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Overwhelmed! FYOS North Shore


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#1 Gabbagabba

Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:29 PM

Help! I'm frazzled, surrounded by boxes and crap from our move, and its just hit me that my boy will be starting school in two weeks and I don't feel ready!! I'm worried HE isn't ready but he is already 5 so I think he has to go?
We've been here two weeks now but he isn't coping well with the sudden move or the prospect of school. His routine is shot, he won't sleep cause its not his bedroom, he won't eat in the kitchen cause his 'spot' at the bench is different etc etc.  He keeps asking about 'his' school (the one in Melbourne) and appears terrified of the local school we are enrolling him at (which I think is an ok school?)
Also we went shopping for bits of his uniform today and he cried because there is no red in his uniform and it's his favourite colour. He was inconsolable.  I bought him red undies to wear but he said its not the same.  
He is a sensitive little boy and I'm worried how he will go with big noisy classes, I kept him in family day care because he coped better with smaller groups but now I'm worried I've made a huge mistake.  
Also he always been a really picky eater and I've been trying to get him eat from a lunchbox every day to practice for 'big school' but he's hardly eating anything. Just wants a toastie like his family day care lady made him.  
Is anyone else's child like this?  He has always been a bit highly strung, but I thought he was more resilient than this.  This is my worst nightmare, I'd sort of felt like we managed his moods etc at home and now all my careful planning has gone out the window.  I just can't see him coping at this big school.  I don't know what to do. Please tell me I'm not the only one dreading this?
Sue

#2 Expelliarmus

Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:34 PM

You should be able to contact the school next week to set up a meeting to talk about your concerns as he's not had transition sessions and see what they can help with/suggest.

FWIW most kids cope fine in a 'big noisy class' and most classes aren't noisy in FYOS, the teachers keep things low key and calm original.gif . Even the sensitive ones adjust quite well. Try and stay positive, you're doing great original.gif

#3 TeaTimeTreat

Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:36 PM

How old is he and has he been to an orientation day for his new school and how big is his new school?

OP my son is starting school and is a bit anxious, I have found talking him through what will happen in the school day and reminding him that his teacher is Ms X and she really likes him (her met her at orientation) helps a little.

I can see he is having a lot of changes at once, maybe make him toasties and snuggle with him and try and settle him a bit.

Edited by sparkler, 18 January 2013 - 10:37 PM.


#4 lizzzard

Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:48 PM

Poor kiddo...moving house can be quite disorienting...you may well find that a couple of weeks he'll be feeling a lot more settled.

I think many kids will have a bit of a hard time starting school, and in my experience kindy teachers are very used to managing sensitive children and helping them adjust - afterall, schools have a new kindy class each year and there's bound to be at least a few that need some extra help to feel comfortable.

Perhaps make sure you are not letting your little one pick up on your nerves. I found with my daughter (who is also quite shy) I had to be quietly confident - being 'over the top enthusiastic' with her doesn't work  - she picks up on the fakeness! Instead I was calm and supportive and always talked positively about school in the few weeks leading up to the first day. She settled in really well with her teacher, I just had to stay with her in the mornings till her class lined up for morning assembly. In no time at all, she loved school. I bet you'll find the same with your son original.gif

#5 Gabbagabba

Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:55 PM

No, he hasn't had any orientation sessions here. We just arrived from Melbourne.  I'll call the school and ask them to set something up.  I've just been trying to keep him occupied. Except for today (too hot) we've been at the zoo or museum or library because he is obsessed with dinosaurs and we'd told him all about the exhibit at taronga as a sweetener before we moved. He knows all the dino names to etc and playing with his dino toys or reading dinosaur books seems to be the only thing that keeps him focused?
I've tried having snuggles with him and reassuring him but he doesn't like cuddles sad.gifI had some success with dino YouTube clips (ie, calming him down) but then he just wants to watch the same clips over and over.  I know I'm really stressed ATM but I have a horrible feeling about this.

#6 Little Bo Peep

Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:55 PM

Does the school have a canteen?  They may do toasties? Perhaps pop by the school and ask for a copy of the price list - should be someone in the office at most schools. You may even be able to get him a thermos (kmart do a kids one) and make him a toastie, cut it in quarters it should fit in.

Might also be worth talking to the school and seeing if you can bring your son by during the holidays for a bit of a tour, look around if you havent already.  

I would also be getting him a red lunchbox, pencil case, drink bottle, library bag, smock etc - anything that doesnt have to be school colours.  

Good luck, it will get easier  - its a big change to move state and start school in such a short amount of time, but what a great opportunity for you both to create some new friends.

Edited by Little Bo Peep, 18 January 2013 - 10:56 PM.


#7 baddmammajamma

Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:07 PM

Hi (again) Sue:

I responded on your other thread about childcare/LDCs. I'm sorry that you feel so overwhelmed with your move. I can only imagine how overwhelming it must be for your sensitive little boy.

Two years ago, I could have written your post. I wasn't surrounded by boxes, but I was so nervous about my daughter starting "big kid" school. She had (and still has) a lot of sensitivities -- your post resonates with me!

A few things that worked for us:

* Social stories -- Taking pictures of the new school, talking about what each day might be like. I'd be happy to go into greater detail, but if you google "Carol Gray Social Stories," you should be able to find some good samples.

* Allowing fixations/comfort items in reasonable dose. If your son is passionate about red & it gives him comfort, perhaps you could find some red items that would make him feel more excited about school (you've done undies, but how about lunch box, water bottle, school supplies?)

* Take advantage of any/all offers from the school to allow him on campus early or to speak with someone from school/spend time on campus before the first big day

To be honest, though, what REALLY helped was our ability to realize that our daughter didn't just have a case of "the nerves" -- and that she was (and still is) a child who needs a bigger social/emotional boost than most of her peers. We didn't want her school experience to get off to a crappy start and have her freaked out for the year.

She really benefitted during her lead up year to school and in her first year of school from a "cool kids/social skills program" designed to help kids who for whatever reason -- social anxiety, sensory issues, ASD, garden variety shyness -- struggle with settling into the school routine with confidence. Best thing we did in her FYOS!

I see from your other post that you are in Turramurra. I am going to PM ("private message") you the name of a wonderful children's (early intervention) centre in Pymble -- that's very close to where you are. They run an absolutely FANTASTIC school readiness program for rising kindergartners & new kindergartners. I have recommended it to several friends with very sensitive children, with much appreciation noted!

Between your unpacking and settling in, I would encourage you to give them a quick call or check out their web site. I am zealous about a few things on EB, and letting parents know that there is good support out there if they need it is one of them!

Good luck with everything.

#8 Gabbagabba

Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:08 PM

Lizzzard I'll find out about staying mornings with him, that's a good idea. And he probably is picking up on my nerves but I've been so frantic since we were told we had to move that I haven't stopped to think about all the niggly things worrying me until tonight.
Little bo peep, He has problems making friends, maybe that's what I'm worried about. He just takes his dinosaurs everywhere and tells people about them. I guess I thought he'd grow out of it?  But it's getting worse.

#9 Little Bo Peep

Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:19 PM

Fingers crossed he finds some like minded dinosaur obsessed kids to friend.   biggrin.gif

#10 Gabbagabba

Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:28 PM

I can defiantly get some (more) red stuff too, it's a public school so I think most bags etc can be whatever you want. But I think:
" We didn't want her school experience to get off to a crappy start and have her freaked out for the year."
is the crux of it I think badmommajamma. We've walked past the school a couple of times but i'll see if we can go in/have a tour.  Looking at the social story stuff now and will try that, too.
Also I would love the details of the getting ready for school program.  I guess I thought we'd just practice stuff over the hols and play schools etc but its not happening/helping. I'll call them Monday, too. Honestly at this point I'd do anything to get his confidence levels up. I would even keep him home another year if I could. He is a bright kid academically but visibly wilts with lots of people around etc.
I can't believe I let it get to this point. Totally dropped the ball.



#11 Gabbagabba

Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:31 PM

Little bo peep, I hope so. Hasn't happened yet sad.gif
Thank you all so much for your help. I'm feeling a bit more in control. Will make some calls on Monday and see what I can organise from there.

#12 Expelliarmus

Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:32 PM

QUOTE (Gabbagabba @ 18/01/2013, 11:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Little bo peep, He has problems making friends, maybe that's what I'm worried about. He just takes his dinosaurs everywhere and tells people about them. I guess I thought he'd grow out of it?  But it's getting worse.

Has he been assessed for ASD?

Edited by howdo, 18 January 2013 - 11:33 PM.


#13 baddmammajamma

Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:45 PM

QUOTE (howdo @ 19/01/2013, 12:32 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Has he been assessed for ASD?


Hi Sue:

If you are new to EB, then you might not know that howdo is a teacher (and one of my favorites here), and I am the mother of a girl with ASD. At 4 & 5, my daughter was also obsessed with dinosaurs, so I know what it feels like to have a child who can talk your ear off about the eating habits of the Allosaurus v. the Maiasaurus... rolleyes.gif Interestingly, her very first friend who she "made on her own" was a fellow dinosaur lover. I hope your little guy meets someone like that, too.

If you aren't too depleted right now, please click on the link in my signature and have a read & see if anything resonates with you.

You've actually raised several things in your posts that both remind me of my daughter and are generally regarded as "flags" worth investigating. I say this not to freak you out (it sounds like you have enough on your plate as it is) but rather to suggest ways to help if your son is in fact struggling on  many dimensions. I'm sure it is hard for you to watch him get so upset, and it can't be fun for him either.

Moving can be so hard even under the best of circumstances, but it's so much tougher when you are also worried about children. I've been there! xx

#14 Gabbagabba

Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:02 AM

ASD? Autism? No. No he hasn't.
But I just re-read what I wrote. Everything I wrote about him is true, I've just never thought of it like that before.  Intellectually I get its a spectrum, but the only child with ASD I know is non-verbal. So it's never crossed my mind.  I just keep thinking he will grow out of problems.

#15 Gabbagabba

Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:13 AM

Ok, have a lot of reading to do. Pragmatically, he has to start school at the end of the month, regardless of label or not, right?  He was 5 in early Nov. Badmommajamma, please send me through the school readiness group stuff, if there are flags (& I can see how there might be) then we might just play it safe and book him in. You said there was no need for a diagnosis to join? So we could get him/us some help now? How much does it cost?  What do they actually do?I feel sick.

#16 Expelliarmus

Posted 19 January 2013 - 01:03 AM

Don't panic original.gif BMJ will be able to steer you right for anything you need in Sydney. I'm sorry if it came across a little blunt but I was distracted with trying to print curriculum notes on a nonfunctioning printer.

After I wrote the initial post I thought to myself, that is true if he's neutotypical, kids settle in fine but maybe he's not ... And then when I popped back and you had added to the information in your first post the difficulty you expressed with him moving - not his bed, not his school, not his seat, not the right lunch - it flagged it for me. Apologies for dropping it rather bluntly.

FWIW I don't think it's anything to *worry* about. It just means your little guy might need some specialised and specific help to get where he needs to be. There's lots of ways to help him and a lot of the ASD strategies work for all kids. So nothing to lose and everything to gain original.gif

#17 José

Posted 19 January 2013 - 01:52 AM

Reafing your post there are a number of things that suggest further investigation of ASD us warranted. Jis difficulty msking friends, obsession with dinosaurs and red, the need for things to be just so' eg own spot at the bench, being a picky eater , not being interested in cuddles etc. Of course many kids display one or more of these traits- especially the eating- but asd is a number of ' quirks' present at once. If ur boy attends a program run by psychs they can certainly advise is assessment of asd is woryhwhile.
The other thing I wanted to add after resfing ur post is that imo you most certainly have not dtopped the ball. You are doing so many things right- the red undies, walking past the school,  actively seeking and acying on advice. Ur doing grrat and ur ds is lucky to have you.

#18 baddmammajamma

Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:56 AM

Hi Sue:

I went to bed thinking "I hope I didn't cause that mum to totally panic!" But I also know how it feels to get that sinking feeling when you realize that something might be up.

As howdo says, DON'T PANIC. You have a lot of your plate right now, so first and foremost, try to focus on the immediate things you guys need: unpacking, getting your son ready for his first day of school, finding the shops, etc. etc.

There are already some good suggestions in this thread of things you can do to help ease your son's transition, so you can try some of those. Personally, I would hold off on doing an exhaustive search for a preschool for your little toddler -- well, at least hold off for a few days (!!) -- so that you can try to get a bit of a game plan in place for your son. I just worry that you might be trying to solve too many things all at one time when it sounds like you are not even unpacked!

OK...now with regards to your son: None of us here can tell you definitively whether/not it's some form of ASD. You need to get professional guidance on that score. Two things you can do:

1) You can reach out to the early intervention centre (I sent details last night) I mentioned. They run both a "school readiness" and "social skills group" (amongst other things) -- the school readiness is headed up by a wonderful, gentle psychologist + a teacher who is also a trained behavioral specialist. They replicate the types of skills/demands that are typically placed on a child at school, but they break them down into digestable, non-scary pieces. Groups are small enough (~ half dozen kids) that there's a lot of individual attention.

Social skills groups (usually conducted after schools or on Saturday mornings) are led by the psych & a very senior behavior specialist. I don't know current costs per session, but because they are run by a psychologist, you should be able to get some medical rebates with a GP referral. Again, these are done in a very non-threatening, small group environment to help kids understand how to initiate play, how to join in others' activities, how to share interests with others, how to be a gracious loser, etc. All very good stuff! (By the way, you can go ahead and speak to someone at the centre before you even get the GP referral -- no charge). In my daughter's group, she was the only one with a formal dx of ASD. There was another child with social anxiety, one with a hearing impairment, another suspected to have ASD, and one who had SPD (sensory processing disorder) -- a real mixed bag of profiles!

The aforementioned psych also does ASD assessments, as well as school consults for kids with various struggles. However, you don't have to commit to the assessment process or even need a diagnosis of anything to use their services. They are not a "high pressure/let me sign you up for thousands of dollars of assessments" type practice (their costs are actually quite reasonable relative to other practices in the area, from what I can tell). I can't recommend them enough. I will also send you the names of two other very reputable EI centres in the area. These are both more "ASD-related" and much larger -- but it's always good to have a few high quality options as you investigate what's out there.

2) Do you have a GP or know of a good one in the area? If not, there is an EBer (and fellow ASD mamma) who used to live near Turramurra & now is closer to me. I'll see if she can PM you the name of her (former) GP, as I believe he is quite sympathetic to mothers with worries about their quirky sons!

3) When you get to see GP, ask him/her to refer your son to a good developmental paediatrician. This is a specialist paed who is an expert in child development. I will send you the name of our fabulous developmental paed (half of EB sees him, I think! wink.gif ) and a few other great recommendations of tried & tested doctors. There's almost always a long waiting list for these specialists, which is why I've suggested that you simultaneously consult a great local psych as well (they often work in tandem to help kids with various struggles).


As hard as it might be, try not to panic about the potential "label" of ASD. There is an old axiom that I love: "Treat the symptoms, not the label." That is, your son is the same child regardless of what any professional diagnoses or doesn't diagnose in the next several months. Focus on the areas where he is struggling (e.g making friends, lack of flexibility, etc.) and get professional guidance on how to help him on those scores.

The one caveat I should make is that, because your son is not yet 6, there are some time sensitive considerations if you should decide to explore an ASD assessment. Across Australia, if a child is diagnosed with some form of ASD before their 6th birthday, they can access federal funding of up to $12,000 (over two financial years/to be used before they turn 7) for various early interventions -- including the services I've mentioned above. That, combined with the peace of mind of better understanding of your child's "wiring," are two very good reasons to take action sooner rather than later.

Before this turns into a treatise, I will give someone else a chance to respond & for you to take in what we've written. Please feel free to PM me if you have any questions. I don't live right in your area, but I am in Sydney -- and I am really lucky to have a very supportive network. I'd be happy to help another mother who is settling in!

Edited by baddmammajamma, 19 January 2013 - 07:00 AM.


#19 Natttmumm

Posted 19 January 2013 - 07:16 AM

I read your post and can feel your anxiety about the move and school too. I agree with the other posts but thoughts would add a point about watching your own language and what he hears you say. If he thinks your nervous he will be worse. My daughter is anxious too and if I feed into it I make it worse for her.he needs to feel that it's all ok.
Stay positive and confident for him. He has many years at school. If he needs a slow adjustment with you staying longer or shorter days etc so be it. It's just a first year.



#20 Kay1

Posted 19 January 2013 - 07:17 AM

Hi OP. BMJs suggestions are as always on the money. I hope her info has helped you feel a little calmer about things.

I wonder if you would mind PMing me the name of the school? I live on the Nth Shore and may be able to help in some way with some local knowledge.

#21 kh79

Posted 19 January 2013 - 02:25 PM

Hi there,

I just wanted to say that I really sorry that things are so stressful for you.  But I wanted to reiterate that you have been doing many great things to make the transition to school a lot easier for him.

In regards to ASD, I have to agree that your original post and subsequent posts show a lot of red flags and I'd really really encourage you (when things settle down) to get in contact with someone that BJM sent you to get a thorough assessment by someone knowledgable.

I remember to well the feeling when it dawned on my that my beautiful boy was a bit more than quirky and I felt sick.  I think I cried for 3 months every night while I waited for an assessment.  I wish someone had told me at the time that IF it turns out that he does have ASD, it's not the end of the world, he won't be doomed, and the diagnosis will be the thing he needs to get the help he requires.

I don't want to repeat anything that anyone else has said but I did notice that you were saying that you only know one Non verbal child with ASD and you mentioned academics.

It is a spectrum andthe variety of presentations is huge.  Our little guy has Aspergers so he developed his language normally (actually advanced) he met all his milestones early and he is one bright cookie (he is intellectually gifted).  When we tell some people he has autism, they can't believe it because this is the kid who is more like a mini adult.  He is so social with adults, can hold his own in interesting conversations with adults, doesn't meltdown.  Is the coolest little guy! But on the flip side he struggles so badly with other children.  He can stand to be around them but ifyou watch closely he spends his time doing his own thing rather than playing with them - it's because he can't.  He doesn't have the skills yet.  

ASD can present itself in a variety of ways and it is easy to see why many parents don't initially think ASD when their children might hit their standard milestones early.  I encourage you to follow his up because if it does turn out to be ASD, you can et him the help he needs and these struggles can be a ing of the past.

Please keep us updated and take care



#22 mumtoactivetoddler

Posted 19 January 2013 - 02:36 PM

I also want to say I agree with BMJ's posts. I went to bed last night thinking your post had a number of red flags but I was too tired to be able to say anything tactfully (which then tends to lead me into being a bull in a china shop). I have a gp in Epping who is also good who has a child with special needs too and so is very understanding. BMJ's list is great of specialists and we have used one of her dev paeds and with DD and are strongly thinking of moving DS to him too because DS responds the worst I have every seen to our current dev paed.

#23 IsolaBella

Posted 19 January 2013 - 02:48 PM

I will back up BMJ on seeking social skill help and questioning further.

My DS2 is five and about to start school. He is some social issues which have been the result of hearing loss causing speech difficulties. He has been doing social skills speech group therapy. Most of the kids in his groups have been somewhere on the spectrum. As has been said, it is a spectrum.

DS2 has been anxious about starting school (for fear of losing his teeth -go figure), but this week has been doing a school readiness social skills group. He is now a week into the course, suddenly changed his tune and is looking forward to school.



#24 handsfull

Posted 19 January 2013 - 03:43 PM

Hi OP

Another poster wishing you well on settling in and also for your little boy to settle in for school.  Moving is a huge thing and very stressful for all.

As I read through your first post and then read your other posts I agree with Howdo and BMJ in that your little one might need some assistance now and down the track.  It raised a lot of red flags for me and those two ladies are brilliant with their advice - so please don't panic and try and get through each step of this settling period.

You wrote the only child you know with Autism is non-verbal, not all are non-verbal and some can talk extremely well and in-depth on a subject.  But read BMJ's notes and do some research.  For some its a shock to think their child might have a disorder but for some of us it's mindsaving to know how to deal with our kids and they are just wired differently.

FYOS is daunting for children as well as parents especially when there are no kids he knows.  But he will get there with love and support.  Try and get to the school next week for a walk around, we did that with our two and even show them their classroom and toilets nearby (Kindy probably have them inside their classroom).  Let him familiarise himself well and know where the office is and where HELP is if he needs it.

My girls are going into Grade 4 in separate classes etc and we are coaching them on how it will be and that they will still see each other etc.  One is high functioning autism/speech impaired and the other is speech impaired. No matter what year and how old they are you worry and you worry a lot!

Once you get him in his "normal" mode ie bedroom, bench position etc hopefully he will calm a little.  Hopefully he will find a little friend on the first day who loves to play dinosaurs with him or at least likes them.

Hang in there and let us know how you all go.  Take care.


#25 Gabbagabba

Posted 20 January 2013 - 09:19 PM

Firstly, thank you all so much for taking the time to reply, and a huge thank you to those who messaged me with information and advice.
I've done a lot of reading this weekend, and had a bit of a chat to my husband (although this was hard as he is flat out at work).
Upshot is, although my husband isn't interested in perusing a diagnosis/"label" for our son, I'm going to book in with a developmental paediatrician.  I gather it will take a while to get in, so will work on husband in the meantime.
I thought really long and hard about our son, with my "new information" goggles on, and while I'm not sure he is on the spectrum, the issues I've written about he did have before the move - I think we (ok, me) just sort of worked around him and the move has just made stark some of the things I've been making allowances for, if that makes sense?
Anyhow, I'm convinced he needs a bit of support (husband doesn't disagree about this) so we emailed the starting school support group people and we've already heard back! They have a spot and I'm taking my son for a meeting there later this week.  I'm feeling quite relieved to be doing something positive for my son, they sounded lovely and also made some of the same suggestions as others here, so I have some phone calls to make to the school tomorrow, and I'm going to make sure we go into the school everyday for a walk/play and also return some of the school supplies and get new red ones.
Still feeling overwhelmed but less worried than before I had a plan and some support/ideas. Thank you all again.Sue




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Jenny Alexis is lucky to be alive after spending four days buried in the rubble of the 2010 Haitian earthquake, but now she's a thriving five year old.

Please don't say I'm lucky because I was adopted

On the one hand I was having a regular life with friends and sports and sleepovers and school. But I was also always wondering: Did my mother love me? What was wrong with me?

An open letter to non-parents who offer advice on child-rearing

Kitty, when you’re the parent of my child you’re welcome to wade in with an opinion – but until then, I’d prefer you to have a supportive ear and a glass of wine ready.

Couple arrested over baby gun video

A US couple faces charges after investigators say they found mobile phone videos showing the woman's 12-month-old daughter putting a handgun in her mouth.

NSW Health dumps 10-year limit on frozen embryos

A 10-year time limit on storing frozen embryos that were created with donor sperm has been dropped by the NSW government.

How my happy-go-lucky husband became a monster

Sharan Nicholson-Rogers watched her husband change from a happy-go-lucky police officer into an unpredictable man prone to violent and emotional outbursts.

Dads-to-be experience hormonal changes, too

Dads-to-be experience hormonal changes in line with their pregnant partners, a new study shows.

'They were just doing their job': mum of toddler killed in police chase gone wrong

"They were just doing their job. I feel so sorry for them. It is all just too sad."

Miscarriages to be formally recognised by NSW government

Women who miscarry will be able to obtain an optional "recognition of loss" certificate as a formal recognition of their often heartbreaking loss.

Cafe cubby house 'too noisy' for neighbours

Teenage parties, domestic disputes, or raucous late night pubs are the things that usually come to mind when you think neighbourhood noise complaints.

Dad films baby playing with snake

Most parents would not consider a snake an appropriate playmate for their baby, but a US dad who filmed his daughter playing with a python has defended himself against criticism.

Clever breastfeeding products

Check out this range of products designed to help make your breastfeeding journey more enjoyable, manageable and convenient.

Win with The Boxtrolls

To celebrate the release of The Boxtrolls on 3D Blu-ray, DVD & Digital with UltraViolet, we're giving you the chance to win a Boxtroll stationary package and DVD.

 

School Term 1

Get after-school care sorted

Wait lists too long at OSHC? Use www.findababysitter.com.au to meet local nannies now.

 
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