in a coherent and lucid manner. Stay tuned for the last and final part of this series in our Dec 14 / Jan 15 issue.


growing up

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Speech and Language Development

What’s The Difference?


language

Often speech and language development are taken as one and the same but in reality, there is a slight difference. Esther Lim, CEO and Founder of LEAP SchoolHouse shares with us more. The brain acquires the most intensive periods of development in speech and language skills in the first 3 years of life. As the brain is developing and maturing, the levels of sophistication in language and speech acquisition increases. Consistent exposure to a world rich in print, sights and sounds will definitely work for the child during this stage of development and growth.

your child’s speech and language development.

4 to 6 Months

Note: Should there be concerns on your child’s speech and language development, do seek for a professional assessment to be conducted.

Follows sounds with his or her eyes  YES  NO

Birth to 3 Months

Responds to changes in the tone of your voice  YES  NO

What’s The Difference?

Reacts to loud sounds  YES  NO

Notices toys that make sounds  YES  NO

Calms down or smiles when spoken to  YES  NO

Pays attention to music  YES  NO

Speech development looks at the conventions of making communication of which aspects includes clarity, fluency and articulation. Language development focuses on communication conventions of grammatics and vocabulary. For example, a child says, ‘Chicken I drink’. The child is not able to ‘string’ up words to make meaning and has trouble having others to understand him, he has a language disorder. On the other hand, if a child is not producing sounds clearly and in projecting voice, then he has a speech disorder. For Infants and young children, there are critical development periods that the brain form language and speech development best and as young as 6 months old, this critical period ‘opens’. Once this critical period passes, language acquisition becomes more difficult. Below is a checklist you can refer to for

Recognizes your voice and calms down if crying  YES  NO When feeding, starts or stops sucking in response to sound  YES  NO Coos and makes pleasure sounds  YES  NO Has a special way of crying for different needs  YES  NO Smiles when he or she sees you  YES  NO

Babbles in a speech-like way and uses many different sounds, including sounds that begin with p, b, and m  YES  NO Laughs  YES  NO Babbles when excited or unhappy  YES  NO Makes gurgling sounds when alone or playing with you  YES  NO

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language

7 Months to 1 Year

1 to 2 Years

2 to 3 Years

Enjoys playing peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake  YES  NO

Knows a few parts of the body and can point to them when asked  YES  NO

Has a word for almost everything  YES  NO

Turns and looks in the direction of sounds  YES  NO Listens when spoken to  YES  NO Understands words for common items such as “cup,” “shoe,” or “juice”  YES  NO Responds to requests (“Come here”)  YES  NO Babbles using long and short groups of sounds (“tata, upup, bibibi”)  YES  NO Babbles to get and keep attention  YES  NO Communicates using gestures such as waving or holding up arms  YES  NO Imitates different speech sounds  YES  NO Has one or two words (“Hi,” “dog,” “Dada,” or “Mama”) by first birthday  YES  NO

Follows simple commands (“Roll the ball”) and understands simple questions (“Where’s your shoe?”)  YES  NO

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Uses k, g, f, t, d, and n sounds  YES  NO Speaks in a way that is understood by family members and friends  YES  NO

Enjoys simple stories, songs, and rhymes  YES  NO

Names objects to ask for them or to direct attention to them  YES  NO

Points to pictures, when named, in books  YES  NO

3 to 4 Years

Acquires new words on a regular basis  YES  NO Uses some one- or two-word questions (“Where kitty?” or “Go bye-bye?”)  YES  NO Puts two words together (“More cookie”)  YES  NO Uses many different consonant sounds at the beginning of words  YES  NO

This checklist is based upon "How Does Your Child Hear and talk", courtesy of the American Speech–Language–Hearing Association.

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Uses two- or three-word phrases to talk about and ask for things  YES  NO

Hears you when you call from another room  YES  NO Hears the television or radio at the same sound level as other family members  YES  NO Answers simple “Who?”“What?” “Where?” and “Why?” questions  YES  NO Talks about activities at daycare, preschool, or friends’ homes  YES  NO Uses sentences with four or more words  YES  NO Speaks easily without having to repeat syllables or words  YES  NO


language

4 to 5 Years Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about it  YES  NO Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school  YES  NO Uses sentences that give many details  YES  NO Tells stories that stay on topic  YES  NO Communicates easily with other children and adults  YES  NO Says most sounds correctly except for a few (l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, and th)  YES  NO Uses rhyming words  YES  NO Names some letters and numbers  YES  NO Uses adult grammar  YES  NO

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births run the greatest possibilities of being slow or late in speech.

Help!

My Child Can’t Speak And Write Well

Q: My 4 year old has pronunciation problems with certain letters. He can’t say clearly with words that start with ‘C’, ‘K’, ‘J’, ‘Y’ and ‘Z’. For example he will pronounce ‘car’ as ‘tar’. Why is this so? He only started speaking when he was 3 years old.

A: Most children, up to the age of 4, may not communicate as clearly as adults simply because they are not as sophisticated with the use of the language and is unable to speak fluently in the language as yet. A small percentage of children do start speech later due to speech hereditary. Given however, that your son started to speak late, you might need to be more aware that the causes to his mispronunciation could be more than just ‘because he started talking late’. Reasons for mispronunciation could root from hearing issues to slow or lack of development in the organs necessary to render speech. Some research even suggests that babies who were at high risk

Q: My 5 year old daughter can’t recognize her alphabets and she just started to have spelling tests every week. How can I make her learn her spelling words? I’ve tried making her write the word a few times but she still can’t get it right. What should I do? A: To retain words as vocabulary in the mind, the words need to draw a context and meaning for the child. Whilst I am a believer of practising to gain familiarity, the retention level will be very short if the comprehension aspect is absent. At 5 years, a child should have some basic concepts toward literacy and even some phonics background. Work first on her ability to understand and reproduce the letters in the alphabet, both in the upper and lower case, independently. When the next spelling list comes home, work through the words with your child and communicate the meaning of the word(s) to her. I would also suggest that you have a talk with the teacher and manage the number of words that the teacher might want to ‘test’ your child. Crashing the child’s self-confidence with a ‘failed’ spelling test is the last thing that we should see happening. Make some arrangements with the teacher in class and start off with 2 to 3 words for your daughter. Increase it as she gains better grasp of the language. Have a question on your mind with regards to your child’s language or speech? Ask our language and speech expert, Esther Lim, CEO and Founder of LEAP SchoolHouse. Drop us an email at mailbox@thenewageparents or post them directly on LEAP SchoolHouse Facebook page.

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special needs

What Is Global Developmental Delay? Many have heard of special needs conditions such as Down Syndrome, Hyperactivity Disorder or Autism. But what is Global Development Delay (GDD)? Rebecca Ng, Speech Therapist at THK Therapy Services tells us about the signs, symptoms and what to with a child with GDD. Signs And Symptoms A child is diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay (GDD) when he or she has a significantly late acquisition of milestones in two or more areas of development, during the developmental period (0 to 18 years old). Areas of growth and development include: Speech and language – cooing, babbling, saying the first word, combining words together, understanding and responding appropriately to what you are saying Motor skills (movement) – sitting up, walking, holding small objects Cognition – ability to learn and remember new things, recognizing familiar people and objects Social and emotional – responding and interacting with others, smiling, showing emotions

Causes GDD is not uncommon. It is present in 1 - 3 percent of children in the world. GDD can be caused by a myriad of factors. Most of the time, it occurs due to genetic or chromosomal abnormalities related to the development of the brain and spinal cord. Other causes such as pre-natal and post-natal complications, en-

vironmental stress can also give rise to GDD. Sometimes, the cause of GDD is unknown.

Importance Of A Diagnosis The first step of course, would be getting a diagnosis for your child at the paediatrician’s. Many parents fear a diagnosis because of the stigma and “label” associated with their children thereafter. However, the importance of a diagnosis should override those initial concerns. Research has emphasized the importance of a diagnosis; here are several reasons why. Firstly, it allows for a better understanding of the child aimed at increasing quality of life. This will aid decision-making for management and intervention. Secondly, it allows health professionals to anticipate certain outcomes and provide the appropriate recommendations with regards to the holistic care of your child. Lastly, this will also increase access to services such as support groups, educational support and accommodations in school.

Management And Intervention Management and intervention of GDD comes through various mediums, depending on the symptoms that your child displays.

For example if speech and language is an area of development that is slow, a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) will help assess, diagnose speech and language difficulties, and work with you and your child in therapy to improve his or her communication. An SLT could work with you to help your child understand others better, or express himself or herself better, or establish a form of effective communication for your child and other communicative partners. Likewise, if your child has difficulties with movement or motor skills; an Occupational Therapist will help assess areas of difficulties, and conduct therapy sessions aimed at improving certain skills required for functional daily living. These are but some examples. You may want to speak to your paediatrician to get more information regarding the different therapies available and necessary for your child. Equipped with this information, it is important that you are tuned in to your child’s development and flag out difficulties as early as possible. Early management and intervention focusing on the child has been found to be a positive contributing factor to the child’s quality of life. Furthermore, parent involvement in the management and intervention has been proven to more effective than a lack of. Working with health professionals in setting realistic goals for your child is hence vital in the whole process.

Your Well-Being As A Parent As a parent, it is so instinctive to focus completely on your child that you forget about your own well-bring. As with any other disorder, GDD affects not only your child but you and your whole family as well. Having emotional, mental and physical support during this journey is essential in ensuring your own quality of life. Only then, will you be able to provide the best care for your child and family.

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C r e a t i n g

C r e a t i v i t y

Bright Ideas To Spark Off Creativity At Home While some children are naturally more expressive and can express themselves well through various art forms, for others, a bit of parental involvement may be needed to spark that interest. Ms. Pooja, Chief Curriculum Officer at Nurture Education Group shares with us six tips to get you and your kids started.

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creativity

Creativity can be two-fold - free form and around a theme. Depending on your learning objectives, parents can engage your children differently.

1 Set Up An Art Corner

When creating art, one myth is that you can only do it with a very large area. Art takes place anywhere; a small corner/area works just fine. All you have to do is to set it up as a cozy area where it invites the child to create. Provide an assortment of materials

and if possible, make them easily accessible – crayons, coloring pencils, paper, scissors and even home materials such as cotton wool, beans (for older children to prevent choking hazards), aluminium foil, glue, etc.

him/her to the art corner (as shared above) and introduce the materials to your child. Art need not be hard or picture perfect, use any materials that are easily found at home for e.g. Stamping and printing.

2 “Mum, I’m bored!”

Cut fruits / potato / celery stamping Some fruits like starfruits, apples, etc. are great for stamping. Celery makes a rose print when you cut and stamp them breath wise.

When your child tells you that he/she is bored, it is the perfect time to let your child create. Depending on age and readiness, you may or may not need to be seated with him/her. Guide

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Bubble wrap printing If you do online shopping and receive parcels, chances are, you will find bubble wrapping in the box. Keep those and make prints with the kiddo as an improvised ‘pointillism’ inspired artwork! Leave printing If heading out to nature is your thing, pick up leaves of different shapes and sizes and bring them home with you. Use them to make beautiful colored prints and if you print them on a

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large paper, you can even use it as a wrapper! Recycled materials Another fun way to encourage creativity is to recycle items to create toys / games for your child. E.g. using cardboard box to create vehicles or a tent or even a pirate ship! Open ended materials Leave open ended materials around your Art corner and instil creative play activities which engage and encourage

your child to represent the material in many ways. E.g. Scarves can be used in many ways – a cloth to wipe the table, use it as a cape or a parachute, etc. You will be amazed at how children view things differently from us.

3 Story Based Projects

We love Eric Carle. And children love his stories. Besides telling great timeless stories, Eric Carle is a master of collage and tissue printing. Explore using Art tissue with your child. Read one of his books, point out the illustra-


creativity

tions to your child and try creating your own art work. Use rollers and add on different colors. Then print on the Art tissue, tear and create your own scenes and animals.

add some ‘edge’ to it? Try Crayola™ 3D chalk art where with special 3D glasses, some bits of your doodles will pop right off the floor!

where we celebrate their unique creations.

4

5

Art need not be limited to just paints and crayons. Use bread as your canvas and paint with chocolate or strawberry sauce! Cut out strips of seaweed and use cream cheese to make faces on pancakes. For older kids, you can even engage them through bento sets too! The idea is to have fun creating and encourage your child to express with different mediums and colours

Encourage children to problem solve will help them to generate thought processes, innovate problem solving and navigate through new and unfamiliar situations. Demonstrate how you might go about solving the problem and praise them for their effort rather than for arriving at a correct answer. The point of creativity is the joy of the process rather than then product of discovery.

Be Spontaneous!

Is it raining outside? Art is great as an indoor activity! Inspire your child to think in new and unconventional way by bringing them into different emotions and interesting situation. Gather some chalk and just create doodles outside your apartment or under the void deck. Chalk comes in many different colors and is easily erasable. Want to

Food Craft

6

Don’t Just Problem Solve, Process Solve Too!

Photo: Courtesy of Kiddiwinkie SchoolHouse

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T h e

N e w

A g e

P a r e nt s

Coverpage

Contest Coverpage Winner

Ayden Wee

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Runner Up

Gridd Gabriel Sa-nguansat

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Second Runner Up

Xianne Tan


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Stress-Me-Not! Creating A Stress-Free Environment For Your Child

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study special

Just like us adults, our children can go through periods when they feel stressed or overwhelmed by people, events, problems or situations. Dorothea Chow shares with us how you can help your child de-stress. Stress comes to all of us in many forms every day. These can run the gamut from the seemingly mundane to the obviously traumatic. As a parent, it is vital that you keep track of your child’s stress levels, and know when and how to step in to help him or her “de-stress” or decompress in a healthy and helpful manner. Here are a seven ways to create a less stressful environment for your child.

Get Plenty Of Rest All of us find it tough to cope when we’re tired, and children are no exception, even though they might “look” like they could go on for another hour or more. Keep a regular schedule as much as possible, to ensure fixed and adequate nap and bed times.

Be A Good Role Model How you cope with your own stress is going to rub off on your child. Fretful parents make for fretful children, as these little ones are quick to pick up your vibes and unsaid tensions, even though they might not have a name for these emotions just yet. Find healthy ways to cope and manage your own stress levels.

Undivided Attention Make time where you can give your child your complete presence for at least a few minutes every day. This is time that is just for him or her alone, to play, cuddle, read or craft together. Carving out such one-on-one time assures your child of your love and care for her, and gives her that window of time to talk to you if something is bothering her.

date with new friends, do your best to prepare her heart beforehand. Don’t just tell her right before the situation occurs – talk about it days in advance, and help her to think about how she feels about it. Use simple language, and reassure her that you care about how she feels and that you are supporting her all the way. After the experience, spend some time to debrief about how it went, and to affirm her for trying something new/difficult.

Slow Down Don’t rush from activity to activity – that’s a sure-fire way to stress out a child! Be sure not to pack your schedule too tightly, and try to plan in some chill-time between activities. In general, though, children don’t do well with more than one major activity a day.

Talk About Your Feelings Often Little children don’t have the vocabulary or self-awareness to understand what they are feeling or sensing most of the time. Give your child handles on his emotions by regularly naming your own emotions (Eg. “I’m so frustrated, I thought the shop was open today!” or “I’m so sad, mummy’s friend has cancer.”), and helping him name what he is feeling (you may find it useful to use the simple categories of glad, sad, mad and scared). Talk about positive feelings as well – and let him know that all feelings are ok, but not all behavior.

Prepare For Potentially Stressful Situations If she’s going to the dentist for the first time, for example, or going for a play-

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Exercise Regularly Make exercise a part of your daily or weekly routine. It’s great for not just physical health, but emotional wellbeing as well. Plus it’s a great way for your child to work off steam and release endorphins to colour his day with cheer.

Stress Busters For Your Child

#1 Deep Breathing

As the name suggests, encourage your child to take deep breaths of air, breathing in until her lungs and belly feel completely filled up, pausing for a short while, then exhaling slowly until all the air is out, before taking in the next breath. Keep the mouth closed and only breathe in and out through

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the nose. To help your child visualize what deep breathing looks like, ask him to imagine his stomach is a balloon that he is filling up with air, then deflating. Tip: Intentionally slowing down our breathing helps the body to calm down as the heart beat rate slows, blood pressure comes down, and tense muscles relax. For older kids, you can ask them to imagine they are breathing in the good stuff, like courage, peace and faith, while expelling the bad, like fear, frustration and anger.

#2 Listen To Music

Studies show that listening to soothing forms of music lower the heart rate,

blood pressure, and stress-hormone levels, bringing down the extreme levels of your current mood. Classical music is an obvious choice, and you and your child can listen to it together before bed or in the car. Tip: Different types of music appeal to different kids though. It could be, for your child, that nothing will calm him down better than his favourite CD of HiFive songs or even some Jon Bon Jovi. Ask your child how he feels as he listens to the music – does he feel calm? Happy? Angry?

#3 Bubble Play

Giving kids something visual to stomp out all those negative feelings can be a


study special

powerful technique for soothing their spirits. Bubbles are a fun (and cheap!) way to help children visualize their negative emotions, which they can then let go, watching them drift up and away, or smash to nothingness if they land on the ground. Tip: Help your child to name all the “bad stuff” that she is feeling. Ask her to imagine it’s all going into those bubbles, and now it’s going, going, gone! Give a cheer together to celebrate!

#4 Lie Back and Just Relax

You can guide your older child through this activity. Ask him to lie back – on a sofa or bed, or even on the floor at home – and to close his eyes, and imag-

ine that he is asleep. Starting from the legs and ending with the head, ask him to slowly relax each part of the body, allowing it to “sink” deeper into the surface beneath him. Take your time for this activity. Once the whole body is relaxed, keep this calm state for a while before slowly “waking up” those body parts again.

#5 Express Creatively

What words sometimes cannot express or heal, creative expression can. Give

your child the tools to draw, paint, or create something to express how he is feeling. You’ll be surprised how the answer might be hidden where he least expects it. Tip: If your child enjoys making music or writing poetry, let her compose whatever she fancies, bringing her feelings up to the surface, and out through her music. If he’s a Lego fan, bring out the blocks, and let him build!

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study special

Study Smart Fostering Good Study Habits

What does ‘study smart’ mean? Does it simply mean being able to invest in the least amount of time and effort for the best academic grades? How do we get our children to study smart? Michelle Ang speaks to four preschool experts to find out more.

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E x p e r t: J a c ly n S m i t h Curriculum Specialist for Learning Vison

It is first important as parents to recognize what being study smart means to you. To me, it calls for one to be knowledgeable about their strengths and challenges, tap on their strengths and apply various strategies to learning in order to be most effective at performing at their best in school. Being able to apply various study strategies successfully is critical to success in school and useful for lifelong learning.

Learn What Works Best For Your Child

Start by helping your child recognize what works best for them during the learning process. Having conversations with your child to identify strengths and challenges may be very helpful. Why? Such conversations help children better recognize themselves as ef-

fective learners, and many times, with the facilitation of an adult, provide great opportunities for children to discover specific strategies to abilities or learning styles to better themselves as learners. How? Your modelling with how to think about how they learn best and the choice of words used in such conversations is important. Some examples are: How do you learn best? What can we do to help you be at your best in school? We can sometimes be rather forgetful with what the teacher may have shared in class, what can we do to better remember what was said?

Have A Good Mix Of Play, Activities And Rest Developing a schedule with your

E x p e r t: F i o n a Wa l k e r Principal of Schools / CEO of Julia Gabriel Education

Know Your Child’s Learning Style As your child grows, observe the way they learn: are they able to sit and concentrate for a long time before they become bored with an activity? Do they appear to pay more attention to what people say to them or do they appear to thrive more with visual cues? Understanding what type of learner your child is (auditory, visual or kinaesthetic, or a combination), will help you un-

derstand how they study best. Why? By knowing your child’s learning style, you can help establish the most appropriate strategies to help them study - and even enjoy the process!

Cultivate A Love Of Learning, Right From The Very Start!

When children feel safe, nurtured, stimulated and most importantly, enjoy the activities they are engaged in, they

child is a good exercise parents can participate with their child. This promotes a sense of ownership and responsibility among children in time management. A child ready to learn is a child with a healthy both mind, body and soul. It is important that children receive enough rest to promote better attention and focus.

Praise And Motivate Children need to feel empowered and capable. Introducing some motivational techniques to your child can be very helpful. Children should always feel ever ready to praise their efforts in all that they do when they give their best and this should start from you. At the end of the day, what we want of our children is not one who tops the class in their grades but one who gives their best in all they do and prides themselves for

are more likely to retain information and feel motivated to learn further. Why? As soon as learning begins to feel like a chore; something that leads to admonition or punishment if action or results are not as parents or teachers expect, this can lead to a loss of self-esteem and confidence, causing children to become anxious, disinterested and demotivated to learn.

Encourage A Love Of Learning Through Play

This lays the strongest foundation for enjoyment of learning as a child develops. When you give your infant colourful plastic cups to play with in the bath, scooping and pouring

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study special

water over and over again, or if you create a little art corner at home for instance; a special place where your child is surrounded by paint, paper, colouring books and crayons, and can scribble away as far as their imagination takes them, you are helping them develop vital skills that they take with them into school and beyond. And importantly, you help them determine their own attitude towards learning.

Maintain A Regular Routine Incorporate your child’s learning style into a healthy daily routine

E xpe r t:

that breaks study periods, or homework, into well-organised, manageable chunks. Ensure your child drinks plenty of water or healthy drinks throughout the day, eats regular healthy meals and includes plenty of sleep! Allow for downtime, which includes time spent out of doors so your child gets plenty of fresh air. Limit the amount of time time spent watching TV but don’t stop your child from watching their favourite programme. Why? When we do this we deprive them of the things that help them

Esther

Lim

CEO and Founder of LEAP SchoolHouse

Work On Tasks At Specific Times Of The Day

Building the routine allows for them to build a schema into their brain that it is time to focus on something else other that what they are busy with right now. It is very much the same rationale as how we build sleep routines for the littlies so that

E xpe r t:

they learn to train the body and mind to slow down before bedtime.

Reward Them For Their Effort

All children like a good challenge and one that rewards them. Work in ways to enhance and build confidence into the child. Stickers work wonders too!

Lim

Boon

unwind and relax, as well as the activities, that stimulate them most and actually aid learning.

When exams are round the corner… "Don’t stop your child attending regular activities, whether creative enrichment programmes or sports activities just because they have a test or exam coming up. It is tempting to change our child’s regular routine and force them into an unnatural form of study mode, depriving them of everything that is fun in their weekly routine." - Fiona Walker

Keong

Deputy Centre Manager of BrainFit Studio (Novena)

Have A Good Night’s Sleep Every living creature needs to sleep. With an eye to the year-end examination period, all school-age children

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should be practising good, healthy sleeping habits. These include an adequate amount of sleep time within a dark, cool and quiet conducive environment, as well as ensuring that all screens (TV, laptop, mobile phones) are

put to 'OFF' and kept out of the room. Why? Otherwise, mood swings, behavioural and cognitive problems may arise and as a result, lead to an impact on their ability to learn and score well in school.


BrainFit Studio Pte Ltd 193/195/197 Thomson Road, Goldhill Centre, Singapore 307633, Tel: 67373511 www.brainfitstudio.com

BrainFit


T N A P

V a l u e

Se r ie s

Teaching Our Children The Value Of‌Empathy 54

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growing up

When I was in primary school, we received letter grades for character, such as “Kindness,”“Helpfulness,” and “Behavior.” On the bus ride home one day, the girl next to me took one look at her report card and burst into tears. She had received a low grade for Mathematics. “But look,” I said. “You aced your Character Report!” If I thought that would console her, I was wrong. By Jenny Tai

something to be proud of, indeed. But in Singapore’s highly competitive and extremely rigorous education system, students have the near-singular mission of excelling in school. And they’re not the only ones to feel the pressure. Their parents feel it, too. There are mothers who take time off work or who actually quit their jobs to help their children study. The problem is that our children could be so focused on fighting for perfect marks that they’re in danger of falling behind on developing character and compassion. Ironically, “when children can em-

“Who cares? My mom doesn’t even look at those,” the girl said. Apparently, her parents were only impressed when she scored straight As in academic courses. But when it came to caring for others? Well, it didn’t seem to count for as much.

Want Successful and Happy Kids? Teach Them Empathy According to a recent study by Harvard University, even though parents talk about being caring and considerate, a majority of kids appear to value academic achievement over helping others. About 80% of the youth in the survey believe that their parents prioritize success and happiness over empathy. I’m sure that the girl on the bus believed the same about her parents. To many Singaporeans, the fact that high achievement is the uppermost objective among youths might not be too surprising. After all, we have a reputation as a top-notch education hub —

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growing up

pathize with and take responsibility for others, they’re likely to be happier and more successful,” reported The Making Caring Common project at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

According to child psychologist and author Michele Borba, “happier and more successful kids care about others, they are able to relate, be concerned, and respect differences… Studies show that kids’ ability to feel

for others affects their health, wealth and authentic happiness as well as their emotional, social, cognitive development and performance.” Empathy is the key to social emotional development and human interaction; it allows you to understand and respect another person’s perspective, even if you don’t agree with their view. Encouraging empathy at an early age prevents bullying and other acts of violence. In addition, this perspective-taking ability fosters strong relationships and enables children to become better collaborators, which will benefit them greatly their whole lives. Someone who can empathize and take responsibility for others is more likely to thrive in the workplace, where success is often founded on effective collaboration. Here are some tips to help your child develop empathy:

Understand and address your child’s emotional needs

When your child’s own emotional needs are being met at home, they are more likely to develop empathy. Studies suggest that when children have a secure attachment with their parents or caregivers and feel that they can rely on them for support, they are better equipped to offer help to other children who are struggling. The Making Caring Common project suggests a simple way to help children manage their feelings when they’re getting upset: “Stop, take a deep breath through the nose and exhale through the mouth, and count to five.” When your child comes to you with a problem, help them cope with negative feelings in a compassionate

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and problem-solving-oriented way. Validate their difficult emotions, and make your child feel valued by showing respect for their needs. Perhaps writer and educator Jessica Lahey put it best when she wrote, “Children who feel valued are more likely to value others.”

project stresses the importance of instilling “daily repetition—whether it’s helping a friend with homework, pitching in around the house, having a classroom job, or working on a project on homelessness” so that children can make a habit of being helpful.

Help your child discover what they have in common with others

When I picked up my child from preschool one day, her teacher told me that there was a classmate who was crying during naptime. My daughter had then gone up to her classmate and

Kids are more apt to be empathetic toward people who share similarities with them. While it’s easier for kids to feel concern toward someone close to them such as their family and friends, it’s also important to expand their circle of concern to include those who aren’t immediately connected to them. Encourage your child to imagine the feelings of someone who may be vulnerable, such as a new kid in school, someone being teased, a person who speaks a different language than them, or a victim of a tragedy. Perhaps they’re around the same age or live close by or attend the same class. Ask questions that allow your child to imagine himself in a similar tough situation, such as, “Have you ever felt left out?” “When have you felt frustrated?” “Do you think that person’s scared?” You can also draw examples from the news to discuss other people’s challenges around the world with your child.

Provide daily opportunities for your child to practice being caring and helpful Make it clear that you expect your child to help, even if they don’t feel like it. The Making Caring Common

Point out acts of kindness

will let your child understand that being kind is something that you value.

Be a strong role model When we treat other people with care, our kids notice, and are more likely to follow our example. Our children acquire ethical values and conduct by watching our actions. It’s not enough to just talk about compassion if we aren’t also demonstrating fairness and compassion ourselves. Consider participating in community service or offering your time

Empathy is the key to social emotional development and human interaction; it allows you to understand and respect another person’s perspective, even if you don’t agree with their view. patted her gently, then offered her a tissue. I couldn’t have been prouder of her action. “Did your friend cry today?” I asked, and she nodded. “You comforted her when you saw her crying. You’re very caring,” I said. The next time you witness your child sharing their snacks with someone else or offering their rubber ducky to another kid at the pool, be vocal about their gesture. Validate their action by saying, “You’re a good friend” or “That was very generous of you.” By labeling these positive actions, you

and energy to other good causes. When you child is old enough, invite them to engage in these services with you. Doing good things together feels good! Above all else, let your actions match your words. And instead of telling them, “What’s important is that you’re happy,” consider saying, “What’s important is that you’re kind and you’re happy.” Stay tuned for the next part of our Value series as we talk about the value of Giving Thanks.

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Are all toys good toys? When children play with toys, are they merely objects that provide entertainment, or do children learn intangible messages from them? Som Yew Ya investigates.

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for the parent

Let’s

Fight Violent Versus Non-Violent Toys And Games

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Know Your Toys

Violent games and toys are those which:  Glorify war and combat  P ropagate violence as fun, ‘cool’ and harmless  E ncourage children to act out aggressive scenarios  Foster aggressive competition  Depend on ‘enemies’ which need to be ‘destroyed’ by children These may take the form of action figures, toy guns (dart guns, water guns), gory or physical video games, war toys and many others.

Let’s Bust These TOY MYTHS #1. But it’s not real….

While toys and virtual games may

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not be reality, we need to think not from an adult’s view but to understand from the age of our children. In a publication by the Toy Industry of America, it states that play is “the way children learn about themselves, their environment, and the people around them. Learning to cooperate, negotiate, take turns and play by the rules are all important skills learned in early games. It is through imaginative play that the child begins to learn some of the roles and behaviors of society.” Therefore, most young children have difficulty separating facts from fantasy as they act out in life what they learn in play.

The Approach With the proliferation of realistic looking guns and weapons, it is

vital that parents give their input. Even if children can differentiate between toys and reality, parents need to teach that real-life violent behaviours have serious consequences and discuss ways to solve issues without aggression.

#2. But it does not have negative effects…No one is hurt

It may not be obvious, but violent toys that children engage in have detrimental effects on child psychology. According to a toy resource review, toy experts say that war toys send the message that adults resolve conf lict by killing one another. In addition, they help in cultivating negative ideas, such as the powerful can kill; enemies are weaker and deserve to die.


for the parent

The Approach Although many studies attest to a casual connection between media violence and displays of aggression in children, it may be a small relief to know that violent toys do not teach children to be violent when parental guidance is present. Kiat, a father of two young children, goes further to mention that toys and games cause frustration or get kids too physical with each other should also be filtered by parents. Indeed, it is not uncommon to hear kids cursing or swearing in the heat of the moment or children who hurt each other during aggressive play. W hat is the purpose of such toys and games the children play?

#3. Everyone does it… It is normal.

Violence is everywhere. In music, in films, in toys and games; some action figures can have their limbs ripped off, arcade games which offer a generous spatter of blood on your screen when you gun down a zombie are not new. Exposure to violence is so pervasive that it becomes ‘accepted’ as people become desensitised to violence.

Toy Story: Toy Stores To Check Out

Smart Alley Centrepoint Mall #04-03, 176 Orchard Rd Singapore 238843 Tel: 6440 9195

My Little Shoppers Address: 11 Sin Ming Road, Thomson V Two, B1-29 Singapore 575629 (Along Upper Thomson Road) Tel: 9855 3884

The Approach It is likely that children are exposed to the presence of violence directly or indirectly. Over-reaction in banning all toys may be harmful and back-fire if violent toys become that much desired forbidden fruit. Since this cannot be shielded, parents need to gate-keep

The Imagination Factory Showroom: Blk 26 Midview City #05-126 Singapore 573969 (By Appointment Only) Tel: 63871772

by setting limits for their children, educate them and supervise. Toys may be subjective; they do not automatically make a child bad or aggressive. How much they promote hurting and killing and the extent of negative impact is countered by the parental guidance given to the children in contact with them.

Choosing Good Toys

What are the purposes of toys? Good toys are a healthy tool for learning that boost a child’s development. According to a parenting resource, in choosing toys, look for toys which  E ncourage children to build and create; as opposed to crush and destroy  Stimulate creativity and imaginative play  P romote cooperation and problem solving O  pen-ended and encourage children to create their own scenarios as opposed to re-enactment of plots, or pre-determined ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ “Entertainment” violence is marketed everyday to children, through television, media, toys; it is neither innocuous nor harmless. Constant stimulation of violent messages over a period of time does have negative long-term impact on children. Violence is a learned behaviour. Parents need to be vigilant to this passive “viewing” of violence and be the gatekeeper who guides by teaching, limiting and making wise choices.

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finance

Money

Three Important Indicators To Look Out

After deciding the type and style of investing you would like to pursue, what’s next? Chartered Financial Consultant Winston Tan talks about three key things to look out for while investing.

T

here are largely 3 types of indicators: leading, coincident and lagging. These indicators are part of macroeconomic statistics and are often used by economists and investors to help them “forecast” the direction and understand the current health of an economy.

Leading Indicators There are a few leading indicators available to consumers (some economic data are only available through monthly subscriptions): Market Indexes, Bond Interest Rates, Foreign Exchange Rates, Commodity Prices, Employment Rate, Money Supply, Purchasing Managers Index (PMI),

Consumer Confidence Index, just to name a few of the major indicators. All these indicators are forward looking as they project how the economy will perform in future. Do note that some indicators can only project to the next week or month. Very few indicators in the current volatile economic climate are able to project accurately more than a few months ahead. I will now touch on a few key leading indicators.  Market Indexes

Stock and futures indexes are made up of a basket of companies that operates within that country, reflect-


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finance

ing the company’s current and future share price. Current share price are in turn, dependent on the future expected earnings of a company, e.g. Apple announces they will earn $X in the coming quarter or year. This explains why when a company announces a less than expected quarter or yearly earnings, the share price of that company drops, which in turn affects the stock and futures indexes.  Employment Rate

Employment rate is indicative of

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where the economy is heading. With an upward trend of employment rate, it is usually indicative of an expanding economy (more domestic spending and improving Gross Domestic Product).  Money Supply

Money supply indicators (M1, M2 and M3) are a calculation of how much monies are within a country’s economy. An upward trend is indicative of inflation. In our digital world, money flows are now so quick that these indicators may not be as useful as they were in the past.

 Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)

PMI is a monthly survey of purchasing managers across the different economies in the world. The survey collects data from managers, whom have to answer the survey with answers “Better”, “Same” or “Worse”. The data collected will be compiled into an index. An index of 50 means the economy is the “Same” as the previous month. A reading above 50 indicates an expanding economy. A reading below 50 means a contracting economy. This index is now widely consid-


ered as an important leading indicator due to its reliability in predicting an economy’s growth, i.e. Gross Domestic Product, which is a lagging indicator.

Coincident Indicators Coincident indicators are indicators which tell us where an economy is as at now. These indicators include Producer Price Index (PPI), Consumers Price Index (CPI), Retail Sales Report, and Personal Savings rates to name a few.  Consumers Price Index (CPI)

CPI is a monthly index that tracks price changes of a basket of goods that were purchased at a consumer retail level, e.g. price of food, price of public transport. This index is normally equated with the rate of inflation, which is not entirely correct, as the CPI is constricted to only a range of goods, which may not correctly capture the overall price increases of goods in the economy. Also, the inflation indicator may be seen as either an increase in prices or an increase in money supply or both.

Lagging Indicators Lagging indicators are indicators telling us where an economy was in the past. These indicators include Gross Domestic Product, Productivity Report, Simple/Exponential Moving Averages (technical indicator for stock markets), to name a few.  Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

GDP is a lagging indicator that shows how much an economy had produced in the past one year, much like an annual report of a company, showing the

1

There are Simple and Exponential Moving Averages (SMAs & EMAs).

2

SMAs are averages that give equal weights to each trading day the data requested.

3

EMAs are averages that give more weightage to the most recent trading days.

4

Investors use the moving averages as indicators of when to enter and exit the stock markets.

revenues and expenses of an economy/ country. This indicator is typically tracked for a few years, to see if the GDP is on an increasing or decreasing trend. E.g. Singapore’s GDP had grown 6.1% in 2011, 2.5% in 2012 and 3.9% in 2013. GDP growth and inflation rates typically go hand in hand. With an expanding economy, inflation will most likely happen. The trick of keeping inflation to a minimum is a fine balance. Inflation is likened to be a necessary evil for GDP growth.  Si  mple/Exponential Moving Averages (SMAs, EMAs)

SMAs and EMAs are tools that track the performance of the stock market over a period of time. E.g. one can track a 50day Moving Average of Singapore Straits Time Index. These simple tools are readily available on the internet. Please do contact me directly for a link to these tools. These averages track whether the current stock market is trading below or above the moving averages.

Is There A Best Indicator? My clients like to ask me, “Winston, there are so many indicators, it is very hard for me to follow each and every one. Is there one indicator which is the most important and accurate of all?” Unfortunately, I always have to burst their bubble by telling them there is no indicator that is the best indicator. There are reasons why leading, coincident and lagging indicators are still around. All these indicators should be viewed from a macro view to make sense of all the numbers. For queries, email Winston at tanooisim_winston@hotmail.com.

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editorial team

Editor: Michelle Ang Experts: SBCC Baby & Child Clinic, SBCC Women’s Clinic, Thomson Paediatric Centre (The Child Development Centre), T32 Junior Dental Centre, LEAP SchoolHouse, Julia Gabriel Centre, MindStretcher Education Group, Nurture Education Group, Learning Vision, THK Therapy Services & Tan Ooi Sim Winston Regular Contributors: Dorothea Chow, Som Yew Ya, Jenny Tai & Rachel Tan

Art & Design Art Director: 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.

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The New Age Parents Oct Nov 14