Life ad­vice Tammin Sursok on help­ing kids read.

She moved to Los An­ge­les when she was only 21, in search of the Hol­ly­wood dream. Now 34, the ac­tor has not only found fame in Amer­ica – she has also found a fam­ily

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Contents -

My only child, Phoenix, is al­most four now – the same age I was when I moved from South Africa to Aus­tralia. My hus­band [writer and pro­ducer Sean Mcewen] and I have been hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions about rais­ing a child in the States, where we live now, and rais­ing a child in Aus­tralia. I want Phoenix to be raised the way I was; with­out shoes on, run­ning around the beach, and hav­ing that sense of free­dom you don’t al­ways have in Los An­ge­les.

I moved to LA when I was 21 with just two suit­cases. The hard­est thing was mov­ing away from my par­ents, who are very in­volved in my life. I tried not to dwell on leav­ing them be­cause, if I did, I never would have left. I don’t fo­cus on it all that much as Hol­ly­wood has given me so much – it’s given me a fam­ily. My hus­band and I are so ap­pre­cia­tive of hav­ing a con­tin­u­ous stream of work. But as we get older, I want Phoenix – and our other chil­dren at some point – to feel like Aus­tralia is also their home. That’s our goal in the very near fu­ture.

I’m pas­sion­ate about books and lit­er­acy and want to en­cour­age Phoenix to de­velop a love for read­ing. It’s why I’m in­volved in ABC Read­ing Eggs Ju­nior, an on­line read­ing pro­gram for kids. I have no prob­lem with Phoenix hav­ing screen time with Read­ing Eggs be­cause it’s an ed­u­ca­tional pro­gram, rather than just her watch­ing car­toons all day. But I think we all need to be re­al­is­tic about screen time, too.

I’ve been quite vo­cal about body im­age over the past few years. While I’m wor­ried about rais­ing a daugh­ter in a so­ci­ety where there is a very nar­row def­i­ni­tion of what the ideal body looks like, I would say our par­ents didn’t have the tools on how to teach us to be aware of the dan­gers of such things as eat­ing dis­or­ders. I’m fully equipped on what to do if Phoenix ever starts to go down that route.

I do af­fir­ma­tions with my daugh­ter ev­ery day. It’s about re­mind­ing her she’s strong and valu­able, that she has a voice. I don’t wake up and tell her, “Oh, you’re so pretty.” We try to in­stil in­ner strength.

As a wife and mum, ac­tress, di­rec­tor, writer, pro­ducer and en­tre­pre­neur, I’m a to­tal worka­holic! But I also bring Phoenix with me ev­ery­where. We’re go­ing to try for more kids in the next year, and I’ll prob­a­bly end up di­rect­ing when I’m five months preg­nant. ABC Read­ing Eggs Ju­nior launched this month.

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