10 ways to encourage reading habit in children

A fondness for reading, properly directed, must be an education in itself.
~ Jane Austen

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Reading opens up our minds to endless knowledge. Ideally, it should be a habit that is cultivated since young as books are our windows to the world. It exercises our brains, improves concentration and develops a child’s imagination. In short, the benefits of reading begin with the very first board book that a baby sees and continue into his childhood and throughout his life.

It’s never too late to encourage a reading habit in your kids. Here are the 10 ways to do so:

  1. Develop a daily routine
    Find the best time of the day which fits into your child’s and family’s schedule. Depending on their age, younger kids can be read to for shorter periods of time. Even if your baby doesn’t show any interest when you are reading, make it a point to complete the chosen book everyday. Animate your voice and point at interesting objects in the pictures. With patience, this will catch his attention and he will join in.

mother-daughter-reading

  1. Role reversal
    Bring out your child’s favourite soft toy and get her to read to the toy. Have her show the toy how a book works. Then encourage your child to narrate the story from what she sees in the pictures.
  1. Lead by example
    When you sit down with a newspaper, magazine or book for a quiet time, give your child some books to flip too. By reading in front of her, you are telling her the importance of reading to you and she will want to follow suit too.

mum reading

  1. Create your own books
    Choose your child’s favourite character or theme, then get her to tell you a story. Write it down together on several pieces of paper, staple them together and have her draw images for each page. When you’re done, read it together.
  1. Visit the library and book store
    Whenever you are out for your grocery shopping, drop by a book shop for a short reading session. Let your child choose a book from the shelf and read him the story. Invest in a membership at a nearby library and visit it weekly or fortnightly. Be on the look-out for activities at the library or book store.

Trinity-College-Library-Dublin

  1. Book on a tape
    Get recorded stories and play them during the drive to and from school, or during road trips. It doesn’t only keep your kids entertained, but also send their imaginations flying.
  1. See beyond books
    Reading materials come in many shapes. Magazines, comic books, menus and cardboard boxes all provide opportunities for reading practice. Other avenues include playing board games that involve written instructions, letters from a pen pal, as well as subtitles on your TV. Get your child involved in reading out loud the shopping list, or leave little post-it notes for your child every now and then.
  1. Make it fun!
    You can strive to make the reading experience a fun one. Ask them questions about the story or create mini plays by acting out the story. Recall the words in the story and spell them out together in the mud or on a sand with a twig.
  1. Create a reading log
    Like the Banci Bacaan that we had during our school days, make a reading list for your child to record the books he has read. Set a goal for the number of books within a period of time, then reward him with a small treat – a special time with you, a book, a visit to the ice-cream shop – for his achievement.
  1. End the day with a story
    What better way to wind down and end the day with a good story. Get your child to choose a story, tuck him into bed and read him the story in your gentlest, soothing voice. Make this a daily affair no matter what.

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Do your kids love reading and if so, how do you cultivate the habit?

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Bon Appétit, littlies!

Once your child starts solids and joins the family during mealtimes, you may want to consider getting a toddler-friendly feeding set that is durable, interesting and safe.

With the fun variety of children’s dining sets available in the market, you will be spoilt for choices. Most come with a plate and a bowl, some with kid-size fork and spoon, while the rest with compartments so foods don’t mix, suction cups at the bottom or special designs. There are also those created with lids for on-the-go dining. The durable ones can be kept as your baby’s treasured childhood keepsake in the future.

We are a big fan of functional yet fun feeding sets. Among our recommended ones are:

Skiphop Zoo Tabletop Melamine Set
Skiphop Zoo Tabletop Melamine Set
A two-piece set with bright colours and whimsical faces to make mealtime fun. Made of durable melamine, choose from a variety of favourite animal characters. Dishwasher-safe and comes with matching bib, utensils and water bottle.

Beaba Baby’s First Dining Set

Beaba Baby’s First Dining Set
A beautifully presented set which contains all the feeding essentials for little ones’ mealtimes. It contains a three-compartment plate, a bowl, a cup, a bib and stainless steel cutlery in Beaba’s signature look.

Crocodile Creek 3-Piece Dining Set
Crocodile Creek 3-Piece Dining Set
This colourful set includes a three-compartment plate, kid-size spoon and fork. Free of BPA and PVC.

Sugar Booger Baby Dish Set
Sugar Booger Baby Dish Set
This adorable assemble comprises a plate, a bowl, a sippy cup, a fork and a spoon. Dishwasher safe but never use it in the microwave. Great as a gift.

Sugar Booger Baby Bowl Set
Sugar Booger Baby Bowl Set
This is perfect when baby starts solids. The gift-boxed set includes a fork and a spoon as well as a bowl with suction base and its accompanying lid to cover baby’s food.

Avent Toddler Mealtime Set
Avent Toddler Mealtime Set
The story-telling design keeps kids amused, and anti-slip base means less spills and splashes. With easy-scoop sides, it’s great for self-feeding, and the plate dividers keep your little one’s foods separate. BPA-free and dishwasher-safe.

Suavinex Toddler Feeding Set
Suavinex Toddler Feeding Set
So pretty you’ll want a set for yourself too! It consists of a plate and a large bowl, a cup with large handles, an ergonomic spoon plus a non-slip table mat. Made with unbreakable material, microwave- and dishwasher-safe, and BPA-free.

Me Time Meal Set
Me Time Meal Set
Available in police car, ambulance and fire engine, this 100% melamine plate makes mealtimes fun. It includes a matching fork and spoon. Dishwasher safe and BPA free.


Thinkbaby Complete Feeding Set
Thinkbaby Complete Feeding Set
No more leaching chemicals, broken plates, and a clutter of containers in your kitchen. It comprises a bento box, a soup bowl, a baby bowl and a cup. All bowls come with lids, so you can double them up as takeaway containers too.

Click here to see more options and order online.

Top 10 kitchen tips

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Across continents and diverse cultures, there’s one thing that bonds women – the attachment to the comforts of our home and the happiness of enjoying it with our loved ones. We are pleased to bring you a series of articles on tips and ideas for home improvement.

As wives and mums, we spend lots of our daily time in the kitchen. Let’s explore some great tips for a more functional, clever kitchen:

  1. Clean your blender the easy way by running it half filled with lukewarm water and a few drops of concentrated dishwashing liquid.
  2. Use the edge of a teaspoon to peel the hard-to-reach parts of a ginger. The curved shape helps it get into the crevices more readily and you won’t lose the precious chunks.b84392897535e203119d46191cd8b116
  3. Put your recipe cookbooks – opened to the desired recipe – in a clear plastic folder or bag to protect it from smears and splashes as well as to keep the pages from falling shut in a breeze.
  4. Don’t throw out soured milk. Unless it’s actually curdled (separated whey and solids), it can be used as buttermilk for baking biscuits, breads, scones and pancakes.
  5. Peel garlic by putting several garlic pods into a freezer bag, gently crush them with base of a small glass bottle or spice jar to loosen the peel. Then, use a fork to scrape out the loose garlic skins.
  6. Never shop for groceries on an empty stomach or a hungry child in tow. Tantrums are bound to happen.baby-tantrum-getty-590tm-300811
  7. Place tomatoes in the fridge to keep them fresh and stop the ripening and rotting.Tomatoes in fridge
  8. Discard plastic wrappings of vegetables and fruits, and wrap them individually in kitchen papers to prevent them from turning limp quickly.
  9. Rinse stainless steel cooking pots immediately and thoroughly after cooking acidic or salty foods. Never leave them in the pan to cool as acids and salt pit the surface of steel.
  10. An occasional vinegar wipe will keep the door seal of your fridge from sprouting mould or mildew in the creases.Wipe door seal of fridge

Do you know of any other tips that will be useful for mums? Comment to share them with us!

Bounce, bounce baby!

During the first six months or before your baby can sit up unsupported, a bouncer can be especially helpful as a safe place to lay your baby while you eat, do household chores or take a shower. You’ll discover lots of variations of bouncer, such as models that rock and bounce, battery-operated versions, those with toys attached, as well as those that play music.

So what are the main things to look for when shopping for a bouncer that fits your needs? Let’s run through some criteria to consider:

  • Is it safe?
    Although your newborn’s movements are limited, make sure the bouncer has a safety harness, possible one that is adjustable and non-skid. Also ensure there’s padding around the structure of the bouncer to prevent a tall baby from hitting her head on the hard frame.
  • Can it bounce?
    Press it gently and observe how much pressure it takes to bounce. If you’re only looking for something your baby can relax or nap in, this may not be important at all.
  • What’s the weight range?
    Find out the maximum weight the bouncer can take. If your newborn is on the heavier side, you may want to get a bouncer with greater weight limit.
  • Can it be reclined?
    Some sophisticated bouncers can be adjusted to a certain angle – whether a flatter recline for newborns or a more upright position for baby to sit up and see the world.
  • What are the features and accessories?
    Some are basic to the core with just a seat and frame, while some come with the full-blown specs like vibration, music and toys. It depends on your budget and needs.
  • Is it portable?
    If you’re always out and about and the bouncer makes your baby happy, you may want to get something that is easy to be brought around. If this is your criterion, make sure it’s easy to dismantle and assemble.
  • Is it easy to clean?
    A bouncer must be easy to clean as babies make messes. Check to see if the seat cover can be removed for washing or wiped clean.

Let’s explore our recommended range of bouncers:

Babyhood Mesh Bouncinette

Babyhood Mesh Bouncinette
A high quality cotton cover that can be removed for washing and replaced onto the frame for drying. It has a wide base to prevent tipping over and an adjustable three-point safety strap to secure your baby.

BRIGHT STARTS

Bright Starts Patchwork Zoo Bouncer Bright Starts Playful Pals Bouncer Bright Starts Rock In The Park Bright Starts Sunny Delights Bouncer

Bright Starts Sunny Delights Bouncer
It comes in a cradling seat design and bouncing motion to keep baby entertained. Lightweight for easy portability with three-point harness. Suitable up to 11kg.

Bright Starts Patchwork Zoo Bouncer
With soothing vibration to calm baby, it includes a removable bar with two playtime toys, adjustable three-point harness and machine washable seat pad.

Bright Starts Playful Pals Bouncer
This bouncer comes with vibration to soothe baby with seven melodies and auto shut off after 15 minutes. It has a removable character head support pillow, two interactive toys with a removable toy bar as well as adjustable three-point harness, washable seat cover and non-slip feet.

Bright Starts Rock In The Park
It can rock back and forth, and it can be locked into place for use as a stationary seat. The full body can be reclined to two positions. Once baby grows, it can be turned to a seat for toddler up to 18kg.

FISHER-PRICE

Fisher-Price Newborn to Toddler Rocker Fisher-Price Rainforest Friends Baby Bouncer

Fisher-Price Rainforest Friends Baby Bouncer
The removable toy bar features spinning leaves, Take-Along Monkeys with clacker beads and a roller-ball. It features a three-point fabric restraint and machine washable pad.

Fisher-Price Newborn to Toddler Rocker
It can be used as a seat for newborns. Then, as your child grows, the interactive toy play can be added, then converted to a toddler rocker. It folds easily and has a built-in handle for maximum portability.

Cossato Knitwits Bobbin Bouncer

Cossato Knitwits Bobbin Bouncer
Cute and colourful, it is suitable from birth and has three-position recline. The toys and the bar are removable. It includes a music and vibration box with multi volume and vibration levels.

Baby Home On 4 Bouncer

Baby Home On 4 Bouncer
It has fronts wheels so that it can be wheeled from place to place. It’s made of 100% nylon and can be stripped down to a mesh liner for warmer weather. Featuring four positions, it is easily collapsible to a compact size and includes a travel bag for easy transport and storage.

 Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker & Napple

Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker & Napper
It features a seat fitted with an engaging toy, a rocker that soothes baby with gentle rocking movements, and a flat pad with raised borders, which makes for a safe and cozy sleeping environment. Three uses in one product!

Nuna Leaf

Nuna Leaf Swing
It evolves with baby to big kid-size up to maximum weight of 60kg. Its motion lasts unassisted with a gentle push for over two minutes. No batteries, no cord, no buzz and no noise. It locks stationary for feeding or playing time, as well as stores away for easy transport.

4moms Mamaroo Plush Bouncer

4moms Mamaroo Plush Bouncer
Choose from five motions and five speeds from the easy-to-use LCD display. Select any of the five nature sounds or connect it to any MP3 player. The seat reclines to allow baby to lie back and relax or sit up and play. The plush seat is machine-washable.

Check them out at Happikiddo stores or shop online via our website.