Now that circuit breaker is being extended till 1 June, there's no better time to enjoy these fun and free activities with your kids from the comfort of your own home. Enjoy the convenience of accessing specially curated home-based learning resources put together by five anchor operators with MOE Kindergarten and ECDA on KidzMatters.
Parents can access a range of home-based activities for your kids while picking up tips and techniques from accompanying parent guides on how to facilitate and optimise your children's home-based learning experience. Here are some of our top picks from KidzMatters to try with your kids today!
FOR 0-1 YEAR OLD
Cereal Finger Painting
Finger painting is a great sensory experience for babies, and you don't have to worry about them eating any 'paint' in this fun and safe activity. All you need is baby cereal and fresh fruits, and your little ones can create art in a fun and safe way! It could even be the trick to getting your baby to eat more fruits and veggies.
Benefits Of This Activity:
Develops fine motor skills (use of hands and fingers)
Allow exploration of different textures with cereal paint
Boosts self-expression and creativity
What You Will Need:
½ cup of baby cereal
¾ cup of water
2 tablespoons of blueberries juice (for ' blue' paint)
2 tablespoons of beetroot juice (for 'red' paint)
2 tablespoons of carrot juice (for 'orange' paint)
Fork or a whisk
Plastic table mat or white paper (A4 size)
Paper straws (about 7 cm in length) or infant plastic size spoon
Large paper plate
Step 1: Mix the baby cereal, water and juice in a bowl
Step 2: Whisk the mixture until it is smooth without clump. You can adjust the consistency of the mixture by adding more water.
Step 3: Separate the mixtures into 3 bowls and add the fruit juices to get three different 'paint' colours. Whisk until smooth.
Step 4: Encourage your infant to use his/her fingers, paper straws or plastic spoon to explore the colour mixture on the table mat / paper / paper plate.
You can also encourage your infant to try 'drumming' with their hands or the straw or spoon to exercise his/her muscles and coordination. Simple drumming encourages the exploration of sound and develops a sense of rhythm.
1 - 3 YEARS OLD
Dramatic play and make-believe allow a child's imagination to take flight, and nursery children can spend hours building and stacking with simple building blocks. Playing with boxes or toy building blocks lays the foundations of spatial thinking and logical reasoning, as they discover that the broader the base, the taller their towers can be.
Simply challenge your child to build the tallest tower with the materials given, and watch them enter their imagination and think like an engineer.
Benefits Of This Activity:
Develops fine motor skills (control of wrists, fingers and hands when building with precision)
Improves hand-eye coordination
Builds numeracy skills (adept at organising, sorting and stacking)
Nurtures curiosity (discover new ways to make their towers taller)
What You Will Need:
Recycled items such as toilet rolls, tissue boxes, cereal boxes, milk cartons, plastic bottles, etc.
(Note: For safety purposes, use paper or plastic items only)
Step 1: Challenge your child to build a ‘tower’ or structure using the recycled items that you have collected over time.
Step 2: Let your child have a turn at stacking the recycled items to build a ‘tower’.
Step 3: Show your enthusiasm by cheering for your child to stack a tower. If the ‘tower’ topples, offer encouragement and urge your child to try again.
Step 4: You can play it differently with turn-taking – one place a recycled item on top of the other. If the ‘tower’ topples, the game starts all over again.
Step 5: During the turn-taking, be sure to say, “Now, it is my/your turn.” so that your child gets familiar with the turn-taking sequence.
Step 6: Encourage and praise your child for the effort, as it is not easy for your child to turn-take, for example, “Thank you for waiting.”
Once your child has learnt to construct a tower, you can introduce a new challenge by building a Jenga and take turns removing one block at a time from the block tower.
4 - 6 YEARS OLD
Delicious Ice Cream
Ice cream is an all-time favourite for kids. Instead of getting store-bought ice cream, why not try making your own! Homemade ice cream is perfectly easy for the kids to do, and you don't even need an ice cream machine. With just a ziplock bag and a few simple ingredients, your kids can serve up a delicious treat for the whole family!
Benefits Of This Activity:
Discover Science concepts (how liquid transforms into solid when the cream freezes)
Develops fine motor skills (focus & precision required to add drops of food colourings in the cup)
Keep kids active indoors (involves a lot of active movements when shaking the bag of ice cream)
What You Will Need:
1/2 cup of milk
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
2 medium-sized ziplock bags
1 large-sized ziplock bag
1/2 cups of salt
5 cups of ice
Step 1: Invite your child to measure the sugar, vanilla and milk.
Step 2: Pour the ingredients in the medium-sized ziplock bag.
Step 3: Release as much air as possible and seal the ziplock bag well.
Step 4: Place the ziplock bag with the mixture into another medium-sized zip lock bag for added protection.
Step 5: Place the doubled-up medium ziplock bags into a large-sized ziplock bag. Add ice.
Step 6: Add salt to the ice and seal the ziplock bag.
Step 7: Shake the bag for 5 minutes until the cream is thick. Add more ice if required.
Step 8: Remove the medium-sized ziplock bags.
Step 9: Cut off a corner of the ziplock bag and squeeze out the cream like soft-serve.
Set up an ice cream decorating station with an assortment of toppings (colourful sprinkles, cereals, fruits & nuts) and hold an ice cream decorating contest.
Looking for More Fun Ideas For Your Kids At Home?
KidzMatters is a one-stop portal with interactive home-based learning resources for preschool parents. You can sign up for a free account on KidzMatters to gain access to all their activities & printable materials that are available in English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. What's more, KidzMatters will also be uploading new content daily. Stay inspired with a package of activities and educational lessons to keep your young ones engaged and curious during this circuit-breaker period.
Created by SEED Institute that draws on 30 years of training early childhood educators in Singapore, KidzMatters presents curated content that is proudly brought to you by:
Authoritative, authoritarian, permissive (indulgent), neglectful (uninvolved): Which of these parenting styles describe you best?
Increasingly, I’m finding it’s getting really hard being the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde parent all at once, all the time — to be the loving, nurturing friend and confidante who, in a flash, can also switch to tyrant mode when necessary to dole out scolding and disciplinary measures that may seem harsh to a kid (especially if I was Chummy Mummy just moments before).
You’ve probably occasionally wondered what your parenting style is, and whether it’s possible to even wear multiple hats. But would you really want to compartmentalise yourself, like what happened to Amy Chua (remember her)? It’s been five years since the Yale Law professor’s article on Chinese moms appeared in the Wall Street Journal which gained her global fame – or notoriety, depending how you see it – as well as the moniker “Tiger Mom”.
In Chua’s view, Western and Chinese parents subscribe to different parenting models, where tough love, rigidity and an unyielding emphasis on academic excellence prevail in families of the latter. Even though I’m a Chinese mom, I balk at this stereotyping, like I imagine any parent would. After all, no parent would want anyone else to pigeonhole their precious kids either.
Just when I thought being labelled “Tiger Mom” was bad, at least her daughters weren’t lambasted in the media. A few months ago, Jaden and Willow Smith (17 and 15 respectively), whose famous parents are the actors Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith, were slammed by The New York Post for being “überentitled, brainless, self-adoring, twaddle-spewing little munchkins”. And the criticism didn’t stop there. Spoiled was considered “too mild” an adjective to describe them, with the columnist going on to label them as “nuclear narcissists”. All this was enough, in the article’s view, to reasonably charge Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith as being “the most horrible parents on Earth… [who] boycotted parenting because they couldn’t be bothered to raise kids with any grounding in reality”.
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Just arguing the differences alone between Amy Chua and Will Smith, parents in the East and West or parents in cosmopolitan cities versus those in less developed countries could fill reams and reams of pages.
Based on clinical observations and research however, there are four kinds of parenting styles which have become widely referenced and accepted by parenting specialists such as psychologists and counsellors. Three of the styles were coined by clinical and developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind in the 1960s, with the fourth one identified by child experts Eleanor Maccoby and John Martin in 1983.
Some of you may already recognise those parenting styles as they have been frequently mentioned or referred to in the media. If you have, consider this a refresher to reinforce or retain anything you’ve previously read!
The Four Parenting Styles
Authoritarian: Tiger Mom Amy Chua would probably fit into this category (or at least, partially). These parents often attempt to shape, control and monitor their children’s behaviour based on their rules, directions and expectations. However, while these standards are subject to frequent change, they are still strictly enforced and underpinned by the rigid “parents know best” policy. Authoritarian parents tend to be strict and assert power and punishment on their children whenever they misbehave. Rules are rules without explaining the rationale behind them, but the children are still expected to listen and obey at all times. Kids from authoritarian families may grow up to be rebellious at an early age, have less self-confidence and be socially withdrawn and are often estranged from their parents during adulthood.
Permissive: Also known as indulgent parents, they are likely identified by their overtly warm and affectionate relationships with their kids. As a result, children of permissive parents tend to lack personal responsibility for their actions since they have been grown so used to getting away with just about anything at home without being disciplined. Permissive parents come across as non-controlling and lenient and have low, or almost no expectations on their children’s behaviour. They are the parents most likely to spring to mind when using the description, “spare the rod and spoil the child” because this is literally what they do. Although their kids do tend to have better social skills and self-esteem, indulgent parents are often also singled out for raising “spoilt brats” – Will Smith was called the Dr Frankenstein responsible for creating two “terrifying ego monsters”.
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Authoritative: Room for negotiation – that’s one of the dominant traits of authoritative parents, but at the same time, they are not your typical pushover. The approach of these parents is considered to fall halfway between the two extreme styles of authoritarian and permissive parenting. Think of authoritative parents as firm but also fair when guiding and disciplining their kids. It is no surprise that many experts have singled out the authoritative way as the most effective parenting style as the child is raised with an awareness of cause-and-effect and communication at home is usually a two-way street. When it comes to the children’s affairs at home, respect is also mutual, with junior either consulted for their views, or made to understand the rationale behind their parents’ actions and behaviours. Overall, children with authoritative parents are generally observed to be well-adjusted individuals who are confident, empathic around others, and also goal-oriented.
Neglectful: This fourth parenting style was only formally identified by Maccoby & Martin in 1983, separate from the three other styles. Neglectful parents are also known as uninvolved parents, but neither are complimentary to say the least! Usually considered by experts to be the worst of the parenting styles (even more so than authoritarian parenting), neglectful parents are typically hands-off and emotionally distant when raising their children. Apart from offering the basic necessities of food and shelter (and some neglectful parents have also been known to let their kids fend for themselves prematurely as they get older), most of these parents scarcely interact with their children. After years of being cast adrift, most of these estranged kids are all but alienated from their parents by the time they reach adulthood. A lack of discipline and guidance also leads to these children acting, or lashing out, in a variety of ways, from attention-seeking to disruptive behaviour.
Researchers have further defined – and refined – the four parenting styles according to two dimensions: “responsiveness” and “demandingness”, where responsiveness is “the extent to which parents intentionally foster individuality, self-regulation, and self-assertion by being attuned, supportive, and acquiescent to children’s special needs and demands” (Baumrind 1991). On the other hand, demandingness refers to “the claims parents make on children to become integrated into the family whole, by their maturity demands, supervision, disciplinary efforts and willingness to confront the child who disobeys” (Baumrind 1991).
Based on these two dimensions, the four parenting styles can also be encapsulated as follows:
Authoritarian: Not responsive but demanding Permissive: Responsive but not demanding Authoritative: Both responsive and demanding Neglectful: Neither responsive nor demanding
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What “Decent” Parents Want
Although we’ve identified these four main parenting styles, not every parent can be neatly classified into just one category. Realistically, parents will usually adopt a mix of styles, while constantly adapting and adjusting their approach best suited to their kids’ unique personalities, characteristics, talents, needs and more. Personally, I like to think of myself as a “freestyler” too.
Rather than trying to fit or conform into a specific mould, why not identify the hallmarks of positive parenting and build on these traits by assimilating them into, and even reinforcing, your current belief system? Consider these precious words of advice from bestselling author and relationship expert Dr Margaret Paul. “The challenge of good parenting is to find the balance between being there for your children and being there for yourself, as well as the balance between freedom and responsibility,” says Dr Paul, who also pioneered the Inner Bonding healing process favoured by celebs such as Lindsay Wagner and Alanis Morissette. “Role-model behaviour that is personally responsible, rather than being a taker or caretaker.”
I myself believe that all children will eventually find their way in the school of hard knocks – otherwise known as life! – albeit at their own pace and with their own unique perspectives shaped by their individual upbringing. Learning through direct experience is best, even though I admit it’s hard to shake off the “mummy knows best” refrain that’s constantly on loop in my head (uh-oh, does that make me authoritative?). Yet do I really want to raise mini me’s? Here’s where Dr Paul’s sound advice has proven useful to shake me out of any conflicted stupor I occasionally find myself in: “Remember that you cannot do everything ‘right’ as a parent,” Dr Paul says. “[Children] will make their own choices to be loving or unloving, responsible or irresponsible. You can influence their choices by being loving to yourself and them, but you can’t control them. They have free will, just as you do, to choose who they want to be each moment of their lives. All you can do is the very best you can to role model loving, personally responsible behaviour.”
Even Tiger Mom has never championed her way as the right way, but acknowledged the variety of parents out there: “All decent parents want to do what’s best for their children… [but they] just have a totally different idea of how to do that.”
So have a little faith. Keep the channels of communication clear and open. Hug often. Offer support. Be a constant reassuring presence. Praise, don’t condemn. Be firm, not tyrannical. Choose cruise control rather than opt for the rollercoaster ride. Turn positive mantras into affirmative actions. Be a parent that favours substance over style and chances are, you’ll raise kids made of good, strong stuff and not fluff.
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10 Reasons to Travel With Your Baby Now!
Have you been afraid of travelling with your baby or simply had no time to plan a trip because of all the responsibilities and changes that parenting brings? Don’t postpone it, because now is actually the best time for travel!
There are parents with no qualms bringing their less-than-12-month-old babies on an overseas holiday. Minus the hassle of crying babies, it is one of the best time for travel. Why? First-time parents may worry if it is safe for your baby to be exposed to foreign lands too early. You may feel that it’s better to wait for your child to grow up a little more, and be a walking toddler, before they are able to better adjust to new environments and walk by their own. On the contrary, parents of toddlers over 2 years of age will tell you that it is so much easier travelling with a baby than a toddler. Once your baby grows up into the stage of toddler, it gets increasingly difficult instead!
It's about time we changed your mindset about bringing baby out on your next trip.
Here are 10 reasons why you should travel with baby NOW!
Babies under the age of two are not charged admission fees.
Babies won’t be able to run away and get lost in the crowd.
Babies sleep more than toddlers – an average of 15 hours a day.
Babies don’t have an opinion on where to go and can’t bug you if you haven’t reached a destination yet after a long train ride.
Babies are easier to entertain versus a toddler (where you may need many more games and props to keep them entertained, such as books, toys, colouring pencils, iPad, etc)
Babies will not argue with you on their sleeping hours... but toddlers, are on a different level.
Travelling with your Baby helps you to prepare for future travels when baby grows older.
Travelling with Baby helps expose your baby to new environments and improve their ability to adapt to new sights, smells and sounds. Once they are used to a new environment, they will once again be able to sleep quietly through and you can still enjoy your fine dining meal or a walk through the museum.
Babies can actually go anywhere, with a stroller or a sling. Parents just have to get used to the bundle.
It’s also an easy way to make new friends – babies help break the ice with strangers!
Finally, holiday getaways when your baby is still below 2 years old is also a good time for husband and wife to get away from your daily work-grind, and find some relaxation and distraction.
If parents are relaxed and happy, your baby will also be relaxed and happy and this will mean better bonding time for your family!
To a daughter, there is nothing in this world that their fathers can’t do. There is something magical about the bond a daughter shares with her father. The bond helps her shape her personality.
6 Reasons Why Father-Daughter Relationship Is Important:
Developmentalists have focused on early father-daughter relationships as an important aspect of psychological adjustments in a later stage. An emotional attachment with their father benefits girls throughout their lives.
Here are a few more reasons why the relationship with her father is crucial for a girl:
Fathers are a role-model for their daughters. They lay foundation for love, trust and security.
A father sets standard for their daughters by which they will judge other men who come into their life.
A good bond with her father helps a girl to develop self-esteem and confidence.
Girls, whose fathers are involved in their education, do better than those whose dads are not involved.
A father’s influence in early years helps daughters have a better career; they are more achievement-oriented and successful.
A loving father helps his daughter love her growing and changing body and feel good about herself.
The relationship is not static but changes as the girl develops from a little girl to a young woman.
Influence Of The Father In The Three Phases Of A Girl’s Life:
Every father-daughter relationship goes through three different phases of life. Some are easy and fun while some are difficult but important.
First Phase: Influence Of A Dad During Childhood:
First phase, also known as hero dad-princess daughter phase, is an easy and fun phase, where dad is the superhero and daughter is his little darling princess. Here is how a man influences his daughter at this age:
1. Mental and emotional development:
Involvement of fathers during early stage of a girls’ life helps in her mental and emotional development.
Studies have shown that toddlers who are securely attached to their dads are better at solving problems. They are able to manage school stress better with the presence of fathers at home. Daughters achieve academic success with father’s warmth and affection. Girls exhibit less anxiety and withdrawal behaviors if they are close to their father.
Develop-mentalists have focused on early father- daughter relationships as an important aspect of psychological adjustments in later stage. Having an emotional attachment with fathers benefits them throughout their life.
A large scale study has shown that girls, whose fathers were absent during the first five years, are more likely to be depressed in adolescence compared to girls whose dads left them when they were aged five to ten years. If the wound is severe, then daughters can have low self esteem and trust issues.
2. Sense of security:
The men in the house are considered the source of strength and power for that family. Security is vital for girls and if she gets this protection from her dad, then it enables her to thrive in a relatively safe environment. She will be free of inhibitions and develops self-confidence.
Second Phase: Influence Of A Father In Adolescent Years:
This phase is also known as dorky dad-adolescent daughter phase. As a father, you will not enjoy the second phase much because your daughter will keep rolling her eyes to everything you say.
This phase mostly lasts from her 11th birthday to her 21st birthday. The second phase is confusing but important as she is figuring out the world and herself. Fathers prefer to step back but this is the time to step in and help her raise her self-esteem. Teach her about men and the world she will be facing in the near future. Here is how a father guides his teenage daughter in the matters of her changing body, education and psychological traits.
3. Moral guidance:
Parents’ communication and connection will help girls in making wise decisions. Adolescents get attracted to bad influences; some start experimenting with premarital sex, and indulge in drugs and alcohol. A caring and loving father provides stability and moral guidance. He helps in guiding his girl through her troublesome teen years.
4. Body image:
A study done in Canada shows that daughters, who have a good relationship with their fathers have fewer instances of body dissatisfaction, depression, and low self-esteem. They develop healthy eating habits and avoid eating disorders. Also, a girl gains confidence about her body image if her father appreciates her appearance.
Fathers’ involvement plays a vital role in daughters’ self-confidence. Fathers who are affectionate towards their little girls provide them a sense of self worth. If fathers ignore them or treat them harshly, then the girls become cynical and feel worthless.
The absence of fathers or inability to deal with conflicts with fathers leads to low self-esteem in young women.
A study done by the US Department of Education has concluded that fathers who are actively involved in their daughters’ academics were more likely to have straight As than girls whose fathers didn’t pay attention to them. Well-fathered daughters had better verbal skills and intellectual functioning.
Absence of dads in daughters’ life can lead to difficulties in the learning process. Daughters with absent or uninvolved dads usually perform poorly in school.
Third Phase: Influence Of The Father In Adulthood:
This is the best phase, which is also known as the world’s greatest dad – adult daughter phase. In this phase both can communicate and understand each other. This is the time a father should guide his girl in her career, love and marriage.
Dads help their girls think logically, solve problems, become competitive and become goal-oriented. A man helps his daughter believe in herself and encourages her to follow her dreams.
8. Romantic relationship:
Daughters learn what to look for in a romantic relationship by observing their fathers’ behaviors and actions. Tests have proven that if a daughter has a healthy and loving bond with her father then it’s easier for her to find a caring, loving boyfriend or spouse in the later stage.
A father sets standard for his daughter, and she judges the men in her life based on those standards.
Happy marriages are associated with warm and secure child-parent relationships. A girl tends to be anxious, insecure and aggressive if her parents have marital problems.
9. Handling stress:
There is an intriguing link between how daughters deal with stress as adults and the kind of bond they had with their fathers during their growing stage. A woman who does not have a good relationship with her father had lower morning cortisol level than normal.
Cortisol is also known as stress hormone. Low level of cortisol makes a person sensitive and overly reactive when faced with stressful situation. Girls with warm, supportive fathers have lower pretask cortisol levels.
Now you know how important it is for your daughter to have you in her life. You must be doing all the right things, but may want to work on it further to build on the relationship.
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Ways To Improve Your Bond With Your Daughter:
Here we help you with some tips:
When she is a little girl:
Respond quickly to your baby’s cries. Hold her in your arms, sing or talk to her often.
Little girls love praises from their fathers. Compliment her when she achieves some task, no matter how small it is, for example tying shoe laces or brushing her teeth. Give positive feedback when she cannot complete the tasks.
Participate in activities together, particularly sports.
Be involved with your girl’s school work, her projects, and exam preparation.
Meet her friends; help them organize a slumber party or a get-together.
When she is a teenager or an adult:
Invest time in your daughter: There is no quality without quantity. You need to spend ordinary time with her to make it extraordinary.
Go on a drive with her, just the two of you.
Teenage girls need their space and privacy, provide her the space she wants but always be available when she needs you or when you feel she might get into trouble.
Things you say to her last a lifetime for her. Therefore, always talk encouragingly and give positive feedbacks. Criticizing her will only hamper her self-esteem and confidence.
Share your emotions with her, so that she will share hers with you.
When you are with her, pay complete attention to her. Show interest in her life and problems. Be sensitive to her needs.
Set appropriate ground rules and also grant her the right amount freedom from time to time.
A father is the head of the family, to whom the children look up to for support and guidance. We know how a man influences his daughter to have a better life. And an active dad goes out of his way to keep his little girl happy.
But what happens when that most important person is not there in a girl’s life?
A Father’s Absence And Its Effect On Daughters:
Children may not have a father for several reasons including a divorce, legal separation, incarceration, or death. A dad can also be absent in a child’s life as he is busy with work or is emotionally unavailable.
The effects of the father’s absence are highly detrimental to the overall wellbeing of girls. Fatherless daughters are deprived of affection, confidence and self worth.
An absent father or father figure creates a void in a girl’s life, and others try to influence her actions and attitude. Such girls allow others to define them. According to authors Franklin B. Krohn and Zoe Bogan, girls who do not have fathers become desperate to have men in their life and long for their attention.
The absence of the father triggers hormonal changes in girls which jumpstarts puberty. This along with other behavioral problems could be the reasons why fatherless daughters have early menstruation and teenage pregnancy.
Girls seek support of their father in their academics, especially in mathematics. Krohn and Bogan say: “Mathematics is typically associated with masculinity therefore females without father figures may have less interest in the subject matter. Females are discouraged from pursuing a career in mathematics and father absence contributes to this phenomenon by not providing them with a male role model to stimulate interest.”
A father-daughter relationship is so crucial for a girl’s development that his absence cannot be filled by anyone. Therefore, it is never too late to build the bridge between you and your daughter.
Ways To Fix A Broken Father Daughter Bond:
Healing starts once you share your sorrows with others, preferably friends or a therapist. Share your pain and wounds by talking or perhaps writing about it.
Don’t let past dictate your present or future; you have the power to control your own life.
Daughters need to know whatever happened was not their fault. She was not responsible for your absence from her life.
Talk to your daughter. Tell her how you missed her. Ask about her emotions, and how she coped with your absence.
Give confidence to your daughter that you will be there in every walk of her, and will not desert her again.
Have patience, and give time to your daughter to come to terms with reality. She may not readily accept you, but your perseverance can win her confidence.
Your daughter will recognize and understand that you are making sincere efforts to get closer to her. But for some girls, this relationship can never be rebuilt. In fact, they would shred at the mention of their father. Why?
Inappropriate Relationship Between A Father And Daughter:
Unfortunately, incestuous relationships happen between a father and daughter. Incest is a sexual relationship between close family relatives. This inappropriate relationship between a dad and a daughter can give the girl a lifetime of trauma. It has a huge impact on her psychological growth.
It may also lead to emotional problem, borderline personality disorder or substance abuse. She might grow to feel worthless unless she engages in a sexual relationship with a man.
The inappropriate incestuous relationship brews anger and poor self image in the girl. She develops hatred for both the parents.
Instances of fathers taking advantage of their daughter’s innocence and vulnerability are not many but they are not rare too.
However, such episodes should not make us lose our faith in the pious dad-daughter relationship, because for every one such instance we have innumerable examples of loving fathers who can do anything for their daughter’s happiness.
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8 Ways To Improve Daddy-Baby Bonding
This One’s For The Dads:
The bond between mothers and their babies is a special thing, but it could leave dads feeling out of the loop and inadequate – how can they get closer to their baby, how can they help their wife (besides doing late night feedings)? It might feel like a tough wall to scale, but in reality, it’s a lot easier than you think!
Hey Moms, it may be tempting to hover around your husband when they’re interacting with your baby, at the ready to swoop in and rescue both from themselves. However, doing this will demoralise him, and your baby won’t get used to being comforted by him! So it’s best if you let them work things out on their own – it’s a learning and growing process for dad AND baby.
Get your husband to read this, and it’ll help them get closer to baby. The way we parents interact with our babies are different, and dads definitely have their own delightful way of relating to babies!
Here are 8 ways that dads can bond better with their baby:
#1 Skin To Skin Contact
One of the best and easiest ways for dad and baby to bond is to allow frequent skin contact between the two of them. It allows baby to recognise and get familiar with daddy’s scent, and it’s pretty relaxing for dad himself too! All he has to do is lay around in shorts or boxers with their shirts off and let baby rest on their chests while they watch TV or read a book.
Doing this also releases the oxytocin hormone in both daddy and baby – it’s a ‘hormone of love’ that plays a huge role in bonding!
#2 Play Games/Be Silly
Babies LOVE silly faces and games, and dad can definitely be the funny one! Start out with making silly faces and sounds – you can practice in front of a mirror first (your audience is easy to please though), and the sillier you think you look and sound, the better. As baby gets older, you can play the classic ‘Peekaboo’ with them, and hopefully, you’ll will be able to get a laugh out of them (it’ll melt your heart)!
#3 Dive In Solo
As I’ve said earlier, mum and dad have their own ways in interacting with baby! Yes, mum has her way of doing things – changing the diaper, comforting, etc. – but you can create your own style of doing things. Make them uniquely yours! Take ownership!
At first, try short periods of 30 minutes with a happy and fully fed baby in the morning (as baby is usually in a good mood during this time of the day – your mileage may vary). Eventually you’ll figure out shortcuts that are known only to you and baby. Once you’ve reached that point, you’ll gain the confidence to say that you can handle baby, which is great for mum, because she’ll know that baby is in your good hands!
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#4 Diaper Duty
It’s not the most glamorous way to bond with baby, that’s for sure. But someone needs to do it, and leaving mum with diaper duty all the time isn’t really fair now, is it? Baby needs their diaper changed many times a day, and that’s where you can shine! Talk to baby, tickle them, and you’ll be able to make baby be more comfortable around you.
#5 Take Baby Out For A Walk
A simple walk around your neighbourhood will do the trick! Baby will definitely love taking in the myriad of sights and sounds, whether you’re pushing them in a stroller or using a carrier for a closer experience! Point out different objects, colours, animals, and anything that could seem interesting.
#6 Learn How To Massage Baby
Gently massaging baby will help you to get to know them better, and you’ll connect with both baby and yourself. You’ll get to express your nurturing side (which is usually suppressed due to pre-existing gender roles) and baby will learn that you can gently and lovingly touch them too, which can help baby recognise you as someone else who can meet their physical and emotional needs. Similar to the first tip, this promotes skin-to-skin contact and enhances the bonding process!
There are many classes in Singapore where you can learn how to best AND safely give baby a massage. The other benefits besides bonding include reducing muscular tension and colic discomfort!
#7 Sing And Read To Baby
Dad’s voice can soothe baby too, and the more they hear your voice, the more connected they’ll feel to it! Read them some of your favourite bedtime stories and find out which of those are their favourite stories, and they’ll associate reading those stories with sleep-time. Singing to baby is great as well, and it doesn’t matter how well (or badly) you sing – as long as you belt out those tunes, baby will be happy with them!
#8 Household Chores With Baby
Now this will make mum happy for sure – not only will you be taking care of baby, you’ll be helping out with the chores too! Which means she’ll have the time to relax and unwind, something that she WILL be looking forward to.
So, suit up, dads! Make full use of your baby carrier to clean the dishes, vacuum the rooms, mop the floor, do laundry, and whatever else that you feel confident doing while baby is strapped to you.
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Park Dining And Baby Swimming Class All At Once!
Image credit: The Sand Bank
Family-friendly fun and East Coast Park go hand-in-hand, and it’s pretty easy to see why – bicycle and skating paths run parallel to the beach and ocean, BBQ pits dot the long stretch of park, ample grassy areas for picnics and just chilling under the sky, and lots and lots of good food around!
One restaurant that gels together family-friendliness and yummy food is the SandBank. They’re found at Parkland Green, a relatively new location that can be found right outside the underpass from Parkway.
The SandBank is facing the beach, giving it a nice and chill atmosphere – somewhere that you can bring your friends and family out for brunch in the mornings, and then enjoy some football on their screens at night.
On their menu, they’ve got a smattering of Western food, and we started out with their Spiced Salmon Tartare ($17), and Beach Salad ($19) which contained prawn, salmon roe, rock melon, dragon fruit, apple slices, cherry tomatoes, and was topped off with mixed salad & apple chilli dressing.
Their Salmon Tartare had just the right amount of spiciness to bring out our appetites, and their Beach Salad was refreshing, tangy, and crunchy (giving it a nice contrast to the Salmon Tartare).
Next came the mains– the Smoked Duck Pasta ($20) and Sandbank Fish & Chips ($23). One thing to note is that they update their menu on a regular basis, but the Fish & Chips have always been a staple there because it’s that good.
Their Fish & Chips arrived piping hot with crispy breaded skin, coleslaw, and their own tartar sauce. It was just YUM. The Smoked Duck Pasta was as good, with healthy portions of juicy smoked duck meat in light cream sauce.
Dessert arrived, and we definitely made sure to enjoy every single bit of their Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cake ($14) and Matcha Tiramisu ($13)! For me, it was alternating between bites of the Lava Cake (sweet) and Tiramisu (slightly bittersweet) to get the most out of them.
If you’re going down to visit them, really do give their Lava Cake a try – the hot peanut butter that flows out when you slice through the cake is delish!
They’ve also got food items that can be shared with your friends and family such as the Cioppino ($37), a spicy seafood stew with squid, scallops, prawns, mussels, and clams in a tomato broth, and the Charcoal Grilled US Black Angus Ribeye ($40 for 250gm, $70 for 500gm). Unfortunately, it was just two of us… but we’ll definitely be back to try them out!
In addition to their food menu, they’ve got a nice (and not so) little drinks menu with draught beers, liquor, wines, shooters, and cocktails for when mummy and daddy wants to unwind a bit.
For our little ones, they’ll get to enjoy milkshakes ($7.50 - $15) and homemade sodas ($6 for a glass, $12 for a jug).
If you’re feeling a bit too warm, you could always take a dip in their pool that’s just outside – and you can bring your little ones too! There’s a shallower section of the pool that’s specifically for your children, one with heated water so they won’t get the chills.
Not only that! During the weekends, they have swim classes for babies and infants (aged 6 – 42 months) conducted by Little Swim School – right there at their own private pool! How does having a mug of beer while your little ones are off at swim class next to your table, sound to you? It’s a win-win situation! Each lesson lasts for 30 mins and there are shower amenities available at your convenience.
Studies have shown that eating meals together as a family are tied to the overall wellbeing of your child. For young children, conversation at the table is a huge language booster than reading to them. Ultimately, regular family mealtimes encourage them to eat healthy!
Whether you’re a working parent or a busy mom with many chores to juggle, it’s good to cultivate this habit!
It doesn’t have to be done daily
Working parents, hear this! It doesn’t have to be done daily to reap its benefits. It can be breakfast, on weekends or during snack time. Pick a meal that is convenient for all of you. The point is to make a commitment to a family meal where everyone is together to share food, talk and just bond!
Turn mealtimes into a game
Skip the toys and puzzles. Cooking and meal prep is an activity that can still involve hands-on sensory fun. Get everyone involved in fixing the meal – get them to plate their food in a creative way, choose the vegetables they want to eat, name the ingredients that goes into the dish. Yes, it might add on an extra 30mins to the whole prep time, but it’ll be worth it!
It’s actually doable, even for busy parents
Despite everyone’s hectic work schedules and classes, it’s very doable to find a meal time to spend together. Everyone needs to eat, it’s just a matter of putting in the effort! It’s the most reliable time of the day that you can connect with one day. Making this a habit allows our children to feel connected to us and stay grounded as a family.
Bond at the table
Table conversations are one of the richest language booster you can provide for our kids. It’s probably one of the only time everyone sits and talk about each other’s lives and giving comments and explanations on topics. Try asking questions that go beyond ‘how was your day?’.
It’s good for you too!
It’s comforting even for us adults to know that at least one part of your day is going to unfold the same way. In just an hour, you’re able to create comfort, fun, play and meaningful conversations. So keep the phone and worldly troubles aside and just enjoy our children’s growing moments!
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