Posts tagged education

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

WELLBEING: Dealing with end-of-year busyness

The last term of school is often the busiest and most overwhelming. Leading up to the holidays, there are exams, end-of-year performances, Christmas carols, class parties – and that’s just for the kids! Add in your own work parties and family catch ups and getting organised for the holiday season into the mix and it can be a recipe for an overwhelmed and tired family.

Through experience, I have learned that dragging your children from one function to another is not healthy for them or you. When young children are mentally exhausted, as well as sleep deprived, they can become emotional and temperamental. Along with the lack of sleep, eating sugary foods from all the pre-Christmas treats can affect a child’s mood which makes everyone’s lives a challenge!

Here are some of the things you can do to get through the pre-holiday busyness:

  • Write down any school, work and social events and functions coming up on a calender. Write down everything the entire family has on leading up to Christmas. This way you can visually see everything and decide what works and what doesn’t. Deciding what to attend and what to say no to can put your mind at ease and take away the stress doing too much and trying to fit everything in.
  • Feel good about saying no. You don’t need to attend every event and function you are invited to. Only take on the things you can handle without you or your family suffering.
  • Pick a time to leave a function and stick to it. This way you can do the rounds and not feel bad about leaving. You don’t have to be the first to arrive and the last to leave a party.
  • If you have evening functions, make a point of giving yourself and your children some chill out time at home. Give the kids some free play time and let them relax.
  • Try to catch up in larger groups so you don’t have to go to so many smaller gatherings. I find this works out well for all involved.
  • Gatherings don’t always have to be in the evenings. If you have children, you can have a barbeque and swim at the beach or a picnic and play at the park with friends.
  • With everything going on around you, make a point to schedule some ‘nothing’ time. If you can’t do nothing, do something relaxing which lets your mind and body rest. Remember, physical and mental exhaustion causes overwhelm and stress. ‘Nothing’ time for children is a great way for them to center and ground themselves.
  • Attending lots of events and functions can mean your food routine can become irregular. Keep eating the healthy wholesome foods at home as it can become easy to eat take away and fast food when your time poor. Keep some healthy snacks for yourself and the children in your bag for when you are on the run.
  • Feeding your children a healthy snack or meal before a party means they won’t reach for too much junk food. A sugar hangover is just as bad as an alcohol hangover and more times than not a child will become overly emotional. Keep a bottle of water for your children in your bag and offer it to them if you see them reaching for a fizzy drink.
  • Make sure you’re not compromising your sleep for partying. Lack of sleep can cause stress and overwhelm. Lack of sleep can also affect our moods so we may lash out at others simply because we’re tired and aren’t functioning at 100%. Children definitely need a good night’s sleep every night. A young child can’t explain how they are feeling a lot of the time and can become over tired and irritated.
  • If you are planning on having a drink, make sure you work out how many you can safely have if you are driving you and your family home. Have a glass of water between drinks and if you are over the limit, order a taxi to take you and your children home.
  • Take advantage of the pre-Christmas sales and buy all of your gifts at once. Write down who you are buying for, get on line or go through the catalogues to see what is available and pick a day where you can get it all done. This will take a lot of pressure off leading up to Christmas and hopefully save you money! Ask if the store you are buying from gift wraps or take advantage of shopping centre wrapping services. It is usually a gold coin donation and can save you a lot of time.

Remember, too much busyness is not healthy for the mind or body and when you try and fit everything in, running from one thing to another, the fun becomes a chore. It is not your job to make everyone else happy, it is your job to enjoy the last part of the year with your family and friends.

Originally posted 05 November 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

EDUCATION: World Teacher Day 2018

Thinking back to when I was young, I have such fond memories of many of my teachers throughout primary and high school. The ones that made a lasting impression on me are the ones who could see something in me that I couldn’t, they motivated and encouraged me to become a stronger version of myself and those are the teachers who helped shape the person I am today.

Teachers help mould our children’s minds and work so hard to give our children the best of themselves every day. Today is a day we can tell our teachers what they mean to us and how much of a difference they have made in all our lives.

As a parent of three children in primary school, I can confidently say we are so lucky to have great teachers at our school, who take the time to get to know the children, explore their strengths and work together on their weaknesses.

Mrs Spencer from Miami State Primary School has certainly made an impression on my six year old prep student Vienna. I asked Vienna what she admires most about Mrs Spencer and with the biggest smile on her face she said, “I love my Wednesday class time with Mrs Spencer because she makes learning fun and we always have a good time. She always says hello to me and she loves my lunch songs that I make up and sing to her, she’s the best!”

Mrs Spencer

I wanted to take this opportunity, on World Teacher Day to mention and thank the teachers who have had a strong impact on my children this year.

Mrs Campbell, Miss Norton, Mr Stephens, Mrs Hutchins, Mrs Scott, Miss Caruana, Miss Tourish, Mrs Crawford and Mrs Spencer.

Thank you for your love of teaching, your guidance, your patience and your continuous encouragement every day. You are all the reason my children love coming to school every day.

Originally posted 26 October, 2018 on Kids on the Coast magazine