The school holidays are coming up again, and for those of you who are planning some entertainment with your kids, especially after a challenging and stressful year of having to go to school during the pandemic, you might have to consider options around Singapore since travelling is still restricted.
The good news is that there are many places in Singapore available for kids to have fun at – here, we ask Jia Ming from 88.3JIA what are some of his recommendations and his plans for his kids this March school holidays, and we also got him to share some of his parenting tips with us. Jia Ming is the proud parent of two kids, 5-year-old Keagan Loh and 3-year-old Shane Loh, with his wife Sarah Teo, English Teacher. Other than spending his time with his family, he also loves to indulge in his love for cooking during his free time at home.
Jia Ming is the DJ for 88.3JIA. He has been the Voice Over Artiste for radio and television commercials, and hosted many commercial events, travel shows, movie gala premieres and reality programmes including Voice of China 2016 Singapore. You can catch Jia Ming on 早早心情好 with co-hosts Shu Hui and Ben on weekdays, 6 – 9 am on 88.3JIA.
1. Share with us your plans for you and your kids this March school holidays.
We are planning to explore Singapore again! There are actually a lot of fun places to go to… some of the places on our list include: Wild Wild Wet, SAFRA Punggol Kids Amaze, Sentosa Adventure Cove USS, Art Science Museum and Gardens by the Bay. All these places should be enough to occupy our kids during the school holidays.
2. Does your kids have any favourite activities which you will plan specially for them?
YES! They love to swim and play with water! That’s why out of all the places in our lists, almost half are ‘water-related’, hahah!
3. Do you find it a constraint to plan as we are not allowed to travel overseas? Or do you find other alternatives for family entertainment in Singapore?
In fact, I find it a bliss to just ‘travel’ within Singapore. Going overseas with young kids can be very challenging! I’ve brought my kids overseas all by myself, and it was no joke… the amounts of stress and tiredness were indescribable! Alternatively, I find that while staying in Singapore, we are in the comforts of our own home, but there are still lots of fun places we have yet to discover in Singapore to explore!
4. Do you have any philosophy or beliefs when it comes to parenting? Are there any methods which you subscribe to?
I always believe spending quality time with the kid alone is important. Spending time as a family is great, but alone time with the kid makes a difference. Once in a while, my wife and I would take the kids out on our own. Recently, I brought my younger son to an indoor playground, just me and him. I can see how happy he was, a different kind of joy on his face, because he knew only him and his papa are spending time together. I can focus on talking to him, asking him about his feeling and questions like – “Are you happy?”, “Which part of the playground do you like the most?”, “What would you like to eat for lunch?”, “Who’s your best friend in school”, etc. It’s about having a totally undisrupted heart-to-heart conversation with him.
5. How do you share or split parenting responsibilities with your wife?
When it comes to parenting responsibilities and teaching, both of us must be on the same page. We must agree to the house rules and execute it without dispute. Both of us play the role of discipline master – we will punish and counsel them, and the other party shouldn’t interrupt or comment in a double standard way. We spilt our roles in educating them too – she is in charge of reading the English books, and I am in charge of reading the Chinese books.
6. Are you the type of parent who allows your kids to be more independent or do you believe in controlling them?
Yes, I definitely support the idea of letting them to be independent. We don’t believe in controlling them, but proper guidance is important. They are free to make their own choices, but we will explain to them and provide them with advice. I also let them learn to bear the consequences of their own choice.
7. Which do you think is more important to inculcate in your kids? Creativity and independence or discipline and good behaviour? Why?
I believe in discipline and behaviour – it can definitely help them to go a long way in life. Attitude determines altitude. We do not tolerate rudeness in our family. I believe by building a positive environment at home, teaching the right values and inculcating good character, that creativity and independence will become the by product as a result.
8. They say “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, do you believe in this or do you try to strike a balance for your kids?
Balance is the key! During the week, we will plan their schedule such that they will have learning times and sufficient playtime. For example, from Monday to Thursday they need to focus on learning, while from Friday to Sunday they can enjoy their playtime to the fullest. We do not plan any lessons or homework for them during their playtime. We also do not wish to stress them too much at their young age of three and five.
9. Can you share a few of your personal parenting tips with us?
1) When dealing with kids, patience is very important. Very often as an adult we are swamped by the stress in life, hence there’s no capacity left for our kids. But on the other hand, kids need us the most. Learning to expand our own capacity is important, and learning to be patience when dealing with them is equally important.
2) It is very common for siblings to snatch toys (although there are still thousands of other toys). We always use the ‘alarm’ method. Whenever they fight for toys, we will tell them ‘you only have 5 mins to play with it, when the alarm rings, you have to surrender the toy(s)’. So far this method has worked very well for us.
3) Do not belittle their feeling, talk to them about it. No matter how silly it may sound, it helps to learn how to express themselves, and it builds trust between you and your kid(s). Whenever I notice any of my kids behaving a little strange, I will bring them out or to a private corner and talk to them, asking questions such as “How are you?” and “Why are you feeling sad”? Very often, the answer you will get may sound silly, such as “because I want to eat the gummy”, “because you feed didi you didn’t feed me” etc. There and then I will give them the assurance that Papa will do that for you, you do not need to be sad. Sometimes what they want is just a little more attention and assurance from the parents.
10. Do you have any parenting goals in the near future or wish your kids will grow up to become? Please share.
I hope they will grow up knowing how to empathize with people. The world needs a bit more love. Do not be self-centred, but learn to care for people around them, impacting lives by spreading more love and positivity.
Featured image: @883jiaming