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edition nine

FREE

☻ Advice and tips for Prep ☻ Recipes and activities ☻ Childcare choice and costs ☻ Ask a professional ...and much more!

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Their first uniform, their first school bag, their first pair of shiny little shoes. Cherish this milestone forever with your own copy of My First Year 2020, a special keepsake published in-paper, featuring prep class photos from across our region.

Grab your copy in the Sunshine Coast Daily on March 25 SCNE01Z01FE - V1


Contents Tips for preparing for your child for school .........................4 Tips for starting Prep .........................................................5–10 Products for babies and toddlers..........................................11 Ask a professional ........................................................... 12–15 Childcare choices ............................................................ 16–17

Shez's Kitchen with Laura Scherian from Sunshine Coast Lightning ............................................ 18–19 Breastfeeding advice ...................................................... 20–21

Welcome Welcome to the ninth edition of Prams to Prep. The magazine is for Sunshine Coast parents of babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, and is a resource on everything from baby nutrition to teachers’ tips on how to prepare your soon-to-be-preppie for their first year of school.

Screen time ....................................................................... 22–23

Inside there’s expert advice on breastfeeding, sensory development, creative play, even dental hygiene.

Creative play ............................................................................... 24

Draw inspiration from a mother-of-five on how she juggled childcare with the rest of life and work, and from parents and others on topics from screen time to recipes.

The Sunshine Club activity pages .............................. 25–27

This is a free magazine, so take it home with you and enjoy for months to come!

Features sales manager: Jess Watson p: 5430 1029 e: jessica.watson@scnews.com.au Writers: Nicky Moffat and Sarah Dionysius CoVer PHoto: Baby Evie by Patrick Woods - Sunshine Coast Daily design & layout: Pete Coram Prams to Prep is a free publication produced by the Sunshine Coast Daily.

Prams to Prep is published in Warwick, 56 Kenilworth Street. Those who make advertising placement and/or supply copy material or editorial submissions to the magazine undertake to ensure that all such material does not infringe the Trade Practices Act or other laws, regulations or statutes. Further to the above-mentioned, these persons agree to indemnify the publisher and/or its agents against any investigations, claims or judgements.

Open Morning 12 March

At Immanuel, we focus on the whole person, because that’s the whole point. We know that exceptional teachers inspire learning, while building relationships allows children the opportunity to flourish. Every child needs a place to belong; let Immanuel be that place. Contact us today to register for our next Open Morning. Discover. Achieve. Belong, at Immanuel.

07 5477 3441 V1 - SCNE01Z01FE

immanuel.qld.edu.au MARCH/2020

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Preparing your child for school

7 tips to start school easier Starting school for the first time is a major milestone for children and parents. Here, leading family relationship expert, Dr Karen Phillip, shares her tips to make the transition to school easy and fun.

1. Have a few trial lunch days where you pack the child a lunch box at home (if not done at preschool) and ensure they eat correct little lunch first then big lunch, this is particularly important if all food is in one lunch box. And ensure they can unwrap their lunch.

2. Shop together for stationery, shoes and

uniform. Check the school equipment list and make the shopping list together to help make it fun and exciting. Shop ahead to avoid last minute rushing and unnecessary stress. Getting their school uniform will allow the child to feel big. Ensure they are comfortable in their new uniform look, have them choose their lunch box and drink bottle or backpack. This allows them to have ownership of the school experience.

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Children need to be aware of the time frame of preparing for school each morning. Much conflict erupts of a morning between parents and children when the children are slow to become ready for school or bus. Set clear expectations and consequences so they understand and remember that children have no concept of time under about 7 years old so telling them you have half an hour to get ready will mean nothing to them.

4. Use a calendar or planner to show your

child what is happening each day. This will help reduce any anxiety or confusion and get them ready for the day/week ahead. Get them involved in the planning – even if they can’t write yet, they can use a stamp or draw a picture or symbol. I like Frixion pens and stamps for this as they are erasable and so if plans change, they can be rubbed out to avoid any confusion.

5. Separating from the child when they

commence school. Mum standing at the gate crying will only tell the child that this school is scary and bad. Parents hugging their child emotionally and telling them how much they will miss their child will make the child sad and anxious. First day, meet the teacher, show your child around, smile and go. Drop off and leave with a smile, perhaps wearing a large dark pair of sunglasses to hide any tears or emotion.

6. Take the child to the school and show

them around. Many children are scared they do not know where their classroom is or where the toilets are. Show them the Kindy area and toilets.

7. Label everything – all clothing, bags, lunch box and drink bottle. If the child puts their item down and other children’s items are the same, a child can become distressed thinking the other child has taken their item or it’s lost. Labelling all items will prevent this and assist the teacher to sort out correct belongings. Place their first name and first letter of surname at least.

Dr Karen Phillip is a leading relationship and parenting expert highly skilled at working with families who are experiencing problems with conflict and child behaviours and is a published author and speaker.

A strong start at Flinders helps students develop as confident, capable and engaged learners.

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Discover Flinders MARCH/2 020

Discover more about Flinders’ vibrant and caring environment and how we educate for excellence in learning and life. For more information, please visit www.mfac.edu.au. Matthew Flinders Anglican College 07 5477 3260 | Flinders Early Learning Centre 5477 2999

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Preparing for Prep We asked Prep teachers around the Coast for some advice and tips on how to help your preppie start school life.

As the year progresses, students explore the curriculum using digital technology, coding and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) thinking. They investigate, experiment, take risks and problem-solve.

are encouraged to achieve their personal learning goals with confidence.

mrs grier elliot and FletCHer d Pacific Lutheran College

Throughout the year, students are increasingly involved in structuring their learning so that they can become independent learners who are equipped with valuable skills to support them on their learning journey.

In Prep, children learn in an environment that is lively, agile and full of wonder. The flexibility of the physical spaces enhances learning, stimulating deep thinking and inviting collaboration between students and teachers. It also allows a differentiated approach to teaching, which caters for individual needs.

What is a typical day in the life of a Prep student? Mrs Elliot: A typical day in Prep at Pacific Lutheran College involves writing, reading and maths activities, investigating and exploring the world around us and having fun! With a focus on growing agency and efficacy, Prep students

What is the best part about starting school this year?

At Pacific, the Prep curriculum is underpinned by Harvard’s Teaching for Understanding framework, with each child exploring their curiosity in a supportive learning environment. Each week, Prep students participate in specialist lessons in Music, Japanese and Physical Education and visit the library.

Fletcher: Maths, I like learning the numbers and I really like drawing and writing as well. I’ve made lots of new friends too.

What’s been the hardest parts? Fletcher: I get tired sometimes with long days.

What is something interesting you learnt that you didn’t know before starting Prep?

The beginning of the year is largely focused on the student’s social and emotional development. Through play, students are encouraged to form connections and build friendships to enhance their wellbeing, communication and cooperation with others.

Fletcher: Ladder jumps and push-ups in sport and different math games on the iPad.

Prep is a big step... Make it with a community that will help your family flourish. Choosing the school community you and your child will join is an exciting step. Why should you choose Pacific Lutheran College? At Pacific we are aware that young people are preparing for a very different world to the one we know. They will need to be innovators, entrepreneurs, lifelong learners and responsible global citizens. Pacific Foundation College engages students through stimulating activities in a vibrant environment inspiring creativity to foster confidence, collaboration and independence. Prep students are encouraged and supported to develop lifelong skills.

Core focus on relationships

K-12 learning community

Flexible learning spaces

Focus on problem solving

Contact Chris Henschke, College Registrar P 5436 7321 A Woodlands Boulevard, Meridan Plains 4551

Visit pacificlutheran.qld.edu.au/prep to learn more V1 - SCNE01Z01FE

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Preparing for Prep anita Bottomley

Buderim Mountain State School

need to have these early skills before they can learn to read. The basic components of emergent literacy include: Vocabulary: Knowing the names of things. Print motivation: Being interested in and enjoying books. Print awareness: Noticing print, knowing how to handle a book, and recognising that print conveys meaning. Narrative skills: Being able to describe things and events and to tell stories.

How important is learning to read before starting Prep? Parents often ask how important it is for their child to be able to read before starting Prep. The ability to read prior to starting school is not as important as the development of ‘prereading’ or emergent literacy skills. Such skills can be an important indicator of future reading success. Learning to read can be likened to building a house. You would not try to build the walls without first laying strong foundations. Emergent literacy skills, or pre-reading skills, are the strong foundations of reading. Children

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Letter knowledge: Understanding letters are different from each other, knowing their names and sounds, and recognising letters everywhere. Phonological awareness: Being able to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words. The best way to expose children to pre-reading skills is by regularly reading to them to foster and develop an interest in and love of reading. If a child listens to three books a day from birth, they would have heard around 5000 stories by the time they reach the age of five. Even if they have only read half that many, or even a third, is still a wonderful amount of sharing, bonding and learning that is taking place.

aVa B

Buderim Mountain State School

What is the best part about starting school this year? Now that I’m at Prep, I get to wear a uniform like my big brother. My teachers are really nice. I love all the painting and fun activities and playing with my new friends on the playground.

What’s been the hardest parts? It hasn’t been too hard for me. I have felt a bit tired though because I have to go to school every day now and it has been really hot, too.

What is something interesting you learnt that you didn’t know before starting Prep? I’ve learnt that living things need food, water, oxygen, sun and shelter. I also get to do Drama now, which I’ve never done before.

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Preparing for Prep mrs geraldine FroHloFF Sunshine Coast Grammar School

about each child’s family and like to meet face to face. Non-working parents are often easily available at drop off and pick up time and working parents can often manage this around work or rostered days off and holiday times. Electronic communication opens the door to developing connections with working families.

How can parents get involved with their child’s Prep class?

Most schools have an online communication system allowing parents to see photos of weekly experiences.

Schools seek to create strong partnerships with parents in order to become a family support network, not just a learning institution.

Introduce yourself to other parents and organise a coffee morning. Avoiding conversations about the class, teacher and school is a way to make more genuine connections.

Parents can develop strong community connections by being involved in school life in a range of ways that suit diverse types of families.

Organising play dates at public venues will quickly establish a network. Remember these children will most likely spend the next 7–13 years together.

Working and non-working parents should be able to feel equally connected to their children’s teachers, classrooms and school.

Some other ways include:

Most Prep teachers love to find out more

• Regularly reading and responding to any

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• Asking the teacher how they would like you to help.

communication from the teacher and school via newsletters and electronic bulletins. • Making sure your child has everything required. • Email for a quick turnaround of information, remembering that teachers often can’t reply until the end of the day. • Attending school events and popping into the room as often as you can. • Volunteering in the classroom. • Sharing any skills you may have i.e. playing an instrument, craft, oral stories and family cultural histories. • Helping from home can be an option like making a fresh batch of playdough. • Collecting and donating interesting recyclables for construction. • Finding exciting pieces of nature can spark interesting learning investigations. • Talking about what you do as a ‘job’ and what that involves. • Parent and Friends groups always welcome new parents to come on board so make contact with them. œ

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Preparing for Prep Responses from Sunshine Coast Grammar

CHris Curtain

Matthew Flinders Anglican College

Prep students

What is the best part of starting school this year?

• Visit the school regularly as part of our extensive and individualised Prep Transition Program

1 I like learning about new things like how to count and make things like spiders.

• Use any excuse to visit the campus and strengthen the connection to Flinders, even if it is to enjoy a treat at our Quarterdeck Cafe or to join Flinders Aquatic Centre (open to the public) for swimming lessons.

2 I get to play with my new friends. 3 I like playing games and building things and doing puzzles. 4 I like learning to write my name. 5 I like the stories.

What’s been the hardest parts?

Teach these skills

1 Trying to read is really hard.

Tips for handling the first day of Prep

2 Getting all my things out of my bag.

Starting Prep is full of mixed emotions - for children and their parents! At Flinders, our transition and orientation program supports a positive transition into Prep. Here we share some ways that, as a parent, you can help your child to build confidence and enthusiasm as they start their Prep year.

3 Writing my name. 4 Wearing shoes.

What is something interesting you learnt that you didn’t know before starting Prep? 1 I learnt how to play a new game called Pop the Pig. 2 The letters and numbers. 3 My buddy from year 4 has the same name as me.

• How to be independent when using and managing water bottles, zipping and unzipping bags, organising their own belongings before and during an outing • How to manage toilet visits independently • How to dress independently. Closer to the start of school

Prior to starting the Prep year • Talk about school in a positive way, building excitement about learning new things and making new friends.

• Develop home routines with regular times for your child to eat, play and sleep each day. œ Routines are a big part of school life.

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Preparing for Prep

lily H, tom m & lily k

Matthew Flinders Anglican College

What is something interesting you have learnt since starting Prep?

• Involve your child in buying things needed for school and getting ready for their first day. Helping to pack their own food and bag encourages independence and also ensures children are familiar with their own belongings.

Tom M: How to read. Lily H: Reading and writing. Lily K: Learning about science and what scientists do.

A Strong Start to Prep • Arrive on time to school each day. This enables your child time to complete morning routines and enjoy connecting with teachers and peers while developing confidence in the environment as children strengthen their connections. • Label everything and ensure your child can recognise their clothes and belongings. • Allow your child to show and develop independence such as by carrying/wheeling their own bag, unpacking and organising their own belongings, and taking ownership of morning routines. • Stand back and let them learn by watching others and doing.

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traCey ellaWay

Immanuel Early Learning Centre

What is the best part of starting school this year? Tom M: Eating cake with Mr Meade on the school’s 30th birthday and playing tiggy. Lily H: Making new friends. Lily K: Playing with Sophie and friends in the playground.

What’s been the hardest parts? Tom M: The school bag is heavy. Lily H: Leaving FELC (Flinders Early Learning Centre) because my teachers were wonderful. Lily K: Mum was proud and sad that I was going to school.

How can you prepare your younger kids when big brother or sister starts school? Starting school is one of the big transitions that young children (and their families!) make. Ensuring this is as smooth as possible is one of œ

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Preparing for Prep the unique opportunities for early childhood services and schools to journey together with families to enable the best possible start to school. At Immanuel Lutheran College we work in collaboration with our Immanuel Early Learning Centre (IELC) for not only the year before Prep but indeed from when they enter the Service. Older students frequently visit the IELC and act as “buddies” in our Buddy Program. We also ensure that our IELC are included in as many College events as possible, including Under-8s Day, whole school assemblies and Book Week. Along with a strong and well-structured orientation program, our kindy children are well prepared to make the transition. Younger siblings are also included in community connectedness and indeed the preparation for starting school. Siblings share in the excitement and the conversation both through our transition program and in the shared conversation around taking this big

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step. Key ways that parents can prepare younger siblings are:

ruBy tiCkle

Immanuel Lutheran College

• Include them in the Prep Readiness activities such as packing a lunch box for a picnic to prepare for opening packages and managing their own belongings – this encourages independence • Speaking positively about the transition to Prep – clearly establishing what the day will look like • Encouraging them to join the older sibling in pack-up routines • Make home time special for the younger sibling – one-on-one activities Like all new adventures, it is normal for all members of the family to feel a mix of emotions from excitement to nervousness. Embrace the journey together and ensure you are well connected in a supportive community. As the saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child.”

What is the best part about starting school this year? I love everything about being at school! I love learning. I love writing. I love playing in the home corner and building with the blocks. Best of all I love my new friends and teachers.

What’s been the hardest parts? Packing up our classroom after play time.

What is something interesting you learnt that you didn’t know before starting Prep? I didn’t know about all the numbers. I learnt all my friend’s names in my class.

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ask a professional

Feeding babies and toddlers Feeding kids under the age of five can be an exhausting task, as any parent will tell you. When babies transition from milk or formula to solids their little bellies and bowels can struggle, and this is the time when you can first encounter intolerances and allergies. As they start to toddle, walk and run their ability to explore new foods grows and so does their need for quality fuel, says Mooloolaba-based naturopath Suzi Le Fanue. Suzi’s top tip for keeping up with your child’s nutritional needs as they grow is to focus on wholefoods. Babies don’t eat much – their bellies get full quickly.

carbohydrates,” she said. “Cut up falafels are good. Little things that they can easily grab, coconut flour pancakes or frittata pieces.” Grated or minced vegetables and bone broth can be added to almost any cooked meal, adding essential fats and nutrients. “Bone broth is easy to add into anything – you can put it in bolognaise, and they’ll never know,” Suzi said. Chia seeds make a good fat and protein-packed pudding, which is a great snack. Chia seeds can be added to smoothies, which are a great way to boost nutrition. Smoothies are often a favourite for youngsters.

Toddler tips: Toddlers and young children need small, frequent snacks as well as main meals. Pre-packaged snacks are widely available but are often high in sugar and unhealthy fats. Water should be encouraged as your child’s main drink. Toddlers who drink mainly milk or juice have greater risk of low iron stores as these liquids reduce appetite for iron-rich foods. Talk to your child health nurse, GP or dietitian to find out more. Source: www.health.qld.gov.au

For healthy lunch box ideas check out on pages 18 and 19.

“So you have to think, what’s the most nutrientdense, nutrient-packed food that they can eat?” Suzi said. “Avocados for example, are amazing. The good fats and abundance of nutrients, make them a great choice.” Pureed broccoli, on the other hand, has vitamins and minerals but no fat. Little ones’ brains need healthy fat. Formula and breastmilk contain a lot of fat, and it’s essential for growth. So instead of filling up a baby’s belly with just pureed vegetables, Suzi said, add cooked egg yolk once they’re old enough for egg, or fatty fish such as cooked salmon and puréed cooked meats. For toddlers, who burn energy like nothing else, organisation is key for a wholefoods diet. “Give snacks like apple sticks with fresh hummus, because you’ve got the combination of good fats and protein in the hummus and apple sticks for nutrients, and some

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Talking sense to babies There’s a whole world out there for babies to explore. Different sights, sounds, smells, things to touch and others to taste. Luckily, Sunshine Coast babies have the chance to stimulate their senses with award-winning Baby Sensory classes for babies from birth up to 13 months and their parents. The Baby Sensory program has won numerous awards including Best National Baby Activity (0-2 years) and Best Parent and Child Activity at the 2019 What's On For Kids Awards. “Our classes are lots of fun with bubbles, balloons, music and amazing lights, however there are developmental reasons behind all our activities,” class leader Laura Parks said.

great place to meet other parents in a fun and relaxed environment, Laura said. A mix of original and traditional songs and rhymes are also used to develop early speech and language skills, and sensory signing activities to help parents and babies communicate from birth. Further information can be found at www.babysensory.com.au or by contacting Laura on 0478 273 218.

“A baby's brain doubles in volume during the first year of life as a direct result from learning from birth.”

“A baby's brain doubles in volume during the first year of life as a direct result from learning from birth”

What makes Baby Sensory unique is that the classes are backed by over 35 years of research into childhood development and every activity has been carefully designed to stimulate a baby's senses and move development and learning forwards. Baby Sensory began in the United Kingdom, and the movement’s founder, Dr Lin Day, is one of the United Kingdom’s leading parenting experts. She is also a renowned author within the fields of sensory and childhood development. Classes in Caloundra, Buderim and Noosa are a fun-filled baby bonding hour, where mums, dads and grandparents learn ideas for creative play, massage, tummy time, movement, and music in simple practical ways that can be easily repeated at home. The classes are also a

2021 Prep Enrolments

Opens Tuesday 20th April 2020 - Closing Friday 18th September 2020 for in catchment families Parents of children born 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016 are invited to contact the office to collect an Enrolment Pack

Please contact the school office for Tour and Enrolment Information

Prep Tours Monday’s 9:30am - 10:30am from 27th April to 26th October 2020 Parent Induction Sessions: Monday 9th November 9:30am - 11:00am Tuesday 10th November 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Uniform Shop Tuesday: 2.00pm - 3.15pm Friday: 8.15am - 10.00am

8-42 Main Street, Buderim Qld 4556 | Principal: Neil Jenkins | P: 5477 2777 | F: 5477 2700 E: info@buderimmountainss.eq.edu.au | www.buderimmountainss.eq.edu.au V1 - SCNE01Z01FE

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Brush-your-teeth podcast changing bedtime routines for the better Launched in November 2019, Brushy has already racked up: • 16,000 downloads • fan base in Australia, USA, UK, New Zealand, Canada and France • 23 episodes (and growing) covering everything from Dinosaurs to Farts, Elephants, Unicorns, Burps and Fairies Dave Matthews, co-founder and CEO of Brushy’s developer Castco Media, said the idea for the podcast came when struggling to get his kids to brush their teeth each night before bed. “The last thing a parent wants to do at the end of a day is fight with their kids to brush their teeth – so I started thinking about a concept that would entertain kids and get them to actually want to brush their teeth without even being asked,” Dave said. “That led me to creating a short podcast packed with incredible facts and lots of fart jokes, based around the timeframe of a two minute toothbrush. “Having my five-year-old daughter, Eden, voice the podcast has not only been a lot of

fun, but helps kids connect with the show as well. “You can see by all the 5-star reviews the podcast has on Apple Podcasts that this simple idea has resonated with parents and children from all over the globe.” Parents can’t believe how much this simple 2-minute podcast has changed the nightly routine of brushing teeth. Brushy listener Ben said: “I can't believe this hasn't been done before! My children are transfixed when they brush their teeth now. Sometimes laughing too much to brush” said parent Ben.

“This podcast has changed the battle of the bedtime routine! Our kids actually look forward to brushing their teeth now” Dave Matthews

Amanda, another listener, said: “This podcast has changed the battle of the bedtime routine! Our kids actually look forward to brushing their teeth now.” This podcast is a godsend for dentists as well, more often than not children are not brushing their teeth for the recommended two minutes. “Brushing for two minutes helps us reduce that plaque by removing it from the surfaces of our teeth and our gums to help reduce the risk of getting tooth decay and gum disease.” Dr. Tara Javadi, dentist at Avenue Dental, said. All episodes of the Brushy podcast are available to download or stream free via Apple Podcasts, Spotify and whenever you find your favourite podcasts.

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Advice on after-school activities: How much is too much? Q&A with Bobbi Cruice of Swing High Counselling for Children Social skills, team work, routines, fitness, friendships… the benefits of after school activities go on. But as a new preppie, is soccer on Monday, drama on Tuesday, karate on Wednesday and violin on Thursday beneficial or chaotic? Bobbi Cruice of Swing High Counselling for Children puts parents/carers in the shoes of a five-year-old starting prep. A mother and grandmother herself, Bobbi shares her professional and personal experience to help parents and carers determine what their individual child needs and how much is beneficial.

How do children deal with the new routine of Prep? Bobbi: I wonder what it would be like for a five-year-old on his first day at preschool. Would he feel happy, excited, sad, afraid, or angry? If so, how would he express his feelings? If he was at kindergarten, childcare or at home with Mum, he would know what to do. But school is different. There is a routine to be followed, a teacher who wants him to learn, lots of listening he has to do and there are new children he doesn’t know. Just as we all cope with change in different ways, some children will be able to adapt to change more easily than others. For the little boy who finds change difficult, being able to express his confusion can be very helpful. Research tells us that children of this age do not have the words to describe such feelings and so they show them through

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change in behaviour. For beginning preps, behaviours such as crying and temper tantrums, restlessness, changes in eating, refusal to comply, sleeping difficulties and aggression are not uncommon.

What can parents/carers do to support their little ones as they start preschool? B: Some parents have told me that putting aside some special time with their child was helpful. They found that it gave them an opportunity to talk with their child about their feelings. Through such a discussion they came to a better understanding of how their child was coping with the changes. Having such an understanding can be beneficial to choosing suitable after-school activities for your child. Would it be better to adjust or hold back on after school activities that might create more stress? Or would after-school activities provide a welcome relief?

What type of after school activities are beneficial for new preppies? B: An incredibly valuable after school activity is play. Unstructured play can help children express their feelings and reduce their stress. It includes pretending, building, dressing-up and creating new games. Children can play by themselves or with friends or with family. Not only is play important to children’s social and emotional development, but it can provide a source of freedom, fun and relaxation after a routine day at school.

What do you recommend? B: I am a mother of four grown up children and a grandmother of three. The experience with my own children in their beginning Prep days taught me much. I found that they were very tired, sometimes exhausted after school. Their tiredness was cumulative. Some weeks they had lots of energy and other weeks not so much. So the family and I could cope with the presenting behaviours that accompanied transition into prep school, after-school activity was generally kept to a minimum. Play at home with siblings or at a friends’ place suited our family’s needs. As each child adapted to the school routine and was not so tired, then we reviewed the possibility of other activities after school. Some parents have reported to me that their children benefit from more structured after-school activities like drama and swimming. I learnt that listening to and talking with my children helped me choose what afterschool activities best suited their needs at the time.

Helpful websites for parents: www.kidsmatter.edu.au raisingchildren.net.au www.swinghigh.com.au

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Choosing childcare

Q&A with Alecia Staines Choosing to get help with the care of your child can be daunting, whether it’s to enable you to do paid work or to free up some personal time. Maternity Consumer Network coordinator Alecia Staines has five children, aged between two and 10 years old. They’ve each been in a range of childcare from family daycare to longdaycare and kindergarten. How to choose a setup that works is highly personal, but Alecia said she found family daycare the best for babies and toddlers. “Then they seem to want to socialise more with same-age peers, so when they’re three they've progressed to daycare or kindy,” she said.

It’s hard to part with your young ones, and everyone seems to have a view on when the ‘right’ age is. Do you agree? “My second daughter was in care when she was about 10 weeks old,” Alecia said. “I was fortunate my sister was in daycare at the time, so she was looking after her. It gave me piece of mind. “I understand the challenges of working parents, as I was back classroom teaching very soon after my first two were born. “I don't think age is always the issue, but some children and babies seem to adapt better to childcare than others. “My first-born was really challenged by being separated from me at five months old. We were both fortunate to have a very caring and nurturing family day carer who happily carted him around until he settled in.”

Do you have any tips? “I‘ve found that having a few transitions days or hours can help,” Alecia said. “It also helps parents get a feel for the place and whether it is a good fit for the family and individual child.”

What are the most important things to consider when choosing a childcare option? “Experience - particularly for…babies,” Alecia said. “What approach do they take to settling/sleep? Some babies like to be rocked or bounced to sleep. Babies will usually get in the groove of 16

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a childcare routine, (but) a smoother transition can help.”

Are there things you wish you’d known earlier about how the system works? “Only that feeling guilty at drop off never leaves! Even a decade after first using childcare, I still feel guilty or get teary if they get upset at drop-off time.”

Have you had any really positive childcare experiences? “My first-born's carer was exceptional,” she said.“ There was a time I was hospitalised and she was the only one my son would stay with overnight. She was such a caring woman, we were so blessed to have her.”

Do you have any advice or info for women with young children managing the transition back to part-time or full-time work? “I've found organisation is helpful- make sure everyone's bag is ready the night beforesheets, hat, spare clothes, water bottle. Lunch packed in the fridge. “I also found doing double batches of cooking, so I wasn't cooking every night was a blessing too (though almost impossible now with five kids!). “Meal planning and slow cook meals are very handy too (then can be used for childcare lunches the next day). “Also, try not over-commit with work days (can be a difficult one though!). When I was working full-time, I found it very hard for the household to run smoothly. Part-time was much easier.”

Do you have any advice or info for women who have been out of the workforce while their children grew up, but are now looking for work as their kids head to school?

have advice for women, but would challenge employers to think outside the box with flexibility and work from home options to give women (since women are - mostly - the parent who does most of the care providing) some valued employment options. “So many women tell me of being demoted or given the crappy jobs when returning to work after children. We really need to value their contribution to raising the next generation and provide support (including financial) to ensure they can work in their chosen profession (if they choose), without being penalised for having children.”

Did you know? Employees can claim 10 paid ‘keeping in touch’ days Under the national Fair Work Act, “keeping in touch days” allow an employee who is still on unpaid parental leave to go back to work for a few days. It’s a good way to for employees caring for a baby or newly adopted child stay up to date with their workplace, refresh their skills and will help their return to work. An employee on unpaid parental leave gets 10 keeping in touch days. This doesn't affect their unpaid parental leave entitlement. If the employee extends their period of unpaid parental leave beyond 12 months, they can take an additional 10 days. An employee gets their normal wage for each keeping in touch day or part day. Source: www.fairwork.gov.au

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Childcare costs

Subsidy basics The level of out-of-pocket childcare fees a parent has to foot can be the difference between returning to work and caring for children full-time. Returning to work is a personal choice, but for many it’s a financial necessity. Understanding how the childcare subsidy scheme works can make a huge difference to this life choice. In the last 18 months significant changes have been made to the federal government’s childcare subsidy scheme. The new Child Care Subsidy is means-tested, with families in the lowest bracket (earning up to $66,958) eligible for an 85% subsidy. A sliding scale reduces subsidy level down to 20% for families earning $341,248-$351,248. Families earning more than this are not eligible.

Crazy invoices Childcare invoices are not easy to understand, as they include subsidy eligibility statements as

well as fees from the childcare centre. “The invoices can be very hard to look at, especially for parents,” Immanuel Lutheran Early Learning administrator Karen Whitely said. “I’ve been working here 12 years and it’s taken me probably six to understand them.” Gems like Mrs Whitely are the unsung heroes of childcare budgeting and planning. They look at your specific CCS eligibility and can talk through options for you, as well as make sure you know how much to pay once your child is enrolled and the bills start coming. Mrs Whitely believes the new subsidy framework encourages people to work, but agreed that parents with multiple children below school age were in most cases still unable to afford childcare. “They’re encouraging people to work more – the more you work the more (subsidy) you’re entitled to,” she said. “If you’re a part-time worker, they basically

give you 36 hours a fortnight, and if you’re both full-time working parents you get (the highest subsidy).”

Check your enrolment hours The subsidy is calculated as an hourly rate, and this amount depends on the childcare centre’s daily fee as well as the hourly rate cap that applies to your centre. Some childcare centres offer 12-hour or ninehour day options, and in some cases enrolling your child for a long day will reduce the amount of out-of-pocket cost. Find out more at www.servicesaustralia.gov. au/individuals/services/centrelink/childcare-subsidy

Family day care provides care in a registered Educator’s home for children from birth to 12 years, in small groups and Child Care Benefit is available to families. Children are nurtured and cared for in a natural learning environment, learning through play and exploration. The child’s well-being is a priority in a family day care environment, respecting and working in partnership. Louera Family Day Care Scheme Providing care with Family Day Care Educators Ph:(07) 5449 1959 www.louerafdcs.com.au V1 - SCNE01Z01FE

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lunchbox recipes Sunshine Coast Lightning star Laura Scherian shares some cooking inspiration Making snacks for the lil’ ones has to be one of my favourite things to do in the kitchen. Not only is it fun, but I also love the challenge of making them full of wholefoods, whilst keeping them super tasty and exciting for the little cherubs.

and Slime-Blocks, his response was, ‘It good, Aunty Shez!’ Jack, just a hoovered it all down, and gave me a ‘cheesy’ grin, which is his way of saying the recipes were a success.

My nephews, Matty (three years old) and Jack (12 months old), like most toddlers, cannot lie. Which in turn makes their critiques extremely honest and sometimes a little brutal. So, I can assure you that these three recipes have been tried, tested and approved by these special little men.

So, let‘s introduce the successful recipes! There is something a little ‘fishy’ about this first recipe and quite frankly it is a little ‘corny.’ These Cheesy, Tuna and Corn Bites are delicious. I know the thought of tuna can make some people a bit uneasy, but give them a go. Full of protein, calcium and good Omega-3’s, these are such a great snack for a growing youngster!

The results were very positive, I only had to adjust one recipe, the Cheesy Tuna and Corn Bites. Matty was the first judge that would pass his eye over my recipes. When asked, ‘What do you think of these Tiger?’ He responded with, ‘more cheese I think!’ Then when I asked about the Apricot Peach Bites

Next, I had a go at recreating one of my favourite childhood snacks, apricots bites. I dropped the sugar and additives and added some nuts for additional nutrients and healthy fats. Apricot and Peach Chunks were born! They are incredibly tasty and make a great snack for kids that are on the go, or that sweet

treat for the lunchbox. Finally, Slime-blocks. The name may be disturbing to us adults but to kids, what more could you want in life? These are great for hot afternoons or even as a convenient dessert. Full of whole fruits and vegetables, they are highly nutrients dense and full of fibre. All the fun without the refined sugar and colours of regular ice-blocks. Get the kids involved with making these. Those little hands love to sprinkle, roll, mix and taste test their way through every step of these snack recipes from Shez’s Kitchen. Oh, and don’t forget to add a bit of love and a dash of thoughtfulness. Visit shezskitchen.com.au for more great recipes.

slime-BloCks SERVES: 8 ICE-BLOCKS (DEPENDS ON THE MOULD) PREP: 20 MINUTES FREEZE TIME: OVERNIGHT Ingredients

☻ ½ avocado, diced ☻ 1 mango, diced ☻ 1 cup pineapple, diced ☻ large handful of spinach ☻ small handful of mint leaves Method STEP 1

Place all ingredients into a blender and whiz until well combined and smooth in texture.

STEP 2

Pour mixture into ice-block moulds and place in refrigerator overnight. Remove from moulds and serve immediately.

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CHeesy tuna and Corn Bites SERVES: 12 PREP: 15 MINUTES COOK TIME: 30 MINUTES Ingredients

☻ 2 sweetcorn, kernels removed ☻ 180g can tuna in olive oil (I like Sirena), drained ☻ 5 eggs ☻ ²∕³ cup cottage cheese

☻ 1 brown onion, finely diced ☻ ½ cup grated cheddar cheese ☻ ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped Method STEP 1

Preheat oven to 180ºC and lightly grease a non-stick muffin pan with butter or oil.

STEP 2

In a large bowl lightly whisk eggs, then whisk in cottage cheese. Mix in corn and onion, then gently fold through tuna, so it is still chunky.

STEP 3

Divide mixture amongst all 12 muffin spaces and top with grated cheddar and then sprinkle with chopped parsley.

STEP 4

Place in oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until they are golden.

aPriCot PeaCH CHunks SERVES: 10 PREP: 20 MINUTES COOK TIME: 1 HOUR Ingredients

☻ ¾ cup almonds

☻ ¼ cup coconut oil

☻ 1 cup cashews

☻ 1 Tbsp. rice malt syrup

☻ ½ cup dried apricots

☻ pinch of salt

☻ ½ cup dried peaches, roughly chopped

☻ 1 cup of desiccated coconut

☻ 1 tsp vanilla paste or essence

Method STEP 1

Place almonds and cashew in food processor and blend until they start to form a fine crumb. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

STEP 2

Place apricots and peaches in food processor, pulse until roughly chopped. Add back in nut crumbs along with vanilla paste, coconut oil, rice malt syrup and salt. Process on low until all ingredients are combined well.

STEP 3

Pour desiccated coconut into a shallow bowl. Shape mixture as desired and then coat in coconut. If mixture is too sticky, place in fridge for about 30 minutes before shaping. Store in airtight container and place in fridge. Chunks can also be frozen if they are being used as a lunchbox snack.

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GOT MILK? Most new mothers or mums-to-be have heard all about the amazing benefits of breastfeeding. So if a breastfeeding problem or multiple problems arise, it can bring a lot of stress. The important thing to remember is you are not alone. Here is a guide sourced from Queensland Health on common breastfeeding problems, how to resolve them and where to go for further help.

Not eNough milk Did you know approximately one third of mothers think they have low milk supply causing them to introduce infant formula? Whether it be watery looking breast milk, an unsettled baby, constantly feeding, not sleeping through the night or perhaps your breasts become softer, smaller and stop leaking between 6-12 weeks after birth. It is important to remember every baby and mother is different so as long as your baby is getting enough milk, there is no standard breastfeeding experience. Here is a guide to check if your baby is getting enough milk: • He/she has at least 6 to 8 wet cloth nappies or 5 to 7 disposable nappies in 24 hours (after 3 to 4 days old). The colour should be a pale yellow. • Often have runny bowel motions that are mustard-yellow colour. Sometimes this may change to green or orange. Breastfed babies may not have a dirty nappy every day but 20

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are rarely constipated. Your baby may have a dirty nappy less often as they get older. • Has bright eyes, a moist mouth and good colour. • Is mostly content after feeding. It is normal for babies to be unsettled somewhere in the day. This does not mean you are running out of milk at the end of the day.

• Ensure the baby is well attached to the breast and feeding at least eight times per day. • Hold baby in skin-to-skin contact. • Encourage the baby to feed well on the first breast before offering the second breast. • Express milk after feeds to maintain or increase supply. • Give the baby a dummy infrequently.

• Is gaining weight well. Babies lose weight shortly after they are born but regain their birth weight by two weeks of age. After this, check your baby's growth often. Make sure it is recorded on the growth chart in your baby's Personal Health Record book. If your baby's growth follows the general pattern or curve of the graph he or she is getting enough breastmilk. If you are worried your baby is not getting enough milk, consult your doctor or midwife for advice. If signs of low milk supply have been identified, health professionals can provide assistance with the following:

• Eat a healthy well balanced diet based on a range of healthy foods and drink plenty of water. • Find time to rest. • Avoid herbal preparations to increase milk supply (e.g. fenugreek) as their effectiveness and safety have not been established.

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through an entire feed or continue to hurt over time. Here is a guide to preventing a painful breastfeed: • Ensure the baby is well attached to the breast and not just attached to the nipple. • Apply warm water compresses or small amounts of expressed breastmilk on the nipple after feeding and air dry. • Replace damp breast pads frequently, if used. • Avoid using shampoos, soaps, ointments and powders on the nipples. • If there is a need to rest breasts, the mother may consider expressing breastmilk to keep up supply.

eNgorgemeNt Many mothers will experience full breasts about three days after having a baby. This feeling of fullness usually lasts for 24 hours

however if the breasts become swollen down to the areola, is painful and the baby is unable to attach to the breast because of fullness, you may have developed engorgement. Engorgement is common but needs to be managed. Here is a guide on how to treat engorgement: • Offer frequent and unrestricted feeds. • Apply warmth before a feed. • Express a small amount of milk before feeds or apply reverse pressure softening to make breast softer. • Allow the baby to completely empty the first breast before offering the second, alternating

between what breast is offered first at each feed. • If the mother is separated from the baby, complete expression is necessary. • If engorgement persists, completely drain both breasts with an electric pump after a feed.

• Continue breastfeeding (or expressing) to avoid complications. • Feed frequently, starting with offering the affected breast. Unless instructed otherwise, the milk from the affected breast is safe for the baby, even when the mother is taking antibiotics. • Begin expressing the affected breast, if unable to attach the baby to that breast. (If the milk is not removed, a breast abscess may form, requiring hospitalisation and possibly surgical drainage). • Get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids. As a general guide, if you have any concerns or questions about breastfeeding, consult a health professional. For more information, search breastfeeding: www.health.qld.gov.au

• Over-the-counter pain medications may be required in some circumstances.

maStitiS Mastitis is an inflammation and/or infection of the breast tissue. Some signs to look out for include red and swollen areas of the breast, breast feels hot, skin on breast looks tight, shiny and red or the mother may feel flu like symptoms such as shivers and aches. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek advice from a professional healthcare provider. Antibiotics prescribed by a doctor is a common treatment, alongside these remedies:

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screen time

No iPad, no TV, two happy kids. Here’s how I did it by Alexia Purcell When asked how much time is too much time to spend on a screen, Dr Greenfield said it is up to individual parents but two hours a day is more than enough. It all started with a smashed iPad.

Next to go was the TV.

play this or play that with them.

I could feel it slipping out from under my arm as I walked up our back stairs. Laden with bags of groceries, school bags, hats, toys, towels and whatever else it was I was carrying in from the car, all I could do was watch it fall two metres to meet the bricks, screen down, with a shattering crunch.

We’ve not had access to free-to-air television for years, simply because the cable won’t reach the aerial plug from where the TV is in the lounge room. And we hate free-to-air because of all the ads etc., etc. Yes, I’m one of those whingers.

Now don’t get me wrong, we were playing plenty of games with them: Uno, Scrabble, bocce and doing lots with them: swimming in the creek, cooking, we even wrote a book together. All the things we do with them when we're at home.

So we used to just watch movies and then when streaming became a thing, an Apple TV box with subscriptions to Netflix and Stan.

But what we found was without a screen to entertain them, they wanted us to. For that period of time when they would have likely been having a “watch” at home, they wanted us to be the screen.

My five-year-old let out a cry of horror and raced back down to rescue it. But I knew the damage had already been done. And I wasn’t the least bit sad. When he carried it back inside and held it out to me, shattered screen up in his two small hands, all I said was: “Good.” “Good?” he cried. “Yes, good. You watch it too much. You want it too much. You sneak on to it in the mornings when you know we have a ‘no screens before school’ rule. I‘m glad it‘s smashed.” And with that I put it up on top of the kitchen cupboard and that’s where it has stayed. Still broken to this day. It might sound like I was unsympathetic and a little harsh about him losing such a dear friend but honestly, five minutes later we were making pikelets together and the smashed iPad had already been forgotten. And since then he has only asked about it once, inquiring as to when it might get fixed. My answer: never.

What I liked about this set up was the kids couldn’t just walk in and turn the TV on. If they wanted to watch something they had to ask and we had to set it up for them. But then they were always asking. My threeyear-old after we got home from a morning at tennis: “Can I have a watch?” My five-year-old as soon as he got home from school: “Can I have a watch?” And if they weren’t watching they were trying to get our attention or get us to entertain them. The TV was a loaner and on the last day of school this year, before we went on our annual camping holiday, I returned it. That holiday is to a magical private campground two hours into the forest from Armidale in NSW. There‘s no electricity. No reception. And most importantly: no screens. For the first couple of days the kids were badgering us to always watch this or that or

Then something remarkable happened. After those first couple of days, they just stopped. And started playing by themselves or together. At the end of the six days, my kids were inseparable. They had these little games going, their own jokes, they were connected. And they were more connected with us. We were all more connected as a family unit. As we wound our way out of West Kunderang in NSW, I vowed out loud, that we weren’t going to get another TV. And there were no complaints from our two youngsters in the back seat. Now, are you wondering how we got on when we got home? Back to reality, back to reception, back to technology? Fine. Absolutely fine. We’ve been home two weeks now and besides watching the odd movie on the computer AS A FAMILY, there's been nothing. In the morning my kids get up and they – play. All day they – play. We go out, we go to the beach, we go to the zoo, we climb our local mountain, we take the dog and bike ride around the park. Then we get home and they – play. There are no tantrums, no fighting (except for the odd spat over something the other wants, they’re amazing but they’re still kids), no badgering us to watch this or entertain them. They are learning so much more. Instead of watching a screen while I cook dinner or hang out the washing or work on my latest project, they are there beside me: helping me cook, handing me washing or picking up a paint brush. They’re so much more conscientious towards

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“..the biggest issue with letting kids spend too much time on screens is getting them off.” each other, other people, animals. They talk nicely to each other, to us. There’s hardly ever any tears. Just lots of laughs, lots of music, lots of crazy dance offs and lots and lots of great times and memories. So are we doing the right thing? I spoke to leading child and educational psychologist, Andrew Greenfield. He said we live in a world where we have technology and screens, so we have to be realistic. “To completely get rid of screens all together is unrealistic. It is important kids have some exposure to some degree. It is not detrimental to their development or psychological well being to have some screen time but it depends on what they’re doing.

“Timing is a massive question. “It is not uncommon for kids to spend five, six or seven hours a day on a screen. They get home from school at 4pm and are on it until 9 or 10pm at night, longer for older kids. “This shows parents are completely unaware of what their kids are doing. “On school days, two hours a day is more than enough screen time. On weekends this can be longer. “But max, one hour at a time. Being on a screen for too long, kids stop actively interacting with the game or the detail of what they’re watching becomes mundane. “And the biggest issue with letting kids spend too much time on screens is getting them off.”

to be in control - not controlling - in all areas.” So I know what we’re doing isn’t for everyone and I'm certainly not saying my children won’t use technology ever (I’m all for learning how to use a computer, I use one every day). But in terms of watching screens or in this case, not watching screens, the results have been so remarkable I’m telling everyone I know, everyone I meet, everyone here.

Mr Greenfield is a father of three - an 11, nine and four-year-old - and said the rule in his household is if there is a tantrum of any sort then they’ve been on it too long.

But really, it is up to you and your family. You know them best. But a little less screen time would never hurt anyone and a little more “us” and “me time” would do us all the world of good.

“I know people say getting them off is easier said than done but you’re the parent. You have

Alexia Purcell is a Sunshine Coast resident & News Corp journalist.

“Screens can be good things for kids to use to wind down and have their own time on but it depends on three things: One: what they’re doing on the screens. Is it educational, interactive or just blood and guts? Two: how long they’re staring at the screen. And three: are they interacting with someone when they’re on the screen?" Mr Greenfield said staring at a screen all the time can have detrimental effects on a child. “It can affect their language developmental and social skills. “And what they’re doing on the screen has to be developmentally appropriate. There is too much content that's not age appropriate and that’s not appropriate." When asked how much time is too much time to spend on a screen, Dr Greenfield said it is up to individual parents but two hours a day is more than enough.

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Creative play

Creative play helps kids on many levels Studies have shown creative play to be integral in helping children manage emotions, develop social skills, enhance their physical, intellectual and cognitive development. It also makes them happier. The littlest locals at the Sunshine Coast’s newest suburb were part of Stockland Birtinya’s free Creative Kids Festival in January. Spanning across two days, the festival inspired kids to channel their inner artist through a series of special design workshops. Raised salt art painting, balloon twisting, making art with upcycled books, sensory clay play with local pottery masters, Lego play and flower pressing were among the workshops offered. Photos: Brian Rogers

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club !

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jokes ••

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It’s n e game ws, fun s and for Join kIds. the

Q: Why did the teddy bear say no to dessert? A: Because she was stuffed Q: What did the little corn say to the mama corn? A: Where is pop corn?

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