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Anxiety, anger and trepidation are all common feelings your children might face when going back to school. Here are some tips to help ease them back into the school routines.

Amidst lockdowns, work from home and isolation requirements the last two school years have been nothing but linear. With a new year emerging from the hopeful end of the tumultuous pandemic brings new precautions, routines and expectations for what school might look like. There are some things you can do to prepare for onsite learning and remember you have been ‘back to school’ before.

Talk to your child about what is happening and set goals

Open conversations will be important, as your children will probably have a lot of questions about the new procedures their school has in place, or why some of their friends or teachers are away. It might be difficult to get your children to like school again after the flexibility of at home learning. Set goals with them they can achieve over the school year, such as packing their bag each day, learning to tie their shoes or to get their pen licence.

Schedule normal family time as something to look forward to for after school. Ask them what they are excited for and what they have missed, whether this is school choir or playing in the playground.

children in classroom art

Be ready for a range of emotions

You might need to prepare for school refusal, your child being extremely upset about going back to school and not wanting to attend classes. Every child will be different, so assess the needs of yours individually.

It is normal for your child to come home from their first day back at school feeling overwhelmed, anxious or even disappointed that school feels different. It could be that their best friend hasn’t come back to school, or that their friendship groups have changed over the break. Talk candidly about friendships and how they evolve over time.

kid reading book

Use a planner and establish routines

Learning from home meant children could work at their own pace, so they might face fatigue and stress upon going back to a full school day. Start now by setting up playdates so that your child will be more prepared for a full classroom setting and the noises and sensory overload that comes with a busy playground.

There is no need to rush back into everything, and it may be hard to see great progress immediately. Ease your child back into extracurricular activities or seeing their friends outside of the classroom. Use lunchboxes for daytime meals at home, and go over drop-off and pick-up routines. Rehearse a normal school day in the week before its return to re-establish familiarity. Do the school shopping together and get a new item such as coloured pens to get your children excited about going back to school.

children and teacher in classroom

Reassure your child it is safe, and believe this yourself

Where you can, give your child stability in processes that you can control. This may be getting them in great hand-washing, mask and sanitisation routines or teaching them about air purification devices that may be present in the classroom to stop the spread of infectious particles.

Assure your child that decisions will be made if it were unsafe to go back to school, and acknowledge that their range of emotions such as excitement, relief, worry, anger and disappointment are all normal. Reinforce good hygiene practices – consider singing their favourite team song when washing their hands.

apple on stack of books

Reach out for support when necessary

Communication with teachers will be crucial to understand how your child is coping coming back into the classroom. After a hands-on home-schooling experience, your child might require more 1:1 support moving forward. Talk to your children about what they are learning, and engage with their curriculum to assist when you can. Parental stress might also be an issue, with fears of the changes to school and work life that come with challenging times.

If you or your child are struggling, visit your local GP, contact 1800 333 497, or visit findapsychologist.org.au.

children studying

School lunches can become repetitive and tedious; the following is a list of 5 easy recipes for our kids to enjoy.

  1. Lunchbox Pasta Salad from BBC Good Food

Ingredients:

  • 400g of pasta
  • 4-5 tablespoons of fresh pesto
  • 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt
  • ½ a juiced lemon
  • 200g of mixed cooked veg (e.g., peas, green beans, courgette)
  • 100g of cherry tomatoes in quarters
  • Choice of 200g of cooked of chicken, ham, prawns, hard-boiled egg or cheese

Method:

  • Cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente. Drain and tip into a bowl. Stir in the pesto and leave to cool.
  • When the pasta is cool, stir through the mayo, yogurt, lemon juice and veg. Spoon into lunchboxes or on to pasta plates and put the cooked chicken or protein of your choice on top. Chill until ready to eat if intended for a packed lunch.

 

  1. Quick Mini Quiches from Kidspot Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 finely chopped spring onions
  • 1 cup of creamed corn
  • 50g of grated tasty cheese

Method:

  • Heat the oven to 180°C and spray 10 holes of a muffin tray with vegetable oil.
  • Mix all the ingredients together and spoon into the pan; fill each muffin cavity about 2/3 full.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until set in the middle.
  • Cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

  1. Cornflake and oat fruit biscuits from Australia’s Best Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of self-rising flour
  • 3/4 cup of rolled oats
  • 1 cup of Cornflakes
  • 150g of butter
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of sultanas
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate bits
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1/2 cup of coconut

Method:

  • in a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
  • Stir in melted butter, vanilla, honey and beaten egg.
  • Drop tablespoons of mixture onto baking trays lined with baking paper. Flatten with a fork.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes at 180C.

 

  1. Kiwi Pops from Kidspot Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 kiwifruits
  • 200 g of dark chocolate
  • Pop sticks

Method:

  • Cover a flat tray with baking paper and place in the fridge.
  • Peel and slice each kiwifruit into 4 thick wedges.
  • Push the pop sticks gently into each slice.
  • Melt chocolate in the microwave in a glass bowl in 30 second bursts, stirring well in between.
  • Dip the kiwi into chocolate and tap off excess gently. Place on cooled tray and return to fridge to set.

 

  1. Energy Bites from BBC Good Food

Ingredients:

  • 100g of pecan
  • 75g of raisin
  • 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed (or a mix – milled flaxseed, almond, Brazil nut or walnut mix)
  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon of agave syrup
  • 50g of desiccated coconut
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter

Method:

  • Put pecans in a food processor and blitz to crumbs. Add raisins, peanut butter, flaxseeds, cocoa powder and agave syrup, then pulse to combine.
  • Shape the mixture into golf ball-sized spheres and coat in the coconut. Put in the fridge to firm for 20 mins.

 

 

 

 

With Christmas just around the corner, you may be looking for a solution to holiday boredom, and getting the kids in the kitchen for some festive cooking is a great way to entertain them.

Here are our top picks for some simple and fun recipes the kids will enjoy making – and you’ll get to enjoy test-tasting some of their creations in the process.

Gingerbread men

ginger
Pictured: Gingerbread biscuits

These biscuits are popular for good reason – they have a unique and festive taste and they’re also surprisingly easy to make. The kids will love the decorating process and it makes for great entertainment that they can enjoy from the kitchen table.

Ingredients:

  1. 115 grams butter
  2. ½ cup golden syrup
  3. ½ cup brown sugar
  4. 1 egg yolk
  5. 2 cups plain flour
  6. 1 tsp. bicarb soda
  7. 2 cups plain flour
  8. 2 tsp. ground ginger
  9. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  10. 1/3 cup icing sugar

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  • Coat paper with cooking oil. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale in colour.
  • Then add in the egg yolk, followed by the syrup.
  • Separately, mix the dry ingredients together: the flour, bicarb soda, cinnamon and ginger.
  • Combine the two mixtures together, then wrap the dough in plastic or parchment paper and leave it in the fridge for an hour.
  • After this, roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to cut out gingerbread man-shaped pieces. Position these onto your lined baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes.
  • For icing: Mix icing sugar with a tablespoon of hot water, then put into a piping bag. Decorate gingerbread men with your desired design.

 

White chocolate snowflakes

White chocolate
Pictured: White chocolate snowflakes on top of biscuits

This is a very simple recipe, requiring only one ingredient, but the results are impressive and sure to thrill children of all ages – and the adults too. They also go well as a decoration for the shortbread biscuits.

Ingredients

  1. White chocolate

Method

  • Set out a tray lined with baking paper.
  • Melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of boiling water.
  • Once the chocolate has melted, put it into a piping bag.
  • To make the snowflake shape either use cookie cutters, baking paper with the pattern cut out, or style your snowflakes freehand.

 

Peppermint hot chocolate

peppermint hot
Pictured: Peppermint hot chocolate

This comforting beverage puts a festive spin on the traditional version, and can be decorated with any number of toppings, from sprinkles to chocolate sauce

Ingredients

  1. 2 tbsp. milk chocolate melts
  2. 1 cup milk
  3. 2 drops peppermint oil
  4. Whipped cream for decoration

Method

  • Put the milk into a saucepan on a low heat.
  • Stir the chocolate melts in.
  • Turn the heat off them add the peppermint oil.
  • Pour it into a mug and top with whipped cream.

 

Christmas shortbread biscuits

christmas biscuit
Pictured: Christmas shortbread biscuits

These classic biscuits are a hallmark for many families at Christmas time – and for good reason. They involve only a few ingredients and there’s a limitless number of shapes to be made, as long as you have the cookie cutters for your desired shape the kids can choose anything from Christmas trees to stars to reindeer.

Ingredients:

  1. 220 grams butter
  2. 1 cup castor sugar
  3. 2 ½ cups plain flour
  4. 1 cup cornflour
  5. 1 tsp. vanilla essence

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a tray with baking paper.
  • Coat the paper with cooking oil. Beat sugar, butter and vanilla until pale in colour.
  • Then add in flour and cornflour. Wrap the dough in plastic or baking paper and leave in the fridge for an hour.
  • Then, roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes.
  • Place them on the baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then decorate as desired.

 

Cheat’s mango trifle

trifle
Pictured: Cheat’s mango trifle

This is a classic summer dessert, but many are put off by the complex steps and elements involved in the recipe. This version is simple and quick – perfect for kids to get creative with.

Ingredients

  1. 2 store-bought sponge cakes
  2. 2 cups custard
  3. 2 cups of thinly sliced mango
  4. 85 grams raspberry jelly powder
  5. 300ml heavy cream
  6. 2 tbsp. raspberry jam

Method

  • Set out a large round bowl and place the first sponge cake in the base.
  • Make raspberry jelly according to package, then pour half over the sponge cake.
  • Then, pour half of the custard on top, followed by half of the mango – arrange it evenly on top of the cake.
  • After this, add the second sponge cake and pour over the rest of the jelly and the rest of the custard.
  • In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. This should take about 5 minutes.
  • Position the cream on top, then drizzle the jam on top and add the other half of the mango for decoration.
  • Leave it in the fridge to chill for an hour.

 

Berry summer mocktail

Berry mocktail
Pictured: Berry summer mocktail

Mocktails are perfect for the entire family – with a touch of elegance and festivity that is sure to impress any guests you have over. It’s also a great opportunity for the kids to get creative with a range of garnishing ideas they come up with, from lemon or lime wedges to mint leaves or even more substantial decorations like coating the glass rim in sugar. Here’s an easy and fun starter recipe.

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup blueberries
  2. 1 cup crushed raspberries
  3. 4 cups lemonade
  4. 8 mint leaves
  5. 1 lemon, neatly sliced

Method

  • To begin, make the berry syrup by putting the berries, sugar and a cup of water into a pot. Bring to the boil then set aside.
  • Set out four glasses – if you need to make more, simple adjust the recipe – and add the crushed raspberries into the bottom of each glass.
  • Mix a mint leaf into each cup, then add in a tablespoon of the blueberry sugar syrup mix. Add half a cup of lemonade to each glass then fill the rest of the glass with crushed ice.
  • For garnishes, add a mint leaf and a lemon slice, along with any other fruits or herbs of choice.

 

Candy cane yoghurt bark

yoghurt bark
Pictured: Candy cane yoghurt bark

This recipe puts a Christmassy twist on the easy yoghurt bark recipe with nostalgic candy canes. This dessert is so simple and safe for kids to make as there’s no hot temperatures involved.

Ingredients

  1. 2 cups plain yoghurt
  2. 2 candy canes, broken into small pieces
  3. 1 cup raspberries
  4. 1 tbsp. honey (or to taste)

Method

  • Line a freezer-safe tray with baking paper and set aside.
  • Mix yogurt and honey in a bowl.
  • Add crushed candy canes and raspberries.
  • Pour the mix onto the tray, then freeze for 3 hours. To serve, break into 10 pieces.

 

Alcohol-free pina colada

Pina Colada
Pictured: Pina Colada

It’s not summer without a pina colada, and although this beverage is known for its alcoholic kick, there’s no reason the kids can’t enjoy this summery drink – minus the rum, of course.

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup frozen pineapple
  2. ½ cup coconut milk
  3. ½ cup ice cubes
  4. ¼ cup pineapple juice
  5. 4 maraschino cherries

Method

  • Place all ingredients in a blender for 1 minute or until thoroughly blended.
  • Pour into 2 glasses – you can double the recipe to make more.
  • Garnish with maraschino cherries, 2 for each glass.

 

These are a few simple cooking ideas to encourage the kids to get creative in the kitchen. Some of these recipes involve using electric equipment, hot water and the oven, and as such they may require parental supervision to ensure safety for these steps.

Melbourne mum Michelle Sheppard speaks openly about the highs and lows of her gender transition, what she’s learned, and how her daughters have been invaluable in helping her through the process.

Michelle Sheppard, known affectionately to many as Mama Mish, came out as transgender eight years ago, at the age of 36. At the time she came out she was Daniel, a husband with two young daughters.

Although, Michelle says, her 13-year marriage was disintegrating. Both she and her wife had become complacent, spending less and less time nourishing their relationship.

Date nights and time spent together had dwindled away; they were just ‘there’ together.

As she started to explore her feelings about being transgender, Michelle realised it was not a place she and her wife could go together.

When Michelle eventually disclosed to her wife that she was trans, it wasn’t well received. While there was fear and hurt on both sides, she understood her wife’s reaction.

“It was very hard for her,” Michelle shares. “Her husband of 13 years who is this tall, 6’3” American who’s very masculine says they want to be a woman. It’s like, ‘What the fuck?’, you know.”

“In the early days, I had to allow my ex to express what she needed to, to get it out of her system. It didn’t matter whether it was aggressive, whether it was her expressing her hurt and her pain, I had to allow her to go through that, to feel that. It wasn’t easy, it was very hard to watch.”

Raised in the conservative US city of St. Louis, Michelle was exposed to well-defined gender roles early, which she says underpinned her decision to marry and start a family.

“Coming from the Bible Belt, gender roles were quite strong there. A man’s a man and he does this role, a woman’s a woman and she does this role. There was pressure to fulfil those particular roles.”

Michelle stuck to these rigid gender roles despite knowing from a young age that she had been born into the wrong body.

“I had known since I was about four. I remember in the playground at school saying things like ‘I should’ve been a girl’. But it wasn’t until near the end of my marriage that I decided I had to dig into this and understand further what was going on.”

The decision to transition was a fraught one, something she wanted desperately to avoid for fear of the repercussions it might have on her wife and children.

“I actually fought against it as much as I could. If I had a pill at the time to make it go away, I probably would’ve taken it. I was worried about how it would impact my kids and my ex.”

Ultimately, Michelle felt she had no choice. She had to live her truth.

Michelle’s overriding concern was how best to navigate the process of transitioning with her daughters in a way that did not negatively affect them. Airlie was about to turn seven, Peyton was three or four.

Michelle’s situation is not an unusual one. Despite the increased visibility of members of the gay, lesbian and bisexual community, the stigma surrounding gender diversity has meant that trans parents are likely to have had children in heterosexual relationships prior to transitioning.

The 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census revealed that just over half (54%) of people who identified as sex and/or gender diverse lived in a family household; of these, 49% were a spouse or partner.

When a parent comes out as trans, it can cause anxiety in the family unit as the person embarks on a quest to resolve that differentiation. Trans parents must navigate multiple, contradictory roles to integrate their parental and gender identities.

As a result, all members of the family, including children, end up transitioning with the trans parent.

Unable to rely on professional supports to assist with her transition, which were unavailable at the time, Michelle instead observed how other trans people approached their transition and how it had affected their familial relationships.

“What I found was that a lot of trans people come out – they’re telling everybody – and they want it to change overnight. For me, I realised that if I go one step too forward, if they’re not able to take those steps with me then I need to take a step back and let them catch up.”

So, Michelle adopted an organic approach, actively including Airlie and Peyton in her transition to make sure they felt safe and comfortable.

“We just let things grow and develop. As my hair was getting longer, I let them play with it and braid it. I’d already, a few years before, done a makeup artistry course and so we would do makeup and paint nails. We were allowing the play to happen, and it became a very normal thing like ‘This is what we do with Daddy’.”

Michelle’s girls continued to call her ‘Dad’, which was their choice. And they did so with an accepting caveat: ‘Well, yeah, you’re Dad but you’re a girl,’ they’d say.

The first time Michelle went out socially dressed as a woman, she put her children in charge of deciding what she should wear.

“I allowed them to be part of that. I said, ‘Let’s pick out some clothes.’ My daughters picked out this leopard print skirt, high boot heels,” she recalls with a laugh. “They did my makeup. This was them playing and being part of it. I slowly just let it happen.”

Sometimes, however, Michelle had to put her transition on hold for the sake of her children.

“No matter how much I was growing, and how much I was finally being myself, if I had to keep the reins on then that’s what I’d have to do. Because they need to be comfortable, and I need to make sure that they’re safe in this. As a parent, that’s what’s most important.”

“I let them call the shots because as a parent you don’t come first, they come first. You have to put your needs and wants, a lot of the time, behind when it comes to kids.”

While societal issues such as transphobia and discrimination can make life difficult for children of trans parents, Michelle says that neither Airlie nor Peyton have experienced negative reactions as a result of her transition.

When asked by school friends what they did on the weekend, her daughters respond with something like ‘I was at Dad’s house, hanging with her’, Michelle explains. When challenged – ‘you mean he, your dad’s a he’ – they correct their friends without a second thought: ‘No, my dad’s a girl.’

Adults have not been as understanding. Michelle blames the negative comments made by other parents to her daughters – ‘How disgusting, they’re tricking you’ or ‘The poor children will never have a father figure’ – on the media’s portrayal of trans people.

Big-screen characters such as Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs (1991), The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s (1975) Frank-N-Furter, and Einhorn in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) have helped to normalise transgender misrepresentation.

Trans representation is no better on television where, according to American media-watch organisation, GLAAD, trans characters were cast as victims at least 40% of the time, as killers or villains in at least 21% of storylines, and the most common profession for transgender characters was sex work.

Because many people don’t personally know a transgender person, they look to the media for information and understanding. Unfortunately, the media tends to portray trans people as deviants, criminals, and murderers, creating the misunderstanding that a lot of adults have in relation to trans people.

Stereotypes are a bit like air: they’re invisible but always present.

“It’s adults who respond the worst because adults subscribe to stereotypes and stereotypes are those over-generalised beliefs about a category of people,” Michelle says, her voice tinged with disappointment. “Stereotypes are a bit like air: they’re invisible but always present.”

Thankfully, children are less likely to subscribe to these stereotypes. Research shows that, over time, children develop a range of strategies to cope with parental role ambiguity, redefining and restructuring the child-parent relationship.

Family continuity, communication, and acceptance positively contribute to how children adapt to a parent’s transition. Often, children are aware of gender-atypical behaviours exhibited by a parent that, in retrospect, align with their parent’s gender identity.

That was certainly the case with Airlie and Peyton, given how young they were when Michelle began her transition. “They’ve never known me the old way,” she says, “this is all they’ve ever known.”

Michelle’s daughters have been crucial to her journey.

She recounts a particularly dark period early in her transition, where her daughters provided the impetus for her to continue.

“There was a point within the first year. It got tough. I couldn’t find work. And as a parent you don’t think so much about yourself or when you’re going to eat but you worry about them.”

“I was really at a low place, and I planned my suicide. I’d checked out. I was going to spend one last weekend with my girls. I went and had a quick nap. I woke up and at the end of my bed there’s my youngest and she’s got one of my wigs on and a little flower in there. She’s got my lipstick. She looks at me and goes, ‘Hi Daddy!’

“I walked into the living room and there’s my eldest, wearing another wig and another little flower and she was drawing me, her mum, her animals. She’s like ‘Here, Daddy, here’s you. Here’s a pretty dress for you. We’re all girls, even our pets are girls!’

“And I’m like, ‘What the fuck am I doing?’ I had this click,” Michelle snaps her fingers. “I had too many motherfuckers to prove wrong! That’s what shifted me. It’s the girls that have kept my tether connected.”

Michelle’s relationship with her children has continued to grow throughout her transition. One of the most interesting transformations for her had to do with changing her thinking around the sexualisation of her body.

“This space here,” she says, gesturing to her breasts, “I had to reprogram my brain because as a man there’s this sexual connotation with them.”

It was her daughters nuzzling into her breasts for comfort that led to Michelle’s change in thinking.

“This is their space, a nurturing space; non-sexual, comforting, warm. It was this weird journey that I went on, and my kids took me on that journey. It was really wholesome, and it really brought me into that woman’s space. My children took me there.”

Because I know who I am and I know my truth, as a woman I can teach my daughters the exact same thing.

“I let my daughters help me develop and grow so as I developed and grew inside, more of me changed and developed,” she continues. “Because I know who I am and I know my truth, as a woman I can teach my daughters the exact same thing.”

Given the open, loving relationship she has with her children, Michelle doesn’t regret her decision to transition. But she also recognises and embraces the masculine part of herself.

I see myself as more two-spirited. I’m Daniel and Michelle. I see Michelle as the evolution of Daniel.

“I’m still Daniel in a lot of ways. I’ve found a happy medium. I see myself as more two-spirited. I’m Daniel and Michelle. I see Michelle as the evolution of Daniel. I can live my life as I am. I think it’s important to hold on to parts of yourself and remember where you come from. If I was never Daniel, I’d never have had Airlie and Peyton.”

Michelle has this advice for other transgender parents: “This is not something to be afraid of. Please don’t subscribe to those stereotypes because they’ll give that sense of self-doubt. What you need to do is surround yourself with visible, accessible role models that are important to you.”

Michelle now enjoys an amicable relationship with her ex-wife. They have come to an informal arrangement as to time spent with their children.

Looking back, comfortable in her truth, Michelle wouldn’t change a thing.

“I couldn’t,” she says. “As shitty as it’s been, it’s also been just as brilliant and just as beautiful.”

Children tend to be more prone to some illnesses than adults because their bodies are still growing and adapting to their environment. Here are some common illnesses experienced by children in Australia, and their symptoms.

  1. Allergies

Allergies are experienced when a child’s immune system reacts to its environment; a foreign substance that does not cause a reaction in the rest of the population enters the body which leads to allergy symptoms. Common allergies include a reaction to peanuts, pollen, bee stings and pet hair.

Allergies are sustained because the immune system produces antibodies that mistake a particular substance as harmful even though it isn’t. The reactions can manifest themselves in inflammation of the skin, sinuses, airways and even the digestive system. Allergies range from mild to serious and can be caused by airborne allergens, certain foods or exposure to chemicals or insects.

Medical assessment is available to children to ascertain what they are allergic to and how best to treat symptoms. Antihistamines are helpful to relieve allergies.

  1. Asthma

When asthma occurs, the muscles in the body’s airways begin to tighten and its lining becomes swollen and inflamed in turn producing mucus. This clogs up the airways causing them to become narrow commonly inhibiting a child’s ability to breathe, and leading to shortness of breath, wheezing and tightness in the chest. This can be triggered by a range of different things such as exercise, the weather, allergy triggers or the common cold.

Asthma is one of the most common diseases for which children visit a doctor – around 1 in every 10 Australian children have asthma. While every child’s asthma is different, it can be managed and treated in a way which allows for a normal healthy life.

  1. Colds

Children can get colds more often than adults, as often as once a month. A cold is a mild infection and can be managed easily. It is generally a seasonal virus caused by the spread of germs in the air through coughs and sneezes. Colds usually affect the nose and throat – symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat, head or muscles aches, coughs and sneezing and even a raised temperature.

Children can have multiple colds per year contracting more colds than adults because they do not yet have the same strength of immunity. There is no cure so management of symptoms in the child provides relief – painkillers, saline drops and maintaining fluids.

  1. Conjunctivitis

This is an infection of the lining of the eyeball and eyelid. Symptoms include red, puffy and itchy eyes. This is sometimes accompanied by yellow sticky discharge. It can be bacterial or viral and occurs when the eye is irritated or as part of a cold.

Conjunctivitis is quite common, especially in children under 5 and can be contagious. Speaking to the child’s doctor is important if symptoms persist for antibiotic eye drops.

  1. Gastroenteritis (gastro)

Many children can contract gastro. Symptoms include diarrhoea, loss of appetite, vomiting and nausea, stomach cramps and fever. It generally lasts a few days and can be contagious, so it is important to keep up hygiene to prevent spreading the illness. It is caused by a virus or bacteria that causes infection inflaming the stomach and intestine walls causing the above symptoms. It is more severe in babies and children.

Gastro is not dangerous and does not necessitate use of medication, but it is important to manage a child’s symptoms – keeping fluids up on the regular to avoid dehydration and eating food even if they don’t feel like it.

  1. Nits

Head lice are small and wingless insects that live in children’s’ hair, feeding on blood in the scalp while nits are the eggs that they lay. The insects attach themselves to a child’s hair and skull to lay eggs, causing itching and scratching.

Lice cannot jump so spread usually occurs when children are in close contact – heads close together, sharing hats or using each other’s hairbrushes.

While lice do not carry any diseases, the itching sensation can be quite intense and bad cases can cause dermatitis, so they need to be removed; anti-lice products to kill the lice or wet-combing treatment to physically pull them out works.

  1. Warts

Warts are small flesh-coloured growth, usually on the arms, hands and legs. They are just harmless skin growths. They can spread to other children when there is skin to skin contact. Picking at a wart can cause more to pop up on the same child.

Half of all warts tend to disappear within two years. There is no need to treat them if they are not causing any problems, but there are ways to remove them if this is what is best for the individual child.

 

 

Despite affecting an estimated 5 to 10% of the population, there’s a learning disability lacking much needed awareness – the lack of which is leaving children to fall behind their peers. This condition is known as dyscalculia.

Dyscalculia is a mathematical learning disability known as a Specific Learning Disability (SpLD) – a group of learning disabilities which usually involve mathematics, spelling, listening, speaking or writing. People with dyscalculia generally have difficulty with arithmetic, numbers and mathematic reasoning. The most common components include:

  • Trouble understanding numbers
  • A delay in learning to count
  • Difficulty connecting numerical symbols with words
  • Losing track when counting and
  • Struggling to recognise patterns

As maths education often involves a series of ‘building blocks’ that become incrementally more complex over the years, children who miss out on some of the foundational ‘blocks’ of maths are put at an intense disadvantage to their peers when it comes to more advanced applications of mathematics.  It’s especially difficult for children with dyscalculia as they may fall behind due to a lack support and recognition from the adults around them.

This can negatively impact their mental health, school marks and their options when it comes to higher education and their future career. Some of the main predictors that can indicate a child potentially has dyscalculia include:

  1. Difficulty adding single digit numbers
  2. Difficulty identifying numbers
  3. Inability to understand the relation numbers have to each other.
  4. Having limited working memory
maths
Photo Credit: Keren Fedida on Unsplash

Dyscalculia is not something to be ‘fixed’ or that children will ‘grow out of’, with studies showing that the condition is generally lifelong and that a mentality of ‘fixing’ learning disabilities has been extremely damaging. However, there are techniques that can be used to manage difficulties, cope with challenges and improve their maths skills. If children lack the proper support, this can be a major source of distress for those with the condition, especially in a school setting.

There are fun ways parents, guardians and teachers can help children improve their mathematic skills. These can include playing counting games together, offering homework help, playing online maths games or apps and using maths memorisation cards. Board games are also an excellent tool for improving mathematic reasoning skills.

games with children
Photo Credit: Adam Winger on Unsplash

With 1 in every 10 Australians suffering from a learning disability, research shows this lack of education is a major inhibitor to effective treatment. Children with conditions like dyscalculia and the more well-known dyslexia, often go under the radar, especially if teachers aren’t adequately trained to look out for the signs.

With the National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy report finding only 5% of the curriculum in Bachelor of Education training courses is dedicated to teaching reading, there is concern that many kids who are struggling may go unnoticed. Some of the most common conditions include:

  • Dyslexia, which is considered the most common learning disability
  • Dysgraphia, which relates to writing and spelling difficulty
  • Dyscalculia
  • Dysphasia, which relates to speech difficulties

Depending on the age of a child with dyscalculia, the signs to look out for can be different, although they may overlap:

Primary school-aged children

During primary school years, the condition may go unnoticed or symptoms may be attributed to another cause. Unfortunately, this puts children in a disadvantaged position with the consequences to continue for years. The signs that a child in primary school is dealing with dyscalculia usually include:

  • Difficulty keeping count in games or activities
  • Difficulty making sense of numerical value
  • Trouble writing numerals legibly
  • Struggling with fractions
primary school
Photo Credit: Michal Parzuchowski on Unsplash

Secondary school-aged children

Although the signs among high-schoolers may include the same as those listed for primary school, these signs are more common to find among secondary school students:

  • Struggling with maths relating to finance, for example understanding how to make change or to take a percentage off of a price
  • Difficult with understanding graphs or other visual representations of numbers
  • Has difficulty understanding measurements for recipes or science experiments
school
Secondary school students may show different signs of dyscalculia

If you’ve noticed these signs in your child or student, the next step is for the child to get a proper assessment and rule out any other possibilities, such as eyesight or hearing impairments. Dyscalculia can be diagnosed by a psychologist who will assess the individual’s unique situation. It is generally required that the child being assessed receives 6 months of intervention involving mathematical assessment and instruction before a diagnosis can be made.

While all children may struggle with maths at some point and will learn at different speeds, they can usually improve with time and practice, but for those with dyscalculia, the problems may remain despite regular and intensive practice. If a diagnosis is made, the psychologist will recommend the best course of action for the child based on their strengths and weaknesses.

 

You can navigate the everyday challenges of motherhood with a little reassurance and advice from one mother to another. As celebrities share their secrets  behind closed doors, with advice on navigating everyday parenting struggles.

While celebrities may share the glamour and fortune of their Hollywood lifestyles, their parenting styles  differ vastly.  With more access than ever into the lives of celebs behind closed doors, we have gathered their best advice on how to tackle the everyday challenges, as well as the everyday rewards of motherhood. There’s no handbook for successful mothering, but from Chrissy Teigen‘s bath time hacks to Beyonce teaching by example, these mothers have a few tips and advice to make everyday a little easier for all.

Chrissy Teigen (35 yo)

Children: Luna Simone Stephens (5yo), Miles Theodore Stephens (3yo)

@chrissyteigen

Chrissy Teigen isn’t one to shy away from the spotlight. Her Twitter escapades in particular, have made her infamous for her controversial and unfiltered nature. However, it’s Chrissy’s relatable and transparent parenting, or as she likes to call it, “de-motivational” speaking that offers lasting impression and inspiration to mothers everywhere. 

A bath time trick shared by Chrissy offers help to eliminate the shock and trouble of cleaning up. Chrissy shared that gently wrapping your baby (swaddled to your chest) and lowering them into the water while you enter as well, will provide the comfort and eliminate the bath time struggle for both mum and bub.

Teigen also shared some of her everyday advice with  SheKnows stating,

It’s important for us to come together and understand that there’s no perfect way to do something, There’s a million different ways to raise a child, and that’s fine.”

 

Chrissy Twitter Share:

8:00 PM · Jun 27, 2018·Twitter for iPhone

“only I can understand my kid. she’s like “BDIDKDKODKDHJXUDHEJSLOSJDHDUSJMSOZUZUSJSIXOJ”  and I’m like “ok I will get you a piece of sausage in just a minute”

 

Reese Witherspoon (45 yo)

Children: Ava Elizabeth Philippe (22yo), Tennessee James Toth (9yo), Deacon Reese Philippe (17yo)

@reesewitherspoon

Reese Witherspoon knows there’s no such thing as perfection in motherhood, and all mothers can share in the reassurance that not even Hollywood’s leading ladies always know how to navigate the unknown.

She states, “No one’s really doing it perfectly. I think you love your kids with your whole heart, and you do the best you possibly can.”

Reese places emphasis on finding a strong support network stating, “I depend on the kindness and support of my mom friends…It’s really about your support system, your family structure.”

 

Beyonce (40 yo)

Children: Blue Ivy Carter (9yo), Rumi Carter (4yo), Sir Carter (4yo)

@beyonce

Fierce and bold, Beyonce utilises her distinctive persona in her everyday parenting practices. Offering some of the most powerful advice on parenting in the contemporary age she states,

I let my children know that they are never too young to contribute to changing the world. I never underestimate their thoughts and feelings, and I check in with them to understand how this is affecting them.”

Helping her children feel empowered to change the world and modelling that same behaviour herself.

 

Blake Lively (34 yo)

Children: James Reynolds (6yo), Inez Reynolds (5yo), Betty Reynolds (12 months)

@blakelively

One of Hollywood’s Golden Couples, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds are renowned for their reasonably confidential parenting style.  Lively however, took to instagram to share advice on the importance of CPR for parents stating, “All mamas and daddies out there—I can’t recommend this enough. I took a CPR class with a focus on babies and toddlers, for those of you who haven’t done it, you will love it. It’s so helpful by giving you knowledge, tools, and some peace of mind.”

However, even when prepared, Lively knows to expect the unexpected. She states in an interview with The Los Angeles Times,

Having a baby is just living in the constant unexpected. You never know when you’re gonna get crapped on or when you’re gonna get a big smile or when that smile immediately turns into hysterics.”

 

Angelina Jolie (46  yo)

Children: Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt (20yo) adopted in 2002, Pax Thien Jolie-Pitt (17yo) adopted 2007, Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt (16yo) adopted 2005, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt (15yo), Knox Léon and Vivienne Marcheline Jolie-Pitt (13yo)

@angelinajolie

Although no longer married,  Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were one of the most iconic Hollywood couples of the past two decades. Pitt and Jolie have six kids, three biological children and three who are adopted.

Jolie shares tips about parenting throughout the pandemic stating, “Like most parents, I focus on staying calm so my children don’t feel anxiety from me on top of all the worrying about.”

Jolie shares her worldly wisdom and advice as a reminder to mothers that even in the chaos of life, it’s the simple moments and time spent with your children that matter most. Stating,

Sometimes, when I want to take on the world, I try to remember that it’s just as important to sit down and ask my son how he’s feeling or talk to him about life.”

 

Dianne Keaton (75 yo)

Children: Dexter Keaton (26yo) adopted in 1996,  Duke Keaton (21yo) adopted in 2001

@diane_keaton

Motherhood comes in all different shapes, sizes and ages.  Dianne Keaton is just one example, at the age of 50 adopting her daughter Dexter, and five years later adopting her son Duke.

The now 75 year old, is renowned for her matriarch roles on the big screen, and that ripples into her everyday lifestyle. She states, “I had a career and I came to motherhood late and am not married and have never had such a trusting relationship with a man – and trust is where the real power of love comes from. A sense of freedom is something that, happily, comes with age and life experience.”

Motherhood has completely changed me. It’s just about like the most completely humbling experience that I’ve ever had. I think that it puts you in your place because it really forces you to address the issues that you claim to believe in and if you can’t stand up to those principles when you’re raising a child, forget it.”

Jlo (52 yo)

Children: Emme Maribel Muñiz (13yo), Maximilian David Muñiz (13yo)

@jlo

Multi-talented and determined mother of two, Jennifer Lopez shares on her socials it was her mother that ingrained in her the power of believing in yourself.  She took to instagram on Mothers Day stating, “It was my mom who instilled in us at a very young age that we could do anything. This was something that has really stayed with me. Being a mom is my greatest joy, and today I think about my mommy and all the moms out there. This is your day, and I hope you are surrounded by love, gratitude and appreciation… enjoy it!”

Jlo also knows that it’s experience that drives wisdom stating,

You cannot imagine what it’s like to be a mom until you are a mom. I used to give my friends who have kids advice all the time, and they would look at me like I had three heads. And then, when I had you two, the minute I had you two, I literally apologized to all my friends.”

 

Nicole Kidman (54 yo)

Children: Isabella Jane Cruise (28yo), Connor Cruise (26yo), Suri Cruise (15yo), Sunday Rose Kidman Urban (13yo)

@nicolekidman

Australian golden girl, Nicole Kidman knows that motherhood can be a struggle of instinct and experience.

She states,

My instinct is to protect my children from pain. But adversity is often the thing that gives us character and backbone. It’s always been a struggle for me to back off and let my children go through difficult experiences.”

In an interview with Vanity Fair, the 54-year-old states a rule that has made her “unpopular” with Sunday Rose, 10  and Faith Margaret, eight, “They don’t have a phone and I don’t allow them to have an Instagram,” she told the magazine. “I try to keep some sort of boundaries.”  Kidman also states she raises her children in a very religious household.

 

Kate Hudson (42 yo)

Children: Ryder Robinson (17 yo),Bingham Hawn Bellamy (10 yo), Rani Rose Hudson Fujikawa (2 yo) 

@katehudson

Following in her mothers footsteps, Kate Hudson rose to the big screen acting predominantly in rom-coms.  However, raised by the free-spirited Goldie Hawn, many are surprised by Kate’s motherhood method of discipline. 

In an interview with PEOPLE, she states,“Where I am strict is that there are certain rules that I put down. I don’t negotiate with my kids about certain things.” 

She states, “What I realised about that is that when you set that standard in your home, you don’t end up in long-winded negotiations. When I say no, it’s done.” Adding that she is “very, very strict about manners”.  For Kate there is no tolerance whatsoever for untruths. “I have no tolerance for lying,” she shares. “The tiny lies or the big ones.” 

And while Kate’s no nonsense approach might seem tough, that it doesn’t mean she doesn’t let her kids make mistakes. “When it comes to your feelings or emotions … I’m very open, I give my children a lot of space to make mistakes.” 

“Parenting shifts as your kids shift. The best thing for me has been throwing any kind of parenting manual out of the window.”

 

Kim Kardashian (41 yo)

Children: North West (8yo), Saint West (5yo), Chicago West (3yo), Psalm West (2yo)

@kimkardashian

American personality, socialite, model and businesswoman Kim Kardashian is not shy of the public eye. Sharing her family life on screen and now her family through her socials Kim’s open lifestyle includes sharing her greatest attributions of motherhood.

Kim’s breastfeeding hack offers mums a solution to sibling rivalry. When her son Saint was born, Kim explains her daughter North was extremely jealous explaining on the Ellen Degeneres show she would slip a milk box with straw into her bra for North whilst breastfeeding Saint.

The Keeping Up with the Kardashians star shares she relies and recommends on leaning on your family, stating she often turns to her four sisters for support.

“I have such unconditional love for my kids. No matter what, I will always love them and support them in anything they choose to do in life. My family was so close growing up; now that I’m a mom, I understand the bond my mom and dad felt with us,”

Anxious Mums author, Dr Jodi Richardson, offers advice for mothers and children experiencing anxiety.

One in four people will experience anxiety within their lifetime, making it the most prevalent mental health condition in Australia. Statistics determine it is twice as common in women, with one in three, compared with one in five men, diagnosed on average.

Having lived and studied anxiety, Dr Jodi Richardson  is an expert in her field, with more than 25 years of practice. In addition to her professional background, it was ultimately her personal experiences and journey in becoming a mother that shaped the work she is passionate about. 

Jodi’s books, Anxious Kids; How Children Can Turn Their Anxiety Into Resilience,  co-written with Michael Grose (2019), and her latest release, Anxious Mums; How Mums Can Turn Their Anxiety Into Strength (2020), offer parents, in particular mothers, advice on how to manage and minimalise anxiety, so they can maximise their potential, elevate their health and maintain their wellbeing.

The more I learned about anxiety, the more important it was to share what I was learning.”

Jodi’s first-hand experiences have inspired her work today, stating, “The more I learned about anxiety, the more important it was to share what I was learning.”

Jodi’s first signs of experiencing anxiety appeared at the early age of four. Her first symptoms began in prep, experiencing an upset stomach each day. Her class of 52 students, managed by two teachers, was stressful enough, on top of her everyday battles. Jodi recalls, “There was a lot of yelling and it wasn’t a very relaxing or peaceful environment, it obviously triggered anxiety in me, I have a genetic predisposition towards it, as it runs in my family.”

Twenty years later, the death of a family member triggered a major clinical depression for Jodi. She began seeking treatment however, it was in finding an amazing psychologist, that helped her to identify she was battling an underlying anxiety disorder. Jodi discloses, “It was recognised that I had undiagnosed anxiety. I didn’t really know that what I had experienced all my life up until that point had been any sort of disorder, that was just my temperament and personality.” 

After many years of seeing her psychologist, Jodi eventually weaned off her medication and managed her anxiety with exercise and meditation. Offering advice on finding the right psychologist Jodi states, “For me it was my third that was the right fit. I really encourage anyone if the psychologist you were referred to doesn’t feel like the right fit, then they’re not and it’s time to go back to your GP. Having the right professional that you’re talking to and having a good relationship with is really important for the therapeutic relationship.”

Jodi highlights the importance of prioritising mental wellbeing, affirming, “The more we can open up and talk about our journeys, the more we encourage other people to do the same and normalise the experience.”

Anxious Mums came into fruition after a mum in the audience of one of Jodi’s speaking engagements emailed Jodi’s publisher stating, “Jodi has to write a book, all mums have to hear what she has to say.”

Everyday efforts new mothers face, consign extra pressure on wellbeing and showcase the need to counteract anxiety before it subordinates everyday lifestyles. While Jodi’s children are now early adolescents, she reflects upon the early stages of new motherhood, “Ultimately when I became a mum with all the extra uncertainty and responsibility, as well as lack of sleep, my mental health really declined to a point where I ended up deciding to take medication, which was ultimately life changing.”

When I became a mum with all the extra uncertainty and responsibility, as well as lack of sleep, my mental health really declined to a point where I ended up deciding to take medication, which was ultimately life changing.”

New mothers experience heightened anxiety as they approach multiple challenges of parenthood; from conceiving, through the journey of pregnancy, birth and perpetually, thereafter. Becoming a mother provided Jodi with insight into new challenges, in particular struggles with breastfeeding and lack of sleep. She shares, “It’s something that we don’t have much control over, particularly as new parents. We just kind of get used to operating on a lot less sleep and it doesn’t serve us well in terms of our mental health, particularly if there have been challenges in the past or a pre-existing disorder.

Research suggests women’s brains process stress differently to men, with testosterone also said to be somewhat protective against anxiety. This, along with different coping mechanisms of women, highlight statistic disparity between gender. For early mothers in particular, it is a time of immense change, as their everyday lives are turned upside down. New schedules, accountability and hormonal changes increase the likelihood of anxiety and depression, which are also commonly triggered in the postpartum period.

Jodi elaborates on important hormonal timeframes that shift women’s mental wellbeing stating, “Anxiety is heightened during times of hormonal changes as well as in the key points in our reproductive lives. Through having children and menopause and alike. It’s more disabling in that it impacts our lives in different ways to men, particularly I think, because we’re usually the main carers. There are stay at home dads, but predominantly that’s what women tend to do.”

Normal anxiety is infrequent and settles down, but when someone suffers a disorder, they can have incessant worry and avoidance. This can include anxiety around not wanting to participate, attend a function, for example, try something new or step up in a work role. Anxiety disorders can be crippling, leaving sufferers feeling as though they are unable to live their best life.

There’s no harm in going and asking the question because the gap between the first symptoms of anxiety and seeking help is still eight years in Australia.”

There are many telling physical signs and symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Some indicative signs to look out for include a racing heart, trembling, sick stomach, frequent perspiration and dizziness that accompanies shortness of breath. Jodi says, “If you think that your anxiety might be a problem, that’s absolutely the time to go and make an appointment to see your GP. There’s no harm in going and asking the question because the gap between the first symptoms of anxiety and seeking help is still eight years in Australia.”

“Half of all mental illness comes on by around the ages of fourteen. Most adults who have anxiety can track it back to when they were teenagers or children.”

Just as anxiety is common for mothers, it’s also important to observe and be aware of in children. Jodi reveals, “For parents it’s important to know that half of all mental illness comes on by around the age of fourteen. Most adults who have anxiety can track it back to when they were teenagers or children. 75 percent of all mental illness comes on by about the age of 25, with one in seven children [4-17 years old] being diagnosed with a mental illness, and half of those have anxiety.”

“75 percent of all mental illness comes on by about the age of 25, with one in seven children [4-17 years old] being diagnosed with a mental illness, and half of those have anxiety

These pre-covid statistics highlight significant numbers of anxiety in adolescents. However, with the current climate prevalent of immense loss of control, many are facing new heightened emotions and increased numbers of anxiety. Early research coming out of Monash University is showcasing significant growth of adults with depression and anxiety, including statistics of children in the early ages of one to five experiencing symptoms.

Similar research has given light to evidence portraying children mirroring stress responses of their parents. Jodi further explains, “They can pick up the changes in our own heart rate, in our stress response — we are told that as new mums aren’t we, that our babies can pick up on how we are feeling but the science proves that to be true as well.” Parenting is a consequential way in which children receive cognitive biases and behaviours, “Just the tone of our voice, the expressions on our face, the way that we speak, what we say, certainly can be picked up on by kids and mirrored back.”

Noticing these early signs in your children is essential to alleviating anxiety before it progresses, Jodi lists some signs to be aware of, “Avoidance is a hallmark sign of anxiety — I don’t want to go, I don’t want to participate, I don’t want to deliver that oral presentation in class, I don’t want to go to camp and so watching out for that sort of thing. Other signs and symptoms to look out for include big emotions. If your children seem more teary or angry than usual, are feeling worried or avoidant, can’t concentrate, having trouble remembering or difficulty sleeping.” It’s important to be aware and help counteract anxiety when you see it. 

Jodi offers parents, who are struggling coping with their children’s anxiety some advice stating, “It’s an age old question, how much do we push and when do we hold back; I think as parents we are constantly answering that question. We don’t always get it right, but the thing about avoidance is it only makes anxiety worse. So for the child who is anxious about going to school, the more they stay home, the harder it will be to front up on another day. Sometimes, we need to nudge them forward in small steps and that’s a technique called step-laddering. It’s about making a step in that direction.”

Jodi encourages parents to observe their children’s symptoms and to never feel ashamed to go see a GP.  She urges, “Sometimes we get that reassurance from a GP, it might just be developmental, but the sooner kids are getting the help they need, the better, and it’s the same for us as mums.”

There are simple everyday steps we can take to combat anxiety. When someone is anxious a threat has been detected within the brain, this part of the brain is called the amygdala, one of the most powerful strategies for managing this stress detection is regulant meditation. 

Jodi explains, “What meditation does is it brings our attention to the present, so we are paying attention to what’s happening in the moment.” Meditation recognises deliberate breathing with a focus equally on exhalation as inhalation, proven to be calming to the anxious brain, using the relaxation response. 

Commending the importance of the practice and its effect on functioning, Jodi describes, “Meditation is more that sort of seated and formal practice of focusing the breath. What we know this will do over time, is it reduces the size and sensitivity of the amygdala, so it’s less sensitive to threat which reduces long-term anxiety. For the average person, our minds wander around 50 percent of the time, when we can bring our attention back to the present we are much more likely to be able to settle our anxiety, and feel happier as well.”

Another everyday strategy for combatting anxiety is exercise. Jodi shares her experience and routine stating, “Exercise is something I’ve used my whole life to calm my anxiety. Even now, I do cross-fit, karate and walks every week. I think naturally I was managing my health and wellbeing without really understanding why, I just knew that it made me feel good.”

The fight or flight response tied to anxiety powers us up to fight physically to save our lives or to flee. So often, when someone is anxious, they are powered up in this way, but not doing anything about it. Jodi shares, “When we move, it’s the natural end to the fight or flight response. Not only that, when we exercise we release serotonin, which is a feel good neural transmitter, among with gamma aminobutyric acid, a neural transmitter that puts the breaks on our anxiety response helping to calm us down.” 

Jodi’s practice in physiology, working with clients using exercise to help them with their mental and physical health has led her to her understandings, “One of the things I can 100 percent tell you is that it’s best not to wait until you feel motivated — the motivation will come once you get into the routine of it.

Dr Jodi Richardson, anxiety & wellbeing speaker, bestselling author & consultant

I’d just like to say, anxiety isn’t something we need to get rid of to really be able to thrive, to do what we need to do and accomplish what’s important to us. But I really encourage to anyone, that there are lots of ways to dial it back. I think it’s very easy for us to wait until we feel 100 percent to do something, but doing anything meaningful is hard.

So don’t wait until your anxiety is gone because you might be waiting a long time.”

 

 

 

 

Anxious Kids Penguin Books Australia, Author: Michael Grose, Dr Jodi Richardson RRP: $34.99 Anxious Mums Penguin Books Australia , Author: Dr Jodi Richardson  RRP: $34.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help now, call triple zero (000)

Lifeline:  Provides 24-hour crisis counselling, support groups and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14, text on 0477 13 11 14 (12pm to midnight AEST) or chat online.

Beyond Blue: Aims to increase awareness of depression and anxiety and reduce stigma. Call 1300 22 4636, 24 hours/7 days a week, chat online or email.

Kids Helpline: : Is Australia’s only free 24/7 confidential and private counselling service specifically for children and young people aged 5 – 25. Call 1800 55 1800

To learn more about Dr Jodi Richardson’s work, watch the full interview below or on our YouTube channel.

 

 

It’s tropical season and coming into the summer months is the best time to look at new fruits to introduce into your diet. These are the most popular fruits of this season and their well-documented benefits for children.

PINEAPPLE

It’s November and pineapples are finally in season! To tell if they are ripe, sniff the stem and if it smells sweet, it is the one! Pineapples are rich in Vitamin C, B-6 and magnesium. Since they have a high content of Vitamin C, they are an essential tropical fruit that will help boost your baby’s immune health and help their body absorb iron from other foods.

If you are introducing pineapple to your child’s diet for the first time, try it in small doses to see how their system reacts. Pineapples can be introduced to your baby’s diet from six months old. They work well as a basic mash or even a puree, added to yoghurt or cereal.

Pineapple has been known to:

  • Improve hydration. Pineapples have 85 grams of water per 100 grams. This high level of water content not only makes pineapple a juicy fruit but helps to fight dehydration.
  • Regulate bowel movement. Pineapple also contains a good amount of fibre to help support healthy bowels and keep constipation at bay.
  • Help support a healthy heart. Pineapples contain bromelain, enzymes that have cardioprotective benefits when consumed regularly. Bromelain also has analgesic properties that can help relieve pain or control inflammation.

field of pineapples

MANGO

Talking tropical fruits that are in season, mangoes are one of the best fun fruits your child can consume! Named ‘king of fruits’, the mango is recognised as the most popular fruit in the world. When picking the best mango, squeeze them lightly to judge ripeness rather than looking by colour. If they give a little, they will be a good pick.

They are a good texture for babies. Good for babies who might be teething, as they can be frozen and soothe sore gums. As mangoes are full of fibre and digestive enzymes, they will help break down foods and prevent constipation.

There are various benefits for introducing mangoes into your child’s diet.  These include:

  • Promoting good health. Mangoes contain colourful phytonutrients, compounds that help maintain good health. Their high levels of fibre also promote a healthy gut.
  • Improving eyesight. Due to a high level of vitamin A, mangoes help foster good vision as this nutrient prevents multiple eye related issues.
  • Great skin. Vitamins A and C present in mangoes have been shown to improve complexion and moisturise the skin.
  • Improving memory. Glutamine acid is present in mangoes, an amino acid that assists in brain development and proper functioning.

mangoes and mango smoothie

PAPAYA

Papayas are often thought of as an exotic or rare fruit but have been used for centuries, particularly to treat worm infections. You will find them next to mangoes and pineapples when in season.  Papayas should be introduced in small amounts when your child is around seven to eight months old. Caution should be taken when introducing papaya if your child is prone to allergies, so ensure to watch for side effects such as irritations or stomach aches.

There are different benefits associated with papayas, including:

  • Healing properties. Due to a high content of vitamin A, papaya pulp offers medicinal properties that may reduce the visibility and burning sensation of skin sores and rashes.
  • Preventing macular degeneration. Papayas contain zeaxanthin, a carotenoid which helps protect the eyes from light-induced damage and oxidation. This can help to combat the harsh blue light rays that emanate from devices.
  • Preventing allergies. Papayas contain a high level of papain, a proteolytic enzyme which can help reduce pain and swelling, and boost overall health.

papayas and pomegranates

AVOCADO

Since smashed avo has become a trend, avocados have been at the forefront of the fruit and veg section. This is a trend you might want to buy into, because the nutritional value of the Hass is worth introducing to your child’s diet. Avocados are easy to prepare, making a good guacamole or addition to a salad and will ripen quickly in the fruit bowl.

woman with open avocado

There are various benefits for including avocado in your child’s diet, and it makes a great first food due to its texture and versatility.  Some other benefits of avocados include:

PASSIONFRUIT

Passionfruit is a healthy option for babies when ripe. It is a good alternative to unhealthier desserts as it is still sweet and tart and goes well in yoghurts or smoothies. They also hold a low GI value, meaning they will not cause a steep increase in blood sugar after eating.

There are several benefits of including this tropical fruit in your diet.  The most notable include:

  • Good bone health. Due to a high level of minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and phosphorus, eating passion fruits may improve bone strength and density. A high content of iron also helps prevent Anaemia.
  • Supporting the immune system. Passion fruits are rich in antioxidants such as carotenoids and cryptoxanthin and vitamins A and C. The seeds in particular contain lots of these antioxidants which can promote positive heart health.
  • Anti-carcinogenic properties. The antioxidants present in passion fruits help to eliminate free radicals, which mutate the DNA of healthy cells into cancerous cells.
  • Reducing anxiety and stress. High levels of magnesium present in passion fruits have been shown to minimise triggers of anxiety and stress.

passion fruits

Twelve simple and healthy dessert snacks that have minimal preparation, quick-step methods and nutritional benefits.

Summer is just around the corner, and for anyone who has been searching for a sweet treat that will hit the spot but remain guilt-free these twelve simple and healthy dessert snack recipes are ready for your everyday repertoire. From pancakes, to peanut butter oats to sorbet and homemade nice-cream there is something for the whole family to enjoy. 

1. Easy Watermelon Sorbet

For those who are searching for something fresh but also like to indulge in the sweeter side, watermelon sorbet is the way.

Ingredients

• 3-4 cups of frozen de-seeded watermelon • 3/4 cup of coconut cream
• Half a small lime

Method

Blend and Enjoy!

2. Two Ingredient Mango Sorbet

A two ingredient simple mango sorbet that cools your cravings throughout the summer months.

Ingredients

• 3 cups of frozen mango • 1 can of coconut milk

Method

Blend and Enjoy!

3. Creamy Coconut Nice-Cream

Summer calls for creamy coconut goodness, nice-cream can be eaten as made or poured into ice cream frozen moulds ready to enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 frozen bananas (depending on the desired serving size)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coconut cream

Method

Blend and Enjoy!

4. Chocolate Peanut Butter Nice-cream

Perfect for the chocolate lovers a creamy and fresh consistency through healthy and natural ingredients.

Ingredients

• 4 frozen bananas
• 3 tbsp natural peanut butter • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
• 1/4 cup almond milk

Method

Blend and Enjoy!

5. Very Berry Nice-Cream

An easy and fresh berry combination perfect for a summer afternoon by the pool.

Ingredients

• 2 Frozen bananas
• 1 cup frozen berries
• 2 tbsp almond milk
• 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Blend and Enjoy!

6. Chia Pudding

If you’ve been searching for an overnight snack option for those who love to healthy meal prep a chia pudding is a simple recipe that you can change up toppings daily.

Ingredients

• 1/4 cup chia seeds
• 1/2 cup of almond or coconut milk

Toppings of choice eg. Banana, Honey, Greek yoghurt

Method

Combine and refrigerate overnight. In the morning the chia seeds will have expanded and softened, ready to top with topping of choice!


7. Overnight Chocolate Oats

A solution for all of the chocolate lovers big and small, chocolate oats are a satisfying overnight breakfast or a ready-to-eat chocolate snack conquering cravings.

Ingredients

• 1 tbsp cocoa powder
• 50-100 grams oats
• 150 ml almond milk
• 1 tbsp natural peanut butter

Toppings of choice eg. Banana, berries, yoghurt or peanut butter.

Method

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate overnight. Top with toppings of choice and enjoy!

8. Baked Snickers Oats

Offering warm baked goodness of oats, with a melt-in-your mouth sensation the kids (and parents) will love as an after school treat or dessert.

Ingredients

• 1 cup of oats
• 1 tbsp cocoa powder
• 1 cup almond milk
• 1 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
• Dark chocolate chips (optional)

Method

Combine ingredients and blend together.
Transfer the blended mixture to a small baking dish.
Top with dark chocolate chips (optional) and a small
tsp of natural peanut butter in the middle before baking for 15 mins. The peanut butter will melt into the chocolate oats and be ready to enjoy!

9.Banana and Egg Pancake

Sunday morning breakfast just got a whole lot healthier, nutritious and delicious these pancakes are a simple revision to your classic repertoire.

Ingredients

• 1-2 mashed banana
• 2 eggs
• 1 tbsp Chia seeds / LSA Mix (Optional)

Toppings of choice eg. Mixed Berries, Greek Yoghurt, Honey, Peanut Butter.

Method

Mash the banana and combine in a bowl with eggs. Optional to add chia seeds or LSA mix-ins. Whisk until fully combined. Cook in a saucepan for roughly 5 minutes each side [lipping like a regular pancake until cooked on both sides!

Top with toppings of choice. Enjoy!

10. Cookie Dough

For all those cookie loving kids (big kids included) this recipe is a simple way to satisfy your cravings.

Ingredients

• 1 cup oat [lour
• 1/3 cup coconut milk
• 1 cup dates
• 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips • 1 tsp vanilla

Method

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate!

11. Peanut Butter and Date Cookies

The cookies that will transform your baking, a gluten and guilt free alternative, these can also be a great Christmas cookie.

Ingredients

• 1/2 cup natural peanut butter • 1/4 cup maple syrup
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups almond meal

• 1/2 cup chopped dates • 1 tsp baking soda

Method

Mix wet ingredients; peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla in one bowl. Mix dry ingredients; almond meal and baking soda in a seperate bowl. Combine both mixes and fold in the dates to mixture.
Seperate and roll mixture into bowls, [latten and bake for 10 minutes. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

12. Vegan Museli Bars

The perfect lunchbox or after school snack, prepare and store for throughout the week!

Ingredients

• 1 mashed ripe banana
• 1/4 cup maple syrup
• 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
• 1/4 cup loosely chopped almonds • 1/4 cup loosely chopped walnuts • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
• 1/4 cup gogi berries

Method

Roast the nuts and oats in the oven for 15 minutes.
In a saucepan combine peanut butter, mashed banana and maple syrup and stir until a melted consistency.
When the oats and nuts are lightly toasted combine them to the saucepan mixture add gogi berries and mix together in a bowl.
Pour the mixture and press down with a spatula into a baking dish lined with paper. Put some more baking paper onto of mix and use the spatula to press down tightly.

Place in fridge for about 1 hour to set.
Take the paper off mixture and cut into bars and Enjoy!