Coffee & Conversation returns this Friday!

This Friday 3rd March we will re-commence Coffee & Conversation at Holy Cross College for 2017.

Coffee & Conversation generally takes place twice a term, and is an informal gathering for parents and carers of students in our growing Junior School.  It's an opportunity to come together to build your networks and share some of your parenting stories.   Information about local services and parenting resources are also available.

Tea and coffee will be available as well as a piece of cake/slice - hope you can make it!

Time:  9am
Venue:  College Cafe 
* Friendly * Informal *Informative 

A new school year begins!

Welcome to 2017!

We are a couple of weeks into the Summer Term now and I trust your children are feeling settled and are finding their feet, particularly those who are starting school for the first time, transitioning to high school or new to Holy Cross this year.

Your children may be feeling excited and enthusiastic about learning new subjects, meeting new teachers, making new friendships and joining our wonderful school community.  Or they may be feeling just a little bit nervous about how they'll cope.  Don't hesitate to speak with your child's teacher if you have any questions or concerns about how your child is settling in to school - they will be able to provide you with feedback and suggestions.

Your role as parent or caregiver is vital to help maximise your child's success and enhance their well being, so here are a few general considerations:
  • Remember that the first few weeks of school will be very tiring for children, so getting back into a healthy sleep routine will be important.  Ensure your children are getting adequate sleep each night to help keep them focused, learning and functioning well at school during the day.
  • Minimise screen time - excessive amounts of time in front of the TV or on the internet can limit your child's opportunities for social interaction and their interest in experiential discovery and play.  It's not that difficult to find extra-curricular activities that are significantly more enriching than screen time if you look around your home - is there a board game they can re-discover, a book they could start reading, a puzzle they haven't tackled for a while, a tree they can climb, a bike they can ride, a local friend they can play with ...  
  • Pack healthy lunch box options, try to limit sugary after-school snacks, and remember to provide your child with a nutritious breakfast to help them kick start the day in a positive way.
  • Help to encourage and build on their organisational skills - pop the school timetable up on your fridge so they know what's coming up each day and can pack all their necessary belongings, lay out uniforms the night before, talk about what's happening after school so they can anticipate what they need or who's picking them up, show interest in their school work and homework and talk together about a study timetable, have conversations about what important things are happening within your family over the week.  Utilise notes, charts, timetables, etc - all great visuals to help children cope with the usual 'busyness' of daily life.
  • Talk with your children about their friendships.  These are the people they'll be playing with, talking to, sharing things with, confiding in and sometimes arguing with - so it's important for you to get to know these kids (and their families) too!  Help your children develop appropriate social skills such as sharing, being kind, making friends, managing conflicts, etc.  You can do this by simple and fun role-playing games.  
  • Physical activity is critical for healthy growth and development as well as helping your children stay mentally well and happy.  Try to encourage your kids to be active throughout their day by doing some moderate-vigourous activities such as riding their bike, dancing, walking, walking the dog, playing in the playground, swimming, sports, etc.  Make it a fun thing to do together, and it will quickly become a routine that will have wonderful benefits for everyone in the family. 
  • Teach your children some skills in managing stress to help them cope with the ups and downs of life and to manage particularly challenging situations.  Relaxation techniques including deep breathing, muscle relaxation, meditation and yoga are all terrific examples.
  • Talk to your children about their worries and concerns, and always be available and good listeners. Sometimes children won't be looking for solutions as such to their problems, they simply need someone who will listen to them.  Be available to your children - they might want to share immediately, or it might be best to enquire about their day a bit later when they're ready and open to having a conversation.        
Here's to an amazing 2017!  Don't forget, in addition to the wonderful teachers here at Holy Cross,  I'm also available to talk to students directly and to families/parents wishing to discuss learning or pastoral issues which are impacting on school life.

Kind regards,

Jo Betti
College Social Worker





Upcoming Event - Q&A with Maggie Dent

Would you like to register for a special "Q & A" session with Maggie Dent, renowned author, educator and parenting and resilience specialist with a particular interest in the early years and adolescence, as part of the Telethon Speech & Hearing Public Seminar Series?

Date: 30/3/17
Bendat Parent & Community Centre, 36 Dodd Street in Wembley. 
Cost:  $45pp


For more information regarding this event, to register and buy tickets, visit:  https://tsh-ps-17-1_mdent.eventbrite.com

For all other Maggie Dent events and news, visit:  https://www.maggiedent.com/events/

Ellenbrook Children & Families Connect

Ellenbrook Children & Families Connect is a network of local parents, community members, schools, playgroups and service providers focused on SUPPORTING children’s development and wellbeing, CONNECTING families to programs and services, and BUILDING a stronger community in the Ellenbrook Place area. The group works together on local initiatives such as:
  • Paint the Swan Read early literacy campaign
  • Community events and engagement
  • Parenting workshops
  • Promotion of local programs and services
“Like” the facebook page- www.facebook.com/EllenbrookCFC to keep up to date on all the great stuff happening in the area. Parents and community members are invited to get involved in the group, so if you are able to attend monthly meetings and/ or help out with our projects, please contact EllenbrookCFC@gmail.com

Christmas Events

Ellenbrook Christmas Market and Pageant
Hosted by the Ellenbrook Community Collective. Entertainment, fun and shopping for BIG kids and LITTLE kids, young and old. All welcome! Pet friendly! Rides, animal farm, face painting and picnic area around the Park. A celebration of all things Ellenbrook (and surrounds) with street market made up of small, home based and local businesses. For the Community, By the Community!
Date:                Saturday 3 December 2016
Time:               Markets 12- 6pm, Pageant 4pm
Location:         Main Street & Town Square, Ellenbrook
For more info visit https://www.facebook.com/ellenbrookcommunitycollective/

Aveley Christmas Carols
Hosted by the Lions Club of Ellenbrook, with support from the City of Swan and Stockland. Christmas fun and festivities for the whole family, plus a special visit from Santa!
Featuring performances from local choirs, schools and performers, and a chance to sing along to some of your favorite Christmas Carols. Pre-entertainment includes the Lions train, facepainting and Christmas craft. A variety of food and drink options will be on offer, and song books, candles and raffle tickets will also be available to support local community groups. See attached poster for full details.
Date:                Saturday 10 December 2016
Time:               Pre-entertainment from 5:30pm, Carols commencing at 7pm
Location:         Aveley Playing Fields, between Bolero Rd & Turkich Pde Aveley

PND Awareness Week - Ellenbrook Pram Walk 2016

The perfect way to show your support for families affected by antenatal and postnatal depression and anxiety. This fantastic community event will include free coffee, free ice cream, free face painting, and other giveaways for adults and children!
Date:                Wednesday 16 November
Time:                9.30 am
Location:          starting at Ellenbrook Community Library, 90 Main Street
Bring:               Shade for your pram, sunscreen, hat & water
Wear:               PURPLE & good walking shoes


RSVP to 9250 2221 – info@mwhcp.org.au   

"Dadvice" - new web series and resources for Dads

beyondblue has released "Dadvice", a new web series and resource website to support the mental health of Dads. The campaign aims to help men realise they’re not alone if they’re finding fatherhood tougher than they expected.

Dadvice features a series of online videos that follow men through the joys and challenges of becoming a dad, and encourages new dads to take action and look after their mental health. The series also includes dad-themed stand-up comedy from Australian comedians and fathers, Ben Lomas, Sammy J, Dave O’Neil and Lawrence Mooney.


Visit the Dadvice website for information, tools and support to help new dads take care of themselves and their families, or visit www.beyondblue.org.au for more information

Must-know strategies to shift kids' moods

Taken from the Michael Grose "Parentingideas"newsletter:

Ever had a child in a grumpy mood and she just don’t know how to make herself feel better? Alternatively, you may have experienced a child who comes home from school so angry that there’s steam coming from his ears.

Feeling emotional extremes is part of life, but that doesn’t mean we need to stay in those states. Children and young people aren’t necessarily hostages to their moods – with a little knowledge and effort they can shift their mood to a more pleasant and productive place. Generally, kids can modify their moods by changing their thinking or changing their physiology. That can be hard for a child to get his or her head around. Kids learn better through concrete strategies (rather than abstract concepts) as they are easier to learn and remember.

Here are 3 practical strategies kids can use to shift their moods:

1. “Take a breathe…take a few actually”
Perhaps the simplest way for child to feel better, whether it’s too settle some nerves before a talk or reduce anxiousness before meeting new friends, is to take three or four deep breaths. Deep breathing releases dopamine into their system, moving kids toward the yellow or green zones on the Mood Meter.

2. “Picture yourself…”
Encourage your kids to carry a picture of a favourite thing – person, pet or holiday – to help them move them to a happier place when needed. Pictures and photos can impact at a deep emotional level. Anyone who carries a picture of a loved one with them will know how powerful a visual reminder can be.

3. “DO something…”
Boys are action-oriented and tend to act out their feelings more than girls. When they are happy they dance and gig around and when they are mad many become aggressive or just more active. Boys also can use action to dissipate emotion or shift their mood to a better place. If they are angry then insist they play an active game or sport to get the energy out. Lethargy, boredom and other passive emotional states too can be shifted through physical activity.

If your child or young person uses ineffective strategies such as rumination and worry, acting out, or self-blame then help them choose more effective strategies to regulate their emotions.


How to turn requests into problems for kids to solve




When parents solve all children’s problems we not only increase their dependency on adults but we teach them to be afraid of making mistakes. That’s fertile ground for anxiousness and perfectionism, which often go hand in hand.

Kids get used to bringing their problems to parents to solve.

Of course, if you keeping solving them, they’ll keep bringing them. “Mum, my sister is annoying me?” “Dad, can you ask my teacher to pick me for the team?” “Hey, I can’t find my socks!”

It’s tempting if you are in a time-poor family to simply jump in and help kids out.

Alternatively, you can take a problem-solving approach, cueing them to resolve their own problems and take responsibility for their concerns. “What can you do to make her stop annoying you?” “What’s the best approach to take with your teacher?” “Socks, smocks! Where might they be?”

 Here are 5 questions you can ask kids to encourage them to resolve their own problems:

 1. “Can you solve this yourself?”
Get kids thinking they can do it.

 2. “What do you think needs to happen?”
Start kids thinking about solving problems.

 3. “What’s the first step?”
Sometimes just getting kids started is enough to get them working out issues themselves.

 4. “How would you like me to help?”
Get kids considering the type of assistance they need.

 5. “What’s the best way to do this?”
Get kids assessing and prioritising.

Problem-solving is one of the four major skills (optimism, social skills & independence being the others) that resilient kids share, yet it’s the one that many of us aren’t equipped to develop. Start by stepping back and asking good questions when kids bring you their problems to solve.

(Ref: "Parenting Ideas" newsletter by Michael Grose) 

Tips for Managing Technology in the Home

The following Australian Government "Office of Children's e-safety Commissioner" website has some great resources and information for parents regarding managing technology in the home.

https://www.esafety.gov.au/education-resources/iparent

You'll find links to facts and stats about Aussie kids online, ideas on how to manage your devices, and also some strategies for keeping your children safe online.




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