Tag: Parenting

The Face It cards

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

We are delighted to introduce our new resource – The FACE IT Cards.

The FACE IT collection always makes an impression! This set of thirty-five (35) hand-drawn cards, depicting a wide range of facial expressions, are designed to engage children and adults from diverse social and cultural backgrounds as well as those on the Autism spectrum or with other special needs.

Parents, teachers and therapists will find the FACE IT cards are an exceptional resource to increase communication in the home, school, clinic or community setting.

Effectively used with both individuals and groups, the FACE IT cards allow participants the option of ‘pointing out’ their emotions to increase understanding, problem-solving and empathy when dialogue is difficult.

We hope you enjoy using them as much as we do!

Buy the Face It at the Quirky Kid Shoppe

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Gay Children @ essential baby

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Kimberley O’Brien, our principal child psychologist, discussed sexual identity and homosexuality amount children with reporter Justine Davies from Essential Baby. You can find more information on how to discuss sexuality with your children by  visiting our resources page or discussing it on our forum.

The Quirky Kid clinic runs a workshop called ‘Sort it out” that discuss sexuality and family communication. You can book online.

You can read the full article at  ‘Essential Baby website.’

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. View our media appearances to-date.

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Getting Children to Eat Their Veggies

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

For most parents, getting children to eat vegetables can sometimes be a difficult task. Dinner table tantrums and cries of distaste are a familiar scene to many households, leaving parents to come up with clever ways to coax vegetables into fussy tummies. From hiding vegetables in children’s meals to dramatic battles between wills, (“no you can’t leave the table until those carrots are gone!”), these techniques can be exhausting and certainly, exasperating.  In response, we have prepared the following fact sheet with suggestions for taking a different approach.

Tips for Parents:

  • Instead of trying to force your children to eat vegetables, encourage them to simply try them, individually. If your child doesn’t like a certain vegetable, try to maintain a positive attitude and do not get upset. Consistently encourage your child to try a new vegetable. Through this trial and error process, your child will likely discover some vegetables that they can, at the very least, tolerate.
  • Teach your child about the nutritional value of vegetables. While your child may not like them, it is still important that children understand why they are necessary to eat. This may make them more inclined to eat vegetables in the future.
  • Try to work around your child’s individual tastes. Most children do not hate ALL vegetables. Experiment with creative recipes using some of your child’s favourites.

Tricks for parents:

  • Make vegetables the most easily accessible snack to your child. This may mean keeping pre-cut vegetables in the fridge or on the table. When children are hungriest, they may be inclined to eat the vegetables that they wouldn’t otherwise choose.
  • Make your child familiar with vegetables by serving them in some form at every meal.
  • Add additional vegetables to ready-made packaged foods. This will add some nutrients to the meal without largely changing the taste.
  • Serve vegetables with salad dressing or sauce for dipping. When children can use these sauces to mask the taste of the vegetables, they may be more willing to eat them.
  • Cook with vegetable based sauces whenever possible. This way, children consume a serving of vegetables without even realizing it.
  • When grocery shopping, let your children choose their favorite vegetables, and get them involved in the meal preparation. When children are given input and their preferences are considered, they may be more willing to eat the meals that are prepared.

Practices to avoid:

Avoid constantly trying to hide vegetables in everyday foods. If your child notices the hidden vegetables, they may feel deceived and distrustful about future meals. Also, children need to recognize that vegetables are part of everyday foods. This way, they can identify the importance of vegetables in daily eating.

Some families may benefit from individualized consultations to work out strategies to deal with severe cases of food avoidance or associated conditions. Please contact us to schedule an appointment.

There are lot’s more fun and practical strategies about helping your children eat vegetables. Why not share some with other parents at our forums?

*Information for this article was gathered from Kimberley O’Brien, Child Psychologist, and the Raising Children Network

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Childhood Independence

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

It is often said that children seem to be growing up quicker than ever before. In light of this phenomenon, parents can feel both confused and conflicted when it comes to their child’s independence. They wonder at what ages certain events should be permissible, and how much freedom is appropriate. We have prepared some useful information below as well as a video from one of Kimberley’s appearances on the Today Show

When Should my Child be Able to:

  • Sleep at a Friends House (7+): Sleepovers should only be encouraged if children are in a good night time routine at home. It’s also important for both sets of parents to meet and establish certain ground rules before a sleepover, so that you can be sure that your child is going to be both comfortable and safe in these new surroundings. There is often at least a six-month build up to a sleep over both for the child and the parents. While going to a birthday could be at the start of a friendship, a sleep over is often a step up from that.
  • Go out Unchaperoned (14+): That first trip to the movies without Mum or Dad is now almost a rite of passage for children.  On average, children between the ages of 13 to 16 are allowed to go out to a public place, only if they are being dropped off and then picked up. After that, daytime trips to the shops or movies where they make their own way there by themselves, is often determined on the basis of whether it feels safe and reasonable for all family members.
  • Get their own Mobile (16+): Parents are not encouraged to purchase a mobile phone for their child under the age of 16. It is important that children are made aware that phones are expensive, and it is recommended that they have a part time job to contribute to the cost of their mobile. This way, children are able to learn the value of money and develop a sense of responsibility.
  • Have their own Email (16+): There can be a lot of pressure for parents to give in and allow their children to have their own email account. However, all the media attention that has been given to internet predators isn’t just hype. Experts recommend that children be carefully monitored on the internet up until the age of 16. A good idea is for you to have a shared family account that your children can email their friends from. That way, parents can control the situation and know exactly who their child is communicating with. Installing a ‘Net Nanny’ type device (that blocks certain websites) is also essential if your children are going to be surfing the net.
  • Wear Make-up (depends on the occasion): While most parents would agree that wearing a dusting of sparkly eye shadow to a fairy-themed birthday party is perfectly acceptable, plastering on a full face of make-up is an entirely different matter. Also, while make-up may be okay for special celebrations, wearing make-up everyday shouldn’t be allowed while children are still at school.

In general:

Although children need not be given full independence, despite their clear desire at times, it is recommended that children are consulted on major issues that effect their lives. While it is ultimately the parents’ decision, asking your children to give their opinion, helps them feel that their views are valued. This often helps make children feel more comfortable in novel situations. For example, kids may feel less apprehensive about starting a new school if they help choose which school they would be attending.

Parents should become familiar with the Convention on the Rights of the Child available at:  http://www.unicef.org/crc/

If you would like some assistance in establishing independence with your child, please contact us. Some of our resources are very useful for establishing good communication with your child. You can purchase them at our online shop

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Information for this fact sheet was sourced from Kimberley O’Brien, Child Psychologist, and the Raising Children Network

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Children’s Pocket Money @ Sun Herald

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Kimberley discussed children’s pocket money and associated responsibilities with Caroline Marcus from the Sun Herald. You can find more information about how much pocket money to give your children, and what they should be doing to earn it,  by visiting our resources page or discussing it on our forum.

The full article is available on the Sydney Morning Herald website.

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. View our media appearances to-date here.