Someone once asked the Hubs (who is obviously the wiser of us two) if it was tough juggling two kids, with another on the way. He sagely replied that bringing them up was the easy bit – cos all it takes is a day-by-day spending of time on them. With two young children, I guess our parenting style is one where we simply try to spend as much time with them as possible, and in doing so, to create special memories for the kids. Here’s some of our tips for a rocking good time bonding with your kids!
#1: Physical activity
I am SO not a physical activity sort of person (though obviously I am in need of some). But with two VERY active boys, engaging in a physical activity with them is both fun, and expends some of their energy (translating to a good afternoon nap for all of us).
On a lark, I signed up both the kids for a Sprint Run at the beginning of the year, and it was our first very mini run as a family. Till today, the boys will bring out the medals they received – and they surprisingly remembered when and why they got the medals!
My kids also enjoy indoor playgrounds a great deal, and this year, we brought them on numerous occasions to The Polliwogs, Amazonia and Kids Amaze, and outdoor wet playgrounds like the one at 112 Katong, Marina Barrage and Port of Lost Wonder at Sentosa – just to name a few!
Now that Xav is fully on solids, it also means of more “adventures” for us as a family – food wise! This year, thanks to Jay’s childcare which did a whole project on pizza-making, Jay now enjoys a mean pizza (where he once disliked dough and breads in general). Eating with kids generally means the hubs and I will be busy stuffing one small mouth after another, while attempting to clean up after them, and grabbing massive spoonfuls ourselves in between. Which explains why we simply choose to eat out at restaurants where we know they will enjoy. Currently, the restaurants of our choice include Crystal Jade Kitchen (my kids adore the Roasted Duck Noodle soup and crispy white bait!) and any ramen store (yippee!). Yes, they are still rather “Chinese” in their food choices!
Sharing a meal also means time for us to listen to the kids, as they regale us with the latest tales from school or from their imagination. Of course, Jay being the older of the two and the more eloquent one is often the main person speaking, but Xav is quickly catching up. Given the hubs’ naturally more reticent nature, it is pretty safe to conclude the boys have caught their chatty nature from me. Haha!
#3: A common interest
Growing up, I was never keen on dinosaurs or superheroes – both of which happens to be my sons’ favourite topics! So I find myself quickly acquainted with the Argentinosauruses and Tyrannosaurus Rexes which rock my kids’ world. We bought the entire 20-volume collection of Dinosaur Train (a cartoon which introduces a different dinosaur species every episode), as well a very extensive collection of the interactive talking toys.
So many of my friends have wow-ed at their collection, and are even more wow-ed when they realize the cost. Haha! Well, I guess for us, these are pretty educational toys, and we try to encourage their interest the best we know how.
I was thrilled when Marina Square brought in the Dinosaur Train musical as part of their Christmas – and the kids were totally entertained by the songs, singing and bobbing along to the tunes!
Xavier is a huge Disney Junior fan, and we didn’t miss him out. We went for the Disney Live show as a family, and he was happy to see his beloved Mickey, Minnie and other Disney heroes up close and personal!
I am a firm believer of routines and traditions, especially when it comes to the kids! With two kids, it was easier at first to put them to bed separately. But once Xav was almost a year old, we (or I should say it was at my insistence) to put them to bed together. At first, it was TOUGH – as they took turns to keep each other up, and bedtime became a long, arduous affair which can last up to 90 minutes!
Now, it is a little easier, and I enjoy our simple bedtime routines of first taking turns to pray, with Jay often “volunteering” to pray on behalf of his little brother – with a cutesy babyish voice to boot! We then take turns to say goodnight to every single person and inanimate object in the room – and then all the kids need to do is to actually fall asleep for the night!
#5: Off-line mode
For the hubs and myself, often work follows us home, and calls, SMSes, emails and other message bombard our smartphones – so it is a concerted effort to be as “off-line” as possible during the short hours we have with the boys! We don’t always manage it – but at the very least, we try our best!
What other tips do you have for family bonding?
This post was brought to you by Lifebuoy Singapore, who also incidentally gave us the tickets to the Disney Live show! Thanks once again, Lifebuoy!