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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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What you need to know

At First Five Years we know that parents share many of the same struggles. We would like to offer a helping hand by giving you the opportunity to air your questions, issues or concerns about parenting, early learning or childhood behavioural issues with our panel of early learning and parenting professionals.

Step One – Ask your question.

Questions are limited to 500 characters. Your question will be moderated and published. (Questions may be edited and not all questions will be answered.)

Step Two – Your question is answered.

You’ll be notified by email when up to three of our panel members answer your question. We aim to answer questions as quickly as possible. Most will be answered within two working days.

View all members of our professional panel or if you have questions please contact us.

Your questions

Questions answered by Dr Rebecca English. Showing results 1-10 of 17

Raising an 'alpha' child

Hi, I fear that my child (3 years) is an alpha child and that is due to our poor attachment. How can I make it right with my toddler? Please give me strategies through examples. Thank you

Learning to be gentle

My little one is 13 months old, recently especially when he is over tired he is rough with our dog. Pulling his hair and grabbing his face sometimes to the point where the dog squeals. I do remind him that we give Cooper gentle pats and show him how, which he does copy, but it will only be moments before he is over the top with him again. I have picked him up and used a gruff voice, but this doesn't bother him and he thinks it's a game and laughs. How do I amend this behaviour?

Is my grandson school ready?

I live in NSW and I foster my grandson. He turns 5 in February. He is bright, socially excellent but has some maturity issues sometimes. I have probably equal numbers saying he is fine to start school and also hold him back. I just want to make the best decision for him. Can you help?

Vomiting when he doesn't get his way

My grandson vomits when he does not get his own way. Any ideas how to stop it? Thanks. He is going too be 3 end of this month.

Struggling with daycare drop off and bedtime

My daughter is almost four and has been attending daycare for almost three years, and loved it. Recently however she's really struggled with both daycare drop off and bedtime (she's usually great at bedtime too). She hides, cries, whimpers and shouts "don't go!" She seems genuinely upset and it breaks my heart to leave her but bedtime now is so difficult when I need to get my one year old to bed as well. It seems to be getting worse rather than better. What do I do?

Toilet training 3.5-year-old

Our 3.5 y.o boy has been out of nappies for 6 months but is still having issues with going to the toilet for poos. He regularly does them in his undies sometimes up to 3 times in one day - sometimes he tells us straight away, sometimes he doesn’t tell us and denies it if asked if he’s done one. There’s no apparent pattern to when he does it on the toilet and when he does it in undies. It’s not because he’s absorbed in play/tv. His routine/household stress level hasn’t been affected by covid-19.

Dealing with big behaviours

We have a very strong willed wild loving funny clever beautiful red headed 2.5year old daughter who has taken a great interest in swiping her full plate of dinner off her tray at dinner time if she doesn’t get her own way (tv turned off, not her certain fork, her sock is on the wrong foot etc). My husband and I don’t know how to deal with this correctly. We have tried lots of things - help cleaning, ignoring it etc but nothing works. We are lost. Any advice would be lovely.

How to handle a strong-willed child

My husband and I are having difficulties in how to handle our 27mth old daughter. When she needs to get dressed or have a nappy change, she refuses and runs away or she will be very silly and make it hard for us to change or dress her. Putting her into her car seat is also another issue, she will kick up a fight. She is a very strong willed child and if she doesn't get her own way she will have very long tantrums. Also she is very mischievous and likes to get into everything! Please help!

Day time naps and sleep patterns

Hello. My 5 almost 6 month old was only waking up once a night. But now she is waking up at 10.30 and will not go back to sleep. She then wakes more times throughout the night. She is sleeping well in the day, sleeping for two long naps, morning and afternoon and then one at about 4.30 and then bed at 7. But it’s just not working and I don’t know what to do anymore.

How to help siblings get along

Sibling fighting! I have two young boys less than two years apart who seem to do nothing but fight! The older one mimics the younger one when he's upset and is rough, the younger one (2.5yrs) purposefully does stuff to annoy his older brother etc. We have also caught the older one ganging up on his younger brother with cousins which was so disappointing! How do we encourage brotherly love and encourage them to care about and stick up for the other?