Growing Pains

 

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My ten year old son recently began limping and telling me he had a sore foot. He is extremely active so I put it down to a stone bruise or something innocuous. I finally decided to take it seriously when he was hobbling around like an old man when he first got up in the mornings. It was the end of the summer sports season and he was nearing the finals for all his sports. It also coincided with the start of training for his winter sports. Every day of the week he was exercising and it was at that point that he was diagnosed with ‘Severs Disease’.

The name conjures images of a contagious infection where the foot is severed from the body, but thankfully it’s not as disturbing as that! Put simply, it is when the growth plate in the heel grows faster than the achilles tendon can stretch and is very common in active kids after they have had a growth spurt. The only course of action was to rest and to do stretches to help the achilles lengthen. As he already wears orthotics in his shoes, these were raised slightly in the heel to relieve the tension in his tendon.

To my son’s horror, the diagnosis of severs required him to limit his activities. He had to give up rugby training, competing in his school cross country and sat out a game or two of basketball. After reducing his sport, which let’s be honest is like a cruel form of torture for an active ten year old, the pain subsided.

Severs is a condition that will flare up off and on as he grows and he just has to manage it with ice packs to reduce swelling and stretching exercises.

As a side note, the podiatrist mentioned to me that kids that get ‘Severs’ often then get another growth related disease called ‘Osgood-Schlatter Disease’ a few years later in life when the growth plates in their knees start to give them pain. He advised that my son should try to build up his quads to help support his knees before the pain sets in.

So if you have an active kid complaining of sore heels or knees there is a good chance that they are suffering from good old growing pains!

 

(Image courtesy of photo stock, freedigitalphotos.net)

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SPEECH THERAPY

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As a parent, it is so easy to stick your head in the sand when it comes to getting speech therapy for your child. I was guilty of this when my daughter was young and she had a lisp and a raspy voice. I didn’t notice this at the time – I was busy focusing on what she was saying, not on how she was saying things. It wasn’t until a teacher at school suggested she may benefit from speech therapy that I took her for an assessment.

I guess I had put the lisping down to the fact that she lost her baby teeth very early and I assumed the problem would correct itself when her teeth came in, but the fact was it wasn’t her teeth that were the issue, it was the placement of her tongue.

I was discussing this topic with a speech therapist recently who told me that speech issues left beyond the age of 7-8 years of age are often there into adulthood. Furthermore if children aren’t corrected on the proper pronunciation of words such as ‘free’ for ‘three’ it will affect their literacy and writing.

My daughter’s lisp was corrected and now when I look back at home videos of her when she was young I’m shocked that I didn’t do something sooner.

She still has a bit of a husky voice as she likes to talk ….a lot! I can’t see that anything short of a personality change will alter that, but at least she has techniques to help her if her voice becomes particularly raspy.

An engrained speech issue can cause bullying and reduced self-confidence if left untreated. Most speech issues can be corrected if addressed early enough and through practicing exercises to change bad habits.

Take a moment to listen to your child’s speech, not just their words. If you have any doubt whether they need assistance to help pronounce words correctly it may be time to book an appointment with a speech therapist.

 

 

(Picture courtesy of Akarakingdoms, freedigitalphotos.net)

ENTREPRENEUR

My eleven year old daughter is a go getter! She has always loved craft and collecting seashells, so the other day I wasn’t surprised in the slightest when she announced she was going to start a business making frames decorated with shells.
I suggested she make the photo frames and mirrors more diverse than just shells, so she started creating them using Lego blocks, glass beads and buttons as well.
This venture combines her love of craft with her entrepreneurial flair. She knows she is too young to be employed so she has decided to start her own business to make money!
She has come up with a name for her business ‘Ames Frames’, has set up a dedicated Instagram account, has determined prices and worked out the running costs for her business. Next she wants to set up an ebay account and a website for sales.
At that age I had no idea about sales and marketing or profit and loss.
I’m so proud of her drive and determination to take on this venture. If this is what she is doing at eleven, I can only wonder what she will be able to achieve in the future!
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PHOTO PRIVACY  

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Where do you draw the line between sharing images capturing innocent kids having fun and overstepping the mark and violating their privacy?

In this day and age when social media is used to update everyone on every aspect of your life, people often take the liberty of taking photos of kids and posting them on the World Wide Web, without a second thought. Unfortunately, prowling through that same media are people whose actions are not very honourable.

I recently heard about a lady who took it upon herself to go into her child’s classroom and take photos of the whole class. Without gaining any parent’s permission, this professional photographer then published the photos as a photo book and put links up to every photo on her website and social media in a blatant attempt to make money. Not only did she exploit the trust of parents by taking the photos in the first place but she did it in an obvious attempt to promote her business and profit from this exploitation. She did not password protect the photos and put the photos in the public arena with an explanation of which school the kids attended

On every level what this lady did was unethical, but more worryingly is the fact that she did not take any safeguards to protect the privacy of these children. She instead handed out enough information to make tracking down these kids an easy task! A number of parents of children in that class don’t have social media accounts, as they are weary of giving away their personal information. Such an intrusion sent shockwaves through the school community and sparked a debate over when it is ok to show photos of kids.

The general consensus seems that you should always in the first instance gain approval from parents before uploading photos of their kids and should always check your privacy settings to ensure that only the intended recipients can see the images.

My daughter just attended a birthday party where photos of the group were taken. The mother specifically emailed all the parents to gain their approval to use the photos and asked whether the lady hosting the party could use the photos to promote her business. I was happy to oblige with letting her use the photos and was grateful that she sort out approval before doing so.

This post is a timely reminder to check your privacy settings on social media and ensure that before you post an image of any child (be it at a party, school event, in the sporting arena or in a personal environment) that the child’s parents agree to these photos being used.

 

(Image courtesy of Master Isolated Images, freedigitalphotos.net)

 

 

FOUR EYES

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My son recently mixed up the numbers on our digital oven clock. Up until that point I had never considered he had anything wrong with his eyesight.

I arranged for an appointment with an optometrist and he determined that whilst my son can focus on things at all distances, his eyes have trouble staying focused and they zoom in and out of focus, much like a camera lens when you are trying to take a photo.

Left untreated he said that he may develop a stigmatism and eventually the eyes would change shape to allow him to focus on one depth, probably leaving him short sighted. Unbeknownst to this optometrist, I’m short sighted with a stigmatism , so I took his advice and had him make my son glasses to wear in the classroom to help train his eyes to stay in focus.

I was worried that my son would feel embarrassed to wear his new glasses as I personally avoid wearing my glasses when I can. I expected him to choose frames that were the most inconspicuous so his peers wouldn’t notice his new glasses. Instead he chose Clark Kent styled black framed glasses and wears them proudly.

As a mother I was worried he may be bullied, getting called four eyes or nerd, but my fears were unfounded as he has embraced wearing his glasses. In fact, he was happy to report on the first day he wore them at school that most people commented that they thought they made him look handsome. I guess with anything in life, people can’t make you feel insecure, if you are secure within yourself. My only problem now is trying to ensure he doesn’t wear them in the playground – at over $700 a pair, I don’t want to have to replace them if they are lost or broken.

Hopefully a few years of preventative assistance now will save him from wearing glasses the rest of his life – transforming him from Clark Kent into Superman!

IT TAKES SELFLESS PARENTS TO RAISE AN OLYMPIAN

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As we are not far off the Winter Olympics, I’ve been thinking about all the hard work and effort that goes into qualifying at that elite level of sport. Of course the athlete competing has spent hours upon hours honing their skills and must have the aptitude and attitude to succeed, but it’s their parent’s selfless support that facilitates their child being able to follow their dreams. Without their parent’s encouragement when they were young, it would be near impossible to succeed at such a high level.

 

Think of all the training sessions these athletes had to be driven to and from, not to mention competitions locally, nationally and internationally! Add to this the money their parents have forked out to pay for training sessions, travel and equipment. These parents have forgone their own personal time to focus their energy (and money) on preparing their children to become the ultimate athletes they are.

 

I have multiple friends whose children are gifted athletes and playing in representative squads of their chosen sports. My friend’s social lives are nearly non-existent as they spend all their free time ferrying their kids to games and training. The higher level they compete in, the further it seems you have to travel!

 

So whilst it is an amazing achievement for these kids to reach these extraordinary levels, the unsung heroes are the parents who prepared them and supported them in their quest for greatness. They don’t receive medals and certificates in recognition for their sacrifices – instead, their reward is the pride they get from their children’s success!

 

 

(Photo courtesy of digitalart, freedigitalphotos.net)

 

MANAGING CHAOS

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I, like many of you out there, manage a few of my kids sporting teams. It’s funny how a room goes silent when there is the question put out as to who would like to nominate themselves for this role. I think in this world there are the doers and the whiners (have you ever noticed that the parents that whine the loudest about the way things are being done are the ones that don’t offer to do anything themselves?) The other thing that I’ve noticed is that once you put your hand up to help, you are then forever more stuck in that role. I naively thought the first time I offered to take on managing a team that it would be passed around to all the parents, but alas years on, I’m still in the same role.

I don’t mind the texting to co-ordinate everyone or dealing with the governing association for that sport – what I can’t stand is being in charge of subbing players on and off the field/court. No matter what I’ve done in the past, someone has complained that it’s not been fair to their child. I tried doing it alphabetically to make sure everyone had their turn but the mother of the little girl whose name was at the start of the list took offence to this method, so I changed to subbing the kids off in order of their jersey number, until one of the dads complained that it kept our two best players off at the same time. Add to that the grief from the child that just doesn’t want to come off the field. Some days I just feel like pulling my hair out!

So I was ecstatic this week when someone told me about a phone app that does all the hard work for you – all my wishes have come true! For all you parents who are coaches/managers do yourself a favour and download ‘FairCoach’ (I’m not paid to endorse this app – I am genuinely thrilled to have found it). It allows you to mark off which kids are present, set the format for the game (halves, quarters etc), set the time of the game and then it spits out which children are to come off at what exact time. It even allows you shuffle the players so it changes week by week – Hallelujah!

I used it for the first time last night at my son’s basketball and it was great – any time a kid moaned about it not being their turn, I could just say ‘the phone app says it is your turn’ and that shut them up. I love when technology makes your life easier in the most unexpected ways. Now if someone could just design an app that could drive the kids to their sport and wash their uniforms after, then life would be truly perfect!

 

 

(Photo courtesy of freedigitalphoto.net)