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Dear Melanie, What are the benefits of books and reading to your child/ren?

Books do so much! Firstly, experiences with books such as turning the pages, learning that the words stay the same, and following the story prepare children for learning to read. Research says that children need to hear 1000 stories before they are ready to learn to read!

Often overlooked, though, is the oral language development we get from books. Children get exposed to new vocabulary and ideas that are outside their everyday life experiences. We talk about why characters do what they do, how characters are feeling, and predict what might happen next. Children can learn about seeing things from someone else’s perspective, and have discussions on whether things were right or wrong. Books slow down events, giving us time to ponder and discuss in ways that can’t happen in everyday life. Finally, books also provide a wonderful bonding opportunity for families.

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Dear Ingrid, What should I be packing in my child’s lunchbox to make sure they have healthy teeth?

School lunches are vitally important for our kids’ health because it enables them to function more effectively at school and provide essential nutrients for their growing bodies. In general, we parents have a large amount of control over the contents of the school lunchbox and by providing a healthy lunch can really set our kids up for success.

The contents of a child’s lunchbox have an enormous impact on their oral health as well. A child that regularly consumes foods/drinks that are high in sugar and/or acids will dramatically increase their risk of developing tooth decay.

Tips for a healthy lunchbox:

•Pack unprocessed fruit/veggies, meat and cheese, plain water/milk
•Avoid flavoured milk, fruit juice, softdrinks, sugary/sticky foods and prepackaged foods, as much as possible

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Dear Diane, I am still heartbroken over my marriage breakdown. Any tips on how I can communicate with my ex during separation?

It is normal to feel loss, anxiety, fear and anger. Communicating during these emotional times can be difficult. Below are a couple of tips if you are going through a separation and need to communicate with your ex:
1. If you are angry or upset, stop, pause and take a deep breath. Don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Wait until you have calmed down and then call, text, or email your ex in a courteous manner.
2. Listen more than you speak. This is hard, but it is important to hear the words that are being said so you are able to deal with the issues that are important to you and your ex.

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Dear Adelle, What do Paediatricians Help With?

Paediatricians are doctors with specialist training in child health. They look after the health, development and emotional wellbeing of children of all ages: from a baby that won’t sleep or stop crying, to your beautiful, but likely grumpy, teenager.

Your paediatrician can attend bub’s delivery and examine baby soon after birth to make sure they are healthy. As your child grows, consult your paediatrician if you have concerns about your child’s growth, development or behaviour.
Paediatricians look after a range of medical conditions, from common and not too serious to less common and more serious. If you feel you need to see a paediatrician, please discuss this with your GP to request a referral.

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