WATCH: Actress Meryll Soriano shares why she lets her son have some screen time

By Kristelle Bechayda

While there are parents who don’t like the idea of exposing their children to video games and would even go as far as prohibiting them from using gadgets, 36-year-old actress Meryll Soriano allows her son Elijah to have some screen time. This is something the hands-on mom openly shared on the recent vlog post of their YouTube channel “The Curious Two.”

Marami akong mga parents na encounter na they don’t want their kids playing on the iPad. Hindi silang pwedeng maglaro ng this and like that.” she noted.

Ako naman, pag weekdays, he (Elijah) is not allowed. But on the weekends, allowed naman siya kasi feeling ko naman, this is the generation now. So I would want him to be part of that. I don’t want to hinder his growth din on the technological aspect or what is given sa panahon ngayon, di ba?” the actress reasoned.

Meryll added that while she may not be strict with her son’s gadget use, she wants to know what he is playing. “Gusto ko makita kung violent ba siya. At least, I get to see also what he’s playing, kung papayagan ko pa ba siya na maglaro ng Fortnite or not.”

Her way of knowing consists of understanding the rules of the game.

Kristelle Bechayda

Children’s activities to try out at Okada Manila’s PLAY

It’s a milestone of bringing smiles and joy to children for Purposeful Learning and Activities for the Young (PLAY), the children’s hub of Okada Manila, as it marked its first year anniversary last February 10, 2019.

Known for delivering educational entertainment for children ages 1-16 years old, PLAY offers programs year round that provide a safe environment for children to explore and immerse themselves in educational and play facilities. Apart from interacting with fellow kids,  youngsters can also attend learning sessions taught by certified teachers and trained coaches.

Some of the programs PLAY offers are the “Toddler the Explorer” for the motor skills of children ages 1 to 3 years old; the “Hero Camp,” which is a group of fitness activities targeting on health and well-being; the “Colors and Creations” holds arts and crafts activities for creativity; the “Hello, Good Looking” teaches children proper hygiene and how to socially interact; and “Stage Presence” targets children who are into the performing arts.

The Mini rock climbing wall helps your kids enhance their motor skills.

“Since opening last year, PLAY has established itself as a pioneer in offering holistic child development in a convenient leisure destination like Okada Manila,” said Director for Spa, Fitness & Recreation, Vikki Aquino.

“We have been first in offering a full line of dedicated programs that combine fun, play, and learning for our young guests. PLAY is more than just an indoor playground—it’s where kids can unleash their imagination,

Kristelle Bechayda

When your child has a crush

By Robert Rubin

Ah, the joys of being a parent. The loving wonder you get seeing your child grow. From a toddler to a child, to a tween. Then, there is this mysterious instance where they go from your little children to someone different. They are more “broody” and conscious about how they look, how they present themselves and even at times they are conscious of being with you in public. Guess what? Your little youngsters are now maturing and, in all likelihood, crushing on someone!

It’s a rather amazing yet difficult moment for parents, since all the insecurities of your kids growing up too fast come crashing down on our poor heads. You feel that they are no longer your “little boys and girls” and that they are now really growing up. It is, at this time, that we need to change our tactics as parents.

When a child has a crush on someone, it is usually a very intense moment for the kids. Moments of shyness, insecurity and fear tend to over come the tweens as they begin to question their own value. It is, at this moment, that we as parents need to fire ourselves as the managers of our children’s lives so that they can hire you as consultants.

Gain their trust

The best form of communication begins by respecting the child’s privacy and need for space. There will be times that they just want to be in their rooms all day and be left alone.

Kristelle Bechayda

Measles outbreak, what to do?

By Dr. Celeste Gomez

Q: Dear Doc Celeste, I just heard that there is a “measles outbreak” in Metro Manila. Is it true that measles is airborne? I’m so scared because my 6-month-old baby boy hasn’t had his shot yet. What can I do to prevent him from having measles? – Scared Mommy Carmen

A: Hello, Mommy Carmen! There is currently a huge increase of measles cases all over Metro Manila and Central Luzon. The Department of Health (DOH) has already considered and announced it as an outbreak.


Measles or rubeola is a virus that may be caught by a susceptible child or adult via airborne transmission. Airborne transmission can mean any of the following:

1. The virus can be carried by the dust suspended in the air.

2. It can stay or remain in a room for longer periods of time.

3. The virus can be disseminated widely to people in the same room.

Signs and symptoms

When a child is infected with measles, one can have high fever together with cough, colds and red teary eyes. The rashes may start to appear at the face and head. As days go by, it slowly goes down to the feet while you notice the rashes at the head begin to brown and peel off. Some children, especially those who are immunocompromised or who have malnutrition,

Kristelle Bechayda

How to introduce your kids to a plant-based diet

By Kristelle Bechayda

With our busy schedules and the fast-paced lifestyle we currently live in, we tend to serve our kids with whatever is available in the kitchen. Sometimes, we are even guilty of grabbing fast food meals at drive-through when time no longer permits for cooking. While it might be easier and convenient to just resort to easy-to-cook meals or prepare what our kids want just so they would eat it quickly, we might be putting their health at risk.

Recently, Moms and Babies got to interview Juana Yupangco, who is behind the nonprofit organization Mesa ni Misis. A firm believer of the benefits of a plant-based diet, the mom-of-two shared how she introduced that kind of lifestyle to her kids and some tips for parents to follow.

Tweak the foods that they like

Juana started introducing vegetables to her kids, Jaime and Rosanna, when they began eating solid food. When they were little, she would mash it up and mix it in their food so they wouldn’t see it. But as they got older, she decided to stop doing it. “I don’t believe in having to hide stuff anymore for them, so I try to make it into something like finger food when they were smaller or dumplings.” she explained.

One tip she shared is to convert the children’s favorite dish into a vegetable dish. She also dishes out these three recipes she has tried before:


Kristelle Bechayda

Drew Barrymore and Pops Fernandez praise TNT Boys’ performance in The World’s Best

By Kristelle Bechayda

After performing their rendition of Beyonce’s “Listen” during the talent search of The World’s Best, the TNT Boys have managed to show the world again of their singing prowess. Garnering a total score of 99 from the American and international judges, the trio composing of Kiefer Sanchez, Mackie Empuerto, and Francis Conception are off to the next round of the competition.

Of course that didn’t happen without praises from the American judges Drew Barrymore, Faith Hill, and RuPaul, who were floored by their performance. When asked about their comments, moms Drew and Faith didn’t hold back on complimenting the trio.

“First of all, you have some serious attitude,” Faith began. “I mean you’re so precious and so sweet but when you were singing, you were in that song, you were ‘Bam!’

As for Drew, she considers the TNT Boys as gifted and said. “You know, I have a soft spot for kids. I was a kid performer but I have kids now. This is a whole other thing. You possess a gift, you’re just that good.”

Pops Fernandez, who is representing The Philippines as one of the international judges in the competition, also praised the trio for their performance. “I am so proud right now to represent the Philippines. I know for a fact that you can be the world’s best.”

On her twitter account, Lea Salonga can’t help but commend the TNT Boys too.

Kristelle Bechayda

At 60, Barbie still inspires little girls to pursue their dreams

By Kristelle Bechayda

Since her debut at the American Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959, the iconic Barbie doll has made quite a mark in the hearts of little girls around the world. We have seen her transform and play different roles throughout the decades. And despite the controversy she has caused due to her unrealistic body proportions, toy manufacturing company Mattel Inc. has made changes by introducing versions of her in multiple body types and different skin tones. As she turns 60 this year, she continues to evolve to keep up with the social norms.

As shared by senior vice-president and global general manager for the Barbie brand, Lisa McKnight, 55 percent of the Barbie dolls sold around the world today have neither blonde hair nor blue eyes.

Looking back, one might ask how this iconic doll managed to stand the test of time in the competitive toy industry. There are about 58 million Barbie dolls sold every year and it looks like its production won’t be slowing down anytime soon. The answer to that goes back to the idea behind its inception to “teach girls that they have choices and can be anything.”

The inspiration of the Barbie doll sprung up when Ruth Handler, who is a co-founder of Mattel Inc., noticed the difference in her children’s playtime. While her son could imagine playing different roles as an astronaut, pilot, or surgeon, her daughter Barbara, on the other hand,

Kristelle Bechayda

Preventing pneumonia

By Doc Celeste Gomez

Q: My daughter’s school just had a health day-off because of a recent pneumonia epidemic in their grade. How was this able to spread so fast? How do we prevent our children from getting pneumonia?

A: Since the start of the colder months or “-ber” months, our clinics have seen a slow rise in respiratory infections, both viruses and bacteria across all ages. It may probably be because of the colder weather these days, or maybe because more people are traveling all over the world and, in return, bring viruses back to their home country.

Pneumonia is known to be one of the top causes of morbidity and mortality in very young children. It is a disease where our lung’s air sacs and airways are affected. This may be due to viruses like RSV (Respiratory Syncitial Virus) or Influenza, or bacteria like Streptococcus or Mycoplasma Pneumoniae. Pneumonia can easily spread especially if one is immunocompromised or if you are less than 2 years old or more than 60 years old. Here are some guidelines to prevent our children from getting Pneumonia:

Avoid crowded places or wear a mask

Pneumonia spreads by droplet infection. This means that it can easily spread within approximately 3 feet from anyone who coughs or sneezes. Crowded places such as air-conditioned malls, public transportation like the MRT and LRT, and large scale events would always be the perfect place to get a respiratory infection.

Kristelle Bechayda

Raising Zia: Parenting tips from Marian Rivera-Dantes

By Jane Kingsu-Cheng

The pretty mother-daughter duo, pregnant Marian Rivera-Dantes and Maria Leticia Dantes, were officially introduced as the Nido 3+’s celebrity endorsers. As soon as they entered the venue, their TVC was shown as part of the program’s introduction. Guests were thrilled to watch three-year-old Zia gushing about her very own commercial, and kept asking for the video to be shown again. Mom Marian was quick to explain that her daughter is like that, every time a new ad comes out. She likes to watch it over and over again. It seems we have a very beautiful and talented star in the making.

At the intimate launch, Marian shared her personal experiences on how life is with the very active Zia. “Kapag 3 years old kasi, maraming activities at development ang nangyayari so kailangan bilang nanay, makisabay ka,” shares Marian. Zia showed very good behavior all throughout the program, and guests couldn’t help but wonder how the pretty mom does it. She shared with the guests some effective parenting tips for toddlers that she learned along the way:

Start them early

When it comes to food, Marian proudly reveals that Zia isn’t a picky eater. She gives credit to introducing different food types as early as possible. “Kasi siguro, since nung pinanganak ko siyasinanay ko siyang kumain ng mga pagkain na gusto kong kainin,

Kristelle Bechayda

Score children’s books up to 90 percent off at this upcoming book sale

Reading is an important part of our children’s learning process. Apart from widening their vocabularies, it also gives them a fresh perspective on things. While introducing them to reading might be easier said than done due to some books being pricey, you won’t have to spend so much on your first shopping spree with the upcoming Big Bad Wolf (BBW) Book Sale.

Happening on February 22 until March 4, Big Bad Wolf Book Sale comes back to the Philippines after its successful sale last year. What’s more aside from scoring discounts up to 90 percent off is that there will also be augmented reality (AR) books available for kids. Did you know that Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is Asia’s exclusive seller of the Little Hippo AR books?

“Children will be able to read, play, and learn through the Little Hippo AR books, which uses cutting-edge AR technology to revolutionize reading for the next generation. These books come to life as the characters speak, dance, and sing. This creates a magical feeling for children which will help them get excited to read more,” said Jacqueline Ng, founder of the Big Bad Wolf Books.

Some of the other augmented reality books that will be available are The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, Let’s Learn Alphabet, and Velveteen Rabbit.

Entrance to the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is free and will be held at the World Trade Center.

Kristelle Bechayda