Archive for the 'Parenting' Category

Sep 16 2012

It is Important to Let You Kids Learn Swimming

Few months ago, there was a 5 years old girl drown in a pool in a private club house nearby. When she drowned, that pool was full of swimmers. It was jam packed like Hawaii beach, and there was also a swim lesson going on somewhere ahead. The crowd just didn’t realize there was a drowning girl.

This has lead us to do some research on drowning, and here is some shocking findings, but really worth sharing with all, whether you are parent or not.

I don’t want to re-do what is already a very well-written article here on Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning.

From The Suzette

If you are lazy to go through the whole article, here are some highlights (still, the best is to read the whole article for full understanding!)

From the title, yes – most of the people who drown, they dont’ response like the way in movies. They don’t waive their hands and yell “Help!”. They don’t do that, not because they are panic they ‘forgot’ to do, but they just unable to do so. A drowning person will try his best to push himself out of the water, so his hands would be busy doing that push-down action by instinct. And he can’t shout for help because he is just out of breath, he needs to inhale before he could shout. He would, if lucky enough, have enough time to inhale, but not enough time to shout before he is back down into the water again.

So, a drowning person would really look like someone playing in the pool, QUIETLY. Until he is completely gone, he would still be seen as ‘playing’ in the water!

This reminds me of an incident last year in our own pool here. It was also a busy evening, and it was a school holiday so our pool was full of children. My 2 kids were having their swim lesson, whilst our visitor (another 2 gals aged 9 and 10 then) playing water at the side. Both of these 2 visitors did not know how to swim. The 9 yo girl was just tall enough to stand in the pool by top-toeing.

The incident happened when Ian played a prank on her, swam past her with his board knocked her a little. She went off balance a little, then with her hands she was floating up and down.

I was just standing in front of her, I didn’t realize she was actually drowning. She looked completely fine with me. She seems tall enough, she didn’t make any noise. Trust me, she looked REALLY FINE!

Then after a while, my children’s swim instructor suddenly jumped from behind me to pull her out from the water, and looked at me in shock (he quickly regained himself probably remember I won’t know!) and said “She is drowning!!”

After that incident, I insisted that this girl take lesson, otherwise I won’t let her swim in that pool any more. Now she is so good in swimming, can do free style, breast stroke, back stroke, and she is learning butterfly already. She started learning 2-3 years later than my son, but am at the same level as Ian already! Whew!

I would urge all the parents to let your children learn swimming. The girl who drown in the pool (see beginning of this article) does not know swimming. She usually use arm-bands but on the tragic day the family forgot to bring it.

Even if your children already ‘water-safe’ (as in already know how to swim), you will still need to monitor closely. The instructor told me that, in many cases, children drown not because they don’t know how to swim, but they make mistakes (playing dangerous pranks, knock their head or other injuries, etc). Without adult’s supervision, it is just too easy to lose them!

As for what age shall we start swim lesson – I used to be told 5 yo is the acceptable start age, that’s why both of my children started leaning at the age of 5yo.

But this instructor of my children has class as young as 2 yo, which he calls it “Baby Class”. The aim is to train water confidence and buoyancy of the little one. I guess it depends on your affordability and whether you are able to do this yourself. If I can afford, I would love to start training my children from as young as possible. I remember seeing videos of how the angmo train their babies, even from birth!!

I was told that, the younger you start the more water confidence you can build in them and the better stamina they will build over time. The disadvantage is, it takes a much longer time to learn because the young ones do not accept instruction as well as older kids. So ultimately it will burn a bigger hole in your pocket.

The advantage of older kids is that they generally learn faster –> the case of that 9yo girl (now 10 yo already): she learnt less than a year and she is around the same level my son is. My son started at 5 yo, learnt more than 3 years already (but the beginning 18 months was a little wasted, we didn’t have lesson every week due to the lack of commitment of previous coach. Sometimes it was as bad as 1 lesson in 2 months!!)

I am very happy that I’ve found a good coach for my children. I don’t expect them to be swim star, I just want them to be able to enjoy the water, which they really do now! ^_^

2 responses on It is Important to Let You Kids Learn Swimming

Mar 04 2012

What would you do if your children’s class teacher like this…

Published by under All,Ian,Miscellaneous,Parenting

Last week, I had a chance to speak to the mother of my “spy” (Ian’s classmate). That girl is a very quiet girl, very shy, but always strives to do her best in school. This is what the mother told me, about what happened in their class 2 weeks ago.

She came back with an art assignment, to draw “my school”. Initially she drew a 2-D building, and was not satisfied with it. She asked the mother to help out, but my friend refused (coz it is cheating). My friend then gave her idea how to draw a better building, from the 3D perspective (that is, with ‘depth’ instead of just width+height). The girl still didn’t understand. So what my friend did was to sketch out on a piece of paper to show her.

Her daughter than copied that idea and the layout of the picture, painted nicely, and finally satisfied.

After passing up, she was called to the front. The teacher accused her for cheating, that she has asked someone else to draw it. She said she does not believe this girl actually drew and painted such nice picture.

So, this girl explained to the teacher how the mommy helped, but the teacher didn’t accept. She scolded the girl for getting the mommy involved, and asked the girl to go home and draw another one.

This is so disheartening. Imagine if you are the girl, you tried to draw the best, and now teacher ask you to draw again – if you were to draw your best what would happen to you?

The girl went home, cried to the mother, and declare that she would not want to do good in her homework any more, because that would bring punishment to her.

Sigh! Malaysian education system like this ah? I am so speechless. And this is my son’s class teacher, for the second consecutive year now… :(
In fact, Ian has been telling me that he hates going to school, that the school is not a fun place to be. :(

5 responses on What would you do if your children’s class teacher like this…

Dec 27 2011

Obesity At Young Age

The other day when waiting at Dr. Chin (pead) clinic, I managed to catch some video interviews with the experts whom I have missed meeting at Bora Asrama earlier this year. Got me so excited, coz I missed that dinner discussion although I had the materials they presented at that session.

Here are what I got from Youtube on the videos to share with you all, two interviews with Professor Peter Davies.

First one here:

I really can’t agree more on the point that children don’t need a lot of added sugars for energy and growth. It is really a myth when people says about Ian “Oh, he is so active, so he needs more energy, so it is alright for him to eat more sugars…” People just don’t realize how wrong it is, so watch the video above, listen to the expert!!

Although some children are skinny (like my Ian), it doesn’t mean we want to stuff them with so much of added sugars. Those extra calories are not necessary, and can only increase the risk of obesity. Not that I am concerned about how he looks, but obesity IS the cause of many illnesses. If you have obese children, you should even watch out more on their sugars intake.

And here is the second video of the interview:

Listen to what he said: “… there is really not many calories to put aside for added sugars…!”

He quoted WHO that added sugars intake should be kept below 10% of our total calories intake. That is only 150kcal (max 7 tsp) per day for children. Normally this “quota” can be easily filled in our ‘normal daily food’. I can already think of many that we eat daily – jam, kaya, coffee/tea/chocolate-drinks/3-in-1 cereal, ice cream, juices, bread, etc. Even in cooking we also have to add sugars to taste (e.g. marmite chicken, butter fry whatever, etc).

So, parents, listen to what he says, there is really not much room to put aside for added sugars in our children’s diet. 7 tsp is used up pretty fast.

Since children 2-3 years old still drink growing up milk a lot, as parents, we should be more careful in choosing the right brand that has no added sugars. Choose wisely! Don’t feed them with empty calories that could lead to obesity and nothing else. They might look chubby and adorable now, but think of the long-term impact to them due to obesity. I have friends with obese children that they can’t control their diet when they grow up. Nothing ‘cute’ when it comes to that stage. :(

So far, I think Anmum Essential is the only growing up milk without added sugars. I’ve tried to verify this, checking on many brands’ labels when I shop for Isabel. If you do come across other brands of growing up milk without added sugars, please share!! Remember how do you check it out? Not more than 11-12g of carbohydrate per serving is the key. Read my previous post here. Cheers!!

No response on Obesity At Young Age

Dec 01 2011

Why We Should Avoid Excessive Added Sugars In Our Children’s Food?

The sugar debate can never end! There seem to be some confusions or misunderstanding. I have some friends said to me that, “I am confused over this sugar issues, aiyah no big deal one lah, children are still growing up, they need a lot of energy, these added sugars is sup-sup-sui to them, they can burn up easily not like us mah!”

This thought needs to be addressed.

Earlier, I managed to get some material from a talk given by some specialists on this added sugar topic. Pei Wei, Silversword and my sister, all are waiting for me to write about this and explain to them in greater detail here. I owe them this post, as well as some other friends/readers here.

Yes, children need plenty of carbohydrate to provide energy. Of total energy children at the growing up stage need, WHO has recommended that 55-75% of total calories comes from carbohydrate (other forms are fat and protein). But added sugars alone should be kept below 10%, which is equivalent to 7 teaspoons only PER DAY.


When WHO recommended that much of carbohydrate for children’s daily intake, it refers to the complex form of carbohydrates.


In complex carbohydrates, we have fruits, grains, etc. These types of carbohydrates always come with other nutrients. Take banana as example. It is a good source of carbohydrate, and it is also full of fiber, vitamins (carotene, thiamin, vit C, vit B6) as well as many types of minerals (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, etc). [BTW, banana is Isabel’s most favorite fruit; she can eat 2-3 large bananas in one sitting… yummy!]

Yes, added sugars is also a form of carbohydrate, but there is a term for this kind → EMPTY Carbohydrate. Why? It is because apart from carbohydrates, it provides nothing else. It doesn’t give you any minerals, no vitamins, no fiber, no protein, etc.

What your children need, is a balanced diet. So when taking in carbohydrate, your children need other things like protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, fat, etc. When taking in a complex carbohydrate, you get a lot of other benefits. However, when sugars are added to the food (in this case, growing up milk), it hinders the intake of sufficient protein and other nutrients. Certainly, when there are excessive added sugars, something else would be compromised/reduced, and that is usually the protein. So for your children to take in the same amount of protein they will need to consume more milk that has high added sugars. The end result is, too much of added sugars is taken.

So, what’s the big deal with this added sugars… To be precise, added sugars is not the issue, but the excessive added sugars is the problem here. The sugars are converted to energy (that’s why some hyper-active children are advised not to be given any sweet food). The unused/balance energy is stored in our body. THAT is the problem – obesity. Do you realize that there are so many obese children nowadays? Do you like your children to be obese? Think about all the health issues that follow obesity… Not going to repeat myself here. :)

As for some of you who have opted for fresh milk as resolution in this sugar confusion, I urge you to rethink about this as well.
Growing up children need a different composition of nutrients in their milk. Their need is different from ours. If you remember an article I wrote before about breast milk content? Even babies at different week, different month of age, they need different composition of milk (our body will adjust accordingly, how amazing!). So, what makes us think that children 3-6 years old are the same as us? Do we really think they need the same nutrients like us? No, of course. That’s why growing up milk is designed for them.

So, as informed mothers, instead of switching to a completely different stuff for children, we should learn more about growing up milk, and make the right choice by reading more.

As I have written earlier here, a standard milk without any added sugars, should have 11-12g carbohydrate per serve (solely from lactose, i.e. milk sugar naturally presented in cow’s milk). I urge that when you do your grocery shopping next time, go to the aisle of growing-up milk, and take a look at the labels of all brands.

How to check milk label for sugar? You just need to check out two things – the ingredients and the nutrition labels.

At the ingredients list, check out these terms: sugar, glucose, fructose, maltose, corn syrup solids, sucrose syrup solids, sucrose, or maltodextrin. These are added sugars. Sometimes they don’t list out the sugars, but instead group them into carbohydrate. (It is allowed in Malaysia, to group sugars into carbohydrate, but fiber is listed separately).

Next, move on to the nutritional facts, look for Carbohydrate content. If you see anything above 11-12g per serving, it comes from added sugars. This should be able to help you find a growing up milk with minimal or no added sugars.

reading-food-label (1)

So, mothers out there, let’s start reading labels from now on, and be an informed consumer, especially in choosing the right milk for our children!!


2 responses on Why We Should Avoid Excessive Added Sugars In Our Children’s Food?

Oct 21 2011

Snacks in the School

Published by under All,Parenting

When in the kindergarten, whenever there is birthday celebration, kids bring home large party packs of junk food. Isabel would finish them off before reaching home, so there is no way I could stop her (ya, she is very smart now!).

And now in the primary school, Ian doesn’t snack as much as Isabel, because the school doesn’t sell snacks. But today, the school celebrates Children’s Day. At first I was very glad when Ian clearly told me that the teacher has instructed no snacks are allowed to be brought to the school. The teacher’s definition of snack is a lot stricter, it includes also biscuits and sausages! So, I baked some muffins for him to bring to school.

This morning, when I was waiting for my neighbor’s son to come, I was shock seeing him carrying 2 large bags of Twisties. Ian immediately pointed out that they are not supposed to bring snacks to the school. The mom was very unhappy, commented that it was nothing wrong.


Then, when they got back from school, each carried back loads of snacks. Cheezles, Twisties, candies, lollipops, etc.

I could only guess a few possibilities, since the teacher already told them not to bring snacks to the school:
1. The children do not understand what is ‘snack’
2. The children did not convey the message to their parents
3. The parents do not understand what is ‘snack’
4. The parents refused to follow the instruction (you blow meh?!)

I know this blog has lost its glory in the early days, and that most of my readers have gone… I still wish to read your view on this snacking issues, if you happen to drop by and read this post. What’s your view on this? Support snacking or against snacking? Why? If support, how do you make your children eat the normal meals? If against, how do you control them, particularly in the school?

6 responses on Snacks in the School

Next »