Originally from Vancouver, expat KEN WATT moved to Singapore with his wife and son. He counts himself lucky to have had a supportive boss back in Canada, who allowed him to take nine months of parental care leave after his son was born. Since then, he has become a stay-at-home dad here in Singapore
What role did you play around the birth of your child, from hospital to home?
My role was front and centre, although my wife keeps reminding me that I didn’t give birth!
Did you help with feeding?
After our son was born, my wife nursed him, and I changed nappies and burped him. After six months, I prepped solid food; now, I’m in charge of bottles.
Changing nappies: worst thing ever or just a part of process? Rate your nappy-changing abilities out of 10.
Piece of cake; 10 out of 10. I’ve been the point man on this from Day 1. Is there something you’ve become an expert at as a dad that you never expected to be good at? I’m intimately familiar with all the characters from PAW Patrol.
Was sleep deprivation an issue for your partner? What about for you?
Never in our wildest imaginings could we have thought we’d be so excited about getting four hours of uninterrupted sleep.
What’s the product you can’t do without for your son?
Full-length onesies. He lived in them up until he was two. They made dressing so easy, and he looked cute. What’s one thing you did before you had a kid that you miss? Going skiing regularly. Since we’re in Singapore, though, it isn’t such a big deal!
Any opinions on particular prams, car seats or other equipment for babies?
The Deuter Kid Comfort 2 worked really well on a recent trip to Italy, with lots of hiking involved.
What are your tips for travelling with kids?
Take a small bag with coloured clothespins, zippers, small toy dinosaurs, stickers and other random objects. A great diversion on long flights.
Where’s the best place you’ve travelled to with the family and why?
Aside from Singapore, which is great, I would say Cinque Terre, Italy. The people were kind and accommodating to our son, and the food and scenery were spectacular.
Got a favourite park or play centre in Singapore?
We go to Kim Pong Park in Tiong Bahru, where lots of parents bring their kids to in the late afternoon. We also like the recently opened Jubilee Park at Fort Canning, which has fun slides and swings for kids. As for paid play centres, Joy of Toys and Pirate Land.
What’s your favourite free activity with children in Singapore?
Hanging out at the Gardens by the Bay waterpark.
How do you get around Singapore?
We take the bus quite a lot, and use Grab Family. We just got a Ride Safer Delight to let us take regular Grab cars, and to be safe in taxis.
What local dishes does your child enjoy at hawker centres?
Chicken rice and steamed pork buns.
How do you get him to eat certain foods?
We’re lucky that he isn’t a picky eater. He likes broccoli and vegetables, and will eat pretty much anything.
What’s your approach towards screen time?
We fell into the trap of letting him watch a cartoon when we wanted to change him or put him in the pram. After a couple of months of that he started asking to see the phone as soon as he woke up. From that day, we’ve gone to no screen time. We just give him a really small bottle of milk if we need to placate him.
What’s the best thing about being an expat dad?
Well, it doubles the novelty; having a child and living in a new place. Not having to deal with Canadian winters here is a definite plus.
Any advice for men in Singapore who are about to become fathers for the first time?
Take as much time off as you are able when your child is born, and sleep now while you can!
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