My Blog

More information can be found on Karen's website

Parents should always provide a safe, loving environment

There is always much debate about smacking children. While I never believe that smacking a child teaches them better behaviour I question the reason so many parents continue to do this to their beautiful little child. Children are only learning how to be a person in this life and this is created by guidance and modelling.

A mature adult should be able to find a better way to guide and direct a child's behaviour instead of lashing out as a reaction to something. It is the behaviour we do not like, not the child however smacking a child causes the child pain and fear. Perhaps if parents started to guide their behaviours by demonstrating the behaviour they wanted, children would emulate. By lashing out physically only teaches a child if you are angry = you become aggressive, and we see far too much of this in our world. Aggression can be reduced significantly and it should start at home. Instead of parents telling a child to stop something, try advising them clearly what it is we want them to do and how to do it.

The Risks of Suicide Among Australian Kids asks the question - Why is Major Depression increasing among young Australians?   

There are approximately 8,000 suicides in Australia each year and mental health experts fear this figure shows no sign of diminishing.

The rate of depression in Australian children is growing at an alarming rate, with children as young as 5 years old being diagnosed with major depression. And things only get worse as they get older with the occurrence of major depression increasing among children aged between 15 – 24 years.  Sadly, with increased depression amongst this age group comes increased rate of suicide........read more

        

Information to help in your travel with your children

The Easter holiday season is often one of the busiest travelling times we have with our families and children. While that time is fantastic, many parents experience stress when they need to travel for a time with younger children. How do I keep them amused, how do I stop them arguing, how do I keep them entertained, how often should I stop? The last thing we parents need is to arrive at our destination stressed out from being a referee on the trip.

The first thing to tell the children is the journey may take a very long time. Depending on the age of the child depends on how it is said and understood eg a child 3 – 5 yrs may understand along the lines of the same long time you are at preschool each day, whereas an older child who understands the concept of time will comprehend, 6 hours.

Children are unfortunately being entertained most of the time with TV, Tablets, DVD’s. In many cases we are not allowing the opportunity for our children to learn to entertain themselves. This therefore makes it more difficult at times on a long journey and oh goodness, what if the battery runs out!!!!

How to make the journey easier
Ensure the children have age appropriate activities such as colouring in, tablets for games or to watch movies and DVD’s. Parents can also sing songs with their children, play the I Spy game, search for certain coloured cars they pass, generally talk to the child about where they are going and what they will be doing. Discuss anything they want to talk about that interests them instead of having them shut off to a game as this will certainly finish with boredom after a time. Ensure you interrupt their game or activity at a suitable time to talk and play a game with them. They can then return to their game or DVD with renewed interest.

Leaving on a long trip early (4 or 5am) usually means the first few hours are quiet as they sleep. Stopping regularly is always a good idea, meaning every 2 hours or thereabouts so the children can burn off some energy. Take a ball, skipping rope or some active item they can play with to burn their energy. Chalk is also great so they can draw on things when stopped or make a hopscotch type activity. Stopping at a park or rest area where they can run or even have a race around things is a bonus, lots of burnt energy here.

If conflict erupts you can advise you may be stopping soon and you have vegemite sandwiches made, the quietest child may be rewarded with a treat while the whinger may just get the vegemite sandwich. If you plan to stop at McDonalds or similar, let them know if they remain quiet and good, you will stop, if they are noisy or misbehave, then keep going a little longer or stop elsewhere less fun.

You can always advise them that when you reach your destination the children that have behaved may get to choose the bed they want to sleep in or you can offer different types of rewards and the children can choose their favourite eg: play in the park, bed choice, activity choice and restaurant choice. They all of course get to attend but the child who chose owns that choice and reward.

Holidays should be fun for everyone. This means the children may in fact be a little excited and this can be a good thing. We parents just need to direct their excitement and this is usually required through the trip.

Have fun :)

Information to help your child starting school

5 Tips to Start School Easier

1. Have a few trial lunch days where you pack the child a lunch box at home (if not done at preschool) and ensure they eat correct little lunch first then big lunch, this is particularly important if all food is in one lunch box. And ensure they can unwrap their lunch.

2. Children need to be aware of the time frame of preparing for school each morning. Much conflict erupts of a morning between parents and children when the children are slow to become ready for school or bus. Set clear expectations and consequences so they understand; and remember children have no concept of time under about 7 years old so telling them you have half an hour to get ready will mean nothing to them. Ensure your rule includes no TV of a morning or at least until they are up, dressed, breakfast, teeth brushed and bag packed – ready to walk out the door. If they are ready early, some TV or computer game is permitted but only after they are ready.

3. Separating from the child when they commence school. Mum standing at the gate crying will only tell the child that this school is scary and bad. Parents hugging their child emotionally and telling them how much they will miss their child will make the child sad and anxious.  First day, meet the teacher, show your child around, smile and go. Drop off and leave with a smile, perhaps wearing a large dark pair of sunglasses to hide any tears or emotion.

4. Take the child to the school and show them around. Many children are scared they do not know where their classroom is or where the toilets are.  Show them the kindy area and toilets.

5. Label everything – all clothing, bags, lunch box, drink bottle. If the child puts their item down and other children’s items are the same, a child can become distressed thinking the other child has taken their item or its lost. Labelling all items will prevent this and assist the teacher to sort out correct belongings. Place their first name and first letter of surname at least.

A Video to assist parents start their child at school

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVEX6nMP3VA

Body and Soul Article

Body and Soul Article about the book and how to raise your children easier, hope you enjoy itDescription: :)
http://bit.ly/19Ayosa

News story in Newcastle Lakes Mail

Local author’s parenting book endorsed by MP
http://bit.ly/1a9JWOs
By DAVID STEWART
May 22, 2013, 9:38 a.m.
PRACTICAL: Author Karen Phillip at her Caves Beach Early Learning Centre. There are telltale signs that indicate when kids are running the house.
A LAKE Macquarie woman’s parenting book has received a glowing endorsement from a federal MP.Member for Shortland, Jill Hall, will commend the book to Parliament next week.
Karen Phillip describes her book Who Runs Your House – The Kids or You? as a “no-nonsense guide” for parents seeking simple advice that works.
And Ms Hall agrees.
“This really is an excellent book which offers good, sound, practical advice for parents,” Ms Hall said.
“It’s about taking control, and improving the parents’ life, and the children’s life, too.
“In fact, I liked it so much I gave a copy to my daughter Shayne to read.”
Ms Hall said she would talk about the book in Parliament next week.
Ms Phillip currently runs Caves Beach Early Learning Centre, as well as a counselling clinic at Lake Munmorah.
“This book shares the knowledge I’ve gained over the last two decades as a family counsellor and registered family dispute resolution practitioner,” Ms Phillip said.
More importantly, she is a mother of three.
There are some telltale signs that reveal when kids are running a home, she said.
“If your home is disruptive and your children are not listening to you, not doing as you ask or respecting your requests, then there is usually conflict within the home,” Ms Phillip said.
“The use of rules, boundaries and language is imperative yet simple.
“I can assure parents if they follow the suggestions in my book they can, within days, have a calm, happy home

Children with ADD and ADHD

In a recent radio interview I was asked extensively about children with ADD and ADHD. I explained that while some children do have this problem there are perhaps 70% – 80% of children who simply are medicated because either parents or teachers are unable to manage their active or challenging behaviours.
In a recent study commissioned by the US agency for Health Research and Quality, it was found that PBT was far more effective than mediation for many of these children. So what is PBT, it is Parent Behaviour Training.
The researchers concluded that the behaviour, particularly of preschool age children, improved considerably with Parent Behaviour Training and the only possible limitation for the success of the training was parents’ attrition.
I have been discussing this for almost two decades and from experience and through working with numerous families who had a diagnosed child, it became obvious that Parents were often overwhelmed by their active or challenging child’s behaviour. No one had prepared or trained them to manage or deal with these types of behaviours. They were simply out of their depth. The problem is these days we simply medicate the child to lower their activeness and hopefully improve their capability to concentrate.
Fact is often these children can concentrate really well on things that engage them such as a TV show, a DVD, or computer game. They are often very active minded and intelligent little people who need regular, interesting stimulation and when left bored, behaviours start to escalate. By teaching parents and teachers how to recognize the signals and encourage challenges to the child’s body and mind, they can quickly redirected a child’s behaviours without any medication crossing their lips. By teaching the child to learn self control through a series of consequences for their behaviours can often redirect the child to consider the consequence prior to them escalating their behaviour. This can take a little time and work from both parents and teachers however if done well, can quickly teach the child it is not in their best interest to ‘let loose’ but it is in their best interest to show restrain. After all, we have learnt that a child will only usually continue a behaviour if they get something out of it and these children displaying ADD and ADHD ‘symptoms’ are the same.
So if you feel your child has some challenges, start by teaching your child some boundaries with consequences they really do not like if they overstep their boundary. This could mean they miss out on an activity they enjoy such as the family goes bowling or to the pool but the child who has behaved inappropriately may have to miss out on having a bowl or swimming. The child could also miss out on watching their favourite show or playing their favourite game. While their behaviour initially may be challenging, the child will certainly learn if they behave in way that is unacceptable, then consequence they do not like will occur. It is amazing how quickly a child can decide to behave differently if they firmly believe and understand that they will miss out on something they want to do. This is all part of Parent Behaviour Training.

Sleep Time and Your Child

Part Excert from Who Runs Your House—The Kids or You?

This is one of the biggest problems many parents experience with their little ones. I am often asked, how do I get them to
sleep each night? How do I get them to settle without causing World War three? And the list goes on.
Having you little one settle each evening should and can be an easy, quiet experience. The sooner you start the routine, the faster it will happen.
What time should they go to bed? When they are two to five years old a good healthy bed time is 7 p.m.-7.30 p.m. They should
sleep soundly for ten to twelve hours and wake at 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. the next morning. I say similar time for this broad age, as up to three
years they are having a day sleep as well. Parents without a set routine will most likely have a problem, and the firmer you are, the easier it will be. So if bedtime is 7.30 p.m., then 7.30 p.m. it is, not 8 p.m. or 8.30 p.m., it is 7.30 p.m.
Have a set bedtime routine. Prepare your own routine and signal. The one that worked well in our house, was ‘teeth, toilet, bed’. When the children heard this, they knew that when they did this, Mum / Dad would go into their room for a cuddle and a story before the last lights out. The children had turns in choosing the story.
I would sit and read before the last tuck in, cuddle, love you and then leave the room. My sons shared a room, and my daughter had her
room. She would come into the younger boys’ room for the story until a little older when she was permitted to stay up reading for a little
while in bed, then I would go in, maybe read a little for her before the routine of covering her up, cuddle, love you, and then exit the room.
Obviously, it is not wise to play actively with any child prior to bedtime as you need at least half an hour before bed to have them
quiet down and settle. So make sure at least half an hour prior to bed the children are playing quietly, reading, watching a show, talking, or
something quiet for them to settle down. That means no playing, jokes, or tickles at bedtime either as this only revs them up making
it harder and longer to have them settle. No computer games thirty minutes prior to bed as their brains remain active. Any show they
watch should be a bit quiet also.
What if at two to four years, they do not want to go to bed or they keep getting up? Continue to place them back into their bed, no
drinks, only your display of displeasure. You need to be careful here, though, as the child may feel they are in control as Mum or Dad must
keep tending to me, after all bad attention is still attention.
After you initially place them into bed and cuddle them, read to them and tuck them in, tell them what it is you expect, and how happy
that will make you if they rest in their bed like the big clever child they are. If they continue to rise, tell them you will close their door. If they
continue, then quietly go in and close their door. Tell them they must stay in their room. If they are yelling or screaming, in other words,
if they are throwing a tantrum, then simply go to their closed door, knock on it to get their attention, tell them they need to settle quietly
and please go to sleep in their bed. After a while, they will comply.
Keeping them away from you will take away what it is they are after, more of you. If they come out of their room after you have told
them to stay in their room or they come out with excuses, place them back in immediately.
Should a night light be left on, yes, sometimes if needed, if they do not require one, then, no? Your child will let you know their preference, and this may also change at times.