Bayside Glen Eira Kids Summer 2019

Page 1

SUMMER 2019-20

Holiday tips for

grandparents A new home for

St Kilda Mums

Keeping up with

the Flat Out Mum A Star News Group Publication

About Us

A note to welcome you WELCOME to the first edition of Bayside Glen Eira Kids magazine! We're thrilled to be expanding our network of wonderful kids and parenting magazines across greater Melbourne and beyond. And it's perfect to launch our Bayside Glen Eira edition in summer in one of the most picturesque, beautiful beachy regions our wonderful city has to offer. Our eye-catching picture on the front page of the magazine captures the magic of beautiful Brighton's bathing boxes. On the day we hit the sand with the camera, there were hundreds of people admiring the boxes, taking photos, venturing down to the shallow water for a dip.How lucky we are that this is our backyard. A quick introduction - I'm Danielle, I'm a mum of two young kids (9 months and 4-years-old). By the time this edition comes out, I will be married to my partner of 12 years (tying the knot in early December!) Bayside Glen Eira Kids magazine is a masthead from the family owned and operated Star News Group, which has been in the community newspaper game a long time. There's a real need for a magazine like li ke o urss. ur ours.

We hope to give you a diverse range of stories with a strong local focus as well as stories many of us as parents might find interesting.

potentially isolating. Head to page 12 for more.

We want to promote local events, activities, fundraisers, businesses and more.

And boy is Bayside and Glen Eira spoilt for choice! A few of our top parks on page 22.

You'll find our magazines cover every topic under the sun - we talk to mummy bloggers and influencers, authors, doctors, and locals with the most extraordinary stories.

We've also got a calendar of events on page 31 and books whih might make great stocking fillers.

I'm proud of what we produce each edition and the great time and effort that goes into our magazines. In Bayside Glen Eira, we've got a fabulous launch edition for you. Read a powerful, thought provoking column from Steve Biddulph, a renowned author who contributes to our magazines. We've also got a story on the St Kilda Mums, an incredible charity many of us know and love. Olivia Anderson, also known as the Flat Out Mum, had a chat with us too about raising four boys, and plenty more.Something I've noticed in my own personal social media feed is the prominence of the "No Vax, No Visit" posts.

By way of introduction, we visited a few parks in the region.

As well as a Christmas gift guide on page and so many other great things, too many to mention. Most importantly - we are here to service the community in this region. Parents, grandparents, business owners, locals - we want to hear from YOU! Please do send me an email if you have a story idea or event we need to know about - danielle.galvin@ Check out our Facebook page (search Bayside Glen Eira Kids) our Instagram and our website, And most importantly, with Christmas nearing, have a safe, Merry Christmas and a bright start to the new year.


Letters to my kids

Chatting with the Flat Out Mum

Sharing your pregnancy news




Travelling with 16 kids

Gift well worth giving

Talking about the birds and the bees




Living with Rett Syndrome

Editorial Danielle Galvin Phone: 5945 0666 Photography Rob Carew Advertising Clare Vane-Tempest clare.vane-tempest@starnewsgroup. Lillian Pearse Phone: 5945 0666

Cover Addison enjoys a day out at the Brighton Bathing Boxes. Picture: Rob Carew

SUMMER 2019-20




Steve Biddulph on slow childhoods

How to read school reports




Kids books

Starting up the village

Positive education




Mumpreneur Emma Isaacs



Summer events calendar

Party Time


A new store for PSW

Bayside Glen Eira Kids Cnr Princes Hwy and Army Road, Pakenham, 3810 PO Box 9, Pakenham, Victoria 3810 Phone: 5945 0666 Fax: 5945 0777

Published by Star News Group Pty Ltd ACN 005 848 108. Publisher/Managing Director, Paul Thomas. All material is copyright to Star News Group Pty Ltd. All significant errors will be corrected as soon as possible.



Bayside Glen Eira Kids will be published quarterly prior to each of the school holidays.

Advertising Manager Mandy Clark

I tracked down an expert who gave me the most concise explanation I've ever heard hea eard rd about abo bout ut why why it's it s pointless, and ever


Charity helping mums in need

Bayside Glen Eira Kids magazine is a Star News Group publication.

Holiday tips for

grandparents A new home for

St Kilda Mums

Keeping up with

the Flat Out Mum



A Star News Group Publication

Holiday advice for grandparents PAGE 10

ENTERTAINMENT Great parks in the region

New kind of love for reality star PAGE 11

PAGE 22 Toot Toot Toys

No Vax, No Visit


PAGE 12 Best Insta accounts for play ideas



Summer pool safety tips

Screen time guidelines for parents



Gardening with kids

A new perspective on autism



Tips for a calm Christmas PAGE 26 insta

It’s Your Life

Olivia and her boys.

Checking in with the Flat Out Mum OLIVIA Anderson’s become known as the ’Flat Out Mum’.

80% sold for 2020 with repeat guests and just one email. It is very rewarding.

She wears many different hats - mum of four busy boys including identical twin boys, creator of Flat Out Mum Retreats, partner of Shane Crawford and more.

I am a big believer in self care and believe that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Women often lose themselves in motherhood, they lose their identity and can become a bit lost. This is normal and a part of the adjustment period I guess but I am a strong advocate for remembering YOU. What you wanted before you had kids, your own goals and what makes you genuinely happy outside of your family life. It often takes stepping out of that for a moment to see the bigger picture. There is nothing more rewarding than watching deserving Mums rejuvenate and find themselves a little on my Retreats. Organising them is the best job ever. Plus I get to go on them also so it’s a win win!

For anyone who follows Olivia’s social media accounts - she’s always sharing tidbits, tales, funny pictures and an honest insight into her day to day life. Olivia spoke to Danielle Galvin about running annual getaways for mums, what it’s like being a “boy mum“ and surviving the sleepless nights with babies. Tell me about the retreats that you run and how it all came about. It must take a lot of planning and organising - but no doubt that’s your forte these days! When my twins were a few months old and I also had a three and five year old who had just started school ... as you can imagine I was totally exhausted. Shane and my mum decided to book me in to Crown for a night for and reluctantly sent me off with a friend. It sounds crazy but I didn’t want to go, I felt it was too early to leave the twins and even though I was so utterly drained, I thought they needed me at home more! After 24 hours away, some room service, me time and a full nights sleep I was literally a new woman. I felt refreshed and ready to conquer more relentless days and nights with the boys. Also, it showed everyone else how much I had actually been doing and how much work it is every single day (which is always an added bonus). We started in 2016 with some Melbourne weekends away and I have now expanded to Bali where I do an annual Retreat with my sister Emily (*she also has 3 boys!) who runs www. with her husband. They sell out every year and we are

Tell me about being the “flat out mum“ and what that entails - a typical day in your life! There’s not really a typical day. With four boys comes four different personalities & varying needs so anything can happen! My mantra is to “embrace the chaos”. I am a planner but you also need to go with the flow and pick your battles. Some things (like houses work!) can slide for a while as you try to enjoy the little moments with your kids. From a practical point, my day starts with turning the coffee machine on & walking straight to put a load of washing on. If I don’t do several loads every day it quickly gets on top of me. Mornings are crazy during school term but now they’re all at school I have more time for me and to work on my businesses.

Olivia started the retreats a few years back, to help fellow mums recharge.

your child, you meet your child”. Before you have kids you have expectations on what type of child you & your partner may create and you quickly find out that they are their own individual little creature with their own beliefs, talents and ideas on how they want to live their life. Once you embrace that and work with your child to find their passions, how their temperament works and how they are different to everyone else, that is a positive shift. Its a constant learning curve and I definitely do to have it all worked out. Charlie just turned 13 so the teenage years begin! I’m hoping the close bond I have with them pays off doing the next decade! No doubt life changed again hugely when you and Shane welcomed your twin boys - how did you find that transition? I’ve read that the hardest time is going from one to two kids - but not sure that applies with twins!!

What’s been your greatest lesson since becoming a mum?

Personally I think the first baby is a huge adjustment to your life and going from one to two, you actually know what you’re in for and your life has adapted accordingly. Our twins (identical) were a huge surprise so when they were born Ben was 3 and Charlie was 5 so it was a very full on few years. I really lowered my expectations on what I could achieve in a day and just gave in to the demands of a big, messy family. I missed out on a lot of things but you have to change your priorities, at least temporarily to survive. Not just to physically get through the load but for your mental sanity too :)

I love the quote by Steve Biddulph (I have read all of his books on Raising Boys many times that “you do not make

I’ve read on your blog you say your boys weren’t great sleepers - for anyone

in the trenches with babies/toddlers and endless sleepless nights - how did you navigate that? Is there a time in parenthood you’ve found the most challenging or rewarding? I decided early on to only ever look forward, not backwards. There is nothing to gain mentally by revisiting the horrible night you just had. Recalling the number of times you woke and how little sleep you had, it just does your head in and you start the day in a negative way. I try to focus on the positive and get rid of any negative self talk. Take what you can when you can get it & find ways to destress like going for a walk, lying on the coach or meditation apps etc. It doesn’t last forever. Any tips or tricks for fellow mums of boys like yourself? Hmmmm have a mop handy in the bathroom at all times as they can’t seem to pee in that very large toilet seat! For my boys is to keep them active. The summer is great as they love playing outside and being in the pool exhausts them. Boys have had a hard run lately and I am very mindful of teaching them that yes although “girls can run the world”, we are all equals. They see what I do with my life and spare time and hopefully they grow up with not only a healthy respect for women, but all different types of people. Boy mums are so lucky. They are messy and noisy and barely sit still, but mine are so affectionate and I have four little BFF’s for life. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

SUMMER 2019/2020 3

It’s Your Life A gift well

worth giving By Danielle Galvin FORMER lawyer turned entrepreneur Marta Barbayannis is hoping to drive a cultural change when it comes to kids' presents. The mum of two young boys has developed an app, called GiftWell, which enables family and friends to contribute to a "big present" for a child's birthday via the app."In my previous life I was a lawyer but I took quite a bit of time off when I had the kids, to spend time with them at home," Marta explained. "When I was on the verge of going back to work, I had this idea for GiftWell. "I'd always wanted my own business, and I thought, there's no time like the present. "Now is probably a good time to take the plunge and finally make that happen." The business idea and app, which Marta calls her "third baby" came from her own experience with birthday parties when her children hit kinder age.After weekends filled with birthday parties, presents and plenty of plastic toys, Marta wanted a change. In her market research, she has found that parents aren't comfortable asking for money for a gift for their child.

But most of us are more than happy to contribute money if we know it's going towards a big, meaningful present for a child, such as a bike or another longed-for toy. "People like to be a part of something bigger," she said. "It doesn't matter what you earn, where you live, what your demographic is, these days everything is so accessible and we don't hold back; we just buy, buy, buy. "So come birthday time and Christmas time, we're a bit stuck." She hopes with the app that kids may have access to something that was previously out of reach, through the rather unique gift solution.Starting a business after children has been a learning experience for Marta. "It's been exciting, I love the thrill of it, (but) it's also been quite daunting," she explained. "This is me pursuing an idea that I really believe in, and I guess fulfilling this desire in me that I've always wanted to create something that could genuinely benefit others, that's what's kept me going.' She appreciates the flexibility in her new venture, but admits there's definitely nights, particularly in these

Marta Barbayannis developed an app called GiftWell.

early days, where she's up all hours working hard.But she said it's the nature of the beast when it comes to a startup."I have been calling it my third baby - it's been quite an investment in many ways," she said."It's sort of taken on a little life of its own." As for her kids, she's happy to show them the value in money, in toys, their belongings as well as the value in her work."I think it's good for them to see mum has launched something, mum

Picture: Rob Carew

has started something. "I talk about GiftWell with them all the time, they come to expos and that sort of thing." Marta hopes more Australian parents adopt the "less is more approach" when it comes to toys.She said having fewer toys helps kids develop a better attention span and be more focused. "I really believe in it and want people to learn more about it," she said.

Capezio keeps the world dancing THE story behind the Capezio brand, the makers of ballet shoes, dancewear and activewear, began in 1887.

a household name.

dancing journey and continue for years to come.

Today, Capezio is synonymous around the world as the brand that "keeps the world dancing".

Today, Capezio shoes, dance and activewear is available online at www., through their branded stores and through stockists around Australia.

It all started when Salvatore Capezio, an Italian cobbler, opened a shoe repair shop near New York's old Metropolitan Opera House.

Dancers, both new and old, trust Capezio for high quality, beautifully designed and engineered ballet shoes, tap, jazz shoes and more.

Also available are some special collections for children, such as Sweet Kisses, Team Basics and Kinetic Explosion and have mums covered with a fantastic active wear range.

He crafted pointe shoes, and the shop eventually became the meeting place for dancers and ballerinas alike to discuss their shoe needs and he became

Capezio stock dancewear, including tights, leotards, unitards, skirts and tutus, dresses, costumes, and everything a new dancer needs to start their

To find out more and for stockists, visit or visit their Flagship store at Elsternwick, 296 Glen Huntly Road.

There's something to suit every style of dancer and an extensive range of kids wear.

Capezio's flagship store in Elsternwick. Picture: Rob Carew

From footwear to uniform, for all styles of dance

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4 SUMMER 2019/2020

It’s Your Life

Mums helping other mums By Rachel Hickingbotham TEN years ago, a group of mums were visiting their local Maternal and Child Health Centre on Chapel Street, St Kilda and noticed baby goods stacked high in the photocopying room that had been kindly donated by local parents. One of the mums, who is now the CEO, Jessica Macpherson, saw that help was needed to get the generous donations to families who needed them. She volunteered to sort, launder and package the preloved items. “What started as small seed of community goodwill has grown rapidly over the past decade. St Kilda Mums quickly grew from a weekly working bee held in my living room to a thriving operation, consisting of over 3,000 volunteers today”, said Jessica, Earlier this year, St Kilda Mums moved its headquarters to Clayton after outgrowing the space in St Kilda. The new Clayton premises is three times bigger which allows the charity to support more families than ever before. Last year alone, the organisation rehomed more than 59,000 nursery items to 20,400 babies and children. This is a staggering $7.3 million worth of goods. St Kilda Mums is now striving to support more than 5,000 families in need by the end of January and is asking Melbourne families to get behind the drive.

From left, Khoa Tran, Siva Raman, Susan Wixted, Jessica Macpherson (CEO), Stephane Cooper, Zoe Smith working on fixing car seats.

$56 or a new cot, mattress and bedding for $217. Donate time

Donate money

Give a little time or give a lot. St Kilda Mums has made volunteering easy for busy people wanting to lend a hand. You can even book a volunteer session for you and your children. Bring your kids into help out with a staff member over the school holidays.

For $126, St Kilda Mums provides everything a family needs to welcome their baby home from the hospital. They can achieve this generous package due to donations or good, financial support and incredible volunteer contribution and a lot of hard work. The bundle of goods is dependent on what the family needs but could include a cot, pram, car seat, bouncer, breast pump, change mat, toiletries, nappies, wipes, clothing and linen, books, toys and any other essentials from an extensive list.

Year 9 students and older can attend with their classmates and teacher. During special sessions, they will learn about the need for safe prams and warm clothing. They also learn about some of the causes of disadvantage of the people St Kilda Mums help. Students assist with cleaning and safety checking items such as prams, highchairs and car seats. They also help sorting and packing clothing and toys as well as preparing special toiletry packs for mums and babies.

Consider chatting with your kids this year about donating some money as a family and choosing something specific to donate. You can choose items from the St Kilda Mums website such as a years’ worth of good quality clothes for

Donate goods

There are three ways you can support a family in need this Christmas:

Some things are best given brand new, like underwear. Next time you are stocking up for your kids, consider grabbing some extra undies for a child in need. St Kilda Mums are always in

great need of new underwear and socks up to a child’s size 12. The also have the constant need for newborn nappies and baby wipes. If your child would like to choose some of their belongings to donate, encourage them to choose good quality, gently used items that they themselves would be happy to receive. “The presentation of the goods is very important, we only want to rehome items that we would be comfortable receiving for our own children”, said Jessica. This has become a key value at St Kilda Mums. Jessica suggest the following ideas for kids who want to donate: ■ Mindfully choose books and toys: Pick items that are still usable. Make sure books are not ripped and toys are working and clean. ■ Check jigsaw puzzles: Go through puzzles before they are donated and make sure all the pieces are intact. Then wrap it up in a ribbon with a note saying that the puzzle has been checked. ■ Go through stationary: Children can sort through coloured pencils they no

Picture: Rob Carew

longer need, sharpen them and bundle them into a colour collection for another child. Consider filling a pencil case with toddler scissors they have outgrown and other surplus items from their school year. A kind note with your donation is also a thoughtful touch. The theme of this year’s Christmas appeal at St Kilda Mums is ’Share the Joy’. “The important work being done by St Kilda Mums does not stop at this time of year. If anything, it’s busier than usual. However, the funding we need to continue helping families in need sometimes runs very low which is why we need the community’s support”, said Jessica. “Making a monetary donation that will provide essential nursery equipment, given with a message of support, will bring so much relief to families in crisis at this time of year. Sadly, it may be the only gift they receive.“ Please go to for more information or to make a donation.


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SUMMER 2019/2020 5

It’s Your Life

World renowned author Steve Biddulph

when we have to rush things, so they understand. Pressure of time is still the thing that can undo us - it is probably behind 90% of all behaviour problems. In my talks and books, I help parents to see that the problem of overbusyness isn’t in us, often, but in the crazy way that life expects us to be always on the go. We live in a society that claims to be family friendly, but is actually the very opposite. It wants us earning and spending, with no time in between. This month on my facebook community, I shared some news articles about the terrible effects that the government’s ParentsNext program was putting onto families who were in income stressed, especially single parents. Some terrible stories were shared in the comments section, backing this up. I believe we have a right to parent, to do it in our own timetable, and not be forced into working - or not working - by outside forces. Kids who are mentally healthy, don’t get into crime or drugs, and are good parents themselves, only happen when their childhoods are safe and slow. Governments, and employers, really need to really be on the side of parents, which they are not at present. All the same, try not to call your children little shits.

How parenting has changed

They do take it deeply to heart. By Steve Biddulph

and wanted them to have happy lives. But the only tools they knew were negative ones - the same that had been used on them.

I’M minding the house of some friends, near the beach in Hobart. It’s about 7.00 in the morning, and there is only the sound of the waves, and seabird’s cries. Then suddenly, on the street outside, an angry male voice rings out. “Get in the car you little shit!”. I go to the window and can see a dad, huge and red faced, standing beside his SUV, and a small boy five metres away, and backing away further still. Another child watches on, and I can make out a toddler already strapped into their seat. My heart is suddenly divided - I know what it feels like to wrangle small children, seatbelts, and cars, and be running late. But I feel for that little child especially if this is a dad who regularly talks to his kids in this way. I know from years of being a therapist that kids take a clear message from what parents say, especially if its accompanied by anger. There are few things more terrifying than an adult, ten

6 SUMMER 2019/2020

We would talk about their own childhoods, as a way of creating empathy for the experience of their children. And begin to nudge into safer, more positive ways to get kids to behave, calm down, and be happy. times your size and weight, who has clearly lost control.

My first book The Secret of Happy Children came out of this learning.

We’ve come a long way in parenting, in the last 50 years.

Interestingly the country it sold most copies in was Germany where a generation of young parents absolutely rejected the childrearing methods of their past.

When I began working as a family therapist in the 1970’s, the aim was a very simple one. The parents who came to our clinic often had kids with serious behaviour problems - at school, or when a bit older involving courts and the police. Almost always, these families had developed a pattern of escalating negativity. Hitting, hurting, shouting, calling kids terrible names, might get them to comply out of fear, in the moment, but rarely worked for very long. The thing was, these were not bad people, but parents who loved their kids deeply,

Steve Biddulph’s two books Raising Boys in the 21st Century and Raising Girls in the 21st Century are available in audiobooks for dads who don’t read a lot. His final round of talks will be in Melbourne and Sydney between August and October. Visit for details.

Today parents are very different. We show affection and warmth, lots of cuddles and quiet chats, and we let our kids know we love them, and that they are great. When we set boundaries, we are more likely to keep calm. It doesn’t mean we don’t have stressed out moments, but we understand that often kids are also stressed, or needing something from us that we haven’t taken into account. We check in with them to help them stay on an even keel, and are open

It’s Your Life An app for sharing

KidNest CEO Karen Monaghan with Adriana Castellanos and baby Camila. Picture: Rob Carew

child-minding By Danielle Galvin IT'S hoped a new online platform being developed could facilitate the return of the "village" in suburbs around Melbourne when it comes to childminding. The app, called KidNest, is the brainchild of dad Tim Wise. While the app is still in its infancy, a pilot program is being run in St Kilda. CEO Karen Monaghan explained the idea behind it, describing it as "like RSVP for parents".

"It's an online introductory platform that links like minded parents in their own neighbourhood to be able to share child-minding," she said. Parents must go through the relevant safeguards on the site before seeing where the "nests" are located in their neighbourhood, allowing them to connect with other parents to hopefully share the load and help each other out. Parents must have a working with children's check and there's a membership fee. The idea is to look after each other's children through creating a reliable

community roster system. Ms Monaghan said it's a way to formalise agreements as well as connecting local families together. "People haven't got the same supports in their neighbourhoods that they did have," she explained. "We don't have the same community networks and family networks we had previously - it's about tapping into the village." She said in their research during the

development stage, they found that families were open to using the app for a variety of different reasons, including an alternative to using childcare, or even an opportunity to go to the supermarket for an hour or so a week. Ms Monaghan said the app would provide an alternative for some, and would be a game changer for others. To find out more about the pilot program and app, visit stkilda

Keep the kids busy in the holidays Brighton Recreational Centre is running a gymnastics school holiday program in January, so come along to keep the kids active and entertained! Children will have the opportunity to develop existing gymnastics skills as well as learn new and exciting skills. The children will use vault, bars, beam, floor, double and mini trampolines as well as rings.

This program is aimed at primary school aged boys and girls (5 to 12 years) who already do gymnastics as well as those who are wanting to give it a try for the first time. All abilities will be catered for. Brighton Recreational Centre, is located at 93 Outer Crescent, Brighton. The sessions are on Monday 20

January to Friday 24 January, 9am12pm Cost is $48 per child per day (Brighton Rec. Gymnastics members $43.20) To book visit au/gymnastics-holiday-program/ or call Brighton Rec Centre on 9592 3033.

The fun program runs in late January.


SUMMER 2019/2020 7

It’s Your Life

Entrepreneur and mum of five, Emma Isaacs.

WINGING IT her way By Narelle Coulter IF you are going to literally lose track of a child then Disneyland is a great place to do it. That’s the tongue-in-cheek advice from Australian entrepreneur and global CEO of Business Chicks, Emma Isaacs. The mother of five was in Australia earlier this year to speak at a women’s business lunch in Melbourne. “Yes, I have five lovely little humans waiting for me in LA. It’s a completely crazy life. They are all under 10 years of age. My youngest turns two next week. We are having a party but nothing is organised but I will get onto that as soon as I arrive home,“ Emma told the audience. Emma bought Business Chicks 14 years ago when it was on the verge of collapse and has turned it into Australia’s largest networking community for women. The company produces over 100 events annually, publishes a magazine and has a 250K plus social media following. She employs a team of 40 women spread over three continents and four time zones. Emma and husband Rowan moved their five children, Milla 10, Honey, 8, Indie, 6, Ryder, 4 and Piper, 2, from Sydney to Los Angeles in a bid to expand the Business Chicks empire into the United States. Emma spoke candidly about the myth of achieving a perfect work/life balance and gave the largely female

8 SUMMER 2019/2020

audience her take on juggling work and family. She admitted she regularly fails at both illustrating her point with an anecdote about a family trip to Disneyland during which she lost two of her brood in one day. “The first time we lost one we didn’t know for 20 minutes. In a group of 12, five adults and seven kids, you think someone else is always watching,“ she said. “Suddenly my phone rang and it was a call from Anaheim, California. I thought that’s weird, I’m not going to take that. Next thing I get a text message from Shannon in Guest Relations saying ’I have your daughter, Honey, with me’. “If you are going to lose a child, lose them at Disneyland. They are very, very good.“ On another holiday to Hawaii this year she and Rowan forgot how many children they were taking with them. “The Isaacs en mass are quite a sight. For a start you have five children running in five directions, and we have 4000 suitcases. We’re not the shy and retiring types,“ Emma said. At a security check the official questioned why the family of seven only had six boarding passes. “We had forgotten to buy a ticket for our four year old boy. We didn’t leave him there, that would be weird, but it was definitely one of those Kevin Home Alone moments,“ Emma said, laughing. Emma gets asked all the time how she juggles her large family and

demanding career. “People see five kids, they see an international business, and see me travelling a lot for my work and think I have all the answers,“ she said. “I’ve leant a thing or two about trying to balance it all but I certainly do not have the answers. I just try to be the best parent I can when I am home with my kids and try to be the best when I’m working. “There are lots of weeks when I drink all the kale smoothies and take my make-up off and go to the kids’ schools for their school concerts. Equally, there are weeks when I work way too much and the kids haven’t brushed their hair in days and the only thing I’ve eaten is the crusts off their grilled cheese sandwiches. “It ebbs and flows like it does for all of us. I try to bring an awareness to it and be okay with the fact that sometimes I fail at work and I regularly fail as a parent.“ Through her work with Business Chicks and her book, Winging It, Emma said she aims to empower women to take risks and dive in before they are ready. “I really believe in doing what feels right, not always what we think is right. I am passionate about encouraging women to take on that mindset and give things a go before they are ready. “Winging it doesn’t mean do whatever you want, but it does mean back yourself and have a quiet confidence and explore the things that scare you. Fear is not a reason why you shouldn’t do something.“

When she’s not working or parenting Emma has a simple wellness routine involving massages, the odd glass of wine and a determination to be mindful in every single moment. “I don’t do that much exercise. I mean running after five small children that’s a sport and is better than a treadmill. “I keep a gratitude journal and try to get a massage when I can. We are very lucky in the US as we have amazing technology and apps. I go to my soothe app and say ’I want a massage’, suddenly there is a knock on the door. “I have a drink of wine, I am not a great drinker, but I certainly enjoy a glass of wine, and I drink a tonne of water. That’s what I’m capable of right now.“ Emma said she and her family were committed to the US for the foreseeable future despite Business Chicks not growing as successfully as she would like in the US market. “In lots of ways we were misfits in Australia,“ she said of her herself and Rowan. “We never kind of fitted in. America is a very creative place and I am confident we have a future there, even though I am not sure what it is yet. “All our kids have American accents and the older ones go to school in LA. “(Since we moved) there I wrote a book and had another baby. It has been a really beautiful time to recalibrate, sitting with it, how to fail and being proud of that and working out the next steps forward.“

It’s Your Life

Every stitch counts with PSW Uniforms PSW Uniforms recently celebrated a milestone of 30 years in business as a trusted Australian owned and operated school wear supplier delivering high quality garments, an extensive range and great value. The business has experienced significant growth since it began back in 1990 in the Kingston area, and from the time the first store in Cheltenham opened back in 1994. Today, there are 17 retail stores across Victoria and one in Kingsford, NSW. With manufacturing facilities in China, owned by PSW, they currently service well over 1000 schools and dress over 500,000 students each year working with schools through the entire process to design and develop quality garments right through to the end product. In November, PSW celebrated the opening of a new store in Cheltenham, in line with the growth of the business. Despite the evolution of the business, its values have stayed the same with comfort and value in mind for the students who are ambassadors every time they step out in their school uniforms. General manager of sales and marketing, Greg Madigan, explained the evolution of the business. “The roots of our business are engrained in the south-east of Melbourne,” he said.

Celebrating the opening of the store in November.

“The expansion and change that has occurred has brought us to this point - it’s all about us trying to improve our service to the schools, parents and ultimately the student wearing the uniform and we are continuing to evolve.” The new store in Cheltenham was opened with an official launch in late November and Mr Madigan said the PSW success story speaks for itself. “We have a similar situation with another store upscaling and opening up in the new year,” he said. “We are continually improving our offer

to the school, parents and to the students who wear our uniforms. “With the success we have had, it has meant we have needed to move to a bigger space. “For us it’s a really big move, and we are proud of the fact it because of growth. “It’s a really positive story for us and we are continually working with schools. There’s rapid change occurring be it a fashion perspective, a functionality perspective, and people’s tastes change, we want to continue to work with our current and future schools

store. The new Cheltenham store

to look after their needs. “PSW is proud to work with schools in a changing environment. Mr Madigan said PSW uniforms are the connector between schools and their communities, and it’s imperative students look and feel great when wearing the uniform. “It’s important to work with schools to provide the best possible extension to their brand,” he said.


Now open for all your school uniform requirements

(03) 9768 0332

1800 337 396 12433963-NG51-19

SUMMER 2019/2020 9

It’s Your Life

Top tips from Pregnancy, Birth and Baby

It's important everyone is on the same page.

School holiday tips for grandparents By Danielle Galvin FOR many Australian kids, spending time with their grandparents over the summer school holidays is a rite of passage. With nearly six weeks off over Christmas and into January, many parents call on their own parents to watch the kids during the week. It's a chance to spend some quality time together, at the beach, heading to the park for a picnic, or a trip to the movies. Pregnancy, Birth and Baby, a government funded website and resource has some tips to make sure families stay harmonious. One tip includes being upfront about how many hours you can babysit so that everyone is clear on the expectations. Grandparents Victoria director Anne McLeish agrees and advises grandparents to sit down and have a chat with parents beforehand, to make sure everyone is on the same page.

10 SUMMER 2019/2020

She said a common problem that comes up is who pays for the day's activities, especially when kids have an expectation to be kept busy. "I'd tell (people) to have a face to face meeting, and sit around a table and even write down what the agreement is," she said. "So often we find people have different understanding about what the grandparents or parents agreed to do. "It sounds very formal, but having those points can make things clear to people. "The thing that needs to be addressed is who pays for what.

She said another issue that comes up is parents failing to pick up their kids on time. "Grandparents need to know when they knock off for the night, so to speak," she said. Ms McLeish also suggested sending lunch boxes for kids lunches and snacks, particularly if your child is a fussy eater. Another suggestion is being clear about rules, boundaries and how to handle tantrums. She said in her view the mantra "my house my rules" is a reasonable approach.

"The single most common complaint we have from grandparents is that they pay for far more than what they can actually afford to pay for, particularly over the school holidays when kids want to go to the movies, go out for a picnic or go to McDonald's.

But it's also a lovely chance to build a special bond.

"I'm not accusing parents of deliberately taking advantage, it's another case of it getting lost."

"Child centred play brings grandparents and grandchildren together."

Both children and their grandparents relish in that time together, with a chance to make memories together. "Grandchildren often stimulate the inner child in the grandparents, and it's play that does it," Ms McLeish said.

■ Be upfront about your needs and understand those of the parents so there are no unwelcome surprises or unmet expectations. Setting boundaries around things like the number of hours and days of the week you are available, and the meals you provide can help things run smoothly. ■ All parents will have their own views on things like how much TV time or outside play is best for their child. Finding out what these are and respecting those views from the outset will give your grandchildren a consistent message and avoid potential conflict. ■ If you feel your grandchildren need discipline while in your care, check with their parents first about what they would do. ■ Think about whether you might need to make some changes to your home before children arrive so it's safe for young exploring children. Make sure things such as dangerous chemicals and sharp or breakable objects are well out of reach. For more information about how to access support, setting boundaries and maintaining a healthy life balance visit www. grandparents.

It’s Your Life

Jono Pitman (formerly from Married at First Sight reality TV show), has his first child with love of his life, Rebecca Pattison.

Jono finds his TRUE LOVES By Rachel Hickingbotham THREE years ago, life was very different for Melbourne local, Jono Pitman. He thought he was ready to settle down, fall in love and get married. So much so that he applied to go on the reality show, Married at First Sight. After experiencing the complexities of being ‘paired up with’ a partner that was supposedly best suited to him, Jono realised that this was not the way to love for him. Fast forward to the present, when Jono’s name in the reality TV circles has all but disappeared and he is feeling on top of the world. “Everyone has sort of forgotten the ‘entertaining’ series that was on for three weeks”, Jono said. He is pleased that that time of his life is well and truly over. “My series was quite short, but the person I was paired with continued to stay relevant. And when that happens, you get dragged into it, whether you want to or not”. After looking for love in the wrong place, Jono was blessed to reconnect with an old friend, Rebecca Pattison. She hadn’t watched the series, but once they started dating, Rebecca says “I looked at a couple of episodes to see what is was all about”.

Jono met Rebecca nine years earlier and he admits that it didn’t go as well as he hoped. “I fancied her, and I got her contact details, but she did not want a bar of me in the slightest!”, he said laughing. It was definitely not ‘love at first sight’. However, when they crossed paths again, it was a different story. Perhaps more like ‘love at second sight’. For the past 5 months, Jono has been overflowing with love. In July this year, Jono and his partner, Rebecca welcomed the birth of their gorgeous son, Max Thomas Pitman at St John of God Hospital in Berwick. Jono said the team at St John of God were “ fantastic, just amazing. Every single one of them”. Rebecca agreed that “all of the midwives were amazing”. “Everyone was extremely positive and extremely caring. We took all of their advice on because we had no idea what we were doing”, laughed Jono. In hindsight, it’s clear that Rebecca knew exactly what to do. She trusted her body, bravely endured a speedy four-hour labour and birthed their healthy son Max. Although the birth went well, Jono admits that he personally found it “horrific”. With honest and careful words, he clarifies what he means.

“I don’t mean that in a way that males speak about it, like a joke. More in terms of standing there for four hours watching the love of my life in so much pain and not be able to do anything about it. I can’t describe it.“ And yet, he explains it perfectly. Clearly, he is in awe of the mother of his child. Jono is refreshingly honest about how he feels about Rebecca. “I have always had the upmost respect for her, and a ridiculous amount of love. But after the birth, it just grew, because she was just unbelievable.“ When asked how these past months have been, Jono is keeping it real. “It has been really hard. We knew it was going to be challenging. We thought that ‘We’ve got this’, but it was a lot harder than we thought it was going to be. We’ve adapted now and it’s fantastic.“ The hardest thing of all? “It would be sleep”, agreed Jono and Rebecca. Like many parents, the couple are sleep deprived, but are working together as a supportive team. “But in saying that, if that’s the hardest thing, we’ve got it pretty good”, he said, laughing. “When you have a child, it’s like a

rollercoaster; one second you’re up the top and life’s great and the next second you’re down the bottom. When we are up the top we talk about extending the family and when we are at the bottom, we think ‘sorry Max, you’re going to be an only child!’ “To be honest, Rebecca and I have a lot more love to give, so I think we will have more children”. Rebecca has settled into being a mother, despite her lack of sleep. “I’m finally starting to get used to it. He’s starting to smile, he’s worth it. I love him”, said Rebecca. And they are spoilt for choice when it comes to babysitting with both sets of parents both retired and both keen to look after Max when Rebecca goes back to work next year in maternity administration at the Epworth Hospital. With this much love in the air, it is natural to wonder if marriage is in the air too. “We have a beautiful bundle of joy who is taking up all of our time, all of our money and all of our love”, said Jono. “But I don’t want to be with anyone else in my life”. It is a heartwarming story of love that will undoubtedly go from strength to strength. With or without (another) wedding.

SUMMER 2019/2020 11

It’s Your Life

Dr Margie Danchin wants to educate women about maternal vaccinations.

‘No Vax, No visit?’ THERE'S a trend among expectant parents taking to social media to tell their family and friends to make sure they are up to date with their vaccinations or stay away from their newborn baby in those first few precious weeks of life. It's called the "No Vax, No Visit" campaign. For many parents, it can be a minefield telling family members and close friends to steer clear if they haven't had their whooping cough booster or recent flu jab. The trend is cause for concern for Royal Children's Hospital paediatrician Dr Margie Danchin, who specialises in immunisation. She believes it's time to give the control back to mums-to-be, and get the facts straight. "It's quite concerning really - I think it's creating hysteria where hysteria doesn't need to be," she said. "The first thing we want to do is reassure new mums that we are listening and we are not judging them (but) No Vax No Visit is not something I support. "We know that the best thing a

pregnant woman can do to protect her infant is maternal immunisation." But in an age of vaccine hesitation, of horror flu seasons, and confronting messaging about the dangers of the likes of preventable diseases such as measles, how do new parents know what to do? Dr Danchin says the pertussis vaccine is 91 per cent effective in the first 3-6 months of life against the baby getting whooping cough. Likewise, for pregnant women who have the flu shot, it's 90 per cent effective in protecting those babies from needing to be admitted to hospital even if they do catch it. "So you're talking about very effective vaccines where the mother has control over protecting her infant, whereas you don't have control over the people around you," she said. "And we also know from all the cocooning data - cocooning is the grandparents, dads, and all the visitors getting vaccinated, we know that this is not nearly as effective as maternal vaccinations. "What I've been saying is that we need to help mums understand how effective maternal vaccination is and that it's safe and effective.

"But also if they are concerned about friends or family members visiting their newborn, if they don't have any respiratory symptoms so if they have no cough or cold or runny nose, the chance of them transmitting something to the infant has got to be close to zero." Dr Danchin believes the 'No Vax, No Visit' policy can create unnecessary conflict and stress. She's fielding more and more questions from concerned parents to be. "It's a really common question especially as we know there are more parents with concerns about vaccinations we don't really have data to suggest vaccine refusal is on the rise, but we know in certain regions it's much higher and the problem is in your area you don't know how high vaccine hesitancy is," she said. "But the reality is the minute you leave hospital you're going to go to the cafe, or library or the supermarket - how are you going to control all those people? "I think the message is giving the control back to the parents - particularly the mother - so that they can control direct protection to their infant."

Part of the problem is the mixed messages many receive about maternal vaccination. Obestricians, GPs and midwives aren't always well-versed at being able to answer questions from parents about the risks of preventable diseases, disease transmission and vaccine refusal. "I think we have a really big job as paediatricians and vaccine experts in helping OBs and GPs, midwives communicate the facts clearly and consistently, it is something we are really struggling with," she said. She said it's important for health care providers to be able to communicate about the facts. In her view, it's misguided to try and avoid going out in public with your newborn before the first round of vaccinations at 6 weeks. "There's a risk there for post-natal depression and isolation, a lack of engagement, self worth plummeting because they are isolated," she said. Dr Danchin and others in her field have developed a new website and resources to be launched in 2020 to give health care providers and pregnant women the key facts about maternal immunisation.

STRATEGIES for getting kids to DO CHORES By Julie Cliff HAVE you got too much to do and not enough time? Is it leaving you exhausted? My clients tell me they're always picking up after their kids, which leaves them feeling very frustrated. To reduce the frustration, get the family on board to ensure they're giving you the help you need. Here are five strategies to get the kids helping out in the household: It's a team effort Firstly, explain to your family the importance of getting jobs done each week and that it's a joint effort - not the responsibility of one person - to run the household. It seems quicker to pick things up yourself, but in the long run it is worth spending time to teach them to do it themselves. Now recruiting Make each family member a part of the 12 SUMMER 2019/2020

the rubbish.

family budget. Draw up a simple employment contract, outline a job description and pay them for tasks they are hired to do.

Jobs first, play later Ensure all jobs for the day are ticked off before any electronic devices are turned on. It may take some effort to implement this (and there will probably be tears and tantrums), but you will get there if you stick at it.

Fifteen minutes of power Draw up a list of what you really need to get done each week. Have family members choose a task to work on for '15 minutes of power' after dinner. Put the timer on for 15 minutes, play some music and get as much done as you can before the timer goes off. This may be getting the kids to fold their laundry and put it away in their drawers. Get someone to grab the vacuum cleaner or dust the credenza. Just 15 minutes of this sort of help each night saves you a lot of time by the end of the week. Choose age appropriate jobs Many of us can start getting the kids involved in the household chores much earlier. The Raising Children Network has a great age-appropriate jobs list on its

Next steps?

Professional organiser Julie Cliff.

website ( toddlers/family-life/chores/chores-forchildren) For toddlers, the jobs are as simple as picking up their toys and books. Chores suitable for preschoolers include setting the table for meals and helping with hanging out the washing. Jobs suggested for school-aged children include feeding pets, watering plants, putting away the dishes and taking out

As kids learn these lifelong skills they will receive a boost of self-esteem as they can feel they are getting better at the particular task and contributing to the household. You get the help that you need and it results in less stress. Try one of the five suggestions this week and soon the kids will be doing the job without being asked! Julie Cliff is a Professional Organiser at Space and Time, which helps busy mums live easier, less stressful lives through simple and easy to implement organising systems. Sound familiar? Julie would love to hear from you

It’s Your Life

It’s just kids play By Melissa Grant

following her Instagram page.

COMING up with ideas to keep the kids entertained at home can be difficult. Children typically get bored of new toys pretty quickly and there are only so many times you can draw and paint together. Also, you don’t want to spend a fortune (otherwise you would just go out, right?). This is where Instagram can come in handy. The social network features a number of impressive accounts where creative mums share their best play ideas. Some have attracted hundreds of thousands of followers. The pages feature a wide range of do-it-yourself play ideas, including craft, word building activities, water activities and cardboard modelling. Some even giveaway toys and crafts to followers. Many of the popular pages have been created by mums with backgrounds in early education. Jennifer Simpson started her page @ little_play_ideas while on maternity leave from her early education teaching job. The mother of two, based south of Perth, has more than 129,000 people

She says her most popular posts tend to be simply do-it-yourself activities. “A lot of my followers are just like me - parents of preschoolers, looking for ways to keep the kids busy without spending a fortune,” she said. “I love sharing ideas that involve using everyday items from around the house because saving money is always a win and I know so many people are going to find it really useful. “My most popular post to date involved spoons and pegs.” So how does Jennifer, whose daughters are aged 2 and 5, come up with her play ideas? She says years of teaching have definitely helped give her an understanding of learning through play and early childhood development. “I consider what the girls are interested in or need to work on first, then I create or find an activity to suit,” she explained. “So it’s really the kids that inspire the activity ideas more than anything else. She started her Instagram page after friends praised the play ideas she had been posting about on her personal account. “I had a lot of mummy friends telling me they found the ideas really useful for their own kids, but felt like I was


spamming everyone else with endless baby photos,” she said. “So I decided to make a second account under the name @little_play_ ideas to keep all the play activities in one place. “I had no idea it would end up being useful to so many people!” Great Instagram accounts to follow for play ideas: ■ play_at_home_mummy ■ the_paige_diaries ■ busytoddler ■ toddleractivitiesathome ■ adelines_hearts_and_crafts

Baby playing with sensory scarf @little_play_ideas

The perfect



WHEN Emily Jones set out to find the perfect bag for her pram after she welcomed her daughter Hannah, she couldn't find exactly what she was looking for. She wanted durability, functionality and she wanted it to be secured to the pram to make getting out the door with kids that much easier. Like many new mums, she missed the ease at which she'd been able to leave the house before kids.

Emily wanted to make life easier for parents with the pram pouch design.

Emily's search didn't give her much, so she went about designing something instead.

perfect for any parent on the go.

Working with an industrial designer, she designed what's today known as the Zoozaro Pram Pouch.

"Every time I sell one - I feel so good because they don't know how good it's going to be," Emily said.

It took 18 months to design, test and perfect it.

"When I became a mum, I realised I couldn't just go out the door and leave with ease and that's the feeling I wanted to replicate.

"I took it with me all around swimming lessons, to the park - all sorts of places, and I thought this is it." Emily even launched the product on the day she gave birth to her son, Sam. The pram pouch is made with marine grade mesh, it folds up with the pram, it's easily detachable

"People have said I don't know how I managed before I had it. "It's just designed to help people that's what I wanted to do." For more information and customer reviews, visit https://

U Universal fit UÊEasily attaches UÊEasy access pocket for phone UÊPlenty of extra storage UÊCan fold down with pram

UÊPram will not topple over UÊPerfect for picnics, markets & more UÊExclusive patented design U Great for travel prams & strollers |


"I realised there's really no room in the pram to do a shop once you've got the nappies and everything in there," she said.

SUMMER 2019/2020 13

It’s Your Life

Sara is a Norweigan mum of two who posted this picture which went viral.

Picture: @saraaemiliee, Instagram

Dr Kelly-Ann Allen says it's important to acknowledge the many benefits of digital technology.

Do parents need screen rules too? By Danielle Galvin WHEN Norwegian “mum influencer” Sara Emilie Tandberg shared an image on her Instagram account to her 250,000 followers around the globe engrossed in her phone next to her young son, she struck a painful chord. The mum of two captioned the powerful image “Are you present or are you a ghost in your own life? Wherever you go, you see it. How addicted everyone is, how much time the phone takes from us.” In the digital age, adults, teens and children alike are increasingly addicted to tablets and phones and screens. Most toddlers know how to open up an app on their parents phones, or flick through pictures. In her post, Tandberg admits her New Year’s resolution was to use her phone less. “It’s not just me. Big family dinners, friends hanging out. Parents at the playground,” she wrote. “I see it everyday. We are not present anymore.” It is a sad indictment on 21st century life when you witness a curious child attempting to engage their parent, wrapped up in their phone inadvertently ignoring their child. Educational and developmental psychologist Kelly-Ann Allen explains most of us have no idea how many hours we spend glued to our devices. “Studies have shown that we drastically underestimate how much time we spend on our own devices,” she said. “On average, parents reportedly spend anywhere from 9-11 hours of screen time a day, and at least 80% of that time is outside of work hours.”

14 SUMMER 2019/2020

Parents are bombarded with stories in the media about how much time their child spends watching TV or playing on a tablet. But when it comes to our own screen addictions - do parents need guidelines too? “Let’s answer this question by asking another question. How much quality time do you spend with your family a day? Or, how much time to you spend outside or exercising or enjoying a hobby? “Do you find that some things are slipping as a result of your screen time? If the answer is no, then perhaps you don’t need any guidelines for your personal screen time,” Dr Allen said. “However, if you’re not confident in your answers to these questions, then it might be a good idea to manage your screen time better so you can find a healthy balance in your life.” But it’s equally important not to view screens as the devil - there are benefits. “On that point, Jocelyn Brewer, cyberpsychologist, provides the perspective that digital technology should be viewed no differently from eating chocolate,” Dr Allen explains. “Consuming too much can be unhealthy. Jocelyn uses a digital nutrition analogy to discuss and explore how digital technologies can be used effectively and productively. “Platforms that rely on digital technology should not be demonised simply because they use a screen. “There is much to benefit from technology and we shouldn’t ignore that fact.” The difficulty for parents the world over is the fact that many are expected to be reachable all the time. Most parents would have said to their child at one point “hang on, I’m

responding to this text/email”. But Dr Allen said children may hear when their parents choose to “finish” something on their phone or laptop that their seemingly important need is less worthy of their parents’ time. “Children don’t have a concept of the importance of paying a bill, replying to an email, or texting another mum back. They just see that their needs are coming second to their parents’ phone,” she said. “If a parent is receiving a constant stream of interruptions it may be wise to schedule blocks of time for responding to emails or texts and paying bills, et cetera. then the child may be able to differentiate between “work” time and “play” time. “Having said that, parents should use their personal discretion over what suits their own individual needs and contexts. There are a lot of factors to consider. “One thing that parents can think about is the role they play in being a role model for digital etiquette and social engagement, with others. “And for this reason, it’s never a bad idea for parents to regulate their screen time.” More so, the research is beginning to show some of the impacts, despite the array of benefits digital technology brings. “Research tells us that some children feel they are competing with smartphones for their parents’ attention, because even if a parent is sharing a moment with their children, all it takes is the sound of a phone notification to interrupt their quality time,” she said. “This is especially true for parents who are juggling multiple roles and always feel like they must be “on” and “available” at any given moment.

“In these cases, children tend to take the back seat to the other, more immediate demands.” At the end of Sanderberg’s post which went viral around the world was a rather apt warning: “Don’t let it replace your friends and family.” **BREAK OUT BOX** Tips from an expert - how to regulate your own screen time Of course, not all screen time is bad. Like anything else, a healthy dose of screen time in moderation can prove to be quite beneficial. For instance, children use iPads and tablets regularly during their school time for key learning opportunities. Parents can nurture that learning at home as an extension of their school time. Not to mention, there are excellent interactive learning television programs that have shown to be beneficial especially when parents are viewing with their children and discussing what they are watching. In terms of parents and their own screen time use, it can be useful for parents to have conversations with their children about what they are doing read message out loud or try to involve their children in the response (if age appropriate). Parents can use their phone for positive moments of connection- reading an ebook, reminiscing over old photos. But most importantly parents need to keep reaslistic expectations around phone use. It’s okay to engage in digital technology including their mobile phones - in fact, by doing so it may actually model good habits and behaviours for their children who will grow up in a world immersed in such technologies. - Dr Kelly-Ann Allen

It’s Your Life

Dealing with the challenges of having an autistic child By Sarah Booth IT has been more than a year since Glen and Krystal Barnett raised funds to purchase their six-year-old son, Rhys, a therapy dog. Rhys, who is on the autism spectrum, can struggle with sensory overload in simulating environments - such as bright, busy shopping centres - and changes to his routine. While he is yet to be matched with a therapy dog, Mr Barnett said his son had “made really great progress in the last twelve months.” Mr Barnett lists a number of strategies which have helped including keeping a regular routine and giving Rhys instructions in small blocks (‘get your school bag and then your shoes’), rather than all at once. The couple, who live towards the east of the Yarra Ranges, also taught Rhys and his sister Aria to “take their three big breaths,” when they are upset. “It doesn’t always work ... .it takes time, and you’ve got to have patience ... but once it happens it’s so worth it,” Mr Barnett said. Sometimes it even happens the other way around. When his children saw their dad crying after a long work week, they told him “daddy it’s okay, take your deep breaths.” “My kids are amazing ... to have a two-year-old and a six-year-old do that,” Mr Barnett said. The parents also encourage their children to have emotions, telling them it’s ok to feel angry or sad, their reaction just shouldn’t upset others. “We’ve found that has helped them to understand what they’re feeling, but also to understand how it can affect other people, and then just taking responsibility for their emotions,” Mr Barnett said. But a recent experience with horse therapy has given them hope about the further benefits a therapy dog could bring for Rhys. Rhys had to learn to calm down so he could build a relationship with the horse. “When he finally got to ride the horse, he was so excited, it was a really beautiful moment,” Mr Barnett said. While they hope Rhys is matched with a dog soon, there is one other thing Mr Barnett would like to change.

Glen Barnett with his son Rhys.

The judgement from other parents. “His tantrums can be quite overwhelming ... and once they get to a certain point you can’t stop them,” he said. “There’s been a couple of times where he’s had one in the shopping centre ... and there’s nothing I could do.

Picture: Rob Carew

“You can see people thinking just pick him up and drag him out, but (they) don’t understand.” Autism is different for every child, so he said he doesn’t expect parents to actually understand the situation, but “just accept it.” “You don’t know their family story,

what’s going on at home, how their kids behave ... so you can’t judge,” he said. Next time a parent is struggling with their child, Mr Barnett suggests giving them a smile or offering to help - even if it’s just to carry their bag. “You don’t need to understand, you just need to accept,” he said.

Win with Bayside Glen Eira Kids To celebrate the launch of Bayside Glen Eira Kids, we've got a few great giveaways! TO find out more, visit for entry details and terms and conditions.

1. Win a gorgeous Chloe Dance Bag from Capezio

2. Win a Zoozaro Pram Pouch - never suffer pram topple again with this unique bag

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SUMMER 2019/2020 15


When to reveal you‘re pregnant By Eliza Henry-Jones YOU’RE pregnant. You’re nauseous. You’re inexplicably craving chips with strawberry yoghurt. You’re gazing at your midriff with a sort of morbid fascination – exactly how far can tummy skin stretch? And then a thought pops into your head. Who should you tell about your pregnancy? And when? While each trimester has their own difficulties, the first trimester is notorious for exhaustion, dizziness, nausea and huge hormonal changes. There’s also a lot of stigma around those early weeks, when the chance of having a miscarriage is high. You might be terrified and uncertain about your pregnancy or you might be elated. Either way, it’s a lot to keep to yourself. I found out I was pregnant at about six weeks and promptly told everyone close to me. I felt awful. I was constantly exhausted, dizzy and nauseous. Luckily,

I worked from home. If I needed a nap or to curl up in a ball with a ginger tea for a while, I could do so privately and make up the time later. But I kept thinking about all the women out there who have jobs and commitments that don’t offer that flexibility – the women diving out of meetings to vomit and being so tired they need to sleep before they commute home. The women trying to juggle older children and extended families and everything in between. Telling people was the right choice for me. I figured that if I did have a miscarriage, those were the people I’d want around, supporting me. Quite a few people told me I was “brave” for sharing the news so early; other people asked me if I was worried about jinxing the pregnancy. I waited until three months to make announcements on social media. “I waited to tell people,” says Sally. “And when I miscarried, nobody knew except my partner. It was

pretty isolating. My next pregnancy, I told a few close friends and family and I’m glad I did.” But telling people early certainly doesn’t suit everyone. “Waiting was the only option for me,” says Anna, who has a five month old. “I have a full-on family and knew straight away that I didn’t want the pressure of people asking me about the pregnancy until I was out of the danger zone.” Phoebe miscarried at 10 weeks. “I was glad I hadn’t told anyone about the pregnancy. I couldn’t have dealt with people coming up and asking about the pregnancy. I told my boss and a couple of friends that I’d miscarried and that was it. I still struggle talking about it.” Things to consider: ■ How good are you at keeping secrets? Sometimes you might intend to wait but find you just blurt it out! ■ Are you around hazardous things at

work? If you are, you’ll probably need to tell your boss and make other arrangements ■ If you tell people you’re pregnant and then have a miscarriage, you’ll have to tell them about the miscarriage, too. While you might welcome the support, it can also be traumatic and exhausting having to re-tell the news to different people.Are you ready for advice and lots of it? Once the news is out, chances are you’ll be inundated with people’s opinions on pregnancy, birth and child raising. While some of this will be very welcome, some of it won’t be. Some people might keep the news to themselves into the second or even third trimesters. The bottom line is, when and how you share your pregnancy news is a very personal choice. There is no right or wrong decision. Do what feels right for you!

Baby bundles for new parents FIRST-TIME parents can expect to receive a special package when their little bundle of joy arrives. The State Government has begun distributing free ’baby bundles’ that include essentials to help guide mums and dads through the first few months and years of their firstborn’s life. Valued at $150, the bundle comes with a teething ring, nappy bag, safe sleeping bag, a cotton wrap, first aid kit, baby sunhat, toothbrush and a grow suit. 16 SUMMER 2019/2020

They also include four picture books by Victorian authors: Baby Days by Nicola Philp, Ten Little Owls by Renee Treml, Puddle Hunters by Kirsty Murray and Karen Blair, and Gumtree Buddies, a soft pram book produced by Tiger Tribe. A booklet developed in collaboration with Raising Children Network provides vital information on child health, safety and learning and emergency contacts. The State Government funded

bundles are designed to assist first-time parents build safe sleeping practices and support their child’s learning and development through regular reading and playtime. Around 35,000 new parents will receive the bundles each year at all Victorian maternity hospitals. “Bringing your bundle of joy home for the first time is life changing but we also know it can be challenging. We are making this precious moment that little

bit easier and ensuring our youngest Victorians have everything they need to thrive,” Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said. “Not only are we giving parents the help they need, we’re also giving some of Victoria’s emerging authors their big break. “Reading with children is one of the most powerful things families can do to help their kids get the best start in life.”

Health Talking about the

‘birds and the bees’ By Melissa Grant TALKING to your child about sex and reproduction can be pretty awkward. Their questions may make you feel uncomfortable, or you might think it's time to 'have the chat' but don't know how to start it. But there are things you can do to make those 'birds and the bees' talks less difficult. First of all, it's important to understand most parents find these conversations tough. Relationships Australia Victoria senior clinician, Jayne Ferguson, says even experts find it difficult to talk to their kids about how babies are made. "It's an anxiety provoking conversation, even for experts," she said. "Even the term the birds and the bees - it's almost our embarrassed way of saying 'let's talk about sex'. "I have kids and I do feel anxious, because kids can ask the most candid and unexpected questions." Those questions may also begin earlier than you anticipate. Many pre-school aged children will ask questions about their body parts and may even ask what sex is. Ms Ferguson says it's best to be open and honest, while giving age appropriate answers. "A five-year-old might ask 'what is sex?' "You can say 'that's a good question, how did you hear about that?' "Maybe they caught a glimpse of a TV show sex scene or someone at kinder said 'my parents have sex'." Asking what prompted the question can help you answer it. When it comes to making babies, all small children really need to know is that when two people love each other they get their bodies together. Ms Ferguson says you may also want to explain that there are other ways to conceive a baby, such as IVF. What you shouldn't do is make your child feel bad for asking a question or avoid answering it. "The minute we close down those conversations they become shameful," Ms Ferguson said. "What we do know is that when kids aren't given the right information they will go searching for it, particularly if they are in their teenage years." They may type their unanswered questions into an internet search engine, a move bound to yield x-rated results you'd prefer them not to see. If your teen is asking questions about sex, then it's important to have a conversation about contraception. "If that's something happening in their peer group you need to be giving cautionary information," Ms Ferguson said. "They need to understand the consequences. The message needs to be that when they are asked to do it, it needs to be something they want to do

and that they are aware of the consequences." But what if your child isn't asking questions about the body and sex as they get older? Well, it's up to you to bring it up. Relying on sex ed is never a good idea, Ms Ferguson says, as kids can be dismissive of information they learn in the classroom. So how do you broach the topic of baby making? "If you are watching TV or visiting a baby in hospital, it may be appropriate to have a conversation," Ms Ferguson suggests. "Tell your child about their own birth story - as long as you say it with love, kids are more likely to be interested if it's about them." There's also nothing wrong with giving your child a book explaining where babies come from. Once you get the conversation started, it's important to keep it going. That's because there are many topics to cover, including changes to the body during puberty and body safety. As a parent, remember you probably know how much information your son or daughter is ready to digest.

Explaining how babies are made can be awkward.

"You're much more likely to know what your child will understand," Ms Ferguson explains. "There are no golden rules or specific times about when to have these conversations. "Some parents will find it trickier than others, but you should always have open and honest conversations with your children."

Aqua Play Group SESSIONS

TIPS FOR PARENTS ■ Use appropriate terminology. Referring to the reproductive organs as vaginas and penises from the get-go, makes later conversations easier. ■ Honesty is the best policy. Always be open and honest when your child asks a question about sex or the body. If you aren't sure how to answer, say it's an interesting question and you'll get back to them. ■ Be guided by what your child says and give factual information. ■ Provide age appropriate answers. For children up to five years, for instance, it's appropriate to talk about bodies and how they work. ■ Make body safety part of the conversation. Talk about inappropriate touching and what to do if it happens. ■ Explain that explicit online content is a crime. Your child needs to know that posting 'nudes' can have serious consequences, including criminal convictions.


For three to six month olds (accompanied in the water by a parent). It’s a great opportunity for parents to get in the water with their bub and begin to familiarise themselves with water and gain confidence.


The sessions are led by an instructor with songs, games, submersion and floating activities. Aqua Play Group sessions are FREE – come and join us on Monday (9:15am) and Thursday (9am) mornings – parents only pay casual entry.

200 East Boundary Road, Bentleigh East t: 03 9575 7100 | e: 12434439-CG51-19

SUMMER 2019/2020 17

enthusiastically in discussion: These terms mean your child is likeable but chatty, and probably distracts the children around them.


School reports


5 &/

Report card expert ... Dr Selina Samuels, chief learning officer of Cluey Learning.

probably playing to her strengths and ignoring anything not already easy and familiar. It’s also a veiled request to the parents to have a look at the family infrastructure around homework and for more consistency at home. ■ So much potential: If your child’s teacher uses this phrase, then they’re saying your child is bright enough but lazy. If they ‘lack focus’ they aren’t applying themselves. ‘Emerging skills’ tells you there is a glimmer of hope and they haven’t given up on them just yet. ■ Very social, bubbly, or engages

■ She/he is a pleasure to teach: If your child’s teacher says this, chances are it’s true. Teachers do not use that phrase gratuitously. Phrases that indicate your child is doing well Phrases like ‘sophisticated understanding’ and ‘confident application’ are strong indicators that your child is working at an impressive level. If he or she has a ‘clear understanding’ and their work is ‘effective’, they are noticeably making progress and you have little to be worried about. If skills are ‘secure’ and there is talk of ‘improvement’, everything is going in the right direction. Comments about your child’s ambition or hunger for learning may also indicate he/she is not being fully extended in class and the teacher wants you to explore opportunities for additional extension.

Chaya’s Creche a home to all



8 0

■ Pleasing: If your child’s work is ‘pleasing’, that probably indicates the teacher is writing report comment number 58 and has run out of new adjectives.

*" 7



■ But: If your child’s report card is peppered with positive statements followed by ‘buts’ - such as ‘Samson is a keen student but his efforts are not always rewarded’, chances are his teachers are fond of him but a bit exasperated at the same time (you probably are too).




■ Good listener: This means your child never asks questions or contributes in class. ■ Knows his/her own mind: Your child may be stubborn and unco-operative.

demystified HAVE you just got your child’s end-ofyear school report? Are you wondering what it actually says about your child’s progress? Chances are you aren’t alone. Teachers typically use a range of descriptors to describe how your child is tracking academically - and some need deciphering. School report expert Dr Selina Samuels says some terms clearly indicate your child is doing well, while others indicate there are issues that need addressing. She should know - she proofread end-of-year school reports for several years. “It was immediately obvious that each teacher had their pet words, phrases or grammatical constructions,” the chief learning officer of Cluey Learning says. “Even taking into account individual idiosyncrasies, some terms emerge the winners.” Here, she explains the phrases teachers use in report cards and what they really mean. Decoding common phrases in school reports ■ Erratic or inconsistent: These words tell parents that little Susan is

■ Independent: Students who are ‘independent’ are probably not good sharers.

Phrases that indicate your child may be having difficulties If your child is only able to demonstrate certain skills ‘at times’ or has ‘some or little understanding’, it is likely he/she needs a fair amount of academic support. If they are passive or quiet, it may be that the teacher is finding it difficult to diagnose levels of knowledge and ability.If your child’s report cards talk a lot about ‘inconsistencies’, particularly between different modes of expression, it’s worth getting more information. If your child is described as having ‘difficulties adjusting to rules and routines’, this might be the teacher telling you he/she is naughty, or it may suggest that there is something else going on. Equally, pay attention if the teacher mentions that your child finds it difficult to adjust to changes in routine. If a teacher describes your child as a ‘perfectionist’, this is not necessarily a good thing. It could be that he/she is so particular about presentation or so frightened of getting something wrong that he/she resists submitting anything for feedback. The best and worst comments The best comments are ones specific to your child and show you that the teacher really knows them. The worst are merely generic. Even if you are being told something negative about your child’s academic abilities or behaviour, it is better to hear it so that you can work with the school to provide necessary support. The worst report comments are jargonistic and procedural - telling you what the class has covered but giving very little information about how your child is progressing. It’s also important to note that report cards are not merely retrospective, but also provide genuine advice about where your child’s focus should lie for the next term or year.


CHAYA'S Creche in Elsternwick is a family-oriented long day care centre where the teaching is infused with Jewish values, and the passionate staff nurture and care for children of all abilities. Director Chaya Raskin has lead the centre since 1987 and says it provides high quality care for children aged 14 months through to kindergarten age. In nurturing and caring for the children in their care, the educators are attuned to children's emotions and feeling, rather than their behaviour. The "emotion coaching" approach is a critical part of the values at Chaya's Creche. Chaya's Creche has sessional care, with flexibility for families for morning or full day options. The centre is family oriented, personable and warm, with placements for 31 children over two rooms. As the director, Mrs Raskin says the children under her care are treated as though they are her own. "It's like they are being looked after by a family member," she explained. Mrs Raskin, who holds a Diploma of Community Services (Children's Services) is closely involved in educating the children in the centre. We are open and happy to modify our curriculum to provide an inclusive program for children with special needs. Mrs Raskin is adored by the children,

Chaya's Creche is a family oriented centre. Picture: Rob Carew

educators and parents, with a passion for fostering the children's care, learning and development. Passionate about leading the educators in delivering a high-quality program and care, Mrs Raskin and her educators are driven to provide the best possible education and care for your child through nurture, love and care. For a personal tour, contact Mrs Raskin on 0416 202 303 or 9505 3352, or visit The centre is located at 278 Glen Eira Road, Elsternwick.


18 SUMMER 2019/2020


A Positive education approach NIÑO Early Learning Adventures are child centric early learning centres operating across Melbourne, purpose designed and built to provide natural environments to build your child's curiosity and creativity. Niño ELA is family owned and run and Company Manager Melinda Ackerman says every centre is thoughtfully designed keeping children's needs at the forefront. "There's been a lot of thought aesthetically across the buildings, so taking into account what is beneficial for children to learn and grow," she said. "Everything has a purpose - our nutrition, the curriculum, the environment - everything that goes into the centres supports learning and future goals." As an example, the rooms are designed to be calming and soothing, considering children with sensory issues. Some of the early learning centres also have a special wellbeing retreat for children and their families, a space to go and relax, recharge with a cup of tea. She said it's important to support

Coming Soon!

parents whose children are settling into the centre. When a new child enrols, there's a consultation as well as numerous settling in and orientation sessions, so by the time the child starts care, everyone feels comfortable and ready. "It's important to us for our children to feel just as comfortable as our parents," Ms Ackerman said. Another incredible feature of Niño ELA is the Positive Education framework which focuses on developing skills for children to build resilience, strengthen their relationships, promoting mindfulness and leading a happy, healthy lifestyle. The framework brings together the science of positive psychology with best practice teaching to encourage and support education services and communities to flourish. "It's a beautiful framework," Ms Ackerman said. "We want visitors to our centres to feel the essence of positive Education and the quality we maintain throughout them." To find out more, visit https://

Melinda Ackerman with students Ethan and Aleeshiya.

Picture: Rob Carew

Discover an early learning adventure like no other. Exceptional early learning is coming soon to Elsternwick. At Niño Early Learning Adventures, everything we do is about providing opportunities for children to become brave, creative, resilient and kind. Our unique curriculum, underpinned by the Positive Education framework, gives every child the opportunity to have meaningful learning experiences, build positive emotions, strengthen relationships and evolve to their full potential.

You'll find plenty to love about Niño ELA Elsternwick! Physical education, Spanish language, yoga and music classes Unique curriculum and Positive Education program Passionate and dedicated educators Nutritionist developed menu, cooked onsite daily Challenging playgrounds designed to inspire curiosity 3 & 4 year old Kindergarten programs

Enquire today! Niño ELAɰElsternwick 31 Nepean Hwy 9421 6755 | 12430307-FA51-19

SUMMER 2019/2020 19

Party Time

Born to party! Party time! There are so many great games that can be played at your child's birthday party.

SLUMBER TRIBE Slumber Tribe is dedicated to providing kids with the most amazing slumber party and sleepover party adventures.

GAMES TO get the party STARTED

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OLD-FASHIONED party games still bring squeals of delight to excited children at a birthday party. Here are a few suggestions for your next party.

for a seat and the child left standing is out. Take another chair away and repeat until there is only one child left standing!



A classic game kids of all ages get excited about. Beforehand, buy a main prize, a few inexpensive toys and a pack of chocolate bars. Using a newspaper, wrap the main prize first. Then wrap the parcel about a dozen or so times, placing a toy or chocolate bar between each wrapping. To play, the kids sit in a circle and you play some music. When the music stops the child holding the parcel gets to unwrap it and reveal their prize.

Another simple game for children of all ages. You can buy kits for this game, or you can use a poster of an animal, a pack of stickers/tails and a blindfold. To play, each child is blindfolded and spun around before being directed to the donkey (or other animal) with a tail in their hand. The child who sticks the tail closest to the spot where the tail should be wins!

MUSICAL CHAIRS Another easy game involving music! Set up chairs in a circle (start with one chair less than the number of kids playing). When the music stops, the kids scramble

EGG AND SPOON RACE This one is pretty self-explanatory - put each child on a starting line with an egg on the spoon. The first to the finish line with the egg still on their spoon wins the race. Make sure you boil your eggs first to avoid messy clean-ups.

TREASURE HUNT Kids love hunting for treasure! You could buy some inexpensive prizes or confectionary and hide them around your yard. Or you could hide some tokens so that the child who collects the most can exchange them for one main prize. THE CHOCOLATE GAME

Mobile kids parties are the easiest way to create a special memory. We’ve helped parents across Australia plan and deliver themed parties that become the envy of their guests. Let us create something special for you, whether you want a balloon twisting party, cooking party or even a science party.

A fun and yummy game you may remember from your own childhood! You’ll need a block of chocolate, some dress-ups, two dice, plate, fork and a butter knife. To play, the kids take turns at roll the dice. When a pair of sixes are rolled, the child puts the dress-up clothes on and then cuts away at the chocolate. The child must cut one square at a time and eat it using the knife and fork. They get to keep eating the chocolate until the next pair of sixes are rolled. Yum!

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1800 572 789 Our entertainers come to you and host a party your child won’t forget! SUMMER 2019/2020 20

It’s Your Life Busy mum delves into the

world of kids fiction By Melissa Meehan CHILDREN’S author Katrina Lehman wears many different hats. She’s a busy mum of three young children, an editor, a university teacher, a mentor through the Australian Society of Authors, and a content writer for Lauriston Girls’ School. Somehow, last year, Katrina found the time to write a picture book, Wren, published by Scribe both in Australia and the UK. With a background as a children’s book editor with Penguin for 15 years, delving into the creative world of children’s picture books seemed a natural next step. “There is something magical and so complex about picture books. Imagine trying to tell an entire novel - a great story, evocative setting, heartfelt characters, lyrical language and a strong message - in 32 pages! And then there are the illustrations ... ” Katrina was pregnant with number three and teaching fiction writing workshops for aspiring authors at night after her editor day job when she finally decided it was time to stop procrastinating. Inspired by the creative buzz of the workshops, she sat in a cafe after each session and wrote her own stories.

Author Katrina Lehman with her first book and three children, Sunday, Finn and Charlotte.

The Caulfield East mum grew up on a farm in regional NSW and believes there’s something special about raising kids outdoors.

“The creative play and independence that was part of my childhood on a farm is something I’ll never be able to give my kids,“ Katrina said.

Unfortunately, in a modern world, that’s not a reality for most Australian kids and this has been a theme across her writing.

“I wrote Wren as a sort of antidote to the structured play of an urban upbringing and the chaos of a large family in that landscape.“

Picture: Rob Carew

Katrina’s second picture book, Izzy and Frank, is about a girl who lives on an island in a lighthouse with her best friend Frank the seagull.It’s due out in February 2020 in the UK and Australia, and Katrina was excited to recently find out that it will also be published in North America. Katrina is hoping to start up writing

workshops again locally to help other writers achieve their dreams. You can find Katrina’s picture books at all good bookshops and follow her on Instagram @katrina.lehman. books-authors/books/wren - with Danielle Galvin

KEEP IT LOCAL – THE BEST ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS IN YOUR AREA Gymnastics Holiday Program @ Brighton Rec January 20-24




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Top picks for parks THERE'S certainly no shortage of beautiful parks, playgrounds and recreational space in the Bayside Glen Eira areas. Playgrounds are a great place for children to explore, burn energy, make new friends and learn about the world around them.

Murrumbeena Park Playground, Kangaroo Road, Murrumbeena.

They can offer hours of entertainment, and best of all, don't cost a cent to visit. Here's three of our favourite parks to visit: 1. Booran Road Reserve, Glen Huntly 2. Murrumbeena Park Playground, Kangaroo Road, Murrumbeena 3. Thomas Street Reserve, Hampton

The popular water feature at Booran Road Reserve.

Thomas Street Reserve, Hampton.

Booran Road Reserve.

Tee up for mini golf SANDY Mini Golf is Bayside's one and only mini golf course. The course was developed three years ago by long time Royal Melbourne Golf Club Head Professional Bruce Green with his family. The course is located on the corner of Wangara Road and George Street Sandringham on the previous Sandringham Golf Driving Range site. The Driving Range was developed by Bruce in 1984 when he recognised a need for such a facility in Bayside. This will soon be the new home of the Sandringham and District Netball Association together with Sandy Mini Golf. Sandy Mini Golf comprises of eighteen holes. Each hole has three options to putt to, easy, medium, and hard. The course is suitable for all ages and abilities and is surrounded by landscaped gardens. It can take 30 to 40 minutes to play. One third of the course is covered by "sails" for protection and we offer "weather passes" to return when unexpected weather conditions occur.

children's birthday parties.

public holidays.

a great birthday or Christmas present!

Bookings are not required and Sandy Mini Golf can also host

Sandy Mini Golf is currently open every weekend, school holidays and

E - Gift vouchers are available online direct to the customer; these are

Visit for more information.

Bridie, Millar and Sean at the Sandy Mini Golf.

Picture: Rob Carew

Sidetracked by fun SIDETRACKED is the ultimate entertainment venue with over 6000 square metres of adrenaline-pumping entertainment. Operating for more than 28 years, Sidetracked is fun for all ages all under the one roof and conveniently located in Oakleigh South. The Sidetracked Team are here to make your day. The exciting indoor function and party venue with fantastic activities including adrenaline rushing go karts for children aged 9 and over, and mini karts for kids aged 5 and up. As well as one of the most advanced laser tag games available, dodgem cars, mini ten pin bowling (ideal for younger kids), 18 hole mini golf and a 22 SUMMER 2019/2020

range of video machines. Get dancing in the disco party room with music and interactive light effects plus the newly refurbished licensed cafe offers a great selection of food. The popular 'Family Friday' fun runs from 6pm-11pm, and gives you two hours of unlimited laserforce, arcade games, dodgems, bowling and mini golf for $30 per person. School holidays are covered as well with midweek mayhem special operating Monday to Friday. Sidetracked is perfect for birthday parties, family celebrations, social or work parties - any kind of party! The experienced staff take the hassle out of organising events, so you and

Go karts are a popular favourite.

your guests can relax about the arrangements and concentrate on having fun with your friends at Sidetracked.

Visit the website on www. for more information and hours of operation or give us a call on 9562 7607.


A new direction at Toot Toot Toys TOOT Toot Toys in Bentleigh East is more than just a toy shop, it's also a meeting place for play dates and for parents to have a coffee. It started as a speciality Thomas the Tank Engine train shop for kids, and it was a place Carly Kohler and her two young sons would frequent. Carly was a lawyer for 12 years, and has two boys aged 2 and 4. She was working long hours, commuting to and from work. "I was trying to work out how I could change my hours within the law, but couldn't find a way to do it," she said.

"We came to Toot Toot lots because my boys were obsessed with trains."

wooden and educational toys, as well as a range of eco products.

One night she saw that Toot Toot was for sale, and pitched the idea to her husband.

She's passionate about finding great quality products, but is also conscious of making sure the products are affordable.

"I had always talked about having a shop, as my dad was in retail for 60 odd years," she said.

Toot Toot's recently undergone some renovations in the play area. There's

activity cubes, dress ups, train sets set up and a little shop too to keep the kids amused. She said she loves the idea of providing an outlet for parents. "Parents can actually sit down and enjoy a coffee whilst being able to see their children at all times," she said.

"We saw Toot Toot as an opportunity for us to have a lifestyle change and be able to spend more time with the boys".

12434236 C 12434236-CG51-19

Carly and her husband Bart took over the shop in September, and they're excited to take the shop in a new direction, particularly with high quality


WE ARE OPEN EVERY DAY OF THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS (21st December – 31st January) except for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. 18-20 Wangara Road, Sandringham,

PH 9585 7152 Bart and Carly with Archie, 2, and Charlie, 4 at Toot Toot Toys in Bentleigh East.

Picture: Rob Carew

Where Santa’s helpers find very special presents at Christmas. A huge range of quality toys including LEGO, Brio, Thomas & Friends, Micro Scooters, Yumbox, Bruder, Hape, Janod, Le Toy Van, Miniland and more. Our in-store cafe and play space is also the perfect place for a much deserved break from the Christmas rush! | 637 Centre Road, Bentleigh East, 3165 | ph (03) 9563 9649

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SUMMER 2019/2020 23

Reality Bites

Who’s watching your kids? By Rachel Hickingbotham

You can prevent children drowning by doing a few simple things:

MATT Welsh is a former world champion swimmer, Olympian and now a Kidsafe campaign ambassador. Most importantly he is the father of 5 young children. He knows how critical it is to spread the message of safety by the water.

1. Make sure your pool safety barriers are actually safe

Drowning does not look like drowning. It can be quick and silent and easy to miss by people nearby. Don’t rely on a child to call out for help. In fact, it can take as little as 20 seconds for a child to drown.

Evidence suggests that a large number of drowning deaths are the result of barriers that are faulty, or non-compliant with Australian standards.

“Children drown quickly and silently”, says Matt. “Together with a compliant pool barrier that is regularly checked and maintained, your home pool defence should also include active adult supervision of children in and around water, water awareness and first aid knowledge to keep your family safe this season." Live Saving Victoria recommends that until your children are 10 years of age and competent swimmers, you must keep your eyes on them at all time. If they under the age of 6, they must be within arm’s reach Even if your children look confident around the water and are having fun with their friends, the danger of drowning never takes a break. When our kids are happy and occupied, do not get distracted by your phone. Your eyes need to stay on your child. Last year 18 children under 5 died in by drowning in Australia. “Despite significant reductions in toddler drowning deaths over time, drowning continues to be one of the leading causes of accidental death for Australian children under 5 years of age,” explained Jason Chambers, General Manager of Kidsafe Victoria.

24 SUMMER 2019/2020

If you own a pool or spa, make sure you check your pool barriers this month. Safety fencing is compulsory for all pools, but it is common to overlook the proper maintenance of them.

“Common faults or non-compliance issues include gates and doors that are no longer self-closing or latching, gates that are propped open and climbable objects near the barrier - all of which can provide children with unsupervised access to the water area”, explained Mr Chambers. Kidsafe has launched the national ‘Safe Barriers Save Lives’ campaign that urges all pool and spa owners to remember to check the safety and compliance of their pool or spa barrier when they change their clocks at the beginning of daylight savings time in early October. Remember, even though your own children may be competent swimmers, visiting children may not. It is illegal to leave a pool or spa gate propped open and climbable objects must be moved away from the barrier at all times. These include pot plants, eskies, pool pumps, chairs and other furniture. “There is no better use of 15 minutes of your time than checking the safety of your pool barrier in preparation for the warm summer months ahead”, said Matt Welsh. 2. Temporary pools need fencing too All pools that have a depth as little as 30 centimetres are required to be surrounded by a safety barrier. That

means that if you (or Santa) buys your kids a large frame pool or even a smaller inflatable pool this summer, then you must still ensure it is properly fenced off. All pools and spas, including all kinds of temporary pools must have a four-sided barrier with no direct access from the house or any other building to the pool. The barriers must be a minimum of 1.2 metres high. Barrier gates must be self-closing and selflatching. Manufacturers and retailers of temporary pools assume no responsibility for your family’s safety and may include pool safety notices in their products prompting buyers to follow mandatory legislation. 3. Never stop supervising You can prevent drowning by keeping your eyes on your child. Use the time to stay present and enjoy the water with your children. Do not be tempted to sit back while your kids are occupied and get distracted by your devices or friends. Put your phone down and watch your kids. “Lifeguards do a great job of keeping our pools safe, but they are not babysitters”, said a Life Saving Victoria spokesperson. Keep these age guidelines in mind when you take your children to the pool:

group, make a point to stay focused on their safety. ■ Children aged 11 to 14, still need an adult regularly checking on their child by physically going to the edge of the pool, spa or beach where they are swimming. Accidents happen in playful games even with older kids. No matter what their age, keep your child’s swimming ability in mind and be prepared to jump into the water at a moment’s notice. Lifeguards at pools and beaches are an extra precaution but should be relied on to fully supervise your children. 4. Who’s watching the kids? Pool parties in peoples’ homes are a high-risk place for pool safety. Pool parties over the summer can be relaxed and enjoyable and with lots of adults around, and it can often seem like there is extra supervision for children. However, these situations can often be the most dangerous. “Everyone may assume that someone else is watching the kids when in fact, nobody is“, warns Kidsafe. If you are chatting with friends around the pool, make sure pool safety is a key part of your conversation and everyone is aware that eyes need to be on the kids.

■ Babies and toddlers from birth to 5 years old (as well as non-swimmers) must have a parent or guardian in the water at all times within arm’s reach of the child. It is best if you are engaging with your child. Use this time to play, talk and cuddle them in the water.

“Nominate ‘designated supervisors’ whose role it is to supervise children in and around the water - that way, there is no confusion as to who is watching the kids. This role can be shared throughout the day, so everyone gets a chance to relax. You can even use a special hat or wristband so that it is clear who the designated supervisors are."

■ If your child is aged 6 to 10 years old, a parent or guardian should be close enough to make eye contact with the child and be constantly watching them. If you choose not to be in the water with your children of this age

So, remember, safety first. It’s better to be a pool safety evangelist and relax knowing your kids are safe by the water and your pool is safe for everyone. Check you fencing, keep supervising and enjoy the water this summer.

Reality Bites

GARDENING with little green thumbs By Eliza Henry-Jones THOSE summer holidays are stretching ahead. Lots of family gatherings, beach trips, mosquito bites, sunburn and icy pole fingers. Summer is also prime gardening season and you might be surprised at what you can grow! You don't need a giant backyard (although, that definitely doesn't hurt). Gardening has been linked to improved mental health, immunity and mood. Getting your kids involved in gardening is a great move for the entire family. It can be daunting working out Ask yourself (or your kids!) what do your kids love eating? Strawberries? Lettuce? Carrots? That can be a great place to start on your gardening journey. What you can plant over summer around Melbourne: Amaranth, Basil Beans, Beetroo, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussel's Sprouts, Cabbage, Capsicum, Carrot, Chicory, Chilli, Chives, Coriander, Cucumber, Eggplant, Endive Fennel, Kohl Rabi, Leek, Lettuce, Mustard, Greens, Okra,

Onion, Oregano, Parsley, Parsnip, Pumpkin, Radish, Rocket, Rockmelon, Shallot, Siverbeet, Squash, Sunflower, Swede, Sweet Corn, Tomato, Turnip, Watermelon What you need: ■ Seeds or seedlings Seeds can be purchased online through places such as The Diggers Club and Backyard Seeds. Generally, local nurseries will also have a selection. You may prefer to start with seedlings rather than growing seeds from scratch. Seedlings can be purchased from local nurseries and local farmer's markets. ■ Punnets Some seeds require being started in punnets rather than sowing directly in the garden. For these seeds, you'll need punnets and somewhere sunny and warm. Punnets can me made using things like toilet paper rolls, empty milk cartons and even rolled up newspaper. You can also purchase them at nurseries and hardware stores. ■ Good soil Start seeds in seed raising mix. This will give you the best germination rate. Make sure beds (or pots!) have lots of

well-rotted organic matter and give them a dig over to loosen up the soil and prepare the bed. ■ Mulch Mulching will help keep weeds at bay and also plant beds moist and this means less need for watering. There are lots of options for mulch! Consider the "miles" involved in getting mulch to your garden. While sugar can mulch is popular, it all has to be transported down from Queensland. Straw or pea straw is also a good option. Some people will even lay newspaper or cardboard down around their plants. ■ Watering can/hose A hose or watering can will help you keep those seedlings hydrated. Be careful watering seedlings when they're very young as it's easy to damage them with too much water pressure. For the same reason, try not to water seeds after planting until they've germinated moisten soil when you plant them and then cover them so they stay moist. ■ Gardening gloves Gardening gloves are a must especially for children! Most potting mixes advise avoiding contact with bare skin and there are all sorts of

creepy crawlies in the garden. ■ Trowel You'll need a trowel for preparing beds for your seedlings and even digging up weeds. Trowels are inexpensive and a very handy and versatile gardening too. Top tips Start small. If you're new to growing things focus on a few plants and see how you go before investing in more. Follow growing instructions on seed packets or pot labels. If something says grow in winter, chances are it's not going to thrive in summer One of the most eco-friendly ways to deal with slugs and snails in the garden is to head out with torches on a wet night. Pick slugs and snails off plants and either squash them or put them in a bottle full of water with the lid on. Did you know? If you save the root section (and about 2cm above) of a spring onion and leave in water, the top will grow back! Early summer is not too late to grow tomatoes! Pick up a plant from your local nursery, add lots of well-rotted manure or compost to the bed (or pot) and enjoy those delicious fruits.

What breeds of dogs are best for families? TRYING to decide on what sort of dog might suit your family best can be a daunting prospect. Temperament, longevity, energy levels and even things like shedding, herding instincts and tendency to bark are all issues that need to be considered. Lorraine Van Orsouw knows all about dogs. She is a sought after dog trainer, canine expert and tertiary educator and - lucky for locals - is based in the Dandenong Ranges. Lorraine gives us the scoop on popular breeds and what to think about when considering whether they'll be a good fit for you and your family. All dogs have their own unique personalities and needs. It's easy to get caught up in fad breeds without really understanding the intrinsic differences between them. "Genetics, prior learning and the environment all play a part in your pet's behaviour," Lorraine explains. "Some are more placid than others. Before acquiring a pet it is important to research the origins and purpose of the breed to see if it will be suitable for your family and lifestyle and the time you have to train them." Working dogs This includes breeds such as Border Collies, Kelpies, Australian Shepherds and Australian Cattle Dogs. Working dogs were all originally bred to work livestock. "They love having a job to do and can develop behaviour problems if their needs are not met," Lorraine explains. "They have a tendency to nip and can get very excited by the movement and squealing of younger children."

Larger breeds This includes breeds such as Rottweiler, Mastiffs and Rhodesian Ridgebacks. "They can get along well with children and be protective of their family," says Lorraine. "But supervision and good training is vital." Small breeds This includes popular breeds such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Pugs, Poodles and French Bulldogs. "They love human company - it's what they were

bred for," says Lorraine. "Cavaliers are very popular as they are very gentle and sweet natured. This doesn't mean that they should be treated like a toy either!" Lorraine also points out that children lack spatial awareness. "Many of the smaller breeds can learn that growling and snapping can make things go away. It works well for them and they learn they can get away with the behaviour because they are small and not considered dangerous," Lorraine

explains. "But is this is still a behaviour that should be addressed by separation and giving the dog some space." Do you have friends with pets and a similar lifestyle to you? Ask them about what sort of dog they have and how the dog fits in. Spend time with their dogs take them for walks, find out about any challenging behaviours and, if possible, even have them spend some time at your house to give you a sense of how that type of dog might fit in with your life. SUMMER 2019/2020 25

IT'S CHRISTMAS TIME Top tips for a

calm Christmas little things like gifts, food platters and Christmas clothes are organised at least a day in advance from an event.

CHRISTMAS is coming. Are you feeling calm or frazzled? We are here to help! Our range of Kids magazines are written entirely by mothers. Our writing team comprises busy working mums with kids aged zero to 15. We work while our kids are at school, kinder, daycare or with family. We work when they can often when the kids are in bed and sometimes late into the night. We know what it’s like to juggle. Christmas is no exception. So, as we round the corner into the silly season, we called upon our mumwriters to share their tips for a calm Christmas. We also turned to Amy Revell, Melbourne mum, professional organiser and podcaster for expert calm home advice. Amy runs an online de-cluttering course called, “Head, Heart & Home” which inspired us for this article. HOME 1. Declutter toys “If you have time before Christmas, sit with your kids and go through their toy collection. Anything they no longer used can be given away to make space for new gifts”, suggests Amy. “This is a great activity to do with your children in December is to do a thorough declutter of their toys. Use the opportunity when you know they’re likely to receive new toys for Christmas to work with them to donate and declutter toys they no longer love and play with. Clear out space so that after Christmas when it’s time to put new toys away you actually have space to fit them and find a home for everything”. 2. Clear out hard rubbish Go around the main living and entertaining areas in your home and

HEART Gifts should come from the heart, not just from your head and purse. If you can set aside to give your gift giving some extra thought, you will find the joy of giving that is so easily lost in all the haze of frantic shopping. 1. Go Christmas List Shopping

declutter the obvious un-wanted, un-needed and broken items in your house. Anything that cannot be donated can be discarded. Tip: do it right away; don’t leave bags of rubbish at your front door or clogging up your car. 3. Donate to others

everything together. The wrapping station could be a big plastic tub in the corner of your living room or a designated shelf in a cupboard. Eliza: I have a separate set of cutlery, plates and glasses that I have ready to go for entertaining.

Consider not selling your gently loved toys and usable household goods and donating instead. Drop these off to a charity organisation near you and they could have a second life with another family this Christmas. Important: remember to actually drop donations off as soon as possible and do not leave them in the back of your car until New Year!


4. Make stations

Rachel: At this time of the year, you can almost start treating your calendar like another family member. Give it lots of attention by checking in every couple of days. You can plan some things weeks in advance, but make sure the

Rachel: Set up a “wrapping station” before Christmas. Other than paper, ribbon and labels, ensure to include scissors and sticky tape and remind other family members to keep

Get your mental load organised. Crack out your calendar and face the reality of your time. If you haven’t started filling your diaries in detail, now is the time to get organised. 1. Make friends with your calendar

Rachel: Take your kids to two or three shops that sell things that you know they like and get them to wander around and look at everything. We call this “Christmas List Shopping”. Once they show you what they like, you can take a photo and make a note of the price. When you get home, help them to write a letter to Santa, take a photo of it and post it. 2. Buy experiences Amy: This year get creative in your gift giving and think about moving away from physical gifts to giving experiences. We often do this for adults, but it’s fantastic for kids too. Think movie tickets, play centre passes, local theatre group ticket, theme park voucher, lessons for a hobby (craft, music, theatre, sport), there are so many great experiences for kids. Contributors: Amy Revell, mum of 2, Professional Organiser and owner of The Art of Decluttering Rachel Hickingbotham, mum of 3, writer - Casey Cardinia Kids & Knox Monash Kids. Eliza Henry-Jones, mum of 1, writer Yarra Ranges Kids & Geelong Coast Kids.

Best gifts this Christmas WITH Christmas just around the corner, it can be hard to come up with fresh ideas for the children and loved ones in our lives who seemingly have it all. Below is a list of a few ideas, from toys to something perfect for a first-time mum. 3. PRAM POUCH BY ZOOZARO

1. CUBBIES FROM GINGERBREAD COTTAGE CO Fancy something special in your garden? The Gingerbread Cottage Co have been building high quality, unique cubby houses for over 20 years. Features include polished floorboards, period details, can be dismantled and re-assembled, all come prepainted. More like a little cottage than just a cubby. Sizes start at 1.8 x 1.5m. Prices from $2,700. Available from Gingerbread Cubbies, phone 1300 798 040 or visit www.

2. KINDERFEETS BALANCE BIKE AND TINY TOT TRIKE Kinderfeets are wooden balance bikes designed to ease a child’s transition to riding a pedal-powered bicycle. Kinderfeets don’t just look stunning, they’re also ergonomically designed to provide the perfect transition experience. Children as young as 12 months can start with the entry-level Tiny Tot. The durable, European-styled wooden balance bikes provide a safe, confidence-building transition from a child’s first ride-on to pedal-powered bicycles. The Tiny Tot Trikes are $134.99 for coloured bikes and $144.99 for bamboo. The Balance Bikes are $159.99 for coloured and $169.99 for bamboo. Visit Toot Toot Toys for more, or 637 Centre Road, Bentleigh.

26 SUMMER 2019/2020

Light and portable, yet strong and durable, the Zoozaro Pram Pouch fits all popular pram brands and is perfect for any type of outing. It’s the backpack for your stroller and pram. No need to carry one yourself - let the pram do all the work! It makes outings with children simple and stress free. It’s the perfect gift this Christmas! The Pram Pouch is $74.95, free shipping in Australia. For more, visit

4. PEPPERMINT TREEHOUSE ENGINEERING ADVENTURE This award winning gift for kids, aged 8 years and up, is a comprehensive STEM kit focusing on engineering, pulleys, gears, circuits and their practical applications. Available from Windmill Toys, 591 Whitehorse Road Mont Albert or

Reality Bites

LETTERS FILLED with love By Narelle Coulter EACH January I sit down and write a letter to my children. My daughter is 11 and my son 7. The letters are not for them now. When I am finished writing, I seal the pages in an envelope, write the child’s name on the front, date it and then pop it in a special box kept on the top shelf of the wardrobe in my bedroom. On their 21st birthdays I will open the box and give them 21 letters, one for each year of their life. In this digital age, childhood is documented and recorded like never before.

milestones like birthdays, christenings and first days at school, but also ordinary, every day moments.

they made about the world around them and tell stories that illustrate who they are.

what they like to wear as those things change as surely as their bodies change and grow.

Images of our children are not only filed away in albums the old-fashioned way, but posted on social media, mounted on canvas, printed onto calendars and mugs and distributed by email and text to family and friends.

I always write in pen on nice note paper. It’s much easier on a computer. However, I want my handwriting to be a connection to me from the past.

In one letter I remind my son about that how when watching Play School he would call out to me to guess which window the presenters were going to look through that day.

I do that with my children too. But I didn’t want pictures and video to be the only record of their formative years. The letters started from a deeper desire to capture not only what they look like, say and do, but who they are as individuals.

Photographs, some of them taken professionally, start when baby is still in the womb.

Childhood is a time of rapid growth and change. Each year I try to capture what each child is like at a particular age.

When he or she emerges, cameras and smart phones are constantly at hand ready to record not only

I write to them about their likes and dislikes, new skills they mastered that year, funny things they said, discoveries

In my son’s letter last year I wrote about his first year at school. How proud I was to see him eagerly hoist his enormous school bag on his back and eagerly follow his sister through the school gate as a proper school boy. In my daughter’s letter I wrote about her maturing social relationships, her generosity and her role as a problem solver and healer among her friendship group. I also wrote about how perplexed she was by the changing relationships between boys and girls as she approached those critical pubity years. I write about the games they like to play, the television shows they watch,

Both my children are born in January so it is the perfect time to write about the year that has gone, who they are at the age they are about to leave behind. In some letters I include important family milestones. In 2014 their father and I separated and later divorced. In the letters that year I explain why the marriage failed from my point of view. Children can’t possibly understand the reasons a marriage falls apart. Hopefully, as adults, they will. Ultimately, I hope my gift will be one of the most special they ever receive. A humble collection of love letters from the past.

Water survival skills keep kids afloat as an activity.

AT Glen Eira Leisure, the team believe that learning swimming and water safety is an essential life-saving skill.

Progressing through the Swim School aims to develop your child's confidence in their water safety and swimming skills.

They know how important it is for children to learn water survival skills from an early age.

However, it's not just about fun swimming also provides a range of health and wellbeing benefits!

The Swim School at Glen Eira Sports and Aquatic Centre (GESAC) enables children of any age or ability to take part in swimming.

Swimming helps keep your child's heart and lungs healthy, builds strength and flexibility, improves balance, posture and stamina.

A new Aqua Play Group session is available for three to six month olds (accompanied in the water by a parent). It's a great opportunity for parents to get in the water with their bub and begin to familiarise themselves with water and gain confidence. The sessions are led by an instructor with songs, games, submersion and floating activities. Lessons in the Swim School are available for children 6 months and up. At GESAC, programs have a strong technical focus while maintaining a fun environment - ensuring that children

Swim school creates opportunities to meet new friends and grow confidence in socialising. master the essential skills and technique. Students will progress through the structured levels at their own pace with the guidance of caring and qualified teachers. The Little Buccaneers classes (under three) encourages water confidence with a parent present. They involve specially adapted

games, songs and routines aimed at water familiarisation and development of safety and swimming skills. They are held in the wellness program pool (heated to 34 degrees) which is a comfortable environment for both parents and children. The swimming programs teach children vital skills, but also promotes how fun and enjoyable swimming is

Water confidence, health and fun are not the only benefits to your child learning to swim. Swimming also opens up the door to a range of other activities. It is also more accessible for children with additional needs than most other sports. Come join the Swim School at Glen Eira Leisure - the team look forward to seeing you! SUMMER 2019/2020 27

Reality Bites

ON THE MOVE with 16 kids By Rachel Hickingbotham TRAVELLING in a group of 21, when 16 of them are your own children is not for the faint-hearted. Holidays for the Bonell family, Australia's biggest, are usually short, sweet and on a tight budget, however earlier this year, parents Jeni and Ray Bonell surprised their kids with something extra special. They called a family meeting around the dinner table - "Mum and I have some news", announced Ray "anyone want to guess what it is?". Understandably, many of the children's guesses were "a new little brother or sister" followed closely by hopes of a pet dog. "First things first, Mum is not pregnant ... sorry ... and we are most definitely not getting a dog!", Jeni announced in her family YouTube video. The big news was that the couple had a holiday planned for their children. Everyone was invited including the eldest kids and their new babies. Before long a total of 21 tickets were booked for Port Douglas with promises of a day trip out to the Great Barrier Reef.

The Bonell Family (with one of their grandchildren) getting ready for their big family holiday.

Jeni's Big Family Packing Tips

"For most of us, this is the first time on a plane!", Jeni said.

1. Make Lists

Jeni Bonell is used to juggling life with her big family.

Get as organised as possible before you go. Give your kids a list of clothes they will need based on the weather forecast.

Her number one tip for travelling with children "is to organise as much a possible before a holiday to make the most of the time away".

2. Plan Outfits Lay out each day's outfit to decide on what you need to take. Take only what you need and do not over pack.

For the Bonells this means lists upon lists. "I am the Queen of Lists", laughs Jeni. "I made lists of all of our bags and what was in each one". Each suitcase had a matching ribbon tied onto it and was well-labelled and numbered.

3. Divide and Conquer

All 18 members of the Bonell family. 16 children ages 5 to 30.

"We count the bags as they come off the airport carousel".

forgot that some of the kids get motion sickness".

Although the Bonell family packed as light as possible, they still had a mountain of luggage.

Jeni is a caring mum but couldn't help giggling when explaining the crazy sight of her and Ray bouncing around the boat on choppy seas assisting vomiting children.

"I put a limit to 10 bags for the 21 of us. Two whole bags were just our 21 beach towels!", explained Jeni. When looking for places to stay, Jeni found searching online for accommodation that would house her entire family was very limiting. "All of the online accommodation companies only allowed her to search for up to 6 children". That's when came in. " was able to help us find enough space for us all. We booked 3 villas with 3 bedrooms each". The holiday involved two buses and one plane ride which sounds simple. Imagine that with a group of 21. "Everyone had a buddy for the bus rides and the plane, so no-one got left behind", explained Jeni. It's safe to say that no matter how organised you are, life will always throw curve balls. On their day trip to the reef, Jeni said that "9 of us found our sea-legs while 13 found sea-sickness bags". In all of her organising, Jeni admits "I

28 SUMMER 2019/2020

"Having a big family eliminates your time to sweat the small stuff". Having a big family like this doesn't happen by accident. We were fascinated to hear that when Jeni was married at 19, she didn't want kids. Her husband Ray, arguably Australia's most persuasive partner, is one of 6 siblings and had his heart set on lots of children. He inspired his wife to try for one baby and, before long, Jeni was convincing Ray for a third child. "I agreed to have one, maybe two kids, but it was actually me who asked for number three because I loved being a mum so much," Jeni explained. "It is not for everyone, but it feels right for us". Jeni's love of being a mother grew with the birth of each child. "Each and every child is a gift for us". Now at aged 50, Jeni and Ray have 16 children ranging from 5 to 30 and are more than happy to welcome more babies in their lives. These days they are

fulfilling their craving for baby snuggles as grandparents since their two eldest children have had their first baby each. "These days we have only 13 of them living at home and counting out that few dinner plates still doesn't feel right". Jeni admits that all is right in her world when the entire family comes together for a Sunday roast and 21 plus plates are laid out. The Bonell family shares a big part of their large family logistics on social media including an ongoing series of YouTube videos. Jeni's inspirational rostering system to get their kids helping in their busy home plus tips on saving money by meal prepping are proving helpful to other families, big and small. "We do not put up the posts about our lives to get attention, we do it to share and help others. As mothers we should build each other up not pull each other down". One of the ways Jeni does this is by starting her week by sharing motivational words. Just as she says, her family of 16 did not grow by accident and believes that "people don't succeed by accident either. It takes standards, hard work, dedication, sacrifice and persistence". Her children have learnt this and will carry these lessons throughout their entire lives.

Pack each child's clothes and one pair of extra shoes into named totes/bags or packing cubes. Then pack them all together into a rolling suitcase. Make sure you include a plastic bag for each child to pack their dirty shoes into. 4. Colour-code and Number Bags Tie a bright ribbon in the same colour onto each of your bags. Number each suitcase and make a note of how many bags you need to count off the carousel.

The Bonell Kids Imagine needing to remember them all in order, not to mention their birthdays! 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Jesse Brooke Claire Natalie Karl Samuel Cameron Sabrina Tim Brandon Eve Nate Rachel Eric Damian Katelyn

Books The book to get you

back into play By Danielle Galvin

and my 2-year-old boy was just not interested in doing craft."

LIKE many great ideas, Alice Zsembery's book 'Real Kids, Real Play' was born from a gap in the market.

In her own words, Alice, a maritime engineer and port planner, is not all that creative.

When the Stonnington mum welcomed her second child, she quickly discovered she needed to entertain her 2-year-old son who was climbing the walls as the newborn slept.

That's why she needed a resource she could quickly turn to.

And she wanted a way to keep him engaged that didn't involve a screen. Real Kids, Real Play has more than 150 quick, easy and "old-school" activities to keep 0-5-year-olds busy and stimulate their creativity. "I had a 2-year-old boy literally pulling the house apart and I was stuck with what to do with him," she explained. "Like many parents these days, I bought him everything he could ever want or dream of, under the misconception that would keep him occupied but he wasn't actually engaged or doing any activity. "It was kind of then that I was looking desperately to find something to keep him entertained. "All I could find was books on crafts,

What she wanted was a book that had it all - activities using basic household items that could be quickly and easily set up. "I was looking for a book that had activities I could do at home with him, it was really simple. I was surprised I couldn't find it anywhere," she said. "That was when I really saw a gap for a coffee table book or reference book, where you could be guaranteed you can do the activity and set it up in a few minutes and that it would be engaging. "It was one of those cases of, it doesn't exist and I believe in it strongly so I thought I'll do it myself." Alice says it has been a labour of love creating the book. She tried and tested 200 or more activities with her own kids, determined to ensure that the activities met all of her criteria. "There's so many misconceptions and

Alice with her children Emily and Tom.

pressures on modern day parents," she said. "There's this myth that the more your child has, the better set up they are or that kids need to entertained constantly or that the best toys are the most fancy. "Kids need to exercise their own imagination." The beauty is in the fact that the book is a simple concept - Alice wanted to see a return to the way many of us used to engage in creative, unbridled play. The book has become a resource for early childhood professionals and has been endorsed by Maggie Dent. "There's quite a big market for people like my mum who have to think about entertaining grandkids," she said.

Picture: Rob Carew

"I get a lot of feedback from people that it's how they used to play when they were little - which is really lovely." The other benefit to the book is the fact it finds ways to reuse and recycle basic items. Alice is passionate about the fact that parents sometimes put too much pressure on themselves to get their child every toy - and so often young children end up with a room full of toys they never play with. She believes there's a lot to be said about less is more. Real Kids, Real Play is available in all good bookstores and online at www.

Children’s books...

Disgusting McGrossface

Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas

Pearl The Brave Unicorn

Rove McManus

Lucinda Gifford

TV personality Rove McManus has ventured into the world of children’s books and the result is a bit, well, disgusting. Rove’s story centres around a creature called Disgusting McGrossface, who reeks because he hasn’t bathed for weeks and has a collection of snot-filled tissues. Kids will love the rhyming text in this tale that spells out all kinds of terrible hygiene habits (some of which your child may have). They will also enjoy Rove’s colourful and animated illustrations. Who knew the TV host was such a talented illustrator?

OOPS they did it again - chicks Whitney and Britney have spent another day dozing! The two glamorous chooks snooze from morning until night as they lead a fun, but tiring, secret double life. Every night they head to Club Sparkles where they perform as Whitney and Britney the Chicken Divas. The clucky pair live with the elegant Dora von Dooze, who is totally clueless to why the two chicks spend their days dozing. But will the chicks’ secret unravel when Dora spots some glitter on Whitney’s wing? A fun read for kids aged 3+.

Sally Odgers & Adele K Thomas

Scholastic, RRP $16.99

Scholastic, RRP $17.99

A CUTE tale about a smart unicorn discovering her magical abilities. Pearl the Unicorn and her Ogre friend, Olive, are throwing a surprise birthday party for their friend Tweet the bird. However, not all goes to plan. First Pearl’s magic delivers a wet birthday cake and froggy balloons. And then Olive is a no-show! The search for Olive takes Pearl and Tweet to places they have never been. A peanut trail leads the pair to their dear friend, who has unfortunately been abducted by gobble-uns. Will Olive make it to the party? Scholastic, RRP $12.99

The Odd 1s Out: How to be cool and other things I definitely learned from growing up James Rallison EVER feel like the odd one out? Many kids do at some stage - even the ones who become famous! In this hilarious book, YouTube star James Rallison shares his stories of growing up as the ‘odd one out’. During high school, Rallison wasn’t in the cool crowd. He wasn’t partying or playing footy like his older brother. Instead, he posted comics on the web. Now Rallison is an internet sensation, with his YouTube channel ‘The Odd 1s Out’ amassing over 11 million subscribers. A funny read for tweens and teens about the trials and tribulations of growing up.

A Flair for Hair By Bilyana & Mauro Di Costanzo A FUN book about expressing yourself through hair styles. Each page features an amusing caricature-style illustration of an animal with it’s chosen hairdo, including a camel with buzz cut and a lion with a curling iron. This lovely children’s book is an excellent early reader for both girls and boys due to the high frequency of easy words and rhymes. A Flair for Hair is both an enjoyable and educational book for ages 3+. New Holland Publishers support the Starlight Children’s Foundation New Holland, RRP $19.99

Scholastic, RRP $19.99

SUMMER 2019/2020 29

Reality Bites August is

birthday month for the Murrays

By Rachel Hickingbotham IT’S not that unusual to meet the love of your life in a city on the other side of the world from your home. But what are the chances of meeting someone from your own country who also has the same birthday as you? Ten years ago, Wayne Murray originally from Dublin, Ireland, was on a two week holiday to China. There he met Lynda, an Irish expat living and working in Shanghai. “We had a holiday romance“, says Lynda. It is not common to meet other Irish people in Shanghai, and even rarer to meet someone with the same birthday as yours. The two are both born on August 31st. The couple hit it off and were more than happy to share birthdays from then on, After keeping in touch via Facebook and Skype for 8 months, Lynda moved to Australia to live with Wayne, where he had settled. “We got engaged, got a dog, got another dog, two kids. Back seat is full“, said Lynda in her gorgeous Irish accent.

Wayne’s lives, they devoted all their attention to “their original fur babies“, two designer-bred “cavoodles“, Nacho and Bella. “They are part of the family; they go everywhere with us”. Sadly, the dogs are not August born (I had to check).

Lydia and Wayne Murray with children Elora and Fionn.

it was a pleasant surprise that she was due in August. And then, without any prior planning, their son, Fionn, was born on 30th August - exceedingly close to his parents’ joint birthday. “We didn’t plan to have August babies!“ exclaimed Lynda.

to share your birthday with your husband, Lynda admits that “It is good and bad“. “The big birthdays like 30ths and 40ths have preference when it comes to celebrations,“ she explained.

August is now birthday month in the Murray household.

Wayne celebrated his 40th two years ago and Lynda laughs “I am not sure I got acknowledged“.

The Murray family now live in Narre Warren with their two adorable children and two beloved dogs.

“It’s now more expensive than Christmas!”, laughs Lynda, who plans to head back to visit family in Ireland for Fionn’s first birthday next August.

“I think in the future we will have one big family birthday. But I will still hold out for me getting my own big 40th birthday“.

When they had their first baby, Elora,

When asked what it was like to have

“It’s funny to meet a guy in China, from Ireland with the same birthday as you. And now we live in Australia. Sounds complicated,“ she added.

Before babies came into Lynda and

“That would be just crazy!“, exclaims Lynda. The Murrays are yet to decide if they will have any more children. “If I am brave enough I will go again for three kids. But as I said, my back seat is full with two kids and two dogs!“. When asked if they will try for another August child, Lynda says that she is happy to “leave it up to chance”. If I was the gambling type, I know which month I would put my money on.

Living with Rett Syndrome By Jessica Anstice

at the Royal Children’s Hospital where it was confirmed she had Rett Syndrome.”

IN 2017 Longwarry mother Kylie McCormack found out her daughter, Stevie, was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome.

Stevie is a “very happy little girl” who will forever require 24/7 care.

Rett Syndrome is a rare genetic mutation that affects the brain and nervous system of predominantly girls. The disease, which is estimated to affect one in 9000 people, has prevented five-year-old Stevie from ever being able to crawl, walk or talk. Stevie was born with Rett Syndrome but unfortunately the effects of the mutation don’t become visible until six to 18-months-old which is when most children are diagnosed. With Rett Syndrome a child will develop ‘normally’ - rolling over, crawling, walking and talking, until regression starts. This is when they start to lose all ownership of their own bodies. Everything is affected from their hand movements to their speech and most cases, their ability to walk. “As there isn’t a great deal of awareness of Rett Syndrome there were lots of symptoms but as she is A -Typical she didn’t quite tick all the boxes,’ Ms McCormack explained. “We were all given a blood test which was sent off to the genetics department 30 SUMMER 2019/2020

“She has her moments like most five-year-old children and can have a tantrum but generally if she’s upset there’s something wrong,” she said. “The hardest part for us would be she is unable to communicate. When she is upset she cannot tell you whether she has a pain the stomach, has an itch or is feeling unwell. It’s a guessing game. “It can be something as simple as her fingers are stuck underneath her and have gone numb but unless you move the blanket back and see it she can’t tell you. It’s hard to see her so upset and not know why.” The young girl understands everything that is said to her however struggles with the response. “She’s very smart. Stevie’s communication comes from her eyes. She will look at what she wants and generally that’s the easiest way to tell,” she added. At this stage there is no cure for Rett Syndrome but professionals are working “extremely hard” to find one. A few medical trials are underway with Stevie’s name down for a paediatric trial next year.

Five-year-old Stevie was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, a rare genetic mutation that affects the brain and nervous system of predominantly girls.

Kids Calendar

What’s on

this summer


As always, Rudolph’s birthday will also be celebrated at Santa’s Magical Kingdom.

Anthony Callea, Melbourne Gospel choir and the Pevan and Sarah Christmas show.

Visit au

Come along for live Christmas carols, market stalls, delicious food, the annual book and uniform swap, and a visit from Santa.


Carols in the Park will be held from 5.30pm to 8.15pm at Bentleigh Hodgson Reserve, Higgins Road, Bentleigh.


There will be plenty of delicious food options available too.

5pm-9pm, Sandringham College 11 Holloway Road.

Christmas in Carnegie will be a spectacular affair with a selection of circus acts.


Well-known entertainer Terry Cole will be MC for the day.

Come and support wonderful Australian made and hand made products, body care, homewares, fresh produce, music and food trucks to enjoy while you shop for special Christmas gifts.

Santa will be there on the day giving away gifts and candy canes. There will be balloon artists, face painters, rides on the Thomas the Tank engine and plenty more. 11am-2pm, Koornang Road

12 DECEMBER GLEN EIRA DADS GROUP THURSDAY 1-29 DECEMBER SANTA’S MAGICAL KINGDOM CAULFIELD RACECOURSE Now in its 8th year, this much-loved family event marks the start of the festive season for many. Running until 29 December, Santa’s Magical Kingdom’s delightful walkthrough wonderland includes Snowland, a meeting with Santa, Gingerbread Land, a Christmas Circus Spectacular Show and unlimited rides, plus plenty more!

Run by the City of Glen Eira, this is an opportunity for local dads to get together. It’s on from 9:30-11.30am at the Glen Huntly Maternal and Child Health Centre, Corner Royal and Rosedale Avenues. Call 9524 3403 for more information.

14 DECEMBER CAROLS IN THE PARK Join us for this year’s festive celebration, Carols in the Park featuring


Runs 10.30am-4pm daily, for tickets and pricing visit https://www.

11-19 JANUARY NGV KIDS SUMMER FESTIVAL These school holidays, come along to the NGV for the annual NGV Kids Summer Festival. There will be plenty to do, with workshops and free hands-on activities for kids. Carers and parents need to accompany children. For more, visit

Beaumaris Community Centre, 10am-4pm

24 DECEMBER BEAUMARIS COMMUNITY CAROLS A long-standing community Carols-ByCandlelight event run by St Martins Uniting Church at the Beaumaris Community Centre. 7.15pm-9.30pm.





Running until mid 2020, the kids will love the Gruffalo Trail at Rippon Lea Estate.

Celebrating its’ 40th year, St Kilda Festival has something for everyone including kids entertainment,, carnival rides and plenty more.

The interactive, self-guided trail brings the books to life throughout the 14 acres of the estate.

The festival is on the St Kilda Foreshore and attracts 400,000 people annually. SUMMER 2019/2020 31




but not as you know it. Perfectly positioned in pristine Mt Martha, Martha Bay offers a choice of immaculately presented residences for the discerning downsizer.


















Display villas open from 4 December



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Freecall: 1800 998 990 Information Request I wish to receive (Please tick): A phone call from an RCA Villages representative. Martha Bay Brochure.



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