Tweens

Five easy lunch box ideas

Switch up your kiddie’s lunchbox and say goodbye to boring old fashioned sandwiches.

Your tween can still eat healthily and incorporate all the fruits and vegetables without skipping a step. We’ve compiled some five easy lunchbox ideas that you can customise to suit your child’s needs.

  1. Buy tortilla wraps and fill them with hummus, tzatziki sauce, beef or chicken, fresh tomatoes, onion or lettuce and pack them in your tween’s lunch box. This is a simple and hassle free meal which has all the nutrition your child needs to be full and healthy.
  2. Bake a batch of Blueberry and banana muffins which are filled with antioxidants which makes them perfect for a great midday snack. Don’t add any extra sugar and if you do want to sweeten the muffins look at using brown sugar or honey instead of white for a more healthier option.
  3. Make sure those lunchboxes come back empty by including a small container of dip and some fruit, veg or even chicken strips to dip. Add biltong, almond nuts and dried fruit for your child to dip. An icepack and a lunch cooler bag will help keep everything at the right temperature.
  4. Make your own mini pizzas and add fresh toppings like tomatoes, avocado, mushrooms, chicken or bacon. Your child will be the envy of the playground as he opens up his colourful and yummy lunch box.
  5. Whip up some waffles and you can decide if savoury or sweet is the way to go. Add a small container of cream, syrup and strawberries if you opt for sweet waffles for your child so she can sprinkle the toppings on her waffles at lunch time.

Lunch time doesn’t have to be the usual anymore. Lunchbox preparations can be interesting while still providing all the nutrition that your child needs to stay energised and healthy.

Six ways to help your tween beat school anxiety

By: Bernice Maune

 

The school holidays have come and gone and the reality of going back to school is now here.

Your tween may begin to experience the symptoms of school anxiety which are nervousness, tummy aches, and trouble sleeping and emotional bursts.

When it comes to the school environment, children react differently as there are new people, different routines, regulated meal times and activities and a dynamic environment filled with unique personalities.

As a parent you can help them prepare for the change in their normal routine to that of the school going one.
Have a one-on-one

Sit down and speak to your child about school. Being passive about their school experience may make them feel isolated and unable to cope with any negative feelings that arise from the school environment. This is also the time to find out if they are making new friends and what they enjoy about going to school.  Use this time to connect with your tween, listen to concerns they may express and reassure them if they are feeling vulnerable.

Have a positive attitude
Be optimistic about the start of school. Make an outing of shopping for uniforms and stationary. Involve your child as much as possible, do not ask for a list and go buy everything yourself. Help your tween stay positive by asking them to list their favourite things about school. This list can include their favourite teachers, friends, extra-mural activities and subjects.

 

Schedule spot visits
Take some time out from work or leave early to take your child lunch at school or to pick them up if they use school transport. Ask them to show you around, take a tour around the grounds and find out where your tween likes hanging out. Show them that you are supportive of their schooling experience.  


Emphasise rest

Ask your tween to go to bed earlier. Limit their pre-bedtime activities so that they can wake up refreshed, having gotten enough sleep and ready to concentrate at school.

Meet the teacher

At the beginning of each school year or even during the year, schedule an appointment with the teacher and take your tween along. This will be a good way to stay updated on your child’s progress.

Limit entertainment

The focus should be on your tween dealing with anxiety brought on by school and if they entertainment routine stays the same, this will provide a form of escape for them instead of helping them to cope with reality. Explain that by pursuing other healthier activities such as walking and reading then they will feel better and be enabled to cope with the onset of the school term.

Signs indicating your child may be suffering from school anxiety

  • They may display symptoms of depression such as losing interest in daily activities
  • They may struggle to concentrate in class
  • They may be emotional, bursting in to tears at random moments
  • They may be behind in homework
  • They may want to be alone and avoid spending time with other members of the family
  • Trouble sleeping at night

Is your tween struggling to make friends? Here’s what you can do to help

By: Bernice Maune

Not all children are social butterflies and sometimes they may need some guidance on how to build quality and lasting friendships.

If you’ve noticed that your tween struggles to make or maintain friendships, then it may be time to step in and communicate to them about what the issue could be. Children may find themselves in environments that are overwhelming and their ability to express themselves and make friends becomes affected.

As a parent you can equip your child with personal tools which will make the process of finding and keeping good friends simpler.

Build their self esteem

Affirm your daughter by regularly highlighting her talents and skills. Also compliment her and tell her she is beautiful. Her first point of affirmation should be from her parents and family. With a good sense of self-confidence she will be able to speak up, socialise and feel confident to approach her peers and make friends.

Insist on meal times

By insisting that the family dines together your children will be motivated to communicate, talk about their day and all the new activities that they are involved in. It’s also a safe space to enquire about friends and to offer tips on how they can make friends.

Go on more family outings

This will be the perfect opportunity to see how your child interacts with others. You can then provide feedback based on what you have observed.

Build a creative environment

Create an environment which is colourful and creative. This will allow for free self-expression and for your tween’s personality to shine through. You can turn an extra room into a creative area where the family paints, draws or escapes to indulge their creativity.

Encourage public speaking

If your child is shy by nature, you can encourage them to get involved in public speaking at school which is a great way to help them overcome their shyness.

Always keep your child’s personality in mind as you seek to guide them. Make them feel comfortable about your help and don’t force them to accept it. You can also make suggestions and if they take you up on it, follow these steps bearing in mind that a relaxed approach will take the pressure off and make them feel at ease.

This is how you can build a great relationship with your tween

As your child reaches the tween stage, building an even stronger relationship becomes even more essential to maintaining the bond shared by parent and child.
A good relationship has several factors and these include trust, communication, security, protection and love. With a foundation built on these powerful qualities, a great relationship with your tween becomes less complex and enjoyable.

With your guidance, your tween can also create and establish their own friendships and relationship outside of the family. Bear in mind that as a parent, your tween looks to you as their teacher and the quality of all their other relationships stem from the emotional and social development you have equipped them with.

Boundaries

Your tween must understand that there are clear boundaries between the two of you. You are the parent and in charge of the household. You both respect each other and their feelings are taken into consideration however, you have the final word in the house and they need to adhere to the rules that you have set out.

 

Understanding
Explain to your tween that having a relationship where there is understanding is important and you will listen to their concerns however, as their parent you are here to provide strong moral leadership. This leadership will prepare them to become responsible, independent and well-functioning adults.

 

Honesty
For any relationship to work, there must be honesty. This also means that deceit and intentionally misleading one is a no go. As the parent, practise what you preach and be completely transparent with your child. That way they can rely on you to be truthful and this paves the way for them to also tell you the truth.

Encouragement
Your tween will make mistakes. That is human. Teach them to fail forward, so each time a mistake happens they should look at what went wrong and resolve to do better next time, not repeating the same mistake again.

Self-expression
Urge your tween to speak out and voice their opinions. Ask them questions and prompt them to share their feelings without being pushy. Independent thinking should be encouraged in your home while clear guidelines about respect and appreciation for self-expression is made clear.

Not sure if you are raising a tween? Take a look at how you will know your child has reached the tween stage below:

  • Starts to become more self-aware and questions their role in the family
  • Notices how you treat their siblings and may tend to draw comparisons
  • May ask to start spending time alone in their room
  • Gives you attitude over stuff that’s never been an issue before.
  • Refuses to do what you ask.
  • Starts questioning authority and phrases like “you are not the boss of me’’ may be said
  • Starts having a robust social life and may request to have a cellphone or to have a social media account
  • Back chats
  • Slams doors, screams or cries regularly.

Tips on how to teach your tween personal hygiene

Give your child guidance on how they can stay clean and avoid bacteria without it sounding like a mammoth task.

Personal hygiene is a non-negotiable and should form part of your child’s daily routine while at home, school, at a social event on the road or doing extra-curricular activities.

Children get in touch with a lot of dirt and dust as they are particularly active. This dirt and dust can lead to bacteria getting into their systems, resulting in infections, diseases or flu.

“Staring a conversation with your kids about their personal, intimate hygiene and taking the time to teach them how it should be done, is an area which many parents skim over or neglect in one way or another because it makes them feel uncomfortable,” says Lynn Bluff, internationally certified childbirth educator.

For hygiene at home, your child can follow these tips:

  • Washing their hands after using the bathroom
  • Washing their hands just before eating and afterwards
  • Keeping their hands clean before starting any activity or after they have played outside
  • Washing their hands thoroughly and scrubbing under the finger nail tips
  • Use a clean cloth to dry hands and to wipe their mouth after eating
  • Cleaning up after themselves in the kitchen, bathroom and any other living area

Hygiene tips in the kitchen:

  • Wash hands before and after handling all food types, especially raw food
  • Wash their own dishes and wipe the kitchen table top dry after preparing a meal
  • Not talk over food that is being prepared
  • Be careful of sticking their fingers into the pot or using a spoon to taste food as this can spread germs

For their personal hygiene they can use these tips as a guide

  • Cut finger nails short to reduce amount of bacteria collecting and to prevent illness
  • Wear clean clothes every day and place dirty clothes in the washing basket
  • Keep their rooms clean and pack away clothes
  • Take a shower every day and use personal hygiene products to stay fresh

To start a conversation with your tween about personal hygiene, respect their privacy and sit down for a one on one. Start the conversation by telling them that as they grow older their hygiene needs may change an extra shower or using deodorant or cologne is necessary. Using a suggestive instead of a direct, confrontational tone is more helpful.

You could ask them to go shopping with you for toiletries and if they want to go alone, ask if they have all the information they need to compile a list of personal hygiene products.

Pregnancy

Natural remedies for morning sickness

Nothing can dampen the excitement of pregnancy like morning sickness.
The name, however, is very misleading as morning sickness can happen at any time during the day or night. It is most common during the first trimester, but for some women morning sickness lingers throughout pregnancy.

Infancy 0-2

What you need to know about caesareans

A Caesarean section (C/S) is performed when natural birth is impossible or unsafe.
The operation may be performed before labour begins, if there are medical reasons for not going through labour and natural birth, or if the health of the mother or baby may be in danger.

Toddlers 2-6

What you need to know about SIDS

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby less than a year old.
SIDS is sometimes known as crib death because the infants often die in their cribs

Teens 13-18

Identifying a bully

Bullying is when one child picks on another child repeatedly. It can be physical, verbal or over the internet and social media.

Funny Videos

Video Blog

Here we have the funniest, cutest and most adorable videos of children doing the most funny things you could ever think of!

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