Tag: Parenting

A Parents Version of “Ducking to the Shops” – Daddy Diary October 2020

Who with kids remembers “ducking” to the shops? Those simple times when you would rise from bed without being woken, maybe enjoying a quiet coffee or even a breakfast out before “ducking” into Coles without a list. Man, those were simple times. Not like now. These days – as a family of four, a Sunday morning trip to Willows requires the logistics of a NASA space launch.

The Kids don’t seem to mind!

First thing they don’t warn you about when it comes to kids is the stuff you need just to leave the house, let alone go to the shops. SO MUCH STUFF! Most of the time I feel more like a pack horse carrying supplies than I do a man. There’s the pram, nappies, wipes, food, drinks and once even a tin of cat food my one year old shoved in the baby bag. You never know when you’ll need an emergency tin of Whiskers. Most of the time our mid-sized Nissan SUV has enough stuff in it to rival a Mac semi-trailer.

And then there’s the groceries. SO MANY GROCERIES. Again, my mind wanders back to simpler times before kids when I would pop into Woolies, grab a basket… and usually not even fill it. These days a trip to the shops requires two trolleys. One for the stuff (see previous paragraph) and one for the groceries. Another thing that’s become huge in itself… the groceries. Because as a family of five mouths (including Taco our adopted cat)- bulk buys have become our very best friend. Families get this. Why do they even bother making a 4 pack of toilet paper? That wouldn’t last till lunchtime.

But it’s when you get home the best part of all arrives. The cherry on the Sunday. You know where I’m going with this right. Ladies and gentleman, it’s time for everybody’s favourite job… the unpacking. I always remind myself during this chore that it could be worse. We could live up a flight of stairs. That’s glass half full thinking right there.

I just thank the Lord that Dan Murphy’s is often the last stop on our shopping adventures. After days like these, it’s the least we busy working parents deserve right? Big love Townsville parents. And in case you haven’t been told lately – you’re doing an awesome job. Keep it up!


Hit 103.1 Townsville


Head to Parents and Kids of North Queensland YouTube Channel to see Bree’s up close interview with Cliffo. 

Read more Daddy Diary stories HERE. 







Confidence in the Classroom

The Raising Children network defines self-esteem as feeling good about yourself. They explain that self-esteem helps children try new things, take healthy risks and solve problems. It gives them a solid foundation for their learning and development. They state that self-confidence is the belief that you’ll be successful. Confidence is related to self-esteem and resilience. They say that children need a strong relationship with parents to feel confident. In addition, they explain that parents can help their children build confidence by focusing on the effort at school, more than achievement.

What confidence in the classroom means

It is easy to identify confidence in the classroom. Children who are self-confident are children who display an age-appropriate level of independence and self-help skills. They can use the classroom cues a teacher provides to manage their day, seeking out help as required, along the way. Having confidence in the classroom allows children to practice resilience and to feel safe when bouncing back from disappointment, frustration, mistakes and setbacks without looking to blame others or avoiding future challenges. This ability to self-regulate emotions and to understand the impact that one’s behaviour has on another is strongly linked to a healthy self-confidence. Asserting one’s rights, negotiating, solving problems and seeking help when needed is an essential part of operating within a classroom community.

A child with self-confidence takes risks and seeks out challenges in the classroom. They are not afraid of failure. They are able, with the teacher’s help, to set goals and work toward achieving them. Celebrating other children’s success is easy for a child with self-confidence. They are optimistic and excited about sharing their success.

Self-confidence means that feedback is received as feedback, rather than criticism. Children experience much lower levels of worry and anxiety within the classroom setting when they are taught that feedback is not failure. This is linked to mindset.

Children operating predominantly in a growth mindset, understand the link between success and effort rather than fixed or natural intelligence, according to Carol Dweck (2006) in Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Alarmingly, a child’s belief about intelligence can have a profound impact on the level of motivation and effort they display, along with their overall achievement. Self-confident children understand that effort equals success. And, with assistance, they can recognise and move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. The ability to mostly work within a growth mindset, is one of the most significant hallmarks for achievement, security and happiness in the classroom.

How confidence in the classroom can help your child later in life

Confidence in the classroom has many positive flow-on effects for children throughout their lives. Self-confidence is linked to emotional intelligence. Having an awareness and positive outlook towards one’s own emotions leads to heightened wellbeing. It also leads to healthier relationships throughout our lives.

Performance, growth, and reaching one’s potential are all linked to self-confidence. This is because confidence motivates us to grow and succeed. In turn, feelings of success lead to further success.

Anxiety is reduced when we are self-confident because we can manage negative feelings. Through this, confidence builds resilience. The ability to weather life’s storms and bounce back is paramount to a life well-lived.

Ways to help your child gain confidence in the classroom

Through providing a safe and secure home environment, you are already allowing your child to flourish. Hoffman, Cooper and Powell in Raising a Secure Child (2017) state that ‘when children feel safe and secure, their curiosity automatically kicks in and they want to learn about the world’.  

Helping children shift from a negative to positive focus, after a setback, allows them to move from a pessimistic viewpoint and helps them to practice optimism. This reframing of negative thinking and self-talk is a lifelong skill for success. Assisting children to feel ok about failure and teaching them to view failure as their path to success, helps them to feel ok about it. Normalise feelings of disappointment and frustration, rather than saving children from these feelings. Talk them through it and suggest ways to move forward. Allow them to feel challenged and pressured by ‘hard’ feelings. Notice their courage when they work through these feelings.

Model failure, persistence and resilience in your everyday life at home. Encourage self-help skills and independence. Then, increase the expectations of these as children develop and grow.

Help your child to focus on their competence and potential. Do this rather than comparing them (or allowing them to compare themselves) with others.

Work with the classroom teacher and share any concerns about a lack of self-confidence in your child, early on.

Overall, the most effective way to help instil confidence in the classroom is to avoid praising intelligence and natural ability. Praise effort and the need for practice instead. Make a habit of regularly giving your child feedback.

Carol Dweck (2006) in Mindset: The New Psychology of Success points out that praising children’s intelligence harms their motivation, and it harms their performance. When children are praised for their intelligence rather than their effort, the minute they hit a setback, their confidence falters, and their motivation ceases, causing them to shift to a fixed mindset. What are the best gifts a parent can give? Carol recommends you “teach your children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. This avoids children being the slave of praise and equips them with a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence.”

STORY BY Amanda Bannister, Birony Davis and Katrina Rugendyke, Year 5 Teachers at The Cathedral School of St Anne and St James, Townsville.






The Thing is…I’ll Never Stop Worrying About My Kids!

My boys have scared me since the day we conceived them. Even if you are trying for a baby, that “holy crap” moment still happened for me when I saw the two pink lines. Then you start worrying about them in utero. Have you nourished them enough even though you have vomited all day? They haven’t moved much today – are they ok? Worry then sets in about the labour, hoping it goes well and that they will be healthy. And, then it continues as you wonder if you are going to have the skills to look after this child.

The thing is, as your children get older, you think the worry will stop, but it only gets worse!

Having kids has certainly meant that rescue remedy drops are in my handbag at all times. Not for them, but for me, for the moments they get my heart racing with their antics – which is often.

They find absolute pleasure in playing pranks on me.

Scaring me by jumping out at me while I am casually walking down the hallway. Pretending there are spiders when there are not. Plus, of course, jumping from heights and doing those stupid things that boys do – making my stomach churn at the thought of them breaking something, someone or themselves.

Like most families, we’ve had late night hospital visits, a few trips in some ambulances, and lots of first aid kit moments both at home, and on holiday.

The other day though, I had the fright of my life. The school rang and asked permission to call an ambulance as one of my children was laying injured on the school oval.

I have never left work so fast.

That five-minute drive not knowing what had happened to my child, was torture. So many thoughts run through your brain, and keeping calm is not easy. As a parent it’s your worst nightmare thinking something has happened and you aren’t there. I beat the ambulance there, and the teachers were taking very good care of him. It wasn’t long till they offered him the green whistle, and the journey with my spaced-out child to the hospital to find out what the injury was began.

Thankfully, it was only a broken collar bone, inflicted accidently by his big brother pushing him over. Seeing both my boys in pain, one from literal pain, the other remorseful for the pain he had inadvertently caused, will be one for the memory banks that’s for sure. As a parent you are constantly reminding your kids to be careful before one of them inflicts permanent damage to the other. That day in my household had finally arrived.

The child with the broken collar bone has since enjoyed the odd “but I can’t ’cause you broke my collar bone” jibe at his brother. I am sure it will be brought up at many opportunities in the future as they age. I am also sure that this won’t be the last episode with a lifelong story. As much as I hope this has been a learning experience for both of them, my mummy instinct tells me that I’ll be carrying rescue remedy in my bag for a while longer yet!

Read more from Bree James HERE.

Visit Bree’s website HERE






21st Century Grandparents

When I was growing up, the term ‘grandparents’ had a very different meaning than it does now. As a kid, I associated the term with Bingo, ugly coloured carpeting in a super clean house and old people. So awful, I know, but remember – I was just a kid. And, to be fair, my grandparents’ carpet was hideous.

Now that I’m a parent, the term ‘grandparent’ means freshly baked cookies, on-call babysitters, an extra set of hands and a playmate for my kids. It doesn’t necessarily mean ‘old’ anymore, but rather ‘experienced’. Still with a super clean house though.

The Joy of Grandparents

In today’s crazy 21st century, where we parents need all the help we can get, we often turn to our own parents to guide us and help us along the way. More than 40% of both infants (48.9%) and four to five-year olds (44.8%) had face-to-face contact with a grandparent at least weekly. This is definitely a step up from when we were growing up.

This extra contact benefits everyone. It’s great for us parents – free babysitters, woot woot! It’s awesome for kids too – the more playmates, role models and people who adore them, the better!

But studies also show that 21st century grandparents who are taking on this more involved role actually live longer too. Researchers found that caregiving grandparents had a 37 per cent chance of living longer when compared to non-caregiving grandparents and non-grandparents. It’s a win-for-all.

How to be the World’s Best Grandparent

Of course, being an active grandparent takes its toll. Many grandparents are still working themselves. Many are busy with other activities or live overseas or out-of-state. Many are more than happy to only see the grandkids a couple times a year. But if you are looking for ways to take on a more active role in your grandkids’ lives and really earn that “World’s Greatest Grandma” mug the kids are most likely going to buy you next Christmas, then here are a few tips to bring on board.

  1. Get Tech-Smart

Okay, not smart. But tech-familiar. Even downloading a few fun apps on your iPad will delight the grandkids. And, if you happen to know a thing or two about Fortnite or Minecraft, well, you’re well ahead of the game.

  1. Offer Help When You Can

The main form of help? Childcare. A sleepover at Nana and Papa’s is not only exciting for the kids, but much appreciated by parents too. Just imagine what we could do with 12-15 solid kid-free hours.

  1. Respect Mum’s Rules

This most likely means NOT giving the grandkids chocolate at 6pm, just before you return them home. It also probably means limiting the excessive toy and gift giving and trying to stick to a similar routine in terms of naps, meals and appropriate behaviour.

  1. Be There, but Not Too Much There

Avoid offering unsolicited advice or trying to take over on the parenting duties. Help, yes. Control, no.

  1. Set up Skype Dates

If you live out of state, consider setting up playdates over Skype or Facetime. You can virtually

retend play. My daughter and her Nana would do this for hours and hours when she was little. We called it ‘Babyskyping’ and it was a literal lifesaver. Nana would entertain my daughter over Skype so I could cook dinner, fold the washing or even clean the whole house.

  1. Consider Volunteering at School

Again, only if you have the time and as long as Mum and Dad are okay with it. But having Papa come to school and read to the class for an hour a week will mean the world to your grandchild!

  1. Bake and Craft

Two things many modern parents often don’t have time for! If these hobbies are not your thing, share your passion for other hobbies that you enjoy with your grandkids. It’s always great for kids to learn how to do different things and they will love having Grandma or Papa as their teacher.

  1. Cheer Them On

Offer to be the chauffeur to drive the kids to their activities and cheer them on at some of their weekend games/school carnivals.

The Types of Grandparents

In 1965, leading gerontologists conducted a study to identify five different patterns of grandparenting. It’s been 55 years since that study but the types of grandparents still apply today.

“Formal” Nan and Pops

Formal Nan and Pops take on the traditional “grandparent” role. They provide background support, come to special occasions and events, take grand-children on occasional outings and play a role in the children’s lives, but are not overly involved.

“Fun” G-Ma and Poppy

Fun is number one with G-Ma and Poppy. They bring out all the stops to entertain the grandkids, even if it means not following the rules Mum and Dad have put into place.

“Surrogate” Nana and Papa

Considered “Mummy and Daddy #2”, surrogate grandparents take over many of the parenting duties, often meaning the relationship is more akin to parent and child.

“Wise Old” Grandpappy and Grandmammy

At the top of the family tree is Grandpappy and Grandmammy who dispense advice, have particular ideas of how and what needs to be done and are not afraid to share these ideas with you. Wise old Grandpappy and Grandmammy may be a little on the old school side and aren’t afraid to remind you that when they were growing up, they had to walk 10km to school, barefoot and uphill both ways.

“Christmas Card” Grandma and Grandpa

Also known as the “distant” grandparents, they tend to play a minor role in their grandkids’ lives, perhaps sending a card on birthdays and meeting up on Christmas, possibly due to geographical location or simply a different lifestyle.

In many instances, modern day grandparents are a combination of the best qualities of all or some of the above

Don’t forget Sunday, 25 October is National Grandparents Day!

It’s all about celebrating the role grandparents and older people play in our society and in our lives. It’s not just about now, but what they have done in the past too. So, connect across generations and set aside the 25th to spend the day with your older loved ones and let them know how important they are to you.







How to Tackle Parental Guilt

Parents often feel guilt over not spending enough time with their children. Life seems so busy with work, taking care of the home and all the things that need to be done when raising a family. With all that busyness there’s often very little time left to spend with the kids, leaving them with that guilt. 

It’s easy to see that if parents don’t spend quality time with their children, their children could come to the conclusion that they’re not important – and this can harm a child’s sense of self-worth.

So, What Can Busy Parents Do?

By making time to spend just 10-15 minutes of one-on-one quality time with each of your children every day (or every other day), parents show their children that they are important – that they matter – and you feel less guilt. Making time for your child demonstrates you care, that you’re interested in how they’re going and that you’re there for them if they need support or just someone who’ll listen.

Try getting together when your children get home from pre-school or school; after you return from work; after dinner or just before bed.

Remember, it’s only 10-15 minutes – every parent can find a few minutes each day.

More Than One Child?

If you have more than one child, you can schedule one-on-one meetings at different times during the day or make it at the same time each day and meet with a different child on consecutive days. Having one-on-one time makes every child in your family feel special.

The Key is Being Fully Present

One-on-one time with your full attention says so much to your child about your priorities. Remember, no phone, no cooking or being distracted, just being 100 per cent present with your child. It’s not about the quantity of time, it’s about the quality of the time you spend together. What child wouldn’t feel loved and valued in that environment? So, why not try it?

Let Your Child Choose the Activity

Ask each of your children to think about how they might like to spend 10-15 minutes one-on-one with you. It could be to simply hang out together and talk, or something more active like going for a walk, kicking a ball, or as simple as playing a video or board game or having a yummy snack together.

Explain to Your Children How Important They Are

Your children might not realise how much you love them and how important they are – especially if you seem busy all the time and have little time for them. This can leave you with guilt – even if it’s later on in life when you are looking back. 

Explain clearly to your child in words they’ll understand how important they are and that you’re making time just to be with them.

You might say something such as; “I know it might seem to you that I’m often very busy doing my job or house work and don’t have much time for you, but I want you to know that you are very important to me and I love you with all my heart. So, I want to show you how much I care, and from now on every day (or every second day) I’m going to make time just for you and me to talk, play and just be together and you get to decide what we do. It’s our special time together”.

The Bottom Line

The key is to make uninterrupted special time for your child, doing what they want to do with you and sharing what they want to share with you. Remember, if you can’t manage to find the time every day, then make it every second day – just make it a regular thing that your child can count on.

Now, that might not sound like much, but think about it like this; what if your child looks back on their childhood and can say, “My mum or dad made time for me every day – I was important to them. I got to choose what we did together and they made time for me to talk about my day – the good things and the not so good things. They were always there to celebrate my successes with me and to help me through the hard times. I remember walking, talking and playing games…”

Making a small change to your daily routine to make special time for each of your children can make an enormous difference to family life by creating beautiful memories and nurturing a deep bond with your children that you’ll share for life.


Read more PakMag parenting blogs HERE. 





Cliffo & Gabi’s Townsville Tonne – Daddy Diary September 2020

Sometimes it comes to me on the toilet. Other times it comes to me just before I drift off to sleep. This time it came to me in the shower. A BRAINWAVE. But this particular brainwave was different. This one was highly personal. So, picture it. Actually, I’m naked in the shower so probably don’t. But anyway, I’m standing there under the hot water after a hectic day. The kids were already bathed and fed so I’m taking my time. I look down at my ever-growing beer belly when the realisation hits me. I need to lose a few covid-kilos ASAP. I’m the biggest I’ve ever been. And using the kids as an excuse for my size has to end. If I’m honest, my size has absolutely nothing to do with anyone other than myself. It’s 100% on me. And as I stand there, I start to think about other Townsvillians, and how surely there must be other people who feel the same way. That’s when the idea strikes like a Big Mac to the face. And it was a doozy.

What if we could we find at least 100 locals willing to do the same? All it would take is 100 of us to lose 10 kilos each over 10 weeks and as a collective Townsville would lose a tonne. AN ENTIRE TONNE.

I discussed this idea with my wife. As always Michelle couldn’t have been more supportive. Sign me up she cried. After getting the tick of approval from my radio co-host Gabi the idea hit paper for the first time. “Cliffo & Gabi’s Townsville Tonne” was born.

We launched the project at 8am on a Monday morning hoping to get 100 locals signed up in 2 weeks. We got 100 in less than 45 minutes. And from there it hasn’t stopped. At time of printing more than 500 have signed up to our battle against the bulge. And it’s not slowing down. Together we’re going to lose an entire tonne.

So here we go Townsville. My wine has been replaced with water and my burgers with burpees. And hopefully before too long I will have a body my wife, my kids and most importantly – I can be proud of. This goes for all of our Townsville Tonners. Together let’s lose a tonne!

Hit 103.1 Townsville

Head to Pakmag Townsville on Facebook to check out a super cute video starring Cliffo and his daughter.

Matilda answers questions about her Dad with hilarious results. You could try asking your child the same questions about their Dad and film it for Father’s Day as a special and fun surprise. Share your video with us. We’d love to see it. #PakMag share.


What does your Dad do for a job?

What makes your Dad happy?

How old do you think your Dad is?

What is he good at?

What do you think he gets up to when you’re not around?

If your dad was a superhero- which superhero (or cartoon character) would he be? Why?

What’s his favourite thing to eat?

What makes your Dad sad?

What’s your favourite thing to do with your dad?

How does he make you laugh?

What is he not very good at?

What is something he always says?

Why do you love your Dad?

How do you know he loves you?

Read more Daddy Diary stories from Cliffo HERE. 

Visit hit103.1 HERE.