As a parent living in Singapore, navigating the unique Singaporean parenting landscape can be a daunting experience. With parents here often facing financial insecurity, more pressure to excel in their children's studies, and a competitive childcare system, parenting can in fact be quite overwhelming.
So here are the Top 5 Parenting Tips for Young Children in Singapore:
1. Establish a Routine:
Creating a consistent daily routine helps young children feel secure and provides them with a sense of structure. Set regular meal times, nap times, and bedtime routines. Having a predictable schedule helps children know what to expect and promotes better behavior, sleep patterns, and overall well-being. As for me, bed time routine includes tuning down ourselves for a good hour. Meaning, no screen time after 8.30pm. I would off the TV and entice then with storybook reading together and the kids have programmed themselves to sleep as soon as the storytime ended. It takes alot of consistency and talking to each and everyone of them. But it's worth it.
2. Encourage Play and Exploration:
Play is vital for young children's development. Provide ample opportunities for unstructured play, both indoors and outdoors. Allow them to explore their environment, use their imagination, and engage in age-appropriate activities. Be curious! For example, my kids love going to the playground and recently we played at the playground while it was raining! We each wore raincoats and it was their first time experiencing a super wet slide and how fast they'll go when they slid. Core Memory made that day. Playtime also fosters creativity, problem-solving skills, social interaction, and physical development.
3. Promote Language and Literacy:
Early language and literacy development are essential for future academic success. Read to your child regularly and engage in conversations. I try my best to read to them everyday before bedtime. We also sing songs, recite nursery rhymes, and play word games to foster language skills. Oh! My kids love "I Spy" and telling "Knock Knock Jokes". Encourage the use of expressive language and active listening. Make visits to libraries, expose them to age-appropriate books, and create a print-rich environment at home. I DIY flashcards using coloured paper and markers. We would stick it on the wall too. Guess what, my kids also have picked up sight reading while reading subtitles off their favourite movies. Kids these days.
4. Nurture Social Skills:
Help young children develop social skills by facilitating positive interactions with peers and adults. Arrange playdates, enroll them in group activities or preschools, and encourage sharing, taking turns, and empathizing with others. Teach them about emotions and how to express their feelings appropriately. Model respectful behavior and provide guidance in resolving conflicts peacefully. Also, teach them about integrity and honesty and do not scold them especially if it is their first time telling a lie. It happened when my child was 4 years old. He was really sure about the lie. I had to reassure him that it was alright to admit the truth as long as it is the truth. I've provided that safe space for him to express himself too.
5. Emphasize Health and Well-being:
Prioritize your child's health and well-being. Provide a balanced diet with a variety of nutritious foods, and encourage healthy eating habits. I've spent more on fresh fruits and veggies every week than on my snacks. My kids appetite often fluctuates but that's OK. I kept encouraging them the next time. "Oh you didn't eat your veggies? It's OK today Mama eat them. I know they're good for me!" Guess what it worked wonders and they'll eventually eat them. The only thing my kids won't eat are spicy food, and that's OK. Also, ensure they get enough physical activity and limit screen time. Promote good hygiene practices, such as handwashing and dental care. It is important for kids to brush their teeth before sleep and in the morning. Schedule regular medical check-ups and stay updated on vaccinations. Set a positive example by practicing self-care and emphasizing the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
Bonus Tip: Cultivate a Love for Nature:
Singapore offers various opportunities for nature exploration despite being a bustling city. Take advantage of parks, nature reserves, and community gardens to expose young children to the wonders of the natural world. There are so many things you could do at the beach too. Engage in nature walks, bird watching, or gardening activities to instill a love and appreciation for nature early on.
Remember that every child is unique, and parenting approaches may vary depending on your social circle and upbringing. Trust your instincts, be patient, and adapt strategies to suit your child's needs. With an open mind, seek support from family, friends, or parenting groups when needed. I believe every parents should enjoy the journey of parenting and cherish the precious moments with your young children in Singapore.