Sunday, March 25, 2018

7 Important Tips on How to Read to Your Baby


Everytime I share photos of my daughters on Instagram, and it happens that my eldest daughter is reading in that photo, I will get this kind of question;

"What did you do to make her love reading so much?"

And I usually don't have enough time to reply properly every time I was asked that question, because the answer isn't simply in one sentence. So I guess I need to write down here some of the tips that I applied and (Alhamdulillah it worked) hopefully others can benefit from them too.

So, the first thing is; START EARLY. Even when our baby can't comprehend what we say yet, just read, read & read to them. This is one of the most important things that we need to do in order to instill the love for books in our children's hearts.

Since I was pregnant to my firstborn, I had always hoped that 'reading' will be one of my kids' favorite thing & one of the earliest thing that I want them to fall in love with. Why? Because being a muslim, I know that the first revelation from God to the prophet is to read. Definitely there must be a very big reason why Allah asks us to read first.

Okay let me just start with the tips on How to Read So Our Babies Will Listen and feel interested;

1) Put our baby on lap. This is for bonding reason as well as for teaching them on how a book is read.

2) Choose a colorful book with very minimal words. You don't necessarily need to read every words written in the book, you can choose to use your own words, or choose to describe everything in the page. This will help our baby to learn lots of new vocabularies.

3) Read in different tones, but make sure the tone can be differentiated easily. For example, excited tone for happy content/stories and sad/crying tone for sad content. This will make the reading session becomes much more interesting and fun. Plus, don't forget to make the sound of everything possible that you can make regarding the page that you read! (e.g: sound of a car or strong wind)

4) If possible, replace the character's name with our baby's name. This will make them feel more attracted to listen to what we read & they will be more focused.

5) Choose a big book, with pictures that our baby can clearly see & touch, hence feeling excited.

6) Ask questions to our baby regarding what we read, so that there'll be an interaction. For example, ask our baby about elephant; "Can you make the sound of an elephant?" & then you answer it without waiting for them to answer. This kind of interaction can actually help our baby to develop better in the language that we use.

7) Read when our baby is in a good mood (fed, well rested). I think every mother can easily know when their baby is happy, comfortable, and not sleepy. Avoid reading to them if we see that our baby is uncomfortable or even cry when we start reading to them.

That's all for now. Don't feel stress, don't force yourself or your baby too much, try little by little, and eventually it will be worth it. Pertaining to the question on how to make our kids love books, I think I have to make a new blog post regarding it. Because we need to know how to read to them first, before making them fall in love with books & reading. So, till the next time, bye!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

7 Reading Tips for Busy Moms

Reading is not merely a hobby. It’s a need! We read not only for leisure, but to help us to improve ourselves, improve our lives, as well as to gain more knowledge regarding the situation or responsibilities that we currently hold. I keep getting this one same question on how do I find times to read?

So I wanna share here some of the tips that I’ve found & been practicing since a few years back in order to make sure that I have time to read everyday.

1)  Read when your kids are asleep. For example, spend half an hour in the morning to read before they wake up. Believe me, it’s the the best me-time moment to be spent with reading. Or perhaps you can read at night after the kids are asleep. Just a few minutes or pages won’t disturb your sleeping schedule. And it’s a bonus if you breastfeed your baby, because you will have longer time to read. Stop scrolling your instagram/fb feed & start flipping pages to read.

2)  Always have your books in scattered areas around the house. Put a few books at the dry kitchen, a shelf in the living room, a stack beside your bed, or 10 stacks on your working table. This can help you to read at any time even for a few minutes. For example, while waiting for your cupcakes to bake, you can enjoy reading a chapter or two from any books available near you.

3) Never go out without a book in your handbag. If you really want, you will definitely find time to read books. In the car (if you’re not driving), in the train, while waiting for the grab/uber, while waiting for your foods to arrive your table, or while queueing to order your favorite coffee.

4)  Read lots of books at once. Meaning to say, you don’t have to wait till you’re done with one book in order to proceed with another one. (But if you’re reading novels, the game might be a bit different since leaving the book for a long period of time will make you forget the flow of the story). If you ask me, I rarely ready novels or fictional books, so it doesn’t affect me much if I don’t read a certain book continuously till the last page.

5) Read the topic that you really want to know & can apply right away. Hey, do you know that you don’t have to read a book from cover to cover? You can simply look at the content and choose the topic which is new to you, or important for you to know. It will be much better if you read about the stuffs that you can practice right away. Let’s take a parenting book for example; you are in need to know the correct way to deal with your kids tantrum. You can read the topics that are related to your situations or needs only. Because, admit it, you won’t remember the whole book even at the moment you finished reading the last page of it.

6) Make a reading log/diary. Have a list of your “want to read”, “read” & “currently reading”. You can make it online (eg: make an account at Goodreads) or offline (buy a book to jot down your reading journey). Why? Because when you have this log, it can help you to be more motivated to read books. Sometimes it’s not that we’re so busy to read, we just haven’t found the motivation to do so.

7) Find the books that you’re really passionate about. Don’t buy a book just because it’s a bestseller. Buy it if you love it & really excited to read it, doesn’t matter if it’s not a bestseller book. As for me, since I am mompreneur (mom + entrepreneur), my most favorite genres are parenting, entrepreneurship & motivation. So when we already have the book that we really love available near us, it’s not so hard to actually spend time to take the book and read it.

Hope these help! 😄 If you have any tips to add, feel free to drop it the comment section.

Monday, September 11, 2017

From Canada with Love


Quick update before sleeping. Just wanna make sure that the brand new old story that I heard from Abah yesterday is recorded here. Nothing really, it's just about me when I was a tiny newborn.

We were actually having our dinner when suddenly the topic about going to Korea next year (on February) is being discussed. Ma (my mom) wants to go there badly before my brother who's now studying there graduates & returns to Malaysia for good. Abah said he feels reluctant to go in the current situation where his father is heavily sick. I understand & respect his decision, so Abah suggested me to accompany Ma and I said no problem. Haha. Of course I wanna go there. But! Oh no I forgot that I can't make it as well if the trip is on February. If it's on June and above, inshaAllah I can. But, sobs....

Oh wait, that's not what I wanted to share here! Okay after having a talk about Korea, Abah said that he doesn't really feel excited about going overseas, because when he was younger he already traveled to a few countries & for him it's enough. He told us that he already went to Canada, US, India & Pakistan when we lived in Scotland. Oh I didn't know that? Only heard about Canada but not the other countries.

I felt interested to know about Abah's journeys to those places but one point that really caught my attention is when Abah told me that he got my name in Canada, a friend of his suggested that name to him while he was there. So I asked Abah,

"You weren't there on the day I was born?"

Abah answered,

"Of course I was there, but a few days after you were born, I fly to Canada. Leaving your mom & older siblings in the care of Allah. And only after returning from Canada did I register your name; Sajidah- the woman who prostrates to Her God."

Can you guess what is the one point that really makes me amazed & in awe? It's the strength of my mom for being able to handle 3 kids + 1 newborn ALONE in a country far from Malaysia. And to think how she managed to spend the confinement period almost 100% on her own, only with the help from Allah, mashaAllah she's truly an inspiration.

Somehow the story of my dad being absent during the first days of my life, making me feel that I can relate that situation to my current life; the strength that my mom had during those days has actually transferred into myself & maybe that's the reason why I am strong as well. ;) Not praising myself though, it's just that I feel that after getting married and being a mom myself, I have been in lotsa situations where I need to be independent for my daughter & be strong for the sake of my family.

Whatever it is, I feel good to know about that short story from Abah. It really reminds me that I have to be strong & not easily give up because I am the only one responsible to travel my own journey called life.

Sorry this entry is not as short as I thought it would be. 😂 It's already 12am and it's time for me to sleep. Got an appointment tomorrow morning.

Till then, goodnight!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Raising a Young Writer


Earlier today, I posted a pic of my daughter's first essay. It's about her experience going to the Zoo. I asked her to write what she saw, what she did and with whom did she go there. Apparently she only wrote about the animals that she saw there, PLUS she wrote it in English & some Malay. Hahahah.

She switches code and that's normal for a bilingual kid like her (but she's a trilingual in the making actually). Wait, is it normal? Because I only know that code-switching is normal in verbal conversations, what about in writing? It's okay, it's a learning process anyway.

I am actually trying to teach my daughter to write. I wanna raise her as a good writer. No, not a writer as a job for sure. But I want her to be good in telling/sharing stories, as well as expressing what she feels. I always feel that kids who are good in writing, somehow are well mannered and matured earlier than other kids in the same age but not used to writing.

Do you know Mukhtar, the writer from Pawsome Lion blog? He's a young blogger. If I am not mistaken, he's 11. And he's incredibly well mannered, matured and a good brother to his little siblings. (And I think it has something to do with his writing passion.) Everybody says so, you can follow his family's instagram: They are Malaysians living abroad. Adorable family mashaAllah.

Okay back to the reason why I want my daughter to be good in writing in her early age. For me when someone writes, they need to think and ponder a lot. And in my honest opinion, a good writer is also a good observer.

We don't really have to read too many books in order to start to be a good writer, instead, we need to observe a lot, have ample of life experiences, besides practicing to write and write and write. Writing based on our own experiences will be much more from the heart and helps a lot to write better. However, of course I don't deny the importance of reading a lot to be able to become a good writer.

One of my ways to increase my daughter's interest towards writing is; to buy her a book specially for her to write about anything. Oh can't wait for it!

It's already Maghrib here, so, see you soon!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Of Sadness & Silence

In the train.

And I wanna try to write down something. It's about telling our sadness to other people. I feel triggered to write about this after I saw this one quote that says;

"Kesedihan itu mengecil jika dirahsiakan, dan membesar jika dikeluhkan..."

Isn't it true? When we keep trying to find someone to listen to our miseries and sad stories, the sadness somehow stays longer in the heart & we are drowned in it for quite a long time. And we kinda feel comfortable to stay in that gloomy feelings without having the effort to find the solution or at least to look for things that can distract our mind & soul to forget about it.

On the other hand, if we teach ourselves to tell God every time we are in grief, and at the same time we choose to keep the sadness to ourselves, we will feel better and realize that it's a whole lot easier to free ourselves from the sadness, as well as to avoid our souls to get carried away.

It's not wrong to share our sadness with others if we feel that it can help to ease our pain. But we need to be careful not to make ourself engrossed in that situation & feel incomplete whenever there's nobody available to listen to us.

Will write soon. The train almost reaches my destination. Bye :)
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