I got a surprised facebook friend’s request recently from my university’s course-mate’s sister. It’s surprising because we haven’t kept in touch since year 2000 when she went to visit her sister in Sydney.
Actually she found me by chance as she was looking to invite daddies who blogs about parenting to a Daddy Bloggers Get Together organised by Julia Gabriel Centre for Learning. I said yes but didn’t really know what to expect as I have never been to such get togethers before. I even had thoughts that it was for Julie Gabriel to promote their services since their principal director Fiona Walker will be there.
It turned out to be a great, informal and very relaxed sharing session about parenting. Andy (Sengkangbabies), Kelvin (Daddy NiVleK) and Pete (Aussie Pete) were the other bloggers who attended and together with Fiona and William from Julie Gabriel, we talked about a number of things from reading (to children) to sneaky kids who will melt your hearts (just before they get punished).
I picked up a number of useful tips and insights from the night. Here are some of them:
– Reading to your child is important, even when they can read on their own. Its a different skill set to read and to listen and often, reading to them allows them to enjoy the story more and let their imagination run while they listen to you read.
William’s tip: Continue to read till they don’t want you to read to them anymore. NLB has been running a program call 10,000 & More Fathers Reading and this year marks the 5th anniversary.
– Jealousy among siblings are quite common and Andy’s experience is that it affects all four of his kids, usually at different periods.
Andy’s tip: Explain the privileges of being older or bigger and to empower the older kid with responsibilities so he/she feels important.
– Raising a bilingual is not easy. I find it hard to consistently speak Mandarin to Xavier, even though I came from a Mandarin speaking family. Xavier only replies in English and after a few sentences, I would unknowingly reply back in English too.
Fiona says it takes a whole lot of persistency and the success stories she sees usually involves one parent speaking to the child solely in one language and the other speaking in a second language.
Fiona’s tip: Set a specific time each day (e.g. dinner time) where we would only converse in the particular language.
I totally enjoyed the session and hope I can join more of such informal sharing sessions.