Device Usage and Role Models – Tweens & Teens September 2020

Device Usage

Research shows that Aussie teens average 3.3 hours of social media use per day. In total, the average screen time is in excess of six hours daily. That’s a whole lot of device usage for one day! While screen time can be useful and engaging in terms of researching projects, video calling with friends and family and being creative, a lot of it consists of endless scrolling through social media feeds. Unfortunately, the latter isn’t healthy.

You can help your teen disconnect by encouraging a morning routine (so they don’t look at their phone first thing in the morning). On top of this, encourage an evening routine (reading is great at helping you wind down), encourage them to avoid sleeping with their phone next to their bed and keeping busy. Help them pick up a new hobby that doesn’t involve using their phone, such as cooking, drawing or scrapbooking.

It’s also a good idea to encourage them to delete any social media apps they don’t love. Lastly, get them to leave their phone in another room at certain times. This could be when the family is having dinner or socialising with visiting family.

How to Be A Great Role Model

Teenagers need positive role models in their lives with all the negativity they are exposed to over adolescence. As the parent, it’s important you’re the best role model you can be to them. This is especially important as they will spend time with you regularly. Plus, the stronger your relationship with your teenager is, the more influence you’ll have.

You can be an awesome role model by working towards your own goals, showing honesty, admitting when you are wrong, showing compassion towards others, learning healthy coping skills to get through challenges, having an optimistic outlook on life and using your problem-solving skills. It’s also a good idea to show an interest in your teen’s interests. In addition, get to know their friends to strengthen your bond.

Read more Tweens and Teens blogs HERE. 

Find more research HERE. 




Let’s Talk Teen Hygiene – Tweens and Teens September 2020

Puberty brings a lot of changes with it, including body odour. This means a little bit of adjustment to the hygiene routine they may be accustomed to.

Why is hygiene important? Firstly, it’s a nice feeling to be clean. However, it’s necessary to be clean in order to function socially. Generally speaking, you expect the person you’re interacting with to be clean (whether they are a friend or a colleague), and it reduces our risk of catching disease.

The Basics

So, what does good teen hygiene look like? Generally speaking, teens should shower every day (maybe twice a day depending on the weather and their lifestyle), and wash your hair every other day. Use deodorant or antiperspirant before heading out for the day and re-apply as needed. Wear clean underwear and socks every day, and brush your teeth twice a day. Washing your face daily will (hopefully) help keep acne at a low, and some teens may also express interest in learning how to shave.

However, these are just general guidelines; your teen may need to adjust this routine to suit them. For instance, if they have dry skin, they may need to moisturise; or if they have greasy hair, they may choose to use dry shampoo to keep it looking fresh in between washes. If they have braces, they’ll have to adjust their oral hygiene routine to keep their braces clean.

Encouraging Good Hygiene

Be a Good Role Model

Start young, as children learn by observing. Be sure to practice good hygiene habits from a young age, and continue this into their teenage years.

Help Them

Your teen may still need your help, even if they don’t show it. Offer to help them if they ask for it. Show them how to use deodorant and how often, and show them how to safely shave if they show interest in learning.

Look into Skin Care

Skin care can be a tough code to crack. What works for one person may not work for another, and acne can have detrimental effects on a teen’s self-esteem. Encourage your teen to try out a variety of different routines to see what works for their skin, and consider where their skin type is oily, dry or a combination of the two. Discourage them from picking at pimples or blackheads, as this can make it worse.

It’s Different for Girls and Boys

Girls need to know how to manage their periods and how often to change their pad or tampon, and both girls and boys need to learn how to clean their genitals. It’s likely that the topic will be an awkward one for them to discuss, so remember to be prepared for any question that may come your way.





Body Image and Eating Disorders – All Things Tweens & Teens

Encouraging Positive Body Image

Having a positive body image is defined as being confident and happy in your own skin. A negative body image, however, is feeling unhappy with the way you look, whether it is your size, shape, height or general appearance. Having a positive image of your body is important as it will raise overall self-esteem and mental health.

It can be influenced by a number of factors, including family environment, bullying, disability, social media and more. During puberty, teens will go through a lot of changes as well that can change their body image. As the parent, you have an influence. Because of this, you can help by talking and listening to your teen, and being a positive body image role model.

Eating Disorders and Your Teen

Eating Disorders is an umbrella term for a group of mental health disorders. They are related to persistent negative eating behaviours, such as restricting food intake, forcibly throwing up or binge eating. Eating Disorders can affect anyone, including boys. They are not a cry for attention; they have the highest mortality rate, and the symptoms should be taken very seriously.

Some signs and symptoms of eating disorders include skipping meals, an excessive focus on food, complaining about being fat, dieting, binge eating, excessive exercising and going to the bathroom right after or during meals. The exact cause of eating disorders is unknown. But, they may be due to societal pressure or genetic factors.

Things that may help include encouraging healthy eating habits from a young age, discussing media messaging, fostering self-esteem and if needed, teaming up with your teen’s doctor to seek help. While these conversations can be difficult, remind your teen that they are not alone. Always keep communication lines open.


Read more PakMag Tweens and Teens blogs here. 




Your Teenager’s First Job Interview

During adolescence, teenagers want to gain more and more independence. They start doing things like staying out later, sleeping over at their boyfriend or girlfriend’s house and learning to drive. It’s all part of the teenage experience and the preparation for adulthood. For many, this includes the desire to earn money. With this comes their first job interview, and probably more interviews after that too. 

Suitable First Jobs

The first job may not be the job of your teenager’s dreams. Not everyone is keen on spending a few hours after school mopping floors or frying food. But hey, everyone gets started somewhere. It’ll benefit your child greatly in the future (and maybe they’ll appreciate everything you do at home more!)

The first job, however unglamorous it may be, will give your teenager on the job experience, teach them life skills and also earn them some bucks. Additionally, many of these jobs offer the chance for them to get their first aid certificate or hospitality qualifications . They might even present the opportunity to move into supervisor or managing roles.

Setting Up a Resume

The first step to getting hired is having an awesome resume. However, what should they put on their resume if they have little (or no) working experience? Go beyond work history and write down any volunteer work, extracurricular activities and awards. If they have any other skills that may be useful in the workplace, write them down too (such as speaking a second language or babysitting younger siblings). Employers want to see that your teenager is hardworking, accountable and determined.

Applying for Jobs

There are a few ways they can go about applying for work, and it often depends on the workplace. Large retail or fast food chains will often get them to apply online via their website. Smaller or local businesses may prefer to accept applications via email or in person. Encourage your child to keep their eye on shop windows, Facebook and websites such as Seek and Indeed for businesses that are hiring. You can let your child know about opportunities, but their job hunt really should be something they are self-motivated to do.

It doesn’t hurt for them to print off a number of resumes and pop into businesses around the place; even if they’re not currently hiring. It’ll show how keen your teen is to get into the workforce, and they may choose to keep your resume on file. It’s quite character building to put yourself out there like that.

Hurray, You’ve Got an Interview!

Congratulations, your teen has landed their first job interview. As exciting as it is, it can also be nerve-wracking for both of you. This is your teen’s moment to prove to their potential employer just how awesome they are.

During the interview, the interviewer will ask them a number of questions, such as “tell me a little bit about yourself”, “why do you want to work for us?” or “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”. Practicing some common questions with a parent will help them be prepared. So offer to help them.

Also hot tip, when preparing to drop off your teen for their interview, be sure they have dressed their best and they are presentable with clean teeth, brushed hair and ironed clothes (you’d be surprised that this is rare…). A button up shirt, blouse, pencil skirt or slacks are all ideal interview attire, they should always over dress than underdress. When going in for their interview, remind them to listen carefully, speak clearly, maintain eye contact and be professional and as confident as they can be.

At the end of the day, nerves show they care, and future employers understand that you’re new to the workforce. Being a little nervous  at a first job interview is completely normal.


Read more of our Tweens and Teens blogs here



Driving and Self-Expression – Tweens and Teens July 2020

Getting Behind the Wheel

Before you know it, your teen is 16 and keen to get on the road. Teaching your teen to drive and to be good at driving is a lengthy process. However, it’s a skill that will stay with them for life. Later, they can pass it on to their own kids!

In Queensland, your teen must record 100 hours of supervised driving in their learner logbook (including 10 hours of night driving). This is done with a supervisor in the passenger seat. They must always display their L plates and carry their learner license. First, help your teen familiarise themselves with the vehicle. Secondly, find a good place to learn (such as a big empty parking lot). Thirdly, create a checklist for each lesson. Lastly, and most importantly, take it slow. You can get more information here. Good luck!

The Importance of Self-Expression

Teenagers use their appearance as a way to explore who they are. Often it’s through the way they dress, the colour of their hair or their dream to get their nose pierced. While their desire to do these things can be confusing and disapproved of by their parents, it’s important to realise that these modifications are temporary and can improve self-confidence and self-discovery.

Self-expression is a vital part of adolescence, and if an impressionable teen isn’t allowed to fully express themselves, it can affect them negatively. If someone tells them they can’t express themselves in a way that makes them comfortable, it can lead to them feeling unaccepted and insecure.

As long as they are not hurting themselves or anyone around them, there is nothing wrong with experimenting. Hair dye fades, hair grows out and piercings can be removed. Self-expression on the other hand…is the key to figuring out who you are.

You can read more of our Tweens and Teens blogs here



Family History – It’s So Much More Than a Family Tree

Often our interest in our family history doesn’t happen until later in life, when you want to learn more about where your ancestors came from and what their stories were. But, sometimes it’s too late to get the answers. This is because older family members may have passed on, and with them, the information you seek.

Family History provides a sense of belonging, a knowledge of who you are and where you came from. Record-keeping is vital to family members being more than just a name on a family tree. Think about how you would like to be remembered. Now consider that your family members would probably want the same – their story told.

That’s why it’s so important to get our kids interested in family history. They deserve to get that information, before it’s too late. Don’t get me wrong… the concept doesn’t exactly scream ‘fun’ to a child Moreover, getting them to ‘buy in’ may be difficult. Because of all of this, we’ve put together this list of great, interactive activities, that will not only get them invested in their family history, but also develop and strengthen family bonds and preserve vital information. One day, as a result of doing this, they will be so grateful to possess and pass on the information to their own children.

Unfortunately, we don’t live forever, but the memory of loved ones lives on, by those who care about them. 

  1. Interview a loved one

Everyone has a story. Interviewing them is an opportunity for it to be told and to learn about your loved ones. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day, and many of us don’t stop and think about how we got to where we are today, let alone how our parents, or grandparents’ lives took the paths they did. Remember, before you were born, they had a whole life you didn’t experience with them.

By helping your parents or grandparents share their story, you can pass on what kind of a person they were and what kind of life they lived to your kids and so on – keeping their legacy alive. Simply prepare a series of questions and write them down or record them. I would highly recommend recording the interview. Smart phones have voice recorders on them, making this an easily achievable option. There is no better person to tell their story than the person themselves. And one day you won’t have them here and you’ll miss that voice so much. Think about how nice it’ll be to have it preserved?  Therefore, make sure you save the file and back it up. Or, load it as a private file on YouTube or Vimeo.

Wondering what to ask? Here are some great interview questions to ask family members, to help preserve your family’s story.

  1. What’s your full name and was it given to you for a significant reason? (was it a family name- like the name of your grandmother for example)
  2. When/ where were you born? Did anything unusual happen at the birth/ surrounding the birth? 
  3. Tell me your parents’ names and your happiest memories of them. Can you tell me what was most important to them?
  4. What were the most important lessons your parents taught you and the qualities they had/have?
  5. Ask about their grandparents (names, memories, any significant stories, what do you remember most about them, what was most important to them)
  6. If Grandma and grandpa had a message to you and their grandchildren, what do you think it is?
  7. Tell me about your childhood – where did you grow up? What comes to mind when you think about growing up in your hometown?
  8. What did you do for fun as a kid? Who were your friends, did you play sports, did you win anything? Did you get into trouble for anything? Was school enjoyable to you? Did you have a favourite subject? What was your least favourite subject? Did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up? (you can ask about before they were a teenager/ when they were a teenager as the answers may be different)
  9. Tell me about: your first boyfriend/ girlfriend? First date? First Kiss?
  10. How did you meet your wife/ husband and know they were the one?
  11. Can you you describe him/her to me? What message would you have for them that you’d always want them to remember?
  12. Tell me about the day my mum/dad was born.
  13. What advice would you give to new parents? Were you ever scared to be a parent? Can you pick three words to represent your approach to parenting and tell me why those three?
  14. Do you remember things about when each of us (siblings) were born?

Need even more?….

  1. When you think about (me/ siblings) how would you describe me/them? What message would you have for them, that you’d always want them to remember?
  2. How did you choose your career and what’s your favourite part about what you do? Have you had other jobs, and if so what were they? What makes you successful at your job? Can you give me some advice for careers/work?
  3. If they have served in the military, ask them about their service. Ask about other members of the family who may have served, and their experiences.
  4. What would be your recipe for happiness?
  5. How do you deal with hard times?
  6. Can you tell me three events most shaped your life?
  7. Chose the three best decisions you’ve ever made
  8. What are you most proud of in life?
  9. Pick five of the most positive moments of your life
  10. What have you learned about other people in life?
  11. Is there anything you think the world needs more of right now?
  12. How would you like to be remembered? What three words best describe who you tried to be in life/ how you tried to live your life?
  13. Is there a message you would like to share with your family?
  14. What are you most thankful for?

Tips for interviews: Use photographs to trigger memories and get the stories following. You can also research items and events that have happened during your grandparents’ lifetime, and ask them about their experience or memories.

If you don’t want to transcribe the story yourself, you could try websites like this one that convert the audio to text for you.

  1. Start your own journal

It doesn’t have to be daily if it ‘isn’t your thing’. You could just record important events (dates and details) down. So, think; ‘what information would I want my grandkids/great-grandkids to know about me/my life’? and then write them down. Kids are never too young to start this process, recording big milestones. Even better – you could do this activity together as a family.

Here’s a list of things to record:

  • What your full name is and when and where you were born (repeat for siblings and parents)
  • Include your siblings’ names, and when and where they were born
  • Both of your parents’ names, when and where they were born, what they were like, the kind of work they did, special memories about them. Repeat for your grandparents and great-grandparents, if you knew them
  • How your parents met
  • Everything you remember from your childhood: the games and books you liked; your hobbies, sports and activities; where you went to school; favourite and least favourite subjects in school; what you wanted to be when you grew up; your chores around the house; trouble you got into
  • Your high school years: school subjects you were great at/ not-so-great at, sports and activities, jobs, friends and dating, learning to drive, how you got along with your parents
  • Both your university years and the transition into working life
  • Adult relationships and/or how you met your spouse
  • Where you settled as a young adult, your friends and activities, religious life, travel, work
  • Being a parent: when and where your children were born, their names and how you chose them, what you love about being a parent
  • Life lessons you’ve learned and advice you’d like to share
  • Family stories passed down to you, that you in turn want to pass down to others
  • Medical struggles that might also impact others in your family, if you feel comfortable sharing them
  • Your genealogy discoveries

There’s a great workbook called ‘Story of My Life’ By Sunny Jane Morton that helps guide this process/ store this information. You could get one, for each member of the family. 

  1. Create a family tree

Start with yourself and record the names of your parents, their parents and so forth. See how many generations you can go back. We have a Family Tree downloadable available that you can use. 

  1. Put together a family recipe book 

Collate the recipes from your family and make a cookbook. You can make one yourself (see our My First Cookbook template). Or, print professionally via a website like this one. You may also just like to create a recipe card box. Either way, how nice is it to make Grandma’s or Great Grandma’s secret cake recipe? It’s a little taste of history and brings back all those memories of baking with Grandma in her kitchen.

Maybe you could also get handwritten recipes printed onto canvas and hang them in your kitchen as artwork. Functional, special and tasty!

  1. Create a family photo book

Like the recipe book, there are websites that help you create a great photo book, preserving family photos. You can put all the old photos you have in here. This way don’t get lost. Also include all the information you have about the people in the photo, the year and where it was taken etc. Often there is only one copy of these cherished shots, so this is a great way, for every member of the family to receive a copy. Creating/compiling this with your children, including their grandparents in the process as well, is a great conversation starter and a lot of fun.

  1. Family history displays 

This is a subtle way to start the ‘family history conversation’. Start with your own family’s to get them interested in preserving ‘stories.’ You could put up a map of the world in your house. Then, mark all the places you/the family have travelled, to inspire conversation/ memories. Maybe you can also place photos of the adventures beside the map to remind your children of the travels. Your children could pick the photos to be displayed. You can then place photos of your ancestors on the wall and inspire conversations about their adventures. The same applies to family heirlooms, trophies, medals etc. Place them in a prominent place and the questions will flow.

  1. Make a family time capsule 

Time capsules are a fun way to preserve your family history for future generations. You could choose to set the opening date to a future family reunion or celebration – like a milestone birthday or anniversary. You will need; family keepsakes, photos, a strong airtight container, acid-free paper (to write down the significance of the items included, information on the person who wrote the note), silica gel packets or oxygen-absorbing packets, paraffin or candle wax to seal (optional). It’s important to note – you aren’t burying this capsule, as you may move. This is to be stored in your home somewhere with a ‘do not open until ____ ‘ date sign on the front. Store away from light and heat.

  1. Future letters

Ask all the important people in your life to write a letter to your children for when they turn 21. This is even more important if they may not be alive on that special occasion. You can do the same for weddings. Afterwards, store them safely and give it to them on that special occasion.

  1. Do DNA tests 

To find out genetically and geographically where you come from.

  1. Give old-fashioned chores and handicrafts a whirl

Experiencing chores and craft activities your parents and grandparents would do growing up, gives your children an appreciation for how different their lives were. Activities could include; sewing, knitting, soap/candle-making, gardening, fruit preserving/ making jams, washing clothes by hand and hanging on the clothesline. It would be even better if the grandparents could lead these activities, creating bonding experiences and memories that will be treasured.

Extension activity: visit a historical village and discuss the items you see and how they were used-like washboards, flat irons and push lawn mowers etc.

Have fun preserving and making memories with your family. Always remember, your own family story is being created right now, make each moment count.