The little ones are having a moment. North West, offspring of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, generated nearly half a million tweets on the first day of her life, while Prince George is predicted to inject over £250 million ($520 million) into the British economy, as the feel-good factor surrounding his birth sweeps the nation into merchandise mania. Babies have never been so culturally influential. So, if you want to get your tot on-trend, check out the latest fads — and learn ways to benefit from them.
Music and drama for tiny tots
What’s it all about? Music can benefit babies and toddlers and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra recognises this with its popular annual SSO Babies’ Proms concert. The hour-long musical adventure takes you and junior into the fantastic world of classical music. Don’t forget to show up half an hour earlier for pre-concert activities. Mums of little drama queens might also like to check out Act 3 International for drama workshops and performances that cater specifically to tots.
Get involved because… Any experience that’s different from her daily routine will widen your child’s interests and boost her mental development. “Doing something together also helps promote bonding, and will build understanding and empathy,” says psychotherapist Ryan Lowe. Interacting with music improves children’s results in behavioural and cognitive tests, too.
Try it for free Check out the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ concert schedule — the park holds regular free outdoor concerts. It’s perfect for you and your babe as you’ll enjoy the fresh air, plus, who cares if baby fusses — the noise will disperse in the wide, open spaces. Or take your little one on a stroll round one of the many collections at an art gallery near you. All Singapore citizens and permanent residents enjoy year-round free admission to the National Heritage Board’s eight museums and heritage institutions.
Best for… Musical mamas or those who have artistic ambitions.
Going green for kiddy's sake
What’s it all about? Scientists and activists have been talking for decades about disposable diapers taking 500 years to biodegrade. As Generation Y — those born between 1977 and 1994 and known as the “green generation” — are becoming parents and having their own babies, eco-friendly children’s products are set to boom. Indeed, we’re also increasingly recognising the harmful effects of chemicals on our babies’ skin, so check out local online stores like www.idocare.com.sg, www.humannature.com.sg and www.budcosmetics.com for some earth-friendly options. You can also cut your expenses while saving the environment by renting toys,or by picking-up pre-loved ones from The Salvation Army’s Family Thrift Store or Craigslist Singapore.
Get involved because… Singaporeans generated more than7 million tonnes of waste in 2013, of which only 61 per cent was recyclable. Just think how much bubba’s daily diapers contribute to this figure.
Try it for free According to a recent The New York Times report, the hippest parents now opt for “elimination communication” — learning the signs of a baby’s impending, erm, release and holding her over a toilet. No cloth needed.
Best for… The hipster, the thrifter (fan of thrift shops) and eco-parent alike.
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Tweeting for tots
What’s it all about? Toddlers who, um, tweet! In June last year, a 3-year-old Canadian girl called Isabelle Cullen was hailed as the world’s youngest Twitter user. Actually, the title has since been taken by Tyler Mencher, who began tweeting in utero (we kid you not), thanks to a device designed to detect foetal kicks and post them online. Meanwhile, The Honest Toddler — seemingly written by a tot but admittedly written by a mum of a 3-year-old girl — has attracted over followers with sage advice including, “Technically, I am potty trained. Every time I have an accident, it’s in the same corner of the living room,” and “If you think about it, fries are the only vegetable that care about how we feel.” While few toddlers have actually mastered tweeting themselves, given how adept most are at scrolling through an iPad, it must surely just be a question of time…
Get involved because… Studies have shown that a family’s attitude to technology has a major influence over a child’s relationship with it. But, whatever degree you decide to expose your child to it, the key thing is to do it together and learn from it.
Try it for free Is toddler tweeting taking things too far for you? Check out www.commonsensemedia.org — it lists the best free educational apps for toddlers.
Best for… The non-OCD parent. If the idea of small, sticky fingerprints all over your iPad makes you break out in hives, it might be best to find another tot trend.
Exploring food with babe
What’s it all about? Since Pamela Druckerman’s French Children Don’t Throw Food topped bestseller lists, parents have begun finding creative ways to get broccoli into their toddlers. Mums are turning to kid-friendly food gurus like Annabel Karmel and coming up with ingenious ways to slip some greens into junior. Pizza crust made out of cauliflower? No sweat. Alternatively, sign your peewee up for toddler cooking classes like those at So EZ cooking studio — getting her to prep her own food will pique her interest in new tastes and textures.
Get involved because… “These kinds of classes are a great example of learning through experiences,” Lowe notes.
Try it for free When you’re introducing a new food, encourage your kids to do something fun, such as squish it.
Best for… Anyone fed up with having their homemade lasagne flung on the floor.
Teaching kids gender equality
What’s it all about? Bringing up a generation of feminists from day one. According to publishing house Scholastic, “tough girls” are set to be a key trend in kids’ books, and readers can expect more powerful female characters. Think refreshingly strong princesses like Anna from Frozen and Brave’s Merida — breaking away from Disney damsel-in-distress stereotypes, these “girl power” characters have captured the hearts of millions of little girls around the world. Incidentally, we’re all still in awe over Harry Potter actress Emma Watson’s inspiring speech on gender equality as a United Nations Women’s Goodwill Ambassador. Launched last September, the UN’s HeForShe campaign aims to get men and boys to pledge their commitment to ending the gender inequality faced by women and girls around the world. Check out
Get involved because… Our daughters need to grow up empowered. “The problem with the world of princess games is that it teaches girls that their value comes from how they look,” says Nicky Hutchinson, author of Body Image in the Primary School.
Try it for free Step away from the pink tiara. It’s time to jump in puddles, roll down hills and build dens in the park.
Best for… Parents everywhere.
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