Monday, 16 April 2012

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Bonding with Your Teenager with Afternoon Teatime/下午茶


Age: From 3 years old

Objectives:
1. To provide a means to create closeness, bonding, communication and with your teenager so that they will confide in you (yes, this is not a typing mistake - with your teenager - but the preparation and bonding starts now at age of 3.)

Materials:
1. 1 porcelain teapot
2. 2 porcelain tea cups
3. Milk or Chinese red date tea
4. Kid's size table and 2 chairs (if you don't have them, you can substitute with coffee table and stools)

Directions:
1. Sit down, set a goal, frequency and time for your "mommy and child teatime".

2. Prepare your child for that day of special first day of afternoon tea time with mommy.

3. For Christians, start with prayer to thank God for the opportunnity to have tea.

4. Simply sit down with your child and have tea (remember to take some pictures of the first tea time together as memory). For people like me who is not a good conversationist, here is a post on possible conversation topics to help me along.

5. For Christians, prayerfully aim to share a Bible verse with your child to encourage him as God impresses upon your heart what would be appropriate.

6. Repeat it regularly as part of your family tradition.

Additional Information:
I read somewhere about this having teatime with your child to as a bonding activity. That was when Joshua was very young and still using a milk bottle. But I don't believe in giving coffee or tea to young children... not good for the brain... but I can substitute it with milk or the tonic Chinese red date tea (if I have time to make them). But then I forgot all about it... until recently my friend Yang Li reminded me of it. She is having regular teatime with her 3 year old daughter Amy. She introduced this activity to Joshua and Amy.

Encouraged by her remarkable resolve, finally, one Saturday, I brought Joshua down to pick his tea set. Between a black pokka dotted and a red pokka dotted one, he picked the red one, because it is closer to his favourite colour - orange. You can get a similar tea set here:


But don't let the lack of budget to get such a set deter you from this activity. Just use real adult cups and jug as substitute.

Joshua helped washed the tea set as his Montessori activity. I rewashed them in the kitchen after him. Then I got swept away by the frantic schedule and two weeks passed. Joshua came to me with his cleaned new tea set and reminded me of afternoon tea he wanted to have with me. I was touched and promised an afternoon next weekend. Weekend passed again and we didn't find the time.

Finally, today (3Y1M11D) I am on leave, and we had our first teatime together after Joshua's first day at the kindergarten. We also had a special guest, Chen Ying, who came to visit us, and we had tea together.

It does not have to be tea time. It can be called coffee time or hot-chocolate time, if coffee or hot-chocolate is more your "cup of tea". It can be football with your son. It can also be a regular walk in the forest, park or garden. But it should be regular.

Our neighbour Brian is an inspiration. He decided one day that life in the fast lane as a consultant in the USA was empty. He returned to Denmark. You could see him playing with full focus and attention with his 5 year old son, Viktor.

I am not sure if this novelty will fade, and if Joshua would approach me again to remind me to have our special teatime. I do not know if this will help us mother and child to be close, when Joshua grows up to become a teenager. There is no guarantee. But I am going to make the effort now and put it in my plan. If you don't plan it, it is not going to happen. The good thing is that I am a planner.

Our action plan is as follows and by publishing it, it helps me to be accountable:

1. Once a quarter.

2. Afternoon at 3pm.

This means I will have to protect our tea time and it may means putting aside Montessori activity, academic pursuit, music practices, swimming classes, etc. Not an easy thing to do for a kiasu mom like me.

This post is about bonding with your teenager, why is it showing a preschooler? It is because the preparation starts now. Bonding is not achieved overnight and when your child becomes a teenager..., when you have gotten the CEO's post and retired with time in your hand..., you have alas missed the boat with your child.

Life in the modern world is frantically fast-paced, even in Denmark (I can't imagine how many times worse it is in Singapore!) Determine with resolve and courage in your heart how you could guard your time with your child. It requires courage and faith, because it means you have to take your mind off your work when you reach home, but to be present in your mind with your child, a very tough thing for many people to do in such times of economic slowdown and insecurity. Man afterall does not live on air.

Can I do it? Do I not get distracted? Have I no fears? Do not life's worries crowd me out? Am I not easily swept away by personal ambitions? Can I keep my resolve and determination?

I don't know. But I will try and take one day at a time. I will start. Today is a good day. It had gone well. The sun was shining bright. We had a great time with Chen Ying. I thanked God.

References:
http://www.havingfunathome.com/2008/10/just-mom-and-me-having-tea.html


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