A summer spent in parenting practice
'After tucking them in for their afternoon naps, I found the Barbie doll lying barefoot on the floor; the shoes had been taken off by the two children! What a cute scene! It made me laugh,' university student Chen Wentian says.
Chen chose to spend her summer being a 'mother'. She says: 'This is my last summer holiday as a university student. I decided to make it meaningful and useful. I 'borrowed' the children from my cousin so that I could take care of them for two weeks, to practise being a good parent before marriage.'
Chen is not alone in planning so far ahead. Xiao Rou, a third-year undergraduate, says: 'At first, I thought it would be all fun to be with children. Gradually, I found it was a valuable lesson as there was a lot to learn.'
Mother-to-be Wu Yin regrets not having had such practice before. 'I wished I had such a chance several years ago. If so, I'd have had more expectations than worries for my baby. I haven't been well prepared and everything is new.'
What problems did Chen face? She says: 'Xiao Yue, six, cries a lot. She also has a habit of spending a long time on meals because she usually forgets to swallow the food in her mouth. This has been a problem for her parents. So my first task was to help her kick the habit. From time to time, I reminded her of table manners. But it didn't seem to work. I had to encourage her with great patience.'
Chen also had to bathe the children, tell them bedtime stories, stop them from using her cosmetics, and act as a judge if they quarrelled. Her two-week stint passed quickly. 'My cousin is happy to find improvements in her children, while I got a lot out of this parenting practice.'
Parenting is not easy but it's one of the most important and rewarding jobs. Perhaps this practice should be widely promoted among young people.