C a p e
To w n â€™ s
b e s t
g u i d e
the perks of owning a pet
tips for feeding fussy eaters
pa r e n t s
choosing the right shoes
f o r
beautiful bedrooms spaces that evolve as your child grows
April is our health and wellness issue, where we look at ways to improve our overall wellbeing. Studies show that owning a pet has many health benefits.
Hunter House PUB L IS H ING
Publisher Lisa Mc Namara • firstname.lastname@example.org
Editorial Managing Editor Marina Zietsman • email@example.com Features Editor Anél Lewis • firstname.lastname@example.org Resource Editor Lucille Kemp • email@example.com Copy Editor Debbie Hathway
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I grew up in a house that was always home to at least two cats and two dogs. My brother and I toyed with the idea of a snake, an egg-eating one I think, but we didn’t get that past my parents, so we settled on a goldfish and a hamster or two. But somehow, it was always the dogs who stole the show, and our hearts. I am pretty sure our rescued mutts, Tsepi and Caesar, got bigger smiles and hugs, from my dad as he walked through the door after a long day’s work, than we did. How could he not be cheered by all that tail wagging? Research has shown that dog owners – if we can claim ownership – are healthier, happier and seem to live longer. If that is true, my family is going to live a very long and healthy life. We are besotted with our dogs and I have to admit that I greet them first when I arrive home in the evening. They are just so happy to see me; they love unconditionally and amuse us endlessly. But
they are not without huge responsibility and commitment. Sadly our rescue pup, Ollie, passed away a year ago. His loss was devastating for our family, especially my eldest and our remaining dog, Buddy. After many rather sad months, we eventually have a new little pup to complete our family and while Scout has restored joy to our home, it will never be the same without Ollie. Who knew that the fourlegged members of our family would prove to have such an impact on our happiness and overall wellbeing? You’ll find pictures of our puppy on Child magazine’s Facebook page – why not post some pics of your family’s pets there too? Buddy and Ollie on the beach in Pennington
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a note from lisa
6 over to you readers respond
features 14 food fights
Anél Lewis gives tips on how to get a fussy eater interested in healthy grub
16 be prepared
Donna Cobban shares her experience of her toddler’s first operation 18 room to move
Heidi Janit explains the science and psychology behind decorating a child’s room
22 embrace your environment going green has more rewards beyond saving the planet. By Hayley Komen
regulars 9 upfront with paul
24 local is lekker in her cookery book, Sydda Essop shares recipes and stories of cooks from the Karoo 26 put the right foot forward
looking after your child’s feet is just as important as having their eyes tested. By Tori Hoffmann
o wonder our children lack sleep, says n Paul Kerton, their bedrooms resemble a Nasa control station
10 pregnancy news – a new lease on life
storing your newborn’s stem cells could be life-saving. By Lisa Witepski
11 best for baby – babies who bring up
Anél Lewis looks at infant reflux
28 the truth about cats and dogs
12 dealing with difference
Lucille Kemp gives you advice on keeping your beloved pet happy and healthy
haemophilia doesn’t have to deprive your child of a normal life. By Vanessa Papas 30 resource – it’s a common problem
know your child’s numbers
children should also have their cholesterol levels tested, advises Tamlyn Vincent
we asked preschool teachers about the most common developmental problems they encounter and how to deal with them
34 a good read
new books for the whole family
36 what’s on in april 46 finishing touch
Anél Lewis is under no illusion – she knows her daughter will never win Idols
classified ads 40 family marketplace 43 let’s party
this month’s cover images are supplied by:
Rage Model Management ragemodelmanagement.com
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magazine cape town
unfair anti-hospital sentiment In response to your article “birth partners” (March 2012); prior to the birth of my first child, my husband and I attended an antenatal course. The advertisement for the course said it would provide valuable information on natural birthing, breastfeeding and natural pain management. While the course did provide some interesting information, the blatant anti-hospital sentiment expressed by the midwives running it was staggering. We were told repeatedly that all doctors were “butchers” who would play no role at all, except to leap at the opportunity to “cut us open and conduct episiotomies, just to feel like they actually did something during the birth”. Hospitals were described as uniformly cold and impersonal and doctors and nurses uncaring. I left the course absolutely terrified. A month later my daughter was born via emergency Caesarean and I cannot speak warmly enough about the whole experience. The attending obstetricians were wonderful and special attention was given to me in the maternity ward. In the move towards natural births with midwives and doulas, it seems a blatant anti-hospital sentiment has occurred. I come from a family of doctors and healthcare professionals and I often feel insulted on their behalf when I hear some of the propaganda circulated. Frankly, when complications arose with my pregnancy, I was so relieved to know that I was in safe and experienced hands. I applaud women who elect to have natural deliveries, but feel mothers don’t care about what they have to go through provided that their baby is healthy and delivered safely. Caroline
a couple of concerns In your article “manage your child’s stress” (November 2011), a mother stated that her child was living in very stressful circumstances and had a busy life. In order to help her child adapt to this lifestyle, she took her for stress management classes. I think a better way of dealing with this issue is to reduce the load that the child is carrying. Simplify the child’s life rather than trying to make her adjust to a lifestyle that is too demanding.
over to you response to “hey, stop pushing” While I agree with Paul Kerton’s sentiment to not push children too hard from a young age (“upfront with Paul”, February 2013), I feel his comments about baby sign language are unfounded and misguided. The latest research coming from the United Kingdom and South Africa has shown that the natural development of communication is a highly threatened process. Six million years of evolution have not prepared our children for technology-driven entertainment versus the muchneeded, one-on-one loving communication between parent and child. I CAN, a children’s communication charity, says there has been a 70 percent increase in communication challenges over the last seven years in the UK, with children reaching school unable to string five words together or to follow simple instructions. This is largely attributed to our modern lifestyle, technology-based toys and entertainment, and the lack of time parents spend speaking to their babies and toddlers. Research by Dr Shirley Kokot of Unisa shows that 51 percent of children in Grades 1, 2 and 3 have learning difficulties, one of which is the inability to read effectively or express themselves. Early meaningful communication, whether verbal or through gestures, is at the heart of child development on every level – cognitive, social, emotional and behavioural. Our children are not only having to contend with less time spent with their parents because of two-income households or single-parent households, but because
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It is just as important for children to have time to play and just be children, as it is for them to do extramurals. Secondly, my sister’s son, age three, was beside himself at a party when a piñata was bashed to disembowel it for its sweet contents. The reason for his distress was that it was shaped like Winnie-the-Pooh and he did not understand why children would want to become so aggressive and violent toward it. Although it is a tradition, I think we need to look critically at what it is that we are allowing our children to participate in. Cindy
our poor planet Even the most perfect parent has been tempted to stop at a fast-food outlet for a bite to eat. Our daughters attend a school that goes to great lengths to teach a proper environmental ethos. The school play last year was all about reducing, reusing and recycling. A group of seniors addressed parliament on the environment last year. They take it seriously, as do the children and parents, and so we should. Recently we visited a popular fast food outlet for an ice cream on a hot day, and we washed it down with juice. Our daughter wanted to return the glass to a recycling bin, yet there was not a single one in sight. I spoke to the owner, who was keen to assist, yet told us that under franchising guidelines, he did not have any specifications, nor was he allowed to provide his own, non-brand-approved recycling solution. He even had some of his own ideas about packaging materials that could improve the outlet’s footprint, yet had no scope to introduce anything of this nature. If this is the approach to the environment of one of the largest fast food groups in the country, and during a period where governance rules suggest triple bottom line reporting, surely something is very wrong. May we suggest that other parents who feel similarly complain about their concerns or exercise their own judgement about which outlets they may want to support in the future? Charl du Plessis
Let us know what’s on your mind. Send your letters or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010.
they then have to compete with the television, and other electronic devices, for their parents’ attention. The signing and the singing, and even reading, that forms part of most baby sign language courses, gives parents tools to communicate with their children, enabling them to express their needs and reduce frustration. It brings babies and toddlers back onto the laps of their parents. This is in addition to the profound benefits of early meaningful communication when it comes to social, emotional, cognitive and behavioural development. Gesturing is actually a very natural and primal form of communication. The vast majority of children still use gestures to communicate their needs, feelings and thoughts until they are two years old. Baby sign language simply puts the baby and parent onto the same page in terms of what these gestures mean. Loren Stow
your response on Facebook and Twitter to the article “get that shot” (February 2013) Nice to see that Child magazine debunked a reader’s nonsense anti-vaccine letter so thoroughly. Well done! Kim Norton Jurgens via Twitter to the article “wonderful words” (online) I find that making funny noises when reading to my children keeps all of us entertained. You don’t even need to be good at accents or gruff bear voices because your children are your biggest fans. Dagmar on Facebook
errata In our resource “one for the road” (March 2013), we printed that readers can visit the play area at Elandskloof Farm Cottages. This play area is reserved for residents of the self-catering cottages only. We apologise if this caused any inconvenience.
Elandskloof Farm Cottages
In the article “surf with savvy” (March 2013), under “points for plagiarism”, the website for Wits University’s LibGuide on Plagiarism, Citation and Referencing Styles was printed incorrectly. The correct website address is libguides.wits.ac.za/plagiarism_citation_and_referencing. We apologise for the inconvenience. subscribe to our newsletter and win Our wins have moved online. Please subscribe to our newsletter and enter our weekly competition. To subscribe, visit our website childmag.co.za
We reserve the right to edit and shorten submitted letters. The opinions reflected here are those of our readers and are not necessarily held by Hunter House Publishing.
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know your child’s numbers With childhood obesity on the rise, it’s not only adults who need to test their cholesterol. By TAMLYN VINCENT
what’s to blame? The culprit is cholesterol, a fat particle that is produced by the liver to help build cell membranes and hormones. The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA) says that our bodies produce all the cholesterol we need. The problem arises when we eat foods high in saturated and
trans fats that raise the level of low-density lipo protein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood. This “bad” cholesterol can’t be used, so it builds up on the walls of the arteries and hardens into deposits called plaques. If the arteries become too blocked, it can cause a heart attack or a stroke. The AAP recommends that your toddler’s total cholesterol be below 170mg/dL and the LDL (or bad) cholesterol be below 110mg/dL.
risk factors Lucy Gericke, a registered dietician at HSFSA, says genetic factors are unmodifiable, but you can do something about the other risk factors, such as poor diet, being overweight, lack of exercise, stress, excessive alcohol consumption (in adults) and exposure to smoking. Gericke adds that more children are exceeding their recommended weight, with 17 percent of children between the age of nine and 11 years old being overweight. An estimated 20 percent of children in Grades 8 to 11 are overweight, with five percent of these being obese. Children are also becoming less physically
active. Gericke points out that while younger children may not smoke, many are exposed to second-hand smoke, which lowers the level of “good” cholesterol in the body.
keep it at bay High cholesterol can be prevented and managed by following a heart-healthy lifestyle says Gericke. Central to this is a diet that includes different fruits and vegetables, and fibre, and is low in fat and refined foods, such as biscuits, cakes and sugars. Remove fat from meat and choose skinless chicken and fish over red meat, processed meats, like sausages, and organ meats. Choose healthier fats, such as vegetable oils, nuts and avocado, and low-fat or fat-free dairy. Avoid drinks that are high in added sugar. Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week. While medication is seldom prescribed for children, a doctor may recommend it depending on the cholesterol level and other risk factors. However, Francis says medication can cause adverse side effects, so it’s important to start screening early and to encourage healthy habits from a young age.
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lthough it is not something most parents would think about, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children at risk of obesity or with a family history of heart disease, get screened for high cholesterol “from as young as two years old”, with screening for all children between the ages of nine and 11 years old. This needs to be repeated from the age of 17. Research shows that the hardening of the arteries starts during childhood, and if left untreated, may cause cardiovascular disease and other problems. Children with high cholesterol are also at risk of developing lifestyle diseases like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, says Kelly Francis, a registered dietician in Durban.
upfront with paul
time to tune out It’s impossible for children to switch off and relax when their bedrooms are filled with electronic gadgets that are always turned on, says PAUL KERTON. Saskia, Paul and Sabina
PHOTOGRAPH: MARIETTE BARKHUIZEN
f you want your child to sleep properly then make sure their bedroom is comfortable, secure, quiet and at an even temperature, and that their bed is surrounded with their favourite things. This is simple at the baby stage but can get increasingly complex as they get older. As a child, I considered my bedroom to be my haven, bunker, lair and personal fiefdom. The door policy was “by invitation only”. If I caught my sister rifling through my treasures and “borrowing” any of my priceless possessions, war broke out. And I mean war. I designed elaborate booby traps to deter entry and every now and again she would appear with telltale blobs of paint, smelly water or sticky glue in her hair. “Aha, I told you to stay out of my room. Loser!” The fact that I sneaked into
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her bedroom and “borrowed” her things didn’t count. My big-bedroom revolution happened when my parents optimistically bought me a desk and chair with a view to encourage me to study more effectively. Unfortunately for my loving parents, I passed on the study option as the desk was used more as an aircraft carrier that doubled as a racetrack and trebled as a building site. I gave in to a desk when the pressure of exams became intense and I spent hours on my own in my room wading through my notes and being reasonably studious. Nobody had a television in their room because TVs were ultra-expensive and the size of a tea chest. Also, the combination of a TV plus bedroom was deemed evil, by parents and schoolteachers. Computers
hadn’t been invented, nor cellphones, and there was generally only one landline telephone per household situated in the living room, because Telkom rationed every domicile to just half a metre of cable. When I walk into a child’s bedroom today it’s like entering Nasa’s mission control centre boasting computers 10 times more powerful than those used to put the first man into space. There are screens everywhere – for the smartphone, tablet, desktop computer, laptop, computer game and TV, if they are lucky – all humming and throbbing with their bright standby lights and emitting brain-frying waves. All of this makes it very difficult for older children to get to sleep. The phrase “I’ll just...” will precede any amount of distractions, the top four being; “...finish
emailing” or “...download this song” or “... watch this movie” or “...play this game.” You’ve heard them all. Except you may have noticed that children never actually finish anything because technology is so relentless and addictive, creating a timeless smog in which they can disappear. This means that they don’t get much sleep. A clever friend who grew sick of spending stressful mornings trying to wake her redeyed, sleep-deprived geeky teenager from his slumber, and get him to school on time, has now turned into an enforcer. Her trick is to make him put all his electronic gizmos into a small washing basket outside his room before he goes to bed, to remove any temptation. This has been going on for three months now and it works. Try it. Follow Paul on Twitter: @fabdad1
a new lease on life Stem cells removed from your newborn
cells that have been used until now.” Families of African descent or of mixed race would also benefit, as they are not as well represented in donor banks and registries. Gray Epstein, a Joburg father of a four-year-old boy and one-year-old girl, views stem cell storage as “a prenatal insurance policy”. He admits that his decision to store the stem cells of both his children may have been a reaction to “a generation that exerts tacit pressure to be the best parent possible”, and notes that the procedure is costly and that medical advances may make it possible for stem cells to be extracted from adult skin in the not too distant future. “Nonetheless, we’re happy with our decision. It’s about acting in the best interests of your children, even before they’re born.” Rehrl warns, however, that although umbilical stem cells may be the answer to a number of illnesses, they should not be considered a miracle cure-all.
why you should consider it According to Netcells Biosciences, the largest stem cell laboratory in Africa, families with a history of disease that could be treated with stem cells should consider this option. Stem cells can also be used to treat siblings, says Rehrl. “This is important because stem cell therapy can negate the need to find a matching donor, which is a costly process. Stem cells also have a higher potency than the bone marrow
how is it done? Make enquiries preferably between 24 and 34 weeks of pregnancy to ensure sufficient time to learn about the process and complete an application form. Upon paying the deposit, you will receive a stem cells collection kit, which is packed into your hospital bag. Advise your doctor or midwife that you’re planning for the stem cells to be collected.
collecting the cells • On the day of the birth, the medical professional will cut and clamp the umbilical cord as usual, but the blood and tissue will be collected before the placenta is birthed or, in the case of a Caesarean section, removed. • The blood bag and necessary paperwork is placed in a specialised collection box, which is collected within a few hours. • The sample is processed and tested inside a laboratory, before being frozen. Umbilical cord stem cells can be effectively stored for 23,5 years. • Netcells’s pricing starts at R3 000 for the collection of cord blood, with processing and storage costing R11 500. • Cryo-Save has a collection fee of R3 000 for cord blood and a processing and storage fee of R9 800. • For more information, contact Cryo-Save: 087 808 0170 or visit cryo-save.co.za; Netcells: 0861 638 2355 or visit netcells.co.za
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tem cell transplants are not new, explains Louis Rehrl of Cryo-Save, one of two stem cell banks operating in South Africa. However, it is only in the past two decades that it has been discovered that the leftover umbilical cord in the placenta is a rich source of stem cells, and that these unique cells can be used to treat over 70 different diseases. There are currently about 4 000 ongoing clinical trials in progress, so it’s only a matter of time before new uses for medical needs and applications in regenerative medicine are uncovered, says Rehrl. “At present, stem cell therapies specifically play an important role in the treatment of children with blood cancers and blood-related disorders, like leukaemia and lymphoma. The number of treatable diseases has increased exponentially over the last 20 years, and we expect this trend to continue.”
could be life-saving. By LISA WITEPSKI
best for baby
babies who bring up ANÉL LEWIS finds out more about infant reflux.
t can be alarming when your baby spits up a mouthful of milk but reflux, or the involuntary regurgitation of food or milk, is a common phenomenon that does not always require medical treatment. According to Alta Terblanche, a paediatrician writing for the South African Pharmaceutical Journal, reflux occurs frequently in infants because of the immaturity of their developing oesophagus and stomach, their higher fluid intake and the small capacity of the oesophagus, which can only hold about 10 mililitres. Cape Town-based paediatrician Dr Hanneke Heyns goes on to explain that if the valve at the top end of a baby’s oesophagus is not functioning properly, milk that has mixed with stomach acid is pushed back into the oesophagus, causing heartburn. Most babies will outgrow their reflux by the time they turn one. Silent reflux occurs when a baby brings up milk, and then swallows it again, often because of overfeeding. There is not much spit-up, but your baby may show signs of pain after feeding. In some cases, however, regurgitation could be a sign of something more serious, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or an allergy. Babies with these conditions often fail to thrive; they may lose weight and refuse to eat.
reading the signs Sister Alex Turner of a well-baby and child clinic in Cape Town, says there will be persistent regurgitation or spitting up, or discomfort within minutes of feeding. This includes arching of the back and excessive fussing. Heyns says these signs look similar to those exhibited by babies with colic. But she adds, “They tend to want to drink all the time, a little bit at a time. They bring up milk, fresh and sour, with most of their feeds, they may become wheezy and they do not want to lie flat.” Turner says babies with reflux may also suffer from a chest infection and have “persistent nasal stuffiness”.
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when to worry Turner says you should consult your doctor if you are concerned, or if any of the following symptoms are evident: there is vomiting of dark green bile or blood; your baby refuses to feed or takes in significantly less than normal; there is a choking episode when your baby stops breathing momentarily; your baby struggles to gain more than 140 grams each week for the first three months; there is excessive projectile vomiting with each feed and fussiness when you try and put your baby down; there is recurrent oral thrush, despite treatment of the condition, and if your baby appears paler than usual.
resisting reflux Heyns suggests elevating the cot so that your baby sleeps at a 30-degree angle. You can also keep your baby upright for about half an hour after a feed. Avoid over-vigorous burping, says Turner, as this can place unnecessary pressure on the stomach. Try and stick to a three- to four-hourly feeding schedule where possible, rather than demand-feeding. “Babies with reflux should not be taken off the breast unless there is a very good medical reason,” says Turner. Pharmacist Karen van Rensburg says 40 percent of babies with GERD have an intolerance to cow’s milk protein. Breast-feeding mothers can avoid cow’s milk for a two-week trial period. If the baby’s reflux clears up, this diet can be continued until the baby is weaned. A healthcare practitioner may recommend a thickened anti-reflux alternative for formula-fed babies, says Turner. Medication, such as oral antacids, may also be prescribed by your doctor.
dealing with difference
when a plaster is not enough With modern treatment a child with haemophilia can live a full life, says VANESSA PAPAS.
umps and bruises are a natural part of growing up, but you should be concerned if your child bruises very easily, bleeds spontaneously in soft tissue or from the mouth, or displays symptoms of bleeding into their joints, as there is a chance they could have a chronic bleeding disorder known as haemophilia.
what is it? Nerissa D’Alton’s son Ezra, now 16 months old, was diagnosed with the condition a few days after birth, when he was circumcised and the wound would not stop bleeding. “It has been a difficult journey for the entire family; we have had to learn a lot about this condition and we have become ‘experts’ in a very short time,” says Nerissa. Diagnosed with a blood test, haemophilia is a rare disorder that affects the protein or factor in blood that enables it to clot. It is usually inherited, with the female being the carrier, and mostly affects boys. In some cases, however, it can arise
is considered to be an ‘orphan’ disease, a condition that affects very few people, but there is extensive research being conducted by pharmaceutical companies in this field. There are also varying degrees of the condition, from severe to moderate or mild according to the levels of circulating factor VIII or IX, with severely affected patients bleeding more frequently and also spontaneously.”
treatment options “The risk of muscular or joint bleeds with haemophilia A or B sufferers is high and can cause permanent damage and affect the way a person sits, stands and walks,” he says. “Infants and children with mild haemophilia must rely on a haemophilia treatment centre or other medical facility for coagulation factor infusions, while parents of children with severe haemophilia are usually trained in home infusion when their child is about four years old. Self-infusion is normally
spontaneously through genetic mutation, or develop after a period of “normal” factor levels. For blood to clot properly, you need at least 30 percent of the clotting factor. Bradley Rayner, who has severe haemophilia and is national chair of the South African Haemophilia Foundation, says the most common form is haemophilia A, in which clotting factor VIII is deficient. In haemophilia B, clotting factor IX is deficient; and there are some other, much rarer clotting disorders, which are affected by factors. According to Dr Johan Potgieter, a pathologist in Pretoria, the prevalence of haemophilia A is 1 per 10 000 of the general population. “An estimated 2 000 people with haemophilia have been diagnosed but, at least 5 000 are suspected to suffer from this condition in South Africa,” he explains. “Haemophilia
accomplished by 12 to 14 years of age. Bleeding patterns differ. Infants usually bleed into soft tissues or from the mouth but as they get older, characteristic joint bleeding becomes more common.” Replacement therapy is the mainstay of haemophilia treatment and involves the intravenous administration or infusion of plasma-derived or recombinant concentrates to replace the missing or defective clotting factor. The clotting factor can be administered when a bleed occurs to arrest it or as prophylaxis to prevent bleeds. Regrettably, some sufferers develop antibodies against the factor concentrates given to them. If this happens, the amount of the clotting factor concentrate has to be increased or very costly bypassing agents need to be used instead. magazine cape town
PHOTOGRAPH: Janine Buxey
Treatment has improved markedly over the past 20 years, to the point where a haemophiliac’s life expectancy is now approaching that of the average population.
Rayner’s sister, Janine Buxey, says, “As we have the haemophilia gene in our family, when I discovered I was pregnant with a boy, I had myself tested and was found to be a carrier.” Daniel was tested immediately after birth, and diagnosed with severe haemophilia. “In addition, he had a lung infection and was on a ventilator. When they pulled the tube out they hurt him and he had to receive coagulation factor for the first time. “When he started crawling I made a huge playpen in the lounge with padding and couches so that he could not
• Learn as much as you can about the condition. Contact the South African Haemophilia Foundation: visit haemophilia.org.za or the Haemophilia South Africa Facebook page. • Baby- and childproofing, and adult supervision go a long way in limiting injury. • Apply ice to the bruise as it has an analgesic effect and reduces the blood volume to the affected area. • Rest the affected joint or limb as movement soon after a bleed will easily drive blood to the smooth cartilage covering the bone ends, causing damage. • Make sure that the affected joint and muscle are back to full function and range of movement after each bleeding episode and seek advice from a physiotherapist when in doubt. • Do not give aspirin as it impairs platelet function, which may compound the bleeding. • Encourage your child to do balancing exercises with programmes designed by a qualified physiotherapist, as good balance reduces the risk of an injury from a fall. • Talk to your physiotherapist about which sporting activities are regarded as “low risk” for haemophilia sufferers. • For haemophilia centres in your area, visit: haemophilia.org.za/centres
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life with a child who has haemophilia
living with the condition
move anywhere where he could get hurt. We even padded the pram. The most important thing for me was that he did not hurt his head, so we made him a little helmet with foam to assist with all the falling down and knocks. He had lots of bleeds on his buttocks when he sat on his toys or he fell too hard, so we had to pad that part of his body as well. We also custom-made his knee, shin and elbow pads as it seemed the bought ones hurt him. Daniel has received about 27 treatments over the last 23 months. This was due to many bruises and swelling to his legs, arms, buttocks, toes and his genital area.” Judy Butler’s son, Mark, now 45 years old, was diagnosed at the age of one. His haemophilia is thought to be a genetic mutation. “Growing up, school was a challenge as there is great emphasis in South Africa on sport and people with haemophilia avoid playing contact sport,” says Judy. “We tried to encourage Mark to join the chess club, the shooting team and so on, and he was fortunate to have a wonderful group of friends who supported him through high school and beyond. Mark is on home therapy so he treats himself whenever he has a bleed. He lives a full and normal life.” april
Nerissa says, “My husband Steve takes Ezra to the haemophilia clinic once a week, which is very traumatic for them both. Finding a vein in a chubby baby is not easy, and he struggles a lot. We have recently had a port inserted, which means we will be able to inject him directly and we can do this at home.” Currently, there is no cure for haemophilia but research is ongoing. Treatment has improved markedly over the past 20 years, to the point where a haemophiliac’s life expectancy is now approaching that of the average population, provided they receive adequate, appropriate treatment.
e m o ph
Daniel Buxey wears his protective helmet
food fights Trying to feed a picky eater can turn mealtimes into battle zones. ANÉL LEWIS learns how to take the fuss out of feeding.
oddlers are wilful beings, especially at mealtimes when eating becomes a bargaining tool. They are also fickle, and will happily declare noodles to be their favourite meal, only to turn up their noses at the stuff a few days later. My daughter will choose tomatoes over crisps, but she will not touch chicken or meat. Sometimes, she forgoes her supper completely. I tell myself that if she’s hungry, she will ask for more, but that niggling feeling that her poor eating habits are a reflection of my parenting skills persists.
extra-sensitive eaters Cape Town-based dietician Lee-Anne McHarry says some children are more afraid of new food, or neophobic, and more sensory-sensitive than others. If a child is particularly disgusted by the touch or smell of a food, stop giving it, as this will only increase their anxiety about eating it. She says sensory-sensitive children need messy play to get used to textures, and food can be introduced at this time, away from the dinner table, so that they become familiar with it.
Jessica Veltman, a Joburg-based dietician, says toddlers tend to be picky eaters because eating is still a new experience, and they are getting used to the different tastes, textures, colours and shapes of food. Cape Town dietician Kim Hofmann advises that children have to taste food 15 to 20 times before they can get over their initial resistance and start liking it, so don’t cut the food out. Veltman adds, “Toddlers are also learning to make decisions and become more independent. This will affect the food choices they make at later stages of their lives.” Their rate of growth is slowing down at this age, so a toddler’s food intake may decrease slightly. If you are concerned, however, that your child is losing weight or their growth is affected because of their eating habits, consult your doctor.
make mealtimes fun times again Veltman says it’s important to make eating a relaxed experience. “Avoid distractions such as television and engage in conversation about topics other than food.” Make meals a family occasion, and lead by example. Offer small, regular meals and snacks. Don’t rush meals, but set a limit of about 30 minutes. Use brightly coloured plates and cups to encourage eating. You could even serve food on their toy plates or in snack trays. Let your toddler sit in a chair at the table, or in a feeding chair. Make sure that your child is not filling up on other food, or too much milk, in-between meals. McHarry suggests involving your child in the preparation, in an age-appropriate way. Veltman adds that you should never force-feed
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your child if it’s clear they’ve had enough, and don’t encourage eating by offering food treats as a reward. Rather use a star chart or promise a game as incentive. Hofmann says children should not be punished for refusing to eat a food, as this will start a negative association.
tips to tickle their taste buds Veltman suggests introducing new foods in tandem with food your child enjoys. Offer smaller portions of the new food and introduce one at a time. Children often find finger foods easier to manage. Plan to introduce new foods at times when you know your child will be hungry. If they prefer drinking to eating, give them nutritious fruit smoothies. Get creative in the way you present the food. Slip diced vegetables into sauces or other favourite foods. You can also create veggie faces by using slices of olives for eyes, a mushroom for a nose and a tomato slice for a mouth. Create interesting sandwiches by using cookie cutters, and top them with vegetable spread, tuna mixed with cottage cheese or other healthy spreads.
Children have to taste food 15 to 20 times before they can get over their initial resistance and start liking it, so don’t cut the food out. Some suggested meals and snacks for picky eaters include boiled egg with toast soldiers and grilled mushrooms; hake, corn on the cob, broccoli and cauliflower; spaghetti bolognaise with cucumber and potato salad; an apple and a teaspoon of peanut butter; cheese triangles, and a banana or some hummus with soft, steamed vegetables.
what’s the link with zinc? McHarry says the symptoms of low levels of zinc include a decreased appetite and poor growth. Zinc also helps with the ability to taste and smell, making it beneficial to fussy toddlers, explains Veltman. Good sources of this trace element are red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, wholegrain cereals and dairy products. The recommended daily allowance of zinc for children from one to three years of age is three milligrams a day. An 84 gram portion of chicken has about three milligrams of zinc. McHarry adds that zinc helps maintain an efficient immune system.
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fish facts Veltman says fish is “one of the most perfect” foods for toddlers, as it is a good source of omega3 fatty acids; which serve as anti-inflammatory agents and immune boosters and aid neurological development. It also contains protein, important for proper growth and development. Hofmann says there’s evidence that fish can also help with managing attention deficit disorder (ADD). Fish is especially important for fussy eaters as they may be lacking certain minerals in their diet. A picky eater who lacks essential nutrients may struggle to concentrate and perform poorly. But how can we get children to eat more fish, not just fish fingers? “Most of the problems regarding fish intake in toddlers is with the lack of enthusiasm from parents, as we think our children won’t want to eat fish,” says Veltman. Hofmann recommends that children under four eat about 85 grams of fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and pilchards, twice a week, while children older than four should be eating this amount three times a week. Incorporating fish into fish cakes or casseroles with potato will make it more palatable to fussy eaters. Introduce fish before a child is one year old, says McHarry.
be prepared A scheduled surgical procedure for a child is always frightening. DONNA COBBAN
warned – distressed. I was prepared for this, but things swiftly escalated and I was told to get on to the bed with him quickly and hold him. Then all I heard was nurses giving each other quick instructions. “He is losing colour, bring me oxygen, and check his pulse, quick, we need the oxygen now!” And then the words I was really hoping not to hear, “We need to get him back into recovery.” Recovery is a sterile area where I would not be able to be with him. Knowing this, I started to sing softly – the lullabies I had sung to him as a baby. I hummed and sang and held him close, hoping he would know he was safe. His pulse
The best thing you can do is to reassure them. Make them feel safe and loved and then they will calm down and go to sleep. rate normalised, his rapid breathing subsided, his colour returned and the team of super-competent nursing staff dissolved into the background. While we lay there – him under the heavy slumber of sedation and me just wanting to be near, I thought of all the parents all over the world who did what I was doing, but for longer and often devastating reasons. This hospital game is not for the faint-hearted and I was relieved we would be in our own beds that night.
preparation Provide information about the procedure that your child can understand. If your child is a bit older, you can refer to a book or show pictures. Bear in mind to not give information that will be more alarming than helpful. Explain the problem and why surgery is needed. Don’t rely on the hospital staff to do this. Be honest about pain, but reassure your child that you will be there the whole time. Try doing a hospital tour before the day of the operation, to familiarise your child with the environment and meet some of the nursing staff.
after the operation Santi Steinmann, who is based at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban, warns that children can become disorientated after anaesthetic, and will often cry and fight with their parents and the nursing staff. “The best thing you can do is to reassure them. Make them feel safe and loved and then they will calm down and go to sleep.” A very useful point to bear in mind here is that they do not cry because they are in pain. “Adequate pain control is given in theatre,” says Steinmann. On the morning of my son’s operation, the children who were first in line began to return to our day ward from theatre. Although somewhat dazed and confused, they fell asleep peacefully, so I was not unduly phased as I left my child on the operating table to run downstairs for a cup of coffee. When he did wake, he was as they had
staying the night Samantha Shepherd, who is based at Mediclinic Constantiaberg hospital in Cape Town, says that for a
be prepared what your little patient will need • Special blanket or toy; • Set of headphones for the TV if there is one; • Familiar drinking cups or bottles for babies; • Change of pyjamas and a few spare nappies (even for the toilet trained); • Slippers and a dressing gown if it is cold; • Some distractions while you wait for surgery – puzzles, crayons, playdough, books – anything that can be enjoyed while bed bound; • A damp face cloth in a plastic bag that can seal for cleaning faces afterwards; and • A small gift to distract them when they wake up so that the procedure feels like a special event. and for you • If you are staying overnight, get friends or relatives to bring you proper food from home or buy vouchers for canteen food if this is an option.
parent staying overnight, reclining chairs with pillows and blankets are available. “Being a mom myself, and having experienced sleeping overnight in the children’s ward, I suggest parents bring a comfy tracksuit and night socks. A small book light is very convenient if they wish to read after 8pm because the TV and lights go out automatically to ensure the young patients get their rest.” Most private hospitals seem to provide a similar service, with St Augustine’s giving the parent a sleeper couch with pillows and blankets. Other parents report that camping mattresses and the like can be brought from home and that nursing staff are, of course, more than happy to accommodate parents overnight as no one comforts a child in pain or distress quite like a parent can.
a word of caution Kerren Rennie’s son, Caleb, who was then nine months, spent a night in a Joburg hospital to monitor his convulsions. There were other children being treated for gastroenteritis and despite signs about the use of aprons and cleanliness, no one was monitoring this. Kerren tells of how the parents shared one kitchen to sterilise bottles and prepare baby food. Soon after their arrival, Caleb also contracted gastroenteritis. Kerren then found herself sleeping on a hospital floor, on a mattress brought from home, for a whole month. While she is full of praise for the hospital and staff, the fact that there was a shared kitchen meant the inevitable was going to happen. Hospitals do not take this matter lightly and there are usually strict measures in place to avoid this. “Parents with children admitted to the gastro unit or isolation unit have an infectious condition that needs to be treated with the utmost care in order to stop the infection from spreading,” says Shepherd.
• If you are on your own, or if there is no hospital snack bar, bring some fruit and sandwiches to keep yourself going. • Have a change of clothes in case your child spills anything on you, some bed socks and tracksuit pants. • Bring your own blanket, sleeping bag or duvet and a pillow. • Stock the home fridge and freezer and precook meals for yourself and the family. • Make sure the house is clean, laundry is done and that there is clean linen on the beds as it may be a while before you have the energy or inclination to attend to chores. • Pick up some treats and arrange playdates for younger siblings who may not understand why all your attention is focused on the recovering child. • Find someone – a spouse, a kind neighbour, a grandparent or babysitter who will release you for a walk, a yoga class or some sort of exercise to keep you strong during your child’s recovery.
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y son’s snoring, periodic yet alarming sleep apnoea and associated speech delay finally sent me to an ENT (ear, nose and throat specialist). Within 10 days, my son, who was almost four, was booked into a local Mediclinic for a tonsillectomy and the removal of his adenoids. While I am fortunate enough to be able to afford a private hospital plan, I have learnt the hard way that this does not necessarily cover the hide of your wallet. So once I had agreed to the op, I closely quizzed our specialist about costs. With the day of the week decided for us by the availability of the least expensive anaesthetist, I left home before sunrise with a bemused boy staring back at his untouched breakfast bowl. I knew this was going to be the tricky part as breakfast is one of our favourite meals of the day, and lasting until possibly 10am with no food was going to be tough on us both. We entered the children’s day ward armed with distractions – books, puzzles, stickers, crayons, playdough and headphones for the TV. Three other children were already there and I handed out fistfuls of playdough, despite the arched eyebrows of a few nurses. Playdough, I soon discovered, has a particular way of getting all over starched pre-op hospital gowns. We waited and played, watched TV and waited, and then they brought the premeds. This concoction, I later learnt, helps eradicate any memory of the procedure. If only I had been told this at the time, as I spent the post-op week convinced he remembered me pinning him down with the anaesthetist’s gas mask tearing against the skin of his protesting cheeks.
shares her experience.
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room to move Your child’s bedroom needs to be functional and fun. HEIDI JANIT
looks at the psychology behind this important décor project.
colour me happy Colour is the most emotional element in any setting, so begin your decorating scheme by choosing the right paint for the walls. Psychological findings suggest that colour selection can influence mood and behaviour, stimulate the brain and body and even affect one’s health. Scientific studies based on Carl Jung’s research and writings on colour symbolism and its effect across cultures and time periods, have found that exposure to certain colours can improve sleep habits, increase memory and enhance academic performance. Even at infancy, a child’s environment can enhance development. Dr William Sears, associate clinical professor of paediatrics at the University of California, says that
sight can promote learning and visual stimulation has a great influence on a baby’s nervous system. Always choose colours that encourage growth and stimulation. Be careful not to overstimulate with bright colours. Rather incorporate colour in subtle ways. An environment that both soothes and stimulates can be achieved by using neutral colours on the walls, paired with bright accents in the form of mobiles, linen, fabrics, furniture or rugs. At two months, babies can differentiate between most colours and have preferences for certain colours such as blues and purples, with greens, yellows and reds being preferred less.
pick a theme Use decorative wall decals to introduce a theme or colour to a room. They are easily put up and peel off effortlessly without damaging the walls. Your children’s tastes will change as they get older and these stickers will enable you to alter the theme of their room without breaking the bank. You can also introduce other elements, such as a themed duvet.
comfort, design and ergonomics Physical comfort is all about getting a few basics right: a cot or bed depending on your child’s age; enough
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reating a sleep and play environment that is age appropriate, and that encourages your child’s development, can be challenging. It goes beyond your choice of fabrics, murals or the larger furniture pieces such as the cot or the compactum. You also have to consider comfort, safety and your child’s specific needs. But by understanding what décor and design will work best, and why, you can make this an exciting rather than a daunting project.
storage space; adequate lighting; floor space for play; and eventually a reasonably sized work surface and a supportive chair for school-related tasks. Improve the room’s functionality by ensuring that it is clutter free and that there is enough space in which to move. Bed basics: • Buy a cot with bars very close together so that your baby’s head cannot get caught. The decorative cut-outs on cots and beds should be too small to catch any part of a child’s body. • Make sure the cot’s latching mechanism is not within your baby’s reach, preferably on the outside of the cot, or requires a lot of pressure to release. Many cots convert into beds. • When they move from a cot to a bed, fit safety rails on either side. Choose mattress brands that are approved by the Chiropractic Association of South Africa. • If possible, invest in a three-quarter or double bed that can grow with your child. • Beds must be set at an appropriate height so that children do not have to jump or pull themselves up. Store frequently used items on shelves or in drawers that do not require stretching or straining. You can
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make use of additional storage space underneath the bed too. • Bunk beds for children of all ages must be sturdy, and come with safety rails and a secure ladder.
sleep, work, play Use design elements to create a room in which your child can rest and play. • Choose a room that does not face the street; or use acoustic lining in the curtains to block outside noise. Excessive noise can interfere with a child’s sensory development. • Always have enough fresh air flowing through the room, but make sure there’s no direct draft. Ventilation prevents a build-up of moisture in the air, which is often the cause of mould. • Babies younger than six months need to be kept out of direct sunlight. Use curtains with a blockout backing to keep sunlight to a minimum. Blinds are
also appropriate for a baby’s room, but choose ones with wooden or aluminium slats as vinyl may give off organic chemicals. • Children with allergies are better suited to a room with blinds because curtain fabrics often attract a lot of dust. They are also harder to clean than blinds. Wooden and aluminium blinds can be wiped clean with a cloth. • If you do choose to have curtains, opt for a lighter material rather than heavy, thick fabrics. • With the exception of a baby monitor that ideally should be kept at its farthest effective range from the child, keep electrical appliances to a minimum. • Carpets are not ideal for babies and young children, especially those with allergies, as they absorb pesticides and attract dust and mites. Rather go for hard floors such as wood, cork or linoleum and, if needed, use rugs made from natural cotton and wool fibres with vegetable-based dyes. Clean carpets frequently and thoroughly. • Babies need indirect, glare-free light, which creates a soothing environment to promote sleep. Ceiling lighting with a dimmer is ideal and can grow along with your child. Night-lights for young children who are learning to sleep in a new bed create a sense of safety
and are available in many themes and colours. For homework purposes, use adjustable desk lights that are glare-free.
• Existing furniture can be painted, stained or even distressed to give it a whole new look. Compactums can be transformed into desks or shelves for toys, books and treasures and cots can be turned into a cosy alcove or reading nook, or even a chalkboard. • Paint one wall in a different colour or wallpaper it. This creates colour, visual texture and changes the entire feel of the room in one easy step.
storage solutions Children’s storage needs to be functional and sturdy, but at the same time appealing. American designer Susie Fougerousse says, “Every child’s room should be equipped with a sturdy bookshelf for displaying treasures, books, pictures and more. Selecting a basic style in a neutral colour will allow parents maximum versatility for use over the long term.” Storage solutions for odds and ends that can easily become lost look great in different sized plastic containers. Take advantage of a spare wall by furnishing it. Cover it with a shelved storage unit that fits the entire length and width of the wall. If you have space, under-bed storage is a clever way to store boxes and containers so that they are easily within reach and look neat and tidy.
tricky spaces Small bedrooms need very creative storage solutions. Consider a captain’s bed, which has drawers in the wood cabinetry under the mattress, or choose a bed with height, known as a high-sleeper, that offers ample storage space. Stackable storage bins against a wall are also a way to incorporate storage space into a small room. Shelves can help declutter a bedroom. Use low shelves that are within your child’s reach for books, games and dolls, while higher shelves can be used for displaying photos and breakables.
budget bedrooms There are many ways to transform a room without spending a lot of money. • Preserve your child’s artwork in differently sized readymade frames. This adds colour to the room while giving the space a personal touch.
Follow these basic design concepts to ensure that you don’t end up with styles that your child will outgrow quickly. • Choose flexible furnishings with simple lines. • Beds made of oak or pine are good investments because they work well with any colour and will stand the test of time as your child grows. • Create a mood board – collect fabric samples, pictures from magazines and paint swatches to keep your vision on track. • Give your child room to grow. Always design with your child in mind. Children need space to move, play, store toys and entertain friends. • Let your child have a say. A bedroom is a private space that should reflect their personality and act as a sanctuary. By involving them you promote their sense of individuality and creative thinking, which is crucial for their development. Embrace their strengths and talents. If your child is musical, allow them to bring elements of it into the bedroom with musical notes on a wall decal, wallpaper or even prints on cushions and linen.
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pick a colour Warm colours elicit happiness and comfort. Bold shades can be stimulating and energising, which is beneficial for growth and development, but less advantageous for an overly energetic toddler.
room for two, or more Don’t despair if you have to accommodate more than one child in a bedroom. Less space need not curtail your creativity. Here are three clever tips that will help you make the most of the space you are working with. • If the bedroom is small, take advantage of the horizontal spacing and opt for bunk beds. This leaves space on the ground for a play and work area. Go for bunk beds that have built-in storage units. • If you have two beds, set them out to meet in a corner with a side table or nightstand in the middle. This perpendicular formation opens up the space. • If your children need their space and want the illusion of a separate room, you can divide the space with a high open shelf. This serves as a room divider and a storage unit in one.
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Cool colours have a calming effect on the body and can make a bedroom feel relaxing and spacious. They should be paired with creamy neutrals and used with soft fabrics.
Excites and energises. Don’t go too bold and bright; it can be overwhelming for young children. Red is also associated with an inability to focus, so it is not suitable for children who have trouble concentrating.
The exact opposite of red, it calms the mind and body, lowers blood pressure and decreases feelings of anxiety and aggression. It is the perfect colour for children who have trouble sleeping or who are prone to tantrums. Be sure not to use dark shades as these can have a depressive effect.
pink Evokes empathy and femininity and creates a calming atmosphere.
yellow Associated with happiness and motivation. Subtle yellows promote concentration while brighter yellows stimulate memory.
orange A friendly, welcoming colour that inspires creativity and communication. Use bold shades sparingly.
purple Combines the stability of blue and the energy of red. Pick a purple in a light shade so it is not too overpowering. The colour is popular with girls, and is thought to stimulate inspiration and intuition.
green Promotes a serene, calming environment. It has a soothing effect and is known to reduce anxiety and promote concentration. Green is also said to reinforce self-esteem.
embrace your By teaching your children to respect their surroundings, you are helping them develop compassion, creativity and nurture their initiative. By Hayley Komen
emember how, when you were five years old, life was such an adventure? Every rainstorm was a thrill, climbing a tree was an act of bravery and finding a spider on the wall was another chance to exercise your imagination. You were doing more than just having fun. You were living with all your heart; experiencing every second of the day with your entire being and making the most of your environment.
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from foundation to finish Treverton Preparatory School and College in KwaZulu-Natal began teaching EE in the 1970s and is recognised as a leader in this field, both locally and internationally. Janet Snow, the school’s environmental education liaison officer, has 15 years’ experience in this field. She says that EE is an integral part of Treverton’s practices, from preschool to Grade 12. The results are evident. Many learners are actively helping to maintain and develop the Treverton wildlife area, while the post-matric students, of their own accord, now incorporate an EE component into their annual excursions. They visit schools along their route and run short lessons with the learners, focusing on environmental topics that are directly relevant to them, such as water issues. Janet’s three boys attended Treverton and her eldest, Byron, is now a qualified architect. He is currently building preschools in Zululand, incorporating grey-water systems into their ablution designs. Janet is heavily involved in programmes to help “teach the teacher”. The new curriculum and assessment policy statements (Caps) that are being rolled out are strongly oriented towards EE, she says. “Teachers are finding lots of new concepts and they don’t know
Environmental education is about more than just trees and butterflies. It’s a holistic approach to life that can help our children reach their full potential. the content and find it difficult to teach.” Tertiary education institutions, nongovernmental organisations and in-service teaching practitioners are jointly developing courses and modules to help teachers become more competent and confident.
a well-rounded start Pauline Randall and her son, David Wratten, started the Green Door Nursery School in Walkerville, south of Joburg, at the beginning of 2011. Pauline, a qualified nurse, midwife and preschool teacher, says that after working in the childcare industry for many years they were inspired to create a school that “got it right”. The school’s name provides a clue to their approach. The Green Door incorporates several “green” activities such as recycling, water conservation, waste reduction, composting and buying locally. But their philosophy extends into other areas too.
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“Going green” has become a bit of a cliché, but environmental education is about more than just trees and butterflies. It’s a holistic approach to life that can help our children reach their full potential. It teaches respect for others and for one’s self, creativity and innovation, physical and emotional wellbeing and a fundamental understanding of the world in which we live. It develops the whole child, not just the aspects that teachers or parents think are important. Environmental education, or EE, has evolved enormously since it first became popular in the 1960s. Back then the focus was on nature-based education with the aim of developing an appreciation for the natural world. Today it can be described as teaching for the environment, in the environment. In other words, humans are now accepted as being part of the environment and how a child learns is understood to be strongly influenced by that environment. It’s a complex concept and teaching it requires skill, creativity and energy. However, incorporating EE at preschool level sets a firm foundation for a lifetime of environmental learning.
Parents are encouraged to bring their recyclable goods to the school. Through this, not only are the children and their parents made aware of the amount of waste that they generate but, importantly, they are shown how to turn this waste into works of art, utility items or simply toys to share with a friend. It encourages creative thinking, innovation and self-expression. Alan Benington, a software engineer and father to four-year-old Rain, a learner at the school, talks about an activity that struck a chord with him. The children were tasked with building something that would be taller than teacher Pauline’s ruler. Rain built a skyscraper using boxes, paper towel rolls and bits of foil to construct a tall building complete with windows. “Apparently my son is another budding engineer.”
Participating schools select projects that are relevant to their own situation. These are then linked to the national curriculum and incorporated into normal school teaching as far as possible. However, they must include an action component. Projects also try to include the local community, so that a school might, for example, create a food garden that will benefit those living nearby. Schools are awarded for their ongoing efforts each year by earning bronze to platinum status. After their third year they can earn their first green flag and after five years they are eligible for the international Eco-Schools flag. Then they must maintain their status into the platinum years.
learning for the future tried and tested Uresha Sahadev, principle at the Grosvenor Montessori in Joburg, describes a triangle that contributes to a child’s learning. “For a child to develop holistically there must be a strong link between the teacher, parent and the ‘prepared environment’,” she says. “If you have a school that doesn’t look appealing, or that doesn’t use age-appropriate materials, you could have a brilliant teacher, but on their own they would not be able to give the child a holistic education.” Grosvenor Montessori also implements “green” into its daily activities with recycling, composting, a worm farm, growing herbs and vegetables and water conservation. It then incorporates these ideas into lesson plans.
raising the green flag at eco-schools The Eco-Schools Programme is an international sustainability schools initiative that is active in over 30 000 schools across 51 countries around the world. It aims to create awareness and action around environmental sustainability in schools and their surrounding communities and supports Education for Sustainable Development in the national curriculum. The programme came to South Africa in 2003 and today over 1 100 schools participate in the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa’s (WESSA) National Eco-Schools Programme. Bridget Ringdahl, national Eco-Schools Programme manager, says its success is not measured by the number of participants, but rather by the commitment of registered schools. “They commit to whole-school environmental development, so it’s not a onceoff,” she says. “They might earn a flag this year but then they have to step it up to maintain their status next year. So they are on a sustainable trajectory.” Birches Pre-Primary in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal has been part of the programme for the past nine years. Projects they have undertaken include a new water-wise garden, a sustainability project including a solar heating system, a grey-water system, planting a vegetable garden, creating a wetland, worm farming, composting and a permaculture project. They even relocated a family of blue-headed lizards before cutting down some alien trees.
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How can we ask our children to care about their environment if we don’t show them the world exactly as it is and not through the high definition, rose-tinted lens of a television camera? It starts by incorporating environmental education into their lives. • Wash and keep containers. Store your children’s crayons and paints in them, or use them to make things. The foil from chocolate wrappers makes great dollhouse or car windows, while some paint and a bell can turn a yoghurt tub into a Christmas decoration. • Bought a new fridge? That box is a house waiting to be given a door and a happy child to occupy it. • Explore the lawn for creatures. On a sunny day you’ll find an endless variety of ants, beetles and spiders. Lie on a blanket if the idea of creepy crawlies scares you. • Go on an outdoor expedition with your children. Let them collect the things they find such as feathers and bits of bark. Help them make their own books, with a feather pasted on one page and a picture of the bird on the next. • Plant a garden. You don’t need to buy seeds and saplings; simply cut the tops off a few carrots and plant them, or bury a potato or sweet potato underground and watch it sprout leaves and develop new spuds.
environmental resources for teachers and parents • S hareNet offers a comprehensive list of free EE resources. Visit: sharenet.org.za • EnviroTeach is aimed at teachers interested in including environmental education in every subject. For more info: visit enviroteach.co.za • EELink is a global community of environmental educators, tied to the North American Association for Environmental Education. For more info: visit eelink.net • Environment Online (ENO) is a global virtual school and network for sustainable development. Schools and students can register to be part of this network. For more info: visit enoprogramme.org
local is lekker In celebration of Freedom Day on 27 April, try a few of these truly South African recipes compiled by SYDDA ESSOP in her book Karoo Kitchen.
karoo lamb curry
by Amina Essop, Beaufort West 5 tbsp sunflower oil 2 onions, thinly sliced 1 tsp salt 1 tsp fresh garlic, minced 1 tsp fresh root ginger, chopped 1 tsp fresh or dried red chillies ½ tsp turmeric 1½ tsp ground coriander 1 tsp ground cumin
• 1kg fresh lamb, rinsed well in cold water (we prefer a combination of rib, thick rib and leg chops with good marrow bones) • 3 cups boiling water • 2 ripe red tomatoes, grated • 6 (or more) small potatoes • ½ tsp garam masala • 3 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onions until golden brown. 2. Add the salt, fresh garlic, ginger, chillies and all the dried spices. 3. Fry together for about 2 minutes before adding the meat and one cup of water. 4. Stir well, cover and simmer slowly until the meat is almost tender. 5. Add the tomatoes and allow the curry to simmer until the tomatoes have nearly disappeared. Taste and season with salt, if necessary. 6. Add another two cups of boiling water as well as the potatoes, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked. 7. Stir in the garam masala and the fresh coriander and simmer for a further 10 minutes. When the curry begins to float on top of the oil, the food is ready. 8. Serve with rotis or rice.
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PHOTOGRAPHS: CRAIG FRASER
• • • • • • • • •
auntie meraai’s chicken pie by Adrie Conradie, Kareebosch
pie crust • • • • • •
4 cups cake flour 250g butter (it must be ice cold) 250g margarine (also ice cold) 2 egg yolks 8 tbsp ice water 2 tbsp lemon juice
filling • 1 whole chicken • 1 cup dry white wine (or fruit juice)
• 4–6 cloves of garlic • salt and pepper to taste • fresh or dried mixed herbs to taste • 4 tbsp butter • 1 cup cake flour • chicken stock, to make a white sauce • milk and cream, to make a white sauce • 200g ham, cubed (optional) • 4 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped • 1 punnet (225g) fresh mushrooms, sautéed, or 1 can (225g) sliced mushrooms
to make the pie crust 1. Grate the butter and margarine into the flour and rub with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. 2. Beat the egg yolks and ice water together, add the lemon juice and mix into the crumbly flour mixture to form dough. 3. Refrigerate the dough if you are going to use it within a day or two; otherwise it can be frozen. Tip: The dough is also suitable for sausage rolls, savoury tarts and small pies.
to make the filling 1. Boil the chicken in water, and add the dry white wine or fruit juice, garlic, salt, pepper and herbs – everything according to taste. (You can also use a chicken stock cube instead of the wine or fruit juice, but be careful of too much salt.)
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about the book 2. Once tender, allow the chicken to cool, remove the skin and bones and flake the larger pieces of meat. 3. Reserve the liquid in which the chicken has been cooked. 4. Melt the butter in a pan, stir in the cake flour and make a thick white sauce by adding the chicken stock, milk and cream according to taste. 5. Combine the chicken, ham, parsley and mushrooms, add the white sauce and stir well. Spoon the mixture into a pie dish. Cover with the pie crust or ready-made puff pastry and bake at 180°C until the crust is crisp and golden. Tip: The filling can be frozen without the crust. Defrost and cover with the pie crust or readymade puff pastry.
Sydda Essop’s Karoo Kitchen (Quivertree Publications) is a celebration of the “unsung heroes” of the Karoo. Sydda interviewed more than 70 selftaught cooks about their experiences and culinary secrets. Many of the recipes have been passed down through generations, and they reflect our country’s rich cultural diversity. Some, like Henry Olivier have made a living from their cooking. The book includes treasured family photographs, as well as exquisite photographs from Craig Fraser. Available at all good bookstores.
put the right foot forward Proper foot care and the right shoes will go a long way to preventing
s your child knock-kneed, flat-footed or sporting a limp? These are common childhood foot problems, but the good news is that more than 80 percent of children will outgrow most of these. However, 15 percent will go on to have foot issues later in life, says Sean Pincus, a Cape Townbased podiatrist. So, if you suspect something is not right with your child’s feet, have them assessed by a podiatrist.
what’s afoot? According to the Podiatry Association of South Africa, only a small percentage of foot problems are genetic, and many develop because of neglect or improper foot care such as wearing ill-fitting shoes. Limping If your child is limping, he’s doing it because his leg is sore and it’s almost always the result of a foot or lower limb problem. Walking on tiptoes Some children are habitual tiptoe walkers while others walk this way because of their short Achilles tendons. While it’s common for a toddler to walk
on his tiptoes, if your child is still doing this after he turns three, have him assessed. Intoeing, or walking pigeon-toed, and outtoeing Intoers, whose feet point inwards, are prone to tripping. While it can occur from birth, intoeing can also be caused by children
You take your child for hearing and eye tests, and to the paediatrician for checkups, so why not check out his feet? sitting in a “W” position, so parents should monitor this. Children with this gait are compensating for problems with their feet or rotational deformities of the leg and that needs to be addressed as soon as it’s picked up. It is usually when your child starts walking, anytime between 10 and 16 months.
Flat feet and fallen arches A child’s arches only really begin to develop at the age of three, so this would be when you’d spot it. Your podiatrist may recommend orthotics if the flat foot is causing problems. Knock-knees Bow knees that go outwards and knockknees that go inwards, very often correct themselves. But if they don’t, they will require orthotics, physiotherapy and even surgery to change the angle. Athlete’s foot, plantar warts and ingrown toenails Make sure that your child wears slops at public pools to avoid contracting athlete’s foot and plantar warts. While ingrown toenails can be congenital, they can also be caused by cutting the toenails incorrectly. Trim your child’s toenails straight across and leave them slightly longer than the tips of his toes. Don’t cut the corners or on the sides. Sever’s disease “This is probably the most frequent cause of heel pain that we see in children. Girls develop it at approximately age nine and boys a little bit older, at
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problems with your children’s feet. By TORI HOFFMANN
80% of foot problems are caused by misshapen, inflexible shoes – Vivobarefoot
about age 11,” says Pincus. It’s characterised by activityrelated pain that occurs on the back of the heel, where the Achilles tendon attaches on the heel bone. Your child may have swelling in the area, and it may be tender to the touch. They may limp or complain of heel pain, often when moving from one type of surface to another. “We find it in children who do a lot of running, jumping, and other high-impact activities. It’s one of the foot problems that’s not congenital and has to be managed by controlling the amount of activity that your child engages in,” he says.
when to see a podiatrist The Podiatry Association of SA recommends that you take your child to visit a podiatrist once a year. “You take your child for hearing and eye tests, and to the paediatrician for checkups, so why not check out his feet?” asks Pincus. As the foot starts to form properly from the age of three, arches begin to develop and foot problems may present themselves. “You want a podiatrist to follow your child’s development through his growth years, so that if something changes, you’ve established a baseline. Of course, if there’s an obvious problem, you need to see the podiatrist long before your child turns three.”
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barefoot is best Pincus says barefoot is best, as long as your child is walking in a safe environment, such as grass without thorns, on the beach or inside. This is because a badly fitting shoe interferes with your child’s growth and development. Before the age of three, a child’s feet is made up of mostly cartilage so the younger a child is, the less bone there is in their feet. As the foot serves as an interface between the brain and the surface on which the child is walking, it shouldn’t be restrained by footwear. Pincus suggests the following when choosing shoes for your child: • The shoe must hold onto the foot, not the foot onto the shoe. Look out for soft flexible shoes that allow the foot to function. It should also be flexible across the ball of the foot while the heel counter should be firm and stable. Socks with rubberised soles work well for toddlers. Rigid shoes are a no-no as they interfere with foot development, as are sandals without a backstrap. • Have your older child’s feet measured every three months – there are some shops that do this – and make sure that there is a thumb-width space between your child’s big toe and the top of his shoe. • When it comes to buying a shoe for your older child, go with leather or non-sweat synthetic shoes. Also look for the Podiatry Association of SA’s approved swing tag. • Never put girls younger than the age of 10 in high heels. • Ideally, choose sport-specific shoes. There is no one shoe that will cover all the sports; the surfaces used and the nature of the games differ.
the truth about cats and dogs Our pets are treasured members of the family, so it’s important that we keep them healthy and happy too. By LUCILLE KEMP
ost will agree that having an animal companion has the same soul-soothing effect on us as having human friends. Children love, and are fascinated by, their furry friends and research by various psychologists shows the benefits of keeping pets reaffirms this love. Having animals in the home can help children cope with a variety of ailments and conditions, such as depression; they help children develop empathy and compassion, and help with low selfesteem, their cognitive development and to lower stress levels. Pets make children more cooperative and open to sharing and may even buffer loneliness, especially helpful for an only child. Surveys have also found that there is an increase in a family’s happiness and the amount of fun they have when there is a dog to play with or a kitten to cuddle. To get to this happy place, however, takes care and concern for all members of your family, pets included.
Rabies is fatal. It can be contracted from dogs, but it is mostly carried by wild animals so prevent your pets from coming into contact with them. You may consider spaying or neutering your pet to cut down on roaming and aggressive behaviour. Dr Pete Vincent of Netcare Travel Clinics says, “Having your domestic animals vaccinated against rabies is essential and can provide you with protection, as it can prevent your pet becoming infected if a rabid animal bites it.” They must be vaccinated annually. Toxoplasmosis is another serious ailment caused by a parasite found in animal faeces. People can become infected by handling contaminated cat faeces and most will show flu-like symptoms for a month, but it is far more serious for children and pregnant women as the parasite can infect a foetus, causing a miscarriage or a serious birth defect. Pregnant women should avoid cleaning a litter tray and anyone else that does should use gloves. Solid waste should be removed daily and litter trays should be cleaned with boiling water once a week. Cat scratch disease is a bacterial condition spread between cats through fleas. Humans usually become infected from a cat scratch or bite and show flu-like symptoms or they may develop more serious problems such as damage to the valves of the heart. If a cat scratches or bites you or your child, wash the wounds with disinfectant soap and hot water. Keep your pets free of fleas as these are what carry the bacteria initially.
Pets make children more cooperative and open to sharing and may even buffer loneliness.
As a new parent you’d probably be concerned about having an animal that growls or hisses at every noise, and sheds fur over everything, around your new baby. However, research published in the American journal Pediatrics shows that you don’t have to give your pets away for fear of allergies and disease when you bring a baby into the house. Babies who grow up with a pet are less likely to get sick than those who don’t, and there’s growing support for the notion that an overly sterile environment is not that good for a baby’s health. Researchers, led by Finnish paediatrician Eija Bergroth, think pets are linked to a lower risk of allergies because “exposure to pet dander, as well as the microbes that pets carry into the home can prime babies who are not predisposed to developing allergies or asthma, to train their still-developing immune systems to fend off assaults from allergens and bugs”.
healthy pets, healthy children Your child can become sick with the following illnesses if exposed to pets that are not properly cared for. Scabies is caused by a mite and is an itchy, red bumpy rash with white flakes. Get medical attention if you or your dog has a suspicious rash. Ringworm is a contagious fungal infection and is, in fact, not a worm. It is transmitted from direct contact with an infected pet’s skin or hair. Keep surfaces clean and disinfected regularly and wash your child’s hands after contact with a pet. Use an antifungal cream to eliminate the ringworm. Hookworm is an intestinal parasite that can cause abdominal pain, anaemia and diarrhoea. Humans contract the worm when coming into contact with soil or sand contaminated by a pet’s infected faeces. The best prevention is to deworm pets. Roundworm, contracted by humans coming into contact with infected faeces. Roundworm infection is particularly concerning for children. It can cause fever, coughing, appetite loss and congestion. Various dewormers are available. Rabies, which is caused by a virus and spread through bites, affects the nervous system. Early signs are fever and a headache, leading to confusion, sleepiness and agitation.
best breeds There are various breeds of dog and cat that come recommended as great companions to children. The sturdy bull dog is a friendly, docile and loyal companion for your child. The clever and cheerful beagle makes a great pet for active children and the bull terrier is protective, and a great pet for large families as she requires a lot of playtime. The collie, Newfoundland, vizsla, Irish setter, poodle and retriever are very popular with families. When it comes to deciding on a breed of cat, you’re really looking for a feline with a child-friendly personality and a tolerance for noise and movement; that is not territorial, enjoys being petted, and is sociable, easy-going and adaptable. Recommended breeds include the Abyssinian, Persian, Ragdoll, Manx, Maine Coon, Burmese, Birman and American Shorthair cats.
smooth introduction If you were a dog- or cat-parent before you were a child-parent, there was probably a time when your pets got the best of you. Now that there is a child thrown into the mix, you’ll need to manage the whole getting-to-know-you process carefully to keep your pet feeling loved, and not jealous, and therefore your child safe. Get your animals acquainted with your baby’s scent from the start by sending your baby’s blanket home before you leave the hospital. Take your pets into the nursery so they can scout out the unfamiliar space; push the pram around and get them used to it as many dogs view turning wheels as a challenge. Take your dog to obedience training, get them used to a leash and ensure that your dog knows commands such as “sit”, “walk”, “gentle” and “stay”. Train dogs to be respectful when they are excited. Your pet should be healthy and exercise. Install a baby gate, teach your child to not hit or pull the animal’s hair, and keep your pet’s food and toys where your child can’t reach them. magazine cape town
PHOTOGRAPH: CHANTELLE VISSER
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it’s a common problem Teachers of children from preschool to senior primary school identified the issues they deal with most often in their classrooms. CHILD MAGAZINE finds out who can help.
fine motor skills These involve the small muscle movements in the hands and fingers, which are used to perform functions like grasping, writing, doing up buttons or cutting. Children with fine motor skill difficulties may avoid tasks requiring small muscle movement, such as building puzzles and cutting with scissors says Joburg occupational therapist (OT) Cheryl Bennie. Other indications may be difficulty sitting still to draw or colour, swapping hands during fine motor work, rushed and poorly controlled colouring or drawing and an avoidance of grasping objects with isolated finger movements. Children should be developing skills like beading and using an inferior pencil grip by the age of three, but problems may only be identified in Grades 0 or 1, when there is a greater expectation on children to perform fine motor activities. Therapy often depends on the cause of the problem, but it could be as simple as engaging children in ageappropriate fine motor games. In more severe cases, such as where low muscle tone or poor motor planning are involved, an OT will assess your child and advise on the best course of remediation, either through a home programme or regular therapy.
gross motor skills This relates to the large body movements associated with normal human development. Every child is programmed to go through the same sequence of developmental milestones. Delays and/or non-acquisition of these milestones result in the inadequate use of the body, says Joburg-based OT Jennifer Lewkowski. A child may have poor head and neck control, poor control of their posture, they may slouch, prop their head up while sitting or use support when standing. Their hands won’t meet or cross the midline. The child may be seen as accident-prone, as they bump into things. In the classroom, they will struggle to listen, they will fiddle and fall behind because they can’t sit and focus on what the teacher is saying. Gross motor problems may be detected at birth. At school age, you will notice problems with your child’s language, academic work, social behaviour, emotional resolution and decision-making as a grasp of motor abilities is needed for these functional tasks. A paediatrician will identify if there is motor skill dysfunction and then refer you to an OT or a neurodevelopmental physiotherapist.
Low muscle tone is characterised by loose, floppy muscles. Children may also have motor skill problems and poor coordination. They may struggle to maintain their posture and get tired easily. They may slump, have poor head control and have difficulty sitting still. Low muscle tone can lead to difficulties like delays in developing motor skills, speech difficulties and concentration problems. It is normal for babies to have low postural muscle tone, says Bennie, but “lower than normal tone can be seen in infants and toddlers in severe cases”. Typically, it will only be noticeable from about three years old. Children can sometimes grow out of low muscle tone, if it is mild, and if they take part in physical activities such as ballet, karate or gymnastics. If school performance is affected, they should see an OT or physical therapist, advises Bennie. Therapy includes activities that help to develop more tone and muscle strength.
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ability to concentrate
fine motor skills muscle tone
gross motor skills
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sensory integration Problems occur when the brain does not interpret information from the senses correctly. Lewkowski says, “Imagine going through your day wearing gardening gloves against thorns. Or every time someone hugs or kisses or touches you, the sensation is like scraping chalk on the blackboard.” Signs include being overly sensitive to touch, movement, sight, sound, taste and smell, reacting with irritability or withdrawing when touched, and avoiding certain textures. Children may be easily distracted or fearful of simple movement activities and they may suffer from motion sickness. Some children may seek out intense sensory experiences as they may seem oblivious to pain or can be unaware of where their body is or its movement in space. Sometimes there is a fluctuation between the extremes of over- and underresponsiveness. Their activity level is unusually high or low and there may be a fluctuation from one extreme to the other. Dysfunction can be noticed in the coordination of the large muscles – stability and movement in the torso, body or trunk or with fine motor coordination – using scissors, crayons, buttons, laces, knives and forks. Children may appear lazy, bored, or unmotivated. They figure out ways to avoid tasks at which they fail. It can be recognized immediately after birth and is sometimes mistaken for severe colic and restlessness. If not dealt with early, it will continue until the child becomes extremely distressed and it impacts the way they function at home, in the classroom and in their interaction with caregivers. An evaluation can be carried out by a qualified OT. The therapist might informally observe spontaneous play and ask you to provide information about your child’s development and/or your child’s typical behaviour patterns. It is appropriate and necessary to ask a professional when or how he or she was trained in the evaluation of sensory integration.
ability to concentrate An inability to focus on a set task could be a concentration problem. Underlying causes may include hearing or vision difficulties, problems with processing information, cognitive or developmental delays, emotional concerns, or nutritional or physiological deficiencies, says Durban-based psychologist Claudette Jordan. Children may be easily distracted, struggle to focus on a task, or sustain that focus, and struggle to follow instructions. They can get bored easily and may do better on more difficult tasks because of this. Hyperfocus and hyperactivity are also signs, says Jordan. Poor concentration usually becomes apparent during the preschool years, when there is a structured, formal learning environment. “Determining if a child has concentration difficulty can be a complex process of multidisciplinary assessment, as each child differs,” says Jordan. A psychiatrist may prescribe medication, although this may have drawbacks for some children. Brain training is becoming a popular treatment and uses focused and repeated exercises to change cognitive functioning. Nutritional supplements, commonly omega-3 and -6 oils, and a low-GI diet can be used. Supportive therapies include OT or speech therapy to improve information processing. Jordan adds that effective management often needs parents to work on behavioural strategies at home. You could also consult a kinesiologist for this, and for other childhood problems such as learning difficulties and emotional problems. For a list of healthcare practitioners, visit childmag.co.za/resourceshealthcarepractitioners
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speech Speaking with a lisp is a common speech impediment and it involves either a substitution or a distortion of certain sounds. Joburg-based speech therapist Karen Levin says children sometimes substitute sounds, for example, using “w” instead of “r”. This is normal for younger children, especially with the “s” sound, so it shouldn’t be a concern until Grade 0. Levin recommends getting therapy from the second half of Grade 0, so that it is taken care of before Grade 1, where there is more academic pressure. Lisps that involve a distortion of sounds should be treated with therapy as soon as possible. A speech therapist can assess and treat a lisp. Articulation therapy shows children where to position the tongue, and uses listening, mirror therapy and home programmes. Lisps can be caused by a tongue thrust, an immature swallowing pattern or low muscle tone, says Levin. In these cases, a speech therapist could recommend additional treatment, such as oral motor exercises. With delayed language development, a child’s ability to use language doesn’t develop as it should. While children do develop at their own pace, Levin says there are critical language development milestones that children should meet. This starts from nine to 10 months of age, when children’s babbling sounds should sound like speech. By the age of two, children should be putting together simple sentences, and asking for or telling you things. By Grade 1 children should have a concept of time, space and relationships, pick up words easily and seldom make grammatical errors. If you suspect there is a problem, or there are other risk factors such as your child was premature or has hearing difficulties, consult a speech therapist. Therapy may range from parents talking to their child more at home, to home programmes and individual or group therapy.
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hearing Three out of four children have had at least one ear infection before the age of three. Symptoms associated with this include pain, fluid leaking from the ear, irritability and difficulty sleeping. Children with a middle-ear infection may suffer from temporary hearing loss, when sounds are muffled. Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the outer-ear structures and is caused by bacteria in the water. It won’t however cause lasting hearing problems. If the pain from an ear infection is persistent, there is a high fever or fluid leaking from the ear, consult your doctor, paediatrician or an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT). Treatment may involve a course of antibiotics or, in severe cases, a surgical procedure to insert grommets. Also, have them tested for any hearing loss if ear infections recur, or are severe. Hearing can also be affected by central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), which refers to the communication between what the ear hears and how the brain interprets the information, says a Joburg-based audiologist. When a child’s auditory processing skills are weak, they may experience “auditory overload”, making communication and learning a challenge. This impacts on their ability to listen, speak, read, write and do certain tasks. They may behave as if they have hearing loss, even though a hearing assessment indicates normal hearing thresholds. They will have difficulty learning songs and rhymes, battle to read, write and spell and may mishear words. The auditory system only fully matures from around eight years of age so one can only then establish an auditory disorder. An audiologist is the only person who can correctly diagnose your child with CAPD. The audiologist will make a recommendation to possibly use the sensory integrative approach where the individual is guided through activities that challenge their ability to respond appropriately to sensory input by creating an organised response. A CAPD can be improved with treatment from speech therapists, audiologists, educational psychologists, teachers, doctors and parents.
a good read for toddlers
Alienography 2 – Tips for the Tiny Tyrants By Chris Riddell
an e pic journ ey
Blue By Michael Rosen and Michael Foreman
Vumile and the Dragon By Claerwen Howie, Lisa Strachan and Meg Jordi
(Published by Walker Books, R183) This is a lyrical story for children from the age of four about a little boy’s life-changing journey through the sky with a magical cat. Raffi’s brother Jake can do everything. He can run fast, jump high, dance and draw elephants. If only Raffi were good at something too. One evening when Raffi can’t sleep, a magical flying cat called Blue appears and takes him on an adventure through the night sky. On this flight Raffi learns he has wonderful skills. The next day, he feels just a little bit different. He is happy and has more confidence.
(Published by Bumble Books, R149) This local gem was voted for Bookchat Awards 2012 Top Ten for most outstanding contribution to South African children’s literature. The author’s mom didn’t believe in the words “being bored”. She taught Claerwen to open her eyes and look and see. In the book, Katie follows Granny Ada’s cat, Morris, to a hedge. There she finds a chameleon. This leads to more exploration on the farm. The drawings are vivid, and each one gives children an opportunity to search for all kinds of creatures. Children as young as three can look for goggas in the pages. A portion of the proceeds of this book goes towards the Worldwide Fund for Nature in support of rhino conservation.
for early graders
(Published by Macmillan Children’s Books, R216) Join Chris Riddell and Colin the alien as they explain their tips for intergalactic domination. Learn how to select a simpering sidekick, how to choose an evil outfit – a good vest is a must – and how to buy the best battle cruiser. You’ll be a butt-kicking baddie before you can blink. Magnificently illustrated and hugely funny, with novelty elements including a mini comic, a fold-out crosssection of the “Centennial Turkey” spaceship, and a “Top Chumps” card game, this second book in the series will be just as popular as the first one with children from the age of seven.
Raccoon Rampage By Andrew Cope
have a laug h
(Published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, R88) From the award-winning author of the Spy Dog series comes a wildly funny tale in the Awesome Animals series, starring the wildest of wildlife from leading authors. The Hole-in-the-Tree gang, led by Quickpaw Cassidy and The Sunshine Cub, is the most daring group of raccoons in town. But when these cheeky chancers carry out the biggest, boldest heist of their lives, they push the neighbourhood too far. The heat is on and the gang goes on the run in a wild adventure that ultimately teaches them that there’s no place like home.
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for preteens and teens Skylark By Meagan Spooner (Published by Random House Struik, R115) Vis in magia, in vita vi. In magic there is power, and in power life. For 15 years, Lark Ainsley waited for the day when her Resource would be harvested and she would finally be an adult. After the harvest she expected a small role in the regular, orderly operation of the City within the Wall. She expected to do her part to maintain the refuge for the last survivors of the Wars. She expected to be a tiny cog in the larger clockwork of the city. Lark did not expect to become the City’s power supply. Her only choice is to escape; to follow the birds into the wilderness beyond. This book, which is perfect for fans of The Hunger Games, offers an electrifying tale of magic, secrecy and survival.
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a life guide
Life Talk for a Daughter and Life Talk for a Son By Izabella Little-Gates and Patrick Wilson (Published by Random House Struik, R159) These updated guides of this bestselling series are an essential toolkit of lessons for life. Life Talk for a Daughter explores choices and consequences, and offers practical insight into the values of self-respect, personal integrity and a healthy attitude. Its candid and comprehensive advice empowers teenage girls to achieve the most out of life, and provides them with the skills necessary for tackling life’s challenges with grace and humour. In Life Talk for a Son, the author tackles issues such as leadership, staying fit, fitting in, DIY, sex and drugs.
No! I Don’t Need Reading Glasses! By Virginia Ironside (Published by Quercus, R221) Marie may be “getting on a bit” but it’s certainly not getting her down. She’s working part-time so there are more hours each day to enjoy life. She has her friends and Pouncer, the cat, as well as a darling grandson. And she has Archie to share her bed. She has all this, plus the Daily Rant’s screaming headlines to wake her up in the morning. But, a roller-coaster of a year beckons; a year that contains love and death, and the bizarre decision to take up temporary residence in a tree. Always funny, often touching, this book shows that getting on a bit does not mean giving up or growing up.
parenting books Fantastic Fingers By Ingrid C. King (Published by Love2Learn&Grow, R250 for book and DVD, R200 for DVD only) This is a unique concept developed by a paediatric occupational therapist. King has worked with children, parents and teachers for over 12 years. The songs and games are suitable for children ages four to six years old and can be adapted for older children with special needs. The activities focus on developing muscle strength in the trunk, arms and fingers, improving coordination, pencil control and enhancing sensory awareness. Children learn the correct pencil grip through a fun story with finger characters. The songs and games also promote directionality, the ability to follow instructions, and improve rhythm and motor planning.
what’s on in april
You can also access the calendar online at
Here’s your guide for what to do, where to go and who to see. Compiled by LUCILLE KEMP
FUN FOR CHILDREN – p39
ONLY FOR PARENTS – p41
Build your own adventure Over the holidays, children design and build their own hideaways.
Mojo4Moms personal development workshops Each week focuses on a particular area of a mom’s life.
bump, baby & tot in tow – p42
how to help – p42
HypnoBirthing antenatal course This course incorporates techniques for a comfortable natural birth.
Cape Autism Charity Trust It’s Autism Awareness Month. Show your support for this organisation.
SPECIAL EVENTS – p38 FamFest This family day offers a children’s zone, teenager’s park, and an adult zone with a chill-out area and a main stage.
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7 April – Johnny Clegg – Old Mutual Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts
SPECIAL EVENTS 4 thursday Kidz Discovery meet and greet open registration day Find out more about the registered Bridging Brightstart School for 2,5–4 year olds, baby and toddler classes from 3 months and older, The BrightStart Preschool Preparedness programme, crafts as well as art classes for 6–12 year olds. Time: 3pm–5:30pm. Venue: The Drive, Camps Bay. Cost: free entry. Contact: 083 654 2494, email@example.com or visit kidzdiscovery.co.za
7 sunday Old Mutual Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts Johnny Clegg wraps up the concert series. Time 4pm–7:30pm. Venue: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Cost: R80–R110. Book through Webtickets: visit webtickets.co.za
Taste of Cape Town Features specialist exhibitors, live demos, artisan producers, premium drink brands and award-winning wineries. Ends 14 April. Time: 6:30pm–10:30pm, Thursday; 6:30pm–10:30pm, Friday; 1pm–5pm and 6:30pm–10:30pm, Saturday; 12pm–5pm, Sunday. Venue: Green Point Cricket Club, Fritz Sonnenberg Rd. Cost: R50–R685. For more info: visit tasteofcapetown.com
12 friday Annual Reach for a Dream golf day Time: 11:30am first tee-off. Venue: Rondebosch Golf Club. Cost: R2 800 per four-ball (R700 per player), which includes 18 holes of golf in a four-ball alliance, a prizegiving dinner, goody bag and prizes. Contact Maureen: 021 591 1260 or firstname.lastname@example.org
13 saturday Hout Bay sandcastle competition Children, families, schools and corporate teams compete to build the most impressive sandcastle in aid of education funds. There are food and drink stalls, music, pony rides and a fun park. Funds raised go to the Valley Preprimary School’s Sonwabile Fund. Time: 8:30am registration, 9:30am–1pm competition. Venue: Hout Bay Beach. Cost: adults R30, children R15, corporate and sponsored teams R700, school teams R150. Contact: 021 790 1540 or visit houtbaysandcastle.co.za
Chef’s Picnic in Cecilia’s World Tour a Ceres farm with the farmer, pick your own fruit from the trees in the orchard and then enjoy a picnic prepared by internationally renowned chef Liam Tomlin. Time: 11am. Venue: Koelfontein Farm, Prince Alfred’s Hamlet. Cost: family picnic (up to 2 adults and 3 children) R700 and couple’s picnic (two adults) R500. Contact: info@ ceciliasworld.co.za or visit ceciliasworld.co.za
SA Cheese Festival The festival brings you Nataniël, who shows recipes for cooking with cheese. Enjoy cheese and wine tastings. There is entertainment for the children. Ends 28 April. Time: 10am–10pm, Friday; 10am–6pm, Saturday; 10am–5pm, Sunday. Venue: Sandringham, Stellenbosch. Cost: adults R115, wine tasting glasses R15, children 13 and younger free. Contact: 021 975 4440 or visit cheesefestival.co.za Canal Walk Motor Show Ends 1 May. Time: 9am. Venue: Canal Walk Shopping Centre. Cost: free entry. For more info: visit canalwalk.co.za
Camps Bay Primary School open day Time: 8:30am–10:30am. Venue: Dunkeld Rd. Cost: free. Contact: 021 438 1503
19 friday Constantia Food and Wine Festival Fine wines and food from award-winning restaurants are showcased. There is live entertainment and a children’s area. Ends 21 April. Time: 11am–9pm, Friday and Saturday; 11am–5pm, Sunday. Venue: Constantia Uitsig Wine Estate. Cost: R150 per person per day, which includes 10 tastings, under 18s R30. For more info: visit pnptickets.co.za Snap gala dinner for World Autism Month The six-course dinner and wine pairing is led by Marc Lottering, and there is a charity auction to raise funds. Time: 8pm. Venue: The President Hotel, 4 Alexander Ave, Bantry Bay. Cost: R1 000 per person. Contact: email@example.com or visit snap.org.za
Zip-Zap Circus School fundraising event The St Martini Kindergarten presents the Zip-Zap Circus School. Time: 11:45am–2pm. Venue: Zip-Zap Circus, Foreshore. Cost: R75 for over 16 year olds, R50 for 16 years old and under, free for under 2 year olds. Contact: 021 423 2720 or firstname.lastname@example.org
27 saturday Bloubergrant school fête There are stalls, a jumping castle, treasure hunt, puppet show and fancy dress. Time: 9am–1pm. Venue: Bloubergrant Preprimary School, 4 Curlewis Rd, Bloubergrant. Cost: free entry. Contact: 021 557 5500 or email@example.com
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FUN FOR CHILDREN art, culture and science Arty Tots workshops Start of the second term. Children develop fine motor skills and sensory integration. Creative play sessions for parents and children also available. For 1–4 year olds. Starts 8 April. Time: 9am–11am, Monday–Saturday. Venue: 17 Sunset Clam Lane, Melkbosstrand. Cost: R990 for the term. Contact: 071 220 9991, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit artytots.co.za CapeGators Kids Club Easter cupcake decorating themed workshop For 3–13 year olds. 20 April. Time: 10am. Venue: CapeGate Shopping Precinct. Cost: free. For more info: visit capegatecentre.co.za Free introductory fabric painting workshop For adults and children. 27 April. Time: 8:45am–10:45am. Venue: Pinelands. Cost: R30 per kit. Contact Wendy: 021 531 8076 or email@example.com Italian language course for tots Parents’ attendance required. For 12–36 month olds. Time: 9:30am–11am or 11am–12:30pm, every Friday. Venue: 1st Floor, The Grimley, 14 Tuin Plein, Gardens. Cost: R660 per term. Contact: 021 465 8261 or visit ladante.co.za Sue Nepgen’s children’s art classes Second term’s programme includes clay work, tissue paper collages, chalk pastel landscapes, sketching, watercolour work and drawing and painting techniques. For 4–13 year olds. Time: weekday afternoons
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and Saturday mornings. Venue: Michael Oak Waldorf School, Kenilworth or 28 Klaasenbosch Dr, Constantia. Cost: R590 a term, including materials. Pro-rata fees for late joiners. Contact: 021 794 6609, 021 794 4723 or firstname.lastname@example.org
classes, talks and workshops Djembe drumming classes Children create music with drumming techniques. For children 9 years and older. Time: 4pm–4:45pm, every Thursday. Venue: Alas Academy, 85 Kommetjie Rd, Fish Hoek. Cost: R50 per lesson. Contact: 021 782 6552 or visit alasacademy.co.za
FamFest Younger children can enjoy inflatables, a Ferris wheel, sand art and more, while older childern are entertained by fun fair rides, exhibitions, and displays from break dancers and skateboarders. Local artists perform. An open-air cinema screens a family movie in the evening. Visit the food stalls, juice bar, slush puppy machines and a fully licensed bar. Time: 11am–8pm. Venue: Claremont Cricket Club, Constantia. To book tickets and for more info: visit famfest.co.za
Kirstenbosch Garden Fair and indigenous plant sale 20 and 21 April. Time: 9am–4pm. Venue: Stone Cottages, cnr Kirstenbosch Dr and Rhodes Dr. Contact: 021 671 5468 Ratanga Junction open for the holidays 28 March–7 April. 13 and 14, 20 and 21, 27 and 28 April. Time: 10am-5pm, daily. Venue: Century City. Cost: R162 for over 1,3m, R80 for under 1,3m, R55 for a non-rider fun pass, R55 a ride on the Slingshot. For more info: visit ratanga.co.za
finding nature and outdoor play Nature Discoveries’ two-day adventure Activities include camouflage search, animal tracking, trail exploring and imaginative play.
3 and 4 April. Time: 9am–1pm. Venue: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Cost: call to enquire. Contact: 079 156 0586, email@example.com or visit naturenetwork.co.za
holiday activities Artjamming holiday programme Monday: chocolate-sweets; Tuesday and Thursday: original characters in animation; Wednesday: create their own Jackson Pollock collage; Friday: mosaic art. 1–5 April. Time: varies. Venue: all stores. Cost: R135, which includes all materials. Contact Willowbridge: 021 914 9224 or info@artjamming. co.za; Cape Quarter: 021 421 6129 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Cavendish: 021 683 5050 or email@example.com Aunty K’s holiday school Children make their own decoupage name plaque. For 6–13 year olds. 2–4 April. Time: 10am–12:30pm. Venue: Stages Lifestyle Centre, Littlewoods, Ottery. Cost: R45 per child, which includes all materials used. Contact: 021 704 1462, 074 106 0713 or firstname.lastname@example.org Brackenfell Library holiday programme 3 April. Time: 10am. Venue: Paradys St, Brackenfell. Cost: free. Contact: 021 980 1261 Build your own adventure Children design and build their own hideaways using stories to guide their creations. There are also walks, a fête with games, food and story creations. On Thursday, families join for campfire
calendar storytelling. For 6–11 year olds. 1–5 April. Time: 9am–4pm, daily. Venue: Kirstenbosch Stone Cottages, Newlands. Cost: R190 per day or R800 per week. Contact: 084 873 4711 or visit elementalkids.co.za Cricket School of Excellence holiday clinic For 4–13 year olds. 2–5 April. Time: 9am–2pm Venues: Rondebosch Boys’ High School; Herzlia Constantia; Jan van Riebeeck Primary School; Parklands College Secondary School; Durbanville Cricket Club; Stellenbosch. Cost: R500 per student or R950 for two students from the same family. Contact: 021 671 9460, 084 249 9969, email@example.com or visit cricketschool.co.za Easter holiday swimming clinic For beginners and those learning their strokes with one-on-one lessons in an indoor heated pool. 2–3 April, 4–5 April or 2–5 April. Cost: 2-day clinic R150, 4-day clinic R270. Contact: 021 674 7681 or firstname.lastname@example.org Kronendal Holiday Club Activities include crafts, drumming, baking, a mountain hike, beach walk and swimming. All schools and ages welcome. 2–5 April. Time: 8am–6pm. Venue: Kronendal Primary School, Andrews Rd, Hout Bay. Cost: until 1pm, R80 (bring own snack); until 3pm, R110 (including lunch and snack); until 6pm, R140 (including lunch and snack). Contact: 076 402 2333 or email@example.com Manners 4 Minors Classes look at nagging, good sportsmanship and the value of money. For 4–6 year olds. 2–5
Central Park, Park Lane, Century City. Cost: free entry. Contact: 021 531 2173 The Great Gatsby Vintage Ideas Market For dècor items, jewellery, glass and silverware, vintage clothing, garden accessories, antiques and various children’s entertainment. 26–28 April. Time: 9:30am–4pm. Venue: Simondium’s Country Lodge, on the R45. Cost: adults R30, children free. Contact: 021 874 1046 or visit festiveideas.co.za 13 April – Delta Draf
on stage and screen April. Time 9:30am–12pm. Venue: East Congregational Church, Markham Rd, Claremont. Cost: R60 per morning. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Snowman building Children can win prizes. Bring own equipment and decorations. 3 April. Time: 10am–12:30pm. Venue: The Ice Station, GrandWest Casino. Cost: normal skating fees; if not skating, R5 for snowman building. Contact: 021 535 2260 Theatre School For children 7–11 years old. 2–5 April. Time: 9am–5pm. Venue: UCT. Cost: R1 300 for the week. Contact: 072 858 3221 or email@example.com
markets Jolly Carp Organic Market Stalls sell organic veggies. Time: 10am–3pm, every Saturday. Venue: 38 Sasmeer Rd, Retreat. Cost: free entry. Contact: 021 761 5411 Natural Goods Market Including live entertainment. Time: 9am–2pm. Venue:
Hansel and Gretel The show is suitable for ages 4 years and older. 6, 13, 20 and 27 April. Time: 10am and 11:15am, every Saturday. Venue: The Rainbow Puppet Theatre, Constantia Waldorf School, Spaanschemat River Rd. Cost: R20. Contact: 021 783 2063 or firstname.lastname@example.org Marvin Marvin premieres 12 April After a barbaric alien species invades his home planet, Marvin’s parents send him to planet Earth. There the alien child is adopted by a typical all-American family. Starts at 6:05pm on Friday 12 April with two episodes. Showing on Nickleodeon DStv channel 305 The Croods premieres in cinemas on 29 March The story takes place during a previously undiscovered epoch known as the Croodacious Era, when Mother Nature was still experimenting. The Tale of Peter Rabbit 23 March– 6 April. Time: 10:30am. Venue: Artscape Theatre Foyer. Cost: R50 per person. Book
through Computicket: 0861 915 8000 or Artscape Dial-a-Seat: 021 421 7695 The Amazing World of Gumball The animated sitcom combines live action with 2D and 3D animation and charts the adventures of the fearless blue cat, Gumball. Starts Monday 1 April, airing weekdays at 5:50pm. Repeats weekdays at 7:25am and weekends at 10:25am and 3:50pm
playtime and story time Valley Farmstall family fun Parents can relax, while their children play in the secure playground. Time: 9am–4pm, Wednesday– Sunday. Venue: Valley Farmstall, Valley Rd, Hout Bay. Cost: free entry if ordering from their menu; picnic entry: adults R30, children 2–12 years old R15, under 2 free. Contact Tami: 021 790 3803, 079 323 6290 or email@example.com
sport and physical activities Delta Draf A 5km and 10km run on farm roads, through orchards and vineyards. Medals are awarded to all finishers. 13 April. Time: 8am. Venue: Solms-Delta Wine Estate, off R45 to Franschhoek. Cost: licensed athletes R35, unlicensed athletes R65, fun run R15. Contact: 021 874 3937 ext 135 or visit solms-delta.co.za or enteronline.co.za Kirstenhof Dance and Pilates Studio Enquire about ballet, hip-hop and Pilates classes. Venue: 14 Windhover St, Kirstenhof. Cost: varies; 1 free trial class. Contact: 021 701 2750 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Pilates for Kids For 5–12 year olds. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 April. Time: 1:45pm–2:30pm. Venue: 29 Derry St, Vredehoek. Cost: call to enquire. Contact: 021 461 2159 or visit healthjunction.co.za Teddy Tennis Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons, accompanied by music. For 2–8 year olds. Time: afternoons. Venue: The Glen Country Club, Clifton. Cost: varies. Contact: 083 679 0731, mark@ teddytennis.com or visit teddytennis.com
V&A Waterfront holiday activities On 22–31 March at Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre: Easter egg hunt. On 5–7 April at The Amphitheatre: Cartoon Network and Boomerang Kids’ Show. On 29 March–7 April at The Craft Market, Easter Garden: the zoo; sand art; make Easter eggs with chocolate, papier-mâché egg decorating and face painting.
only for parents
Time: varies. Cost: varies. For more info: visit waterfront.co.za
classes, talks and workshops American Heart Association The family and friends programme by ER24 and Mediclinic hosts monthly CPR and first-aid courses. 6 April. Time: 9am–3pm. Venue: Cape Gate Mediclinic. Cost: R300, plus manual. Contact: email@example.com Family and Friends CPR 6 April. Time: 9am–12pm. Venue: Constantiaberg Mediclinic. Cost: R250. Contact: 021 705 6459 or firstname.lastname@example.org Mojo4Moms personal development workshops The speakers are Steve Harris (mental toughness); sexologist Dr Eve; psychologist Sue Cooper; dietician Nasreen Jaffer; Dr Gabrielle Prinsloo (sports science); Gavin Keller (EQ for children); image consultants Heather Katz and Ali McAdam (style and make-up); organiser Judith Penny and life coach Brenda van Staaden.
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9 April–28 May. Time: 9am–11:30am, every Tuesday. Venue: Ambassador Hotel, Bantry Bay. Cost: R3 000. Contact Sacha: 071 825 0923 or email@example.com Nanny basic cooking and baking course 9, 11 and 17 April. Time: 9am–12:45pm. Venue: Montana Rd, Camps Bay. Cost: R1 450 for a four-week course. Contact Janis: 082 319 9215, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit nicetouch.co.za Portuguese or Spanish beginner conversational course 8 April–21 June. Time: morning and evening weekly classes and Saturday morning classes. Venue: Alas Academy, 85 Kommetjie Rd, Fish Hoek. Cost: R800 per person. Contact Amy: 021 782 6552, email@example.com or visit alasacademy.co.za
Purposeful play workshop Moms and caregivers learn to create sensory-rich play experiences for children under 3 years old. Time 10:15am–11:30am. Venue: Raleigh Rd, Little Mowbray. Cost: R100. Places limited; booking essential. Contact Sally: 076 746 6522 or visit beplaylearn.co.za
on stage and screen Open Air Cinema 3 April: The Cove; 10 April: The Motorcycle Diaries; 24 April: Pulp Fiction. Time: 5pm. Venue: Galileo Open Air Cinema, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Newlands. Cost: R60–R85. Book through Webtickets: visit webtickets.co.za or for more info, visit thegalileo.co.za Madame Zingara’s Miracle Tour Time: 7pm, Tuesday–Saturday. Venue: V&A
Waterfront. Cost: R385–R475, including a four-course meal and a bottle of wine for the table. Contact: 0861 623 263, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit madamezingara.com The Dog’s Bollocks An eccentric Eastern European professor rants about the history and propagation of the English language. Time: 8pm. Venue: Kalk Bay Theatre. Cost: enquire on booking. For more info: visit kbt.co.za out and about Chocolate and wine at Durbanville Hills The daily tasting includes five Durbanville Hills wines paired with chocolates. Cost: R60; booking is advised for groups of eight or more. Contact Laura: 021 558 1300 or email@example.com Culinary innovations at Grande Roche Join top local writer Diane Awerbuck to hear more about her latest novel, Home Remedies. 26 April. Time: 7pm, with welcome drink. Venue: Bosman’s Restaurant, Grande Roche Hotel, Plantasie St, Paarl. Cost: R385. Contact Christine: 021 863 5100, christine@granderoche. co.za or visit granderoche.co.za Elegantly Elgin open wine weekend Taste the 2013 pinot noir. Collect your free map from Elgin Valley Tourism at Peregrine. 6 and 7 April. For more info: visit elginwine.co.za Paul du Toit: Vertex of Reality Vertex of Reality is a philosophical reflection of an uncertain future. 9 April–4 May. Time: 10:34am–4pm, Tuesday–Friday;
calendar 10:34am–1:34pm, Saturday. Venue: 34 FineArt Gallery, Buchanan Square, 160 Sir Lowry Rd, Woodstock. Cost: free entry. Contact: 021 461 1863 or visit 34fineart.com
support groups Asperger Connections parent support group 24 April. Time: 7pm–9pm. Venue: Vera School, Anglesey Rd, Rondebosch East. Cost: tbc. Contact Avril: 021 715 5255, 083 666 2157 or Jana: 021 685 0587, 084 513 1333 Moms First therapeutic group Looks at the unique challenges of being a mother. 3, 10, 17 and 24 April. Time: 10am–11:30am. Venue: 3 Prospect Hill Rd, Wynberg. Cost: R200 per group. Contact Penelope: 073 786 6781 or visit momsfirst.co.za
bump, baby & Tot in tow
classes, talks and workshops Beautifully Born HypnoBirthing antenatal classes Fish Hoek: 21 April–19 May. Time: 3pm–5:30pm, every Sunday. Venue: Angela-the-Midwife Practice, 4 Amsterdam Ave, Fish Hoek. Plumstead: 13 April–11 May. Time: 8:30am–11am, every Saturday. Venue: Birth Options, 12 Victoria Rd, Durbanville: 2–30 April. Time: 7pm–9:30pm, every Tuesday. Venue: Beautifully Born, Durbanville. Cost: R1 650 per couple. For all contact details: visit beautifullyborn.co.za
Infant and child CPR and basic firstaid course Venue: 3 April Fresnaye, 12 April Plumstead, 13 April Claremont, 18 and 19 April Fresnaye, 20 April Rondebosch, 20 April Blaauwberg, 21 April Paarl, 22 April Claremont, 25 April Rondebosch, 25 April Blaauwberg. Time: varies. Cost: R350 with basic first-aid kit. Contact: 079 492 4385 or firstname.lastname@example.org Motherhood Matters baby massage classes A four-week course where moms learn to communicate with their babies. For small groups of 6–8 moms and their babies. Ideal for babies from 4 weeks to 6 months. 10 April–1 May. Time: 10am–11:30am. Venue: Kirstenhof. Cost: R500. Contact Megan: 071 875 2668 or visit motherhoodmatters.co.za Tots n Pots cooking and baking workshop Starts 15 April. Time: 3pm, every Wednesday for 2–6 year olds; 3pm, every Thursday for 2–6 year olds; 9:30am, every Friday for 2–3 year olds; 10am, every Saturday for 2–10 year olds. Cost: R720 per term or R90 per class if space available. Contact: email@example.com or visit totsnpots.com Weaning workshop This month’s topic is “How to wean your infant”. Date tbc. Time: 9am–11am. Venue: Rondebosch. Cost: call to enquire. Contact: 072 792 3968 or firstname.lastname@example.org
playtime and story time Wriggle and Rhyme Props, puppets, instruments and movement are used to
engage and stimulate the children. Times: varies. Venues: Claremont, Constantiaberg and Fish Hoek. Cost: R130 joining fee plus R460 per term. For more info: visit wriggleandrhyme.co.za
support groups La Leche League’s breast-feeding support groups Kenridge: 1 April. Contact Carol: 021 558 5319. Durbanville: 16 April. Contact Trudy: 021 913 2816 or Tiffany: 021 913 3586. Parklands: 13 April, 10am. Contact Kim: 082 330 5352. Parow: 17 April. Contact Dilshaad: 021 930 2475. Milnerton Mediclinic: 15 April, 9:30am. Contact Juliet: 021 556 0693. Parklands Intercare: 24 April, 10am. Contact Simela: 021 553 1664. Paarl: 2 April. Contact Jonette: 021 872 5297. Rondebosch: 9 April. Contact Becky: 021 531 2485. Fish Hoek: 2 April. Contact Tammy: 021 782 9240. Stellenbosch: 9 April. Contact Olga: 082 062 0206 or Francia 082 940 9685. Malmesbury: Contact Selma: 083 2655 458 (telephone help). Napier: Contact Emma: 082 696 3584 (telephone help). Visit llli.org. Time: 10am, except where otherwise stated. Cost: free.
The Parent Centre moms-to-be and moms and babies support groups Time: 10:30am–12:30pm, every Tuesday. Venue: Mediclinic Cape Town. Time: 10am–12pm, every Thursday. Venue: Mediclinic Constantiaberg. Cost: R50 including refreshments. Contact: 021 762 0116 or email@example.com
how to help Cape Autism Charity Trust This group supports Western Cape schools for children with autism. The Dream Tree School is its first initiative. In support of Autism Month, contact: 071 438 4605 Pampers “1 pack = 1 life-saving vaccine” Buy specially marked packs of Pampers in April and May, and they will donate to Unicef the equivalent cost of one life-saving vaccine. For more info: lindiz@ jnpr.co.za The Rozy-Pink bracelet initiative Support the many women who are fighting cancer every day. Cost: R30. Contact: leora@ lulubags.co.za
don’t miss out! For a free listing, email your event to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax it to 021 462 2680. Information must be received by 5 April for the May issue, and must include all relevant details. No guarantee can be given that it will be published. To post an event online, visit childmag.co.za
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itâ€™s party time For more help planning your childâ€™s party visit
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itâ€™s party time
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singing their praises Children need plenty of affirmation and encouragement, and
Erin, Anél and Conor
e were enjoying the tranquillity of dusk recently – and I use that phrase with a definite hint of irony, as tranquillity does not really exist in a house with two young children – when we heard an unfamiliar sound. It was faint at first, but soon we could make out “Jingle bells, jingle bells… all day long.” It was Erin, singing loudly to herself as she picked flowers in the garden. She may be a few months late with the festive cheer, but her heart is clearly filled with song, which makes mine full as well. A singing child is a happy child, I think.
I should be honest here, however, and admit that she is quite tuneless. Her rendition of a popular Christmas carol, combined with “The wheels on the bus” is never going to be a chart topper and I don’t think there is much chance of her begging me to allow her to join the thousands of hopefuls when they start auditions for Idols 2027. But there’s no way we would ever tell her that. Instead we applauded her choral skills, much to her delight. It got me thinking about how important our actions and affirmations are for her, and her brother, already at this young stage. Erin loves playing with my make-up. The first time she emerged from the bathroom, looking like something from the eighties band Twisted Sister, with blue eye shadow smeared on her cheeks, Craig almost had an apoplexy. But before he could admonish her for the face paint,
I signalled to him that this was not the time for reproach. She was proud of her handiwork, and I could see that she just wanted him to acknowledge that she looked pretty. I’m sure in a few years’ time her cosmetic antics will be less well-received, but for now, it’s about letting her explore her self-image in a healthy way. Our children learn most from what we do, and not what we say, so I am mindful of my approach to my own body image. I avoid saying things like, “I look fat in this”, or “this makes me look ugly”. Instead, I hold onto the compliments I get from Erin, who will tell me if she thinks a certain pair of shoes are “nice”, or if she particularly likes a necklace. Conor, at almost 11 months, is (thankfully) not playing with my make-up, but he is super-aware of what his father is doing. I notice how he observes Craig’s
every movement, and how he mimics certain actions. He will tinker for ages with some blocks to figure out if they fit together, much like his dad doing DIY. He also looks to his big sister for affirmation and, alas, also for inspiration. A few days after Erin’s impromptu garden concert, we heard what sounded like an ambulance siren that was running low on battery power. It was Conor, emulating his sister’s singing, and it was just as bad. As with Erin, we made sure to praise his efforts, but we are clearly going to have to gently encourage him to work on his other talents as well. Anél Lewis is Child magazine’s features editor. She’s bought her son a rugby ball, in the hope that he will swap singing for scrumming. Erin, however, is now hard at work tweaking her latest musical offering: “Happy birthday… all day long”. Follow Anél on Twitter: @ChildMagParent
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PHOTOGRAPH: STEPHANIE VELDMAN
sometimes, a nudge in another direction, says ANÉL LEWIS.