MUM SAYS I built my kids’ monkey bars

Active playtime helps her kids acquire vital life skills, says stay-at-home mum of three Josse Tan.

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“I knew early on as a parent that I’m not just my children’s protector or provider, I am their facilitator as well. I am responsible for creating opportunities to enhance their development in as many areas as possible. I can create a nurturing home environment to help them.

There are no battery-operated toys in my house because I want my kids to take part in active play. Active play engages one’s mind and encourages movement, so that they can interact with other people or with objects, compared to passive play where the child sits idle.

My parenting philosophy is inspired by education guru Glenn Doman’s book, How to Teach Your Baby to be Physically Superb From Birth to Age Six. Doman’s principle that children learn better through movement than sitting still resonates with me.

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I am also intrigued by the Brachiation Ladder, an example of the gym equipment Doman uses, which he created to help brain-injured children. While learning about the benefits of the ladder, I got to know a grandpa in the United States who had built one for his granddaughter as she suffers from cerebral palsy. Impressed by the positive effects the ladder had on his granddaughter’s development, he builds and sells these ladders now as a business.

 “There are no battery-operated toys in my house because I want my kids to take part in active play.”

Keen to see the benefits of the ladder on my kids, I decided to order one from him. It cost me USD$750 ($1,043.40), including shipping. It arrived in several flat packs, just like Ikea furniture. On the day the packages arrived, my helper and I enthusiastically assembled the ladder in just half a day with a spanner. It was that easy!

The moment my three kids — Winter Fayye, 3, Summer Rayye, 7, and Hyynen Skyler, 9 — were able to walk, I let them play on the monkey bars. As there are holes on either side, I can adjust the ladder to a comfortable height above the ground and increase it progressively. My kids took to the bars from the start — confidently and playfully swinging from bar to bar. The sense of happiness and satisfaction I get from looking at them having tonnes of fun makes the time and effort spent assembling the ladder well worth it!

Click through to read what other valuable skills the kids learnt from this climbing structure…