Parenting Tips

Friday, September 29, 2006

BEAUTY of Wellness

Wellness refers to the condition of good physical and mental health, especially when maintained by proper diet, exercise, and habits.

Would like to share with Singapore parents the BEAUTY of wellness:

B ody Fit
at Right

A lways Cheerful
U se Your Brain
T hink Postiive

Body Fit
To ensure that one's body is fit, regular exercise and have enough rest are important. They are many options to exercise:
  • sign up with a fitness centre
  • go to community centres and enrol activities such as dancing, badminton and others
  • jogging, swimming, brisk walking or even household chores
Having enough rest means sleeping well and have time to relax. The following are some ways to relax:
  • pamper yourself with SPA treatments
  • go for a movie, read a book, meet up with friends for a chat or do something you enjoy
  • do nothing, just lie down on bed/sofa or just meditate
Eat Right
This means one should have a balance intake of carbonhydrates, protein, fruits and vegetables. Where the diet is inadequate, then go for supplements. Drinking enough water is also essential to ensure that the body system is cleansed. In Singapore context, being in the tropical region, one should drink at least 2 litres of fluid each day to 'fight' the hot temperature here.

Always Cheerful
To stay cheerful, just laugh alot. Also, put on a smile when you meet people. It will brighten someone's day.

Use Your Brain
For the brain to function well, keep it active. As one ages, this is very important. When one stops thinking, the brain also gradually loses its ability. So to stay active, read a lot and do things that need analysing.

Think Postive
Besides keeping the brain active, one must also adopt a positive attitude. When everything is possible to you, then nothing is impossible.

Young at Heart
When you have a fit body, eat right, always cheerful, use your brain well and think positive, then naturally you are YOUNG at HeART. And you are young at heart, you will be happy.

That is the BEAUTY of wellness. Hope Singapore parents will find the above tips useful.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Times of Your Life

For a life span of 80 years, do you know that a person spends:

· 25 years sleeping
· 20 years at work
· 17 years pursuing your own interest
· 6 years eating
· 5 years standing in line
· 4 years doing household chores
· 2 years trying to return phone calls
· 1 year looking for misplaced objects
· 8 months opening letters

As you can see, more than half of one’s life is a waste of time doing boring tasks. Only 17 years or 6,200 days are spent on pursuing one’s own interest. Of these, it reaches you in fragments at different stages of your life. So make good use of these times and treasure every minute of them.

For me, the greatest pleasure is learning, sharing and doing what I like.

Singapore parents out there, life is short. While bringing up your children, remember also to have time for yourself doing things you like.

"Some people are making such thorough preparation for rainy days that they aren't enjoying today's sunshine." by William Faulkner

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sibling Rivalry

This refers to competition between siblings especially for the attention, affection and approval of their parents.

For families with 2 children or more, it is an inevitable situation that parents have to deal with. A Singapore counselor advises: “Sibling rivalry is part of growing up. Be patient and let things run its course.” She has the following tips to offer:
  • Avoid comparison – when praise is given to one child, remember also to encourage the other(s). Constantly comparing yours kids can result in jealousy among them.

  • Avoid being the judge – where there is conflict among the children, parents should try to be impartial. Make a point to listen to their point to views. Find out why the guilty party is lying. Correct his/her behaviour by explaining the consequence of lying.

  • Avoid favouritism – favouritism causes jealousy and even resentment among the children. Where possible, tell them individually how much you love them.
Below are some examples how I deal with sibling rivalry among my 4 children when they were young.

The strongest rivalry symptom was between my no. 3 and no. 4. When I was expecting my youngest daughter, my no. 3 simply did not like it. During the early stage of my pregnancy, she would insist that I carry her although she could already walk. Towards the final stage, when I step into the house after work, she would want to beat my stomach and said: “I don’t want baby.” I had to assure her that she is still my darling.

After her little sister was borne, I got her to play the big sister role. When the little one cried, I would not immediately attend to her. Instead, I would involve all my children, if they are at home and said: “Let’s see what the baby wants.” If it is feeding time, I will get them to help make the milk, get the napkin and feed her if they wanted to. During bath time, I will get them to get ready baby’s clothes, towel, powder and so forth. Sometimes, they also get to choose what their little sister should wear for the day.

For their routine activities like story-telling, playtime and others, I would continue to do with them, where time permits. The important thing is let them know that you still care and they are not being neglected.

I remembered, on one occasion, my son sheepishly stood outside the room door and was peeping at me. I called to him to come in. I looked at him and asked: “You want a hug?” He nodded his head and I opened my arms. After holding him for a while, I told him: “Any time you want a hug, just come to mummy, ok?” He gladly nodded his head again and went off to play. Being a boy, he was afraid to be laughed at if he said he wanted a hug but that assurance surely did him good. He is 19 now and would still let me hold his hand when we go out.

My eldest girl was also jealous of her siblings. When she was 8, I noted that she had been withdrawing herself. One day, I pulled her aside and we had a heart-to-heart talk. She felt that I favoured the young ones more. When I asked her in what way, she said I paid more attention to the young ones like feeding them and other baby-like activities. When I asked her if she wanted me to feed her, she laughed. I told her I catered to all their needs based on their age. I also explained to her that being the eldest, she has all the first priorities like getting all the new things. Most of the usable things will eventually be passed down to the rest. With 4 kids, I definitely have to enforce sharing to save cost.

Glad to say they have been caring and showing support for each other.

    Sunday, September 17, 2006

    Fruit and Vegetable Juices (3)

    Hi, this weekend, it's the final part 3 on fruit and vegetable juices. These juices will help treat the liver, rheumatism, thyroid and . . .
    • Liver - 1) Radish + pineapple juice 2) Carrot + beetroot + cucumber juice
    • Memory improvement - 1) Celery + carrot + prune juice + rice polishings
    • Nervous tension - 1) Celery + carrot + prune juice 2) Lettuce + tomato juice
    • Overweight/obesity - Beet greens + parsley + celery juice
    • Perspiration - 1) Celery + prune juice 2) Cucumber + pineapple juice
    • Rheumatism - Cucumber + endive + goat's whey
    • Sore Throat - 1) Watercress + apple juice with 1/4 tsp pure cream of tartar
    • Stomach Infection - Carrot + blackberry juice
    • Teeth - Beet greens + parsley + celery juice + green kale
    • Thyroid - Clam juice + celery juice
    • Ulcers Stomach - 1) Celery 2) Spinach + grape juice
    • Vitality - 1 tsp apple concentrated + 1tsp almond nut butter + 1 cup celery juice
    • Weight Improvement - Coconut milk + fig juice + parsley + carrot juice
    • Weight Improvement - Parsley + grape juice + pineapple juice
    • Youth Retaining - 1) Cucumber + radish + pepper (1/3 cup each) 2) 2/3 cup concord grape juice + 1/3 cup pineapple juice

    Hope Singapore parents will find these tips useful. Happy juice making.

    Saturday, September 16, 2006

    Love Your Heart

    Heart disease is number 2 cause of death in Singapore, after cancer. So what can we do to prevent a heart attack or stroke? Just know your heart and love your heart.

    Below are some advices that experts offer:

    © HEREDITARY – this is one genetic predisposition that is beyond control. Nonetheless, if any close family member has any history of cardiovascular disease or diabetics, it helps to be aware of the risk factors.

    © SMOKING – this is one of the leading causes of heart disease. Solution – quit smoking. Within a yar of quitting, the risk of developing cardiovascular disease is reduced by 50%. One may consult the doctor on nicotine replacement therapies or refer to smoking cessation services.

    © DIET – this has a major impact on your heart. What you eat is what you are. Choose a variety of whole grain products for consumption with combination 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. Cut down on fat intake – eat less than 2 gm of saturated oil per serving. Canola or olive oil is recommended. Also, reduce sugar and salt intake. Go for food with low calorie but with high nutrition. Reading the labels will help.

    © WEIGHT – maintaining a healthy weight will help lower the risk of developing heart disease. If on medication and where in doubt, do consult the doctor before taking weight loss supplements or snack bars.

    © EXERCISE – this will do wonders to the heart. Start an exercise programme such as brisk walking, swimming, line dancing, slow jogging and do it regularly. Depending on your health status and age, choose the type of exercise you are interested and comfortable with.

    © CHECK-UP – this will ensure that blood pressure and cholesterol level are checked regularly. This should be done at least once a year. If the results are above the normal range, do heed doctor’s advice to modify diet and lifestyle. This will help bring the values under control. For more severe conditions, doctors may prescribe relevant medications.

    © STRESS MANAGEMENT – developing healthy habits such as practicing yoga, meditation, slow breathing can help bring blood pressure levels down. Alternatively, you can also choose to do things that you enjoy, like reading a book, listening to soft music or better still, watching a comedy. Indeed, laughter is still the best medicine.

    © WARNING SYMPTOMS – this can be heartburn, tightness emanating from the breastbone and into the neck, jaw and arm or shortness of breath. When one or more of the above symptoms occur, do consult the doctor and have your health checked. Prevention is always better than cure.

    Hope parents will find the above tips useful and take care.

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    Family Gatherings

    September is a joyous month for my family. There are 3 birthdays to celebrate: 13/9 - my mum and my son, 20/9 - my youngest daughter and 12/9 - my silver wedding anniversary.

    As my dad passed away in May this year, we have kept a low profile for all celebrations. So, it was just a simple gathering for my mum and my family yesterday. We had buffet dinner at Riverview Hotel Garden Restaurant.

    Since my dad’s demise, my mum has been in bad health. I was glad to have made her day. She was in high spirits and showed no signs of giddy spells. The ambience and food at the restaurant was to her liking.

    At her age, all she wants is to be in good health so that she will not be a burden to any one of us. As long as she is happy, my siblings and I will make time for her. Gatherings like yesterday also allowed interaction between my children and her. The common lingo is Chinese.

    For my wedding anniversary, my husband and I used to go for shows previously. Since his stroke 3 years ago, things have changed. His attention span is short and is unable to sit through a movie for more than 2 hours. Instead, we usually spend time together with my kids, just like yesterday.

    In my 25 years of marriage, I am thankful to have a supportive husband and 4 great healthy kids. So far, all of them have done quite well in their studies and they seldom give me problems. What more can I ask?

    I know life is stressful for Singapore parents. However busy you are, besides taking care of your children, do also spare some time for your own parents. Children bring joy to them. With more laughter, hopefully they will have fewer ailments, live longer and be happier.

    Sunday, September 10, 2006

    Fruit and Vegetable Juices (2)

    Hi, this weekend, it's part 2 on fruit and vegetable juices. These juices will help treat the gall bladder, heart, insomnia and . . .

    Next week will be part 3. Be on the look out.

    • Gall Bladder - 1) Radish + prune + black cherry + celery juice 2) Carrot + beetroot + cucumber juice 3) Prune + black cherry + celery + radish juice
    • Gallstones - 1) Beetroot + radish juice 2) Green vegetable juices
    • Gas - Coconut milk + carrot juice
    • Glands - Celery juice 1 tsp + wheat germ + 1 tsp Nova Scotia dulse
    • Goiter (enlarge thyroid gland) - Celery juice 1 tsp + wheat germ + 1 tsp Nova Scotia dulse
    • Gout (disease with painful inflammation of small joint) - Celery + parsley juice
    • Heart - 1) Carrot + pineapple juice with honey 2) Alfalfa 3) Parsley + alfalfa + pineapple juice
    • Impotence - Celery juice 1 tsp + wheat germ + 1 tsp Nova Scotia dulse
    • Indigestion - Coconut milk + fig juice + parsley + carrot juice
    • Infections - Carrot + blackberry juice
    • Insomnia (sleeplessness) - Lettuce + celery juice
    • Jaundice (yellowness of skin) - Tomato + sauerkraut juice
    • Kidneys - 1) Celery + parsley + asparagus juice 2) Carrot + parsley juice
    • Kidney (bladder) problems - Celery + pomegranate juice

    Some of the fruits and vegetables in above list may be difficult to find. However, in Singapore, you should be able to get them in reputable supermarkets. Hope parents will find these tips useful.

    Saturday, September 09, 2006


    Last night, I attended an alumni gathering. One of the speakers gave a talk on "Appreciation". This may be a simple word but it encompasses a lot of meaning.

    The speaker shared on the following tips:
    • Why is there a need to appreciate - because it increases the value of people
    • What should one appreciate - people's Loyalty, Efforts and Differences
    • How should one show appreciation - it needs to be Real, Recognizable (to the recipient) and Regular
    • Who do you need to be thankful to - for you to decide
    • Who do you need to be thankful for - for you to consider

    After the talk, it got me thinking. More often than not, we take things and people around us for granted. Do you remember when was the last time you say "thank you" to someone? Well, I am proud to say I still constantly do that. Also, I give a smile whenever I can as I know it will brighten some one's day.

    I am thankful to:

    • my husband to who has been ironing my clothes
    • my children who have been helping out in household chores
    • family members who give support when I needed them
    • a bunch of good friends who have been sharing my joy and woes
    I also want to be thankful for:
    • being healthy and able to do a lot of things
    • having a patient husband who tolerates 'nagging' and quick temper
    • having 4 great healthy children and in supporting my further studies and other activities
    • having family and friend support in times of crisis

    What about you? For those who are always in a hurry, do spare some moments to smile. Also, remember to thank your spouse, children, family and friends, who are always there for you, SINCERELY and REGULARLY.

    Thursday, September 07, 2006

    Beautiful Symmetry

    Yesterday, a Singapore friend sent me the following symmetry. I find it very interesting. Parents, do share it with your children.

    1 x 8 + 1 = 9
    12 x 8 + 2 = 98
    123 x 8 + 3 = 987
    1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876
    12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765
    123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654
    1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543
    12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432
    123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321

    1 x 9 + 2 = 11
    12 x 9 + 3 = 111
    123 x 9 + 4 = 1111
    1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
    12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111
    123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
    1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111
    12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111
    123456789 x 9 +10 = 1111111111

    9 x 9 + 7 = 88
    98 x 9 + 6 = 888
    987 x 9 + 5 = 8888
    9876 x 9 + 4 = 88888
    98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888
    987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888
    9876543 x 9 + 1 = 88888888
    98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888

    1 x 1 = 1
    11 x 11 = 121
    111 x 111 = 12321
    1111 x 1111 = 1234321
    11111 x 11111 = 123454321
    111111 x 111111 = 12345654321
    1111111 x 1111111 = 1234567654321
    11111111 x 11111111 = 123456787654321
    111111111 x 111111111 = 12345678987654321

    Tuesday, September 05, 2006

    Learning At Home

    In today’s forum, 2 writers wrote on the following topics:

    Teach children to learn without being taught
    Nurturing a child’s potential the way to go

    Both writers made reference to PM Lee Hsien Loong’s Teachers’ Day Rally speech.

    While schools play a vital role in nurturing our children’s future, parents should also play their part to help their children in self-learning. Below are some ways on how to train your children to be more independent.

    Get them to:

    • bath themselves when they can stand reasonably firm (just keep a close watch, ensure the windows are close and tower is ready when they are done)
    • feed themselves as early as a few months old when they can hold a spoon (make feeding time a joy)
    • dress themselves (allow them to choose their own clothes if they so want to)
    • make their own beds every morning (it’s a good habit to inculcate)
    • take their bowls/plates/forks/spoons to the sink after meals (even if there is a maid)
    • run errands such as buying stationeries and groceries at a young age (they can even tell you what is a good bargain)
    • do simple chores such as washing dishes, sweeping/mopping the floor, folding clothes (useful on maid’s off day)
    • prepare simple meals like cooking rice/soup, frying egg/vegetables and making stews (you will be surprised they can do a better job then you do)
    • budget their expenses from their pocket money
    • save when they work during vacations

    In Singapore, it is tough to rear four children. I have used the above methods and they have worked well for me. Hope other parents will also find these tips useful.

    Sunday, September 03, 2006

    Fruit and Vegetable Juices (1)

    Hi, it's another weekend. Today, I am going to share with you fruit and vegetable juices for special conditions such as anemia, blood pressure, colds, . . .

    As the list is rather long, will be breaking it up into 3 parts. Be on the look out.

    • Anemia - 1) Blackberry + parsley juice 2) Parsley + grape juice
    • Arthritis - Celery + parsley juice
    • Asthma - 1) Celery + papaya juice 2) Celery + endive + carrot juice
    • Bedwetting - Celery + parsley juice
    • Bladder Ailments - Celery + pomegranate juice
    • Blood pressure (high) - 1) Carrot + parsley + celery juice 2) Lime juice _ whey powder 3) Grape juice 4) Carrot juice
    • Blood pressure (low) - 1) Parsley juice 2) Capsicum + garlic juice
    • Blood Purifier - Blackberry juice + black cherry juice + parsley juice + dandelion juice + tomato juice
    • Colds - Watercress + apple juice with 1/4 teaspoon pure cream of tartar
    • Colitis - Coconut + Carrot juice
    • Complexion (yellow) - Grapefruit juice
    • Complexion problems - 1 tablespoon apple concentrated juice + 1/2 glass cucumber juice + 1/2 glass water
    • Constipation - Celery + spinach + grapefruit
    • Diarrhea - Carrot + Blackberry juice
    • Fever - Celery + parsley juice

    In Singapore, one should be able to get all the fruits and vegetables list above in supermarkets. Hope these tips can help parents improve some of the conditions that they or their family maybe facing.

    Saturday, September 02, 2006

    Child Rearing

    In today’s Forum, on BRINGING UP CHILDREN, a father wrote: ‘Father closeness’ keeps adolescents out of vice.

    He related that studies in the US and Europe have shown that children and adolescents who grow up in intact families are generally less likely to smoke or drink, try illegal drugs or engage in premarital sex than those who are from broken families.

    In the past, a father’s role was the most basic unit of society. He was respected as the head of the household. His role was to work and partnership with his wife to raise children, inculcating the right values to them. He reminisced how his father would bring him and his siblings for weekend swims.

    In present Singapore, both parents work and during weekends, it is the maids who are with the children at swimming pools. Many fathers are always busy working, going home late and seldom have time for their children. During weekends, they are at golf courses perfecting their swings to impress their bosses and clients. He urged parents to wake up to their responsibility and start taking action to strengthen their relationship with their children. He concluded by saying: “Let’s not see a generation go to waste because of our neglect.”

    While I do agree with this concerned dad, I would like to add that I know of many fathers who do not play golf. Though they may have tight schedules, they still share the burden of upbringing their children with their wives.

    Below are some tips on how parents can share their load in child rearing.

    · Agree on the tasks that each parent will do
    · Allocate time to be with the children – quality time matters
    · Allow some private time for each other, i.e. away from the children
    · Allow children to have their say at times
    · Always keep promises made
    · Assign relevant household chores to children, depending on their age
    · Avoid arguments in front of the children
    · Avoid taking sides when one parent is disciplining the children

    Parents are role models to their children. How they behave, relate to each other and treat their own parents have great impact on a child’s development. A healthy lifestyle and good home environment will definitely go a long way.

    Friday, September 01, 2006

    Tribute to Teachers

    In Singapore, children spent quite a fair bit of time in schools, from nursery to university. Hence, parents will agree with me that teachers play an important part in their lives.

    As today is Teachers' Day, I would like to dedicate a poem in appreciation of their role in nurturing our children.

    T houghtful beings with
    E xperience to share
    A ble to relate
    C aring nature shows
    H elpful as can be
    E ncourage hope
    R eliable always and
    S uperb mentors