• Family,  Family Features,  Parenting

    How Your Birth Order Affects Your Personality

    Have you ever wondered why you are the way you are? What makes your brother who he is? Or why your sister is the way she is? Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer to these questions but there are some interesting findings in some research about birth order in families.

    Many things have an effect on personality, as does genes, parents, environment and so on. Another factor that has been said to have an influence on personality is birth order, i.e. your position in your family – whether you’re the first-born, middle child, youngest in the family or the only child.

    So, how do you fit in?

    Below are some typical characteristics of the major birth positions. What characteristics do you identify with? And how accurate are these characteristics of your birth order position describe you?

    The First-Born Child

    First born children are often looked up to by others and automatically, they tend to take on a role of leadership. However, with this role of leadership comes also the pressure to succeed. Parents are often the most strict with first-born children and expect them to “set an example” for their younger siblings, to be the “kakak” or the “tai kor” to the little ones at home.

    The traits of first-born children are :

    • perfectionists
    • that they enjoy making other people happy
    • highly motivated to succeed
    • often seen taking the role of leadership
    • responsible
    • jealous or feel neglected when their younger siblings arrive because they are no longer the center of attention

    The Middle Born Child

    Middle born children tend to feel left out. Some feel like they don’t have a real “place” in the family or that they’re “stuck in the middle”. These feelings result in these individuals being skilled at compromising and getting along with others.

    The traits of middle born children are :

    • more rebellious than their other siblings
    • able to adapt easily to situations
    • independent
    • good mediators and prefer to compromise rather than to have conflict
    • likely to develop skills or talents not shared by siblings
    • are the most varied in personality compared to the other siblings

    The Last Born Child

    The last born children are often known as the “baby” of the family. And because they are used to having people do things for them, they often have difficulty making decisions for themselves and also find it difficult to take responsibility.

    The traits of last born children are :

    • outgoing
    • very good at charming others
    • considered to be spoiled, demanding or impatient
    • often seen to develop abilities that older siblings don’t see
    • always seen as the “baby” of the family and thus, expect others to do things for them, make decisions and take responsibility for them.
    • self-centered

    The Only Child

    The only child tends to have a lot of characteristics similar to first-born children. As a result of having the undivided attention from parents, only children are often considered to be self-centered. This is because they never need to learn to share at home or have to overcome conflicts with siblings. Thus, they very often seen to be selfish and they also find it hard to forgive others or even themselves.

    The traits of the only child are :

    • well organised and tend to be perfectionists
    • comfortable with responsibility
    • not able to take criticism well
    • comfortable with being the center of attention and revel in it
    • responsible
    • good at possessing self control

    Although research does show that birth order plays a part in shaping your personality, it is not as straightforward as it seems. There are exceptions that play a part on how much birth order plays a role in determining one’s personality. Some of these exceptions are :

    • gender
    • blended families
    • adoption
    • multiple births (twins, triplets, etc)
    • how many children there are in the family
    • spacing of years in between children (whether there is 1 year or 5 years or 10 years between siblings)

    Isn’t interesting how one’s birth order can help determine your personality? No matter what position you are in your family, it is important to remember that every person may not “fit” into a particular trait or category. Parents play a monumental part in shaping a child’s life. Some parents make it a point not to stereotype their children and make an attempt to treat each of their children as unique individuals.

    And everyone is indeed a unique individual because no one else is the same as the next person. To each his own, or to each her own. Whichever it is, we all have our own quirks and whilst these research findings are interesting, it is also important that we celebrate our individuality and embrace it wholeheartedly.

    Source: Scientific American & Psychology Today

  • Family,  Family Features,  Parenting

    10 Ways To Create Self-Reliant Learners

    Managing daily routines help children to develop independence and perseverance. Daily routines are very important and are part of everyday family life. They help children to develop skills they need and over time, children gradually learn to manage routines independently, helping develop the children’s independence.

    It may take many months for children to develop skills for managing routines such as dressing themselves, matching buttons to buttonholes, putting on their shoes, learning to tie shoelaces, tidying up after themselves, keeping toys away or helping to set the table. As they keep trying, children learn to persevere. Practice makes perfect and the children also learn patience as well.

    Becoming familiar with daily routines is part and parcel of every family. And in being familiar with their daily routines, it enables the children to make choices about their day, organise themselves and their belongings. When children help with routines and daily chores, a sense of ownership comes in and they learn to take pride in accomplishing that task. It also helps to develop a sense of responsibility and learning about the world.

    The New York Times published an example of age-appropriate chores for children. It may not all be suitable for our homes in Asia but it gives one an idea of what a child can do at their age. Adapt the chore list appropriately to your family’s needs.

    It is not only the “doing” that helps to enrich a child’s learning process, but also the communication of exchanging ideas and generally sharing during the experience. This is where supportive learning comes into play. It is important for an adult to be close by to help, offer advise or encouragement if needed.

    Feeling a sense of security gives children the confidence to try new challenges and learn new skills. Working and talking together affords parents an opportunity to truly share their home life with their children, and to use the potential of day-to-day routines to enrich their children’s early learning.

    Here are 10 Ways To Create Self-Reliant Learners:

    1. Encourage children to do for themselves. Offer support and guidance to children as they learn to solve problems, yet allow them the freedom to make choices and learn from their mistakes.

    2. Begin with small tasks. Divide big tasks into smaller ones. As children complete small tasks successfully, move on to larger works. Remember to compliment them when they complete challenging tasks. 

    3. Plan “free play” periods throughout the day. Children need time to make their own rules, to pretend and to establish boundaries. However, an adult should always be present and learn to stay away from a safe distance to observe the children and offer advise when needed.

    4. Schedule daily chores. Using a chore chart, a parent can distribute small chores for each child. Rotate the chores daily or weekly. As the child completes the work, reward them with a sticker by their name. It can be anything that is suitable for your family, such as feeding a pet fish or returning books to the book shelves, putting toys away after they finish playing with them or keeping their room tidy. Chores should be age appropriate so that the child is able to achieve the completion of the tasks.

    5. Help children manage their own time. Sometimes, there are children who cannot seem to concentrate on the task given to them. Help children who struggle with time management by structuring their free play and activities.

    6. Provide options and choices when possible. Begin by presenting children with two choices and move on to three choices as the child matures. This helps to develop mature and independent thinkers.

    7. Finish what you start. Even small tasks should be completed. Never leave it unfinished as it sets a bad precedent. Praise children for following directions and redirect or re-teach when necessary.

    8. Return items to their proper place. In the age of having domestic helpers in many homes, it is easy to leave things for them to clean up. However, it is important to teach a child to tidy up after themselves. Label shelves and containers with pictures and words. These cues will help remind the child where supplies are stored, while also promoting language and literacy development.

    9. Encourage children to ask for assistance when needed. It is vital that the child knows who to ask for help. If there is an older sibling at home, appoint the older sibling to help the younger sibling, to act as a mentor to the younger ones. Both sets of children will benefit from this interaction.

    10. Promote friendships. By making friends, children are able to develop positive self-images and to express empathy and caring for others. Encourage your child to develop friendships at school or their play group. This helps foster caring relationships and also responsibility to each other.

    Source: Raising Children Network & NY Times

  • Family,  Family Features

    Fun Things To Do In A Long Car Ride With Young Children

    ‘Balik kampung’ is such a memorable occasion yet sometimes, an extremely long and exasperating trip. If you have young ones travelling along in the car, you’ll know this is doubly arduous.

    To help you out, we’ve put together some fun things you can do as a family in the car to get through the gruelling journey.

    Family trivia

    This is will be a good time to teach and share about family history with each generation. Take turns asking questions about aunts, uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents and share knowledge about each family members.

    Breaks

    You’d want to get to your destination as fast as you can but do some research and see where are some other interesting places you can stop for breaks instead of the generic R&R stops. Pack a picnic basket and head to a park, a historic site, a waterfall, a playground, etc. It’ll be a good break for the driver and fun for the young ones to explore.

    Games

    Pack a toy bag with essentials like jump ropes or sidewalk chalk, so when you get to highway stops your kids can burn off some excess energy playing these games. Kids also like a good challenge, you could use the stopwatch function on your mobile phone and have them run up to the a tree and back while you time them. See if they can break their record at every pit stop.

    Crafts

    Nurture your kids imagination and let them have a go at crafty projects. For example, get a bunch of pipe cleaners in different colours from the craft store and let your kids create things out of it like necklaces, bracelets, towers, anything they can think of. Rainbow looms are currently very fashionable too, spotted on sale at Spotlight.

    Puzzle

    Before you go on your trip, make a puzzle based on your child’s interest for them to play. Discovery has an interesting online tool that you can use to create puzzles ranging from Word Search to Math Squares, Mazes, Tiles and more.

    Activities

    While kids are more inclined to use technology these days, bring lots of portable activities they can keep busy with in the car. Bingo, Uno card, books, work books, colouring supplies, movies, etc would be good to while their time away. For other ideas, Tripbase has 55 ways to enjoy a long car ride with your kids.

    Safe travel folks! Here are some travelling tips to keep in mind as you embark on your long-awaited trip.

    via: MiniTime, Tripbase

  • Family,  Family Features

    Trending Baby Names 2014: ‘Frozen’ Becoming Top Favourites

    The results are in. Get ready for an influx of Elsa(s) and Kristoff(s)!

    It is no secret that pop culture influences baby names. Take for instance how The Hunger Games (Katniss), Game of Thrones (Khaleesi) and even Fifty Shades of Grey (Theodore) have all sparked pretty interesting and trendy names.

    That in mind, it is not surprising that parents start finding baby name inspiration from last year’s top blockbusters such as Disney’s ‘Frozen’ – which is exactly what British website BabyCentre.com has noticed!

    Based on data collected from more than 30,000 new parents, names such as Elsa, Olaf and Kristoff enjoyed a surge in popularity over the first six months of 2014. Just take a look at this:

    Pretty impressive numbers, right? And while Anna didn’t receive that much of a jump, the name has always been a popular choice before the boom of the heart-warming animation.

    However, do note that ‘Frozen’ names have still not become the main preferences of parens. Once more according to BabyCentre, 2014’s popular name are as below.

    Most popular girls’ names in 2014:

    1. Emily
    2. Isabella
    3. Olivia (dropped from number 1 spot)
    4. Amelia
    5. Sophie (up 4 places)
    6. Isla
    7. Ellie
    8. Chloe (new addition to top 10)
    9. Jessica
    10. Lily

    Most popular boys’ names in 2014:

    1. Oliver
    2. Charlie
    3. Harry
    4. Noah (up 5 places)
    5. Jack
    6. Joshua
    7. Thomas
    8. James
    9. Jacob
    10. William

     Information Source: Reveal.co.uk, parentdish

  • Activities,  Family,  Family Features

    Fun Things To Do During The Long School Holidays

    School’s out! It’s time for some fun!

    In case you have not realized, the dawn of a lengthy school holiday is upon us – most students will be on holiday up till June 15, 2014. While that might equate to less traffic jams and crowded malls in the grownup world, it more importantly means that the young ones would be free to have some holiday fun and quality family bonding time.

    To help you utilize and maximise this wonderful time, we’ve compiled a list of fun activities you and the family can enjoy.

    Dinoscovery by Discoveria at Avenue K 

    If you or your young one has a soft spot for dinosaurs, Dinoscovery should definitely be in your ‘Must Visit’ list! Filled with dino animatronics, interactive games and a mini scavenger hunt, Discoveria’s latest exhibition is a travel back to the phrehistoric ages sans the fear of getting eaten.

    Kids will enjoy the attractions, and adults will get to immerse themselves in a pool of dino knowledge. To learn more and for ticket prices, click here.

    Sunway Lagoon

    Sun, water and fun! This award-winning theme park is a magical kingdom of pure fun and excitement; certainly a place to consider for those wanting outdoor activity that’s within Malaysia. What’s best is that they’re constantly thinking of ways to improve on the attractions. Such as the new Cleopatra edutainment…

    … and the exhilarating Hi-Dive attraction – where trained professionals perform an awesome Hi-Dive stunt show for Sufbeach visitors.

    The Hi-Dive stunt show happens at 1.30pm, 3.00pm and 5.00pm from May 28 to June 15. Note: the 3.00pm show is only during weekends. Check out our piece here for further details on the entire park, or the official Sunway Lagoon website.

    Legoland at Johor

    If travelling is not an issue for you, then a visit to Legoland might peak your interest. Take your pick within the dry theme park or water park, and get ready to have some brick fun. For our detailed reviews, feel free to browse through our articles here:

    ‘What We Really Think About Legoland Water Park Malaysia’

    ‘5 Reasons Why We Love Legoland Hotel’

    ‘A Review of Legoland Malaysia, Johor’

    Skytrex Adventure at Shah Alam National Botanical Park

    For an extra serving of adventure and adrenaline rush, might we suggest a trip to Skytrex Adventure at Botanical Park, Shah Alam. The forest adventure features three challenging courses that’ll have you standing, climbing, walking, swinging and zipping; a great way to test you and the entire family’s balancing skills, strength and mental confidence.

    As safety is understandably a major concern, the good news is that trained professionals are around the track. Further details on Skytrex Adventure here.

    ‘75 Years of Batman’ Exhibition at Pavilion, KL

    Batman is in town! Hosted at the centre Court in Pavilion KL, the exhibition is a major delight if you’re a fan of the comic book and movies. There are tons of activities in store. Visitors can experience watching an impressive Batmobile Hologram experience (for a small fee), browse through a wide array of figurines and collectibles, pose next to the Batmobile, or even meet Batamn during his cameo appearances.

    The exhibition and activities will be ongoing from May 28, 2014 until June 15, 2014. To keep up to date with the event, please visit Pavillion’s Facebook Page.

  • Family,  Family Features

    Are Firstborn Children Really Smarter?

    In the debate of whether firstborn children are the smarter and more successful ones of the bunch, science has come forth with an interesting theory.

    Take a wild guess at what Oprah Winfrey, Sheryl Sandberg, JK Rowling, Beyoncé, Elton John and Barack Obama have in common? Yup, they’re ironically all first borns.

    And while you might try your hardest to suppress your curiosity, it can’t be denied that this bias question or statement would come to mind: is a child’s personality, behaviour or intelligence really linked to birth order?

    According to a recent study, the answer is yes.

    Conducted by Feifei Bu at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) of University of Essex, an intriguing study once more proves that if you are the eldest child, you are statistically more likely to be the most well-qualified of all your family. However, the ISER research points out that this might not be because big brother or sister got the better brain cells — it is possibly because firstborn children tend to be more ambitious.

    As explained by Bu: “There are several possible explanations for the higher attainment and ambition of the eldest. It could be that the parents simply devote more time and energy to them, or it could be they are actually more intelligent.”

    To prove a point, results from the ISER research discovered that firstborn children were 7% more likely to aspire to stay on in education longer than younger siblings. The probability of attending further education for firstborns is also 16% higher than other family members.

    Nonetheless, it is best to not take these results too seriously. Again mentioned by Bu, parental investment is possibly the key factor. Meaning that if equal attention to education is given to all children, the younger ones would theoretically turn out similar with big bro or sis.

    And just in case some of you are dissatisfied with these findings, just take into account this other study: although eldest children might be higher achievers, they are also more likely to be overweight later in their life.

    Source: The Guardian

  • Family,  Family Features,  VenusMaxisFeed

    How To Raise Daughters With Healthy Self-Esteem

    Raise confident daughters in this ever-changing world.

    In today’s world, it is rather easy to get disheartened with what we see or hear. It can’t be denied that women still are not being portrayed positively in many areas and for many girls, this can have a negative influence on them.

    As parents, raising girls (and boys) with good self-esteem can be a daunting task. But it’s crucial to instil confidence and strong feelings of self-worth so that your children have the ability to face challenges and the belief to achieve their goals.

    These simple tips can be a good way to boost your daughters’ self-esteem and nurture them to be strong, confident women in the future.

    Instil respect for themselves

    The one thing you should always instil in your girls is to have respect for themselves. They should be able to see the good that they have and regard their body as a sacred place deserving of love and care.

    Remind them to believe in themselves

    Kids always need reassurance and praise from their parents to grow. Let your words encourage your daughter to be brave, strong, confident, etc. so they are not afraid of wanting more for themselves.

    Encourage body acceptance

    Mothers have a huge impact on their daughter’s body image. So you should not obsess about food or put your own appearance down. Be a positive role model and treat your body with respect as how you’d want her to with her own body.

    Praise their ideas, skills & accomplishments

    Focus your praise on academic, athletic, ambitions and musical pursuits rather than physical appearance. Although it is ok to tell them they look nice once in a while, match your praises with non-appearance based compliments to inspire them to excel in substantial things.

    Listen, encourage & speak

    Communication is the tool for building self-esteem. It helps them develop strong conviction about themselves and what they believe in. Though this may work as a double-edged sword and your daughters might disagree with you on certain issues, allow them to speak their mind but stand your ground.

    Let them make mistakes

    You can’t truly appreciate the value of success unless you’ve failed before. Kids can’t really learn how to grow if they are never allowed to make their own mistakes. It is a lesson that you can’t teach.

    Watch your stereotypes

    Don’t trash talk other women and don’t let the boys/men in your house do it either. Avoid idolising certain beauty standards or buy into traditional stereotypes of how women should look like, behave, etc.

    Discuss women’s portrayal in media

    Let’s be honest here; the media such as magazines and TV are designed to sell the ideal female form but it’s rarely a healthy standard of beauty. Talk to your child about this, analyse, let them develop a critical eye to be aware and decode/filter media messages for themselves.

    Sources: Child Mind, Voices Yahoo

  • Family,  Family Features,  VenusMaxisFeed

    What Kids Really Want From Their Parents

    Don’t lose track of what’s important and focus on the real thing.

    In our world today, kids are involved in way too many activities. Whether it’s due to society’s expectation, parental demands or education system, something is seriously imbalance with the way things are going.

    Sadly, our children are becoming less connected with themselves as well as their family as time goes by. While the parents are busy providing for the family, the emotional richness is missing in both the adults and kids.

    Most of us as a child wanted nothing more than to feel loved and give love. Aside from playtime of building ‘cushion & blanket’ forts, chasing our four-legged friends and watching our favourite cartoon, we just wanted our parents to be there with us. We wanted our mum and dad by our side to create happy memories and lifelong experiences.

    Can we retrace our steps and go back to simpler days?

    Role of Parents

    In scientific researches, child development experts have identified the eight essential requirements to make kids happy – security, stability, consistency, emotional support, love, education, positive role models and structure.

    While these are the key ingredients, what kids need the most from parents is time.

    It’s not about being gifted with the latest mobile phone, new clothes or toys, rather it’s about the little hugs that parents give their children because they are just too precious.

    It’s about the walks that you take together by the beach, the nightly talks at the dinner table, the bedtime stories that you read to them, and even the discipline you instil in them. Teach your kids what’s important in life and they will be the easiest to satisfy and delight.

    Time, dear parents, is fleeting! Soon your little ones will not be so little anymore and you’re faced with an empty nest.

    Do not be worried about catching up with society’s demand on how your child should be raised. Or whether your son or daughter is equipped enough to fight for a place in the best school, comes out top in class, wins all the competition, etc.

    Let them play and enjoy their childhood. As they say, you’re only young once. With that, youth and innocence don’t last forever, so cherish the time you have with them. Who knows, you might actually even learn a thing or two from them? Children are surprisingly wise and tend to view the world from a different angle than we do. Open your eyes and you will see that it is often the simple things in life that bring so much joy.

  • Family,  Family Features,  VenusMaxisFeed

    How To Be A Happier Parent

    Being a parent can be draining and exhausting, but don’t ever let it become an unhappy phase that you feel you have to go through.

    For mothers, the thought of the dishes in the sink, the laundry piling up, the house in need of cleaning, the bickering kids, the tight financial state at home and etc, is enough to send you screaming an exasperated cry. The constant worry about the next moment and many of life’s little hang-ups can be annoying and suck up your energy to be a happy parent.

    While this is an understandable response, are you turning out to be a parent you swear you’ll never be? Are your kids now avoiding you because you’re always in a bad mood? Can you stop being the crazy mum? The answer is yes. You can cultivate more love and happiness in your family life.

    See The Bigger Picture

    Your 5-year-old may be bratty sometimes but always look at what he or she can learn from their own behaviour. If your child insist of running around the house even when you repeatedly tell him not to, let him be. There is a time and place to stand your ground but also a time and place to let it go. When you choose to let it go, you’re not shouting to make yourself heard and your household is not filled with negative energy. When he is not acting out anymore, talk to him again and let him know why his running might cause him to hurt himself should he have a big fall.

    Be Kind

    One of the greatest things that you can teach in your home is to be kind to one another. It’s a guiding principle that helps with parent-child and siblings relationships. When the family members can be kind to everyone, your child will be respectful towards each other and you can be calmer too. Sure there may be fights sometimes, but being kind even to those who least deserve it shows great character.

    Compliment Your Kids

    Whether small and insignificant or big and great, find something every day to praise your children about. This interaction helps them to feel appreciated and your kids can learn to be on their best behaviour. It’s a way to take the edge away from a stressful episode and when they know that mummy is having a bad day, trust your kids will find something to complement you on. And that can turn your mood around.

    Let It Go

    Ok, here’s the thing, your house will never be cleaned enough and your children will still get on your nerves every other week but whatever it is that’s stressing you out, let it go. It is ok that you don’t have squeaky clean toilet, or a well-organised kitchen, or the children’s beds made-up daily. The world may expect you to be a super mum but sometimes it’s ok to be just a regular mum. The stress is not worth your time.

    Being Present & Have Fun

    Put your phone and computer away when you get home from work or when your kids come back from school, tuition, etc. It is far too easy to become distracted. Interact with your kids, be silly, laugh along to their jokes, let them tell you all about their day. Savour these moments because soon when they’re older, they might not want to talk or share anymore. It happens. So enjoy what you have now.

  • Family,  Family Features,  VenusMaxisFeed

    A Guide To Vitamins and Minerals During Pregnancy

    Ever wondered what vitamins and minerals should be supplemented into your dietary program when you’re expecting your bundle of joy?

    Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet should always be the way to go, even more so during pregnancy. Although it is best to get necessary nutrients, vitamins and minerals from the food one consumes, it is undeniable that there are certain factors, such as stress or a busy lifestyle that may affect the sufficiency of one’s nutritional intake. This is where dietary supplements come in handy.

    Here are some recommended vitamins and minerals to supplement your diet when you’re pregnant.

    Folic acid

    Folic acid is important for pregnancy as it helps prevent neural tube defects (e.g. spina bifida), which affects your baby’s brain and spinal cord. It is also especially important in supporting rapid cell division and growth. This vitamin should be taken even from pre-pregnancy stages up to week 12 of the pregnancy.

    Vitamin C

    Also known as ascorbic acid, this vitamin is needed to boost your general health, immune system and repair tissue and cells. Not only that, it also helps the absorption of iron into the body. However, it should be known that your daily Vitamin C requirements could be easily obtained through natural food sources like orange and grapefruit juice.

    Omega 3

    Omega-3 fatty acids are not synthesised by the human body but are essential for the wellbeing of the mother and the development of a healthy baby. Many research and professionals suggest that the intake of omega-3 acids could result in a variety of health benefits, including healthier development of the brain and eyes of a foetus.

    Vitamin B12

    Not only is this vitamin important for building a healthy nervous system, it also helps with the making of new cells, especially blood cells. Additionally, research proves that low intakes of Vitamin B12 just before or after conception may result in childhood brain damages for the infant.

    Calcium

    Aside from its usual role in building healthy and strong bones, calcium also develops and maintains other body parts, such as the teeth, nerves and heart. Additionally, when not enough of calcium is taken in, your baby may draw it from your bones, thus possibly impairing your own health later on.

    Iron

    During pregnancy, the amount of blood in your body increases up till 50% more than usual. Therefore, it is vital to consume iron to help increase the production of haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to other cells. It also helps you maintain a healthy immune system and wards off anaemia.

    Vitamin D

    Vitamin D is needed to absorb and maintain proper levels of calcium and phosphorus, which will aide in the growth of healthy bones and teeth for your baby. Moreover, the lack of Vitamin D may affect birth weight, skeletal growth and result in pregnancy complications.

    On a last note, when selecting your supplements, it is suggestible to try and choose natural and organic options. Remember; going green is more often than not a better choice!

    Sources: Baby CenterNHS