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May 31


Every single one of my four children knows how to swim and play some sports like football, badminton and skateboarding. In fact, every kid should at least play a few sports because character building starts from sports. It teaches them teamwork, confidence, determination and other positive qualities that will give them a headstart.

Basically, for swimming we started with allowing them to play in the kiddies pool. The most important thing is to watch over them carefully, ensuring that they are not traumatized by any sudden splashes of water. Next is to make sure that we ourselves are not the panicky kind of parents. Kids pick up our bad vibes easily and they can sense any feelings from us.

As for the other sports, we started with playing balls with them as soon as they can walk. It is a good way to get the kids to learn to walk and run on the green, grassy field as it is a healthy exercise as well.

So, how do I get my children to swim or do any kind of sports? We provide them the opportunities to try out new sports and games and allow them space to master them. When my children see the trend of skateboarding, they too wanted to be involve in this sport and it takes a lot of courage to do all the skateboarding tricks.

Meanwhile, my little boy loves badminton and will pester my hubby to play badminton with him in the evenings. He has these rosy cheeks after a good game and the little man comes home feeling proud that he has played a good game. This also teaches him to be disciplined, have good manners and competitive.

Like all the other sports, I think swimming is the best activities because they to be courageous, responsible and adventurous. Beside that, playing sports together is also a good time for family bonding as well. We had shared so many funny moments in the pool, at the field and the skatepark.

I think this will also lift off some worries when they have to venture away from home on their school trips or other activities. Knowing that they can somehow swim and deal with playing a game with others is a lot comforting. The children will inevitably go somewhere far away from us on scout camps, school field trips or national service. We can rest assured that should they be asked to do any , they will be alright with them.

In conclusion, do not make playing sport or swimming as a lesson but instead, a play time for the whole family.


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Jan 04

CHICKEN MACARONI SOUP
Contributed by Jolin

1 small shallot
1 pip garlic
Chicken rib/ neck or 1 chicken wing
1/2 carrot cubed
1/2 potato cubed
Ground nutmeg (1/4 tsp) – Nicer with this but Optional
Macaroni/ Alphabet pasta
Water (approx. 2 cups)

1. Chop the shallot and garlic finely.
2. Fry with 1 tbsp of oil in slow fire till you can smell its fragrance.
3. Pour in the water.
4. Put in the chicken rib/ neck or chicken wing and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes.
5. Put in the carrots and potatoes, let it simmer for 15 minutes or till soft.
6. Put in the ground nutmeg, and macaroni, and 1/4 tsp salt (opt), simmer till macaroni is soft. You can blend if you wish. Shelly take this without the need for it to be blended. Just mash up the soft potatoes and carrots with a fork.

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Jan 02

Old folk’s wisdom versus modern medical advices

I observed that some of our old folk’s wisdom like avoiding certain foods because it is ‘windy’ or can cause coughing and phelgm do agree with modern medical findings. For e.g. it is recommended that children below one year are not to given citrus fruits like oranges because citrus fruits are some of the common foods that may trigger allergies. Some children do get tummy aches due to bloatiness because of food intolerance. Therefore, it is wise to pay careful attention when a child is extra fussy and observe if it is due to food intolerance. Other foods not advisable for children below one year of age are honey, egg whites and whole wheat.

One has to be alert if one’s child shows signs of food allergies like swollen eyelids, rashes, coughing and phlegm after taking some food. Some old folk’s advice is to keep giving the food to the child until he is ‘used’ to it. However, doctors have often caution parents to seek medical consultation if such signs appear because food allergies can cause major problems if not handled with care.

Recently, I got hold of a book on nutrition and learnt some new things like not to adopt the ‘Love me, love my food’ attitude and the term ‘pouching’. Now, I often remind myself not to get too frustrated when my baby refuses to eat the food which I had lovingly prepared. If he refuses it, I will just go to the sink and wash it down without taking it personally as if I was rejected. He just hates the taste of the food, that’s all. Secondly, I learnt that the term used for toddlers who kept food in their mouth is ‘pouching’. A lot of emotional stress and battle of wills are involved and I would make sure that I leave my baby to decide on how much he wants to eat and not how much I want him to eat.

Often, we see grandmas, maids and mothers following their toddlers around the whole housing estate with a bowl during mealtimes. Personally, I hate this routine as it is time wasting and a bad habit too. A local paediatrician mentioned that this is called grazing and not a good idea to allow a child to do that. She recommended ‘active feeding’ and that means talking, singing, playing or reading to the child while he is eating. Every one of us is so familiar with the plane and hangar tactic where we pretend the food is the plane and the child’s mouth the hangar. However, one has to refrain from putting the child in front of the TV and keep stuffing the food into the mouth while his eyes are glued to the show. Mealtimes are meant for enjoying the taste of well-prepared, nutritious food and not a routine to fatten up a child.

As I have children age from teenagers to baby, I have learnt through experiences that a simple routine like mealtimes can either be nightmarish or enjoyable. Children are capable of turning mealtimes into negotiation strategies and using it as a tool to test limits. I will accommodate simple requests but will deny them if they are unreasonable. Often, I will tell my older children to go and starve themselves if they like and ignore their demands. For e.g. “If I finish this plate of rice, you have to buy me that toy.” Of course, I bear in mind that children usually eat as much as their bodies need and are not likely to be deprived off any important nutrients if they eat poorly occasionally.

Generally, people deem plump children as the ideal size. I have two scrawny sons who look like some war refugees. I would get remarks and suggestions from people implying that I am not giving them enough to eat. On the other hand, I also have a 13 yrs old son who wears large men size clothings. With such a varied sizes and shapes, I have to surrender to the fact that all children grow at different rates and as long as they are healthy, eat a balanced meal and have active lifestyles, there is nothing to worry.

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