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The perfect pick Finding the best early childhood education

The greatest gift of all

Babywearing – a modern twist on an old practice


freedom Toilet training 101

Learning to play

Toys stimulate children to learn and grow

Learning under a rainbow Support grows for LGBTQI-friendly preschools

The magazine of Parents Centre New Zealand Inc


With the right income protection you can all sleep easier.

Your family’s income is one of its most important assets – especially when the family grows. Income Protection insurance gives you and your loved ones a financial safety net if there’s an unexpected impact on your ability to earn. It’s a small monthly cost that can safeguard the lifestyle you’ve worked hard to provide for those most precious to you. To get started, call Terri or Sharon at SHARE on 0800 02 00 55

Protecting the NZ way of life

Top myths

about insurance

One of the best things about New Zealand is that it’s a great place to raise kids. We’ve got lots of gorgeous space to play in, a slower pace of life and healthcare is cheap, if not free. Under these circumstances, it’s easy to get too relaxed. Many Kiwis see insurance as nice to have, but not really necessary. ‘Why waste money on something that ACC probably covers me for?’ we tell ourselves. However, a lot of what we believe might not be the case. Can you guarantee that your family is taken care of, should anything happen to you? Does the insurance you might get with your job cover all potential scenarios? Here are a few of the key myths, with some important points to consider.

Insurance is too expensive When there seems to be a bill coming in every other day for power, rates and school trips, insurance seems like one expense too many. So think of it this way: if the worst happened, how could you ensure those bills get paid? Just factoring in some insurance cover each month could be a lifesaver for your whole family, keeping the lights on and everything on track for as long as the extra help is needed. And insurance may be cheaper than you think. Have a chat to a no-obligations independent adviser about your options, so you can shop around and decide what’s best for you. Even some insurance is a lot better than none at all.

I get insurance through my job If you’re lucky enough to work for an employer who provides group cover, that’s great. However, most work packages aren’t tailored for individuals – and they often expire as soon as you leave the job. Things to consider are the fact that your partner will need their own insurance, whether you want to add any extras like redundancy or disability cover that aren’t included in the work package, or whether you’re covered during parental leave. Some packages just contain

life insurance, while others are more comprehensive. It pays to check exactly what you’re covered for, and if it meets your needs, especially if your circumstances change. Having a child is an excellent time to do this.

I don’t need it because I’m fit and healthy Part of the beauty of life is that it’s unpredictable, containing both unexpected joys and hurdles. Even the fittest people can suffer accidents or illness through no fault of their own. But if your first big break does end up being your leg, income protection insurance can help you get back on your feet with minimum stress. In the case of more serious illness, insurance can even help pay for a close family member to care for you until you’re ready to go back to work.

I don’t want to talk to a salesman Forget the cheesy old stereotype of the ’insurance salesman’. Good financial advisers really do care about getting the best outcomes for their clients, and getting advice no longer requires a visit and a cuppa with your dad’s insurance agent. There’s a range of advisers providing a variety of services tailored to your requirements (usually at no cost to the client), and you can often communicate your needs online, saving you time. To find an independent financial adviser visit or the Institute of Financial Advisers at

As parents, we know life is precious – too precious to sail through without a lifejacket. To make sure we can always enjoy the great Kiwi lifestyle, we need to take care of the small stuff first. Just a little consideration now can save us big worries in the future – and keep the future bright for our little ones too.

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Photo Credit: Harrison Hendra from Wellington. Stacey Lake Photography

Special Features


Summer’s here!........................................................................... 8–10

Letters to the Editor........................................................................ 4

Are you afraid of the water? Water Safety NZ............................................................................12–15

Working together for a sea change

Centres celebrating Christmas................................................. 5 Product pages.................................................................................6–7

Trinity Smith....................................................................................16–17

The perfect pick, choosing the right childcare Porse.................................................................................................18–24

The greatest gift of all

Every time a miracle Pinky McKay...................................................................................36–38

Parents Centre pages.............................................................39–43

Eva Neely.........................................................................................26–28

Learning to play Pick the right toy for your child.................................................29–33

Spreading good will Charitable gifting...........................................................................34–35

Find a centre.....................................................................................44 Yay! You’re pregnant! Now what? – Early Pregnancy Programme Deb Browne....................................................................................45–47

On the road to nappy freedom

Cherished memories

Diane Hurford.................................................................................48–51

Rowan and Sonya Shanks..........................................................66–67

Toothsome tales Stacey Lene....................................................................................52–55

Learning under a rainbow

Great parents grow great children........................................72 Winners................................................................................................73

Kath Cooper....................................................................................58–61

One milestone at a time Nicky’s birth story.......................................................................... 62-65

Partners.........................................................................................74–75 Shopping cart.............................................................................76–79

Baby bunnies and deadly dinosaurs Leila Malthus..................................................................................68–71


kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years





Pause to say thank you… There is something about sitting on the cusp of change – one year finishing, another beginning – that gives me pause to think. A lot happens in the course of year and this has been a particularly eventful year.

The perfect pick There is a lot to think about when deciding the best care for your child. Every family is different – there is no one right answer. It’s scientifically proven that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life is when the majority of their brain development takes place, meaning it’s crucial we invest in the early years to lay the right foundations. When you’re looking at childcare options, you’re looking at trusting someone with the most precious days of your most precious person. It’s important that you do your homework.

Learning to play At this time of year the stores are bursting with the latest, the biggest and the most glittery array of treats imaginable. Parents are faced with a bewildering array of options as they seek out that special treat to surprise and delight on Christmas morning. It is a good idea to have an understanding of children's basic abilities and preferences as they grow, as they play an important role in attracting and motivating children to interact with toys.

On the road to nappy freedom The words ‘toilet training’ can strike fear into the most intrepid parent, but summer is a great time to start that transition to nappy freedom. Diane Hurford shares some handy hints to make life a little bit easier for mums, dads and carers that really help take the hassle out of wee accidents.

Kiwiparent – Since 1954 the magazine of Parents Centres New Zealand Inc Editor

Leigh Bredenkamp Ph (04) 472 1193 Mobile (0274) 572 821 leighb@e– PO Box 28 115, Kelburn, 6150

Editorial Enquiries Ph (04) 233 2022 or (04) 472 1193 info@e–

Advertising Sales

Taslim Parsons Ph (04) 233 2022 x8804 Mobile 021 1860 323


Hannah Faulke,


Megan Kelly



Parents Centres New Zealand Inc Ph (04) 233 2022 Opinions expressed in the magazine do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher. Advertising in this magazine does not imply endorsement by Parents Centres. Generally material in this publication may be reproduced provided it is used for non-commercial purposes and the source is acknowledged. However, written permission must be sought from the editor. Kiwiparent is proud to support the WHO/UNICEF International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes adopted by the World Health Assembly in 1981.

ISSN 1173–7638


Image Centre Group

Most recently we have seen a change of government after the election in October. Once again we have a woman prime minister and a full set of new ministers who will put their own stamp on their portfolios as they lead us over the next three years. Whether you rejoice or commiserate the result, change is inevitable as we look ahead to 2018. This has been a dreadful year for so many at home and overseas. Turmoil and violence is the reality in far too many places, and climate change drives shortages of water and food. So-called developed nations face their own austerity measures… consequently they donate less to under developed countries and the need for assistance deepens. And who can forget the harrowing images of 2017? Young people slaughtered while attending a pop concert, entire communities erased by pitiless hurricanes or rampant wildfires. It’s not all great at home either. Life is pretty bleak for many Kiwi families as they try to balance their children’s Christmas expectations against the reality of life on a benefit or a restricted budget… there is simply not enough money to go around and pressures pile on top of each other. Each year at this time we put up a thankful tree at home as well as our much-loved Christmas tree. It starts out completely bare but I leave a box of blank cut out stars and a packet of felt tips underneath it. Each day I write something down that I am thankful for on one of the shapes and hang it on the tree. Everyone else is welcome to do the same, family or visitors. If children are too young to write, they can squiggle a picture. Over the years, it is interesting to read what different people appreciate, it could be something small – a new book, a tasty muffin or a good joke – or something big like being safe from nuclear war. Gratitude can take many forms. For myself, I know there are so many people that ease my way through life. Not only family and friends who are treasures beyond price, but work colleagues, shop-keepers, medical professionals, refuse collectors, police officers, city council workers, teachers … I have an extensive list! One of the best things about the festive season is that it presents an opportunity to teach children about being thankful, and sharing with those who are not as lucky as them can start when they’re young – and can begin very simply. Drop in a few cans at your local food bank, donate a toy, or give clothes that no longer fit to a shelter. The lessons learned and impressions that result can grow over the years, making life with all its turbulence just that much easier – for everyone. I wish you all a peaceful festive season and a wonderful new year. Leigh Bredenkamp

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letters to the editor Top letter

Congratulations to the top letter winner Paul Smith from Auckland who will win a prize pack from Natural Instincts.

The winning letter receives the complete Natural Instinct face care range, truly natural skincare products with active anti-ageing plant-based ingredients and 100% free from over 400 potentially harmful ingredients to you and the environment. Available from leading pharmacies. RRP $102.

is the only OECD country with a capped pharmaceutical budget, and while PHARMAC does its best within the existing budget, the trade-off is lack of access to new medicines. Every new tumour type must go through the same time-consuming application, committee review, potential re-application, ranking and negotiation process. This leads to long delays and no guarantee of eventual funding. Currently, the average wait time for PHARMAC funding is over three years.

Give PHARMAC a boost Cancer touches all New Zealanders in some way and the number of cancer diagnoses is on the rise, with one in three of us likely to be diagnosed in our lifetime. Giving hope, in the fight to beat cancer, new immunotherapy medicines are emerging with better survival data than we’ve seen before. Yet, because of New Zealand’s strict system for funding, many of these essential new medicines are not currently available to all who need them. I believe we should be challenging the new Government to ensure cancer is seen as a priority, not only in terms of faster access to specialists and treatment; but also faster access to the most effective medicines. Patients may be getting diagnosed more quickly, but in many cases they are being given treatments which have been superseded in other countries. Medsafe is one of the best agencies in the world at registering new medicines. However, New Zealand


Top letter prize

kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Things are very different overseas, for example, in Germany medicines are funded immediately upon registration followed by a formal reimbursement process that is concluded within one year. Closer to home, the Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt announced recently that he had asked the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (that is Australia’s PHARMAC equivalent) to find a way to assess cancer medicines that treat multiple tumours, to help ensure timely patient access. During the election campaign, all parties appeared in some way to recognise that there is work to be done to improve access to medicines. A boost to the PHARMAC budget of just $40 per person and the introduction of a mechanism for rapid access to breakthrough new medicines would mean we truly would have a world-class system for medicines funding for our families future.

Paul Smith, Auckland

s Join u and

e r a h S f

lth o rs a e w in a othe h t i w ts benefi e Fre

Connect with parents at your stage, discuss with others, find local babysitting and coffee groups!


Centres celebrating Christmas Stratford Parents Centre

Onewa Parents Centre

We are so excited about Christmas – we are selling very cute plush ‘elf on the shelf’ toys with activity packs. Also, we are at our local A&P show where we are selling all our Christmas crafts – the reindeer food buffet hopefully will be a hit with the kids this year.

We will be participating in our local Santa Parade, which is hopefully still going ahead even though the carpark that is used to organise the parade from has slipped down the valley – you might have seen it on TV.

Nelson District Parents Centre

We are involved in the Christmas Tree Festival. We will have a tree in this as well as helping put it on. Our centre will have a float in the Christmas Parade and host our usual Christmas parties. We are also organising Coast Colour Rush for February and we are creating a subcommittee in neighbouring Hokitika. It's a busy time for us!

You can also find us represented at the Festival of Christmas Trees hosted by the Nelson Christ Church Cathedral.

Balclutha Parents Centre We will be at the local Christmas parade in December and having our own party later in December at the Cross Recreation Centre. Kids can bring their bikes along and of course Santa will be there.

Interact and ask questions, give answers, share your story or knowledge with forums.

Receive entry to prize draws, free product samples, plus relevant info emails through each stage.

Greymouth Parents Centre

Win $2500 over

Hawke's Bay Parents Centre We will hold our annual Christmas party on Saturday 2nd December. There will be morning tea, good coffee, lots of toys for the kids and Santa will make a star appearance! Get your coffee groups together and come and join us. For more information check out our Facebook page www.facebook. com/hawkesbayparentscentre/

ducts of pro

E n e r o n li n


Simply go online RATING EB


We will be at the Great Christmas Market again with our Xmas Kids Zone! We are excited to be welcomed back! www.facebook. com/thegreatchristmasmarket/

a wealth of helpful resources – TIPS, INFO, PRODUCT REVIEWS, CONTACTS, NEWS & more


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product information page Slim and seamless, the new way to sniffle New from KLEENEX® Tissues, you’ll love Perfect Fit tissues. Four inspired, on-trend designs come in perfectly shaped tubes to fit effortlessly into every room of your home, office and on-the-go. Beat hay fever sniffles this spring and do it in style with KLEENEX® Perfect Fit tissues. Available at supermarkets nationwide.

Invest in a blackout blind If your child is sensitive to light or you find they are so used to sleeping 'when it's dark', then investing in a blackout blind can help. We recommend the excellent Lights Out Blinds, as they suction onto your window in just one place and you can easily attach them to your bedroom window and take them off when not needed. Lights Out blinds from The Sleep Store come in two sizes and are part of their blackout blind range.

Twist! Shape! Fidget! More than just fun fidgeting for the fingers, Tangle can be a puzzle, a brain tool, a movable sculpture, a desktop toy, and more!


kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

New children’s safety-fun stool – The Arc Assistant An innovative piece of toddler furniture-designed. Safety-tested and made in New Zealand to make food preparation times more enjoyable for you and your child. Four walls to assist with safe, fun, elevated play

Nappy Disposal System

Modular design for quick, easy assembly in less than 90 seconds Simple flat pack down for storage Height adjustable standing platform to ‘grow’ with your child Removable front wall, so you don’t have to lift your child over the top

Proven protection from germs & odours ^

OH GROW UP … Toddlers to PreTeens Decoded Now released in North America, this popular OH BABY sequel is from Kathy Fray, our own Kiwi APAC Maternity Care Author of the Year 2017, and Ashton-Wylie Body-Mind-Spirit manuscript award winner 2016. OH GROW UP shares her “triadic holistic” parenting philosophies: using Physiological IQ to parent their Bodies, and Intellectual IQ to parent their Minds, and Soulful IQ to parent their Spirits.

100 times more effective at odour prevention than nappy sacks Unique twist and lock system wraps each nappy in a fresh portion of film Multi-layer film provides an exceptional barrier to lock away odour Anti-bacterial protection is present in the film and not the other components of this product.

Kathy Fray’s



Commercial size also available For your nearest stockist visit

0800 726 436

Summer’s here!


kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

body that typically get exposed to the sun. “This is particularly relevant because melanin functions as an ultraviolet (UV) filter that reduces the penetration of UV light through the skin,” John says. “A lower melanin concentration in combination with a thinner outer layer of skin in infants can contribute to heightened sensitivity to the harmful effects of the sun.” It is important to achieve a healthy balance of UV exposure. Too much UV can cause sunburn, with its increased risks of skin cancer and eye damage, and too little UV can lead to lower levels of vitamin D, which is needed for the maintenance of healthy bones. Experts recommend infants under one year should not deliberately be exposed to direct sun when the UV Index Level is high. When UV levels are low, a small amount of direct exposure to the sun is considered safe and healthy for infants. However, if spending longer periods of time outdoors during low-UV periods, it is recommended that infant skin should be protected by wearing sensible clothing and seeking shade. Time spent outdoors should be minimsed during the middle hours of the day during the summer period, when UV levels are at their strongest.

If you’re looking forward to spending lots of time outside this summer, then you need to think about protecting yourself and your family from our harsh Kiwi sun. Some exposure to sunlight is important so that your body can produce Vitamin D, it is well established that overexposure to the sun causes a number of health problems, such as skin cancer, eye disease and premature ageing of the skin. Skin cancer is by far the most common cancer affecting Kiwis and New Zealand has one of the highest number of deaths from skin cancer in the world.

The Cancer Society advises keeping children out of the sun as much as possible between early October and late March, especially between 11am and 4pm. This is when UVR is at its highest and there is the greatest risk of sun damage. A general rule is the younger the child, the more they should stay out of the sun. When it isn’t possible to stay out of the sun then you need to reduce your child’s risk of sunburn and be SunSmart. Being SunSmart means being sensible about how and when you go outside into the sun. Remember the rule, Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap.


Research has proven a number of facts about skin cancer and sun exposure:

Slip into some shade, especially if you are outside between 11am and 4pm when the UV rays are most fierce.

The more a child is exposed to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun during childhood, the greater their risk of developing skin cancer later in life.

Provide full shade for a child’s pram, buggy or play area, ideally using material that casts a dark shadow.

Two forms of skin cancer, basal and squamous cell carcinomas, develop after long-term exposure to UVR and this begins in childhood. Childhood is the time in our life when we get the most exposure to the sun.

Buying suncscreen

A child who is sunburnt has a higher risk of developing skin cancer later in life.

Remember, natural does not necessarily mean better

Skin cancer, eye disease and premature ageing of the skin are largely preventable. Sun protection needs to begin from birth and, if you have a baby under one year, you will need to be particularly careful. Paediatric dermatologist, Associate Professor John Su, says that infant skin has a lower concentration of melanin compared with adult skin in parts of the

Safe products start with safe ingredients and should have additional safety assessments. Remember to look for clinically proven on the label, not just clinically tested. Ask your pharmacist for advice on sunscreens for you and your family.

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Make sun protection part of your everyday routine not just when you are heading to the beach or the park

Re-apply sunscreen at least every two hours and again after swimming, towel-drying or physical activity. Check the expiry date of sunscreens left over from last summer to make sure they haven’t expired. Wear protective clothing e.g. shirts with collars and/ or longer sleeves or clothing with a UV protection rating or which is made from closely woven fabric.


Choose natural fabrics such as cotton as these are the coolest to wear.

S lap on a hat with a broad brim or a cap with flaps. A brim of at least 5cm is best. A hat should protect the face, neck and ears.

One layer is better than none; two layers are better than one.


Take special care when near reflective surfaces such as snow, water and sand.

Wrap on a pair of sunglasses. Choose close-fitting, wrap-around glasses.


So while summer is the time for enjoying family time outdoors, it is also the time to be aware of the harmful effects the sun can have. Be SunSmart and stay healthy.

Be careful about using sunscreen, for babies under one year of age as the delicate nature of their skin makes them more likely to experience a sensitivity reaction to a sunscreen. Keep them out of strong sunlight when possible. If you need to use sunscreen choose one specially formulated for young children. Choose a broadspectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 which meets the Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZS2604. Apply sunscreen to any skin not covered by clothes. Slop sunscreen on at least 15 minutes before going outside.

The Cancer Society recommends you check for melanoma regularly Check your skin and your children’s skin regularly for any changes. Include skin not normally exposed to the sun such as the scalp, under the armpits, inner legs, ears, eyelids, hands and feet, including the soles. It’s important to check all parts of the body as not all skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun. Get any skin changes or unusual moles, marks or spots checked by a doctor.

10 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Fun in the sun Summer is the perfect time for packing in loads of great new experiences that will help your little one to learn and grow. So get out there and make the most of the summer months with these fun activities: 1. Play shadow tag – you only need two things for this game: some friends and some sun. The rules are the same as normal tag, but instead of touching other players, you have to jump on their shadow to make them ‘it’. 2. Make and fly a kite – making a kite is really easy and lots of fun. All you need to make a simple kite is coloured plastic, bamboo skewers, tape and some string – put them together in a diamond, add a tail and you’re flying! 3. Backyard camping – grab a tent, some flashlights, storybooks and some marshmallows, and get ready for a backyard camping adventure! Or simply let your under-five snuggle into a sleeping bag inside. Wherever you are, remember to think about sun safety. 

Find out more Go to

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Are you afraid of

the water?

Almost half of New Zealand adults recall a frightening childhood water experience.

A recent Comar Brunton survey commissioned by Huggies Little Swimmers Swimpants found that a surprising 45 percent of Kiwi adults recall a frightening water experience from their childhood.

Giving the new findings context, latest Water Safety New Zealand data shows hospitalisations of New Zealand children under the age of five, due to accidental immersion in water, more than doubled in 2016 to a level of 42 children (compared with 20 children hospitalised in 2015).

Those parents who had a water scare as a child were

Fatalities for the same age group were shown to have reduced to three in 2016, but that level still falls short of the organisation’s national target of zero drowning fatalities for under-fives.

shown in the survey to have heightened awareness of the need for children to have positive experiences and lessons at a young age. Of those who recalled a frightening water experience, 84 percent believed it was ‘very important for children to learn instinctive survival skills e.g. not to panic’ for their lifelong benefit.

12 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

CEO of Water Safety New Zealand Jonty Mills says, “Parents are right to want their babies to have positive water experiences at a young age. We are surrounded

Olympic Games super-star Michael Phelps teaches his baby son Boomer to get water-ready for summer. Photo: courtesy of Huggies Little Swimmers Swimpants.

by water here in New Zealand and support the work being done to help make lessons more accessible. “The most important water safety message when it comes to under-fives is constant supervision. They should always be within your line of sight and within arm’s length for toddlers when in or around water. It takes less than a minute for a child to drown.” Measuring the likelihood of children under the age of three being taken to water confidence lessons in New Zealand, the survey found that 55 percent of parents had taken their children to lessons, but 45 percent had not done so – citing cost as the main barrier (31 percent.)

The most important water safety message when it comes to underfives is constant supervision. – Jonty Mills, Water Safety New Zealand

Plunket Safety Advisor Sue Campbell says Plunket, partner swim schools, Parents Centre New Zealand and Huggies Little Swimmers Swimpants are working together to encourage parents to take their children along to lessons early, with new efforts to address the cost barrier for parents.

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Olympic Games superstar Michael Phelps teaches his baby son Boomer to get waterready for summer. Photo: courtesy of Huggies Little Swimmers Swimpants.

Keep under-fives within arm's reach at all times when they are near water.

“Research tell us that It only takes 60 seconds and around five centimetres of water for a child to drown,” says Liz Pearce, Pregnancy, Childbirth and Parent Education Manager for Parents Centre. “We encourage parents to make the most of the warmer weather to teach their children basic water safety messages. We don’t want to see any families grieving over a drowning tragedy this summer.”

Some of the initiatives in place this summer include: Baby Swim Scholarships are being offered at some swim schools to parents who enrol their babies (age six to 18 months) for water confidence lessons in Term 1 2018. Plunket have teamed up with YMCA Swim Schools in the Auckland region and are offering half-price water confidence lessons to Plunket families for their babies. Parents Centre New Zealand have set up partnerships with some swim schools offering subsidised rates for parent-and-baby water confidence lessons. 3,000 pairs of Little Swimmers swimpants carrying Plunket water safety tips are being gifted

14 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

to 25 partner swim schools for teachers to hand to parents pool-side for their baby's first lesson in Term 1 2018, while stocks last. 1,000 pairs of Little Swimmers swimpants with Plunket water safety tips are being offered to five big water parks for them to hand to parents who have forgotten to bring compliant swimwear for their babies, while stocks last. From December, video clips will air on Facebook of Olympic Games super-star Michael Phelps giving simple tips about how he and his baby son Boomer get water-ready for summer. The pair will be seen blowing bubbles together in the water and playing under a sprinkler. Karla McCaughan, YMCA Swim School Quality Services Manager, supports the annual water safety campaign. “I truly believe it is making a difference,” she says. “If we can educate adults about the need for constant and vigilant supervision of their children and show them exactly what that looks like, and equally if we can teach children to stop and wait until an adult is with them every time they come to an invisible line at the edge of a water zone, we will start to see generational change. We say: ‘teach the children, educate the parents, change the culture’.”

Safety tips for under-fives: Always empty and store paddling pools and water containers after use and ensure you have a safely fenced play area. Identify water hazards in and around your home and ensure your children can’t reach them.

Find out more Water Safety New Zealand If you’re in a group of people, ensure you have an active supervision roster so you know who is watching the children at all times. Make sure older children don’t have to take responsibility for younger children. Teach your children water safety behaviour from as soon as they are old enough to understand things like: ‘Never go near the water unless you’re with a grown up’. 

The full list of swim schools able to gift a free pair of swimpants to parents of babies under the age of 18 months (while stocks last) at their first lesson in Term 1 2018 can be found at: little-swimmers/free-swimpants

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Working together

for a sea change Thirteen-year-old Trinny lives in Mangawhai with her family. One of the best things about living in Mangawhai is easy access to the ocean and Trinny is a big fan of surfing and swimming. “When I’m not doing that, you’ll often find me drawing or talking about designs for togs,” Trinny says. “I was driving my family crazy with all my tog-talk, so eventually Mum suggested we make up some of my designs!”

and recycling plants. They get recycled into nylon crystals, then nylon thread, then nylon swimwear fabric for Trinity’s Swimwear!”

Trinny’s friends really liked her new togs and asked her where she bought them as they hadn’t seen them in the local shops. So, together with her enthusiastic family, Trinny set up an online “surf shop” so other people can get their own versions of her togs – and Trinity’s Swimwear was born.

They work on recovering fishing nets, which are often found on reefs and shipwrecks crucial for encouraging marine biodiversity. They also collaborate with fishermen, fish farms, communities and other stakeholders to prevent waste nets from ending up in the sea.

Trinny’s mum, Corinne, loves working on Trinity’s Swimwear as she can see the joy it brings to their girls as well as their friends. “I love bringing Trinny’s designs to life and encouraging her to be entrepreneurial,” she says. “It makes our daughters more confident in the surf by having a modest swimsuit that stays on securely and also looks and feels amazing.”

An important part of their work is raising awareness of the environmental damage caused by ghost fishing gear and promoting the ecological and economic importance of healthy seas.

The family has a strong commitment to marine protections as well. Corinne explains: “We are helping support cleaning the oceans by using recycled fabric from the Healthy Seas Project. This not-for-profit organisation includes the recovery of fishing nets by volunteer divers and their storage in special facilities

16 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Healthy Seas Healthy Seas is a joint venture of a non-governmental organisations and businesses who have teamed up to clean the oceans and seas of marine litter, such as derelict fishnets, which are responsible for the needless death of thousands of marine animals.

Healthy Seas currently works in three pilot regions – the North Sea, the Adriatic Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Since 2013 they have removed more than 311 tons of abandoned nets and have protected the lives of thousands of marine animals that were at risk of getting entangled and killed. But that is not all. Healthy Seas aims for sustainability, in both an environmental and an economic sense,

so they don’t just dump the waste nets into landfills. Instead, they recycle them into high-quality raw material for brand new products such as socks, swimwear, carpets and other textiles. Recovered fishing nets are cleaned of all foreign materials such as organic, plastic or metallic elements. Then they are prepared for regeneration. The nylon recovered from the fishing nets is transformed into virgin raw material which, together with other waste materials, is turned into a nylon yarn called Econyl. This can be used for a wide range of products from clothing to carpets. A win-win – turning waste into wear! 

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The perfect pick! Choosing the right Early Childhood Education Service for your child

18 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

There is a lot to think about when deciding the best care for your child. Every family is different – there is no one right answer. It’s now scientifically proven that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life is when the majority of their brain development takes place, meaning it’s crucial we invest in the early years to lay the right foundations. When a baby is born, just 30 percent of their brain is wired and over the next three years 90 percent of remaining brain development takes place. Research shows that the better the relationships in a child's life, the more the brain reaches its maximum potential. If a child is responded to with love, sensitivity and kindness, their brain will reflect this. This means that the adults who care for young children are responsible for how these young minds develop. When you’re looking at childcare options, you’re looking at trusting someone with the most precious days of your most precious person. It’s important that you do your homework. What you put into these most formative years will determine your child’s success through primary and secondary school and well into adulthood. Many now say that the early years are more important than choosing what high school your child goes to. There are four types of formal Early Childhood Care (ECE) services:

Home-based ECE This occurs in your home, with a nanny or au pair, or in an educator’s home, in their own home. Au pairs live in your home, whereas a nanny works in your home, but does not live there. Both PORSE and Au Pair Link offer home-based ECE and have been around for a long time so have quality systems and processes. There can be no more than four children under five at any given

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time and no more than two under two-year-olds. This is the best option for young children to have a home away from home, as it is tailored to a child’s and family’s specific needs. A trained teacher visits your chosen carer regularly and supports them and the children in their care. Many educators and nannies have had training, and if you choose a reputable provider such as PORSE, which has a dedicated Education and Training Company, you know they are supported to deliver the best care and education for your child. Au Pair Link gives parents assurance that their au pairs have training and experience, as they must have at least 200 hours of childcare experience and also go through a thorough screening and induction before they come into your home.

Centre-based care and kindergartens In these places, children are cared for in large group settings. Children are cared for on premises that are fitted out as a centre or kindy with appropriate play equipment. Fifty per cent of adults must have an appropriate ECE qualification. Generally, for under two-year-olds there must be one adult for every five children and for over two-year-olds there must be one adult for ten children. Centres offer different philosophies, some have a particular language or cultural focus or specific beliefs

about teaching and learning such as Rudolph Steiner and Montessori. Kindergartens were historically for children aged three and up and were generally sessional. However, many kindies are offering all day care now. The main difference between centres and kindies is that kindies are 100% staffed by teachers.

Playgroups If you’re a stay-at-home parent and want to meet others, playgroups are a good option. These are groups that meet on a regular basis to facilitate children’s play; they tend to be more informal and are parent led. Children can attend for no more than four hours on any day and more than half the children attending need to have a parent or caregiver present, as certain children:parent ratios need to be met.

- hanga Reo Te Ko These are wha-nau led services that offer a Ma-ori immersion environment for tamariki and their wha-nau. Te Ko-hanga Reo is a Ma-ori development initiative, aimed at maintaining and strengthening Ma-ori language and philosophies within a cultural framework inspired by Ma-ori elders in 1982. The role of wha-nau or family in Ko-hanga is as important as is Te Reo, mokopuna (children) and kaumatua (elders). Wha-nau are the foundation blocks of the Ko-hanga Reo movement. There are over 460 Ko-hanga Reo established throughout the country.

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20 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

NATURAL CHILDCARE Is it right for you?

Science has found that the best way to help children develop resilience and social skills is through secure attachments. This starts as babies, with the first 1,000 days laying the foundations for life. During this stage, babies need nurturing, attentive relationships and stable settings for their brains to make healthy connections. Usually this would be through mum staying at home, something that is not always possible nowadays. That’s why PORSE created a natural childcare solution, based on providing children with authentic relationships, environments and experiences — parenting as nature intended.

This science-backed philosophy is what led one of our new home-based Educators to move from her previous centre-based role. The flexibility to “shape your day around the children’s interest” — with a chat about the weather with her care children leading to planting seeds together — is one of her favourite things since moving to PORSE. She enjoys the “strong connection with the children and their parents” as well as the ability to be at home for her own teenage children. It is through quality relationships with Educators and Nannies like this, that Natural Childcare gives children the best start at life.

Are you ready to join the Natural Childcare movement? Our passionate team have an Educator or Nanny to suit every child. Or if you’re looking for an opportunity to make Natural Childcare your career, we’d love to hear from you.

Join the Natural Childcare movement.

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- riki Te Wha – Early Childhood Curriculum He wha-riki hei whakamana i te mokopuna, hei kawe i nga- wawata A wha-riki that empowers the child and carries our aspirations In Te Wha-riki children are positioned as confident and competent learners from birth. They learn by engaging in meaningful interactions with people, places and things – a process that continues throughout their lifetimes. This curriculum acknowledges that all children have rights to protection and promotion of their health and well-being, to equitable access to learning opportunities, to recognition of their language, culture and identity and, increasingly, to agency in their own lives. These rights align closely with the concept of mana. The curriculum sets out expectations of inclusive and responsive practice that acknowledges diversity. A fundamental expectation is that each service will offer a curriculum that recognises these rights and enables the active participation of all children, including those who may need additional learning support. Attention is given to broad characteristics of infants, toddlers and young children and the implications of these for curriculum.

All formal ECE options are funded and regulated by the Ministry of Education. Most will also administer any government subsidies you may be entitled to such as 20 hours ECE for three- to five-year-olds. All people directly caring for children in these formal and regulated settings have to undertake rigorous screening such as police checks, reference checks and have first aid training. All services regulated also have to follow the New Zealand early childhood curriculum Te Wha-riki. You can also look at informal care arrangements – does your mum, aunty or friend want to stay at home and look after children? Do you want to stay at home with your children and earn some money also looking after other people’s children? If you have a passion for growing little minds at home then you could also

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register with an agency, like PORSE, and become an educator in your own home. This is a great way to have the benefit of staying at home with your child while also developing a new career pathway into early childhood education and care. High quality agencies such as PORSE also support you with training and education every step of the way, including qualifications in ECE. When choosing an ECE provider, look beyond children learning their ABCs and 123s. It’s not about academic learning, as there is no evidence that learning to read younger has any advantage. It’s the development of the brain and the emotional skills that come from being in relationships that set children up for success. Look for an ECE service that allows a child to learn ‘how’ to think, as opposed to telling them ‘what’ to think, meaning by the time they begin school, they have developed the best skills for learning. Contrary to previously held beliefs, creative play uses much more of the brain than teacher-led learning. The most intelligent child will be the one who has had the most free play between the ages of three and five. While there are many different choices available, it’s important you take the time to find the provider that offers the best fit for you and your child.

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ENROL NOW TO SECURE YOUR CHILDCARE FOR 2018! If you’re looking for flexible and affordable in-home childcare then speak with our friendly team to find out more! Au Pair Link is NZ’s largest au pair agency connecting experienced au pairs with Kiwi families nationwide.

What we offer: • Fully screened, experienced au pairs • Personalised educational resources • Weekly playgroups and outings • Training & child first aid training for your au pair • On-call support from a qualified early childhood education teacher • Cultural experience for the whole family • Access to WINZ and 20 Hours ECE subsidies

Apply with the code PARENTSC25 to receive 25% off the Au Pair 123 or Au Pair Whiz placement fee!* *Terms and conditions apply.

Join the Au Pair Link family! Call us on 0800 AU PAIR (287 247) or today. subscribevisit online at – kiwiparent


What to look for in an ECE service – what’s important to you? What do you want for your child? How old will your child be when going into care? H ow will the difference types of ECE services feel for you and your child? W ill your child have a ‘go-to’ person? Someone they will know and feel comfortable to go to for reassurance? C onsider word-of-mouth advice, but also do your homework. T urn up to the place unannounced and get a real feel for what it’s like.

What do the adult:child ratios look like? H ow much individual attention will your child receive? H ow are the children supported to learn through play and explore their surroundings? What are the sleeping conditions? H ow will the ECE service communicate and engage with you?

Article prepared by PORSE – New Zealand’s largest and longest serving home-based care and education service, working under Evolve Education Group who have 120 centres around New Zealand. Au Pair Link, New Zealand’s largest and first Au Pair Link agency, is also part of the Evolve Education Group. 

A sk about staff turnover and how often relieving staff are used. A sk about professional development and support for those looking after your children and the service’s philosophy. C heck out different policies and get a feel for the daily routine. Do they have a continuity-of-care model (one adult who is the primary carer for say 10 children) instead of ‘shift work’ in certain areas – e.g. rotating staff around nappies, outdoors/ indoors, feeding etc.

24 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

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The greatest

gift of all

It’s that time again – Christmas! It is always particularly fun for me with a late November and mid December baby, it seems like a season of neverending busyness. Even without child birthdays, it is so easy to get wrapped up in the perceived craziness that is Christmas. Especially for us mums, who need to play Santa, think of great aunty Carol and end-of-year gifts for teachers. But, do we? How much do we need to blow it up and give ourselves a hard time? Don’t get me wrong – I am a huge Christmas fan. Decorations, festive baking, Christmas parties, they bring me joy and I love celebrating this time of year. So I am not in any way going to be a Grinch here and suggest it is all too busy and we should let go of Christmas. I am also not going to go into the debate of whether or not it is ok to “lie” to your children that Santa exists, whatever floats the boat in your household is great! Christmas can be magical, with or without Santa, and it is also important to acknowledge that celebrating Christmas is a privilege, and if we have that privilege we ought to think about how we can share the things we get to enjoy at Christmas time with others. It is also important to ask yourself what Christmas means to you, what exactly are you celebrating? In a world where climate change and consumerism are threatening the survival of the human species, is Christmas about the accumulation of more goods, toys, and “things” or is it perhaps about something else? Is it possibly not only much more relaxing, but also much better for the wallet and the environment if we reduce (not eliminate!) the amount of gifts we give and reduce the stress levels. Now, I am with you, I LOVE gifting. If there is anything that makes me happy it is giving things to other people. I certainly do not think that we should stop giving. Reciprocity and exchanging gifts of appreciation have been around since humans first stood upright and has an important

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This is your chance to give Christmas a meaning that goes beyond gifts to also include togetherness through shared meals, memories and experiences.

function in society, as well as many cultural meanings associated with it. But, what we can do is reconsider what and to whom we give. We can think about how we engage our children from early on in this process. If we take reciprocity as the core ritual of Christmas, it becomes an event that is about giving and receiving and being mindful and deliberate around this. Nurturing the idea of giving with your children from early on can be very satisfying and help them develop deep appreciation for altruism and kindness for humankind early on. It doesn’t have to be big to have an impact on them. You can search the internet for many ideas, but things like shoebox Christmas (an initiative where you fill a box full of presents for a child in need), a “giving” advents calendar where you include 24 different ways of giving (from watering the neighbours plants to helping out in a soup kitchen), or donating to your favourite charity. Giving is a fun and satisfying way to help your children develop this as an inherent part of their Christmas. As for gifts for your children, friends and family? Well, there are many great ideas around for how to seek alternative gifts, experience-based gifts, and ways of giving to others from your family. You can surf the web and find a wide range of great ideas, for instance by searching for non-toy gifts. You can also think about where you choose to buy your gifts. There are many second-hand goods that need new homes, and many wonderful social enterprises

or small one-person businesses you can support with the money you spend. Putting our dollars into our local community is great for our economy and supports the small people rather than just the big corporations. Subscriptions or experiences also make great gifts. I have started an “experience box” with my kids. In this box you can think of materials, accessories or tools you may need for the adventure to make the “gift” a little more real on the day. For instance, we are planning to gift a kayak trip to our little island in our suburb, and will include some pictures of a kayak, the island, some snacks and a few adventure tools for our hike on the island. It is actually quite fun to move away from thinking “what do I need to buy” to thinking about gifts from a different perspective. One other very effective way to keep the quantity of gifts manageable is the concept

“something to read, something to wear, something you need, something you want”. This is a great and simple way to keep the perceived excessiveness of gifts down.

What does it mean to you? Gifts aside though, it is also important to think about the meaning of Christmas for your family. What unites us as humans is our desire for connection with loved ones, and being together. In a world where busyness is taking over alongside constant interruption, we could explicitly consider times like Christmas to be about family and being together. What children remember most is the time spent with them. Sure they get excited about a new bike they really wanted, and nobody wants to take away that joy and gifts can remain a part of your family Christmas. But thinking about the festive season

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as a time for family connection and being together relieves some of the stress and consumerism felt when Christmas time approaches. Routines and rituals are just as important as exchanging gifts, and are parts of everyday life that have been cornerstones of a wide range of cultures for a long time. A lovely thing you can do as a family is to think of certain rituals you would like to establish in your family. This could be a certain game you always play together on Christmas Eve, a certain place you always go for fish and chips the night before Christmas, or the annual Christmas Day walk.

If you manage to adopt the mantra that gifts are only a small part of the Christmas family experience you can become creative and come up with all sorts of innovative ideas. This is your chance to give Christmas a meaning that goes beyond gifts to also include togetherness through shared meals, memories and experiences. As cheesy as it may sound, and as much as the marketing people may not like us to be less consumer driven, these are truly the things you can do to create a Christmas that is simpler, with an emphasis on reciprocity and particularly focused on giving, and sharing time together. ď Ž

Dr Eva Neely Eva is a lecturer in the School of Public Health at Massey University with a particular interest in health promotion using strengths-based and empowerment-focused approaches to health and well-being. Her research interests include maternal health and holistic concepts of health. Eva is currently conducting a research project on breastfeeding resilience in young mothers, alongside teaching and curriculum development in health promotion. She lives in Wellington with her husband and two children.

Wishing all Kiwi parents a peaceful festive break and a wonderful summer holiday

From the Kiwiparent team 28 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Learning to play

Pick the right toy for your child At this time of year the toy shops are bursting with the latest, the biggest and the most glittery array of treats imaginable. Parents are faced with a bewildering array of options as they seek out that special treat to surprise and delight on Christmas morning. It is a good idea to have an understanding of children's basic abilities and preferences as they grow, as they play an important role in attracting and motivating children to interact with toys. Developing physically, for example, changes the ways in which children are able to coordinate their gross-motor skills. Increased mobility opens up new ways to use toys. A higher level of fine-motor skill permits greater manipulation of objects. Ultimately, such knowledge helps to identify and distinguish the characteristics of toys that are appealing to children at a given age.

Up to three months At this time, learning occurs mostly through baby’s reflexive actions, such as spontaneous kicking or arm movements. Initially, they explore with their eyes and ears only. Newborns can focus best at about eight inches from their faces, although this increases over time. They are attracted to bright and vibrant colours, especially yellows and reds, and to objects with highcontrast patterns like black and white spirals. Babies prefer the human face to all other patterns, and will watch faces intently. They will turn their heads in the direction of a sound, and are more attracted to objects that emit a gentle, soothing sound and move slowly. Babies have a reflexive grasp, which only allows them to explore objects briefly, and at three months they begin to swipe or reach towards a dangling object to grasp it. Choose soft, lightweight, washable, easy-to-grip objects with rounded corners as they are learning how to hold things. Mobiles or images with bright, highly contrasting colours and patterns are usually a hit with this age group, as are mirrors.

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Four to seven months They have learned a lot in the first few months and babies now actively engage with their environments. Distance vision is more mature, and they can track moving objects with smooth, efficient eye movements. Bright colours, high contrasts, and complex patterns are still winners. By five or six months, most children have mastered the ability to grasp and manipulate a dangling object and begin to play by reaching, grasping, tugging, pushing, patting, shaking, and squeezing. At six to seven months, they are sitting independently, and can manipulate objects more readily, though their finemotor coordination is still pretty basic. Objects are grasped using a claw-like grip or raking motion rather than a pincer grasp (using the thumb and index finger). They can transfer an object from hand to hand, and begin to use both hands independently. Everything goes in the mouth at this age, so it is good to look for toys that are washable. Near the end of this period, babies develop the ability to recognise words that they often hear, like mum or dad. Soft, lightweight, rounded, and textured toys that make gentle sounds are appropriate. Hand-held objects, like simple musical toys, should be sized so these children can easily grasp and manipulate them. Books and illustrations with bright pictures and high-contrast images are appealing, as are mirrors.

Eight to 11 months Much of the play during this period focuses on developing gross-motor skills, as babies become increasingly mobile. They explore objects in many different ways such as through grasping, shaking, squeezing, throwing, dropping, passing from hand to hand, and banging. Many of these babies begin to use items in relational patterns; for example, dumping items out of a container, putting them back in, and then repeating the process. They repeat pleasurable actions often, and start to show an interest in marking on paper. They can understand simple words related to their immediate context, and need repetition and reinforcement of the words they hear. Sensory toys are highly appealing because they are beginning to understand simple cause-and-effect relationships. Bright colours, especially yellows and reds, continue their appeal for this age group, as do high contrasts and complex patterns. Suitable toys are soft, sturdy, have rounded edges, and are easily grasped or manipulated.

12 to 18 months By now, most children can walk without support but are still unsteady on their feet. Now they want to explore everything; though their curiosity outweighs their judgment for predicting outcomes or dangers. They are trying out a variety of basic gross- and fine-motor skills, and are gaining confidence as climbers. They can sing to themselves and will move their bodies to music.

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Play provides a wonderful opportunity for parent and child to have fun together, deepening their relationship. Children also need opportunities for some play on their own, as this provides many opportunities to develop their imagination, problem-solve and develop other skills that are less likely to develop in adult-directed play. At times, boredom may provide the impetus for the child to make their own discoveries and create their own fun, fantastic life skills and great stimulation for a growing brain. Simple toys that allow children to use their imagination and creativity have many benefits over the endless plastic creations currently available (Ginsburg, 2007). Blocks, play dough, a sandpit, versatile dress-ups (as opposed to Disney inspired ones), crayons and paper provide endless options. Household objects such as boxes, blankets, pots and pans can also provide many hours of fun and learning. The toys and activities that offer the most stimulation for a growing brain often don’t have the “educational” label on them!

B Kids childcare products and toys promote the development of your child including Touch, Hearing, Skills, Vision and Reflection.

B Kids toys are available at Baby Factory

Since they are more mobile, they can choose their own toys that were once outside their reach. They find grasping easier, and can manipulate toys that require twisting, turning, sliding, and cranking. Through trial and error, they continue to explore cause-and-effect relationships like dumping and filling activities, and now they enjoy a variety of actions with objects, such as pressing, pushing, pulling, rolling, pounding, beating, clanging, fitting (for example, fitting a round peg into a round hole), stacking, marking, scribbling, carrying, and poking their fingers into objects. They delight in the effects their actions cause, and enjoy toys that take advantage of this that produce, various sounds, blinking lights, and spinning wheels. Now they recognise the names of familiar people, objects, pictures, and body parts. They often imitate common actions they see – such as talking on the phone, "drinking" from a cup, or putting on a hat. Simple toys that encourage pretend play, such as dressup materials, dolls, stuffed animals, and small vehicle toys, are good for this age group.

19 to 23 months At this age children are more confident and stable at walking, and are exploring new skills such as balancing, jumping, and running. They can pull a toy behind them while walking, climb on and off furniture, walk up and down stairs, and – by the end of this period – may be able to kick a ball. They can now pick up and manipulate much smaller objects due to their more developed


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pincer grasp. They like to sort objects, often grouping them into two categories, and can now fit together simple objects. They can also start to use very simple coupling mechanisms like magnets, large hooks, and hook-and-loop or touch fasteners. They can now use simple phrases, and make good use of a few active verbs, and directional words, such as "up", "down", and "in". Social play also emerges because children of this age can now communicate with and play alongside each other. Now is the time that you will see rudimentary pretend and role-play emerge; these toddlers can pretend to be asleep and can act out a variety of commonly observed actions. As they approach the magical two years of age, they may make dolls or stuffed animals assume roles, expecting them to eat pretend food. Though they still use trial and error, these toddlers can mentally consider solutions to problems before taking any action. They are more goal-oriented and object permanence is more advanced. These can help dress or undress themselves. Toys with low to moderate cause-and-effect features – such as those with push buttons or pull cords that cause actions or sounds – are appealing to these children. Simple remote controls are also usable.

Two years Now that pretend play is established, two-year-olds can perform social roles like mummy, daddy or baby. Role taking becomes a bigger part of social pretend play, and

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their pretend play becomes more elaborate as they use a variety of objects to carry out longer episodes. These children need the object to resemble the real item to some degree, so they might use a cloth rather than a shoe to represent a pillow. Two-year-olds can now engage in true construction play. They understand that pictures can depict pretend objects, and scribbles gradually become more representational pictures during this period, though they are still more interested in the process than the product. They become increasingly interested in colour variations and using simple art materials. Children at this age begin to show an interest in television and television characters. They are drawn to familiar cartoon characters from shows that they can incorporate into their play themes. They often want to know "why", and can start to use simple learning or educational toys. They understand the purpose of numbers in counting objects. Toddlers have increasing control over basic grossand fine-motor skills. Interest in gross-motor activity increases with newly found physical strength and basic coordination, and they especially enjoy balancing, climbing, running, jumping, throwing, catching, playing with sand, or pushing and pulling wheeled objects. They learn these skills separately during this period, and with each passing year they gradually combine them with other skills as coordinated movement. They can perform somersaults, and like to dance, twirl, and gallop to music. Although their control is still uncertain, they can kick and throw a ball.

They can manage simple screwing actions, and can use simple one- or two-turn wind-up mechanisms provided they are of low tension. Smaller buttons or snaps may be difficult for these children to manipulate, but they can use large hooks, buttons, and buckles. They prefer more realistic toys, so colours other than bright primary colours (for example, pastels) become attractive. However, these toys do not need to be elaborately detailed.

Three years and over This is the golden time of pretend play. As they head towards school age, drama and pretend play are at their peak. Children like to invent complex and dramatic make-believe scenarios and can build upon each other's play themes. Many of these children still have difficulty understanding the differences between fantasy and reality – children of this age may believe that monsters are real. They enjoy stepping into roles of power, like a parent, doctor, policeman, dinosaur, or superhero, which helps them to better understand these roles, to make them less scary and express a broad range of emotions. From the time they turn three, their gross-motor skills have improved… they can tiptoe and balance on one foot, hop, climb and slide on play structures with ease, kick or catch a large ball thrown from a short distance, and throw and aim at short distances. They also have the fine-motor skills to take on the challenge of more complex construction play, piecing together puzzle pieces, cutting, pasting, and other art activities. As they near their fifth birthday, these miraculous children have mastered a full range of gross- and fine-motor skills. They enjoy spending time outside to run, climb, hop, skip, and chase. They are learning

to ride bicycles, first with and then without training wheels. They are more able to cut with scissors, paste, trace, draw, colour, and string beads than when they were three. They also have enough dexterity and coordination to start using a computer keyboard. 

Stuck on what to buy? – These tips may help Children benefit the most from toys that are suitable for their developmental stage when play can contribute significantly to their growth and learning. Use your child’s interests as a guide Does your child love outdoor play or playing in the bath? Are they crafty and creative? Do they like building? Or do they enjoy imaginative play? Buying toys that encourage your child’s interests means they are more likely to be engaged in play and learning.

Choose a variety of toys Children benefit from a variety of toys that encourage physical, creative, emotional, cognitive

and social skills. When children play with a variety of toys they develop all of these skills.

Try to limit screen time Our kids are more screen savvy than ever. But too much screen time can be detrimental to a child’s development so it’s a good idea for kids to also play with toys that stretch their imagination and encourage more physical forms of play.

Safety first Safety is important when buying toys for kids. Toys that are well-made and age-appropriate offer children the best developmental opportunities, and ensure parents and carers can enjoy peace of mind. Remember to check the label for ageappropriateness and other safety information.

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good will

The holiday season is here and as we enter the market driven scramble to buy, buy, buy, it's a good time to think about those who might need a bit of help. Many charities and community groups are making it easier to help those who are doing it tough.

If you’re wary about who to give your hard-earned dollars or precious spare time to, check out the Charities Commission site ( where you can learn more about individual organisations. Whatever cause you are passionate about – social, animal or environmental – there will be a charitable organisation working toward a similar mission. Charitable giving is a great way to combine a meaningful gift with a sense of purpose. Lots of charities offer Christmas gift programmes where you donate money on behalf of a friend or relative to buy a much-needed item for someone in a developing country. If you prefer your charitable giving closer to home, Christmas is a prime time to give back to those in need in your own community. Whether it’s volunteering to help a local charity, baking for our local firefighters or inviting a neighbour without family of their own over to share Christmas with you, it doesn’t take a lot to make people smile – the gift of your time is often more meaningful than those bought from the shop. Here are a few things you can do:

Volunteer your time There are many opportunities in communities to volunteer. You could contact your local foodbank, church or op shop, ring the SPCA, organise a beach clean up, take some baking to a retirement facility. There are plenty of options when you start looking.

Adopt a family The Salvation Army runs an annual Adopt a Family campaign for Christmas. Those who wish to donate presents and Christmas goodies are paired up with a family that needs the help or that wouldn't get a Christmas otherwise.

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Buy some crackers The annual KidsCan Christmas Cracker Appeal will run until a few days after Christmas. Boxes of Christmas crackers are sold by KidsCan to raise money for ongoing support for disadvantaged Kiwi kids throughout the country.

Donate food or other items As well as donating to food banks or a local community organisation, you can also donate lunch through Eat My Lunch, an initiative where whenever a lunch pack is bought, a packed lunch is donated to a needy kid. You could also consider gift giving with a difference. These are some of the organisations which offer ways that you can purchase a gift which will benefit others – either here or overseas. If this is something you would like to do, check with your local Citizens Advice Bureau, City Council, churches – or search the web for something that feels like a good fit for your family.

Foster Hope Foster Hope collects unwrapped new Christmas gifts to give to New Zealand children from newborn to 17 years who will be in foster care or crisis accommodation this festive season. Sadly the festive season is a peak time for child protection agencies that are faced daily with the reality of child abuse, neglect and crisis in our communities. If you would like to donate a present (unwrapped please) check their website for drop off points throughout the country.

Christmas Box Christmas Box was born out of a desire to see families that are struggling at Christmas time not miss out on the opportunity to enjoy and share this special time of year with family and friends. It started in 2001 under the name “Christmas Hamper project” in a small room with 20 volunteers. They collected donated grocery items and packed them into banana boxes, individually wrapped the boxes in Christmas paper and delivered them to families in the local community. They literally deliver “Christmas in a Box” to families in need. Each year the project works alongside other organisations to help identify and locate families who are in need of a Box.

The Christmas Box is a food box that will cater to a family of 4–6 people, to help supplement meals for over a week, covering: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors they are able to include a few treats too.

Oxfam unwrapped The way this works is simple – you choose a unique gift – anything from a pair of chickens for $15 to a Christmas donkey for $150. Then you will receive a card featuring your gift to give to your loved one and your donation will go directly to a family who needs it in a range of countries where people are doing it tough.

Gifted (Christian World Service) Select your gift from the options – pick the country, item or value that suits you best. We send you a card with details of what your donation will achieve. You send the card to the recipient. Or take the easy option. Buy an e-gift and send it yourself. Your purchase becomes a donation to the CWS partner programme helping someone in a developing country build a better life.

World Vision Smiles for Gifts believe a gift can change a life. When you purchase a gift for someone, like $120 to help a woman start a business or $30 to keep a mum and baby healthy, you know that you getting something unique for someone you care about, and that your donation will make a life-changing difference to families in need. 

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Every time

a miracle Every single breastfeed is a success

“I popped into the doctor to have my toddler’s cough checked,” says Kate, mother of a just turned two-year-old. “I mentioned to the GP that I was still breastfeeding and was completely speechless when she told me, “You know there is no goodness in your milk after three months.” There are also mothers like Emma who are completely devastated when weaning happens early because of medical issues. Emma says, “I tried and tried to breastfeed for three months but I battled low supply and ended up with postnatal depression. During this time, I was topping my baby up with formula and everyone kept telling me that the formula meant he wouldn’t be getting any protection from the breast milk, so it wasn’t worth stressing myself.” Actually, however long you breastfeed or how much breast milk you are able to give your baby, this magic potion made by mums is like medicine. It helps protect your baby against nasty bugs from coughs and colds to tummy bugs: breast milk is like a daily vaccination against every bug your baby comes in contact with. It is a living fluid containing healthy bacteria, antibodies, white blood cells, antimicrobials and cell wall protectors and proteins that offer protection against bacteria and viruses. If you catch a bug, specialised white blood cells will appear in your breast milk to protect your baby. Conversely, if your baby becomes sick, the transfer of germs from baby to your breast will trigger the production of specific antibodies. These antibodies will be deposited into your milk to boost your baby’s immunity and help her fight off illness. And, it’s not just the milk your baby drinks that can boost her health and make her feel better – mothers the world over have used breast milk as a cure-all for minor aches and pains: with a few squirts, you can soothe rashes and itchy bites, relieve sunburn, unblock snotty noses and fix conjunctivitis. Some health practitioners even advise treating

36 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years


BECAUSE EVERY DROP OF BREAST MILK COUNTS ear infections with a few squirts of breast milk every hour or two.

to play with other children and is exposed to a greater array of bugs!

Some of the most recent research about human milk affirms that using breast milk to fix these common ailments isn’t just the basis of old wives’ tales. Studies into the antibacterial agents of mother’s milk reveal that breast milk has the ability to kill tumour cells and bacteria. Your magic mother’s milk can kill 40 different types of cancer cells and has been shown to help reverse antibiotic resistance. It’s all about a protein in breast milk, ‘Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells’ (known as HAMLET).

If you, like Emma, find yourself confronted with challenges that may mean you breastfeed for a shorter time, it may help to think of breast milk as medicine. Every drop is protection for your baby’s health. In fact, according to a brand new breastfeeding report by Save the Children, “Super Food for Babies,” 830,000 babies’ lives can be saved worldwide if they are breastfed within the critical first hour after birth.”

According to researchers at the University of Buffalo, HAMLET can help treat people with those nasty superbugs that cause pneumonia, MRSA, and staph infections. When HAMLET was recently tested on patients who had bladder cancer, after each treatment, the patients’ urine was tested to reveal that the dead cancer cells were excreted. HAMLET did not affect healthy cells. Contrary to advice such as that offered by Kate’s doctor, as long as you are breastfeeding, your milk is providing your child with essential proteins, nutrients, antibodies and other protective substances and will continue to do so for as long as you continue nursing. In fact, some immune factors actually become more concentrated during the second year of life – right when your baby becomes mobile enough

Perhaps, instead of judging yourself – or allowing others to judge you – around the length of time you breastfeed, snuggle your precious baby against your bare skin, nuzzle into that soft downy head, breathe in and remember, ‘every breastfeed is a success.’

Breastfeeding gives your baby and you: The first hour: Baby receives colostrum, the most effective and potent immune system-boosting on the planet. This first feed stabilises baby’s blood sugar and protects his gut.

Introducing making life simple for mums who express Our Express and Go range makes everything easier. By using a single pouch to EXPRESS, STORE, WARM and FEED, there’s no need to transfer breastmilk between bottles so you’ll never lose a precious drop!

The first day: The slightly laxative effects of colostrum encourage your baby’s first bowel motion; helps seal his gut against foreign proteins (gut closure); boosts your baby’s immune system and helps your uterus to contract, reducing bleeding and aiding recovery after birth.

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six weeks means that your child now has less risk of chest infections up to seven years old. Two months: Your child now has a lower risk of food allergy at three years old and, if you immunise your baby, breastfeeding boosts your baby’s antibody response to immunisations, strengthening the effectiveness of the vaccine. Nursing during injections will also offer comfort and pain relief.

The fourth day: You have now given your baby his first “immunisation” (antibody-rich colostrum), and helped to get his digestive system running smoothly. Your creamy transitional milk contains high levels of fat, lactose, vitamins and more calories than the colostrum. The first month: Your baby is receiving perfect nutrition and immunity and because mother’s milk is so easy to digest, breastfeeding means he won’t be uncomfortable due to constipation. By exclusively breastfeeding for at least one month you have given your baby significant protection against food allergy at three years of age.

Three months: Now, you have given your baby a 27 percent reduction in the risk of asthma if you have no family history of asthma and a 40 percent reduction if you have a family history of asthma. You have also given your baby between a 19 and 27 percent reduction in incidence of childhood Type 1 Diabetes. Four months: Exclusively breastfeeding for four months offers strong protection against ear infections and respiratory tract diseases for the first year. Six months: By breastfeeding for six months you have given

your baby significant protection against eczema during their first three years as well as a 19 percent decrease in risk of childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia and a 15 percent decrease in the risk of acute myelogenous leukemia. Twelve months: Many of the health benefits you have given your baby so far will last his entire life – he will have a stronger immune system, reduced risks of obesity and heart disease as an adult, as well as healthy oral development, meaning less likelihood that he will need orthodontia or speech therapy. Beyond one year: Breastfeeding toddlers between 16 and 30 months old have been found to have fewer types and shorter duration of illness and to require less medical care than their non-breastfeeding peers. Some of the immune factors in your breast milk will increase in concentration during this second year. According to La Leche League: “It takes between two and six years for a child’s immune system to fully mature. Human milk continues to complement and boost the immune system for as long as it is offered.” 

Pinky McKay An International Board certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and ex-Parents Centre mum, with a busy private practice in Melbourne, Pinky is a best-selling author with four titles published by Penguin Random House. She is a sought-after media commentator as well as a guest and keynote speaker at seminars for health professionals and parents in Australia and internationally. Pinky writes for a number of publications around the world.

Six weeks: You have eased your baby through the most critical part of his infancy – newborns who are not breastfed are much more likely to get sick or be hospitalised, and have more digestive problems than breastfed babies. Breastfeeding for

“Suddenly I am absolutely loving motherhood. Thank you so much for opening my eyes to this magical journey – there are no words to thank you enough.” - Emily

38 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

• Best Selling Baby Care Author • Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) • Certified Baby Massage Instructor • Keynote Speaker

In this section Centre of the month awards Centre stories

Parents Centres

Christmas auction

Educating and supporting parents through the early years.

Spotlight on Antenatal Classes

Antenatal – sometimes called pregnancy and childbirth – education. While these are certainly not all the things we do, we are justifiably proud of delivering fantastic classes around the country! Parents Centres New Zealand was founded back in 1952 largely through the critical need to improve antenatal education and birthing practices in this country. We have achieved plenty since then, including: successfully advocating for fathers to be allowed to be present during labour and birth establishing the practice of babies “rooming in” with their mothers and not being banished to a nursery p romoting breastfeeding as being normal and the best form of feeding for babies and supporting the World Health Organisation (WHO) code for this i nitiating unlimited hospital visits for parents of sick children e stablishing a diploma-level course specialising in antenatal education in this country. We have an awesome team of expert Childbirth Educators (CBEs), all trained to diploma level and passionate about the importance of quality childbirth education. We’ve been educating parents for over 60 years, and believe that, with the right information, birthing choices sit firmly with you, the parents. Knowledge is empowerment, enabling you to have control over what is the start of the most incredible journey of your life – becoming a parent. Perhaps you could be interested in becoming a Centre volunteer? 

The opportunities for volunteers at Centre level are many and varied – simply contact your local Centre or check out our website to find out how you can become involved.

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Congratulations to the Centre of the Month Award winners He aha te mea nui o te ao. He ta-ngata, he ta-ngata, he ta-ngata. What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people. (Ma-ori proverb)

September winner Gore Parents Centre

August winner Taieri Parents Centre Every year for over a decade, Taeiri Parents Centre have taken the lead in organising Parents Centres part in the Jaffa Race and coordinating ticket sales on behalf of all participating centres. This is a massive effort by Taieri volunteers and is much appreciated by our Centres. This event is an opportunity for Centres to raise a massive $25,000 between them, a significant contribution to their finances, enabling lots of important projects to continue for the benefit of Kiwi families. Taieri ceased offering DHB-funded childbirth education classes approximately eighteen months ago. This Centre’s passion is childbirth education and they have a high profile in the community. Their classes are well sought after. With financial reserves gained through many years of committed fundraising and the annual Jaffa Race, they made the decision to offer their classes free of charge, asking only for a donation. They do an excellent membership sell, and don’t have problems securing membership, so this hasn’t suffered in the least. It was impressive to see Taieri consider other options, to remain true to their reason for being and continue offering such a valuable service so successfully in their community. Fantastic work Taieri Parents Centre!


After seeing their AGM minutes and reports, the National Support Team were all inspired and in awe of what this Centre has achieved. We unanimously agreed this Centre deserves this Centre of the Month award. Here are some of the highlights: After losing DHB funding two years ago, they continue to offer free childbirth education classes to their community, fundraising to ensure these can be offered free. They have fantastic community support and midwives actively refer clients to the Centre. Established a successful car seat hire service. Actively fundraised with large events well supported by the community. Have a stock scheme with sales of steers and bulls helping to subside swimming lessons for their members. They provide a newborn gift pack to every baby born at their local hospital. Offer regular activities which include Little Explorers holiday activities for children of all ages, girl’s nights out and hot topic events. Run an active and well attended music and movement group. Increased both their membership and renewal rate over the last year. This Centre is a true inspiration and clearly meeting the needs of their community. Keep up the great work! 

kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Community initiative down south Clutha Women In Business is a new group of Balclutha women who own or are involved in local businesses. They chose Balclutha Parents Centre and Women's Refuge to receive the proceeds from the Women In Business Expo they held in September. President Nicola Law says, “We helped on the day with the entry door, had our own information stall and a committee member, Casey Milne, donated a cake for us to raffle. There were about 50 stalls at the expo. From the fundraising and the donation from the expo we are purchasing some new things for the children including some tyre tramps for outdoor fun.” A Balclutha Parents Centre member Kristal Meikle's daughter Kaitlin Miller won third prize at the recent Jaffa Race. Kristal sold a whole book of tickets to family and friends – a great achievement. The vouchers and chocolate were much appreciated by the family. 

Dressing up for the cause

Bringing families together

A few months ago Dunedin Parents Centre were the recipients of a huge donation from Zonta who held a fashion show with the proceeds donated to a local organisation. The night’s theme was Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. After a busy few months putting the plans in place, the event was finally held in September. Dunedin Parents Centre President Gemma Todd says, “We had a blast! It was pretty scary standing up to do our speech in front of 400 people but we had a lot of positive feedback, especially from guests who did not know about Parents Centre’s amazing history. It was great to get the information out there to so many people.” 

Whakatane Parents Centre held our 7th annual Parent and Child in October. “This year we had over 450 people through the doors,” says Kat Cox. The expo showcased different services, support and activities that are available to parents in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and products made by small local businesses. Whakatane Parents Centre love having a day where families can come together and have some fun while learning valuable information. The kids also had a great time playing on the bouncy castle and with toys supplied by the local Toy Library. A huge thank you to our committee who made this event happen! 

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Bid for a great Mediaworks prize.

Pick up a unique prize This Christmas season Parents Centre New Zealand will hold their second annual online fundraising auction. The auction will launch on Tuesday 28th November on Trade Me and closes on the evening of Monday 4th December. The 28th of November 2017 is #GivingTuesday, a global movement where businesses and individuals come together to give back and lend their support to charitable causes. We are launching our auction on this date to kick-start our Christmas fundraising and raise awareness of the vital work Parents Centre does supporting the parents of New Zealand. Using Trade Me as our auction platform allows us to make this a nationwide fundraising event, so people from all communities can support Parents Centre this Christmas. We are raising funds to support our volunteer Centres around New Zealand. Our Centres provide pregnancy, childbirth and parent education as well as vital support services for new parents including coffee groups, playgroups, toy libraries and music groups. Being a new parent can be a vulnerable and isolating experience, Parents Centre is all about parents supporting parents in the community to ensure the best outcomes for children. This year we are looking forward to having more of our Centres involved in the auction, using their local networks to source unique items to add to the auction

and raise funds for their Centre. Upper Hutt Parents Centre will again be auctioning an amazing farm stay experience. This was hugely popular last year with some very competitive bidding! Auction items are still being finalised. We are lucky to have the support of our strategic partners as well as many local businesses donating items for auction, and we thank them all for their contributions. There really is something for everyone in this auction, and with many items listed at low or no reserve you could pick up a real bargain! Bid for yourself or find a unique Christmas gift for a loved one. You can be confident your purchase is supporting Great Parents to Grow Great Children. Every bid helps, so please support us by spreading the word, tell all your friends and family to check out the Parents Centres online auction on Trade Me and share our posts on social media. Happy bidding! 

Kayak Glow Worm Tour for two from Lake District Adventures If you win this auction you will enjoy an evening kayak tour on Lake Karapiro in the Waikato, and travel up the Pokaiwhenua canyon to see the Glow Worms surrounding the canyon walls.

Take part

Win an awesome farm stay experience Give your children a taste of life on the farm by bidding for a two-night stay in a self contained cottage on this farm in Southern Hawkes Bay. Activites include trout fishing, river and waterfall swimming & a farm ride. Little ones can meet the dogs & collect eggs from the chickens.


Auction launches on Trade Me Tuesday 28th of November 2017 and closes on the evening of Monday 4th December. Visit and search parentscentrenz to find our listings and bid. Also keep an eye on our social media throughout November for more details of the auction listings.

kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Each edition of Kiwiparent will profile one of Parents Centre's renowned parent education programmes.

This month the spotlight is on:

Antenatal programmes Many incredible changes happen to a woman’s body when she becomes pregnant. The wonderful thing is that it all happens without conscious thought. For example, the baby’s fingernails begin forming without mum looking up developmental stages and thinking ‘this week it’s nails!’ How incredible is that? So, why attend antenatal (pregnancy and childbirth) programmes or classes if a growing baby happens without a textbook or instructions; surely birthing and breastfeeding will be the same? The answer is ‘yes, it is’. Giving birth is a natural physiological event, as is breastfeeding. In this modern world, however, we are no longer surrounded by birth and breastfeeding in the course of our lives. For many women the first experience they have of birthing is when they give birth themselves. This is not helped by the media’s widespread portrayal of birth which is often far from reality. Sadly this leaves some lacking in confidence and the mother lacking in the knowledge required to trust her own body. This is where antenatal – or childbirth education – programmes can be a lifeline for couples who want well researched, up-to-date information on the basics of childbearing.

and trouble-shooting for times when breastfeeding can be challenging. Information is power and, in an often medically-oriented birthing situation, this knowledge is empowering for both parents. Many parents also find it extremely rewarding to have the opportunity to take time out of their busy lives to dedicate a couple of hours a week to planning for the birth of their baby. The ‘coffee groups’ that follow on from the class series become a lifeline for some. To network with other parents at the same stage of life, experiencing similar challenges and joys, is confidenceboosting and very rewarding. The programmes are run by qualified professional Childbirth Educators who are skilled in knowledge and in facilitation, to ensure that your experience of antenatal classes is fun, interactive, valuable and informative. Go to to find out about antenatal classes running in your area. Childbirth Educations classes are supported by Huggies. 

Parents Centres antenatal programmes cater for all situations, including when labour doesn’t go to plan,

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Find a Centre near you Parents Centres span the entire country with 47 locations around New Zealand. Contact your local Centre for details of programmes and support available in your area, or go to:

North Island Auckland Region 1

Bay of Plenty





Bays North Harbour


Hibiscus Coast




Auckland Region 2

New Plymouth

Auckland East



South Taranaki


East Coast North Island


Central Hawke's Bay

Auckland Region 3

Hawke's Bay

West Auckland

Central Districts

Central Auckland

Palmerston North

East & Bays







Lower Hutt




Upper Hutt


Wellington North


Wellington South

South Island Northern South Island Nelson Marlborough Greymouth Canterbury Region Ashburton Christchurch Timaru Oamaru Southern Region Alexandra Balclutha Dunedin Gore Taieri


kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Yay! You’re pregnant!

Now what?

We are delighted that the pilots of our new Early Pregnancy Programme have been successful and we are now moving to launch these courses nationwide throughout 2018. As part of our continual drive to support parents, Parents Centre recognised a significant need for education, skills and knowledge to be made available and shared right at the beginning of pregnancy. In response to this need, we developed our Early Pregnancy Programme. This programme has been designed and developed to meet the specific needs of parents who are in their 12–24th week of pregnancy. There is so much conflicting – and sometimes scary – information out there. Early pregnancy is a time when parents have many questions, and yet only see their Lead Maternity Carer once a month; this often results in parents turning to Dr Google for advice – not always a sound strategy. Early pregnancy is an ideal time to implement positive health behaviour and lifestyle changes – improved lifestyles can affect short and long-term health outcomes for mum and baby. Research tells us that information on pregnancy-related topics at childbirth education (antenatal) classes would be better delivered much earlier as the main focus at antenatal classes is your labour journey and those first precious weeks with your baby.

Early pregnancy is also an essential time for understanding and affecting parents’ rights as a consumer of the maternity system. At Parents Centre we pride ourselves on facilitating stimulating debate, and encouraging critical and inquisitive thinking in an inclusive and supported environment, where parents become equipped to make informed decisions that are the right choices for their family. Bringing parents together early in their journey with Parents Centre offers huge benefits for everyone. It provides the opportunity to make early connections and to grow support networks with other parents from the moment they take their first steps in the Parents Centre door. Early membership through local Centres entitles families to so many benefits – discounts, education and support. A growing membership strengthens our organisation locally and nationally – it is from this pool that come our amazing and dedicated team of volunteers throughout New Zealand who make all of this possible. We are incredibly proud to further support parents during this remarkable, yet challenging and sometimes scary time as they transition to parenthood. Liz Pearce Pregnancy, Childbirth and Parent Education Manager

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Photo: Deb Browne with her daughters Suskia (left) and Aana.

We chat with Deb Browne, Early Pregnancy Programme (EPP) facilitator at Cambridge Parents Centre. Why you think the programme is valuable? I think the programme is valuable on many levels, and for many reasons. In our age of continued diversity and geographical-spread of families and wha- nau, we can sometimes feel a little isolated or unsupported in our parenting journey. Especially in early parenting – and parenting starts as soon as that little miracle starts to grow! Not when that little miracle transitions to earth-side. Having the opportunity to access a resource like the Early Pregnancy Programme, parents are able to connect with the latest information and research in a supportive, welcoming environment, and in a relevant format. One of our aims is to tautoko for those parents – to support them in their learning, their understanding of the wide range of choices they will be faced with, and the wide range of considerations they will encounter in their pregnancy journey, and on into parenthood with a little person.

What you have enjoyed about facilitating the EPP? I have loved the privilege of working with families in the early phase of their pregnancies, and being able to look at,

46 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

discuss and consider a wide range of relevant topics. I have really enjoyed being able to connect with families in my community, and to provide a relaxed environment in which almost anything pregnancy and parenting related can, and does, surface for discussion! It’s been lots of fun!

What sort of things does the programme cover? The programme has a wide range of topics and I feel they are all valuable. What has been lovely is that in enabling or facilitating discussion on particular topics, this will often seamlessly lead to other relevant topics and linked course content. As facilitators, we are really the conduit for information sharing amongst parents who are interested in building their own understanding and knowledge, and in reality, come with a fairly good understanding of this phase already. Especially the Mamas. They are living and breathing this pregnancy gig, and so are naturally really interested. Sometimes the partners are a little caught in the headlights but they get there in the end! It’s just that most often, the partners are working through their own place in all of the changes that are going on, figuring out how they feel about it, perhaps wondering about their own parenting skills or plans. It can be a significant transition to parenthood for some folk. That’s completely normal, and part of our role is to enable discussion or contemplation around those themes. Our topics range from information about the developing baby, health and well-being for the Mum and longer term implications on the family for good health choices,

the physiology of pregnancy and how beautifully a woman’s body is designed for growing a baby (or babies), how partners can support the Mama, how the partners can start to consider what style of parenting they might most naturally adopt, is there anything useful we can bring forward from our own childhood and apply in our own parenting journey, is there anything we don’t want to bring forward! How to look after each other while growing your little person, and the importance of a really simple concept – relaxation! We also look at implications for lifestyle when baby is here, entitlements for working families and paid parental leave. One of our most important concept topics sits around the ability to make informed choices and decisions through the pregnancy, birthing and the parenting journey and we aim to enable, empower and encourage parents to embrace this. The value of working with our Lead Maternity Carer has a little segment, and we look at the importance of developing relationships and connections with our support crew and how critical that is, not just for the Mama but the partners too. And we look at the practicalities of what we might think we need to buy for life with a baby, versus what we actually need!

Have there been any lessons along the way? Lots of lessons! Perhaps the greatest lesson is to remember just how important it is for parents to have really good, reliable, trustworthy information and support at this really special time in their parenting journey. And what a humbling, and privileged role to be able to play a small part in that journey. And to be prepared for any questions at all! In creating a really safe, supportive environment, some really beautifully honest, genuine concerns or queries and questions come up, and have the opportunity to be answered or settled.

Were there any differences between the first and second course you delivered? For me it’s too early to say – I’ve maintained a consistent format with a couple of tweaks here and there. Same general framework but with a flexible approach and so each session’s topics have been covered off. Perhaps just not in exactly the order I’d imagined. I think it’s important to allow the discussion to flow, to address things when they come up because it’s all really relevant when you’re at this emotional, physical and mental stage of parenting. It’s a very full agenda to cover off all the topics in the programme and it takes a good deal of momentum to roll through them.

What the course participants say: The course was very informative. Everything covered was very useful. Topics laid out clearly at the beginning of the course. Lifestyle changes and increased understanding led to realising the importance of slowing down, taking time to relax and the importance of healthy eating and exercise. This course is a great idea, and should be continued. Liked the interactive group work. Fantastic thank you. Seems like a good starting point for new parents.

It’s a balance between working through the course agenda, and also supporting parents to explore or discuss any relevant thoughts, concepts and themes that might come up. 

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On the road to

nappy freedom Toilet training 101 The words ‘toilet training’ can strike fear into the most intrepid parent, but summer is a great time to start that transition to nappy freedom. Here are some tips to make life a little bit easier for mums, dads and carers that really help take the hassle out of wee accidents.

Day training tips When should we start? For daytime training around two years is a good time for girls, although boys are quite often later. Every child is different. Choose a time when you can stay closer to home for a few days. Ask someone else to pick up older kids from school or preschool, go to the supermarket at night after your partner is home etc. You need a few days clear of distractions if possible.

How do I know they are ready? There are a few things you can ask yourself that will help you find the right time to start toilet training. If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions, you can probably start training. Can they pull their own pants up and down? Are they staying dry for at least two hours at a time? Can they follow simple instructions? Is the time right for you and your family? Spoiler alert – there will be accidents and extra washing.

How about rewards and praise Keep it simple and reward effort rather than results. Make it consistent and affordable – stickers and games rather than expensive toys. Check out the free reward downloads on brollysheets. Make sure you celebrate even the small successes. Do the “potty dance” – everyone claps and dances around. Ring close relatives to share the exciting news.

48 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Set the clock

will have the choice where they want to go and get used to the idea that the toilet is the place to go.

Remind your child to go every half hour or hour. Don’t ask if they need to go, simply say: “Come on – let’s go to the potty/toilet”.

Offer a “poo party”, not just after the first poo, but if they go four times in the toilet.

Number twos

It could be that they just need the time to relax on the toilet. Let them know that it is alright to take their time.

It’s more common than you think – wees are fine but your child just won’t do a poo on the potty or in the toilet. The fact their child is out of nappies, except for when they need to do number twos, frustrates many parents. These things might help: Make sure your child isn’t constipated. When they have done number twos either in a nappy or in pants, go together to the toilet and flush it away. Tie a “special toy” to the toilet roll holder to play with whilst on the toilet. Have a special book just to read whilst sitting on the toilet. Get a seat insert so they don’t fear falling in. Try putting food colouring in the water to make the toilet more interesting. It may be that poos “splash” and make a noise, so they will go in a potty but not the toilet. Put some toilet paper in the toilet first so there isn’t a splash. Explain where the “hole” in the toilet goes and how the toilet works. Put the potty by the toilet (if it will fit) and then they

It may be they are uncomfortable with their feet in the air, so a stool for them to put their feet on. Try not to focus on it as it can build anxiety. Explain how food goes down a slide in their tummy (a long one with lots of turns) and all the things their body doesn’t need, come out at the end of the slide and into the toilet.

Get practical Training pants are a great transition between nappies and undies to give you some peace of mind. They won’t hold a full wee like a nappy, but will give your child extra time to get to the toilet. It’s also handy to take a waterproof bag, some wipes and a change of undies/ pants when you go out. Being prepared makes those wee accidents easier to deal with.

It’s not a competition Don’t compete about your child being dry with others. It is nothing to do with your skills as a parent or your child’s IQ. It happens when it happens. There will always be the child who has never had an accident – but the majority of us have to go through the accidents, extra washing and always knowing where the public loos are.

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Night training tips Complete daytime training first – don’t try to do them both at once. The average age to start night-time toilet training is around four to five years, but boys can be a bit slower than girls. They are either physically capable of holding on until the morning or they aren’t. If your child is still waking up wet every morning they are not ready to go without a nappy. It’s just the way they are made and every child is different. Most children under the age of five still wet in their sleep and one in ten younger primary school children do too. There are definite signs of readiness you should look for before you start. Don’t rely exclusively on these – they are just an indication the time may be right. Dry nappy in the morning.

If they are waking up wet, check to see if they are weeing just before they wake (look for a soaked warm nappy). Not wanting the nappy on at night – child led. Waking up to go at night – either dry or wet. If your child is showing signs of readiness, don’t hold them back. It will be easier for you if your child is ready, so go for it now.

Get the timing right Don’t start training just before you go on holiday or just before you come home with a new baby. You may be lucky and have a very quick training time frame. Or you are much more likely to be like the majority of us where it will take weeks/months to get completely dry. You will have broken sleep changing a wet bed and child. Start when the time is good for you and your child.

Keep it simple Avoid confusion and talk to whoever will be around your child to agree on the same terminology before you start. It doesn’t matter what words you use (willy, penis etc) as long as you all use the same ones.

50 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Set a routine bedtime for your child. Overtired children fall deeply asleep and have a harder time waking up to go to the bathroom. You may have a relapse over the holidays as days tend to be fuller and the routine changes. Give your child plenty of fluid during the day. They shouldn’t need extra drinks after dinner.

Have realistic expectations Praise and reward your child for staying dry or getting up to toilet. A reward chart may be handy to tick off going to the toilet before bed or stopping drinks at dinner time. Have a think about what to reward, as bed wetting isn’t something in their control.

Have realistic expectations. Expect just the occasional dry night at the first few attempts. In some cases it may take months. If your child is becoming anxious or frustrated, take the pressure off. Forget about nighttime toilet training for a while. You can restart in a few months’ time. 

Diane Hurford Light up their lives A night light can make a huge difference. Your child needs to feel safe getting up in the middle of the night if they need to. You can also leave the toilet light on to make the house not so scary in the dark.

Accidents are going to happen – be prepared Don’t use disposable night-time pants. Your child needs to feel wet for their brain to get the message they don’t like being cold and wet.

Diane is the founder and director of Brolly Sheets, an award-winning multinational business which grew from her need to find an easy way to change her infant daughter’s sheets in the middle of the night. There is much more information on the Brolly Sheets website, go to ‘Like’ the Brolly Sheets Facebook page to take advantage of regular tips and promotions.

Prepare the bed and your child. Get something like Brolly Sheet with tuck in wings that make it easy to change a wet bed at 2am. Explain to your child that these special sheets are made to be weed on. It is no big deal if they have an accident.

Time to toilet train? We have everything you need. Advice, support, products and more. TM kiwiparent 0800 276 559

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52 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Tidiness is one thing, but hygiene is another world altogether. After the first evening back at home follwing the birth of our sixth daughter, baby Rosa, and the inevitable three middle-of-the-night feeds, the following morning I finally remembered to brush my teeth. Upon entering our bathroom to scrub my furry pearly yellows, much to my astonishment and disgust, I discovered four toothbrushes in the toothbrush cup. What is wrong with this picture you ask? Great, the toothbrushes were actually in the cup, not scattered on the vanity. But alas, there were only four! Which is a real problem when you have seven people in the house with teeth. Teeth which need brushing. Twice a day, seven days a week. I bellowed, “GIRLS! Come into the bathroom right now!!!” Which actually meant stand outside the bathroom in the hallway, because you can really only logistically fit three people inside our bathroom at a time. So I lined them up a bit like Captain Von Trapp in ‘The Sound

of Music’, and proceeded to request the girls step forward and state the colour of their toothbrush – complete with individual whistle tones. Just kidding, although I seriously think this would have definite practical child mustering advantages. So, still channeling the much loved musical: Liesl stepped crisply forward (daughter #1) and said in her haughty Victorian manner, “I use the pink one.” Louisa stepped forward (daughter #2) and victoriously exclaimed with a twinkle in her eye and a humongous smile of amusement, “I use the pink one too!” Brigitta (daughter #3) stepped forward with a slight cringe and said with a hint of disgust in her voice, “I use the pink one as well.” Marta (daughter #4) hopped forward with a joyful jump and delightfully replied in a sing-song voice, “Mine is the pink one!” And finally Gretl (daughter #5) stomped forward (just like in The Sound of Music) and grumpily declared with a dark scowl on her face, “But MINE is the pink one!”

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All the while daughter #1 is struggling to restrain her gag reflex as she contemplates the millilitres of her sisters’ saliva she must have ingested. Rather amused but equally disgusted I couldn’t help but laugh in horror as I replied, “Well girls, the pink toothbrush is actually mine!” In our house, we inhabit a world where sharing knows no bounds. Where everyone has to use everything that belongs to mum! Where ‘tatou, tatou’ takes on a whole new meaning. However, on the bright side, I was thankful my girls were actually brushing their teeth, if not very effectively. This experience got me to thinking about teeth. Teeth are such a measurement of the milestones in a child’s life, if not an adult’s as well. From dribbling, rash-covered, grizzly five-month-old babies; excited, gormless-looking gappy-toothed six-year-olds; right through to I-wishI-didn’t-eat-so-many-lollies-as-a-kidroot-canal-victim thirty-year-olds; to denture-wearing, wise and wizened beautiful seventy-year-olds.

Beware the piranha phase But, in my recent experience, teeth can also be instruments of torture. Particularly if you are breastfeeding a teething baby. Which is fine when they get their teeth early as rather immune-to-distraction five-monthold babies. But this is certainly not the case when they reach the magic age of six months. It’s like an internal switch is activated and your once docile virtually immobile cherub is transformed into a wriggling, rolling, crawling, chewing, nipplegnawing ball of dental delight. I am sure fellow mamas can relate to the point in time when you began to seriously contemplate if you would continue to breastfeed your six-month-old baby… The lights are dimmed. Older siblings are otherwise occupied as me and my baby are enjoying a little bit of alone time during the end of the day breastfeed (for about 120 seconds anyway). Baby is latched on – something she finally mastered after three soul-destroying days

54 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

post-birth when I wondered if my nipples might actually be eroded away), and snuggled into me, as she slowly closes her eyes in complete contentment. All I am thinking about is the million other things that need to be done once baby is asleep, and before I finally retire for the evening. Those many things which everyone else in the house thinks that a magic little fairy does. Until some little person bursts through the door in a hasty flurry of evident distress and yells out “MUUUM!” And that’s all it takes. BAM! Rosa’s head violently rotates toward the direction of said interruption, while her mouth painfully detaches from my breast and her once innocent miniature teeth scrape across my nipple like a grater through cheese. A searing pain shoots from nipple, right through my body, from the ends of my hair to the tips of my toes. Did someone shoot me in the boob

with a freaking taser?! I feel like I’ve swallowed a cup of concrete as my stomach drops and waves of nausea wash over me. With my own teeth gritted, I look down through eyes glazed with pain, and it suddenly dawns on me, I’ve given birth to a human piranha! I had never before considered my baby’s cute little teeth could be capable of inflicting such intense pain. Nor had I ever questioned baby’s teeth could be as sharp as tiny scalpels. This really is one of the worst feelings in the world. Anyhow, the season of the human piranha can be extremely challenging as not only mum’s nipples, but also sisters’ fingers, and baby’s own fingers and tongue are damaged by baby’s torturous new teeth. And as well as the selfinflicted pain, some babies seem to suffer tremendously as their bulging gums erupt shards of bone, and their mouths spew forth litres of saliva.

This new stage of development can disturb newly established sleep patterns as baby wakes in the night due to the pain. But with lots of cuddles, cautious breastfeeds, teething gel, teething toys, and even amber beads (in some cases), the season of the human piranha does not last for long. Soon enough, you will be entering the season of the gormless-looking gappy-toothed six-year-old, when lost teeth can cost you an hour’s wages, the tooth fairy is always late, and sometimes sisters turn into dentists… but that it is the topic for another article.

The days might seem long but the years are short. Rejoice in the season of babyhood, teeth or no teeth, brushed or unbrushed, nipples or no nipples, unchewed upon or fully gnawed. Keep up the good work mamas, and beware of human piranhas and pink toothbrushes… 

Stacey Lene Stacey raises six gorgeous daughters with her husband Jonny in Christchurch. A budding blogger, Stacey regales her followers and fans with lessons of love and laughter parenting six girls.

First teeth are important Your baby’s first teeth are important to help them eat and speak properly. They also play an important role in guiding the development of the second set of teeth. As soon as your child’s teeth start to show, you will need to start brushing them. Use a small soft toothbrush with a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush your child’s teeth from the time the first teeth appear. Be very gentle and use a mild fluoride toothpaste that is in line with the NZ Ministry of Health guidelines. Ask your pharmacist for advice. Clean your little one’s teeth in the morning and before going to bed at night. You might like to teach your child to clean their teeth by letting them use the brush after you have cleaned their teeth for them. They will also develop good teeth cleaning habits by copying you brushing your teeth.

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Seema Rambisheswar - Pharmacist/ Owner of Life Pharmacy Glenfield

Meet the Team at Life Pharmacy Glenfield Seema Rambisheswar qualified as a Pharmacist in 1994 from the University of Otago and has owned and operated Life Pharmacy Glenfield since 2008. Together with her trained team of 21, Seema prides herself on providing a superior level of customer care coupled with a compassionate approach to providing solutions to customers to better manage their health and well-being. While she specializes in medicines management, Seema and her team offer a number of health services. As a parent herself she is committed to supporting members of the parent center by providing care and advice for families and Whanau. Seema has highlighted some handy hints and tips for maintaining good health throughout the summer months and welcomes you to Life Pharmacy Glenfield. It is always important to talk with your Pharmacist about what products can be safely used during your pregnancy and for your babies and older children. Sun Burn Sun burn does occur and can range from mild to very severe. Babies and toddlers should not be exposed to sunlight directly. Cover such as a hat and light coloured clothing are the best form of protection in conjunction with a sun block. Aloe Vera gel/lotion may help with mild sun burns while local anaesthetic/antibacterial agents are good for moderate burns. Severe burns may require referral as they may potentially lead to more serious complications regardless of age but more important for the very young and elderly.

Insect Bites

Other Services:

As we spend more time outdoors in summer, we are bound to get bitten. Apply an ice pack to the bite to reduce the redness, itching and inflammation. Steroid creams and antihistamine creams may be applied as well as taking an oral antihistamine. There is a range of antihistamine syrups that are suitable for toddlers from 3 months upwards. Insect repellents are great as they may prevent getting bitten. Reapplication is really important. Always check the ingredients as some should not be used on toddlers. There are natural applications available as well as repellent bands however it is best to check with us prior to purchasing.

Selected Oral Contraceptive We lead busy lives and sometimes when caring for our families we forget about ourselves. Ever run out of your Pill? If so, I am sure it was normally on the weekends or after hours. Well, it just got easier to access your Pill from Life Pharmacy Glenfield. We pride ourselves as being one of the first pharmacies to be accredited to dispense selected oral contraceptives (SOCs) over the counter. A thorough consultation is required prior to supply. We are only allowed to dispense SOCs if the woman has had that particular oral contraceptive prescribed by her General Practitioner in the past three years. There are a few questions we need to ask you to ensure that the Pill is safe for you and then we can provide up to six months supply of the Pill. It is all about convenience and access. Your Pharmacist is available to have a confidential discussion with you.

Allergy Management Dust and pollen are two major factors that trigger an allergic reaction in our body. Symptoms may include runny, itchy and/or blocked nose, sneezing, watery/itchy eyes and itchy palette. Corticosteroid nasal sprays help prevent symptoms. It is recommended to use this everyday for the best outcome. Antihistamine tablets may be used in conjunction with the nasal spray or on their own. There is a wide range of oral antihistamines on the market and we will be able to recommend the best one for you or your family. Eye drops may be used for prevention as well as symptomatic relief of allergies. We will also advise you on lifestyle changes to minimise common allergens around the house. More severe forms of allergies may require referral.

Life Pharmacy Glenfield Level 2, Glenfield Mall, 75 Bentley Avenue, Glenfield 444 6403 Fax: 09 444 2755 Email: 56 Ph: 09kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Other services available from Life Pharmacy Glenfield • • • • • • • • • •

Morning After Pill Treatment for UTI (urinary tract infection) Influenza Vaccination Whooping Cough Vaccination Shingles Vaccination Vitamin B12 Injections Review of your medicines Medicine Repeat Reminders Free Diabetes Meter battery replacement Free Blood Pressure Checks

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SOME OF THE SERVICES YOU CAN FIND AT YOUR LOCAL UNICHEM AND LIFE PHARMACIES INCLUDE: • Prescriptions for you and your family • Vaccinations for flu, whooping cough, meningococcal disease and shingles

health care and advice.

private and absolute confidence.

• Antibiotic treatment for Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

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Learning under

a rainbow

58 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Kath Cooper, an early childhood lecturer who parents four children with her wife, believes all parents need to actively support LGBTQI-friendly environments at their children’s schools and preschools. With input from the Rainbow Families NZ community, she’s sharing this article in the hope that it will spark conversations at your child’s early childhood education centre, primary school, or high school. It’s 2017 and families are changing. Truth be told, they’ve been changing and evolving for many years – from extended family settings where everyone worked and lived together to nuclear families where a mother cared for children at home while their father worked. Further variations found people parenting alone, blended families, and even more so now: Rainbow Families. A Rainbow Family is a same-sex or LGBTQIparented family. Research suggests that Rainbow Families have been around since the 17th century, however, the dominance of societal expectations has meant that it has not always been safe to disclose this family formation. This dominance is called heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is a discourse that works to maintain heterosexual hegemony. Heteronormativity is the societal expectation that women must be attracted only to men, and men must only be attracted to women. It’s also behind the expectations we put onto children. For example, when a girl in an early childhood setting or school plays with a pram and a doll, some will comment, “Wouldn’t you make a great mum someday?” Research has found that when a boy plays with a doll they often hear comments like, “Are you holding baby till mummy gets back?” or they are not given any feedback at all. No feedback, or silence, is a contributing factor to maintaining a majority voice or traditional gender roles. Heteronormativity is the reason most people will ask a woman about her husband or boyfriend rather than asking about a partner. It creates assumptions within society, and it creates challenges when you are someone who doesn’t fit those assumptions. The list below has been created by the Rainbow Families NZ Facebook community group. It is designed to support teachers and create a discussion with educators. As parents, it is something you can push for to support your own children and ensure your child’s school or early childhood education centre is inclusive to all families.

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Although the list is primarily prepared as a guide for teachers, feel free to take the ideas and use them in your day-to-day interactions with wha- nau, friends, and colleagues.

LGBTQI Includes all: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexuals, Transgender, Allies and related Queer groups and Intersex.

Ask! Don’t assume. This goes for the names of parents (mama/mami/ mum) as well as pretty much everything else. It includes who makes up the family. Some Rainbow Families are parents parenting alone, some are parenting with involvement of donors or surrogates. Keep your mind open. A word of caution here: think about the point of the question. If it is to satisfy your curiosity, maybe don’t ask. Think about open-ended questions where the parent can share what they are comfortable with, rather than direct questions. For example, “What would you like us to know about your child’s family formation?” and not “So, who is the donor?” Think about what you are going to do with the information. Will it inform your teaching? Will it change your actions? If not, then don’t ask. Some things in families are deeply personal, and if no action is taken once shared, this can feel very uncomfortable for the family.

Use non-gender specific enrolment forms. These should be used for both the parent’s section and the section for a child. It’s a really great way to include non-binary and genderqueer children and parents. The word ‘parent’ is an easy replacement for mother and father sections. Consider including more than two spots for parents. Many families have more than two parents caring for children. We know listing a child’s gender at birth is about data collection and we know that you might not be able to change that, but we want to start the conversation anyway.

Stop the ‘are you a boy or a girl?’ talk. In daily play and conversation, think about how you can be inclusive of all genders. When you ask, “Are you a boy or a girl?” what you are really asking is “What’s between your legs?” and that’s kinda gross, don’t you think? I mean, will you change your behaviour once you know? Don’t divide children by their assigned gender based on their genitals. For example, don’t have a “boys” line and a “girls” line.

60 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Show our children that they’re seen. Please get heaps of books and resources that reflect diverse families. Have them on the wall, on the shelf, in the entrance way… wherever you can! Axe the stereotypical gender roles. For example, boxes of spare clothes can be labelled “tops” and “pants” rather than “boys” and “girls”. Use the terms firefighter, police officer, mail carrier. Talk about male nurses and female pilots – change up your pronouns for jobs that are stereotypically gendered.

Have a plan for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. When our son was five, he worked hard-out on a Mother’s Day card. It was really lovely, but just as the bell rang for morning tea the teacher remembered he had to make two (one for each of his mothers), so before he could go and play he had to create another one. A wee bit of forward thinking would have made a real difference. If you don’t know what to do, ask how to include Rainbow Families in a manner that is respectful and appropriate.

Look into gaining a Rainbow Tick for your workplace. International and local research shows that a diverse and inclusive workplace is more likely to attract high quality applicants, retain staff, and boost productivity. The Rainbow Tick team can give you the tools to help you become an innovative and inclusive organisation. They will help you to create the policies and processes that will drive a supportive and productive workplace that specifically recognises and welcomes sexual and gender diversity.

Finally, we are both ‘The Mother’ and ‘The Father’. Asking “Who is the real mum or dad?” is not OK. We both are. Personally, I like the word ‘parent’, it makes my wife and I both accountable for our children. This is really important. Please don’t ask this question. I’m keen to keep this conversation open, so feel free to contact me any time at 

Kath Cooper Kath works at Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood Education. She loves to learn and is currently enrolled in her Doctorate of Education. Her master’s was exploring the lived experiences of lesbian early childhood teachers in their early childhood environment. She is also passionate about sustainability and minimising her impact on the environment. She and her wife parent four children and are Nan and Nani to three delightful mokopuna. She is passionate about visibility of the LGBTQI community within the ECE setting. Her superheroes include Wonder Woman and researchers who have already started this discussion within Aotearoa New Zealand.

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One milestone at a time Ethan’s early arrival and journey

62 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

It was October 2012 and we were so excited to have our 20-week scan; would we have a boy or a girl? The scan was booked for a Friday morning before we headed away for a weekend break. However, things did not go quite as planned. “You are having a boy,” we were told, and then in an instant all the euphoria was taken away. All the right parts were there and he looked good but he was very small so we were to be referred to the specialist. We were left feeling deflated, worried and unsettled. Then it began, scans and appointments and each time he’s small but he’s growing – we will keep an eye on him. I knew something was wrong and the nagging feeling would not go away, I couldn’t relax and I couldn’t stop worrying. Google became my nemesis. At 25 weeks the bombshell I felt was coming, came. I had IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) an insufficient placenta and umbilical cord, which meant he wasn’t growing or getting all the nutrients he needed and he was small, 380 grams small to be precise. Too small to be delivered yet so all we could do was wait and try to get him to a viable weight (we were told that 500 grams was the minimum) and hope that he kept fighting. I was signed off work not knowing if our baby boy was going to survive – it was devastating and heart-wrenching and utterly terrifying. Every morning for ten days we went to the hospital for a scan, I would hold my breath until I heard his heartbeat then I could breathe again for another 24 hours before we did it again. It was agonising. Then news came that things were getting worse and they needed to deliver him by caesarean section in the next couple of days. But, in a situation that was totally out of our control, there was a plan that would hopefully give our wee man the best possible chance of survival. Two rounds of steroids, a dose of mag sulphate, then a quick tour around NICU and we were as ready as we were ever going to be. Then at 5:04pm on 29 November 2012, at 26 weeks, 6 days gestation, Ethan Luke made his dramatic entrance into the world, with a yelp. It felt like an eternity as they worked to stabilise him as I lay helpless. Then my partner Brad and Ethan were off and it would be five long hours before I got to see him. When Brad came to visit me in recovery to give me an update and show me a photo, he told me our little bundle weighed a whopping 500 grams – the magic number – and I knew then we had a tough little fighter on our hands. Just like that, we crash-landed into the alien world of NICU. Words like CPAP, apnoeas and de-sats were to become part of our everyday language. Where was the baby shower, newborn cuddles, photographer booked in for cute photos of a blissful sleeping babe in a wicker basket? Instead here was my wee man looking like a skinned possum, under a blue light, in an incubator,

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He was so little and fragile – the size of a block of butter.

with tubes and needles stuck all over him. I couldn’t even see his face properly, I could only touch him through the porthole of his new home, a stroke of the finger. He was so little and fragile – the size of a block of butter. But in the midst of all this he was here, he was alive, he was our baby boy and he was already making little milestones. 24 hours later, off the ventilator and on to CPAP, one millilitre of breast milk, then two, defying the odds and fighting for his life. Just one day old and already showing he was a feisty tough guy making his place in the world. The days turned into weeks, then into months – NICU was our world, our home away from home. I quickly settled into a daily routine. Brad would drop me off in the morning and I would spend my days in this little world (the NICU bubble), he would come in the evening after work and we would do what we could to help, changing the teeniest tiniest nappies you have ever seen, feeding him milk through a syringe and just sitting and talking to him, reading to him. It was such a rollercoaster ride – just when things seemed to be going well something would happen and we would take a few steps back, an infection and our wee man would be incredibly sick again, reactions to vaccinations would send him on a downward spiral

64 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

for days. I lost count of how many blood transfusions he had, along with several lumbar punctures – it was so hard to watch. He bears the scars of these, now little white dots on his hands, feet and spine – his battle scars I call them, they are a part of him and his story. Then came March 2013 – an auspicious date as this was Ethan’s due date. To celebrate he had double hernia surgery and an interview for Seven Sharp. He didn’t cope so well with the surgery and ended up back on the ventilator and keeping everyone on their toes for the next 48 hours. But, as ever, he came back fighting and stronger than ever. We muddled along making more milestones every day, moving to an open cot, wearing clothes for the first time, attempting to breastfeed, everyday things that were such huge achievements. In the midst of all this we also moved house, which meant a move for Ethan too – a week after we moved to Lower Hutt and after 108 days in Wellington NICU, he was transferred to Hutt Hospital Special Care Baby Unit. I found it tough in the beginning, leaving behind the security of NICU – the friends we’d made, the nurses who had looked after Ethan since the beginning. I cried and cried and asked to stay but they said this was the best thing. And after a few days I realised they were right – we settled into life in the SCBU and the more relaxed atmosphere (as babies not as critical are in SCBU, as compared to NICU) was such a welcome change. It was less intense than NICU, less beeping, fewer rules, I could bring my coffee in, and my family could visit when they wanted – simple things that made a huge difference. We still had a few challenges to get through on our stay at the Hutt – but after a couple of weeks, they started talking about going home and so we

started to plan. If we could get Ethan feeding okay then we could go. And so on 15th April 2013 – after 137 days in hospital and the day after my birthday – I received the best birthday present ever – finally taking our wee man home. I was so ready to be a Mum outside the confines of the hospital walls, I was starting to feel stifled and I wanted to just be a regular first-time Mum finding my feet and learning the ropes in my own space without people around me. I didn’t have time to feel scared – I was excited and nervous and very ready! He came home on oxygen, so things still were a little surreal but I didn’t care – he was home. We had oxygen tanks and cords around the house, I had a little backpack for a small travel oxygen bottle so I could get out of the house. In no time at all Brad and I were experts and it was just our normal. After two months of being on oxygen at home, Ethan was doing so well that we got the news it might be time to try and stop. We spent a night in hospital and that was that – he was awesome! At 7am we were given the all-clear to go home – and he’s never looked back, we have not needed it since. Five years on, it’s incredible to reflect on this journey. Since coming home Ethan has had three further surgeries and has finally been given the all-clear from his surgeon. He passed his before-school check with flying colours – it’s hard to believe he is off to school. He is still pretty small, but people learn quickly not to be fooled by this, what he lacks in size he certainly makes up for in personality and noise. I have been looking back through the scrapbooks I made to document his journey and it’s brought back vivid memories. There are so many things you do not know until you are there in this world. Other families with prem babies, sick babies, all with their own unique, amazing story going through this crazy thing together. I met people whom I would never have met otherwise, heard and saw so many inspiring stories, and saw the pain of the sad ones too. I have made lifelong friends through this experience, and what a privilege it is to

What he lacks in size he certainly makes up for in personality and noise.

see our kids grow and flourish. This journey showed me such an insight to the strength and compassion of people. We were so lucky to have such supportive family and friends, people who cooked for us, dropped baking off in the letterbox, gave hugs when needed and made cups of tea… the list goes on. Organisations helped us too – awesome support groups like The Neonatal Trust who provided assistance and the chance to talk to other families who had been through the same experience and come out the other side. Also Bellyful – who provided much-needed meals for the freezer, so we had one less thing to worry about. These little acts of kindness and generosity truly helped when we were having a rough day or were tried and stressed. People often say to me ‘gosh you are strong’ or ‘you are so brave’, ‘I couldn’t be that strong’ and that old saying always jumps to mind – you never know how strong you are until you have to be. You just get on with it as you don’t have a choice, you do what needs to be done and you just have to have faith. People also often ask me – would you change it if you could. This is an interesting question – of course no parent wants to see their child in pain, and yes, I would have loved to experience a full-term pregnancy and all the joy that comes with that. But, on the other hand, this is Ethan’s story and I couldn’t actually imagine it any other way, this is such a part of who he is and this will be his story to tell one day. Ethan’s birth story is shared by his mum Nicky. 

The Neonatal Trust is a registered national charity that operates across New Zealand. They provide support to families whose neonatal journey requires level 3 NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) support and care. These NICUs are located in Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago. Outside of these regions we look to provide support in a number of ways.

country. These groups are aimed at assisting local families by providing information and support.

We have started to create Parent Support Groups based around the level 2 SCBUs (Special Care Baby Units) located in the provincial hospitals around the

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Cherished memories In August 2009, we were very ready and excited to find out that we were pregnant with our first baby. We found a midwife, researched everything regarding pregnancy, childbirth and life with a baby.

Feeling safe and having reached 30 weeks, we were recommended Parents Centre antenatal classes which we readily undertook over two weekends. It was great to meet other parents in a similar situation to us and talk freely about our anxieties and excitement of the arrival of our babies, birth plans, baby shower, names, filling the baby's room and discussing all the things we would enjoy (and maybe not enjoy) when baby arrived. Even though we had a few issues, no one seemed overly concerned, however, it was agreed that it would probably be best if we didn’t go over our due date (14 April 2010). With this in mind, we were booked in to be induced on 11 April 2010. A few hiccups later with the inducement, labour progressed as expected and through the various stages of labour we went – as discussed in our antenatal class, we progressed from an epidural for an assisted birth to what was our worst case scenario – a caesarean. In theatre we started to feel at ease surrounded by about a dozen health professionals. However, as we waited for the second contraction to push, the mood changed, the obstetrician turning to us with tears in her eyes and saying, ‘I’m sorry but the baby’s heartbeat has gone and we have to consider whether to deliver the baby and resuscitate.’ Our baby girl ‘Lacy Ann Shanks’ was born still on 13 April 2010, weighing 6lb 12 ounces. The array

66 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

of decision making over the next while, mixed with the inevitable sadness, shock and anger, was completely overwhelming. We left the hospital 12 hours after Lacy’s birth with our bags but no baby. We went home to a house full of baby paraphernalia – but with no baby to use it. Where to even start with telling people the shock news of our baby’s death…? Parents Centre were amazing, they called everyone in our group to let them know what had happened and even visited us with a beautiful remembrance rose plant. We were still kindly invited to our Parents Centre group to catch up but realistically that wasn’t an option for us. When we were asked to come on board with an idea by a group of professional and wonderful ladies to support families that had gone through the death of a baby we were very keen to assist. It had been such a difficult time for us, and those precious hours you have with your baby are gone so quickly, and although we had made some memories, we wish we had more. We found that we were not alone in what happened to us, and many people – even from generations ahead of us, came forward to tell us their stories when we got involved with formulating the new initiative. This idea took shape and is now the A Star is Born Trust, which is so close to our hearts. Sonya is closely involved as a Trustee.

Photo: Sonya, Koa (three years), Mela (six years) and Rowan Shanks.

A Star is Born Trust is a charitable organisation which provides modern, timeless keepsakes for families who face a neonatal or early post-natal death of their baby in Dunedin. The Trust was launched in September 2016 and it has been rewarding to help create such important keepsakes for families that suffered as we did. If you would like more information about the trust or could make a donation, you can find out more at 

Rowan and Sonya Shanks Rowan is a SHARE adviser living with his wife and two children in Dunedin.

Here to help you protect what matters most – your family. SHARE’s specialist advisers are experts at finding the right insurance solution that fits within your budget. That’s why Parents Centre chose SHARE to look after you and your family!

TALK TO US TODAY 0800 02 00 55

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Baby bunnies meet

deadly dinosaurs

For many families living within a budget means that the children will share rooms. Often it’s a ‘no-brainer’ if your children are the same gender, are close in age or have the same interests, but if that’s not the case, it can seem like sharing just isn’t an option. Well, I have news for you – you can do it! Take some tips from this bedroom designed for a gorgeous three-year-old girl who loves bunnies and her darling six-year-old brother who thinks dinosaurs are just the best.

68 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Colour crazy Picking the colours for a shared space such as this is possibly the most important part of the design process. Firstly, sit down with your children and ask them what their favourite colours are and if there is anything in particular that they would love featured in their room. You may be surprised by their answers, so try not to assume that you already know what they would like. This will also allow you to strengthen your understanding of and relationship with your kids by listening to them and applying their thoughts to your design. Once you have spent some time processing your children’s thoughts (there may be a lot to process!),

Having mutual textural elements on both sides of the room will also bring the space together. We decided on wood and metal.

Theme features

consider how their preferences could work together. Here we have pink and blue, so instead of picking a pink and blue that are in the same value range (light pink and light blue) I have chosen a darker shade of denim blue and complimented that with black while adding copper, light pink and mauve to enhance the dark tones.

As already mentioned, sweet bunnies and ferocious dinosaurs were the themed features of choice for this room. Two very different features! Simplicity is your best friend when you are faced with opposing themes, so have one beautifully framed art piece per child mirroring each other on adjacent walls in your children’s chosen features. We used one of my own water colour and ink bunny prints and an enlarged print out from a $3 dinosaur book that our little boy’s Mum cleverly found at an op shop. Each piece complements the design of the space by incorporating the colours already decided on.

Mirror, mirror…

Texture time

Mirror everything. If you mirror the contents of the room you are enabling the space to have an overall cohesion. This, paired with your colour and texture palette, will give you a complete look.

To cement your choices, purchase your bed linen first. Keep it clean and free of patterns, but full of texture. Every other purchase from then on can be matched to your linen and give you the confidence that everything chosen will be cohesive.

Mirror items hung on walls, mirror headboards and bed frames, mirror the type of linen and the number of pillows and cushions that you use on the beds, mirror shelving, mirror art placement, mirror lighting, mirror mirrors, mirror everything.

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middle of the ceiling between the two sides of the room. The feature can be seen from both beds at night, casting interesting shadows across the room. This type of shared feature is a reminder that although the children have their own spaces within the room, they can also mutually enjoy the space together, helping sibling bonds form. A small cosy reading nook has also been added, alongside up-cycled drawers and shelving on the entrance wall.

Budget tips This room was completely empty before I got my hands on it, and in total $1,300.00 NZD was spent. That may sound like a lot, but when you consider that that is not far off the price of one high-end rose gold metallic bed frame ($1,200.00), you can see how much money was saved and how well thought-out the room is.

The $20 rule

Privacy policy Adding a canopy or enclosure of some kind above the beds will give your children the privacy to read books or play, and give each of them their very own personal space that is clearly defined. We had a local builder make the ply house headboards before we painted the outside in our theme colours. A small marquee light in their initial is both effective as a night light and as a way to sign each area off personally.

Mutual features Finally, to tie everything together I made a bespoke origami lighting feature and positioned it in the

70 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

I have a general rule, accessories should not cost more than $20 a piece. Accessories can be interchanged throughout the year and they can introduce a new colour or texture to give a space a fresh look. With that in mind, spending a fortune on accessories that will most likely be moved about is nonsensical, particularly in a child’s space. There will be instances where accessories become an absolutely essential part of the design and therefore there is a bit of give, but if you are indecisive about an accessory and it’s more than $20, just put it back on the shelf!

Do It Yourself We wanted cast iron-look beds for this room so created an alternative to the high-end bed we liked by purchasing a metal bed frame for $150 and spray painting each bed in the bedroom theme colours. Excess spray paint was used on photo frames and

marquee lighting. If you do follow suit, you will need just over three 400ml cans of spray paint to cover the bed frame. For the best coverage, put the bed together before spraying. The drawers were purchased at a dollar store for $30 each and were completely off theme. A couple of test pots in Resene metallic paint later and we are on budget! The origami feature was made from a wire sheet, fishing nylon, pillow inner, LED fairy lights, scrap booking paper and glue sticks. $50 in total for a bespoke lighting feature.

Let loose the inner artist Frame beautiful illustrations from books or have a go at illustrating yourself – this will keep the budget down and mean that your child will have original work on their wall. Maybe there is a book that you absolutely loved as a child that you could frame an image from? If you don't want to ruin the book, you can scan, enlarge and print the image at your local Warehouse Stationery.

Check it out before you buy Research before you buy. Go online and look for as many options as you can find in the country and don’t click the buy button until you have exhausted the search engine. This can be time-consuming, but a true bargain hunter will go the whole hog to stay on budget! If you are getting any furniture made, ask as many local builders (or handy grandparents!) as you can to ensure you are getting the best price. You may just save yourself a couple of hundred dollars. So there you have it, a well-designed, long-term and affordable space for two great kids to grow up in and enjoy together. Now, no matter your budget, why don’t you have a go? 

Leila Malthus Leila Malthus is a wife and Mum of two who works part time in Interior Design Consultation and CG Lighting and Texture on film and television. You can follow Leila on instagram @leilamalthuscreative and at mummamalthusonabudget.

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Great parents

grow great kids

Arm yourself with knowledge as you grow as a parent alongside your child, by taking part in one of the Parents Centre programmes that run nationwide. Having a new baby is a time of significant change – your brain is working overtime with questions and your body is going through amazing changes. It's quite a journey. Parents Centre has been supporting parents for 65 years. Become a member of Parents Centre and we can support you too! You’ll get access to quality pregnancy, childbirth and parent education that will help you gain invaluable knowledge and learning on your pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting journey. It’s a great way to meet other new parents that are on the same journey as you. They often become lifelong friends. You get support through coffee groups that meet on a regular basis, and ongoing education programmes to help you navigate the stages of pregnancy and parenthood. With 47 Centres nationwide, we provide many opportunities for social engagement for both parents and children. Many of our Centres offer playgroups and music classes, and these are a great way to learn with your children while you get to socialise with other parents at the same time.

You also gain skills and experience that will be a real asset when you decide to rejoin the workforce. We look forward to having you join our Parents Centre family and supporting you on your parenting journey! Early Pregnancy – a special programme tailored for your 12th to 24th week of pregnancy. Pregnancy, Childbirth and Parent Education (Antenatal) – essential information to prepare you for childbirth and early parenting. Baby and You – practical and sensible tips and advice for enjoying and making the most of those first months with your newborn. Parenting with Purpose – consciously focusing on how you want to parent and how your child ticks. Return to Work – advice for preparing and returning to the paid workforce. Magic Moments – strategies for positive communication and discipline with your child. Moving and Munching – exploring baby's first foods and developmental stages.

As a Parents Centre member you will receive loads of free giveaways and samples, as well as special discount shopping days, and discounted products and services exclusive to Parents Centre members. Who doesn’t love freebies and discounts!

Music and Movement – stimulating music activities for your baby and toddler.

Many of our members gain so much from being a Parents Centre member that they want to ‘give back’ and become volunteers for their local Centre, ensuring that new parents can continue to benefit from the skills, knowledge, friendships and support they’ve received. 

72 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

Tinies to Tots – positively encouraging your emerging adventurous toddler.


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partners Thinking strategically As a not for profit organisation, strategic partnerships and alliances are essential to our organisation. They enable us to fund the work we do as well as provide valuable resources and benefits to our 47 Centres nationwide and most importantly our membership. When entering into these partnerships we ensure that there is a philosophical alignment between our organisations and that we can work collaboratively to add genuine value to both organisations. All our partners gain valuable access to a highly targeted group of consumers and enable them to promote, develop and refine the products and services that are valuable to families and new parents. Likewise, our membership enjoys superb value and member benefits as a result. I’m proud to be work with companies that

are, really do go the extra mile in ensuring that we can generate a huge amount of value for our Centres and Kiwi families. Johnson & Johnson have been our partners for over two years now, and in that time they have provided extensive educational opportunities for our Childbirth Educators as well as providing science based resources and information around infant skin as well as a great range of products for our members. Taslim Parsons Business Development and Social Enterprise Manager, Parents Centres New Zealand

A word from Johnson & Johnson In today’s multimedia world there is no shortage of information available to parents on infant care. When becoming a parent for the first time, finding the right information that you can trust is vital and can also be extremely difficult. With over 100 years of research, JOHNSON’S® Baby has been a leader in sharing scientific findings through professional education and partnerships with key organisations. We are committed to supporting the development of Parents Centre educators through attendance at conferences and educational research updates to ensure that they share with parents the most current scientific discoveries on infant skincare. Kacey Meddings Marketing Manager Professional – Skincare Johnson & Johnson Pacific



Johnson & Johnson For over 100 years, JOHNSON'S® baby has been dedicated to designing gentle and mild products, especially for baby. We continuously apply our knowledge and research to create innovative products with safety at their core. That's why parents and healthcare professionals around the world have trusted JOHNSON'S® baby to nurture the little ones in their care.

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74 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

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76 kiwiparent – supporting kiwi parents through the early years

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Keep your kids safe When was the last time you checked your child’s car seat? Does it move if you try to move it with your hand? If so, imagine what the force of an impact would do to that movement. It’s your responsibility to make sure your child is appropriately restrained and secure.

HANDY CHECKLIST 3Child under 7 years old? The law says all children must be secured in an approved child restraint appropriate for their age and size. 3Child under 148cm tall? Best practice recommends they stay in a child restraint or booster seat until 148cm tall.

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3Rear facing? It’s much safer to keep your child rear facing until they’re at least 2 years old. It’s tempting to forward face them for road trips but distance and speed are often greater on these trips, and rear facing is safest.

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