Sunday, August 26, 2007

Trip To Melaka

The second term school holidays had just come by here in Malaysia, and just as in other parts of the world, parents are somewhat busier than usual during these period, given the fact that the kids are anxiously awaiting to be taken on a great holiday... out of town, of course.

So, deciding on a particular destination was next on the list, where should we go? And all of a sudden there comes along my brother, who mentions that they have planned such a trip to Melaka and offers us to join-in. Now, this was great, as it's been a while since my family has gone on a holiday.

My kids (and my wife too ...) were overwhelmed with the idea, as I have in a way been neglecting the aspect of a holiday for the last two and half years, since the birth of our daughter, Ayesha, who was born with something called Charge Associated Syndrome. This situation had caused most of our plans to come to a halt and since then life has been a uphill struggle all the way.

So, anyway we decided to join my brother and headed to Melaka around 10.30am last Tuesday and reached Ayer Keroh's R&R by 12.00pm to have a quick bite at KFC. The thing I was amazed with, was that it takes me the same time to get to work, and that's in our city itself!

This is a picture of my two boys, Akmal Ashwin (R) and Afiq Eshan (L).

Reaching Melaka town was just another fifteen minutes away and we headed straight to the hotel which was directly behind the famous shopping landmark of Melaka, Mahkota Parade.

Reservations were made at the Mahkota Hotel for our stay. We really enjoyed the stay here as the apartments were given full hotel facilities, like 24hour room service etc.

After a good rest, the two families were ready to venture out for some good food. I suggested to have a go at some great sea food (ikan bakar, for us local's) and after much confusion into the directions on getting there, we finally arrived at Medan Ikan Bakar Pernu/Umbai, which is on the way to Muar, Johor.

We had loads of great sea food; crabs, fish, squid, mussels and prawns. The best part is that it's relatively cheaper compared to the prices at restaurants in the capital city, KL. You get to choose if you want the fish to be grilled, fried, steamed or any other way you like (telling you about it is in itself making me hungry all over again...)

The next day was dedicated to the kids where they spent almost half the day in the pool, swimming. After all, the holiday was for them! Looking at the picture, you'll notice that they're tired but they're not giving up, yet.

Overall, the trip to Melaka was indeed a great escapade for both , the kids and the parents. We will miss Melaka for now..... but there's definitely a next time!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

How To Deal With Fears In Children

Having three little kids can sometimes be a lifelong lesson for parents like me. Dealing with their everyday fears is a great task in itself. And as we go along our daily lives, dealing with their inner fears is a task we must carry out with great care and understanding. We agree that feelings of being fearful are part and parcel of our children's growing pains, especially during their early years. As we watch them grow, they become more aware of things around them. Each new learning experience, coupled with rapid development both physically and mentally - it is not uncommon to witness children developing fears as part of their adjustment mechanism. The good news here is that most children get over their fears as they get older.

It is sometimes us, the adults, who over-comfort or exaggerate their concern when children express their fear's. Instead of helping the poor little child, adults are now accomplices in generating such fears. This situation worsens somewhat to the dismay of adults! Therefore, it is important that adults learn to recognize certain types of fears in children that could simply be a passing phase. However, if the child's fears are caused by an external factor such as abuse or neglect, then the adults must act swiftly to remove the child from such a situation.

Fear Of Strangers
Babies often experience anxiety towards strangers as soon as they are aware of their surroundings. Some babies as young as one month-old often cry when strangers approach them, or when they are handed to another person other than their own familiar adults. Older babies around six to eight months can get very upset when handled by strangers. Their anxiety usually improves around ten to twelve months when they tend to move about. However, this positive behaviour soon gives way if children are overwhelmed by their new skills and abrupt changes in surroundings.

Fear Of Sleeping Alone
Toddlers of ages two to three may experience fears of sleeping alone or visiting the doctors office. At this age of emerging independence, toddlers have difficulty separating themselves from their parents, especially when they get tired and sleepy. They may appear to want to be by themselves during the day, but really, they are pretty vulnerable and appreciate cuddles at nights. The fear of sleeping alone may not be due to 'monsters or ghosts' as some parents may think. As such, getting toddlers to sleep alone may require a step-by-step process for parents to help ease their anxiety.

Fear Of Seeing The Doctor
Children are afraid of seeing doctors mostly because they do not like being poked or jabbed at. The strange and unfamiliar environment that is associated with pain and suffering can lead to a fear of visiting the doctors office. To help ease children's fear, parents must acknowledge that these fears are real to the children themselves. Adults should not tease them or overdo their comforting. Lastly, children should never be rushed to overcome their fears.

So what do you do when your child is experiencing fear? Here are three examples I've tried along the way :

Give TLC
When children are fearful, parents should remain calm to comfort them. Do not over-react. Soothe your child by softly humming his favourite song or find ways to help him to relax. Children need to learn positive ways to cope with their fears. Parents can show them by facing their own challenges without losing control or getting upset.

Prepare your toddler or preschool child before leaving home. If the need arises, parents can role-play what will happen at the doctor's office or at the party that they will be attending. Role-play offers much consolation and assurance.

Pat and Praise
As a child gets older, it is helpful to tell him about his success in conquering his fears. Say things like - "Look, you used to be afraid of the dark, now that you are older, you are not afraid anymore!" Be sure to praise them when they visit the doctor's office without much fuss, or stay in a party for more than twenty minutes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Kuala Lumpur - The Dazzling Capital City

This is the city I call my home, Kuala Lumpur or KL in short. It's definitely the most vibrant cities one would find in Asia. Once here, one would experience modern sophistication added with nostalgic old-world charm all wrapped nicely into their single destination. It's not surprising if you find yourself immersed in its abundance of attractions - fascinating places of interest, a variety of sensational shopping opportunities and exciting theme parks. KL boasts a comprehensive transportation network that makes any sightseeing experience pleasant and hassle free for all who comes here.

Offering a wide range of accommodation choices to suit any preference and budget, one would find with ease international-standard hotels and resorts equipped with MICE facilities, as well as budget accommodation. For those who plan to stay for longer periods in Kuala Lumpur you could try our youth hostels and if you want to be pampered but don't want to bear those hefty hotel bills try the wide choice of Serviced apartments available. The majority of hotels are situated close to shopping malls and convention centres which makes everything available at a stones-throw-away. If enjoying food is another part of your itinerary, worry no more as you'll be able to enjoy a profusion of mouth-watering delicacies, beginning from our local fare right to those international cuisine.

Places of Interest in Kuala Lumpur are :

KL Tower - Best to visit at night, when one will have an unforgettable time at the world's fourth tallest tower. Dine in style as there is a revolving restaurant at the top and cultural performances on certain days or just enjoy forest walks in its surrounding compounds. For the adventurous traveller, get an adrenalin rush, try the reverse bungy jump.

Petronas Twin Tower - This gleaming structure of steel and glass is the tallest twin buildings in the world and it stands majestically at a height of 451.9m. Once here, take time to visit the famous sky bridge which is located on the 41st floor and view the city from a dizzying height.

Themed Attractions - KL would indeed be a delightful family outing as there are many themed attractions surrounding this dazzling capital city. One could start with the Aquaria KLCC, the largest aquarium in the world or make a trip to Petrosains for an exciting insight into the petroleum industry if you're into technology. Enjoy thrilling rides at the Cosmo's World Theme Park, touted to be the regions biggest indoor theme park. This is situated in Berjaya Times Square, also another spectacular shopping mall.

Entertainment - What can I say, KL is surely loaded with a wide variety of exciting nightspots, including karaoke lounges, clubs with live bands and discotheques. Just mention Bangsar, Bukit Bintang, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Sri Hartamas, Mont Kiara, JalanAmpang and Jalan P. Ramlee and you'll be entertained. These are the top and favourite places to unwind.

KL Lake Gardens - Many come here simply to enjoy verdant greenery in its refreshing enclave. Within these environs are also the Orchid & Hibiscus Gardens, KL Butterfly Park, Deer Park and the KL Bird Park.

National Museum - Located here is also Malaysia's premier museum which is the repository for our nations rich history and heritage. This museum was built back in 1963, its facade features a Minangkabau-styled roof and two impressive front murals making it last the times. Highlights inside include the collection of keris or Malay dagger and ceramics from the ancient Ming Dynasty.

Merdeka Square - Coming here at night is great as the whole street is lit-up signifying that the city never sleeps. For the locals this is an important heritage site in the city, where the Union Jack was lowered here on 31 August 1957, marking Malaysia's independence from colonial rule. Nearby is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building which is another heritage site for our country.

Masjid Jamek - This is KL's oldest surviving mosque which is said to be built in 1909, this mosque occupies a historic location at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers, the birthplace of Kuala Lumpur. Just a minute away is Masjid India, built in a southern Indian style, one of the many favourite places to enjoy great Indian food and clothing.

Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex - The architecture on this complex resembles a Malay village, this complex is an artists' colony, housing handicraft shops, an art workshop, craft museum and also incorporates a food court. Shop for the very best in Malay ethnic crafts, or try your hand at batik-painting. To view a fine traditional Malay house, one could also visit The Heritage Centre which is located nearby.

Shopping - Definitely a shopping paradise if you ask me. Having a wide range of shopping establishments which can cater to every taste and budget. There are numerous upscale malls throughout this great city. Bargain hunters should not miss out in visiting our famous China Town or locally known as Petaling Street. And if novelty items is what you're set in getting, try visiting Pasar Seni or the other name for it, Central Market, a bazaar styled arts and craft centre where one finds great souvenirs such as batik, woodcarvings and pewter-ware.