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Coast Kids new blogger

Posted by Maree Trent

Coast Kids is very excited to have a new blogger on the block.

Maree Trent is a mother and resident of the Central Coast and will be sharing her thoughts and opinions on raising children and anything that takes her fancy.

We look forward to reading her blogs as we except them to create great discussion.

Good fathering needs true male warriors

Posted by Scott Carroll

For most men, as a father we replay the fathering skills that were learnt from our own dad. Some men are fortunate that this approach represents a healthy approach. For most men I would suggest there are varying degrees of unhealthiness in what we learnt. For some , like myself, the instruction manual was very sparse and / or incorrect.

Experts in the area of family dynamics suggest there is a cycle in families which continues from generation to generation, irrespective of how dysfunctional it seems to outsiders. This cycle relates to the roles individuals play in the family with the aim of the cycle being to keep the family in a state of equilibrium. If there are members of the family who exhibit dysfunctional behaviour, then others will adapt and develop their own dysfunctional behaviour to keep things in balance.

Children of parents who exhibit abusive behaviour will often develop their own compulsive or addictive behaviour in response to this. Also, let’s not kid ourselves by saying that my dad was an alcoholic and I’m not, so the cycle is broken. A bit like the wardrobe and set function in a movie, we can change the content and the style of addictive behaviour, but the underlying role is the same. In my experience I have seen a myriad of ways a man can play the role of a lost, absent or angry father. Whilst I never had this conversation with my dad, I believe he withdrew into alcohol as a way of not repeating the physical abusive behaviour of his father. I’m grateful that he tried.
While all this may seem like doom and gloom, the challenge and opportunity for men is to break this cycle. Its not about being the perfect father. More about developing awareness of our own childhood experiences and influences, and a willingness to do things differently.

The world needs good men and children need good fathers. For boys, someone from whom to learn to be a good man from, and for girls the opportunity to experience what a relationship with a good man is like. Whilst the movies paint a picture of the ultimate male being the lone warrior who doesn’t feel pain and will fight and win the battle, the truth is that for most of us the main battle to be won is inside our head. Traits such as humility, humour, everyday wisdom, patience and kindness are signs to the world that we are winning this.
For men one of the key challenges, in my opinion, is to parent the boy inside each of us. If that boy feels unheard, lonely, angry, scared, there is work to do. I believe that on a sustainable basis we can only give to others what we can give to ourselves. So what are some of the ways men can achieve this you might ask. There would be thousands but here are my top five.

1) Find and keep good mates
Good mates like/love us no matter what. We don’t need to impress them or do things for them so that they like us. They may be existing friends we can talk to about our bad days and our fears. They don’t have to solve our problems, just listen and not judge. If we just have mates, but not good ones, then try deepening the conversation. I would suggest there are men in your circle who also want good mates, and are waiting for someone to talk about real stuff (Yes I know most men, myself included, can talk about crap for days).

2) Don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself
To be a good man you don’t have to be the strongest, hardest working, needless, don’t feel pain etc etc. I can assure you that this type of thinking is always about comparison, and in this mindset there will always be someone better. I encourage you to say to yourself “I am ok and enough today”. Then, find your passion and work towards it. In doing this you will become more of the awesome you that you already are.

3) Treat yourself as well as you treat your best mate, wife, partner etc
Think of the person you care about the most. What would you do for them ? I would suggest you would be kind, supportive, generous and want them to have fun and laugh. Do this for yourself. You are worth it. That boy inside you just needs a man, not another boy, to look after him and nurture him. A word of caution here. Being nurtured doesn’t mean having all your boyish needs met. My sons would love eating Maccas every day and play computer games 24 x7. As a father I need to show moderation. The same goes for your internal boy.

4) Get help when you need it
If you need help with anything, get it. Your health, your state of mind, a niggling problem . Unfortunately, it is unlikely to fix itself by ignoring it (a common male fantasy). There is an awesome amount of people willing to help. I have found that magic happens when you put your hand up and say I’m lost, I can’t do it by myself etc. We would do this if we were struggling in the surf. I also have met some of my best mates in this space.

5) When you are angry with your children, stop and think about the boy inside you
There is nothing wrong with being angry with your children, but when it happens put the pause button on. Look inside and see what is going on with the boy in you. Is he angry or upset. Deal with him first if you can, and then come back to your children and deal with them from that space. I know that this is not easy, and for many of us we need to get help. As a man this is a critical one. Our actions have consequences, both in the present and in terms of what we are modelling for our children.

Following these five steps is the work of warriors. Real men in my opinion. They are not easy as you need to be prepared to go inside yourself and that is a life’s work. In my opinion, whilst women have their own equally important work to do, men’s work is that on which I need to focus. My sons will not be perfect men and I’m sure I will give them some bad habits I will cringe at in later years. What drives me to be a warrior is the idea of hanging out with this young adult man who I look at in admiration as a real man, and say to myself that this man is my son. For men with daughters , seeing them become healthy adult women is equally satisfying I’m sure. For men reading this who have already achieved this I look up to you. You are a warrior role model.

I hope you have enjoyed this article. I still look in wonder at my sleeping sons and consider myself fortunate to have them. I like the idea from Kahil Gibran’s poem that children do not belong to us, and that we as parents are the bow from which the living arrows, our children, are sent forth.

Scott Carroll is a qualified and accredited Counsellor focussing on working with men and on male related issues. He is practicing in Kincumber. Please e-mail him at Sydney_scott@yahoo.com.au or phone on 0433 119 103 to make a time for an initial consultation to see if there are aspects of your life on which you would like his support to work on.

Don’t Just Sit There: Active Kids Are Healthy Kids

Posted by Selina

The health benefits of physical activity for children are well-documented, including stronger bones and muscles, lower obesity rates, and a lower risk of serious health concerns such as type 2 diabetes or blood pressure and cholesterol problems. Active children tend to sleep well and have better emotional outlooks, too. Plus, exercising can be just plain fun. Here are a few ways to get your kids moving and instill healthy habits for life.

Lead by Example
Telling kids to go outside and play while you sit in front of the television won’t motivate them to move, and it might build some resentment, too. Go outside and throw the ball around as a family, or take a turn being “it” in a game of tag. Model good habits such as choosing stairs over elevators, taking breaks from sedentary tasks to fit in a little exercise, and trying new sports and activities.

On the Playground
There’s nothing worse than dragging kids to the playground only to hear them complain that there’s nothing to do there. Don’t let your family ride the bench. Start a game of follow-the-leader, leading little ones up, over and through the  playground equipment. Use your imagination, too. Tell the kids the jungle gym is a pirate ship and they must climb aboard or challenge kids to see who can swing high enough to launch themselves into orbit on the swing set.

At the Park
Stretching out on a picnic blanket is one way to enjoy a public park, but to encourage kids to stay active, bring a ball or flying disc for them to play with instead. Check with your local parks department about bike trails or paved trails that allow skating for fun ways to take in some natural beauty on the go. Hiking, climbing and boating are other great family activities that help everyone get some exercise while enjoying the great outdoors.

Activities
Encourage kids to try new activities, helping them find classes and team sports they love. Dance, soccer, baseball, karate—the benefits of these activities extend far beyond just exercise to encompass social skill-building and higher self-esteem as well. Change activities with the seasons; swim all summer, try flag football in autumn, ski throughout the winter and play softball in spring. When planning family vacations, look for new ways to get active such as windsailing, snowboarding or snorkeling.

Making exercise fun instead of considering it a chore helps kids learn to love physical activity and carry that sentiment with them into adulthood. Laughing and playing in the park today not only creates memories your whole family will cherish, it also sets kids on the path to a long and healthy life.

30 Things My Dad Taught Me

Posted by admin

Book review of “30 Things My Dad Taught Me” by Carlie Harris

“Denis, Ian and Paul Baker are three brothers, and when their dad was dying, Denis came up with the idea of putting together what each of the brothers had learnt from him – and the result is a truly moving book.

When I read it I had a little cry, not because it’s sad but because it is so joyful that it transports me to that place we all remember: sitting with our dad and hearing him talk about life, its highs and lows, and how we as their children can avoid the trapdoors life presents.

This little book is like one amazingly large greeting card. There are beautiful words on every page, some that will make you laugh, some that will make you cry, and it also has pages where you can write special things about your own dad. It’s not mushy or sentimental just warm and insightful. It’s the simplicity that makes this book work.

When you read some of 30 Things My Dad Taught Me you will feel that rush, that warmth, that connectedness to what is real and what is really important. When I first read it I took my time; it’s not a big book, but it’s a reflective one. I thought of my dad, how as a younger man he used to dance on the kitchen table but made sure at the same time that we all ate our eggs. I thought of my dad saying not to go out with that mini-skirt on as it will make boys go crazy. I thought of my dad as I held my little baby boy and we both cried. I thought of my dad as I now watch him as an older man creak beside the vege patch with such a light in his eye that he still looks like that young man who danced on the table. Such a blessing!”

To win a copy of 30 Things My Dad Taught Me, visit the Coasts Kids facebook page.

Crying it out.

Posted by Dr Sears

Science tells us that when babies cry alone and unattended, they experience panic and anxiety. Their bodies and brains are flooded with adrenaline and cortisol stress hormones. Science has also found that when developing brain tissue is exposed to these hormones for prolonged periods these nerves won’t form connections to other nerves and will degenerate. Is it therefore possible that infants who endure many nights or weeks of crying-it-out alone are actually suffering harmful neurologic effects that may have permanent implications on the development of sections of their brain? Here is how science answers this alarming question:

Chemical and hormonal imbalances in the brain
Research has shown that infants who are routinely separated from parents in a stressful way have abnormally high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as lower growth hormone levels. These imbalances inhibit the development of nerve tissue in the brain, suppress growth, and depress the immune system. 5, 9, 11, 16

Researchers at Yale University and Harvard Medical School found that intense stress early in life can alter the brain’s neurotransmitter systems and cause structural and functional changes in regions of the brain similar to those seen in adults with depression. 17

One study showed infants who experienced persistent crying episodes were 10 times more likely to have ADHD as a child, along with poor school performance and antisocial behavior. The researchers concluded these findings may be due to the lack of responsive attitude of the parents toward their babies. 14.

Dr. Bruce Perry’s research at Baylor University may explain this finding. He found when chronic stress over-stimulates an infant’s brain stem (the part of the brain that controls adrenaline release), and the portions of the brain that thrive on physical and emotional input are neglected (such as when a baby is repeatedly left to cry alone), the child will grow up with an over-active adrenaline system. Such a child will display increased aggression, impulsivity, and violence later in life because the brainstem floods the body with adrenaline and other stress hormones at inappropriate and frequent times. 6

Dr. Allan Schore of the UCLA School of Medicine has demonstrated that the stress hormone cortisol (which floods the brain during intense crying and other stressful events) actually destroys nerve connections in critical portions of an infant’s developing brain. In addition, when the portions of the brain responsible for attachment and emotional control are not stimulated during infancy (as may occur when a baby is repeatedly neglected) these sections of the brain will not develop. The result – a violent, impulsive, emotionally unattached child. He concludes that the sensitivity and responsiveness of a parent stimulates and shapes the nerve connections in key sections of the brain responsible for attachment and emotional well-being. 7, 8

Decreased intellectual, emotional, and social development
Infant developmental specialist Dr. Michael Lewis presented research findings at an American Academy of Pediatrics meeting, concluding that “the single most important influence of a child’s intellectual development is the responsiveness of the mother to the cues of her baby.”

Researchers have found babies whose cries are usually ignored will not develop healthy intellectual and social skills. 19

Dr. Rao and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health showed that infants with prolonged crying (but not due to colic) in the first 3 months of life had an average IQ 9 points lower at 5 years of age. They also showed poor fine motor development. (2)

Researchers at Pennsylvania State and Arizona State Universities found that infants with excessive crying during the early months showed more difficulty controlling their emotions and became even fussier when parents tried to consol them at 10 months. 15

Other research has shown that these babies have a more annoying quality to their cry, are more clingy during the day, and take longer to become independent as children 1.

Harmful physiologic changes
Animal and human research has shown when separated from parents, infants and children show unstable temperatures, heart arrhythmias, and decreased REM sleep (the stage of sleep that promotes brain development). 10 12, 13

Dr. Brazy at Duke University and Ludington-Hoe and colleagues at Case Western University showed in 2 separate studies how prolonged crying in infants causes increased blood pressure in the brain, elevates stress hormones, obstructs blood from draining out of the brain, and decreases oxygenation to the brain. They concluded that caregivers should answer cries swiftly, consistently, and comprehensively. (3) and (4)

Dr Sears

  1. P. Heron, “Non-Reactive Cosleeping and Child Behavior: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep All Night, Every Night,” Master’s thesis, Department of Psychology, University of Bristol, 1994.
  2. M R Rao, et al; Long Term Cognitive Development in Children with Prolonged Crying, National Institutes of Health, Archives of Disease in Childhood 2004; 89:989-992.
  3. J pediatrics 1988 Brazy, J E. Mar 112 (3): 457-61. Duke University
  4. Ludington-Hoe SM, Case Western U, Neonatal Network 2002 Mar; 21(2): 29-36
  5. Butler, S R, et al. Maternal Behavior as a Regulator of Polyamine Biosynthesis in Brain and Heart of Developing Rat Pups. Science 1978, 199:445-447.
  6. Perry, B. (1997), “Incubated in Terror: Neurodevelopmental Factors in the Cycle of Violence,” Children in a Violent Society, Guilford Press, New York.
  7. Schore, A.N. (1996), “The Experience-Dependent Maturation of a Regulatory System in the Orbital Prefrontal Cortex and the Origen of Developmental Psychopathology,” Development and Psychopathology 8: 59 – 87.
  8. Karr-Morse, R, Wiley, M. Interview With Dr. Allan Schore, Ghosts From the Nursery, 1997, pg 200.
  9. Kuhn, C M, et al. Selective Depression of Serum Growth Hormone During Maternal Deprivation in Rat Pups. Science 1978, 201:1035-1036.
  10. Hollenbeck, A R, et al. Children with Serious Illness: Behavioral Correlates of Separation and Solution. Child Psychiatry and Human Development 1980, 11:3-11.
  11. Coe, C L, et al. Endocrine and Immune Responses to Separation and Maternal Loss in Non-Human Primates. The Psychology of Attachment and Separation, ed. M Reite and T Fields, 1985. Pg. 163-199. New York: Academic Press.
  12. Rosenblum and Moltz, The Mother-Infant Interaction as a Regulator of Infant Physiology and Behavior. In Symbiosis in Parent-Offspring Interactions, New York: Plenum, 1983.
  13. Hofer, M and H. Shair, Control of Sleep-Wake States in the Infant Rat by Features of the Mother-Infant Relationship. Developmental Psychobiology, 1982, 15:229-243.
  14. Wolke, D, et al, Persistent Infant Crying and Hyperactivity Problems in Middle Childhood, Pediatrics, 2002; 109:1054-1060.
  15. Stifter and Spinrad, The Effect of Excessive Crying on the Development of Emotion Regulation, Infancy, 2002; 3(2), 133-152.
  16. Ahnert L, et al, Transition to Child Care: Associations with Infant-mother Attachment, Infant Negative Emotion, and Cortisol Elevations, Child Development, 2004, May-June; 75(3):649-650.
  17. Kaufman J, Charney D. Effects of Early Stress on Brain Structure and Function: Implications for Understanding the Relationship Between Child Maltreatment and Depression, Developmental Psychopathology, 2001 Summer; 13(3):451-471.
  18. Teicher MH et al, The Neurobiological Consequences of Early Stress and Childhood Maltreatment, Neuroscience Biobehavior Review 2003, Jan-Mar; 27(1-2):33-44.
  19. Leiberman, A. F., & Zeanah, H., Disorders of Attachment in Infancy, Infant Psychiatry 1995, 4:571-587.

Taking your Central Coast kid to dance classes, what are the benefits?

Posted by Coast Kids

There are a variety of movement and dance classes aimed at young children here on the Central Coast but do they have any particular benefit?

Being active is well documented as being important for all ages and getting children interested in being physically active from a young age is great. For toddlers who have mastered the art of toddling, they suddenly have a huge amount to explore – and the ability and function of their own bodies is no exception. They suddenly tend to become very active, wanting to move around and explore whenever they get the opportunity.

Toddling around is certainly beneficial, but for a young growing child, it also helps them to learn more about how they can move their bodies and exercise different parts. That’s where movement and dance classes come into their own.

Movement And Dance Classes
There are a variety of movement and dance classes available on the Central Coast and they cater for a wide range of aged children. At their most basic, the movement classes for children focus on getting children to be active, through jumping around, stretching, running and even being still. Sometimes there’s play acting involved too where they act out stories or scenarios, or they may listen to stories or play with balls.

Dance classes are often available for children from the age of three upwards. Miss Carmen from the Fontaine Academy of Dance offers classes from as young as 15months. Classes can cover all forms of creative dance, with one of the most popular for children being ballet or tap.

These type of classes are a great introduction to being active and physical exercise. Plus they help develop key skills, such as coordination, balance, flexibility, strength, stamina, discipline and even memory. Being active in this way also helps boost a child’s self-esteem, make them feel good about their own abilities and increase their self-confidence.

Young children have short attention spans, so dance and movement classes are often no longer than 30 to 45 minutes. A good teacher should be aware of their attention span issues and keep the class exciting and moving, so no-one is able to get bored or off track. The focus of classes for young children tends to be wide ranging, which helps gain their interest for longer, and is likely to explore all the different styles and approaches to dance and movement.

As children get older, they may find that they prefer one type of dance or movement over others, or develop certain preferences. Classes for older children tend to focus more on certain styles, such as ballet, tap, contemporary, jazz, hip hop or even Irish, than a generalised approach, so offer ideal options for them to move on to study and learn in more depth. The length of classes tends to increase with age too, and an hour or more becomes the norm.

With these movement and dance classes, children can start from a young age. If you think your child may enjoy it, then there’s no harm in them giving it a go. Of course, not all children will love it and, if your child is not thrilled at attending, then it’s best not to push it. There may be other music or physical classes out there that they’d prefer to go to and would gain more from.

For a great list of Central Coast Movement and Play programs, check out our directory.

Losing the pregnancy pounds

Posted by Kelly

As a personal trainer I get asked the same questions over and over. How do I get my body back after having a baby?
There are two components to this answer, one is weight loss and the other is shaping and tonning.  The most effective and successful weight loss plan is the one you stick too. It’s not rocket science, all you have to remember is; to lose weight you need to burn more calories than you consume. Concentrate on your diet and be mindful of what foods you’re putting in your body. Ultimately weight loss results will be determined by what you put in your mouth, but looking toned and feeling healthy and strong will come from doing the right kinds of resistant exercises.

It often astounds me to hear about how Hollywood celebrities lose excessive amounts of weight in such short periods of time after pregnancy. The difference here is that they often have many people around them to help look after the new baby, organize their meals and allow them to dedicate hours to getting back in shape. For us regular people who have to deal with families, jobs or the responsibilities of being a stay at home mum, getting back in shape may not be this easy.

According to the Australian College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) healthy weight loss is only 1/2 – 1kg a week.  But unfortunately everyone is always looking for a quick fix, and we’ve all been told over and over how easy it is just to take a pill, follow that diet or buy this piece of equipment and the weight will fall off in no time at all. Truth is quick weight loss is very unhealthy and there are two simple reasons why; firstly you lose muscle in the weight loss, which isn’t a great thing as you need that muscle to burn those calories you consume as well as staying healthy and strong. Secondly it slows down your metabolism, which results in you putting the weight back on plus more when you stop dieting.

A good guide to getting your body back to it’s pre pregnancy shape including muscle tone, is to remember that its it took 9 months of your body changing, so allow yourself at least 9 months to get back into shape.

One great way to help you get back into shape is to hire a personal trainer. This is a great way to gain all the tools and knowledge you will need in order to get fit and healthy and achieve your goals.  Many will come to you at a time and place that’s convenient, which is very handy when you have a baby in your life. I currently train a number of mothers while their children play around us and others while their children sleep. With a good personal trainer you do not need much room to do a fantastic workout and being accountable to someone else is a great motivator in keeping you on track.

If you haven’t had the baby yet you might want to keep in mind there are so many advantages to being fit and healthy during pregnancy. It can reduce the likelihood of complications during labor and actually make labor shorter. One of the biggest benefits is that it makes losing weight after you have the baby so much easier. So while the thought of taking yourself to the gym throughout your pregnancy might not have you jumping for joy, you’ll be happy that you did once you start trying to loss those pregnancy pounds!

For future information on weight loss after pregnancy please contact Kelly at Komodo Fitness here on the Central Coast.

Model Birthing Unit for Wyong

Posted by Johanna Baker-Dowdell

Title: Model Birthing Unit for Wyong

Wyong Hospital’s maternity unit has seen ups and downs in its 13-year history, but is now back on the rise again as the Central Coast’s low-risk birthing centre.

As the venue for almost 10 per cent of births for the Central Coast, Wyong’s birthing unit has a way to go before competing with the number of babies born at Gosford Hospital, but Central Coast Health’s Acting Divisional Manager for Women’s, Children’s and Family Health Angela Monger hopes that day is closer.

“We support births locally for people. People want that. If we could get more of our normal births out to what is now essentially a birth centre [at Wyong Hospital], then we would lighten the load at Gosford and we normalise birth for women,” Ms Monger said.

The unit opened in October 1997, however problems such as a lack of obstetricians and anaesthetists and funding for registrars and trainees, have meant it has closed several times, including a five-month closure in 2008. “In early 2008 we had a problem with lack of obstetricians here at Gosford so there really was no choice. The obstetric support that was at Wyong was brought to Gosford,” she explained.

Then started a recruitment program for obstetricians that is still underway even now. “It was obvious we weren’t going to be able to fix the lack of obstetricians problem here quickly so we went into recruitment. Most of our applicants were from overseas and it takes a considerable amount of time to get them over here,” she said.

When the Wyong birthing unit re-opened in late 2008 it was under two midwifery care models – caseload or Midwifery Group Practice (MGP) and Team Midwifery Program (TMP) – and run independently from Gosford Hospital. Women who needed obstetric support or had problems in labour had to go to Gosford Hospital.

“With caseload a woman is allocated to a known midwife and, apart from when the midwife is on her designated days off, that is the midwife that they see for all their visits, in labour, and all being well, that’s the midwife who will care for them. Women going through caseload feel more supported and more secure and able to continue with their decision to have their baby at Wyong. We want to continue to have more babies at Wyong,” Ms Monger said.

And this is the scenario Central Coast Health is aiming for. “We also know we get better outcomes from normal women when they are away from an environment of a high risk birthing unit,” Ms Monger explained, saying fear caused longer labours and greater pain. “Women who feel completely supported and capable of doing something actually manage to do it so much better. Women being supported by an individual who is very experienced and philosophically of the viewpoint that birth is a natural process are going to have better outcomes.”

The process of going to hospital to have a baby and then returning home soon after is called Domino Domiciliary in the United Kingdom, where Ms Monger practised as a midwife. Care is provided in a woman’s home by midwives post-natally and, sometimes, ante-natally.

Despite recruiting midwives for the TMP model, the number needed to effectively staff Wyong birthing unit could not be maintained and Ms Monger decided to switch to one care model, similar to the system run at Belmont Hospital. “Belmont has operated successfully like that for a considerable amount of time now and has very good outcomes – very short lengths of stay and women who are supported by their midwives to go home early then have whatever home visits are necessary for the individual.”

So now women attending Wyong Hospital to give birth naturally can see the midwife they had seen throughout their pregnancy and a second midwife comes in for support as the baby is born. The unit is sometimes heaving with activity, and other times quiet. “We always say our birthing suite is a bit like the emergency department of the hospital – we can’t predict exactly what is coming in,” Ms Monger said, and added there was some known activity like booked inductions and caesareans, “but we can’t control when people will go into labour”.

Another advantage of the MGP model is allowing midwives to stay with labouring women if they have to be transferred to Gosford, even if they only stay with her as a support person. This model also provides assessment during pregnancy, such as if a woman has had some bleeding or they think their baby is not moving.

“Our hope and intention is that one day we will have all the required resources for reintroducing an obstetric service at Wyong,” Ms Monger explained and added she hoped home birth would also be an option for Central Coast women. “We’re not able yet to offer people home birth on the Central Coast, but I certainly hope that that is something that will be available to people one day.”

“A birth unit like Wyong is there for people who would have a birth at home – they recognise home as the best place to be, rather than a hospital environment. Hospitals generally don’t perpetuate the whole wellness model – it’s an illness model of care.”

From beer to maternity

Posted by Lisa Kim

A new concept in prenatal classes has men on the Central Coast heading to the pub in the name of childbirth.

Dads are usually overlooked when it comes to childbirth preparation. Yet when it comes to the big day, they need to know how to support their partner through what can be the most physically challenging and emotionally charged event in their lives.

Beer and Bubs, a one-night session held in local pubs, was developed by Sydney-based childbirth educator and birth attendant, Lucy Perry.

“I could see that dads really wanted to be involved in the births of their babies, they just didn’t know how,” says Lucy. “But they like the idea of heading to the pub with a bunch of other men who are in the same boat as them.”

Beer + Bubs has been running in Sydney for six years, going national in 2009 with dads in all major Australian cities and some regional areas sinking a few beers in the name of fatherhood.

“Most men are surprised to learn that childbirth is not a spectator sport and that they can have a profound impact on their partner’s birth experience, helping to make it faster and easier for them,” says Beer and Bubs Central Coast facilitator, Lisa Kim.

The two-and-a-half-hour session covers what to say and what not to say during childbirth, tips on how to be an advocate for the birthing mother, practical tips on pain management as well as specific recommendations on how to support a woman through each stage of labour, including a caesarean.

“The friendly, casual atmosphere of the pub is a great venue for childbirth education,” says Lisa Kim, a mother of two, childbirth educator and local Maternity Coalition representative. “Childbirth is unfamiliar territory for most blokes, so it’s more comfortable for them to be in their natural environment to learn about something so foreign!”

Beer and Bubs is held at the Tall Timbers Hotel at Ourimbah once a month. Check the website for details and bookings or phone 0418 656 221.

Little Kickers

Posted by Coast Kids

Press Release

He shoots, he scores: why one day we could win the World Cup….

Picture the scene – the young player steps up to the penalty spot, he glances confidently at  the goal, he runs, he shoots, he scores…. then he rushes over to mum or dad for a quick high five before sitting down behind the other toddlers in his soccer class , ready to wait for his next turn at the penalty shoot-out.

This winter, the world’s greatest soccer players are competing in the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa.  And Australia will hold its breath as our team battles the odds to progress in the competition.

But maybe this will change, as a new generation of Socceroos emerge.  At Little Kickers you are never too young for the beautiful game.  In fact, the children attending Little Kickers football classes make Tim Cahill look over the hill.

Over 12,000 children attend Little Kickers classes, which are aimed at 18 month to 7 year olds.

Wherever the location, classes follow a similar format, and were developed by highly qualified coaches, with input from child-health specialists.   A warm up and ball skills games lead to the main event, excitement peaks as the penalty shoot-out begins.
Our mission at Little Kickers is not only to focus on the physical well being of the child, but also to promote the development of social skills such as turn taking, following instructions and sharing. These skills for life are put into practise at a time when the playing field is certainly ripe for parents wanting to get their kids moving. Our team at Little Kickers has adopted a “Play not Push” commitment at our classes which means that children are encouraged to develop at their own pace in a non-competitive environment.  Each class is run by two coaches and whilst parents can participate if they feel that their child’s enjoyment will be enhanced by their involvement, one of the overall objectives of the sessions is to encourage kids to learn to play independently of their parents, so the parents get a well deserved break on the sidelines.
Many professional players, having missed a vital penalty, may have wished to ‘move the goalposts’, and at Little Kickers this is not just a metaphor. The aim is to improve a child’s confidence and self-esteem, with the priority that he or she actually scores. If the shot is in danger of drifting wide – and bear in mind that the younger children are still getting to grips with running, never mind kicking – coaches nudge the goal along the ground. Cue a deafening round of applause.  If only we could introduce this at professional level!

So, on the 12th July, when the World Cup is over, and new champions have been crowned, thoughts will move towards the future, and it may be only a pipe dream, but if our ‘Little Kickers’ can help Australia to win a major championship – or at the very least come out on top after a penalty shoot-out – then maybe we should all dream ….

For more information about Little Kickers  www.littlekickers.com.au