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Blog Posts

Importance of Secure Attachment to Caregivers - Who is Looking After Your Children?

By - 01/09/2010 - 13:14

The Benevolent Society runs a program called Partnerships in Early Childhood (PIEC) with preschool and child care organisations in New South Wales and Queensland.Central to the program is the Circle of Security map, which helps parents and other carers to follow children’s relationship needs and so know how to become more emotionally available to them. Parents choosing a childcare centre or caregiver should think carefully about the quality of relationships available to their child. Read full post

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Enid Blyton Did Not Keep Kids in Sight at All Times

By - 03/09/2010 - 13:23

Our house is a funny old place. One of the reasons we bought it was that it had a secret passage. This so appealed to my Enid Blyton sense of childhood that we spent a lot more money than we could comfortably afford. As we sat down to yet another dinner of spag.bol. the other night, I realised there were a couple of extra kids at the table that did not belong to me, one of whom I had never seen before. Read full post

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Parents Should Not Pay Children for Chores - My Opinionated Opinion

By - 08/09/2010 - 10:29

I expect our three boys to contribute in small ways to making our household work. Like every other family, sometimes our children complain about chores and other times they just get on and do them. We've made sure that the chores are only a few and that they are fairly distributed, and we don't expect too much of the youngest one. We've also decided to give our children pocket money from when they are in Year 4 in primary school. The last thing I ever want to hear when I ask one of our boys to do something (like wash the car or empty the dishwasher) is "How much will you give me for it?". Read full post

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Christchurch Earthquake 2010 - I am a Mother of Two Boys

By - 08/09/2010 - 17:05

I am the mother of two young boys (2 and 5) and currently living through the aftermath of a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch New Zealand. The earthquake hit at around 4:35am on Saturday 4th September 2010. My husband and I woke up with a most horrendous bang and our first instinct was getting to our two boys Read full post

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New Baby On Its Way - Sharing the Love

By - 13/09/2010 - 13:02

In a world of absolutes, one is (relatively) easy. One love, one career, one religion, one belief system. Perhaps easy is the wrong word. But it's simple...What does scare me? Falling out of love with my first baby. How much more grown up will she seem when I have a newborn in my arms? Read full post

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Quiet Time with Children - A Parent's Piece of Peace

By - 14/09/2010 - 09:36

Silence is a distant memory for most parents. Our air is full of squeals, giggles, screams, shouts, electronic game noise, keyboards. There’s not much space for silence in between it all. Even when the kids are at school, the noise goes on. I work from a home office and there is almost always someone in the house other than me. Read full post

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Blessings - A Visit with Dainere Anthoney

By - 20/09/2010 - 13:38

I've written about the beautiful Dainere Anthoney for happychild previously. It is too easy to describe every seriously ill child as 'exceptional', but this young lady truly is. She captured the heart of my Twitter followers and nationwide journalist colleagues some months ago when her wish was to have her personal blog published in book form... Even though I've interviewed Dainere & Yvonne on my radio program, and written about her several times, we had not yet met in person. Read full post

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A Spoonful of Parental Happiness to Start My Day

By - 21/09/2010 - 13:39

Sometimes it's the briefest moment in the day that counts when you are a parent with a child. This morning Mr 8 leapt into bed with me (in his dress-up bow-tie and tails outfit teamed with pyjama pants) and reminded me that he wants to own a necktie. Mr 8 is our youngest so I am savouring every childish, imaginative moment with him (well, every moment except for the times that I'm so busy that I foolishly forget the gift of just 'being' with a child). Read full post

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Sad Children Outperform Happy Children. Really?

By - 24/09/2010 - 11:02

Last year I was drawn to a series of articles referring to research from the Universities of Virginia (United States) and Plymouth (United Kingdom) suggesting that for children, happiness may not always mean good academic results. If you have read Martin Seligman’s work on optimism and its value for children’s wellbeing and later success in life, this suggestion could leave you scratching your head and wondering. Read full post

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6 Parent Tips - Building Happiness in Children's Lives - from Tal Ben Shahar

By - 27/09/2010 - 08:46

I like reading articles and research about what makes people happy. I read them with a critical eye for over-the-top advice that no-one could use and try to find things that are practical and sound like common sense....A Harvard professor, Tal Ben Shahar’s class on happiness was apparently the most popular on campus. No wonder – who doesn’t want to know more about that? Read full post

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Is there a "Dangerous" Rise in Therapeutic Education for Children?

By - 29/09/2010 - 10:55

A book published by two Oxford Brookes University academics suggested that a rise in “therapeutic education” in schools could be a bad development. The book is called The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education. Apparently the book criticises school lessons that contain “social and emotional” content on the basis that these lessons may turn children into introverted, self-obsessed people who can not take criticism. Read full post

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I Have Nana Envy

By - 01/09/2011 - 12:17

I have a bad case of Nana envy this week. It’s all my friends’ fault. Friend number one – let’s call her Snow White – is heading off for a week’s skiing in Falls Creek. She tells me that they have friends living down that way, who will pick them up from the airport. I’m wondering what sort of people mover these friends have, to be able to accommodate two adults, three children and a week’s worth of luggage. "Oh no," says Snow White. : "Our kids aren’t coming – their nana is going to look after them for the week." Read full post

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Emmanuel Kelly on the X Factor - Must See Inspiration for all Children

By - 01/09/2011 - 13:21

If there is only one video you take the time to watch with your children this week, please let it be this one. Arun Abey who occasionally blogs for this site, shared this video with me today. it features the moving and gorgeous singing performance of Emmanuel Kelly on the Australian X Factor - rescued from an Iraqi orphanage with his brother, Emmanuel and his family demonstrate love, compassion, determination and everything that is good about humanity. I promise you will want to show this video to your children. Read full post

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I Was Not a Shy Child

By - 07/09/2011 - 11:05

I’m quite an outgoing person – not a ‘raving extrovert’ but do I love meeting people, finding out all I can about them, telling them something (okay, a lot) about me, and I thrive in other people’s company. I love talking and chatting and debating – you might’ve already figured that out about me by now. But I don’t fit all the stereotypes of an extrovert ... One of our boys was quite a tentative young man when he was a toddler and young primary school student. Read full post

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A Visit to a Farmers' Market is Part of our Family Life

By - 08/09/2011 - 15:24

Food has been on my mind lately. When is it not? Some would say I am quite obsessed by it. Sometimes I have been thinking about feeding my child. I didn't completely understand the amount of time and energy that would be put in, usually by me, to plan, cook and arrange, meals for my child. Not always by me. Every morning, Benedict's porridge is served by his daddy. It's their time, breakfast. It is a two-fold joy. Usually, it is a smooth, easy time ... The other thing I am thinking a lot about, is where our food comes from. Nearly everything fresh, that comes into this house, is from somewhere nearby that I could go to if I wanted to, to see where it is made. Read full post

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Mindfulness and Motherhood - A Way of Finding Calm

By - 09/09/2011 - 14:29

"I don't know how you do it." I never quite know whether this comment equals pity or amazement, but my reply is usually, "I don't know. I just do it." ... Nobody has a one-size-fits-all answer of how to stop the merry-go-round, but there are ways that we can gain renewed patience and calmness, that have a positive effect on our children’s wellbeing too. Read full post

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Mummy, Are You Beautiful? - What Would You Say?

By - 12/09/2011 - 11:32

"Mummy, am I beautiful?" - "Yes, you are so beautiful!" - "Mummy, are you beautiful?" Children don’t realise how confronting, or how relevant, their questions can be. When my three-year-old daughter posed the question, "Are you beautiful?" to me, I hesitated. And I gave her the answer I knew I should give: "Yes. Yes, I am." This is a question that, once upon a time, I would have laughed at. Read full post

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Will Your Children be Boomerang Adults?

By - 20/09/2011 - 13:37

It is reported that there is a trend towards young adults moving back home to their parents' houses after study or a few years of work. Often this is for financial reasons but there are other good reasons too. This is referred to as the "Boomerang Generation". On Channel 7's The Morning Show Yvette Vignando discusses why this might be happening and some ideas for parents and adult children to make the boomerang experience go smoothly. Read full post

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Operation Smile - Creating a Smile on a Young Girl's Face

By - 21/09/2011 - 12:17

This video was shared on Twitter by a lovely friend who, like me, was moved by the moving reaction of a young Brazilian girl after a cleft palate operation. Watch her face when she sees herself in the camera towards the end - it's perfect slice of happiness. Operation Smile is a charity organisation that heals children's smiles - they measure themselves by the joy they see on faces. Read full post

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Family Meal - the Best Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce

By - 28/09/2011 - 15:08

If I had to name just one recipe that is a family staple in our house it would be Spaghetti Bolognaise. Or more correctly – Spaghetti Bolognese. Since moving out of home, falling in love with a man of Italian origin and also falling in love with his Italian parents and family here, my version of this essential family dish has been refined to the point that I think I can boastfully say – this Bolognese sauce is as tasty and delicious as I can make it. Here is the recipe. Read full post

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Why Don't Your Children Play Outside?

By - 04/09/2012 - 11:33

Do you find it difficult to get your children to go outside and play? Are they reluctant or has your lifestyle simply led to them spending more time indoors anyway? And what do you think is causing this? Last week school principals from public, Catholic and independent schools supported the release of "active" diaries by Nature Play WA suggesting that half an hour of outdoor play every day for primary school-aged children. Read full post

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Dads Get the Good Gigs at School

By - 06/09/2012 - 11:02

So I’m strolling into the school yesterday as all the buses are arriving back from the MCG Sports Museum tour. I had volunteered to go, as I do with most excursions (except those involving animals, yawn) but didn’t give it a second thought when I hadn’t heard back from the school. Off go the kids and, from what I can see, a few dads and one mum helper. Unspiritually, this is what I thought: “Geezus, I volunteer to do canteen duty, classroom help, Father’s Day stall, athletics carnivals and when something actually right up my alley appears a DAD gets chosen to go???” Read full post

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Confidence is Not Everything - Encouraging My Child

By - 17/09/2012 - 12:02

My daughter had an audition for a local youth orchestra and, not surprisingly, she was nervous. "You are playing your pieces beautifully," I told her after a particularly trying practice that ended in hot angry tears. No I'm not. I sound terrible." Yes she was looking for reassurance but it was more than that. Read full post

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We Moved Schools For Our Son To Find His Tribe

By - 18/09/2012 - 12:09

I knew from very early on that I had a sensitive child on my hands. Actually it was my mother who commented first but that’s the way it goes when he was my first child and her 7th grandchild. “He’s sensitive, this one.” He was only a few months old but she knew ... I can’t remember if it was Mr 10’s Kindergarten year, or Year One, but it was certainly very early on the day I picked him up from school and he informed me, “Mummy, I’m not like the other children.” Read full post

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Changes to Autism Diagnostic Criteria - What Does this Mean for Families?

By - 19/09/2012 - 21:18

Benison O"Reilly, co-author of the Australian Autism Handbook, and Yvette Vignando appeared on Mornings on Channel 9 to talk about the changes to diagnostic criteria for children with autism - and more generally, about what is known about the risk factors for Autism Spectrum Disorders. Read full post

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Four Year Old Boy Delightfully Upstages Bill Cosby

By - 21/09/2012 - 10:08

This four year old young man claims he will be a paleontologist and a rock star when he grows up - with lines like "That would be really, really, painful for the President" and "That venom could jump 40 feet above the ground" and so much more, you will want to watch all of this utterly delightful and hilarious video. Bill Cosby wisely keeps quiet through most of it! Read full post

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Choosing a University Course - Discover What You Love

By - 24/09/2012 - 15:11

At this time of year, Year Twelve students in Australia are studying for their final exams, and many of them are still wondering what to study at University, or which career path to follow. This speech, made by Arun Abey to the prize and scholarhsips winners at the Australian National University's (ANU) College of Business and Economics, contains some gems of inspiration for your young men and women. Read full post

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Is Your Dad this Cool? Sending a Toy Train into Space

By - 24/09/2012 - 20:16

On Aug 24th 2012 Ron Fugelseth, Creative Director at Oxygen Productions Inc sent his son's favourite train 'Stanley' to space in a weather balloon with a HD camera and an old cell phone for GPS. He was recovered 27 miles away in a corn field and they filmed some great footage of the trip. This video documents the journey from liftoff to landing. Spotted by Carol Duncan - the video, not the train. Read full post

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How Do You Teach Your Child about Racism? A Story.

By - 25/09/2012 - 13:47

My son’s hero of all heroes is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. When we visited the King Center this past January on Martin Luther King, Jr Day, my little Bear didn’t want to leave the museum and then the memorial. He wanted to commune with Dr. King all day. On a recent trip to Washington, DC, Bear didn’t want to leave Dr. King’s statue, and he made it a point to read aloud every single quote inscribed along the long wall of the memorial. As Bear’s mom, I am proud beyond words. With this as the backdrop and as a reflection of how my husband and I feel about discrimination of any kind, I will tell you about an experience I had recently. Read full post

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Parenthood Changed My Perspective on Teaching Piano

By - 28/09/2012 - 11:07

I am a piano teacher and a composer. I am also a parent. Back in the second half of 2006, when I was about 16 weeks pregnant, Gina Wake (from Hal Leonard Australia) and I did a two or three week tour launching Getting to Grade Four. In the January of 2007, between weeks 28 and 31 of my pregnancy (and when Gina was 15 to18 weeks along in her pregnancy! we toured the nation again launching. Crazy stuff. Yes, I know. One teacher said to me with quite a twinkle in her eye “I wonder how becoming a parent is going to change your piano teaching…” Read full post

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Landfill Children's Orchestra - Musical Inspiration for Children

By - 02/09/2013 - 13:13

Headlined as "The world sends us garbage, we send back music" - watch as these children create their beautiful music via Landfill Harmonic. " In the barrios of Paraguay, a humble garbage picker uses his ingenuity to craft instruments out of recycled materials - and a youth orchestra is born. Music arises and children find new dreams." Read full post

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Adult Content on TV Allowed at Any Time. Your Thoughts?

By - 11/09/2013 - 12:58

As reported on news.com.au yesterday, the major free-to-air stations are lobbying the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to drop the time zone restrictions for broadcasters – a change that will allow adult-rated shows to be aired at any time of day or night. ACMA is considering the submission as part of its review of broadcasting regulations. Read full post

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Eight Reasons Why Piano Lessons are Good for the Soul

By - 11/09/2013 - 13:36

This is a very personal manifesto about the purpose of piano lessons. You may not agree. You may disagree vehemently. But what you – a piano teacher, parent, or piano student) believe piano lessons are for will affect your level of satisfaction with the piano lessons you are giving, or you or your child is receiving. This manifesto is written from the perspective of a piano teacher and former piano student, although I also suppose that these days my perspective includes that of prospective parent of a piano student (my son, Tom, is now three-and-a-half years old.) Read full post

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Parenting by Humiliation - Short Shorts Dad

By - 18/09/2013 - 11:49

Today I read about the short shorts dad. A Utah father tired of his daughter wearing “skimpy” shorts decided to turn the tables on her by cutting up a pair of jeans, and going out on family night in his own pair of “skimpy” shorts. The mom shared the photo of dad in shorts on her blog and of course the story went viral. Dude, what about talking to your kid? Read full post

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Empathy for Children, not Penalties, on Planes

By - 18/09/2013 - 13:13

From news.com.au this week came the headline ‘Noisy kids? You should pay extra on planes’ – an opinion piece by Claudia Connell. She rejects one airline’s new offer that she can pay extra to travel in a quiet zone free from under-12s. Instead, she suggests that families with noisy children should pay the higher penalty, not the people like her "just wanting a quiet journey". Claudia writes that she is “not a person who hates kids,” has “nieces, nephews and godchildren that I adore”, and has “made peace” with the fact that she won’t have her own children. She’s just not fond of crying kids on planes. She’s “sympathetic” of a mother struggling with a bawling baby, but refuses to “accept that it’s now my lot to have my quality of life diminished by having other people’s families forced on me.” Her ticket price should not include “13 hours of hell”, she asserts. Read full post

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Free Range Parenting - Lucky To Have the Choice

By - 18/09/2013 - 13:18

Jennifer Finney Boylan writes "We want to shield our children, but it's the worst thing we can do." She talks about her son's exchange trip in his senior year to Cape Town, of allowing him to bungee jump and sky dive, and knowing that in allowing our children to take calculated risks we build resilience, "the courage they need when those perils arise." We need to be mindful that when we grapple with how to provide our kids with opportunities to experience calculated risk ... what we are often talking about is less a problem than a product of our privilege. Read full post

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Win Hungry Campers Cookbook

By - 20/09/2013 - 14:49

Be Quick - this does not go on sale until 1 October so you will be one of the first to have this book! To win one of 5 copies of this book, share a simple description with us of your favourite camping spot, or a spot you would love to go camping. Read full post

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