Teaching your children how to read: starting with ‘AT’ sound

Please click to watch the video


What is your method in teaching your child how to read?

Was he a graduate of the “Brainy Baby” learning dvds,

or was self-taught, often seen playing a reading application in your iPAD,

or was an avid fan of the “Word World” episodes in Disney Junior during his toddler years?

My children were all of the above.

Apart from these modern teaching aids, I thought that it would be great if my children would remember me as the one who first taught them how to read. And so I said to myself, instead of giving them toys and SGDs, why not pamper them with ABCs and 123s? All of them can read now and I was proud of what I have accomplished.

Credit goes to Ms. Neo of PCF Tampines East 261 for honing Ethan’s reading skills. I’ve learned a tip from her school which I would like to share with you.

  1. Teach them the vowel sounds first (A E I O U)
  2. Teach them the consonant sounds (B C D F G H J K L M N P Q R S T V W X Y Z)
  3. (here’s her tip:) Now if he already mastered all the sound in the alphabet, teach him the “AT” reading technique
  4. When he already can identify the “AT” sound, try to make him read a few three letter words that ends with “AT”

Here are my examples-






Please click here to watch Zack’s video of the  “AT” reading technique

Practice this tried and tested tip with your child. He will find reading a lot more easier. And by the time he mastered reading the “AT” combinations, he won’t be afraid to try reading the other sound combinations.

When your child can already read at a normal phase, encourage him to read a book, guide him if you have time, read along with him and play word games with him.

Here are some activities during the YUMIN Primary School’s reading carnival that you might want to try and improvise at home –

word games courtesy of CIVICA

word games courtesy of CIVICA @ Yumin Primary School


Ethan with Danica, playing one of the word games courtesy of CIVICA

Ethan with Danica, playing one of the word games courtesy of CIVICA @ Yumin Primary School


Here’s our own version of word hunt, I made use of an old paper with grid and write down some letters in each boxes-  (words and names)

word games - one of the ways to ease their boredom during the rainy days

one of the ways to ease their boredom during the rainy days


I was often told by my mom that “if a child loves reading, half of the battle has already won.” That’s true. It makes learning easier if your child loves to read.

And one more thing:

Thousands of teaching aids are now available everywhere.

Let’s make use of it.

How about you, do you have any reading tips that you what to share with us? We appreciate your comment!

This article was inspired by the Reading Carnival program sponsored annually by Yumin Primary School facilitated by CIVICA Library Solutions and Yumin’s Parents-Partners group.


It was in the middle of the night –

My husband and I were suddenly awaken by our son, saying “Everyone, wake up! There’s an emergency…!”

My three-year-old had jolted out of sleep. He was shouting but what was coming out from his lips was his broken voice. He said that he heard an emergency alarm. We got up that night only to find out that the sound was coming from his dad’s hand phone. What a relief.

This recollection took me to another event which made my adrenaline rush, and this happened seven years ago –

I was rushing down the staircase from a 6th storey building, 4 months pregnant and carrying a 6-month-old baby. I was terrified by the shaking and all I ever thought of was my son and the baby in my tummy. My husband was still at work and fortunately, I was with the company of good friends (Kaye and Bryan with their 2 year old son, Sebastien) who took the situation as calmly as possible.  The Sumatra earthquake brought tremors to Singapore; it wasn’t my first earthquake experience, but being alone with my babies made me scared too.

We’re currently living abroad and when my husband is away for work, I always have two things in my mind. 

  1. That I can never be away from my children
  2. And should always be cautious all the time.

And no matter how much I hate dealing with an emergency situation alone, I should be prepared anyhow.

Let me share with you another important thing that I always think of taking with me (aside from my three kids) in case of an emergency, specifically during an emergency evacuation. A go-bag.

What is a GO-BAG?

“A bag packed with essential items, kept ready for use in the event of an emergency evacuation of one’s home.” (https://www.google.com/#q=what+is+a+go+bag)

Our  regular day to day bag goes like this:

What’s inside our “regular bag”

What we have in our REGULAR BAG are some day to day essentials for my three Xiǎo niǎo.

  1. Water bottle
  2. Sandwiches or biscuits
  3. Tissue (wet and dry)
  4. Face towel
  5. Extra pair of shirt and pants
  6. Little toys to keep ‘em busy (an activity book, an action figure, or a toy car)
  7. Plaster/band-aid
  8. Rubber band

For us moms, we cannot leave the house without these essentials too

9. MKC (money, keys and cards)

10. A hand phone

11. LCMP (Lipstick, comb, mirror, and a powder)


Here are the “must haves” for our GO-BAG

The "GO-BAG"

Here’s an example of a GO-BAG. If you could add an unopened bottled water, and some dry or canned food with an easy open can, the better

In my situation since I have three kids, our GO-BAG should be light and easy to carry (preferably a back pack).  Here are the things that must be included in our go-bag.

1. Important papers and documents

  • passports
  • marriage and birth certificates
  • medical records
  • insurance documents
  • diplomas and TORs

2. Money

3. Spare Keys

4. Extra hand phone (fully charged, and stored with important numbers)

5. Extra clothes for everyone

6. Water bottle

7. Extra Food

8. Extra toys to keep my children busy

9. Radio

10. Flashlight

11. Batteries

12. First-aid and survival kit


Some additional tips:

Put your go-bag in the most accessible part of the house as not to miss it.

Keep in mind that you should always secure the safety of your children first, the go-bag is just the least priority.

Here’s another “go-bag” version of Disney Junior’s Safety Patrol.

Click the link below and share this with your children  🙂

safety patrols' prepping up in case of an emergency

safety patrols’ “prepping up in case of an emergency” episode

How to prep the kids for an emergency evacuation

Safety Patrol image courtesy of Disney Junior

Some thoughts on the movie: “Delivery Man”

Over the last weekend, my wife had invited me for an afternoon movie time to relax ourselves.  We watched a family-comedy film entitled ‘Delivery Man’ (which I initially thought was an action flick, similar to Jason Statham’s ‘The Transporter’).  It was a nice ‘feel-good’ movie, featuring Vince Vaughn as the lead.  It was a remake of a 2011 French-Canadian film called ‘Starbuck’.  Throughout the movie there are lots of things that show the difficulties, but also happiness, that one can experience when becoming a father.  There were dialogues in some of the scenes that had caught my attention, as they were good thoughts to ponder.

The scene when the protagonist’s father sat down and talked with him about his money problems:

A father and son scene from the movie "Delivery Man"

Father:   “When I left Warsaw to go to the States, my father gave me $10… That was  everything he had.  I couldn’t turn down his help,  so I  promised him I’d pay him back  1,000 times over once I got rich.  My father died when your mother and I still didn’t have a cent.  I… I always wondered what was harder for him.  Not being able to give his children enough, or not being there when they hit hard times.  My great good fortune in life is to see you boys everyday.  That, for me, is success

That scene was meaningful as it presents the reality of fatherhood.
Having worked overseas myself, I feel for all the fathers out there who have fallen into a similar situation.  The need to sacrifice being with your family just to be able to provide a better way of living for them.  As fathers, we always want to give our children their best chance, even at the cost of us being with them, our own happiness.  Though some might dispute that being with your children is much more important, it is equally just as difficult, to be with your family knowing that what they have in their day to day lives is not sufficient, and that there is a way you can provide more if you are not there.

There are also other entertaining scenes to watch out for and I would like to recommend this movie to all the fathers out there.

Here’s the official trailer, please click the link below:

“Delivery Man”

image credit: Dreamworks skg

A stress-free night for mommy and kids


It is essential for every child to sleep with happy thoughts. It’s a big contribution to their EQ.

I’ll be direct to the point.

zac and ethan scared


Most of the time it’s not happening in our home. Now that I have three super energetic children (believe me, the way they are when they’re feeling sleepy is really out of control), our usual goodnight time is full of begging, singing lullabies, telling stories, playing and begging again until mommy freaks out.

I’m giving my best as a mom, and perhaps, my children are also becoming abusive in that aspect. I feel so bad everytime I end their day with tears in their eyes.

I tried so many techniques, and I wish I could play Samuel L. Jackson’s “Go the F*#! To Sleep” but you see, I’m I good mom, so I can not.

But last night was different.
After praying and letting them play on their own for a while, I told them that I’ll take them to a place called “the spa.”
I tucked them to bed, and told them to close their eyes, no talking anymore, and nobody move.
They won’t submit that easily.
“You have to follow mommy or else spa is not happening guys,” I told my kids.
And lo and behold, everything seem so peaceful in an instant!

“In the spa you have to be really quiet and patient until the attendant goes to you and gives you a massage.”

Oh, it was a stress-free night! And so, one by one, I approached them not as a spa attendant nor a massage therapist, but a mother with loving hands, soothing their tired bodies until they drift off to sleep.

PS. I linked Samuel L. Jackson’s YouTube video in case you’re curious with what I’m talking about. It is interesting for us adults, but please don’t play the video when your child is around.

When mommy is a best friend

At home, our children are our “best friends.” We also keep it that way. With this kind of arrangement, they are free to express whatever they want to say in the house. We get to know them better.

PicsArt_1390116433439Being best friends with them helped us identify and understand their changing likes and dislikes on certain matters; this made us aware of their maturing emotions. Being best friends with them also means that they will caught you off your guard; and in this case, you should be prepared to hear every single word they say. You have to assure them that it’s okay to tell , and you’re there to listen, you’re not just spying on them, you’re their best friend, remember?

In my present situation, I’ve already discovered a lot of secrets from my kids. Sometimes, I have to listen very patiently so that they won’t hesitate to tell me everything I need to know. And whether it’s good or bad, honestly, I’m enjoying it. Continue reading

When your child says “NO!” – how to win over an opposing child

PicsArt_1385525239891When your child says no… “then how?”

It’s very easy for us adults, to communicate rejection. We reason, we take time to listen, we process, then we stop- all in just a blink of an eye.
But for kids, most especially for toddlers, what they understand is just their own feelings which they can only express in a very limited vocabulary.
“No” is a big word for them, and once a parent gave in to his child after saying the “NO” word, he will start to test his limits… and so, the battle begins.

It can be irritating at times, we know we are right,  we have a sound reason but it’s kinda hard to convey when they show lack of interest in you and your requests. It’s two opposing streets for both you and your child… your way, and his way.
My words for you: don’t give up, accept the challenge, show him that you’re also a toughie:

1. First, encourage and help (when your child need it).
Remember that you shouldn’t be harsh right away. Use the “sayang” or “lambing” or “courtship” method.
Most of us know that this technique is way better than demanding your child what to do. Children copy their parents, so if you ask in a friendly manner, your child will most likely to follow you.
“Zack, I know that you are still having fun playing, but if you brush your teeth now, daddy will be happy and daddy will play with you again.”
“Don’t worry, daddy will help you brush your teeth, it will be just very quick.”

2. If he rejects, do the drama (well, not so much).
Children don’t want their parents sad.
In my almost 7 years of being a mom, I realized how much they are concerned with my feelings. I still remember when Zack (he’s one and a half yo at that time) saw me crying (no biggie, really) and all he kept on telling me was “Mommy… don’t cry… I promise…”
Just like their parents, they can not help it when we’re sad too.
“I’m feeling sad right now, because I know you will follow me…but you are still playing.”
If that doesn’t work, try to:

3. Be firm and exercise authority.
Tell him that he ought to do what you told him to do because you are his parent. Explain to him the importance of being an obedient child. It’s okay now to be as firm as Adolf (since you did everything you could ) but don’t overdo it.
“Zack, you need to follow me now, or else I will be angry at you.”

As always, it is important to use nice words to your child after the tiring yet successful chase.
“I’m happy now, you have been a good boy because you followed me.”
Make way for cuddles and kisses because the two of you deserve it. 🙂


Our kids say the darndest things

How’s your day going? Mine’s pretty busy. I have chores, some little time to steal with the hubs, friends to catch up with, and a handful of children to take care

I know this sounds cliche, but I’m really enjoying it. The moment I opened my eyes, since Ethan’s day 1, was a life changer.
Now I breathe, eat, live, love, pray (and sometimes, I even think) like a child.
And to have my naughty smarty parts around, are to have my little pick-me-ups…



One day, my daughter and I were getting ready for an exercise, she went inside the room to get her younger brother join us… this is what I’ve heard behind the door…

Sofie: Zacki wake up! Let’s exercise!


I gave my children some ice pops (frozen juice in a plastic tube, like a popsicle) for a snack, the little boy dropped it, I have to wash away the dirt, and got so conscious that I sponge the ice pops with a dishwashing soap.

Zac: Mom, why did you put soap on my ice pops?
I answered him trying to find my words…
Mommy: So that it will be…
Zac: Tasty?


We parents like to play pretend to test our children. I did a little stunt and pretended to faint lying down flat on the floor… my son went to me right away, went right to my face then said…
Zac: Mommy… you want me to call 911now?


I was watching an American TV series, when my daughter came up to me.
Sofie: (pointing to the TV) I don’t like that show, it’s just a “Normal Type”
Maybe she got this from watching too much pokemon movies…


In one of the playgrounds near our home, there is a structure made of several knotted ropes like a spider’s web for children to climb.
One day, my little guy was trying to convince me to go the playground to show me this excitedly.
Zac: Mom, come on, let’s go, I’ll show you my “super cool WEBSITE!”


Whenever I listen to these kids talk, they bring me a breath of fresh air.

How about you, can you share with us some of your funny conversations you’ve had with a kid?

Just another morning


I’m not proud of this article nor happy while writing it. But I thought this is important to share.

In my more than six years of being a mother, I had some epic fail experiences which until now, are painful to recall but I know I have to. These are reminders that lead me to improve myself a little each day.

Last week I was in a hurry as I prepare everything at home. I was really preoccupied with the chores and my children who are getting ready for school. I was aware that my speaking voice had become demanding and stern, but since I noticed that they were following me in that manner, I didn’t mind at all. They were so quiet and I thought it was a bliss.
I asked my son to look for his musical toolbox that he’ll bring to school that day. And so, he started looking. I too started shouting when he said he can’t find it. I saw the look in his eyes and I knew that he knows what’s going to happen next if ever he failed to find it.

“Got it already mom…” he said
He braved the conversation with such words…
“Mom… are you happy about me now?”
I answered “yes” but it’s hard to switch back to a happy mood rightaway for this has always been my problem.
“Mom, I just wanted to say that it is not my music day today…”

Imagine the burden my child has to bear during my rantings.
I felt really embarrassed in an instant.
He was afraid of me but what mattered to him was to make me happy. It was an awful  morning for both of us. I asked my child to forgive me and you know what he said?
“It’s okay mom, then let’s just think that this is another morning.”
I hugged him and he smiled.

I will always remember this moment of my childish behavior, when my child was so forgiving to me and had been a teacher once again.

“The Post”

A Post is a vertical structure, solid and sturdy, that serves as a foundation to support a certain area.  With regards to houses, it is mainly built to support the ceiling and the roof.  And it is a fundamental element in making walls which serves to protect, and also set boundaries for a certain place.

Today is Father’s day, and in the Philippine culture, a father is distinguished with the title “Haligi ng Tahanan”, which literally translates to “The Post of the Home”.  It is amazing as I contemplate on how appropriate this term is used to describe a Father’s role.

As most of us know, life isn’t always easy.  Well, realistically speaking, it is hard… a lot of times.  And it is during these hard times that it’s nice to be reminded that we’ve all had, even for a brief moment in our childhood, these posts that we could lean on.

As a man, when you become a father, you become a Post.  You no longer have the luxury to be weak-hearted nor to be scared.  A Post is, after all, solid and sturdy for those that it protects.  You hold the roof which is the family’s main shelter from life’s “harsh weather”.  Fathers do their best to be strong for their loved ones, and at times would have to serve as boundaries on what they believe would be best for the family.

Being a father also means that you are one of the two most influential people during a persons childhood, and this is no small responsibility.  For sons, it is from their Dads that they learn the art of being a “manly man”. And for daughters, he is the protector that they can always count on, and run to for their troubles.  For those lucky enough to still have them even in their adult lives, they continue to open our eyes and teach us through their example.

It is not so often for men to talk about their feelings openly (and most especially fathers, we’re supposed to be toughie’s, right?).  But we’ve had the privilege, and the honor, of hearing insights from some of the several great dads we know.  Let us look back in the past and try to remember the most important thing that our fathers have tried to teach us, which in turn, we would like to pass on to our kids as well.  And just as the Olympic flame is being passed from one torch to another, so is the knowledge and wisdom between a father and his child.


Noel Nicolas

Daddy Noel Nicolas with Tatay Carling and Manman

The most important lesson I learned from Tatay Carling is not what he told us but what he showed me. I grew up with no spanking, no cursing, no shouts, no outburst of rage, in other words, he was very gentle and caring. Whenever we get out of line, or made a mistake, or committed a wrong doing, he would simply put his  arm around our shoulders, give us a short story… the pros and cons of our action… the consequences of what we did… then he will let us handle the situation ourselves.  He lets us decide on which path to take, because he had always stressed that the captain and architect of our future is us, and he is just there to show us the possibilities of our actions.  He simply trusts us, that we will pick the right things to do.  In turn, we do not fear him but respect him.  I would like to emulate this, but good luck to me because this would be very big shoes to fill.  I do not think I have the patience and the wisdom.  His famous words were,”Pulutin mo ang makakabuti sa iyo at itapon mo ang sa tingin mo ay makakasama, sabay lingon sa pinanggalingan nang makarating ka ng maayos sa papatunguhan.”  (only take what can be good for you and throw away things that are bad. Always look back to where you came from, so that you can arrive well to where you are headed).  As to my son, there is no greater gift.

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A voice straight from a mother’s heart

Concluding the month of May – the month for  mommies around the world, let me interest you with a heart-warming article from a fascinating woman who gave up her medical career in exchange for a simple yet a life full of love and never-ending challenges of being a mother, 24 by 7.

Dr. Talat Fatima with children Rushan and Sidrah Anwar


“Mom,” “Maa,” “Amma,” “Mother” and so on…

The first word a child speaks all over the world. Just by uttering the word “mom,” I go down memory lane laced with emotions, experiences and of course the life when I was a child- the days I spent with my own mother.

Being blessed with two lovely children, a boy and a girl, I feel extremely thankful to “God” and to them for giving me the honor to be their mother.

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What is your greatest priority as a mom?




As I asked a friend what being a mother means to her,

she answered me right away,

“Being a mom to
me means that now I will always be a mom first and a wife second.”

It took me a while to realize what she said. It was a cliché, so I didn’t think much about it. Then it hit me… “What is my greatest priority over everything around me?” What she said was indeed true.

Children. They are our greatest priority. For a mom like me, I think I won’t be able to sleep soundly at night if I missed out doing something for my children. No matter how busy I am, I will stop to attend to their needs. And even in the middle of my slumber, I will wake up right away, and go to their bed once they call out my name.

I am doing this out of love.

Mom first.

And wife second.

I’m sure their dad will understand.

Being a “MOTHER”


Yesterday, we’ve had the opportunity to share very inspiring thoughts imparted by some lovely mothers from different walks of life.  We were empowered and amazed by their heartfelt words;  and we promised to give you more…

Let us listen once again from these God-sent angels whom we call “MOTHER…”


Mommy Romelia with Baby Jacob, Jeromee and Jerald

Mommy Romelia  with Baby Jacob, Jeromee and Jerald , CA, USA

Being a mother is the hardest and most rewarding duty you can ever accomplish as a woman.          The love for your child is unconditional, pure and selfless. You don’t think about yourself anymore, it’s all about your children. You sacrifice things for your children. Being a mother does not stop when your kids are adults. From their very first step, their first prom, and the time that they too will become a parent…you’re there with a big smile and excitement. You are their biggest cheerleader. I may be the silliest and most exaggerated at times. I get teary eyed when I’m proud, I will not sleep or rest till all my kids are home, and I worry all the time.

There were no instructions on ‘being a mother’, you learn throughout the way, you learn it from each other. For every boo-boos, cries, giggles and disappointments… mom will always be there.

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“Being a MOTHER…”

The world needs good moms.  My husband has always said –  “The number of good people is directly proportional to the number of good parents.”  And while the father figure is usually the protector and disciplinarian of the children, it is from mothers that they first feel unconditional love, sincere care and the compassion that they would nurture and carry in their hearts for the rest of their lives.  For these blessings, we thank all the wonderful mothers everywhere, who make our world a better place, one family at a time.

And as the celebrated day for honoring mothers is just around the corner, let us take the time to hear it straight from them, what it truly means to be a “Mom”.  Here are the thoughts of some of the numerous lovely moms, whom we’ve had the pleasure of knowing. 



Mommy Linda with Ryan and Allan Tizon

Mommy Linda with Ryan and Allan Tizon, PH

Being a mother to me is everything. It means loving my two boys unconditionally, giving them both my utmost respect and trust. I have seen, as they grow older, that they have personalities of their own, so I’ve prepared myself for any changes in our relationship. I thought of building such a relationship according to ‘my’ plan, but I’ve seen that it’s not doable. Our paths may divide and what I thought at first was the right direction might be wrong… so I let them go and discover their paths on their own.  I allowed them to make their own mistakes, and also reap and experience their own triumphs.  Eventually, I just realized each one of us is now closer to each other, and our bond of love and respect has grown stronger. My life as a mother has been full of tears…tears of sadness and tears of happiness.  I cried at my children’s wins and successes, and I cried much harder over their disappointments and failures. I let them keep and savor their wins to themselves, BUT I CLAIMED AND KEPT TO MYSELF all of their sadness and failures, and treated such as my own.

Thanks for asking this question, because at this very moment, I am shedding my tears just thinking and realizing about how magnificent my DEAREST Allan and Ryan have become, and how proud I am, knowing these two young boys are mine.

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The joys of “not just a regular kind” of mommy

 Here’s another amazing article from a “not just a regular kind” of mommy we used to know.

Read on, and you’ll see what I mean.

...and she smooshed my Filipino nose

“…and she smooshed my Filipino nose”

What is being a mother to you?

When I married my husband, I knew I would become an instant Mommy. My husband has a daughter from his previous marriage. Despite what happened in the past, I knew that I would play an important role in their life and in my step-daughter’s future. My step-daughter’s name is Ashlyn. She calls me MAMAGOO. My mother came up with that name because it is not a Filipino custom to call people older than you by their first name. My nickname is Magoo and of course, you know what Mama stands for. After we got married, Ashlyn immediately called me by this name.

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When you are tempted to yell…

Mommy Didit with Daddy Ryan and baby Harmony

Raising a child has its ups and downs. Maybe it’s quite a bit easier when both parents are there for their children physically, but for a military wife and a mommy to a 3-year-old smarty pants, it’s not just a walk in the park.


Let me share with you an eye-opening article I have read from a dear friend’s blog “My Daily Dose of Harmony.”


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