Tag: parents

Family History – It’s So Much More Than a Family Tree

Often our interest in our family history doesn’t happen until later in life, when you want to learn more about where your ancestors came from and what their stories were. But, sometimes it’s too late to get the answers. This is because older family members may have passed on, and with them, the information you seek.

Family History provides a sense of belonging, a knowledge of who you are and where you came from. Record-keeping is vital to family members being more than just a name on a family tree. Think about how you would like to be remembered. Now consider that your family members would probably want the same – their story told.

That’s why it’s so important to get our kids interested in family history. They deserve to get that information, before it’s too late. Don’t get me wrong… the concept doesn’t exactly scream ‘fun’ to a child Moreover, getting them to ‘buy in’ may be difficult. Because of all of this, we’ve put together this list of great, interactive activities, that will not only get them invested in their family history, but also develop and strengthen family bonds and preserve vital information. One day, as a result of doing this, they will be so grateful to possess and pass on the information to their own children.

Unfortunately, we don’t live forever, but the memory of loved ones lives on, by those who care about them. 

  1. Interview a loved one

Everyone has a story. Interviewing them is an opportunity for it to be told and to learn about your loved ones. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day, and many of us don’t stop and think about how we got to where we are today, let alone how our parents, or grandparents’ lives took the paths they did. Remember, before you were born, they had a whole life you didn’t experience with them.

By helping your parents or grandparents share their story, you can pass on what kind of a person they were and what kind of life they lived to your kids and so on – keeping their legacy alive. Simply prepare a series of questions and write them down or record them. I would highly recommend recording the interview. Smart phones have voice recorders on them, making this an easily achievable option. There is no better person to tell their story than the person themselves. And one day you won’t have them here and you’ll miss that voice so much. Think about how nice it’ll be to have it preserved?  Therefore, make sure you save the file and back it up. Or, load it as a private file on YouTube or Vimeo.

Wondering what to ask? Here are some great interview questions to ask family members, to help preserve your family’s story.

  1. What’s your full name and was it given to you for a significant reason? (was it a family name- like the name of your grandmother for example)
  2. When/ where were you born? Did anything unusual happen at the birth/ surrounding the birth? 
  3. Tell me your parents’ names and your happiest memories of them. Can you tell me what was most important to them?
  4. What were the most important lessons your parents taught you and the qualities they had/have?
  5. Ask about their grandparents (names, memories, any significant stories, what do you remember most about them, what was most important to them)
  6. If Grandma and grandpa had a message to you and their grandchildren, what do you think it is?
  7. Tell me about your childhood – where did you grow up? What comes to mind when you think about growing up in your hometown?
  8. What did you do for fun as a kid? Who were your friends, did you play sports, did you win anything? Did you get into trouble for anything? Was school enjoyable to you? Did you have a favourite subject? What was your least favourite subject? Did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up? (you can ask about before they were a teenager/ when they were a teenager as the answers may be different)
  9. Tell me about: your first boyfriend/ girlfriend? First date? First Kiss?
  10. How did you meet your wife/ husband and know they were the one?
  11. Can you you describe him/her to me? What message would you have for them that you’d always want them to remember?
  12. Tell me about the day my mum/dad was born.
  13. What advice would you give to new parents? Were you ever scared to be a parent? Can you pick three words to represent your approach to parenting and tell me why those three?
  14. Do you remember things about when each of us (siblings) were born?

Need even more?….

  1. When you think about (me/ siblings) how would you describe me/them? What message would you have for them, that you’d always want them to remember?
  2. How did you choose your career and what’s your favourite part about what you do? Have you had other jobs, and if so what were they? What makes you successful at your job? Can you give me some advice for careers/work?
  3. If they have served in the military, ask them about their service. Ask about other members of the family who may have served, and their experiences.
  4. What would be your recipe for happiness?
  5. How do you deal with hard times?
  6. Can you tell me three events most shaped your life?
  7. Chose the three best decisions you’ve ever made
  8. What are you most proud of in life?
  9. Pick five of the most positive moments of your life
  10. What have you learned about other people in life?
  11. Is there anything you think the world needs more of right now?
  12. How would you like to be remembered? What three words best describe who you tried to be in life/ how you tried to live your life?
  13. Is there a message you would like to share with your family?
  14. What are you most thankful for?

Tips for interviews: Use photographs to trigger memories and get the stories following. You can also research items and events that have happened during your grandparents’ lifetime, and ask them about their experience or memories.

If you don’t want to transcribe the story yourself, you could try websites like this one that convert the audio to text for you.

  1. Start your own journal

It doesn’t have to be daily if it ‘isn’t your thing’. You could just record important events (dates and details) down. So, think; ‘what information would I want my grandkids/great-grandkids to know about me/my life’? and then write them down. Kids are never too young to start this process, recording big milestones. Even better – you could do this activity together as a family.

Here’s a list of things to record:

  • What your full name is and when and where you were born (repeat for siblings and parents)
  • Include your siblings’ names, and when and where they were born
  • Both of your parents’ names, when and where they were born, what they were like, the kind of work they did, special memories about them. Repeat for your grandparents and great-grandparents, if you knew them
  • How your parents met
  • Everything you remember from your childhood: the games and books you liked; your hobbies, sports and activities; where you went to school; favourite and least favourite subjects in school; what you wanted to be when you grew up; your chores around the house; trouble you got into
  • Your high school years: school subjects you were great at/ not-so-great at, sports and activities, jobs, friends and dating, learning to drive, how you got along with your parents
  • Both your university years and the transition into working life
  • Adult relationships and/or how you met your spouse
  • Where you settled as a young adult, your friends and activities, religious life, travel, work
  • Being a parent: when and where your children were born, their names and how you chose them, what you love about being a parent
  • Life lessons you’ve learned and advice you’d like to share
  • Family stories passed down to you, that you in turn want to pass down to others
  • Medical struggles that might also impact others in your family, if you feel comfortable sharing them
  • Your genealogy discoveries

There’s a great workbook called ‘Story of My Life’ By Sunny Jane Morton that helps guide this process/ store this information. You could get one, for each member of the family. 

  1. Create a family tree

Start with yourself and record the names of your parents, their parents and so forth. See how many generations you can go back. We have a Family Tree downloadable available that you can use. 

  1. Put together a family recipe book 

Collate the recipes from your family and make a cookbook. You can make one yourself (see our My First Cookbook template). Or, print professionally via a website like this one. You may also just like to create a recipe card box. Either way, how nice is it to make Grandma’s or Great Grandma’s secret cake recipe? It’s a little taste of history and brings back all those memories of baking with Grandma in her kitchen.

Maybe you could also get handwritten recipes printed onto canvas and hang them in your kitchen as artwork. Functional, special and tasty!

  1. Create a family photo book

Like the recipe book, there are websites that help you create a great photo book, preserving family photos. You can put all the old photos you have in here. This way don’t get lost. Also include all the information you have about the people in the photo, the year and where it was taken etc. Often there is only one copy of these cherished shots, so this is a great way, for every member of the family to receive a copy. Creating/compiling this with your children, including their grandparents in the process as well, is a great conversation starter and a lot of fun.

  1. Family history displays 

This is a subtle way to start the ‘family history conversation’. Start with your own family’s to get them interested in preserving ‘stories.’ You could put up a map of the world in your house. Then, mark all the places you/the family have travelled, to inspire conversation/ memories. Maybe you can also place photos of the adventures beside the map to remind your children of the travels. Your children could pick the photos to be displayed. You can then place photos of your ancestors on the wall and inspire conversations about their adventures. The same applies to family heirlooms, trophies, medals etc. Place them in a prominent place and the questions will flow.

  1. Make a family time capsule 

Time capsules are a fun way to preserve your family history for future generations. You could choose to set the opening date to a future family reunion or celebration – like a milestone birthday or anniversary. You will need; family keepsakes, photos, a strong airtight container, acid-free paper (to write down the significance of the items included, information on the person who wrote the note), silica gel packets or oxygen-absorbing packets, paraffin or candle wax to seal (optional). It’s important to note – you aren’t burying this capsule, as you may move. This is to be stored in your home somewhere with a ‘do not open until ____ ‘ date sign on the front. Store away from light and heat.

  1. Future letters

Ask all the important people in your life to write a letter to your children for when they turn 21. This is even more important if they may not be alive on that special occasion. You can do the same for weddings. Afterwards, store them safely and give it to them on that special occasion.

  1. Do DNA tests 

To find out genetically and geographically where you come from.

  1. Give old-fashioned chores and handicrafts a whirl

Experiencing chores and craft activities your parents and grandparents would do growing up, gives your children an appreciation for how different their lives were. Activities could include; sewing, knitting, soap/candle-making, gardening, fruit preserving/ making jams, washing clothes by hand and hanging on the clothesline. It would be even better if the grandparents could lead these activities, creating bonding experiences and memories that will be treasured.

Extension activity: visit a historical village and discuss the items you see and how they were used-like washboards, flat irons and push lawn mowers etc.

Have fun preserving and making memories with your family. Always remember, your own family story is being created right now, make each moment count.

 

 

 

The Impact of Remote Learning on Parents Revealed

Cluey, an online tutoring service for students in Years 2 – 12, have released results of research they conducted on parents and how they’ve been supporting their child’s learning from home. The research looked into how parents’ careers were affected. It also revealed how much time parents spent on helping their child with remote learning.

Almost 60 per cent of primary school parents agree that their work and/or career has been impacted due to remote learning. It was admitted to have had a negative impact on 29 per cent of primary school parents. Additionally, 21 per cent have experienced a positive impact.

46 per cent of parents said they are happy and excited about schools reopening. The number of parents that were anxious or nervous was 15 per cent, and 39 per cent of parents had mixed feelings. One third of parents said they were unsure if they would send their child back to school or said they will not allow it.

The national study was conducted by surveying over 600 parents of primary-aged students. It showed that well over half of the parents spent at least a couple of hours a day on their child’s learning. Of that, 30 per cent of them dedicated their whole day to supporting their child with remote learning. This didn’t mean that parents felt properly equipped to provide the support needed however. Over one in five of the parents admitted they didn’t feel equipped when it came to basic literacy and numeracy skills.

But many parents have also gained a better understanding of their child. They revealed:

  • They better understand how their child learns as a result of at-home learning (over 65%)
  • Almost one third believe their child’s learning has suffered during this period
  • Lack of peer-to-peer learning has been the biggest educational challenge for their child (47%)
  • Their child likes or even loves online learning (48%)

Dr Selina Samuels, Cluey Chief Learning Officer, said, “…it has given parents a much deeper insight into what their child is learning at school and their learning gaps. Parents now have a lot of observations to draw on to support their child’s learning moving forward.” 

You can read more about the results of the study on Cluey’s website.

 

 

 

 

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

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.

TOP 10 WAYS TO PASS TIME ON A PLANE WITH KIDS

TOP 10 WAYS TO PASS TIME ON A PLANE WITH KIDS

Trying to keep a child sitting in one spot for many hours on end can be quite a nightmare. But on a plane, there’s really no other choice! Here are the top 10 ways to pass time on a plane with kids.


1. Make use of the in-flight entertainment

This one is pretty obvious. If the flight you’re on has in-flight entertainment, make good use of it. They always have family-friendly and kids’ movies, perfect to keep them entertained for an hour or two.

2. Listen to a podcast

There’s a huge variety of podcasts out there, and surprisingly, a fair few for kids too. From educational shows to story-telling sessions, these podcasts encourage your child to explore their imagination.

3. Write a journal

This is a fantastic way to documents your thoughts and feelings on travelling. If your little ones are old enough to write, this is a fun idea for them, too; and they’ll love to look back on it years down the track.

4. Write a letter to yourself in 5 years

Where are you? Who is with you? What are your dreams? This is a fun way that really puts life into perspective a few years down the track.

5. Colour in

Colouring books are just as popular with adults as they are with children nowadays, and once you give it a go you can see why. It’s relaxing, creative, and leaves you with a beautiful piece of art.

6. Write a short story

Encourage the kids to let their imagination run wild. Let the story take place on a plane, or your travel destination; when you’re finished, swap stories and read the others’ creation.

7. Find shapes in the clouds

Look out the window with the kids and see what shapes you can make of the clouds as they drift past. That cloud over there might look like a dog to you, but a lion to your kids. Have some fun with it!

8. Surprise them with a toy

The element of surprise never gets old. Hide a new toy in your bag and present it on the plane.

9. Bring a Workbook

Bring a book full of find-a-words, sudokus, mazes, and other brain-puzzling activities to ensure some quiet time. They may even learn something, too!

10. Bring a sticker book

These are so much fun and come in all sorts of themes, including dress-up, numbers and letters, farm animals, and even holiday scenes.

Long story short, don’t stress too much. There are many ways to pass time on a plane with kids, but sometimes even if you try them all, your child ends up feeling upset. Other passengers are generally pretty understanding if kids become upset during a flight. Kick back, try to relax, and you’ll be at your destination in no-time.

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.