Northern Beaches Mums Group
Northern Beaches Mums Group

Late-night movies, gaming marathons and impromptu sleepovers may have featured over the holidays, but as we near a new school term, UniSA sleep experts say it’s time to settle kids back into a regular sleep routine.

Dr Stephanie Centofanti and Dr Alex Agostini from UniSA Online say modifying sleep routines now will allow enough time for children’s body clocks to adjust to a new schedule before school starts.

“Just like jet lag, changing to a new sleep routine can take time,” Dr Centofanti says.

“Throughout the school holidays, families and children have relaxed their schedules, perhaps sleeping in in the mornings and staying up later at night. But with the school term nearly upon us, it’s important to start settling back into regular routines.

“Easing kids into consistent and predictable routines help them avoid difficulties associated with sleepiness, irritability and paying attention in the first weeks back at school. So, it’s important that parents start the process now.

“Making small changes to your child’s routine over time – perhaps moving their bedtime by five or ten minutes each night – can adjust their biological rhythms more easily. And if you have kids who sleep in, make sure you wake them a little earlier each day.”

Research shows that a good sleep routine is important for children’s emotional, physical, and mental health*, especially post the school holidays.

With the uncertainties surrounding schools amid COVID-19, a consistent sleep routine can help manage stress and anxiety. Dr Agostini says maintaining a consistent routine each day is vital for healthy sleep.

“Having a relaxing pre-bed routine and going to bed at the same time every night can teach the body when it’s time to fall asleep. This can make falling asleep easier, leading to a longer and more restful night’s sleep,” Dr Agostini says. 

“We recommend parents sit down with their children to design a pre-bed routine that will be relaxing for their child. This might include a bath, reading a book, listening to music, or even talking about tomorrow’s plans. The important thing is getting kids involved in this process to ensure their buy-in.

“Technology use can be a big issue when it comes to getting enough sleep, so it can help if the whole family decides to put down all phones before bed.

“Setting clear boundaries around technology use is critical so that it doesn’t creep into the late evening hours when kids should be preparing for sleep.

“Remember that sleep needs change with age and are different for every child. Take cues from your child’s behaviour and sleepiness levels over the first few weeks of school and adjust their bedtime routines accordingly.

“Nobody wants a cranky kid in the morning – a regular, predictable and relaxing bed routine will help get your child off to sleep and start the day in the best way possible.”

Top Tips for children’s sleep:

  • Exercise in the sunshine during the day
  • Avoiding bright light in the evening
  • Cut technology at night (blue light impedes sleep)
  • Choose lighter meals in the evening
  • Keep the bedroom dark, cool and quiet
  • Get kids involved in designing their own bedtime routine.
  • Set a good sleep routine and stick to it (for example, bath, quiet time, stories).

*Globally, almost one in seven children and adolescents (aged 10–17 years) will experience a mental health disorder.

The plumbing of your home is vital for your daily tasks, especially if it concerns your toilets, showers, washing machines, and sink areas. Upgrading your plumbing system can therefore play a significant role in increasing comfort and efficiency, as well as the property value.

Proper plumbing ensures that you have a quality water supply in your home, as well as a sound drainage system. To help you decide on the best plumbing upgrades, you can call in a professional plumber Northern Beaches near your area.

If you’re eager in upgrading your plumbing system with ease. The guide below can make it all possible.

  1. Maintaining The Drain

A clogged or a slow drain is a disgusting sight in any home. Calling a professional plumber to address this issue can help reduce such instances. Installation of hair blockers or strainers can also help prevent the drain from clogging.

A functional drainage system can help increase the value of your home because it reflects that the house is well-maintained and in good condition.

  1. Insulating Pipes

Pipe insulation is commonly overlooked by builders and buyers of homes because pipes and heaters are usually located in basements where it’s typically deemed cooler than other areas within the house.

With poor insulation of pipes, you may get unreasonably high electricity bills due to the high loss of energy. Although it may be a small upgrade, its benefits will surely make a difference, because insulating your pipes can help you save on both maintenance and energy costs 

Pipe insulation can be done with either pipe wraps or sleeves that easily fit overexposed ones, adding a layer of warmth with extra protection.

  1. Replacing Old Pipes

To prevent decomposition of your pipes, steer away from using steel, lead, or iron pipes.  It can contribute to the decreased quality of your drinking water and supply systems. Your drinking water could taste bad. If the piping is done poorly, it could risk the health of the consumers. A build-up in the pipes can also lead to corrosion.

You should replace aged pipes made of old materials with copper for safe water supply and PVC pipes for waste channels to significantly increase the water quality since they are corrosion resistant.

Upgrading your pipes can reassure you that your property won’t have poor plumbing issues such as pipe breakage. Ensuring all the water pipes are in good condition will go a long way in increasing the efficiency and reliability of your plumbing system.

  1. Efficiency Of Water Heaters

Water heaters tend to be essential plumbing fixtures to any home. Homeowners have to make sure that all the water heaters are well-maintained and in their best conditions.

Determine what your home requires, to know what your options are. If there’s an extra space, you can opt for tankless heaters, because they lessen the need for water storage and prove to be efficient in energy management.

  1.  Addition Of A Room For Laundry

The creation of a laundry room, dedicated only for your laundry purposes, can help add value to your home, as it serves as another feature that not all houses offer. It can be just a small, unused space in your home that can accommodate your laundry equipment to conveniently do all your laundry tasks.

  1. Installation Of Modern Faucets

Installing modern faucets not only enhances your kitchen and bathroom sinks but also offers versatility and functionality as well.

Moreover, to maximize the aesthetics of your kitchen it would be best paired with a double bowl sink to complete the overall look.

  1. Rainwater Tank

The backyard of your home can account for almost half of your water usage. Adding a tank that collects rainwater can help you cut your water bills.

By connecting the rainwater tank to your washing machine, you can help save some costs from your expensive water bill.

  1. Outdoor Taps

Installation of outdoor taps gives you easy access to water for your backyard needs. It’s convenient enough to get water from an outdoor tap rather than using long hoses to get water inside the house.

This convenience to water access for your backyard eases the tasks that you might have in the future.

  1. Add Another Bathroom

A great upgrade to add beauty and value to your home is to add another bathroom. Added features like this increase functionality and convenience to the homeowners. In addition, you can also add flair and creativity to building one. For instance, you can research online for a spa-like-inspired bathroom, which can boost the market value of your home, if you decide to sell it in the future.

The Take-Away

The plumbing system in any home is often disregarded, which is the reason why repairs and upgrades become costly. To prevent it from happening you must always keep your plumbing system well-maintained and functional. Upgrading it can contribute to the increment of your comfortability and property value. The guide above can take you through the simple tips you can try to upgrade your plumbing system.


Jefferson Clyde is a professional in marketing. He has been in the industry for almost 7 years. He shares his expertise by writing blogs. During his free time, he enjoys fishing and surfing

We tell ourselves stories all the time that explain the world and the situations that we are experiencing. Sometimes these stories help us find solutions to life’s problems and sometimes the narrative just makes things worse, however, there is always more than one way to look at every situation. In the book “RESET”, authors Luke Mathers and Ally Shorter set out to help us find a story that helps.

Anxiety kicks in for a reason. Anxiety is there to make us pay attention. The cavewoman who didn’t get anxious when she knew predators were around got eaten along with her kids. Anxiety is evolutionary. Anxiety has a purpose and anxiety is there to make us take notice. We need to listen to the feelings of anxiety and treat them like a signpost that gives us information rather than an alarm that promotes panic.

There is always a fork in the stress road, a point where something sparks a stress response. We have two options: Threat or Challenge?

Our default, the first response is to view it as a threat. 10,000 years ago, on the plains of Africa, this anxiety response served us well and kept us safe. It’s hardwired into us. Years ago, stress was short-term, urgent and transient. Our pre-historic ancestors dealt with the threat and moved on. Good system!

In 2021, with iPhones, Covid and Instagram most anxiety is caused by things like FOMO, fear of failure and constantly comparing ourselves to others. Our problems are hardly life-threatening, but our body doesn’t know that. Seeing anxiety as a threat is hardwired, but it’s no longer helpful.

When anxiety is seen as a threat, the newest part of our brain (pre-frontal cortex) goes offline and the fear centre (the amygdala) fires up. When your amygdala gets hijacked, thinking becomes defensive and constricted.

So, how do we expand our thinking to keep the smart part of our brain online? The answer – get curious and treat the situation as a challenge!

When feelings of anxiety are met with curiosity they become more of a challenge. All parts of the brain stay online when we do a curious RESET.

In RESET, Luke and Ally explain a simple 3 step process:

Catch, W.A.I.T + RESET

  1. “Catch” your physical reaction. Knots in the stomach, clenching fists and elevated heart rate are all signposts alerting you need to pay attention to something. Listen to them with curiosity rather than fear. Lean into the feelings of anxiety and get curious.
  2. W.A.I.T stands for “What Am I Thinking” and is where our dominant thought is curiosity. What am I thinking? Why am I thinking it? And, is it helping? These questions of self-awareness get our brains working in Challenge mode.
  3. RESET – Control – ALT – Delete. When a computer is overloaded, we press Control/ALT/Delete to shut everything down and start again. What CAN I control? What are my ALTernatives? And, what do I need to delete?

1 in 7 Australians will develop an anxiety-related condition every year. This number could be greatly reduced if we can catch anxious feelings early and stop them from going into a spiral of threat.

Your heart may thump, breathing quicken, and your stomach may be doing cartwheels, but if we stay curious and “Catch, W.A.I.T. + RESET” those feelings of stress and anxiety will pass and we will learn from the challenge.


If you would like to investigate running a RESET program in your school or workplace contact Luke Mathers at luke@lukemathers.com.au

About the book:

RESET- Choose your story” is a short book written as a parable which is an easy read that is packed full of a lot of great life lessons. Written from the perspective of two characters, RESET centres on the stories of Amy, who is returning to grade 12 after losing her best friend who died, and Zac who is popular but is struggling with a lack of motivation, stress, loneliness and is turning to drugs. 

The book is co-written by Ally Shorter, a 2020-year 12 graduate who draws on her personal experience of losing a close friend to suicide in 2018 to help frame the story of “Amy”.

Most parents swear by a school routine of some description. But after almost six weeks of changes in location, mealtimes, and surrounding company over Christmas and New Year, it’s an easily forgotten concept.

To avoid a rude awakening (literally) for your kids the first day back, a gradual phase-in of the school routine is a must. In the last week of the school holidays, encourage your kids to wake up at a regular (also read: earlier) time. Mornings should start to look more and more like school mornings, in terms of the time usually available for breakfast, cleaning teeth etc. Even though school hasn’t started yet, being busy with other things in the lead up to the first day back will ensure that there is a legitimate need to be up and out the door, and not just because you say so.

Whilst rehearsal of the school routine does ease kids into being physically back at school, it won’t necessarily resolve back-to-school concerns and burgeoning questions.

Your child may begin to worry about the logistics of the year ahead. For example, Who will be in my class? And will I like the teacher? are fairly reasonable questions for a student to ask, and yet most students won’t be privy to the answers until school starts. As a parent, it is impossible to ‘fix’ this. The uncertainty is going to remain, and, frankly, it will only continue as life beyond school unfolds. The best thing you can do is to help your children be okay with the unknown.

To do this, you might like to ask your child some or all of these questions.

What is the worst thing that could happen? And how would you/we deal with it if it did?
When have you had to deal with tough things at school before? How did you feel at the time? Do you feel different now?
What are things you enjoy outside of school? Are they going to remain constant regardless of the goings-on at school?

With appropriate planning and preparation, it is possible for students to be physically and mentally ready for another school year. Good luck!


Written by Sarah Carman, Director of Sponge Education | one-on-one tutoring in Sydney. Sponge Education is a tuition initiative aimed at improving the high school experience for NSW students, both academically and mentally. Sponge is a tailored tuition service for students in K-12.

Sending your little one to childcare can be daunting, not only for children but for caregivers and parents too! We all want to make sure our little one is safe and comfortable in their new environment. With this in mind, Living Textile’s Australia has created a range of bedding specifically designed for child care cot’s, stacking beds and mats using their soft and breathable 100% cotton jersey fabrics that parents know and love.

Using designs from their latest collections, the range has smart features such as integrated top sheets, pillowcases and blankets, so you never lose them. Another clever and design-forward feature is the matching fabric bags with name labels and elastic loops to secure over stacking bed legs. Best of all, the whole range is machine washable!

Available in a range of styles to suit any day-care sleeping situation and in a cute assortment of designs, these childcare sheets are sure to be a winner for children and parents alike.

Sheets

A lot of day-cares now ask parents to bring linen and what type you need all depends on your centre. Standard cot sheets won’t securely fit childcare centre cots as they are often smaller, and for toddlers, many centres use stacking beds (like a camping bed) or a foam mat. Check out the range of day-care bedding designs to perfectly fit each option and provide your little one with the best naptime sleep!

Babies: 0-12months (not yet walking or climbing)

Toddlers: 1-5yrs – your centre has stacking beds

Toddlers: 1-5yrs – your centre has floor mats (this option also fits stacking beds)

All these sheets are available at https://livingtextiles.com.au/collections/childcare-sheet-sets.

Use code NBDAYCARE20 for 20% off.

The playgrounds may not be calling you on those wet and cold days, so here are 6 go to activities that can get you through the day.

Before you get started here is one simple tip to keep your clean up quick and the mess a little more contained. Use an large tray as your child’s work surface, this will catch an enormous amount of mess making your clean up so much easier.

Remember it is all about the process at this age, NOT the final product. Some activities may only last a few minutes but leave it set up as an invitation to play and you might be surprised, that they may just keep visiting it throughout the afternoon.

Activity 1: Playdough. Homemade or store bought, this is an excellent sensory activity that kids of all ages enjoy. Put a few drops of lavender oil into the mixture and see the calming effect it has on a long afternoon. Provide cookie cutters, a rolling pin or even plastic knives and forks and a cupcake tin and see what happens as they squish, push, pull and roll. You can find an easy to make recipe on the side of the Cream of Tartar box on any supermarket shelf.

Activity 2: Washi Tape and an old plastic milk bottle. A plastic bottle gives a child a different surface to work on other than a flat piece of paper. Using a sharp knife cut the top off the bottle so there is a small cup shape left, wash and dry the container completely. Now then let them wrap the tape around and around to make a beautifully (preschool style) decorated container perfect for your bits and bobs.

Activity 3: Sensory Trays. This is such an easy activity and only takes a few minutes to set up. Using a deep tray add a bag of rice, or pasta, or cotton balls, or cornflakes – what ever you have in your cupboard. Then add small cups, a muffin tray, some deep spoons or a pair of tongs and let them pour, tip, pick up and fill to their hearts content. Don’t throw this tray away as the next day, add a few animal toys, a digger or cars and as the children become familiar with the new textures the sensory play will continue.

Activity 4: Water Colour Paint and Newspaper. Water colour paint don’t create as much mess as other paints. First fill a jar with just a little water and wet the paintbrush. Show your child that you need water to use water colour paint and to get a vibrate colour you must swirl the brush around and around to fill it with paint. Then they can paint. Let them paint the newspaper mixing the colour on the paper any way they like. Don’t throw it away as once it’s dry they can practice their cutting skills and make a pile of strips that can be glued together to make a paper chain.

Activity 5: Threading and Beading. If you have a pile of pony beads in the cupboard these are fabulous but if it’s raining and you don’t want to go out with a toddler and your preschooler go to the pantry and dig out your Paccherri pasta or any tubular pasta lying there and get threading. Add an extra dimension and paint it with water colour or even use your felt tips pens to brighten it up before they start threading. Mix it up and thread it onto a skewer or a pipe cleaner until they develop their fine motor skills and can use a piece of string.

Activity 6: Fiber Art. Make a rainbow stick. This is simple enough if you have a bag of wool or even a pile of fabric scrapes. If you don’t you could always use a few old t-shirts from the back of the cupboard and cut them up into long strips of fabric. Take a stick from your last nature walk or from the front garden of your unit and start winding the thread around and around, encouraging them to change colour as they go. You may need to help with the knots on this activity so it doesn’t unravel. Otherwise finish it off with a piece of pretty tape to hold it in place. The more independence they have the better. Once you have a pile of stick complete display it in a vase for everyone to admire.

If you have a child that gets pretty good at winding the string they could even move onto a pompom. But perhaps that could be another afternoon activity.

One bonus wet weather activity that every child needs to experience is the fabulous joy of a homemade cubby made from cushions, sheets and a mountain of stuffed toys. This will guarantee a room full of mess but they may just get so comfy they fall asleep for 15 minutes or so and give you a chance to drink that cup of coffee too.


Article provided by Liz Larrea.
Liz is a wife, mother of 4 and owner of the process based art studio Hello Little Artisan located in Beacon Hill. With a background in Primary Teaching in England and Australia, English Language Teaching in Australia and Spain and a decade of Facilitating Playgroups on the Northern Beaches it was time to focus on my passion of all things arts and crafts- which is what inspired me to open a studio for children to come and play, create, make and get messy in a clean safe environment where they can enjoy the beauty of process art.

As school gets closer, the lunchbox saga begins. I’m sure you’ve been inundated with advice to create lunchboxes that are free from potential allergens and healthy, while also trying to make them taste good!

On top of this you’re probably aware that childhood obesity is at an all time high and what kids eat at school is a significant contributor to this. Our philosophy around food for kids is all about inclusion (not exclusion). We believe in eating healthy most of the time, but that it is also perfectly ok to include a few treats in the lunchbox every now and then. We do not believe any foods should be off limits and this is a really important message to send to young children who are developing their food and eating habits.

Building a healthy lunchbox that your child will actually eat is no small feat, especially when you might be packing up to 200 lunchboxes each year (and that’s for just one child). This is why we have put together some quick and simple lunchbox tips and tricks that will keep you sane and your kids healthy for the year ahead!

Little hands need little serves and containers

You may be familiar with the range of bento style lunchboxes that have slowly been making their way into the market. Packing school lunches into compartmentalised lunchboxes or in an assortment of little containers can make it easier for children as they can choose to eat one thing at a time. Using compartmentalised lunchboxes and containers will also help you to cut down on packaging and prevent the food from being squished (no one likes squashed grapes!) Primary school kids typically have smaller tummies, so smaller meals and snacks that are packed with nutrition are idealchoices. Kids love bite size foods, so try and keep things small and tidy to make it as easy as possible for them.

Get you kids involved

Ask your child to list their top 10 sandwich fillings. This will help you if you are stuck one morning and need to make something in a hurry. Always try and have a variety of fruit and vegetables available at home and let them pick which ones they would like included in their lunchbox. This way they have been involved in the decision making process and are more likely to eat what’s inside. Life is busy so try to make the most of any spare time to get prepared – boil eggs, chop up veggies, make bliss balls beforehand, this will help reduce the time you need for food prep in the morning rush. Kids love getting involved in the kitchen, so hand over appropriate jobs to them.

Choose smart snacks

Children tend to have smaller appetites and fill up easily. Snacks can make up a valuable part of their daily nutritional requirement. Keep in mind that offering your child processed, sugary snacks that contain minimal fibre and protein are going to spike their blood sugar levels leaving them feeling tired and unable to concentrate in class. Pack smart snacks such as fresh fruit, veggie sticks, cheese and wholegrain crackers, air-popped popcorn, yoghurt, homemade fruit or veggie muffins and boiled eggs. Here are some tips for weaning your kids off junk foods.

Offer water as the drink

Water should be the primary drink of choice for children. In summer, you can freeze your child’s water bottles, which will also help to keep their food fresh and cold. You can also jazz up water but adding pieces of fruit or vegetables to make it look attractive and to give it a flavour pop. Try and limit the amount of fruit juice that you give your children. Whole fruit is a great source of fibre and is essential for a healthy digestive system, however, fruit juice often contains very little fibre and more sugar, therefore fruit juice should not regularly be a replacement for fresh fruit. If you child is going to have juice, opt for vegetable juices with a small amount of fruit added.

Mix it up

A sandwich can be an easy throw together option for the school lunchbox but it is important to mix it up so that your child stays interested. Try wraps, frittatas or even pack leftovers in a cold lunchbox. If you are looking for some different options like Healthy Fried Rice, Pasta Salads or even a child friendly Poke Bowl.


Anna and Alex are the Accredited Practising Dietitians behind The Biting Truth. The Biting Truth?s mission is to empower individuals with the knowledge and confidence to make better health and food choices. They use innovative techniques to translate complex science into practical information.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thebitingtruth
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Website: www.thebitingtruth.com

When you are going through a separation or divorce, keeping in control of the process is an important part of securing the best settlement outcome possible and in turn, it enables you to confidently move forward with your life. Collaborative family law is one way of achieving this.

The Collaborative Law process is a widely used form of dispute resolution for separating couples that allow both parties and their lawyers to enter into a contract (“Participation Agreement”) to constructively negotiate an outcome without resorting to litigation. It has an emphasis on problem-solving, negotiation and cooperation to settle the conflict and enables Lawyers to collaborate with other relevant professionals as well as their clients to respectfully resolve disputes and, ultimately, stay out of Court.

Want to Know More about Collaborative Law?

Here are some helpful answers to the commonly asked questions about Collaborative family law practice.

Is Collaborative Law right for me?

Collaborative Family Law may be an option for you if both you and your former partner are seeking to resolve matters as amicably as possible and without recourse to the Court. It can be an empowering process as it allows the separating couple to create their best possible agreement and resolve their disputes respectfully without the need for court intervention, whilst still having the support and guidance from a collaborative trained family lawyer and potentially additional professionals such as financial specialists.

However, there are circumstances where collaborative law would not be an appropriate method of resolving your family law dispute. For example, if there has been a history of violence or there is an existing and clear power imbalance between couples, it is unlikely that collaborative family law will be suitable for you and your family.

Collaborative law would also not be appropriate if you or your former partner are not able or willing to be transparent as transparency is an important part of the collaborative process.

At Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers, we have Collaboratively trained Family Lawyers who can assist in assessing whether your matter would be best resolved by way of collaborative law or another approach.

What’s different about Collaborative Law?

The collaborative approach is centred on honesty and cooperation, without the threat of litigation. All matters raised and discussed through the collaborative law process are confidential. In this sense, the collaborative law process is much like an extended mediation process, which allows issues to be discussed and resolved over several meetings. If parties start the process of resolving their family law matter collaboratively then decide to cease the process without resolving the family law matter, they are required to retain new legal representation. This means that attempts to resolve a matter collaboratively do not prejudice future attempts to resolve matters by way of litigation or otherwise.

What are some of the requirements?

Couples who choose collaborative practice family law must commit to:

  • Being respectful
  • Coming to a mutually acceptable settlement
  • Communicating and sharing information transparently while making full disclosure
  • Creating solutions that take the highest priorities into consideration, e.g. putting your children first
  • Listening objectively and remembering that your needs and those of your partner require equal consideration

What are the benefits?

Apart from avoiding court proceedings, collaborative family law allows you to:

  • have control over the process and cost of your settlement
  • set a time frame to have the matter resolved
  • communicate effectively as everyone has a common goal
  • minimise the stress of the settlement

Collaborative family law can also help you and your former partner have a more amicable co-parenting relationship, as well as help to protect existing joint business interests.

Is it like a mediation? Is there a Mediator to help us?

Collaborative practice in some ways is similar to mediation in that the purpose is to help you and your former partner reach an agreement as to either ongoing interim matters or finalising your matter generally.

A difference between collaborative practice and mediation, however, is that the former allows you to have a team to assist you both. This team can include various professionals such as Family Lawyers who are collaboratively trained, Accountants, Financial Advisers, and Child Psychologists.

Although there is no Mediator, the process almost always involves a Coach. A Coach acts as a neutral party and guides you through the process. A Coach can help facilitate discussions between you and your former partner, the idea of which is to help you reach a resolution.

Why do you agree to stay out of Court?

One of the great hallmarks of Collaborative Family Law Practice is that both you and your former partner agree to not go to Court while the collaborative process is ongoing. The looming ‘threat’ of Court is then not hanging over either of you as you come together with your team to finalise your Family Law matter. By eliminating this potential threat, you and your former partner can negotiate in good faith with one another. This is especially important when you have a continuing relationship with each other because of children.

Speak to our Collaboratively trained Family Lawyers to find out if collaborative family law is the right choice for you and your family. We can help you determine if it is the best way forward and walk you through the process from start to finish.

At Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers we are specialised in the resolution of complex family law matters.  If you have recently separated or have a Family Law enquiry, you can contact us on (02) 9437 0010 or send us an email to enquiries@familylawyersdw.com.au to discuss your matter in complete confidence.

About the Author:

Lisa Wagner is Managing Director and Principal of Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers. Lisa is an Accredited Family Law specialist, a Collaboratively trained Family Lawyer and a nationally registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. Lisa has close to 30 years’ experience as a specialist family lawyer, experienced litigator and skilful negotiator in all family law matters.

Disclaimer:

These posts are only intended as an overview or comment on current issues that may interest you and are not legal advice. If there are any matters that you would like us to advise you on, then please contact us.

Sending your little one to childcare can be an exciting and anxious time for both parents and children. Making sure they have everything they need to settle in will make the transition easier and put your mind at ease. Although it is always best to check with your centre what exactly your little one needs (for example, some include things like nappies and wipes in the price, others don’t), there are a few universal things that each child will require when they make their day-care debut.

Here are our top essentials and a few of our favourite picks.

Backpack

A no-brainer but worth pointing out, choosing a good quality backpack is money well spent! Be sure to get one with a few pockets so you can easily categorize various items and whilst a large backpack is good, make sure it’s not so large that your child can’t carry it themselves. A bright backpack that is easily identifiable is always a good item as is a luggage tag in case some other parent has the same good taste as you!

Drink bottle

Encourage your little ones to drink water throughout that day with an easy use drink bottle they can open and close themselves. We recommend one with a flip lid so it stays clean but can’t get lost.

Sheets

A lot of day-cares now ask parents to bring linen and what type you need all depends on your centre. Standard cot sheets won’t securely fit childcare centre cots as they are often smaller, and for toddlers, many centres use stacking beds (like a camping bed) or a foam mat. Check out the range of day-care bedding designs to perfectly fit each option and provide your little one with the best naptime sleep!

Babies: 0-12months (not yet walking or climbing)

Toddlers: 1-5 years – your centre has stacking beds

Toddlers: 1-5 years – your centre has floor mats (this option also fits stacking beds)

All these sheets are available at https://livingtextiles.com.au/collections/childcare-sheet-sets.

Use code NBDAYCARE20 for 20% off.

Sunhat

This is especially important especially in Australia where the sun and UV rays are so powerful! We recommend selecting a bucket style hat that will shield their face from the sun.

Soothing toys for sleeping

Sleeping in different environments can be a big adjustment for your child, so it’s important to pack any comfort toys to tuck in with them.

Security blankets like Eli the Elephant made from 100% cotton, which fits perfectly in their little hands would make a great sleeping companion.

Be sure to get more than one, as if this does go missing you will need backups.

Spare clothes

Children have accidents all the time. children love to get messy during activities like eating or playing outside meaning there is potential for clothes to get marked and stained. Recommend that you pack everyday activity clothes and bring 2 spare sets.

Children can also have little accidents such as leaking through nappies or during the toilet training stage as well

Lastly

Label everything! Daycare has a lot of little ones with a lot of items to keep track of.

And not every centre is the same, so speak with them earlier to see what else you need to do.

Home improvement experts say that spring is the best time for sprucing and rehabbing a home. This is true, especially if you’re planning to get your air conditioning unit fixed or replaced. Come summertime, you and your family may find all contractors fully booked, leaving you with higher than standard rates and longer waiting times.

Major home fixes aside, there are perhaps a million things to do to prepare your home for the summer. Whether hosting the annual family barbeque party or simply enjoying some outdoor activities, your guests and loved ones must feel comfortable and fresh.

With that in mind, below are some things you can do to get your indoor and outdoor spaces ready for the summer.

Get rid of the stuff you don’t need

Whether you’re planning some major or minor fixes or want to create a better vibe for your home, always start by keeping it clean and decluttering. A messy house can impact your health and mood, and it can also cost you money.

Spring or summer are the best times to clean, as some sections of your home are important during these times. These sections allow you to see more clearly which stuff you need to get rid of. In addition, getting rid of the clutter gives you an idea of which sections need fixing or improving. (1)

Check indoor areas for moulds

Mould growth can occur in any part of the world. Depending on the location, climate and other factors, it can increase faster in some areas. Moisture, condensation and humidity are the most crucial elements that encourage the growth of these microorganisms. Because of summer rains and high humidity levels, the summer season may be a good recipe for mould growth.

So check your home for pests and moulds and get rid of them by thoroughly scrubbing the affected surfaces with a disinfectant. Seek the help of professionals like MouldMen and similar service providers if a significant portion of your home has been affected.

Have your HVAC system serviced and filters cleaned 

As mentioned earlier, your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system will take a heavy beating once the summer season arrives. Hence, it’s a wise decision to perform any fixes and maintenance works before the sun’s out. It’s crucial to have your system regularly serviced to ensure optimal performance.

Check whether you need to clean your AC unit or replace the filters before the summer. Home experts recommend changing filters every six months and cleaning them monthly to ensure they don’t hamper your cooling system’s performance. Filthy AC filters can also trigger respiratory issues such as asthma attacks, which will likely worsen as you and your family are prone to use the unit more often. (1) (2)

Change your design and colour motif 

Your property’s vibe should reflect this bright and sunny season. As much as possible, get rid of the dark hes and switch these with light shades and fun prints. A pop of colour would be nice to uplift your family and guests’ mood. Take out your black or red curtains, throw pillows, and beddings and replace these with flowery patterns or beach-themed prints in pastel colours. (3)

Clean and declutter your guest bedroom to ensure your guests can sleep over. The colour motif change applies in this often-forgotten section of your home too. Lastly, only use cotton and other comfortable fabrics as beddings to prepare for the summer heat.

Prepare your pool and yard

Preparing your outdoor space is a bright idea – so that your children can still enjoy the summer despite the scorching weather and trip cancellations. To keep your kids and loved ones safe while taking a dip, clean your pool thoroughly to discourage the formation of microorganisms such as bacteria and algae. Here are some things you need to do to keep your pool and yard ready for the summer:

  • Get rid of debris and dirt on the pool’s surface
  • Scrub the insides of the pool at least once a month.
  • Use a pool vacuum if you have one and check the filters and backwashes.
  • Finally, have the water tested and add chemicals as needed. (2)

Don’t forget to cut the grass and trim the bushes in your garden to maintain curb appeal. The summer season will highlight your front yard, so make sure it’s in tip-top shape. Moreover, prepare your plants for the summer by ensuring that they get enough water.

Clean your outdoor space

The harsh winter may inflict physical damages to your home’s exterior structures—from the roof to the gutters to the patio and siding. Perform the following steps to summer-proof the outdoor section of your property.:

  • Driveways: Start using a pressure washer to clean the driveway and walkway thoroughly. Don’t forget to repair cracks by applying fillers and replacing missing bricks as necessary.
  • Gutters and roof: Check the gutters too and clear the waterways of any debris. Fix any leaks so that water won’t come through the roof or ceiling, potentially causing structural damage to your property. Also, check your roof for missing or misshapen shingles and have them fixed immediately. (4)
  • Wall cladding: Besides mould growth, the summer season may also cause pests such as termites, roaches, ants and mice to get more active. Make sure they can’t go nearer to the food source by staying in your exterior wall cladding. Inspect your siding for damages and rotten sections and fix them as soon as possible. Clean the area, too, to further protect your property. Do the same for your patio or deck. (2) (3) 

Apply a fresh coat of paint

After thoroughly cleaning your home, it’s time to take things further by repainting your indoor and outdoor spaces with a brightly coloured shade. A light shade can make your bedroom look bigger and tidier. In addition, a light tint can deflect light and heat better, helping your HVAC system maintain its energy efficiency properties.

As the season transitions into sunny skies, you’ll be assured that the paint will stick to surfaces better. The summer heat also ensures that the colour lasts longer, although painting under too much heat may cause the chemical to cure prematurely. (1)

Be ready for all emergencies

If you happen to be in an area where summers can be sweltering, make sure you stock up on emergency supplies and prepare a survival kit. These should include a complete first-aid set, non-perishable food, medications, flashlight, power banks or extra batteries, drinking water and a radio. Don’t forget to create an evacuation plan and discuss it with all family members. Print emergency numbers and teach your kids what to do if your family needs to evacuate the area. (2)

If you have small kids, make sure you adequately hydrate and nourish them. You must check how much they’ve urinated regularly as well. And lastly, find ways to keep them cool indoors and outdoors. (5)

The bottom line

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on people’s mobility and leisure activities, expect to spend the entire summer right in the comfort of your property. Keep these tips in mind, and you and your loved ones enjoy the summer season without worries.


References

  1. “5 DIY Home Improvement Projects to Try This Summer”, Source: https://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/remodeling/budget-remodels/diy-summer-home-improvements/
  2. “The Annual Home Maintenance Checklist”, Source: https://www.nytimes.com/guides/realestate/home-maintenance-checklist
  3. “The Summer Spruce Up Plan: Quick Updates to Check Off Your List Now So You Can Relax & Enjoy Later”, Source: https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/quick-fixes-ways-to-get-your-home-summer-ready-231999
  4. “Get Your House Ready for Summer”, Source: https://www.hgtv.com/lifestyle/clean-and-organize/get-your-house-ready-for-summer
  5. “Caring for children in heat”, Source: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/713413/dm-caring-children.pdf

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