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May 16, 2018 Mahurangimatters 27


Experts worry technology harms children’s social skills The effect on today’s children of large amounts of screen time is not entirely clear, but has Auckland University of Technology academic Dr Erik Landhuis concerned. Dr Landhuis is a researcher who takes a particular interest in psychological development. He says a number of studies put the average media consumption for children between five and seven hours per day, and up to 15 hours per day if simultaneous consumption is counted separately. This comfortably exceeds the recommended amount suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The increased screen time can lead to problems such as obesity, difficulty paying attention, antisocial behaviour, reduced fitness through sedentary lifestyle, reduced sleep time and reduced social activity. “The main things that concern me are the effect of media use on social development and social competence,” Dr Landhuis says. “I worry that devices are increasingly replacing face-to-face contact between children and that may impede their ability to communicate effectively with others later in life.” His other main concern is around

A modern lifestyle sees children using more and more electronic devices every day, but the future impact of this could be negative.

technology outsourcing people’s cognitive functions such as memory and attention. However, some critics suggest that this opens up more space for creativity and problem solving, an idea he is open to. Dr Landhuis admits some media, such as Sesame Street, can be considered educational, improving language and social behaviour. “The problem is most material available to children now does not fit

into the educational category.” He has two daughters of his own, aged six and eight, and recommends parents using the Common Sense Media website (commonsensemedia. org) for advice on material. He limits his children’s screen time to three hours viewing per week and avoids letting them use smart phones or iPads. He says it has become harder to minimise children’s screen time today because of the number of mediums

offering it and the use of technology in schools. Wellsford School is one of many to incorporate technology use into its education programme, with a bring your own device policy for students in Year 4 and above. Wellsford School principal Dave Bradley says that devices are a great way to engage reluctant learners and make available a huge range of resources, but management of their use is important. “The overuse of technology has risks to health, wellbeing and social skills development, and the internet can be a dangerous place,” Mr Bradley says. “Our timetables are carefully constructed to ensure students are still physically active during the day and engage in collaborative learning to maintain social development. They are also taught about cyber safety and the appropriate use of the device.” Both Wellsford and Matakana School have signed agreements in place for children using devices. Matakana School principal Darrel Goosen says the national curriculum requires the use of technology now, but schools must follow the guideline documents for its use set out by the government in 2015.

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28 Mahurangimatters May 16, 2018

Statistics on children identify risk factors

Kate and William went with tradition and called their new arrival Prince Louis Arthur Charles.

Royal titles off the cards as baby names ‘Royal’ and ‘Royalty’ were both turned down three times and Duke, Miss, and Saint were rejected twice each. Some of the more outlandish titles to be rejected, since the legislation was introduced in 1995, include 4real, V8, Eminence, Mafia No Fear and Lucifer. Meanwhile, if you don’t want your child’s identity to stick out like a sore thumb, you might do well to choose Oliver or Charlotte. Oliver has been the top name choice for boys in the country over the past five consecutive years. It was used 314 times in 2017.

Charlotte has now been the number one female name choice four times since 2006. Last year it was used 277 times. The most common girl’s name by year since 1954 is Sarah, topping the list 16 times, 14 of which were consecutive. Michael topped the boy’s list a record 14 times between 1968 and 1989. David proved the most used name in a single year, 1514 children received this name in 1963. The most popular Maori names for 2016 were Maia and Nikau.

Most popular baby names in New Zealand for 2017: Boys, Oliver, Jack, Noah, William, Hunter, James, George, Mason, Lucas and Arlo; Girls, Charlotte, Harper, Isla, Olivia, Ava, Amelia, Mia, Mila, Sophie and Emily.

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If having the new royal baby’s name announced has got you thinking about what you might call your own child, make sure you know what’s on and what’s off the cards. While you are spoilt for choice when it comes to options, it’s important to know that over 50 names have been rejected by the Registrar-General in New Zealand. In New Zealand, a name or combination of names must not cause offence to a reasonable person, be unreasonably long, or include or resemble an official title or rank. Last year, ‘Prince’ came in as the most commonly ejected name, with four parents not getting their way.

There are just over 1.1 million children under the age of 18 in New Zealand – that’s about a quarter of the country’s population. The majority of these children are doing well and achieving positive outcomes – they live in supportive homes and receive the care they need and deserve; they benefit from the protections provided in legislation to prevent them from harm, abuse and neglect; and they are able to access universal education and health care services that support them to develop to their full potential and live happy and healthy lives. But, Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft says that unfortunately, a significant proportion of Kiwi children need extra support and services to enable them to thrive. “We see the evidence of this in New Zealand’s poor rating in international comparisons of child health and well-being, and in our low level of investment in young children,” he says. Statistics show that children in the bottom one-fifth of family incomes, compared with the top one-fifth, have three times more infant mortality and three times more hospitalisations. A total of 41,000 children are hospitalised for conditions associated with deprivation. Maori hospitalisation is 17 percent higher than European and Pacific hospitalisation is 40 percent higher. Source, Office of the Children’s Commissioner




May 16, 2018 Mahurangimatters 29

A growing population and more financial pressures have seen steadily increasing demand for a Mahurangi service for parents of preschoolers who are struggling to cope. Parentport North coordinator Di Julian says parents sometimes feel embarrassed to call the service and admit they need help, but such a feeling is misplaced. “Parenting is one of the hardest jobs that you can have,” she says. She cites the example of a mother with a toddler who recently delivered a premature baby. Her husband left her the week she got back from hospital. “She has no family support and the baby screams from two in the morning until 11am. She is basically up all night and then has to be awake all day for the toddler. She is just exhausted.” Di says a Parentport field worker can come in for a few hours and take care of such things as shopping, child minding, meal preparation, laundry, light housework or similar tasks that an overwhelmed mum might need to ensure she stays sane. The service is free and 12 hours of help is available to any parent, grandparent or caregiver responsible for looking after preschoolers. Di says assistance for grandparents is becoming more common, in some cases after children have been removed from parents because of their parents’ involvement with drugs. Di says sometimes people worry the Parentport field worker will be a matronly



Help for mums at wits’ end

Our experienced midwives will care for you from conception to 6 weeks after the birth of your baby. We work from Whangaparaoa to Maungaturoto Coast to Coast.

From left to right: Creaghan Mitchell, Melanie Brownlee, Alisha Preest, Terri Jury, Sarah Martin, Nicole Upton, Donna Hamilton, Nicky Snedden and Kathy Carter-Lee

Di Julian

person who is going to look around their house and say things like ‘how come you have not done your dishes and why is your bed not made?’ but the service is not like that at all. “We’re non-judgmental and just help with the practical things. We recognise everyone is trying their best,” she says. Di says many clients suffer from postnatal depression and they might need help looking after a child while they go to a counsellor or simply need some time out by themselves. Isolation is also a big factor for many clients living in Rodney, especially where there is no public transport. Parentport can help by delivering the shopping and saving client’s petrol money. Field workers can also deliver food parcels from other organisations. Di says some families with young children are often barely covering their rent and when a field worker arrives their pantry is often bare. Info: 027 280 5093

Melanie Brownlee 021 263 3133 Kathy Carter-Lee 09 425 6749 021 425 115 Donna Hamilton 021 140 9866

Terri Jury 09 423 7350 021 23 71856

Alisha Preest 021 0240 0218

Sarah Martin 021 023 58188

Nicky Snedden 09 425 8249 021 662 393

Creaghan Mitchell 021 901 550

Nicole Upton 027 972 4442

Contact one of the midwives or the Warkworth Birthing Centre

09 425 8201 •

Our before school pick up service: We have a pick up service running in the mornings. Can pick up from home, work or a meeting point. Can drop children to either: Matakana, Snells Beach, Leigh or Warkworth Schools.

We aim to provide a nurturing, relaxed and safe environment for your children

or Providing a service to the community for busy Mums and Dads

Our After School programme is at Matakana School: The Castle, between Rooms 12 & 13, 952 Matakana Road, Matakana.

Warkworth’s only PUBLIC Kindergarten


Kindergarten hours Monday-Friday 8:45 – 2:45 ENROL YOUR CHILD AT 2 YEARS – Limited spaces available You are welcome to pop in and visit at any time! Contact us - P: 09 425 7096 E: 13 Albert Road, Warkworth (off Hill St, past Warkworth Primary School)

THE AFTERNOON 2.45pm Afternoon Tea, opportunity for children to finish their packed lunch from home. 3.00pm Supervised homework. 3.30pm Free play, sports, drama, arts & crafts, reading and swimming in Term 1 & 4. Last pick up by 6pm Special Family Rate Monday to Friday per child for the full term. 2.45pm – 5.30pm $75 each week. After school drop offs or pick ups PM: $12.50 first child and $2.50 per extra family member After dance, drama or sports: 4.00pm - 5.00pm $10 4.00pm - 6.00pm $15 Contact: Julie Atkinson to book a place. Matakids Before & After School Club 022 3505 687


30 Mahurangimatters May 16, 2018

Cute family photo fundraiser for Plunket Professional baby pictures and family portraits at a bargain price are on offer in the latest fundraiser for Wellsford Plunket over the weekend of June 9 and 10. Iris Portraits’ professional studio photographer Jacquie Stokes, who lives in Wellsford, will hold sittings at the Plunket Rooms on Saturday and Sunday, between 9am and 4pm. Families or groups can book a half hour sitting valued at $150 for just $20 and everyone who participates will receive one $55 8” x 10” print free of charge. Wellsford Plunket fundraising coordinator Tania Bishop says the event will be a great opportunity for families to get top quality photos at a terrific price in a relaxed setting, as well as raising money for zip track blinds to enclose the deck at Plunket. Each photo sitting will take around half an hour and can include multiple poses or groupings of up to eight people, from the whole family to individual children. There is a choice of backdrops and props, and photos can be printed in colour or black and white. In addition to the free 8” x 10” family print, individual prints, mixed photopacks, professional framing and layby options are all available. Sittings can be booked by contacting Tania Bishop on 021 264 0424 or

Every session includes one free print.

Support available for mums at a stressful time Having a baby is stressful by anyone’s standards, but there is support available locally to help mothers cope with the many challenges that parenthood can bring. Rodney Women’s Centre in Morpeth Street, Warkworth provides several free services that are designed to address problems that women can face when they become mothers, such as isolation and anxiety. Counsellor Bridget Farmiloe runs a support group for Perinatal Distress (PND), a term which covers ante and postnatal depression and anxiety. She says PND can happen to any mother, during the pregnancy or after birth, but with the right support most women can recover and go on to experience motherhood in a more positive way.

“Our group is an opportunity for women to meet others experiencing difficulties and challenges so they don’t feel isolated and can learn from others’ experiences,” she says. The programme includes tools, tips and strategies to promote mindfulness, physical health, healthy relationships, making time for self-care, accessing support, plus managing anxiety and difficult feelings. “Women can learn in a supportive environment and take home information to support their recovery at home,” Bridget says. Ahnya Martin runs a Young Mums Group for mothers aged 24 and under who might feel isolated from other women their own age. She says the 10-week programme allows young

mums to network with other mothers, while exploring positive parenting, life management skills and strategies for raising happy, healthy children. “It provides young mothers with the opportunity to increase support networks and decrease isolation, share parenting with young women around their own age, learn new skills, receive information about parenting and resources in our local community, and equips young mums with the ability to make healthy, positive choices for themselves and their babies,” she says. Rodney Women’s Centre also offers free individual counselling for women with children under the age of 18. For more information, contact Rodney Women’s Centre on 425 7261 or visit

Early Learning Centre Where learning and discovery are nurtured by nature

We would be delighted to share in your child’s learning adventure!

• We welcome children from infants to 5 years + • Ours family friendly hours are from 7am to 6pm • Quality educational programmes • 20 ECE available for 3+ year olds • High teacher to adult ratios • Nutritious meals included

Phone 425 0511 | 33 Glenmore Drive, Warkworth 100% NZ family owned & operated

Pop in and see us! • 56 Woodcocks Road, Warkworth Email: • Phone: 09 422 2360


May 16, 2018 Mahurangimatters 31

Trauma in babies By Liz Cole, Warkworth family support worker

It is important we don’t underestimate the impact of experiences on babies. Because babies don’t communicate with verbal language, we often make the mistake of thinking that they are not affected by their surroundings. However, babies’ brains are developing exponentially in early childhood and creating the building blocks for future learning. As such their brains are especially vulnerable to being impacted by negative experiences. Often the impact of these experiences is not seen until the child is older. We might see some behaviours that we consider to be naughty or autistic or ADHD, when in fact the child is simply expressing the impact of early developmental trauma. Things that may cause developmental trauma can include separation from birth parents, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, physical illness, being placed in care more than once (even loving care), and having family violence in the home. These traumas result in children developing unhealthy coping strategies at the same time as stopping them develop ‘normal’ living skills such as emotional regulation and problem solving. Because brains are flexible and open to being re-sculptured, there are things you can do to help rebuild and repair the effect of developmental trauma on children’s brains. What it requires is repairing interventions to be offered over a long period of time. There is no quick fix, but there can be great results if you stick at it.   It is helpful to understand that traumatised children need to go backwards in order to go forwards. This means you need to respond to this child at its emotional age rather than its actual age. Babies’ experience of the world is very tactile or touch based. This gives us a clue to what might be helpful. The traumatised child may need more cuddles, rocking and singing to, as this is what their brain has missed out on. Soft blankets, warm pyjamas, crunchy foods (carrot sticks), chewy foods, and a warm bath can help. Letting them dig in the sand or mud, having a tug of war and doing deep breathing together are also helpful. The child’s behaviours may prompt you to be punishing. Get as much support for yourself so that you can remain calm, clear and kind. These kids need an empathetic approach to child rearing. It’s not easy work, but it is vital.

Gota s t ory t ot ell? Letus know .

Phone/fax: 09 425 7002 Phone/fax: 09 425 7002 Email: Email: 23 Neville Street, Warkworth

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New Mums Group 1st & 3rd Wednesday of each month 10am-12pm


Prenatal Classes

All welcome no matter where you plan to birth.

documenting beautiful stories

HOMEBUILDERS FAMILY SERVICES 5 Hexham Street, Warkworth • Phone 425 7048

Free Courses Every school term Homebuilders Family Services run two parenting courses which are delivered in both Wellsford and in Warkworth. In addition to this we run a Mindfulness course in Warkworth. All the courses are FREE as is childminding which is available on site. If you would like to register please contact Homebuilders Family Services on 425 7048 or

 FREE pregnancy tests Prenatal classes are a great way to meet  Prenatal classes, birth venue & other expectant parents, learn about birthing post-natal stay choices, and gain confidence. Held at the Warkworth Birthing Centre, with a tour of  Own room in peaceful rural the birthing rooms included. surroundings Courses are FREE, both evening (8 week)  Excellent equipment and and weekend (4 week) options are available. atmosphere Participants receive extensive handouts  Water birth a speciality and a personalised facebook group.  Midwives on call at all times, and Classes are facilitated by qualified as backup for your caregiver (LMC) childbirth educators.  Full post-natal hospital stay For further information talk  24 hour Registered Midwives/ to your LMC/Midwife or Nurses to care for you and your baby Warkworth Birth Centre  You can transfer from your birth Phone 09 425 8201 hospital within 12 hours of normal birth or 24 - 48 hours following a 56 View Road, Warkworth Caesarean

Available to all women and their caregivers

Mahurangi Matters 16 May 2018 - Baby Child FEATURE  

Mahurangi Matters 16 May 2018 - Baby Child FEATURE

Mahurangi Matters 16 May 2018 - Baby Child FEATURE  

Mahurangi Matters 16 May 2018 - Baby Child FEATURE