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Suzi and Paolo Abrera
Suzi and Paolo Abrera

Baby’s day out

My one-year-old daughter will be flying with me next month for a 20-hour flight. Any ideas on how to make this trip less challenging?​ ​— Kristina​, Marikina Suzi says: Hi there, Kristina, Oh boy! It’s going to be a great adventure. Be prepared for a bit of a challenge. However if you plan well, you might feel less frustrated during the flight. I’m assuming the 20-hour flight will have a stopover? Plan for that, too! If your daughter is still breastfeeding, that makes everything so much easier. Every time it’s feeding time, or especially during takeoff and landing, it’s much easier to calm your daughter. The same goes for bottle feeding, except with a bit more effort. Call the airline ahead to ask about their rules on bringing water in bottles to feed your baby …

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How to say bye to yaya!

Dear Suzi and Paolo, I would appreciate your advice and tips on how to prepare my toddler for his beloved yaya’s departure. My son is so attached to his yaya, and I’m worried that when she goes, he might get depressed. What can I do to ease the transition? —Lisa Suzi says: Hello there, Lisa! Thanks for writing in! We’ve definitely been in a similar situation before so I can understand your concern. A good yaya is indeed a blessing so when she is beloved but has to leave, it is quite stressful for the whole family.  Our eldest daughter had a yaya, Michelle, who was an excellent caregiver. She had to go back to the province because she was about to get married. I didn’t know what to do! So eventually we decided to …

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Defend or forgive?

Dear Suzi and Paolo, My son is being bullied in school by a few classmates. While I want to teach him forgiveness, I also want to teach him that it is okay to defend himself. What do you teach your kids about when to fight and when to forgive? I have such a hard time with this. Cheekie, 34 Makati Suzi says: Hello there, Cheekie! It’s painful to know that your child is being bullied in school. No parent wants to hear that.  I am glad, however, that you know about the situation. Whether it was your son or the teacher who mentioned it, it’s good to know so that you can help your son do something about the situation. First of all, ask your child if he has a group of friends. It’s important that he feels that he has friends who can support or …

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How to deal with in-laws

Suzi says: Hello, Beth! Ooh that’s a tricky one, indeed. The landscape has been challenging lately in terms of the family situation because both parents now work. That, plus the fact that it’s been harder and harder to find household help these days! So it’s a blessing that your in-laws were agreeable to letting you stay at their place. But yes, rules, rules! I firmly believe that your husband should be the one to discuss the rules. After all, they are his parents, unless you have an exceptional relationship with them and are able to openly discuss even the most serious of topics without fear of them taking things the wrong way. Your hubby will be the best judge as to what’s a good approach to discuss rules with your in-laws. Do take into …

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Yaya dilemmas

Dear Suzi and Paolo, What are your requirements for choosing a helper and yaya? We’ve had so many bad experiences in the past that we’re scared, but as I am a working mom, a yaya is necessary. Tiffany Quezon City   Suzi says: Hello there, Tiffany! Aww, I feel you. In this day and age when moms also work, we definitely need someone we can trust to leave our kids with. Lately it’s been harder and harder to find good people to help around the house. My theory is that since there is much industrialization in the province, possible helpers prefer to stay in their provinces and find work there. We have never had to go to an agency for help because the yayas we have have been with the family from many years ago. Our first helper was from my husband’s family and moved to …

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Don’t be the victim

Dear Suzi and Paolo, My eight-year-old daughter was bullied in her previous school so we transferred her to another school this year. She’s new there so we are really worried. Did we make the right decision transferring her? What if she gets bullied again? Is there something that we can do to help our daughter not get bullied? Stella Co Quezon City   Paolo says Hello mommy Stella. Thanks for your letter. Bullying can indeed be a big problem. It affects your child’s self-esteem, causes mental distress, and, in a school setting, affects his or her socialization skills and schoolwork. In extreme cases, it can cause mental distress so it’s certainly not something to be brushed off lightly. I think you’ve done the right thing by taking action to help your child. Avoidance is one …

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Different strokes for different folks

Dear Suzi and Paolo, Hi. I hope you could give me advice on this. I am looking for a school for my daughter. She’s starting school next year and my friends advised me to look for one now. They had so many suggestions. One said Montessori. Another said Chinese school is better. My goddaughter is studying in a progressive school and is doing well, so that’s another choice. I am so confused! Cynthia Dela Cruz Pasig   Suzi says Hello there, Cynthia! Thanks for writing in. Choosing a school for our kids was a major discussion between Paolo and me. We both came from opposite ends of the schooling spectrum. I was from a very traditional school, Colegio San Agustin Makati, and Paolo was from Maria Montessori. Back in the day, there weren’t really that many …

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My little meat-eater

Dear Suzi and Paolo, Hi. I just want to ask when the best time is to give my baby meat and poultry. He is one year old. Thanks! Camille M. Arevalo   Suzi says Hello, Camille! Thanks for writing in. Now is a good time to introduce meat. In fact, other babies are already given meat much earlier, at around seven to eight months, especially if they were exclusively breastfed. It has something to do with using the iron from the meat for the nutrients that your baby got from breastmilk. No worries though. I also mostly stuck to rice, cereal, and veggie purée until my babies were about 10 months old or so. Now that’s cleared up, let’s talk about how you’ll introduce the meat. You can start with poultry because the meat is softer. …

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Access Point

  Dear Suzi and Paolo, My daughter Roylene will start elementary school this coming school year. And we’re pretty excited for her. Her classes start in June but even now, we’re already preparing her things. We bought her a study table and a laptop that she can use. My question is do we give her access to the Internet? We have a personal computer at the sala that she can also use but that’s for the whole family and often, my mom, her lola, uses it. Is it wise to allow her access to the Internet? Sharlene Rubio Parañaque City   Suzi says Hello Sharlene! Thanks for writing in. I assume your child is around seven years old? Internet is not so bad. There are safe sites that she can visit, also educational apps that she can …

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Missing a Parent

Dear Suzi and Paolo, Good day. I am writing to ask about a problem with my six-year-old son. His dad recently left for work abroad and my son would always cry, missing him. The first month, he would cry almost every day. Now, three months after, he does not cry as often but he still does every now and then. He is always sad. I also noticed that he does not eat as much and he does not play with his friends like he used to. I tried cheering him up. I even bought him a PSP. Now that vacation has started, I’m afraid that he will be sadder with nothing to occupy his time. Any advice? Marigold Domingo Commonwealth, Quezon City   Suzi says Hello mommy Marigold! Thanks for writing in. I really do …

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