Author: PakMag Contributor

How to Balance Work and Childcare at Home

The coronavirus lockdown has been especially challenging for parents. With schools closed, they have had to pull off the fine balancing act of looking after their children at the same time as fulfilling their usual work duties from home.

Even in ordinary times, it’s difficult enough for parents to juggle both commitments at once. Working from home can make this easier to manage – less time is spent commuting to the office, and there’s less of a need to constantly be in two places at once. Out of necessity, working from home has become widespread during lockdown. In fact, according to recent research, 32% of working Australians have been working from home over the past couple of months due to coronavirus. But will this change in work culture last once life returns to normal? A study from Direct Line suggests that working from home could be here to stay – with HR directors expecting a 45% increase in the number of flexible workers in future. 

Although working from home offers greater work-life balance, it does also come with its own pitfalls.There is less of a clear distinction between work and family life. Because of this, it’s possible that neither sphere receives the full attention it needs.

With that in mind, here are some strategies that may be able to untangle the difficult knot of working from home and being a parent at the same time. 

Set clear boundaries

It’s certainly easier said than done, but setting clear boundaries is one of the key issues that needs to be addressed. Constant distractions are not conducive to either a productive work day or effective parenting. Instead, our minds need clearly defined and separated tasks to focus on. Although it can be tempting to try to multitask, studies have shown that this could actually reduce productivity by 40%. Our brains can trick us into thinking we are multitasking well, when the reality is quite different.

A definite structure and timetable for the day can help with this. It lets us carve out separate hours for work and family responsibilities. Life is messy, and so it’s inevitable that it won’t be perfectly successful. But, having a clear plan and direction can help to calm the mind; bringing a sense of order to the chaos. 

Share the load

When children are at home full time, however, separating home and work life can become almost impossible. If you have a partner who’s also working from home, the solution would be to rotate family responsibilities during the day. This means one parent is always there for the children, and the other has the freedom to fully concentrate on their work. 

Childcare is also a potential solution, but this has become problematic with the current coronavirus situation. For many families, too, childcare is simply too costly an option to be considered. 

Go part-time or job share

Another solution that’s worth considering (if it’s possible for you) is to reduce your work hours. This will take more of the load off your shoulders. This in turn will allow you to dedicate more time to your family life during the week (among other benefits). If you have a flexible home working arrangement, with no specific hours, it becomes even easier to shape your work hours around the demands of life at home. 

It may seem scary to ask for reduced hours at work, but communication is key here. Your work colleagues will be sure to understand your situation when it’s explained to them. It IS possible that a job-share solution can be found. You won’t be the only working parent seeking part-time hours, and so it may be more feasible than you think to share your job with a like-minded colleague.

Juggling working from home with family life is certainly a challenge, and the coronavirus has made this even more difficult. There may not be a perfect solution. However, a combination of some of the strategies above may be able to bring balance back to your life. Hopefully, it will allow you to give each of your responsibilities the attention it deserves. 

Read ‘work-life balance tips for parents’ here


About the Author

Ross is a freelance researcher and content producer from Kent. He is finalising his post graduate research papers on modern day parenting and technology effects on children’s behaviour. His recent work includes Lockdown, School response, and Children’s Boredom. 

 

 

 

WIN A FAMILY PASS TO THE SUPERCARS TOWNSVILLE SUPERSPRINT

To celebrate the doubleheader Supercars Townsville SuperSprint we’re giving away a general admission pass to for one lucky family to attend both weekends (29th & 30th of August and 5th & 6th of September). 

To go in the draw to WIN, simply fill in the form below. 

In line with COVID-19 regulations, there will be no concerts this year. The Townsville events will feature fan-favourite merchandise stalls around the circuit and support categories will be in action at both weekends.

*Please note, a family refers to 4 people*

RRP – $540
Get your tickets here – TicketTek

By clicking 'enter', I agree to the terms and conditions of entering this competition.

Experience a Grammar Education

A Grammar education is an experience designed to open young minds to discovery and learning, as well as providing a rich environment for personal development. Children as young as four years of age can begin their learning journey at Townsville Grammar School and start receiving the benefits of a Grammar education.

There are a number of upcoming opportunities for families to visit, experience and learn more about Townsville Grammar School for Pre-Prep to Year 6.

Principal’s Open Mornings

Open mornings mean you can meet the Principal and Head of Junior School. You can also explore the Campuses and enjoy morning tea.

  • Annandale Campus – Wednesday, 12 August (9.00 – 11.00am)
  • North Shore Campus – Friday, 14 August (9.00 – 11.00am)

Junior School Experience Day (Prep – Year 6)

This is a great opportunity for your child to join in a class for a day and experience life at Townsville Grammar School.

  • Thursday, 27 August (8.30am – 3.00pm)
  • Annandale and North Shore Campuses

Prep Info Night

Prep Info Night lets you find out more about the Townsville Grammar School Prep Program. You can meet the teaching teams personally and explore the Prep Precincts.

  • Annandale Campus – Wednesday, 19 August (9.00 – 11.00am)
  • North Shore Campus – Thursday 20 August (9.00 – 11.00am)

Pre-Prep Info Night

Here you can find out more about the Townsville Grammar School’s Pre-Prep Program, meet the teaching teams and explore the Early Education Centres.

  • Annandale Campus – Tuesday, 1 September (6:00 – 7:00pm)
  • North Shore Campus – Wednesday, 2 September (6:00 – 7:00pm)

Townsville Grammar School has an enduring reputation as the academic leader in North Queensland, delivering consistently high academic outcomes from Prep to Year 12.

The Prep Program

  • Full-time Teacher Aides in each classroom
  • Optimised class sizes
  • Specialist lessons with specialist teachers
  • IT-enabled classrooms
  • Dedicated Prep precincts
  • Swimming program
  • Sports program
  • Music program
  • ‘Positive Education’ pastoral care program
  • Pre-Prep to Year 12 school culture
  • Transition to Year 1 program

 

Visit their website to rsvp and to find out more.

 

 

Read more from Townsville Grammar School here. 

 

 

 

 

Why Choose an All-Boys School?

Ignatius Park has proudly educated boys since opening in 1969. As Townsville’s only secondary school for just boys, the College focuses on the intellectual, physical, social, and emotional lives of the young men who attend. The College is built on the strong tradition of academic, personal and sporting excellence. They do this by providing the highest standard of staff, facilities and opportunities for students. There is a strong focus on pastoral care.

“Schools for boys recognise that they develop, think and learn in different ways to girls. Because of this understanding, we are able to tailor our curriculum and teaching strategies to best suit and support boys’ learning styles,” Principal Mr Shaun Clarke explains.

Schools for boys seek first to build good men. An all-boys school lays a good foundation in an environment that allows them to unpack their emotions, reveal their inner self and be open to who they are and what they feel. “Our Pastoral system nurtures and challenges our students to become confident, happy and responsible young men. In addition they have a highly developed sense of social justice,” Mr Clarke said.

Schools for boys celebrate the students and help them to discover and explore their full potential.

This kind of education can provide the freedom for boys to pursue their chosen interests with complete focus. This includes sport, art, languages and music. The College also offers a large range of subjects and co-curricular activities for students to explore their passions. This also helps to encourage them to go on this pursuit and discover themselves. Principal Clarke adds, “At Iggy, we strive to create an environment where each student can feel confident to both discover and achieve his full potential.”

Additionally, the school fosters lifelong friendships and meaningful bonds. It is this connectiveness in an all-boys school that allows students to develop a strong sense of ‘Brotherhood’. They can teach the next generation how to improve, to nurture respect, have respect for women and build a better society.

Boys are an integral part of our future. Overall, our role at Ignatius Park College is to help them each become the best man they can be.

 

 

 

Taking Care of Your Child’s Teeth – 1300 Smiles Explains

Life is busy for parents. At times we skip some important health routines because we are tired and looking for the ‘quick fix’ options. The issue with this surrounding dental health is that skipping our daily oral hygiene routine and choosing ‘on the run’ foods means we are increasing our risk of tooth decay for the whole family. We need to take care of our children’s teeth more. 

Baby teeth are important. There is a common misconception that decay in baby teeth doesn’t matter. However, baby teeth do a number of amazing things. And, sadly, a dental infection in a baby tooth is just as painful as in an adult tooth.

There are easy ways to take care of your child’s teeth. Make sure to brush them every morning after breakfast and just before bed. Do this until they are at least 8 years old. Use fluoride toothpaste (from 2 years old) with a soft toothbrush. It’s important to start flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they have all of their baby teeth (approx. 2 years of age). Additionally, dental visits should start from 12 months old. Ensure their diet is low in sugary and acidic foods and drinks. If bottles are used past 12 months of age then they shouldn’t have anything in them during the night except for water.

It’s really important that as your children get older, you are limiting ‘snack foods’ in their daily diet. Sticky cereals, sugary spreads, juice and so much more, have A LOT of hidden sugars and should only be given as a ‘special treat’.

Fruit in large quantities daily can damage the enamel on your child’s teeth. Because of this, juice should not be given to your child every day. Additionally, always encourage your child to drink water and plain milk as much as possible to keep their teeth strong. Try and set a good example of this too.

Lastly, when doing your groceries, have a look at the nutritional panel on the packaging and aim to keep sugar content under 20%. Or, even better, under 10%. Remember, you control their diet because you do the groceries. Have a good look in your cupboard, fridge and trolley and make healthy choices.

For more hints and tips on your children’s oral health check out the Active Little Smiles website and to book your child’s next dental appointment contact 1300 764 537 or do it online via the 1300 smiles website. 

STORY Leah Smith, Oral Health Therapist, 1300SMILES Mackay 

 

Read more PakMag blogs on oral hygiene here. 

 

 

How to Spend More Quality Time with Your Child This Winter

Looking for ways to keep your family sane during COVID-19 this winter? While some winter activities may be cancelled this year, there are still many ways you can spend quality time with the kids and maintain social distancing. Consider adding one of these fun activities to your wintertime to-do list.

Go on a Hiking or Camping Adventure

Enjoying the great outdoors isn’t reserved for the summer. The cooler months in Australia are some of the best times of the year to go backpacking with the kids. Whether you’re exploring the flowing creeks of Dinden National Park or sleeping beneath the stars at Malanda Falls, there’s no shortage of natural beauty to take in. And with the right backpacking stove, you’ll be able to stay warm and cozy at night and treat the family to roasted marshmallows. A camping trip is the perfect way to avoid the spread of COVID and get out of the house at the same time.

Bake Something Warm and Gooey

If you must stay in, why not teach your kids some valuable chemistry skills and make something delicious at the same time? Spice up your fairy bread game with something new. Brownies, cookies, and cake, oh my! Or maybe try your hand at homemade Tim Tams. Baking is a great bond-building activity that any child is sure to enjoy. The best part? You can make them do the dishes afterwards.

Find the Perfect Whale Watching Spot

May to November is prime whale watching season as migrations are happening all over. Thousands of whales make their migration from the Atlantic to warmer waters in the Cairns Great Barrier Reef. While there may be fewer boats on the water due to COVID-19 social distancing, you can still experience these majestic creatures as they put on an energetic show.

Share Stories with Dedicated Reading Time

Some kids love to read, but it doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. Find a book you’ll both love and set aside time to read together with your kids this winter. Reading is one of the best, low-stress activities to cap off a long day. It’s not only an excellent way to keep them entertained indoors, but also build some language skills early on. If you have a younger kid, take turns reading each chapter aloud to help keep them engaged and encourage them to practice.

Don’t Let COVID Stop Your Family from Having Fun this Winter

It may seem harder than ever to keep your kids occupied this winter with all the restrictions of COVID-19, but if you set your mind to it there’s still plenty of ways to spend quality time together. Whether it’s hiking to your favorite hotspot or crafting something tasty, we hope you find something the whole family will enjoy!

Written by Jenny Hart

You can find more things to do here.