A tantrum-free Chinese New Year? Yep, it's possible! Read on and find out how this mum-of-two makes it happen...
As parents, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by the imminent madness that is Chinese New Year. The pressure is real: there are multiple reunion dinners to attend, relatives to see, and all those expectations to fill. Don’t even get us started on the ang baos (that also need filling). Toss a kid or two into the mix and you’re pretty much preparing for an all-out war. Is there a peaceful way of surviving this yearly festival?
Absolutely. Parents: we bring you five tips on how you can have a chilled Chinese New Year with your kids in tow, and still feel part of the celebrations and festivities.
5 top tips for a chilled Chinese New Year with kids!
1. Plan your own house visits
Before kids, Chinese New Year’s activities had us going on autopilot. We would follow our parents on their tedious trips around the island, visiting vaguely familiar relatives who we wouldn’t see for the rest of the year. Now we’re all grown up, we’re no longer bound to just being a follower. Now we’ve got our families, meaning the ball is firmly back in our court and we’re the ones deciding which relatives we should and want to visit. This is probably one of the biggest perks of having your own family, so play your cards right and you’re well on your way to having a chilled Chinese New Year.
Psst. Also with the Phase 3 restrictions in place over CNY you’ll need to pick those family visits carefully anyway, remember you can only visit up to 2 households per day and welcome only 8 people to your own home. Least that makes the decisions a bit easier perhaps!
2. Don’t fuss over the family OOTD
If you’ve already gotten coordinated insta-worthy CNY outfits for the family, good for you. We love an occasional spot of twinning. But if not, please do not stress out over it. We repeat: DO NOT STRESS. We’ve already spent 10 years or more of our lives wearing the same outfit as everyone else in school. Why force your family to do the same for CNY? A great alternative would be to look through your closets for a reusable get-up or maybe grab an affordable Chinese New Year outfit from the neighbourhood shop in your ‘hood or snag a second-hand find. Regardless, your kids will be chipper and you will be too.
3. Nap at home, not on the go
It’s almost too easy to let the little ones snooze in their car seat on the way to your next destination. But come the end of the day, you’ll probably wind up having to deal with uber-cranky children who won’t settle down for bed. That’s a pretty lousy deal. Kids need their naps, and you could probably use one too. And family naps together at home are solid gold! Better yet, everyone will wake up feeling energised and ready for CNY part 2, and a chilled Chinese New Year at that!
4. Early bedtime, more Mahjong time
Nail your nap times and it means you’ll be able to keep bedtime on track, too. And, once the kids are in bed, us adults get to play! And by play, we mean play mahjong, blackjack, poker and whatever games you and your friends enjoy playing at this time of year. Of course, this requires a bit of planning and discipline, but once the young ‘uns are sound asleep, you can focus huat-ing all night long (who are we kidding… maybe just till midnight).
5. Live in the moment (not on IG stories)
Of course, there’s really nothing wrong with uploading a story or two to the ‘gram. Just don’t let your CNY morph into one that has you obsessed with capturing and sharing every single moment with your kids on camera, while you wind up missing out on the real essence of the holiday. Try leaving your phone in your purse. You’ll be surprised at the meaningful conversations you might have with your family, friends and, most of all, your kids. There’s nothing as precious as the time you have away from the humdrum of work, so focus on the things that matter and make this CNY one that counts.
Happy chilled Chinese New Year!