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What have I learnt from my children?

In honour of International Women’s Day, we share some thoughts about what being a mum means to some of the ladies that connect with rt health fund.

Children learn by what they see

‘My girls are now almost 21 and 19 and over their lifetime, I have learnt (finally) that they really do learn things from you by watching the way you do things again and again.

In order for them to live happily and healthily, I realise that I need to be living that way too. If I don’t love myself enough to look after myself well, that’s what they will learn too. You know that safety instruction that you’re given on airplanes about putting on your own oxygen mask first? Well I understand that this is so important in so many ways …

My children have brought me to the peaks of joy and pride, and to the depths of despair and frustration. So I guess you could say they have also taught me to be resilient.’

Fiona Riley, Transport Women Australia Ltd (TWAL)

Fiona’s daughters Lauren in pink and Morgan in black
Fiona’s daughters, Lauren in pink and Morgan in black

A child’s smile can lift you from the worries of the world!

‘My children have taught me that no matter what is going on in our lives, that the smile of an innocent child can make all the worries in the world disappear – even if only momentarily!’

Katrina Jorgensen, Queensland Rail

Katrina with her sons Cooper and Joshua
Katrina with her sons Cooper and Joshua  

Be there!

‘What have I learnt from my children? One of the biggest factors is the value of being ‘present!’  No amount of gifts can make up for not being there when your children need you.’

Lisa Acret, Queensland Trucking Association Ltd. 

Lisa with her son Mitchell
Lisa with her son Mitchell

I now know that if it is to be …

‘I have learnt a couple of things from my children …

  1. If it’s to be, then it’s up to me …
  2. Self-belief. My children have shown me the importance of being the best you can be. Have dreams and ambitions and then do what you can to bring them to fruition.’

Maureen Paterson, Encompass Credit Union

To be a better person

‘I have learnt some very important lessons from my two daughters, most of all to not be selfish.

Having to be totally responsible for these precious girls and raising them to become independent, selfless women has made me take a good look at myself. And I am still learning from them! I can definitely say that I am certainly a better person for having them.

My mum reminded me the other day that family and relationships are all that matters. And it’s true.’

Jen Bogaart, rt health fund member 

Jen with her daughters Emersen and Layla
Jen with her daughters Emersen and Layla

Excitement for the future

‘What I feel that I have learnt most from my beautiful seven-month-old son so far is that joy and innocence still exists in the world that we live in.

Seeing life through his eyes is so very refreshing. It really is the simple things in life that matter. I feel so blessed to have a happy and healthy son whom my husband Brenton and I adore beyond measure and would do anything for. I’m sure that every parent feels exactly the same.

I am so very excited for the future and all of the milestones to come as we watch little Oliver grow up and experience the wonderful journey of life.’

Rachael Tickner, QRI Lifestyle

Rachael and Brenton with their son Oliver
Rachael and Brenton with their son Oliver

It’s about patience and understanding

‘I am blessed to be the mother of four wonderful children (two amazing adults and two school-age children) and have learnt many things. But one of the most significant of these is the need for patience and understanding.

My children make me stop, listen and really appreciate the important things in life. Children feel happy and secure when they have good friends around them and I have learnt to appreciate the comfort that comes from friendship, both in their lives and in my own. I enjoy the funny things they do, we laugh a lot. And, I love joining them when they are being creative – it helps keep me feeling young.’

Mary Mason, rt health fund member

Patience is a virtue

‘As a mum to three beautiful children, I have learnt to cultivate patience – which I really didn’t believe I had in me. I have also learnt not to assume anything, not to jump to conclusions and to understand that things are not always as they might seem at first.’

Linda Rollason, rt health fund member

Sharing life, love and counsel

‘My children are now adults in their own right – loving and capable wives and mothers. I have learnt that you cannot love too much or give too much of your time, presence or counsel, and that I am still a part of their lives as they will always be a part of mine. I know that, to them, it is very important that I take care of my health and remain active and that they want to know about and be a part of my life, just as I want to know what is happening in their lives and my grandchildren’s lives. These are the things that are important to me.’

Maureen McAlorum, rt health fund member

Maureen with her granddaughter, Bianca
Maureen with her granddaughter, Bianca

Sharing life, love and counsel

‘My children have taught me to not hold grudges. A stressful morning of spilt cereal, half-dressed children, forgotten library bags and meltdowns over lost, adorable purple unicorns can all be forgotten when they give you a hug and tell you that you’re the best mum in the world. Or, they flash a cheeky smile with a freshly picked flower in their hand!’

Ali Rees, rt health fund member

Ali, her husband Brett and their children Nevaeh and Travis
Ali, Brett and their children Nevaeh and Travis

This message is brought to you by rt health fund’s Strategic Business Development Manager, Rebecca Delahaye and Key Account Managers; Alison Weatherill, David Stock and Cassandra Reynolds.

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14 signs that could mean your child has a vision problem

A massive one in five children has a vision problem that hasn’t been detected yet[i]. Good vision is vital for learning – a massive 80 per cent is done via sight[ii]! Yet, kids of all ages have trouble recognising when they have a problem with their vision. With nothing to compare their sight with, they’ll probably accept that what they’re seeing is normal and that they’re seeing the world in the same way as everyone else. Your child probably won’t be able to talk to you about what they’re experiencing if vision deterioration is slow, too. The result? Frustration, irritation and a loss of concentration or decreased performance at school.

The common signs and symptoms of vision problems in kids

Vision problems mean that kids can face challenges at school, which are often misdiagnosed as ADHD, dyslexia or other learning difficulties[iii]. So it’s important to know the signs. Watch out for:

  1. Headaches
  2. Eye strain
  3. Blurred or double vision
  4. Cross eyes or eyes that appear to move independently of each other
  5. A dislike of reading and up close work
  6. Short attention span during visual tasks
  7. Turning or tilting of the head, or closing or covering one eye to read
  8. Placing the head very close to a book or desk when reading or writing
  9. Constant blinking or eye rubbing
  10. Using a finger as a guide while reading and/or often losing where they are up to
  11. Slow rate of reading or poor understanding of reading
  12. Difficulty remembering what has been read
  13. Leaving out words, repeating words or confusing similar words while reading
  14. Poor eye-hand coordination.

If your child shows one or more of these symptoms, it could be due to a vision problem.

girl blowing bubbles

What to do

Many kids have never had a comprehensive eye examination, which is one reason why vision problems go unrecognised for so many children. Your optometrist is trained to pick up and treat problems effectively. Book your child in for an eye exam at least once every two years – more often if your optometrist recommends it.

And, if your optometrist doesn’t detect a vision problem, your child’s symptoms may be caused by another condition such as dyslexia or another learning disability. Knowing about this early is important and your GP can refer you to an educational specialist to help find the root of the problem. Either way, your child gets the treatment they need.

[i] Optometry Australia. Your Eyes. http://www.optometry.org.au/your-eyes/your-child’s-eyes/

[ii] Midwestern University. Uncorrected Vision Issues Misdiagnosed as Learning Disabilities in Children. https://www.midwestern.edu/news-and-events/university-news/uncorrected-vision-issues-misdiagnosed-as-learning-disabilities-in-children.html

[iii] Midwestern University. Uncorrected Vision Issues Misdiagnosed as Learning Disabilities in Children. https://www.midwestern.edu/news-and-events/university-news/uncorrected-vision-issues-misdiagnosed-as-learning-disabilities-in-children.html

 

Healthy eats for stronger teeth

A lifetime of healthy smiles starts in childhood. So, as well as brushing twice daily, flossing and visiting the dentist, what you give your kids to eat can dramatically affect their tooth health – and their confidence, too.

A healthy diet isn’t just about limiting the amount of sugar you give them (although cutting down on sugar is better for everyone and has much wider health benefits).

Little tummies need regular feeding and healthy snacks can help to boost your child’s energy. So what are the best snacks to help your child smile?

Cheese and crackers/breadsticks

Hard cheese like Cheddar and soft cheese such as mozzarella are great for teeth because:

  1. They are rich in calcium, which is what teeth are made from. Immediately eating a small cube of cheese after a meal or a snack plugs the tiny holes in the enamel helping protect and build stronger teeth.
  2. The protein in cheese helps neutralise the acids from food and drinks, providing both protective and strengthening effects.
  3. The chewing action encourages the flow of saliva, which is the mouth’s natural cleanser.

cheddar cheese

Fruits – apples, pears, melon and more

Yes, they contain sugar and acids, but fruits are good for the teeth because they contain vitamin C, which helps to strengthen blood vessels that nourish cells with oxygen and food. Vitamin C is also vital for strengthening the connective tissue, which keeps the teeth in place. It also helps to protect gums and other tissues from cell damage and even bacterial infection. This vitamin also has an anti-inflammatory action.

Encourage fruit as part of a meal because the chewing action helps to stimulate saliva, the body’s way to wash food debris away. And offer a glass of water after they eat fruit to help wash away any acids.

Raisins

Dried fruit isn’t usually a tooth friendly snack because the drying process removes water, which concentrates the sugars. Plus the sticky texture means it can cling to the teeth for longer, providing plaque-producing bacteria plenty of time to feast on the sugar and produce acidic waste, which can damage delicate enamel.

We used to think that raisins were much like other dried fruit but recent research shows that raisins are a tooth healthy option.

Like other fruits, raisins contain protective phytochemicals, which are effective antioxidants. One of these found in raisins is called oleanolic (pronounced o-lee-an-o-lic) acid. This seems to reduce the growth of two species of oral bacteria, one that causes cavities (Streptococcus mutans) and one that causes gum disease (Porphyromonas gingivalis)[i].

raisins

Legumes

Peas, beans and lentils also contain antioxidants that help boost the immune system that in turn helps the body fight bacteria and inflammation. Try hummus with strips of pita bread/breadsticks or veggie sticks.

Crisp veggies

Crunchy carrots and celery help to clean teeth, massage gums and freshen breath. They contain a lot of water, which dilutes the effects of the sugars they contain. And, because they need a lot of chewing, crisp veggies stimulate saliva flow (which helps protect against decay by washing away food particles and buffering against acids). Plus, the folate they contain helps to build healthy blood, which delivers vital oxygen and nutrients to every cell.

carrots and celery

Sandwiches

Made with fish, lean meat, hummus, egg or cheese, small sandwiches for tiny tummies are a great choice. Although small children often don’t like the strong taste of fish, canned fish like salmon is a great sandwich filling because it is rich in tooth building calcium. Opt for wholegrain bread because it contains fibre, which requires chewing. Remember children under five don’t need as much fibre as adults so stick with white bread sandwiches for them.

Milk – cow’s milk and soy milk

Cow’s milk is naturally rich in calcium as is soy milk, if it is processed with calcium. Although it’s a tooth friendly drink, always make the last drink of the day water, as milk contains the milk sugar, lactose. If allowed to stay in contact with the teeth for long periods, it provides food for plaque-producing bacteria, increasing the risk of tooth damage.

Pumpkin and sunflower seeds

Both are rich in minerals including zinc and magnesium. Zinc plays a key role in wound healing – including little wounds in the mouth. Plus, they contain magnesium, another mineral which works with calcium to build strong, protective enamel that can resist decay. Lack of magnesium could mean that teeth become softer and more susceptible to cavities.

pumpkin seeds

With all snacks, encourage your kids to wash them down with some water afterwards. Water helps to wash away food debris, stimulate saliva production and most water supplies in Australia have added fluoride to help harden the enamel and protect teeth, too.

Remember, children’s milk teeth are much more delicate than adult teeth – as well as being smaller, the layer of enamel is thinner so small children are especially at risk of decay and damage. And, if baby teeth are removed because of decay, there’s more risk that the adult teeth will grow into abnormal positions.

So help them snack smarter and enjoy a lifetime of healthy smiles!

Ravinder Lilly
Ravinder Lilly, Dietitian at rt health fund

 

[i] WebMD. Raisins May Help Fight Cavities. http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/20050608/raisins-may-help-fight-cavities

 

Seven steps to protect your kids’ teeth

iStock_000014584757_NewBeing a parent is a massive learning curve and with so much conflicting advice around, it can be hard to know what’s right and who’s right. So, our rt healthy teeth Dentist, Dr Lincoln Law, shares his advice on protecting your kids’ teeth now and into the future.

1. Don’t feed the feeders. If you’re thinking about giving your child lollies, think again. ‘The trouble with lollies is that they stick to the teeth. This provides ongoing food for oral bacteria, which feed on the sugars. They then produce acidic waste, which can cause tooth decay,’ says Lincoln.

2. If they must have a treat, make sure they have it with a meal. When you chew, your mouth automatically produces saliva, which helps to kick-start the digestion of starches. Saliva also lubricates food for easier swallowing plus it helps to wash away food debris. This helps to clean the teeth and the mouth giving mouth bacteria less chance to eat food left behind.

3. Don’t brush immediately after eating. ‘This is especially so if your kids have been consuming acidic foods and drinks (like fruit juices and soft drinks),’ says Dr Law. ‘It’s important to wait for at least half an hour before brushing. This is because acids soften the enamel so if you get your kids to brush too quickly afterwards, they could literally be brushing the enamel away. So, get your kids brushing twice a day, before eating in the morning and before bed – preferably about an hour after the last meal or drink of the day (unless that drink is water).

4. Go with H2O. The natural way to quench thirst is with water, which has the added bonus of being sugar and acid free.

Happy child playing on green grass outdoors in spring park

Plus, most areas in Australia have fluoride added to the water supply, which helps to harden and protect kids’ and adults’ teeth.

5. Try sugar-free gum. If your kids are old enough, chewing sugar-free gum after eating sugary and/or acidic food and drink is a good idea. It stimulates the production of saliva, which helps to cleanse the mouth.

6. See them? Clean them. ‘It’s vital that you start looking after your kids’ teeth as soon as they appear. Milk teeth (baby teeth) for example, serve a long-term purpose – they hold the space in the jaw for the adult teeth to come through. And, if milk teeth are lost, there may not be enough space for the adult teeth, resulting in the need for orthodontic treatment. Early dental visits are also important to ensure that children don’t associate a visit to the dentist with fear. Plus, good teeth boost children’s self esteem. To clean your child’s teeth, use a child’s toothbrush (which is small enough to get to the back teeth) and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Remember, your kids don’t have the dexterity to clean their teeth until they can tie their shoelaces. They’ll need to be taught good oral health habits – so show them early on and lead by example,’ advises Lincoln Law.

7. Ask your dentist. There may be certain treatments that your dentist can use to protect teeth. Take dental sealants, for example, which are a thin layer of plastic-like material. Your dentist will brush them into the grooves of chewing teeth, i.e. the molars, which helps to provide a barrier against attacking mouth bacteria. These sealants help to protect the deep areas in the mouth, which can be a challenge to reach with a toothbrush.

Dr Lincoln Law is a practising dentist at rt healthy teeth, 1 Buckingham Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010. We are conveniently located close to Central Station. Just use the Chalmers Street exit and walk up Devonshire Street.

To make an appointment to see Dr Lincoln Law or to see one of our other caring dentists, call 1300 991 044.

For more information see our website.

Lincoln Law[1]
Dr Lincoln Law from rt healthy teeth