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Car Rides : Our Opportunity to Build that Communication Habit with the Kids

16 September 2014 – 6:58 pm |

 
Here in Jakarta, I find myself ‘stuck’ in car rides (and traffic) with the kids a LOT. Everyday.
And this, naturally, can be draining. For the mom. Who is also the driver.
Like when the older ones …

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Car Rides : Our Opportunity to Build that Communication Habit with the Kids

16 September 2014 | Posted in: Inspirational, Parenting | No Comment

 

Here in Jakarta, I find myself ‘stuck’ in car rides (and traffic) with the kids a LOT. Everyday.

And this, naturally, can be draining. For the mom. Who is also the driver.

Like when the older ones bicker, or when the youngest one whines and cries over unreasonable matters (if you’re a parent, you’ll know what I mean =)

But, having said that, I must say that car rides offer a great opportunity for us to discuss many, many issues, correct wrong thinking, and instill values in the kids.

I mean, since everyone is ‘trapped’ in the car for a period of time, we might as well use that time to build a habit of talking and sharing with each other, yes? =)

 

 

In our case, the conversation topics can be about anything really.

Sometimes they’d re-tell stories/jokes they read from books at the library.

Often, they share the happenings at school. eg. What their teachers say in class, what they play during recess, how their friends respond towards another friend’s work, etc.

(Btw, since each child started going to nursery school, I made it a habit for them to ‘share their day’ as soon as they see me after school. It’s just my personal way of nurturing a habit of open communication and sharing with the parents since young =)

Car rides offer a great opportunity for us to discuss many, many issues, correct wrong thinking, and instill values in the kidsSometimes, they ask us random questions too, eg. ‘Why are there beggars on the street of Jakarta’, or ‘Why my friends did THAT at school and no one told them off?’, ‘Why do we have to study THAT subject at school’, etc =)

And, most of the time, we share values and principles with them too, … like, adults and teachers can make mistakes too, why looking after your brother and sister is super important, how we should feel confident when doing the right things, and how we should never stop learning, including Mommy and Daddy who must continually learn too.

When the TV is ‘regularly’ switched on soon after the kids enter the car, there goes our precious opportunities to talk and communicate with them.Anyway.

I just want to say it again: car rides are really OUR opportunity as parents to build that communication habit with the kids.

Which, btw, is why we personally disagree with having TVs or portable DVD players in the car.

I mean, we all for sure know how such ‘technology’ can easily ‘entertain’ the kids sitting at the back seat (allowing us adults to rest and talk about OUR topics with less interruptions from them).

 

 

But.

Whether we realise it or not, when the TV is ‘regularly’ switched on soon after the kids enter the car, there goes our precious opportunities to talk and communicate with them.

I mean, the kids can’t go anywhere once they’re inside our car, yes?

So why should we let go off such a precious opportunity to chat and know them better?

(Btw, if it is a looong car ride, eg. A 4-hour drive out of town or something, then I guess, watching TV during the car ride helps them ‘kill time’? I don’t know. I mean, I personally wonder, … doesn’t watching TV while the car is moving give you a headache?)

Ah anyway.

Just sharing a personal thought on this.

And me, … I am learning to be thankful.

Learning to be thankful for daily moments where we can exchange thoughts and simply … chat, with the kids.

Yes, even though being stuck in mad traffic everyday is frankly NOT a choice I’d love to make =)

PS: Photos were safely taken when we’re in a complete stop (read: stuck in a traffic jam)

Parenting : Encouraging Helpfulness, Instilling Independence, Building Self-Esteem

11 September 2014 | Posted in: Inspirational, Parenting | 2 Comments

 

Brie is now 3 years and 3 months old.

And for the past few months, she’s been an active helper whenever we are at a restaurant or a supermarket =)

“She’s still so small, what does she do exactly?”, some did ask me personally.

 

Well, here are some examples of the things she’s been doing:

1. At a restaurant

- Goes to the cashier and asks for the bill from the staff

(only when the cashier is within a good distance, ie. Where we can still watch her)

- Goes over to the cashier with the cash and bill (usually accompanied by sister / brother if they’re around)

- Gives us the change

- Orders the drinks (verbally to the waiter/waitress)

(It’ll be a simple, ‘Sir, one Teh Botol, please. Thank you.’ =)

 

2. At a supermarket

- Goes over to the weighing station and gives the plastic bag / vegetables to be weighed

- Waits for the staff to give her back the bag, gives the bag to me

- Arranges (tidies up) the stuff we buy (while she’s inside the trolley)

- Picks up the stuff from the trolley (while standing inside the trolley) and places them onto the cashier counter

- Gives the ATM card to the cashier staff, receives the receipt and passes it to me

(Btw, Anya and Vai also were introduced to such activities since they’re little. And by now, they help by picking the groceries I need to get, etc)

 

 

Now.

“Why would you introduce your small child to such activities?”, some ask.

Let’s see.

Here are some values and principles that we hope to instill in our children:

> Letting children feel a positive sense of achievement

When Brie successfully completes a task, and sees a big smile on my face, I can see how proud and happy she feels. It’s like, ‘Wow! I’ve helped Mommy! I could do it!’

 

> Allowing them to gain more confidence when speaking to strangers (eg. Restaurant staff), and communicating their requests clearly to others

When a waiter actually understands their request and gives them what they ask (eg. Two packets of tomato sauce at McDonald’s), I can see their confidence in themselves increases. It’s like, ‘Whoa! They listened and understood me!’

These things may seem simple, but they matter a lot to little children and their self-esteem.

 

 

> Instilling a sense of responsibility and the need to help others

We hope our children always feel: “I need to take part and help out others, too.”

(Especially since it doesn’t always come naturally!)

When they see how others are ‘positively impacted’ by their ‘helpful actions’, we believe it will encourage them to help others more and more. We hope.

 

> Letting them exercise good manners

Through such activities, the kids really do learn about queuing up, waiting for their turn, about thanking the staff upon receiving help, saying ‘please, etc.

Children are never ‘too young’ to learn such values, … yes?

 


[3.5yo Vai ordering his ice cream cone on his own]

 

> Instilling independence since young

I must say, sometimes we parents ‘underestimate’ the abilities of little children, don’t we? So much so that we often ‘disallow’ them from doing much for themselves and for others.

Basically, the question is: do we often discourage them from contributing much to the family?

In our family, we believe that our children, since young, need to learn how wonderful it is to be independent, to do things themselves, … because it also means they’re helping others, eg. When Brie puts her clothes on by herself before going out, she’s also giving Mommy the time to get ready before going out).

Btw, here are some past blog posts on this topic that I’ve written:

> Parenting: Encouraging Responsibility and Independence
http://www.oureverydaythings.com/2010/03/parenting-encouraging-responsibility-and-independence/

 

> Parenting: Letting children do their own stuff
http://www.oureverydaythings.com/2013/09/parenting-letting-children-do-their-own-stuff/

 

> Getting kids involved around the house
http://www.oureverydaythings.com/2008/05/getting-kids-involved-around-the-house/

 

> Parenting: Encouraging kids to help out around the house (Part 1)
http://www.oureverydaythings.com/2011/02/parenting-encouraging-kids-to-help-out-around-the-house-part-1/

 

> Parenting: Encouraging kids to help out around the house (Part 2)
http://www.oureverydaythings.com/2011/02/parenting-encouraging-kids-to-help-out-around-the-house-part-2/

Happy parenting, everyone! =)

Making : A Doll from a Recycled Bottle

6 September 2014 | Posted in: Crafts & Activity Ideas for Kids | 2 Comments

 

Anya had this art project from school.

She’s to make a doll using a recycled bottle.

Basically, her art teacher asked his class to create a doll, of any kind, using a recycled bottle (those 500 ml ones) as the body, and a pingpong ball as the head.

And this was what Anya made at school, all on her own.

(I particularly liked how she did the hair =)

 

 

She basically used :

- A pingpong ball as the head

- A recycled bottle as the body

- Brown wool yarn as the hair (the only closest colour to ‘real hair colour’ that we have =)

- Googly eyes

- Felt (pink and yellow for the inner and outer layer of doll’s dress)

- White felt as the scarf (to cover the otherwise visible ‘bottle neck’)

- Tiny red felt for the mouth

- Tiny beads as doll’s coat decorations

- And, hmmm, I don’t know what you call those frills in English – you know, that piece at the bottom of doll’s inner dress =)

 

 

What a cute project, I thought! =D

Hope this post somewhat inspires you to create your own Recycled Bottle Doll too with your little one =)

Parenting : 3 Basic Principles of Mannerism We Instill in Children

1 September 2014 | Posted in: Inspirational, Parenting | 4 Comments

The other day, I was listening to an audio sermon on Chinese Philosophy (by Rev. DR. Stephen Tong), and this statement caught my attention:

The younger generation today tend to IGNORE basic mannerism.

Well, I have to say, I totally agree.

Stand up while shaking hands with others, especially if they’re older than youYou see, I am an Indonesian of Chinese descent. My grandparents were born in mainland China in the early 1920s.

And since I was 14 years old, I mostly lived away from my family, spending 9 years in Australia, 13 years in Singapore and the last 2 years back in Jakarta.

Now.

Looking at the different ‘phases’ of my life and the kinds of cultures I was exposed to while growing up, I must say that, by now, I have consciously chosen to adopt a mixture of both western and eastern cultures (as much as I possibly and consciously can, the better ones of each culture =)

And.

Ever since I became a mom 10 years ago, I realise I’ve consciously passed down these values and principles to my three children too.

What kinds of values, some may wonder.

 

Here are three basic ones that I’d like to share with you today.
(I hope to share the others in a different post =)

1. Stand up while shaking hands with others, especially if they’re older than you

When someone older than us says ‘Hello!’, approaches us and extends his arm towards us, be sure to stand up while shaking hands with him.

Because it’s a way to show our respect.

 

2. Always, always, look at people in the eye when you shake hands with them, when you talk to them, when you say thank you, when you apologise, etc.

No matter what you’re doing at that moment, if you’re shaking hands with people, smile and look at them in the eye. It’s our basic gesture of respect and appreciation towards others.

The same applies when we say thank you or sorry … look at them in the eye, because it means you mean what you say.

 

3. Always say ‘Hello!’ and greet others (family or friends), especially those who are older than you, when you meet them for the first time that day (enter their car, their homes, etc)

Like, when someone is giving you a lift, and you’ve just hopped into the car, you must greet everyone, eg. ‘Hello Auntie XYZ!’ (and always say ‘Thank you’ before getting off)

Or, when we’re visiting other people’s homes, or when people are visiting our home, as we / they enter the home, … greet and say hello. Even better, greet them by name, eg. ‘Hello Uncle ABC …’

Another example, if you can extend it further and politely greet the bus driver as you hop on, … it’s even better.
(You never know if you’ve just made someone’s day just by doing a simple gesture of appreciation)

we’re now living in an era where there’s a strong tendency to disconnect with those around usYou may wonder, why so much emphasis on ‘greeting others’ and teaching the kids to look at people in the eye?

Well, because I feel , we’re now living in an era where there’s a strong tendency to disconnect with those around us, to feel more comfortable when interacting with machines than with other human beings.

And, it is somewhat easier (and regarded as ‘normal’ by many, too) to focus on ‘my own world’ than appreciating the presence of others in ‘our world’.

Anyway. While we’re on this topic, I remember how someone said to me the other day,

‘Children these days are so different. They are not as polite as before. When they meet people, when they’re called, when people say hello and want to shake their hands, these days, it’s common to see children / youngsters who continue to play their games, not lifting their eyes off the screen!’

To the above statements, my thoughts are: it all comes back to the parents, their main caregivers, the kinds of exposure they receive everyday, and the kinds of values and principles instilled in these children since young?

I mean, children’s basic behaviours are inevitably influenced by ‘how’ they’re brought up and their surrouding, yes?

They need to learn important values and principles from us parents, while we too walk our talk everydayIf you ask me, I say, all children need guidance.

They need to see genuine living examples.

They need to learn important values and principles from us parents, while we too walk our talk everyday.

The thing is, we are all far from perfect ourselves.

So, what should we do?

Well, I believe, as long as we try and struggle everyday to do what we believe as right, … that is the start we all need.

Also, when our children see how we too genuinely struggle, just like them, everything becomes more real for them, … and together we learn to depend on God’s help even more.

Food for thought.

Any thoughts to share?

Vai : The Ups and Downs of Learning Something New

28 January 2011 | Posted in: Daily, Parenting | No Comment

The other day, Vai tried on Anya’s rollerblades for the first time.
And obviously, it was hard for the little guy to stand steadily or move around without wobbling and tumbling down.
Daddy held his hand, but …

About Anya, Her Love for Words and God’s Grace

1 April 2010 | Posted in: Daily, Inspirational, Parenting | 4 Comments
anya_readsbook

Now that Anya is in K2 (read: Kindergarten 2, the year before she goes to Primary One here in Singapore), I get to see more of her love for writing and words.
Which to me is …

Kids : Reading and Learning

27 July 2007 | Posted in: Daily, Inspirational, Parenting | No Comment
librarytime

Just like any other mommies, I try my best in teaching and encouraging my kids to grow and develop. Naturally.
And one of the things that I’d like them to slowly grow and love doing, is …

Happy Father’s Day

19 June 2011 | Posted in: Marriage & Relationships, Parenting | No Comment

If you ask me,
I’d say there’s no such thing as a perfect Dad or a perfect Husband.
But there is a Dad
who gives his best for his family
who makes time to play Lego bricks, tell bedtime stories …

Through thick and thin for the past eight years

7 July 2009 | Posted in: Marriage & Relationships | 12 Comments
8anniversary

This is my Facebook status today :
… and so today marks the day when I’ve gone through thick and thin with the same man for EIGHT years … and they say, it’ll only get better!
[and …

Marriage Tips and Thoughts : You’re not alone!

26 November 2008 | Posted in: Marriage & Relationships | No Comment
Marriage Tips and Thoughts : You’re not alone!

Source: Focus on the Family (Canada)
Whether you’re newly wed or married for years, busy lives can make going out a challenge, let alone going out with other people. However, making time with your spouse to …