Kids News


Tens-of-thousands of Australians are currently filled with dread, contemplating the social minefield known as the Xmas Holidays.  They are among the 1-in-5 Australians who are part of a stepfamily.   For many of them, the interaction that comes with this season is an emotional battle with their past, their identity and their future.

Peak organisation STEPFAMILIES AUSTRALIA has released a ‘Stepfamily Survival Guide for the Holidays’, as well as offering useful new apps to help people communicate on their own terms.

“More than a million of us are in stepfamilies, and they can be a truly wonderful experience,” notes Stepfamilies Australia CEO Karen Field.

“But blended doesn’t always mean mended, and emotions can be particularly raw at this time of year – especially when dealing with new and old parents and partners and siblings, not to mention different cultures, religions and traditions.”


Guide to Stepping Up to a Less Stressful Christmas Season

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To all members of our TAT family, readers and contributors, who celebrate Diwali..

We wish you Safety, Good Health, Happiness, Prosperity and Good Fortune.

May they all be with you in the coming year.


Earlier this month, at the grand age of 90, Peter Tripovich has just completed a walk all the way around Australia.
The jubilant Echuca man strode down Melbourne’s Bourke St mall, arms held high in victory at the end of a decade-long quest.
The RAAF veteran and farmer began the walk when he was 79, wanting to raise money for children in poorer countries who were “worse off than ourselves”.
He started on the approximately 20,000 km walk around Australia in Melbourne, choosing to work with the charity, International Children’s Care Australia and aiming to raise $200,000. His anti-clockwise circuit continued for 15,000km when he reached Pemberton, WA. At that time, he needed to return home to tend his wife who had terminal cancer. He spent the next four years caring for her, during which time he flew to the mountainous Thai/Burmese border region to help build shelters for children and villagers. An experience that’s had a lasting effect on him.
Last Australia Day, at the age of 89, he returned to Pemberton for the final 3500 km jaunt to Melbourne. Each day he woke at 3 am and walked between 30-40 km. He was followed all the way by his support staff of three.

Peter is a true “aussie battler that overcame”.
If you would like to help Peter reach his $200,000 goal – visit ICC Australia

Support our friends at Street Organics to help raise funds for GROW FOUNDATION 

street organis logogrow logo 

Information Courtesy of Kristen Morrison from Street Organics

Street Organics is proud to support Grow Foundation – a unique Melbourne-based charity which offers support  & natural health solutions to families of children with special needs.

For the past 5 years, a small group of kids has participated in the Melbourne Marathon to raise funds for Grow Foundation.

This year, a group of our staff will be running with a group of over 50 kids – and we would love your help!

These kids run 3km, 5.7km or 10km – because they want to help other children who can’t run, walk, see or speak like they can.

Some of them even set up their own fundraising efforts to help raise more – amazing!!

The team’s target is $20,000-  We are nearly half way there!

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The age old saying ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’ no longer has a place in today’s society when the number of children being emotionally abused has increased by as much as 85% in some Australian states.

Act for Kids is calling for everyone to be vigilant to suspected emotional abuse.

When you think about child abuse and neglect, it’s easy to conjure up images of a bruised and battered little boy or a girl in dirty clothes.
It’s more difficult to picture a subdued little boy, often mistaken as an introvert when in fact, he’s broken inside from being called ‘stupid’ over and over again.
According to the latest Government figures*, in the year 2014-15 emotional abuse was the most common form of abuse substantiated for children.

The age old saying ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’ no longer has a place in today’s society when the number of children being emotionally abused has increased by as much as 85% in some Australian states.
The total number of substantiated cases of abuse and neglect was 42,457 and emotional abuse makes up 43% of this.
The number of abused and neglected kids across Australia is now greater than the entire population of Tamworth in NSW (41,810 pop. in 2014), but the real figure is much, much higher, said Dr Katrina Lines, Executive Director of Services, Act for Kids.

“Sadly, these statistics only tell us about the traumatic stories of children who told someone what was happening, or where an adult spoke up about what was happening to a child,” said Dr Lines.
“Many more children are living in situations where they are harmed and exploited by adults – and no one notices or does anything to help.
“Act for Kids is an organisation which does just that – we act to keep children safe and to ensure they have safe, happy childhoods. We provide early educational experiences for young children to help prevent harm from occurring and specialised integrated therapy services for children who have experienced abuse and neglect.”

For more information about Act for Kids please visit: Continue reading


Monday 26 SEPT to Saturday 1 OCT

“The kids were enthralled by the story and mesmerized by the puppetry; they were glued to Gran from go, laughed all the way and were left in wonder and awe of the magic bag!” – Parent review

GRAN’S BAG is a heartwarming and funny show by Greg Lissaman and Chrissie Shaw which plays twice daily in the first week of the NSW September school holidays. Full of wonderful songs and stories as well as endearing puppets, it will captivate kiddies (and their grans!)

When Gran comes to visit, she brings her beautiful big red bag. It is a treasure trove of secrets and small delights.  All sorts of surprises emerge, and lots of great stories.  The best story of all is about how Gran found her magic carpet bag – or did the bag find her?

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1. Travel 300 million years back in time at Melbourne Museum

Dive into the Devonian sea for a prehistoric Virtual Reality experience or fly into the Carboniferous era and create a Meganeura (massive dragonfly).

 muse 1

2. Extended opening hours for Jurassic World: The Exhibition

Jurassic World: The Exhibition will be opening earlier and closing later these school holidays from 9:30am – 6pm starting 17 September – 2 October.

Get in quickly as the exhibition must close 2 October!

 muse 2

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Innovative Soccajoeys Next Step program caters to children with additional needs to help them reap the benefits of sports in their development


September 14th, 2016: Childhood development experts have long said that participation in sport can have a huge impact on a child’s physical, emotional, social and cognitive well-being1 – but too often, children living with disabilities are faced with a lack of appropriate sporting options. Enter the Soccajoeys Foundation, which tailors its Next Step program to provide a well-rounded, holistic approach in delivering the five “F’s” of team sport – Fun, Fitness, Function, Friends, and Future – to Aussie children with additional needs.


“Regardless of their ability, every child should have the opportunity to participate in team sport,” says Soccajoeys Foundation’s founder and former professional soccer player, Jose Bello. Bello formed the Next Step program to allow children diagnosed with additional needs, such as Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Global Development Delay, and other less common diagnoses, to use soccer as a way to make incredible improvements in their social, physical, cognitive and emotional development.

“When it comes to making positive changes in kids with additional needs, the key lies in the five F’s of team sport,” advises Bello. “Rather than trying to ‘fix’ each child to perform in the exact same way, the Next Step program uses the areas of function, fitness, fun, friends and future, to help make a positive impact on kids’ development,” Bello says.

Here, Bello highlights how the Next Step program provides the perfect platform for these children to grow and shine:

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In Australia an estimated 20 children per week present to an emergency department with an injury related to a button battery.


Kidsafe Victoria has today issued a red alert about the dangers of button batteries, warning parents and carers that they can cause severe life-threatening injuries if swallowed by children.


Jason Chambers, Kidsafe Victoria General Manager, said an estimated 20 children per week present to an emergency department with an injury related to a button battery.  Children under five years of age are at greatest risk.


“If swallowed, these coin sized batteries can get stuck in a child’s throat – the chemical reaction between saliva and the battery causes an electrical current which can burn through the oesophagus in as little as two hours, causing severe and life threatening injuries”, said Mr Chambers.


Mr Chambers said that button batteries are often ‘invisible’ to adults, as many of these devices come with the batteries already installed.

Button batteries are found in many common household items including remote controls, calculators, bathroom scales, car keys, toys, watches, talking books/cards and flameless candles.

Button battery safety tips

  • Examine devices and make sure the battery compartment is secure.
  • Keep coin-sized button batteries locked away out of the sight and reach of children.
  • Dispose of old button batteries immediately.
  • If you suspect a child may have swallowed a button battery, go to the hospital emergency department immediately.
  • Tell others about this threat and share these steps.

Parents and carers can access more information about how to reduce the risk posed by button batteries via


Establishment of new Community Support Centre at Monash Children’s Hospital 


Kidsafe Victoria has successfully pioneered child injury prevention in Victoria for over 35 years with campaigns on a range of topics including child car restraints, children left unattended in cars, backyard pool safety and driveway safety. In 2017 Kidsafe Victoria will enter a new era when they open their new Community Support Centre at Monash Children’s Hospital.


Kidsafe Victoria, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the prevention of unintentional injuries and death to children aged 0-14,  is seeking help from  the public to help fund the fit out of the new Community Support Centre through a crowdfunding campaign which will be run over the next month. Each year hundreds of thousands of Victorian families have contact with Kidsafe Victoria’s programs, resources, campaigns and events.


Kidsafe Victoria CEO, Melanie Courtney, said the Kidsafe Community Support Centre will be a hub for parents and carers in the South East, where they can visit and receive expert child safety information, resources, advice and support.  A range of safety products will also be available for purchase.


“We are currently working in a secluded office in Fitzroy, with no space for direct interaction with parents and carers.


“The new Community Support Centre will allow Kidsafe to have a physical presence in the Victorian community, granting us direct exposure to parents and carers in the South East.”


Kidsafe Victoria has already secured carpet, walls, lights, painting and the electricals for the shell space, but still need to raise $15,000 to cover the cost of essential items such as office joinery, shelving and equipment.

kidsafe room

An Architect’s impression of the Kidsafe Victoria Community Support Centre


How Companies and the Community can help:

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For tour dates and tickets visit

Fresh from the sell out success of Peppa Pig Live! Treasure Hunt comes Peppa’s brand new production, Peppa Pig Live! Big Splash, direct from London’s West End.

The popularity of the little pink pig is stronger than ever in Australia, with Peppa Pig the most watched kids show on Australian TV, seen daily by 250,000 viewers. Australians have bought over one million Peppa Pig books and a veritable Everest sized mountain of Peppa Pig toys, with Peppa Pig the number one selling plush toy (March 2015).

Tickets for Peppa Pig Live! Big Splash are on sale from 9am on 23 June at  Playing premier theatres in capital cities Australia wide, Peppa Pig Live! Big Splash will tour Perth, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

“Ticketmaster likened our first Peppa Pig Live! on sale days to a Pink or Radiohead concert. It was like nothing we had ever seen for a kids show! With Peppa Pig more popular than ever, we’re bracing ourselves for another big one,” says Australian producer Anton Berezin of Life Like Touring, Australia’s leading family theatre production company.

Peppa Pig returns live on stage with bigger puppets and brilliant sing-a-long songs from BAFTA award-winning composer Mani Svavarsson. UK creative talent Richard Lewis adapts and directs this brand new show, following his previous successes with the first Peppa Pig stage shows and Ben & Hollys Little Kingdom.

In Peppa Pig Live! Big Splash, the nursery roof is leaking and Peppa and her friends need to fix it quickly. They set up a fete to raise the money for Mr Bull to do the repairs. There’s plenty of fun to be had as Peppa, George, Mummy and Daddy Pig, as well as Danny Dog, Pedro Pony and Suzy Sheep put up bunting, run stalls and organise a great day out.  There’s also a Champion Puddle Jumping competition judged by Mr Potato where everyone gets wet and Peppa needs to find her Golden Boots. Another all-singing, all-dancing adventure full of songs, games and muddy puddles is guaranteed for all the family.

Peppa Pig Live! Big Splash is produced by Fiery Light (UK) Ltd and Life Like Touring (Australia), the team behind world premiere international touring shows Sesame Street Presents Elmos World Tour, Scooby Doo Live! Musical Mysteries and the latest Octonauts Live! Operation Reef Shield.


Thu 15 and Fri 16 October Regal Theatre, Subiaco

Wed 21 to Fri 23 October Brisbane Powerhouse

Sun 25 October Arts Centre Gold Coast

Tue 27 October Newcastle Civic Theatre

Fri 30 October to Sun 1 November Roslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay

Tue 3 November The Concourse, Chatswood

Fri 6, Mon 9 to Wed 11 November Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne

Sat 14 November Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide

Koala Safe

Sydney based technology startup KoalaSafe today launches a solution to the growing problem of internet and game addiction. With a single box, parents can now protect and manage all their children’s devices with a simple smartphone interface.

“ KoalaSafe helps parents restore the balance. Instead of constant fights over how much time children have spent on Minecraft or Clash of Clans, or having to check every single site and app kids are using, parents just setup time limits and the type of sites they think are OK for their kids, and Koala does the rest.” says founder, Steve Pack.

“I saw it first hand with my nephew becoming more addicted to Minecraft every day. It was a constant battle for my sister to manage his time and I thought, there has to be a better way. That’s when KoalaSafe was born.”

Internet and gaming addiction is a global phenomenon, with 80% of kids exceeding recommended screen time limits by up to 23 times, up from only 25% in 2006.1 Internet Gaming Addiction is now included in the psychiatric handbook, the DSM5.

The company is young, but growing fast, with a recent $50,000 injection from Startmate, a leading Sydney tech accelerator and is already in homes all around the country. It is also among the growing number of startups taking the 1% pledge, a form of early stage corporate philanthropy.

Otis Elston saw his first production of The Wind in the Willows at the tender age of one, and after performing, stage managing and assistant directing for twenty years, this summer he will direct the interactive outdoor show for the first time.


Now in it’s 28th year, The Wind in the Willows will once again transform the heart of the Royal Botanic Gardens from 27 December 2014 to 24 January 2015. Tickets are on sale now from Ticketmaster or


Otis will direct a troupe of energetic actors as they bring to life the iconic characters of Ratty, Mole, Badger, Otter, Portly and, of course, Mr Toad, as they return to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne this summer, bringing to life Glenn Elston’s adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s immortal story of life on the riverbank.


Otis Elston might have had the most enviable childhood many kids could ever think of. Growing up in an outdoor adventure surrounded by colourful sets, madcap characters in outlandish costumes, he has also been given a few hard-won opportunities to perform with the company. After his first role as Portly the baby otter in The Wind in the Willows, Otis has played Prince Richard in Richard III, Orsino in Twelfth Night, Benedict in Much Ado About Nothing, and most recently Lysander in the Australian Shakespeare Company’s 25th anniversary production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


“These shows are like Christmas. They’re always a part of my summer, they can be stressful, but they’re a family tradition. I haven’t known a year when I wasn’t a part of one,” says 21 year old Otis, who this year graduated with a film degree from Swinburne University and has directed several short films.


Otis has toured to Australia including remote areas of Northern Queensland, NT, and even to Thursday Island with his father Glenn Elston’s Shakespeare productions, toured to Scotland stage managing for The Jungle Book, and travelled almost every year since 2002 to the remote sacred site of Beswick Falls for the Australian Shakespeare Company’s Walking with Spirits corroborree coproduction with Djilpin Arts.


The Wind in the Willows is the longest running show of all; an inventive outdoor theatre production delivering music, adventure and laughs. There is fun for young and old as the Head Chief Rabbit transforms the audience into rabbits with a waggle of the ears and a wiggle of the nose. The young ‘rabbits’ are encouraged to get involved in the action, and are given every opportunity to scream out loud, sing along and become part of the adventure. With laughs and surprises for children and adults, this is interactive theatre at its best.


“I’ve witnessed Willows come to life under a variety of directors, my dad (Glenn Elston) one of them. I’m very excited to bring the show together myself this year, and we have some new faces to make things really interesting this time round.”


Celebrating 28 years in the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, The Wind in the Willows is Australia’s best-loved affordable family entertainment, so pack a picnic, pack the kids and join in the fun!


The Wind in the Willows has become a national treasure, playing to delighted audiences in the gardens of Sydney, Adelaide and Perth.





DATES:                   27 December 2014 to 24 January 2015 (no performances on Thursday 1 January 2015)
WHEN:               10.30am and 6pm from Tuesday to Saturday

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne – enter via Gate F on Birdwood Avenue,

see Melbourne map

:               Single tickets $25; Family of four $90 (one pass admits four people of any age)


Bookings:                 03 8676 7511 or online at or

Ticketmaster 136 100

“Where the world’s of Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan collide!”

This summer, a new ship sails into the fleet of celebrated family shows from the acclaimed outdoor theatre producers behind The Wind in the Willows and Caribbean Pirates at the Polly Woodside.

Alice in Never Neverland (6-24 January 2015) is new production written and directed by 2014 Melbourne Award Winner Glenn Elston and produced by the Australian Shakespeare Company, Australia’s largest independent theatre company.

Taking the best-loved bits of Glenn Elston’s critically acclaimed production of Alice in Wonderland (2009-2014) into the fantastical world of Peter Pan, Captain Hook and the Lost Boys, Alice in Never Neverland takes audiences on a journey through the magical garden surrounds of Rippon Lea House and Gardens.

A musical reimagining of J M Barrie’s well-loved Peter Pan together with Lewis Carol’s Alice’s Wonderland, this garden wonder-show will reveal surprises behind every bush and tree as it explores: what happens when Alice tumbles through another rabbit hole and meets the boy who never grew up?

“There is something magical and intriguing about the richly imaginative worlds of Wonderland and Never Neverland. I’m sure it’s this almost intangible quality that sees these stories so consistently recreated on stage and screen to this day,” says director and writer Glenn Elston.

The adventurous idea of bringing these two classics together is something only Glenn Elston could dream up. The originator of interactive outdoor theatre in Australia, Elston has written and produced the country’s longest running outdoor family theatre production The Wind in the Willows – 28 years young this summer.

“We have such a wonderful array of charming and curious characters to work with…there are too many opportunities for madcap fun! We are all a bit too excited to share this show with our audiences this summer.”

A new interactive adventure where Tinker Bell tinkers with the White Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts squares up to Captain Hook and Peter Pan soars with Alice, Alice in Never Neverland will see audiences voyage through increasingly hilarious escapades with singing and dancing from start to finish.

The new production will star energetic musical theatre graduates Madeleine Somers as Alice and Ryan Ireland as Peter Pan.

Glenn Elston and the Australian Shakespeare Company have been creating fun-filled summer memories for generations of Australian families. Alice In Never Neverland is another inventive and interactive production to entertain all ages.



Dates: 6 January – 24 January 2015

When: Tuesday to Friday at 10.30am & 6pm, Saturday at 10.30am, Saturday 10 January 2015 at 6pm

No 6pm performances Saturday 17 January or 24 January 2015


Where:  Rippon Lea House & Gardens, 192 Hotham Street, Elsternwick SEE MAP


Prices: Single tickets $25 (adults and children), group of four tickets $90


Bookings: 03 8676 7511 or online at 136 100

What to bring: Pack a picnic full of goodies you like to eat and drink, a blanket or cushions to sit on, sunscreen, insect repellent and a hat.

THE Octonauts is the latest kids TV show to take Australia by storm. Captain Barnacles and his team of undersea adventurers have won thousands of tiny hearts across the nation with their mission to Explore! Rescue! Protect! the world’s marine life. THE Octonauts is the second most watched childrens TV show in the country, seen daily on ABC2 by 257,000 viewers nationally. This media call announces the world premier of the Australian-made live-on-stage production set to complete a capital city tour of Australian premier theatres in 2015, before touring internationally.

Life Like Touring and Silvergate Media are thrilled to announce an Australian world premiere live theatre production: OCTONAUTS LIVE! OPERATION REEF SHIELD, touring capital cities from 27 February to 27 March 2015. Tickets are on sale from 18 November 2014 via

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On October 29th 2014, enjoy a night of comedy with some of Australia’s most popular and versatile stand-up comedians and help Lifestart raise vital funds for children with disabilities, research and support services. There couldn’t be an easier way to help make a difference. Simply gather together your friends and colleagues or buy a ticket for the whole family and join us at The Harold Park Hotel in Glebe for a night to remember.


Be entertained by Dave Williams, Sam Bowring and a Special Guest from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickers are only $40.00 and the laughs start at 7pm.

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As part of its mission to support children with disabilities and their families, Lifestart will host its inaugural “Cook For Kids” Fundraising Week from 20 – 27 October.

Cook For Kids is an all-inclusive event that celebrates food, families and communities, aiming to raise much-needed funds to further Lifestart’s vital work across Greater Sydney.  The inaugural event will be held in conjunction with National Children’s Week.

Renowned celebrity chef Jason Roberts has been named as the ambassador for Cook For Kids, and is proudly supporting Lifestart’s work with over 750 families and children by providing recipe and event ideas for the fundraising week. Jason is proudly involved in Cook For Kids.  “I think every child deserves an opportunity,” Roberts said. “I believe that meal time fosters deeper connections between family and friends and live by the motto ‘a family that cooks together, stays together.’”

Gabrielle, the mother of 18-month-old Stella who has Down Syndrome, has described the benefits of Lifestart’s dedication. “Lifestart provides Stella and the whole family with guidance while having fun. I have learned sign language and you are also introduced to other families who live in my local area so you feel you are not alone,” she said.

Participants can register online at and receive a registration pack to host any food-related fundraising functions throughout October. Valued at over $800, an exclusive three course dinner cooked by acclaimed chef Liam Crawley for eight guests is available for auction with all proceeds going to Lifestart.

Event: Cook For Kids

Where: Anywhere!

When: 20 – 27 October, however events can be held throughout October.

Cost: Anything! The aim is to raise as much money as possible for Lifestart.


Twitter: @kids_cook

Life Like Touring and Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organisation behind Sesame Street, are thrilled to announce the return of Sesame Street Presents Elmo’s  World Tour. Toddlers and pre-schoolers all around Australia will be able to see their favourite Sesame Street friends appear live on stage in this popular musical show.

“It’s been another huge year for Life Like Touring as we export our live shows straight out of Melbourne to the world,” says Creative Producer, Luke Gallagher. We are delighted to be working with Sesame Workshop for a third year and to be bringing back Sesame Street Presents Elmo’s  World Tour to Australia.”

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Nick Jr. and Life Like Touring are delighted to announce that Dora the Explorer and her friends are returning to tour Australia in September this year with Doras Pirate Adventure.

Tickets for Nick Jr.s Dora the Explorer Live! Doras Pirate Adventure are on sale now.

Doras Pirate Adventure incorporates the interactive and educational elements that make Dora the Explorer one of the most popular shows on television. Australian audiences will love the beautiful costumes, stunning sets and high production values that Life Like Touring has become known for worldwide.

Join Dora and her friends as they embark on an exciting trip to Treasure Island in search of the ultimate pirate party. Help them navigate over the Dancing Mountain and through the Silly Singing Bridge in pursuit of the Pirate Piggies. Along the way, Dora the Explorer fans will use their map-reading, counting, musical and language skills to successfully help Dora reach Treasure Island and avoid that pesky fox, Swiper!


Nick Jr.s Dora the Explorer Live! Doras Pirate Adventure
2014 Australian Season Dates


Friday 5 and Saturday 6 September

Theatre Royal, Sydney

108 King Street, Sydney

Ticketmaster: 136 100


Monday 8 September

Canberra Theatre

London Circuit, Civic Square, Canberra

Box office: 02 6275 2700


Friday 12 and Saturday 13 September

The Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne

100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Box Office: 03 9281 8000

Ticketmaster: 136 100


Friday 19 and Saturday 20 September

Regal Theatre, Perth

474 Hay Street, Subiaco

Ticketek 1300 795 012
Visit for more information.

A new babysitting and nannying agency has extended its services from residential homes to the hotels of Melbourne’s CBD.

City Babysitters offers carefully screened and selected carers for your babysitting requirements. Citybabysitters provide maturity, wisdom & peace of mind to parents; with a large dose of confidence and reliability.

More information: