Thursday, 22 October 2020

The third born changed the way I parent

Raising kids may come with experience but that doesn't equate to us having the wits to handle each child that comes along. After all, kids are uniquely different in personalities. The third born has helped me recognised some things that could have been done differently when I was raising his two older siblings.

1. Read More Chinese Books
I've learnt to be more consistent in reading Chinese story books to Juboy. Every night's bedtime is always permanent with at least one English and one Chinese story book. He knows the drill, and he will pick out the books on his own when it comes to bedtime stories. Loving a language begins at a tender age, as early as birth! I saw how the older kids struggled with Chinese in school, and I attribute that to our insufficient speaking and reading of Chinese at home. I do read them Chinese stories when they were younger, but it wasn't consistent enough till the language became an examinable subject. 

2. Less Indulging
Kids of our century often ask for material possession as gifts. It's an easy accedence for busy parents who are usually buried with work guilt. Raising the third born got relatively easier on toys and clothes because he had most stuff hands down. He inherited a heap of toys from his siblings and piles of clothes from big brother. I kept them! Somehow dissatisfied with stopping at two. Of course, being individually different he gets to buy his favourite theme toys that his siblings didn't own. But I'm glad I've not spent much on buying him toys since babyhood. I got smarter in hiding and rotating toys, just so the toys looks fresh to him. At four years old now, he does request to buy toys, but I am careful to not over indulge. I've observed how owning less means more. He treasure his toys more preciously than his siblings. 
 
Cheeky little one

3. Hold Back On Over Caring
Not that it's less attention, but being a third born Mum gives you greater threshold of risk and mess. I realised I helicopter over him much lesser than his older siblings. I give him space to explore and take risks in a safe environment on his own. I'm much chill with knocks and falls, than being panicky over the slightest scratch or bump the eldest had. Over caring also means I'll do more things for him when he has the ability to do it independently on his own. So yes, the independence came earlier for Juboy. Helping him less means he can help himself more.

4. Old and Wrong Habits Die Hard
It's true that old and wrong habits die hard. It's better that we cultivate the good habits from the beginning than trying to kill a bad habit after that. It takes consistency in this part of training. I've learnt to not allow one or two casual incidents fall through the discipline crack when cultivating a good habit. If laundry clothes need to be in the basket immediately, it needs to be done without hesitation. If school bag needs to be packed before bedtime, it needs to be done so that way.
 
5. Milestones Chill
I worry less about milestones. I know they will come to past eventually because every child develops at a different pace. With that, it's less comparisons and manageable expectations. It's not about what his siblings and peers can do at that age, but when will he be ready for it. Preschoolers are entitled to be in the phase of lullaby. I only hope Juboy can start reading and writing independently before he enters primary school. Minimal expectation. 

Being the third child commonly equates to less attention and early independence, but I like to bring in my favourite phrase, "Love doesn't divide, it multiplies!" A child's birth order can actually dominate his personality. It looks like Juboy is one with the earliest independent skills, and probably the most resilient among all. And of course, there are worse that the third born has brought out of me. Patience has run thinly in me as I manage having three. Surely something I need to deal with diligently. 

 

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Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Shepherd Pies [Review + Giveaway]

Is Shepherd Pie associated with shepherds? Shepherd’s Pies do originate from shepherd families. Traditionally, Shepherd’s Pies are made using sheep or lamb meat. Prepared by the wives of a shepherd, it was a way for them to reuse the leftovers from the night before, and thus, born was the art of the Shepherd’s Pie. Other than the use of lamb meat as a protein main, Shepherd’s Pies also usually come topped with creamy mashed potatoes. A good pie is one that has the thick, creamy layer staying well integrated with the meat, on every spoon.

We love shepherd pies as a family. Some days, we would home make one. It makes a great party dish too! And if the pie or lasagna craving kicks in without wanting to whip up, you may gave Shepherd's Pie a try. 

Mac n cheese and lasagna

We gave these a try:

Mac ‘n’ Cheese Ground Beef Shepherd’s Pie
Cooked macaroni tossed in a delicate ground beef sauce that is blanketed under hand-whipped mashed potatoes before being baked till golden and crusty. It is a good option if you are caught choosing between the two most popular comfort food - Mac ‘n’ Cheese and shepherd’s pie. 
 
Comes in two sizes: medium, $18.90 (2 to 3 pax) and massive, $30.90 (4 to 5 pax). 

Photo credit: Owari Photography

We love how this combination can excite kids specially. Mac and cheese, with meat protein makes a perfect meal. Only that we felt the taste wasn't as impressive as we associated shepherd pie to be. Potato was subtle and of too little amount. Perhaps, layering too much would make the dish high on carbs. 
 
Sienna’s Traditional Lasagna (Triplo Cheese)
Nothing makes a lasagna better than thin, silky sheets of fresh pasta. Shepherd's Pie have crafted an effective and tasty method to make lasagna sheets and they begin each business day by making a new batch. The pasta sheets absorb the tomato base sauce as the dish bakes, and helps bring the dish together. 
 
They also pick their ground beef very carefully and use premium ground beef with a higher fat content. The sauce is simmered on low heat to make sure that all of the flavours from the herbs and spices are well absorbed.
 
Comes in four sizes: Personal tray for 1 ($13.90) up to party of 6 ($71.90) 
 
Busy devouring
 
We love the rich taste and freshness in this lasagna topped with a good amount of mixed fine cheese. It was the fast moving dish among the both we ordered, and the kids love it as much as we did. I'm sure it makes a great party dish!

This authentic homegrown bakery aims at bringing you the best shepherd’s pie, from preparation to delivery, all in one hour! $7.50 per delivery, or Free delivery for orders above $70. 
Opens daily: 10am to 11am, including public holiday.

GIVEAWAY 
We have a $30 Shepherd Pie credit to giveaway to 1 winner. To win, simply participate on our Instagram account post over here
 
Best of luck! Giveaway ends 28 Oct 20, 2359hrs.

The Shepherd Pie:

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Wednesday, 7 October 2020

The Fruit Hut [Review]

It's rather impressive to get same day delivery for fruits. Within 2 hours to be exact. The Fruit Hut provides islandwide delivery to your doorstep in 2 hours with no minimum order. Enjoy FREE delivery when you spend above $60. 

They carry over 80 varieties of finest produce from the best farms worldwide. You name it, they have it! From Ecuador to Spain, they import fruits direct to Singapore and deliver right to your doorstep.

Here's what I checked out from the online store:

My fruit choices

Fruit choices and prices are always seasonal, do avoid use mine as a gauge. Having fruits well stocked in our home is always a delight. Apart from the boost of vitamin C, I love how these international, well-travelled fruits come together to make up a colourful set up.

Apples, Pears and Grapes

Watermelon, rock melon and Spain melon

Turkey peach, Japanese sweet potatoes, lemon and lime

We love the apples, it's Envy apples. No doubt, they are consistently crunchy and sweet! Grapes, peaches and Melons were great too. The sweet potatoes were as sweet as expected though. 

The Fruit Hut guarantees freshness with fruits air-flown daily, in small batches. The fruits are stored in 3-7°C temperatures (the optimal temperature) to retain freshness, natural juices, taste and nutritional value. And best part, The Fruit Hut guarantees only freshest fruits to your door. Spotted bruised or rotten fruits? Contact them with images and order details within 3 days to get your 100% replacement. 

Sometimes, getting fruits from the supermarkets is just too much of a hassle to get replacement or refund when I realised my box of fruits got mouldy or bad on the inside, upon reaching home. It happens. Umpteen times. It's best to find a reliable seller that takes charge of their fruits' quality, especially when these imported fruits are costly. 

Do check them out for fruit gift baskets too! 

Photo credit: Owari Photography

Real fruits for pretend play
 

Looks like we've stocked enough to open a fruit stall now! For pretend play I meant. 

DISCOUNT CODE
We've got a discount code for share. Use code 'bestinsingapore10' for a 10% discount upon check out. 
 
GIVEAWAY 
We have a $50 The Fruit Hut credit to giveaway to 1 winner. To win, simply participate on our Instagram account post over here
 
Best of luck! Giveaway ends 14 Oct 20, 2359hrs.

The Fruit Hut:

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Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Benefits of Acai - The Acai Lab

Acai (ah-sigh-ee), that's the right way to pronounce it. Acai berries are a grape-like fruit native to the rainforests of South America. They are harvested from acai palm trees. Want to know how it looks like? You can actually spot its tree towards the exit of River Safari. We saw it when we were there last week.

Photo credit: Owari photography

 

The kids and I love Acai. Here are some benefits of it:

Antioxidants
Antioxidants in acai berries help neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals throughout the body, preventing diseases and fighting the negative effects of aging. We need regular doses of antioxidants to repair our skin cells. Some said antioxidants can help improve mood disorder associated with anxiety and depression too!

Nutrients
The most important part about the nutrients that acai berries contain is the high amount of anthocyanins, the part of the plant that makes acai berries that deep purple color. It may slow down the aging process, prevent blood clots and improve blood circulation in the body. That deep color is how you know they are packed with nutrients and antioxidants.
 
Lowers Cholesterol 
The effects of anthocyanins have been shown to lower cholesterol levels. When humans were supplemented with anthocyanins, there were positive effects on their cholesterol levels. Protecting against cardiovascular diseases. 
 

Acai bowls
 
Now that you know about the benefits of acai berries, let us introduce our favourite way of eating it. We love acai bowl smoothie from The Acai Lab! With choices of loading your bowl with superfoods such as nuts, fruits and seeds. It has Island wide delivery and no minimum order. Free delivery for order $40 and above. Acai itself has a bitter tastes, its blend with other ingredients makes the taste more accepting. Here's what The Acai Lab uses in its PurpleBlend. 

60% Pure Acai puree

20% Purple Superfoods - Blueberries, Strawberries, Elderberries, Cranberries, Figs

10% Creamy base - Banana

10% Liquid base - Vegan milk

Love that its organic and preservative free! If you've not tried Acai before, start here. The kids and I are fans of it. Makes a really nice dessert too. 

 

GIVEAWAY 
We are running a giveaway of $35 voucher from The Acai Lab on Instagram, @mumscallingblog. Hop over to join. Giveaway from 23 Sep to 30 Sep 2020.
 
 
 

The Acai Lab:

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Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Why Empty Nest Syndrome Exists

My morning became abruptly different with Juboy starting preschool yesterday. Reality set in with little boy waking up unusually early. His first words that morning were, "I'm going to school today!" Just the day before school, I intentionally turned my online groceries shopping to the physical grocery store. I had always enjoyed the bond we foster whenever we get on groceries shopping. Pre-covid.

How could he be all excited about school when his mama is struggling with the empty nest syndrome?!! Days before his first day, I was in denial and reluctant to start him during the neither here nor there month, September. The man was however very much keen to send him to school as quick as possible. Not that he doubted my homeschooling ability, but that this little guy needed some practice and mannerism with social skills. His comfort bubble had only been revolving around the family and himself. He needs to learn that it's not all about giving in to him just because he is the littlest. 

There are givings and takings in the real world.

With a half morning of sitting in with him in school, I saw how he enjoyed his lesson and play time. His enthusiasm and independence for school drowned me into a sea of emotions. I was literally depressed that the baby of the family is off to school, and that my nest has now a morning void. 


Doing seat work
 

With that, I conclude why empty nest syndromes exists:

1. Encourage your child's independence 
The only drive for your child to explore independence without the presence of you coddling him, is probably school. Where he is very much on his own in a safe environment. It's through school that we realise they can achieve much without our presence. And that they are very fine and happy on their own without parental intervention.

2. Focus on you
Having your child away from you gives time for other thoughts apart from the family. It does help me rejig my preferences and schedule in what I want and have been wanting to do. Time to reconnect with my interests and rekindle some other interests in my life. It is the only moment I can focus on my individual identity.
 
3. Help your child face the world
Not every skill is taught within home. Set backs and disappointments are rarely created within the home environment. It is through the bigger world, where our child faces distressing moments and learn how to handle them. Mostly on there own. While we may come to their 'rescue' occasionally, we can't do it perpetually. Life can be hard, sad, disappointing and unpleasant at times, but we set our children up to fail if we do not give them the tools and experiences needed to cope.
 
4. It is a parenting shift. Not the end of parenting.
There's no end to parenting for sure. Even in adulthood, we still want to pry into what they've been doing and eating without us in sight. The shift of parenting to the different stages simply means a change of contribution and commitment level we give as parents. Moving the youngest child into preschool means lesser 1-1 time with him. I will have to look for alternatives in keeping my time sacred with him, as well as the other two. The children's progression is my constant change. 


Free time in school

Homeschool routine is now a thing of the past. In midst, the smell of freedom is actually delicious, though I don't exactly have a schedule of what to fill my mornings with. Writing assignments got irregular and sadly, the fate of my Instagram is still unknown. Yes, I was unfortunately hacked. Still a pain to recount it. That will be another story to tell.

Empty nest syndrome can hit stay home mum the hardest. It feels like I'm more dependent on them than they are on me. To think, I'm only lamenting over the youngest starting preschool. I can't imagine the day teenhood creeps on the kids. I definitely need some mahjong kakis!  

And just as I end this, I received a call from his school. He's crying for mama! Back to mumsy duties now... 

Sunday, 6 September 2020

Science Centre this September Holiday!

How about the Science Centre this September holiday?!

Living Worlds: An Animal Planet Experience exhibition is re-opening for a limited period of 10 days. From 4 to 13 September. This exhibition is a showcase of the natural world, exploring the interdependent relationships between animals and the environments they inhabit, and aims to foster environmental consciousness by highlighting how human activity impacts nature. 

We spent some time experiencing the various immersive zones with interesting bite-sized content whilst leveraging the latest technology for interactive play. 

Three distinct Living Worlds 
Tropical Rain Forest: Traverse a special tree-top walk that will culminate in a surprising view to explore the rich biodiversity hidden within the rain forests. Juboy enjoyed his canopy walk here.
 
 
Tree top walk

 
As smart as an orangutan?
 
 
Coral Reef: Dive into the mysteries of the deep blue brought to life through an immersive dome experience and learn about the intricate coral ecosystem and how they interplay with deep-sea creatures. We found out how coral reefs grow, and built our own coral reefs here.
 
 
Into the Coral Reef

Sea Ice: Explore a starkly beautiful wonderland, feel the intense coldness in the sea ice and learn about polar bears' amazing ability to adapt to the cold and more about the effects of global warming in the Arctic. The kids got on a game of 'clearing the air', where they learn how carbon dioxide trap a great deal of heat around Earth, causing temperature to soar and melt the sea ice. The kids were tasked to sweep aside the clouds of carbon dioxide that are stopping sea ice from forming, so polar bear can hunt!

 

Stepping the CO2 away!


Into the Artcic

 

There were quite a number of hands on activities available: digital colouring, origami making, build your own coral reef etc. Sanitisers are available at these high touch surfaces, with additional cleaning between sessions, from 1pm to 2pm daily. This is when the centre is closed out too. 

 

Digital Colouring


Folding a kola

'Living Worlds' exhibition ticket includes a free entry to Science Centre Singapore (no standalone exhibition ticket available). Due to health and safety measures, all guests are advised to pre-book their tickets online as onsite ticketing counters will remain closed during this period.

With that, we further explored some permanent exhibits within Science Centre, which are already included in your entrance tickets. Interesting exhibits we've done before include:

  • Phobia: The Science of Fear 
  • Professor Crackitt's Light Fantastic Mirror Maze
  • Know your poo
  • New Coronavirus Exhibit 
  • Rice for Life
 
Purchase Additional Tickets
Omni-Theatre
Omni-Theatre is a now showing 'we are stars,' a 26 minutes educational, full-dome immersive show that explains what we are made of and how the sun was created. It also explains how a star is made. We enjoy how these complex scientific concepts are made accessible to all ages using stylised and fun visualisations. The older kids enjoyed it very much, it was definitely some new knowledge gained.

The omni-theatre is currently operating a a 3-day week. Do pre-book your tickets online. $14 per ticket.
 
Snow City
Your well-needed treat on a sunny day! Get on some icy slide, snow play and bumper car ride. Bumper cars are for kids above 0.9m. For the above 14, check out the snow battles where you can try out your marksmanship with shooting targets. Additional tickets needed. 
 
Wear your long pants, and the rest can borrowed within Snow City. I'm impressed this round, with how clean the boots are, and fresh smelling the jackets and gloves are.

 
Bumper car on ice
 
 
There are just so much to explore within the Science Centre. Definitely a great holiday treat for the kids!
 
 
Science Centre Singapore
Address: 15 Science Centre Road Singapore 609081
New Opening Hours
Session A: 10 am to 1pm (Last entry 12pm)
Session B: 2pm to 5pm (Last entry 4pm)
Closed for disinfection: 1pm to 2pm
Ticket pricing during peak period (Singaporean/PR)
Adult: $6
Child: $4
Senior Citizens: $4 (above 60)
Tickets are free during off peak period (weekdays during school term)
 
Living Worlds: An Animal Planet Experience Opening Hours
Session A: 10 am to 1pm (Last entry 12.15pm)
Session B: 2pm to 5pm (Last entry 4.15pm)
Closed for disinfection: 1pm to 2pm
Ticket pricing (includes entry to Science Centre)
Adults: $16
Child: $12

Snow City New Opening Hours  
10 am to 1pm (Last entry 12pm)
2pm to 5pm (Last entry 4pm) 
Till 6pm during PH and school holiday
Closed for disinfection: 1pm to 2pm
Ticket pricing (Singaporean/PR)
1 hour snow play 
Adult: $15
Child: $12
2 hour snow play
Adult: $25
Child: $18
 
Child's age: 3 to 12 years old 



Disclaimer: Media Invite
 

Friday, 4 September 2020

King Koil Warehouse Sale 2020

Sale during this period of time is very much possible with safe measures in place. With that, we made a trip to King Koil's Annual Warehouse Sale, 2020! 
 
King Koil Warehouse Sale
3 to 13 September 2020
 
Fine exclusive deals and discounts of up to 70% off mattresses, pillows, bed linens and more! 
 
 
 
 
Not that we needed mattresses, but that the kids needed pillows and we needed new comfy bed linens. We travelled from east to west, Sungei Kadut to comb this warehouse sale. Parking is available along the road, outside the building. Upon arrival, we did the safe entry check in, had our temperature measured and went instantly to the first level, where the pillows, bolsters and linens are. It was pleasant to see sanitisers in place at various points too.     
 
Level 1, outdoor
 
 
Level 1 was where all the pillow, bolsters and linens were. We got some mattress protectors, Eucalyptus Mattress Protector, Protect.A.Bed, Super Single at $40, and cutesy cotton sateen sheets (800 thread counts) at $25 each. Mostly for the kids. After which, we proceeded to level 5 for more pillows and linen options. Merchandise will have to be paid before exiting this area to the next. 


Eucalyptus Mattress Protector, Protect.A.Bed
 
 
Fitted sheet for kids - $25 each

 
Due to safe distancing measures, we were asked to wait for a while before being able to proceed to level 5 for more linens. Those with higher thread count. It was here that we found, and decided to get Bamboo fabric (1200 thread count) and Egyptian cotton (1550 thread count) sheets. Two sets at $210 and $260 respectively. 
 

Bamboo Fabric and Egyptian cotton
 
 
We picked the kids' pillows from here too. Gotten micro-gel pillows for the older two kids, and organic eucalyptus fiber junior pillow and bolster set $45, for Juboy. With that, he's all set for nap time in school. Micro-gel emulates the lightness and air trapping abilities of natural down. Giving it that soft silky touch. It is hypo-allergic and treated with Ultrafresh - that prohibits the growth of dust, mite, mould, mildew and bacteria. The micro-gel pillow was at, 1 for $55 or combo deal of 2 for $89.
 
In another separate room on level 5, was the show room of King Koil's mattresses and furniture, mainly sofa. And I super love this cute Tee-pee Tent. With a single bed within, it's going on a 50% discount, from $1198 to $599! Love too, how they thoughtfully created a little cartoon corner to keep children entertained while parents shop in peace. 
 
mattresses
 
 
Tee-Pee tent
 
 
Good comfort sleep begins at King Koil

 
Okay, so here's a summary of what we bagged home:
 
1. Hotel de Grandeur, Prestige, 100% Bamboo Fabric (1200 thread count), King size - $210
2. Hotel Galleria, True Luxury, Egyptian Cotton (1550 thread count), King size - $260
3. Eucalyptus Mattress Protector, Protect.A.Bed, Super Single  - $40
4. Mattress Protector, Protect.A.Bed, Basic, King Size - 2 for $70
4. Fitted sheet, cotton sateen (800 thread count) , Super Single -  $25
5. Micro-gel pillow, Luxury bedding collection - 1 for $55 or combo deal of 2 for $89
6. Eucalyptus junior pillow and bolster set - $45
7. Aloha bed set, Cotton Sateen (750 thread count), King size - 2 for $60

Aren't they quite a deal?! 
 
Make your way down and shop away soon, from now till 13 Sep 2020. I find their staff extremely warm, helpful and knowledgeable, so don't be shy to ask for assistance at any point of time. Check out too, Ashley furniture sale at 67 Sungei Kadut Drive.

More Deals
Additional 5% off for minimum purchase of $500.
Additional 10% off with minimum purchase of $1000.
The above excludes special buy items
 
 
More locations added this year. Four Locations: 
 
13 Sungei Kadut Way Matsushita House 728792 - HQ 
Opening hours: 
12pm to 8pm (Mon to Thur)
9am to 9pm (Fri to Sun) 
 
67 Sungei Kadut Drive, L1 & L2, S729567 
Opening hours:  
11am to 8pm (Mon to Thur) 
9am to 9pm (Fri to Sun)
 
Marina Square 6 Raffles Blvd #03-0346-348 S0395594 
Opening hours: 
10am to 8pm (Mon to Sun)
 
12 Kallang Way #01-01 North East Bldg S349216 
Opening hours:
11am to 8pm (Mon to Fri)
10am to 8pm (Sat to Sun)

There's free shuttle bus service from Yew Tee MRT (12pm to 8:30pm) to both 13 Sungei Kadut and 67 Sungei Kadut drive locations. But if you can't make it down to any of the locations, sale is applicable online at Sleepwell and Ashley furniture too!


Disclaimer: Sponsored post


Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Cyber safety with Norton 360

Norton is a well-known name when it comes to cybersecurity. We have been a paid subscriber of Norton for the past 6 years. Confident to say, we acquired a bountiful experience on how it has been armouring the safety of our digital devices: Laptops, Smartphones and Tablets. As well as monitoring the safety of our kids' online activities.

Working, shopping, learning and banking from home have increased rapidly along the years, and even more so in the recent months. These online activities are not without the threats of malware, spyware, phishing threats, digital surveillance and identity theft. In layman comparative terms, bad worms that can corrupt the proper functions of your devices, and invisible burglars that can steal your personal information. Like crime prevention, we have to exercise due diligence. 

 

Online activities get breezier

 

Norton 360 is a comprehensive plan that can protect our personal information with all-in-one protection, including a Secure VPN with bank grade encryption, device security including anti-virus, SafeCam for PC and more. It provides multiple layers of protection for our devices and online privacy for the whole family.  

 

Norton 360 all-in-one protection protection for your devices.

Norton 360

1. Real-time Threat Protection: Advanced security with antivirus helps protect against existing and emerging online threats to your devices, and helps protect your private and financial information when you go online. 
 
2. Secure VPN: Browse anonymously and more securely with a no-log Virtual Private Network (VPN). Add bank-grade encryption to help keep your information like passwords and bank account details secure and private.

3. Parental Control: Manage your kids’ activities online. Help them explore, learn, and enjoy their connected world more safely on their PCs or smartphones. This feature is however not supported on Mac. 
 
 

4. Password Manager: Tools to easily generate, store, and manage your passwords, credit card information and other credentials online more securely. This features requires your device to have an Internet/data plan and be turned on. It is only available on windows.
 
5. Up to 100GB Cloud Backup: Automatic, secure cloud backup for PCs – to store and protect important files and documents against hard drive failures, stolen devices and even ransomware. This feature is only available on windows.

6. SafeCam for PC: Alerts you to attempts to access your webcam and helps you block unauthorized access to it. This feature is only available on windows.

Norton 360 comes in 3 different plans - Standard, Deluxe and Premium. Parental Control feature is only available in Deluxe and Premium plans. We are on the premium plan, which includes protection up to 10 devices. It's a single solution for all.

Parenting in The Digital Age 

Avoiding online activities in this digital age is highly impossible, especially as the kids grow older. School was confined to home during the days of circuit breaker, and that was when we had a taste of the sudden intensiveness of Home-Based Learning. Online learning is deemed necessary in time to come. As much as possible, the kids need to be independent and responsible with their online activities without parents' intervention.

I've written previously on 10 reasons why we allow screen time, and even then in point number 4, I shared that we use Norton to keep them safe. 

Staying safe in the digital age
 

More than just antivirus protection and internet security in today's connected world, we are also raising a set of new breed kids where digital and online intervention are more prominent and paramount than decades ago. The Internet is a big universe that needs us, parents to help our kids manage cyber safety, media literacy and self-regulation before they are mature enough to be given total liberty.

It's not just about knowing what the kids are doing online, but minimising the risk of being exposed to inappropriate online content. Last year, at 10 years old, Jazz was given a phone. The Norton 360 Premium's Parental Control feature made the trust and letting go easier. Which of course, we laid it across her that we are monitoring her online activities for the good sake of her. 

Norton Family Parental Control 
Here are some features that can help you manage protection for your kids' devices with Norton: 

1. Supervision of Web access: Within this supervision function, we are able to monitor, warn or block websites. We can customise the websites to be blocked/allowed and it ranges from topics such alcohol, drugs, mature content etc. There is a total of 37 categories for restrict. We can even specify the exact website we want to restrict/allow. There may be certain websites that are harmless, but required for your child's eLearning. For example, file sharing websites can be restricted, but customised to allow access to certain  file sharing website for homework submissions. The main gist is that it is fully customisable. 

2. Screen time limits: Monitor how much time your child is spending online. We use this function on their laptops. It allows us to set the amount of time the kids can spend on their devices, as well as block out the hours that cannot be used. The laptop will shut down once time limit is up. Any extension will have to be requested by your child, and you will be notified on your smartphone for approval. When there's no Home-Based Learning for that week, our kids do not touch their laptop. No activities will be reported.

 

 

3. Access Request: Open the lines of communication by enabling your child to send you a note from within Norton Family if they disagree with a blocked site or a house rule. Youtube is blocked on Jare's laptop, but set as 'warn' on Jazz's laptop. Different levels of self-discipline explain this. But if their eLearning requested them to view some external video links, Jare is able to type a reason for access, and viewing will be granted. 

4. Monitor search items: This helps our child explore the Web more safely by keeping you informed of which sites they are visiting, as well as blocking harmful or inappropriate sites. We will be notified immediately if the kids are searching for inappropriate content based on certain keywords. 

 

5. Overall activity history: Weekly, we receive a detailed online activity report of their accessed websites for the week. Detailed enough to inform us on the exact websites visited and videos watched. I find this a good way to check if their words match our report when asked about their online activities.

6. Restriction levels: Freedom comes with responsibility, and sometimes age. There are 4 different restriction levels recommended for different ages - Very high, high, moderate and low. If your child is below 8, the recommended restriction level is, very high. If you child is between 15 to 17 years old, the recommended level is, low. This is a useful reminder that we need to gradually let go, and grant our sprouting kids the responsibility of self-regulation.   

7. Instant Lock:  Parents can help kids take a break by locking the device, so they can re-focus priorities. Individual devices can be unlocked with a PIN. Parents and children can still contact each other while the device is in lock mode.

8. Mobile App supervision: See which mobile apps your kids have downloaded on their Android devices and choose which ones they can use. You may also impose curfew, which disables the apps after a certain time. iOS has got its inbuilt function for this purpose.

Norton Family Parental Control is good at keeping your kids from browsing undesirable content on their iOS, but has more functions on an Android. iOS has got its own screen and apps parental control functions built within.

And why are we doing these? Keeping the kids safe online shouldn’t be the end of their freedom, it is the start of open and ongoing conversations about how to build safe and smart online habits. Upon that, these parental control features are also great tools in helping the kids manage an appropriate amount of digital screen time with no struggles.

In my opinion, Internet security, antivirus and parental control software are essential investments. Screen time is addictive. It can mesmerize an adult into spending hours glued to a device while they are mentally detached from their physical surroundings. When compared to an adult, a child has far less chance to break free from this addiction. 

Norton 360 is a powerful all-in-one cybersecurity package. Being named 360, it really has got all aspects well thought of and safely protected.

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Monday, 31 August 2020

Playing tourists with Let's go tour - Kampong and Marina Barrage

Travelling is definitely out of plan for a long while. Instead, we can play tourists locally, and uncover the many gems within Singapore. It's probably the best we can make out of this crisis.

Over the weekend, we hopped onto two local tours with Let's Go Tour. An award winning licensed travel agency providing immersive Singapore Tours available in both English and Mandarin. We did the Kampong Experience tour, as well as the Water Story & Sustainability tour. On top of these, they have many other educational tours listed in their 'This is Home' series tour. 

Kampong Experience

A 2 hour tour where we walked through Singapore's last standing kampong to know more of its past stories, as well as the development of housings from villages to high rises. This kampong located at Lorong Buangkok is still home to 26 households as of today. Our local guides, Yap and Robin walked us through the village where we were greeted by sounds of crowing roosters, sighted wooden houses sheltered with zinc roofs and spotted interesting plants. It was a good reminder of progression and civilisation. Which in midst, the lost of closeness and neighbourliness. 


Wooden house with zinc roof

 

Spot the 4 digits postal code


The low rise among the high rise


Backyard space

 

Where do we find bamboo in Singapore?!

Taking shelter


Living space

We also had the opportunity to meet land owner, Ms Sng who allowed us to enter her attap guest house and very enthusiastically spoke to us while we were in there. She talked about how close knitted the people are within the kampong, how she cycles out to get her groceries and shared about how visitors are increasingly rising in recent years. It was a nice sit through of story telling. 

It was really interesting to know that the attap houses rental are made extremely affordable without a cent of increment along the years. The monthly rent ranges between $6.50 to $30. 

Do you remember zero point?!

In this meticulously planned tour, the kids also had a go on some childhood games of the past. Making the tour engaging and interactive.



After which we ended our tour with ice pops (sng bao) made by one of the Malay households in the village. She does it for sale to visitors I think. And she kindly invited us into her house to savour the ice pop, and even brought us drinks! The kindness was warm and the savouring of ice pop in a wooden house was just nostalgic.  
 
 
Savouring sng bao

While advancement is necessary, heritage should be preserved. We hope this last kampong will be here to stay. It was a very educational and enriching journey we had. Big Thanks to our guide, Yap for a journey through this well treasured estate.  

With our local guide, Yap

 

Our only advice will be to bring mosquito repellent! Though our guides had it thoughtfully prepared for us. Mosquito bites are part of the experience I guess.


Water Story & Sustainability

In the very same weekend, on a different day, we did the Water Story & Sustainability tour with Let's Go Tour. We embarked on a discovery of our water story and learn about why water is so precious. Our meeting point was at Marina Barrage, and it ended at Gardens By The Bay. 

We took away learning and knowledge on the number of reservoirs we have, and identified the reservoirs that are safe for water activities. Some reservoirs have got sightings of crocodiles! Our guide, Yap also shared on the budget taken to clean up the once polluted Singapore river, as well as the development of marina barrage. It was a pity though that we couldn't visit the gallery and rooftop solar panels. Will be good though if they are included in future tours.

Marina Barrage

Flood gate control model

Past and the present
 

While we may be self sustainable on having clean water, the option of imported water is still cheaper. Water will be priced three times more if we were to be 100% self reliant. Yap also shared on what our 4 national taps are - Local Catchment, Imported, Desalination and Reclaimed water (NEWater).

It was much knowledge shared on water, before we took a leisure stroll over to Gardens By The Bay. 


Cactus!


With the swan
 

Gardens By The Bay is undoubtedly another great pride of Singapore. It is a marvelous rise of horticulture from a barren reclaimed land. And through this tour, we actually discovered a little more about the gardens which we thought we already knew very well of. Not sure about you, but we didn't know there was a little aquarium within the gardens! It was house to some big exotic fishes. 

We scooped some insights to its supertrees too. 11 of the supertrees are capable of performing environmentally sustainable functions. The waste heat created from the burn off of garden biomass is utilized to generate the electricity needed to cool the conservatories.   

Big Fish Aquarium

 

Supertrees!

Do bring your water play gear along too! Have fun in the children's water playground in Gardens by The Bay before or after your tour.

While time and circumstances allow, let us discover and adventure through the many gems in Singapore. There are many histories to unfold and stories for share. Thank you for having us, Let's Go Tour Singapore and AT Marketing Consultancy!


KAMPONG EXPERIENCE TOUR and WATER STORY TOUR
Duration: 
2 hours
Cost:  
Private Tour
$200 per session (2-3 pax)
$250 per session (4-5 pax)
Available daily:
Session 1: 9am to 11am
Session 2: 2pm to 4pm
Session 3: 5pm to 7pm
 
Let's Go Tour 
Facebook: @letsgotoursg
 
 
Disclaimer: Sponsored post