Late last year our principal child psychologist and CEO Dr. Kimberley O’Brien represented Quirky Kid at the iAccelerate@Sydney business networking event at Circular Quay.
Quirky Kid is a resident start-up of the iAccelerate program, which is a business accelerator and incubator facilitated and supported by the University of Wollongong (UOW). iAccelerate is the largest single University supported program of its type in the country, has supported more than 100 business start-ups since 2012.
Kimberley was one of the many distinguished guests present, including iAccelerate CEO Omar Khalifa and representatives from other iAccelerate resident companies – Me3d and Recovery Camp.
Kimberley introduced the important work we do at Quirky Kid and discussed out the journey from an initial start-up business to a successful publisher of therapeutic resources with clinics based in Sydney and Wollongong. Kimberley also reinterred the benefits of the iAccelerate for startups like Quirky Kid, including support and access to a network of like-minded business people
Additionally, Kimberley highlighted Quirky Kid’s vision of supporting and developing children’s social and emotional learning (SEL) on a global scale; introduced some of the Technology-Based products we are developing and discussed our research partnership with the University of Wollongong.
Greatness comes in many forms and is quite subjective depending on an individual’s age and abilities. For a child overcoming anxiety, greatness may be winning a public speaking competition or finding the courage to confront a new fear. For others, greatness may reveal itself through academic or sporting achievements, kindness, creativity or thoughtful leadership. In any case, discovering one’s unique strengths or passions is easier with the help of a caring coach, an attentive teacher, or a dedicated parent.
According to a recent survey of Australian students in Year 4 to 12, parents and teachers are the greatest influencers of a student’s sense of satisfaction and fulfillment (State of Victoria, Dept of Education and Training, 2017). Therefore, it is essential for parents and teachers to give sound advice on the subject of achieving greatness as defined by the child.
Leadership expert, Robert Kaplan (2013), developed a roadmap for reaching potential. In brief, he suggests greatness is achieved when we know our strengths, take the initiative and connect our daily actions to a clearly defined goal. For most children, defining a goal is easy but taking the initiative to make it happen is usually dependent on the adults around them. That’s where we come in!
Here’s what you can do:
- Foster their self-belief. For example, if you know a child who aspires to be a professional soccer player, help them find a great coach or coaching clinic. For those with more left-of-centre skills outside the areas of sporting or academia, keep an open mind to the activities available that might help push their strengths to new levels. Show them that you believe in them and make it happen!
- Research together. Show young people how to take the initiative by helping them to research and connect with experts in their field of interest. A child with a passion for making robots would be forever empowered if you showed them how to contact the Head Inventor at Battlebots. Imagine if they said yes to a Skype call?
- Use a wide-angle lens. Think broadly when it comes to inspiring young people. Be proactive and organise a range of guests to visit your school to spark an interest in every child. These could include artists, refugees, adventurers or someone with a “diffability” who is pursuing a passion. You never know when inspiration will strike!
- Set an example. Take on a challenge of your own and you will inspire others to do the same. Show some initiative and take steps on a daily basis to reach your goal. Share your journey’s highs and lows with the young people around you and make haste towards your destination.
- Work together. Challenges aren’t meant to be simple, but staying focused on the task at hand is easier when those around you are doing the same. Achieve greatness among your classmates, family or friends and your success will be even sweeter!
Our online Performance Psychology program Power Up! has been specially created for kids who want to push their performance skills to the next level. Power Up! gives them the power to: build self-confidence, cope with the pressures of competition, overcome self-doubt and negative self-talk, set goals and make plans to achieve them and maximise performance in any chosen field.
- Kaplan, R.S. (2013) What You’re Really Meant to Do: A Roadmap for Reaching your Unique Potential.Ebook. HBR.
- Right School-Right Place (2017) State of Victoria. Department of Education and Training (Vic).
We hope you enjoy this resource as an easy-access portal to all of our recent collaborations, interviews and publications. Kimberley O’Brien and the Quirky Kid team are committed to contribute to various publications and media outlets on topics of interest to parents and families alike.
- The Sydney Morning Herald: Kimberley discusses the topic of children and performance, stemming from children’s version of The Voice.
- The Daily at 2SER Radio: Kimberley spoke about the impacts of childcare on children, especially overnight childcare and staying with at-home carers.
- The Morning Show: Kimberley discusses video game addiction.
- 702 Mornings: Linda Mottram interviews Kimberley about social issues at school.
- Wake Up on Network Ten: Kimberley speaks about Play Therapy.
- The Daily Edition, Channel 7: Kimberley speaks about children and extreme sports.
- 2SER – Real Radio 107.3 FM: Kimberley discusses the psychological impacts of being a child bride.
- Storycentral.com.au: Kimberley speaks about how to navigate our kids/teens through a hyper-sexualised world.
- The Daily Telegraph: Kimberley talks about kids and technology.
- Kidspot: Kimberley discusses how not to embarrass your children at sporting events.
- Essential Kids: Kimberley talks about the pros and cons of routines for babies.
- Essential Kids: Kimberley discusses the impacts of Brazilian waxing and laser and the messages sent to adolescents.
- Squaredmommy.com: Quirky Kid is quoted in the blog article: ‘Some days our hormones clash’.
- A Current Affair: Kimberley is interviewed about Children’s increasing reliance on technology.
- The Daily Telegraph, Home Magazine: Kimberley speaks about the best place to set up a study area in the home for young children and teenagers.
- The Daily Telegraph: Writer Stephen Corby interviews Kimberley about how to stop little girls being mean to your daughter.
- The Daily Edition, Channel 7: Kimberley discusses sibling rivalry.
- KidSpot: Lisa Mayoh interviews Kimberley on the topic of ‘surviving the mean girls of kindy.’
- Afternoons with Will Goodings: Kimberley talks about if stereotypes still exist amongst siblings, about the traits of young vs older siblings, and about whether the middle-child syndrome exists.
- Kidspot: Kimberley speaks with Rebel Wylie about the using Santa as a threat.
If you have a story and would like to discuss it with us, please contact us to schedule a time. Kimberley O’Brien enjoys sharing the best of her therapeutic moments with the media.
Dr. Kimberley O’Brien, our principal child psychologist was engaged as an expert presenter during a campaign by Panadol. Her role as an Expert independent presenter will be to share expert advice on managing parental anxiety at times of common illness in the family and soothing sick kids.
Kimberley will share her insights on the importance of having a plan and tools to help parents through common challenges, particularly of childhood illness. During the event, Kimberley will answer questions from the floor and attend to interviews.
About the survey
The event aims to share with the media a Global survey that finds parents need to short-circuit their own anxiety to better manage their child’s illness.
The survey suggests that parents manage day to day mishaps and mistakes calmly, but still get stressed about the important things like helping their children through illness.
The survey included responses from more than 2,000 parents worldwide revealed the biggest parenting concern for parents is when their child is unwell. While 75% of Australian parents surveyed say they are very confident in treating their child’s pain or fever, 71% of Australian parents feel anxious about fever/temperature and 66% feel anxious about their child’s pain.
Kimberly O’Brien explains how this anxiety can impact children, emphasising the need for planning and coping strategies, and tools to help them through.
“Children are likely to vicariously experience stress when their parents are stressed. Even a change in facial expression or voice tone between parents may trigger stress responses in children, such as excessive crying, separation-anxiety and withdrawal,” says leading Australian child psychologist Dr Kimberley O’Brien.
“One of the most important things for parents is to have a plan, in case your child wakes with a temperature at three in the morning. Having tools in place to keep parents calm makes a big difference to sick children,” says Dr O’Brien.
Five Tips from Dr Kimberley O’Brien to managing your anxiety and soothe your sick child:
- Make a plan – This eliminates any indecision about how to best help a child in need. Remember to include distraction and calming tools if medication is required.
- Know your tools – A personalised DVD designed to soothe sick children, a favourite toy or game may relax children in need of medical intervention.
- Empathise – Try to see things from your child’s perspective to better understand their behaviour.
- Do familiar things – If possible, keep your usual family routines in place to maintain a sense of normality at home.
- Manage your anxiety – Call on your support networks and share the load of caring for your sick child. It will increase the quality of your care!
Children’s Panadol has created tools to help support parents in managing their child’s health and wellbeing including new, interactive and customisable apps to support in moments of common illness:
TV host and mother Shelley Craft (who will also be at the event) says “As a mother, sometimes I feel like I need to clone myself and be in two places at once – particularly when one of my kids is sick. A resource like Buddy Bear means you can distract and calm a toddler with a personalised story, giving you the chance to go and measure medicine, or even just take a moment to breathe.
You pop in their name and photo and choose from a list of common nursery rhymes for Buddy Bear to sing, so it really is a personalised video just for your child when they need it most,” says Shelley
Dr O’Brien observes “The positive finding from the Children’s Panadol Global Survey is that Australian parents are less concerned about the small mishaps we all have, in order to focus on the important things.”
When it comes to day-to-day mistakes, Australian parents appear to go easier on themselves than those in other countries, with 29 percent of Australian parents reporting feeling guilty if they forgot to do something for their child, compared with 41 percent across the international study. However 33 percent did admit to feeling disappointed in themselves if they forgot to do something for their child, and 44 percent worry about whether they are being a good parent (particularly mothers and those with babies).
The top three feelings about parenthood most reported by Australian parents were happy (73%), responsible (67%) and joyful (58%), however 51 per cent of all parents did admit to at least one negative feeling. “We know parental anxiety negatively impacts on children and this is amplified when they’re unwell.
Parents are encouraged to develop a routine with their child about managing unexpected illnesses. This ensures everyone knows the drill and will alleviate stress for both parent and child,” says Dr O’Brien.
About the Survey:
An online survey of 2,150 parents internationally – including Australia (n=400), Colombia (n=400), Indonesia (n=400), Philippines (n=400), Romania (n=400), Saudi Arabia (n=150) – was commissioned by GSK, the makers of Children’s Panadol, and conducted in December 2015 by independent research organisation Lightspeed