Tag: Parenting

Giaan Rooney - Olympic Athlete, Ambassador, Mother and more

Giaan Rooney Chats About Success, Motherhood and More

Australia is home to an ever-expanding number of extremely talented people, one of whom is swimmer Giaan Rooney. By the time she was a teenager she has already made the Australian Commonwealth Games Team and would go on to win gold and silver at the Olympics, eventually becoming a well-known sports reporter. We were lucky enough to talk to her about her success and how she balances work and home life, especially as a mum of two young children. Read below to find out what this Life-Space Probiotics ambassador and Olympic athlete had to say about sports, health, and her best role yet – being a parent.

As a child were you highly active in different sports? Did you find that you weren’t great at any of them? 

“As a child I was always active and outdoors. From the age of 11, I started swimming during the summer and playing netball in the winter. Netball was my other great love – I managed to make the state netball team in my teens. But, it was swimming that ultimately took over. My swimming coach saw my talent and suggested that I take it to the next level competitively. Only 14 months after that I made my first Australian team. By the age of 15, I’d made the Australian Commonwealth Games Team.

So, given my successes, I can’t say that I was bad at any of the sports I tried!”

Did you feel ‘at home’ in the pool from an early age and want to compete, or did swimming start out as a hobby that you eventually realised you were passionate about and very talented at? 

“Since joining the swim club in primary school when I was 11, I began realising how much I enjoyed swimming. I started off at two afternoons a week, loved it, begged my parents to let me go three afternoons a week. Then I begged for more. Not long after, I was competing at a high level with a coach who could see me reaching the Olympics!

I didn’t grow up as a little kid thinking I want to go to an Olympics or to be a swimmer. I made the decision after realising how much I loved swimming. Plus, I saw how it was taking my life in a whole new direction, in a good way.

There’s no way I could have dedicated myself to swimming at an elite level and be an Olympic athlete if I didn’t love it in the first place.”

What did it feel like to win gold at the 1998 Commonwealth Games? How did all of your competitions and wins from 1998 – 2006 impact your life? 

“When you’re in it, you understand it’s an incredible moment but you don’t realise the enormity of it until you’re way past that time. The longer I’m away from all my wins, the prouder I am and the more grateful I am to have been a part of it all.

I retired at the age of 23. while a lot of athletes have trouble transitioning from sport to life, I had an easy transition because I’ve always been a realist. I looked forward to life after being an athlete.

Being an athlete and competing taught me how strong I am and how to have a good work ethic. The wins are incredible, but it’s what happens in between that teaches you the most. I learnt about my strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps more importantly, I also learnt that you have to do a lot of hard work and make sacrifices if you want to get places in life.”

Do you think that the intense training and your sports career prepared you for motherhood in any way? 

“As a mother I found that my sports career had taught me something very useful, and that’s to always trust your instincts. When I was competing, I knew what I needed to make my next move be. Now, I always trust that same instinct to guide me with what’s best for my kids, and that includes their health.”

Life-Space Probiotics 

“I got really into health research during my pregnancy. While researching, what stood out to me is the importance of a healthy microbiome throughout the first 1000 days of new life. It’s important for kids to be exposed to good bacteria by playing outdoors and being in the fresh air, and a broad-spectrum probiotic like Life-Space Probiotic Powder for Children can provide added beneficial bacteria and support a healthy intestinal microbiome.”

“As an athlete, health was always a top priority for me, and that’s stayed with me since retiring. The importance of supporting general health, particularly throughout my motherhood journey so far, is simply one of many values that I share with Life-Space Probiotics. It is why I have really loved being a Life-Space Probiotics ambassador.”

Giaan Rooney, Olympic Athlete, Mum, and more Giaan Rooney, Olympic Athlete, Mum, and more



Giaan Rooney and her two kids as she shares postpartum journey

Olympic Athlete Giaan Rooney Shares Her Postpartum Journey

Every woman’s postpartum journey is different and can often come as quite a surprise, something Australian Olympic athlete Giaan Rooney knows all too well. In this blog the Life-Space Probiotics ambassador and mum of two shares her postpartum health and wellness journey.

Can you describe what the first few months postpartum were like for you, both physically and mentally?

The first few months after giving birth was the largest roller coaster of emotions I have ever experienced. I would go from extreme joy to utter breaking point, sometimes within minutes. I have never been more physically, emotionally and mentally drained in my life. For the first time I felt like I was really failing – the fact that I expected parenting to come naturally to me made it even worse.

Physically, I had no birth injuries to overcome so I consider myself lucky. However, neither of my children were natural sleepers so I found the sleep deprivation the most debilitating component of the early stages. I went to a sleep school with Zander when he was 6 and a half months old and needed the aid of sleep consultants with Lexi. To say I felt like I was failing at parenthood is an understatement!

How did you rebuild strength, mentally and physically, postpartum? What exercises did you do personally?

Early on in my parenting journey I learnt that you can have the best laid plans on how your new life will be, but your baby hasn’t read these plans! I had to learn to go with the flow which was extremely difficult for me, and to celebrate the small wins, which might just mean having a shower! I started walking with the pram almost immediately and found that being out in the fresh air was a life saver. The kids never slept in the pram (or the car) but they seemed to enjoy the movement as much as I did.

I did nothing other than walk the first time around until we were both getting some sleep. Honestly, I couldn’t have handled anything else. With Lexi I found I could return to Pilates when she was around 4 months old. I loved that Pilates was helping me physically as well as giving me some ‘me’ time too.

How important was nutrition to your postpartum recovery journey?

In general I didn’t focus too much on what I was eating both during pregnancy and after it. I have always had a healthy relationship with food and enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Plus, I never deny myself anything. So throughout the early stages of pregnancy I craved toasted sandwiches and salt and vinegar chips. Then eventually I craved salads and fruit platters at the end! Overall I just made sure to consume enough of the right foods so I could pass those nutrients on to my children.

I love my fruit and vegies as well as plenty of protein and fibre. The only thing I need to keep an eye on are my calcium sources as I can’t tolerate traditional dairy.

What was the most interesting thing you learnt about human health and wellbeing in your postpartum journey?

I was well aware of the important role that gut health plays in your overall wellbeing. But, I found it fascinating that our bodies develop the cornerstone of our microbiome during the first 1000 days of life. Exposure to a diverse range of bacteria and plenty of fresh air can support its development. Surrounding yourself with nature (including playing in the dirt!) and a varied diet also support it.  

How have you shared your passion for health and wellbeing with your kids?

Health has always been of the utmost importance to me as I want to be around for as long as possible! I have tried to teach my kids the importance of being active and of the need to give our body the best fuel in the way of food, that it needs to operate and to encourage healthy relationships with both themselves and others. In my experience, healthy people are happy people!

Click here to find out more about the microbiome. Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Supplements should not replace a balanced diet.




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.