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Kath Dickson Family Centre

Serving, protecting and empowering families since 1975

serving, protecting and empowering families since 1975serving, protecting and empowering families since 1975

Kath Dickson Family Centre Blog

Explaining Anzac Day to young children

Samfya Smith - Monday, April 24, 2017

Anzac Day poppiesAnzac Day is one of Australia’s most important national occasions. It can be a confronting and emotional time for adults, let alone children. Our early childhood experts at Kath Dickson Family Centre offer some advice on how to help young children understand the meaning and importance of the day.

Laying of wreaths, the Last Post, a crowd that goes silent, marches, poems, medals…Anzac Day is full of symbolism, both heartbreaking and inspiring. 

The ceremony and traditions are such an integral part of our culture that it is sometimes easy to forget that not everyone has a shared level of understanding. 

The following are some things you can do to help your children understand the importance of Anzac Day to our culture and sense of community, in a way that is age appropriate.

Plan ahead. Brush up on your own historical knowledge so that you feel more informed and prepared when the questions appear. Have a think about your child and what level of information you want to share with them at this stage.

Keep it honest but simple. It may be enough at this stage just to say, ‘Anzac Day is when we take some time to remember all the brave Australian men and women who fought in wars to keep us safe’.

Share a book. A book about Anzac Day that is specifically aimed at children may make it easier for both of you to start a conversation. Read the story and have a chat afterwards. Ask what they think it all means and don’t forget to ask if they have any questions. With the recent Centenary commemorations, there are plenty of books about the First World War for children. If you’re not sure where to start, ask your local library for some suggestions.

Watch or attend a ceremony. If you feel that your children are ready, by all means take them to a parade or dawn service. You may want to observe them and check in with them to make sure they are coping OK. Be open to the inevitable questions and conversations afterwards. Alternatively you could watch a ceremony on TV.

Hold your own commemoration. If you feel that it may be too overwhelming for your children to attend a public service, you could hold your own ceremony, including a minute’s silence. This roleplay would help to prepare your children for attending in the future, including what behaviour is expected of them.

Start your own traditions. Introduce the concepts of Anzac Day through shared activities, such as cooking and craft. These can become a cherished annual tradition for your family. Make Anzac biscuits together and talk about how they were made by wives and mothers, and sent to soldiers who were away at war. Or you could make poppies together. Explain that we wear red flowers called poppies to show others that we are remembering the people who went to war. 

If your children don’t understand everything this year, that’s fine – it’s a big concept to get your head around. But keep up the traditions and conversations and each year they will understand more.

Find out more about the services offered by Kath Dickson Family Centre at www.kdfc.com.au or by calling 07 4633 8400.

Traditional Anzac biscuit recipe

1 cup each of plain flour, sugar, rolled oats and coconut
125g butter
1 Tbs golden syrup
2 Tbs boiling water
1 tsp bicarbonate soda

Preheat oven to 180oC.
Combine dry ingredients.
Melt together butter and golden syrup.
Combine water and bicarb soda, and add to butter mixture.
Mix butter mixture and dry ingredients.
Drop teaspoons of mixture onto a greased biscuit tray.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden.
Cool on a tray for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Avoiding the homework battle

Amy Dampney - Thursday, April 20, 2017
The school day is over, the children are home and you brace yourself for the daily arguments over homework. 

It’s a familiar complaint from families, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some practical strategies for minimising the tensions and reclaiming family harmony as we enter Term 2.

Parents often feel it’s their job to get their kids to do well in school. Naturally, you might get anxious about this responsibility as a parent. You might also get nervous about your children succeeding in life, and homework often becomes the focus of that concern. 

We all know that getting your children to do their homework can be challenging. But think of it as a process for setting up good work habits for the future, encouraging children to take responsibility for their learning and becoming independent thinkers. By taking an interest in what your child is learning at school, it shows the children that parents and teachers work together to maximise learning opportunities. 

Here are some good strategies to set your child up for success: 

Have a homework friendly area. This is a space that is clear of clutter, is well lit, away from the TV and interrupting siblings and is well resourced with pencils, paper, a sharpener and an eraser. 

Try to do it the same time each day. If your child has no homework from school on a particular day, homework time can be spent going through spelling words, working on some maths problems or reading a book. Establishing a homework routine is important. 

Motivate rather than monitor. Show an interest and ask your children about their homework. Motivate them with praise. As tempting as it can be, don’t give the answers. Offer help and support only when they need it. Check the work when they are finished.

Focus on what they do well. Try to ensure that you’re not just focussing on the areas that they have difficulties with. It is about the effort they are putting in, not just the outcome. And remember not to step in and do the work yourself.

Only help while it is enjoyable for you both. If you can feel yourself getting anxious or frustrated, it is time to walk away. Make an excuse that you need to do something and make a dignified retreat before you get locked into a battle. 

Set a good example. If your evening routine allows it, use homework time to sit alongside your children to read a book or answer emails. 

Teach your children to self correct. You don’t need to send them to school with their homework all correct. It is alright for them to get answers wrong. At least then teachers will know what their skill level actually is and help them to improve.

Focus on the basics. Reading, spelling and maths are the most important things to practice at home. Even reading aloud to children three times a week makes a massive difference to their reading ability. Practicing spelling is as easy as ‘Look, Cover, Write and Check’ a few nights per week. 

Ultimately you don’t want homework to ever be a conflict and undermine your relationship with your child. If you have questions or queries about homework you should see your child’s class teacher and talk about strategies specific to your child. 

Find out more about the services offered by Kath Dickson Family Centre at www.kdfc.com.au or by calling 07 4633 8400.

Family car trip: are you game?

Amy Dampney - Monday, April 10, 2017
Family car tripAre you looking forward to the holidays, but dreading that famous four-word phrase “Are we there yet?”…. Travelling with children is enough to raise the blood pressure of even the calmest parents.

There are loads of ‘Apps’ you can download onto your phone or iPad that can keep the littlies entertained, but if you don’t want them attached to screens the whole time here are a few popular, fun travel games. Remember you can be creative and ‘bend’ the rules to suit the age and interests of the children. 

1. I Spy. I’m sure you all remember this one from your youth. Adapt for younger children by using colours instead of letters. For example, “I spy something green”. 

2. Bingo. This fun game combines bingo with a scavenger hunt. Give each child a flat surface, such as a clipboard or hardcover book, to put on his or her lap. Each player gets bingo card and a zip-lock bag with 16 buttons. When a player spies an item on his card, he covers the picture with a button. Just like in regular bingo, the first player to cover all the squares in a straight line wins. You can download picture bingo cards from many websites. 

3. License Plate Game. Make phrases with the car registration numbers e.g. WWW 265 could be Weird Wooly Wombats.

4. Noughts and Crosses. Another childhood favourite that can keep the children going for ages and only pencil and paper required. 

5. I’m Going on a Picnic. This alphabet-based memory game is great for kids 5 and up. You don’t need a game board or any materials. The game can be played with as few as two players, but it’s more fun when the whole family joins in. The first player says “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing...” followed by something that begins with A, such as apples. The second player repeats what the first person said, but adds something that begins with B. So she might say “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing apples and bananas.” And so on with C, D, and the rest of the alphabet. If someone forgets an item, she is out. To be fair, feel free to be lenient and give hints to younger players. The last player to be able to recite all the items on the list wins.

6. 20 Questions. This easy-peasy game is great for younger kids, thanks to its straightforward rules. Player One thinks of a person, place or thing. Everyone else takes turns asking questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. After each answer, the questioner gets one guess. Play continues until a player guesses correctly.

7. A good old sing along.  Nothing beats the joyful sound of children embracing an opportunity to exercise their vocal cords. 

8. The Windmill Game. Ask the children to spot and count the windmills you pass. The child who counts the most windmills by the time you reach your destination wins! Obviously you can adapt this game for a country or city drive. 

We wish everyone a safe and happy Easter. 

Please travel safe on our roads and enjoy your holiday! 

5 Easter craft activities for kids

Amy Dampney - Monday, April 03, 2017

Easter egg craftWith Easter falling later this year, there is plenty of time during school holidays to entertain the kids with some fabulous Easter craft.

Invest in some glitter or recycle what you have with these cheap craft activities that will provide hours of entertainment. 

Not just the kids, even Mums and Dads can indulge in these fun activities and hone their creative skills. From simple Easter egg paints to more personalised fun artefacts, there are quite a lot of Easter crafts to choose from.

Egg painting

Paint, dye, glitter or spray paint some boiled eggs for a striking Easter display. Painting eggs is a great craft for children of all ages and will help them discover their creative side. It’s also cracking good fun ...!

Bunny masks 

Making Easter bunny masks or ears is another great activity. Making masks is a fun activity that involves a little bit of cutting, colouring and gluing. Even if your child is not interested in wearing the masks, you can always use them as a part of your Easter decorations. 

Easter egg decorations

Children in our Occasional Care Centre loved creating the fabulous Easter eggs pictured in this post. Just cut out an egg in the shape of an egg and encourage your child to decorate the egg with different materials and textures. You could also head outdoors and decorate your egg using leaves, flowers or greenery. 

Food bunnies

Not strictly craft….. You can create bunnies with pieces of fruit for a healthy snack. Children can also get artistic decorating Easter biscuits or cupcakes or help you make this adorable Easter Cake. Hop to it! 

Easter wreath

Are you board bored of the same old flower baskets and bouquets? How about trying to make an Easter wreath.?  Easter wreaths can make a great gift for visiting friends and relatives, grandparents and loved ones.

We will be organising a lot of Easter craft activities for children at our Occasional Care Centre over the coming days. Our service is unique to Toowoomba being the only Centre in the Region region that offers child care by the hour, so please remember us if you need some help these holidays.

We currently have vacancies so if you are looking for child care with flexible contact Kath Dickson Family Centre today by phone on 1300 336 345, email us or visit www.kdfc.com.au/occasional-care-centre for more information.