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Learning to raise a family - How will I be as a first time parent?

5 evidence-based tips for overcoming early parenthood stress and building resilience

How am I going to do this? I don't know anything about raising a family.

If you’ve ever had those thoughts, you're in the company of millions of other Australians who at some point before and during early parenthood just weren't sure how they were going to cope.

Stress, depression and anxiety are becoming more prevalent in Australians, young people especially. Around 20% of young women aged between 15 and 34 will experience depression and anxiety at some point in their lives. With society putting such high expectations on parenthood and it appearing so wonderful and easy from the outside, it can be very difficult to admit you are not coping.

The importance of healthy educator-child relationships on childhood development

How healthy educator-child relationships improve development in children

Building positive relationships with young children is one of the most essential tasks of a great educator. Being able to form trusting and communicative relationships with students of all backgrounds and abilities is a fundamental component of good teaching. Research shows that children learn, grow and thrive much more effectively and broadly in close and dependable relationships that provide nurturing, security, respect and responsive interactions. A positive educator-child relationship built on trust and understanding and being able to create these relationships will enhance children’s cooperation and motivation and increase their positive outcomes at school.

What is a self-care plan and why is it important?

The importance of having a self care plan for adults

Have you ever found yourself thinking heavy thoughts or feeling like 'I am barely keeping my head above water' and daydreaming about escaping it all to live on a mountain top or a remote island in the sun? You're probably the perfect candidate for a self-care plan.

Resilience is the ability to adapt well in the face of adversity, like when you may be experiencing personal or family issues, serious health concerns, work stresses, money woes, or other challenges life throws at us. Resilience is not about not feeling negative emotions; it's the ability to bounce back from challenges in spite of them. One of the most effective ways of building resilience is to focus on self-care. It is essential to take care of yourself. Just as you would look after a physical injury by seeking support and taking positive steps to ensure your recovery, the same is true for an emotional, psychological challenge or obstacle. Remember that the brain is just as ingenious as the human body when it comes to working out ways to mend itself.

How Neuroscience uncovers the effect of stress and trauma on brain development

How Neuroscience can help us understand the impacts of stress and trauma on brain development

Experiencing stress or trauma at any age can have a detrimental effect on the brain, behaviour, mood, cognitive performance and much more. These detrimental effects are exacerbated if the stress and trauma is experienced early in life, particularly if the cause can be associated to a caregiver or close adult in a child's life. Brain development during infancy and early childhood serves as the building blocks for future development, with disruption to this process by stress and trauma serving to reduce the brain's ability to form the neural pathways needed for adaptive behaviour. Early life is when the brain is at its highest level of plasticity, a time when experiences can profoundly shape cognitive and social development, for better or worse.

Why it's important for children to understand how their brain works

Why it's important for children to understand how their brain works

The brain is an amazing organ capable of incredible feats and also susceptible to a number of quirks. Neuroscience has been combining physiology, anatomy, molecular biology, developmental biology, cytology, mathematical modelling and psychology with the goal of understanding the fundamental properties of neurons and neural circuits and how to optimally utilise and train them. The field of neuroscience should be important to all human beings, and is incredibly helpful in teaching children about their brains and what they are capable of. If we truly want to empower and educate children, teaching them how to understand and control their own cognitive and emotional health is an important step on that journey.

Using Neuroscience in the classroom to engage children after school holidays

Using Neuroscience in the classroom to engage children after school holidays

Sometimes it can feel like the school term ends just as great learning momentum was building in your students. 10 weeks can fly when you are engaging with and teaching children of any age, and it is important to maintain and build upon that momentum after any holiday break. As the old saying goes if you don't use it, you'll lose it and neuroscience has shown how that also applies to memory and learning new skills and ideas. It's been called "learning regression," "Summer Slide" and "Summer learning loss" and has been shown to occur more commonly in disadvantaged children during long holiday periods. During the holidays many children won't read a book, write a story or practice their times tables which can result in children's learning levels regressing.

Understanding children's behaviours through social and emotional learning

Understanding children's behaviours through social and emotional learning

Identifying, understanding and guiding children's behaviour is a critical part of educating and caring for children. It is important to develop positive strategies to encourage children and help them to learn appropriate ways of behaving. Children display a range of different behaviours that are a reflection of their perception of their current situation physically and emotionally. These behaviours are not always easily understood and may appear to be deliberately challenging or negative. This is not the case. Social and emotional learning (SEL) and resilience programs for children give a deeper insight into what the behaviours mean, and how to engage with children to best develop their emotional and coping mechanisms.

The importance of Resilience and personal Wellbeing for Educators

The importance of Resilience and personal Wellbeing for Educators

If somebody walked up to you today and asked you what the most stressful job in the country was, what would you say? Police officer, Doctor, Executive or business owner? No, no, no and no. Studies have shown that Teachers report the highest level of occupational stress in Australia , with 41% of teachers reporting high levels of occupational stress. In fact, teachers make more mental stress claims than any other Australian industry. Teachers are responsible for providing stimulating learning environments for children in order to facilitate optimal academic outcomes and to provide a positive emotional climate to support student social-emotional functioning. But how can they possibly do this if their own wellbeing and resilience is being pushed and eroded each day? Although efforts to improve school wellbeing have emphasised the importance of student social-emotional functioning, many programs overlook the wellbeing and social-emotional functioning of the Educators themselves.

The importance of resilience in building mentally healthy workplaces

The importance of resilience in building mentally healthy workplaces

Did you know that mental illness is the leading cause of work related sickness absences and long term disability worldwide? In 2011 mental illness eclipsed musculoskeletal problems as the leading cause of disability support pensions in Australia, accounting for close to one third of all DSP claims and cases. Poor mental health and wellbeing has a profound physical and psychological effect on people's lives and livelihoods and has been increasing each year for over a decade. While the effects on individuals can be life altering, poor employee mental health also has a large effect within an organisation emotionally and financially. It has been estimated that in Australia alone, depression and anxiety costs the economy more than $12 billion per year, primarily due to lost or diminished productivity and high instances of staff turnover.

5 benefits of practicing mindfulness for wellbeing at home

5 benefits of practicing mindfulness for wellbeing at home

What if the simple act of clearing your mind for just 15 minutes each day could lower your blood pressure and actually change the way your genes regulate inflammation, circadian rhythms and glucose metabolism? According to Harvard University researchers, it does that and more. Hundreds of studies have been conducted by top universities around the world looking into mindfulness and the effects it can have on building emotional resilience in all areas of life. These studies consistently show that mindfulness, an ancient practice spanning over 2500 years, is even more relevant today than it was when it was first derived from Asian contemplative traditions.

How Neuroscience for kids is calming classrooms around Australia

How Neuroscience for kids is calming classrooms around Australia

The human brain is the 'organ for learning' and as such it would be expected that teachers, as the facilitators of learning, should be taught neuroscience at University as it relates to child brain development. Unfortunately most preparatory programs do little to educate teachers on the transformative connections between neuroscience and learning and development in children. It has now been over 3 decades since researchers proposed the idea of a 'neuroeducator' - who would have a place in schools after thorough training in disciplines relating to psychology, neuroscience, and learning sciences and still today most teachers are unaware of the benefits educational neuroscience can have on their students' academic and social outcomes and their own fulfilment.

Cyber Bullying: Building resilience in children in the face of online Trolls

Cyber Bullying: Building resilience in children in the face of online Trolls

Australian families are more connected to technology and the internet than ever before. According to the 2016 Census, 97% of Australian households with children under 15 have access to the internet. The startling statistic though is the average number of devices per household, seven. While the increase in connectivity and access to information on the internet has been beneficial for aspects of education and social development, it can be nearly impossible for children to escape its negative effects. One of the more prevalent issues children face online is cyber bullying. An estimated one in five Australian children between the ages of eight and thirteen has been the target of cyber bullying.

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