Real parents. Real problems. We’re here with a group of leading early learning and parenting professionals to answer your questions.
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From a very young age children are introduced to the themes of loss in picture books, video games, and popular children’s movies, but often adults find questions about death and dying challenging. One common question is “what on earth do I say?”.
It may not seem like it at times, but children want to help. As parents, it's our job to nurture and guide our children's natural inclination to be kind so they develop a lifelong habit. So how do raise kind, helpful, respectful and responsible children?
Walking, talking, drinking from a cup, doing up a zip, drawing, and catching a ball are just some of the movements that most children will acquire early in life. Movement also plays a vital role in their cognitive, social and emotional development.
While they are formally known as transitional objects, a child's favourite blankie, toy or comfort object is a side effect of their broader developmental need - a companion to talk to, to go to sleep with, or eat with when separating from their parents.
In a Royal Children’s Hospital poll, one in five Australian parents report one or more of their children was bullied. Paediatrician Dr Anthea Rhodes, says bullying is serious and common, harming the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of children.
In that mortifying moment when your child drops a swear word in public and you're waiting for the ground to swallow you up, child development expert Dr Michael Nagel says parents need to stay calm and remember this presents a learning opportunity.
Parenting is a minefield. There are many philosophies around punishment and reward and the absence thereof, but rather than waiting for crisis moments and human fallibility to decide our approach, it’s worth taking the time to consider our options.
If parents suspect their child may be gifted or talented it is important not to push. A parent's role is to get to know their child’s interests and provide opportunities, ensuring that as a statistical rarity it doesn't lead to loneliness and isolation.
It’s not unusual for parents of boys to be told ‘You have your hands full’. But why is the act of raising boys seen as a handful or a hardship as opposed to raising girls? What should parents do to really nurture their son’s gentle or softer side?
Up to the age of five, wetting the bed is normal. It usually stops happening as your child gets older without the need for any treatment. Try to deal with bedwetting in a positive and calm way, just as you would with problems you face during the day.
Some babies sleep much more than others. Your baby will have their own pattern of waking and sleeping, and it's unlikely to be the same as other babies you know. It's also unlikely to fit in with your need for sleep. Try to sleep when your baby sleeps.
Development in the first four months after birth is rapid as babies connect and communicate. The Australian Government's Early Years Learning Framework Practice Based Resources - Developmental Milestones provides guidance through a range of milestones.
Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital has found the majority of parents they surveyed in a recent national child health poll couldn’t be sure if their child had a mental health issue and wouldn’t know what to do if they did experience difficulties.
Auditory processing disorder (APD) affects about 3-5% of children and while the child has normal hearing they have a problem with the way their ears and brain work together to understand sound. Diagnosing and treating children with APD early is important.
Teaching children the ability to recognise and name their own emotions is essential in developing critical competence. And the good news for parents is that spending a little bit of extra time with your child may lead to fewer tantrums and a happier day.
Cooking with kids
Like so many parents struggling through dinner every night, Paulene Christie was initially drawn to slow cooking by the convenience. Now she has traded her busy life juggling parenting and a job, to lead half a million passionate online followers.
Managing fussy eaters is one of the biggest frustrations of families. As a parent, you want your child to be healthy and happy and when they only want to eat jam sandwiches, you worry they aren’t getting the nutrients they need for optimal growth.
When Katrina Roe’s daughter was three years old and heading to a friend’s birthday party, her mother was astonished to hear her daughter say that she hated parties. Her food allergies left her feeling isolated and removed from her friends and the festivities.
When shopping with your child, point out different objects you see in the aisles. Use lots of description to talk about the taste of different foods, like, “There are some juicy, sweet oranges,” or “I bet those yellow lemons are sour!” Talk about where your child points and looks.
You’re promoting skills like focus and self-control when you guide your child’s attention and make connections between words and what they mean. When you respond to his/her interests, whether they are expressed by a word, a sound, a point, or a look, you’re showing your child that what he/she has to "say” is important.