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christmas cook up
prepare a festive feast with a healthy twist
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Dec 2016 / Jan 2017
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In our home, Christmas is a time for family traditions: celebrating old ones, both my husband’s and mine (after some negotiation) and creating new ones with our children. It can also be a slightly stressful time, as my youngest, a control freak, rivalled only by my husband, commandeers the kitchen (and every dish in it), the table setting and tree decorating, rendering me and my oldest daughter nearly obsolete. The good news is that with reduced hospitality duties we can focus on creative gift-wrapping and even more creative Christmas punch concoctions, the alcoholic “urn” clearly labelled with a warning to children – don’t drink! Come Christmas Eve, our kitchen counter could well serve as a scene from Alice in Wonderland. Christmas time for us means no work, lots of friends and focussing on what’s really important – family. Sadly, much of our family is scattered around the globe and greetings take place via Skype, but the mood is one of good humour and generosity. With wishes for good health and happiness abounding, we would like to wish you, our wonderful Child mag readers, schools, supporters and advertisers a wonderfully happy festive season and a prosperous New Year. Happy happy, drive safely and see you in 2017.
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December 2016 / January 2017
festive food for the fussy
a note from lisa
over to you readers respond
best for baby – i go potty! Anél Lewis gives some tips on how to get your toddler out of the nappies
10 pack the children buckling our children up in vehicles at all times is non-negotiable, says Marina Zietsman
12 are we there yet? Siviwe Minyi shares, from experience, how to turn a potentially nerve-racking travel experience with small children, into an adventure
14 tree-monkey fun climb up a tree with your children and rediscover the world, urges Simcha van Bel-du Plooy
15 going eco Tamlyn Vincent shows you how to turn househould junk into creative and useful projects
16 why parents fight Mark van Dijk looks at common reasons parents argue and how to solve the underlying issues
18 festive food for the fussy Tamlyn Vincent gets advice from a mom who shares her trusted recipes for allergy-prone children
end-of-year health focus Simone Jeffery highlights Skin Cancer Awareness Month, among others
pregnancy news – beauty and the bump Tamlyn Vincent looks at beauty treatments that are safe to indulge during pregnancy
20 resource – back to school Child magazine compiles a guide with tips on how to navigate the new school year
23 what’s on in december and january 25 in the next issue 26 finishing touch Anél Lewis discovers that children only need a few props, and no electronic gadgets, to unleash their creativity
27 a good read
classified ads 16 family marketplace 26 it’s party time
December 2016 / January 2017
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December 2016 / January 2017
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mainstreaming special-needs children
give voice to the “silent disability”
My son is six years old and in Gr R in a mainstream school. His speech is delayed and he is seeing a speech therapist and an occupational therapist, which was recommended by an educational psychologist. He is struggling in class. He is very reserved and shy, cannot express himself and lacks self-confidence. He takes time to open up to strangers, which makes it difficult when he has to do assessments. The teachers believe he belongs in a special-needs school. It is difficult for us as his parents to accept and agree to that, since our 10-year-old boy had the same problems, but he started opening up at the age of eight. He was also referred to a special-needs school by the teachers and therapists, but we believed those schools were not suitable for him. We were right; he is in Grade 4 doing very well, getting As, Bs and Cs for his subjects. Are we wrong to compare our children? Sometimes it is very difficult to be a parent. You are told your child needs a special or remedial school, but you strongly believe your child doesn’t. Sometimes we as parents must trust our instincts – we know our children the best. Anonymous
I first came across your magazine at the speech and language centre where I currently volunteer and where I previously taught hearing-impaired children for several years. Your publication is informative and highly resourceful. I find myself immediately going to your “dealing with difference” articles, as “difference” is something I am engaged with every day. I notice, however, that while there tends to be a strong focus in the media on autism, ADHD and learning difficulties, the case for, and information on, deafness in children, its causes, diagnostic issues and treatment options, seems significantly limited. From my work experience in this field I have learnt that parents with children who are either born deaf, or who develop hearing loss for whatever reason, have unique challenges associated with deafness to deal with on a daily basis. Additionally, deafness or hearing loss is not necessarily the only isolated issue to be negotiated and accommodated, but is often accompanied by other complications such as Down’s syndrome, ADHD, autism or other sensory integration challenges.
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December 2016 / January 2017
For children living with the “Silent Disability”, as deafness and hearing loss are sometimes referred to, the world is either entirely or largely silent and, as a result of no or limited access to sound, it is just that much smaller. It is, however, no less complicated. I would like to recognise and acknowledge deaf children and their families for their bravery, patient endurance and innovative coping abilities. I would additionally like to suggest that information and advice concerning deafness and hearing loss in children be given a stronger voice in the media, not only to create awareness, but also to serve as a resource for those families dealing with the condition. Deaf children may not be able to hear us, but we can hear and listen to them. Heidi Dent
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end-of-year health focus SIMONE JEFFERY highlights health and awareness days in December and January to help us remember, learn about and take action to assist those in need.
World Aids Day A red ribbon is worn on 1 December each year as a reminder to unite and fight against HIV, show your support for people living with HIV, and to remember those who could not beat the disease. South Africa has the largest number of people living with HIV in the world (roughly 12% of the population). Although South Africa has made positive strides in managing the HIV and Aids epidemic, it is important to be reminded that it has not gone away. For resources and support: aidforaids.co.za 3 December
National Transplant Day On the 3rd of December 1967, Professor Christiaan Barnard performed the world’s first heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. According to the Organ Donor Foundation (ODF), there are approximately 4 000 patients waiting for organ transplants, but only 600 of those will receive organs this year. ODF urgently appeals to the public to become organ donors. One healthy adult can save seven lives. To become a donor: odf.org.za 5 December
1 December - 31 January
Skin Cancer Awareness Months While December and January are the hottest months of the year, they are not the only months when you need to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays. Be sun smart year-round to lower your risk of getting skin cancer. Prevention is better than cure, so remember to: ✻✻ Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 20 or higher, and a waterresistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher if you are taking part in outdoor activities. ✻✻ Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. ✻✻ Wear sunglasses and a broad-rimmed hat. ✻✻ Seek shade during the hottest time of the day (10am–4pm). ✻✻ Don’t use tanning beds. ✻✻ Seek medical advice when concerned about a particular spot on your skin. For more info and to support Cansa: cansa.org.za
International Volunteers Day Celebrate volunteerism in all its many facets. The day was created by the United Nations in 1985 as a way of creating awareness around the contributions made by volunteers who are engaged in giving their time, energy and skills to change the world for a better future for all. For volunteering opportunities: forgood.co.za 4 January
World Braille Day On this day we celebrate the birth of Louis Braille, the inventor of the reading and writing system used by blind and partially sighted people around the world. Blinded in an accident, Louis developed his system when he was just 15 years old. Because of Louis, blind students have the opportunity to be educated alongside their peers. This day is an opportunity to raise awareness around issues faced by the blind and to empower them to achieve their dreams. For more info: sancb.org.za
December 2016 / January 2017
best for baby
potty! Potty training is not for the faint-hearted. ANÉL LEWIS shares some tips for ditching the nappies.
otty training my son Conor, then aged three, was a lot like trying to convince a Sumo wrestler to give up his prized loincloth. He was quite happy to wear his pull-ups and showed zero interest in the portable plastic urinal that I had painstakingly suctioned to the bathroom wall. In fact, I think he used it as a parking garage for his cars. The physical act of actually changing Conor, who by then weighed more than 20kgs, was also somewhat like getting into the ring with a Sumo wrestler. And when I started to battle to find pull-ups that would fit him (I even contemplated adult incontinence products at one stage), I realised it was time for desperate measures. We started with bribery. If he used the toilet consecutively more than three times, he would get a toy, and if he used it for a number two – the pinnacle of potty training – he would get the Lego set he had his eye on. Unfortunately, our efforts bombed dismally. We were then advised to dress him in underpants and let him wet himself, so that the discomfort would encourage him to use the toilet. But he was unfazed, and winter was maybe not the ideal time for this approach. I’m not proud to admit this, but it was only when I had a complete meltdown and asked Conor
in tears whether he enjoyed seeing his mom cleaning up after him every time his potty training efforts failed, that he capitulated and agreed to give the toilet a go. I almost ululated down the road in joy. In sharp contrast my daughter, Erin, was a breeze to potty-train. We gave her a few books to page through while she sat on her pink potty and within days she was ready for cartoon character underwear. I do feel a bit bad though, as I forgot to transition her at night by letting her wear nappies to bed. But, despite going cold turkey, there were thankfully only a few minor accidents. Potty training is definitely about timing. Conor just wasn’t ready to ditch his nappies. Pushing a child to start potty training too soon can lead to anxiety – for him and for you. Most children show signs of wanting to take control over their own ablutions between 18 months and two years, but boys are notoriously more disinclined, despite having the physiological equipment that makes the whole process so much easier to master. Signs of toilet readiness include staying dry during naps, being able to say or indicate that they need the toilet and a clear interest in wearing underwear.
I even put stickers in the toilet bowl to give Conor something to literally aim for while we were training him.
nappy map There’s more science involved in nappies these days than what’s needed to get a satellite to Mars. Much has changed since the basic terry towel nappies used just a few generations ago. There’s a host of products to consider, depending on your needs and budget. Bear in mind that while cloth nappies are not initially cheap, and may require more work in terms of washing, disposable nappies could cost you at least R15 000 over the 18 months or two, years if used regularly. Options include: ✻ Disposable nappies of varying sizes and with different functions You even get genderspecific makes because boys and girls have different “absorbent zones”. These can be used from newborn to the potty-training stage, when they will move on to the pull-up versions as they prepare for underwear. ✻ Cloth nappies that are washable and reusable These include suede cloth or bamboo nappies with microfibre inserts. Michele Koopman, of Cape Town, has been using cloth nappies for five years, for both her girls. She opted for them because they’re environmentally friendly and no chemicals come into contact with her babies’ skin. “I really do love the washable ones; way easier than
in our mother’s day. They can be used from birth
✻ Summer is always a good bet, because boys can practise in the garden and having to clean up the odd mishap
✻ While routine works for some children – seeing other family members go to the toilet at a certain time, for example – you may find that a holiday could be a good time to introduce something as a novelty, especially if there are older children around who provide positive peer pressure. ✻ Don’t shy away from bribery. Do whatever works to get them onto that toilet seat. I’m talking reward charts, jars filled with sweets or the promise of a special outing. I even put stickers in the toilet bowl to give Conor something to literally aim for while we were training him. ✻ Some children are intimidated by the porcelain toilet and would do better with a potty-themed toilet seat or toilet adaptor that fits onto the regular toilet. A small footrest also works for children who may not enjoy perching so high up while doing their business.
December 2016 / January 2017
✻ You also get eco disposable nappies made from sustainable, biodegradable materials. ✻ Some
alternative to open nappies for when babies start to move around. They are designed to fit like underwear, but are as absorbent as regular nappies. ✻ Extra-protection nappies keep your baby dry throughout the night. ✻ Specially-designed swimming nappies prevent accidents in the pool. Unlike normal nappies, they don’t swell in the water.
is a lot more manageable if your child is in a swimming costume and not a fleece onesie, trust me.
to potty training as they have press studs to adjust
beauty l and the bump
ooking good in summer is something we all enjoy, and having a baby bump doesn’t stop women from wanting to look and feel their best. But being pregnant does mean that you have to think carefully before you head off for your summer spray tan.
TAMLYN VINCENT looks at what beauty treatments you can and can’t indulge,
These beauty treatments and products get the go ahead, some with a few provisos. ✻✻ Massage Having a massage can go a long way to easing the strains and pains of pregnancy, but ask for a therapist trained in pregnancy massage. If your bump is bulging, you’ll want to avoid lying on your stomach. ✻✻ Manis and pedis Having your nails done is fine, but the smell may be overwhelming, so have your nails done in a well-ventilated room. If you’re worried about the fumes, ask for a phthalate-free nail polish or take your own to the nail salon. ✻✻ Hair treatments Using hair dye shouldn’t be a problem, although highlights are a better option as the dye won’t come into contact with the scalp. Don’t dye your hair in the first trimester and avoid treatments where products are sitting on your scalp, especially for an extended time. Products with ammonia or other harsh chemicals should also be avoided.
pregnancy news ✻✻ Sunscreen As your skin is likely to be more sensitive when you’re pregnant, sunscreen is a must. Look for zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sunscreens, which sit on the top of the skin. It’s also a good idea to stay out of the sun at peak hours and to wear protective clothing. ✻✻ Hair removal Waxing can be done while pregnant, as nothing is absorbed into the bloodstream. But increased blood circulation means it will be more painful, especially in sensitive areas, says Jeanne Labuschagne, assistant manageress at a day spa in Pretoria. Laser hair removal is not safe. ✻✻ Make-up Wearing make-up shouldn’t pose any risk to your baby. If you’re worried, go for products that are noncomedogenic and nonacnegenic, which should prevent clogged pores. It’s ideal to look for paraben-, phthalate- and leadfree cosmetics. ✻✻ Facials If all the pregnancy hormones are giving you acne, or if you just feel like indulging, a facial is the way to go. Try out a natural facial, and test products on the skin first. Avoid treatments that use any harsh chemicals, retinoids or salicylic acid. Ask to be propped up in the second and third trimester.
✻✻ Acupuncture Acupuncture treatments would need to be done by a registered therapist, says Labuschagne, and you should speak to your doctor first about whether acupuncture would help. The same applies for reflexology. ✻✻ Tanning treatments Spray tanning and bronzing treatments are safe, says Labuschagne. But avoid things like tanning beds, where your body temperature rises.
avoid If your beauty routine does include any of the following, wait until you have had your baby, or until you’ve finished breastfeeding, before continuing them. ✻✻ Body wraps, saunas, spas, hot stones or any treatment where your body temperature rises ✻✻ Botox or anti-wrinkle creams with Retinol ✻✻ Piercings or tattoos ✻✻ Tanning beds (to avoid at all times) ✻✻ Teeth whitening
remember Always tell your beauty therapists that you’re pregnant before they begin your treatment. If you’re not sure something is safe, speak to your doctor or wait until after you have finished breastfeeding. The golden rule is, if a product can be absorbed into your bloodstream, it is potentially dangerous to your baby.
December 2016 / January 2017
the children We can’t afford to be blasé about our children’s safety in our cars. While buckling up is the crux of it, there are other important things to know, says
ccidents are measured in statistics. During and after every school holiday newsreaders share these figures with us, and we grimly compare the latest death toll to the previous years – is it up or down? If someone we love is not part of the statistics, the figures are soon forgotten.
the numbers But let’s break those stats down a bit, and bring them closer to the family home: between 1 December 2015 and 11 January 2016, 1 535 people died on our roads during the festive season. From 1 November 2011 to 31 March 2012 1 944 passengers died on our roads in vehicle accidents. Many of these are children. Statistics indicate that car fatalities account for 13% of child deaths. In fact, the 2015 World Health Organization Global Status Report on Road Safety shows there remains a significant level of improvement needed. South Africa’s reported road fatalities per 100 000 is 25,1, which is 23rd out of the 50 African countries included in the report.
1 Dec 2015 – 11 Jan 2016
on the road
the causes Excessive speed and driving under the influence of alcohol are the two main causes of road accidents in South Africa. However, fatalities and serious injuries among children are mostly caused by young ones not being appropriately restrained. There are no statistics available for child restraint use, but Petro Kruger, founder of The Road Safety Foundation says that according to internal research done by the foundation in 2008, less than 2% of rear-seat occupants, including children, use a seat belt. Professor Sebastian van As, head of the Trauma Unit at Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town and president of The Child Accident Prevention
December 2016 / January 2017
Foundation of Southern Africa (CAPFSA), says approximately 200 to 300 children are admitted to the hospital each year due to injuries sustained in car accidents, “and of these, 87% were unrestrained. Up to 71% of these children were passengers in the front seat. People don’t get it – a baby has a 70% better chance of surviving a motorvehicle accident if restrained and a toddler up to 54%. Parents go to the supermarket and buy bottles of wine, which they tuck in safely so that the bottles don’t break during the journey, but what about their children?” asks Van As. A scientific study published by the World Health Organization, the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile), the Global Road Safety Partnership and the World Bank, shows that harmful injury is the result of “energy interchange”. During a collision, this kinetic energy exchange makes it physically impossible for any occupant to securely hold an unrestrained object, such as a child. If you are involved in a collision while travelling at just 50 kilometres per hour, a child’s weight will effectively increase 20 times, turning a 10-kilogram baby into a 200-kilogram weight within a split second. Kruger says Newton’s law applies: “Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion, unless an external force is applied to it. This means that if the car is travelling at 100 kilometres an hour, then any object or person in the car is also going that fast until a net force (child restraint) or object (windshield, dashboard) acts to slow them down.”
strap them in! The world’s leading players in child safety are the US Department of Transportation as well as the National Safe Kids Campaign in America. Their basic safety tips are also advocated by Arrive Alive in South Africa. These include: ✻✻ Buckle up every time, no matter how short the trip. ✻✻ Children 12 and younger should be properly restrained in the back seat. While air bags can save adults’ lives, children sitting in the front seat can be seriously injured or killed when an air bag deploys in a crash. Even with
✻✻ ✻✻ ✻✻
advanced air bags or with air bags disabled or not fitted, the back seat is safer for children. The air bags built into your dashboard on the passenger side are designed to deploy at the chest height of an average adult, and do so at more than 200 kilometres per hour. In one incident, 10-year-old Emmanuel Bernardo from Namibia was permanently blinded by an air bag that kicked in during a minor accident. It exploded in his face while he was seated in the front passenger seat of a BMW. Doctors say that the boy’s eyes literally ruptured on impact and that Emmanuel will not be able to see again. “Researchers at the University of Buffalo studied all car collisions involving a fatality in the US between 2000 and 2003,” says Kruger. “They came to the conclusion that depending on the make of the vehicle, occupants in the back seat are 59–86% safer there than in the front seat. In fact, the rear middle seat was found to be 16% safer than any other seat in the vehicle.” Never put a rear-facing child in a car’s front seat. Choose the right child-safety seat or safety belt for your child’s size and age. Infants should ride in rear-facing safety seats until they are at least 12 months old and weigh at least nine kilograms. Children who are at least one year old, and weigh nine to 18 kilograms, should ride in a forward-facing child-safety seat on the back seat. Children over 18 kilograms should be correctly secured in a belt-positioning booster seat. A booster must be used on the back seat of the car only. These seats are not installed in the same way as child car seats; they instead sit on the vehicle seat and are used to properly position the adult seat belt for an older child. Once the vehicle safety belt fits a child, both the lap and shoulder belts should be used correctly. Vehicle seat belts are designed to fit an average-sized adult. Many children will be 12 years old before they meet these height and weight requirements.
✻✻ Your child can be moved from a booster seat to a seat belt in the back seat if your child passes the Safety Belt Fit Test (visit safekids.org for details of this test). ✻✻ Install and use all restraints according to the manufacturer’s instructions and your vehicle owner’s manual. Ensure your child safety seat has not been recalled. In South Africa, only SABS-approved seats must be used. Kruger says there are no seat-belt fitment experts in South Africa. “The instructions for fitting the child seats are sometimes inadequate and often confusing. Parents must make sure they understand the instructions.” ✻✻ It is not ideal to buy second-hand car or booster seats, except if you are 100% sure of the history. Car and booster seats that have been in accidents are not acceptable.
babies have a
toddlers have a
70% 54% survival better chance of if restrained in a motor vehicle
by law The National Road Traffic Act, Act 93 of 1996, is very confusing on car restraint and allows for too many exceptions. As of 1 May 2015, children under the age of three can only travel in a car if they are secured in a car seat. This is required by a new regulation of the National Road Traffic Act. Motorists who have children under the age of three unrestrained in their vehicle, will be fined. But, according to Van As, the problem is not the law, but its implementation. “The law exists, but is not enforced. The bottom line is: all motor-vehicle passengers must be strapped in, each child according to their age.” Van As continues that parents might complain about the cost of these seats, “but, if you have enough money to own a car, put petrol in that car and drive off with your child, you can afford to invest in the proper child restraint.”
keeping children safe along the way ✻✻ Keep the interior of the car clear of loose objects such as sports equipment or groceries. In a collision these objects become missiles that could seriously injure occupants. ✻✻ When driving, don’t give toddlers or babies anything that could be a choking hazard such as biscuits or fruit. ✻✻ If a child is unhappy or crying, do not lean back to attend to him. Pay attention to your driving and stop at a safe place. ✻✻ A parent’s lap is not a safe place for a child. In the case of an accident, the child actually acts as an air bag for the passenger holding her. ✻✻ When travelling long distances, always ensure that you stop and rest and take the child out of the child seat for at least 10 minutes every two hours. ✻✻ Children are not cargo and should never be transported on the back of a bakkie, even with a canopy. (Courtesy: The Road Safety Foundation)
December 2016 / January 2017
are we there yet? Travelling with children can be an exciting adventure – or a nerve-jangling endurance test. Here are some hints to help you enjoy the journey. By Siviwe Minyi
am a father of two children and I travel a lot. It’s worth mentioning, too, that I am a Xhosa-speaking man. I come from a culture, which taught me to believe that men do not engage in activities with children. This is normally left to mothers. Conventional belief says that men who are in the constant company of children – feeding them, changing nappies and taking charge of them while travelling – are “dull”. This is not a compliment; it’s an insult, one that is not swayed by being in possession of a clearly contradictory personality. It’s a label that sticks. But I’m not bothered by insults. I’ve learnt a lot through travelling with my children, and it has strengthened my relationship with both of them. Over the past 10 years, I have had frequent opportunities to explore this country’s airports and national roads with my son and daughter. Travelling with young ones can be an adventure. I have learnt a few tricks en route, tips that should be of benefit to any dad travelling with small children.
don’t worry about what other people are thinking It was my first flight with my then two-year-old daughter. We were travelling to Joburg. On taking our seats, I noticed there was a well-dressed, executive-type seated opposite us. He was visibly annoyed that my daughter was being chatty and looking for some attention. She had started reciting one of her favourite songs loudly. At first I began to panic. Then I had an idea: I’d involve Mr Exec and others in a sing-along. I called out, “Come on everybody, let’s all sing together!” This was followed by an outburst of laughter. Happily the story ends well. The gentleman leaned over to say hello to my daughter and the two of them chatted for a short while until she lost interest, which brings me to my second tip.
stash a surprise bag of toys in your hand luggage Children want to be kept entertained and, let’s face it, a sing-along will get tedious after a while and irritate you (and the other passengers). I like to put together a bag of new toys (these don’t need to be expensive things: think notebook and coloured pen, comic book, even last Christmas’ cracker fillers will work). The trick is to reveal the bag’s contents slowly, bringing out the toys one at a time. This makes things more fun and fills children with anticipation for what might be hauled out next.
be prepared for ear pain One of the challenges of travelling with my son in particular is that he suffers from earache when flying. My first air-travel experience with him was not good. He screamed and yelled for what felt like most of the journey. Some passengers were clearly not happy with me. One even shouted: “Take your child outside!”. All very well if you’re in a restaurant, but not so if you’re mid-air, 1 000 feet or so above ground level. Before our return flight, I made some enquiries at a pharmacy. Within 15 minutes of take-off on our homeward-bound leg, I’d persuaded him to take a dose of Calpol, which worked like magic. Now it’s a standard in my hand luggage.
problem was that the rest of us were not aware of his mission. Well into his countdown, his older and taller sister asked him to shift a little so that she could create a little legroom for herself. This interrupted his rhythm and all hell broke loose. It took a good 10 minutes to bring about peace in our war-ravaged backseat. But I had learnt a valuable lesson: as a dad, I need to answer questions more carefully and accurately.
mind your language I enjoy talking to people. I do this all the time. On one of my trips with my son, then five, I started up a light-hearted conversation with the petrol attendant while he was filling my tank. As soon as we’d pulled away from the garage, my son started to use words like “chappie” and “my brother”. He wanted to know what chappie meant and whether I was related to the man at the garage.
consult the gang in the planning stages My children are getting older, and planning trips has become more consultative. We have now resorted to convening a household parliament where I preside as the president and I have veto powers. After all, we live in a democracy. A 12-year-old girl has developed her own set of ideas of places to visit while a nine-year-old boy, if he’s anything like mine, is more obsessed with cricket and other sporting activities. On one of our trips, the siblings fought endlessly, arguing over preferred radio stations, what to see, and where to visit first. We have now learnt to involve the children in planning our trips. Prior to departure we give full details of where we’re going and what we might be able to do. We listen to them and get a sense of what they might like or dislike. We have found that listening to them makes travelling more enjoyable for all of us. Happy travelling!
Travelling with young ones can be an adventure.
give them something fascinating to figure out en route
My father used to enjoy driving us to faraway holiday destinations. He was not the singalong type. To keep us entertained, he’d have collected a number of gadgets – such as a torch or a lock and key – and he’d set us the assignment of figuring out how the devices worked. I remember loving the challenge. I have used this on a number of occasions when driving with my children, and it has worked very well. A note to dads: be prepared to deal with the questions that come later – brace yourself, so to speak.
be factual, or at least attempt to be precise When my son was five years old, he seemed to live in a world of numbers. To him, everything needed to be quantified. His questions included things like: “How many blue cars are on the road today?” As someone who is arithmetically challenged, I found some of his questions difficult to answer. Once, while driving back from the Southern Cape, my son asked: “So, how long will it take for us to get home?” I responded too quickly, “About an hour, but you can start counting now because I am not sure,” which is exactly what he did, in seconds. The
December 2016 / January 2017
December 2016 / January 2017
tree-monkey fun how she and her daughter one day found themselves “up a
tree” and glad for it.
ree climbing is something I had not done in years and a joy that I had long forgotten. But, I recently came to rediscover it when, one afternoon, I found myself in the branches of a tree in my local park, alongside my child. As we sat there, breathing a self-satisfied sigh, we smiled and looked below us. Being way up here was rejuvenating because, says author of The Tree Climbers Guide, Jack Cooke, the tree climb gave me the space, quite literally, for fresh perspective.
From that day, tree climbing became part of our lives. In fact, I generally find myself having to coerce my daughter out of a tree because, when she she’s up there, she’s never bored. It’s also become important for my relationship with my child, because this is something we can do together. As a result of the unexpected impact tree climbing has had on me – the deepened connection with my daughter, and reconnecting with my inner-child in the process – I started to explore the topic in order to understand its charm. When climbing a tree, you feel its bark, you smell its leaves, you see the light shine through its branches, and when there is a light breeze, it’s as if you’re hearing the tree dance; if you are lucky, there may be small insects or a nest to discover. According to Cape Town occupational therapist Romy Kruger, this heightened sensory experience is where the magic happens for children. After that day, during visits with friends, we would soon have all the children, and some of the parents, in the trees. Interestingly, they all preferred the tree to the jungle gym. Perhaps this is because of the excitement of the risk involved, but Henk Oosthuizen, who is a specialised
December 2016 / January 2017
children’s sports coach in Cape Town, points out that, “Tree climbing usually causes nothing more than some scratches and, in most cases, experiencing a mild fall is useful as it leads to better risk assessment the next time.” Or maybe it’s the imaginary world that tree climbing unlocks – pretending to be monkeys swinging in the tree, koalas hugging the trunk or cheetahs stretching across a branch. “Trees are the original playground for children,” notes Kruger.
For children, this heightened sensory experience is where the magic happens.
are performing complex movements such as crossing the midline without being cognitively aware they are doing so. Thanks to the variety of challenges waiting to be conquered, children stand to feel success and gain increased self-confidence while up a tree. One of the biggest perks of tree climbing is that it is free. While our cities have amazing indoor recreational options, such as trampoline parks, climbing gyms and ice rinks, these do not come cheap and accessing these regularly is simply not an option for many families. As such, in my life, an activity has gone from being an old forgotten memory to being happily re-lived in my parenting years.
the healing power
Each tree, with its own uniqueness, offers a new adventure and learning experience. Walking with my child, we focus on spotting the best trees to climb, and when approaching a tree, we have to navigate it to determine which branches are the strongest and can hold our weight. With every tree climb session, my daughter appears to be more aware of her environment, and it helps develop her problem-solving skills and teaches her risk assessment. “Trees challenge the body and inspire the creative mind,” says Kruger. Also, according to Oosthuizen, “Heaving your body weight through various movements in the tree, uses practically all the muscle groups in the body”. The higher a child climbs, says Kruger, the greater he balances. “He’s having to use his vestibular system to interpret the movement and gain a good understanding of where he is in relation to gravity.” Oosthuizen points out the benefits of tree climbing for the development of a child’s fundamental skills, such as hand-eye and foot-eye coordination, when they’re finding a solid foot and hand grip in this threedimensional world where branches are coming at them from all directions. Cape Town-based biokinetisist J.A. van Wyk describes how, when they are climbing trees, children
rehabilitation and therapy that was developed by Dr. John Gathright in Japan. It has helped thousands of children with physical disabilities and emotional trauma by lessening their pain and depression symptoms. Research has been done in order to understand how people change when they climb trees. They measured pulse and stress hormone levels on the ground and again in the trees and they studied pain sensitivity. Time and again, their research showed the positive effects tree climbing was having on the children. Even more interesting, they collected the same data while climbing concrete towers and discovered the effects were not as strong – not even when the tower was in the same forest. So, it’s not just about climbing. It’s about being in the presence of a tree.
SIMCHA VAN BEL-DU PLOOY tells
going eco All you need is some household junk, garden goodies and lots of imagination to create and cultivate these fun projects with your children. TAMLYN VINCENT explains how.
compost bin Your children will need your help with the drilling. what you need: 20–25 litre plastic storage box with lid (bin); craft paint; power drill; clear varnish; soil what to do: Drill one-centimetre holes along both long edges of the bin (holes should be about 3cm apart). Cut holes in two opposite corners at the bottom of the bin (1cm x 3cm). Decorate your compost bin. Paint bright flowers and leaves, or paint the word compost as a daisy chain. You can also create fingerprint insects like ladybirds. Once you’ve finished decorating your bin, spray the varnish onto the bin. Allow it to dry and then give it two more coats. When your bin is finished, line the inside with a layer of soil and some dry leaves and you’re ready to start composting. Vegetable peels and fruit scraps are best for making compost.
portable mini golf-course
Mini golf is also called putt-putt, crazy golf, goofy golf or adventure golf. Whatever you call it, you’re sure to have loads of fun creating and mastering your very own miniature course. what you need: 9 x two-litre plastic cold drink bottles; coloured electrical tape; permanent marker what to do: Remove the labels and cut off the bottom of the bottles. Cut an arched hole at the base of each bottle (approximately 8cm x 8cm). Use coloured tape and permanent markers to decorate and number the bottles from one to nine. Place the bottles in the garden and use your imagination to create a great mini golf-course, right in your own garden, by using logs, rocks or pot plants.
eggshell herb people what you need: empty eggshells, with the tops removed; egg box; koki pens; potting soil; seeds such as watercress or wheatgrass what to do: Carefully remove the top and inside from the hard-boiled eggs, leaving an opening big enough to spoon the soil into the shell. Stand the shells in the egg box and draw faces on them. Fill each with a few teaspoons of soil and then sprinkle seeds into each shell. Cover lightly with a little more soil. Water gently. When the seeds start to sprout, your eggshell people will look like they’re growing hair. When the herbs grow too big, just crumble the eggshell and plant your herbs in a bigger container or in the garden.
junkyard vegetable garden what you need: old containers such as yoghurt pots, mugs with broken handles, old buckets, colanders, even old tyres or a wheelbarrow; vegetable seeds (onions, lettuce, carrots and tomatoes grow well from seeds); old wooden spoons; craft paint and koki pens; potting soil; compost what to do: Decorate your wooden spoons and write the name of the vegetables. Place potting soil and compost in your containers. Sprinkle the seeds on top and then cover lightly with soil. Plant your wooden spoons in the containers and then arrange the containers to form a pleasing configuration. Remember to water your seeds and wait patiently for your vegetables to start growing.
December 2016 / January 2017
why parents fight Most new parents struggle with the transition from carefree couple to tired, stressed-out parents. See if any of these arguments sound familiar… and then learn how to fix the underlying problems. By MARK VAN DIJK
s a parent, your life is divided into two periods: Before Children and After Children. As you navigate the change from one period to the next, you’ll face a few areas of potential spousal disagreement – ranging from differing ideas of how to raise the child, to resentment over the distribution of labour, to awkwardness around the changes in your relationship. Anthony Hawthorn, a marriage counsellor at the Family and Marriage Society of South Africa (Famsa), has seen his share of squabbling parents. Through his work, he’s heard a few accusations flying between moms and dads. See how many of these you recognise from your own arguments… and then follow Hawthorn’s advice on how to fix the problem.
i’m doing all the work “The biggest issue is division of labour,” says Hawthorn. “Many moms come out of careers to have babies, and then have to re-enter the job market three months later because the family can’t survive on one salary. So her point of view is: ‘I work a full day, then come home and work all night, taking care of the baby. All you do is go to your day job.’”
you’re never home Some dads are absent from home for long periods, either stuck in the office or travelling for work – and this can bring its frustrations. “Mom feels she can’t say anything, because Dad is supporting the family financially,” says Hawthorn. “But that doesn’t change the fact that her emotional needs are not being met. And then when Dad is home, and he tries to embrace the child, they cry because they don’t know who Dad is! Things spiral from there: Dad feels inadequate, so he comes home even less… and that puts immense stress on the relationship.”
you feel… different Most men struggle with the transition from newlywed with lots of intimacy to new Dad who doesn’t get enough or not at all. “Some also struggle to adjust to the changes in their partner’s body, and feel uncomfortable initiating or engaging in sex,” says Hawthorn. “It’s not often spoken about, but it can be a problem – and it can bring an element of awkwardness into their sexual experience. I’ve worked with couples who’ve had to process the fact that she’s physically different, and they’re both getting used to her new body.”
stop telling me what to do “Sometimes the things that attract a couple to each other become their Achilles heel further down the line,” says Hawthorn. “So you’ll hear one partner tell the other: ‘I married you because you know what you want in life, but now that we’re parenting our child, you keep telling me what to do!’”
This, Hawthorn explains, falls under what therapists call Family of Origin issues. New parents – who, let’s face it, aren’t exactly given a handbook on how to raise babies – often revert to what they know… and what they know is what their own parents did. The differences between the two parents’ upbringings can cause huge issues.
don’t smack my child “Discipline is an area where Family of Origin really comes into play,” says Hawthorn. If one parent believes in the “spare the rod, spoil the child” school of smacks, while the other one is more into time-outs, you have a problem on your hands.
December 2016 / January 2017
my dad never changed a nappy in his life
we can’t afford that Many new parents fight about money – but, Hawthorn points out, money might not be what they’re really fighting about. “Children can be a trigger for other issues,” he says. “When a couple is newly married, it’s very easy to avoid conflict because – other than their careers – there are few external stressors that show up the fracture lines in their relationship. A child makes both parents vulnerable: you’re sleep-deprived, you have no free time to yourself and you can no longer use sex to hide your issues.”
you’ve changed “I hear this a lot in couples’ therapy,” says Hawthorn. “The truth is, you do change when you have a child, and sometimes one partner simply doesn’t like what the other has become. Some men don’t like the maternal role their partner takes on, especially in the early years where the mother and the infant almost have a shared identity.”
If one parent believes in the “spare the rod, spoil the child” school of smacks, while the other one is more into time-outs, you have a problem on your hands. stop fighting, start talking “There’s a simple solution to these problems,” says Hawthorn. “In the early part of our relationship, it’s easy to mask your issues with intimacy and passion – and besides, very few people enter into a relationship with problem-solving skills. We assume that if we can solve problems at work we can solve problems in our relationship. But the same rules don’t apply: in a relationship you have to find a solution that works for both parties. This transition into parenthood can be especially difficult for someone who comes from an industry where you have to be very decisive, because what you see as being decisive, your partner can see as being abusive.” “As a couple you have to learn – often for the first time – to really communicate. Real communication involves identifying problems, finding possible solutions, and deciding on what works best for both parties without either parent compromising themselves, and what is in the best interest of the child. “Dad’s primary responsibility, especially when the child is an infant, is to hold the emotional needs of his partner. If Mom feels emotionally supported, that sense of safety transfers to the child and the child feels secure. He doesn’t even have to be physically present: it’s about the way Dad is represented in the home and the way Mom talks about him, so when he does come home, that relationship is already formed in the child’s mind.”
December 2016 / January 2017
festive food b
lake is a little bit shy, but he wants cake. So he settles down in the lounge with a huge piece and, once he’s polished it off and had his request for a second piece turned down, entertains himself by climbing all over his mom Leela. He’s a normal, happy little boy, but Leela says this is a recent development. Soon after Blake was born, his parents discovered that he had severe food allergies and eczema. The first tests came back with two pages of foods that Blake couldn’t eat. When he was three years old, Leela found out that he was also allergic to grass, sweat and hay, among other things. Blake’s reactions, from chronic eczema to leaky gut, meant that Leela had to make some big changes to his diet. And rather than cooking two meals every night, she started the whole family on the Gaps Diet. This diet, consisting of soups and broths, along with plenty of probiotics for Blake, made a big difference. Leela took the diet a step further. “Baking is my happy place,” says the mom of three little boys. So she taught herself to bake without sugar, dairy or gluten, and recently added egg yolks to this list. Blake adjusted easily – he understood that certain foods made him feel sick. Leela happily explains that he has even started school a few days a week, something she never expected to happen. Luke, the oldest, found it harder to adjust, but with the new diet, his teacher noticed that his concentration
for the fussy
improved. Max, the youngest, has never had sugar or gluten, and he’s doing very well without it. Blake’s allergies do make holidays and parties a little challenging. For parties at home, Leela makes all the snacks. For Christmas, she’ll make biscuits that the children can decorate. Holidays are important for Leela and her family, and while many hotels do cater for allergies, there is still plenty of preparation needed. They usually go with self-catering, but even at hotels Leela makes pancakes or toast for Blake, and takes it to the dining room so he can eat with the family. Leela makes most of their food from scratch, although she does keep glutenfree bread in the freezer for emergencies. She has learnt a lot about foods and allergens, and reads the ingredients on every label. Blake loves sausages on the braai, but these contain gluten and MSG, so Leela wants to start making her own (even though she is vegetarian). She chooses organic meat, tree nuts and makes her own almond milk. She has had to learn to bake again, using all of these ingredients. But her children are happy with the new food and proud of their mom for making healthy ice cream and even sugar-free muffins for baker’s day. Leela’s recipes are mostly sugarand gluten-free and, where possible, give substitutes for common allergenic foods. All of her recipes are double tested and child-approved.
Baking is my happy place, so I taught myself to bake without sugar, dairy or gluten.
Cooking for allergies can be a challenge, especially for special occasions. TAMLYN VINCENT speaks to one mom who tells us how she does it, and shares some of her family’s favourite recipes.
gluten- and dairy-free christmas cake ingredients ✻ 500g mixed dried fruit: 150g dried apricots, roughly chopped into small pieces 150g dried dates, roughly chopped into small pieces 100g dried prunes, roughly chopped into small pieces 100g glacé cherries, roughly chopped ✻ 150ml amaretto, or alcohol or juice of your choice ✻ 150g coconut sugar or xylitol ✻ 125g vegan butter or coconut butter (butter if you can eat dairy)
125g virgin organic coconut oil 1 lemon’s zest and juice 1 orange’s zest and juice 2 tsp mixed spice 1 tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp ground nutmeg 1 tsp vanilla extract 100g ground almonds 175g plain gluten-free flour 2 tsp ground flaxseeds (I do mine in my coffee grinder) ✻ ½ tsp baking powder ✻ 6 free-range eggs, beaten (substitute for 6 flax eggs if you can’t eat egg) ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻
method Place the mixed fruits (you could use what you have) into a large bowl and cover with 150ml alcohol or juice. Leave to soak for at least six hours. Meanwhile prepare your tin. Line a deep 20cm round cake tin with two layers of baking parchment. Wrap two layers of baking parchment around the outside of the tin too and secure with string. Once the fruit has soaked, take a huge pan (I use my pressure cooker) and melt the coconut oil and butter, along with the sugar. Once melted, remove from the heat and add the spices, orange and lemon zest and juice, vanilla extract and soaked fruit. Stir well. Add the remaining dry ingredients and stir well again. Finally add the beaten eggs and stir to combine. Place the mixture in your prepared tin and place in a pre-heated oven at 150°C (130°C fan) or gas mark 2, for two hours.
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Remove from the oven, spike all over with a skewer or fork and drizzle with two tablespoons of alcohol or juice of choice. Leave to cool in the tin before wrapping in the baking parchment and storing away in an airtight container. I “feed” my cake every two weeks with two tablespoons Cointreau. Use whatever alcohol or juice you like, as this will ensure it is lovely and moist. Remember to wrap the cake back up and store in the container after every “feed”. Leave the cake for a week without “feeding” it before icing to make sure the icing sticks. magazine durban
PHOTOGRAPHS: ALEXIS DIACK / LEELA JIRAN
gluten-free gingerbread men
ingredients ✻ 2,5 cups almond flour ✻ ⅓ cup ground flaxseed ✻ ½ tsp baking soda ✻ 2 Tbs ground ginger ✻ 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated ✻ 1½ tsp cinnamon ✻ ½ tsp ground nutmeg
coconut snow cookies ingredients ✻ 1 cup apple sauce ✻ 2 Tbs chia seeds, ground ✻ ½ cup coconut nectar or use pure maple syrup ✻ ½ cup coconut butter, melted ✻ ½ cup coconut oil, melted ✻ ¼ tsp almond extract ✻ ¼ tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking soda ⅔ cup arrowroot powder ⅔ cup coconut flour ⅔ cup almond flour 1½ cup shredded and unsweetened coconut ✻ 1 cup powdered xylitol or erythritol (blend into a fine powder, to look like powdered sugar) ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻
method Preheat oven to 180°C In a large bowl, mix together apple sauce, chia seeds, coconut nectar, coconut butter, coconut oil and extracts. Once mixed, add in arrowroot, coconut flour, almond flour and coconut. Beat with electric mixture or work with hands. Roll dough into balls, flatten between hands, placing cookies on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. After 10 minutes of cooling, roll in powdered sugar and leave to fully cool.
½ tsp ground cloves ½ tsp vanilla powder ¼ cup coconut oil, melted ¼ cup honey 1 egg, lightly beaten (or flax egg for a vegan substitute ) ✻ 50g sugar-free white chocolate, melted ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻
method Combine almond flour, flaxseed, baking soda, ground ginger, fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla powder in a large mixing bowl and stir until well combined. Add coconut oil, honey and egg to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Roll mixture into a ball and wrap in cling film. Put in freezer for 30 minutes and then transfer to fridge for another 30 minutes. Remove the dough from the cling film and place between two large pieces of baking paper. With a rolling pin roll the dough out to around 3mm thick. With a gingerbread cookie cutter, cut into shapes. The dough is delicate so it is best to remove the remaining dough from the outside of the cut-out cookie and take a sharp knife or metal spatula under the cookie and carefully place on a tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 10 minutes at 160°C or until golden. They should still be slightly soft when they come out of the oven. Allow the cookies to completely cool. Melt the white chocolate and add to a piping bag with a thin nozzle. Pipe on the chocolate to decorate the cookies with your favourite design.
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Find more recipes on Facebook: Mommy Knows Best or on Instagram: @leelaloo
December 2016 / January 2017
Worried about all the back-to-school prep? CHILD MAGAZINE compiled this guide to
help you with morning strategies, homework, lunchbox solutions, organisation tips and more.
Parents might be quite glad to see the little ones going back to school, but getting them there and back can be a mad dash, so be prepared. Getting your child ready and at school on time can be a chore, for both of you, but by creating a plan, and sticking to it, you can reduce the morning madness. ✻ Will you be walking, driving, or making use of a school bus, lift service or car pool? ✻ When starting at a new school, practise your route to school beforehand to eliminate any anxiety. ✻ Establish a safe pick-up and drop-off spot. ✻ Make sure you use the right car seat for your child. This will depend on your child’s height and weight and the type of vehicle. ✻ If you are going to be making use of a lift service, introduce your child to the driver of the lift service so that they feel more at ease once school starts. Check that your car seat fits properly in the lift car and that the driver knows how to correctly install it. If they supply a car seat, check that it is appropriate for your child. ✻ Will the lift service be able to take your child to and from extramurals or do you need to make other arrangements?
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The correct school accessories are essential for children who are going to be starting classes. Before “going to town” and purchasing hair accessories, clothing and shoes, check your school’s code of conduct for their requirements. Uniforms can be purchased in bigger sizes so that they last longer. As children’s feet are continually growing, you should buy the school shoes as close to the start of school as possible. Will your child need a haircut or a few hair accessories to keep their hair tied back? Hair styles and accessories may need to adhere to school regulations. Get a sturdy bag that won’t put strain on your child’s back when they have to lug all those books and stationery to and around school. An orthopedically designed school bag that has extra padding will distribute the weight evenly on your child’s back. Junior is kitted out and ready to go, but you don’t want them coming back from school with half their stuff missing. Be sure to label everything using markers, or iron-on, sewon or stick-on labels.
PHOTOGRAPH LEFT: HIGHBURY PREPARATORY SCHOOL HPS.CO.ZA | ALL OTHER PHOTOGRAPHS AND ILLUSTRATIONS: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
back to school 1
getting from A to B
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pen and paper
Without the correct school supplies and gear, children can have a hard time keeping up with their lessons and keeping pace with the rest of the school. Armed with the school’s stationery and textbook list, you can do all your shopping from the comfort of your home. There are several suppliers with online stores that offer delivery to the school or your home. Check with your school for their suggested supplier. The stationery and textbook list may be preloaded on their website for your convenience. You can also check the school’s shop for any second-hand textbooks. Don’t forget to get all the necessary materials to wrap the books – pre-cut book covers (check if you need school specific covers), plastic covers, craft paper, plastic rolls and labels. If your school makes use of tablets, check if you need to supply a tablet and at what specs. Also ask if you need to download any software or e-books. There are several CAPS-approved textbooks that are available as e-books.
Whether your child is entering school for the first time or is about to graduate, back-to-school time is a good opportunity for parents to check up on their children’s health. ✻ Teeth Visit the dentist when your child is four or five years old, and schedule regular check-ups every six months after that. ✻ Eyes Children’s eyes should be checked when they are between three and five years old, and again when they start school. If children do have vision problems, their eyes should be checked every year or as prescribed. If your child hasn’t had any problems with his vision, get a check-up every two years. ✻ Worms Deworm children every six months, starting just before they go back to school. This means that they’ll be dewormed every January and every July. ✻ Vaccines Your child’s immunisations should be up to date. Check your Road to Health card to see which vaccinations are needed – most are required before children are 18 months old, with boosters needed at six and 12 years old. If any are required, or have been missed, visit a family clinic as soon as possible. ✻ Medication If your child needs to take any medication to school, you will need to check what the school’s policy is on dispensing medicine.
Probably the biggest change in education over the last few decades has been the introduction of new technology. Parents should keep up with the ever-changing digital world. ✻ Some schools require children to use tablets or laptops, while others may allow children to use these during class time, homework time or for specific subjects. This may depend on the grade your child is in. Check with your school as to their policy on tablets and laptops. ✻ If tablets or laptops are allowed, you can use them to download reference books, such as a dictionary. You may also be able to find digital textbooks. ✻ Some children may be allowed to take cellphones to school. Most schools will allow this, especially for older children, but with limits as to when phones can be used. ✻ Depending on where your child is in his school career, you may consider getting him a portable hard drive or USB drive, a portable charger or headphones. ✻ The software and apps that you place on your child’s tablet or laptop will probably depend on his age and on what is recommended by the school. But you can include items like Google Docs and office software (which will depend on the make of your laptop or tablet).
December 2016 / January 2017
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Child development is not just about academic ability. There are a number of ways to help your child prepare for other aspects of school life. Ask about the potty-training policy at your toddler’s preschool. Many preschools do assist with potty training, but if your child is ready during the holidays, get this “complex” issue over and done with. Social skills that are necessary for preschool include sharing, taking turns, playing with peers, and participating in pretend play. Playdates are the best environment to learn these skills. Prior to preschool, teach your child his full name, his parents’ names, and street name and number. Some preschoolers may even remember a phone number. Track everyone’s activities on a prominent and accessible calendar, encouraging your child to write her own entries and reference the calendar when making plans. Buy your older child a planner or a white board. Your child can make to-do lists, map out assignments or write down things she wants to remember. If your child is allowed a cellphone in school for emergencies, make sure they know who to call, and how to access important numbers.
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Make lunch planning and packing easy with these ideas. The emphasis should be on nutritional meals and functional lunchboxes. Get children a small cooler to take to school for lunches and snacks. This way, they won’t spill anything in their school bags, or forget about half-eaten sandwiches until the end of term. You can go for a cooler bag or box, but if children have a locker or designated bag area, ensure that the cooler box will fit. You’ll also need plenty of lunch boxes and plastic containers for sandwiches and snacks. Get a few juice bottles, as on days with lots of sport, your child may want to take two bottles to school. Pack enough healthy foods to get your child through the day, avoiding any junk food, sugary food and fizzy drinks. Some schools do allow treats on certain days – find out which and save treats for these days. Find out if any children in the class have any food allergies, especially if you’re supplying birthday treats or baker day items. If there is a tuck shop at school, limit tuck shop lunches to once or twice a week and encourage your child to choose healthier options.
December 2016 / January 2017
timing is everything
After weeks of school holidays and playing, it can be challenging for children to go back to school. Parents could try these tips to get a routine going. ✻✻ Get back into a normal routine a week before school begins. Gradually make bedtimes earlier and rise earlier. Practise being ready (washed, dressed, having breakfast) by a certain time. Also eat meals at similar times daily to provide consistency in their transition from home to school. For preschoolers and toddlers, get the crèche or daycare schedule and try to imitate this. ✻✻ “Re-introduce” your older child to school by looking at the coming term’s calendar together, counting down the days and chatting about the year ahead in a positive way. Young children often live in the moment, so to reconnect with the school can go a long way toward reducing any anxiety about going back. ✻✻ Don’t neglect the afternoon schedule. Your goal in creating a good back-to-school routine is to get in the habit of doing certain things at specific times, for example scale down on television time during term when this is the period your child will be doing homework. ✻✻ Stay school ready during the holidays. Stock up on interesting and educational reading materials and games. Keep your child’s mind active with daily chores such as writing up the grocery list or tallying up the restaurant tab. And keep them active. Go for family bike rides or walks and have family swim galas. ✻✻ Practise certain milestones. Should your child be able to tie his own shoelaces, do a tie knot or pack their own lunch? Then overcome this challenge when everyone is more relaxed.
Access an extended calendar online at
or submit an event for February before 6 January to firstname.lastname@example.org
december what’s on in
Compiled by TAMLYN VINCENT
Uncle Jumbo’s Christmas Show
This annual children’s pantomime is fun for the entire family. Take a gift for Santa to give to each child in your group, and a gift or nonperishable food items to be donated to local orphanages. It starts at 6:30pm, every night except Sunday, at the Kloof Town Hall, until 10 December. Tickets are R60. Contact them on 082 665 0039 or email@example.com
East Coast Radio’s Toy Story with Game
PHOTOGRAPH: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM | SLEEPING BEAUTY PHOTO: VAL ADAMSON
3 Italian Opera Evening Spoil yourself with an evening of pure Italian culture at its finest. This elegant evening takes place at The Italian Club in Durban North. Tickets are R150. For more info contact them on ladante@ dantedurban.com
Hit the trails of the beautiful Summerveld Estate and surrounds in Shongweni. This family day out includes the Shongweni Farmers Market stalls, there from 6am onwards. For more info: sharkstrailadventure.co.za
There are inflatables, a craft market, lucky draws and a visit from Santa. It runs from 9am–3pm at Crusaders Sports Club in Durban North. Contact them on gary. firstname.lastname@example.org
This traditional family pantomime, inspired by the film Frozen, is a magical tale, which promises a romantic, enchanting adventure for all ages. It runs until 8 January at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. Book through computicket.com
STIHL Sharks trail adventure
3 Christmas Carnival
An adventurous teenager, Moana, is inspired to leave the safety of her island on a daring journey to save her people. Reluctantly joined by the mighty demigod Maui, she becomes a wayfinder like her ancestors who sailed before her. This animated feature film opens in cinemas today. For more info: numetro.co.za or sterkinekor.com
Today is the last day to drop off your new toys, which will be given to children in government hospitals, children’s homes and crèches, who would otherwise not receive a gift. For more info: ecr.co.za
14th Annual Affordable Art Show The gallery is full of a wide selection of works to give the buyers plenty to choose from. This year, once you purchase the artwork/s, you can pay and take them with you. The sale takes place at ArtSpace Durban and ends 19 January. For more info: artspace-durban.com
Lloyd Cele, Nathan Ro from Lonehill Estate and Graeme Watkins bring a fresh new take to songs from the jazz era, right through to modern day hits. It’s on at 8pm at The Barnyard Theatre. For more info: barnyardtheatres.co.za
Snake and reptile show with Wild Magazine Enjoy an interactive experience with snakes and reptiles from Reptile Party Time from 10am–11am. They’ll supply the platform for touch, sight and sound. The fun is at Cape Union Mart in Gateway. RSVP to wildevents@ sanparks.org
Umhlanga Summer Festival Until 23 December, it includes the Miss Umhlanga pageant, surfing and beach activities. Carols by Candlelight is on 15 December (Granada Square), and a trail run on 18 December (Promenade). For more info: umhlangatourism.co.za
December 2016 / January 2017
The Best of Simon and Garfunkel
Christmas Light up the Night
Take your family, chairs and a picnic supper and relax in the gardens, which are lit up in spectacular Christmas fashion. Weather permitting, it runs from 6pm–7:30pm until 15 December at the CC&A gardens in Kloof (enter via lower gate). Donations welcome for the Keep Kloof Beautiful Association. For more info: keepkloofbeautiful.org.za
This show is a matinee tribute to arguably the world’s greatest duo. It’s at 2pm at The Barnyard Theatre. Tickets are R140. For more info: barnyardtheatres.co.za
Carols at the Barnyard
This is an enjoyable festive evening with the family, carolling through the Christmas story. It opens at 6pm at The Barnyard and entry is free. Call Ruth on 072 372 9120 to book.
The giant blue slide gives children complete sun protection coverage. The Nivea sunslide sprays SPF 50+ sun lotion onto children and can cover about 100 children in an hour. Available on Margate Beach on 21 December, Ballito Beach on 22 December and at the East Coast Radio Beach Festival at Dairy Beach on 23 and 24 December 2016. For more info: nivea.co.za
Christmas Cheer Listen to a merry mix of rock ‘n’ roll party favourites saluting all things festive with a sprinkling of some jolly holiday singa-longs. It runs until 24 December at the Rhumbelow Theatre. Book through computicket.com
holiday programs Club V holiday camp The school holiday camps run for three hours per day in Club-V and four hours in Club-V Max from 12–15 December. Bookings open on 5 December. This year’s camps are summer and beach themed and include games, activities, and arts and crafts. For more info: virginactive.co.za Flag Animal Farm holiday shows From 10 December, children can watch shows and learn about animals. At 11am and 3:45pm there’s wolf interaction, Barney and Dora are at 11:30am, there’s a milking show at 12pm and 3pm, Mickey Mouse pays a visit at 12:30pm and there’s a reptile show at 1:30pm. Entry is R39; the shows are free. Find them in Umhlali. For more info: flaganimalfarm.co.za Gwahumbe junior ranger holiday camp Does your child dream of being a game ranger when they grow up? Sign him up for the next junior ranger holiday camp at Gwahumbe. The camp, for children 8–13 years old, runs for three days and two nights, from 19–21 December. It takes place at Gwahumbe Game and Spa in Eston, and costs R1 500. For more info: gwahumbe.co.za Imagination Station At Gateway Theatre of Shopping children can have their photo taken with Santa for R20, and they can explore the fun and interactive Lego Play Zone, with Lego Duplo, Lego Friends and more. Prizes can also be won. The Imagination Station runs from 8–24 December, 9am–7pm daily. For more info: 031 514 0500 or gatewayworld.co.za
December 2016 / January 2017
Kings Camps Durban summer camp Kings Camps offers a wide range of sports and games, letting children develop socially while learning new skills and building friendships. The camp, for children 4–14 years old, runs from 12–16 December, 8am–4pm, at Curro Hillcrest Academy. It costs R850. For more info: kingscamps.co.za Maths bridging The course focuses on algebra and geometry concepts and the skills needed to have a great start to Grade 8. It runs on 5 and 6 December from 3:30pm–5:30pm at Kip McGrath Umhlanga and 8 and 9 December from 3pm–5pm at Kip McGrath Bluff. Contact them on 031 566 1110 or 082 042 2556 Montessori Life’s holiday club Children 2–8 years old can enjoy wholesome fun in a safe and secure Montessori environment. It is open for the duration of the December and January holidays. Contact email@example.com
Pav Space Station Experience what it would be like to go to outer space at The Pavilion from 7–24 December. There are virtual reality themed interactive visuals and children can bring their colouring-in to life. Tickets are R30 for children 3–12 years old and R20 for adults. It takes place from 10am–5pm in The Fountain Court. Contact them on 031 275 9800 Study skills course Children in Grades 5–7 or Grades 8–12 can improve on their study skills. The course runs from 12–15 December, 9am–1pm, at Kip McGrath Bluff and Kip McGrath Umhlanga. For more info: 031 566 1110 or 082 042 2556 Sugar Bay holiday camp A week-long adventure camp for children 7–17 years old. Over the holidays, campers can join the Blast from the Past Week, Candy Land Week, Finding Dory Week or the Outrageously Crazy Week. Camps take place at Sugar Bay Holiday Resort in Zinkwazi Beach. Prices vary, and include accommodation, meals, snacks, all activities and 24-hour supervision. For more info: sugarbay.co.za Wild Waves Water Park holiday line-up There are daily family activities, including face painting, sand art, airbrush tattoos, games, little Miss Dairymaid Ice Cream, a meet and greet with Santa and more. Activities run from 14–23 December, 10am–4pm, at the Wild Coast Sun’s water park. For more info: suninternational.com/wildcoast-sun
in the february issue of
“get organised because
school’s back!” ✻ extramurals ✻ playdates ✻ tutors and au pairs ✻ lift clubs ✻ homework and projects open days ✻ what to look for ✻ questions to ask
montessori vs waldorf financial planning for your family how to choose a
✻ birth partner ✻ childminder ✻ crèche ✻ day mom
Christmas Night Market The market offers a combination of fête and craft market stalls, as well as a jumping castle and other activities. Food and drinks are available. It’s on 2 December from 5pm–9pm at St Margaret’s Church in Glenashley. Contact them on 082 299 7558 or firstname.lastname@example.org Essenwood Market Enjoy a fun family day of shopping, alfresco meals and live music. magazine durban
There are games and rides, and a fullyequipped playground. They’re open every Saturday from 9am–2pm at the Berea Park. Contact them on 082 460 0625 or info@ essenwoodmarket.com I heart Market Festive Season Markets Shoppers can browse a diverse range of products, including locally made and designed jewellery, art, fashion, home decor and accessories, environmentally friendly upcycled or repurposed goods, and secondhand and retro items. Market dates are 3,
10 and 17 December, and 7 January. The market is from 9am–2pm at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. For more info visit Facebook: I Heart Market Shongweni Farmers Christmas Extravaganza Market Stock up for the festive season with gifts, foods and more. The Christmas market runs on 15 December from 2pm–7pm, and on 16 and 18 December from 10am, with a normal market at 6:30am on 17 December. For more info: shongwenimarket.co.za
on street 26 January To advertise call: (031) 209 2200 or email: email@example.com Booking deadline: 10 January Material deadline: 12 January
December 2016 / January 2017
down the load When AnÉl Lewis rationed her children’s screen time, they transformed her lounge furniture into an imaginary castle and moat to entertain
ou know there’s perhaps a bit too much screen time going on when your son, in response to a question about why it’s taking him so long to get dressed, tells you: “I’m still busy loading.” Erin also told me the other day that the game she was playing was being “unresponsive”. But it was only when she told me I could bring my phone with me to her bed so that I could scroll through Facebook after we had read her bedtime story, that I realised it was me who has become unresponsive because of all the technological distractions in our home. Like most busy families, devices have become the easy option when we need a few minutes to get something done. But not only do we let the children spend too much time staring at screens, we as parents also tend to get sucked into arbitrary posts and videos of dancing cats on Facebook and Twitter. I didn’t realise what impact this could have on the children’s development until someone explained that they are becoming so accustomed to the multisensory stimulation of tablets and computer games, that they are finding it nigh impossible to sit still and “just” look at what’s happening on the board in the classroom. Handwriting skills take a backseat when all you have to do is swipe to the left to enter a digital wonderland ablaze with colour and sound. How can a book hold appeal when you have to actually read the words and actually use your hands to turn the pages? So we decided to make some drastic changes. I informed Conor that Eskom (who says we can’t use the power utility for parenting purposes) had switched off the electricity
Erin, Anél and Conor
for television in the mornings, and there would only be TV for one hour in the afternoon. He was very concerned about what would happen to his beloved train characters if he couldn’t watch them. But I assured him they would be waiting for him at Tidmouth Shed when the power returned. Erin looked at me aghast when I said she could choose to either play on her iPad or watch TV for a half an hour. “Not both?” This digital cold turkey was going to be more difficult than anticipated. The first night was a bit hairy, I’m not going to lie. Conor whined and complained. There were tears and pleas. Erin mooched around, saying she was bored. But the next evening, I arrived home to find a fort constructed of boogie boards and all the pillows from the lounge stacked up in the TV room. Instead of the usual sounds of singing pirates blasting from the television, I heard my children shrieking in delight as they chased each other around an imaginary moat. I was immediately assigned a role as the evil giant in their pantomime, and for the next hour or so we played – the good-old fashioned way. Mornings have also become far more manageable since we dropped breakfast in front of the TV. And it no longer takes Conor 20 minutes to “load” before he can leave the house. Now, to really call this digital overhaul a parenting win, we just have to convince the children to bring us croissants in bed on weekends, instead of watching TV, so that we can manage a lie-in (without checking Twitter, of course). Anel has also invested in a compendium of games to keep the children busy when “Eskom” has turned off the TV’s power (and she needs to sneak off for a quick Facebook fix).
December 2016 / January 2017
PHOTOGRAPH: Susie Leblond Photography | ILLUSTRATION: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
themselves. But she doesn’t mind.
a good read We’ve rounded up these books to get the whole family reading. For more inspiration visit
books for early graders Princess Pincushion By Vanessa Raphaely and Karen Vermeulen (Published by Art Publishers, cost TBC) Princess Pincushion is a little, royal warthog with very big dreams. Her adventurous spirit and curiosity takes her on safari to the city, where she meets human beings with their strange ideas about what is beautiful, and what is not. Her discovery that she is a mighty, magnificent pig, no matter what anyone thinks, is a heart-warming and empowering message to all humans.
for pre-teens and teens Guinness World Records 2017: Gamer’s Edition Senior managing editor: Stephen Fall
our online books blog. for toddlers Sam and Dave Dig a Hole By Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen
(Published by Guinness World Records, e-book R128) It is jam-packed with incredible new and updated records and fascinating feats recognised from the entire gamut of gaming. YouTube gamer, Ali-A, highlights the book’s phenomenal content in his exclusive foreword and fellow gamers Dan TDM and Twitch star OMGitsfirefoxx show off their record title achievements. Headlining the 10th-anniversary edition is a special chapter on Star Wars and the records it has amassed over the past 30-plus years.
(Published by Walker Books, R157) This Caldecott Honor medal winner perfectly reflects the imaginative possibilities and curious delights of digging a hole (Julia Eccleshare, who rated it the best children’s book of 2014 in The Guardian). It’s the story of Sam and Dave digging down, down, down until they find something spectacular.
for toddlers Never Follow a Dinosaur By Alex Latimer (Published by Picture Corgi, R129) This clever, cumulative caper from the bestselling author is a joy to read out loud. Sally and Joe are convinced that the mysterious footprints they have discovered must belong to a dinosaur. Do they dare follow these footprints to see if they’re right?
for early graders Colour Snap App By Claire Faÿ
for us Dark Forces and First Response By Stephen Leather
(Published by Walker Books, R181) This is a colouring book that turns the pictures into animated films. Colour each page (there are 16 of these), download the free Blink Book app and watch your picture move and discover fascinating facts about the animals.
(Published by Hodder and Stoughton, R310 and R266) Dark Forces is the thirteenth instalment in the Spider Shepherd thriller series. A violent south London gang will be destroyed if Dan “Spider” Shepherd can gather enough evidence against them while posing as a ruthless hitman. What he doesn’t know is that his work as an undercover agent for MI5 is about to intersect with the biggest terrorist operation ever carried out on British soil. In First Response, the master of thriller drama sets the scene in London where nine men in suicide vests hold hostages in nine different locations around the city, and they are ready to die for their cause. Mo Kamran is the superintendent in charge of the Special Crime and Operations branch, and he is tasked to prevent the biggest terrorist outrage the capital has ever known.
parenting The Precious Years By Jacqui Couper for early graders My Own Keepsake Bible Edited by Carolyn Larsen (Published by Christian Art Kids, R179) This is a Bible storybook that children will love. They can read a great collection of Bible stories, and colour in some of the pictures. The cover and page edges have been uniquely designed for children to colour and personalise. There are 172 stories from the Old and the New Testaments, with 95 illustrations to colour. Each of these comes with a caption and a scripture reference.
(Published by Struik Lifestyle, R189) Although child development may seem automatic, each phase of it is unique and builds on what has gone before, linking together like an intricate puzzle. Professionals agree that developmental difficulties are best identified and dealt with as early as possible. In this book, experienced occupational therapist Jacqui Couper, equips parents with the knowledge they will need to properly monitor the developmental progress of their children and to seek appropriate help when they are concerned about any aspect of it.