Tag: child

My Child Is a Fussy Eater – Townsville Paediatrics

Dr Betty Wamola

Townsville Paediatrics

Dear Dr Betty,

My child is a fussy eater, what should I do?

Food refusal and being a fussy eater is very common in toddlers but a child will eat when they’re hungry. Serve small portions of good, healthy food over five to six regular meals. You can even include your child in choosing and preparing meals. Remember that it may take 25 tries before a child will accept a new food. So, allow your child to choose whether or not they eat and try not to pressure them too much. Do not worry about one day’s poor eating or your child being fussy for a short period of time if they are healthy and growing normally.

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The first day of childcare is a massive milestone for both parents and kids. Sending your little bunny out into the world and entrusting them to others is a scary but essential decision. As your child enters into a new environment, they will be nurtured by other adults and children. Proper preparation will ease the tension and make you feel more confident on the first day of childcare.

1.    Select the right service for your family

The first step in easing the transition to daycare is choosing an option that suits your family. Whether that is preschool, kindergarten, or family daycare, make sure that it is a facility that makes your little one feel comfortable.

Before sending them off, take some time to visit the place together. It will help both you and your child to feel safe and explore the surrounding before settling. Consider visiting the school on a weekend so that your child can explore the playground and have a feel of the fun they will experience.

2.    Label the child’s clothes and other items

The number of clothes and things that are either misplaced or lost when kids go to childcare facilities is countless. The massive pile of lost hats, socks, bottles, and other stuff in school says it all. At the top of your to-do list before sending your child to school is to mark all the items. Labeling will save you money, time, and stress. Here are a few ways to do so:

  • Laundry marker
  • Sew on labels
  • Masking tape
  • Plastic/vinyl stick-on labels
  • Iron-on labels
  • Fabric paint

3.    Tell your child what to expect

Hyping the idea too much might backfire on you. Kids see through adults quickly. Lying to them that they will have the best day ever and going to school will be a lot of fun is a bad idea, because your child will know you aren’t truthful.

Avoid putting so much pressure and expectations on your little one. Avoid statements like “You will love school” because if your child doesn’t like school, they will be confused and lose trust in you.

4.    Transition gradually

Consider doing a gradual daycare transition if the school allows. On the first day, take your child to the facility for a few hours and then increase the time as days pass. Depending on how he or she reacts to the childcare environment, consult with the teachers and agree on appropriate timelines. Ask them to introduce school activities gradually because doing otherwise might make them feel overwhelmed.

5.    Work closely with the childcare provider

The benefits of maintaining positive communication between the parent and the teacher can never be underestimated. Both the school and family set up shared responsibility towards the proper development of a child.

When your child joins the school, the facility is likely to ask you to fill a questionnaire that will enable them to learn more about your family. You are required to input your family’s interest routines and environment. That way, the teachers know how to help the kids to adjust to new schedules depending on their background.

6.    Don’t be afraid to check in when the need arises

Do not hesitate to visit your little one in school when you are worried if they settled in well. When picking them up, inquire how their day has been. Read their daily record sheet or programs to understand how well your child is coping with the new environment and routines. If they are having trouble fitting in, talk to them, and comprehend the challenges they might be facing. Find ways of assisting them to become comfortable while at school. If you feel the need to involve the teachers, don’t hesitate to consult them.

7.    Say goodbye confidently

Your child will read your bodily cues as you bid them farewell. Therefore, make sure you do not give them mixed signals. Always say a quick and confident goodbye. Only a few things are harder than leaving your child crying and screaming for you. If you stay and attempt to consult your little one, they will get stuck and have a difficult time moving on. If you are scared of leaving them behind, don’t be. They will calm down the moment you leave. 

Story Annabelle Short



You will have all heard the theory that children learn better through play, such as with games. There is a lot of evidence to support this theory. So, if you want your child to perform better at school, is it possible to do stuff at home which is fun as opposed to doing extra homework?

Learning through play helps children short term and also long term. For example, children who are good at Monopoly are often good business owners. It is one of the best tools to teach your children how to manage money. There is evidence coming through that if your child is struggling in a certain area, games may be more useful than tutoring (although not always).

So is all play good or are there certain types of play that are more beneficial. Certain types of play definitely make a difference when assisting with your children’s academic performance.

Here are my top 10 games for helping your child perform better at school, which are also lots of fun. I have broken them into age groups, but the ages are just a guide. Feel free to start playing the games earlier if you think your children are up to it.

Ages 4 to 6

The first game I recommend you start with is UNO (available online for $7 ). I first started playing a version of this at seven, but children are often able to start between the age of four and five. The game teaches number recognition, recognising patterns (very important for Maths) and most importantly improves concentration.

The Hungry Caterpillar (available online for $28) is another game to start kids off on. This is a great game for teaching adding up. Despite popular myths, practising counting to 100 is not very beneficial. On the other hand, learning to move a token four spots on a board is great for learning to add up. If you have two pieces of fruit and you need four in total, how many more do you need?

Junior Monopoly (available online for $25) is another game which is great for teaching adding up. Don’t be put off by the adult version. This game goes for 10 to 15 min and is enjoyable even for parents.

Sequence for Kids (available online for $30) is good for recognising patterns.

Ages 7  to 10

Tile Rummy / RummyO (available online for $35) is my pick for helping children with Maths. It is a tile version of gin rummy. It teaches patterns and the ability to visualise patterns. If your child can master this game, they will do well at Maths.

Yahtzee (available online for $14) is a fun game that is also great for teaching the times tables.

D.I.N.K. is a relatively unknown card game which is a good bridging game between UNO and card games like 500. Lots of fun.

Ages 10 +

Once your children have spent countless hours playing board games, they can start playing games designed for adults. Once your children reach this stage, you can have great family time playing games.

My current all time favourite game is Splendor (available online for $58). The game goes for 30 to 45 min. While the rules are straight forward, it is good for developing strategies. If your child can sit at a table and concentrate on a non digital activity for 45 minutes, then this will give them a huge advantage when they are at school. Being able to concentrate for long periods is very important if you want your children to do well at school.

Another great game is Ticket to Ride (available online for $68). Once again it goes for 30 to 45 minutes. It teaches children to add up double digit figures in their head. After playing this game every day for three months, my youngest son’s teacher wanted to know what we were doing at home that had caused a huge improvement in his mathematics in such a short time.

I am going to end with a card game. Card games are great for teaching probability. I met a guy who set the odds for Rugby and Golf for a large betting organisation. He told me growing up he spent long periods playing cards (mostly cribbage) with his Grandmother. He agreed that this is what made him so good at what he does now. The game I recommend is Rickety Kate (also known as Up and Down the River). Can be played with three to six players and is an awesome social game.

 If your child plays lot of these type of games, they will find Maths B a lot easier to understand when they get to year 11. If your child is more interested in word games, Scrabble and Upwords are good games.

Article by Roland Taylor (Director and State Manager at Statewide Family Law)



Having a child is one of life’s greatest moments. When you’ve found a partner who you adore and you’re both ready and eager to turn that love into a tiny heartbeat, life couldn’t be better, right?

And just like that, two suddenly become three; but once all of the newborn excitement starts to mellow, there is often a shift in our relationship with our significant other. How can we cope when our relationship takes a hit?

Lacking a Good Night’s Rest

The biggest shift in your household after childbirth will be the amount of sleep you and your partner are getting. We all know how much a good night’s sleep can affect our mental state, so with the lack thereof for a new mother and father, it’s understandable if you become crabby easily.

Although the only real remedy for sleep deprivation is, well, sleep, keeping mindful that your partner is going through it at the moment just as you are, can ensure that the peace is kept. Even though one of you is likely to be getting more sleep than the other, try and be as empathetic as possible. And of course, encourage each other to take naps when you can.

Social Life Shortage

Before having a child, our social lives are booming. We go for drinks with friends, out to dinners after a day in the office and take little weekend getaways spontaneously. This young and carefree lifestyle takes a big slap in the face when we become parents. But it’s not all downhill. These aspects of your life will come back, although maybe not as spontaneously and on a whim as before.

The loss of your social life when becoming a parent can take a toll on your relationship. Your partner may become agitated at the fact that you aren’t the adventurous, outgoing couple that you were previously and relationship dynamics can shift.

“Well, What Did You DO All Day?”

Whether you are working a 9-5 to support your new family or staying home to look after your little one, both roles have their challenges.

It’s easy to assume you’ve bagged the hard end of the bargain when your partner is home all day to look after a newborn, and vice versa when your other half doesn’t run to help you with the cooking as soon as they arrive home from work, but communication is key.

Understanding that one role can be just as difficult as another, and expressing challenges you face day to day can dodge negativity and diminish assumptions that being a stay at home parent is a walk in the park.

Shifting Affection

When you bring a baby into the world, everything revolves around them. It is easy to pour yourself into being the best parent you can be, but your shift in direction of affection can often be at your partner’s expense. Mental and physical attraction can decline after childbirth but you’ll find other ways to be intimate with your partner.

Postnatal Depression can affect both males and females, so it is vital to communicate with your significant other and seek professional help when needed. Although parenthood is a fresh and sometimes scary experience, it is an amazing experience worth every minute.


We have been asked the question – “What does a paediatrician do?” I might start with explaining who paediatricians are.

Paediatricians are doctors who have completed specialists training in medical conditions that affect the wellbeing of children. In Australia a general paediatrician would have completed at least another six years of training to complete the specialisation process. Some subspecialist would then continue further training in a sub-speciality field of their interest.

General paediatricians care for all children, from the day your beautiful baby arrives in this world, until your still beautiful (but maybe a bit grumpy) teenager finishes school. Paediatricians coordinate the healthcare of children to ensure they have access to support where needed. Here are the five most common reasons children are referred to a paediatrician.

  1. Paediatricians ensure your newborn baby arrives safely in this world.

Paediatricians often attends the delivery of newborn babies. Not all deliveries require the presence of a paediatrician but if any complications are anticipated a paediatrician will be called to the delivery. Fortunately most babies do not need much help and the paediatrician are there “just in case.” If a paediatrician is at the delivery, they will examine the baby to make sure that it is healthy. Occasionally a baby might have some difficulties at birth and might need some support, for example, to start breathing properly. In the days that follow the paediatrician would normally do a few more checks to ensure everyone is adjusting well and then do a check before the baby is discharged home.

  1. Paediatricians look after premature or unwell babies.

Unfortunately babies sometimes arrive earlier than expected, are born with medical conditions that affect them at birth or suffer from birth complications. The baby will then likely be admitted to a neonatal unit. In not so serious circumstances, this will be in a nursery or special care baby unit. If the baby is very unwell admission to a neonatal intensive care unit might be needed. General paediatricians often look after babies admitted to nurseries. If the baby is admitted to a NICU then paediatricians who have specialised in neonatal care will take over care of the baby.

  1. Paediatricians look after the growth and development of your baby and toddler.

Common reasons young children are referred to a paediatrician are about concerns with the growth or development of a young child. Paediatricians have been trained to assess growth and development of children. Sometimes the problem might be fairly simple and just need a bit of reassurance and advice. Sometimes the paediatrician will ask an allied health provider to have a more detailed look at the child’s difficulties and provide advice to optimise the child’s development. Occasionally concerns can point to a more serious endocrine, neurological or developmental conditions and paediatricians will then decide whether further tests, such as blood tests or scans, are necessary to find the reason for the child’s difficulties.

  1. Paediatricians assess and treat children with neurodevelopmental and behaviour difficulties.

Behavioural difficulties are one of the most common reasons parents will request a referral to a paediatrician. For younger children, this could be sleeping, eating or toileting difficulties. Older pre-school or school aged children are often referred for ADHD type assessments because they are extremely busy, unable to sit still or have difficulties concentrating. These concerns sometimes cause difficulties at school and the child might fall behind in their academic work or the child’s behaviour could wreak havoc within the family. Paediatricians also frequently see concerns about possible autistic features, especially if the child behaves in an unusual way, struggle making friends or come across as very different from their peers. These types of consultations are often more complex and it can take time to get to the bottom of the child’s difficulties.

  1. Treating common childhood illnesses.

Children are often referred with a range of common illnesses, such as asthma and other respiratory conditions, eczema and skin lesions, allergies, gastro-intestinal conditions, especially constipation and soiling, urinary tract conditions and neurological problems, to name a few. Most of these conditions are common and relatively easily managed by a general paediatrician in an outpatient setting. Some conditions, such as epilepsy or other neurological conditions are a bit more complex and would likely involve more intensive longer-term care.

The above are probably the most common reasons children are referred to a general paediatrician’s rooms but is by no means an exhaustive list of what a paediatrician does. Many paediatricians work in hospital settings and will look after children when they are unwell with, for example, infective illnesses, heart conditions, respiratory problems, cancers or in the rehabilitation process after they have been in accidents.

Paediatricians also often work behind the scenes to advocate for the health and wellbeing of children, this can be with the child protection system or working in non-profit organisations to develop access to services for children who are marginalised in society or who live in poorer parts of the world.

If you have any concerns about the development or health of your child, feel free to ask your GP for a referral to see a paediatrician.


Technology exists all around us, and while it provides us with a long list of benefits, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. It’s not uncommon to see kids glued to their iPad, computer, or game console, but what harm is this doing to their eyes?

Digital eyestrain is identified as burning, tired, or itchy eyes caused by excessive screen time. This can lead to headaches, blurred vision and a sore neck. While the short-term effects of digital eyestrain are not usually harmful, with many children spending upwards of three hours per day on their digital device, the constant exposure to blue light can cause the eyes to age quicker.

In a digitally-dominated age, exposure to technology is practically unavoidable. So, what can be done to keep screen time to a healthy and safe standard?

Take a break.

It’s recommended that children take a break from the screen every 20 minutes.

Eye exams.

Take your child for an eye exam every year to ensure their eyes are developing properly and not being damaged by screen time.

Get active.

Encourage your kids to put down their device and play outside for at least an hour per day.

Blue Light Glasses.

Invest in a pair of blue light glasses for your child. These can diminish the harmful blue rays that emit from your child’s’ digital device – and help them sleep better at night.

Sleep tight.

Avoid exposure to screens one hour before bed.

While screens are a great source of entertainment for children and adults alike, it’s important to remember the harm they can do and to “disconnect” every once in a while.