Protecting Family Time From Screen Time

Protecting Family Time From Screen Time

Socially distanced but digitally connected. That pretty much sums up what happened globally when COVID-19 hit us in 2020. Who would have imagined that in order to stop the spread of the virus, we have to isolate at home, get quarantined, and go as far as having lock-downs across cities, states and countries. It was no different here in Singapore.

In April 2020, the Singapore government announced a circuit breaker, a partial nation-wide lockdown, where non-essential workplaces including schools had to close and move online. Prepared or not, eLearning became the default learning mode where students had to quickly adapt to digital learning.

But guess what, our children proved how adaptable they are as they rose to be digital natives like fish to water. I saw my daughter navigating video platforms like Zoom, and Teams with ease and I even had to take a lesson or two from her.

To cope with social distancing, she took to playing games online and chatting with friends on WhatsApp and Google hangout. Entertainment choices were at her fingertips ranging from streaming channels, YouTube, Spotify and the list goes on.

While I saw how technology was a saviour to keep us entertained and socially connected to the world outside, it could have potentially been a curse if there were no ground rules with a free for all pass. It is one thing to read news and articles about how technology can draw us and suck us into our devices, making us oblivious to the ones next to us, and it was another to see it unfolding in my family.

I was particularly disturbed that it drew us apart as a family because we were so caught up about being connected with everyone else online. What an irony.

So even though I saw many benefits from a digital lifestyle, enough was enough and we decided to dump our devices and head outdoors instead. We picked up cycling as a family and explored places on our wheels. We cycled on familiar routes in the city and got more adventurous with longer routes along the coast. It was refreshing for body, mind and soul and became a new family activity that we looked forward to on the weekends.

Being in a lock-down made us appreciate nature so much more and it was a much needed respite with all the negative news on escalating COVID cases here in Singapore and around the world. Our weekend cycling adventures gave us something to look forward to and it bonded us tighter as a family of three.

It made me realise that even though our children may appear to choose their devices over us, it’s up to us as parents to draw the boundaries and offer them an alternative. An alternative which the whole family can be involved in while building deeper connections. An alternative that is healthy, wholesome and it never hurts if it’s lots of fun too!

Parents, let’s win the war to win the hearts of our children to strengthen and protect our parent-child relationship instead of leaving them to their own devices, literally. In a world where things have thrown us off balance, we can be the stabilising force in our kids’  lives to give security and hope as we look forward to the day when we stamp out COVID.

What activities did you start with your family during COVID-19?

Susan Koh

Susan is from Singapore. As a full-time working mom, she's still learning to perfect the art of juggling between career and family while leading a happy and fulfilled life. She can't get by a day without coffee and swears she's no bimbo even though she likes pink and Hello Kitty. She's loves to travel and blogs passionately about parenting, marriage and relationship and leading a healthy life at A Juggling Mom.

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SINGAPORE: When your kid is done trying

SINGAPORE: When your kid is done trying

If you have a kid at home, chances are you’ve probably watched Zootopia. It’s a story about how an unlikely bunny, became the first female police officer in a male dominated environment. But this is not about the movie itself.

This is about the movie’s theme song; “Try Everything”, by Shakira.

When the school term started, I pinned up motivational quotes and growth mindset visual reminders on my daughter’s notice board. I’m big on inspirational quotes and I believe that positive reinforcement helps to shape our thinking and behavior.

Since she was so hot about the song “Try Everything”; I printed the lyrics and made it her theme song for the year. She promised that she’ll similarly have a, try everything attitude and not give in or give up easily.

Sounded promising doesn’t it?

However, barely a month into the school term my 8 year-old was all ready to throw in the towel and decided that she’s done with trying because school work is so difficult. When I questioned why she didn’t attempt to do her assessment books which I bought as a supplement to her school work, she answered nonchalantly, “I have no idea how to do it”, and ended it at that. So much for teaching her about having a growth mindset and where’s that try everything attitude that she promised?

What made me furious was not because she didn’t know how to do it which is acceptable if she’s not learnt it in school.  Rather it’s her lack of efforts in trying because she assumed that I’ll dish out the answers to her. That to me is simply unacceptable and I ranted about it on Facebook.

Turns out I was not alone and many parents had similar struggles with their kids.

So what’s a mum to do?

We lead by example by not giving up on our kids and trying different approaches to see how best to get to them. It can be a tricky balance between encouraging and pushing our kids finding out how we can change their attitudes and how they have to be responsible for their own learning.

These days, I’m also teaching my daughter that there’s no shame in failing because now she has discovered what is wrong. She can be one step closer to what’s right. And in the process, I’m reminded to praise the efforts she’s taken rather than the results themselves so that she is undeterred even when she has to take on more demanding tasks.

How do you encourage your kids to try tackling a new or challenging task?

Susan Koh

Susan is from Singapore. As a full-time working mom, she's still learning to perfect the art of juggling between career and family while leading a happy and fulfilled life. She can't get by a day without coffee and swears she's no bimbo even though she likes pink and Hello Kitty. She's loves to travel and blogs passionately about parenting, marriage and relationship and leading a healthy life at A Juggling Mom.

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SINGAPORE: Supporting Dads to get more involved

SINGAPORE: Supporting Dads to get more involved

With the rise of dual income families, the roles of mums and dads have become less conventional where roles are no longer confined to one gender. What used to be a typical arrangement of dads shouldering the financial responsibility of bringing home the bacon and mums staying home to be the main caregiver of the children have evolved over the years.

It’s undeniable that fathers bring another dimension of parenting in the family and while they do things very differently from us mums, they hold a very important role in raising and shaping the kids. A recent conversation with a girlfriend made me even more appreciative of my husband and led me to think about how as wives, we can give them a hand to be a more involved and active dad at home.

Biology is the least of what makes a father

Recognizing our differences

I used to complain about why my husband thinks and acts so differently from me on many matters, especially when it comes to parenting; but I’ve come to recognize that our diversity is what allows my child to have a broader perspective and richer experience from her interactions with both of us. Now I no longer jump to conclusion about his way of doing things and am also more open to other possibilities, a trait that I want my child to embrace as well.

Dads impart confidence

I could be stereotyping, but in our home, hubby is the one who taught my child how to cycle, ice skate, attempt wall climbing, amongst other sports. Dads tend to encourage kids to go faster, higher, further while mums tend to be cautious and protective.

When I found out that my daughter learnt how to paddle on her two wheel bike by going down a slope, I almost flipped and was about to lecture my hubby on the potential dangers when my daughter interrupted and assured me that she had her helmet on while she mastered how to cycle on her two wheel bike that afternoon.

Dads think differently

As mums, we build relationships by being open to our problems, showing empathy and being caring. While dads are all about loyalty and trustworthiness when it comes to friendship. These are all important qualities and both spectrums teach our kids how to develop healthy friendships with their peers.

Anyone can be a father. But it takes someone special to be a Dad.

Dads show affection differently

Dads may not be big on hugs and kisses but they demonstrate love nevertheless with acts of service like ferrying the kids to school, taking the kids out for their favourite dessert and giving them high fives.

And speaking of affection, did you know your man is more likely to be a more involved dad when they’re in a loving and supportive marriage. Marriage like parenting is a partnership where both parents have a role to play.

Practical ways to support your man

Here are some practical ways on how to get your man more involved with the kids

  1. Encourage one on one time: Go for a car ride to pick up dinner on weekends, read a bedtime story together, build the craziest Lego creation. Discover what common interest your child and hubby has and nudge them to spend time together without you hovering over.
  2. Attend a school event: Suggest that daddy takes a day off to attend that sports meet or school excursion that your child has been looking forward to.
  3. Do chores together: What’s even more sexy than a man helping with household chores is getting the kids involved, like washing the car together, hanging the laundry or setting a challenge to see who fold the dried laundry the fastest
  4. Be a teacher: Give dads a chance to help kids with their homework too. They may not have as much patience as us mums, but they may fare better than us when it comes to maths and science.
  5. Recognize their efforts and praise them: Dads need all the encouragement they need to be a more involve parent. If they’ve taken efforts to do so, praise them for it and they’ll more be more likely to do it more often.

How do you help your children’s father be a more involved dad? Tell us in the comments so we can get to know your family.

This is an original article by World Mom Susan Koh from Singapore.

Susan Koh

Susan is from Singapore. As a full-time working mom, she's still learning to perfect the art of juggling between career and family while leading a happy and fulfilled life. She can't get by a day without coffee and swears she's no bimbo even though she likes pink and Hello Kitty. She's loves to travel and blogs passionately about parenting, marriage and relationship and leading a healthy life at A Juggling Mom.

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Singapore: Meditation in the Life of a Coach-Mom

Singapore: Meditation in the Life of a Coach-Mom

“Please join us in the 2016 #Heartfulness Meditation Conference in the USA. If you are a World Moms Blog contributor, or reader, or  fan, please contact us (info@worldmomsblog.com) for a free pass.”470x246_fb********************************************************************************************************************

Below is the experiential journey of our #WorldMom, Ruth Wong from Singapore, where she talks about the benefits of trying meditation as a tool to improve the mental and holistic aspects of her life. Her earlier experiences led her to #Heartfulness meditation on the Webinar workshops conducted by #WorldMomsBlog

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Before I started my training to become a life-coach, words like “Mindfulness” and “meditation” were just the latest buzzwords on the internet and social media. Little did I know that they would soon become an integral part of my life.

#heartfulness

During my training to become a coach, I was taught how to use conscious breathing, guided meditations and visualizations as powerful tools to facilitate my client’s transformation with more ease and readiness. Of course, before we can become the teachers, we are first the students, and that’s how my meditation journey began.

In the beginning, all I did was to sit by myself and do deep breathing exercises. I began to research and learn about different breathing techniques and meditation.

#heartfulness

Then over time, I listened to my heart and allowed myself to be guided by my intuition. Some days, I would do affirmations during my meditation session, other days I would be contemplating an issue and seeking answers to it, from within my own heart.

A journal would be by my side so that I can jot down the insights and ideas received during meditation.

Then there are days where I would do guided meditations by listening to recordings by my coaching mentor. What is meaningful to me is the fact that I’ve found my way to calm, and created a special, sacred space for myself where I can go inward into my heart, to find balance, get grounded and discover answers to whatever is going on in my life. And I’m thankful for this.

So I was delighted when I found out that this beautiful #WorldMoms community has started on its meditation journey too.

We have two heartfulness meditation trainers among us who have come together to facilitate meditation sessions for our world moms. I had the chance to join the session quite recently and enjoyed the experience.

It felt good to be meditating together, all of us from different parts of the world connecting online and in spirit. I appreciate the opportunity to try a new way of meditating and continue learning more about this ancient practice.

Our founder, Jennifer Burden, wanted to use the meditation session to focus on world peace; I thought that was such a wonderful idea! If you would like to try out Heartfulness meditations, begin with this relaxation video. If you would like to go to an advanced stage, drop up us an email or mention in the comments of this article.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCRb6U0_CQE

If you’ve not tried meditation, I would say, go try it! There’s really nothing to lose and everything to gain.

I am no meditation expert and won’t say one is better than another. In my own meditation journey, I’ve done different things at different moments, and found that my changing needs has taken me across the spiritual path, as I tread it.

Are you interested to try out Heartfulness meditation? Or if you have already been meditating, what type of meditation do you do?

Picture/Infographics Credit: Author/www.Heartfulness.org

Ruth

Ruth lives in Singapore, a tiny island 137 kilometres north of the equator. After graduating from university, she worked as a medical social worker for a few years before making a switch to HR and worked in various industries such as retail, banking and manufacturing. In spite of the invaluable skills and experiences she had gained during those years, she never felt truly happy or satisfied. It was only when she embarked on a journey to rediscover her strengths and passion that this part of her life was transformed. Today, Ruth is living her dreams as a writer. Ironically, she loves what she does so much that at one point, she even thought that becoming a mom would hinder her career. Thanks to her husband’s gentle persuasions, she now realises what joy she would have missed out had she not changed her mind. She is now a happy WAHM. Ruth launched MomME Circle, a resource site to support and inspire moms to create a life and business they love. She has a personal blog Mommy Café where she writes about her son's growing up and shares her interests such as food and photography.

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SINGAPORE: #IWD2016 – Let’s End Gender Discrimination at the Work Place

SINGAPORE: #IWD2016 – Let’s End Gender Discrimination at the Work Place

carousel_1366x415 - Gender

Being a working mom is not an easy feat. You are constantly on your toes both on the work front and on the home front where you need to give both your 101%. But while it may have it’s fair share of challenges, I’m glad to be a working mom in Singapore where the marketplace recognises the value of what women can bring to the table.

In the past, it’s not uncommon to hear how employers will show gender preference towards men who are perceived to be go-getters, sharp and gets things done. And what’s unsaid is that men will not disappear for a good four months when a baby comes along. And their hesitation to employ women doesn’t end there as the mother is usually the one to drop everything at work if anything happens at home, especially when there are young kids at home. And even with female employees, they often get by-passed for promotion and get lower salaries than their male counterparts.

As a small nation whose only resources lie in our human capital, we simply cannot afford to allow this bias to prevail in our society where women take a back seat when they start to have a family.  The journey to overcome this gender discrimination at the work place has taken a long time. With efforts from both the state as well as employers the results are encouraging with 76% of women in their prime working ages of 25 to 54 years are in employment in Singapore.

But what really worked was the mindset that women can have their place in the workforce and are equally capable and dedicated to their work as well as their families.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th, I hope that all women will have equality in employment opportunities as we continue to strive for gender equality in the workplace to transform the society to be fair and inclusive.

Picture credit: https://www.tafep.sg

Susan Koh

Susan is from Singapore. As a full-time working mom, she's still learning to perfect the art of juggling between career and family while leading a happy and fulfilled life. She can't get by a day without coffee and swears she's no bimbo even though she likes pink and Hello Kitty. She's loves to travel and blogs passionately about parenting, marriage and relationship and leading a healthy life at A Juggling Mom.

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Meet Our #Worldmoms From Asia and Australasia – Part 2

Meet Our #Worldmoms From Asia and Australasia – Part 2

Last fortnight we met a few #WorldMoms from Asia and Australasia.

This week on the blog, we meet these exciting bloggers from Asia. They are funny, kind, inspirational, and most importantly moms who are here to make a difference and change the world!

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Patricia Cuyugan lives in the Philippines and blogs at http://mrspcuyugan.com
She blogs about Family and Lifestyle. She tells of her blog as a ‘timecapsule of all the fun stuff that she gets to do, and all of the wonderful family memories she makes.’

Patrician Cuyugan from Philippines

Patrician Cuyugan from Philippines

Her favorite post from last year is “2015 in 12 Photos” and it pretty much sums up what her blog is all about. That is a a collection of all her best memories of 2015.

In her own words, she loves hanging out at World Moms Blog because

“WMB makes me feel like I matter as a mom and as a woman 🙂 “

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Ruth Wong is from Singapore and she blogs on World Moms Blog at http://www.worldmomsblog.com/author/ruthwong/

Ruth & family from Singapore

Ruth & family from Singapore

She is an inspirational blogger. Yet at the same time, her writings are authentic and real in a simple way. Her writings come from her heart. Ruth Wong is an introvert, champion of living life on purpose, a big believer of dreams and on a mission to support women to create a life they love and become the best version of themselves.

Her favorite posts of herself from World Moms Blog is ‘Motherhood Is Not a Competition‘ and ‘Letter to an Imperfect Mom‘. She is writing these as a reminder to herself.

Ruth says, from the bottom of her heart, “It’s cool to be a part of WMB because I’ve made some true friends here and it’s wonderful to be able to connect so deeply with moms from all over the world! 

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Piya Mukherjee is from India and her posts are listed here http://www.worldmomsblog.com/author/piyamukherjee/

Piya Mukherjee from India

Piya Mukherjee from India

Piya loves to tap into the little moments of motherhood to explore the rich feelings that they often evoke.
She wrote “My baby is Growing up” to show the myriad of feelings of motherhood – there is joy, pride, fear and even some regret for missed moments…
What Piya feels about World Moms Blog is –
“In a world that can be seemingly superficial and even violent at times, talking on WMB feels like being a part of a strong sorority of mothers, where we all are working towards a better planet for the next generation.”
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Susan Koh is from Singapore and she blogs at ajugglingmom.com. She is a parenting blogger trying to remember that she is more than just a mom.

Susan Koh from Singapore

Susan Koh from Singapore

Her blog AJugglingMom was birthed in 2011 to share her journeys as a mom as well as to share resources that are close to her heart like parenting, marriage, health and fitness and activities for kids.

She once wrote a letter to her daughter, Sophie, after she accepted that she might be her first and last child. It was not easy to write it as she was battling with the many whys even though they tried for years. But it brought peace and a great sense of gratitude. Another was to her ‘boring’ husband whom she is happily married to, for 10 years and why sometimes boring works!

She says, “Being a part of WMB has been an incredible experience as we mums are making a difference to raise issues like education for girls, social good and human rights around the world. At the same time, we also share our personal parenting stories from around the world and learning how to be more than just moms 🙂 “

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A special thanks to #WorldMom Orana from Indonesia for the production of this series.

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Is there any #WorldMom you would specifically like to know more about on the blog? Tell us in the comments and we would feature her soon! Meanwhile, say Hello to today’s featured #WorldMoms from Asia!

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Stay tuned! Next week is a complete surprise!

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children.

World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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