Category: PARENTING

TIPS ON PREPARING FOR KINDERGARTEN

TIPS ON PREPARING FOR KINDERGARTEN

Dropping off your child on the first day of kindergarten can be upsetting for both parent and child. It’s a big change for both of you, so here are some tips for preparing for kindergarten to help you both manage the transition. 

Prepare – Have lots of discussions with your child in the lead up to the first day. Do some role playing and practice the drop off time with your child to help prepare them.

Plan a visit – Visiting the kindergarten and meeting the teacher will help your child become familiar with the new surroundings prior to starting.

Model to them – Show your child how you make friends, talk to the teachers and other parents when you first arrive, help them unpack their bag and take them to the play area to get settled in.

Leave a comfort item – If the educator allows it, give your child a comfort item to have during times of anxiety, such as their favourite teddy.

Don’t linger – Easier said than done! Don’t say to your child how much you will miss them and don’t show them any emotion besides confidence, happiness and positivity. It’s best to establish a quick and efficient drop-off routine early on.

They may cry – Even with the best preparation, your child may be upset. It’s a good idea to ask the teacher how long they cry for after you leave, as it will make you feel better to know that it probably isn’t for very long. Most kids do it to test boundaries and to see if they can get you to change your mind.

www.catholickindergartens.com.au

KEEPING YOUR FAMILY SAFE ON THE INTERNET

KEEPING YOUR FAMILY SAFE ON THE INTERNET

Dear Adam, How can my family and I ensure we are safe when surfing the internet?

While the internet is a wonderful place providing endless entertainment, connection to friends and family and answers to many questions, it’s not always a safe place to surf. Viruses, hackers and scams are everywhere.

If you don’t know how to look out for them and protect yourself, they can get you into an unpleasant situation. Here are a few ways to be cautious when browsing the web.

Think before you click. Some ads or links can be tempting to click on, especially if they offer an epic prize or discount. One careless click could expose your personal data or infect your device with malware. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Be wary of what you download. Programs or apps downloaded from the internet may contain viruses that harm your files or disable your device, or they will try to steal your information. Never download anything that looks suspicious or comes from a site that you don’t trust. Even then, it’s advised to scan all downloaded files with a trusted antivirus software before opening them.

Make sure your connection is secure. It can be pretty tempting to connect to that free public Wi-Fi, but doing so can expose your personal data. Using a secure VPN connection will prevent this from happening.

Unfortunately, sometimes even when you exercise caution, things still go wrong. This is why it’s important to invest in a trusted antivirus software, such as Norton Security. If you are unsure of how to effectively protect your device and yourself from these dangers, or you do happen to get your device infected – come and see us at Harvey Norman Computers. We’re more than happy to help you and your family stay safe online.

Harvey Norman Computers Mackay

a Cnr Heaths Rd and Bruce Highway, Mackay

www.harveynorman.com.au

7 BENEFITS OF PLAYGROUP

7 BENEFITS OF PLAYGROUP

They say the best way for a child to learn is through play, and rightfully so. They do plenty of it at kindy, prep and primary school, but what about before that?

This is where playgroup comes into ‘play’. Playgroup is an ideal way for children under five and their parents to get together. However, it’s more than just playing; your child’s little brain is learning new things every time they go.

What is Playgroup?

Playgroups are often organised on a weekly basis for parents and carers to get together for a couple of hours and let their children play together. They are a way to connect, learn through play and of course, have fun. Playgroup is one of the first and most important social networks children may be a part of. Playgroups are for babies, toddlers and pre-school aged children and their parents or carers.

What are the Benefits of Playgroup?

While also being a fun activity for your tot to partake in, playgroup carries a number of benefits for their development.

1. Social Skills – Spending time with other children regularly allows your child to develop social skills at their own pace – whether they are a social butterfly or prefer to play by themselves, they can take it at their own pace.

2. New Activities – Attending playgroup may introduce your child to new activities they don’t partake in at home, such as craft sessions, outdoor play or morning tea. These new experiences encourage children to explore, invent, reason and problem-solve.

3. Builds Confidence – Playgroup helps your child develop emotional confidence through meeting other children, all while their carer is nearby encouraging that independence.

4. Assists in Language Development – Engaging with other children at playgroup can certainly help your child turn that babbling into fully-formed sentences. Regularly communicating with other children may give them a boost in speech and language development.

5. Supports Creativity – Playgroup allows children to play dress-ups, develop play scenarios with toys and make up stories through roleplaying with other children. Allowing children to play in an unstructured way is a key strategy in encouraging them to develop their imagination and creative thinking, skills they will carry with them into adulthood.

6. Set up Routine – Most parents will be able to tell you the importance of routine, yet it can be so difficult to get into the swing of things with a little one in tow. Playgroup can offer a helping hand in this, as sessions often occur on a regular basis at the same time.

7. For the Parents – The benefits don’t stop there. Playgroup gives parents an opportunity to meet other parents and share experiences, play with their child and it’s usually very affordable, or even free.

Playgroup offers a variety of rewards for both the child and parent. Chances are, there is one close to you full of like-minded parents and carers. If you are itching to get out of the house, give playgroup a go!

4 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR FAMILY SAFE AROUND TECH

4 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR FAMILY SAFE AROUND TECH

We truly are living in the golden age of technology. Everywhere you look, you see smarter-than-ever smartphones, TVs as thin as laptops, virtual reality gaming equipment and much, much more. In fact, the average family household has about seven devices. While technology has made our lives easier than ever and keeps us entertained on a daily basis, there are some risks that come with owning it.

97 per cent of households with children under 15 have access to the internet. Some of the most popular online activities for children includes social networking, entertainment and educational activities – stuff that is exciting and engaging, but come with some downsides.

Since children sometimes as young as two can navigate how to use an iPad, it’s important to start discussing tech safety from a young age. Here are some tech safety tips for you and your family.

Stranger Danger

The internet can pose the perfect platform for people to act malicious, manipulative or take advantage. Remind your child that if they are being cyberbullied, they can always block the user or stop talking to them (this goes the other way too – treat others the way you want them to treat you). Remind them never to give out any personal information to strangers, including their full name. Assure your children that if anything is bothering them, they can come talk to you. Keeping this line of communication open (and not getting angry with them) will encourage them to talk to you about these situations in the future, should they arise.

Passwords

Whether it’s an account for Facebook, Xbox Live or your child’s first bank account, everything is kept safe through passwords. Ensure that your family is aware of the importance of passwords and decide on something that can’t be cracked easily. Include capital letters, numbers and symbols such as dollar signs and brackets. Avoid using something obvious, such as 123 or the name of the family dog.

Viruses and Such

If you’re surfing the waves of the internet, you’ve probably heard the words “virus, malware and phishing” floating around. While it’s a fun place to browse, unfortunately there are also many people with intentions to damage your computer, hack into your personal information or steal your money. Educate your family not to click on or download anything that looks unofficial or otherwise suspicious, and invest in a comprehensive internet safety program.

Keeping your Devices Shiny

Tech safety goes beyond learning how to use them safely – keeping the device itself in tip-top condition ensures it goes the distance. For phones and tablets, purchase some shock-proof cases for the times they are inevitably dropped. Invest in lightweight, protective travel cases for laptops and casing that keeps smaller devices such as watches and headphones safe as well. Invest in a surge protector for those stormy days. Educate the younger members of your family on what might happen to electronics when they are dropped or get wet.

www.harveynorman.com.au

LYING AS A DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONE

LYING AS A DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONE

Has your child ever lied to you? If so, don’t worry. You’re in good company. We recently asked our PakMag readers if they have ever caught their children in a lie and, guess what – 98 per cent said they have.

Concerning? Perhaps. Normal? Absolutely. Important for their cognitive development? Surprisingly, yes!

According to Canadian psychology professor, Kang Lee, lying is all part of the developmental process. It’s normal, it’s healthy and it’s actually beneficial to our kids. Babies learn to crawl, toddlers learn to speak and pre-schoolers learn to lie.

Lie Now, Succeed Later

“Lying requires two ingredients,” Dr Lee explains. “Children need to understand what’s in someone else’s mind—to know what they know and what they don’t know. We call this ability theory of mind.

The second requirement is executive function, otherwise known as the power to plan ahead and curb unwanted actions.
Children who lie are better at theory of mind and have higher executive functions. “Such cognitive sophistication means that these early liars will be more successful in school and in their dealings with other kids on the playground.”

In other words? Lying can actually be seen as a trait for success. It’s also a trait that begins a lot earlier than you may expect.
According to Lee, 30 per cent of two-year-olds have lied while 50 per cent of three-year-olds are lying on a regular basis. This number continues to increase to 80 per cent of four-year-olds while nearly all five to seven-year-olds are lying.

Why the Lie?

There are three main reasons why young children lie. The first reason is fantasy. In other words, a child is making up a story in their heads and replaying it as the truth. Most of us with pre-schoolers will see this from time to time. Your pre-schooler may inform you that he’s the king of the kingdom or that his imaginary friend is over for a visit. Sure, it’s not the truth, but kids this age may think it is. This is fine but it’s a good idea to just kindly remind them that there is a difference between reality and make-believe.

Another reason children lie is because they are bragging, or even stretching the truth to make it sound a bit better than it is. We’ve all done this, right? When children do it, it’s usually to gain attention or to build self-esteem. A gentle reminder about why we don’t do this can help them understand the repercussions of these types of lies.

The final main reason children lie is to get out of trouble or avoid negative consequences. Again, this is all part of development and a natural progression for kids. They quickly discover that one way to avoid getting into trouble is to lie about it. Of course, kids need to know that this isn’t the right way to solve this problem and that you will be checking the facts.

Big Kids Don’t Lie

Of course, just because it’s considered a normal developmental milestone, we don’t want to encourage or praise lying. In the same way we accept tantrums as a milestone for toddlers, it’s important that we understand lying (and the reasons behind it) but also look for ways to discourage our kids from continuing to do it.

Help them understand the difference between fact, fiction and fantasy – Making up stories is fantastic for kids and encourages imaginative play. But, often young children may pass these stories on as truths and are not aware that this could be considered wrong. It is up to us to explain why telling fantasies (as reality), even if it’s not deliberately deceptive, isn’t a good habit to have.

Always consider the why behind the lie – Are they bragging, living in fantasy or avoiding negative consequences? A child lying about how he went to the moon last night is probably less harmful than a child lying about how he got his shoes dirty to avoid getting in trouble.

Consider is the lie really a lie? – Here’s the thing about kids – sometimes they actually don’t think they are lying, simply because they can’t remember or they remember it differently from how it happened.

Children are prone to blend real life and imagination, and often they have no idea! Try to determine if they are telling a lie that is a deliberate attempt at deception or simply a miscommunication or misjudgement.

Ways to Control Chronic Lying

Be a truthful household – Explain the importance of honesty as a family value. If you place importance on following the rules, your children will hopefully be more motivated to obey them.

Model honesty in your own actions – Keep those ‘little white lies’ at bay around the kids. After all, they are always watching, listening, learning and mimicking.

Explain how lying leads to lack of trust – Play on the emotional consequences of telling a lie – how this makes the other person feel, how this leads to a loss of trust and how this can lead to others not believing them or even not wanting to
play with them anymore.

Set up loss of privileges for lying – Once your child is aware of what lying is and why we don’t do it, it is important to follow-through if they continue to lie, especially if the lies are deliberate. Taking away toys is a fair punishment for telling a lie.

Make them proud to tell the truth – Praise them whenever they do tell the truth and provide positive reinforcement for honesty.

Consider outside help – In some instances, lying can become a problem. This includes instances where children are lying constantly, lying as a way to gain attention, lying to hurt others, lying about other people or lying to be deliberately deceitful. If you’re worried about your child’s lying habits, contact a GP to discuss your concerns.

Yes, lying isn’t a great habit to hold on to, especially when they reach tween and teenagerhood. But, remember that lying is just one way young kids learn to navigate the social world. In time, and with gentle guidance from us, they will hopefully grow out of this phase and onto the next developmental challenge… ahem… milestone, for us to tackle.

BENEFITS OF EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

BENEFITS OF EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

A new school year is just around the corner, which means it’s almost time to get our back-to-school checklists out. New shoes, lunch boxes, backpacks, uniforms, school supplies, and of course, a new set of personalised labels to ensure all of these new products actually make it home.

In addition to ticking off all things school, it’s also a good idea to look into extra-curricular activities and electives for your kids.

I know what you’re thinking. Extracurricular means extra time, extra fees, extra driving the kids here, there and everywhere and extra pressure to get up at 8.00am on a weekend for sporting games. Meh.

But hear us out. Sure, they require additional commitment from both you and your kids, but after-school activities can do a world of good. It can help children gain confidence, make new friends and give them a sense of responsibility. And that’s just the beginning!

Why Consider Extracurricular

Activities for your Kids Up the Extracurricular, up the Grades Many parents are worried that extra activities may cut into a child’s education. But this is not the case. There have been a number of studies that suggest children who participate in extracurricular activities actually do better in school.

The reason is because students learn a number of important skills through extracurricular activities that can benefit them in school too. These include time management and organisational skills, problem solving, persistence, teamwork and leadership skills.

Give Them a Sense of Purpose

We all love to feel accomplished. Children are no different. Giving them the chance to do something other than school – something that they are proud of – gives them an outlet, a goal and a purpose. It gives them something to get excited about and is proof that they are special.

This sense of purpose is so important for children. Not only can this lessen their risk of being bored, but it also boosts their confidence and self-esteem.

Improve Their Sense of Responsibility

Asking your kids to take the rubbish to the bin and make their bed is important, but there are other ways we can teach our kids the ever-important lesson of responsibility. Extracurricular activities are a great way to do so.

After all, once your child commits to a team, a club or even a term of lessons, that’s it. There’s no backing out. Children quickly learn they are a member of a network, that others are depending on them and that they made a commitment. This attitude will help them immensely in the future.

A New Social Network

Another great thing about extracurricular activities is that kids get introduced to like-minded kids who share the same passions as them. Teammates quickly become friends and often lifelong friends.

A World of Opportunities Down the Track

These activities may also open doors for your child down the road. Not only do extra-curricular activities look good on resumes and university applications, but may also introduce your child to different hobbies that could turn into a career.

Thinking Outside the Box

We often associate extracurricular activities with sport. Yes, there are heaps of sports that kids can play after school and on weekends – soccer, football, tennis, swimming, golf, mountain biking, athletics and martial arts, to name just a few. Some of these sports are just for fun while others allow kids to play games, win medals and even travel interstate or internationally for competitions.

But extracurricular activities envelop so much more than just sport. There are programs for kids who want to get involved in drama, painting, writing, music, and so much more. There are clubs for those passionate about blogging, volunteering, debating, film, gaming, geocaching, coding and even cosplay for those looking to take their love of costumes and performance art to the next level.

Honestly, there are so many options these days that never existed back when we were growing up and many that we’ve probably never even heard of.

So, How do you Find These Activities?

Check in with your Child’s School

See what programs they run throughout the year. Many schools will have a debate team, journalism club, choir, band and much, much more. As your child advances to high school, these opportunities increase.

Check the Extracurricular Activity Guide on Page 77

We have a list of different programs to consider, from dance programs to swimming lessons and everything in between.

Ask Around and Check Dr Google

Word of mouth is a powerful thing. Strike up a conversation with the parents at school or playgroup to see what their kids are doing or what they are considering. You can also do a quick Google search or Facebook group search to see if there are any clubs that may interest your child in your area. You may be surprised at what comes up.

Strike a Balance

Of course, too much of a good thing can actually be harmful for our kids. So, although looking into extracurricular activities is a good idea, try not to get too carried away. For many families, focusing on one or two after-school activities per child is just right. But, of course, this depends on your situation, the electives involved and the desires of your child.

The Bottom Line?

Giving your child a chance to pursue a passion is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. Sure, it takes extra time, energy, effort, time management and planning, but trust me, it’s worth it.

Watching your child do something they love, whether it’s playing an instrument, performing in a play or pirouetting on stage, it is one of the most rewarding experiences for parents, and one that is sure to leave you dabbing away the happy pride tears.

So, invest some time into giving your kids the chance to try something new, explore their passion and let them shine.
Just be sure to also invest in some waterproof mascara for yourself as well.