Tag: Parenting

TIPS ON PREPARING FOR KINDERGARTEN

TIPS ON PREPARING FOR KINDERGARTEN

Dropping off your child on the first day of kindergarten can be upsetting for both parent and child. It’s a big change for both of you, so here are some tips for preparing for kindergarten to help you both manage the transition. 

Prepare – Have lots of discussions with your child in the lead up to the first day. Do some role playing and practice the drop off time with your child to help prepare them.

Plan a visit – Visiting the kindergarten and meeting the teacher will help your child become familiar with the new surroundings prior to starting.

Model to them – Show your child how you make friends, talk to the teachers and other parents when you first arrive, help them unpack their bag and take them to the play area to get settled in.

Leave a comfort item – If the educator allows it, give your child a comfort item to have during times of anxiety, such as their favourite teddy.

Don’t linger – Easier said than done! Don’t say to your child how much you will miss them and don’t show them any emotion besides confidence, happiness and positivity. It’s best to establish a quick and efficient drop-off routine early on.

They may cry – Even with the best preparation, your child may be upset. It’s a good idea to ask the teacher how long they cry for after you leave, as it will make you feel better to know that it probably isn’t for very long. Most kids do it to test boundaries and to see if they can get you to change your mind.

www.catholickindergartens.com.au

WHAT SHOULD YOU ASK ON AN EARLY LEARNING CENTRE TOUR?

WHAT SHOULD YOU ASK ON AN EARLY LEARNING CENTRE TOUR?

Children’s first five years are absolutely crucial for their developing brains and recent research into brain science has revealed some truly stunning facts and figures.

In a baby’s first year for example, their brain will double in size with more than 1,000,000 (yes, that’s 1 million!) new neural connections formed every second.

We’ve made a couple of videos which highlight these amazing findings (which you can see here). It really highlights the vital role that parents and carers play, and the importance of choosing a high quality childcare centre.

To find out more about the indicators of quality in childcare centres, we asked Goodstart’s National Quality Manager, Tara Harnett, to explain what parents should look for when touring a centre.

Here’s Tara…

What should parents ask?

Ensuring Australia’s childcare centres are of a high standard is the responsibility of The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) and the state and territory governments.

In a nutshell, ACECQA works with state and territory governments to ensure consistency in how the National Quality Framework (NQF) is applied, while the state and territory governments assess and rate individual childcare services against the National Quality Standard (NQS).

Its complex, I know! You can learn more about how childcare quality is managed and assessed here, and while it’s not practical or necessary for parents to become experts in this field a few basic pointers can really help you determine if the centre you’re considering is high quality.

Here are some considerations to observe or ask about when you’re on your centre tour:

  • Does the centre have a happy and energetic vibe?
  • Are the staff passionate, qualified and experienced?
  • Does the centre have a plan to ensure families receive regular communication about their child’s development?
  • Does the educational program cater to the needs of children at different stages of development?
  • What are the steps or processes taken to ensure children’s safety and wellbeing?
  • How is the environment designed to stimulate learning?
  • How does the centre work with families to understand needs, routines or cultural practices?
  • Do staff receive regular training and professional development opportunities?

Quality is about much more than how a centre looks, and asking these questions will help you to dig a little deeper and beyond your first impressions.

For the sake of your child’s development and your own peace of mind it’s worth a little extra effort prior to enrolling.

Learn more about our approach to early learning here, and find a centre near you.

THE THING IS… PARENT FAILS

Parent fails. We’ve all had them. The funniest one I’ve seen was a lady that fake tanned her body and then breastfed her baby. The baby ended up with a fake tanned boob circle on his face.

I’ve had some shockers.

When my son was 2 years old, he hurt his arm whilst being taken care of by a relative. He seemed ok,
but a week later we noticed he was favouring one arm. We took him to the doctors and left with his arm in a cast. Same thing happened to same child 3 years later. Twice he had an injury but we thought it was minor and it wasn’t… oops.

Or the time my husband messed up the time for our youngest child’s performance for his last day of Kindy. Not only did we miss the concert, but all the other kids left at midday and he was the only child left at 2.00pm when we turned up for the concert. That was a very sad day.

The thing is… we all have parent fails. If you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying hard enough right? Please tell me that statement rings true for parenting?!

I remember my parents failed quite a few times.

Picking us up from gymnastics often meant hours of waiting due to miscommunication between them
(and there were no mobile phones back then).

The home birthday cakes that no one would eat because they were as dry as cardboard.

The DIY haircuts to save money, that literally looked like Mum put a bowl on my head and thought “that will keep my scissor line straight” (this always ends up as a parent fail, don’t do it!).

The conversations they had (or the adult activities) not thinking we were listening.

To the food left in the fridge that we thought was ok to consume… I ate 2-week-old chicken at my dad’s house once. I was hospitalised and couldn’t eat chicken for 2 years or I’d get sick again.

Parent fails happen.

In the moment, parent fails are not always funny, and we are traumatised for a long time (I was too scared to see a hairdresser until I was in my twenties and I am still really careful with chicken). However, some make nuggets of gold for their 18th birthday party and beyond. Like the times you find your kids eating dog food, cockroaches, or their own bodily fluids.

As much as I hate failing, I do wonder which parent fails I have done that will potentially scar my kids into adulthood! Probably the forgotten Kindy performance, fractured arms, and the time I said licking a 9-volt battery is fun. But hey, we can’t be perfect parents, or we wouldn’t have any funny stories, right?

And if we really think about it, I am sure our kids have had many kid fails that have made us look bad too. Like the time they pee down the slippery slide at Bunnings or take Panadol to daycare to hand out… Kids sure have a fine way of helping us with our parent fails.

If you are beating yourself up right now because of a parent fail, stop. We all have them, and it’s what makes the parenthood journey the rollercoaster it is.

TOP 3 METHODS TO SETTLE YOUR BABY

TOP 3 METHODS TO SETTLE YOUR BABY

Babies love cuddles, especially when trying to settle to sleep. If you gave an infant the choice between settling in your arms or settling in a cot, the majority of babies are going to go with the former.

The problem is, we parents need a break from being non-stop settling machines. We need to sleep. And eat. Shower, even. And thus, we are given the seemingly impossible task of teaching our little ones to self-settle.

There is no secret settling formula that will work for all babies. But there are some techniques that experts swear by and have been kind enough to pass on to us sleep-deprived parents.

Settle with the 5 S’s (The Karp Method)

Dr Harvey Karp developed a five-pronged approach to getting babies to settle. This is especially handy for extra fussy babies who simply won’t sleep without a sleep aid. This is the gentlest approach to helping baby settle.

1. Swaddle – Wrap baby to prevent the startle reflux and promote security.

2. Side – Start baby off on his side to ease fussiness before transitioning your infant to the back position for sleep.

3. Shush – The ‘shush’ sound of white noise can lull baby into sleep.

4. Swing – Babies love that back and forth movement, another soothing way to settle.

5. Suck – Allow baby to suck, either on the breast or a dummy. Yes, this can lead to a dummy
(or booby) dependency, but, at least it gives your arms a break!

Letting Baby Cry (The Ferber Method)

Developed by Dr Richard Ferber, the Cry-It-Out method is the most drastic approach to helping baby settle and is not recommended for babies under four months of age. It is also quite effective, if you can handle the temporary tears.

1. Put baby in the cot, awake but sleepy.

2. Say goodnight and leave the room.

3. If baby cries, wait a short period of time and re-enter the room. Do not pick baby up. Just offer comforting pats and noises.

4. Leave again, even if baby is still awake and upset.

5. Continue to return to the crying baby, but leave it a little longer before re-entering the room. Repeat the process until baby falls asleep.

No-Cry Sleep Solution (The Pantley Method)

Sleep expert Elizabeth Pantley designed another option – a middle ground. This approach is also effective for older babies and toddlers, especially those with a dummy/booby dependency.

1. Allow baby to settle in your arms, on the breast or with a dummy.

2. Before baby falls completely asleep, remove the sleep aid and place the sleepy infant in the cot.

3. If baby wakes up, repeat the process until baby is almost asleep again and place baby back in cot.

4. Repeat until baby stays asleep in the cot.

Which method is right for you? We can’t answer that. But hopefully one of these settling tricks will work for you and your baby.

MASCULINE VS FEMININE ENERGY IN PARENTING

Parents wear many different hats. We’re always mum and dad but we are also so much more. In the blink of an eye we can go from loving comforters, nurturing our little ones after a bad day at school, to fearful enforcers, kindly asking (okay, yelling at) our kids to pick up their shoes (for the eighth billion time).

While most of us can easily shift from the kind, loving, accepting parent to the strict, ordered and practical parent, did you ever stop to think what’s guiding these changes?

There’s an energy system at play here, known as masculine and feminine energy. And it impacts our daily lives more than we may realise.

How masculine and feminine energy works

We all have masculine and feminine energy in ourselves. Typically we are guided more by one over the other. However, just because you are female doesn’t necessarily mean you are more guided by feminine energy. Despite the name, masculine and feminine energy isn’t a gender thing.

In relationships, we tend to think that one person must be guided by masculine energy and another by feminine energy. This is how the law of attraction works – the more opposed these energies are, the stronger the attraction.

But when it comes to parenting, this isn’t the case. Sure, being pregnant and giving birth, channels our feminine energy. But parenthood requires both masculine and feminine energy on a daily basis which is why we can all benefit from learning how to identify and develop both.

The masculine energy at work

Typically, masculine energy is at play when doing the practical things – planning meals for the week, budgeting for the month, scheduling the kids’ many activities, ushering everyone out the door on time in the mornings, organising birthday parties and disciplining the kids when they misbehave.

When our masculine energy is at work, we often place intellect and logic over emotion. We’re practical, forceful, assertive and reasonable. We use forward-thinking and are focused on the task at hand.

The feminine energy at play

Our feminine energy is often what guides us through those late night feeds with our newborns, what makes us swell up with pride (and tears) when our child wins a race at an athletics carnival and what allows us to see the frustration our toddler feels underneath those awful tantrums.

When we are guided by our feminine energy, we are connected to emotions. More adaptable, sensual, imaginative, intuitive, creative and playful.

Still a bit lost? Think of it this way. Masculine energy is made up of a straight line. It’s all about getting from point A to point B. Practical. Logical. To the point.

Feminine energy is more of a curved line or swirl. It’s fluid, flexible and all over the place. Feminine energy allows us to do 25 things at once, adapt, grow and take emotions and changes into account.

Finding the balance

It’s quite common for us to get caught up in one over the other which can put ourselves and our ability to be a balanced parent all out of whack. For example, if you’re letting the masculine energy guide you too much, you may start to feel tired, stressed, overworked and missing that element of fun. But if you let the feminine energy guide you too much, you may have trouble making decisions, standing your ground or getting tasks done.

Here are a few ways to channel your feminine and masculine energies.

Feeling overworked? Find your feminine

Head outdoors Rainforests, creeks and the ocean are all teeming with natural feminine energy. Go for a hike in the rainforest or a stroll along the beach if you’re feeling the masculine burn.
Try something creative – Draw, cook, colour in, paint, dance, write or simply take some time to build animals out of Play-Doh with the kids. These tasks let you relax and express yourself through a creative outlet.

Let go of the control – It sounds easy, but it’s not (take it from me, a self-confessed control freak)! Sometimes letting someone else take control and watch them do it wrong (I mean, differently), can leave you feeling agitated. Breathe and take a step back. It’s good for your soul.

Live in the now – Our world is fast-paced and it can be quite easy to get caught up in the ‘what’s next’ mentality. It’s hard to get used to this feeling of ‘relaxing’ when you’re constantly busy and it can feel like you ‘should’ be doing something. You shouldn’t. We all need to do nothing every once in a while. Read a magazine without feeling guilty, watch an entire Pixar movie in bed with the kids, sit outside and stare at the trees. And put the phone away – it’s hard to live in the ‘now’ when you’re checking emails, Facebook messages or scrolling through what others are up to.

Unfocused and unmotivated? Bring on the masculine

Challenge yourself – Start something with a goal to not only finish it, but nail it. Whether it’s a challenge through your gym or a challenge that involves you going out of your comfort zone, find the motivation to give it a go.

Construct something – The act of building something is very masculine. This doesn’t mean you have to buy out half of Bunnings in an attempt to rebuild your kitchen. You can, of course, or you can start a bit smaller. My son and I recently made a little key holder (following instructions I found online) which was a fun bonding activity that used that linear masculine thinking.

Plan ahead – Masculine energy is all about moving forward. To channel this masculine energy, plan a function, an event or a holiday. Make a list of things to do and tackle them, one by one. To-do lists are great when we need to find that productiveness that might be lacking.

Using masculine and feminine energies to your advantage

Conflict at home, with your partner and with your kids, often occurs when masculine and feminine energies are not in balance. For example, if both you and your partner are taking on the masculine role, it can lead to a fight for power.
Remember, polar energy attracts. Be aware of what energy is guiding yourself, your partner or your children at any given time and try to adjust accordingly. Finding that harmonic balance at home starts with learning how to identity and develop these very powerful energies.

ANTI-ANXIETY JEWELLERY - HOW DOES IT WORK?

ANTI-ANXIETY JEWELLERY – HOW DOES IT WORK?

Anxiety in children is an issue that many parents are at a loss as to how to handle, or even identify in the first place. Australian jewellery company, Jellystone Designs recognised that certain sensory techniques were being used to alleviate this issue and set about finding a way that they could help too. They developed a line of necklaces, bracelets and pencil toppers which not only look super stylish, they also help with childhood anxiety too.

What’s more, silicone jewellery is being recommended by Occupational Therapists for children with sensory processing demands and special needs. Founder of Jellystone Designs, Claire Behrmann said, “We are committed to enhancing the ways babies and children learn through sensory exploration. We’ve seen such an increased demand for our pendants and from children with sensory needs and strive to create funky products that all kids can love wearing.

“Jellystone Juniors jewellery is free from BPA, Phthalates and PVC. The range has a fabulous soft-feeling and texture. Jellystone Juniors is our ‘kids’ of silicone jewellery range. Designed for kids three years plus.”

Want to WIN some Jellystone jewellery? Head to pakmag.com.au for your chance to win!