Category: PARENTING

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. 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Raising Your Child with Faith and Values

Regardless of an individual’s or family’s religious beliefs, we all want to raise our children with a strong moral foundation. Parenting is a tough job. You can trust it’s going to be a little ‘trial and error’. There’s also a whole lot of ‘leading by example’ to help your child learn to become a responsible, caring, resilient and happy adult. We know children are sponges and soak in everything they are exposed to; whether positive or negative. Helping children identify the difference between the positive and negative influences they encounter in the media, online, at school, from friends etc, will enable them to choose people and experiences that will benefit them and their future selves. Developing a moral compass takes time. It’s the result of the outcome or consequences of the choices made every single day, no matter how small those decisions may seem. Each small act, is part of the larger picture and becomes part of their moral fibre. Reinforcing how important making the right decision is – is so important, because each of them, will ultimately determine the person they will become.This is where faith and values can help. 

How does teaching my child about faith and values help?

In a recent McCrindle survey, “99% of Australians believe it is important to teach values to Australian school students’”. Additionally, more than four in five (84%) believe that Christian heritage has been influential in shaping the values that we teach children. 

I was born into a religious family, so I knelt in personal prayer morning and night. We prayed at the dinner table and we went to church on Sunday. I also attended scripture study classes daily and attended conferences, camps and events with the church community I was part of. Even though I’m no longer active in the practice of my faith, I would still consider myself a spiritual person. I am very grateful for the lessons I learned, the faith and values I was raised with, and the friends and examples I had throughout my childhood and adolescence.

After being assigned numerous talks in Sunday meetings, I learned public speaking. I also learned it through reading the scriptures aloud in a group setting, becoming a Sunday school teacher and preparing lessons for my class.

There was also a camping program I participated in and could ace ‘Survivor’ with the skills I picked up. On top of this, I participated in a personal development program in my youth which centred around the values of faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works and integrity. Undertaking service projects and activities to develop these qualities in myself has shaped who I am today.

I remember one ANZAC Day, as a teenager, I was serving a returned serviceman during a diggers breakfast. He said he wanted to meet my parents, “because they must be pretty special considering how I turned out. They did a good job of raising you”. This meant the world to me. There is no better feeling than knowing ‘you are doing life right’. It was also a reminder that my actions were a reflection not just of ourselves, but our families.

What is spirituality and what are the benefits of Faith?

Regardless of whether you practice religion or not, we can all be ‘people of love’, ‘people of faith’ and ‘people of values’.  Your children may ask why their friends attend church and you don’t? Be open in your response, you could explain that ‘churches, synagogues and mosques are places where people are able to worship formally. It’s a place to do this with a community of other people who believe the same things they do. Some people feel you can find ‘God’ anywhere – in nature or even in your bedroom! That’s what prayers are for.’ But it’s also important to remind our children that every family is different. Remind them that is okay and all choices are equally valid.

Associate professor of psychology Lisa Miller states; “when it comes to spirituality, we parents are just our kids’ ambassadors. We can show them around, but we don’t need to know everything.”

In her research she found that children who develop a sense of a “loving higher power or a guiding force – whether they call it God, the creator, Allah or simply ‘universe’ – are 50 percent less likely to suffer from substance abuse as teens and 80 percent less likely to suffer major depression. Another study found that children who are ‘spiritual’, tend to be happier individuals overall.  Having a sense of something greater than themselves, enhanced their personal sense of meaning and purpose. It also reinforced their connections to other people and their community.

What is a Value?

Values are both what you hold dear and what you think it’s important to be. Family, education, democracy and equal rights are examples of things you may ‘hold dear’. Compassion, honesty, hard-working and kind are all important qualities ‘to be.’ Overall, parents are the primary source for children’s values. So, if you haven’t thought about what your values are, it may be time to identify them for yourself and also for your family.

Teaching Children Values

Every day presents opportunities to teach children about values. When you notice a desirable value in action – point it out. Do this whether your child is the person doing it, or someone you are observing. The funny thing about having a quality is – you also learn how to recognise it in others. Helping children discern the kinds of people they want to have in their lives. The most important lesson though is being the kind of person that you would want to spend time with.

Start young

Values are present in even the fairy tales/ stories you read with your children. Ask your child what they ‘learned’ in the book. It could be that the good guy won, but only after a few hardships or failures. Or the principle of ‘reaping what you sow’- or in other words, ‘getting what you give.’ Another valuable lesson and running theme is that of the need for love in a person’s life (giving and receiving.)

Psychologist, Sherrie Campbell identified seven values to raising exceptional children. You may like to take these on as your values, or add a few of your own. Her list included teamwork, self-care, seeing possibilities where others see problems, motivation, time management, accepting responsibility and kindness.

Helping children believe in something ‘bigger than themselves’, and live up to – helps them ‘think big’ for themselves and become the best version of who they are.

It also helps them believe there is something ‘very powerful’ in their corner. This in turn gives them greater faith in their own abilities, and power when they feel vulnerable. Leaning into that in times of crisis has indeed, helped many people overcome great hardships, myself included. Yes. our values and beliefs may change throughout our lives, but the foundation for who we will become starts when we are born, and with you.

Story By Bec Dent 

Read more parenting blogs here. 

 

 

 

 

Hear and See Your Child from Anywhere in the World

There are hundreds of things on a parent’s list to buy when they discover they’re pregnant and begin planning. Nappies, bottles, pram, crib, clothes, you name it. But it might be a good idea to try out a baby monitor, especially if you’re quite an anxious parent and you’re going to want the option to check in on your baby whenever you want. Offering peace of mind, knowing when your baby or child needs something and is safe. Either way, certain baby monitors are so helpful at making check-ins super easy and available from a distance.

The Owlet Cam

The Owlet Cam streams HD 1080P video of your baby to your smart phone over your secure WiFi connection. That means no more sleepless nights wondering how they’re doing, no more worrying when you’re not right there in the room with them 24/7. Although there are many types of baby cams out there that work well, the Owlet Cam lets you stream this crystal-clear video of your little loved one from anywhere in the world through the Owlet App. Yes, that means that even on vacation you can check in on how they’re doing! In fact, anyone who downloads the app and has the password can access the camera and check on the baby, such as your partner, the babysitter – whoever you trust! 

We know firsthand here at PakMag how daunting the experience of being a new parent can be. It’s hard leaving your baby or child alone for their first night or their first day with someone else. Even the most confident mums can tell you a moment or two they’ve had where they cannot stop thinking about their baby, who is at home with the babysitter, while they pop out for coffee with the girls for an hour. What if they need me? How do I know they’re safe? However, there’s no need to worry if you have a reliable baby monitor.

Plus, thanks to the night vision, there is nothing stopping from you from checking in on them at any time- day or night. The 130-degree wide angle lens provides plenty of visibility into the room or crib and the room temperature sensor lets you know just how comfortable they are in there.

(Remember to give yourself a break though, it shouldn’t be made difficult to let baby or child find independence as they grow. Try not to spend every single minute of the day watching them!). Parents are the multitasking heroes of the world. The Owlet Cam knows you’re probably busy more often than not, and the background audio feature lets you use your phone for other tasks while still being able to listen to your baby. How do you soothe your baby without leaving the room once you hear them cry, you may ask? Well, two-way audio lets you to speak, sing, and calm your baby from anywhere, so you don’t have to rush to and from locations or rooms to remind baby how much you love them.

Summary of Owlet Cam features that we love:

  • High definition 1080p video with ability to livestream anywhere via Owlet App
  • Encrypted, Secure WiFi
  • Night vision
  • Background audio
  • Two-way audio
  • 130-degree wide angle lens
  • Room temperature sensor
  • Adjusting magnetic base with secure mounting kit

 

You can find out more on the Owlet Care website

Read more pregnancy and baby blogs here. 

 

 

 

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.