Tag: children

The Thing Is…Boys Are Full On! with Bree James

Being the only female in a house of boys, it’s a celebration of the XY chromosome most days. I have certainly learnt a lot about the male species since becoming a mother of boys, and there are a lot of things I wish I didn’t learn, but also many I am so pleased I have.

The thing is… little boys are fuuullllll on. I know girls can be too, but from what I have witnessed most girls can sit still whilst watching tv, at a dinner table and when a passenger in the car. I am sure some boys can too, but mine…cannot.

My boys have so much energy they could power a small town. From the time they wake up, until the time they go to bed, they are jumping, wrestling, throwing, play fighting, twitching, jiggling, and any other movement you can think of.

And no matter how much activity they have in a day, you feed them and off they go again.

You cannot take them to the shops without them turning it into a maze, battlefield, or racetrack. It doesn’t matter how much you warn them when you go into the shops that they have to behave, not run and to stay close – they do not. It takes all of a parent’s power to keep their cool whilst copping knowing or judgmental looks at your inability to keep your boys in line in public.

Boys also attempt really dumb things. Getting chills up and down your spine is a daily occurrence – with many of us surprised at how little time we spend in the Emergency Room.

Parents of boys have a special “I feel you” nod we give each other when passing by a chaotic scene.

Boys are really weird too, they love the topics of farts, poop, bottoms, and private parts. If you want to make your boys laugh, it’s really simple. Mention one of the above and you are seriously the funniest human being on the planet. My boys have also recently started naming their farts-why? Because they can.

And don’t get me started on the 3rd leg. From the time boys are born their hands are always on it. My dad used to say he was so poor when he was a kid his mum cut holes in his pockets so he had something to play with. It doesn’t matter if your son has every toy they could ever want, that thing is by far their favorite. As a new mum, I remember the first day of my precious baby being born. It’s a harsh reality that I wasn’t expecting nor knew what to do with and I was horrified. Yes- from the time they are born that happens! And don’t forget to always point it down in a nappy, learnt that the hard way many times…

Noise is another thing you have to live with. Boys are so loud. I know if I ever go away for work and come back it takes a good 24 hours to get used to the noise again.

They talk loud, play loud, fight loud, walk loud, go to the toilet loud, eat loud, everything is loud and it can be so draining.

I know the grunting, sleeping teenage boy stage is just around the corner. So, for now, I am embracing the chaos, gaining grey hairs and mild anxiety from their risk taking, and taking deep breaths knowing they have an amazing dad that I hope they turn out like one day. We’ve just got to get through the next ten years.

You can visit the Bree James website HERE. 





My Child Is Struggling with Reading, Could She Have Dyslexia?

Yolanda van der Kruk – Registered Psychologist and Neurodevelopmental Consultant – Townsville Paediatrics

Dear Yolanda, My child is really struggling learning to read, could she have dyslexia?

Dyslexia can be very frustrating for a child that is learning to read. It is not only a reading difficulty but a spelling, phonics and comprehension struggle, resulting in lack of reading and writing fluency and accuracy. Although common among early readers, persistence can be the sign of it. The good news is with the proper interventions and skills a child can learn ways to help mediate these. If you have concerns regarding your child, a full educational and psychometric assessment can identify a range of learning problems, including dyslexia, and provide you with detailed information on your child’s learning strengths and weaknesses profile.

4427 5817 


Read more from Townsville Paediatrics HERE. 





How Do I Set Safe Screen Time Limits for My Children?

Win Win Parenting 

Dear Dr Rosina, How do I set safe screen time limits for my children?

Most parents experience the challenge of limiting their children’s time facing a screen (whether TV, iPad, phone, laptop etc). We know in excess it is harmful for children, however, even as adults we feel the potential addictive nature of technology checking messages, social media alerts or achieving the next level in a game as almost irresistible. So, how can we manage technology within safe limits?

  1. Know the recommended limits for being on a device and share them with your child. 
  2. Help your children understand the many dangers of excessive time facing the screen. 
  3. Have screen-free times and areas. For example: none at mealtimes, before exercise or in bedrooms 90 minutes before sleep.


Read more from Dr Rosina McAlpine HERE. 





The Importance of a Home Playground – Brian Caswell

Turning your home into a playground does not mean letting your children run amok through the house, but the opportunities available in almost every room mean that with a little forethought and planning, you can turn your home into a play-learning environment which will significantly aid the cognitive, social-emotional and physical development of your child.

Children learn through play – it allows them to Experience, Explore, Experiment – what is called the ‘three Essential Es – and that, in turn, helps them build the key, foundational skills and the fund of experiences they’ll use to negotiate a complex and rapidly-changing world, as they grow.

Making your home a playground simply means acknowledging that there are playful-learning opportunities everywhere and working out how to best find these opportunities and utilising them.

The important thing to remember is the concept of ‘playful learning’, which involves a process of exploration and experimentation and ‘trial and error’ – which is the only way that children learn. Avoid micromanaging when children are playfully learning – this will allow them space and time to find learning opportunities.

The key is to create one space (or a couple if you have multiple little people running around) where toys, games and other creative stimuli are readily available and can be shared. Whether it’s a stand-alone space or sits within a child’s bedroom, it should, if possible, contain these key elements:

  • A blackboard and/or whiteboard, complete with coloured chalks, whiteboard markers and magnetic shapes and letters. Butcher’s paper and coloured pencils and crayons are a great addition too.
  • A bookshelf for favourite books and a reading corner complete with cushions or a beanbag. Hint: Regular reading sessions with Mum or Dad or other adults will encourage a child’s reading habits, but a nice place for your child to curl up and read is key to nurturing a love of reading!
  • A quiet corner will be even more special if it offers some privacy – even children like some alone time. This can be achieved easily by hanging a sheet or a curtain from a simple frame – or even a home-made teepee – but even a small table draped with floor-length cloth will work. Low-voltage fairy-lights complete the atmosphere of the special place perfectly.
  • Flat surfaces and beds can be populated by soft toys, dolls, and action figures, creating a group of companions for imaginary play.
  • Remove all devices and screens (TVs, computers, tablets or mobiles) from the bedroom/playroom. These devices are passivity-inducing time-thieves. The playroom should be a place for opening up curiosity, creativity and problem-solving, not for training passive consumption and zoning out. This isn’t to say that they can’t have screen time at all, but the playroom should be for exploration and experimentation.

Whatever your child’s home playground is like, it’s important they learn to put back their toys and games back to where it belongs – this rule should be strictly enforced.

But what about the other rooms?

The thing to remember is that because a child’s learning is ‘hands-on’, the home naturally provides ideal opportunities for practical – and fun – learning. The key, for parents, is to recognise the resources we have at our fingertips.


  • Tupperware, plastic cups, plastic utensils – for:
    • building,
    • obstacle courses,
    • musical instruments,
    • categorisation (concept-formation)
  • Food for:
      • Tactile experiences
      • Other sensory development fun (taste, smell, sound, sight, touch)
      • Process training (recipes to demonstrate importance of reading)
      • Categorisation (eg: pastas; types of food; colours)
  • Fridge:
    • Think magnets for: spelling, numbers or creating art


  • Water fun for motor skills, pouring, grabbing, pushing
  • Experimentation – float / sink
  • Can be done both in the bath, or in the sink or baby bath.

TV Room:

  • Language development – discussion of programs can help them learn and think beyond what is shown on TV.


  • Quiet time – talking about the day; reading special books together; sewing; drawing.


  • Treasure hunt/map creation – development of imagination and narrative intellect.
  • Velcro labelling – reading; categorisation; problem-solving.
  • ‘I spy’ and ‘Guess Who?’ games, using observation and language skills.

So how can parents nurture a child’s creativity in these environments?

Give them plenty of challenges and opportunities to extend themselves. Ask ‘generative questions’ rather than ‘end-stop’ ones’ to encourage further thinking and curiosity. A good way to do this is to start questions with ‘who/what/why/when/where/how’.

Lastly, don’t just read to – but with – a child. Engage them in thinking about the story. For example, you could ask them about the characters in the story, or even, ask them about them about different objects mentioned throughout the story. This will help them to think beyond the words on the page and let their mind wander to other possibilities.

You can find the podcast we did with Brian Caswell on ‘the importance of a home playground’ HERE.  

More About the Author 

Brian Caswell is an internationally – acclaimed author of more than 300 books, an established speaker, researcher and educator. He is also the Dean of Research and Programme Development for MindChamps. 





Why Every Parent Should Consider a Steiner Education

Every Parent Should Consider a Steiner Education. In general, a Steiner student is confident, has a deep respect for the natural world and is a problem solver. They also have empathy towards others and are self-directed. They look forward to blazing their own path trusting in their abilities and talents.

The rate of change in today’s society is rapid and our children’s future is uncertain. Because of this, today’s students need to be setup for success to solve tomorrow’s challenges. Fortunately, a Steiner education is made for modern times.

What is Steiner Education?

We base the Steiner education on building human capacities, with over 100 years of evidence-based research and findings. The overall goal is to awaken the innate human capacities and passions in each student. In turn, these will support them to become balanced, responsible, innovative and self-aware citizens.

Additionally at Cairns Hinterland Steiner School, we offer the broad and integrated curriculum that fosters a passion for learning, critical thinking, creativity, connectedness and positivity. The curriculum is both progressive and holistic. Along with this, we make sure to account for the needs of the whole child – academic, physical, emotional and spiritual. This is also known as the head, heart and hands – which meets each child at their developmental phase to optimise learning. Plus we are interested not only in their learning but also their wellbeing.

At Cairns Hinterland Steiner School, Students Experience:

  • A strong bond between teacher and student
  • A learning environment nestled in World Heritage rainforest
  • Beautiful indoor and outdoor learning spaces
  • Small class sizes and excellent support services
  • All classwork and materials provided

We welcome parents and carers. They are an active part of the community.

Steiner classroom in progress

Experience Our School

Our Annual Spring Fair will take place on Saturday 12 September 2020, from 10.00am – 2.00pm. 

The day will include musical performances from our students featuring our string soloists, ensembles and choral performances, delicious food stalls, and games and activities for the children.

The school also showcases our student’s schoolwork from throughout the year. This includes displays from early childhood, primary and high school, which will demonstrate how the Steiner principles of ‘head, heart and hands’ manifests in students’ academic and holistic development. Overall, the creative, artistic and aesthetic approach to all school work will become immediately apparent as you enter our School Hall and see the displays from across the class years.

The Spring Fair is a wonderful time to visit Cairns Hinterland Steiner School. It’s the best time to take a look at the school community that you and your family can be a part of. Visit our Facebook page to keep up to date about this event.




Get Sugar Savvy with the Australian Dental Association

Oral care has come a long way, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, research shows that there’s still a lot of room for improvement. There are ads and campaigns everywhere reminding us to brush twice a day, floss as often as we can, and keep the sugar content down. But these don’t seem to be achieving the results that we need. It might come as a shock to know that 53 per cent of adults only brush their teeth once a day. On top of that, 48 per cent of adults are consuming too much sugar – a combination that is wreaking havoc. Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in Australia, and these numbers show us why.

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) has decided to use Dental Health Week, August 3 – 9, to shine a light on why sugar is so bad for our teeth. The ‘Get Sugar Savvy’ campaign aims to reinforce the importance of brushing, flossing, and taking charge of your oral hygiene by understanding the effects of sugar and trying to consume less of it. Dr Mikaela Chinotti, ADA’s Oral Health Promoter, says,

“We’re urging people to observe three key messages when it comes to sugar: consume no more than 6 teaspoons/24 grams of added sugar a day; choose foods with 5 grams or less per 100 grams of the food it’s in, and look out for hidden sugars in the food and drink you buy.”

“…brush for two minutes every morning and night, floss daily and see your dentist regularly. They can detect oral diseases at their earliest stage and help to prevent them from progressing – prevention is better than a cure.”

Teenagers and Sugar

Sugar – it’s delicious, we know. But Aussie teenagers are consuming over 20 teaspoons of the stuff a day. That’s THREE TIMES the World Health Organisation’s recommended limit. The culprit? Unsurprisingly, sugary beverages. It can be difficult to know just how much sugar you’re actually drinking but that’s why it’s so important to pay attention to the labels. Energy drinks, soft drinks, fruit juice, sports drinks, even mixed drinks of alcohol (we’re talking about cans of ready-to-drink mixes) can have shocking amounts of sugar in them. 

One 600ml of soft drink contains 16 teaspoons of sugar on average. That’s already over twice the recommended daily sugar amount for adults!

For parents, it’s a good idea to pay attention to what your teen is drinking. We know that as they grow up you begin to provide them with more and more freedom, and if they have a job then they can buy their own food and drinks. But with all that freedom comes the responsibility of taking care of yourself. If they don’t seem to be doing it, you should step in and kindly remind them how important it is to really care about the health of their teeth.

Kids and Sugar

Only half of Australian children aged five to six years have actually visited the dentist before the age of five. One third have had tooth decay by this age already.

Australian Dental Association recommends that your kids have their very first dental visit when the first teeth erupt into the mouth, or by the age of one years old. Leaving a child’s first dental visit until later increases the risk that they will need treatment beyond just a regular check up and clean. Additionally, only milk and water should be put into a feeding bottle, and snacks should be healthy. And of course, try not to give your child many sugary treats, no matter how much they enjoy them.

It’s important to lead by example and make sure your child is brushing their teeth for long enough, often enough. They can then go on to take great care of their teeth as a teenager and adult, preventing infections, decay, and all the negative results neglecting oral hygiene.

Don’t have a regular dentist or one who’s nearby? No problem – the ADA’s Find a Dentist (ada.org.au/findadentist) and Choosing a Dentist (ada.org.au/choosingadentist) make it so easy.

Great ADA Resources for You

Read the Label 

Sugar Maths 

Understanding Sugar 

Here you can gain a better understanding of how to break down a label so it is easy to understand and how natural vs unnatural sugar can affect your teeth.

Hidden Sugars 

Sugar can actually be called over 50 different names, making it harder to notice on food and drink labels. Find out what the common names for sugars and what to look out for on the Hidden Sugars fact sheet.

Sugar vs Teeth 

Having trouble understanding how sugar can result in tooth decay? You can learn more about it on the Sugar and its effects on teeth Fact Sheet.

Read more PakMag Heath Blogs here.