Children are not cheap, especially those of the Singaporean variety. Other than making sure they're fed and clothed, most local parents also want to ensure their offspring get a head start in life so that they may battle their way successfully through the education system.
And often, this translates to just one thing-a helluva lot of tuition. It's not surprising that tuition is a billion dollar industry in Singapore. In fact, half of the households that engaged tutors spent more than $500 a month on tuition fees. If paying thousands a year for tuition turns you off, here are four cheap ways that you can give your kid a brighter future.
Regular trips to the library
A kid who reads widely develops strong language skills in ways that kids who are forced to attend hours of tuition instead never attain. Instead of enrolling your child in English tuition classes taught by incompetent teachers, take him to the library on a regular basis and he'll be thanking you for it in a couple of years' time when he finds himself with language skills that are superior to those of his classmates.
Give your child free reign to borrow whatever is of interest to him, and you'll create a voracious reader with strong critical thinking skills.
Feed them less processed foods
Many people overlook the fact that heavily processed foods can have a profound effect on a person's state of mind and mental and emotional wellbeing, all of which can affect a child's motivation and performance at school.
There's been speculation in the scientific community that processed, fatty foods can have an adverse effect on a child's IQ. Junk food has also been shown to cause lethargy and laziness, which is definitely not what you want your kids to exhibit, especially with all those long hours in class.
Teach your kids the importance of hard work rather than in-born ability
No matter how much you want to brag about how much smarter your kids are than Auntie Linda's, please refrain, because that teaches your children that in-born ability is more important than hard work. Studies have shown that when kids are taught that hard work is more important than intelligence or ability, they achieve more not only in school but also later on in life.
Conversely, those who are constantly praised for their intelligence tend to cruise through primary school and then crash at the later stages when effort becomes more important.
Make the most of their Child Development Account
If you like free money, you're missing out if you don't make full use of the Child Development Account, which enables you to make deposits until your child turns 12. The government will match every dollar you deposit into the CDA up to a maximum of $6,000 for your first and second children.
This means that if you deposit $6,000, the government will give you an additional $6,000. Even if you know your child will have access to tuition fee loans at tertiary level, saving up a decent amount in your CDA can give him the opportunity to participate in school trips and activities, or to go on foreign exchange programmes and so on.
This article first appeared in MoneySmart at http://blog.moneysmart.sg/family/4-inexpensive-ways-to-develop-your-childs-potential-instead-of-sending-them-for-tuition/
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