The New Age Parents Free Online Parenting Magazine And Portal Mon, 31 Aug 2015 10:11:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Food For Thought: Is Your Child Eating Enough? Mon, 31 Aug 2015 09:46:36 +0000 Is your child eating more but not putting on weight? Worried of your child’s nutrients intake? Vanessa McNamara, lead dietitian at The Travelling Dietitian addresses some of these concerns.

Food words

Q: My son has been buying food such as fries and fried chicken during his recess time and he is almost on the overweight range. What can I do? I have no control of the food he buys at school.

It’s time to sit down and have a chat to your son about why he is choosing these foods as his snack. Is he hungry? How do these foods make him feel? Try to make him more aware of his food choices, how they make him feel and what they taste like so that his eating becomes more of a mindful experience.

Try not to talk about his weight but more about the benefits of eating healthy food and that our body needs nutrients to be able to work properly, for energy, to be able to play sport and to keep our brain working as well as it can.

It is also important to empower your son by discussing the foods available at school and asking him to come up with some healthier alternatives that he would be willing to eat or healthy snacks he could take with him from home. Involve him as much as you can in meal planning and preparation and making decisions about the food he eats so he feels listened.

Q: My son has a great appetite and eats a lot. But he does not seem to be putting on any weight at all. In fact, he seems skinnier than before! What should I do?

The energy requirements of an active, growing boy can be high and children sometimes find it difficult to meet these requirements. It is important to look at the quality of his food as opposed to the quantity as if he is eating a lot of food with poor nutritional content, it may be difficult for him to gain weight.

Try to make sure he is:

  • Eating regular meals and snacks – 3 meals plus 2 snacks per day
  • Has a source of protein at each meal – E.g. meat, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, tofu, lentils, dairy
  • Has healthy fats in his diet – E.g. nuts and seeds, oily fish, avocado, olive oil
  • Has a source of carbohydrates at each meal, preferably wholegrain – E.g. brown beehoon, brown or white rice, quinoa, pasta, multigrain bread
  • Not filling up on high fat, high sugar snacks that are filling but offer little in the form of nutrients

Q: My daughter is very picky about her food and dislikes her current school’s canteen food. How can I encourage her to be more open to eat from the food stalls? What are some easy and healthy snacks or meals I can make for her?

Try to involve your daughter in planning her meals for the week ahead. Go to the school canteen together one day and ask her to come up with ideas for a well-balanced lunch that she would eat. Ideally the meal will contain vegetables and/or fruit, some carbohydrate and some protein.

If this is not possible at school, ask her to think of some suitable snacks she would enjoy instead. They could include:

  • Cheese and salad sandwich
  • Homemade savoury or fruit muffin
  • Popcorn and fresh fruit
  • Homemade soup in a thermos and slice of bread
  • A baked frittata or quiche made with egg and vegetables

Vanessa McNamara is the founder and lead dietitian at The Travelling Dietitian, a nutrition consultancy in Singapore. She has a special interest in helping families to achieve a healthy lifestyle without sacrificing their enjoyment of food. Having her own child has helped her to understand there are many challenges associated with feeding children but she believes that teaching them about nutrition from a young age will prepare them for a healthy future.

This was first published in Parenting with Love: Preparing your child for Primary School

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The Way Back Home Ticket Winners Mon, 31 Aug 2015 07:00:38 +0000 Congratulations to the following lucky winners of our The Way Back Home Tickets Giveaway 2015! They have won a pair of tickets each.

The Way Back Home

The names of the winners are:

  • Chan Chuei Mei Jaime
  • Lim Ing Ing Evelyn
  • Tan Hui Cheng Julie
  • Tan Sok Hoon Gladys

* Winners will be contacted via email / phone.


  • Tickets valid for 12 September 2015, 2.30pm show at Alliance Française Theatre, Sarkies Road.
  • Winners to pick up tickets at I Theatre Office, 27 Kerbau Road, by 7 September 2015 on weekdays from 10am-12pm or 2pm-5pm. Winners may also purchase additional tickets on the spot at a 20% discount ($25.60 + $3.00 SISTIC booking fee).
  • Winners will need to present NRIC during ticket collection.

*Terms and Conditions apply.

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3 Hard Questions For Chan Chun Sing Mon, 31 Aug 2015 04:18:31 +0000 In a recent interview with Minister Chan Chun Sing, who is also Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress, we explored hot button issues on Singaporeans’ minds.

Among other questions on cost of living, his image, and how the government makes policies, Minister Chan shared his perspectives on 3 hard questions and made us think twice about what many of us perceive as ‘the only course of action’.

hard questions for Chan Chun Sing

Source: Chan Chun Sing Facebook

1. Why don’t we have an official poverty line?

Some have argued that Singapore should have a poverty line pegged to half the median income.

Minister Chan asked us, “If we adopt this definition, when society gets richer, the number of people below the poverty line increases. If society gets poorer, poverty decreases. Does this make sense?”

We have multiple ‘poverty’ lines, or lines of assistance

Instead of a single poverty line or even a single layer of assistance, Minister Chan says Singapore has multiple lines of assistance to help Singaporeans across the spectrum.

“What are we doing about poverty? How do we improve mobility? These are more important,” he says.

He referred to his ‘kuih lapis’ method where there are different lines of assistance for Singaporeans of various household incomes to benefit from the various government schemes, with lower incomes benefitting from more layers.

multiple poverty lines singapore

Source: Ministry of Social and Family Development

This got us thinking, if we had a poverty line e.g. household income below $2,500 a month, and we only have childcare subsidies for those below the poverty line, middle income families would not have benefited from the childcare subsidies that many of us enjoy nowadays.

enhanced infant and childcare subsidies for parents

Source: The Straits Times

2. Why don’t single mums get the same benefits as wedded mums?

Minister Chan firstly defined that the debate is for single UNWED mums. Single mums who were previously married, but unfortunately became widowed or divorced, enjoy the same benefits as married mums.

How many single unwed mums are there in Singapore?

struggling single mother

Out of the number of resident mothers, 3 – 4% are divorced or widowed, and another less than 1% are single unwed mums. Within single unwed mums, there are those who are low income and those who are not.

A quick check on MSF website showed about 80% of single unwed mothers had secondary and below education, which would most likely put them in the low income group.

single unwed mothers education statistics

Source: Ministry of Social and Family Development

What do married mums get vs single unwed mums?

Minister Chan shared that 80 – 90% of benefits Singaporean children get (mostly through education, medical and housing) do not depend whether their parents are married or not.

He explained that for single unwed mums, especially those of low income, MSF tries to reduce the gap in benefits by helping them with social transfers based on their income level (aka the ‘kuih lapis’ multiple lines of assistance).

Married Mums
(>99% of mums)
Single Unwed Mums
(low income)
Single Unwed Mums
(not low income)
  • Baby Bonus Cash Gift and Child Development Account
  • Maternity leave of 16 weeks
  • Parenthood tax rebate, qualifying child relief, handicapped child relief, working
    mother’s child relief, and grandparent caregiver relief
  • Housing grant for families
  • Housing priority for families
  • Maternity leave of 12 weeks
  • Multiple lines of assistance (refer to the ‘kuih lapis’ chart above)


  • Maternity leave of 12 weeks
  • Mutiple lines of assistance (less than low income single mums, refer to the ‘kuih lapis’ chart above)

Benefits Extended to Singaporean Children

  • Child care leave and unpaid infant care leave
  • Foreign domestic worker levy concession
  • Centre-based infant and child care subsidies
  • Kindergarten Financial Assistance Scheme (KiFAS)
  • Education subsidies
  • Student care subsidies
  • Child Development Credits*, Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) top-ups
  • Edusave Pupils Fund; Edusave Scholarship and Awards
  • Maternity leave of 8 weeks
  • Medisave grants for newborns
  • MediShield coverage for congenital and neonatal conditions
  • Government healthcare subsidies and Medifund

Image source: NTUC

Photo: NTUC

There are 3 possibilities that may arise in the future:

  • Married mums get more than unmarried mums: status quo, but there will be people who will lobby for equality
  • Married mums get less than unmarried mums: some believe unmarried mums deserve more help as they are just one parent, but will couples choose not to marry (i.e. exist legally as a single mum with a partner) so they can get more perks?
  • Married mums get the same as unmarried mums: will married couples be able to accept that there is no difference?

Minister Chan said, no matter which possibility you choose, there will be someone arguing against it. So how do you determine which choice to make?

3. Can we reduce foreign labour in Singapore?

Minister Chan shared an exercise he did with ITE students when he went to visit them. He asked them, if you could only bring in 1 foreigner to work in Singapore, how would you decide?

One student said,” I’d choose the one above average, so he can contribute more”.

Another said,” I prefer the below average one, so I can be his manager instead of the other way round.”

Both were not wrong, but both choices would have social consequences.

Bringing in the one above average (FT) would erode Singaporean identity as he may stay for the long term. Bringing in the one below average (FW) would create social costs of overcrowding and other issues.

What if we didn’t bring in any foreigners?

The SMEs are complaining that they are struggling with labour crunch and need more manpower. Many of them think, if you give me more manpower, I can expand my business more. But some SMEs may hit a roadblock even with more manpower, as their sector may not be as productive to others, and more foreign manpower will create more social costs.

The service industry has feedback that visitors to Singapore (and even Singaporeans) expect Asian hospitality, where you are served by a person especially in high-end hotels and restaurants. How do we reduce manpower there without reducing service quality levels?

Can we accept losing 40 local jobs if we import 60 less foreigners?

Happy And Safe Workers = Motivated And Loyal WorkersReuters chose to set up an office in Singapore, but wanted to bring in their FT who knew how to run the business as the Singapore office would serve the regional market.

If Reuters wants to bring in 60 foreigners while hiring 40 locals, do you say yes or no? If you say no, then 40 locals wouldn’t have the jobs.

The next question is, how fast can we localize Reuters such that the Singaporeans can take on higher value added jobs?

Many good jobs in Singapore don’t just serve the Singapore market, but the regional and global market.

Our challenges are:

  • Do our people have global and regional experience?
  • Do our young PMEs want to go overseas to get this experience?

Changing mindsets

In Israel, the youngsters ask themselves, “Where have my friends NOT been to? They know if they go to that place, they have the competitive advantage over others.”

Are Singaporeans willing to adopt that mindset?

Meeting Minister Chan was an eye-opening experience. Though we didn’t get the chance to ask him about his role as a father or his views on parenting (As a public figure subjected to public scrutiny, how do you bring up your children to have a normal childhood like the rest of the kids?), he gave us a lot to think about. We also got a glimpse of how he is like as a person, not as a minister, and what were his life values and views.

When the conversation geared towards happiness, Minister Chan mentioned that it is something internal, and personally counts contentment and gratitude as the two key ingredients. “Because we are blessed, we can be a blessing to others. What are you going to do about it (the poor)? That is the question we should be asking.” He shared.

In Singapore, we are quite comfortable in a sense that we can own our own home (eventually), we have childcare and medical subsidies, and there is a growing movement towards pro-family policies at work and in the community.

But the world is always changing, and nothing stays perfect forever, are we ready to face challenges (just as our parents did) so that our children will have a better Singapore to live in?

When we lobby to change government policies, do we consciously take into account whether our choices affect others down the road?

If we still believe our choices are the right thing to do for Singapore, how do we help or persuade those who are affected negatively?

That is something only we can answer ourselves.

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heART Studio Charity Art Bazaar Sat, 29 Aug 2015 03:49:10 +0000 heART Studio will be having a charity drive for the Autism Resource Center (ARC) on 13th September.

Collaborating with Dance Channel, they will be holding an exhibition cum sales of the the paintings. All proceeds from the paintings will go to the Autism Resource Center.

Do support them by inviting friends to view and buy the paintings. They welcome corporate donations as well.

13 September 2015 (Sunday), 1pm to 6pm @ Drama Centre, National Library Level 3

For more details, call them at 6554 7563 or visit

Charity Art Bazaar

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No Post Is Worth A Life: A Video That Concerns ALL Of Us On The Road Sat, 29 Aug 2015 01:36:25 +0000 Millions have seen this video. But it concerns ALL of us – this message can save lives.

using mobile while driving

See how six people go about their everyday lives. But what happens in the middle of the video should serve as a warning.

This campaign visualizes one thing plainly: every message, every email or every picture can decide between life and death.

Because even when one believes, “only looking for a second” is harmless – the slightest distraction can turn into a deathly danger while driving.

And no message, text, or picture is as important as your life – “It can wait”

Share this protective message with all people who are close to you.

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Swensen’s SG50 Moon Gems Giveaway Winners Fri, 28 Aug 2015 10:36:03 +0000 Congratulations to the following five winners of our Swensen’s SG50 Moon Gems Giveaway!

Swensens Moon Gems

  1. Lydia Thio Poh Lay
  2. Lim Meishi
  3. Tiyo Pei Nee Gladys
  4. Teng Teck Boon Andy
  5. Chan Yew Choh

Winners will be contacted via phone and email. The redemption letter will be sent via registered mail to all winners.

Prizes must be collected before 7 September 2015.

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Liang Court Summer Festival 2015 Fri, 28 Aug 2015 09:45:54 +0000 Liang Court brings you Summer Festival! Our shoppers stand a chance to win a summer getaway to Japan, Travel vouchers and AsiaMalls Shopping Vouchers and more!

Liang Court Summer Festival

A Slice of Fun 5 & 6 Sep 2015

The Foodie Workshops
Exclusively for The New Age Parents’ subscribers! Sign up for FREE!

  • Bento-Making 11am
  • Ice Cream Making 12pm
  • Cookie Decoration 1pm
  • Sushi Cake-Making 2pm

With any purchase made at any Liang Court stores.
Registration is on a first come first serve basis. Limited to 1 workshop per day per participant.

Stage Activities
Street Magic by Kaja from Yokohama, Japan
5 Sep, 11am & 1pm | 6 Sep, 12pm & 2pm

Suikawari The Watermelon Challenge
5 Sep, 12pm & 2pm | 6 Sep, 11am & 1pm

Simply split the watermelon with a stick while being blindfolded and walk away with AsiaMalls Vouchers!

Challenge is open to all ages, limited to 1 play per person per day, based on first come first serve basis. While stocks last.

For more information, visit

Liang Court Summer Festival 2015

Click here for a larger view.

Summer Festival 2015 will be launched with a Japan Food Fair by MEIDI-YA Supermarket. This Food Fair aims to replicate the Summer Festival in Japan. Visitors to this Fair will have a quality ‘street food’ experience. Come down to level 1 atrium to savour authentic Japanese food from 3 August to 11 August 2015.

We are also giving shoppers a fantastic opportunity to savour at Liang Court’s Food & Beverages outlets at great savings with an exclusive Liang Court’s Food Trail Wallet! For $45, diners get to enjoy 3 set meals, 1 quick bite and 1 drink. What’s more? Diners can accumulate points from 3 August to 3 September 2015 and be rewarded with AsiaMalls Shopping Vouchers by dining at any Liang Court Food & Beverages outlets.

Liang Court Summer Festival 2015

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Molly Moon And The Incredible Book of Hypnotism Ticket Winners Fri, 28 Aug 2015 08:30:43 +0000 Congratulations to the following lucky winners of our Molly Moon And The Incredible Book of Hypnotism Tickets Giveaway 2015!

The names of the winners are:

  • Ang Shu Fen Elene
  • Kiu Kwee Fern
  • Lee Chen Hung Louis
  • Lim Teng Li Phyllis
  • Oh Teng Teng Celine

* Winners will be contacted via email / phone.


  • Tickets valid for 31 August 2015, 7.20pm show at Shaw Theatres Lido only.
  • Winners to collect tickets on 31 Aug, 6.30pm – 7.20pm at Shaw Theatres Lido Lobby, at the redemption table labelled ‘Contest Winners’
  • Winners will need to present NRIC during ticket collection.

*Terms and Conditions apply.

Molly Moon And The Incredible Book of Hypnotism

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Helping Your Child Excel In English: 5 Quick Tips Fri, 28 Aug 2015 05:22:14 +0000 Once your preschool child has grasped the skills needed to read and write, how can you ensure he keeps on learning and growing in his confidence to most effectively use English? Fiona Walker, Chief Executive Officer and Principal of Schools, Julia Gabriel Education and Lynette Chua, Head of School Support Services, Julia Gabriel Centre offer some tips.

Girl learning english

The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”

- Ludwig Wittgenstein

We want our children to excel, not only in school, but also in life. To be able to do whatever they set their heart on, to have the skills and confidence they need to succeed. One of the most important skills you could ever ensure your child has is the ability to use language well. What good is high intelligence and sparkling creativity if you cannot share your thoughts and ideas?

We believe mastering a language is a skill that will benefit you in every area of your life.

1. Language is caught, not taught

Children need to have a reason to use language. Ask your child questions and wait for them to answer, this could be to describe how their day went, what they learnt, in school, how they are feeling, what they watched on YouTube and why they enjoyed it.

Ask lots of questions and provide your child with many different experiences. Language is most commonly used to label experiences; How does that taste? What did you see? The more a person can experience, the wider their vocabulary will be.

Now, we don’t all have the time and money to travel the world experiencing new things but don’t worry, you don’t have to – you can read! Through books and the beautiful, evocative language many of them contain we can be transported to worlds far way.

2. Meaningful and Relevant

English is the language most commonly used in Singapore and therefore the opportunity for exposure is there. Widening your child’s vocabulary or improving their grammar should happen painlessly through exposure to good language models. Giving them opportunities to read, write and speak in a variety of different situations will enable them become more confident with the language, to be humorous, make puns and jokes.

3. Positive Reinforcement

Just as when your toddler began speaking, positive reinforcement and encouragement are still needed. Even children as old as teens can still get tenses and plurals wrong on occasion. Repeat back to them correctly or gently remind them but always encourage them to continue speaking or writing.

If your child is keeping a journal or writing poetry, don’t focus on grammar or spelling. Celebrate any efforts they make to express themselves as it is through practice and experience that they will learn how to use the language to their very best advantage.

4. Understand the Requirements of Primary School Curriculum

The best way to support your child’s academic progress is by fully understanding what is required of them by the school. These requirements should provide the foundation for your child. These are the skills they need to obtain in order to move forward and how well they do will determine their success in school. Often, parents talk amongst themselves or remember a time before latest MOE curriculum changes and therefore are not clear on what exactly is required. This can lead to unnecessary stress for everyone involved.

5. Language Model

Learning new words

As we have said, we learn the language we are surrounded by. So the question is: “What language surrounds your child?”

Take a good, hard look at the English language that is used in the home, this is how your child will use language. If your child spends much time with grandparents or a helper, who are using English as a second language then that will affect her use of the language. Do you usually communicate in Singlish at home? Again this is how your child will use language. There is a place for Singlish, it a culturally relevant form of language in Singapore, however if that is your child’s only exposure to English it is limiting.

Singapore, being a multi-cultural city with many people often mixing two or more languages into phrases we need to be mindful of the standard of English our children are exposed to. Again, books are the best way to bring rich and vibrant language into the house if you want to expose your child to a level of language they may not have exposure to on a daily basis.

Remove all the limits you can for your child by ensuring they can express themselves clearly, creatively and confidently in English. This is a skill that goes well beyond the school years and so worthwhile investing in.

how to improve your childs english

Fiona (right) has worked at Julia Gabriel Education since 1991 and believes every childhood should be filled with positive experiences and wonder. She works with teams in our centres in Singapore and overseas to ensure our programmes deliver the Julia Gabriel promise.

Lynette (left) was trained and qualified through Nanyang Technological University, the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art and Trinity College London. A mother to three daughters, and a lover of reading, she has been with Julia Gabriel Centre since 2002. Lynette works closely with MOE schools in Singapore, designing programmes to suit their language and communication skills requirements.

This was first published in Parenting with Love: Preparing your child for Primary School

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7 Special Reasons To Have A Second Child Thu, 27 Aug 2015 06:48:27 +0000 There are many reasons why you may want to have more than one child. You may know of some parents who have two to three children today. It’s not uncommon to hear couples share that they hope to have “one boy one girl”, which is still widely regarded as an “ideal” scenario.

Young sis and toddlers

There are many happy one-child families as well – some by choice, and others by circumstance (infertility or other health concerns or financial restraints).

At some point, parents who are considering another child will ponder:

  • Can we cope emotionally and physically with another child?
  • How will we juggle another child with our jobs?
  • Where do we want to be in three years? Five?
  • How will another child affect our finances? What about our marriage?
  • If we wait any longer to decide, will our choices be limited by our age?

If you are a parent of one who is feeling unsure about whether or not to take the plunge for a second time, here are seven reasons why you should give your child a baby brother or sister.

1. It gets (at least a little) easier

Changing diapers, managing night feeds, surviving on a few hours of sleep every day – these are all part of the journey that new parents go through in the early years. While every child is different, there are some constants to be found, and familiarity does ease the load. We’re not saying that having a new baby in the house is going to be a walk in the park, but it definitely shouldn’t be harder than the first time around. You’ve been there, done that.

2. Built-in playmate

Instead of having to travel out for all manner of play dates with his little friends, you get to enjoy the perks of having a play mate right in the next room! Your only child will be an “only” no more, and never want for a play mate again. Besides being siblings, you get to watch them become friends.

3. Learning valuable social skills

6 Effecitve Activities To Build Sibling Bonds

When you have one child, he or she is pretty much the centre of your universe, and probably knows it. With another child in the equation, your child will have to grapple with things like sharing your time and attention and his toys, and learning how to take turns with his sibling. Your kids will learn to work out their differences and resolve problems – probably with a lot of help from you at first, but later on, on their own. All these are vital social skills for life and learning.

4. Taking on a special responsibility

As a parent, there’s a fierce sort of protectiveness that you have for your child. For your child who is gaining a baby brother or sister, he will experience a similar feeling of commitment towards the new member of the family over time. To be responsible for the life of another is an awesome privilege and a lifelong commitment. You belong to each other.

5. Much to learn

A younger child will have an older sibling to learn from, be it academic knowledge, social skills or proper manners. There’s nothing quite like having your brother or sister, who’s just a bit farther ahead on the road than you, giving you a helping hand. Your older child will gain new perspective from journeying with his brother or sister, and learn patience and grace in the process as well.

6. A confidante they can count on

As your children grow into adolescence, they may not feel so comfortable coming to you with their problems or questions anymore. If they have a sibling whom they feel close to, they have someone they can confide in and turn to for guidance and perspective.

7. Grow old with me

As a parent, we don’t like to imagine the day when we will leave our children behind, and yet that day will come. There’s a saying that goes “Friends come and go, but family is forever”. Having a sibling will ensure that your child has a blood relative in his generation to stay connected to throughout his life, even after you and your spouse have passed on.

By Dorothea Chow

Are you considering baby number two? Why or why not? Share your thoughts with us!

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