As such, spending quality time with them is crucial in making the most of those precious growing-up years. And most parents would agree that the best way to build a steady relationship with junior is through one-on-one time together.
“One-on-one dates help children understand that although life gets busy sometimes, mum and dad consider them a priority,” notes Dr. Vanessa von Auer, Clinical Child Psychologist at VA Psychology Center. “This makes a child feel valued, safe, loved, important and creates a secure attachment to primary caregivers.”
Parent Lincoln Mao also stress the value of regular one-on-one time, and how it has helped him connect with his son. “My wife usually takes care of my son so he tells her a lot more about his life in school and how he feels,” he shares. “Therefore, he isn't so used to sharing his life with me. These one-on-one dates allow me to find out first-hand what's going on in his life.”
“I find that my son and daughter are more relaxed and willing to open up one-on-one,” adds mum Jiang San San. “It’s a great opportunity to rebuild my relationship with them, and the fact that I am more patient when I only need to face one child is helpful too.”
If you’re hoping to spend more quality alone-time with your child, here are some suggestions for enjoyable parent-kid dates to bring you both closer!
“One-on-one dates help children understand that although life gets busy sometimes, mum and dad consider them a priority.”
1) Sporting events
Kicking a ball together at the park is great, but why not let your son experience the thrill of a live sporting game? Tickets to events such as UFC mixed martial arts battles, rugby tournaments and tennis matches are available from Singapore Sports Hub’s website.
If he’s a soccer fanatic, check out the Football Association of Singapore for dates of live matches.
2) A Nerf (or toy gun) war
“Our dates usually revolve around what my son likes to do, and sometimes this is hanging out at home and having a Nerf war,” says Mao.
And it’s easy too! All you really need are two Nerf guns, and you’re good to go. Engage in a battle of wits and tactical strategy with junior either at home or at the park. Hint: The more obstacles, the more thrilling it is!
3) Eating out
It’s no secret that young boys have stomachs akin to bottomless pits, so what better way to spend quality time then to head out for a hearty meal! There’s a ton of kid-friendly restaurants out there ─ our favourites include Peperoni Pizzeria, Seasonal Tastes at The Westin and Summerlong at Robertson Quay. Or check out themed cafes such as Hungry Heroes (superheroes, anyone?) or Platform 1094 (for Harry Potter fans).
Hoping to raise an outdoor-loving child? Start by exploring the many hiking trails Singapore has to offer together. Popular hiking routes include The Southern Ridges, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve or Macritchie’s TreeTop Walk. Family-friendly islands like St John’s or Pulau Ubin also offer scenic views and tranquil surroundings.
A little retail therapy is always good for the soul, especially when you’re doing it with your mini-me! Singapore’s kid-friendly malls are packed with lots of places you can shop at together. For women’s and children’s apparel, our go-tos include Seed Heritage, Zara and Gap.
“Shopping together is the way we spend most of our mother-daughter time,” relates Jiang. “Sometimes, I’ll even give my daughter a shopping list so we can hunt for stuff together.”
Besides teaching your daughter an essential life skill, cooking is undeniably an engaging and relaxing way to bond. Start the fun with a trip to the grocery store, and have her help in selecting groceries and ingredients.
3) Getting artsy
Arts and crafts do wonders for unleashing your little one’s creative side! Fun DIY projects to work on together include making your own play dough and paint, DIY pebble cactus plants, watermelon coasters or even a DIY shoebox guitar!
Not only is volunteering one of the best ways to nurture a giving child, participating with her makes the experience even more meaningful! Non-profit organisations like The Salvation Army and Soup Kitchen Project are more than happy to welcome young volunteers.
Sometimes, the best way to connect with your son is simply to have a weekly ritual the both of you can look forward to.
Want to boost your son’s language prowess? There’s no better means of encouraging a love for the written word then to read together with him. You can even make library visits a regular weekend outing, and create reading lists for both of you to conquer together.
2) Attending a concert
Even if you don’t quite fancy the bands your 12 year-old rocks out to, accompanying him for a concert shows you care about experiencing the things he enjoys. And who knows, you may even end up liking some tunes yourself!
3) Board and card games
Lamenting the fact that junior is always glued to his phone? Why not introduce some family-friendly card or board games to shake things up! Some classic two-player games he‘ll love include Snap, Go Fish, Uno and Cluedo, just to name a few!
4) Have a simple weekly ritual
Sometimes, the best way to connect with your son is simply to have a weekly ritual the both of you can look forward to. Not to mention that it’s a great opportunity for heart-to-heart conversations.
“My son and I used to visit 7-11 every Monday afternoon, and we would each get a cup of slurpy and sit on the grass outside of Nex,” recalls Jiang. “He really enjoyed this and would often remind me many times before Monday.”
1) Cycling and swimming
Who says girls can’t be sporty? Singapore has a ton of bike trails you can hit with your daughter at places like East Coast Park, Punggol Park and even Marina Bay. Remember to ride safely!
Aside from cycling, swimming dates are great for teaching water safety. And once your little one is confident in the water, we can pretty much guarantee she won’t want to come out!
We haven't met a little girl who doesn’t enjoy the thrill of strapping on skates and gliding around an ice-skating rink. Moreover, ice-skating brings with it numerous health benefits like training balance and flexibility!
3) Watching a musical or play
If you want to raise a daughter who appreciates the arts, we have good news for you! Singapore has plenty of kid-friendly theatre shows all year round, from companies like Act 3 International, I Theatre and SRT’s The Little Company.
Esplanade’s website is a great place to find out what shows are playing next too.
4) Animal watching
There’s no denying that getting up close and personal with animals makes for a thrilling day out. Plus ─ these handy annual passes make a trip to the Zoo or Night Safari more affordable for you and your little princess!
Sign up for a fun-filled Healthy Timeout Challenge activity with junior on the Healthy 365 mobile app (download from Google Play or the Apple App Store) from now till 31 August! You won’t just earn Healthpoints when you scan the QR code on-site, you’ll also stand a chance to win one of three fab staycations as part of the Health Promotion Board’s family engagement initiative.
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