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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Christmas can be an amazing time shared with family and friends, and yet many of us enter the New Year feeling drained from the holiday period.
Often when a co-worker, friend or family member returns from a vacation or travel, we hear the joke ‘I need a holiday after my holiday’ thrown around. When we are on holiday, the temptation to make the most of every day and minute can be so prevalent that we forget to simply stop and breathe.
The Christmas holidays look different for everyone. Perhaps it involves interstate travel, overdue catchups with extended family, work Christmas parties, friend parties and Christmas shopping and cooking.
And while all or at least some of this is fun, it is also not our usual routine. Several days or weeks like this in a row can overextend our social battery and sometimes it is too late before we realise, we are not just emotionally drained – but physically as well.
Learning to practice self-care and establish a sense of boundaries with yourself and others during this time can save you from post-Christmas burnout and make the holidays an even better time.
Here are some tips for keeping yourself sane, healthy and happy during the holidays.
Establish boundaries with friends and family about money
Giving gifts should be something joyful and leave you with a good feeling. The ritual of picking or making gifts and wrapping up each one with a glass of Prosecco is half the fun. However, financial stress can suck the joy out of this if you feel like you are spending money you don’t have to not disappoint others.
Consider your finances and what you are capable of spending and what you are comfortable with. Then, try expressing this to your friends or family. It can be as simple as saying that you are a bit tight this year so you will just be doing small gifts. Or if you really want to, you can set a specific price to cap gifts at for everyone.
2) Don’t commit to things you don’t want to do
Over-commitment is another huge issue that will drain the joy out of the holiday period for some. As much as the parties, shopping and events can be fun, don’t lose sight of the small moments. Remember to make time for yourself curled up watching Christmas movies at home, cooking, or simply sticking to your regular routine.
It is perfectly ok to say no to things and still make time for yourself. The fear of missing out can be huge and the pressure to show up at events we don’t care for. Either way, remind yourself that saying no is ok.
3) Delegate Tasks Evenly
For some of us, the desire to create an unforgettable Christmas experience for the people we love, and particularly our children, can cause us to bite off more than we can chew. Before you know it, suddenly you are the shopper, the chef, the party planner, the event organiser, and the cleaner.
This can make Christmas feel less like a party and more like hard work.
4) Simplify the Lunch Menu
The same philosophy goes to the Christmas menu – don’t bite off more than you can chew and don’t be afraid to delegate. It should never be one person’s job to spend hours toiling in the kitchen for everyone.
Eating, drinking and cooking with the people we care about should be a wonderful experience. However, feeling stressed and overworked can drain the enjoyment out of this tradition.
It is also important to know that sometimes less is more. Don’t get caught up in the notion that a good Christmas meal has to be a complex or ornate one. Instead, pick a few of your favourite simple dishes that everyone will enjoy and you can be sure it will not diminish the experience.
Christmas is a time to enjoy and celebrate and the end of the season should leave you feeling content – not exhausted. Make small changes during your Christmas routine this year and in years to come to make sure you are truly enjoying – rather than simply making sure everyone around you is enjoying it.
Christmas is the most celebrated holiday of the year, but every country does it differently. Here’s a quick insight into the weird and wonderful Christmas traditions from around the globe.
According to the encyclopaedia Britannica, December 25th (‘mass on Christ’s day) was first recognised as the birth of Jesus in the year 221, but only began to be celebrated widely in the 9th century. Now it is one of the most popular holidays with over 2 billion people considering it to be the most important holiday of the year.
A typical Australian Christmas is hot, with BBQ’s and Carols by Candlelight a staple. Most Australians and Americans open gifts on Christmas day, whereas most places in Europe share presents on Christmas Eve. Here’s a look into other countries around the world and the quirky ways they celebrate Christmas.
Japan – Fried chicken
Japan is less than one percent Christian, but one tradition that has stuck is eating KFC or other fried chicken on Christmas, with more than 4 million people tucking into the finger lickin’ food on this day each year. This unusual tradition began after a successful marketing campaign by KFC in 1974 called Kurisumasi ni wa kentakkii! (Kentucky for Christmas!).
Ukraine – Spiderwebs on Christmas trees
In Ukraine, families decorate their Christmas tree with spiderwebs as a sign of good luck. It is based on old folklore about a family who couldn’t afford ornaments and decorations for their tree, and spiderwebs became a symbol of good fortune on Christmas. It is also tradition to have 12 course feasts, one for every apostle!
Slovakia – Carp catching
In one of the most interesting Christmas traditions, Slovakians catch carp and keep them in a bathtub of freshwater swimming until Christmas Eve and eaten for their dinner feast. The significance of the Carp is in its scales. They are said to bring good luck and fortune into the new year.
Iceland – 13 Yule Lads
Instead of Santa, Icelandic children are visited by the 13 Yule Lads in the 13 nights leading up to Christmas. Children leave their shoes by a window and the Yule trolls leave gifts and sweets for nice boys and girls and rotten potatoes for the misbehaved!
Sweden – Saint Lucia and the giant goat
In Sweden the Christmas celebrations begin on December 13, marked by Saint Lucia’s Day and a festival to celebrate light. In the night parade, one girl is selected as ‘Lucia’, the Christian saint, and leads a procession of people wearing white robes and carrying candles above their head along with star-headed wands.
In the Swedish city of Gävle, a 13-metre-high straw goat is put up in the city centre to mark the start of Advent. The first Yule Goat was erected in 1966 and burnt down on New Year’s Eve. The tradition has lasted but is a big target for vandals, the most recent goat to be incinerated was the 2016 mascot.
Norway – Hiding brooms
The legend in Norway is that witches will arrive on Christmas Eve. Norwegians hide their brooms in the safest room in their house on this night in the hopes of fending off evil and dark spirits the witches might bring.
Venezuela – Rollerblading Santas
In Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela, the streets are closed on Christmas morning so that citizens can roller skate to church services. They are guided along by fireworks and skaters dressed up as Santas and other Christmas related costumes!
Spain – Caga Tió
In the Spanish region of Catalonia, the Caga Tió (Pooping log) or Tió de Nadal (Christmas Log) arrives in early December to mark the Christmas season. This large log is decorated with Christmas hats and facial features and as far as the name goes, it ‘poops’ out presents when children hit it with a stick, singing the traditional Caga Tió song!
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.
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.
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 gonebecause you might be waiting a long time.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
They are sodium and sugar free. Avocados also have a good amount of fibre which will help avoid constipation.
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.
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.
• 3-4 cups of frozen de-seeded watermelon • 3/4 cup of coconut cream
• Half a small lime
Blend and Enjoy!
2. Two Ingredient Mango Sorbet
A two ingredient simple mango sorbet that cools your cravings throughout the summer months.
• 3 cups of frozen mango • 1 can of coconut milk
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.
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
Blend and Enjoy!
4. Chocolate Peanut Butter Nice-cream
Perfect for the chocolate lovers a creamy and fresh consistency through healthy and natural ingredients.
Toppings of choice eg. Banana, berries, yoghurt or peanut butter.
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.
• 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)
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.
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.
• 1 cup oat [lour
• 1/3 cup coconut milk
• 1 cup dates
• 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips • 1 tsp vanilla
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.
• 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
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.
12. Vegan Museli Bars
The perfect lunchbox or after school snack, prepare and store for throughout the week!
• 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
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!
You might think gambling isn’t a kid’s problem, but most children have gambled in some way by the age of 15. Gambling is illegal for young people but is becoming increasingly common. This is why it should become a normal conversation to have early, like talks of drinking, drugs and sex.
A 2020 NSW survey found that 30% of young people aged 12-17 gambled over the last year, and their introduction to gambling began at age 11 or 12. Despite its illegality, a 2018 report by Growing Up In Australia found that one in six adolescents aged 16-17 reported some form of gambling.
There are several risks linked with excessive gambling. These include:
The inability to pay for essential items, by gambling away possessions and funds
Gambling may begin in childhood with games at home, buying lottery tickets or scratch cards, and in adolescence betting on races or sports. The use of video game gambling is increasing, with excessive video gaming recognised as a growing health concern.
Loot box features are becoming more common, where random rewards can be purchased with real money, a sort of lottery to increase playing incentives. Social casino games are often engaged with as an introduction to the world of gambling. A 2016 study found that 54% of Facebook games had gambling content, and 22% alluded to slot machines, showing the need for education on the risks of gambling.
Risk and protective factors
Children are more susceptible to gambling problems due to developmental and cognitive immaturities combined with peer pressure. Some common risk factors associated with higher likelihood of engaging in gambling include:
A 2018 report by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation recognised protective factors that could limit a child’s exposure to gambling problems. These include:
No substance abuse
The ability to regulate emotions
Preventing the problem before it begins
Gambling should be a topic of conversations when children are young enough to understand the implications of betting and using real money. It can become a problem early in adolescence, carrying into adulthood. There are recognised ways to prevent gambling becoming a problem which mostly involve open communication and limiting screen activity.
Explain how gambling works
Children in primary school will generally be ready to learn about gambling. Talk to them about the likelihood of winning compared to other chances. The likelihood of winning the jackpot for Powerball is around 1 in 290 million. However, the chance of finding a four-leaf clover is 1 in every 10,000! They should know that gambling your own money is something to be taken seriously, but having fun is also okay. Encourage sharing your betting activities, so habits that can get out of control are not hidden.
Ensure your family attitudes and activities are a reflection of your stance
Your family’s attitude to gambling can influence your child. The less they are exposed, the less likely they could develop a problem. If you gamble regularly, your child might see this as normal behaviour and want to copy. Gambling language, such as ‘I bet you can’t shoot three baskets in a row, if you do we can go for ice-cream’ can be used to encourage children. There is a fine line between healthy gambling messages and unhealthy habits.
Set limits for screen use and online gambling
Allowing your children to play online video games with gambling content can lead to addictive habits and make them want to play until they keep winning. Do not connect your credit card to gambling-type games, and ensure your children know life is not always about winning. Supporting positive mental health by promoting non-digital interests is important.
If your child is struggling at school or with friends, they might be more susceptible to develop a gambling problem as an escape. Be on the lookout for these problems, such as focusing on sports odds rather than the sport itself, or changes in the amount of money your child has. Encourage more positive extracurricular activities than betting or gambling games. Ask them what games they play and remember to talk to them about how real-life betting works.
Compulsive gambling is a recognised addiction that is treatable, but easier to prevent. It is becoming increasingly common in children and adolescents, so it is important to recognise gambling behaviours to prevent betting from becoming a bigger problem. If you know or suspect anyone to be struggling with gambling behaviours, seek help at Gambler’s Help on 1800 858 858.
First-borns are the ‘family conservatives,’ according to Grose. They tend to be the spokesperson for the family, commonly following in the footsteps of their parents, and hold a regal-like position.
In a family of three or more siblings,second-borns are the charismatic ones, says Grose, as they position themselves within rules set out by first-borns makes them easy-going. While, the youngest tend to challenge the rules and are the risk-takers out of the three types.
“The theoryis still the same but the context is quite different,” he says.
Grose is an expert in his field and helps counsel families through the lens of birth order. His book delves into the human psychology of the theory, analysing and explaining how and why it affects the way children, and consequently adults, behave.
Families are now more consistently having two siblings, rather than three or more, causing second-borns to have characteristics of last-borns.
This change in number of children per family, according to Grose, is known as a “micro-family”.
Gender, special needs or disability, the time spaced between births, twins or a death in the family can have an influence on the traits produced by birth order. As Grose states, these challenges or differences create “family constellations” rather than a numbered sequence which determines their characteristics.
Although “micro-families” are more consistent to today’s type of household, Grose’s definitions of birth order traits are the same as they were in 2003 and are mostly separated into three main categories: first-borns, second or middle-borns and last-borns.
First-borns tend to have traits such as:
• Goal/achievement orientated
• Detail orientated
• Easier to raise/like to please/play by the rules
• Get things done
• Low risk-taker (stick to the things they are good at)
• Tendency for perfectionism
• Anxious/ tendency for neuroticism
• Rule makers/rule keepers/like routines
• Black and white in their thinking
Only children, but especially girls, can be extremely verbal but struggle with conflict resolution and conflict in general, he continues. Make sure they spend lots of time around kids their age and raise pets, as they need way to learn to get along with others, Grose clarifies.
Second-borns/middle children tend to have traits such as:
• Conflict resolution skills
• People Pleaser
• Competitive and always feel they must compete for parental attention
• Most likely to upset/aggravate other siblings
• Flexible/ fitting in with the rules set by the first born still whilst exhibiting abilities different to the first-borns
• Sometimes get lost or forgotten by parents resulting in them feeling forgotten or left out
Last-borns tend to have traits such as:
• Low conflict resolution skills, expects others to make decisions or take responsibility
• Charming and outgoing
• Can be quicker developing to catch up with older siblings
• Manipulative to get what they want
• Feels inferior, others seem superior
• Can be even more successful but also different from the older siblings
• Do not mind taking risks
If there are only two siblings in a family, i.e. “micro families,” middle-borns and last-borns merge traits becoming later-borns, with characteristics from the two types combined.
Gross couples “micro-families” and the blended later-borns with what he calls the “Prince Harry effect”.
Gross continues to define Prince William as someone who follows first-born characteristics such as being conservative and respecting the rules and marrying the “right person.”
In contrast, “Harry is the spare,” Gross says. Prince Harry has last-born characteristics as well as some second born ones. He challenges the rules and expresses his independence, Gross shares.
Although first-borns have leadership traits and are responsible, these traits should not be taken out of their context by saying all first-borns become leaders, Grose says.
Later-borns can be leaders too, but the way they lead, he argues, changes depending on their birth order. Examples of leaders and their order of birth:
First born: Joe Biden
Second-born/Later-borns: Scott Morrison and Jacinta Ardern
Last-born: Donald Trump
Grose recommends pulling back pressure on first-borns and to push more on last-born children.
However, Grose does warn that not everything follows trends, there are always external factors to take into consideration for different behaviours. Nevertheless, understanding birth order helps parents’ parent their children.
In adult relationships, Grose says “opposites attract”, with the best combinations being first-borns and last-borns. He also suggests that parents tend to parent in relation to their own personal sibling position.
For example, later-borns or last-borns, as parents, are inclined to be more relaxed and less about rules, whereas first born parents take the role very seriously.
This year Halloween falls on the last Sunday of the month and for any parents struggling with costume ideas for their children, this article provides some options.
October is well and truly in swing and spooky season is upon us! Coming up with Halloween ideas for our kids can sometimes be a tricky and tedious process. The following is a list of potential possibilities with accompanying visuals for any parents needing assistance.
Halloween fantasy originals such as witches, zombies, ghosts and even skeletons or demons are always a solid choice. There are so many possibilities!
This is an option for the whole family! Dressing up as Disney Pixar’s favourite superheroes, The Incredibles. Violet, Dash, Mr and Mrs Incredible and even Jack-Jack for the babies.
Favourite Pop Star
There are so many different possibilities for this one! Each child can pick their favourite artist and then go from there.
In the same vein, but for our sporty kids, there are so many different team, sport and player options.
A chance for kids to show off their favourite foods. Sushi, fries, fruits or vegetables, tacos or even toast!
These are always a popular choice as there is an option for everyone! Iron Man, Black Widow, the Hulk, Captain Marvel and so many more.
Fairies and Princesses
Always a classic fairies or princesses are a fun, colourful and softer option for Halloween. This is less spooky and more cutesy.
Another one that has so many options – zoo animals, farm animals, wild animals or domestic animals! All the way from cats to lions.
Demon and Angel
This is an option for siblings and friends to show off their true colours! Demons and angels don’t have to be in pairs, there could be a whole group or just one!
The adoption process is not easy, but for some parents adoption it is their last chance at a family.
After 10 years of In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatments, plus two and a half years of waiting in the adoption program, hairdresser Pina and her husband John were finally able to have that chance.
The Melbourne couple, are one of the lucky sets of parents who were able to adopt a baby boy 20 years ago. Both had wanted children since their mid to late-twenties and after exhausting all their options to have their own biological child, they turned to adoption.
The 10 years of IVF treatments had taken their toll on Pina physically and mentally, seeing her future continuously taken away from her, made her feel like the adoption process would be just another form of torture and in some respects it was.
Still, she felt she had nothing to lose and if IVF had taught her anything, it was that she was willing to risk it. Thankfully, luck was on her side and after 13 years of waiting, Pina and John welcomed a baby boy into their family.
Pina explains how the IVF treatments hurt her. “We kept making beautiful embryos, through IVF,” Pina shares.
“For whatever reason, they never stuck to me. However, I think there is a reason in life, why things happen – I was meant to have Damien.”
With the increase in women’s rights and family planning and the resulting drop of children in the adoption system, means there are more parents waiting to adopt than there are children needing to be adopted.
The local adoption requirements are less strict, for example a persons’ orientation or relationship status does not matter but there is a demanding application process which examines a person’s life in minute detail.
The biological parents learn everything about the adopting parents as well has gaining many rights, one of which is the right to visitation.
Even though we would be adopting their children, they still get to see them,” Pina says.
Pina didn’t have a problem with this requirement because she believes it’s important for a child, any person for that matter, to know their heritage to better understand oneself.
To be qualified and placed in the adoption program would take two years for Pina and John. As Pina says, “They wanted to get to know us better than we knew ourselves.”
Answering endless questions fuelled a gruelling and extensive qualification process. It was also yet another period of trying not to get their hopes up in fear of disappointment.
The final step, after 2.5 years of the application process, was an intimidating interview with a panel of lawyers, doctors, psychologists and Department of Human Services (DHS) staff.
Pina says she thought they were successful because of her view of it not mattering to her who or where the child was from, to her a child was a child and if she could supply the home then she would gladly do it.
Two months later, they got the call that they were to be the parents of a 4.5-month-old baby boy, whom they named Damien.
The first time I lay eyes on him, I just thought he was the most beautiful little baby ever,” Pina recalls.
However, their adoption story did not end there, it has always been in the background through Damien’s childhood, adolescence and even into adulthood.
Damien has known he was adopted from an early age. Pina took the approach to start filling him in as soon as he could understand.
Pina strongly wanted Damien never to question where he belonged, she made sure he knew he was a part of this family and nothing could change it.
I told him little bits and pieces and as he got older,” Pina says.
“He knows that he has biological siblings, and yes that was a bit hard, I did not know how he would take it. I suppose growing up he knew nothing other than us; we are his parents- this is his family. He never really questioned it and had no interest in meeting her (his biological mother) or his siblings.”
Although Damien never questioned who he was and where he belonged it was still difficult to understand why his biological mother gave him up, especially when she had children already.
Even though Damien’s biological mother hardly used the visitation rights, as she wanted a clean break, she has been in contact with Damien over the past 20 years.
In some ways it was more detrimental than good for Damien. Each time would raise his expectations, to have some sort of relationship and understanding, only to be rejected all over again.
Damien does not know who his biological father is, although he knows it is where he gets his aboriginal heritage. While having no information on the biological father has been challenging in having real access to the Australian Indigenous community for Damien, both Pina and John made sure he was in touch with his cultural heritage.
“Adoption is a gamble. Any child is a gamble. Whether you adopt or whether you have one biologically. They can grow up to be the best, they can grow up to be the worst they can grow up to be anything,” Pina explains.
It has nothing to do with whether you gave birth or not. In the end it’s all the same.”
Adoption and its process are not for the feint hearted but if fate is on side it’s the best chance at having a family.