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Blog Posts

Permission Marketing Becomes Permission Socialising for Kids

By - 04/07/2010 - 14:31

The other day a 12 year old told me that looking up a friend's telephone number in a phone book (online or offline) was "stalking". Apparently it's okay to call a friend if their number is in your mobile phone, but otherwise, contacting a friend without warning or invitation on their home number is "creepy". Wow, things have changed. Or have they? Read full post

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Educating our Children for Long-Lasting Fulfilment

By - 05/07/2010 - 09:25

When it comes to bringing up our children most of us would agree we want them to be happy. So the way we educate and raise them should reflect this. Of course when we say we want our kids to be happy we mean we want them to enjoy a holistic sense of wellbeing. Critical to this will be their ability to lead a life which is congruent with their values, priorities and passions. Read full post

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Motherhood and Guilt - Are They Inseparable?

By - 05/07/2010 - 18:39

I love being a mum and I love working. Trying to combine the two means living with the nagging thought that I'm not giving 100% to either of them. Or the housework. Or my husband. Or my siblings, my father, my friends, my garden, our dogs, the goldfish ... or my job or my kids or myself ... you get the drift. Read full post

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Love, Children and the Joy of Literacy

By - 06/07/2010 - 14:01

I spend time reading with and to my son. Together we have climbed a faraway tree, we have fought with wizards and dragons, we have visited secret gardens and dived with dolphins and whales. Read full post

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The Girl Who Gave Me a Rainbow

By - 07/07/2010 - 21:17

I've done some tough interviews in my 20 year broadcasting career. Politicians, world leaders, superstars, mums, dads, kids, cops, rich, poor ... people with joyous stories to celebrate, people with tragedies to share. For Starlight Day this year, I did an interview with 12 year old Dainere Anthoney. It was both a pleasure and a heartbreak, but to me this is what my job, and my privileged position is all about. Read full post

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True Beauty

By - 12/07/2010 - 00:00

This year, the theme for our primary school disco was ‘Beauty and the Geek’. Her father took our eldest daughter along to the disco, so it was only later that I heard from the other mums about some of the remarkable versions of beauty that were on display there. We are so used to thinking of beauty as external perfection: the spectacular, the outstanding, the flawless. There is another way of seeing beauty, though. Read full post

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Kodaikanal International School- Tamil Nadu, India

By - 14/07/2010 - 17:48

July 2010, I am in Kodaikanal, the highest hill station in southern India, (7000 feet above sea level). Kodaikanal is a town built around this amazing 100 year old school that features stone buildings, green lawns and spacious classrooms. It's situated in the Palani Hills of the Western Ghat mountains and has a year 'round beautiful temperate climate. Read full post

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Sholai School, Palani Hills, Tamil Nadu, India

By - 19/07/2010 - 15:56

After three days of workshops at Kodaikanal International School, I received an unexpected invitation for a courtesy visit to Sholai School, located in a valley area 1000m below the Kodai hill station. My western-nurtured eyes saw a combination of paradise and hardship around me. Running the school looks like very hard work. All electricity comes from solar energy or micro hydro-energy; the school is also experimenting with the use of bio-fuel. Sholai School engages in organic farming and also runs its own dairy producing organic milk and cheese. Read full post

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Jain Schools, Bangalore and Hyderabad, India

By - 25/07/2010 - 18:41

I've visited three schools run by the JGI Group in India this week; the founder of these schools is Dr R. Chenraj Jain. An integral part of the Jain schools' philosophy is the development of the whole person and an intention to nurture in every student a love for learning, a strong sense of self esteem, personal integrity and a respectful, caring attitude towards others. Read full post

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How to Get Published in the New York Times

By - 01/07/2011 - 15:50

Kirsty Rice is a mother of four children living in Qatar. Born in Australia, as an adult she has lived in Libya, Indonesia, Malaysia, Canada and Qatar. So many stories to tell! This one is about how to get published in the New York Times by breaking a bone, and life as a parent and resident in Qatar. Yvette Vignando interviewed Kirsty in a Balmain park, using a tree, as you do. Read full post

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Letter Reassures me I'm Doing Okay as a Mother

By - 04/07/2011 - 10:39

This parenting business can make you feel all manner of insecure. I worry about my kids being safe, about them being healthy, having friends at school and trying to do their best in class. I get worried when the boys fight and squabble, and I used to often wonder, “Is this normal?” ... But this week, an unexpected and wonderful thing happened. So wonderful I even had a little cry. Read full post

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Non Violent Playstation Games for Teens. Where are they?

By - 04/07/2011 - 15:12

Who else has this problem? This one always comes to a head in our house during the school holidays. Where are the entertaining and challenging and fun Playstation Games for teenage boys? I confess I have not done thorough research on this topic but having two teen boys in our house means that this question is frequently raised. Perhaps more than some parents, I am very careful about what I allow our teenage boys to play online or on the Playstation. Read full post

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What Are You Doing? Autism Awareness Film for School Children

By - 05/07/2011 - 12:27

What Are You Doing? is a short film, created by Autism Awareness, which aims to teach school aged children about acceptance and understanding of their peers with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The film addresses some of the fears children may have about ASD, answers their questions and helps show them how they can be a great friend to a classmate on the autism spectrum. IThe film will be screened at primary schools across Australia later this year. View trailer. Read full post

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Losing a Much Loved Pet - a Lesson in Love for Children

By - 06/07/2011 - 17:06

Our children have always grown up with pets of some description ... Our longest survivor and most beloved pet was Loki, the Bernese Mountain Dog. Riddled with anxiety about storms, fireworks, water, feathers and tradespeople, she ruled our lives and loved us with joyous enthusiasm. It was with great sadness, (and some poignant relief because we’re about to renovate and the tradesman thing was going to be tricky) that we realised she was dying. Read full post

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Call me a Prude? But I Feel Enraged, Perplexed and Powerless.

By - 08/07/2011 - 09:34

I recently took my children to a film at a mainstream cinema complex. And while the content of the film made us laugh and even warmed the heart a little, the walk through the lobby left me feeling enraged, perplexed and powerless. Call me a prude, but I don’t think that my children need to be assaulted by R-rated imagery, including equipment, on their way to a G-rated film. That imagery was not of a s*xual nature, and if it had been it would never have been allowed within the sight line of a group of children under the age of twelve, or even eighteen. Instead, the imagery was uncensored unadulterated violence. Read full post

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What Happened to Just ‘Muddling Through' as a Parent?

By - 11/07/2011 - 14:59

These days there is so much advice available to parents, it can be hard to know where to start. It’s good to have help available 24/7, but can all this information create a feeling of overload? Would we be better off ignoring the ‘experts’ with their conflicting opinions and just relying on good old-fashioned commonsense and gut instinct to help us navigate our parenting journey? Should we just chat to our neighbour over the back fence or have a chinwag with the playgroup mums if there’s a parenting issue that is troubling us? Read full post

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My Three Ringed Circus - a Whinge about Motherhood and Life

By - 12/07/2011 - 09:17

Whilst the dark side of the last year is of course important to acknowledge, it doesn’t make entertaining reading. So acknowledge it I will; yes, the last year has brought me to my knees in a way I never thought possible. It has strained my relationship in a way I never thought possible. It broke my heart into a million un-fixable pieces watching my little boy stare as we held the offending sisters in our arms - confused, hurt and utterly betrayed by not only one parent but two. There were not enough arms to go around. But heal we have, and I have learnt a few lessons. Read full post

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Morbidly Obese Children - Should Community Services Intervene?

By - 14/07/2011 - 10:08

Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist at Harvard-affiliated Children's Hospital Boston, contributed to an article in the American Medical Association Journal calling for consideration of protecting morbidly obese children in extreme cases by temporarily removing them from their parents. One of the arguments is that this would be better than risks associated with bariatric surgery for example. Discussion on Sunrise Channel 7 with Yvette Vignando about the Australian situation. Read full post

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Want Less - Freedom for Children and Parents

By - 15/07/2011 - 15:11

I went to the supermarket the other week with two kids in tow. Mostly I try to do the grocery shopping by myself. Not just because I don’t want to manage toilet breaks, hunger pangs and trolley rage – yes, that’s the kids I’m talking about, not me – but because I really quite enjoy supermarkets. I get a kick out of doing per-gram price comparisons, and speculating whether the tin with the redder tomatoes on the label is really likely to deliver the goods. Tragic, I know. Read full post

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A Child's Question to the Prime Minister

By - 20/07/2011 - 15:42

A few years back I had the privilege of teaching a literacy class in front of Mr John Prescott, the Acting Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. I was co-ordinating the running of a summer literacy camp for children who were deemed as 'struggling'. Having the camp swarming with various staff from Downing Street for days in advance, you can imagine what a high pressure occasion it was ... And one child asked a question I won’t ever forget the answer to ... Read full post

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Can a Children's Playground Really Be Too Safe?

By - 21/07/2011 - 12:54

Some researchers have suggested that the very safe playgrounds of today are depriving children of the opportunity to challenge themselves - they say a playground is a place where children can encounter and learn to overcome fears. Yvette Vignando debates this idea with psychologist Michael Carr Gregg on The Morning Show, Channel 7 - Michael bemoans the "woosification" of children. Read full post

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Is this Baby Asleep or Awake? We Have NO Idea!

By - 22/07/2011 - 13:45

Video - must watch. Not sure we'd like to be the parents of this baby through the night - but this is ultra cute. She's asleep, but not, and then awake laughing, but not ... Read full post

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Confessions from My Home Office - Decluttering and Laughing

By - 22/07/2011 - 14:14

I work from home most of the time, in a reasonably sized home office. We have three kids and I get very very busy - so busy that I tend to dump things in piles and then occasionally get back to the piles for a cleanout. I bet most people who work from home have a similar challenge - and eventually it all gets too much. Well, I solved my problem with quite a few hours of work and a lot of fun with Sarah Cottman from Heavenly Order. Read full post

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Are We Having Fun Yet? Outings with Children.

By - 25/07/2011 - 22:16

Ever planned a fun day out with the children and then had your plans go out the window? I can think of two recent examples not quite meeting the idyllic family outing I had in mind. In hindsight, I am laughing and I’m still glad we forged ahead despite whingeing and helpful critiquing from the teenagers in the back of the car. We have three boys, now aged 15,13 and 9 - so you can probably imagine it’s a challenge to plan a family outing that meets everyone’s taste and criteria. Read full post

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Children of Single Parents - They Hear More than One Voice

By - 27/07/2011 - 14:24

The other day, I was checkin’ the Tweets, gettin’ all social-media-esque and stuff, when I came upon a Tweet that brought me up short. For my in-the-flesh friends, I can already hear your comments: “Brought you up short? That wouldn’t be too difficult!” The Tweet that halted me stated: “One of the blessings for children with two parents is learning that life has more than one voice." This seems innocuous enough, right? Fair statement, sweet reflection. Still… having been the child of a single mother Read full post

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An Expat Life as a Mother - from Libya to Qatar

By - 31/07/2011 - 16:48

Kirsty Rice is a writer and mother who also writes the popular blog 4 Kids, 20 Suitcases and a Beagle. She lives with her husband and children in Dohar,Qatar. Yvette Vignando interviewed her about living overseas with children and the highs and lows of expat parenting. Read full post

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Twelve Year Old Interviews his 32 Year Old Self - Clever

By - 06/07/2012 - 12:55

32 year old Jeremiah McDonald interviews his 12 year old self, or is it the other way around? Watch and be enthralled. When Jeremiah was 12 he videoed himself asking questions of his older self. His "older self" has now made a short film (less than 4 minutes) participating in that interview. Suitable for all ages but the phrase "what the hell" does make one appearance. Read full post

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Useful Legal Information for Children and Teens Online

By - 18/07/2012 - 10:43

Lawstuff Australia, in partnership with the Children's Legal Services of Legal Aid NSW, have developed a series of fact sheets to provide children with information on what types of activities are against the law when using social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Information on sexting, copyright infringement, defamation and privacy are included. A great resource for your teens, and hopefully for them to share around on Facebook. Read full post

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UNICEF Day for Children - Is Your School Involved?

By - 26/07/2012 - 14:04

Share this with your children and their schools. On UNICEF Day for Children, kids can help make a difference to children all over the world. It's also a great way of educating children about human rights. Video features children's author, Morris Gleitzman.UNICEF Day for Children is on 24th October 2012. Read full post

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Warm Parenting Helps 'Callous or Unemotional' Children

By - 26/07/2012 - 14:30

In this video from Mornings at Channel 9, Yvette Vignando on the parenting panel with Dannielle Miller and Tracey Spicer talking about research lead by Dr David Hawes from the University of Sydney about the kind of warm and positive parenting that can help children with what is known as "callous and unemotional" (CU) traits. Also discussed: parents who are in a dispute over their child and a father has been ordered to stop weighing his daughter as it affects her self esteem. Read full post

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Even Polar Bear Mums Have to Drag Their Kids Out of the Water

By - 27/07/2012 - 10:47

A mother polar bear helps her baby out of the water and on to the ice and snow. Gorgeous video. Shared with us by happychild blogger Carol Duncan who is recently back from the Australian snowfields. No polar bears there. Read full post

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Infectious Baby Laughter - a Funny Power Drill

By - 08/07/2013 - 13:19

Watch a baby laugh hysterically at the short burst of noise from a small power drill. We are a big fan of baby's laughter here at happychild. Send this to anyone who needs a smile on their face today. Short one minute video. Read full post

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Judging Children by Their Names. What?

By - 09/07/2013 - 11:54

I had to think about whether to share this video. In the end I decided to share it for your amusement. A UK reality show personality shares her beliefs about judging children's qualities and suitability for her children's company - based on their names. Watch this and prepare to be amazed by another human. Read full post

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University Seeks Teenagers' Views on Sexting

By - 16/07/2013 - 11:36

Earlier this month four teenagers from a Melbourne school were arrested after allegations that explicit photographs of 15 and 14 year old students had been passed around using mobile technology - the offence for sexting is described as "knowingly communicating a private activity". Teenagers are being asked to fill in this online survey asking their views about sexting - for Institute of Criminology research. Read full post

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Prominent Australian and New Zealand Doctors Say Stop Smacking

By - 26/07/2013 - 10:23

Today the Royal Australasian College of Physicians announced they are calling for law reform on the physical punishment of children - they are also urging parents and caregivers to consider alternatives to smacking. I say - good. And I hope the Children's Commissioner gets behind this initiative. We have asked the Commissioner for comments and hope to hear from her later today - I will update this post. Read full post

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Grants Available for Programs to Prevent Bullying - Australia

By - 26/07/2013 - 12:28

Youth Minister Kate Ellis has announced today that school bullying and cyber-bullying will be targeted in this year’s $500,000 Federal Government youth grants program. Offering grants of up to $70,000 under the Youth Development and Support Program for projects aimed at developing leadership skills and encouraging cyber-safety and anti-bullying behaviour in communities, this is a welcome initiative. Read full post

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Free Talk About the Impact of Violence and Trauma on Children

By - 31/07/2013 - 12:03

Join child psychiatry expert, Professor Louise Newman, in conversation with ABC Life Matters presenter, Natasha Mitchell, and a childcare trauma specialist as they explore the impact of violence and trauma on children’s development. This Next 200 Dialogue is hosted by The Benevolent Society, the State Library of NSW and Radio National. Read full post

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