Posts in Family & Home

HEALTH: Teaching ALL kids about food allergies

26 May – 1 June is Food Allergy Week, and it is a timely reminder that we need to teach ALL children about food allergies, whether they have an allergy or not. 

Schools and day care centres are nut and egg free. However, without realising it, a parent may accidentally include foods in their child’s lunch box – something that could be highly dangerous to children with allergies.

Parents can teach their children about food allergies by: 

  • talking them through the different types of foods other kids are allergic to.
  • explaining the reactions these foods may cause.
  • teaching them what to do and who to tell if one of their friends has an allergic reaction to a food.
  • reminding their child not to share their food at school.
  • reminding their child to wash their hands after every meal.
  • teaching their child to be inclusive and not to isolate someone for being different.

For parents, it is a good idea to ask a parent of a child with allergies as many questions as they can to get a better understanding of food allergies.

Australia has one of the highest rates of food allergies in the developed world and the incidence is increasing at an alarming rate.

  1. One in 10 babies born in Australia today will develop a potentially life-threatening food allergy.
  2. Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia estimates that there are more than 650,000 Australians with diagnosed food allergy – which doesn’t account for the many who are undiagnosed.
  3. There has been a rapid increase of food allergy over the last 10–15 years. Anaphylactic reactions now account for 1 in every 500 hospital admissions for children aged 5-14.

Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) is calling on Australians to join together for one week in May (13-19 May) to Be Aware. Show You Care. The week aims to help raise community understanding of food allergy and much-needed funding.

Be aware

“Allergic reactions to food can rapidly become life threatening, so education on daily management, prevention of a reaction and emergency treatment is crucial,” said A&AA CEO Maria. 

“It is essential for Australians to know the signs and symptoms of when a food allergy occurs. Food Allergy Week is about helping keep people with food allergy safe by making Australians allergy aware.”

Show you care

1. Donate at foodallergyaware.com.au or hold a fundraiser to help raise much needed funds for food allergy research and education.

2. Educate yourself and others by sharing Food Allergy Week content with friends, family and through social media channels by using the hashtag #allergyaware

For further information, please visit www.foodallergyaware.com.au.

Originally published on 23 May 2019 on Kids on the Coast magazine

WELLBEING: Extreme heat conditions: Preparing our kids

This heat is affecting both children and adults. My 10-year-old daughter came home from school last week and told me during and after practising for the school cross country she had a throbbing headache and felt quite ill. She continued to tell me this was the most intense headache she had ever experienced. It sounded like a migraine. For the rest of the afternoon, I made sure she had kept hydrated and went to sleep with a bottle of water next to her bed. She also had a cool shower to cool down which seemed to work a treat!

She was fine the next day, however, I gave her a few things to be aware of.

  • Drink water throughout the day, because in this weather we can lose a lot through sweat. Drinking water before outdoor physical activity is especially important.
  • Wear a hat at all time when outdoors, it may not look cool, or it may be annoying but it will definitely help especially if you’re in direct sunlight.
  • Try and play in shaded areas if possible. Kids at my daughter’s school can go into the library or the computer area and sometimes teachers allow kids to stay in the classroom and play.
  • Eat all the lunch, especially fruit in the lunchbox. An empty stomach can make things worse.
  • Early bedtime to allow the body to rest and recover from a hot day.

As easy as these reminders may seem, children can get busy playing at school, they forget to eat their food or consistently drink water, so a reminder every day or two may benefit your child greatly.

 

Originally published 19 February 2019 on Kids on the Coast magazine

REVIEW: Surfers Paradise Kids Week, Paradise Resort

 

 

The dinosaurs are here! Surfers Paradise Kids Week will be happening until 5 October and Surfers Paradise has been transformed into a Jurassic-inspired playground full of free entertainment for the whole family.
With daily performances from the stars of the Jurassic Creatures Dinosaur Show along with other live children’s performances on the main stage, located beachside opposite the Soul Boardwalk the whole family will have a great time!

PARENTING: Raising a Strong Willed Child

You should consider yourself lucky if you have a strong willed child! As young children they can push all your buttons but as they get to their teenage years and into adulthood they will be responsible, confident and independent members of the community.

You often hear people describe their strong willed child as stubborn or difficult. There is a difference between a stubborn child and a strong-willed one, a stubborn child is immature and doesn’t want to listen simply because they enjoy frustrating their parents or teachers. A strong willed child likes to succeed and be strong and doesn’t like to give up on what they believe to be right, they are determined individuals and have a lot of drive.

You can see strong will in a child from baby stage. You can have a baby who is trying to stand and although they might keep falling over, they keep getting back up over and over again until they are standing firm whereas another child might try a few times and give up and go back to crawling.

Another example of a strong-willed child is a beginner reader. They will come across a word they don’t know and keep trying to sound it out until they can make sense of it. It might take a while, but they persist and more often than not, don’t want your help. Other kids may just give up and skip the word altogether.

How do you even begin to parent a strong-willed child without losing your mind? We need to remember every child is different and what might work for one might not work for another. Some are strong willed in certain areas and less so in other areas. As much as your children are learning about themselves and the world, you are learning about your child so you can best guide them through their younger years.

Here are eight ideas for raising strong willed children.

Tame the bossiness

Strong-willed children know what they want and aren’t afraid to make it happen, even if it means unknowingly hurting their friends’ feelings by telling them what to do and when to do it in play based situations. They can sound rude or bossy by saying things like “Do this” or “Give me that” or “I want this now”. As a parent we can stop them in that moment, if we can, and teach them to be more respectful and kind to others. It will take commitment and patience but as long as you are consistent, your child will start to take it all on board.

Teach emotions to overcome frustrations

A strong-willed child can lash out and have angry outbursts simply because they have become annoyed or frustrated. This is usually presented as yelling, throwing a tantrum or clenching their fists and stomping their feet. There will be times when you won’t know what has set them off and as hard as it can be you need to help them recognise the emotions they are feeling and validate them by letting them know you understand. This simple form of acknowledgement can let your child know they are being heard and understood. By teaching your child to recognise their emotions, you’re setting them up to recognise them right away and work on dealing with them. This will take time and patience because young children are still learning what emotions are and how they present.

Wanting a reason for everything

A strong-willed child will not be satisfied with an answer such as “because I said so” or “I don’t know” or “just because”. They question everything around them and by providing a simple explanation, you can help put their mind at ease. Their mind is naturally curious and they want to know how things work and or why they aren’t allowed to do something. There will be times you don’t know the answer but it may be helpful to let your child know you can find out together.

Avoiding power struggles

A strong-willed child enjoys arguing, getting in the last word and not agreeing an answer to a question they have asked even if it’s correct. If you let them, they can go on and on so it’s up to you while they’re young to know when to put the brakes on a conversation or argument. Let your child know you can both revisit the conversation when you are both calmer. Remember, pick your battles, not everything is worth a long, drawn-out argument. It can be time consuming as well as energy consuming. As your child gets older, they will learn they can’t argue about everything and at times, things just are what they are.

Create boundaries

Strong-willed children need clear boundaries at home. They need to know there are rules and the rules are there to protect them and give them a clear understanding of what is expected of them. They need to know what they can do and what they can’t do. Boundaries also create a sense of belonging. They will try and push these boundaries at times and you will need to revisit particular situations but if you stay firm and be consistent, your child will respect the boundaries and you.

Time outs and consequences don’t work

A strong-willed child won’t respond to punishment, consequences or time outs. They will become further frustrated or angry and won’t know why their being reprimanded for being themselves. When they have crossed a boundary or broken a rule, you need to let them know what they have done wrong and help them understand that they need to think about their actions and what they could do different next time. Have a space which feels less like a punishment and more like a ‘thinking space’, this way you are not taking away their self-confidence yet giving them time alone to think about their actions.

Nurture their independence by giving them responsibility

Strong willed children love feeling independent and responsible for things around them. We can help by giving them responsibility at home such as making their bed, unpacking the dishwasher, letting them help decided what to have for dinner, setting the table, folding the washing, the list is endless.

Keep jobs age appropriate and understand they might not do them perfectly to begin with but with time and lots of practice, they will get better. A strong-willed child needs to feel significant so when they do jobs, give them gentle praise, letting them know you see the effort they are putting in.

Give them attention

A strong-willed child wants to be heard and listened to. They have so many ideas and so much to talk about, and could feel unworthy or unloved if you don’t take time out to connect and be present with them. We all lead busy lives and at times are on the go all day, but you can connect with your child in many way – while you’re in the car, grocery shopping, making dinner or even at bedtime when everyone is winding down. You will notice how satisfied your child is simply by having your attention for a few minutes.

The biggest influence on strong-willed children is their parents. They want your reassurance. They want your acknowledgement and most importantly they need to know they are loved. With your patience and guidance, you can create responsible, engaged and independent adults.

Originally published 26 October 2018 on Kids on the Coast magazine

PARENTING: 20 excuses why the tooth fairy couldn’t come!

For a child, losing their teeth is one the best things about their childhood, they get money for every tooth and lots of it! Children usually put their tooth under the pillow and eagerly wait for the Tooth Fairy to take the tooth and leave them some money. Sometimes though, a child can stay up so late or they wake up as soon as you enter their room – or you plain forget and fall asleep, not getting the job done, only to find a teary eyed child to console in the morning.

Parents are usually quick to come up with an excuse as to why the Tooth Fairy didn’t come but in case you need some excuses, oops we mean reasons here are 20.

  1. Your room was so messy, the Tooth Fairy couldn’t find your tooth.
  2. She got lost in the rain.
  3. She could hear you waking up and quickly had to leave before you saw her! She’s not allowed to be seen.
  4. It’s our job to tell her your tooth fell out – oops we forgot to tell her!
  5. She doesn’t go out during a full moon… there’s too many crazy people around.
  6. It was so hot and humid her wings were sticking together so she couldn’t fly.
  7. Her bag of teeth was so heavy she had to go home to empty it out.
  8. You went to sleep too late and she couldn’t wait because she had to get to the next missing tooth.
  9. You woke up too early and she didn’t have time to get to your tooth before you woke up – maybe sleep in longer tomorrow?
  10. The Tooth Fairy is on holiday, you’ll be the first one she visits when she gets back to work.
  11. She collected so many teeth, she ran out of money so she’ll be back tomorrow.
  12. Ohh! She left the money on the kitchen counter because she was in a rush to get home! She said to check your tooth is still in your room before you take the money so she can collect it tonight (then you do the mad dash to your wallet to get the money and put it on the kitchen bench before your child gets to it!)
  13. Santa needed her help last night to make the toys for Christmas.
  14. She was helping the Easter Bunny to make chocolate.
  15. The Tooth Fairy doesn’t like Halloween.
  16. It was her birthday yesterday so she was busy celebrating with her Tooth Fairy friends.
  17. She was stuck in traffic. It was busy last night! She’ll probably come while you’re at school today.
  18. She was sick and didn’t want to spread her germs around.
  19. The Tooth Fairy boss accidentally gave her the wrong address!
  20. Your Tooth Fairy has swapped to day shift for a while so she didn’t come last night.

In some houses, the Tooth Fairy has requested the teeth be placed on the bedside table rather than under the pillow. It’s so hard to find the tooth under the pillow and she doesn’t want to wake the child nor does she want to be squashed if the child moves around in their sleep.

Originally posted 08 November 2018 on Kids on the Coast magazine