Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Helping your child to overcome fear of the dark

My girl has developed a fear of the dark at age 5. I remember being afraid of the dark too as a child. I remember mum would get my older brothers and sisters to pretend to be animals mewing in the dark to "accompany" me and make me laugh. I would also insist that she waited till I slept before she did.

Recently my girl has been insisting that she sleep in a lit room. "I don't want to sleep in that room. The bed moves. The bed moves when its dark." she says.

"No, the bed doesn't move. There's nothing to be afraid of. You're a big girl now. There's nothing to be afraid of. Mummy is here." These were some of the things I told her and they haven't helped much because they are the wrong things to say according to some articles I've read. She would rather go and sleep alone in a brighter room than sleep together with me in a dark one. Her fear is real but I don't know how to help her overcome it.

I like this excerpt from askdrsears.com article on 7 ways to help your child handle fear.

" Acknowledge your child's fears in order to help her work through them. Strike a balance. Don't ignore the fears, but don't get over-involved in them either, or your child will play up the fear to get your attention. "

That makes sense. I am worried she will play up the fear because sometimes she is "rewarded" with being able to sleep with daddy in the brighter room instead of sleeping with baby in the darker one because of this fear. Its really hard to strike a balance. Guess I will try to implement some of the suggestions offered in the article and report back here if there is any improvement.

In the meantime here are some other article links that will be helpful to other parents facing the same "fear of the dark" issue:

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Home Schooling is not easy

I've slacked in teaching the kids at home because we were busy moving house and celebrating the Chinese New Year. Excuses! Excuses!

I must say that teaching the kids at home is really not easy at all. It requires a lot of commitment and "homework" on my part. (To become a teacher, first you have to learn and prepare yourself.) My kids are young. Only 3 and 5. Even then, I find it hard work! I really don't know how those who have older children and do home schooling do it.

Even with my young kids, I find that it takes up a lot of time and patience. A time must be set aside for their studies. Theres lots of distraction too. Take for example this morning, I was halfway teaching my girl her Malay language studies when my boy decided to have a poo. So I had to go and wash him up halfway then come back to continue with the teaching. Imagine that!

I have to have lots of discipline too. To sit down at the same time daily. (I'm bad at this. Usually we do our lessons whenever I'm free and thats really not such a good thing.) We should really sit down at the same time and same place everyday. I try to create as close to a "school" environment as possible so they will get used to the concept of school. I have to plan a syllabus and stick to it so that there is continuity in learning. Then I have to record down what I have thought less I forget! I also need to make sure that I teach several subjects, Maths, English and Malay languages, Arts and Crafts, Science, Moral Studies. I wish I could teach Chinese too but first I have to learn it myself!

Time, Commitment and Patience. Thats what you need to do home schooling, even for the very young pre-schoolers which I have at home. At least thats my experience. Hope other more experienced parents can share their homeschooling experiences too.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

A mother's job during festivals or celebrations

A mother wears many hats. Among them are being the educator and providing entertainment and food. During festivals, these "duties" feature even more prominently. Lol!

During this Chinese New Year festival, my job as a mother include:

  • creating good and happy memories for the kids
  • educating the kids about their culture and to be proud of who they are
  • making sure the kids get to taste all the best New Year foods or goodies
  • creating excitement and anticipation and fun for the kids during the festivals

I'm definitely looking forward to these "tasks". Planning and creating excitement for them by dressing them up in new clothes, giving them angpows and allowing them to partake in sweet drinks and cookies (its just once a year afterall) is very enjoyable to me too and makes the festival memorable for me and my spouse as well.

Happy Chinese New Year everyone!

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Toilet training two-in-one

I've been putting off toilet training the kids because we were moving house and there were just too many changes going on for us to be able to do this successfully together. My boy is 3 and my girl is 5.

My girl is still wearing her diapers during the night and for afternoon naps. I took her off the daytime naps diaper but it didn't work out. We both ended up more stressed so I put her back on it. My boy has shown signs of readiness for toilet training for some time now but I haven't started training him because I was not ready.

Well, we're now settling down into our new home now. So my goal is to start training both of them after the Chinese New Year festival. Wish me luck! And lots of patience. I'll definitely need both of that especially the latter during the toilet training process.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

My little nurturer

Girls are natural nurturers. Its just that way. They do not need to be taught.

I have fun watching my girl play the nurturing role. Often when her daddy falls alseep on the sofa, she would put the blanket over him, then cover his face with a pillow to block out the light (because she knows he likes it that way), then she would gently stroke his forehead and hair.

As for baby, sometimes, she would say to him "Come baby, let me tuck you in. Put your hand inside and put your toy outside. Don't lost (lose) it. Ok. Come." and then she proceeds to tuck him in bed. Then she gives him a kiss and say "Sweet Dreams". After that she lies down beside him and says "Baby, I sleep beside you ok?"

Its really touching to watch a little one being so caring and nurturing. I guess thats just in a girl's nature to be natural nurturers. :)

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Give affection and it will come back to you

Since its the day of love (Valentine's Day). I'm in the mood to write about the subject of love and affection.

Sometimes we complain that our spouses are not affectionate enough. A chat with girlfriends find this a common grouse among women. However, there is one thing we can do about it. We can give affection. Practise giving affection and you will find that it comes back to you!

Its easy to practise giving affection. An affectionate pat on the back or the rump (up to you), a stroke of the hair or face, a cuddle and a hug are all very easy to do and takes very little time. If you practise it often enough, you will see a response.

So why not try it out instead of complaining about the lack of affection after marriage and the kids. Act as if you're in love or as you did when you first fell in love with your man and see the difference. Do it everyday, not just today on Valentine's Day. And to all reading this, Happy Valentine's Day to you, you and you. :)

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Monday, February 12, 2007

How to get your child to say "I'm sorry" and mean it!

In the middle of last night, I heard a little voice saying "Mummy, sorry." It was my boy talking in his sleep!

He had learned this new "magic word" called "sorry" from his sister. My girl had learned that whenever she apologises for doing something wrong or bad, she gets a hug and a "Its ok" from me. So one day, when baby got a scolding for being naughty, she quickly told him "Go and tell mummy you are sorry." and baby who always copycats his sister in everything came and said "Sorry mummy." and got his hug and "Its ok, next time don't do it."

He has been using it ever since and now he's even dreaming about it. He must think that it is really such a magical word!

Well, now that I've got the children to say "I'm sorry." for their wrongdoings, can anyone out there please tell me how to get them to say "I'm sorry" and really mean it!!!!

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Take care of your health early

One of my girlfriends just told me that she has just been diagnosed with deep vein trombosis. My sister just had a d&c to treat her bleeding in between periods. I find that as I grow older, more and more people I know (including myself) start developing health problems.

Its all very well to eat, drink and be merry, forgetting all about the importance of sleep, exercise and a good diet but when you reach or approach middle age you will start regretting your earlier excesses.

So if you're a young woman reading this, its time to buck up and start taking care of your health early. Its even more important to take care of your health if you're a mother or going to become one for how can you take care of others if you don't take care of yourself first?

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Choking Risk and Choking Hazzard

An 11 year old girl choked on these kuih (local delicacy) recently. You can read more about this incident here: Girl chokes to death on kuih at school.

The onde-onde (thats what this local delicacy is called) is a popular dessert. The filling is usually soft and melts in the mouth. Its sweet and a favourite with children. I love them too.

I was really troubled to read about this death by choking incident. This is a reminder to me, yet again, to not take for granted that my 3 and 5 year old can be left alone to eat unattended, especially any food that can be a choking risk or hazzard. I'm sure that all parents are troubled by this news too. Let us remind each other to always be mindful towards our younger children and to teach our older ones to be careful too.

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Co-Sleeping with baby

I believe in co-sleeping with baby or the kids because it certainly facilitates and creates many bonding opportunities. For example, if I didn't co-sleep with baby, I wouldn't have had this moment to cherish.

I had turned away from baby to prevent him picking on the pimple on my chin when I felt a little hand on my shoulder trying to turn me towards him. This was followed by a small voice saying .... "Mummy, please turn around. I want to see your eyes."

I melted like butter. Its such a big sentence for someone small just learning to talk. So of course I turned around and gave him a big bear hug. Its moments like these I cherish when sleeping with the kids.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Most dreaded household chore

I don't mind housework but there are some that I find harder to do than others. For example,

  • I like to cook and the process of preparing to cook but I don't like to clean up and wash up
  • I don't mind doing the laundry ie washing, hanging, keeping and folding but could someone spare me the ironing please? (I used to send my clothes for ironing but having moved to a new place with my usual laundrette not conveniently near my house, I had to do the ironing myself. Phew! After spending a long time ironing and sweating it out, I was sad to see that none of my hubby's shirts look quite as nice as they used to when I sent them out for ironing. I took 30 minutes to iron his wool trousers and it looked like it hadn't been ironed at all. They were all crinkly and just awful. I find ironing a wasteful, time consumming task. In fact this post is inspired by my having to do the ironing after what seems like years of luxurious enjoyment not having to do it myself.)
  • I don't mind sweeping and mopping but I wish the toilet had a self-cleaning facility. Just press and button and tadaaa.... Could someone invent that please?

Oops! Household chores call out to me now. When I have some more time off from them, I just might continue this post.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Baby Security and Comfort Object

Since my boy was weaned, he has found himself a new security and comfort object to soothe himself to sleep. That security object is a pimple on my chin! Ouch! Whenever he is sleepy or tired his hands would automatically reach out to pinch or scratch the pimple on my chin. Pushing his hand away and saying "No, baby, its painful" doesn't seem to help. He'd either say "No, not painful." or start to cry.

Another method where I tell him, "No, baby. Pinch cannot. Hug hug can." then I'd give him a big hug does not seem to help either. I think the message has been drummed to him so that sometimes when I remove his hand, he would say to himself "Pinch Cannot. Hug hug can." but then in the next instant, his hand would reach out for that pimple again. I really don't know what to do about this. If you see a woman walking around with a large zit on her chin, thats probably me. His pinching is leaving me a scar!

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