18 October 2018, by Flora Isabelle
My friends and I have a WhatsApp group named Tiger Moms because it’s where we discuss classes-related stuff for baby. Amongst the six of us, our kids range from 11 to 16 months and the group was formed when we were deciding which pre-school/s to send our kiddos to when they turn 18 months and pre-nursery respectively.
We discussed extensively the pros and cons of full-day childcare, half-day kindergartens, the Reggio Emilia approach, the Montessori Method, compared schools like crazy, went for viewings even more crazily before placing our names on wait list… a good 3 years ahead of admission!
And now that pre-school’s sorta settled, these days the group chat now talks about primary school (and the changes to school assessment) and the classes we currently send our children to. For Nate, at 13 months old, he currently goes for 6 classes a week:-
Wednesday: English Playgroup
Thursday: Right brain training
Friday: English Playgroup
Sunday: Chinese Playgroup
Saturday is clear for now but I’m thinking of going back to swim classes after our upcoming holiday.
To most people, I’m sure I look like a crazy Asian Tiger Mom and that it is very pitiful for my child to have to attend these classes every day. But what if I told you that he loves attending them? He gets visibly excited when we reach the entrance of his gym and playgroups and can’t wait to run in to the toys waiting for him on the floor. I’ve seen him smile, laugh and clap excitedly to the songs and high-fives the teachers happily and more importantly, I’ve seen him progress to be such a happy and sweet child as he learns how to play alongside other children and share his toys with them.
On the contrary, if we were to coop him up at home, he often gets really bored by mid-afternoon and there’s a constant struggle trying to look for things for him to do… sometimes he ends up just
reading tearing up newspapers lol.
I didn’t rush to send him to these classes, we started with the play groups when he was 6 months old and it’s only when he dropped to one nap daily and it’s when we had a long stretch of I-don’t-know-what-to-do-anymore afternoons that I slowly explored more of such classes and added them bit by bit into his schedule. We go for the trial classes and it’s only when we see that he clearly had fun that we decide to sign up for it. And we don’t rush him to class daily, if he wakes up late from his nap or decides he wants to have a longer lunch, we let him be and opt to bring him out for late afternoon strolls on his trike instead that day.
I’ve got to admit though, that sometimes when I tell people his schedule, I get a bit worried that people think that I’m abusing him haha. But in all honestly, like most mothers, I put his interest (and happiness) above everything else.
I was reading this other account that day about why her kids attend 11 (yes, eleven!) classes a week and how she’s not a Tiger Mom. She explains how like Nate, her kids chose the classes and activities and it’s all about balance and moderation. After all, learning is never a bad thing, right?
Back to myself, I personally don’t think I’m a Tiger Mom… though I am perfectly fine with the label. Maybe I’m just a more relaxed Tiger Mom? Hmmm, I don’t know. What do you think?