Tuesday, December 15, 2015

50 Life Lessons Every Parent Should Teach Their Children

Ever feel like parenting is the toughest job in the world?
Parenting involves plenty of hard work. What’s more, there are no guarantees.
No matter how much you love your children, no matter how much time you spend with them, no matter how “perfect” of a parent you are … you can’t guarantee that your children will become successful and happy.
Nonetheless, there are many valuable life lessons you can impart to your children.
As your children learn these lessons, they’re more likely to grow up to be confident, well-adjusted, contributing members of society.
I’ve come up with this list of 50 life lessons that every parent should teach their children.
It’s taken me my whole life to learn these lessons. So I’m passionate about sharing them with my son (and future children), as well as the students I work with.
1. Success is more about contribution than it is about achievement.
2. Don’t worry too much about what other people think of you. They think about you a lot less than you imagine.
3. Focus on progress, not perfection.
4. Run your own race, not the race that other people expect you to run.
5. You cannot always choose your circumstances, but you can always choose your attitude.
6. School isn’t the place you go to get an education; school is just one part of your education. Be proactive in becoming a truly educated person.
7. Successful people do what other people aren’t willing to. Success is a mindset, not a goal to be attained.
8. You can’t win every time. So when you lose, do it gracefully.
9. You can learn something from everyone, no matter how “important” or “unimportant” the person may be.
10. Don’t blame others for your frustrations and disappointments. If you blame others, it means you haven’t taken full responsibility for your life.
11. Be generous. At the heart of it, living is about giving.
12. Watch as little TV as possible – preferably none at all. You’ll lead a more productive life this way.
13. Don’t multi-task. Do one thing at a time and you’ll be far more efficient.
14. Write down everything: your to-do list, your reflections, your goals, your dreams. As David Allen once said, “Your brain is a thinking tool, not a storage device.”
15. Don’t live with regret. Instead, focus on creating a better future for yourself and others.
16. Be a caring person. Care about your loved ones; care about your community; care about the world around you. Do this and your life will be fulfilling.
17. Try new things. Read new books, take up new hobbies, and eat new foods. These experiences will enrich your life.
18. Dare to fail. As Seth Godin once said, “If failure isn’t an option, then neither is real success.”
19. Life will disappoint you. Don’t give up.
20. Be willing to change. Changing yourself is one of the hardest things to do, but you can’t grow as a person if you’re not willing to change.
21. Celebrate often. Celebrate both the small and big things, and your life will be filled with joy.
22. Be intentional about spending time with people you respect and admire. Over time, you’ll become more like them.
23. Become an organized person. Being disorganized is one of the biggest causes of stress.
24. Don’t ever stop learning. The more you learn, the more you’ll appreciate the beauty of the world around you.
25. Get outside of your comfort zone on a daily basis. That’s the only way to grow.
26. Your habits will either make you or break you. Start building healthy habits today.
27. Show respect to every single person you meet. As J. K. Rowling once said, “If you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”
28. Learn to appreciate both the good and the bad. After all, in life there will be plenty of both.
29. When you make a mistake, apologize. Humility is a rare but valuable trait.
30. Take care of your health, starting right now. Your future self will thank you.
31. Be kind to the people you care about the most. Many people do the opposite – they’re the least kind to the people they’re closest to.
32. You can’t be great at everything. Focus on doing a few things exceptionally well.
33. Invest in your most important relationships. This is an investment you’ll never regret.
34. Define success for yourself. Refuse to blindly accept society’s definition of success.
35. Be kind to yourself. Show yourself respect, and don’t beat yourself up over your imperfections.
36. Develop a positive attitude. Your attitude is the most important factor that leads to success and happiness.
37. Be thankful. No matter what you’re going through, there’s always something to be grateful for.
38. Lead a balanced life. Reflect on your life every few months. Ask yourself what changes you need to make in order to find more balance.
39. Be resourceful. When faced with a problem, remember that there’s always a website, a book, a course, or a friend you can turn to for help.
40. Become a person of integrity. Do what you say you’ll do, and people will trust you. Without trust, it’s impossible to build strong relationships.
41. Learn to manage your thoughts and emotions. How you respond to frustrations and disappointments will largely determine your success.
42. Set big goals, but break them down into small steps. This way, you won’t feel overwhelmed. It’s also more likely that you’ll take action.
43. Your character is more important than your accomplishments.
44. Focus on the process rather than the end result. If you do this, the end result will take care of itself.
45. Your decisions determine your destiny. Whatever life choices you’re faced with, choose wisely.
46. Passion isn’t found. It’s cultivated.
47. As a follow-up to #46, find a problem in the world that needs solving. Acquire the skills and knowledge required to solve that problem, then get to work. This is how passion is cultivated.
48. Money won’t make you happy, but without money you’ll be unhappy. Learn to spend wisely so that you can achieve financial independence as soon as possible.
49. Listen to your parents more than you feel like. Most of the time, they really do know better than you.
50. Happiness is a choice more than it is a feeling.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Top PSLE scorers, take a bow

Chua Mui Hoong

Opinion Editor

Yes, we should broaden our definition of merit but there's no reason to downplay academic achievement

I don't remember the PSLE score I got as a 12-year-old. But I know it was good enough to get me into Raffles Girls' School which, then and now, is a school that strives for academic achievement - and may it never be ashamed to say so.
I was happy to get into RGS to follow in the footsteps of my big sister. But I wasn't particularly chuffed one way or another about my score or that I had topped my neighbourhood school.
In those days, no one boasted about his or her scores, but no one was ashamed of doing well either.
In secondary school, we more or less knew where each other stood academically, competed in a friendly fashion and got on with the important things in life, like playing netball and volleyball, and going window-shopping in the nearby Scotts Road shopping centres after school.
RGS then was a school with very bright kids, many from humble backgrounds like myself. Thrown together with such bright sparks, I bumbled along, eschewing the tougher science streams for the much easier "sub-science" stream once I knew I was more drawn to the humanities than the hard science. I graduated from RGS with significantly fewer A1s in my O levels than many of my friends. I also went on to get fewer As than my classmates at junior college, but won a scholarship to study literature at Cambridge, on the strength of good grades in that subject.
This litany of my quite-good- but-not-stellar academic achievements is just by way of saying that I don't understand the current reticence when it comes to PSLE results, when the Ministry of Education (MOE), schools and mainstream media all seem so shy about releasing information and stories about children who aced the Primary School Leaving Examination.

A few schools' websites list photos and names of their top scorers - but in alphabetical order. A website, kiasuparents.com, has crowdsourced a list of PSLE top scores in some schools - to the scorn of others.
Some well-known people have come forward with the humble brag that they didn't do well in the PSLE but went on to do well in life, to encourage students who might have done badly, to push ahead and continue their learning journey.
This is all very laudable.
But whatever happened to the old-fashioned virtue of celebrating success?
Instead of schools, parents and communities openly celebrating academic achievement, I find an awkward shroud of silence surrounding top scorers.
It has been this way since MOE decided to stop publishing the names of top scorers in the 2012 PSLE. I hope Singapore has not acquired a bad dose of the tall poppy syndrome, where people look askance at other people's achievements and want to tear them down, and where high achievers then feel the need to keep their heads down for fear of drawing unwanted envious attention.
I am sympathetic to the views of those who argue that the past laser-like focus on top scorers has created a culture where parents, children and society look at merit in purely academic terms.
I agree with those who say it is far better and healthier to celebrate success in different dimensions. As MOE explained in a parliamentary reply to questions on the policy in January 2013: "The change is aimed at recognising students for their holistic development and all-round excellence, and not just their academic performance only."
So for the PSLE, the media featured stories of children who overcame illness or grief to score well.
But recognising students' holistic excellence should not be coupled with downplaying academic achievement. So I would have liked to see the stories of the top scorers, and the schools that produced them, and the teachers who helped them get there.
Are there children who went from a fail grade to a stellar grade? A migrant child, new to the Singapore school system, who struggled to cope? A cleaner's child who topped the Maths paper? A teacher who refused to give up, to help a child overcome her dyslexia to do well enough in Mother Tongue to secure her place in the top league?
Let's not forget that it also takes discipline, grit and perseverance - the qualities we want our children to cultivate as part of their "holistic development" - to ace the PSLE. While we give a pat on the back to those who did better than expected, and encourage median students to strive for more, we shouldn't be shy about celebrating those who topped the league tables in exams either.
Otherwise, it would be like celebrating Singapore's achievement in the SEA Games without reference to the number of gold medals won, or reporting on a football game by focusing on missed passes and the valiant efforts of a few injured players, and failing to report on the high points in the game and refusing to name the strikers who scored the goals.
If we are proud of our nation's sporting achievements, and aspire to the Olympic gold by dangling a $1 million cash award, why should we dim the lustre of our 12-year-olds' academic achievements in a national exam?
A win in the sporting field, the artistic field or the academic field should be celebrated by the community, not played down and hushed up. We should teach our children to feel both pride and gratitude in their achievements; and to feel both admiration and aspiration in the face of others'.
Nor should we as a society pretend to be as modest and humble about our achievements as we seem to want our PSLE graduands to think we are. As a country, Singapore is not shy about trumpeting its successes.
We are not shy to boast on the Economic Development Board website that we are the No. 1 city with the best investment potential, have a workforce that tops Beri's labour force evaluation, and Singapore is the world's easiest place to do business.
Government websites aren't shy either about boasting about Singapore students' stellar performance in global education rankings, whether at the Pisa tests or OECD education rankings.
Government ministers routinely trot out tables and charts to show Singapore's achievements in governance, administration, tackling of corruption, or median income.
The truth is that Singapore is an intense, competitive society. We can and should learn to appreciate different types of success beyond the academic and the materialistic, and we should broaden our definition of merit. We should also beware of placing excessively high expectations on our children.
But we should not swing too much the other way, to become a society afraid to celebrate success and achievement. We should certainly not deny 12-year-olds, who have worked hard in their studies, the recognition they deserve for their hard work.
So, top PSLE scorer of 2015, whether from Rulang Primary as fingered by kiasuparents.com, or elsewhere. Top scorer in Maths/ English/ Science/ Chinese/ Malay/ Tamil/ Hindi/ Punjabi. Top scorer in each school. Top scorer in the merged streams. Top scorer among migrant children who transferred into the Singapore school system mid-stream. Top scorer with special needs who needed extra time or physical assistance in the exam.
To each and every one of you: Take a bow. Well done.
The PSLE result won't define the rest of your life. But at this moment, your achievement is something you should feel proud of, not something you feel you should hide from others.
I hope, even if the rest of Singapore don't know it, that your parents, your siblings, your aunties and uncles, your teachers, your friends and people around you know of your achievement and are celebrating it with you. Openly, with pride. Because you deserve it.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 06, 2015, with the headline 'Top PSLE scorers, take a bow'. Print Edition | Subscribe

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Japanese dad teaches daughter how to handle alcohol, has Twitter in tears

This guy should teach Good Parenting 101.
If there’s one universal cultural constant, it’s fathers being overprotective of their daughters.
Unfortunately there’s one other universal constant too: dads being bad at being overprotective. The usual “don’t do this” and “don’t do that” will at best elicit little more than a smile and nod with fingers crossed behind her back, at worst turn into endless frustrating arguments.
But one Japanese dad seems to have figured it out.
In a tweet that has racked up over 40,000 likes from Japanese netizens so far, this father explains how he went about showing his daughter how to stay safe in an unsafe world.
Here’s the tweet that introduced the story to the internet. (Translation below.)
▼ “I think good parents are the ones who teach their kids how to stay safe, rather than overprotective parents who just forbid their kids from doing things.”
こんなお父さんがいいな 夜遊びいくな!タバコ吸うな! 変な友達と遊ぶな!つって 束縛して縛る親よりは 夜遊びに行ってもちゃんと 自分で帰ってこられる範囲で 遊べ、とかこういうことしたら こうなるんだぞ、とかを 教えてくれる親がいい

‘When I was younger I was a bit of a rebel. I hung out with some “bad” kids and did some stupid things, but nothing that could get me in trouble. When I hit the drinking age, I think my parents were worried about me but didn’t know what to do. They knew that no matter what they said I’d just do what I wanted anyway, so they were stuck.
Finally, one day my dad said this to me:
“Hey Reiko, let’s go out drinking together sometime! I’ll take you wherever you want and you can order whatever you want. We can go to some fancy places, it’ll be great.”
As any young person who gets invited out to drink with their dad would probably feel, I didn’t really want to do. But, at the same time, back then I was interested in seeing what nightlife was like. I’d only just barely gotten a taste of it.
So, we went out, just me and my dad. Once we were on the town, he said this:
“All right! Drink all you want, Reiko. Drink until you can’t anymore. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure we get home. You feel free to go crazy.”
It felt really weird being told my dad to “drink all I wanted.” Wouldn’t Mom still be mad at me if I came home drunk? But, I didn’t worry about it too much. I’d already come this far, and Dad said he’d treat me to whatever I wanted, so I decided to take full advantage of the opportunity.
The first stop: a meat-grilling restaurant. The hostess thought I was Dad’s new girlfriend, which he was happy to play right along with.
The second stop: a nightclub. I had some drinks, and the people there saw through Dad’s ruse of pretending I was his girlfriend. But that just made him even happier. He jokingly blamed them figuring it out on my eyes, which he claimed looked just like his.
The third stop: a sushi bar. The chef was nice and had a hint of jealousy in his voice when he talked to my dad. He said that for parents,hanging out with their kid like he was doing with me was a dream come true. My dad was thrilled and encouraged me to keep eating and drinking, since this was a rare opportunity for the two of us to be out.
The fourth stop: a pub. I don’t remember much at that point. I don’t really remember what I drank… what we talked about….
The fifth stop: a “snack” bar. Don’t remember a thing. Pretty sure I just collapsed on the counter.
After that, Dad called a taxi and helped carry me home. I remember briefly regaining consciousness during that time:
“Oh wow. Hey, sorry, Dad. I got kinda drunk.”
“It’s okay. You just go to sleep.”
The next morning when I woke up in bed I felt awful. Not only from the hangover, but also the embarrassment of having drunk so much last night in front of my dad. I didn’t really want to face him after my drunken display last night.
But when I went to the living room, Dad was already gone. My mom gave me a note he’d written for me on the back of some advertisement. It read:
“To Reiko. Last night was fun. We should do it again sometime. Also, Reiko, do you know how much you drank last night to get in that groggy state? You had two beers and five chuhai (shochu high-ball). That’s your ‘limit.’ So from now on, when you go out drinking with friends, be sure to stop before you reach that limit. The world has some bad people in it, and some of them may want to take advantage of you. I can’t be around to protect you, so that’s why we did this, so you can know your own limit and protect yourself. I know you can do it. Love, Dad.”
And I proceeded to eat my breakfast in tears.
Mom told me that she and Dad had been worried for a long time how to best tell me all this. Rather than forbid me from doing things they knew I’d do anyway, Dad decided to show me how to take care of myself.
And for that I thank you, Dad. Because of what you did, I never went past my “limit.” I never had any problems with alcohol. I had fun out drinking with friends and never get hurt, thanks to what you taught me.
Now, years later, my dad isn’t as cool as he used to be. He’s an old man. The guy who took me around town drinking is gone. Instead he just spends the days in his garden, growing vegetables for me and his grandchildren to eat.
I am who I am today because of you, Dad. And I can’t think you enough.’
The story is quite straightforward and a little on the nose, but at the same time, it’s one that perhaps many parents could learn something from. It’s so easy to see your child as the same little kid whose diapers you used to change and would yell at when they stuck their fingers in the electric socket.
But once they get older, the same yelling and forbidding tactics don’t work. There comes a time to treat them like adults, no matter how hard that may be, and let them make their own choices. By then all you can do as a parent is help them make good choices, not forbid them from making bad ones, and this story lays out one way of going about it.
The story seemed to have a profound impact on Japanese net users, many of whom were moved to tears. Here’s what they had to say:
“Well, now I’m crying over my breakfast too.”
“I cried, then my friend asked what was wrong, and now she’s crying too.”
“I wish my dad did this. I’ve made so many alcohol-related mistakes….”
“What a cool dad.”
“As a father I worry about my daughter too. I hope I can do the same for her.”
Remember all you parents and might-someday-become-parents out there: if you truly love something, set it free. Or, in this case, set it free after a wild night on the town together.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

19 commandments from Maria Montessori to help you become the perfect parent

Maria Montessori is one of the small number of pedagogues who helped revolutionise how we think about raising children during the twentieth century. She was well known for formulating short but memorable commandments for parents. They are all essentially straightforward, but nevertheless contain a huge amount of wisdom. We recommend reading the following at least once a year.
  1. Children learn from what surrounds them.
  2. If a child is often criticised, it learns how to condemn others.
  3. If a child is often praised, it learns how to evaluate others.
  4. If a child is shown hostility, it will learn to fight.
  5. If you are honest with a child, it will learns the meaning of fairness.
  6. If a child is too often derided, he becomes shy.
  7. If a child feels safe, it learns to trust people.
  8. If a child is too often made to feel shame, it will learn to always feel guilty.
  9. If a child is given frequent encouragement, it will have high self-esteem.
  10. If a child is condescended to, it will learn patience.
  11. If a child is given support, it will be confident.
  12. If a child lives in an atmoshpere of friendship and feels that others need it, it will learn how to find love.
  13. Never speak badly of a child, in its presence or otherwise.
  14. Concentrate on nurturing the good in a child. That way, there will be no place left in it for the bad.
  15. Always listen to and answer a child’s questions or requests should it approach you.
  16. Respect a child even when it makes a mistake. It will be able to correct its error soon enough.
  17. Always be ready to help a child who requires assistance, and to stand aside when it’s found everything it needs.
  18. Help a child to master things early. This can be done by making sure the world around it is filled with affection, peace, and love.
  19. Always display the best manners to a child. Show it how to be the best it can be.

Thursday, August 6, 2015


A friend of mine related this story to me.
A boy was sitting at the back of the car and telling his mother that he scored a 98 for his math paper.
His mother asked two questions. Where did you lose the 2 marks?
Then, how many marks did so-and-so get?
It was initially a celebratory moment, for the boy at least. But the parent, rather unfortunately chose to focus on the lost marks.The world is moving at a break-neck speed, and parents all around the world are rushing their children to the next level of academic or social excellence.
As I read reports about how children are requiring mental health beds and how teen suicide rates are rising globally, I worry. I worry about my own kids, and how stress from their school, their peers, and even sometimes from us parents ourselves, will affect them later in life.
Performance stress comes from all fronts, but the worst of them all exudes from within.
The feeling that I’ll never be good enough…
As parents, we often wonder if we’re doing enough for our children, if they have enough to occupy their time and curious hands, if we’ve purchased the latest gadgets and technology for them to be able to keep up.
But our children’s grades are not a measure of our performance as parents.
And life isn’t one big race.
Since when did the human generation move forward by simply pitting ourselves head on with another one of our kind?
What happened to those good old values such as collaboration, helping the weaker ones among us, and leveling the field so that even those from less privileged backgrounds can rise to the occasion?
What really happens when we’re busy comparing ourselves (and our kids’ achievements) with others?
  • We miss out on the opportunity to be grateful for what we have.
  • We miss out on the opportunity to celebrate how much we’ve grown (relative to a year or two ago).
  • We also miss out on the opportunity to truly connect with, and make new friends.
If we the supposedly wiser ones, are unable to clearly differentiate between the things that matter and the things that don’t, how do we expect the young ones to do the same in their later years?
Here are some tips on how not to get caught up in the comparison game.
  1. Know what’s essential, stop focusing on what’s not. Character is more essential than grades; attitude is more important than ability. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that we allow our children to slack in their work, or not give two hoots about tests and assignments. Of course we still encourage them to give their best in every endeavour.
  2. Look at your child as an individual, appreciate her strengths and be honest about her weaknesses. Focus your energies on growing her in her strengths, build confidence from there, and then help her along in the areas of weakness.
  3. Recognise that academics are just one part of her personhood. Academic excellence doesn’t automatically make one successful. (Many of the most successful people I know did not ace their studies in school / did not even attend university.) Focus on building her character, self-esteem, emotional intelligence, and help her cultivate a passion about something – these are important factors to achieving success in life as well. This will help you raise well-rounded and secure children.
  4. Don’t parent from a position of fear. Don’t focus on your fears or your own failures. Rather learn to be secure with yourself and where your child is at. Focus on growth and learning; these will serve you and the generations after you, for life.
  5. Communicate that your love is not dependent on her achievements. Your love is unconditional. Knowing this will help remove the fear of failure from your child’s life.
  6. Build the soft skills too – like building friendships, teaching empathy and encouraging creativity in daily life. In this article on creativity, the author wrote that “Engaging in the creative process is a great confidence builder, because you discover that failure is part of the process.” That says it all, doesn’t it? Creativity is truly a gift that never stops giving.
When we compare, we lose the moments that are worth celebrating.We lose the opportunity to affirm our child for who he is and a chance to grow a grateful heart.
When we compare, we hinder our ability to rejoice with a friend’s success and to build stronger relationships; we forget to be teachable and humble.
When we compare, we create an atmosphere of insecurity, a culture of comparison. Our children grow up thinking, I’m not lovable, or I’ll never be good enough…
I don’t think that’s what we truly want for our kids.
What do you do to remind yourself not to compare?


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

How to cut children's screen time? Say no to yourself first

NEW YORK — Parents are often at fault, directly or indirectly, when children and teenagers become hooked on electronic media, playing video games or sending texts many hours a day instead of interacting with the real world and the people in it. And as discussed in last week’s column, digital overload can impair a child’s social, emotional and intellectual growth.
This sad conclusion of many experts in child development has prompted them to suggest ways parents can prevent or rectify the problem before undue damage occurs.
“There’s nothing about this that can’t be fixed,” said Dr Catherine Steiner-Adair, a Harvard-affiliated psychologist. “And the sooner, the better.”
As Ms Susan Stiffelman, a family therapist, put it in The Huffington Post, today’s parents are unprepared “to deal with the intense pull and highly addictive nature of what the online world has to offer. As parents, we have an opportunity to guide our kids so that they can learn habits that help them make use of the digital world, without being swallowed whole by it.”
Two experts at the Harvard School of Public Health, Dr Steven Gortmaker and Ms Kaley Skapinsky, offer a free guide, Outsmarting the Smart Screens: A Parent’s Guide to the Tools That Are Here to Help, as well as healthy activities to pursue to counter the weight gain that can accompany excessive screen time. Young children should not have their own cellphones or televisions in their bedrooms, they say, adding that even with teenagers it is not too late to set reasonable limits on screen time.
Dr Steiner-Adair, author of The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age, cited two common parental behaviours that can strongly influence a child’s tendency to abuse electronic media. Some parents are perpetually tuned into their own devices, responding to every ping of their cellphones and tablets, receiving and sending messages at times that would enrage Miss Manners. Other parents fail to establish and enforce appropriate rules for media engagement by their children.
Young children learn by example, often copying the behaviour of adults. I often see youngsters in strollers or on foot with a parent or caretaker who is chatting or texting on a cellphone instead of conversing with the children in their charge. Dr Steiner-Adair said parents should think twice before using a mobile device when with their children. She suggests parents check email before the children get up, while they are in school, or after they go to bed.
One girl among the 1,000 children she interviewed in preparing her book said, “I feel like I’m just boring. I’m boring my dad because he will take any text, any call, any time, even on the ski lift.” A 4-year-old called her father’s smartphone a “stupid phone”.
Dr Jenny S Radesky, a paediatrician at Boston Medical Center who with two colleagues observed 55 groups of parents and children at fast-food restaurants, noted that 40 of the adults immediately took out mobile devices and used them throughout most of the meal. Often more attention was paid to the devices than to the children.
The researchers also found that when parents were absorbed in their own devices, the children were more likely to act out, apparently in an attempt to get their parents’ attention.
Dr Steiner-Adair is especially concerned about parental failure to pay full attention to their children “at critical times of the day, like when taking children to and from school. This should be a cell-free zone for everyone — no Bluetooth for parents or devices for the kids. The pickup from school is a very important transitional time for kids, a time for them to download their day. Parents shouldn’t be saying, ‘Wait a minute, I have to finish this call’  ”.
Likewise, she said, when parents come home from work, “they should walk in the door unplugged and use the first hour they’re home as time to reconnect with the family. Kids hate the phrase ‘just checking’ that parents frequently use to justify a very rude, infuriating behaviour”.
Nor should parents or children be using devices when the family dines out, the psychologist said. “The art of dining and the connection between delicious food and nourishing conversation is being lost, not just in restaurants but at home as well,” she said.
Dr Steiner-Adair attributes a recent 20 per cent increase in accidental injuries seen in paediatric emergency rooms to caretakers’ failure to pay full attention to those they are supposed to be watching, like infants and toddlers in the bathtub or children on the jungle gym. “Your reaction time and attention is not the same when you’re texting or talking on a cellphone,” she said.
Ms Stiffelman, author of Parenting With Presence, realises that attempts to change digital behaviour can meet with resistance. But, she said, it is important to be fearless and decisive, and to avoid negotiations.
“Acknowledge your kid’s upset without delivering long lectures about why they can’t have what they want,” she said. “Children grow into resilient adults by living through disappointment. It’s OK for your kids to be mad, bored or anxious about missing out on what their friends are up to online.”
She and other experts urge parents to establish device-free times of day, like the first hour after school and the hour before bed. Cellphones and tablets should not be allowed at the dinner table.
Ms Stiffelman suggests parents “make time for real-life activities with your kids that let them know that they’re worth your time and undivided attention. Do things together that nourish your relationship”.
As for controlling the time children spend on digital media, the Harvard guide states emphatically that it is the parents’ responsibility: “Since the devices can be turned on anytime, you as a parent need to monitor their use, keep track of time, and then make sure the agreed upon rules are followed.” THE NEW YORK TIMES


Monday, July 13, 2015

Three schools oversubscribed after first day of registration at Phase 2A2

SINGAPORE - It is still early stages for the Primary 1 registration period but there are already a few schools that may have to conduct balloting for students applying to study there.
After the first day of registration of the 2A2 registration phase on Monday, three schools - Henry Park Primary, Ai Tong School and Nan Hua Primary - are oversubscribed, or have more applicants than vacancies.
Another primary school, CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School, was oversubscribed by the end of the earlier Phase 2A1 last Tuesday, and held a ballot two days later. It is the only school with no remaining vacancies carried forward to Phase 2A2.
At each registration phase, a number of vacancies open up for each school. If the number of applicants is higher than the vacancies, schools have to conduct balloting.
Vacancies that are left unfilled in each phase gets carried over to the next.
Henry Park Primary had 36 children applying for the 23 places in this phase, while Ai Tong School had 46 children registered for its 35 vacancies. At Nan Hua Primary, 39 children applied for 37 spots.
Phase 2A2 is for children whose parents or siblings are former pupils, or whose parent is a staff member at the school. This is the third of the seven registration stages.
Six other schools may also be oversubscribed when registration for this phase close on Tuesday. These include Red Swastika School, Yu Neng Primary, Catholic High School, Methodist Girls' School , Nanyang Primary, and Rulang Primary.
Last year, four oversubscribed schools held a ballot for places at the 2A2 registration phase, after a rule change limited the number of vacancies available at the earlier phases. Under the rule introduced last year, schools have to reserve 40 places for the later 2B and 2C phases.
Previously, Phase 2A2 had not required balloting as it is a fairly early stage of the exercise.
Last Thursday, parents of 73 applicants hoping to enter CHIJ St Nicholas had to go a nerve-racking ballot for 68 available places at the early 2A1 phase, which is for children with a parent in the school's alumni association for at least a year or on the school advisory committee.
When registration for Phase 2A1 closed last Tuesday, there were 97 children vying for the 92 spots available.
The oversubscription left CHIJ St Nicholas without any vacancies for Phase 2A2.
Registration for Phase 2A2 continues on Tuesday.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

2015 Primary One Registration Exercise for Admission to Primary One in 2016

It's the time of the year to be busy. Will be registering my son for Primary One Admission in 2016. Check out more information using the link right below this post.

Registration Phases

Details of the different phases are shown below.
EligibilityPrimary One Registration PhaseRegistration Dates
For children who are Singapore Citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents

Phase 1

For a child who has a sibling studying in the primary school of choice
Thursday, 2 July 2015
Friday, 3 July 2015

Phase 2A(1)

(a) For a child whose parent is a former student of the primary school and who has joined the alumni association as a member not later than 30 June 2014.
(b) For a child whose parent is a member of the School Advisory / Management Committee
Announcement of Results:
By Thursday, 9 July 2015
Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Phase 2A(2)

(a) For a child whose parent or sibling has studied in the primary school of choice
(b) For a child whose parent is a staff member of the primary school of choice
Announcement of Results:
By Thursday, 16 July 2015
Monday, 13 July 2015
Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Phase 2B

(a) For a child whose parent has joined the primary school as a parent volunteer not later than 1 July 2014 and has given at least 40 hours of voluntary service to the school by 30 June 2015
(b) For a child whose parent is a member endorsed by the church/clan directly connected with the primary school
(c) For a child whose parent is endorsed as an active community leader
Announcement of Results:
By Friday, 24 July 2015
Monday, 20 July 2015
Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Phase 2C

For all children who are eligible for Primary One in the following year and are not yet registered in a primary school
Announcement of Results:
By Wednesday, 5 August 2015
Wednesday, 29 July 2015
Thursday, 30 July 2015
Friday, 31 July 2015

Phase 2C Supplementary

For a child who is not yet registered in a primary school after Phase 2C
Announcement of Results:
By Tuesday, 18 August 2015
Wednesday, 12 August 2015
Thursday, 13 August 2015
For children who are not Singapore Citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents1

Phase 3

For a child who is neither a Singapore Citizen nor a Singapore Permanent Resident
Announcement of Results:
By Monday, 30 November 2015
Thursday, 27 August 2015
  1. Children who are Singapore Citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents and who are still not registered in a school after the earlier phases are also eligible to register at this phase.


Monday, May 11, 2015

15 Things I Want My Son To Know By The Time He’s 15

An interesting letter written by a Daddy for the kid...

Dear Z, this list is dedicated to you:

1. Life will frustrate and disappoint you. Press on.

In life, you won’t always get what you want.
You might not get the grades you want. You might not get into the school you want. You might not get the job you want.
But that’s life.
Overcoming these challenges is what makes life meaningful. After all, nothing worth having or achieving ever comes easy. So press on, and you’ll emerge a stronger, braver person.

2. Looking successful is different from being successful.

We all want to be successful. But we often confuse looking successful with being successful:
  • Looking successful is about achievement. Being successful is about contribution.
  • Looking successful is about prestige. Being successful is about principles.
  • Looking successful is about impressing others. Being successful is about adding value to others.
  • Looking successful is about owning more. Being successful is about giving more.
  • Looking successful is about avoiding failure. Being successful is about failing intelligently.
Don’t settle for looking successful, when being successful is what you actually want.

3. Invest in the relationships that matter most.

During your teenage years, you’ll probably think that spending time with your family is “uncool.” (I know I felt that way as a teenager!)
But remember that your mommy and I are here for you. We love you unconditionally, and we treasure all the time we spend together as a family.
Throughout your life, invest in the relationships that matter most. Don’t ever become too busy that you neglect your relationships with your family and close friends.
The quality of your relationships determines the quality of your life, so prioritize these relationships.

4. Show honor to everyone you meet.

I use the word “honor” instead of “respect,” because of what your grandmother once said to me: “Respect must be earned, but honor is an attitude of the heart.”
In other words, not everyone will earn your respect, but everyone deserves to be shown honor.
Show honor to every person you meet, regardless of their age, gender, appearance, job title, social status, or educational qualifications. Be polite and considerate, whether or not you respect the person.

5. Make time to think, dream, and reflect.

As you take on more responsibilities, you’ll become busier. You’ll have assignments to do, projects to complete, errands to run, and other obligations to fulfill.
But make time to think, dream, and reflect.
Think about the path you’re on.
Think about where you want to go.
Think about what kind of contribution you want to make.
Think about the things you’re thankful for.
Think about the mistakes you’ve made.
Think about what you’ve learned through making those mistakes.
Create an inspiring vision for your life. Dare to fail. Live with a sense of adventure and enthusiasm. And always dream big.

6. Take care of your physical health.

When we’re young, we take our health for granted. But age will eventually catch up with us, so we must take care of our health.
It isn’t complicated.
Sleep eight hours a night. Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Exercise at least three times a week.
Do these things and, as the research shows, you’ll think and learn better. You’ll also be happierand more productive.

7. Passion isn’t found or pursued. It’s cultivated.

When you reach adulthood, you’ll want to have a career you’re passionate about.
Nobody wants to wake up every morning, dreading the thought of going to work. But somehow, many people end up like that.
To have a fulfilling career, you must understand this principle: You don’t find your passion or pursue it. You cultivate it.
The world is astonishingly complex, so it’s almost impossible to find what you’re passionate about. There are just too many possibilities.
The alternative?
To cultivate passion by becoming excellent at something meaningful, which makes a difference in the lives of others.
So start exploring, start serving others, start impacting lives. Do this and you’ll cultivate a passion that will stick with you for the rest of your life.

8. It’s okay to be weird or different.

Throughout your life, you’ll face the pressure to fit in. Resist this pressure with every ounce of your willpower.
Fitting in is about being average. But what’s the average person like?
A friend of mine once said to me:
“The average person doesn’t get enough sleep, doesn’t exercise regularly, doesn’t eat healthily, doesn’t have a fulfilling career, doesn’t have many meaningful relationships, isn’t very compassionate or generous, and isn’t very happy. Are you sure you want to be average?”
If you’re not average, then – by definition – you’re weird.
And that’s okay.
In the entire world, there’s only one of you. Don’t waste your life trying to be someone you’re not.

9. Building your character is more important than building your résumé.

As you get older, people will give you plenty of advice on how to build your résumé:
  • “Take up this leadership position.”
  • “Do more community service.”
  • “Enroll in this course.”
  • “Work on this project.”
  • “Do this internship.”
None of this is bad advice.
But keep in mind that résumé-building leads to temporary success, while character-building leads to permanent success. Who you are matters more than what you know, or what you can do.
So invest your time in things that will make you a person of greater courage, compassion, generosity, gratitude, patience, and perseverance.
This is an investment you’ll never regret.

10. Your habits determine your future success.

As Horace Mann once said, “Habit is a cable. We weave a thread of it every day, and at last we cannot break it.”
Your habits will impact your life more than your intelligence or abilities ever will.
Think about your goals. What habits do you need to reach those goals? Have you already developed those habits? If not, what steps will you take in the coming days and weeks?
Start small and take action daily.
After all, great habits aren’t built in a day; they’re built day by day.

11. When you make a mistake, apologize.

Everybody makes mistakes. The question is: What will you do after you make a mistake?
Many people will push the blame, cook up excuses, or run away.
Few people will take responsibility for their actions, and even fewer will be humble enough to apologize.
Be one of those people. Dare to say, “It’s my fault. I made a mistake, and I’m sorry. How can I make amends?”
By doing this, you’ll earn the respect of others. More importantly, you’ll earn self-respect.

12. Be a man of your word.

Keep your promises and commitments, without exception. This applies to the small things too: being punctual, sticking to deadlines, doing the household chores.
It’s in the small things that you prove you can be trusted with bigger things. So don’t despise the mundane or the insignificant.
Every broken relationship in our personal and professional lives begins with a broken promise – someone who didn’t do what they said they’d do.
Don’t let that “someone” be you. Be a man of your word, and you’ll be trusted, respected, and admired.

13. Your attitude is your most valuable asset.

Your knowledge, abilities, talents, and personality are valuable assets. But your attitude is yourmost valuable one.
The good news is that your attitude is completely up to you. If you want to develop an excellent attitude, you can. It just takes time and effort.
To improve your attitude, think positive thoughts. Hang out with awesome people. Cultivate a spirit of gratitude. Read inspiring books. Watch less TV. Compliment others. Write thank-you notes.
And remember the wise words of John Maxwell: “Your attitude determines your altitude.”

14. The key to success is doing what other people aren’t willing to do.

This principle applies in every area of life. Most people aren’t willing to:
  • Set specific goals and write them down
  • Learn information that’s outside the syllabus
  • Ask questions for fear of looking dumb
  • Voluntarily attend educational workshops and seminars
  • Put their mobile phone away when they’re trying to focus
  • Delete the games on their mobile phone to reduce distractions
  • Ask for forgiveness when they’ve wronged someone
Without a doubt, doing these things is hard.
But to achieve enduring success, you must be willing to do hard things. You must be willing to do the things that others aren’t willing to do.

15. Happiness isn’t a feeling. It’s a choice.

As the saying goes, the grass isn’t greener on the other side. The grass is greener where youwater it.
How do you water the “grass” of your life, and find happiness in the process?
By making the right choices …
Choose to persevere (Point #1).
Choose to be successful, instead of look successful (Point #2).
Choose to invest in the relationships that matter most (Point #3).
Choose to make time to think, dream, and reflect (Point #5).
Choose to take care of your physical health (Point #6).
Choose to cultivate passion (Point #7).
Choose to develop the right habits (Point #10).
Choose to have the right attitude (Point #13).
Choose to do what other people aren’t willing to do (Point #14).
My dearest son, you have your whole life ahead of you. May you choose to be happy. May you choose to pursue excellence. And, most of all, may you choose to lead a life of courage, contribution, and commitment.
Love always,