Thursday, August 11, 2016

Learn with Joy: How I Helped My Daughter "Break Free" from Gadgets and Do the Things She Loves Instead

Nowadays that we are in the age of unparalleled technology, it seems hard for parents to manage and control its negative effects on our children. As a mom who is also struggling to be detached and free from these devices specially when I am with my daughter, I am constantly aware that my love bug is looking at me. 

Now when I say "break free", I am not saying that my daughter (who is just turning 5) has already been hooked on the gadgets. But there was a season when the 15 to 60 minutes iPad time or what she fondly calls "me time" had become two hours every. single. day. The effect: headache and watery eyes. I have finally put my foot down and told her this can't go on. So, how did I help her minimize the use of iPad or limit her screen time?

Get the support of the "authorities" she looks up to. 
Aside from dad and mom, one of the authorities our daughter looks up to is her paediatrician. When her doctor says, "This is good for you," she believes it. So, during one of her regular check ups, I brought this concern up to the paediatrician. She talked to my daughter and explained to her the probable cause of headaches and watery eyes. She then advised to stop using her iPad for a week and then told us (my husband and I) to regulate her use.

our love bug and her paediatrician 
Make a "house rule" together with her and stick to it.
From the time the pedia told us to regulate the use of iPad and other electronic gadgets, we establish a rule that all of us are subjected to: no iPhone, iPad or laptop on the table at mealtimes and on the bed before going to sleep. As parents, my husband and I always make sure that we set a good example to her.

Provide alternative (enjoyable) activities for her to be busy with.
We all know that when we remove a habit we should replace it with a new one. Just like any other kid, our love bug loves to play. That's one thing that she won't forget everyday of her life. But things change when her focus was on the gadgets. So I became more intentional in providing her with activities that I know she really loves to do.

What kid doesn't want to play sand...

playing sand
Or bubbles?

playing bubbles

Our love bug likes to extend help so we make sure we give her opportunities to do so.

cooking pancakes for breakfast
watering the plants

cleaning/washing the car

Childhood happens once; let her play pretend.

"Let's have a tea party, Mom!"

"This is my boat and these are the bubbles."

"Mom, I'm Rapunzel and this is my long hair."

"Let me cook your orders, Ma'am!"

"This is my boat."

"I'm on a sailboat."

Encourage her to be physically active.

Take her out and let her enjoy and explore nature, parks and museums. 

enjoying her swing ride
at the National Museum

Supply her with materials/tools/instruments that will challenge her creativity and imagination. 

watercolor painting

"Look Mom, I made a strawberry and tree!"
musical toy instruments

Enjoin her to workshops interesting and suitable for her.

pretzel-making workshop

Give her books that are fascinating to her and then read them together.

she loves books
For the first week, it was a struggle for all of us. But I'm glad that after several weeks of sticking to our rule and these activities, our daughter didn't look for gadgets as often anymore. Of course, we give her time to use her iPad. It's sort of a "treat" that she gets to enjoy only once a week. The result - no headaches and watery eyes. In addition to that, she is more physically active, creative and responsible. 

These days, it seems impossible to disengage our children from gadgets. But it can be done. We, parents should just be determined and intentional. Hope these ideas help you. If you have anything more to add, please feel free to write it in the comment box. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Halili-Cruz School of Ballet Meets the Bloggers

Last Monday, July 18th, I was invited to attend a bloggers' conference to meet the people behind the Halili-Cruz School of Ballet (HCSB) and to know more about it. I didn't know where the school was located so my husband took a half-day leave from his office so he could accompany me and our daughter. I know right? He's the sweetest! Well, I also thought it would be a nice bonding moment for us. Our daughter has been showing interest in ballet since she's one year old. How delightful it would be if both of us, her parents, would be around to witness her first ballet experience.

The event was to start at 2:30 in the afternoon but our little (and excited) family came a bit early. One of the perks of being an early worm is you get to take photos of the place while it is still "empty". Others are you choose to get your preferred seat and  you are able to converse with some of the prep staff.

My daughter with her new friend, Rylee
While we were waiting for other bloggers to come, the Associate Artistic Directors of HCSB, Ms. Grace Garalde-Perez and Ms. Anna Kathrina Halili-Cruz Bueno were interviewed by some media people. We were fortunate to witness this too. 

Ms. Grace Geralde-Perez

Ms. Anna Kathrina Halili-Cruz Bueno

After the interview, more bloggers arrived so the program had finally started. It was hosted by Ms. Grace Bondad Nicolas of TAG Media who gave us all a warm welcome. Then she introduced Ms. Grace and Ms. Ana to us. 

Ms. Grace of TAG Media
Ms. Ana Kathrina Halili-Cruz Bueno
HCSB was established by Shirley Halili-Cruz in 1985 to share her love and passion for dance. The HCSB Main Studio is housed in an imposing 2-storey edifice located at 1227 Quezon Avenue, Quezon City. It has 5 spacious studios (4 of which are fully air-conditioned) equipped with ideal barres, resilient wooden floors, full length mirrors, audio systems, dressing rooms, rest and shower rooms, waiting areas, ample parking space, dance shop, costume room and canteen.

In order to provide an appropriate and comprehensive program, Shirley Halili-Cruz, the school's director and founder, authored a 2-level Tiny Tots Ballet Syllabus, a 5-level Baby Ballet Syllabus and a 12-level Classical Ballet Syllabus based on the Filipino physique, innate artistic ability and culture.

The syllabi covers the different levels of ballet which HCSB offers all year round. The school enhances its program by using the following: Commonwealth Society of Teachers of Dancing, American Academy of Ballet and the Philippine National Ballet syllabi. HCSB has developed a systematic promotion procedure that checks the progress of the students through semi-annual oral and written examination coupled with actual evaluation in both theoretical and practical aspects of the discipline. Students of HCSB also participate in a yearly International Examination with the Commonwealth Society of Teachers of Dance from Australia.

The school is staffed by competent teachers who are all one with the director in the vision to equip its students with the tools and rudiments of the art to uphold excellence in dance training.

The Artistic Team
Aside from the information that was shared by both Ms. Grace and Ms. Ana, they also introduced to us Ms. Shirley Halili-Cruz, the founder, through a video presentation. They also prepared a number of stunning ballet dance performances that captivated the hearts of the adult guests and charmed the little ones'.

My future ballerina and her new friends; Ms. Shirley on the video
Group Performances

Solo Performances

Tiny Tots Performance

While the tiny tots of HCSB were preparing for their performance, the guests' cygnets were invited to join. My future ballerina however was not able to do so. 

The guests' little girls surely had fun! What added to the enjoyment was, the moms were also taught some simple ballet steps and somehow relived our childhood dream (of becoming a ballerina. And yes, I did join the fun)! 

After the impressive performances of HCSB ballet dancers (and our impromptu "dance number"), the floor was opened for questions and answers. Ms. Ana was so gracious enough to answer all the queries we had in our mind about ballet. When everything was said and done, we were treated to a sumptuous snacks catered by La Milagrosa.

It was an afternoon of ballet and delight. I'm so glad I was invited and able to come to this event together with my husband and daughter. And as if that weren't enough, we were also given a gift voucher that entitles my daughter (or me) to a free 1 month of ballet classes. Now, isn't that something? 

Guests, bloggers, bloggers' kids together with Ms. Grace of TAG Media, Ms. Grace Geralde-Perez and Ms. Ana Kathrina Halili-Cruz Bueno Artistic Directors of Halili-Cruz School of Ballet

To know more about the Halili-Cruz School of Ballet, you may contact:
Instagram: @halilicruzballet
Facebook: halilicruzballet