In today’s fast paced society, many parents complain of having little quality time to spend with their kids. Many parental duties have been outsourced to grandparents, relatives, after-school care centres and caregivers. However, we have managed to track down one parent who has strived to be the best parent he can be. He maintains an informative and active presence on social media platforms online, and shows his readers how he injects a sense of fun and adventure into parenting. We here at Parenting United sat down with Kelvin Ang, super dad and author of the blog CheekieMonkies (http://www.cheekiemonkie.net/) to get his insights on parenting and his unique take on the topic.
- Do you have a favorite child?
No, all are equally dear to me.
- What is your favourite activity to do with your children?
Bringing them to explore the outdoors.
- You are stranded on an island with your children and they are squabbling away. What is the secret weapon you will use to calm them down?
Distraction – by trying to look for the most number of hermit crabs.
- Following the previous question, will you take the chance to inculcate any life lessons? If yes, what are the life lessons?
Nobody owes us a living, so we will always have to find ways to sustain and improve ourselves.
- Being a social media influencer is tough work! How do you handle your children and be a full time daddy blogger simultaneously?
I am not a full time blogger by the way as I have a day job. There are no shortcuts but it helps that I am not tired of blogging and I still find it a great way to de-stress after a day of work.
- What do you consider your best moments with your children?
There are too many to list! But at the risk of sounding clichéd, my best moments with them are those that are time spent with them – no matter what we are doing together.
- Have you ever adapted methods of “How To Handle My Children” online?
- Tell me about the “road less taken” with the birth of your first child since 2005
When my first child was born, I had already made up my mind to be there for him no matter what., be it changing of diapers, feeding or just plain cuddling. My own Dad was not as hands on, as he was probably kept busy with work so I planned to be more involved with my children when I became a Dad, even at the expense of my own work.
- What are the three best advice about caring for your children that you will like your readers to know?
Allow them to be themselves, do not over-protect them, but always be there for them no matter what happens.
- What inspires you in your writing?
My outings with my kids, mainly.
- What made you take on blogging about your children as a full time job?
Blogging is not my full-time job actually.
- What are the specific articles your readers are drawn towards?
Activities and places in Singapore to bring their kids to, as well as light-hearted parenting- related articles.
- Is being a father to a daughter extremely different from being a father to sons?
A fair bit, as a daughter tends to be more emotion-driven.
- Was there any modifications needed when teaching your daughter as compared to teaching your sons?
The tone of voice needs to be more sensitive when it comes to disciplining her.
- What benefits does blogging have in your identity as a father?
Blogging makes me more conscious of my parenting efforts especially when I read back some of my previous articles where I documented my kids’ milestones. It keeps me grounded on what I do as a dad, and reminds me to always see the good in my kids even though they can get on my nerves sometimes!
- How do you handle the different tastebuds of your children? Do you cook?
Yes I cook during the weekends occasionally. Luckily, all of my 3 kids are not picky about food.
- Any advice for foods that are not suitable for children? Any special recommendations?
I have nothing additional to add regarding except to say – your paediatrician is right!
- You are a father with many commitments – co-founder of Daddy Matters, guest blogger, and book writer! – how do you juggle all your commitments with your duties as a father?
Like in other professions, having the passion always helps. Until the day when I get tired of it all, I hope to continue doing what I love despite the time needed.
- When you are handling your children and their education, what factors do you take into account? How do you achieve harmony and balance for their education and lesiure time?
My wife and I place equal emphasis on their education and leisure, subscribing to the mantra of ‘Work hard, Play hard’. The boys know that they are required to put in 100% of their effort into their school work but at the same time, we will not hold back on the leisure aspect when it coms to the weekends and school holidays.
- Has the target audience of your blog changed as your children grow older?
Yes, a lot of my readers started following my blog when their kids were as old as mine. So naturally, their kids have grown older as the years progressed and while I was blogging about toddler-related stuff then, much of my content now deals with activities that are more relatable to parents who have primary-school going kids.
- How has the heightened interest in getting information about parenting offline benefited you?
(Do you mean online?) If so, I guess the most obvious benefit has to be being the opportunities to expose my kids to various experiences and activities.
- Why did you choose to be a daddy blogger?
I did not set out to be a Dad blogger from the start. The blog was actually started by my wife as a means to document the growing up years of our children 10 years ago. When she went back to work after her maternity leave, I took over.
- What do you do to stay educated on new trends on social media?
Frankly, nothing much. I blog because I love writing and not because I set out intentionally to make my blog posts go viral.
- What do you do to insure the quality of your blogposts due to your numerous commitments?
My posts have to add value to my readers, so I always think about that whenever I craft a post.
- What are the three things you consider to be your strength in this area?
I guess what people can expect when they visit my blog is honesty, humour, with a dash of sarcasm and a lot of reality. Most importantly, I would like to believe that my blog entries add value to the lives of the many parents who visit my blog.
- Tell me something you would like to improve upon or learn.
My photo-shopping skills!
- How involved are you in the social media scene?
I would like to think I am just scrapping the barrel in terms of my involvement in the social media scene. Having a blog does not equate one to have superstar status in the blogosphere as we are all learning from each other all the time.
- Are you and your wife similarly involved in the parenting of your children? Are your children more attached to you as compared to your wife? Why?
Yes, we both are heavily involved. I would think the boys are more attached to me since we share the same interests – LEGO, computer games, etc and vice versa when it comes to my daughter.
- Where did you learn to blog such interesting blogposts?
My inspiration (and perspiration) comes mainly from the kids as they are the ones who provide me with the ammunition to churn out post after post.
- A father does more than putting bread on the table, and you managed to do both. How do you handle the queries people have when they know of you being a “house- husband/blogger”?
Again, I have a full time job but I am happy to dispel the misconception that having a full time job and a blog does not mean that I do not have time for my kids at all. It is all about prioritisation.
- What is the best event you’ve attended as a daddy blogger with your children? Do your children remember most events you attended with them?
Best events have got to be those that are travel-related, with the stand-out being my blog’s collaboration with Friso in 2012. Our family was flown to Amsterdam where we visited the Friso’s cow farms and it was such an exhilarating experience. The beauty of having a blog is even though my kids have no recollection of some of the past events, all they have to do is to read through the posts now!
- Children are naturally fussy eaters. What ingredients should every home have in the cupboard/refrigerator?
Nutella works as a fantastic bribe.
- If you weren’t a blogger, or being a full-time father, what would you be?
I will still choose to be a father – the best full-time job in the world that any man can ask for.