Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tween + change = Anxiety and worry: How to help your tween fight their anxiety

Image via Diary of a midlife mummy

My focus at the moment is trying to help the tween of the BZ house through a rough patch and work out some good anxiety management techniques so he can learn to tame the monster that tries to consume him.

I thought I would share some of the info I have discovered while researching in the hope that it may help other families out there struggling through the same woes.

We know the trigger, now it's time to find the perfect calming method that suits him.

Red Flags for Anxiety: What's Normal, What's Not?

Common Red flags via Worry Wise Kids
  •  Demonstrating excessive distress out of proportion to the situation: crying, physical symptoms, sadness, anger, frustration, hopelessness, embarrassment
• Easily distressed, or agitated when in a stressful situation

• Repetitive reassurance questions, "what if" concerns, inconsolable, won't respond to logical arguments

• Headaches, stomach aches, regularly too sick to go to school

• Anticipatory anxiety, worrying hours, days, weeks ahead

• Disruptions of sleep with difficulty falling asleep, frequent nightmares, difficulty sleeping alone

• Perfectionism, self-critical, very high standards that make nothing good enough

• Overly-responsible, people pleasing, excessive concern that others are upset with him or her, unnecessary apologizing

• Demonstrating excessive avoidance, refuses to participate in expected activities, refusal to attend school

• Disruption of child or family functioning, difficulty with going to school, friend's houses, religious activities, family gatherings, errands, vacations

• Excessive time spent consoling child about distress with ordinary situations, excessive time coaxing child to do normal activities- homework, hygiene, meals

Symptoms of anxiety problems and anxiety disorders in teenagers via Raising Children.

Talk with your child and see a health professional if, over a period of more than two weeks, your child:
  • feels constantly agitated, tense, restless or on edge or can’t stop or control worrying – your child might seem unable to relax
  • shows physical signs like tense or sore muscles, a racing heart or sweating, headache or stomach aches, or nausea – these physical signs of anxiety can occur in response to something that triggers your child’s anxiety
  • seems very sensitive to criticism or extremely self-conscious or uncomfortable in social situations
  • always expects the worst to happen or seems to worry too much and out of proportion to problems or situations
  • avoids difficult or new situations, or has difficulty facing new challenges
  • is withdrawn, socially isolated or very shy
  • procrastinates – for example, has trouble starting or completing schoolwork
  • has sleeping problems, such as trouble falling or staying asleep
  • has trouble concentrating or often seems forgetful or distracted
  • feels that he must do a particular action, or something over and over (compulsive behaviour)
  • has obsessive thoughts or images that he says he can’t get out of his head.
Things you can do via Kids Helpline
The following three steps can assist you to help your child with anxiety:

Encourage them to talk about their anxiety - Share the things that as a child you were anxious about and ask them what their biggest worry is. By modeling your own calm acceptance of anxiety you will be assisting them to remain calm about theirs.
Teach your child about anxiety and its purpose - Educate yourself about anxiety and its adaptive role in helping humans survive (flight-fight-freeze). Explain the physical changes in the human body when danger is perceived (sweaty hands, blood to extremities, rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing etc.). By explaining these you are helping to normalise anxiety as well as assisting your child to identify and understand the way their own body reacts when anxious.
Help your child to recognize their anxiety and to develop ways to manage it - Ask your child to sketch their body and mark on it where their anxiety occurs, and is most felt. Teach them ways to work with their anxiety. For example a young child might learn to say: "That's just 'Mr Worry' telling me not to do that. I don't want to miss out so 'Mr Worry' you can just be quiet". Or a teenager might liken their worrying thoughts to a radio with the volume turned up high, and learn to manage it by turning the volume down. Acquire the Mindshift app suitable for iPhones and iPads, which is designed to help teens and young adults, identify their anxiety, and also offers ways to assist them to cope.
Other things you can do to help:
Encourage good eating (reduce caffeinated, high sugar drinks and foods), regular exercise, hobbies, sufficient sleep and connection with friends.
When young people are well-rested and relaxed, they will be in a better mental state to handle fears or worries
Let your children and young people know who they can call on for support if needed. This will make them feel less anxious about the future.
Visit your GP if you suspect that your child is suffering from an anxiety disorder.
• do something they enjoy
• practise good sleep hygiene
• try to remain involved in purposeful activities for at least a small part of every day
• eat a healthy, balanced diet
• talk over problems or feelings with someone who is supportive and caring
• reward themselves for reaching a small goal
• let their family and friends know how they are feeling so that people close to them are aware of what they are going through
• engage in activities that give them a feeling of achievement
• enlist a trusted friend or relative to help them get out and about or do activities
• make sure they get out of the house and are active for at least a short time each day
• make a list of strategies that have worked in the past for depression and use them
• learn relaxation methods (e.g. progressive muscle relaxation training).
Resources that may be of use via Kids Helpline
Anxiety Centre - Anxiety information and resources
Help Guide - Anxiety attack and disorder information
KidsHealth - Helping kids handle worry
Raising Children Network - an Australian parenting website
Headspace - visit the website for help, support and information about young people and mental health Kids in Mind - phone 3163 1640 (part of the Mater Child and Youth Mental Health Service)
Reach Out - a website designed to help improve the understanding of issues relating to mental health and wellbeing
Youth Beyondblue - phone 1300 224 636 (24 hour information and referral about depression and anxiety)
Parentline Tip Sheet: Social Anxiety -
MindShift an app for iPhones and iPads to assist young people manage their anxiety
Worry Wise Kids
Smiling minds app
Mindful meditation app
Cool kids program

Friday, July 24, 2015

What you don't know about parenting a tween

THIS! This is the read of the week for me - 36 Things No One Tells You About Parenting an Almost-Teenage Boy via babble

As Lori wrote "When it comes to parenting an almost-teenage boy, you deserve to know these silly and serious truths"

I picked out my fave, most relevant ones to us....
#2. You’ll have to beg them to wash their face. Make that shower, at all!
#3. Bigger kids = bigger problems.
#6. You’ll need to hide food or risk going hungry.
#7. They’ll need you and sometimes resent you for it.
#8. They’re good for labour and brute strength.
#11. They won’t tell you when they’re hurting and it’ll both hurt and scare you.
#13. You can’t fix everything anymore.
#17. They won’t need you when you think they will and will need you when you think they probably shouldn’t.
#19. They’re smart enough to be dangerous …
#20. … and just dumb enough to be really dangerous.
#21. You’ll blame yourself for every foolish mistake your kid makes. And they’ll know it. And maybe even work it to their advantage.
#23. You’ll bargain with them even though you swore you never would.
#25. Their manners will become very important to you.
#26. You’ll get weird glimpses of the man they’ll soon become.
#27. You’ll get weird glimpses of the child they once were.
#28. They’re great fun to talk to when they feel like talking.

The most important ones....
#35. They’re going to be fine. No, really.
#36. You’re doing an awesome job. NO, REALLY.

Does any of this ring true to you?

What your tween wants from YOU
Letter to my tweenager - you drive me mental but you are SO worth it!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Can you beat fate?

Be warned this post is a jumbled up mix of ramblings and confusion.

Does fate path our destiny? Are our lives mapped out before we take our first breath of air?

Wikipedia defines fate as a power or agency that predetermines and orders the course of events.

Fate defines events as ordered or "inevitable" and unavoidable. It is a concept based on the belief that there is a fixed natural order to the universe, and in some conceptions, the cosmos.

I have often wondered since the birth of our first child what determines our fate. Who or what gets to decide if we sink or swim?

Can we mould our fate into something totally different and beat the odds?

If you knew what your fate was and instinct tells you it is pretty dire, would you want to know for sure?  Would you try your hardest to find out that answer and do everything you could to change it?

Or are we best to just let things take their natural path?

Like I said I am rambling. Why? Because my biggest fear is my final fate which I try my hardest to ignore, suppress and not rule my every thought.

Which makes me wonder if I should find out once and for all what the answer is, or if I am wise to continue living in denial and just following along the path of fate?

Would you take the plunge and find out once and for all? Or prefer not to know?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Jimmy Giggle, Hoot and Hootabelle are heading down under

Jimmy Giggle, Hoot and Hootabelle are setting off again on another giggle-icious live stage adventure, with their friends the Bananas in Pyjamas, this October.

At long last the Giggle-mobile will make its way to Tasmania before heading back across Bass Strait to Frankston and Geelong.   WOO HOO! Get ready to Giggle and Hoot fellow Tasmanian's.

Giggle and Hoot, the multi award winning and much loved ABC Kids preschool program, focuses on preschoolers’ lives and routines through songs, stories, friendship, laughter and imagination. The live show, incorporating these themes, will be one of the most anticipated and hottest tickets for families this October.

But every adventure needs some friends, so joining Jimmy Giggle and the owls onstage is everyone’s favourite twins, the Bananas in Pyjamas, B1 and B2 who are now in their 22nd year and continue to be loved by children and parents globally.

And be on the look out for Jimmy Giggle-ini the world’s greatest magician… at magic!

For complete tour and ticketing details, visit:

Giggle and Hoot and Friends Tour Dates

THEATRE ROYAL, HOBART                         OCTOBER; SUNDAY 4
FRANKSTON ARTS CENTRE                                    OCTOBER; SATURDAY 10

For complete tour and ticket information, visit: &

Outdoor play remains a top priority for Aussie parents

A new survey of Australian parents has revealed that over 65 per cent of parents prefer products which encourage physical activity and outdoor play when compared to gaming consoles and indoor toys.

According to the survey commissioned by smarTrike®, over 65 per cent of parents prefer products
which encourage physical activity and outdoor play when compared to gaming consoles and indoor toys.

The results indicate that Australia-wide, parents are getting the message that excessive screen time
and the associated indoor confinement can have negative impacts on young children. However, the
survey also unveiled that an alarming 30 per cent of Aussie kids under three years old are only
heading outdoors to play three times a week, and 10 per cent only once a week.

While the results reflect a positive trend in the attitudes of parents when it comes to the health of their children, the reality for many families with young children is that active play outdoors is still limited to only once or twice a week.

Melbourne mum, Katherine Nicolson, with two children under the age of three, said her family will be avoiding toys and electronic gaming devices at the July Toy Sale this year.

“I definitely notice a considerable improvement in the mood of my kids when we are active and spend time outdoors, but it can be difficult to find the time,” Katherine said. 

smarTrike spokesperson, Shavite Kazler, said clever purchases which encourage outdoor play can help parents create opportunities for their children to keep active.

Trikes and bikes are top products of interest for Australian parents this year, with 35 per cent stating they will be making a beeline for these products at the toy sale. But it can be hard for parents to track down products which will facilitate physical activity for toddlers who are still developing their coordination and motor skills.

Stand out stats worth noting
- 65 per cent of Australian parents have voted a stroller or trike a better gift option than toys, game
consoles, and electronics
- Over 30 per cent of children only play outdoors three times a week, and 10 per cent only once a
- Parents find that 1 in 5 children are unhappy in a pram/stroller as they would prefer to be active
whilst on-the-go.

On top of my own kids list from the latest toy sales have been things like...
- New trampoline
- Fitbit
- Surf board
- Some riprider thingie I didn't really even comprehend! When it says $500 I tune out :P
- Minions have sparked an interest with master six
- Pool
- New Skylander figures
The list could go on and on and on and on....  But I was glad to see a few outdoor things were in the top picks.

Lucky for me the kids are outside most days after school, weather permitting.

Are your kids outdoorsy?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Could baby pilates be the next big thing?!

Many of us love good old Pilates. It is a fantastic way to exercise. But did you know it also has the same benefits for your baby?

Playlates is a new app that encourages parents to explore active, developmental games with their newborns and young babies in a way that is safe and fun.

Nathanael Buckley, creator of Playlates, first thought of the concept after the birth of his daughter, Phoebe. As an experienced Pilates teacher, he began using soft, gentle exercises on his daughter a way to increase the amount of interactive play they could enjoy together. He began to see the benefits these exercises were having on Phoebe.

“Phoebe is very strong, social and capable; every day she wanted to try new things and Playlates was an exciting way to be part of that. She was rolling over, crawling and walking at the early end of the expected spectrum for these skills and she was easy to settle after doing a few games so it was a great way to ensure she rested well,” says Nathanael.

Eventually the exercises Nathanael was practising with his daughter evolved into exercise videos. With his changing work hours he found it difficult to take his newborn daughter to baby gym classes on time. Nathanael decided to create an app that any parent can use with their children from the comfort of their own home, using these exercise videos he created with Phoebe.

“As a working parent I felt that I was missing out on valuable bonding time with my daughter as stay-at-home parents have in Gymbaroo classes. This app gives parents flexibility to safely bond with their children at any time, anywhere,” says Nathanael.

“Pilates is incredibly beneficial to children. I have been teaching Pilates for 16 years and it has allowed me to work with clients at every skill and age level, including children of all ages. Through my experience I have found that Pilates challenges babies to develop physical and social skills, creating an ‘activation relationship’ which allows children to learn to be brave in difficult situations or when meeting new people. It also builds immense trust between parent and child and soothes the baby, knowing that the parent is always there for them, supporting them every literal step of the way,” says Nathanael.

The Playlates app can be used with children from the ages of two months to one year. It can be downloaded from the app store and contains an intro and four sections to suit each stage of the child’s development. Within each section, there are fifteen activities listed and each activity has its own page with a description and video.

Using the app for guidance, parents can help their baby stretch and coordinate their arms and legs, practice rolling over, build strong back and core muscles safely and eventually develop motor skills for crawling and walking. The games are short, safe, fun and infinitely repeatable. It is completely secure, however the parents must be with the child at all times paying very close attention to the baby to ensure he or she is always safe and comfortable.

“The app is not only beneficial for the child but the parent also. It helps build parental confidence and non-verbal communication between parent and child. It also helps with social skills. In today’s day and age most technology is ruining our social skills and interactions with other people, whereas Playlates actually encourages it and helps parents engage with their child,” says Nathanael.

Playlates is currently available from the Apple App store and is free to download which includes five introductory activities. Four further sets of activities are available at $2.49 each. Each additional set contains 15 games.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

When your child refuses kisses, should you force the issue?

I am probably not alone when I say as a child we were always encouraged to hug and kiss various friends and family members. Whether we liked it or not. It was a sign of respect and something you really shouldn’t mess with.

Not anymore, for my children anyway.  I have never pushed them to hug someone they really don't want to, or aren't in the mood to. They will do it if they want to.

At times it is all about the "power" and how much they can annoy you by NOT giving you a cuddle. But that is all fun and games with mum and dad. I too love that little game.

But there are often genuine circumstances when kids simply DO NOT feel comfortable showing affection to someone for whatever reason.

A post on everyday feminism explained it all so clearly for me. James St. James wrote 7 reasons why your child should never be forced to hug anyone (Yes, including relatives):

1. It teaches your child that they don’t have control over their own bodies.
 2. It implies that you (or adults in general) have the right to touch your child how they want, when they want.
 3. It tells them that relatives can’t be abusers.
 4. It disregards your child’s comfort zone.
 5. It risks dismantling their natural, healthy sense of stranger danger.
 6. It ignores any important, subtle cues your child is trying to tell you.
 7. It sends the message that hugging (or physical contact in general) is the only way to show affection or appreciation for another person.
The post went on to say:

To someone who doesn’t want it, an affectionate action is rendered meaningless at best and damaging at worst.

Forcing hugging on a child tells them that
1) they’re expected to show affection toward this person, and
2) that this is exactly how they must show that affection.

Instead of being a hug tyrant, allow your child to be creative in how they show affection. Let them draw a picture or share a piece of their favourite food or read to you from their library book.

Peter Saunders, chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood in the US sums it all up like this: “Children should never be forced to do anything which makes them uncomfortable around these issues. Children are instinctive and intuitive around people they are not comfortable with. And we need to respect that.”

“There are certain things we make children do which is quite different. We make them brush their teeth, for example. That is quite different to forcing them to kiss an uncle they don’t want to. It’s about boundaries. And this blurring of boundaries [by forcing them to kiss someone they don't want to] can indeed blur their understanding of what is right and wrong, about their body belonging to them.”

Kidspot parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson says he is in general agreement with James St. James’s blog. “We have always told our children precisely that. We want them to decide for themselves. And as much as the mum in the video is trying to be cute, I don’t like it. It’s emotional extortion.”

I think the big key for adults is … don’t take it personally! If a child refuses to give you a hug or kiss they may just be having an off day. But we need to let them say this and respect their personal boundaries.

And if your child doesn’t like to hug then maybe give them a high five or simply a pat on back. There are many ways we can show affection and love without kissing and hugging.

Do you encourage your children to hug and kiss friends and family?

Video shows how easy it is for a toddler to be killed in the home


This video shows how shockingly easy it is for a toddler to be killed by falling furniture while they innocently play around the home.

A child dies every fortnight!

US figures show one child a fortnight dies from a falling TV, piece of furniture or appliance falling on top of them. That’s is shocking …

Each year in Australia around 300 children go to hospital as the result of being injured by a falling television, and that figure is continuing to rise.

Ashley Martin, public health project manager from RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) urges all stockists of safety equipment to make anti-tip straps easily available, so that parents can fit them to televisions and other bulky furniture in order to secure the items in an upright position.

“Safety straps can also be bought to secure televisions that are on bookshelves and on top of cupboards,” he says.

“As well as having a television set professionally installed, RoSPA also advises that free-standing, flat-screen televisions are placed on wide, stable manufacturers’ bases, which reduce the risk of the screen toppling forwards.

“Children and toddlers should be discouraged from pulling themselves up by holding on to a television set or furniture on which a television sits.

“They should also be kept out of the way of bulky, heavy goods as they are being moved.”

Why the rise in injuries and deaths?

Kidsafe suggests that the rise in the figure is linked to the introduction of flat-screen TVs, not because flat-screens are dangerous but because older (and heavier) televisions are being moved into bedrooms where they are more likely to be sitting on furniture that isn’t designed to take the weight or dimensions of a large, front-heavy TV.
You can keep your kids safe by:
  • Using brackets fixed to the wall to mount or house your TV.
  • Keep cords out of reach so kids can’t pull on them and risk pulling the television down on themselves.
  • If you house your TV in or on a piece of furniture, ensure that it is purpose-built so that it is sturdy enough not to topple over.
  • Test the stability of your television yourself – if you can push your TV over then your kids will be able too.

Has this video made you review how your furniture and appliances are secured at home?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

My name is Tracy and I have an addiction (not what you would expect!)

Via Me and Zebedee
My name is Tracy and I have an addiction to....

Motivational prints. Yep. You read that correctly. I seem to be addicted to great quotes and I have them stuck up in pretty much every room of the house. Poor kids. Poor hubby!

These are just a few of the prints we have at the moment....

What do you suggest I do to make it stop?

Via Arlo and Co

Via May and belle
Via May and belle
Via Antipodean Love
Via Almond tree
Via Sprout and Sparrow

Via Words etc
Via Alphabets and Animals
Via Antipodean Love
Via Honey and Fizz
Via AHD paperco

Via Ollie's room
Via Words etc
Via Words etc

More great prints are available from Tall Blank Wall, Simply type, Black list,