It’s one thing keeping up with your own self-love/mindful/diet/fitness regime, but what about one for your little one too?
Whether it’s enrolling them in gymnastics, taking them to Nature Play or buying the latest fad sensory toy, we all try to encourage healthy mental and physical habits for our kiddos. Keeping fun in mind through all of this is also an art.
Lucky for us, local artist and illustrator Jana Rushforth has come up with an easy and ADORABLE way to encourage mini mindfulness…
Happiful Journal, a print-at-home daily gratitude journal for kiddos. This 98 page ebook is a place for your child to connect with their emotions, cultivate gratitude and nurture their curious mind. In addition, there are 20+ fun activity pages for your child to do during the school holidays, when you go out to dinner or even on a rainy day!
Kiddos can also customise the journals by choosing the hair colour, style and skin tone of their cover. The journal is available in colour and monochrome too, which kiddos can colour-in themselves!
We chatted to Jana about her new journal and inspirations:
What skills, both practical and mental, do you think Happiful Journal will assist kiddos with?
The Happiful Journal can assist kiddos with their bedtime routine and help them relax and unwind before sleep. It also shows kiddos it’s important to prioritise self-care, by taking 10 minutes to mindfully write or draw about their day.
I designed the journal with illustrations, written prompts and exercises for kids to use their creativity. These encourage them to use their creative skills like drawing, writing or colouring-in to quiet their thinking minds. The journal also helps kids process their emotions by introducing them to the idea of seeing and identifying emotions through cute emoji illustrations.
How did you learn mindfulness and gratitude yourself? Or what practices do you use yourself?
I experienced post-natal depression and to help me I started journaling what I was grateful for each day. I found each day I could find three things I was grateful for and this practice really helped my mental health. I use drawing as a mindfulness practice to process my feelings and thoughts, it brings me back to the present moment and stops my brain overthinking.
I also make sure that every day I go outside and just be present in nature. This could be looking at the clouds, picking a flower, watering the garden or watching a bee. I find doing all these things brings mindfulness and gratitude to my daily life.
*10% of the journal sale will be donated to Kids Helpline.
The Happiful Journal is available at www.wordfinders.club
The print-at-home ebook is $24 and the made to order hardcopy is $45.
There is also a free printable daily journal page at: www.wordfinders.club/printables
CORONAVIRUS CONVERSATIONS WITH THE KIDS
Child mental health experts urge parents to talk to children about coronavirus
Children are not immune to the community fear and anxiety caused by COVID-19 and require nurturing and reassurance to support their emotional wellbeing over the coming months, says infant and child mental health advocate, Emerging Minds.
Emerging Minds is urging Australian parents to consider the impact that coronavirus reactions and prevention measures may be having on their children, and acknowledge their concerns.
“Children’s daily lives are quickly changing, they’re being asked to wash their hands more than ever before, keep a safe distance from others, stay away from grandparents in aged care, and are seeing school camps, outings and sport cancelled,” said Emerging Minds Director Brad Morgan.
“As adults we have the potential to make sense of these necessary measures and distil facts from speculation, but our children don’t have that capacity.”
Mr Morgan said it was important for parents to have regular, open and honest conversations starting with open questions about what children are feeling and what they’re seeing and hearing.
“Children are naturally inquisitive so it’s important that parents create opportunities for them to ask questions,” he said.
“Parents should answer honestly but also in hopeful and positive ways to avoid worsening their child’s concerns. The level of detail they provide will vary depending on their child’s age and psychological and emotional maturity.
“Parents should ensure that they are using reliable sources of information about COVID-19, any misinformation their children have should be corrected, and they should discuss the measures being taken by the government, the community and what they can do as a family to help prevent the virus spreading.
Adults also need to be conscious of their own emotions, Mr Morgan says, as children are very sensitive to changes in their parent, teacher or caregiver’s mood and behaviours.
“Children are often reluctant to share their own concerns if they think they will upset the adults they rely on,” he said. “This leaves them to manage their fears and feelings on their own.
“But with positive, open interaction with trusted adults, children can work through their feelings and avoid becoming distressed, which can lead to them becoming anxious and experiencing emotional and behavioural issues.”
Emerging Minds has these tips on how parents can help their children understand the virus:
• Create time and space on a regular basis for children to ask questions, but don’t force them to talk if they don’t want to
• Maintain routines as you find a ‘new’ family rhythm – with sport and other activities being cancelled, maintain as many other routines and rituals as possible
• Celebrate newfound free time created by cancelled events to make new family experiences, such as daily walks, eating dinner together, or extra stories at bedtime – things you may not normally have fitted into busier daily routines
• Be conscious of how you talk about COVID-19 – don’t be flippant or catastrophise
• Communicate hope by talking about the actions that are being taken to prepare, to stay safe
and to recover. Talk to children about what is happening in the community, what you’re
doing at home and ways that they can help
• Limit your child’s exposure to media coverage about COVID-19 – sit with them to explain
what’s happening and how it affects you
• Make sure you are using reliable sources of information such as the Department of Health
(https://www.health.gov.au), Health Direct (https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/coronavirus) and UNICEF (https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/covid-19). Correct any misinformation your child may receive
• Provide comfort, reassurance and support if they’re upset or feeling scared
• Give young children time to play – it’s time they use to work through their feelings
• Set up some of your own rituals around how to avoid being distracted by your phone or
other devices when you are talking, playing or spending time with your children (some parents find it helps to turn their devices on silent or off, and put them in another room when they are playing with their children so that they aren’t tempted to regularly check in or distracted when alerts pop up)
• Find ways to keep children connected with loved ones that might be unable to be close to them due to self-isolation, work or illness, such as video calls
• Before you start a conversation with your child, check in with yourself. Are you ready to talk about this? Are you prepared for questions that might come? Do you have enough accurate information? And importantly, do you have your own worries, concerns or anxiety about these events?
Information provided by Emerging Minds
Emerging Minds is dedicated to advancing the mental health and emotional wellbeing of Australian infants, children, adolescents and their families. The organisation leads the National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health. Emerging Minds develops mental health policy, services, interventions, training, programs and resources in response to the needs of professionals, children and their families. We partner with family members, national and international organisations to implement evidence-based practice into the Australian context. Our resources are freely available at www.emergingminds.com.au.
The National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health is funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Health under the National Support for Child and Youth Mental Health Program.
HOW TO EMBRACE 2020 WITH TARYN BRUMFITT
Film Director, Author, Speaker, Mumma of 3, 2019 Australian of the Year, SA Finalist 2019 SA Winner Excellence in Women’s Leadership 2018 The Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence Finalist tarynbrumfitt.com
The best thing about running late for my column deadline this edition is that I’ve been able to put a hold on all things body image (for now) and instead focus on a real pressing issue – the Coronavirus. It feels so surreal, doesn’t it? Just a month ago everything was relatively normal, 2020 started with a bang, we had the Tour Down Under, then Superloops, the Fringe and now…. social distancing.
Social distancing is a phrase I’ve never even used in my life and before I could blink at my son’s soccer match the kids were tapping shoes instead of the standard handshake at the end of the game, weddings were cancelled, flights were grounded and the toilet paper saga began.
When it all got a bit crazy in those first few days I rang a friend of mine and called an emergency coffee meeting at Trouble and Strife. I confided in her I was feeling something that most people weren’t – I was feeling optimistic.
Now, big disclaimer before I go on, I’m not an asshole. Of course I feel devastated for people losing their jobs and all of the small businesses closing down. I feel deep sadness for the lives lost and all of the sick people. But, for the planet I feel nothing but joy.
Planet earth is getting a break from us, fish are swimming in crystal clear water in Venice, the swans have returned to the canals and if this sounds too feel-good Disney Movie like, data from the European Space Agency’s satellite, which measures concentrations of greenhouse gases and pollutants in the atmosphere, shows that since the beginning of the outbreak, concentrations of nitrogen dioxide over Italy fell drastically.
So basically the Coronavirus seems to be working for Mother Nature, not so much for us – or is it? It’s hard to not get caught up in the hysteria of it all but I think we all need to make a choice about the lens we’ll view this situation with. The virus is here to stay for the foreseeable future, so perhaps we could use this time to reflect, learn, grow and reset. Did we take too much? Did we put up our fences too high? Did we put more importance on our phones, likes and influencers than the marginalised, vulnerable or even our family?
We can’t high five, but we can high vibe and these times call for an expansion of heart and mind. Choose to see the beauty amongst the chaos.
Love Taryn x
In this perceived moment of bleakness we want to be the beacon of love, light and hope. The Body Image Movement team in collaboration with leaders from around the world have created an online resource called TheResetSummit.com, designed specifically to support you through the Coronavirus pandemic. We cover subjects including “The power of Optimism” , ‘Connecting in isolation’, ‘Mum life in lock down’ and we’ll teach you how to meditate and breathe (you’re going to need that over the coming months) how to declutter your home (there’s no excuse now!) and how to move your body, nourish your soul and RESET your life to so when this is all over, you’ll come out firing and READY!
Head to theresetsummit.com
New SA Gov Central Website To Support Home Learning
Students in South Australian schools now have access to modern online learning resources to support their education at home, as part of the Government’s strong response to the significant challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
Education Minister John Gardner said the centralised Our Learning SA website will support students, teachers and families by complementing their classroom education – through access to curated curriculum resources across all learning areas that are taught in Australian schools and preschools.
The new easy-to-use website supports:
• continued learning between school and home;
• students with opportunities to work independently;
• parents and caregivers – with resources and guidance to support learning at home; and
• teachers – with resources to support them in teaching the Australian curriculum.
“During this unprecedented and challenging time, we will do whatever we can to ensure young South Australians continue to thrive in their education with a learning programme that is engaging, meaningful and accessible,” said Minister Gardner
“Our Learning SA is an important tool that will offer greater flexibility for students, schools and families and complements the learning resources teachers already have in place to ensure continuity of learning between home and school.
“With a strong focus on literacy and numeracy across every curriculum area, the resource guides parents and families on the ways to support children with their home learning.
“It provides students with meaningful classwork, developed by expert teachers, and any South Australian teacher or family is able to use this resource.
“Some schools already have their own systems in place to support learning at home. This new platform complements the offering at those schools, while also being available to support all schools who may not be so advanced.”
Our Learning SA has been launched after testing with leaders, teachers and parents and resources will continue to be added over time.
For more information visit education.sa.gov.au/ourlearningsa.
BREASTFEEDING MUMS ASKED TO SHARE A SPECIAL GIFT
Lifeblood is asking breastfeeding mums in Sydney and Adelaide to consider becoming milk donors to help some of the country’s most vulnerable babies.
“We are looking for mums who have an excess supply of breast milk, and whose babies are less than a year old, to consider registering as milk donors,” says Lifeblood Milk’s Chris Sulfaro.
Lifeblood Milk provides on demand, donated breast milk to 11 neonatal intensive care units in New South Wales, South Australia and Townsville.
The milk is fed to premature babies born at less than 32 weeks gestation, and/or weighing less than 1500 grams.
“Premature babies face significant health challenges, and the World Health Organisation recommends feeding these tiny babies breast milk, as it may help reduce some of these risks,” Mrs Sulfaro says.
“A mother’s own milk may not always be available or limited. Having donated breast milk available gives parents more options.
“While we have a number of fabulous and dedicated donors on our register, unlike blood, milk donors can only give milk for a relatively short period of time – until their own baby is 12 months old.
“We are currently looking for 50 new milk donors from the Sydney or Adelaide metropolitan areas to add to our current roster.”
Donors undergo extensive screening before milk is collected, tested and pasteurised by Lifeblood at its Sydney Processing Centre.
To make it easier for these mums, our donors express, freeze and store their breast milk in their own home.
“If you’re interested in becoming a donor, you can register at lifeblood.com.au. Follow the links to Lifeblood Milk and we will give you a call,” says Mrs Sulfaro.
Australian Red Cross Lifeblood launched Lifeblood Milk in late 2018 as part of its plan to make a greater contribution to healthcare, by helping some of the country’s most vulnerable babies.
Since its launch, Lifeblood Milk has distributed more than 2,130 litres of donated breast milk to 11 NICUs, helping to feed more than 700 babies.
Mother of three Belinda Mullins turned to Lifeblood Milk five weeks ago when her daughter Emilia arrived at 32 weeks. She says: “As a mother of two other children I knew my supply would take some work to get to an adequate amount as it had in the past without the added difficulties of a premature birth. Knowing our baby was receiving all the goodies in donor breast milk allowed my body to recover and begin producing breast milk without all the added stress and worry, as we already had enough of that being in NICU. We will be forever grateful.”
For more information go to milkbank.com.au.
Succeeding at school: What have parents got to do with it
By Amy Graham
This summer, you might be preparing for your child to start school or move into a new class. This can lead to a mix of feelings: excitement, sadness, trepidation, uncertainty. I could swear it is harder for the mums and dads than the kids! But did you know there is so much you can do as a parent to help your child navigate this transition successfully and chances are, it is simpler than you might think. And no, it doesn’t involve flashcards, Jolly Phonics or tutoring. Nothing in the research says that children benefit from flashy, expensive toys or that the activities have to be academically orientated. In fact, the greatest gains are experienced by children who have a wide range of toys and learning materials to explore, opportunities to play with a warm and engaging parent and talk about what is taking place, and a rich and diverse range of experiences out of the home.
As parents, we are a child’s first and forever teacher. I know this, both as a parent of three children but also as an educational researcher. We have so much rich knowledge about our child and have taught them since birth, even in nuanced ways. My research explored the tremendous contributions that parents make to helping a child succeed at school, both through their positive and encouraging beliefs and their enriching and diverse preparation behaviours. It reinforced my belief that parents really do matter and they are a crucial partner in a child’s learning.
Fundamentally, on every measure, children experience greater success when they have engaged parents. Parental engagement has emerged as the new benchmark to forecast children’s educational outcomes. Some research concludes that parental engagement is the most effective factor in a student’s educational success, over and above factors within the child or school. But it is not a single behaviour, expectation or aspiration by parents that makes the difference nor is it a perfect formula. Rather, it is about communicating the overall message to your child that education matters and that you have high expectations for them. This can be done through simple conversations, where parents and children are positively discussing school and what they can expect in the new environment. It is also about parents spending time with a child to support their learning.
If your child is starting school for the first time, and has not attended childcare or an early learning centre, this transition could be more pronounced. My research showed that stay-at-home parents engaged in more behavioural preparation in the year before starting school, than those children who attended childcare services. This could be because parents assume the necessary skills and attributes that are needed to successfully transition to school are taught in these settings, or it could be that working parents are especially time-poor. So what can you do? Pay close attention to your child’s social skills and self-regulation: traits which are often developed more in the social environments of early learning and care. It may be that you could arrange a play date with a friend of your child’s from kindergarten that they will be attending school with, play board games that encourage turn-taking (and modelling how to be a ‘good’ loser) or teach mindfulness to your child.
How can parents support their child’s learning at home?
· Read to and with your child. Parents in my study were doing this far more than any other preparation activity, and it is a great way to bond and develop an early love of literacy. A recent study found parents who read one book a day with their child are giving their child a 1.4 million-word advantage over their peers who have never been read to.
· Spend time playing with your child and show an interest in what they are doing.
· Facilitate a range of experiences, both in and out of the home.
What can we do to make the transition easier for children?
· Make sure they are familiar with the environment in a fun, non-threatening way. Visit the school playground in the holidays, make sure they know where the toilets are and arrive early to show them where to go and where you will be at the end of the day.
· In the months leading up to starting school, try to work on your child’s self-care and independence. Ensure they can ask for help if they need, toilet independently, open containers and lunchboxes, and know how to behave in a group.
· Save your tears for the car ride home. Kids need to see that you are excited, proud and confident that they will love all that school has to offer.