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These simple gift ideas for Mother’s day will leave mum feeling absolutely adored!

CLEAN THE HOUSE
It might not be the most exciting gift, but mum would seriously appreciate a clean house! For her, seeing the sparkle after the house is clean is equivalent to a baby seeing candy. You can’t go wrong with a little Ajax and a vacuum.

SPA DAY
Treat mum to a day filled with Cucumber masks, pedicures and great company! No doubt she would also appreciate the quality time taken out of your day to spend with her chilling back having some R&R.

A WINE OR TWO
We all know Mothers’ deserve a glass of wine at the end of a hard working day or a day of hardly working! Take her on a private wine tour where she’ll indulge in the finest of wines, or buy mum some good quality wine and wrap it in a pink bow, voila!

GET CREATIVE
If you know mum’s an artsy chick or even a sentimentalist, she would love nothing more than care and thought put into her gift. Show her how much you love her with a handmade picture frame, a poem, or even home made scrubs!

FOOD, FAMILY & MORE FOOD
Get the family together and take Mum for a picnic, a high tea or even a casual BBQ in the backyard. What ever the location, as long as there is food and good company, mum will be overjoyed being surrounded by loved ones and of course, food!

CATCH UP
We all know life gets busy and I’m sure mum would love nothing more than to just spend time with you. Catching up over some coffee and cake is sometimes all mum wants. So take mum for a catch up sesh at her favourite café in town. She’ll love you for it.

Catherine Plano gives 7 steps to change the way you think. Following these will surely lead to a happier you!

 

A lot of people think that happiness is ‘elusive’ – a fleeting feeling that comes from what’s happening around us, in our lives. And that’s true. But like everything else we perceive and experience, happiness is processed in the brain. By learning to use your brain to re-boot happiness when you’re feeling ‘low’ you can make a big difference to your contentedness.

The important thing to remember is that the brain is like a muscle – it’s adaptive and responsive to training, like any other muscle in our body. Its chemical makeup is important to its optimal function too. By understanding these seven basic brain functions and how to activate and re-charge them, you can re-wire your brain for greater happiness and success!

 

1) Dose up the Dopamine  

Dopamine allows us to feel bliss, pleasure, euphoria and motivation.

Dopamine is a chemical (neurotransmitter) that is used by the nerves to send messages. Basically, when dopamine levels are depleted in our brain, our message can’t be transmitted properly. This, in turn, can have an impact on our behaviour, mood, cognition, attention, learning, movement and sleep. When we procrastinate, have feelings of self-doubt or we lack enthusiasm, these are strong clues from the brain that we are low on dopamine.

It’s super easy to increase dopamine levels: Aim for 8 hours sleep per day and regular exercise to keep dopamine balanced. Plus – the brain releases a little bit of dopamine when you achieve or succeed. One way to get a ‘hit’ of dopamine regularly is set yourself small, achievable goals. As you achieve them, you’ll feel good about making progress.

Of course, you should always celebrate all those ‘little’ wins. They’re helping you, step by step, to achieve the bigger goal. Any accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem, are definitely worth recognition.

 

2) Exercise for Endorphins

Endorphins are released into your bloodstream once you have exercised, leaving you feeling more energised and in a better mood for the rest of your day. Endorphins are the counter balance to stress, so the more endorphins you release, the less stress and anxiety you will experience.

Along with regular exercise, laughter is one of the easiest ways to induce endorphin release. Feeling low? Watch some comedy, or catch up with a friend who makes you laugh.There are some studies that attest that dark chocolate and spicy foods can help to release endorphins. Keep a stash of dark chocolate and treat yourself to a curry every now and then for a quick endorphin boost.

 

3) Give someone a hug 

Oxytocin – the love hormone – creates intimacy, trust and builds strong, healthy relationships.

Often referred to as the cuddle hormone, oxytocin is essential for creating powerful bonds and improving social interactions. As the name suggests, one very simple way to keep oxytocin flowing is to give someone a hug, not a handshake. There is research now to explain that a hug for up to 20 seconds a day releases oxytocin, which is a natural antidepressant and antianxiety agent.

Oxytocin is the hormone that allows us to feel love and connection. In fact, when we experience an increase of oxytocin, it makes us more intuitive to others’ needs. Even when someone receives a gift, his or her oxytocin levels can rise. You can strengthen work and personal relationships through a simple gift or a massive hug.

4) Be appreciative

Serotonin flows when you feel satisfied, accomplished and important. However, a lack of serotonin can make you feel lonely, bleak and unhappy. Unhealthy attention-seeking behaviour can also be a cry for serotonin.

Our brain can’t tell the difference between what’s real and imagined, so it produces serotonin in both cases. This is why ‘gratitude’ practices are popular; they remind us that we are valued and have much to value in life. If you need a serotonin boost during a stressful day, take a few moments to reflect on past achievements and victories. Alternatively, engage in a random act of kindness, or write a text or email telling one of your friends or partner how much you appreciate and value them. You can also spend a minute or two ‘reliving’ a moment in your head that you cherish.

These are simple mood boosters, just because they increase serotonin. We also know that vitamin D (from the sun) helps to expand our brain’s serotonin production.

 

5) Change ‘fear’ into ‘flow’

The amygdala, is one of the ‘primal’ functions of our brain, designed to keep us safe. This ‘fright, freeze and flight centre’, manages connections and is directly involved with emotional wellbeing.

The amygdala processes positive and negative feedback depending on how we perceive an outcome. As a result, it makes us feel strong emotional responses that often lead to impulsive reactions.

When the amygdala signals go backwards, it generates a fear response – we get defensive and this can lead to lashing out, arguing. But – it’s here in the amygdala where we store our old ‘programmes’ too – those tired old tales of lack and unworthiness… And, just as we put those ‘old stories’ in there, we can re-programme – update them – with new ones. This takes time, but the brain is highly adaptive and with daily commitment to a practice of positive programming, it will become your default setting instead, and the negative responses will be fewer and weaker.

6) Hippocampus: The Seahorse

The hippocampus is viewed as an associative memory system supporting the formation, storage, and retrieval of memories. So, when you are feeling low, think happy memories – in your head go back to a pleasant, exciting, loving moment in time and re-live the movie in your head! Create a ‘happiness’ album with your smartphone -friends, family, beautiful places – whatever makes you smile, and when you’re feeling low look through the pictures. and look through pictures until your mood starts to shift.

 

7) Will Power at the Prefrontal Cortex

Your pre-fontal cortex is that part of the brain that is right behind your forehead; its function is decision-making and regulating our behaviour, self-control and willpower. Looking after this section of our brain involves exercising will power.

And, the more we exercise our self-control, the stronger and more stable it becomes. If you want to lose weight, begin saving money, start exercising – it’s all actioned here in this part of the brain. But remember, if you choose your new action, you need to do it repeatedly for 21 days. If you miss a day, then you need to start again. Record your progress; you’ll see a remarkable difference from start to finish. And don’t forget that the more successful you are, day, by day, your dopamine levels will kick in with pride as you accomplish what you set out to achieve. There’s a win/win here for happiness.

 

Happiness is not a ‘mystery’

In an effort to pursue the great mystery of ‘happiness’ we simply need to understand these tools. We’re all prone to moods – and there can be many reasons why some moods stay with us longer than others, but these tools can help us to work with our minds, instead of against them, when we are stressed, anxious, sad or angry.

The brain needs stimulation – tired old routines can deliver the same tired old results in our lives, so stay curious. When you experience something ‘new’, it actually stimulates and transforms your brain. Explore, experiment and try something new to maximise how you use your brainpower.

Catherine Plano is the author of ” Getting to the Heart of the Matter” – a warm, engaging practical book for connecting the power of the mind, with the power of the heart for personal transformation.

Unfortunately bullying is an issue that many will face during their lifetime. In order to help fight against it, a better understanding of it is necessary

We hear so much about bullying these days, and particularly the kind of vicious, anonymous cyberbullying that can have terrible consequences, that it’s no wonder schools are making an effort to teach kids to be nicer to each other. But we also have to be careful to not create such emotionally fragile kids that even a bit of good-natured ribbing between friends is something they can’t cope with. If kids walk away from anyone who gives them a bit of a stirring, never to speak to them again, it may not be the best outcome.

Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that kids should have free reign to say nasty things and everyone else should just harden up. But if we can teach kids to cope with a bit of gentle teasing, there is a side benefit: they will also be learning to react in a way that can stop potential bullies in their tracks.

We hear so much about bullying these days, and particularly the kind of vicious, anonymous cyberbullying that can have terrible consequences, that it’s no wonder schools are making an effort to teach kids to be nicer to each other. But we also have to be careful to not create such emotionally fragile kids that even a bit of good-natured ribbing between friends is something they can’t cope with. If kids walk away from anyone who gives them a bit of a stirring, never to speak to them again, it may not be the best outcome.

Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that kids should have free reign to say nasty things and everyone else should just harden up. But if we can teach kids to cope with a bit of gentle teasing, there is a side benefit: they will also be learning to react in a way that can stop potential bullies in their tracks.

 

IS THERE INTENT?

Firstly, how do we know what’s bullying and what’s teasing? Well, a lot of it depends on the intent. Are the comments designed to hurt and upset? Is there repeated and hurtful name-calling? Is a child being ridiculed in a nasty way? Is one child being singled out and socially isolated?

All of these indicate that we’re talking about harassment and bullying of children.

That can be very distressing, and have long-term consequences. It’s not something a parent should turn a blind eye to — but at the same time, children can’t control what other kids say to them. What they can learn to manage is their own reaction to it.

(As an aside, if there’s any physical element or the threat of physical harm, then this isn’t something kids should be trying to handle on their own. Speak to the school and make sure they follow through with any plans to prevent the problem from recurring. Your child may need extra help to gain skills to handle the situation and prevent it from getting worse.)

But returning to the grey area of teasing that may cross over into being hurtful, especially to a sensitive child, we need to think about the banter that goes on within peer groups.

HOW TEASING CAN HELP BUILD RESILIENCE

Depending on the group, there may be a bit of what we might call mutual teasing or ribbing; a bit of a gentle dig, or a laugh at one’s own or someone else’s expense.

But as long as it’s not causing distress, and is seen for what it’s intended to be, which is a light-hearted and equally shared around the group, then it’s probably a good thing. It can build resilience, and can even be part of healthy friendships, where everyone knows they’re not perfect.

There’s always room for it to go too far, and it’s important to be aware of and sensitive to how others may feel. But at the same time, most of us have had to learn to cope with a bit of this kind of thing at school and in the workplace. What we need to remember is that some kids, especially if they’re naturally sensitive, will need more practice than others to successfully manage their emotions in such situations.

As tempting as it is to rescue a sensitive child any time they’re upset, this doesn’t help them to build resilience. And ironically enough, if a child only knows one way to react if someone calls them a nickname or has a laugh at their expense, and that is by going into emotional meltdown, they risk becoming more of a target for teasing.

WHAT MAKES A BULLY?

One of the things that tends to perpetuate teasing — and this is where it starts to become a more abusive kind of behaviour — is that, unfortunately, there are some kids who enjoy watching the bite or reaction their words can cause. These are the kids who will up the ante and start teasing more frequently if they can see that they have the power to upset or distress someone. This is probably because they have their own issues and need to deflect that distress onto someone else. But whatever the reason, these are also the kids who are most likely to become bullies in the future.

For this reason, it’s worth keeping an eye and an ear on what goes on between siblings and friends and doing something about this behaviour early on. So don’t always assume that the version of the facts your child is giving you is all you need to know.

LITTLE ANGELS?

Not all kids who are on the receiving end are 100 per cent little angels and sometimes it’s a situation that’s been allowed to escalate over time. It might be worth having a conversation with your child about what happened and what they could do instead that might lead to a better outcome.

For the child being teased, parents can help kids to understand that while light-hearted banter is part of life, when it spills over into comments that could be hurtful, learning how to handle it can make it much less of a problem.

TIPS FOR LITTLE KIDS AND BIG KIDS

If we’re talking about pre-school or little kids, it’s important for them to learn that a lot of the teasing in their peer group doesn’t really mean anything. It’s not meant to be hurtful or upsetting when someone laughs if your sandcastle collapses, for example. And youngsters who learn to not only respond with a laugh when they’re teased but also give a little of it back, without the intent to hurt, do much better socially.

If an older child is being “picked on” at school, for example because of something to do with their physical appearance, while it’s unfair and unpleasant, it may be best for them to learn to have a ready response to it. So they may reply with something like: “I’m glad you’ve noticed my glasses. I like them.”  Or “Yes, you’re right. It’s not a big deal,” or a sincere “thank you – thank you so much!”, no matter how odd this may sound in response to something like “you’re fat” or “gee, you’re ugly”.

What you’re teaching your child to do is flip it around. They’re neutralising the comment and giving a message to the teaser to say: “This is not working. It is not having the intended effect. I can even have a laugh about it”.  You might also look on the internet for resources to help your child learn to make an assertive — not passive, nor aggressive — request for the problem behaviour to change.

We’re helping kids to learn different ways of reacting. The person who is doing the teasing isn’t getting their desired result of seeing their target distressed or upset. Often this alone will be enough to stop these kinds of comments, although the child may have to be prepared to persevere a little before the strategy works.

(It may not be a bad idea if at the same time, the school gives a general reminder to all the kids about not making hurtful comments. You might also need to ask for some stronger supervision in the playground for a while if there seems to be a particular problem with one or two children.)

Preparing kids to cope with life (on their own) 

If the problem continues, you may need to get some professional help from the school counselor or a psychologist. The aim of the game is not to take over and fix the problem but to help your child develop the necessary skills and strategies to deal with the situation.

Because when it comes to teasing, there is one very important message as parents we do need to get across to our kids: you can deal with this. That’s a message of empowerment. It’s a message that the solution is within their grasp.

Ultimately, that’s going to help them cope with life’s little unpleasantries later on, without becoming upset or aggressive…and without needing your help.

http://www.triplep-parenting.net.au/au-uken/triple-p/?utm_source=offspring_magazine&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=bullying_blog

Prof Matt Sanders is the founder of the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program and Director of the Parenting and Family Support Centre at The University of Queensland.  Triple P is widely available throughout Australia and is offered free of charge in some states, including New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.

Recent research suggests, in an effort to make children feel special and valued, parents are creating an endemic of narcissistic children, where they have a heightened sense of self importance along with a lack of empathy and understanding towards others.

Don’t like the person you see in the mirror? If you’re only mildly miffed as you stare in open-mouthed horror, you’re more or less normal. But if your own reflection sparks waves of revulsion and nausea or, worse, makes you actually throw up, you may need psychiatric treatment for a very real medical condition called dysmorphic disorder.

 

Some unfortunate victims even feel sick when they glimpse their own reflections while walking past shop windows. And, recent reports suggest, aggressive American cosmetic surgeons target sufferers by promising dramatic “cures”: surgery making women and men happier with the way they look. (Both sexes suffer from dysmorphic disorder, with women a big majority.)

 

While, on reflection, changing one’s adult appearance may be a good thing, kids have an opposite problem: some are too pleased with themselves, particularly with the way they look.

 

Let’s not mince words here: society is battling an epidemic of childhood narcissism. Experts contend it’s getting worse. Self-important and self-satisfied children are obsessed with how they look – and believe they look great. What’s more, many parents make the situation worse by failing to recognise these problems even exist.

Permissive parenting, without limit-setting and focusing instead on rewards for no achievement – for instance, all children winning prizes after birthday party games – contributes to an alarming situation.

As Dr Ross King puts it: “Permissive and over-indulgent parenting has certainly played a big part in an upward swing in narcissism.” Dr King, 55, has studied the subject in detail. He’s Associate Professor of Psychology at Deakin University. With experience honed over a quarter-century, he teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University’s Geelong Waterfront campus.

 

The prestigious Psychology Board of Australia has endorsed Dr King as a clinical psychologist. And, on the question of narcissism and children, he concedes that the most detailed research was done outside Australia by Drs W. Keith Campbell and Jean M. Twenge who are based at universities in the United States.

 

These two authorities consider permissive parenting, without limit-setting and focusing instead on rewards for no achievement – for instance, all children winning prizes after birthday party games – contributes to an alarming situation. Dr King says the two researchers “place this in a broader socio-cultural perspective, linking it to the rise of social media and the Internet – and on media focused on celebrity.”

 

“Parents want to raise children with good self-esteem,” he continues. But, he adds, there’s a downside: “a rise in narcissism in children – a belief that they’re special, talented, don’t have to abide by rules and that their needs are more important than those of others.”

 

Drs Twenge and Campbell report not only a rise in narcissism in recent years, but also a fall in empathy along with reduced capacity to understand others’ perspectives and feelings.

“We don’t need to keep focusing on self-esteem classes but should instead concentrate on empathy building.”

Studies, he reveals, have looked at the role of parenting behaviour in the development of narcissism. One study concluded that children whose parents showed high degrees of positive reinforcement and parental involvement displayed exaggerated senses of self-worth and a sense of superiority – characteristics of what’s defined as grandiose narcissism. Another frightening study of seven-year-olds found parents over-using the my-child-is-special argument spark development of childhood grandiose narcissism.

 

Twenge and Campbell suggest that we don’t need to keep focusing on self-esteem classes but should instead concentrate on empathy building, Dr King summarises. The two American researchers’ own studies confirm there are increases in quests for fame and celebrity status in storylines in books and on television. Also, their analyses indicate a much greater emphasis these days on individuals rather than the community. Pop songs use the words “I” and “me” far more commonly than they did when today’s young adults were children. Empathy and a sense of community are rarely featured.

 

How well you’re doing in life is now often based on social media likes and followers – and call-outs for positive affirmations, Dr King maintains. In this age of self-entitlement, parents struggle to find a balance between nurturing healthy self esteem and breeding puffed-up self-importance.

 

It’s not easy to find a line between keeping children happy and confident – and raising narcissists. Parents should avoid telling their children they’re the best at everything or that they’re the only ones who can do something. This leads to disappointment later on.

Pop songs use the words “I” and “me” far more commonly than they did when today’s young adults were children. Empathy and a sense of community are rarely featured.

A common thread running through advice from child psychology experts is that we shouldn’t treat kids like royalty. Kids may bring joy to our lives – but that’s nothing special in itself. Other people’s children are simultaneously bringing similar joy to other people’s lives.

 

Pithy advice from Dr Twenge: Kiss the princess stuff goodbye. Further, she adds: Even though little girls are seemingly hard-wired to fall in love with all things princess, be cautious. Don’t buy rhinestone-embellished shirts that say Little Princess or Diva, she warns. If your daughter is a princess, it won’t mean you’re a queen. Rather, you become her subject, obeying her every wish.

 

Softening her blow, she notes, however, that dress-up is fine because it encourages imagination – but try to avoid taking this a step further and treating your daughter or son as royalty.

HOW TO RAISE WELL-ADJUSTED KIDS

• Make children aware of their abilities – tell them they’re great at this but not so good at that.

• Build ability to accept criticism as well as praise.

• Encourage self-esteem – but couple this with highlighting the importance of compassion and ensuring children understand they should balance their needs with the needs and rights of others.

• While boosting compassion and empathy, foster a sense of community by getting children involved in doing charity work and chores at home. Make such activities seem a normal part of growing up.

Children under six, create over one million new neural connections per second and Neuroscientists are discovering that learning music engages almost every area of the brain at once. Consequently, making music is â superfood for a child’s developing brain, as it simultaneously engages areas involved in speech, listening, movement, intellect, socialisation, emotions and creativity.

Making music is ‘super food’ for a child’s developing brain, as it simultaneously engages areas involved in speech, listening, movement, intellect, socialisation, emotions and creativity.

Babies are born with an innate love of music, and music is an important part of a baby’s development. Research showing the positive effects music has on learning and brain development abounds. In fact, Finnish researchers have developed a method that reveals how wide networks in the brain, including areas that control motor actions, emotions and creativity are all activated during just listening to music. One way to maximise the benefits of music for your baby or young child is to perform regular musical activities with them at home and to involve them in group music classes. Here are some of the key benefits that a structured music education program provides at an early age;

Music encourages creativity, self-expression and self-confidence

The exploratory nature of music allows children to extend themselves creatively and to develop greater confidence and self-expression through activities such as performing for others, making up new words to songs or creating their own music.

Music promotes speech development 

Children develop an awareness of language through simple songs and rhymes. While moving singing and playing, a child learns through hearing the appropriate language associated with a specific task, for example high, low, up, down, under, over, behind, in front.

Clapping, tapping, stomping or marching to the beat of songs helps children to develop an awareness of the mathematical structure of music.

Music can help in developing a child’s ability to learn and understand maths

When a child hears a number and sees the number of fingers you hold up to them, they learn to make a connection between what they see and what they hear. Clapping, tapping, stomping or marching to the beat of songs helps children to develop an awareness of the mathematical structure of music.

Music can encourage the development of motor skills

Regularly enjoying songs with actions and movements can help a child’s coordination, confidence and motor skills development.

As well as benefiting their learning and development, teaching music to babies can help instil a lifelong appreciation of music, and by attending group music classes, babies have the opportunity to socialise and learn together with other babies.

Something to remember: Repetition is important when learning music

Children learn through repetition until the activity or task becomes automatic. Even young babies will begin to recognise a song that you sing and respond to it by focusing solely on you or babbling along with you. Children need to practice and repeat activities such as clapping and patting over and over to aid their learning process. You may tire of repeating the same rhymes and songs, but your child will be happy as they are most confident when they know what is happening or what they are hearing.

Children learn through repetition until the activity or task becomes automatic.

Mini Maestros, for babies to five year olds, specialises in fun, whole-brain development, through play-based sequential learning, and it is the longest running and most successful Australian business of its kind.

Mini Maestros provides the highest quality lesson content, developed by early childhood music education experts and delivered by a team of thoroughly trained, big-hearted professional music teachers. Mini Maestros is proud to empower generations of confident and engaged learners, who are best placed to succeed in their chosen endeavours.

Mini Maestros Fun & Educational Music Classes for Babies – 5 Year Olds;

• Build Confidence  • Nurture Whole Brain Development  • Social Interaction for Parent and Child  • Age-Specific for Children’s Developmental Stages  • Classroom Experience in Preparation for Kinder and School

New students are welcome to join at any point in the teaching term, subject to availability.

Enrol today to support your little one’s developing brain, and receive a FREE “At Home” Educational Activities ePack. Visit http://www.MiniMaestros.com.au to find a class near you.

Hypnobirthing Practitioner, Vicki Hobbs, from Hypnobirthing Centre WA shares how women can have a positive, calm and relaxing childbirth, just by incorporating techniques such as self-hypnosis.

For most of their lives, women have been bombarded with negative stories of other women’s birth experiences or what they see on TV or in movies. They have been conditioned to believe that excruciating pain is associated with labour; and because of this, many women fear giving birth. Additionally, if they have already experienced a traumatic birth they generally have fear associated with their next birth.

This fear creates tension of the muscles, which then creates pain that generates more fear, so this creates a cycle that inhibits their body from performing a normal physiological function. The result is exactly what they feared most – long, painful birthing or unnecessary intervention.

Self-hypnosis in childbirth can prepare women for birth without fear or tension, enabling her body to function as it was designed to.

Hypnobirthing techniques include self-hypnosis, relaxation, affirmation, visualisation and breathing exercises that fully prepare and empower a mother to birth confidently, regardless of whether she has chosen to birth in a hospital, at home, a birthing centre or even if she is having an elective caesarean, or even if special circumstances arise unexpectedly.

During hypnobirthing classes, women are taught to release fear using hypnosis and conditioning of their mind. They are taught to release their bodies’ most powerful healing hormones, the endorphins, which are said to be up to two hundred times more powerful than morphine.

Expectant mums learn to trust in themselves and their bodies and they are prepared no matter whatever turn their birthing takes. Hypnobirthing doesn’t set up any unrealistic expectations for birthing. Partners also play an integral role in helping the mum to relax, offering support and positive reinforcement, asking questions of medical caregivers and advocating for whatever decisions they make together.

There are so many benefits to using the hypnobirthing techniques and evidence shows:

  • It creates a more integral role for the birthing partner
  • The first stage of labour can be shortened by several hours
  • Labour fatigue is greatly reduced for the mother
  • Postnatal recovery time is faster
  • It greatly reduces medical intervention
  • There are lower induction and caesarean rates
  • There is substantially less pain relief administered
  • There is a higher success for breastfeeding

 

For more information about hypnobirthing course details, please contact the Hypnobirthing Centre WA on 08 9303 9111 or visit www.hypnobirthingcentrewa.com.au