Bedtime rituals: So I say a little prayer for you

I’ve always known family rituals were important, but until I heard this, “it’s the little things you do everyday that your children will remember for the rest of their lives,” I never really quite knew the weight of it.

One of our most important (and favourite) rituals is our bedtime ritual – the one where we read books, sing our favourite bedtime songs, and nod off to sleep.

There are moments where I’ve been tempted to slack in this area, and get down to tackling my to-do list instead.

But I’ve pulled myself back to keeping these bedtime moments sacred…Regardless of how the day had gone, I will just hang with the kids, remind them I love them, pray with them, and stay till they fall asleep. (And when they finally do nod off to sleep, I will whisper a prayer of blessing and protection over them.)

Everything else just has to wait.

And so recently, something beautiful happened, and I was glad to be around to catch it.

Vera has been now appointed herself as “prayer leader.” She will gather us together, ask “are you ready?” and give us instructions to repeat after her.

It’s been ongoing for the past four nights. This is how she prayed on one night.

Heavenly father,
Thank you for the good day today.
Please love us more and more and more.
And make a world with beautiful flowers and rainbows,
and butterflies that fly around these flowers.
Please let us love you more and more and more too.
And all the children say?
(To which we respond)
Amen!

To be honest, I had this on the tip of my tongue: “Sweetie, God already has made such a beautiful world, complete with rainbows and flowers and butterflies. And he already loves us so much, there cannot possibly be more we could ask for (or can there?)”

But I held those words back, and just smiled. I think God in heaven is pleased with her prayer, and to see the love and faith of a child. So who am I to find fault with these little things? 😉

I’m looking forward to hearing more prayers from this child of mine. May her prayers always be from the heart, and may her world always be filled with rainbows of hope, and flowers of blessing.

Thankful for bedtime rituals. What does your bedtime ritual look like?

A Juggling Mom Motiviational Monday

Hadouken!

So daddy loves to play and be silly around the kids.

He spotted a video of how someone in Japan created a scene like this, and he made me take multiple shots just to capture the perfect hadouken / suspended in the air moment.

Needless to say, we all had a good laugh after. Especially Vera, who looks like she possesses some cool superpower here.

I think we adults need to be silly more often.

And act more like children, while spending time with our own…

Picture taken by me using a Samsung S3. Edited with picfx app. No child or father was hurt in the process.

Muffin break with mummy

My little girl loves muffins. Actually, anything sweet and that resembles cake is a sure-win in her books.

We took a little break that day when I was working from home. I was making good headway into my to-do list, and I thought of rewarding her for being cooperative. Moreover, it has been a while since our last mummy-daughter outing.

So we braved the rain and headed to the nearest Starbucks. I got her a chocolate muffin and a peppermint mocha for myself. While she was happily munching away, I was busy taking photos (while sneaking bites in between).

It was a nice treat for the both of us really…Motherhood really makes me enjoy the simplest pleasures that we manage to squeeze into our schedules somehow. Moments of indulgence. Moments of delight. Amidst the moments of madness.

For some reason, I really enjoy these muffin/munching/coffee sessions with Vera very much. It’s almost like a special thing that we share…just me and my little girl. After all, I think that she got her sweet tooth and eating gene from me. 😉

Is there a special activity that only you and your child share?

Harness the power of games to bond with your children

Today, I’m delighted to introduce our games-queen, Pamela Tan. Pamela is a friend and fellow mum-blogger. She’s got some great ideas on how to harness the power of board games to teach our children life-skills and encourage positive character traits through doing what they love best – PLAY!

Let’s hear what her secrets are…

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1) Why are games good for kids?

Games are generally more interactive, and it’s a great way to foster family bonding. Good games also contain elements of choice and strategy, and is not just about luck. Even games meant for a three year old have strategy elements present.

Most games for young kids only require 10 – 15 minutes per game, so it’s very easy to clock game-play time every day. It keeps them happy and entertained. It’s not overly-stimulating, compared to a trip to the playground, and it’s okay to schedule game-time before bedtime.

Playing good, age-suitable games can also help foster these positive character traits:

  • Turn taking and patience – The kids learn that to play a game, they HAVE TO take turns. And by learning to wait for their turn, they acquire patience – an important life-skill.
  • Ability to listen to instructions
  • Playing by the rules – Kids learn that in order to play a game properly, they have to play it by the rules and not break the rules because “they feel like it”.

When a child is first introduced to card or board games, he may wish to play by his own rules. This should only be allowed at the beginning, and especially for very young children (2 – 3 years). But once the child is familiar with the idea of playing games and following instructions and rules, then they should be taught how to play the game by its proper rules.

2) How do you encourage your kids to play?

Kids naturally love to play! The mere mention of the word ‘play’ or ‘games’ is enough to spark off their excitement.

For us, we don’t allow the kids to watch TV during the weekdays so our average weekday evening routine is dinner, followed by board games, then reading, then bedtime.

3) Do kids exhibit any negative behaviour during game-time? How do you deal with it?

These things definitely happen. Here are some common negative behavioural traits that may arise:

  • The sore loser – He cries when he loses or throws tantrums when the game doesn’t go his way.

How to deal with it: Teach them that it’s okay to lose; you just have to try again, and try harder. Learn from past experience, pay more attention, try a different strategy, or employ better methodology (for example, instead of holding 10 cards, try focusing on lesser cards and try to find a match). Encourage them to focus on having fun with friends, rather than winning. Tell them that if they enjoyed playing the game, then they’ve also won.

  • The cocky winner – He says “Aha! I’m better than you!” when he wins.

How to deal with it: Teach them that it is not gracious to behave like that when they win. We ask, “Would you like it if you lost, and someone else said that to you? No, right?” So we ask them to shake hands and say “Thank you for the game. Better luck next time.”

  • The rule-breaker – He tries to change the rules to fit his own needs.

How to deal with it: Explain the importance of playing by standard rules, so that everyone follows the same rules and it’s fair. If he insists on making the rules easier for himself, then it will have to apply to everyone else too. Games can be customised and simplified, but the rules must be applied across the board, and not softened or bent over just because a child insists on it.

4) What inspired you to start your own games business?

I’m a boardgames lover myself, and I played a lot in my youth and before I had kids. One of the biggest problems about playing boardgames is that you need to find other players. So when I had my first child, I hatched a plan to train all my kids to play boardgames so that I’d never have to worry about looking for players again. So when I was pregnant with Isaac, I started researching online for good games suitable for young kids.

When Isaac was 17 months old, we started playing Go Away, Monster, a boardgame meant for 3 year-olds and above. By 18 months, he could play it by its proper rules, wait for his turn and listen to instructions.

During Chinese New Year that year, we brought some games with us when we went visiting. The games kept Isaac occupied and he had a good time playing them the whole day. Our relatives and friends were amazed that an 18-month-old toddler could play board games. Everyone started asking me where I bought the games from, and all expressed disappointment when they found out that the games were not available in Singapore. That was when I started thinking about importing games to sell here.

5) What’s special about the games that My First Games offer?

There are hundreds of new games published every year. Because we believe in only selecting the best games, we do our due diligence by reading the reviews, viewing the demo-videos, and we try our best to personally test out the games ourselves before deciding to carry it. So, practically each game that we sell carries our stamp of approval.

We have some simple criteria in choosing our games:

  • Should be easy to learn – with simple rules, and preferably not too many rules.
  • Game-play time should be fairly short – most of the games we carry can be played between 5 minutes to under an hour.
  • Should offer choice and strategy and/or hone motor skills

As we try to play the games ourselves with our kids and families, we know our games well and we are able to make good suggestions for buyers. Drop us an email to request for recommendations! 🙂

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Pamela Tan is a boardgames enthusiast with a personal collection of more than 300 boardgames. She is a mother of three young children, aged between 2 – 5 years old. Through playing boardgames with her oldest son, she discovered that they are an excellent educational tool. With an aim to inspire others to learn through play, Pamela started www.MyFirstGames.sg to retail and distribute child-friendly games in Singapore.

Disclaimer: No compensation was received for writing this post.