I am blessed to have two children who are book lovers. You cannot imagine how their reading habit has made my wife's and my lives so much easier. At home, we do not have to constantly (and involuntarily) devote our time and attention to them. On travels, we do not worry about impatient or listless children throwing fits. Just given them a book each and the parents can rest easy, take naps or even go out and drink coffee (yay!). That's how I can enjoy daily a few hours' peace and quiet while doing my work.
Our weekend (and often times weekday) outings mostly involve trips to various libraries in Singapore. Near, far, big, small. We discovered libraries are not all the same. Some stock more of their favourite authors, and some have a bigger comics collection. Other than going outdoors for some activities under the sun, visiting libraries is my favourite family activity. It is free, it comes with the comfort of air-conditioned rooms, and nothing beats the sight of my kids' eyes glued on books and getting lost in the sea of mystery, horror, magic, adventure, love and fantasy. At the same time, I follow the simple logic that if I want my kids to cultivate the good habit of reading, I should surround them with books.
It is also my conscious decision NOT to take the kids to the malls because with malls come merchandise and consumerism, then the clamour to buy this and that, then followed by tantrums and tears. This is something I can happily do without.
We do not have a TV set in the living room. There is a small one in my parents' bedroom, which the kids have limited access to. When there is no TV in the common area, there won't be the tendency to switch it on when we are at home. We do not own any ipads or tablets, except for a Kindle, and no handphones for them either. Naturally, the kids turn to books, board games, chess, card games, doodle, Science experiment kit, handicrafts, Lego and just about any objects they can find and extract interest from (e.g. discarded cardboard boxes, plastic bottles etc.). Maybe because my wife and I are rather lazy parents----in the sense we don't plan which exciting places to go on weekends -----I choose to be a "firm believer" in boredom being the mother of creativity. Read this to show that I am not making this one up. That is why I find it amazing that many parents, especially those parent-bloggers, can amass so much energy to take the kids all over Singapore to have a taste of everything on offer. Will the kids remember all these experiences when they have become their staple weekly diet? This reminded me of a Father's Day note my son wrote to me. He said he loves the time we spent playing badminton at home. It was not ice-skating, or Legoland. It is the simplest form of activity that can be repeated which left a mark on my son. To me, it is a revelation. It is always the little things that matter.