Category Archives: Child & Family Psychology

Brando – Therapy Dog

Brando – Therapy Dog

Brando is the canine companion of Kids First dietitian, Lauren Hogg.

As cute and friendly as he looks, Brando also plays an important clinical role because together with his ‘boss’, Lauren, he helps children to build trust, self-esteem and the courage to talk about tough topics, such as their worries about food.

Brando is a very effective ‘social lubricant’ and many children find it easier to talk about big feelings, worries and problems in his comforting presence.

International studies have shown that the inclusion of animals in therapeutic settings can make a big difference to the outcomes that children can achieve. For example, animals have been shown to:

  • Support people with Autism Spectrum Disorder symptoms to build more positive social interactions and communication skills
  • Help children with behavioural problems such as verbal resistance, aggression, violence & compliance with rules by giving immediate feedback that helps them to better manage their responses
  • Assist children and young adults experiencing issues such as anxiety, fear and depression by providing opportunities for positive interactions that build emotional well-being and self-esteem

Brando knows when he is ‘on duty’ and helps Lauren to provide a sense of calm, comfort and safety in her dietetics and food therapy sessions.

Brando (and Lauren!) work at Kids First on Mondays.

8 things your child’s preschool teachers want you to know

It’s a new preschool year and you’re hoping it will be the best one yet for your child. Kids First’s Early Learning Support Specialist, Kirsty Gale, shares eight tips for getting your little one’s first days of kindy or daycare off to a great start. 1. Goodbye tears usually don’t last for long Many children… Continue Reading

Cleo Eshun-Wilson – Psychologist

Cleo Eshun-Wilson – Psychologist

Cleo ran a successful psychology practice in Hervey Bay for more than a decade before relocating to Sydney to join the Kids First team. She has supported children of all ages and their families and as a highly qualified Educational Psychologist, she is uniquely positioned to provide advice and guidance to families about children’s learning… Continue Reading

The Australian bushfire crisis: How your kids can help

Australia’s bushfires have brought unprecedented loss, fear and sadness to our nation and as ‘city slickers’ it’s hard not to feel guilty as our country cousins struggle with drought, fire and untold tragedy. All is not lost, however, because the spirit of Aussie mateship is alive and well – and it is something we can… Continue Reading

Sibling Rivalry: Psychologist shares school holiday survival tips

A psychologists who works with children in Sydney’s northern beaches says that while it is normal for children to occasionally become bored with one another, time spent with siblings is an important part of building family relationships and teaching kids to co-operate, respect and compromise with others. Brothers and sisters can be great friends and… Continue Reading

Health funds: Use it or lose it

If you have extras health insurance, getting value out of your membership is probably a high priority for you and your family. Many families invest in ‘extras’ cover to protect themselves against the costs of health services that can unexpectedly blow the family budget. However, it’s important to know that most health insurance funds reset… Continue Reading

Parent resources: How Manage Mean Kids and Playground Politics

It can be difficult to help your child to develop the social skills and resilience they need to cope with playground politics. As an adult, understanding how these skills develop in children may be helpful start as you parent your child. Equally, resources that you can use with your child to build their understanding of… Continue Reading

Free parent event: How to manage mean kids and playground politics 

Is making and keeping friends a minefield for your child? Does your child struggle because of: Conflict with other kids? ‘Best friend’ issues? Social isolation? Difficulties with joining a game or fitting in? Exclusion from groups? Don’t miss this valuable free presentation by experienced Psychologist Louella Covich. At this important parent seminar, Louella will explain… Continue Reading

How to beat bullying: 10 clever comeback lines for kids

Managing mean kids in the playground can be easier when your child knows what to say. Teacher and Kids First Children’s Services founder, Sonja Walker, shares 10 easy responses to teach your child to make handling the politics of the playground easier. When a child is being bullied, it’s easy for adults to tell them to… Continue Reading