Category: PARENTING

Giaan Rooney - Olympic Athlete, Ambassador, Mother and more

Giaan Rooney Chats About Success, Motherhood and More

Australia is home to an ever-expanding number of extremely talented people, one of whom is swimmer Giaan Rooney. By the time she was a teenager she has already made the Australian Commonwealth Games Team and would go on to win gold and silver at the Olympics, eventually becoming a well-known sports reporter. We were lucky enough to talk to her about her success and how she balances work and home life, especially as a mum of two young children. Read below to find out what this Life-Space Probiotics ambassador and Olympic athlete had to say about sports, health, and her best role yet – being a parent.

As a child were you highly active in different sports? Did you find that you weren’t great at any of them? 

“As a child I was always active and outdoors. From the age of 11, I started swimming during the summer and playing netball in the winter. Netball was my other great love – I managed to make the state netball team in my teens. But, it was swimming that ultimately took over. My swimming coach saw my talent and suggested that I take it to the next level competitively. Only 14 months after that I made my first Australian team. By the age of 15, I’d made the Australian Commonwealth Games Team.

So, given my successes, I can’t say that I was bad at any of the sports I tried!”

Did you feel ‘at home’ in the pool from an early age and want to compete, or did swimming start out as a hobby that you eventually realised you were passionate about and very talented at? 

“Since joining the swim club in primary school when I was 11, I began realising how much I enjoyed swimming. I started off at two afternoons a week, loved it, begged my parents to let me go three afternoons a week. Then I begged for more. Not long after, I was competing at a high level with a coach who could see me reaching the Olympics!

I didn’t grow up as a little kid thinking I want to go to an Olympics or to be a swimmer. I made the decision after realising how much I loved swimming. Plus, I saw how it was taking my life in a whole new direction, in a good way.

There’s no way I could have dedicated myself to swimming at an elite level and be an Olympic athlete if I didn’t love it in the first place.”

What did it feel like to win gold at the 1998 Commonwealth Games? How did all of your competitions and wins from 1998 – 2006 impact your life? 

“When you’re in it, you understand it’s an incredible moment but you don’t realise the enormity of it until you’re way past that time. The longer I’m away from all my wins, the prouder I am and the more grateful I am to have been a part of it all.

I retired at the age of 23. while a lot of athletes have trouble transitioning from sport to life, I had an easy transition because I’ve always been a realist. I looked forward to life after being an athlete.

Being an athlete and competing taught me how strong I am and how to have a good work ethic. The wins are incredible, but it’s what happens in between that teaches you the most. I learnt about my strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps more importantly, I also learnt that you have to do a lot of hard work and make sacrifices if you want to get places in life.”

Do you think that the intense training and your sports career prepared you for motherhood in any way? 

“As a mother I found that my sports career had taught me something very useful, and that’s to always trust your instincts. When I was competing, I knew what I needed to make my next move be. Now, I always trust that same instinct to guide me with what’s best for my kids, and that includes their health.”

Life-Space Probiotics 

“I got really into health research during my pregnancy. While researching, what stood out to me is the importance of a healthy microbiome throughout the first 1000 days of new life. It’s important for kids to be exposed to good bacteria by playing outdoors and being in the fresh air, and a broad-spectrum probiotic like Life-Space Probiotic Powder for Children can provide added beneficial bacteria and support a healthy intestinal microbiome.”

“As an athlete, health was always a top priority for me, and that’s stayed with me since retiring. The importance of supporting general health, particularly throughout my motherhood journey so far, is simply one of many values that I share with Life-Space Probiotics. It is why I have really loved being a Life-Space Probiotics ambassador.”

Giaan Rooney, Olympic Athlete, Mum, and more Giaan Rooney, Olympic Athlete, Mum, and more

 

 

Giaan Rooney and her two kids as she shares postpartum journey

Olympic Athlete Giaan Rooney Shares Her Postpartum Journey

Every woman’s postpartum journey is different and can often come as quite a surprise, something Australian Olympic athlete Giaan Rooney knows all too well. In this blog the Life-Space Probiotics ambassador and mum of two shares her postpartum health and wellness journey.

Can you describe what the first few months postpartum were like for you, both physically and mentally?

The first few months after giving birth was the largest roller coaster of emotions I have ever experienced. I would go from extreme joy to utter breaking point, sometimes within minutes. I have never been more physically, emotionally and mentally drained in my life. For the first time I felt like I was really failing – the fact that I expected parenting to come naturally to me made it even worse.

Physically, I had no birth injuries to overcome so I consider myself lucky. However, neither of my children were natural sleepers so I found the sleep deprivation the most debilitating component of the early stages. I went to a sleep school with Zander when he was 6 and a half months old and needed the aid of sleep consultants with Lexi. To say I felt like I was failing at parenthood is an understatement!

How did you rebuild strength, mentally and physically, postpartum? What exercises did you do personally?

Early on in my parenting journey I learnt that you can have the best laid plans on how your new life will be, but your baby hasn’t read these plans! I had to learn to go with the flow which was extremely difficult for me, and to celebrate the small wins, which might just mean having a shower! I started walking with the pram almost immediately and found that being out in the fresh air was a life saver. The kids never slept in the pram (or the car) but they seemed to enjoy the movement as much as I did.

I did nothing other than walk the first time around until we were both getting some sleep. Honestly, I couldn’t have handled anything else. With Lexi I found I could return to Pilates when she was around 4 months old. I loved that Pilates was helping me physically as well as giving me some ‘me’ time too.

How important was nutrition to your postpartum recovery journey?

In general I didn’t focus too much on what I was eating both during pregnancy and after it. I have always had a healthy relationship with food and enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Plus, I never deny myself anything. So throughout the early stages of pregnancy I craved toasted sandwiches and salt and vinegar chips. Then eventually I craved salads and fruit platters at the end! Overall I just made sure to consume enough of the right foods so I could pass those nutrients on to my children.

I love my fruit and vegies as well as plenty of protein and fibre. The only thing I need to keep an eye on are my calcium sources as I can’t tolerate traditional dairy.

What was the most interesting thing you learnt about human health and wellbeing in your postpartum journey?

I was well aware of the important role that gut health plays in your overall wellbeing. But, I found it fascinating that our bodies develop the cornerstone of our microbiome during the first 1000 days of life. Exposure to a diverse range of bacteria and plenty of fresh air can support its development. Surrounding yourself with nature (including playing in the dirt!) and a varied diet also support it.  

How have you shared your passion for health and wellbeing with your kids?

Health has always been of the utmost importance to me as I want to be around for as long as possible! I have tried to teach my kids the importance of being active and of the need to give our body the best fuel in the way of food, that it needs to operate and to encourage healthy relationships with both themselves and others. In my experience, healthy people are happy people!

Click here to find out more about the microbiome. Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Supplements should not replace a balanced diet.

 

 

 

Ypoung girl going back to school wears backpack and holds father's hand

Top 10 Extraordinary Back to School Tips

 As summer comes to an end and back to school season begins, it can be hard to get back into the rhythm of a regular schedule. The trick, of course, is to plan ahead. School Zone, the back to school experts, have prepared some handy hints and back to school tips to get you and your children ready to go:

  1. Prepare mentally – set your kids ‘sleep schedules to ‘school time” two weeks before school starts
  2. Try and remove tech devices 30 minutes before bedtime
  3. Encourage your kids to read at least one (or more) books before school starts
  4. Discuss what your kids can expect on their first day of school, so they feel prepared
  5. Create a family calendar with your kids including timetables and any out of school activities they may be involved with
  6. Let then choose a new lunchbox and water bottle and set up a healthy and eco-friendly system and menu
  7. Have a practice day at home where they get up, get dressed and pretend they are going to school
  8. Make back to school shopping a fun outing and let them choose some of their own supplies
  9. Create a dedicated spot for your kids to read, learn and study – even if it’s just a quiet corner that is their own
  10. Encourage having everything ready the night before and have a designated space for them to leave everything so they are ready to go!

 

 

 

Three christmas gifts stacked on each other in front of Christmas tree and lights

The Four Gift Rule – Making Gift-Buying for Your Family Easier

The Four Gift Rule

An idea which has gained a fair bit of traction over the last few years is the “Four Gift Rule”. Intended as a guide to gift-giving to parents, it encourages selecting four presents from each of these categories; ‘Something They Want, Something They Need, Something to Wear and Something to Read.’ If you’ve never heard of it before, don’t worry, some of us at PakMag didn’t know it existed either. However, we sure are glad that we know now, because although simple, this rule makes present shopping significantly less stressful, and can help when it comes to budgeting for the big day. And, let’s face it, anything that makes this time of year less full-on is something we can get behind.

Why is the Four Gift Rule a Good Idea?

We know you want to shower your children with love, which can be shown through physical gifts. But research has shown there are negative outcomes and consequences for ‘spoiling’ or giving too many gifts to your kids. These include an increase in destructive behaviour that extends beyond childhood, lower self-esteem, ungratefulness and even bullying behaviour. Teaching the joy of gift giving and setting gift limits, helps reduce these risks, but also gives the opportunity to really trigger more thoughtfulness into the selection process, thus making the gifts more meaningful to the giver and the receiver. 

Depending on your gifting habits between the adults in your family, you may wish to extend this practice to everyone in your household. Although, often adults already have systems like ‘Secret Santa’ in play already to reduce costs and the number of gifts given. 

So, just in time for Christmas, let’s take a look at how this rule can help you for 2020’s festive season.

Something They Want

This is self-explanatory. Everyone wants at least one thing, and the majority of us want (a lot) more than that…

If you can’t immediately think of what your child would want, search your mind for any memory of them mentioning something they wanted to buy or were interested in over the last couple of months. There’s no harm in asking their friends or other relatives/ siblings if they know what the gift receiver might want either, they may have mentioned something to them at some stage. For future reference, you may take the time to jot down things your child mentions they’d like during the year and use this as a guide when selecting this gift.  

You can also just ask your child as well. We understand that the surprise element of presents is one of the best parts of gift-giving. But there ARE people out there who don’t like surprises and don’t want to risk money going on a gift they don’t end using. They can even give you a list of items they want and then let you choose one or more to give them, keeping the surprise element while ensuring they like it.

For younger children there is an easy and sneaky way to find out what they want for Christmas – simply ask them to write a letter to Santa and take a sneak peak at it!

Ultimately, it’s up to you how you find out what they want, just make sure you aren’t completely guessing – that usually doesn’t end well for anyone.

Something They Need

Adults are more likely to request something they need as a Christmas gift than children are. This still works in your favour if you have kids however, as your gift doubles as a necessary tool you were probably going to have to buy anyway. This could be gifts such as new quilt covers and sheets (this only works if you buy a design they’d want), a bike when they hit the age that they should start learning to ride, etc. Your tween or teen’s first mobile phone or laptop make a great Christmas gift, as do pets – though they are a gift you’ll likely have to play a large part in caring for years afterwards, which is something to keep in mind. 

For adults, start paying attention to items that the gift receiver uses often and/or relies on. Is anything broken? Does anything need an upgrade? Is there something you can buy that would make their life easier and more efficient? It shouldn’t be too hard to come up with a gift they need yet have been putting off buying for whatever reason.  

Something to Wear

Why not embrace Christmas gift giving as an excuse to help that someone in your life who has owned the same three shirts for seven years and never buys more? Accessories also make excellent gifts, such as watches, jewellery, belts, hats… you name it. And just to put a spin on this rule, you technically wear fake tan, perfume and makeup, so there is a lot of leeway as to what you can buy.

Remember – it’s better to play it safe when it comes to gift buying. As a parent, you’d be familiar with your child’s clothing sizes, but a general rule with gift giving is to NEVER guess clothing sizes. Other general rules include; not gifting a design or style of clothing that’s ‘out there’ or that you’ve never seen that person wear before and not purchasing a foundation or concealer without knowing the receiver’s colour match… you get it. Essentially, DO NOT GUESS ANYTHING unless it’s a confident guess or is a product that is very similar to something that person already owns and loves.

As mentioned above, if you’re really stuck, just talk to the person! You’re allowed to ask them outright what sizes they wear or what type of wearable items they might like to receive.  

Something to Read

Reading a good book is never going to get old – especially with the integration of reading with technology through kindle and similar devices. If you can’t think of a book that your child or other receiver might like as a gift, there are plenty of lists online such as ‘top 100 young adult fiction books in 2020’ that will give you a helping hand with deciding. As mentioned above, don’t be afraid to ask the person outright. Or, go the extra step and surprise them with a kindle of their own, so they can choose what stories to dive into. Even if they are not an avid reader, a kindle or good book is perfect for a rainy day or quiet afternoon of relaxing.

Items such as magazines also fit into this category, so feel free to get a little bit creative with the gift depending on what the receiver is interested in.

How to Make Gifts both Easy and Successful, Every Single Time

Two words; gift vouchers. By giving a gift voucher, you ensure that you make no wrong decisions on what to buy and give the receiver freedom to choose instead. Vouchers are usually valid for several months, allowing extra time for decision making and the ultimate choice for the receiver on when to treat themselves.

In the end, it’s all about trusting your gut and doing the necessary research if need be. The four-gift rule is just an outline of course, but certainly a great rule to follow for people of any age and gender. Don’t put too much stress on yourself to get the ultimate and absolute perfect gift for everyone – Christmas shouldn’t be a stressful time of year but should instead be an enjoyable, celebratory and fun time to spend with family and friends (and if they’re good friends and family, they won’t bite your head off for your gift-buying efforts!).

 

 

 

 

Close up of sleeping baby's feet with the Owlet Smart Sock on left foot

Owlet Smart Sock V3 – Keeping Babies Safe

Keeping Your Baby Safe with the Smart Sock

The majority of people know, whether they’re parent or not, just how fragile babies are and how important their health is. It can be daunting as a parent to leave your baby in peace as they sleep, especially overnight, without checking in on them every 30 minutes (we’re looking at all of you anxious mums and dads!). Fortunately, the brand Owlet knows all too well that it’s important to feel that your baby is safe at all times. To help parents in their new journey, they have recently redesigned their Smart Sock –an amazing device that allows you to track your baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels as they sleep.

How the Owlet Smart Sock Works

This new third generation of Owlet Smart Socks – goes well beyond the capabilities of baby monitors. It is the first baby monitor to track both your baby’s oxygen level and heart rate while they sleep, all without getting in the way of comfort.

It does this by using pulse-oximetry technology that is proven to be both accurate and safe for your little one. By connecting it to the Owlet App on your device, it allows you to view real-time readings without even needing to enter the room that baby is in. Plus, it can be difficult to keep track of how well your baby is sleeping overall and for how long, if you’re not getting much sleep yourself (and what parent of a baby is!).

The sock makes it much easier for you by measuring baby’s sleep trends, including the total number of hours slept, the number of times they woke up, their overall sleep quality and more. All of this can be checked on the app at any time that baby is wearing the sock and the Owlet app will make sure to notify you when any of the readings leave the ‘safe” zone.

Made for Convenience

The Owlet Sock’s battery lasts a whopping 16 hours after being charged and a quick charge is available for the baby naps. Tired of unnecessary wires being everywhere like we are? The sock has convenient drop-and-go charge on the Base Station. Most importantly; It’s not uncomfortable to wear and fits any baby from 0 – 18 months old, up to 30 pounds (or just over 13 kg’s)!

Phone with owlet app open next to the smart sock and the base charger

 

Owlet Smart sock app open on phone that sits on a table next to the Owlet Smart Sock Charger which is on, shown by a light that's on it

Baby’s Health Comes First: Why the Smart Sock Is So Beneficial 

Your baby’s oxygen level and heart rate are two of the best indicators of their health and it’s important to be notified as soon as something is wrong. By using the Owlet Smart Sock, you can actively monitor oxygen levels and heart rate. For parents, who are often already tired, anxious, and so completely in love with their little one that they can’t focus on much else (we’ve been there…), the sock provides a much-needed freedom and comfort.

It’s still important to physically go check on your baby when sleeping – and who can resist taking a peek at their adorable-ness as they dream? But this technology means parents everywhere can rest easy with greater confidence and more freedom in their day, knowing that your baby is safe even when you are not in the same room. It can help reduce the number of times you feel compelled to go make sure baby is okay, potentially risking waking them up. Phew!

At PakMag we are all about anything that makes a parent’s life easier and reduces stress – and the Owlet Smart Sock is definitely one of them. You can read all about the award-winning device’s nifty little abilities on the Owlet Website

 

 

 

 

Young boy codes on his laptop

Online Coding Classes with Whitehat Jr.

Technology use is more common than ever before in history right now, particularly in our younger generations. WhiteHat Jr. have taken on the task of helping kids become creators of technology instead of consumers of it. By embracing this STEAM education, WhiteHat Jr. are providing our young people with skills that expand their future opportunities in careers involving coding – an ever-growing field in today’s world.

WhiteHat Jr. teach the fundamentals of coding in a way that’s perfect for children to understand – through a variety of online coding courses suitable for Grades 1 through to Grade 10 and beyond. Young kids and teenagers can learn all things logic, structure, sequence and algorithmic thinking. This enables them to create their very own apps, websites and animation.

Despite how often children are using technology daily, less than 1 per cent of schools teach coding in early childhood.

This creates a gap that’s hard to bridge between modern day jobs and the skills required for these jobs in our children. Not to mention that many children enjoy technology as a hobby, whether it be through playing games online, using social media, learning and more. Fortunately, young people don’t have to plan for a career in technology to take WhiteHat Jr. coding classes. A simple interest in the world of coding and tech is enough to enjoy the curriculum. All children can have fun and learn a significant amount of important skills. 

All classes are taught one to one, live, in the comfort of your own home. They range from App Development, to Advanced Programming and eventually Building Your Own Company classes. Children will learn the basics of coding, how to create animations, apps and websites and how to manipulate data using programming languages. Overall, their problem-solving skills will be strengthened. In fact, already over 1 million students are certified by WhiteHat Jr., with 1,630,000 classes taken, 2,500,000 students registered in total and 7,000 registered teachers. Students are showing their talents by creating apps that solve problems. There are currently 750,000 kids projects running! 

Parents can book a free trial class for their child online through both the WhiteHat Jr. website and the WhiteHat Jr. class booking App, available  on both Google Play and App Store.

Click here to free trial class for their child online

save 16% on six months of classes (valid to 31 December 2021)

or save 14% on 1 month of classes (valid to 31 December 2021)