Tag: children

13 Things to Unteach Your Kids – Dr Rosina McAlpine

Any parent who has accidentally sworn in front of their child and then heard it come back at them wishes they could “unteach” their child the expletive. When you reflect upon some of the many things you’ve taught your kids consciously or unknowingly – how many do you wish you could unteach?

It is important to recognise that sometimes we might inadvertently teach our children things we don’t really want them to learn, and then we need to “unteach” them. Here are 13 things you may wish to consider unteaching your children:

1. Swear Words 

It’s hard to unteach a swear word after your child has learned it, so the best way to move forward is to explain that it is not a nice word to use and mum or dad made a mistake when they said it. By trying not to use it again and offering a substitute word to use if the swear word comes, you might succeed in helping your child to “unlearn” it (but there are no guarantees it won’t come out when grandma comes over!)

2. Beliefs About Money

Were you told emphatically that there was “no money” and that “money doesn’t grow on trees”? Have you passed those limiting beliefs on to your children? Unteaching negative beliefs about money and instilling positive beliefs can make a positive difference in the way your children approach life and money.

3. Chores Aren’t Fun

Have you created a belief that “chores are no fun and simply have to be done?” Sure, that is one way to approach chores, but if you wanted to, you could unteach this by explaining to the kids that there’s a new rule in the house –that chores ARE fun. You can put on music and be together to get each job done in a creative, fun and cooperative way.

4. Negative Attitude

Do you and/or the kids start the day with a negative attitude? If you say things like “I feel so tired”, “I’ve got so much on”, just remember that kids are always listening. If you want to unteach a negative attitude, start the day with a “good morning ritual”, like setting positive goals for the day.

5. Technology Obsession

From toddler to teenager, taking the screen away can result in a total meltdown. It’s hard to unteach an obsession with technology … as adults we know that ourselves! Unteach technology cravings by finding activities to do together that are screen free.

6. Kitchens are Not for Kids

Often we send kids out of the kitchen as it is easier, quicker and safer because parents can be time poor. However, once we’ve taught our kids not to help – it’s hard to get them back when we’d love the help. So unteach your children that kitchens are not for kids and get them involved with all aspects from menu planning to preparing and cleaning up. You’ll get the help you need and they’ll have skills for life – Win-Win!

7. Just Do as Your Told

“Respect your elders” “I’m the adult and you simply need to listen and do as you’re told” are words children often hear. Teaching kids to simply do as they are told may seem like a great thing, however sometimes a more beneficial approach is teaching your kids to consider why they’re being asked to do something. By getting children to follow their inner compass, it can help children make good choices and be safe.

8. Gender Stereotypes

The world is filled with ways that children can learn unhelpful gender stereotypes. When parents become aware of their child’s unrealistic stereotypes like “mums should stay home while dads should work”, “football isn’t for girls, it’s a boy’s sport”, they can unteach these stereotypes by challenging them and offering a different point of view to support equality for all.

9. Being a Praise-Junky

It is not uncommon to hear parents praise their children TOO much. Kids can become reliant on praise from others for their self-worth. You can help your child unlearn the need for external recognition and praise to feel worthy and lovable by helping them to be more internally referenced, rather than needing external praise. For example, instead of offering praise, ask your children to reflect on whether they did their best, if they are happy with their work.

10. Junk Food is a Treat

When we call junk food a “treat” we create conflict. For example, when we eat something we call “junk food”, it’s going in our body and our mind thinks “this junk food is bad for me!” Then if parents deny their children a sugary, fatty, processed food they call a “treat” – children feel like they’re missing out when parents just want them to stay healthy. Unteach equating junk food with a treat.

11. Practice Makes Perfect

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘practice makes perfect’ and we know that it’s virtually unattainable. It’s too stressful to strive for perfection all of the time and can result in challenging perfectionist tendencies, so try unteaching this phrase. Replace it with “practice makes personal bests”. The more we practice the better our personal bests get.

12. Saying No

Does your toddler or teenager say a resounding “NO!” to everything? Many parents find this really frustrating. So perhaps you could start by considering how many times a day you say “no” to your child. When your child hears lots and lots of no’s you can bet you’ll get lots of no’s back. Instead, start saying more yes’s and you might find you’ll get more yes’s back. Here’s a short video on how you can do that without giving in to every request! Check it out in the online version of this edition at www.pakmag.com.au.

13. Always Getting What They Want

Often, it’s easier to let your child get what they want after they whine incessantly, as it will give you a break from listening to it. However, this can teach them that whining works, so there needs to be a balance between “No” and giving in. Otherwise, your child will likely realise that this works, and then continue to do it. There are many things that parents do out of the goodness of their hearts or to reduce their stress when dealing with their children. These don’t always have the best effects on a child’s development however, and it is better to nip the bad habits in the bud while they’re still young. Remember to seek help and support when you feel overwhelmed with juggling the struggles of parenting.

About the Author

Dr Rosina McAlpine is the CEO and creator of the Win Win Parenting program. Win Win Parenting practical and fun programs are delivered across a variety of organisations including early learning, school, corporate and government organisations in Australia, New Zealand and The United States. Dr Rosina is an internationally recognised awardwinning researcher and educator. Read more of her work on our website here

Digital Learning Might Be Here to Stay

Digital school reading program, Wushka, has surveyed over 750 primary school teachers across Australia. The survey’s goal was to see what teachers though about online learning and whether it should be continued by parents and teachers, even after students return to school. It found that 97 per cent of those who responded took on digital learning during the pandemic. 7 in 10 said that online learning is here to stay!

The use of programs such as Wushka increased during lockdown as teachers and parents had to find new ways of teaching. Being at home presented a variety of challenges. However, these programs kept children engaged and learning.

“We saw teachers rise to the occasion and embrace digital learning especially for literacy lessons,” says Michelle Kelly, General Manager Education Resources, Modern Star. “Online tools such as Wushka are a great resource for teachers. It is exciting to see so many educators embracing these programs and looking to use them in a post-COVID world.”

Classroom learning is likely to change as teachers continue navigating online learning moving forward.

97 per cent of teachers stated that they benefited from using an online digital reading platform with students. From those, 84 per cent believe students would benefit from online teaching methods – even after returning to physical classrooms. For example, Wushka supports teachers to assist with home learning. It provides both teachers and students with access to over 600 fiction and non-fiction readers. These then support students learning to read. Moving the learning online is made easy through this platform. This online learning then allows teachers to track students’ progress and keep them engaged, both in the classroom and at home. 

It makes complete sense – we are in living in a digital, technology filled world. Laptops, iPads and tablets are much more available in homes and in classrooms. This makes education a lot more accessible, quite literally at the tips of our fingers. Additionally, games and other fun programs easily provide the online education needed. Children are more likely to be engaged because of this, more than what they would be in a traditional, physical classroom setting.



New Books That Help Support Children’s Wellbeing During COVID-19

Explaining the COVID-19 pandemic to our children can be tricky. With isolation in place and changes to their daily routines, the world probably seems quite confusing and maybe even overwhelming for our little ones. Even if we manage to explain it, they might worry about it more than they need to. Right now, our children don’t need to be scared and overwhelmed with information they cannot understand, because it is only detrimental to their emotional wellbeing. To help solve this problem for parents, authors are releasing books for children that touch on the topic of coronavirus and its effects in various ways.

Here are three books that can not only educate but also entertain your kids.

Birdy and the Virus

Children’s Health Queensland (CHQ) have developed a book called ‘Birdie and the Virus’. Specifically designed to support the emotional wellbeing of young children and their parents, the book focuses on how health professionals can help those who are sick during a time like this. It explains that although there may be lots of new and strange things happening because of the virus, there is no need to spend a lot of time worrying about it. In fact, even Birdie has to stay home and isn’t able to play with her friends, but the book explains that doing this, alongside good hygiene practices, is what keeps Birdie safe from the virus.

Birdie and the Virus is full of cute animations and easy to understand for young children. This not only helps them to understand what is going on right now in a positive way, but it also reinforces that things can go back to normal if we follow the rules and keep ourselves safe. Also created by CHQ are more books about Birdy for helping children understand and cope with natural disasters, including cyclones, fires, floods and more. You can get your hands on a copy of Birdy and the Virus here, plus more great Birdy books on natural disasters here.

A New Day

Australian author and father of three, Alex Ryvchin has written ‘A New Day’ for children, which offers perspective, hope and reassurance that the pandemic will end, while also focusing on finding joy in the simple pleasures of life. The book can help to uphold good wellbeing and mental health of our children during these new and somewhat lonely circumstances. “Suddenly deprived of so much, A New Day helps us realise what is trivial and what really counts. A walk in the park, exercise, social contact, family, health. We are reminded to be grateful and not to take anything for granted” Says Alex. Included in the book is a diary section for children and parents to record how they feel during this time, what they have been doing, as well as a note to their future selves. This can not only bring comfort for families but also allows them to create a record of what this moment in history was like for them personally. You can find the book here.

My Thinky Thoughts Journal

For a fun way to write down thoughts and what happens in your house day to day during the lockdown, you can order ‘My Thinky Thoughts Journal’ by UK author, Fi Star-Stone. The journal is to help children understand how they are feeling, while also working to reduce their stress regarding the pandemic. It also contains experiments to help children understand what hygiene habits they can practice for prevention of the virus. Star-Stone, parenting advisor and a mum, hopes her journal will help kids to reduce their anxieties surrounding COVID-19 and lockdown. “When I had the idea to publish a journal that would explain COVID-19 to children and calm them, by allowing them to record their feelings, I knew I had to write and publish it quickly,” she said.

Your own copy of the journal can be ordered from Amazon today.



Virtual Excursions to Take Your Kids On

Thanks to technology, you don’t need to get in the car and travel in order to take your kids on fun and educational virtual excursions. This is perfect because recent events find us stuck inside the house, needing things to do and new ways to teach our children.

All you need is a computer, phone or tablet and your destination in mind. Zoos, museums and more now have webcams and tours offered online, so it’s super easy to get the experience all from the couch. Here are some great places, exhibits and more that you can check out:

Explore the World

Google Arts & Culture

The Hidden World of the National Parks – This is an amazing virtual experience that lets you take virtual tours of National Parks in America, such as Hawai’i Volcanoes and Bryce Canyon. With 360 camera views, a virtual tour guide and educational videos, this is a great, easy way to visit some of the most fascinating places in America.

There are more than 2500 galleries and museums so that anyone can get a virtual tour and see online exhibits. The collection includes some of the most famous museums in the world, like the Louvre Museum in France, The British Museum and the Uffizi Gallery in Italy.

Google Arts and Culture have a LOT more you can visit using Google Street View, like Machu Piccu and the Sydney Opera House. You can find a country you would like to visit and then choose museums, theatres and more from within that country to explore. This is an amazing way to teach arts and culture to your children while letting them see places and things that otherwise have to be travelled to.

Galleries and Museums in Australia

National Gallery Of Victoria – The NVG is launching weekly virtual content of programs and exhibition tours. This includes a five part guided tour through the Mark Time: Indigenous Art from the NGV exhibition,  a tour of the Japanese Modernism exhibition. Visit their website for more at www.ngv.vic.gov.au/virtual-tours/, www.ngv.vic.gov.au/channel/

Australian Museum – Virtual tours, online exhibitions, citizen science initiatives and educational activities are all available. This includes detailed information and fact sheets for parents and teachers. 

Sea Museum – Get crafty and fun with how-tos and informative arts. There’s something for everyone, including science, art, and gardening. 

Zoo’s and More


CaPTA group – Rainforestation Nature Park have live cams of Koala’s. Follow CaPTA group on Facebook for educational live streams from Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas, Rainforestation Nature Park, Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome and Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. These are on Wednesdays 10am AEST and Friday 10am AEST.

Zoo to You Has created a Facebook group with the aim of delivering Wildlife Education to the World. You can expect LIVE shows about Australian Animals, resources for learning both for educators and for kids, videos and first access to any online platform programs. Got a question? Ask during the live videos, or join in on one of the discussions. 

The Australian Reptile Park – now has an educational series, ‘Animal Tales with Time Faulkner’. It’s to help students learn more about Australian wildlife but they also have some great videos introducing us to some of their animals – like their monster Reticulated Python – and demonstrations of feeding the crocs. You can watch these videos on their YouTube channel or Tim Faulkner’s Facebook Page.

Taronga Zoo – This Sydney zoo has animal live-cams of tigers, meerkats, seals and more. They have educational programs too, which you can access here. Toronga Talks is their podcast, which is filled with great stories about the zoo and the connections that the staff develop with wildlife.

Wild Life Sydney Zoo – Watch live streams of animals being fed and more while learning more about them. Check their Facebook page for a schedule of what will be happening and for more content.

Zoos South Australia: Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Safari Park – Animal cams are available from the Zoo and on the Monarto Safari Park website you can learn facts and take quizzes (they often posts videos of their animals on their Facebook page too)


Zoo Atlanta – They have an awesome ‘Panda Cam’ plus there are videos on their website to help educate kids (such as Animal Tails book readings and Animal Arts and Crafts). Check out their YouTube channel for extra animal content.

National Zoo – A Cheetah Cub Cam is just one of multiple webcams that the Nation Zoo currently have streaming. They have also made a download available of educational activities that can be done at home with the webcams, plus an online tour of the highlights at the zoo.

San Diego Zoo – Live Cams of a variety of animals, such as Tigers, Elephants and Polar Bears, in one of the most famous zoos’ in the world. They also have a YouTube channel for kid’s that are educational.


Sea Life Sydney Aquarium – Sea Life have educational live streams on Sea Horses, Penguins, Sharks and Turtles. These are great as they are videos done with/by the Keepers, who often get up close with the underwater creatures and teach you all a lot about them.

Georgia Aquarium – This is one of the largest aquariums in the world and it now has webcams, including the California sea lion webcam and an African penguin webcam. They also have Deep Sea Learning Videos that comes with study guides and you can explore animal facts and figures.

Monterey Bay Aquarium – There are 10 webcams to tune into for live video of sea creatures, including jellyfish, sharks, and the open sea. They have set up a program to help kids learn from home – which is free (just make an account) and comes with videos, discussions and small projects.

National Aquarium (Washington) – Here you can take a virtual tour and see exhibits of alligators, sea turtles and more. There are also fun facts to help you learn about them.

The Education

To help make the experience more of a learning opportunity, try writing a few questions down that your child can answer. These could include a few facts about each animal (encourage them to write down facts as they watch videos and read more about the animals).

You could also ask them to choose what animal or sea creature was their favourite to learn about and then create a project out of it. Ask them to research and present what the animal is, where it lives, what it eats and more facts. You could even get them to create a mini enclosure for the animal out of arts and crafts.

How much does missing school due to COVID-19 matter? Here’s what happened to student results in New Zealand after the Christchurch Earthquake.

With isolation in full swing, school in Term Two is only going to be open for children of essential workers and students considered vulnerable. Everyone who can learn from home should do so.

Many parents are worried about their children falling behind and subsequently struggling to get back into their education when schools are reopened to all students. But John Hattie, education expert, says parents shouldn’t “get stressed about it”.

After the devastating 2011 Christchurch Earthquakes, Professor Hattie was the adviser for the New Zealand Qualifications Authority that managed school exams. Despite schools being closed for weeks and the majority of students unable to take part in online learning, results did not suffer nor was there an increase of students dropping out.

He said the difference was that teachers began focusing on the things that needed to be learned rather than going through a large amount of curriculum. “The students’ performance actually went up in the final exams”. He also says that Australian students could miss up to a whole term of school without there being a significant fall behind international counterparts.

In 2005 Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans and saw students miss up to seven weeks of school. But Hattie says that similar to the earthquakes in Christchurch, students saw a gain in test scores after recovering quickly.

Students should embrace every opportunity they get to learn online while they cannot attend school as usual. That being said, parents shouldn’t feel pressured to make sure their child is learning everything that they would be in the normal setting. According to Hattie, “When we get back to the old normal the recovery will be reasonably quick”.

Getting Creative with Videography and Photography

Encouraging your kids to play and practice with photography and videography is not only fun, but very beneficial.

Because technology is everywhere, photography and videography are extremely common tools for advertising, explaining and teaching. This makes learning all about them and giving it a go, good for creativity and a great way to gather skills for future careers. Digital storytelling and photography are part of a trillion-dollar entertainment business, and the best part? It’s so much easier and more accessible than it has been in the past, with even our phones able to take high quality photos and videos.

There are some great child-friendly cameras on the market that encourage independent and creative play and hand eye coordination; skills, that are important in everyday life. You never know, your child might discover that they have a true passion for photography and videography and you could help begin that creative journey for them.

Getting Your Child Interested

Cameras that are affordable, of good quality and have a variety of functions (yet aren’t too advanced), are a great place to start. Multiple kids’ cameras have basic functions like flash, zoom, effects and even games. There are plenty of these out there aimed at children 3 years and up – so you don’t have to wait until they are a bit older or worry about your expensive smartphone getting lost or damaged or what you will do without it, whilst they are using it to learn.

GoPros are very popular because they can withstand a lot without being damaged. They’re waterproof, allowing kids to film and photograph their beach trips without water being a worry. Great cameras for kids are ones where the exterior is not sleek and easy to lose grip of, so they are less likely to be dropped. You would also want one that is tough all-round and helps prevent scratching of the lens. These allow parents to not feel as though they need to watch their kids constantly to make sure they are being careful.

A Step Up

For older kids and teens, a great option are cameras that are professional, yet made for first time users and people who are still learning what they are capable of. This helps encourage them to be careful with the more fragile equipment they are using and get a basic understanding of all the different functions, such as ISO, shutter speed, and filming stability.

Resources to Inspire and Educate

Smart Phone Movie Maker Book – by Bryan Michael Stoller

This is the complete beginners guide to making movies with your smartphone. It provides expert advice on aspects of film making, from planning the storyline to casting, filming and editing. The box itself turns into a film projector with a lens slot for your smartphone so that you can watch your masterpiece on a larger screen!

PakMag YouTube Stars Online Course

This online course will teach you everything you need to know to become a Youtube Star from standing infront of the camera to finding the best shot. Once you complete the course you will be awarded an honouree PakMag YouTube Star, making you a go to reporter for PakMag. You can film product and location reviews and vlog style content!

LEGO® Make Your Own Movie Book – by Pat Murphy

Use stop-motion animation to make your own movie and bring your LEGO minifigures to life. You can use phones, tablets and computers to make your movie, by following this beginners guide to stop-motion. There are six included background settings for you to use too, and when ready you can learn more advanced skills such as lighting, angles and sound effects.

Animation Studio Book – by Helen Piercy

Your one-stop guide to every aspect of stop-motion movie making. This book is packed with inspirational tips and ideas, and if you want to be an aspiring director of animations then look no further! Plus, it is housed in an interactive and reversible mini film set, containing everything you could need.