Melbourne MamaMag Feb/Mar 2023

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Feb/Mar 2024

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EDUCATING KIDS It's hard to believe that Summer is over and the school year has begun again. I mean not that we really had a Summer. It was pretty lame weather hey?! But the weeks still flew by so fast. I kicked off Summer with a lovely bout of COVID, an unwanted Xmas present I must say, which then meant NYE was spend home alone. I was however lucky enough to have my gorgeous sister bring some bubbles over in the arvo that we drank socially distanced in the park! And whilst the beach days were few and far between, and we didn't go away anywhere fabulous, I still managed to slot in plenty of fun. Finally gave up on the Moulin Rouge lotto and paid full price, spent plenty of time working on the house I'm renovating by myself and caught up with friends and family. It was my 'first' Christmas without my mum which was incredibly hard, but my sister, kids and I made it through with new traditions and plenty of distractions. So just like that school went back and my days have gotten quieter. My kids are in year 10 and eight this year and they've now both officially banned me from posting their pics on social media or on here! Oh to be a teenagers again! My son was in grade one when I started MamaMag which means we're hitting the double digits in June! Wow! If you're having your own 'first' this year, be it prep, kinder, or high school, you've got this mama!

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Support and fun for the Melbourne mum


CONTENTS Caravanning with kids


The Flazon family travel Australia

More Bluey, less Paw Patrol


The TV Aussie parents want

Disney by Emma


Emma Watkins designs her dream range

If the shoe fits


Getting the best fitting school shoes

Reducing plastics


7 steps for less plastic in your life

Tech tantrums


How to get your kids off their screens

Get moving


Sneaking movement into you child's day

Prepped for prep


How to create a smooth transition

Financially fit

WIN an ECOVACS DEEBOT X1 OMNI robot vacuum cleaner worth $1999!


Money skills for young adults

Beach etiquette


The best and worst beaches

Mama can cook


Tasty fun from Wiltshire

Art and about


Art galleries with kids

New on the shelf


Top book picks for everyone

Colour to win


WIN a Smiggle kindness pack

Choose kindness


Exploring bullying

Four years of Covid

Help kids learn the meaning of numbers

MamaMag Feb/Mar 2024

Entries are open to Australian residents only. Competition starts Feb 1st 12.01am 2024 and closes Mar 30th 2024 at 11.59pm. Visit for full terms and conditions.


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Click here to enter The opinions expressed herein MamaMag are not necessarily those of the publishing staff. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without permission of Mama Creative Group. Health related articles are designed to be informative and educational. They are not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace one-on-one advice from your health practitioner. Some articles may contain affiliate links for which MamaMag may be paid a commission when readers shop these links. Shopping affiliate links makes no difference to the price you pay but helps fund MamaMag allowing us to provide our family-friendly resource to you for free. 5

CARAVANNING WITH KIDS My partner Alex and I for many years have always spoken about it travelling Australia although financially we were never in the position to be able to. We couldn’t just stop working and travel and we’re still in the early stages of our life and relationship of trying to set up a foundation for our family. Five years ago we worked in my tiling business together which was preforming great although it had gotten to a point that we genuinely felt unhappy because it just wasn’t what we wanted to do. We always had a dream of creating content and being full time content creators, which has led us here – on the road. After five years of hard work, sacrifice and dedication - even to the point of almost going broke, we are both now full-time content creators sharing our daily lives with our followers. And we absolutely love it! It has given us an opportunity of a lifetime to be able to travel Australia together without an end date with our two girls (and dog). 6

We recently crossed the Western Australian border and on our way to Esperance. For us personally we have no time limits and that’s one of the best things about this adventure. We can enjoy every town we want to for as long as we want to. We plan to see every part of Australia before finishing our travels, whilst sharing all the moment with our following from the highs, to the lows and everything in between. The flies on road have been a lot to take in, and we now understand why the nation is bracing for a full-on battle against them and they’re willing to make some serious sacrifices to do so! Mortein recently released the Buzz Report*, revealing 77% of Aussies are ready to bid farewell to their beloved festive season must-haves in exchange for a fly-free festive season. We would forgo enjoying our Christmas lunch outside together as a family and eat indoors if it meant we could enjoy the rest of the day fly-free.

What are your top five tips for travelling with kids? 1. Go with the flow.

4. Toilet breaks!

The routine within a caravan isn’t going to be the same as it is in a house so just go with the flow and enjoy every moment as you can’t get them back, especially when you have young kids travelling with you.

Ensure your little ones have gone to the toilet before leaving to travel to the next location. So many times when we have just left we need to pull over again and it slows down the trip and your enthusiasm for getting to the next stop.

2. Insect sprays and repellents. When in off-grid locations especially inland small towns, there are a huge number of bugs, from mosquitos to flies, you need a repellent for everything if you’re planning on being outdoors. We always ensure we come prepared with Mortein wherever we go and it is absolutely essential!

3. Don’t take a lot of toys on the road with you. Yoys are great to keep the kids entertained, but the simplest everyday items are turned into hours of play, so you simply don’t need them. They take up room and the only room you need on the road is for essential supplies.

5. Embrace the little things. Don’t let the little moments get to you on the road. Especially at the start, everyone is adjusting to a whole new life and routine. Always remember it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to travel Australia with your children and they will never be this little again. Enjoy every second and make the best memories. Aussie adventurer, Luke Falzon, who has amassed over 6 million followers on his two TikTok accounts, is currently driving around Australia in a campervan with his wife Alex, and his two young daughters! Mortein Buzz Report Methodology:* The study was conducted online between 23 – 27 November 2023. The sample comprised a nationally representative sample of 1,023 Australians aged 18 years and older. The data was weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the latest ABS population estimates.


MORE BLUEY, LESS PAW PATROL Why Australian parents want locally made TV for their kids.. Australian kids today have greater access to screen entertainment than any generation before. Across smartphones, tablets, laptops and the old-school TV set, streaming services mean there is an endless supply of kids’ content from around the globe. But as our new research shows, many Australian parents still want Australian-made content for their kids because it reflects local experiences. It also tends to balance fun with education.

What is happening to Australian kids’ content? In 2020, the federal government removed quotas for local children’s television on free-to-air commercial networks. This has had a significant impact on what is available on our screens. In August, the Australian Communications and Media Authority found Australian children’s content on commercial broadcasters had dropped by 84% between 2019 and 2022. Meanwhile, with Network 10 now a subsidiary of global media conglomerate Paramount, pay TV children’s channel Nickelodeon moved from cable to free-to-air in August this year. So at a time when Australian kids’ content is disappearing from TV screens, hit overseas shows like PAW Patrol (a program about cartoon rescue dogs), SpongeBob SquarePants and Blaze and the Monster Machines are more available to Australian families than ever before. 8

Our research We surveyed Australian parents as part of a broader research project on Australian children’s television cultures. The national survey involved 333 parents of children 14 years and under between August and October 2022. We asked about how Australian families find, watch and value local kids’ TV in an era of streaming services and global distribution.

Our findings Our research suggests Australian parents strongly value local TV content for their kids. Of those surveyed, 83% say it is important their children see Australian-made programs. As a New South Wales dad-of-one explained: "Local TV leans into our unique heritage without alienating those who have other experiences. Teaching about what it means to be Australian without creating a firm definition." When asked what characteristics make “good” Australian children’s shows, parents said relatability, positive messages and humour were key. A Queensland father described how local shows instil Australian values like fair play and helping your mate as opposed to the US-style ‘look out for number one'. Parents also explained how humour was relaxed but not crude. As a mother-of-two remarked “poop jokes are fine” – a reference to

how rude moments from Bluey have been cut by international distributors. Along with Bluey, surveyed parents said they enjoyed watching Play School with their kids. ABC Publicity

Showing Australian reality on TV Perhaps unsurprisingly, parents identified Bluey as the show most watched by their youngest (65%) and oldest child (39%). Most parents also highlighted education as an important feature of Australian children’s TV. Many drew contrasts with international content to make the point that Australian children’s television tends to pair education with fun and does not “talk down” to children. Highlighting Little J & Big Cuz – an animated series about two Indigenous Australian children living with their Nanna – a Tasmanian father celebrated how local kids TV doesn’t shy away from the reality that kids experience and incorporates the wide variety of ‘real Australia’ without being cliched. A mum from a Canadian-Australian household noted how, unlike overseas content, local shows such as Kangaroo

Beach highlight things that are important to Australian life, such as water and sun safety. Similarly, a Melbourne mum emphasised how local specificity is important for young children. "It can be hard to explain why we can’t get snow in the winter in Australia."

Kids are still watching TV on TV In an era of seemingly endless streaming services, we asked about the devices parents use to access children’s television. A huge 95% of surveyed households still use television sets to watch children’s shows and content. But the most popular “channels” are almost exclusively streaming services, such as ABC’s video-on-demand services (93%), Netflix (73%), YouTube (66%) and Disney+ (60%). The next most popular devices were tablets (53%) and smartphones (30%), while older children often used computers (21%). Streaming services without clearly demarcated “kids” sections or that are not well-known for “all-ages” entertainment were less frequently used than those with prominently placed areas for children’s programming.


Four times as many parents identified Disney+ as a service their children use compared to Prime Video, despite Prime Video having a similar number of Australian subscribers.

Safety is key We also asked parents about what features and functionality they value in streaming services. They are concerned about safety, with participants identifying parental settings and controls as the most important feature of streaming services so their children don’t end up watching inappropriate content. Parents also emphasised the importance of streaming services having content that can be watched together, with nine out of ten parents watching TV with their kids (usually at weekends). Bluey was the show parents were most eager to watch with their children (60%) Other programs parents were happy to watch with their kids included time-tested Disney movies like The Lion King and Frozen and Australian favourites like Play School and Little Lunch – a program set in a suburban primary school.


What now? At a time when audiences have access to shows from across the globe on multiple devices, the Australian parents in our research still value content that communicates local experiences and culture. However, with protections for the Australian children’s television sector removed it remains to be seen how long can locals such as Bluey fend off overseas rivals like PAW Patrol. If you’re a parent or guardian with children up to 14 you can participate in our current research on the role of local children’s TV by taking this short survey. Australian Children’s Television Cultures is a Swinburne University of Technology project in collaboration with RMIT University. By Liam Burke, Associate Professor and Cinema and Screen Studies Discipline Leader, Swinburne University of Technology. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

DISNEY BY EMMA Just when you thought your kids coudn't love Emma Watkins, aka Emma Memma, anymore, she's gone and collaborated with Disney, co-creating a range of apparel and accessories exclusively for Big W. Available in-store and online from 1st February 2024, this super-affordable range features beloved Disney characters from two of Emma’s favourite Disney films, The Lion King and Bambi, with a range of essentials for little ones, alongside adult sleepwear. “Teaming up with Disney is a dream come true! It has been such a joy to revisit my favourite childhood stories and rediscover the Disney magic I grew up with. These beloved Disney characters, which many Aussie families know and adore, have inspired this range which has been designed with practicality, quality and value in mind for families to wear and enjoy, combined with the endearing legacy of Disney characters we all love.”

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Just when you are feeling a sense of relief, a light at the end of the tunnel, that you’ve made it through the school holidays, keeping the kids entertained (or not!), you realise that school is back shortly. But did you organise all your Back to School essientials on time, including your kid's school shoes? Perhaps this is your child’s first year of school and you’re not sure whether they can just wear their current sneakers, or perhaps you do not know how much your child’s feet may have grown since school ended last year. This is why we have podiatrist Alice Corbett to help us understand how to choose school shoes your kids will love to wear, while knowing that their feet will be supported not just during their long days at school, but that they will also support their feet’s growth and development. From the materials to look out for, tips when out shopping for them, how to make your shoes go further, to what to choose if you are on a budget, these tips are helpful to have for each time you need to buy new shoes for your children for the rest of their school years. Yes, be prepared for many purchases as their feet grow often and fast! 14

Let’s go shopping: 1. Professional fitting: Visit a reputable shoe shop where they measure feet! Children often cannot recognise that their footwear does not fit them correctly. 2. Shop towards the end of the day: Our feet are generally at their largest at the end of the day. 3. Socks: Wear school socks to the fitting to replicate the true fit. 4. Size up: It can be wise to size up slightly to allow for inevitable growth spurts. But do not overdo it, we don’t want our kids tripping over! Some brands, though not all, are available in whole and half sizes, to help ensure the best fit possible. Clarks offers various width options which is helpful to cater feet of all shapes and sizes. 5. Practise run: Have your child wear your school shoes around the house first, before venturing out and getting them dirty. Do this for a few hours to ensure the fit is correct and monitor for any areas of rubbing or blisters.

What are we looking for? 1. Price: School shoes cop an absolute beating. The price tag will generally reflect the quality of the materials- from the rubber to the glues used to bind the materials. 2. Fastenings: Adjustability of school shoes is an important feature! Laces, Velcro and buckles are necessary to keep shoes securely in feet throughout the school day. Velcro is generally easier for the younger children to undo and do up before they learn to lace. 3. Traditional shoe: Genuine leather is preferable over synthetic leathers. It is more breathable, more durable, it softens and can be polished easily. Plant based leathers are becoming more popular and the quality is forever improving. 4. Sports runners: For kids that race around the playground all lunchtime, all black sports shoe is are an excellent option for comfort and durability. Many schools are now accepting this as uniform. 5. Protection: Shoes with a thicker sole, more structured heel counter and secure upper offer more support and protection to children’s growing feet. 6. Toe box: We want a wide and deep toe box to prevent little toes from getting squished and blistered.

How to get the most out of school shoes: 1. Protect new shoes with a ‘stain and water protective’ spray. 2. If leather, regularly polish and use a leather conditioner to keep the leather at its best. 3. Avoid playing school sport in school shoes. Pack sports specific trainers for running around in. 4. You can swap out the insole that comes inside the shoe. Providing the length is still appropriate, you can replace with a thinner option (online or the chemist) to allow more volume in the shoe and a little more wiggle room for growth. Swapping out the insole is also a nice way to freshen up shoes. 5. Check the fit of your child’s school shoes regularly. Do this by measuring the gap between the longest toe and the edge of the shoe when standing. You can also remove the

insole and get the child to stand on it to see where the toes finish. 6. Find a good cobbler who can revamp the sole of the shoe if it is otherwise still in good condition.

On a Budget? 1. Purchase shoes mid-term: Look for sale opportunities outside of ‘back to school’ periods. 2. Second hand school shoes: These are okay providing they do not have any significant wear patterns. If the sole is worn down at the heel or the forefoot, this will negatively impact the level of control and comfort of the shoe. If this is still sound, you can update the insole for comfort and refurbish the shoe with new laces and a good polish.

Kids not enthusiastic about school shoes? In addition to the helpful tips from Alice Corbett, I know one trick that works for my child when she doesn’t want to wear something, is to pep it up and make it look cute with her favourite colour, characters or decorations. Perhaps your kids may be unenthusiastic about wearing what can be seen to them as dreary black school shoes to them. To help bring some fun into your kid’s school shoes, you may be able to find some school shoes that have a fun design. For example, I found out that Clarks have a magical Cloud Castle range which features fairy princesses. Each pair also comes with a Cloud Castle interactive shoe box as well as a cute keychain gift. Clarks also have a Minecraft range with Minecraft designs as another choice with fun designs. Clarks are always my go to for school shoes, and the current pair my daughter has, has been faring so well for her first year of school, even after enduring all the play that she gets up to in the playground. Grab your shoes from The Athlete’s Foot here:



SEVEN STEPS TO REDUCING PLASTICS IN YOUR LIFE Transitioning to a completely plastic-free lifestyle overnight would be a challenging feat for most of us! But what if we each took a small step each day towards reducing our plastic footprint? We could take a week to make a real effort to actively seek alternatives, reduce unnecessary plastics and make sustainable swaps. Here’s seven simple yet effective steps you could take next week to minimise plastic in your daily life, and make a positive impact on the environment.

DAY ONE Carry Reusable Shopping Bags: Plastic bags are one of the most common single-use plastic items. Get into the habit of carrying reusable shopping bags wherever you go. Keep a few sturdy, foldable bags in your car or by the front door so that you're always prepared.

DAY TWO Say No to Disposable Water Bottles: Incredibly, Australia is home to the world's most expensive bottled water, and we have the second highest consumption rate per capita! Although most Australians can access extremely good, safe drinking water straight from the tap, on average, each Australian spent about $580 on bottled water in 2021, making it one of the most common and expensive single-use purchases in the country. Invest in a reusable water bottle and carry it with you wherever you go.

DAY THREE BYO Reusables! One of the most effective ways to reduce plastic is by replacing single-use items with reusable alternatives. Plastic straws, utensils, and takeaway containers – especially coffee cups contribute significantly to plastic pollution. Thanks to that thin plastic lining that makes them waterproof, most coffee cups can’t be efficiently processed in paper recycling mills, so the majority are incinerated or sent to landfill. And when people erroneously place coffee cups into recycling bins, it can contaminate the higher value plastic that can be recycled; often meaning the whole load has to go to landfill. It's estimated that up to 90% of single-use hot beverage cups end up in landfill - equating to around 60,000 kg of plastic per annum.

DAY FOUR Opt for Plastic-Free Packaging: When grocery shopping, be mindful of the packaging materials used for your products. Choose to refuse pre-packaged meat, fish and deli products, particularly those sold on polystyrene trays. Buy loose fresh produce and look for items with minimal or no plastic packaging and keep an eye out for the Australasian Recycling Label which tells you how to correctly dispose of each part of the packaging.




Choose Non-Plastic Food Storage: Consider using glass containers, stainless steel lunchboxes, and beeswax wraps for storing and packing food. A popular solution is the tried and tested upside down plate on a bowl and many people find reusable silicone bowl toppers to cover food in bowls, pots and pans a useful option. Similarly, opt for glass or stainless-steel containers for leftovers and lunches instead of single-use plastic containers.

Spread Awareness: Last but not least, spread awareness about the harmful effects of plastic pollution and encourage others to join you in reducing waste. We don't need a handful of Aussies doing zero waste perfectly; we need millions of Aussies doing it imperfectly! Together, we can create a collective impact and inspire positive change on a larger scale. Every small action counts, and thousands of small steps make a big difference - together we can all be part of the solution.

DAY SIX Choose Plastic-Free Personal Care Products: Keep an eye out for plastic-free alternatives in the form of bamboo toothbrushes, shampoo bars, and safety razors. Or at least make sure the plastic bottles you buy are made from recycled not virgin plastic, and are able to be recycled. There are many reusable alternatives to single-use sanitary items, including menstrual cups, period underwear and washable cotton pads and liners.


Remember, it’s all about starting small but aiming big . Join in Clean Up Australia Day on March 3, 2024.



TECH TANTRUMS 3 ways to help your child transition off screens and avoid the dreaded ‘tech tantrums’ Many Australian parents worry about how much time their children spend watching screens. While some time on devices is fine for entertainment and education, we also know it is important children do things away from TVs and devices. This means for many families, there is a daily battle around getting kids off their screens and avoiding “tech tantrums”. Our new research looks at how parents and carers can help children with what researchers call “technology transitions”.


Why are transitions so tough? Technology transitions are a lot like other transitions children experience throughout their day. These include stopping play to get dressed, moving from having breakfast to getting in the car, or finishing time on the swing to leave the park. These can be tricky because they involve self-regulation skills that children learn and develop as they grow. Transitioning from screen to non-screen activities is something many children would do more than once a day. Often technology transitions can appear harder for children and their carers than other transitions because devices can be highly engaging, with developers and media designers actively working to keep children connected (think of how streaming services automatically start playing the next show and display all the similar options for viewing).

Our study We are working on a larger project to develop an online tool with advice for parents about using digital technologies with their children. In this part of the study, we have been exploring how to support children with technology transitions. Together with Playgroup WA, we worked with a group of 14 parents to explore different ways to move children off technology. Over 12 weeks, we provided parents with ideas and advice to support transitions and then asked them what worked best. These resources included content from the federal government’s parenting website Raising Children Network and ABC Kids. Families reported their top three strategies for supporting technology transitions.

1. Prepare your kids We would be upset if we were watching a movie and someone suddenly stopped it midway through without warning. Just like adults, children can feel very annoyed and frustrated when their device is suddenly taken away, especially when they are enjoying a game or watching content they like. So you need to prepare children and let them know when their time with a screen will end. Some successful strategies parents and carers in this research used were “you can watch two episodes of this show” or “when this game is finished we will stop”. These help children to know how much time they will have with a device and that they will be able to finish an activity they are enjoying. Telling them what activity would follow was also helpful. For example “when you have finished that game it will be time to eat” or “after you have watched that show we will go to the park”. What they are moving to may not always be fun, helping children understand what to expect helps make for a smoother transition.

2. Do something ‘for real-life’ inspired by the screen You can use children’s interests in what they are watching to help them move from technologies into non-digital activities. For example if your child has been watching Bluey you could invite them to complete a Bluey puzzle, or role-play some Bluey games such as keepy uppy or obstacle course. Families in this study reported moving from watching Fireman Sam to visiting a fire station or building a fire station with their child using blocks and other play materials in the home. Parents also successfully used music and songs children liked to help with technology transitions. This could be playing music from a show, or turning on music kids liked to act as a fun activity to engage them in something else.

3. Give kids choice Offering children choice in these situations can also be very powerful. Many aspects of children’s lives are managed for them, when to go to school or pre-school, what they have to wear and using a seat belt in the car. Many of these things are not negotiable and often for good reasons. This is why it is helpful to give children some choice in their lives when you can. Parents reported success when providing kids with simple choices when preparing to move off technology. For example “would you like to watch two or four episodes of this show?” or “would you like to start the timer for your game or do you want me to let you know when your time is up?” These strategies help children feel like they have some choice about how long they will use technologies. As parents and carers navigate screens and technology with their kids, they should know they are not alone if they find transitions difficult. And there are strategies that can help. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.



GET MOVING 5 ways to sneak active movement into your child's day Whether you have a super active kid or one that prefers to chill, it is always good to encourage movement and activity into your child’s day. Not only for helping them burn some energy, but also to help them develop healthy habits early in life that they will hopefully be able to maintain later on.

Here are a few top tips to get you started... Set a good example While I certainly don’t bring my kids along to every workout, as that is my “me” time, they see me getting ready to go to the gym or for a run, and they see that I am excited about it. In the past, so many people presented fitness as if it is a punishment and something they feel they must do because they ate something “bad”. I try to make an effort to avoid those comments. Fortunately for me, I truly love working out. If the kids are around while I am training, they will often do some exercises around me so they can feel like they are involved too.

Sign up to sport or create your own at home sport My son is old enough to play sport now, and he is loving AFL. We take him two nights a week. He also loves running with me and playing games in the backyard, whether that be throwing around a footy or a tennis ball

or having running races at the local park or in our garden. All of these activities not only keep him active, but they are also showing him that being active is fun and social.

Outdoor adventure My whole family like to get out and about on the weekend. In between work and school sport, we will do dog walks, we will go to national parks and play cricket while enjoying a picnic. We have quite young kids, so one day we may upgrade to bush walking, but for now, that is more than enough.

Screen time stretch breaks We try to minimise screen time where we can, however there is no doubt that sometimes myself and my wife Talitha need to get things done, and the screen is a saviour in terms of distracting the kids. We will still come by every 30 mins or so (if we remember) and get the kids up doing star jumps or something like that.

Family fitness challenges We love a little family fitness challenge, especially if the kids are getting wild and need to be calmed down. We will set things like who can do the most star jumps in 30 seconds, who can hold a plank the longest. It’s surprisingly a very fun and engaging activity for the whole family. By Ben Lucas, director of Flow Athletic and father of two. Ben is an experienced personal trainer and former professional rugby league player for the Cronulla Sharks.


PREPPED FOR PREP Establish a Routine: Having a daily routine that supports the school schedule with consistent wake-up times, mealtimes, and bedtime routines, will help your child adapt to the structure of the school day. Read Together: Reading with your child is an excellent way to share learning. Choose age-appropriate books that discuss making friends and experiencing new things and share stories about characters who embark on similar adventures. Encourage Independence: Teach your child to dress themselves, and wash their hands before meals. Make sure your child can easily open the lunchbox they take to school and remove any food packaging they’ll have during the day. These self-help skills are essential for school readiness and support independence in the classroom. Social Skills: Arrange playdates with other children to help your child develop social skills. Practice sharing, taking turns, and resolving conflicts peacefully. These skills will be valuable when interacting with peers at school. Communication: Encourage your child to express their feelings and concerns. Be a good listener and validate their emotions. Assure them that it's normal to feel a mix of emotions about school.


Build Confidence: Praise your child's efforts and achievements. Focus on their strengths and encourage them to tackle challenges with a positive attitude. Confidence is a vital asset. Label Everything: Label your child's belongings, including their backpack, lunchbox, and clothing. This not only makes it easier for them to identify their belongings but also fosters a sense of responsibility. Stay Positive: As a parent, your attitude sets the tone for your child's experience. Stay positive and excited about their school journey. Reassure them that school is a fun place to learn, make friends, and explore new adventures. Be Patient: Finally, be patient with your child and with yourself. Starting school is a big adjustment for both of you and it may take time for your child to settle into the new routine. There may be tears and challenges along the way but remember that it's all part of the learning process. By fostering a love for learning, establishing routines, and maintaining open communication, you can support your child’s transition as they embark on their education journey. With your unwavering backing, your student will thrive within ‘big school’, setting the stage for a bright future of curiosity, resilience, and a passion for knowledge. By Megan Bates, Junior School Teacher, Strathcona Girls Grammar

Images © adventure+

Entering the world of formal education is a monumental step for your child and your family. During this transition, both parents and students may experience a blend of excitement and apprehension, and there are steps you can take to encourage a smooth transition throughout Term One.

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GETTING YOUR YOUNG ADULT FINANCIALLY FIT Seven money skills every school leaver should know Amidst the excitement (and disbelief!) that your child finished school last year, it pays to have them think about what life ahead looks like – and how they will pay for it. Finishing school is a time for celebration but also one of transition into adulthood. With that comes new-found responsibilities, particularly about money: earning, spending, saving. Help your school leaver navigate their path towards financial independence by discussing these money matters with them:

1. Career choice Kids are often told to follow their dreams. However, dreams don’t always pay the bills: look at how many out-of-work actors are waiting tables and pouring beers!

The most crucial time to scrutinise superannuation is when first starting out, when we have the greatest ability to maximise returns. Everything from choosing the right fund to diversifying investments directly impacts our retirement balance. The difference over our working lives can be tens – even hundreds – of thousands of dollars. Young people often accumulate multiple super funds through casual jobs and are urged to consolidate to save money. This can backfire if done hastily – e.g. consolidating into a higherfee fund or inadvertently scrapping favourable insurances.

3. Insurance

By all means, your child should pursue their passions. But following the money when exploring study and career options can deliver the financial security to pursue those dreams while earning a comfortable living.

Considering insurance protections now can have big payoffs later – locking in cheaper rates and favourable terms offered to healthy young people – while also protecting against current risks:

Considerations include:

Within super – e.g. life and permanent disability coverage without using after-tax income.

Private health – offsets income tax and allows coverage of costly conditions that may develop later. Adult children may or may not be able to retain cover through an existing family plan.

Asset protection – could they afford to replace their car/personal valuables without insurance?

Travel – many school leavers embark on gap years or overseas holidays.

income-earning potential

growth prospects

future-proofing from technological disruption

repaying student loans

For instance, young people are being incentivised to explore careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths); professions like teaching and nursing are unlikely to make humans redundant.


2. Superannuation

4. Investing The earlier investing begins, the more time there is to grow wealth and recover any unexpected losses. There is no minimum amount needed to start. Savings alone likely won’t get today’s youth onto the property ladder – but investment earnings and equity could potentially cover a deposit. Options include: •


Cash/term deposits

Foreign currencies

Investment trusts

Precious metals


Property – residential or commercial

Your child should assess how much they can invest, their capacity to contribute more and their risk appetite.

5. Emergency fund Every adult should have an emergency fund – readily accessible savings that are exclusively theirs. Because situations can and do arise where we need cash in a hurry: natural disasters, relationship breakdowns, illness, hacked accounts. Even a few dollars from each pay adds up, and doing so helps young people develop the habit of saving a percentage of their income. Having their own emergency cash also benefits you as parents, particularly given the prevalence of ‘hi mum’ scams – messages pretending to be your child urgently needing money.

are due to receive, and provide visibility over all income and expenses. Including basics like cooking versus eating out and cash versus card transactions will help them learn the value of money. This plan should be revisited regularly and updated where needed.

7. Right advice One of the worst things young people can do is take advice about money from social media. ‘Finfluencers’ are typically illegal and dangerous – unqualified self-titled ‘experts’ pushing agendas for their own profit, or outright scams. However, even well-meaning relatives and friends can do more harm than good. Everyone’s circumstances are different: what worked for them may not suit your child. Encourage them to seek tailored advice from qualified professionals – a financial advisor, tax accountant, lawyers for property/ business matters. Their advice is generally tax deductible and can be a savvy investment in starting adult life on the right foot! By Helen Baker, licensed Australian financial adviser and author of the new book, On Your Own Two Feet: The Essential Guide to Financial Independence for all Women (Ventura Press, $32.99). Helen is among the 1% of financial planners who hold a master’s degree in the field. Proceeds from book sales are donated to charities supporting disadvantaged women and children. Find out more at

6. Planning “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” a wise saying goes. A savings and investment plan is a valuable tool that will serve school leavers well as their financial situation becomes more complex over time with work, kids, mortgages, etc. It should cover their goals, what to do with any inheritances/trusts/gifts they have or


BEACH ETIQUETTE It's official, Melbourne has the best beach in Australia when it comes to beach etiquette! If good behaviour is important to you, perhaps consider a trip to Brighton Beach – the bestbehaved beach in Australia (according to a recent Preply survey). Lined with colorful bathing boxes, this is one of Victoria’s most popular beaches, with a long expanse of sand and a handy proximity to restaurants and shops. On the other end of the scale, Sydney is home to the country’s most poorly behaved beachgoers, with Bondi Beach taking the title of Australia’s rudest beach. Surfers Paradise Beach on the Gold Coast and St Kilda Beach in Melbourne followed in second and third places, respectively. When temperatures reach blistering extremes during the summer months, millions of Australians head to the beach to enjoy a refreshing dip in the ocean. However inconsiderate behaviour from other beachgoers can spoil the experience. The team at Preply wanted to know how Australia’s beaches ranked in terms of etiquette, so they surveyed 1,000 residents of the 25 largest


coastal areas to see if they’d witnessed any instances of people being careless or antisocial. The results of the survey provided insight into the most common types of poor beach etiquette, and revealed the Australian beaches where bad behaviour is most likely to occur.

So what is beach etiquette? Even though the beach is a very different setting to an office or another person’s home, there are still social rules you need to follow. Because the beach is a shared space, it’s important to act with consideration and respect so everyone can have a good time – not just you! For instance, music can be a source of irritation for people in public places, especially if it’s too loud. There’s nothing wrong with bringing your Bluetooth speaker to the beach, but you might need to adjust the volume if people nearby are trying to relax. Plus, they might not agree with your musical preferences. Although a thumping psytrance megamix might sound awesome at a bush doof, it’s probably not the best soundtrack for the beach.

The results of the survey showed that a visit to an Australian beach is most likely to be ruined by someone else’s pet. Naughty pets (dogs, usually) at the beach were witnessed by 55% of our respondents – with the most complaints coming from residents of Hervey Bay. Dogs can cause havoc at beaches by barking, chasing other dogs, pooping, and stealing food. If you’re visiting the Fraser Coast and you want to bring your dog to the beach, make sure you research the dog off-leash areas (approved by the local council) before you head out! The second most common example of bad beach behaviour was people swimming outside the designated areas. At beaches around Australia, surf lifesavers use red and yellow flags to indicate which part of the water is safe for swimming. When people choose to ignore these guidelines, the consequences can be serious – with a national average of over 120 coastal drownings per year. Finally, public displays of affection were the third most witnessed violation of beach etiquette in Australia. Because beaches are family-friendly spaces, extravagant displays of physical affection are generally frowned upon. Again, it’s about consideration – the beach isn’t your bedroom, so don’t get too carried away the next time you’re on a swim date.

Most common and annoying beach etiquette violations: 1. Bringing pets to the beach - 55% 2. Swimming in undesignated areas - 48% 3. Public displays of affection - 46% 4. Feeding seagulls - 44% 5. Littering - 41% 6. Flicking sand by walking with thongs on the beach - 39% 7. Talking too loudly - 38% 8. Sitting too close - 38% 9. Smoking - 37% 10. Surfing in undesignated areas - 36%

Australia’s top 5 beaches for poor beach etiquette: 1. Bondi Beach, Sydney, NSW - 26% 2. Surfers Paradise Beach, QLD - 14% 3. St Kilda Beach, Melbourne, VIC - 13% 4. Manly Beach, Sydney, NSW - 11% 5. Main Beach, Byron, NSW - 6%

Australia’s top 5 beaches for good beach etiquette: 1. Brighton Beach, Brighton, VIC - 14% 2. Mooloolaba Beach, Sunshine Coast, QLD - 13% 3. Cable Beach, Broome, WA - 12% 4. Glenelg, Adelaide, SA - 11% 5. Cottesloe Beach, Perth, WA - 10%


MAMA CAN COOK Roasted Chicken Marylands with Tomato, Feta & Herb Salad Serves: 4 | Skill level: Easy | Prep/cook time: 30 mins Ingredients:

70g fetta, crumbled


¼ cup mint leaves, torn

4 chicken marylands, skin on

¼ cup basil leaves, torn

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

½ tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 cup fresh oregano leaves

Salt and pepper, to taste

Zest and juice of 1 lemon


100g Green sicilian olives

Preheat oven to 200°C fan forced.

½ cup dry white wine Salt and pepper, to taste Salad 600g mixed colour mini or cherry tomatoes, halved 2 baby cucumbers, thinly sliced


In a Wiltshire 39cm Vitreous Enamel Bake Tray lined with baking paper toss together the chicken, olive oil, garlic, oregano, lemon and olives. Season with salt and pepper and spread the chicken pieces out skin side up.

Pour the white wine over the chicken pieces and bake, uncovered for 45-50 minutes (or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 74°C at its thickest part) basting with the wine a couple of times during cooking. While the chicken is cooking prepare the tomato salad. Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss well to combine. Set aside in the refrigerator for the flavours to develop until the chicken has finished cooking, then serve together.

Baked Salmon Side with Fennel and Herb Salad Serves: 4 | Skill level: Easy | Prep/cook time: 35 mins Ingredients:


Whole (1.5-1.8kg) side of salmon (in one piece), skin off and pin-boned*

Preheat oven to 180°C fan forced. Line a Wiltshire 39cm Vitreous Enamel Bake Tray with baking paper and place lemon slices in the rough shape of your side of salmon on the paper.

4-5 lemons, sliced 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Juice ½ lemon 1 tbsp harissa paste Sea salt and black pepper 1 fennel bulb, shaved with a mandoline, fronds reserved ¼ cup fresh coriander leaves ¼ cup fresh continental parsley, roughly chopped ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, torn 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar ½ tbsp brown sugar

Combine the harissa paste with 1 tbsp olive oil. Lay salmon on top of the lemon slices and brush the harissa oil all over the top of the salmon. Season with salt and pepper.

While the salmon is cooking, combine shaved fennel, fronds, coriander, parsley and mint in a bowl and add remaining1 tbsp olive oil, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar and lemon zest and juice. Toss to combine then season with salt and pepper. Once the salmon side has been removed from the oven, top with the fennel and herb salad and serve immediately.

Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the fish reaches an internal temperature of 63°C at the thickest part.

Zest and juice of ½ lemon 31

Looking for easy entertaining recipes to elevate your Summer brunches and BBQ party? The iconic Australian homewares brand, Wiltshire, and recipe developer Amanda Dettrick (@letsmakestuff_au) have you covered!

Coconut and Mango Semifreddo Serves: 8-10 | Skill level: Intermediate | Prep/cook time: 30 mins Ingredients: 400g can coconut cream, chilled overnight 1 mango, flesh finely chopped 1 mango, flesh thinly sliced 300ml thickened cream, cold 4 large egg yolks and 1 whole egg, room temp 165g (3/4 cup) caster sugar Method: Line the base and sides of a Wiltshire Two Tone Loaf Pan 30cm with cling film allowing for overhang to pull the semifreddo out of the tin when it has set.


Without tilting or shaking the can, open the coconut cream can and scoop the firm coconut cream from the top of the can into a bowl and set aside. The remaining clear coconut liquid will not be used for this recipe to feel free to discard or use it in a summer smoothie. Use hand beaters to whisk together the egg, egg yolks and sugar in a metal bowl until light and fluffy. Place the bowl over a saucepan with 2 inches of simmering water and continue to mix for 6-8 minutes until the mixture is thick and pale and the beaters leave a heavy trail in the

mixture, or the temperature reaches 72°C. Remove from heat and continue to mix for a further 2 minutes to cool the mixture down. In a separate bowl whip the thickened cream and coconut cream until soft peaks form. Fold in the egg mixture and the chopped mango gently until just combined. Pour into the prepared Wiltshire pan and freeze for a minimum or 6-8 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, remove semifreddo from tin and invert onto a serving platter. Top with mango slices, toasted coconut and fresh mint leaves.

ART AND ABOUT How to get the most out of a visit to an art gallery with kids

In our house we have a favourite story about the time our toddler was dragged from the National Portrait Gallery kicking and screaming “I want to see more paintings!!!” She needed lunch, we had to go, but she really loved the “Nick Cave Gallery”, as she called it, with his luminous portrait by Howard Arkley on display. What parenting miracle did we pull off to have a daughter that loves art galleries so much? We have always taken our kids to galleries. It’s what we do for fun and is what they want to do as teenagers. Visiting a new town or city, we check out local art wherever we can find it. I have a long history of working with galleries and I am a practising artist, so gallery spaces are familiar to us and are meaningful places associated with joy, wonder and celebration. But you don’t need to be an artist to help your kids enjoy a gallery visit.

Start young Children are naturally curious, so start young and make gallery visits a normal activity. Expose babies to art as soon as possible: research proves regular engagement with art develops children’s aesthetic sensibilities and even very young children can respond to art


in complex ways. I remember my baby son neighing like a horse in front of a painting before he could talk. I looked at the painting he was staring at, Nicholas Harding’s Bob’s daily swim. There in the thick, painterly background, was a horse. My son connected with the work because he loved horses.

Before your visit Look for ways to introduce your child to artists before your visit. Art activities bring exhibits to life in fun and engaging ways. For example, from the NGA you can make Sol Le Witt-inspired vegemite toast. Suddenly, Wall drawing no.380 a-d (1982) takes on a whole new flavour, and your child is connected with the work before they see it. Try to tap into your child’s interests. If they like superheroes, pop icons or Hollywood stars they might just love to see a show by Yankunytjatjara artist Kaylene Whiskey. Marilyn JS Goodman’s brilliant book Children Draw includes tips on taking your child to a gallery: consider going on a weekday when it’s less crowded, include the cafe, and, importantly, don’t try to see everything – for younger children plan on spending no more than an hour and don’t try to look at too many art works. Let your child take the lead and include them in the planning. Planning a trip together may be the perfect time to ask questions and share

knowledge: “did you know we can’t touch artwork in galleries? Do you know why?” This can not only help avoid awkward situations with security guards but also helps your child to understand why we don’t touch art (we need to protect the artworks), and may encourage further inquiry into the art or gallery.

There’s no right or wrong response Some adults may feel uncomfortable talking about art. Just try having a conversation about what you see, and be prepared to be amazed by what your child observes. Start by asking your child questions: what are you noticing about this exhibition? What stories are these works telling? What do you think about when you look at this artwork? In schools, you might hear teachers use thinking routines: what do you see? What do you think about that? What does it make you wonder? This stimulates curiosity and encourages students to make careful observations and thoughtful interpretations. Some galleries use Visual Thinking Strategies, which also consists of three questions: what’s going on in this picture? What makes you say that? What else can we find? You don’t have to like what you see. This can even be a great stimulus for discussions with your child: does art have to be beautiful to be good? Why do people make art? What was that exhibition about?

Compare drawings and swap notes. Ask your child what they noticed and share what you found. Another fun game in a gallery is to pose like the sculptures and paintings. Most galleries offer programs for children and families. By attending tours you can pick up excellent tips from the educators who are experts at engaging children. They use simple and effective methods such as rolling a piece of paper up into a telescope to look at a work. Some galleries also have children’s trails especially designed for engaging children. And if they don’t, you can make things up like how many trees can you see? Or can you find any animals in this exhibition?

After the visit In a previous article I talked about extending your child’s experience after a gallery visit and how a comic my son made gave me an insight into his feeling about what he had seen at the gallery. Make it a special day out together. At the end of the day you want your child to enjoy the experience and foster a love of art. By Naomi Zouwer, Visual Artist and Lecturer in Teacher Education, University of Canberra. A clean home is more than just a ‘clean home’, it is a transformation of the home and mind. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Interact with the art You are allowed to take pencil and paper into most galleries and drawing is a great way of looking and slowing down your experience. Most galleries have seating where you can sit and draw. Try taking a sketchbook for you and one for your child. Role model drawing, taking your time. You are not aiming to make a masterpiece but to use drawing to map out what you see.




Your Brain Is a Lump of Goo by Idan Ben-Barak A funny exploration of the most mysterious organ in the human body from the bestselling and award-winning author of Do Not Lick This Book. Hi, I'm your brain. Here are some things you should know about me: I'm about the size of a pineapple. I sit behind your eyes. I look like a big walnut (but gooey). I'm not a computer. So what do I do? Oh, just about everything. A fun-filled book made by brains, about brains, for brains. Published by A&U Children's RRP $24.99

All You Can Be by Angela Casabene A love letter to children everywhere encouraging them to live their big, messy, beautiful lives to the full. This is a love letter to children everywhere encouraging them to embrace their true selves and to live their big, messy, beautiful lives to the full. Be kind. Be strong. Be curious. Be wrong ... Be all you can be. Published by Affirm Kids. RRP $19.99.

See You Later, Alligator by Sally Hopgood See You Later, Alligator is a silly story with bright, engaging illustrations and expressive, rhyming text that children will want to readand giggle throughagain and again. Published by Affirm Kids. RRP $24.99.

An Amazing Australian Camping Trip by Jackie Hosking The hilarious family from An Amazing Australian Road Trip is back – this time they're going camping! We’re travelling from Melbourne on a camping trip east, so Aunty can paint a fantastical beast. The family from An Amazing Australian Road Trip is off on a camping trip in search of a little-seen Australian beast for Aunty to paint. Encountering all manner of Australian animals, the right one is proving hard to find, and they’re starting to wonder if the creature even exists. Published by Walker Books. RRP $24.99.


t(w)een The Legend of Ghastly Jack Crowheart by Loretta Schauer Lil and her pet crow must find a way to frighten off a gang of ruthless highwaymen who are terrorising the customers of the inn where she lives. For Lil, life at the Squawking Mackerel inn couldn’t be more miserable. She's tasked with the sloppiest, grottiest jobs and picked on at every turn. Her only friend is Augustus Scratchy, a cantankerous crow with a habit of stealing. When the dread villain Rotten Bob Hatchet and his gang of cut-throat highwaymen begin attacking travelers on the road, things get really dire. Published by Walker Books. Age 9+ RRP $18.99.

Out and About Tree Explorer (National Trust) by Emma S. Young Trees are amazing, and trees are everywhere! In this charming spotter's guide, discover 60 different common trees to spot when you're out and about. Big trees, small trees and everything in between! Whether walking in the woodlands or the streets of your town, this book is your ultimate companion when you're out on a tree-spotting adventure. Grouped by size to help kids identify them easily and quickly, with beautifully illustrated flowers, fruits and berries to show you what they might look like at any time of the year. Learn fascinating facts and discover the secrets of every incredible tree you see and find out how you can help protect them for the future too. Published by Nosy Crow. Age 8-12. RRP $17.99.

Seven Days by Rebeka Shaid Noori has it all sussed out. She may only be sixteen and a Bollywood fanatic with an incredible lack of foresight, but she knows a thing or two about life and its messy heartaches. When she runs into Aamir, a scruffy desi dude with teastained eyes, her confused soul turns upside-down. There is something about him she can’t work out. Aamir is trying to escape a misunderstood and painful past. When his world collides with Noori’s, life gets even more complicated. Invisible threads connect them. Will they both realize what's at stake, before they run out of time? A story about grief, family, and the unexpected turns life can take. A story of first love. Published by Walker Books. 14+ RRP $19.99.

Teacher, Teacher, Stories of inspirational educators by Megan Daley The power of an exceptional teacher cannot be overestimated. Sometimes it is not about what they taught you, but about how they made you feel as a person. Teacher, Teacher is an anthology of stories showcasing those brilliant educators who have nurtured, inspired, championed or created change – in one student or in a community. Published by Affirm Press. Age 13+ RRP $34.99.


adults Little People, Big Feelings by Gen Muir Reassuring, compassionate and relatable, Little People, Big Feelings will help you through some of the most difficult moments of parenting – from fussy eating and bedtime struggles, to school refusal and new sibling rivalry. Gen explores what the core needs of kids are and the importance of connection and boundaries. She explains why understanding our own response to our kids’ feelings is the key to becoming the parent we want to be, and demonstrates how welcoming your child’s emotions can help them to regulate. Published by Macmillan Australia RRP $36.99

Nobody Really Has Their Sh*t Together - Doodles To Make You Feel Kind Of Better by Luke John Matthew Arnold Illustrator star Luke John Matthew Arnold shares his no-bullshit, somewhat inspirational and very hilarious doodles. For most of us, every day comes with a new set of ‘holy shits’ and ‘what the fucks’. But as a fella who lives with OCD and anxiety while also being an artist, Luke John Matthew Arnold often couldn't afford a shrink. So instead, he started doodling. These cute doodles hugged Luke's eyeballs, kissed his heart and spanked his negative thinking on the big ol’ bum. And now they're in a book to share ! Published by Hardie Grant Books. RRP $44.99.

Tilda Is Visible by Jane Tara When Tilda Finch is diagnosed with invisibility, she's not overly surprised – she's felt invisible for years. She has a good life and a successful business selling inspirational quotes on merchandise. But she's never really recovered from her divorce. Or, if she's honest, her childhood. Tilda's past has taken a toll and she's lost sight of herself. Now, with the possibility of completely disappearing, she must face the trauma of her past and rewrite the way she perceives the world, and herself. Entertaining, hilarious and poignant, Tilda Is Visible addresses the power of our thoughts and how childhood trauma shapes our adult experience. Published by Affirm Press RRP $34.99.

Peppercorn House by Nicole Hurley-Moore Love is the last thing on Jasmine Clarke's mind when she arrives in Kangaroo Ridge with a broken heart. But then she meets Felix Carrington. Felix helps run his family's wedding venue business at Carrington Farm. His real passion, though, is taking glorious shots of the local region. And it's through an unlikely friendship with 84-year-old Winnifred Knightly that Felix is able to take frequent photos at his favourite place, Peppercorn House, with all its faded grandeur and mysterious history Published by Allen & Unwin. RRP $32.99.



a Smiggle kindness pack Simply colour to win!

Download colouring in sheet here Entries close 29 February 2024 at 11.59pm AEST. Care Bear colours allocated randomly. See competitions for full terms and conditions. Parent’s email will be added to our mailing list. You can opt out at any time.

39 39

CHOOSE KINDNESS Wouldn’t it be nice if all children were kind? As kids head back to school, it’s a timely opportunity to read the following advice from Dolly’s Dream and think about bullying and how we can spot, and stop, it. Dolly’s Dream was created by Kate and Tick Everett following the shattering loss of their 14-year-old daughter, Dolly, to suicide, after ongoing bullying. Kate and Tick’s goal is to prevent other families walking this road. They want to change the culture of bullying by addressing the impact of bullying, anxiety, depression and youth suicide, through education and direct support to young people and families.

Bullying behaviour is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time (for example, through sharing of digital records). Bullying of any form or for any reason can have immediate, medium and long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders. Single incidents and conflict or fights between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying.

So what is bullying?

Bullying is behaviour which causes harm or hurt and is done deliberately and repeatedly. A person being bullied may feel intimidated, helpless, or unable to stop it happening.

Around 1 in 4 school-aged children in Australia has been bullied recently, with 1 in 5 bullied online recently

Each year, approximately 45 million bullying incidents occur in Australian schools.

Bullying can be:

School is the most common place where teens experience bullying, followed by online spaces.

Did you know:

Physical – such as hitting, shoving, tripping or kicking

Verbal – such as insults, threats, or nasty teasing

Most of those who have been bullied online have also been bullied in person.

Social – such as spreading ugly rumours or telling people not to be friends with someone

Young people affected by bullying may suffer harm to their wellbeing, education and relationships.

Cyber – such as spreading nasty gossip about someone online or posting embarrassing pics without their permission. Cyber bullying can be anonymous, involve large numbers of people, and go on 24/7.

Compared to unaffected young people, they are at higher risk of various health problems, including mental health concerns.

The risks are especially high for those who have been bullied and have also bullied others.

Sometimes teens understand bullying differently to adults or have been hurt by other bad behaviours. Rather than arguing about ‘is it really bullying?’, we should focus on finding out what happened, the impacts, and what we can do to keep everyone safe and respected.

The national definition of bullying for Australian schools ( says: Bullying is an ongoing and deliberate misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that intends to cause physical, social and/or psychological harm. 40

It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power, or perceived power, over one or more persons who feel unable to stop it from happening. Bullying can happen in person or online, via various digital platforms and devices and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert).

Bullying advice for parents What can parents do to support their kids? •

Teach our kids to recognise when they need help – when they can’t solve a problem, or are feeling stressed, upset, scared, sleepless, or overwhelmed.

Help them make a list of trusted adults they could talk to.

Teach them the key steps to asking for help, including deciding who to ask, thinking about what to say beforehand, finding a quiet time and place to talk, and telling other people if the first person can’t help them.

Remind them that everyone needs help sometimes – including parents.

What can we do about cyber bullying?

What advice could you give to other parents or carers?

Bullying often takes place at and around schools. But it also happens online.

Children sometimes don’t want to tell parents that they’re being bullied because the parent might take their device away or the parent might go down to the school.

If your child says they’re being bullied, it’s important to stay calm and let them know they’ve done the right thing by telling you.

Ask them for the full story and explain that bullying is never ok and that’s it’s normal to feel upset.

Many parents might have experienced bullying when they were young, but home would be their safe place where they wouldn’t have to deal with that anymore. Yet, for today’s young people, the bullying can feel like it never stops. When they’re at home, they might be receiving messages and seeing things online.

Don’t respond to the bullying by becoming aggressive yourself, as this is likely to make things worse.

If the bullying happens online, you can report it to the website where it happens, like Instagram or Facebook.

Connect with your child’s school to discuss the situation. Make an appointment and bring a list of the incidents mentioned by your child.

If the content is not taken down, the eSafety Commissioner has an online reporting tool where they have a strong compliance rate and provide valued advice to families.

Every school in Australia should have an anti-bullying policy which you can often find on the school’s website. So prepare yourself by reading the document before your meeting.

The school and teachers will also want the bullying to stop so remember that you’re on the same team.

For more advice visit Smiggle and Dolly’s Dream are asking Australian kids to choose kindness when they head back to school for 2024. To help spread the message they have created a co-branded Choose Kindness pins to be sold to raise funds for the anti-bullying organisation as part of its ongoing partnership supporting young people and parents.


FOUR YEARS OF COVID It might be hard to believe, but four years have now passed since the first COVID case was confirmed in Australia on January 25 2020. Five days later, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a “public health emergency of international concern”, as the novel coronavirus (later named SARS-CoV-2) began to spread worldwide. On March 11 the WHO would declare COVID a pandemic, while around the same time Australian federal and state governments hastily introduced measures to “stop the spread” of the virus. These included shutting Australia’s international borders, closing nonessential businesses, schools and universities, and limiting people’s movements outside their homes. I began my project, Australians’ Experiences of COVID-19, in May 2020. This research has continued each year to date, allowing me to track how Australians’ attitudes around COVID have changed over the course of the pandemic.

Evolving pandemic experiences We recruited participants from across Australia, including people living in regional cities and towns. Participants range in age from early adulthood to people in their 80s. The first three stages of the project each involved 40 interviews with separate groups of participants (so 120 people in total). These interviews were done in May to July 2020 (stage 1), September to October 2021 (stage 2), and September 2022 (stage 3). Stage 4 was an online survey with 1,000 respondents, conducted in September 2023. Limitations of this project include the small sample sizes for the first three stages (as is 42

common with qualitative interviewbased research). This means the findings from those phases are not generalisable, but they do provide rich insights into the experiences of the interviewees. The quantitative stage 4 survey, however, is representative of the Australian population. The findings show that as the conditions of the pandemic and government management have changed across these years, so have Australians’ experiences. In the early months of the pandemic, some people reported becoming confused, distressed and overwhelmed by the plethora of information sources and the fast-changing news environment. On the other hand, seeking out information provided reassurance and comfort in response to their anxiety and uncertainty about this new disease. Australians continued to rely heavily on news reports and government announcements in the first two years of the pandemic. Regular briefings from premiers and chief health officers in particular were highly important for how they learned what was happening, as were updates in the media on case numbers, hospitalisations, deaths and progress towards vaccination targets.

Trust has eroded Australians appear to have lost a lot of trust in COVID information sources such as news media reports, health agencies and government leaders. Early strong support of federal, state and territory governments’ pandemic management in 2020 and 2021 has given way to much lower support more recently.

My 2023 survey (this is published as a report, not peer-reviewed) found doctors were considered the most trustworthy sources of COVID information, but even they were trusted by only 60% of respondents. After doctors, participants trusted other experts in the field (53%), Australian government health agencies (52%), global health agencies (49%), scientists (45%) and community health organisations (35%). Australian government leaders were towards the lower end of the spectrum (31%). In 2021, Australians responded positively to the vaccine targets and “road maps” set by governments. These clear guidelines, and especially the promise that the initial doses would remove the need for lockdowns and border closures, were strong incentives to get vaccinated in 2021. Unfortunately, the prospect that vaccines would control COVID was shown to be largely unfounded. While COVID vaccines were and continue to be very effective at protecting against severe disease and death, they’re less effective at stopping people becoming infected. Once very high numbers of eligible Australians became vaccinated against the delta variant, omicron reached Australia, resulting in Australia’s first big wave of infection. This led to disillusionment about vaccines’ value for many participants.

the extent to which COVID is still a risk and lack of incentive to take protective actions such as mask wearing. In 2023, after mandates had ended, only 9% of respondents said they always wore a mask in indoor public places. Only a narrow majority of respondents even supported compulsory masking for workers in health-care facilities. The 2023 survey confirmed many Australians no longer feel at risk from COVID. Some 17% of respondents said COVID was definitely still posing a risk to Australians, while a further 42% saw COVID as somewhat of a risk. This left 28% who did not view COVID as much of a continuing risk, and 13% who thought it was not a risk at all.

COVID is still a risk Whether or not people feel at continuing risk from COVID, the pandemic is still significantly affecting Australians. The 2023 survey found more than two-thirds of respondents (68%) reported having had at least one COVID infection to their knowledge, including 13% who had experienced three or more. Of those who’d had COVID, 40% said they experienced ongoing symptoms, or long COVID. If the pandemic loses visibility in public forums, people have no way of knowing the risk of infection continues, and are therefore unlikely to take steps to protect themselves and others.

In the 2023 survey, respondents reported a high uptake of the first three COVID shots. But when asked whether they planned to get another vaccine in the next 12 months, almost two-thirds said they did not, or they were unsure.

Updated case, hospitalisation, death and vaccination numbers should be communicated regularly, as used to be the case. To combat confusion, complacency and misinformation, all health advice should be based on the latest robust science.

Enter complacency

Australians are operating in a vacuum of information from trusted sources. They need much better and more frequent public health campaigns and risk communication from their leaders.

Complacency now seems to have set in for many Australians. This can be linked to the progressive withdrawal of strong public health measures such as quarantine, mandatory isolation when infected, and testing and tracing regimens. Meanwhile, the media, government leaders and health agencies have played less of an active public role in conveying COVID information. This has led to uncertainty about

By Deborah Lupton, SHARP Professor, Vitalities Lab, Centre for Social Research in Health and Social Policy Centre, and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated DecisionMaking and Society, UNSW Sydney.



How counting by 10 helps children learn about the meaning of numbers When children start school, they learn how to recite their numbers (“one, two, three…”) and how to write them (1, 2, 3…). Learning about what those numbers mean is even more challenging, and this becomes trickier yet when numbers have more than one digit — such as 42 and 608. It turns out that the meaning of such “multidigit” numbers cannot be gleaned from simply looking at them or by performing calculations with them. Our number system has many hidden meanings that are not transparent, making it difficult for children to comprehend it. In collaboration with elementary teachers, the Mathematics Teaching and Learning Lab at Concordia University in Canada explores tools that can support young children’s understanding of multidigit numbers. We investigate the impact of using concrete objects (like bundling straws into groups of 10). We also investigate the use of visual tools, such as number lines and charts, or words to represent numbers (the word for 40 is “forty”) and written notation (for example, 42). Our recent research examined whether the “hundreds chart” — 10 by 10 grids containing numbers from one to 100, with each row in the chart containing numbers in groups of 10 — could be useful for teaching children about counting by 10, something foundational for understanding how numbers work.

What’s in a number? Most adults know that the placement of the “4” and “2” in 42 means four tens and two ones, respectively. But when young children start learning about numbers, they do not naturally see 10s and ones in a number like 42. They think the number represents 42 things counted from one to 42 without distinguishing between the meaning of the digits “4” and “2.” Over time, through counting and other activities, children see the four as a collection of 40 ones. 44

This realization is not sufficient, however, for learning more advanced topics in math. An important next step is to see that 42 is made up of four distinct groups of 10 and two ones, and that the four 10s can be counted as if they were ones (for example, 42 is one, two, three, four 10s and one, two, “ones”). Ultimately, one of the most challenging aspects of understanding numbers is that groups of ten and ones are different kinds of units.

Numbers can be arranged in different ways The numbers in hundreds charts can be arranged in different ways. A top-down hundreds chart has the digit “1” in the top-left corner and 100 in the bottom-right corner. The numbers increase by 10 moving downward one row at a time, like going from 24 to 34 using one hop down, for instance. A second type of chart is the bottom-up numbers chart, which has the numbers increasing in the opposite direction.

Top-down numbers chart

Counting by 10s Children can move from one number to another in the chart to solve problems. Considering 24 + 20, for example, children could start on 24 and move 20 spaces to land on 44. Another way would be to move up (or down, depending on the chart) two rows (for example, counting “one,” “two”) until they land on 44. This second method shows a developing understanding of multidigit numbers being composed of distinct groups of 10, which is critical for an advanced knowledge of the number system. For her master’s research at Concordia University, Vera Wagner, one of the authors of this story, thought children might find it more intuitive to solve problems with the bottom-up chart, where the numbers get larger with upward movement. After all, plants grow taller and liquid rises in a glass as it is filled. Because of such familiar experiences, she thought children would move by tens more frequently in the bottom-up chart than in the top-down chart.

Study with kindergarteners and Grade 1 students To examine this hypothesis, we worked with 47 kindergarten and first grade students in Canada and the United States. All the children but one spoke English at home. In addition to English, 14 also spoke French, four spoke Spanish, one spoke Russian, one spoke Arabic, one spoke Mandarin and one communicated to some extent in ASL at home.

Bottom-up numbers chart

We assigned all child participants in the study an online version of either a top-down or bottom-up hundreds chart, programmed by research assistant André Loiselle, to solve arithmetic word problems. What we found surprised us: children counted by tens more often with the top-down chart than the bottom-up one. This was the exact opposite of what we thought they might do! This finding suggests that the top-down chart fosters children’s counting by tens as if they were ones (that is, up or down one row at a time), an important step in their mathematical development. Children using the bottom-up chart were more likely to confuse the digits and move in the wrong direction.

Tools can impact learning Our research suggests that the types of tools used in the math classroom can impact children’s learning in different ways. One advantage of the top-down chart could be the corresponding left-to-right and downward movement that matches the direction in which children learn to read in English and French, the official languages of instruction in the schools in our study. Children who learn to read in a different direction (for example, from right to left, as in Arabic) may interact with some math tools differently from children whose first language is English or French. The role of cultural experiences in math learning opens up questions about the design of teaching tools for the classroom, and the relevance of culturally responsive mathematics teaching. Future research could seek to directly examine the relation between reading direction and the use of the hundreds chart. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.



Are you about to buy school shoes? Read this practical guide before hitting the shops!



Take this quiz!

Review this checklist

Should your child see a podiatrist before you buy school shoes?

Here is a helpful checklist to make sure you get the right shoe:

Do your child’s shoes show uneven wear and tear on the sole, or scuff marks anywhere?



Do you feel that your child has a ‘hard to fit’ foot?



Is it hard to understand which shoe types are most suited to your child’s different activities?


Does your child experience skin rashes, hard skin on their feet, lumps, bumps, excessive sweating, itching or ingrown toenails?


Does your child complain of foot and/or leg pain?



Does your child trip or fall frequently?



Did you answer ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions? Consider taking your child to a podiatrist before you buy school shoes. Find a Podiatrist by using Australian Podiatry Association’s ‘Find a Podiatrist’ search tool:





Did you bring your child’s uniform-issued school socks or stockings to ensure the shoes fit well with them? Have your child’s feet been measured correctly for length and width? E.g. at a store that offers trained assistants or by a Podiatrist? Can your child wiggle their toes freely in the shoes, both up and down and side to side? Is there about 1cm of growing room (no more!) between the end of their longest toe and the end of the shoe? Do the shoes match their activities and the season? E.g. breathable material such as leather for school shoes and cotton or nylon for sports shoes Do the shoes have laces, a buckle or Velcro? This allows the shoe to be adjusted to meet the growing needs of your child. Avoid elastic shoes and slip-ons as these don’t support developing young feet.







Answered ‘yes’ to all the above questions? Go ahead and make your purchase – these shoes will help support your child’s foot health!

Podiatrists can make a world of difference and check you have purchased the best shoes for your child. Head to Australian Podiatry Association’s ‘Find a Podiatrist’ search tool to find a podiatrist near you today:

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