Chinese New Year do’s and don’ts when you have kids

Parents, keep an eye out for the following Chinese New Year do's and don'ts when you have kids. 

Do let the kids stay up late
Do let the kids stay up late
06 Feb 2016

Do let the kids stay up late

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The later that kids stay up on New Year's Eve, the longer their parents will live. Seeing as you sacrificed immeasurable hours of sleep and many years of your life for these mischief-makers, especially when they were helpless wriggly newborns, NOW IS THE TIME FOR THEM TO RETURN THE FAVOR. Plop them together in the same room, say it's a sleepover, and they'll naturally do what they do best: resist bedtime. Anyway, all the candied coconuts, chocolate coins and sweets that they snacked on throughout the day will do their part in helping the kids stay up.

Do enlist their help for spring cleaning
Do enlist their help for spring cleaning
06 Feb 2016

Do enlist their help for spring cleaning

Toddlers are at that perfect stage where they love helping with chores. They think it's a treat. Take advantage of this while you can, because in a number of years they'll realize what a drag cleaning really is be like, "Cleaning? Haha, yeah no. I'm busy." The other thing is that toddler hands are the optimal size for wiping small nooks and crannies. Make it game, put on some music, and say you're having a cleaning PARTY. 

Do explain the meaning behind every tradition
Do explain the meaning behind every tradition
06 Feb 2016

Do explain the meaning behind every tradition

Chinese New Year is rife with traditions and for a kid, it can be rather confuddling. Why do they have to wear red, and not black or white? Why shouldn't they wash their hair? As everyone sits down at the table, you could explain the meaning behind each dish (fish, dumplings, stir-fry prawns, pencai, etc.). Soon other adult family members will chime in, turning it into a collaborative storytime for the little ones. Bet your tot won't be running around anymore. Kids always love stories, and they'll stay seated for good ones. 

Do talk to them about saving some of their money
Do talk to them about saving some of their money
06 Feb 2016

Do talk to them about saving some of their money

If your kids are at the age where they know how to buy things, now is a good opportunity to introduce money talk. On the days leading up to Chinese New Year, ask them how they plan to use their money to get them in a planning mindset. Explain how rewarding it is to save up for something they really want, like that new, albeit pricey bicycle that's been at the top of their wish list for the longest time, versus carelessly dishing all of their cash on impulse buys like candy and cheap toys.

Don't let them open ang baos in front of the giver
Don't let them open ang baos in front of the giver
06 Feb 2016

Don't let them open ang baos in front of the giver

A kid's natural impulse is to open their ang boas immediately. Stop them. Otherwise a potentially embarrassing scene will unfold -- especially if they happen to receive a different amount than their siblings or cousins. "Hey grandpa, that's not fair, how come you gave so much more to my brother than me?" is an unfortunate, morbidly awkward exchange that took place in real life. Teach your little ones to say, "Thank you! Happy new year!" and to wait till they're home before counting their riches.

Don't let sibling quarrels occur
Don't let sibling quarrels occur
06 Feb 2016

Don't let sibling quarrels occur

When it comes to sibling squabbles, you might be in the "let them work it out" camp. Shouting matches and fighting over toys -- it's all a natural part of sibling relationships, right? Let the kids fend for themselves once in a while, you say. That's how parents of multiple rugrats stay sane. But the one time you should play referee is around Chinese New Year, because this is the holiday of togetherness. Arguments need to be nipped at the bud, otherwise you're looking at a whole year of escalating trouble in the family. Think more hair-pulling, finger-pointing, and tantrums. Yikes, do you really want to brave all that drama? 

Don't let them cry
Don't let them cry
06 Feb 2016

Don't let them cry

This is the one time when bribing a child to avoid a cryfest is a-okay. Even if they're acting like little tyrants and totally taking advantage of your good graces (those rascals catch on quick), do whatever it takes to keep them dry-eyed and happy because a child's cries on Chinese New Year might bring a year of bad luck and sadness in the family. 

Don't do any laundry on the first two days of Chinese New Year
Don't do any laundry on the first two days of Chinese New Year
06 Feb 2016

Don't do any laundry on the first two days of Chinese New Year

Kids generate an alarming amount of laundry: sweaty clothes smeared with ice cream and paint, uniforms covered in cookie crumbs and sand. Ignore it all. The entire mountain of dirty clothes. And don't even feel guilty about it, because you're actually doing a good thing by being behind on laundry. You're giving the water gods a much needed break on their birthday, which falls on the first two days of Chinese New Year. That said, do make sure that the family has enough clean clothes to last through the first two days. 

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