Tag: children

Is There Any Way to Improve My Child’s Handwriting?

Juliet Russo – Helping Hands – Hand, Wrist & Arm Clinic

Dear Juliet, What can I do to help my child improve their handwriting?

Handwriting problems are common, especially as children start to progress through primary school. Common problems such as poor pencil grasp, messy writing or painful hand cramps when writing can often be a symptom of a more complex issue.

Solutions can be as simple as working on hand strength to improve pencil grasp or as complex as overall fine motor skills/dexterity and a customised  remediation program. The first step is to identify the underlying problem and give the child time and plenty of
opportunity to work on the skills required to improve their handwriting.

4755 2337

Read more from Helping Hands here

 

 

 

 

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.

5 WAYS THAT HELPED MY CHILD WITH AUTISM SLEEP BETTER

5 WAYS THAT HELPED MY CHILD WITH AUTISM SLEEP BETTER

As I write this, my little Jason is tucked and sound asleep in bed, but that wasn’t the case three months ago. We have come a long way, but I guess that’s the struggle for every other parent with a child with autism.

As a parent, a significant battle is how you can help your kid to sleep better. Anything short of this would leave you feeling inadequate; like it did to me. I kept wondering, “Why does it have to be like this?” My little Jason was always exhausted, and I was overly stressed.

Why do autistic children experience sleep difficulties?

The first thing I did like every other worried parent was to research. I found out that about 40 to 80 percent of autistic kids have trouble sleeping. The problems include waking up frequently in the middle of the night, daytime sleepiness, erratic sleep patterns, and sleeping for short periods.

Here are the potential causes I discovered:

– Unable to perceive social cues – Most fundamentals of sleep hygiene are based upon the body’s natural sleep cycle. Observable changes such as reading bedtime stories, switching off the lights and going upstairs are subconscious signals that it’s time to sleep. However, autistic children have difficulties interpreting external signals.

– Irregular cardiac rhythms – The cardiac flow is our bodies’ natural sleep cycle. Kids with sensory processing challenges, such as those with autism, may not get sleepy when it’s night time.

– Physical discomfort – kids who suffer from constipation or reflux but are unable to express their medical needs may struggle to find sleep, especially if they don’t have a caregiver.

– Hypersensitive sensory system – A sensory alert system makes it possible for one to perceive changes in the surroundings effectively. Squeaky doors, tight leaks, airflow and other household stimuli may pose a challenge.

– Insufficient melatonin production – If the body is unable to make melatonin, which is a hormone that stimulates sleep, the child might have difficulty sleeping.

Here’s what I did to help Jason sleep better.

1.    I kept a sleep diary

Keeping a sleep diary enabled me to keep track of Jason’s sleeping patterns. I also identified the factors that may have inhibited his ability to sleep. I would show the diary to his pediatrician and doctor, and they advised me on the steps to take. That way, I had an easy time figuring out what changes to make to help my son to sleep for a more extended period than he was.

2.    I harnessed the benefits of weighted blankets

When I read all the scientific studies that support the use of weighted blankets, especially on autistic children, I knew it would benefit Jason, and I bought it right away. I liked the idea that I didn’t always have to lie with him because the blanket kept him warm. It also increased pressure and made Jason feel like I was lying next to him and holding him. 

3.    I made the bedroom comfortable

When I learned that autistic children like my Jason had sensory differences, I knew that the bedroom had to be comfortable enough for him to sleep. I blocked out the light using blackout blinds and dark curtains. I also bought headphones for my boy so that he could block out all noises. I removed labels from nightclothes and bedding. I also removed all toys from his room to get rid of distractions.

4.    I changed his diet and sought natural remedies

By keeping the food diary, I noted the foods that gave Jason stomach upset and consequently made it difficult for him to rest. I cut off these foodstuffs from his diet and introduced the ones that the dietician advised me to. I limited his caffeine drinks and stopped feeding him on sugary foods close to bedtime. I asked my doctor to prescribe some natural remedies that he thought would improve Jason’s sleep patterns, which he gladly did.

5.    I set up a routine

Before I put my child on a sleep routine, I used to find this cliché and didn’t think it would amount to much. It was not until my doctor advised me to try setting a schedule that I did. She informed me that if an autistic child doesn’t feel right, they won’t sleep. I ensured that the plan was predictable, reliable, and within my control.

I am happy that Jason can now sleep better. Since his sleeping patterns improved, I get enough rest, and I am rarely stressed. I hope other parents can find the kind of relief I found.  

Story Annabelle Short 

A BALANCING ACT: CARING FOR YOUR CHILDREN AND YOUR PARENTS

A BALANCING ACT: CARING FOR YOUR CHILDREN AND YOUR PARENTS

So you grew up and had a family. You’re constantly running around chasing after your kids and you’re always tired but it’s rewarding so you don’t mind. But something else is niggling in the back of your mind – your ageing parents.

You always saw your parents as people who would always be around to look after you and give you guidance, but now they’re retired and getting on in life and you’re not quite sure how you should go about helping them.

While parents want to be cared about, they may not necessarily want to be cared for. The question is – how do you look after ageing parents while letting them maintain their independence and care for your own children at the same time?

 Well, there’s no one clear cut answer, but here are a few ideas that could help guide you in the right direction.

Let your children and your parents care for each other

Why not let your kids spend more time with their grandparents? If your parents live far away this could be difficult but you could fly or drive your kids to where your parents live during the school holidays and let them spend the summer together. Nothing makes people feel younger than being surrounded by youth. Your kids will also enjoy getting to spend time with relatives they don’t normally see and build strong relationships with them and be exposed to different activities. After all, love is the best way to learn.

If your parents live nearby you could plan a weekly time to drop the kids over at your parents’ house so they can do things together like baking or an outdoor activity. Everyone needs a break from their kids every now and again so you could plan to do something with your partner while your kids are visiting their grandparents.

Buy a personal alarm

Mum and/or dad is ageing and you’re worried about their personal safety. Falls are common in elderly people and as many as one in three have experienced one. What do you do when your parents need support but want to continue to live independently at home. There are many personal alarms on the market that are designed to let ageing people keep their independence.

Buying one for your elderly parents is a great idea especially when you’re pre-occupied with your children and can’t always check up on your parents. 

The safest type of alarm is a fully monitored one, where any alarm presses go through to a 24/7 response centre manned by trained professionals.  A personal alarm is a device worn around the neck or wrist that has a button on it that can be pressed in times of need. The alarm alerts the monitoring centre and they then call the client in distress to see what help is needed. If it’s not an emergency situation then the family or a friend  is called to help. In the event of an emergency an ambulance will be called to assist. A personal alarm can give you peace of mind when your elderly parents live alone.   

Check out if your parents are eligible for a Home Care Package

A home care package is one of the ways that older Australians can access affordable care and service to support them living at homeSearch for a local home care package provider.  From personal care, therapy and food prep to domestic assistance, home maintenance and assistive technology (such as personal alarms). Search for a local home care package provider.

Say ‘yes’ when people ask to help

Sometimes it’s fine to accept you have too much on your plate and need an extra hand. Next time someone offers to help – take them up on it. If your partner offers to take the kids to school in the morning, let them do it. No one is capable of doing everything and if you try and take on too much then it will only result in stress and anxiety. Your friends and family are there to help and often want to do more.

Especially as your kids get older, make them do more around the house to help you out. You may find that your parents are struggling to keep up with maintaining their house so you could think about hiring a cleaner to come around once a week just to give the place a tidy up. If hiring a cleaner is out of you and your parents’ budget, then encourage your kids to help out around the garden or dust down the house next time you take them to see their grandparents. You could throw in some pocket money as an incentive.   

With the ‘Sandwich Generation’ there’s certainly no easy way to care for both your kids and your parents but with these tips it could make it easier. Sometimes you can feel helpless and stuck in the middle but it’s important to remember that you’re never alone and there’s always someone to help if you really need it.

Story Karen Smith

TOWNSVILLE 2020 UNDER FIVE'S ACTIVITY GUIDE

TOWNSVILLE 2020 UNDER FIVE’S ACTIVITY GUIDE

Ann Roberts School of Dance

Ann Roberts School of Dance opens the doors to the wide world of dance, providing each student with strong technical and performance skills as well as helping to enhance their personal development. Students can learn classical ballet, character, tap, jazz, contemporary, highland, song and dance, hip hop and fitness. All ages are catered for, from tiny tots right through to adults.

Teeny Tots – Mums (or a family member) and their toddlers get together to explore movement and music while connecting with each other. A great, light-hearted introduction to the dance environment.

Tiny Tots – For three- and four-year olds, this class encourages musicality, coordination and locomotion skills. Classes are structured to keep their attention, encourage them to explore movement patterns and have fun.

A 8-10 Fletcher St, Townsville
P 4771 3385
Fb Ann Roberts School of Dance
www.annroberts.com.au

King Konz School of Music

King Konz School of Music’s unique programs give your child an experience that will inspire and enrich their passion and love for music.

From Baby Chimps to Rockstar Chimps, classes introduce children to learn through play. Engage their senses through gentle movement and engagement with other children while their brain actively begins the journey of music, song and dance. Each session will include activities that involve singing, dancing, percussion and fun music games!

The emphasis is on having lots of fun! Join us on a Musical Journey that will leave you smiling from ear to ear and with a feeling that only music can bring.

A 28 Hamilton Street, Level 2, Townsville City
P 0439 706 579
E info@kingkonzmusic.com
Fb King Konz School of Music
www.kingkonzmusic.com

Wildcatz Indoor Sports

Wildcatz Indoor Sports is the perfect fully-airconditioned place to have fun, exercise, and meet new friends. They offer a variety of junior sports such as cricket, netball and soccer, as well as a range of levels, from social through to competitions. Nominate a team with your friends, or let the friendly staff find a suitable team for you. Suitable for all ages and abilities.

Under 8’s play for FREE in the Rugrats soccer program.

Mum and dad can sit back at the café and enjoy a coffee while their little one plays.

A 18 Black Hawk Boulevard, Thuringowa Central
P 4723 1414
Fb Wildcatz Indoor Sports (Official)
www.wildcatzindoorsports.com.au

Paul Sadler Swimland

Swim classes from four months of age.

A Swim Australia five-star accredited, private swim school where they ensure that every child learns the skills needed to swim confidently, to enjoy the water, and to feel relaxed in a safe environment. Lessons at Swimland are fun for all.

Swordy Tots – Baby, infant and toddler swimming from four months old.

Learn to Swim – For children aged over three years.

If you are looking for great value, then check out their unlimited make up policy for missed regular classes (for current customers) plus their new defence discount.

Bookings are essential.

For more information check out their website or give them a call.

P 4779 4647
A 20-22 Freshwater Dr, Douglas
www.paulsadlerswimland.com

Full Throttle Theatre Company

Full Throttle Theatre Company’s Props Youth Theatre is for performers aged five to 17 years. Some of the activities and initiatives include theatrical productions, kids in the city, play reading nights, audition preparations, social events, and day care visits. The theatre program consists of four six-week blocks from February to December, as well as five mainstage shows and two youth shows.

Through these activities, Full Throttle Theatre Company aims to be a hub of mentoring and training for young people with a love for the theatre.

Cost: $100 per term

A The Old Courthouse Theatre, Cnr Sturt and Stokes St, Townsville City
P 0476 590 004
Fb Full Throttle Theatre Company
www.fullthrottletheatre.com

Croft Gilchrist School of Dancing

Professionally-run dance classes offering a number of exciting courses.

Croft-Gilchrist School of Dance provides a variety of dance classes, from Tiny Tots and Dance with Me all the way to classes in ballet, modern jazz & tap, highland, acrobatic and teenage and adult.

Tiny Tots and Dance with Me – These classes teach students from the age of two to develop the skills of movement, coordination, music appreciation and to be flexible working with others.

A 36 French St, Pimlico
P 4771 5843
Fb Croft-Gilchrist School of Dance – Dance Studio
www.croftgilchristdance.com.au

Townsville Academy of Performing Arts (TAPA)

TAPA cultivates the love of the art of dance in a nurturing atmosphere. The energetic pre-school programs Ready Set Dance and Ready Set Ballet focus on developing the 3 C’s for preschoolers – Confidence, Co-ordination and Creativity. Introduce your preschooler to the magic of these classes in 2020.

TAPA was recently awarded both Ready Set Ballet Studio of the Year and Ready Set Ballet Teacher of the Year for 2019 from over 200 studios in Australia and New Zealand.

They also deliver quality training from experienced qualified teachers in many genres of dance including, ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, acrobatics, Irish, hip hop, song and dance.

A 1/14 Black Hawk Blvd, Thuringowa Central
P 4723 2101
Fb TAPA
www.tapa.net.au

CityLibraries Townsville

First5Forever Baby Rhyme Time, every Monday at Aitkenvale and Thursday at Thuringowa – Sing songs and rhymes, clap, move, and explore books together. Designed for children from birth to two years.

First5Forever Toddler Time, every Tuesday at Thuringowa, Wednesday at Flinders St and Thursday at Aitkenvale – Develop your toddler’s early literacy skills and concentration with fun songs, dance, and a story.

First5Forever Storytime, every Tuesday at Flinders Street, Wednesday at Thuringowa and Friday at Aitkenvale – Encourage and nurture your child’s love of books while helping them develop early literacy and social skills. Sessions involve several story readings as well as rhymes and a craft activity. Suitable for ages 3-5.

First5Forever Messy Play, every Wednesday at Aitkenvale – Your child will develop their fine and gross motor skills by exploring fun, sensory, and creative messy play.

Library branches are located at Thuringowa, Townsville City and Aitkenvale.

A 86 Thuringowa Dr, Thuringowa Central
A 4 Petunia St, Aitkenvale
A 1/280 Flinders St, Townsville
www.townsville.qld.gov.au

Inflatable Kingdom

Inflatable Kingdom provides a high-energy, action packed environment with inflatables of all shapes and sizes.

Book online to save 10% off entry price.

Don’t forget your socks!

A 72-88 Hervey Range Rd, Condon
P 4032 2844
Fb Inflatable Kingdom
www.inflatablekingdom.com.au

Ninja Parc

Discover a world of movement through an indoor obstacle course with rope climbs, poles, vertical and horizontal doors and much more for your little ninja. 

Mini Ninjas – Nurture your mini ninja with these sessions, focused on the development of movement and coordination in a fun environment. This program is for children aged three to six.

Casual Play Sessions – Ninja Parc specialises in play, providing casual play sessions that allow children to move at their own pace. These sessions are mostly unstructured and ideal for little ones as well as families.

A 18 Black Hawk Blvd, Thuringowa Central
P 0427 139 762
Fb Ninja Parc Townsville
www.ninjaparc.com.au

Sk8way

Sk8way provides a facility for both recreational and competitive skating.

Learn 2 Skate sessions – Broken up into three levels (beginner, intermediate and advanced), let the staff guide you towards helping you become an expert in skating. Lessons are $10 per skater (includes skate hire).

Skating sessions – If you’d rather skate on your own terms, simply attend one of the general skating sessions. Skate hire available for just $4 per person.

A 72-88 Hervey Range Rd, Condon
P 4755 4422
Fb Sk8way Townsville
www.sk8way.com.au

NQ Football

NQ Football of Excellence specialises in introducing children of all ages to “The Beautiful Game”.

They currently run free soccer training sessions every second Friday afternoon for children 5 years and under (Mini Cubs).

They focus on children learning in a fun, encouraging environment. NQ Football aims to develop their ball skills and general understanding of the game through team-based exercises and one on one training.

For more information please visit their website.

P 0427 919 997
E admin@nqfootballofexcellence.com
www.nqfootballofexcellence.com

 

 

THE EXTROVERT, INTROVERT AND AMBIVERT IN THE FAMILY

THE EXTROVERT, INTROVERT AND AMBIVERT IN THE FAMILY

I think we can all agree that life is pretty tiring for some while others have endless energy. We all need to take time to recharge our batteries and energise ourselves, and each person has their own way of doing so. For some, recharging their ‘battery’ might involve sitting down in a comfy chair and reading a book, while for others it might be going to an event and socialising with other like-minded people.

These personality types fall into the categories of extrovert, introvert and ambivert. People with these traits require different things in day-to-day life to stay energised and happy, and the same applies to children, but in a different way.

What Type of Personality Do You Have?

Are you an introvert, extrovert or an ambivert? You may have caught yourself wondering at times, or have an answer to that question already.
If you find it difficult to fit into the introvert or extrovert box, you may just be an ambivert.

It’s probably fairly easy to pinpoint which category you fall into – but pinpointing your child’s personality type and nurturing that can pose a challenge. However, knowing this part of your child helps you better recognise and better respond to your child’s needs to help them become the best version of themselves.

Here is a quick rundown of these personality types in adults and children.

Extroverts

Extroverts are generally outgoing and sociable. They often love discussing their ideas with others and spending time with other people, and gain their energy from being around others.

If your child is the life of the party, loves to meet new people and is happiest in the company of others, they might just be an extrovert. Extroverted children are typically outgoing and find it easy to make friends.

Introverts

Introverts are more reserved and tend to listen more than they speak. They often prefer to spend the evening at home with a cup of tea and their favourite show on the TV. Introverts find it draining to be around lots of people, and an outing is often followed by time alone in order to recharge.

Children who are more reserved when they meet new people and enjoy time playing alone may be introverts. They can be just as energetic as extroverts, but dislike being the centre of attention.

Ambiverts

If you don’t quite fall under the extrovert or introvert umbrella, you may fall into the lesser known ambivert category. Ambiverts fall somewhere in the middle. They love socialising with friends but also crave alone time. They are confident, but have some reclusive tendencies – and all of this may be confusing to your loved ones.

Children who are ambiverts demonstrate a combination of extroverted and introverted traits. They get their energy from being around other kids, but also from being alone. They may be outgoing in some situations, but feel more reserved in others.

Pinpointing What Your Child Needs

What does all this information about varying personality types mean to you as a parent? Being aware of their needs is essential to help understand how they tick and how to help them reach their full potential. Even if all your other children are extroverts this does not mean your other child can’t be an introvert, and it’s important you help them energise themselves according to their personality type.

For instance, extroverted children may become sad, irritable or despondent if they go too long without meaningful interactions. Being aware of when your child’s social battery needs a little recharging helps them be the best version of themselves. Some extroverts crave social time on a daily basis, while others are satisfied going a few days without much social interaction. Scheduling regular play dates with friends and signing them up for extracurricular activities can keep them happy.

Introverted children tend to feel drained after spending time with other people in large groups such as at parties or family gatherings, making a full day of school tough for some. Many prefer to play quietly after school, and while they still crave social time, these needs are fewer and further between compared to extroverts. They are also often shy when meeting new people, and may be hesitant upon giving Aunt Mary a big hug.

Ambivert children gain energy from being around others, but also from being alone depending on the situation. Trying different tactics may help you figure out what your child needs. In some instances, it may be a play date, while other times they may prefer to have a cuddle with mum or dad, or quiet time reading a book.

Sometimes it can be a struggle to understand children who fall into the ambivert category. While in some situations they’re happy to be social, in others they may not, leaving some parents wondering why they’re being ‘rude’. Your child is likely working out their inner needs and not being rude at all, and probably shows their appreciation in different ways such as drawing a picture for somebody.

Is There Ever a Time to be Concerned?

It’s normal for the different people within the family to have their own unique personality traits. However, if your extroverted child suddenly becomes withdrawn, it may be a sign of an emotional issue. You know your child best and if they are suddenly not acting like themselves, it may be a good idea to have a heart to heart chat with them, or if it persists, take them to the doctor.