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By Dona S. Adihetty

Positive discipline Learning is an important part of growing up. Children learn from what they see around them and from what they see others do. That is why it is important for parents to act in ways we want our children to act.
Disciplining children is a normal part of parenting but disciplining is definitely NOT smacking! Many of us may have been smacked during our childhood and some of us may think that a ‘good smack’ will NOT do any harm. If you were ever smacked, think back to the negative effect it had on you.
Discipline works better when it helps the child choose what is right, rather than forcing the child to act in a certain way. In fact, the first meaning of the word ‘discipline’ is about learning and training, rather than punishing. Simple, positive discipline works well when we:

  • Talk and listen to children.
  • Remember, they are children.
  • Keep things simple and not expect too much.
  • Set clear rules and stick to them.
  • Praise and reward good behaviour with hugs and smiles.
  • Talk about unacceptable behaviour rather than tell the child that she or he is bad.
  • Tell children what you want them to do, not just what they are doing wrong.
  • Let children be part of decisions.

A child could be affected in many ways by what is happening around them. As adults, we forget that children are very perceptive. A child may be perceived to be “difficult” because they try your patience and wear you down and sometimes, such a child may be treated with less affection. This is unfair on the child. Children do not and should not be expected to think or act like adults.
Families have the most important role for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of their child.
If you are a family member or a friend of someone struggling to cope with parenting, offer assistance without ‘telling them what to do’. Be there to listen. Offer a hand, or advice if asked. Aim to build up both the parent and child’s confidence.
There are many other people that can lend support to parents. These include child health nurses, your local doctor, child care services, and local groups like nursing mothers. Many groups can be found through your local paper, library or child health nurse. Or one could call the parenting line to get information on what is available. Remember, you are not alone and there is help out there.
In the next series, I will touch on the different forms of child abuse and our obligation to ensure the wellbeing and safety at children at all times.


By Manisha Banawal

Think back to when you were a child. Did you crave the outdoors? Did you have a special spot to hide where you could watch without being seen and let your imagination run free? I bet you resisted being called to go back home.


While growing up, the adults in my life – parents, grandparents, teachers and other relatives (plenty of them) – encouraged me to play outside but reluctantly at times. School work was seen to be more important. But along with my friends, outside play is what we lived for, everyday, after school.


Growing up in a more rural setting, outside play was a given. It was the most available form of entertainment and getting to spend time with my friends was a thrill. I loved it! The memories are still vivid.


In hindsight, my parents may not have realised how important outdoor activity was. But research now tells us that outside play in a child’s life is beneficial to a child’s growth.

Today, most of us agree that outside play is a core part of a child’s life. If you still have some doubts, I have ten benefits of outside play to get you thinking.


According to an article by an early childhood expert, Linda McGurk, children who play outside:


  1. Are physically more active, which helps prevent obesity and all the other health related issues
  2. Have better motor skills, such as agility, balance and coordination, and are sick less often
  3. Have higher levels of vitamin D, which in turn strengthens their bones and immune systems
  4. Eat more fruit and vegetables as a result of learning how to garden and are more likely to keep a healthy lifestyle later in life
  5. Engage in more imaginative games, interact more and get along better
  6. Perform better in their school work as they are more attentive
  7. Are more likely to develop a lifelong love for nature and care to preserve it
  8. Less likely to engage in bullying when they play in natural environments
  9. Develop stronger awareness, reasoning and observation skills
  10. Suffer less nearsightedness and are less likely to need eyeglasses

So next time when you see children chasing each other, squealing with delight building things and exploring their way around, just know that it is good for them.


Have fun!


Written by Gemma Bentley

A vegetable garden is a really fun and exciting activity that all parents and educators can do with their children.

This activity teaches children where their food comes from, it encourages independence as the children are given the opportunity to care for and look after a vegetable garden themselves. Involving the children in this activity educates them about healthy eating as they will be very proud of what they have achieved once their vegetable has grown and they are able to share it on their dinner plate with the rest of their family.

So you have decided to make your very own vegetable garden with your children, that’s fantastic! Now think about where will be the best location to have your vegetable garden, where is the best natural light coming from and will the vegetable garden have access to water. Once you have decided on this go ahead and get your green thumb involved!

Use your imagination on how you want to create this fun activity, I suggest if you don’t want to dig up your backyard or if you only have a small courtyard to create a container vegetable garden. Vegetables suited for container vegetable garden are tomatoes, capsicum, eggplant, potatoes, beans, carrots and lettuce. Ok, so now we are wondering what containers we can use. The answer is simpler than you think. I’m sure you have old buckets floating around your house, empty coffee tins, old baby baths, empty milk containers or soft drink bottles. With these containers all you need to do is cut then in half.

Let’s get dirty! Once you have gathered your containers fill them with peat moss, or potting soil or basically any soil from your backyard. You can get the peat moss from any Bunnings warehouse. With the children add the seeds of choice of vegetable and sprinkle a little water.

Now you have created your own vegetable garden well done! Place this great creation in a location where sunlight and water is accessible. Each day you and the children will enjoy watering and watching the vegies grow.

The benefit of a mini portable vegetable garden is children can take home and continue to look after their vegetables. Children develop a sense of pride as they become very proud of what they have created. They also learn about healthy food and its benefits.

Give it a try.

Australia is one of the most culturally diverse societies in the world, with various beliefs, cultures, lifestyles and values.

We are excited to remind you that celebrations of Victoria’s cultural diversity will be commencing on 18th of March and ending on 26 of March 2017. This celebration extends over one week and coincides with the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on the 21 st March, which is also known as “Harmony Day”.

Harmony Day, is a day of inclusion which promotes community harmony. A day where we recognise diversity and celebrate the many cultures that make our beautiful state of Victoria so vibrant. A day where ‘Everyone belongs.’ So on this day, I implore anyone reading this to sit down with someone you know and try to learn more about them as they must also learn more about you. Of course, as orange is the colour chosen to represent Harmony Day, tell everyone you know to wear something in orange! Indeed, this is a day to cherish, as we Australians are showing the rest of the world what makes us all special.

Panda is committed to striving for an inclusive and tolerant environment where everyone can accept each other for who they are without any second guesses. Cultural diversity and harmony is a common goal shared by everyone within the organisation.