Tag Archives: daughter

3 Suggestions for Mother and Daughter Time Together

For children, love is spelt t.i.m.e.

And for kids whose love language is quality time, they definitely appreciate it when their parents set aside time for some parent and child bonding. For the kids, the activity itself is not as important as the time spent together. But if you’re stuck for ideas, here are some suggestions of what you can do to enjoy mother and daughter bonding:

Cooking or baking
Weekends give us the opportunity to whip up something in the kitchen together. For those with little budding chefs or bakers, get them involved in the food preparation or even cooking process. Not only will they (or their future spouse) thank you for imparting to them a life skill in future, the time in the kitchen can also be little lessons when it comes to learning measurements, food nutrition, etc.

And if you are wary about the kids hurting themselves, they can be given simple tasks. Sophie likes to help me stir the pancake mix, and even attempts to fry them on the stove while I stand next to her. Other times, she’s asked to help me set the table. After all, helping with these little tasks makes the kids more appreciative of the work that goes behind each meal that is served to them on the table as well.

Art and crafts
When it comes to art and craft ideas, Pinterest and the Internet are my best friend. There are so Crafts by A Juggling Mommany activities and ideas that are suited for all ages and interests. The only problem is finding the time to make or do them…!

Some of these crafts can be games, like what we did with these paper clips fishing game or even finger puppets.

Besides giving kids an outlet for their creative expression, art and craft can all be an excellent form of learning experience as you find fun and creative ways to teach new concepts or lessons.

Some recommended art and crafts sites that I’ve bookmarked are Artful ParentActivity Mom and Childhood 101.

Get outdoors
We didn’t think twice Play by A Juggling Momwhen Sophie requested to pick up roller blading or swimming. After all, it’s important to get the kids moving and anything beats sitting in front of the TV or playing on the iPad. Most kids don’t get enough outdoor play and it will do them good to see more greenery and get a healthy dose of vitamin D.

Going outdoors can be as simple as going to the nearby park for a walk, letting them ride their bicycles, or heading to the neighbourhood playground for a swinging good time.

There’s probably a lot more that mothers can do together with their daughters (and sons). My suggestion: make it a point to find out what your child enjoys, and make an effort to bond over their favourite activity.

Have any suggestions on activities mothers can do with their daughters? Share them in the comments below!

This guest post comes courtesy of Susan, a mum, wife, career woman and home maker all rolled into one. She blogs about her parenting journey and shares her travel adventures at A Juggling Mom, and tries to keep sane with a healthy and positive outlook in life.

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Recognizing and Celebrating Each Child

October saw different ones sharing ways to love your children; to round up the series, I’ve been asked to share the principle Cheryl and I live by when it comes to loving our daughters and parenting in general:

Recognizing and celebrating each child’s uniqueness.

We believe that children are a gift from God, and recognize that each child is different. Therefore we purpose to appreciate, enjoy, and celebrate each child’s differences… and I would encourage you to do the same too.

How to recognize your child’s uniqueness (or differences) 
As you spend time with your children, communicating and observing them – you’ll be able to see the differences between them. Once we recognize that each child is unique, it’ll lead to us wanting to treat each child differently.

As a case in point, both my eldest and youngest daughter share the same primary love language (Words of Affirmation). Yet when it comes to displaying the language, what we say differs; I look for different traits and characteristics to praise.

My eldest daughter is hard worker, and has achieved many things, so Cheryl and I affirm her for her effort, and for living to her fullest potential. As for my youngest daughter, she is enthusiastic, and loves helping people, so we encourage and affirm her positive attitude. We celebrate her love and compassionate heart for others, and appreciate her for helping those around her.

We tell our daughters that their uniqueness is a gift, and we make it a point to celebrate their uniqueness and individuality.

Why celebrate each child’s uniqueness?
Some of my friends feel that if you have two children, where one is book smart and the other not so, you try to make the one who is not as book-smart less discouraged by not celebrating the result. In my view, it’s better to recognize each of their strong points rather than downplaying it.

This goes back to the first point where each child is different. Perhaps your child who is not as book-smart may be gifted in sports. Or perhaps your child enjoys baking, or writing new music. I am certain that there will certainly be an area for you to celebrate and take delight in, regardless of what it is.

For example, my younger daughter enjoys sports, and when she does well, we bring the whole family out to celebrate. One is better at arts, another is better in studying … I tell each of my daughters that it’s okay to excel in different areas, and we celebrate them all.

In essence, it’s about celebrating each child, not toning down celebrations for one. As you affirm and appreciate their differences, you’ll see them blossom and grow in confidence and stature.

A family that celebrates together stays together
When we celebrate one of my daughters, we do so as a family. Recently when one of my daughters came in 19th at a national sports meet, we had a nice dinner at home and commemorated the occasion with a cake. To us, it’s not about having a lavish celebration, but rather, a simple and meaningful affair.

That said, celebrations need not be confined to achievements; it should also be about the person and character. For example, if your child spends time volunteering at orphanage to read stories to the children you can celebrate and praise his/her compassionate nature.

In due course we noticed that it helped to tamper down the need for comparison and actually strengthened the sisterly bond between them. They are able to rejoice together with their sisters wholeheartedly and are proud of them.

As for Cheryl and I, we are proud of the young ladies our daughters are becoming, and would not have wanted it any other way.

Editor’s note: This post concludes our Loving our Children series. You can view the other posts in the series here. For inspiration on effective ways to love your children, visit our website and/or download a free activity pack!

Today’s post comes courtesy of Andy Sim, an IT professional by training. He is happily married and has 4 daughters.

Learning From My Parents: Deborah’s perspective

When I think of Mum, I think of kindness. I think of the chocolates she buys back from the numerous trips she and Dad made to overseas; half of what she buys is typically gifts for other people. Back home, whenever she finds seasonal rarely-found fruits like peaches or cherries, she always brings some to share with her siblings and her mother. The fruit-lover in me protests… Obviously I have some work to do in the generosity department.

Mum is really healthy and disciplined. In fact, Mum is the one who started our family on jogging, and can run faster than I. She remembers (and laughs at) the one time I stomped my way to the end of the track because I was tired. The point of jogging is to jog – not sure how much clearer I can get about that – and my loud steps must have given it away, but I’m thankful that Mum continued to be loving and patient with me.Lees [1]

Mum never complains about making Dad a honey drink whenever he eats too much sambal belachan. She never gets tired of buying a meal back for him, and I have also never heard her complain about Dad or say something bad about him. Think about that! A woman who doesn’t gossip? I think my Dad picked a great woman. I hope I get more than just her genes.

In consolation, I have been told that I am like my mother. Mum has even said that some things I do mirror her. Not her style, but her. Really.

I get really pleased when I hear that! While I am still some ways from that, I think I’m going to be a great woman. Talk about confidence…! Seriously though, I get my outgoing-ness more from someone else. Speaking of confidence, enter Dad.

Dad, to me, is the epitome of selflessness, the opposite of self-centeredness. I think of the times when Dad would do the laundry all by himself when Daniel (my twin brother) and I were studying for the ‘O’ Levels. I think of how he drives our family around 99% of the time. I think about how he circles the parking lot again and again waiting for a parking lot while Mum, my brother and I head to the restaurant and sit comfortably.

Back to confident Dad. He is really outgoing. Two years ago our family went to my mother’s invite-your-family-to-dinner company dinner. It was held in a Japanese restaurant, and each family was separated by the tall seat back rests. Most families were busy enjoying the food and talking among themselves. Dad looked over our back rest and started talking to the family sitting behind us. It’s hard to describe, but if you think about it, it’s something rather unusual for a Singaporean to do.

family pic in sepAnother incident that would prove my point would be the fact that he – together with another neighbor – organized a barbecue for the neighbors living on our floor. How often do neighbors get together to know each other a little better? Rarely. I liked that barbecue, and am thankful for Dad’s communal ways.

I also like that my Dad is honest with me. He thinks I could lose 1% of my body weight and says it as such. It’s not a toned-down version of “Deb, I think you’re fat”; he just thinks I could trim down the love-handles by a bit. Yes, I feel the “Ouch but I’m happy to hear him speak honestly. Dad is funny too.

He doesn’t eat almonds so when he eats a bag of mixed nuts he asks my brother and I to finish the remaining nuts… all of which happen to be almonds. He is also known in the office to be a joker, someone who lifts the atmosphere and makes everyone feel a little more cheery.

I’ve heard people say of how much they wish their parents – Dads in particular – would hug or kiss them. Me, I think I get a little too much. I’m out of secondary school and Dad still likes holding my hand. He likes telling people that they can find parts of his heart outside the my former secondary school, the consequence of my letting go of his hand one day as the both of us were approaching the school. I feel bad whenever I hear that.

However, the feeling doesn’t last long when I think I’ve experienced hug-overkill: my older cousin remembers my brother and I bargaining with Dad in her house when we were in primary school. Us kids went “Dad, five hugs a day maximum!” But as I say from time to time, I appreciate Dad’s gestures of love and affection.

I am grateful and proud of my selfless, loving, affectionate and community-minded Dad. My future husband is going to be a great man (refer to my brother’s post), and I can’t wait. (Wait… Dad are you reading this? Uh, your princess can wait. Anyhow, I love you Dad.)

daniel and deborah with chipsWhat do my parents model together? My genius brother wrote a post, and you can tell our styles are pretty different. That’s because we are pretty different. But we make an amazing duo, and I believe our reflections paint a more complete picture of our parents.

I hope you enjoyed reading our different perspectives on what our parents model, and what we learn from them.

Editor’s note: This post is written in conjunction with our Loving our Children series. We thought it’d be great to hear the impact parents have on their kids from young adults like Deborah and Abraham. For inspiration on effective ways to love your children, visit our website and/or download a free activity pack!

Deborah, our guest writer, is a second-year polytechnic student. Her brother, Daniel, shared his thoughts in an earlier post on how their parents have been his role models and inspiration.

Learning From My Parents: Daniel’s Perspective

My dad used to joke that we have two models in my immediate family: him and mom, because they are our role models. It’s true, though, because they truly are role models for Deborah (my twin sister) and I.

It is said that as a male, you will marry someone like your mother. And if you are female, you will marry someone like your father. As such, the role of parents in providing healthy role models for their children and its importance is obvious.The Lees

I remember that when they disagreed, they would quickly make up and apologize to each other. Longer, drawn-out arguments were a rarity, and the rarity of ‘serious’ arguments between Mom and Dad was seen when Deborah recently recounted that in Primary School, one of us said “please don’t get divorced!” after they fought.

Mom and Dad taught us to do the same (make up and apologize) when Deborah and I fought. They taught us different skills when it came to conflict management, and always tell me that my fights with Deborah are good ‘practice’ for when we get married.

One thing Dad taught us by example was the importance of family. I remember that when he travelled overseas, we would always plan a time to call each other via Skype. That would require deliberate planning as Singapore and the countries he visited were often in vastly different time zones. The intentionality of these scheduled calls was evident, and we saw that if we didn’t plan, there was virtually no way it was going to happen.

Putting it into place meant that the specified time was meant for family, and just because we were not in the same place (and time zone) did not mean that we were not going to talk to each other. Mom and Dad made it clear that family was a top priority; relating to one another was not a matter of convenience. Of course, Dad could have used the time to rewind or catch up on work, but the importance of family time, albeit virtual, was important.

Also related to travel, Mom demonstrated sacrifice for us. Often times Mom and Dad were supposed to travel together for work trips. However, considering that it would entail leaving their then-pre-adolescent (and eventually adolescent) children alone at home, Dad would often travel alone while Mom stayed home to hold down the fort.

Even though she could have entrusted us with someone else, she explicitly chose to stay on for our sake (and probably for hers as well, so she would not be so worried about us). Though it would obviously be refreshing to go to another country and not having to worry about childminding, Mom chose to give it up on many occasions.

Of course, doing it all the time would be unrealistic, and she did go with Dad a couple of times. People might say it is not always possible or preferred, but again, it is down to priorities: what you value you will show through your actions. What Mom and Dad have done over the years have certainly showed Deborah and I that they value our family.

When I have kids, I hope I will be a great role model for them; just as I learnt from my parents in order to pass those lessons on to my kids, I am sure they will pass it on to their kids. The impact of a parent goes beyond the immediate second generation.

Mom and Dad, thank you for being my inspirations, role models and parents. I Love you both!

Editor’s note: This post is written in conjunction with our Loving our Children series. We thought it’d be great to hear the impact parents have on their kids from young adults like Daniel and Abraham. For inspiration on effective ways to love your children, visit our website and/or download a free activity pack!

Daniel, our guest writer, is a second-year polytechnic student. His sister, Deborah, will be sharing her thoughts this Saturday on what’s she’s learnt from her parents. Be sure to keep a look out for it!

My Man of Courage & Honor

I’ve just gone through the past week celebrating the man of my household, on Father’s Day and his birthday. We often hear about the sacrifices a mom makes for the family but things have been very different in my household since a year ago.

This time last year, I was going through a slew of diagnostic tests that led to the biggest ‘nightmare’ of our lives – I was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer.

We’ve had to make some adjustments as a family and the load on the husband has multiplied overnight. I thank God for the financial provision (and the insurance that covered all my medical bills) that allows the husband to be a full-time husband, full-time father. Literally!

So beyond the battle of uncertainties and the onward (somewhat) steep slope of recovery, our little girl and I have been enjoying the blessing of having our “man” around. Appreciation to this “man” is often downplayed by the lists of “to do’s”, for example:

As a husband,

I go to him when I need a shoulder to cry on and a ear to listen to my ranting when “life gets tough”, or when I need a cup of freshly squeezed organic juice. I am blessed with the best of everything – I get to enjoy the mussels and prawns while he takes the rice and I get to eat steaming hot oats while he goes without breakfast because he is busy washing up the dishes.

He has also become a victim of my harsh words especially when I am in pain. He’s unafraid to speak words of truth when I am on a downward spiral and is generous to lavish love even if it means buying a random item that is completely unimportant but simply that it makes me happy.

As a father,

Our little girl goes to him when she wakes up, needs to go to the bathroom, wants to swim, play or dance, needs her breakfast, wants a cuddle, too tired to walk and wants to be carried, too tired to eat on her own and wants to be fed … the list goes on.

She is a daddy’s girl who is assured of her father’s unconditional love and hand of protection. He doesn’t hold back discipline when the need arises and seizes opportunities to teach values even though it’s “easier” to just let it go.

It is natural for a man to gain his satisfaction at the workplace through climbing the corporate ladder. The sense of achievement through providing financially and gaining a reputation out there. But my beloved husband has laid aside all these and chosen to be the “man” in this season for the family.

It takes courage and devotion, and he has done all that excellently. It is no easy task for him, I know. The path he treads can be lonely especially with the uncertainties that lie ahead. But his steadfastness in this journey is nothing short of amazing and it has been the stabilizing force for our family.

I used to think that financial well-being and concrete future plans are the keys of a stable family, but my husband has shown me otherwise.

So this season has given me an opportunity to give thanks – for the husband and father of this household who has been standing unwavering in his love and commitment to me and our little girl. And this week has given me every reason to affirm and recognize him as the Man of Courage and Honor in our family and because of that we are truly, truly blessed!

This week’s blog post is contributed by Chia Yen who worked at Focus on the Family Singapore until a few months ago

A Date to Remember – Date with Dad 2012 (for inmates & their daughters)

Standing behind the girls, I held my breath as they stepped into the room where their dads – the inmates – were waiting. Would the dads be hostile? Would some girls refuse to talk to their dads? With these questions running through my mind, I peered cautiously into the room… and relaxed. I saw dads break into huge smiles, daughters hug their dads, tears being shed as they embraced each other. Which other event would bring tears right at the start? But this was IT – the first Date with Dad event held at the prisons had begun.

When the idea was birthed some months ago, I wasn’t sure if it was really going to happen. There were many more restrictions compared to the community event that took place on 11 February 2012. We were clueless about prison protocol and the logistics involved seemed daunting.

Yet now here we were. Ask me which the most memorable moment was for me, I would say the first ice-breaker. When the emcee announced that the daughters were going to help the dads tie a neck-tie, everyone let out an excited ‘Ooh!’ I remember laughing and tearing at the same time as I watched them play – laughing because I was so happy they were truly enjoying themselves, and tearing because my heart was warmed by their sincere enthusiasm.

As the event progressed, I witnessed many more tears. Tears as the dads and daughters shared from their hearts, using our little conversation starters to talk about topics they probably have never discussed before. Tears as they wrote letters to each other and shared them out loud on stage. Tears even from the staff and volunteers, who were so touched by all that they saw. And finally, tears as the father-daughter pairs hugged, and said their goodbyes.

There was one big difference between this and the community event. And no, I’m not talking about the venue. After the community event, the dads and their daughters went home together, some hand-in-hand. This time round, however, it made my heart ache to realize that the girls would be going home – alone.

The bus ride back to the visitor centre was a quiet one, as the girls stared out of the windows, deep in thought. Having talked to the girls before the event, I knew many were hurt and saddened by what their dads had done. Yet reflecting on all that had taken place that day, I felt that things were changing; it was as if restoration had begun.

I said a silent prayer of thanksgiving, trusting that this date would be a special memory in their hearts for a very long time to come.

This week’s guest writer is Ms Samantha Chin, Administrator (Research & Development), Focus on the Family Singapore. Sam was involved in the Date with Dad event held at the prisons last month.

Date with Dad

February 11, 2012 was Valentine’s Day weekend. This was also my daughter’s first-ever date and I was her special date at the Focus on the Family’s Date with Dad event. They host this annual high tea for teenage girls and their fathers.

I even got an info pack a week beforehand with an attached printable invite for my daughter. I printed it out in color and placed it on my daughter’s desk after I wrote her name on the invite. Later I saw this invite pasted on her wall.

My wife had told me that our daughter who is normally clad casually in jeans and T-shirt did not have a dress. So a month earlier my wife went shopping to buy a dress for her just for this special occasion. Two of her colleagues even volunteered to help shop with her.

On Saturday, Deborah looked really pretty in her new floral dress. My wife also helped me pick a nice shirt that would match her dress.

Our pre-booked taxi arrived but I forgot to open the car door for Deborah. Upon arriving at the Regent Hotel, I redeemed my lack of chivalry earlier and opened the door for my date!

Deborah and I walked to our table and I remembered to help her with the chair 🙂  We talked to the other 3 father-daughter pairs at our table and discovered that one dad had previously attended the same event with his older daughter. He was attending now with his younger daughter. I noticed that the participants and those who volunteered to serve at this event were all genuinely glad to be here.

This was indeed a high-quality event – the photo shoot for every father-daughter pair was very nicely done; a pair of teddy bears with a stalk of rose sat on our seats along with a goody bag; a table setting complete with Date with Dad colors and look; a professionally decorated stage and all the various meticulous details certainly set the stage and atmosphere for the program that followed.

Both the on-stage and off-stage games were fun and light-hearted. The quizzes were hilarious! The pack of questions helped us get into heart conversation. The letter writing to each other was helpful in bonding. The Father’s Pledge and the purity ring presentation were so special.

Thank you to Focus on the Family for this amazing afternoon. I am sure that the other 123 pairs of dads and daughters feel the same. For me, this day felt like a celebration of my relationship with Deborah. My daughter will definitely remember this date and the memories from this event are etched deeply in her heart. Just this morning, she showed me that stalk of rose from the event and my Date with Dad invite to her is still on her wall. What a daughter! What a date!

This week’s post is contributed by Ben KC Lee who was one of the Father-Daughter participants at FOTFS’ Date with Dad held on Feb 11, 2012.