Hazrul Azhar Jamari - Product Manager
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Based in Singapore, I’m a product manager at Lazada responsible for designing a great logistics experience and a postgraduate student at the University of Edinburgh pursuing a MSc in Digital Media Design.
How old are your kid(s)?
My eldest (son) is 1 year 10 months and my youngest (daughter) just turned 5 months.
Who is the primary caregiver in the household, and what are you and your partner’s parenting philosophy?
My wife is the primary caregiver. She works full-time as a teacher. She will be teaching at Raffles Girls School in Singapore next year. We have a helper who provides child caring support while we are away at work but we emphasise that our responsibility as a parent is paramount whether we are at home or at work. So when we come home, we take over from our helper. As I’m working from home at the moment, I will entertain him when he pulls me to the play area provided I’m not in a meeting. I try to make myself available where possible.
Our philosophy as parents is to be involved and hands on with our kids in values, education and religion. As my wife is a teacher we don’t believe in outsourcing education and our responsibility doesn’t end by sending our kids to school. So from as young as 3 months, we started reading with them and we have book racks in our room and the living room.
At home, we only allow screen time on the TV so that our kids don’t associate our phones with entertainment. That has been successful so far. Recently we don’t even turn on the TV. This has made my child more active and play and read more and improve his word bank and social behaviours. He is less cranky and while he hasn’t yet uttered words, he has demonstrated his understanding by pointing at the words we quiz him at random.
Similarly for values and religion, we believe in starting these at home and taking responsibility for educating them directly.
What's your favourite moment in the day with your kid(s)?
For me, seeing their smile when I come home and seeing them sleep peacefully. It reminds me how precious they are in my life
How do you keep yourself sane?
With 2 kids below 2 years, things are quite a handful. We take turns taking care of them so that we have breaks.
The toughest part is actually getting them to sleep! We started sending the eldest one to a 2 hour playgroup. He’s gotten used going to school now that it sets the tone for the day. By 9.30pm he wants to go the bed and he’s already looking forward to school. This gives us enough rest too.
Best tech tip on parenting. This can be apps / hardware / gear you use, and how you use them.
So this is more of an anti-tech tip. We learnt that TV slows down their mental and social development even though the show might be educational. Kids shows are designed to give them a dopamine hit and get them glued to the TV. Same thing with phones and that’s kind of apparent with adults. We’re glued to social media and these apps are designed to make us look forward to a reply and likes.
So ever since we stopped TV, we saw great improvements to his behaviour. The detox helped us all as a family and he plays with his toys and reads more and engages with his baby sister more. So all that energy is spent and we get better rest too.
Here’s one tech tool that I use to help us get a good sleep. I use a Google Home and smart lights. Our table lamp is fitted with one. We read about how certain light colours help with getting kids to sleep. Turns out blue light dims the room so dark that they are likely to fall asleep faster. So that’s our ritual. We change the colour of the light and he gets it that is the signal to sleep. Kids don’t go down without a fight though but he goes down faster than before we tried this.
Most helpful advice you've received as a parent.
Frankly the “no TV” advice from doctors really helped a lot. We used to think that just limiting screen time to the TV was fine and to a certain extent it was helpful because the kids don’t associate the phone with their shows. But really once the TV was off and they’re forced to do other things we really saw huge improvements.
What lessons do you not want your kid(s) to learn?
I don’t want my kids to disrespect Teachers. My wife is one and the stories I hear are just shocking. This is because parents themselves disrespect Teachers and students think it’s alright to do so.
What was the best lesson you learned from your child?
My son was born prematurely. Not only did he survive, he has really grown so big. My daughter was unplanned and we are always really in awe of how life seems to prevail.
We have been trying for more than half a decade. We thought it wouldn’t be possible for us, and God gives us 2 in a row!
So I guess the best lesson I learned is to have faith and be patient.
What is your proudest dad moment?
The moment he learnt to kick a ball. Haha!
If you could ask anyone, dead or alive, for their best parenting tip, who and what would that be?
If you watched Fresh Off the Boat, it is a sitcom based on a true Asian immigrant story. In real life, the Huang siblings end up well educated and successful. I’d love to ask Jessica Huang, the matriach, how to raise Asian kids in a foreign country with different values and make sure they are still grounded and know where they came from.
How do you manage technology exposure for your child/children?
We turn off the tv and reduce our phone interactions.
What hobbies do you and your children share?
Reading together! My wife has written children’s books so it’s her books. Those are Malay language books. You can find that list on my wife’s site https://www.farahnadia.com.
Finally, your best dad joke!
A product manager orders steak at a restaurant. The waiter asks how done does he want it. The product manager asks, what’s the definition of done? 😅