Diana Ser is most famous for being a former news presenter and host, but she also WOWs us as much for her parenting style. For the record, Diana and former Singapore actor-turned-banker James Lye have 3 children, Jake, 11, Christy, 9, and Jaymee, 6.
So what’s special about Diana Ser’s parenting style? Here is what we love:
1. Raising children to be bilingual
Diana tells theAsianparent, “With all my kids I have focussed a great deal on Chinese language learning since birth.” But she admits that she was able to focus a lot more on her youngest child, Jaymee, with whom she experimented many of the activities and games that she has put up on her online portal Crazy About Chinese. Diana also revealed to us that Jaymee has been able to switch more naturally between the 2 languages when compared to the other kids.
Why do you focus so much on bilingualism?
“Our children live in a much more globalised world than what we used to live in. Learning more than one language can help them stay ahead of the competition, it will be advantageous both in their personal and professional lives. Also, when you acquire a language, you are acquiring the culture as well. And the benefits of bilingualism in cognitive development in children has been well documented.”
2. Walks the talk as a parent
Diana is very clear that she needs to be a role model for her kids. She tells theAsianparent, “Unfortunately, if parents don’t take the lead, it’s going to be quite hard for children to be inspired. For instance, I have been trying to look for opportunities to improve my Mandarin, so that I can lead by example.”
“I try to read the newspaper, I listen to Chinese podcasts, I watch the Chinese News.” She even volunteered and auditioned once for a job as a Chinese news presenter in the hope that it would help her improve her Mandarin, but apparently, “they didn’t want me”, she says, bursting into laughter.
“If they see that mummy is doing it, hopefully they’ll get inspired.” Aww…well, full marks for trying and being a role model for the kids!
3. Strict on discipline
Apparently, Diana makes it a point to not compromise on the kids’ daily routine. She has been quoted as saying to Women’s Weekly, “I think I’m a tiger-ish sort of mummy. Not in terms of academic achievements, but rather with their attitudes. For example, I believe children are the most energetic in the morning so I make it a rule to complete their homework before doing anything else. Christy is the most disciplined among the three. She does her homework the first thing she wakes up, even before brushing her teeth!”
And in spite of their hectic schedules, this mummy makes sure the kids are always in bed on time, and get their 10 hours of sleep!
According to The New Paper, Diana’s kids begin their day at 6am and end it by 8pm, even on days when they have enrichment classes. She was encouraged to follow this routine after realising that growth hormones in children usually get released during sleep, “People think I am mad, but why wouldn’t you want the best for your children?”
4. Loves story and craft time with kids
This mum is a staunch supporter of story telling, both for language learning, and as a bonding activity with her kids. She once wrote in her column on Today, “Family stories are a wonderful gift to bequeath our children. Sharing stories of personal failure or grief makes me more real in my kids’ eyes. I have found that the kids have the most fun with spontaneous stories.”
She also tells theAsianparent how story books can be used to improve a child’s language skills, “My principle is why waste the book? Once we have read the story, I usually have activities that build on what we have read. Art is another way for kids to express themselves.”
5. Doting mummy who cooks for kids
And beneath all the stardom and accomplishments, lies a normal mum who likes to cook and feed her kids. Diana was quoted by The New Paper once as saying, “For all the interviews I’ve done in my years as a presenter and broadcast journalist, I have to say that my greatest accomplishment in life was hearing my kids say, “Mummy, did you cook this? It’s delicious!””
“To me, food isn’t just about sustenance or nutrition, it’s about tradition, memories and cultures. That was the main reason why I decided not to work full-time after having kids. I want to cook for my children.”