Books Kinokuniya Malaysia

Learn Asian Languages With Tuttle

Malaysia Parents and Tutors Forum

Where parents and tutors connect

Kensington Academy Malaysia

Cambridge IGCSE Programme For Primary And Secondary

Join Our Facebook Group

Healthy Discussion On Parenting Issues

Get Our e-Book!

Banana Mom's Guide To Preparing For Chinese School - For Non-Chinese Speaking Families

Friday, February 05, 2016

Creating Family Traditions

Making Chinese New Year exciting for the kids

One of the things we enjoy doing a lot is creating family traditions and routines to make Chinese New Year a memorable affair for the kids.

We do this by doing the same thing every year. We take the kids to have a haircut, then we go to the same places to buy new year clothes, we do spring cleaning and get the kids to do the decoration and clean the porch, we buy the same Chinese New Year cookies. We travel back to hometown and stay at the same place.

Boring? In contrary, it is far from boring. By doing the same things every year, we have created a routine that the kids have come to anticipate and love.

I've read in forums of how people hate Chinese New Year because they hate visiting relatives, they hate their in-laws. They hate this and that and then they take off for a holiday to escape all of this. I feel sad reading it because there is much to love. I loved Chinese New Year as a child and I hope to make my children love and look forward to it year after year. It is not hard to do that. All you have to do is create a routine that you can revisit every year and that is how family traditions are created. By you!

Happy Chinese New Year 2016!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Chinese New Year Shopping At Ikea Cheras

I had to get a cupboard to replace the one that was destroyed by termites a few years ago and which I have yet to replace so I decided to make a date at Ikea Cheras. It also happens to be Chinese New Year season so it was nice to see some of the display like the one below of the red pussy willow with red fabric background. Nice. I haven't had these for a long time in my house.  I remember getting the white ones and tying them with tiny red ribbons, then hanging up little decorations.

More Chinese New Year decorations. Some red tins at Ikea Cheras.

Going there bright and early meant I had the store all to myself! I don't think I've EVER went to Ikea before during a festive season without having to rush for car parks, jostle with huge crowds and long queues at the cashier counter. What a change to have the whole store to myself.

Ikea Cheras
Ikea Cheras

I could pick ANY trolley I wanted. So wonderful....

Ikea Shopping Trolleys
Ikea Shopping Trolleys

There were so many brightly coloured pussy willows to choose from. Reds, Pinks, Yellows and the Original White. All still looking fresh. No need to fight with a crowd just to get one.

Chinese New Year Flowers
Chinese New Year Flowers

Here's a closer look at this Chinese New Year themed flowers. You could either pick those in pots or without. The cut ones are RM16.90 per bunch. Not sure about the potted  ones though. Forgot to check.

Coloured Pussy Willows
Coloured Pussy Willows

Finally, after getting my cupboard, I went to collect the almost mandatory angpow packet that one gets from any retailer at this time of the year. I was told that you are allowed to collect only a maximum of three packets in a single receipt.

Ikea Angpow Packet
Ikea Angpow Packet

Free Printable February 2016 Calendar With Valentine's Day And Chinese New Year Theme

Free Printable February 2016 Calendar
Free Printable 2016 Calendar
February is an exciting month because it usually welcomes the Chinese New Year as well as Valentine's Day. It is also the month of love and romance because not only does Valentine's Day fall in the month of February, Chap Goh Meh or the 15th and last night of Chinese New Year is sometimes referred to as the Chinese Valentine's Day because this is the day when maidens look for love by throwing mandarin oranges into the sea.

This year, February 2016 is extra special because it is a leap year. It also has four of every day. 4 Sundays, 4 Mondays, 4 Tuesdays and so on. I received a whatsapp message that says this only happens in 823 years so you will never see this again in your lifetime!

So for this free printable February 2016 calendar, I was torn between the two themes. Chinese New Year or Valentine's? Red or Pink? Roses or Cherry Blossoms? Heart Shapes or Lanterns? So many choices. In the end I decided to create a pink and yellow calendar with Cherry Blossoms and a heart shape. I hope you enjoy the calendar as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Parents can print this calendar to countdown the Chinese New Year together with their kids. Don't forget to mark down the spring cleaning days, new clothes shopping days and balik kampung days.

For those not celebrating the Chinese New Year, you can still countdown to balik kampung or simply relaxing during the festive school holidays which is up to a week or 9 days off including the weekends. Enjoy! It's only 2 weeks to go. How quickly time flies.

This free printable calendar is exclusively for members of our website. Sign up to print this calendar in pdf format and get more freebies like this. You will get weekly newsletters delivered to your inbox so you won't miss an update on our parenting blog, website and Facebook parenting group activities.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Brain Development Programme For Babies And Toddlers

Our babies brains develop at an incredible rate during the first three years of life. Parents and caregivers can make boost baby's brain development by teaching and developing healthy patterns for lifelong learning. In fact, brain development is a lifelong project.

Parents and carers who wish to learn how to optimise their babies brain development can check out the BrainFit Baby programme for babies from 9 months to 3 years old.

The BrainFit Baby programme is a once a week programme designed to develop the brain fitness and intelligence foundations for babies and toddlers. Parents are carers participate in a range of activities during each 50 minute session.

All of these activities are built into the programme to help baby with the following.

  • Develop gross and fine motor skills
  • Enhance communication skills to build language mastery
  • Improve memory and focus
  • Sharpen reasoning and visualization skills
  • Build the foundation for social skills and emotional development later in life

The BrainFit Baby programme is a personalized program. Recognizing the fact that every child is different, the programme is customized to hone baby's unique abilities and capabilities. It also allows parents to track and monitor baby's milestones and development via an app.

To find out more about this programme, contact

Brainfit Studio Malaysia
Lot 118, First Floor
The Curve Mall
No. 6, Jalan PJU 7/3
Mutiara Damansara
47810 Selangor
Tel: 603-7710 0723/6012 217 9921

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Family Bonding Moments

The other day, I saw a family shopping for Chinese New Year decorations. It didn't seem like a special outing specifically to buy decorations. They were dressed very casually and looked in a hurry. An adorable little girl was running back and forth between her parents, showing decorations to her mum "Shall we have this mummy?" and then to her dad "Mummy says we have enough already". It occurred to me then, that this family was having a very special family bonding moment. The family was busy looking for decorations and oblivious to the fact that they were actually having a special moment. Their child will never be at that age again and may not be interested in those same decorations again. She will grow up all too soon.

Had they realized that the time is so precious, they would have stopped, admired and asked the cute little girl for her opinion. Quite often we are in such a hurry, we forget to enjoy the moment. We may take our little ones to try new outfits for a festival but rush them in the dressing room. "Oh, hurry up! Everyone is waiting outside." We rush around so much when we really should be slowing down and cherishing every moment.

We don't have to go away for expensive holidays together or create an event then make sure everyone is available before we can have a special family bonding moment. We have that everyday in our lives whenever we spend time with our family.

We have special moments when we teach our children or help them with homework. We have bonding moments when we make cookies together for a special festival. We have happy moments when we watch a movie together. We bond when we play a sport, go for a walk, chat on the way home from school.

I really like the quote by Dr Seuss. "Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory."  It is up to us to cherish our moments together and create special memories with our families.

As a stay at home mother, sometimes being around all the time makes me forget that quality time is much more precious than quantity time. Reminder to self: "Be there for your child not just physically. Every time your child comes to talk to you, listen, really listen and give them the emotional support they need from you."

Chinese New Year 2016 Ice Cream Stick Monkey Craft For Kids

Here's a very easy craft idea for young kids for this year Chinese New Year 2016 which is the Year of the Monkey.

The pictures for this popsicle stick monkey craft is self-explanatory but we will explain it briefly to give you an even better idea.

Here's what you need for your ice-cream stick monkey

  1. One (1) popsicle stick or ice-cream stick
  2. Coloured construction paper
  3. Googly Eyes (Optional)
  4. Glue
  5. Sharpies or Marker Pens for drawing

Instructions on How To Make Your Ice-Cream Stick Monkey

  1. Cut out the shapes as shown above for your monkey's ears and face.
  2. Remember to use a different coloured circle for the main face shape
  3. Paste the big round circle over the two little circle that make up the monkey ears
  4. Paste the nose and face shape over the main round shape
  5. Draw in or decorate your monkey's face
  6. Paste googly eyes on draw as shown
  7. Draw an upside down arrow for the nose and lips
  8. Draw two red lines as shown for a blushing monkey
  9. Finally paste the face over the ice-cream stick
That's it! Happy Chinese New Year 2016. We hope you like this Year of the Monkey 2016 Craft Idea for kids.

This craft idea was contributed by Little Oxford Daycare and Tuition Centre. Kids are the daycare have guided activities like this Popsicle Stick Monkey during quiet times at the centre.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

How To Use Iron On Labels Correctly

Applying or placing iron-on labels on outfits is not just a matter of ironing and that's it. To make sure your iron-on labels stick and last even after laundering, make sure you follow the instructions that come with it.

Here are some tips on how to use iron-on labels correctly
  1. Temperature - The iron should be hot. The best heat setting is "cotton". Switch on your iron for several minutes to reach desired temperature level.
  2. Dry - Make sure your garments are dry and do not use steamer or sprinkle water
  3. Preparation - Preheat the clothing surface for 10-20 seconds before placing the label onto desired position
  4. Time - Cover with thin cloth (handkerchief thin) then iron and press for 20-45 seconds but not more than a minute
  5. Repeat - Repeat the process if your iron-on labels do not stick well
  6. Cool - Allow to cool completely before use and do not launder for at least 6 hours
If you follow these steps diligently, your iron-on labels should stick well and last even with laundering in the washing machine.

Iron-on Label Before And After -
Some labels have a matte dull coloured look before ironing and may look different after  ironing on

These tips were brought to you by Fun Printz. Fun Printz delivers their labels to any location in Malaysia and Singapore. These customized labels are useful for primary school, boarding school as well as private and international school students.

At Fun Printz, you can create personalized iron-on labels in various sizes like the mini iron-on, fun iron-on, shape iron-on and giant iron-on. It will be easier for your child and childcare minders to recognize your child's clothing items easily with custom labels.

Here's how you can create and order custom iron-on labels from Fun-Printz with your child's name on them. 
  1. Select an iron on label from the types available
  2. Design your iron-on. Click on the "Click Here To Personalize/Order Online" button. You will be taken to the following screen to create your label. This is where you type in your child's name, select a favorite symbol, alphabet or border, pick a color and choose a font. All the while you will be able to preview your design on the left pane.

 3. When you are satisfied with your design, place your order and wait for your shipment.

Monday, January 18, 2016

UPSR 2016 - Score 8As

I've started seeing workbooks that says "Score 8As for UPSR" or something to that effect. This year I have a kid who will be sitting for the UPSR. He is among the first batch of kids who did the KSSR syllabus from Standard One. I thought the whole point of the KSSR syllabus was to move towards School Based Assessments and away from examinations. It seems like I have been wrong in my assumption.

In fact, now that the new formats have been announced, I have discovered that there are more papers, more subjective questions to test the kids critical thinking skills, more hours for some papers and more days for the exams (from 3 to 4). Since this will be the first year for the new syllabus, the kids are being drilled and prepared in ernest by the schools.

During the first week of school, the kids were briefed on the new exam and paper formats. We're talking about the first week of school! In the second week, they started doing some test papers. In the third week, they start staying back 3 extra days in school and Saturday will soon be a full schooling day. Extra curricular activities take up 1 day. That means the kid has to go to school from 7.45 am to 3.30 pm - 4.00 pm for 4 days in a week and attend school on Saturday from 7.45 am to 1.05 pm. There's also talk that the hours may be increased ie. the kids may have to start schooling at 7 am instead of 7.45 am. Nothing is confirmed yet so far but the idea is there isn't enough hours to drill and prepare the kids for UPSR 2016.

Many schools have also held talks for parents on the new format. (and it's only the start of the third week of back to school today).

In contrast, my other kid who sat for UPSR in 2014 and having been drilled in a similar fashion and is now attending a public secondary school, is more free. That other secondary school kid looks a lot more relaxed now compared to the primary school going child. The 14 year old is currently having it a lot easier than the 12 year old. Strange how the UPSR year for mere 12 year olds is like a pressure cooker.

So what do we  parents do about it? Many have flocked to private and international schools. Some decided to home school and for the rest who are in this regime. You either get all caught up in the whirlwind or you close one eye or both and say, "Its ok. Its only the UPSR. Who's even going to look at the paper when you attend a job interview years later." However, at the back of your mind, there may be this nagging thought or doubt that says "Am I doing the right thing for my child?" "How's he going to get into a good school if he can't compete with the rest?" Of course you don't have to ask this question if you have a secure financial future that allows you to send your child to any good school you like. To the rest? Well, its only 8 months more to UPSR 2016. Hang on in there!

Note: SK students sit for 6 papers while SJKC students sit for 8 papers. So you may see two versions of workbooks at the bookstores. A Score 6As version or a Score 8As one.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...