Jumaat, 14 Februari 2014

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Parenting

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Parenting

Make it a family day for love

Posted: 13 Feb 2014 08:00 AM PST

Make Valentine's Day a family affair.

VALENTINE'S Day is a special day to focus on those you love. It's a perfect opportunity to teach kids about the meaning of love within your own family. Here's a list of some fun, creative ways mums and dads can teach their kids about love through activities.

Eat with love

Make a Valentine's dinner together using only foods that are red in colour (before and /or after cooking). For example, for starters, make a beet salad, red carrot salad, or tomato salad; for main dishes make lobster, steak, or red snapper fish; for dessert make strawberries, raspberry fruit salad, cherry pie or raspberry sorbet. Drinks can include cranberry juice for the kids. Let the kids help chop, cook and decorate the table.

Family movie date night

After enjoying your special Valentine's Day family dinner, why not end your night with a romantic family movie. Fortunately, there are many romantic movies that kids love such as Beauty and The Beast, Anastasia, Be My Valentine Charlie Brown, Cinderella, High School Musical and many more. So grab some popcorn and cuddle up!

Secret Valentine exchange

Instead of a Secret Santa, try a Secret Valentine exchange with small handmade gifts and candy. Ask each family member to pick a name. The gifts must all be Valentine's Day themed. This will give you and your kids an opportunity to be crafty and creative. Think outside of the box to come up with the perfect gift for your valentine (think baking heart-shaped cookies, red and pink handmade bracelets, Valentine's Day photo frames, etc). Every member of the family will love having their very own special Valentine.

Sweet treats scavenger hunt

Organise a fun Valentine's Day scavenger hunt. Provide them with a map or leave clues around the house that lead to yummy valentine's treats and cards. If you have more than one child, try giving your kids different maps for different surprises to keep it interesting, competitive and fun.

Tree of love

Trees aren't just for Christmas anymore. Pick up an artificial Christmas tree (you should be able to find one on clearance), spray it pink (or buy a white one) and decorate it as a family with handmade valentines, pink and red paper hearts, pink lights and family photos. Creating the "ornaments" of love will ensure an afternoon of fun!

Valentine's Day is a special time to teach kids important lessons about loving and serving others while at the same time creating meaningful family traditions. Modelling love through shared activities has a profound impact on kids and it is so easy to do. Happy Valentine's Day! – McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

> Parenting expert and mum-of-one, Jennifer Chung, is the co-founder of Kinsights.com – part parenting community, part online health record.

Valentine at home

Posted: 13 Feb 2014 08:00 AM PST

VALENTINE'S Day is not just for lovers, it is a day to share with people we love, especially the loves of our lives, our children. By spending the day doing activities specific to your child's dominant sense, you will be able to demonstrate clearly how much you love them.

Visual children will love all the decorations attached to Valentine's Day. The making, choosing, giving and receiving of cards will be magic to them. They will take enormous pride in making each card just right, and be fussy about the colour, shape and amount of sparkle each card has.

Splurge on some heart-covered ribbons, or a red T-shirt to show the festive spirit; let them help make heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast, or use the red tablecloth for dinner. Use cookie cutters to make heart-shaped sandwiches.

Tactile children will love the idea of making something: a cake they can help mix, and cover with chocolate chips; cookies they can roll or cut out and decorate.

Allow the child to pick out some flowers from the florist, or let them pick the flowers themselves. Blowing up balloons and twisting them into heart shapes will be fun, so will grand gestures, like putting Post-It notes on the wall saying "I Love U," or outlining hearts on the shower door.

Involve your tactile child, and make the activity as large and physical as possible. Tactile children are often larger-than-life in their emotions. Expect an enormous amount of hugging.

For the auditory child, rhymes, rhymes and more rhymes, poetry and silly verses.

Create a family tradition of the auditory child making a rhyme about every person they care for and at dinner, have them perform their works of art.

Record the event, and send a DVD to Grandma and others not able to be there.

Auditory children love music, so they will love a playlist of their favourite songs, and it can serve as a great time capsule of their auditory tastes and how they have changed.

Your auditory child can send out recorded Valentine's cards, or make Valentine's Day instruments. Things like a cardboard guitar made from a heart-shaped gift box, or shakers made from "I love you" sweets all help make Valentine's Day fun and memorable.

Taste and smell children are all about the love. They love dearly and completely. They also get hurt feelings very easily, so be sure to express Valentine's Day as a family and friend affair, not just about whether they have an admirer or not.

Make Valentine's Day about spending time with lots of people that they love, visit Grandma, have afternoon tea with their friends and make a special family Valentine's dinner.

Let young and old be part of the day's events – make cookies, cards and turn Valentine's Day into a "love all day" event.

We are all so lucky to have our children in our lives, celebrate your family, and not just your partner during this loving holiday. – McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

> Priscilla Dunstan is a behavioural researcher and creator of the Dunstan Baby Language and author of Child Sense and Calm The Crying.

Resisting digital

Posted: 13 Feb 2014 08:00 AM PST

Old favourites fight rise of the tablet.

THE big players in the traditional toy market have come out fighting in Britain as little fingers are increasingly occupied by iPad-type devices at playtime.

Previously seen as the preserve of grown-ups, tablets are increasingly top of children's wishlists.

The best-selling toy in Britain last year was the Furby, the cuddly robotic "pet" that has irritated millions of parents with its constant chatter.

But tablet computers, designed specifically for kids, came close behind, according to the NPD market research group.

With toddlers frequently more nimble on touchscreens than their parents, major players including Samsung are cashing in with tablets designed for the lucrative and tech-savvy youth market.

At the recent London Toy Fair, manufacturers of traditional toys insisted they face a bright future – but admitted the rise of tablets means they're in for a tough fight.

"We have to recognise these days that there's a place for tablets and technology," said Jamie Dickinson, marketing manager at Playmobil, the German-based brand that has produced some 2.6 billion plastic figures since 1974.

"When children grow up and go into the adult world, they need to know how to use the technology," he said as he stood in front of a display of Playmobil figures at London's Olympia exhibition centre.

"But there are lots of other skills that they need to learn, which only traditional toys can give them."

Playmobil is resisting the digital onslaught, with its global sales increasing by 5.3% to 531 mil euros (RM2425mil) last year.

In the United Kingdom, the building sets and action figures markets will enjoy a 10% jump in growth this year, NPD predicts, partly thanks to toys linked to the World Cup in Brazil.

Tablets for two-year-olds

Many of the toy firms displaying their wares in London were counting on the support of parents with an instinctive suspicion of the Internet and, by extension, tablets.

Metal construction kits by Meccano have been a boys' favourite since they were invented in England in 1909 – and are "still very popular, especially in the eyes of parents, grandparents and those who buy gifts," said Kevin Jones, European marketing director for the brand's owner Spin Master.

"The great thing about traditional toys is that they have longevity. It's great value for parents," he said.

Lego is another perennial favourite that has diversified its range, partly through movie tie-ins.

The Danish firm saw a 13% increase in global revenue in 2013, although Asia accounted for much of the positive figures.

Roland Earl, director general of the British Toy and Hobby Association, played down the threat posed by tablets, arguing that there is plenty of space in the playroom for a variety of games.

"We've found that the traditional toy market has held up very well over the last ten years," he said.

"In fact, we've posted growth in the UK in most years out of the last ten – and the computer game industry has actually suffered in the last year, possibly from less expensive free games that are available on the web."

Tablets have a "novelty value" that may yet pass, he suggested.

Some parents may worry that having these gadgets at such an early age could create a dangerous tendency towards lethargy – but after all, say manufacturers, iPad-loving adults are hardly setting a good example.

French maker Lexibook said it now makes tablets aimed at users as young as two.

"They want to copy their parents and use a tablet themselves," said Lexibook CEO Emmanuel Le Cottier.

"So we've created a range of tablets going from two to 14 years old, with dedicated content for each target age group."

He added that Lexibook's kids' tablets – like many of their rivals – come with parental control features, including the ability to set a daily time limit on their usage.

Nine-year-old Emilie Brun said she prefers playing with her parents' tablet to traditional toys – but she's usually ready to move on to something else after a couple of games.

"There's loads of interesting games on the tablet to play when I'm bored in my room," she told AFP.

"But I'm also happy to play 'teachers' with my sister." – AFP

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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