August Issue 2014

Welcome to this issue of my free parenting E-zine in which I bring you small snapshots of the joys and problems of raising children.

  • SPECIALS -  

        Protecting Koalas



SPECIALS  - Protecting koalas

I'm almost as passionate about animals as I am about children, so this month I'm writing about one of my favourites. Iím sure that every child in Australia knows what a koala looks like, but do all our children know that koalas are threatened with extinction and that by the time our two year olds grow up there may be no koalas left in our bush?

More than 80% of Australian families have a pet mainly because our kids love pets. If it was possible to have a pet koala, Iím sure thousands of children would want one. We look after our dogs and cats pampering them with good food, coats and attention and we teach our kids to be kind to them. If they were threatened with extinction people would be outraged. It is equally important to take action about koalas and teach children to speak up to help and protect all our wild native animals.

The most important way to prevent koalas joining the Tasmanian tiger as an extinct creature, is to protect their habitat. Koalas donít live all over Australia and their habitats are more and more under threat. Koalas are difficult to relocate and few attempts are made to do this. New housing developments often mean no suitable trees are left and koalas die from starvation and from traffic kills and dog attacks.

At the moment an important colony of koalas on the North Coast of NSW near Ballina is threatened by an enormous upgrade of the Pacific Highway. If the highway extension goes ahead the koalas will die. However, there are alternate routes that the government could take. Why be so short sighted? You and your family might make a difference to these lovely creatures if you contact the Minister for the environment or take action at the following websites   or

Even at our preschools children are now taught about recycling, saving electricity and water and about growing trees. Carry on the work at home and help them to help our native animals too please. Even if you live outside of Australia you can help if you look at the koala websites.



Ages and Stages -Allergic reactions

A recent survey found that parents who had failed to have their children immunized against serious diseases did so because they were afraid that their children would have adverse side affects. Although serious side effects are rare, it only takes one case to upset many families and make parents over cautious. It is really important to prevent the spread of serious illness by immunisation whenever possible. Speak to your doctor to get the facts if you hear people suggesting that immunisation is risky or not necessary.

A much more common allergic reaction is from baby wipes where it is estimated that one in 10 people will be allergic to a chemical commonly used in many baby wipes. The chemical, methylisothiazolinone, is also used in sunscreens, shampoo, moisturizers and deodorant. A baby with nappy rash, may really be suffering from an allergy to the wipes in use. There is a high rate of allergy and it is increasing each year.


Kids in the news Ė Children, death and conflict

People around the world have been shocked and saddened by the death of 298 people on the Malaysian MH17 airlcraft disaster in the Ukraine on July 18th. Particularly sad is the fact that there were numbers of young children lost. A great number of families are affected by the deaths of parents or children or siblings or grandparents or friends.

This disaster has come at a time when world news was focused on war zones in Syria, Israel, the occupied Gaza strip. as well as the Ukraine. The nightly news bulletin seems to be nothing but death, injuries, weeping families and ruined homes. What is the best course of action regarding our own small children? My personal opinion is that they should be protected from these images by turning off the TV. Adults can keep up to date by reading newspapers or watching news when the children are elsewhere. There should be discussion with school aged children about war, its dangers and the sadness it brings. Talk about ways in which the United Nations and humanitarian and charity groups such as Save the Children, help children/families who live in conflict and war zones. Talk about what your own local charity groups are doing to help refugees and families who have lost loved ones. Children learn compassion by example. Turning off the graphic pictures doesnít mean we should turn away from what is happening in the world.


Kids 'n Gardening Ė Treats for the birds

My neighbours have recently completed a roof of strong wire netting to keep the galahas and rosella out of the chook yard where they were enthusiastically sharing the hensí seeds each day. A row of birds sat watching the activities from a nearby tree and are no doubt now frustrated to see the seeds, but no longer be able to reach them. Experts tell us that we shouldnít make wild birds dependent on hand outs from humans, but in winter small treats can help them. In your garden hang up pine cones, and the hollowed out skins of lemon and orange halves that you have stuffed with suet and seeds. Be sure that the treats are hung where cats canít reach them. Use string or raffia to tie the treats firmly.


Healthy Living Ė Hospital food

In the last month Iíve spent quite a lot of time visiting a big hospital. Iíve been impressed at the menus the patients have to choose from and the food always arrives hot and is tasty. I know this isnít the case with all hospitals where food is often ordered from away and the meals are not good or palatable.

Iíve also looked at the hospital cafť. There the selection is quite large with healthy wholegrain sandwiches, quiches, spinach ricotta, some meat pies, a variety of salads, yoghurt, fresh fruit and then carrot bread, apple crumble and a couple of other sweet slices. The emphasis is certainly on healthy and sustaining food and it is reasonably priced. Iím sure that child patients would also have tempting choices. For the adults visiting often very sick relatives, it is good to have food to sustain the spirits as well as the body.


Indigenous news - Sport in Remote communities

This year the government in the Northern Territory is providing special funding for remote schools so that children can learn to swim or develop other skills such as safe bike riding, gymnastics and horse riding. Funding will also be available for children to attend sporting or cultural events in larger centres. Last year more than 20,000 children in remote areas were given vouchers to benefit from a similar program.

Unfortunately these programs are limited to a few days or weeks. Preschool children cannot learn to swim in a few lessons and most remote centres have no access to safe water to continue a water safety or learn to swim program.

The same applies to other sports as it takes a trained gymnast to teach and the right equipment and resources for each sport. It must be frustrating for teachers to have such limited access to funds and facilities that benefit the children in so many ways. Perhaps some of those schools have access to virtual pools, virtual riding schools and gymnastic equipment so can keep learning. The marvels of modern technology amaze me.


Book Review: Ė The Croc and the Platypus 

 by Jackie Hosking

Illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

Walker books 2014

Jackie Hoskingís rhythmic rhyming text and the wonderful pictures by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall make this a picture book to treasure. Although the story is based on The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear, this story is completely Australian in flavour, from the platypus and the crocís serenade on the didgeridoo, to the shearersí shed and the lamingtons eaten in the moonlight near Uluru. The book is lots of fun and the detail in the pictures brings so much more to the story. I love the end papers too. I look forward to other picture books by this talented team.


Play ideas ĖMap making

Yesterday a friend who was minding my almost five-year-old granddaughter, treated her to a day at the zoo. They came home with a map which she then used to tell me about the animals they had seen. Then she set about making her own map with tiny drawings of animals and a trail linking them. She has been going through a map making phase recently, probably because the playground at her preschool has been redesigned. Construction went on over several weeks with the children taking a great interest in the progress and a plan had been on display. She has made plans of her room and the outside play area. While your children may not have a nearby construction underway, there are often building sites in town where you can watch construction over time and talk about the machines, the soil, the construction materials, look at the plan at the local council etc.

At the end of the zoo visit yesterday, my granddaughter went back to the starting point in the sky lift thus seeing the whole area from a height. While you probably wonít have a sky lift, you can take your children to lookout points over the town or to a tall building to see what landmarks you can pick out from a distance. Then encourage the youngsters to make a map.


Between three to five years of age children are very busy little people. Their questions, energy and enthusiasm are amazing.

This book will help parents, carers and educators to plan fun activities in essential learning areas. Ideas include cooking, music, storytelling, maths, science, outdoor games and craft. There are also hints on organizing play spaces.

 Available as an E-book from Amazon at this link:         

see all three book in my Mothers' Guides series at my Author's page

The Busy Mothersí Guide to Happy Toddlers

by Helen Evans

Toddlers are delightful little people who will both charm and challenge their parents and carers. They thrive on being busy, playing, exploring, helping, creating and talking. What are the best toys to buy? Which games and activities will help toddlers to develop skills?

This book suggests toys and games that toddlers love. It outlines safe activities for toddlers from 18 to 36 months that will help develop physical, social, emotional, cognitive and language skills.

Available as an E-book from Amazon at this link. 


The Busy Mothers' Guide to Happy Babies

by Helen Evans

Talking to and playing with your baby is one of the delights of being a parent. But what can you do what your baby cries? How can you communicate? Can you help your baby to develop skills? This book outlines easy to follow, safe, sensory activities babies will love. 

Mobiles, tickling rhymes, toys, books, music, messy play and creative ideas are suggested for each stage of development. These activities will keep your baby happy. Mums and dads, family members and child educators will love these ideas for babies from birth to 17 months of age.

Available as an E-book from Amazon at the link below.

Helen's  books, Everyday learning about storytelling and Simply Storytelling, will help you to tell stories to your children. For Everyday learning, go to and look at the catalogue


For Simply Storytelling (ISBN 9780864588104 published by Tertiary Press)  go to and search

Three of Helen's picture books are available as downloads or CD's from Writer's Exchange . Children from 3 to 10 will love them.
Here is the link:
 This will take you to my author's

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