C a p e
To w n â€™ s
b e s t
g u i d e
the 3D www.childmag.co.za
diagnosis, difference and diversity
f o r
pa r e n t s
gets cool why book clubs are the in thing
schooling for children dealing with difference
It’s important that every year our 3D issue is dedicated to all the children in South Africa who find themselves outside of the physical, emotional and educational mainstream. We honour them, their parents, teachers and caregivers, because we know what incredible perseverance and unfailing optimism goes into “dealing with difference”. Ten years ago, when we planned our first issue of Child magazine and conceptualised themes for subsequent issues, we coined this phrase as we wanted to adopt a more positive approach to what can often be an overwhelming topic. From left-handedness to low muscle tone; all the way through to ADHD, Asperger’s and autism, and bullying, there are not many children who don’t, at some stage, battle with something that sets them apart from others. Difference is often seen in a negative light and yet it can be something to celebrate. Look at Natalie du Toit, who has overcome her physical “difference” to bring home gold from the Paralympic Games in London. But your child needn’t be a gold medallist or an Olympian to be applauded. In this issue, we remind ourselves to take the time to celebrate their everyday triumphs – that puzzle they’ve completed or the book they’ve read. Only then can we truly say we have helped them to rise above the negative labels that might otherwise hold them back.
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Cape Town’s Child magazineTM is published monthly by Hunter House Publishing, PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010. Office address: Unit 7, Canterbury Studios, 35 Wesley Street, Gardens, Cape Town. Tel: 021 465 6093, fax: 021 462 2680, email: email@example.com. Annual subscriptions (for 11 issues) cost R165, including VAT and postage inside SA. Printed by Paarl Web. Copyright subsists in all work published in Cape Town’s Child magazineTM. We welcome submissions but retain the unrestricted right to change any received copy. We are under no obligation to return unsolicited copy. The magazine, or part thereof, may not be reproduced or adapted without the prior written permission of the publisher. We take care to ensure our articles, and other editorial content, are accurate and balanced, but cannot accept responsibility for loss, damage or inconvenience that may arise from reading them.
a note from lisa
6 over to you
readers respond 12 reader’s blog
throwing a party when you’re on the wrinkled side of 30 is only fun if it’s for someone else. By Belinda Mountain
33 budding bookworms
21 dad’s blog good parenting means showing your children the way, and letting them make their own choices, says Marc de Chazal
features find out how much sleep your child needs, and when to worry about their night-time habits. By Daniella Renzon
22 a world of difference
health 11 love your heart
18 bedtime battles
book clubs are not just for grown-ups; children can benefit too. By Sue Segar
Jacqui Tooke opens up about her decision to send her special-needs son to a mainstream school
improve your lifestyle without missing a beat, says Tamlyn Vincent
regulars 8 wins 10 upfront with paul
24 all aboard
t here’s plenty to keep children entertained on this four-night cruise up the West Coast, says Sue Segar
26 alleviating allergies help is at hand for those suffering from annoying or debilitating reactions. By Marc de Chazal
13 best for baby – when to wean
28 celestial eating get some divine inspiration for healthy meals with Brookdale Health Hydro’s recipes
Donna Cobban says going solo, whether by choice or by circumstance, needn’t be something parents fear
could you reduce your baby’s allergy risk by feeding solids sooner? Anél Lewis finds out
14 dealing with difference
30 success as a single parent
c hildren need motivation to get off the couch and be active, says Paul Kerton
Glynis Horning looks at the worrying implications of childhood obesity
36 resource – to read is to fly a dvice and book recommendations to get your children reading
42 a good read
new books for the whole family
46 what’s on in october 62 finishing touch
nél Lewis realises that two babies A means twice as much preparation and effort is needed just to leave the house
classified ads 56 family marketplace 59 let’s party
this month’s cover images are supplied by: Joburg
Stephanie Veldman Chantal and Jan van Blerk stephanieveldman.com cjphotogroup.webs.com
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keep our children safe
left is tight
What does the Child Protection Act, and other legislation, say about the posting of photographs of children on websites, Facebook and the use of images in magazines and other media? Dee
Consider the mechanics of writing: a right-handed person “pulls” their pen on a page from left to right and is able to see everything they have just written. A left-handed person either has to “push” their pen along the page, covering their text with their writing hand, or contort their hand with a flexed wrist to replicate the right-handed style and to keep their work in semi-view. Left-handed writing is not an easy task to master, and very definitely leads to fatigue faster than right-handed writing. It’s also a lot more challenging learning to form letters that have been demonstrated by a right-handed teacher using a right-handed teaching method, with your left hand. And the logistics of having to use paint, felt-tip pens or other “not-so-quickly-drying” media – mess is inevitable. So spare a thought for lefties. It’s not as straightforward as “simply holding your pen in the other hand”. Left-handed mom and occupational therapist
Childmag says The publication of information relating to children is governed primarily by the Criminal Procedure Act and the Child Care Act in specific circumstances, but there are various rights, such as those enshrined in the Constitution, that protect the privacy of children. The Centre for Child Law says whenever the identity of a child is disclosed, whether pictorially or in print, the statutory restrictions on the naming or identification of children shall be observed and adhered to, and the informed consent of the child and parent or guardian should be sought in all cases where the child’s identity is disclosed. Even if the parent or guardian consents, the publication shall exercise a cautious discretion, if it may be harmful to the child to publish their identity. The rule of thumb seems to be that the best interests of the child are to be protected above any other consideration. However, there is no absolute prohibition on publications using images of children.
every girl should have a black doll I have brown, curly hair and freckles. I grew up thinking this was ugly and abnormal because Barbie didn’t have freckles and she didn’t know what a bad hair day was. My aunt used to buy her daughters black dolls, and I could never understand why. But now I know. Girls need to understand that every woman is beautiful, regardless of her hair or skin colour. I will make it a priority to look for black dolls for my child. All for black dollies
over to you taking a stance against bullies In response to the letter “my child labelled a bully” (August 2012): both my children have been on the receiving end of bullying. When the biting and bullying wouldn’t stop, my first course of action was to get my three-year-old daughter moved to another class. She became increasingly unhappy at the school and started to withdraw socially. I had to explain that the other girl was not acting that way because of something that she had done. My son, on the other hand, befriended the girl who bullied him and once remarked: “Mommy, I can’t believe that girls can actually play nice.” Unfortunately, the bullying was then directed towards other children my son would try to play with. I am not saying labelling a child is right, but there are many parents who are tired of trying to excuse the action of the bullies and who have to help their children distinguish between real friendship and being bullied. If your child is labelled as a bully, perhaps you need to find some professional help and not sit back in denial blaming everyone for your child’s actions. Mariette As my daughter turns two and a half, and increasingly expresses her thoughts and opinions, I am noticing, often in amazement, how gender role perceptions sneak into her process of learning and making sense of the
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thanks, Child magazine Thanks for an absolutely brilliant publication. With 53 years in the preschool industry, it is one of the best we have ever seen and it’s very popular with our parents. Roosevelt Preschool Our June/July holiday programme was a huge success mainly due to our insert in the Child magazine calendar. Nadia, Observatory Library I am delighted with your product. I am sure the information in it has brought huge pleasure to many a parent and has helped answer many questions. I hope my friends took my advice and visited your website too. Patricia
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.
world. It comes in subtle doses. “Only boys can ride a tractor,” she states at a visit to the countryside. I am quick to explain that both boys and girls can ride tractors. We walk past a purple bicycle and she says: “Girl’s bicycle.” Coincidence, or has the association of gender and colour already started? The prevailing stereotypes of what girls apparently are and aren’t, do and don’t do, and like and dislike are not restricted to colour preferences. It’s about the granny on the playground telling her grandson not to push the swing too hard, because “little girls don’t like it fast”; the numerous little girls sporting fairy or princess outfits; the gender-specific toys and books; the parents who consider a wild little girl a nasty bully and a wild little boy as an adventurous free spirit. I sympathise with your reader whose daughter was labelled a bully at school, probably because she is a bit tougher and more outspoken than the average girl in her class. But I would much prefer my daughter to play with girls like her than the three year old in a long, white fairy-princess-bridal dress and glitter heels. Not that she has done anything to my daughter, it’s just not the kind of role model I have in mind for my children. I wish parents would stay away from stereotyping and be more open-minded. Girls and boys can wear green, blue, pink and purple; can go fast or slow, climb trees or carry baby dolls; have long or short hair and still be girls and boys. Angela
we need allergy-free crèches I wonder how many other mothers have children with food allergies. My son’s doctor tells me they’re on the increase by as much as 20 percent since we’ve become so “clean”. Every product is antibacterial and, as our children’s immune systems have nothing to fight, their bodies are starting to see normal foods as a threat. With this rise in food allergies, I am surprised at how unaccommodating crèches are to children with food allergies and how little they know about dealing with them. My son has a non-life-threatening allergy to dairy but a fatal allergy to all nuts. We keep an injection on him at all times and his school knows how to use it, and that he has 20 minutes to get to a hospital. Other crèches were less accommodating. When are crèches in South Africa going to look at the seriousness of these allergies and provide allergy-free environments, as is done in first world countries? Surely no-one wants to have the death of a child on their conscience? Tanya Page
mainstream schooling My son struggled at a mainstream school and we explained to him that he learns differently and that we will find a school to suit him. He then told his teacher: “You do not know how to teach me, so I need to go to another school.” She was a little taken aback initially, but had to laugh. Gabi
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.
Post a comment online at childmag.co.za
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giveaways in october child’s play Think Toys has a specially selected range of high-quality educational products that help children develop. Their ranges cover the early years, fantasy play, reading and more. They also supply products to schools. Contact: 011 615 6594, jenny@ thinktoys.co.za or visit thinktoys.co.za One reader stands a chance to win a Think Toys hamper, including Dantoy bucket, wheelbarrow and cutlery sets; SES clay sets; Plan car and street toys; Quercetti magnetic board and a Trundle wheel, all valued at R2 000. Simply enter via childmag.co.za/wins-ct and use the code “Think Toys CT”. Your details will be made available to Think Toys.
drink it up bobbles feature a replaceable, recyclable carbon filter that removes chlorine and organic contaminants from tap water, for a cleaner, crisper taste. bobble now introduces the 2L jug, to join the existing family of 385ml mini, 550ml and 1 000ml bobble bottles. Various colour options are available at selected retailers. For more info, visit facebook.com/ bobblesouthafrica Six readers stand a chance to each win a bobble set, including two 385ml bobbles and one jug with a filter, all valued at R500. Simply enter via childmag.co.za/wins-ct and use the code “bobble CT”. Your details will be made available to bobble South Africa.
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see the city
Calpol is a paediatric paracetamol medicine that offers gentle pain relief. It is effective in treating teething pains, toothache, sore throats and headaches and is safe for children from three months to six years old. Available at pharmacies and retail stores. For more info: visit gsk.com Two readers stand a chance to each win a hamper from Calpol, comprising a bath towel, electronic thermometer, baby-gro, R200 Baby City voucher and nappy bag, all valued at R900. Simply enter via childmag. co.za/wins-ct and use the code “Calpol CT”. Your details will be made available to Calpol.
City Sightseeing Cape Town lets you explore the city at your own pace. Hop on or off at any of the stops along the route. Tickets are available from the kiosk at Two Oceans Aquarium, or you can buy online: visit citysightseeing.co.za Seven readers stand a chance to each win a set of double tickets for the Red City Tour on the City Sightseeing Bus, valued at R300. Simply enter via childmag.co.za/wins-ct and use the code “Sightseeing CT”. Your details will be made available to City Sightseeing Cape Town.
to enter simply visit childmag.co.za
or post your entry to PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010. Entries close 31 October 2012. Only one entry per reader. For full terms and conditions of giveaways please see “Competition Rules” on our website childmag.co.za
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congratulations to our August winners Carol Poole, Marwyn Sowden, Ross Johnston and Lara Firmani who each win with Hush; Dylan Albertyn who wins hampers and tickets to the Toddler Sense Seminar; Lisa Storey and Bonita Zdanowicz who each win with Clay Café; Lisa Matterson who wins with The Room; Jacqui Beder, Madelaine Klue, Jill Johnson and Kirsten Beattie who each win with Edugrafix.
upfront with paul
a sporting chance Children will only sign up for physical activity if we make the exercises more fun, says PAUL KERTON.
’m biased, but having been a sporty child and a physical education teacher before switching to journalism, I am a big advocate of sport in school and I believe that physical activity really is good for children. The recent success of the Olympics, followed by the equally inspiring Paralympics, has prompted the global opinion that the amount of statutory physical education in schools should be increased. Benefits include good health, trimmer figures, lower cholesterol and a mental feel-good factor. There is also the faint hope that the team building and ethical values instilled by sport will help mend broken societies and find a lost generation of disillusioned youth. Saving the world is a big ask, but the benefit of sport as a timely antidote to
the very passive and sedentary lifestyle of our screen-obsessed, couch-and-mousepotato generation, is more clearly defined. It may well help stop the decline into obesity, poor muscle strength, general lethargy and ill-health. The World Health Organisation recommends one hour of physical activity every day for children and some countries would have that increased to two hours of structured PE every day. I feel that’s excessive, as active children generally put in plenty of exercise time during breaks and after school, and I’ve seen my two daughters flop down exhausted after a hard day at the “office”. While in SA it is very unusual for our children to actually walk anywhere as they are shepherded from home to school and
friends by safety-conscious parents (and understandably so); on the flip side, and thanks largely to a favourable climate, we are a nation of passionate runners, footballers, cyclists, swimmers, cricketers, and rugby and hockey players, who often excel at international level. We can’t escape the fact that some children simply hate PE, and it is futile to force them into it. I can hear the collective groan from many children at the thought of more PE, while they work on preparing some well-worn excuses, such as “it just isn’t cool”, “I get all hot and sweaty” and “I’m not good at anything”. Admittedly, just as some children are useless at maths, some are not cut out for sport. Apart from a total lack of interest they may be the wrong body shape, they may have bad timing,
terrible eye-to-hand coordination, no ball sense, or they simply cannot fit into a team. PE teachers have had bad press thanks to a handful of ex sergeant-major types who take the boot camp analogy too far and physically bully the children into exercises they will never manage. But most teachers nowadays are skilled at providing fun recreational pursuits in keeping with a child’s physical ability. One US study claims that 70 percent of children who were interested in sport, tend to lose interest by the age of 13. Why? The overriding reason is that it is “no longer fun”. Instead of extending the periods of statutory sport at school, the challenge is to make the time they do spend being active, more fun. Follow Paul on Twitter: @fabdad1
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PHOTOGRAPH: MARIETTE BARKHUIZEN
Saskia, Paul and Sabina
love your heart It’s never too late or too early to change your lifestyle and lower the risk of heart disease. By TAMLYN VINCENT
he average person’s heart beats 70 times a minute, about 4 200 times in an hour and 100 800 times in a day. A heart that isn’t as healthy can beat 80 times a minute. That’s about 14 000 more beats a day. So it’s not surprising that an unhealthy lifestyle puts extra strain on your heart and increases your chance of developing heart disease. There are risk factors for cardiovascular disease that can’t be changed, including family history, age, gender and ethnicity, says the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA). But some risk factors can be managed, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, lack of exercise, smoking and stress. “Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a chronic disease of lifestyle,” says the HSFSA, and an increasingly westernised lifestyle means that we are eating more junk food and exercising less. “Forty-five percent of men and 70 percent of women in South Africa are overweight or obese,” adds the HSFSA. Losing weight, following a balanced diet and exercising are good ways to decrease the risk of CVD.
eat right Kerri Brinkman, a Joburg-based dietician, suggests keeping an eye on how much fat you eat. Saturated
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fats, such as those in meat or full-cream dairy, and trans fats can push up cholesterol levels. Unsaturated fats, including olive oil, vegetable oils, nuts and avocado lower total blood cholesterol, but moderation is still advised. Omega-3 fats, usually found in oily fish, help to protect your heart, so aim to have at least one portion a week. A heart-healthy diet should include at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. You should also choose low-GI, high-fibre starches, fat-free or lowfat dairy products and lean meats or meat alternatives. Some of the items that should be avoided are fried foods, butter and refined, sugary drinks and foods. Try using salt in moderation or use salt substitutes. If you drink alcohol, stick to one glass a day for women and two for men.
work out Exercise improves circulation, lowers high blood pressure and cholesterol, and reduces stress. The HSFSA recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week. Brinkman says, “The best exercise for your heart is aerobic activity.” So try swimming, brisk walking, running, cycling, dancing or even gardening. You can also divide the 30 minutes into more manageable slots, so take the stairs instead of escalators.
“For exercise to be effective it needs to raise your heart beat,” says Brinkman. But avoid straining your heart; warm up for each session and cool down afterwards. And don’t over exercise as this could also damage your heart. If you are at risk of heart disease, the HSFSA recommends that you speak to your doctor before starting an exercise programme.
healthy changes It may seem challenging to change your lifestyle, but a few small tweaks, one at a time, could help decrease your risk. • Know your numbers, including your blood pressure, cholesterol, Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference. • Control your portion size and eat slowly. Avoid snacking out of boredom or eating on the run. • Create daily menus and use a shopping list. • Have the occasional treat, but don’t give up on your eating plan. As Brinkman says, “What’s important is that you eat healthy foods most of the time.”
party on Birthday parties lose their appeal after a certain age, unless you’re
birthday the following year, we got a little braver and began to arrange a slightly bigger get-together. As with weddings, the first thing to do is make a guest list. Our initial tally came to a dizzying total of 80 people. “Invite everyone – they won’t all be free that weekend and they won’t all come,” declared my husband. I should have known not to listen to him. The next task was to find a venue big enough for these 80 people. We eventually found a wonderful place that provided all the important stuff, such as plates, tablecloths and jungle gyms, as well as some less important, but much more fun stuff: rabbits, ducks and a cow named Charlotte. Then it was time to decide what to feed the little ones. Party food these days seems to have got a lot more boring. You can’t have anything with salt, sugar, preservatives, nuts or flour
in it, which basically leaves you with lettuce and carrots. This is, incidentally, what we should have been feeding the resident rabbits. Ignoring all these health restrictions, I dragged myself off to a wholesaler and got completely carried away. I tried to adhere to my carefully compiled list but, when I got to the till my haul had mysteriously tripled. Needless to say, our small family is still working its way through a bulk box of Smarties, because children really don’t eat as much as you think they will. Finally, the big day dawned. On waking, the first thing I noticed was that it was still pitch-black outside, despite being nearly 7am. To add to my dread, I could hear the incessant dripping of rain against my window. “It’s winter in the Highveld; it’s not supposed to rain,” I shrieked. But raining it definitely was. And the lovely venue I’d chosen was
completely exposed to the elements. After much wailing and stamping of feet, by me, not my two year old, the sky miraculously cleared and the party started without a hitch. So, what I have learnt from my first experience in party planning? Firstly, don’t do it. Secondly, if you have to do it, keep it really, really small – parents understand that you simply cannot invite everyone. And thirdly, birthday parties can still be fun, even if you are on the wrinkled side of 30 – just throw them for someone else.
Readers, this is your column – it’s a space to air your views, share a valuable parenting lesson, vent your frustrations or celebrate your joys. Send your writing to email@example.com
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nce you hit 30, the festivities of being a year older aren’t quite as much fun as they used to be. Gifts are hardly ever a surprise, birthday cake comes with a serving of dietary guilt and coordinating your friends’ diaries in order to plan a party becomes impossible. But not when you’re two. When you’re two, birthdays are the best. You get dressed in a pretty frock, which will later be covered in grass stains and chocolate icing, and proceed to have a whale of a time while your parents run around trying to prevent trampoline injuries, sugardriven temper tantrums and the death of the venue’s resident rabbits which, it turns out, can eat copious amounts of jelly tots and not keel over. When my daughter turned one we decided to have only family around to blow out the candles and this worked beautifully. So, when we celebrated her
throwing them for someone else, says BELINDA MOUNTAIN.
best for baby
when to wean New research suggests that the early introduction of solids may help reduce your baby’s allergy risk. By ANÉL LEWIS
ith my first baby, I was advised to start feeding solids from six months. But just 16 months later, when I took my son for his sixweek checkup, I was told to introduce them sooner to reduce the risk of allergies. His paediatrician pointed to recent studies indicating that the risk of food allergies for allergens such as wheat, peanuts and cow’s milk is reportedly higher if solids are started later than between three and six months. An article in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, says recommendations that an infant’s gut is too immature to handle solids before six months, and that introducing food too soon could pose a risk of allergies, “may lack a strong scientific basis”. But the World Health Organisation holds fast to its recommendation of exclusive breast-feeding for at least six months, with the introduction of complementary foods thereafter. And all baby food products, such as baby cereals and bottled purees, state clearly on their labels that solids should be introduced only from six months, as your baby’s immune system may react to the proteins found in foods other than breast milk. So when is the right time?
allergy risks An allergy occurs when a foreign protein has been able to enter the bloodstream and there is an adverse reaction, explains Joburg nutritionist Tracy Hesslewood. It can be an acute reaction, such as dermatitis or respiratory distress, or a milder food intolerance that takes longer to present. Infants initially lack the “border control” required to protect their intestines from foreign proteins as their intestines are permeable for as long as the first six months, to allow for immune system proteins to pass through via their mother’s milk. Babies swallow bacteria as they move through the birth canal, which sets off the production of magazine cape town
probiotic bacteria in their guts. Caesareansection babies, who don’t start off with these bacteria, may be at greater risk of intestinal damage. “There is a study that links a Caesarean birth to a 53 percent higher risk of allergies such as eczema, hay fever and asthma,” says Hesslewood.
is it all about the timing? Hesslewood says paediatricians may be attaching “undue significance” to a few “maybe” studies of the links between the timing of solids and allergies. “There are other factors at play that will contribute significantly to the overall risk of a child developing allergies, namely their intestinal flora balance and their overall immune system health.” She advises mothers to protect their baby’s immune system from reacting adversely to solids by making sure they get the correct nutrients and are able to digest that food properly. But she adds that the total avoidance of possibly allergenic foods is not a good thing. “If a mom introduces solids to her baby from four months, and many do now because their babies get too hungry, I would suggest intermingling the more allergenic foods with less risky ones.” Cape Town paediatric dietician Kath Megaw says there is no evidence that delaying the introduction of solid foods beyond four months is protective, and some studies suggest it may in fact promote allergies. “Starting solids at four to six months, alongside breast-feeding, will not put an infant at greater risk of developing allergies.” Hesselwood says we shouldn’t narrow the cause in the rise of allergies to just the timing of the introduction of solids. “A baby with imperfect indigestion is more likely to develop allergies, no matter when you introduce the solids. While sooner may be better than later, it matters whether your child’s digestion is in good working order, and it matters whether their immune system is well fed.” October 2012
dealing with difference
tip the scales in their favour If your children are among the one in five estimated to be overweight, you could be feeding
serious future health problems for them, including infertility, says GLYNIS HORNING.
hildren are being diagnosed with weight-related chronic ailments that used to strike much later in life – high cholesterol, high blood pressure, fatty liver, gall bladder disease, bone and joint problems from carrying extra kilos, asthma and other breathing issues from impaired lung development, and obstructive sleep apnoea. “We’re even seeing a growing number of children with type 2 diabetes, which has traditionally affected people over the age of 50,” says Candice Smith, a dietician at Discovery Vitality in Joburg. “Our children could be the first generation with a shorter lifespan than their parents, because of obesity and the chronic diseases linked to it.” The long-term repercussions are alarming. Without our intervention, 70 percent of obese children will grow into obese adults, at risk of developing coronary heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis and fatlinked cancers. Even their fertility may be threatened. ScienceDaily has reported that the “dramatic increase in childhood obesity” disrupts the timing of puberty, and could “ultimately lead to a diminished ability to reproduce”. Recent studies show that obese boys start puberty later, while obese girls start earlier, possibly because fat tissue converts male hormones into the female hormone oestrogen. According to the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, obese boys are twice as likely not to start puberty by the age of 12, and research published this year by UKMedix News links male obesity to lower testosterone levels, lower fertility, and poorer sperm quality. Early puberty in girls has been linked to reproductive problems, reproductive cancers and insulin resistance, or metabolic syndrome. It’s also been associated with increased risk of depression and delinquent behaviour, including smoking and early sexual experiences. Being overweight can in itself cause anxiety and depression in both sexes, and has been linked to bullying, low self-esteem, poor social skills, and acting out or social withdrawal, says Smith. In American and British research, obese children rated their quality of life as low as children with cancer, because of teasing and health problems. “School bullying is a growing problem,” says Rose*, a
concerned Joburg mother of children age 13 and nine, who has joined Overeaters Anonymous for herself and now helps counsel children. “Compulsive eating is starting young, and parents can only lead by example. It’s tough. We adapt the OA’s 12 steps, helping children cope one day at a time.”
weighing it up Could your child be at risk? It’s not as easy to estimate whether a child is overweight as with adults, as they carry different amounts of body fat at different stages of development, and it’s not always possible to pick up a problem just by looking at them. If you suspect your child is overweight, it’s vital to see a doctor or dietician for a professional assessment. This will establish their body mass index (BMI), relative to other children of the same age and gender. To calculate
will have been primed to make the most of limited nutrition by holding on to calories,” she explains. “If they are then born into an environment providing lots of food but little exercise, they will tend to be overweight.” Your weight “What you and your partner weigh has the greatest influence on your baby’s weight,” says Bowley. If either of you is overweight, your baby has a 40 percent risk of being overweight too, and if both of you are overweight, your baby’s risk goes up to 80 percent. This is partly genetic, but mostly environmental, through eating habits you pass on. Genetics The number of abnormalities that result in chronic obesity is “absolutely miniscule”, says Smith. “And you can be genetically predisposed to be insulin resistant, for example, which affects metabolism and obesity, but it is lifestyle-controlled.” Family history Likewise, coming from a line of overweight people can predispose your child to being overweight, but this is mostly because of culture- or familyshaped eating and exercise patterns. Your child’s diet “Obesity is more than 90 percent to do with diet and physical activity,” says Smith. If your child consumes foods high in fats and sugars, they will pick up weight. “Problems can start as early as the first year, if you wean them on to solids before six months or over-feed them,” says Durban dietician Dudu Mthuli. Although there is new research suggesting that the introduction of complementary foods can occur before six months, as an early sensitisation against food allergies, Mthuli says the “blanket message” for public health is to only introduce them at six months. She adds that you risk over-feeding if you add cereal to formula feeds before six months, you misread their cries as hunger when what they want is attention, or you continue feeding when they are full because you don’t recognize their satiety signals. Your child’s activities Weight is the difference between energy taken in through food and drinks, and energy burnt through activity, and most overweight children don’t move enough, says Smith. “Today’s children sit in classes and then sit at home doing homework, playing on computers or watching TV.”
this yourself, visit iqlifestyle.co.za/calculators/bmi_child, and factor in your child’s personal history of growth and development, and your family’s weight-for-height history, to establish if your child’s weight is in an unhealthy range. The chances are sadly high. Research from the 2010 Healthy Active Kids (HAK) SA report card shows that from 2002 to 2008, the number of obese teenagers rose from four percent to five percent, and the number of overweight teenagers, from 17 to 20 percent – one in five.
cause and effect Should your child be overweight, work with the doctor or dietician to determine the cause so you can develop a safe plan to manage it. Your diet in pregnancy If you didn’t get enough of the right nutrients before conception and during pregnancy, it can cause weight problems in your baby, says Nadia Bowley, national dietetic coordinator for Netcare in Cape Town, who has worked in paediatrics. “Your baby’s body
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Our children could be the first generation with a shorter lifespan than their parents, because of obesity and the chronic diseases linked to it.
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dealing with difference
Socio-economic factors Energy-dense, nutritionally-poor, processed and fast foods can cost less than healthier, fresher options, says Bowley, and the preparation time they save make them tempting when both parents must work and travel long distances. Psychological factors Like many adults, children can use food for emotional comfort when stressed or bored, especially if they are raised to see food as a reward for good behaviour, says Graham Alexander, clinical psychologist and director of the Eating Disorders Unit at Cape Town’s Crescent Clinic.
lifestyle solutions “Never put a child on a diet,” says Mthuli. “Most diets lack certain nutrients important for growing bodies.” To prevent or manage a weight problem, keep them at the same weight until they grow into it in terms of height. “Guide them gently and encourage them.” Start smartly Make an effort to breast-feed, and introduce solids only after six months, starting with rice or maize cereal, mashed veggies and fruit, Mthuli says. Don’t add salt or other flavourants or you encourage a taste for them, and always stop when they show they are full. “They will stop sucking, relax their mouth and turn away. If you keep feeding, they can become adults who overeat because they no longer know when they’ve had enough.” Eat healthily as a family Serve nutritious, balanced meals with wholesome carbohydrates, such as vegetables, fruits, whole-grain breads and pastas; protein, such as grilled lean meat, skinless chicken, legumes and low-fat dairy products; and omega-3 oils, including oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring, or ground flaxseeds.
Avoid refined carbohydrates, saturated fats and sugars, especially in sweetened beverages, including fruit juice, says Smith. “Even when juices have no added sugar, or glucose, they are high in fruit sugar, or fructose, which has as many calories. Rather give fruit to eat so they feel full and give only water to drink.” Don’t reward or comfort with food Hold and distract babies, and give older children attention and praise, read a story or play together. “Some working parents assuage their guilt at being away from the children by overindulging them with food to satisfy their nurturing instincts,” says Alexander. “If you’re a depressed mom, or have an eating disorder or dysfunctional marriage, be careful not to use feeding as a way to counter your pain.” Don’t insist on clean plates Offer a healthy variety of foods and let children choose how much they eat. Toddlers often eat only one significant meal, nibbling at other meals. Encourage physical activity The 2010 HAK SA report card shows less than 70 percent of high school pupils have regularly scheduled physical education, and in disadvantaged primary schools this is even less. Limit screen time to two hours a day and then send children out to play, says Bowley. “Best of all, walk, kick a ball or romp with them.” Grow your own food “Involving the children will give them fun exercise outdoors and encourage an interest in eating the vegetables they’ve helped grow,” says Smith. Never nag about food or being fat Stress is part of the problem, and if you obsess about food, children may eat more or develop eating disorders. “Just focus on being a healthy family, and involve them in this,” concludes Smith. *Name has been changed.
common lunchbox traps Cereal bars, sweetened yoghurts and fruit juices are all high in calories, warns dietician Candice Smith. “But packing celery sticks and hummus won’t help if your child doesn’t eat them.” Offer realistic healthy options, such as: • fresh fruit • seed loaf sandwiches or crackers • ostrich biltong • gammon or chicken • pilchard fishcakes • low-fat cheese wedges • unsweetened fat-free yoghurt – as is, or add a little brown sugar and chopped fresh fruit • a small flavoured milk
useful contacts • The Association for Dietetics in SA Contact: 011 061 5000 or visit adsa.org.za • Overeaters Anonymous Contact: 011 640 2901 or visit oa.org • Crescent Clinic Eating Disorders Unit Contact: 021 762 7666 • Diabetes SA Contact: 086 111 3913 or visit diabetessa.co.za
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bedtime battles Is your child sleeping enough, or too much? DANIELLA RENZON
here’s nothing quite like the joy, or the exhaustion, that comes with parenting. It starts as soon as you bring your baby home. All you want to do is sleep, but your newborn is awake every few hours for a feed or just to be held. Should we resign ourselves to years of sleeplessness, until the time when our young teenager struggles to drag himself out of bed in the morning? “Absolutely not,” says Ann Richardson, author of Toddler Sense and co-author of Baby Sense and Sleep Sense (Metz Press). Teaching your child good sleep habits is the best gift you can give them and yourself, but keep your expectations in pace with each phase of your child’s development. Cape Town-based sleep consultant, Erica Lotter, adds that your child’s health, nutrition, routine and social, emotional and physical development, are relevant too.
sleep 101 Children have different needs, so the average amount of sleep recommended for each age and stage serves as a rough guideline.
newborns Expect: They should sleep 16 to 20 hours a day. Their nutritional needs mean that they will wake up every couple of hours. By six to eight weeks, they will drop one feed and get a good “core” sleep – their first real stretch of sleep. Richardson advises limiting “awake” times to around 45 minutes between naps to avoid sensory overload. Put them down to sleep while they are still happily awake. If they have a clean bill of health, there is no such thing as too much sleep.
Sleep Disorders: Their neurological systems are too immature to filter out sensory input, so they will become fussy and will struggle to fall asleep if they are overstimulated. An immature digestive system may be prone to problems, such as lactose intolerance and reflux, which can affect sleep. Tips: • Signs of over-tiredness include fussiness, bouts of crying, loss of eye contact, turning the head away from you, flailing limbs, clawing the face, back arching, making fists, sneezing,
settles and your child will self-soothe with fingers or hands in the mouth. Sensory input is filtered better and the amount of time spent awake will lengthen. Sleep disorders: Babies may need help falling or staying asleep. Tips: • Hogg says babies thrive on predictability and routine. • Avoid overstimulation. When your baby starts yawning, take him to bed. His eyes may remain open, but he’ll stare at nothing for several minutes until he nods off.
Teaching your child good sleep habits is the best gift you can give them and yourself. yawning, hiccupping, blueness around the mouth, clumsiness and eye-rubbing. • Rock and cradle them if they need it – they can’t self-soothe yet. • Non-nutritive sucking, on fingers or dummies, may help them sleep. • Swaddle them up until they are a year old, with their hands to the mouth or towards the midline. This counteracts the startle reflex and maintains their temperature when you transfer them from your arms to the cot.
• Your baby should be able to fall asleep unassisted, but should not be left to cry. Part of sleep training involves checking that your baby has no health problems. Watch awake times to avoid overtiredness. Swaddle and introduce solids from four months if your baby appears hungry when awake during the night. • Richardson says don’t wake your baby for a late evening feed, in the hope that they’ll sleep longer thereafter. This is their core sleep.
milestones during this period. Their brains need sleep to help them develop and thrive. Sleep disorders: If your child still needs your help to fall or stay asleep, you need to start sleep training. A lack of sleep can cause irritability, crying, poor eating and may affect the growth hormone, which is secreted during sleep. Tips: • Make sure your child’s nutritional needs are met during the day. • Low iron levels will affect your child’s sleep, eating habits and may compromise their immunity. Check with your paediatrician about a supplement. • Dr Richard Ferber, director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders in Boston, advocates the controversial “cry it out method”, which has become known as “Ferberising”. He says children should be able to self-soothe and fall asleep independently. His mode of sleep training involves putting your child to bed, while still awake, and leaving them for gradually longer periods if they cry, until they are able to sleep independently. But Lotter says, “Sleep training doesn’t have to be a lengthy and emotionally difficult process. Expect your baby to be resistant to changing what he’s used to. Remain consistent, reassuring, determined and loving, but don’t leave him feeling abandoned.”
three to six months Expect: Tracy Hogg, author of Secrets of the Baby Whisperer (Vermillion), recommends 15 to 18 hours of sleep, with two to three naps, from now until 18 months. Your child may sleep through, for about eight hours, or wake for only one feed. The startle reflex
six to 24 months Expect: There should be no more night feeds; your baby can go 10 to 12 hours without food. Hogg says two naps, or one long one, is sufficient. Lotter adds that children go through huge developmental
toddlers from two to four years old Expect: Your toddler should go to bed early and sleep for 10 to 12 hours. They’re early risers, so you will be too. They’ll enjoy one or two day naps, and older magazine cape town
looks at what’s normal, and what’s not, for different ages.
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toddlers will need some quiet time during the day once they’ve dropped their naps. Sleep disorder: Your toddler needs you or a bottle to fall asleep. Night bottles compromise your child’s daily calorie intake and will rot their teeth. Toddlers and older children can suffer from restless leg syndrome, growing pains, nightmares, sleepwalking and night terrors. Too little sleep interferes with their learning and affects their moods. It can cause a failure to thrive and altered immunity. Tips: • If your child is climbing out of the cot, he may have to move to a big bed. • Richardson says magnesium syrup can help with growing pains and cramps, while an iron supplement helps with eating, sleeping and immunity. She also recommends deworming twice a year. • The American Association of Pediatrics advises no TV before the age of two. TV and electronics an hour before bed is too stimulating and can cause nightmares. • Routine is fundamental for good sleeping habits. • Your child should be eating all the food groups and only drinking water at night. • A “sleep friend”, such as a blankey or a soft toy, may prove comforting.
from preschool to pre-teenager Expect: Dr Alison Bentley, a sleep clinician based at Wits University, stresses
the importance of a bedtime routine. Preschoolers need 10 hours of sleep, primary school children need about nine hours, and pre-teenagers should average between eight and ten hours a night. Sleep disorders: Day sleeping is actually a sign that something is up, so monitor their sleep habits. Your child should not be wetting the bed from the age of five or six, so seek professional help if this occurs. Dr Bentley advises consulting a medical professional if you suspect your child has any other sleep disorders (see box). Tips: • Don’t over-schedule extramurals as it can stress and overstimulate them, making it difficult for them to fall asleep. • From the foundation phase, more quiet time before bed is appropriate – reading and listening to story tapes helps them self-soothe. • Avoid colourants, flavourants and preservatives. Opt for a low-GI diet, packed with fresh foods and omega oils. • Later to bed doesn’t mean later rising. It just increases the cycle of overtiredness, which affects their moods, concentration at school, appetite and health. • Limit electronics, especially an hour before bedtime and never allow them to be used in their bedroom. • Provide a bedside light. • Physical exercise helps with their moods, stress, appetite and sleep.
sleep disorders to watch out for Bentley says most childhood sleep disorders are behavioural, meaning they’re learnt and can be unlearnt, unless they’re parasomnias such as sleep terrors, somnambulism, enuresis, apnoea and narcolepsy. Intervention from the parent with a therapist or physician will help. ADHD More than 40 percent of people with ADHD have significant sleep disturbances, and conversely, poor sleep can cause children to have ADHD-like symptoms, such as poor attention, irritability, distractibility and impulsiveness. Apnoea and snoring Get treatment as this can affect your child’s breathing, which impacts on their growth and learning. Often the tonsils and adenoids are removed. Bedwetting/enuresis This can be treated with behavioural methods, the teaching of continence skills and sometimes even medication, but first rule out emotional stress as a possible cause. Delayed sleep onset If their circadian or biological rhythm is out; they will want to go to sleep later in the evening and wake up later in the morning. Professional intervention is needed. Growing pains Joburg-based paediatric rheumatologist, Dr Gail Faller, says this happens only at night and occurs in the legs. A calcium and magnesium supplement taken after an active day can help. Insomnia If your child has difficulty falling asleep or can’t go back to sleep, they need a professional assessment. Possible causes include stress, depression and ADHD. Night or sleep terrors Your child appears awake, screams, thrashes and is inconsolable, but remembers nothing the next morning. Although it’s unsettling, children usually outgrow it. Nightmares Try a night light and avoid frightening TV programmes, computer games or stories. Gently console them and they’ll resettle. Restless leg syndrome A neurological disorder where the sufferer struggles with uncomfortable pins and needles, or pain, in their legs at night. It may present as insomnia. Sleepwalking or somnambulism It is not advised to wake a sleepwalker. Rather make their environment safe and guide them back to bed. Children usually outgrow this condition.
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the philosophy of parenting You can show them the path, but it’s up to your children to decide in which direction they will go, says MARC DE CHAZAL.
’m sure your parents gave you all sorts of advice when you were growing up. Follow your heart, look both ways before crossing the road; stuff like that. At the time, the correlation between my plate of food and global poverty made no sense to me, but it seemed really important to my mother – I can still hear her encouraging me with a stern tone to eat my food because there are lots of starving children in Africa. That could just have made me very guilty, but I think she wanted me to be grateful and not wasteful. My dad should have been a philosopher. He regaled me with enough advice to rival Socrates. Whether we were bumping along dusty roads on the farm or taking long walks on the beach at Umdloti in KwaZulu-Natal, he always had some piece of advice for me. He really, really wanted me to follow in his footsteps, which I never did. In
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my teens and young adulthood, I found myself holding quite different views on life to him. He is to blame, but in a good way – he taught me to question things. He also taught me the importance of a contingency plan. “What do you have to fall back on, my boy?” was a relentless line of his. It may stifle spontaneity, but it’s also prudent in a world where things don’t always go according to plan. So I grew up disliking needless waste and being quite grateful for what I have in this world. I’ve also tried to think ahead, but take the occasional calculated risk. I’m not sure what advice of mine will stick with my daughter, but these words by Anne Frank seem quite poignant: “How true Daddy’s words were when he said: all children must look after their own upbringing. Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
Read more of Marc’s weekly parenting blogs on childmag.co.za/dad-blog
a world of difference Mainstream schooling a child who’s dealing with difference can be rewarding for all those involved. JACQUI TOOKE shares her experience.
children and improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the entire education system.” The concept of reducing barriers to learning and participation for all learners, not only those classified as having special needs, forms the basis of SA’s education policy. The South African Schools Act (1996) requires schools to accept children with special needs, where practical.
the benefits It has been rewarding for us to see how much Matt has learnt from his typically developing peers, who set an example of all the social and life skills we hope to teach him. Julia Travis, a speech therapist, adds that “strong language role models raise expectations of the child with language difficulties”. There are a few girls in Matt’s class who are excited by his blossoming speech. Every day he’s peppered with requests to say words and when he does he is rewarded with giggles and claps. It’s like having five tiny speech therapists working full time on his language. Willie Erasmus, a clinical psychologist, says that inclusion means that “children with differences get the opportunity to build friendships with typically developing children.” Watching Matt form friendships where he is valued for who he is, literally makes me cry. One of my fears is that Matt will grow up to be lonely and isolated. In this inclusive setting, he is learning how magazine cape town
eciding to pursue inclusive education for my son feels like playing rugby while blindfolded. There is so much I can’t see, and so there’s a chance of someone getting hurt. Also, the success of my decision depends not only on me, but on a whole team of “players”. My son, Matt, is in many ways much like any five year old: he loves aeroplanes, kicking balls, jumping on trampolines, and watching Lightning McQueen. What makes him different is that he has a rare genetic condition, called Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, which causes developmental delays and speech difficulties. Being included in a mainstream setting means that he attends a regular school where the principal and his teacher recognise that he needs support to take part in the classroom and to learn. Theresa Rushby, Matt’s principal at Barkley House Molteno Road Pre-Primary School in Cape Town, explains that inclusion is about “realising that these children cannot conform to our programme; we need to fit to them and be willing to adapt our programme”. She adds, “It is very exciting; it is all about helping them to keep growing.” Parmosivea Soobrayan, directorgeneral of Basic Education, said at the World Down Syndrome Congress in August, “Inclusive schools provide an effective education to the majority of
to engage socially with other children, and they with him. This gives me hope that he will be able to engage in the real world one day and not be hidden away from society. When inclusion works, all the children in the classroom benefit. Rushby shares how she loves watching other children engage with Matt, as it brings out beautiful aspects of their characters that wouldn’t otherwise be revealed. Cape Town occupational therapist Mush Perrins agrees. “They discover and develop aspects about themselves they may not normally have unearthed, such as compassion and patience, and how to value each other’s talents and abilities.” Caroline Taylor, of Inclusive Education Western Cape, goes further to link inclusion in schools to the building of democracy. “Inclusion is an honest acknowledgement of (our) diversity. If South Africa is committed to positively promoting diversity, then the school is the place to start.” Rushby appreciates the positive impact Matt has had on his teacher. She explains that children who learn differently require educators to think out-of-the-box and be
to find a school where authentic inclusion takes place. Travis says some children may experience increased anxiety in a classroom environment that is very auditory-based and language-loaded, placing high demands on the child’s fragile language system. Some children may display “challenging behaviours or withdraw socially in order to compensate for their difficulties”. Perrins says primary and high school places more pressure on children when it comes to learning and social interaction. “A child who is differently abled often has to expend more energy than their peers, and thus they get more tired.” Perrins says children in mainstream schools need more than just academic support. “Their social integration should be guided by the educators and parents together, where other health and educational professionals could be called on for advice. The social aspect is often a painful one for the child, if they are not accepted fully by the other children.” Erasmus says teachers need to be properly trained so that any fear, ignorance and judgement can be addressed and dealt with.
Children with differences get the opportunity to build friendships with typically developing children. creative in helping them develop. This can benefit all the children in the class and can be stimulating and exciting. Erasmus says children with differences who attend mainstream schools have “access to education within their community instead of being sent away to special schools or staying at home, which makes them feel different and ‘weird’”. For us, having Matt attend a neighbourhood school means that he can do playdates after school and his school community is also his home community, so we don’t feel isolated. Until you have faced being different, you have no idea how much a sense of belonging can be a healing gift.
when things go wrong If inclusion is poorly managed, however, the children with differences may find themselves struggling. For it to work, educators need to be motivated, be properly trained and receive the necessary support. In South Africa where resources are limited and many education policies are not working properly, it can be a challenge
Going back to the rugby analogy, the try line for us in this “game” of mainstream schooling will be Matt’s participation in society – as a child and one day as an adult. And it is our firm belief that an inclusive school will help him get there. This is how I explained my decision to the South African Association for Learning and Educational Differences: “I needed to realise that the whole point of inclusion is not that I make Matt fit into a mainstream setting. Rather it is about recognising that he is different, and looking at what changes can be made to the way things are done in the school to allow him to participate fully, to belong, and to keep growing and learning at his pace. I am not under any illusion that there won’t be challenges ahead. I also can’t say how long inclusion will work for Matt. But I remain hopeful that as long as there are principals and teachers who see the benefits of inclusion for everyone involved, that I will be able to work with them to create an environment where Matt can belong, contribute and grow.”
helpful websites • Inclusive Education Western Cape included.org.za • The South African Association for Learning and Educational Difference saaled.org.za • The Learner Facilitator and Tutor Network leftnetwork.weebly.com • The Down Syndrome Inclusive Education Foundation down-syndrome.co.za • Inclusive Education South Africa inclusion.co.za • Thutong – SA Education Portal thutong.doe.gov.za/InclusiveEducation
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all aboard A child-friendly cruise up the West Coast, packed with daily entertainment, ensures good times for the whole family, says SUE SEGAR.
hen I accepted the invitation for my children and me to join the MSC Melody for a fournight cruise from Cape Town to Namibia, I went straight into fantasy mode. I had visions of the three of us, arm in arm, waving goodbye to the Mother City before settling down to four days of reading together, identifying ocean birds and looking out for the first sighting of the treacherous Skeleton Coast. Our journey was to take us 718 nautical miles from Cape Town to Walvis Bay, Namibia’s biggest port. But within about 20 seconds of leaving the port, I realised my fantasy was not to be. We left the Cape Town docks on a perfect January afternoon and the exhilarating moment when the ship’s engine chugged into action, signalling that we were away at sea, was one I will not forget quickly. I leaned over the railing and
Pluto’s House – where they’d signed up for bingo, a treasure hunt, a talent contest and four movie viewings. After they had explored the endless possibilities on offer, the children were thrown into the realities of life on a ship when we were called to an emergency exercise – a sort of man-overboard drill. “When you hear the signal, seven short blasts and one long blast of the ship’s alarm, put on your life jacket and go to your assigned muster station,” we were told. This unnerved them. Maybe it was a mistake to let them watch Titanic before our voyage. For days before we left, Thomas kept checking that his dad was not going with us as he was anxious about the “woman and children first” principle he’d learnt about in the movie. For the next two days I saw the children only briefly – at meals and because I insisted on it – before they dashed off to
stared in awe as Table Mountain, covered in a wispy “tablecloth”, gradually shrunk and eventually disappeared from view. That was also when the main deck of the ship exploded into a cacophony of loud, popular music and I noticed that my children had disappeared. When I saw them joined to a chain of human bodies that was snaking its way round the deck, I realised that this was the “welcome aboard party”. Before long every single passenger, except me, was jiving wildly under the sun, most of them holding a cocktail in one hand. I watched as my children, led by a group called the All-Star Dancers, threw themselves into a throng of frenzied Macarena-like movements, beckoning me to join in as I cowered against the railing.
ship ahoy We pulled further away from the coast and soon we were in the open ocean, with no land in sight. My children were also nowhere to be seen and I eventually hauled them out of the children’s club –
their next group activity. I’d bump into them now and then, on their way from the swimming pool, the Jacuzzi, a bingo game, the duty-free shop, or from stealing leftover chips from the mesmerising, yet out-of-bounds casino area. I, meanwhile, spent hours lying on the more private lower deck, reading and watching the sea. Sometimes I regrouped in the lounge for coffee and a chat with some of the other abandoned parents. We’d only reassemble at night in our cabin when the children eventually roamed in after the double-feature movie evening. There was just one disciplinary incident, involving a fancy dress party, my favourite black dress and a red Chanel lipstick, which will probably be remembered for years to come. But, on the whole, I gather they had a whale of a time. On the third day, having been told we’d arrive in Walvis Bay at around six in the morning, I woke the children so we could have our first daylight glimpse of Namibia. A slight drizzle fell as we entered the bay magazine cape town
PHOTOGRAPHS: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM / SUE SEGAR
For the next two days I saw the children only briefly – at meals and because I insisted on it – before they dashed off to their next group activity.
Clockwise from top left: Sue, Saskia and Thomas on board the MSC Melody; the Skeleton Coast; the lighthouse in Swakopmund; pelicans on the Walvis Bay Lagoon; Swakopmund; Thomas braving it down the Namib dunes.
via the long stretches of beach that mark the beginning of the Skeleton Coast. What confronted us was a desert landscape with not a tree or shrub in sight.
a few hours on terra firma We were able to leave the ship for half a day and, although it offers a range of excursions from Walvis Bay, we opted to explore on our own steam. We made a deal with a friendly taxi driver, Freddy, to drive us from Walvis to Swakopmund. After a quick flip to the huge natural lagoon, full of seabirds – including flamingos and pelicans – we headed for the Germaninfluenced town. The 30km drive along the dune belt, with the coastline on our left and an array of majestic sand dunes on our right, was one of the most beautiful trips I’ve done, particularly as I’d never been in a desert. magazine cape town
We asked Freddy to stop so that the children could climb the steep dunes and roll down again. Oddly enough, Freddy, who has lived in Walvis Bay all his life and who later showed us his home on the outskirts of the town, had never climbed or rolled down a sand dune. He quickly made up for it though and I eventually had to plead with the three of them to come back to the car so that I could visit Swakopmund. Once there, we drove through the streets with its charming German colonial buildings, visited the market and enjoyed traditional coffee and apple strudel. We also visited a few of the town’s art galleries and the Swakopmund Museum, which contains exhibits on Namibian history. As time was running out, we drove back to Walvis Bay to board the ship and prepare for the voyage home. October 2012
alleviating allergies You don’t have to sneeze, wheeze or scratch your way through life. If you find out what’s causing your allergic reaction, there are ways to manage the problem. By MARC DE CHAZAL
why the allergy overload? This explosion of allergies is not entirely understood, says Dr Michael Levin, head of the Allergy Clinic at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital. “People’s genes have not changed, so there has to be something in the environment – either added to it or taken away from it – which is contributing to the increase in allergies,” he says. Lots of research has been done to identify reasons for the increase. Possible guilty culprits over the past 20 to 30 years are pollution, a sedentary lifestyle which results in obesity and an increased use of antibiotics at an early age. “It’s also thought that exposure to farm animals, unpasteurised milk, infections within large families and parasite infestations may have actually protected children in the past from allergies such as asthma. A move away from traditional lifestyles to a more westernised way of life may therefore account for the increase, especially in Africa with its growing urbanisation,” says Levin. The “hygiene hypothesis” is another popular reason put forward for the increase in allergies. What this means, explains nutritional therapist Hannah Kaye, is that we spend so much time trying to prevent our children’s exposure to microbes, especially bacteria, that their immune systems don’t develop properly. “I also feel that our environment is a lot more toxic than it used to be, whether from parabens, heavy metals or phthalates, which places a lot of strain on the gut and liver, and thus the immune system,” says Kaye.
healthy gut, healthy body Professor Patrick Bouic, from the Department of Immunology at the University of Stellenbosch, points out that 70 percent of the body’s immune system dwells in the digestive
So there has to be something in the environment ... which is contributing to the increase in allergies. tract, which is why it’s essential to maintain a healthy digestive system. He encourages daily supplementation of probiotics. Kaye agrees. “I think that probiotics are one of our greatest weapons in promoting good flora in the gut and thereby supporting the immune system, but it’s worth spending money on a good one that is right for your child, as some probiotics are pointless.” Although a recent study has shown an effect on allergic disease when pregnant mothers supplemented with probiotics, Levin believes the jury is still out on their usefulness.
The good news is that allergies can be effectively managed, and in some cases even cured. Some of us are born with a predisposition to allergies, called atopy, often because we were born to parents with allergies. Sufferers more often than not have allergic children, but they don’t necessarily have the same allergic conditions. A parent with a nut allergy may have a child who has eczema or is asthmatic. Celia Fleming and her husband have allergies, as do their children Daniel, eight, and Jonathan, six. “They both suffer from allergic rhinitis, and Daniel has had asthma and mild eczema,” says Celia. “We live near an oil refinery, so I’m sure that airborne pollutants aggravate our allergic conditions.” Celia swears by homeopathic products, but also resorts to steroid nasal sprays when things get really bad. “We try to keep dust to a minimum. Having wooden floors throughout the house helps as they are easy to sweep and wipe clean,” she adds. Atopic people have higher amounts of the antibody immunoglobulin E (IgE) in their blood. As a result, when an atopic person is exposed to an allergen such as pollen or house dust mites, their hypersensitivity to the allergen sets off an immediate allergic reaction. If your child has allergic rhinitis, pollen, or whatever allergen is responsible for the allergic reaction, will cause their system to produce histamine. The symptoms – a runny nose, itchy eyes, nasal congestion and sneezing – can be controlled by taking antihistamines and nasal sprays, but they’ll continue to react to the same allergens that trigger their immune response. If you know what you’re allergic to, it can be managed by trying to avoid the allergen or being desensitised to it. A skin or blood test will determine the cause of the allergy. Immunotherapy is the process of desensitising people to the allergen causing their misery. “We find out what the person is allergic to, and instead of making them avoid it, we either inject the allergen into their system or give it to them in drops under the tongue until they no longer react to it,” says Levin. He says people with allergic rhinitis can see their symptoms reduced by 30 to 40 percent after successful immunotherapy. It is costly as it involves a long course of routine injections or oral drops, but some medical aids cover it. “If you’re allergic to several things, it’s more difficult if not impossible to be completely desensitised, in which case your best option is to try avoidance and use medication properly,” advises Levin. “I tell parents that using medication correctly is more important than what they’ve been prescribed.” He advises patients to take their nasal sprays and asthma pumps with them to a doctor’s checkup to ensure they are using them properly. magazine cape town
sthma is the most common chronic disease of South African children, affecting 10 to 20 percent of the population. Doctors are treating more and more cases of children with this and other allergic conditions, including allergic rhinitis, eczema and food allergies. They are rarely life-threatening, except in the case of anaphylaxis, a severe whole-body reaction commonly caused by insect stings or a food or drug allergy. However, if you or your child suffers from allergies, you’ll know that the various symptoms associated with them are not trivial and can seriously affect a person’s quality of life. Even mild cases of allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, can have debilitating side-effects for children – they don’t sleep well at night, so they can’t concentrate properly at school the next day. Studies conducted on allergic pupils who write exams during the spring hay fever season, found that they dropped an entire grade.
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celestial eating Revamp mealtime with these healthy ideas from Brookdale Health Hydro’s recipe book Heavenly & Healthy Foods.
sweet potato muffins with cinnamon pecan topping serves 18 ingredients 150g cake flour 40g oat bran 5ml salt 7,5ml baking powder 5ml cinnamon 5ml nutmeg 185ml canola oil 100g caster sugar 3 eggs
350g sweet potato, peeled and grated 100g pecan nuts, chopped method • Mix these ingredients together. • Whisk together oil and caster sugar. • Add eggs, one at a time. • Fold in dry ingredients. • Fold in sweet potato and pecan nuts. • Spoon into greased muffin paper cases and sprinkle with topping. • Bake at 170 degrees for 20 minutes topping 100ml dark brown sugar 60g butter 90ml cake flour 125ml pecan nuts, chopped 10ml cinnamon Mix together these ingredients and crumble over the muffin mix before baking.
cherry tomato and pattypan salad with a lemon, wholegrain mustard and honey dressing serves 4 ingredients 300g yellow pattypans, cut in quarters and steamed (al dente) 200g cherry tomatoes, cut in half 1 lemon - zest and juice (for dressing) herb salt and freshly ground black pepper 30ml parsley, oregano or fresh basil, chopped
• Add the tomatoes and sprinkle with the lemon zest, salt and pepper. • Spoon on to a salad platter. • Sprinkle with fresh chopped herbs.
PHOTOGRAPHS: VANESSA LEWIS
dressing 25ml honey 15ml wholegrain mustard 60ml lemon juice 120ml olive oil method • Toss pattypans in the dressing and allow to stand for 20 minutes before serving.
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moroccan vegetable and chickpea curry serves 4 ingredients 60ml olive oil 1 onion, finely chopped 10ml garlic, crushed 10ml turmeric 5ml chilli paste (optional) 10ml paprika 30ml ground cumin 30ml ground coriander 45ml brown sugar 45ml chopped fresh coriander or parsley 410g whole, peeled tomatoes chopped 30 ml tomato paste 410g chickpeas, drained and rinsed well 250ml vegetable stock 250g baby potatoes cut in half 250g baby carrots 200g white button mushrooms, halved
2 red peppers, cubed 200g baby marrows cut in half 200g baby butternut cut length ways herb salt and ground black pepper to taste method • In a large saucepan, sauté onion, garlic and spices in olive oil. • Add sugar and herbs, then tomato, chickpeas and vegetables. • Allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes until vegetables are just tender. • Correct seasoning if necessary. • Serve with whole-wheat couscous, brown rice or quinoa. • Garnish with fresh sprigs of coriander. • Serve with homemade coriander yoghurt. home-made coriander yoghurt 250ml low fat yoghurt 5ml ground coriander herb salt and ground black pepper handful of fresh coriander, chopped • Mix together the ingredients.
meringue nests serves 8 ingredients 2 egg whites 110g caster sugar 5ml cornflour filling Fresh assorted berries or fruit that is in season, sliced strawberries, banana, kiwi fruit, mango and granadilla 250ml Low fat cottage cheese or low fat plain yoghurt method • Preheat oven to 140 degrees. Line an oven tray with baking paper. • Beat egg whites in a bowl with an electric beater until soft peaks form.
Gradually add sugar one tablespoon at a time. Beat until the sugar dissolves between each addition. • Fold in cornflour and spoon mixture onto baking tray to form eight nests or use a piping bag to pipe mixture. • Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 120 degrees and bake for a further 30 minutes • Turn off oven and allow to cool in the oven • Serve meringue nest filled with cottage cheese or yoghurt and top with fresh assorted berries and decorate with sprigs of fresh mint.
about the book As part of their 20th birthday celebration, KwaZuluNatal based Brookdale Health Hydro has launched a recipe book that will help you achieve better health. Filled with over 100 tasty meals, beautifully illustrated with tips and suggestions it also has an easy-to-follow three-week meal plan to kick-start your healthy lifestyle. The book is available exclusively from brookdale.co.za for R240.
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success as a single parent DONNA COBBAN shares the stories of parents that are, for different reasons, doing it solo and doing it well.
...one of the advantages of being a single parent is that I get to raise my son the way I was raised and the way I want to raise him... it works for me Being a single mom is circumstantial – over and above all that, I am a mother. A joy-filled, adored, loved and muchneeded mother of a small, happy and much-loved boy, who spends Sunday mornings laying low in bed, drinking tea, eating biscuits and reading books – sometimes mine, sometimes his. My son came to me through a relationship that has since ended, but it is one that I will be eternally grateful to have had. Without it motherhood would have passed me by as I don’t think I would have been as brave
as Ester, a Joburg-based single mother of twin boys. She was nearly 35 when the man she loved left. While she was utterly devastated that the relationship was over, she swung into action as she knew time was marching on and for as long as she can remember, Ester had wanted to be a mother. So she went in search of a sperm donor. “Sperm donors get asked beforehand if they would like their sperm to go to heterosexual couples and/or homosexual couples and/or single women. A heterosexual couple gets pages and pages of donors to choose from; I got to choose from a total of nine,” Ester laments. But today, after a long, costly and extremely emotional ride, she is the proud single mother of twin boys. “Since they arrived, 18 months ago, life has come to a bit of a standstill, as I am limited to where I can go and what I can do with two small toddlers. Ester used to work long hours, leaving the office late at night to go out with friends. Today she rushes home after work to be with “...my gorgeous little munchkins; to spend time with them, to see how they develop and learn new things every single day – this is my joy.” Asked if raising twin boys with no assistance is something she would ever do over, Ester says “...in a heartbeat; it’s the best decision I ever made and it gets easier every day.” While single parenting is still largely the mother’s domain, there are many single dads out there, many of who are not given the attention they deserve as single dads are still seen as an oddity. Daniel* is single dad and primary caregiver to Sam*. Daniel beats around no bushes, telling me that “...one of the advantages of being a single parent is that I get to raise my son the way I was raised and the way I want to raise him. My ex came from an abusive family and so there are psychological issues, which I am hoping will now not be propagated to my son.” Another advantage for Daniel is that every second weekend Sam stays with his mother and Daniel has a chance to have “...alone-and-let-loose time” – this being something he is duly appreciative of and which “…partnered parents don’t often get”.
together but apart Single parenting comes to us in different forms and guises. An increasingly common form is created by a travelling partner who is away from home for significant periods of time – thus casting the parent at home into a “single-parenting role”. Anna* and Doug* have been together forever and three years ago they moved with their two young children to Cape Town, largely for schooling reasons. This now means that Doug commutes about
Anna says that having a support structure for herself was just as important as having one to help with the children. 2 000km, every few weeks, to work in Botswana. Anna says it takes him a full day to get to Cape Town if he wants to do it in one day. “He leaves at 4:30am, arrives in Joburg at 1pm; later lands in Cape Town around 3pm and then arrives home to a huge welcoming hug around 4pm. On the days he works a half-day, he’ll only leave after lunch and his arrival time at home in Cape Town is well after one in the morning – at this time, the bed is at least already well-warmed,” laughs Anna. Anna’s closest relative, her mom, lives 1 400km away, so Doug and Anna decided to employ a live-in nanny. Thandi* has since become a great support structure and an essential part of the family, although now that the children are older she only works office hours, from Monday to Friday. In addition to this, Anna makes sure she invites her mom to spend a week with them over the school holidays. This helps them all bond and frees Anna from some of her fortnightly single parenting stints. Interestingly Anna tells me that it was through single parenting that she learnt she was in great need of magazine cape town
while ago I was at a parental social gathering; I wandered through the crowds and came across a group of lovely looking women, huddled in confidante-speak. Recognising one of them, I entered the fold only to discover that this was single-mother speak – they were exchanging divorce, maintenance, new wives of ex-husbands and weekend commitment stories. As I, too, am a single mom, I received immediate acceptance, but just as fast, I found myself looking for a way to extricate myself from this group of strong, capable and loving women. While I may have had a host of things to complain about myself, I didn’t want to give those things credence, time or energy on that particular day. I did not want to be defined as a single mother – the very term conjures up all sorts of largely negative stereotypical images in people’s minds. I did not want to feel pity for myself as a single mother and, worst of all, I did not want the pity of others to ever fall at my door.
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adult time, conversation and company and that having a support structure for herself was just as important as having one to help with the children. “So I invested time in forming close friendships and I do try to meet with at least one friend, once a week, without the children, for adult time and adult conversation,” Anna says.
making it work And then, like the majority of parents, but especially single ones, Anna prepares well ahead of time. She has a weekly meal planner and shops online. After a hard morning’s work spent counselling troubled teenagers, Anna picks up her children from school, and they all sit down to a main lunchtime meal. This Anna says helps to lessen stressful evenings when everyone is tired. I envy this kind of organisation. My modus operandi is a bit different and on most Sunday afternoons there will be a random rice and lentil cook-up on our stove, or a bean stew on slow boil – for lunch and dinner in the coming week. Any single parent who handles the bulk of child rearing knows how draining and exhausting life can often be – despite the joy that children bring. It’s in these moments that we need to pause and be proud – immensely proud – of keeping it all together; keeping them warm, fed, bathed and loved and making sure we do the same for ourselves. Anna very soon noticed how single mothering taught her that she was so much more capable than she thought she was. “I have dealt with all sorts of crises, from a leaking
geyser and rushing Thandi to the ER late at night to taking care of two little patients after they simultaneously had their tonsils removed.” Another valid point that Anna raises is “parental opting out”. “When you are in a relationship you can easily opt to not take responsibility, but when you are a single parent you are on call for everything, 24/7 – from house maintenance and school duties to parenting and your own job. I had to learn to plan carefully and ensure that I spend time with my children and also that when I am with them, I am fully present.”
In addition to learning our strengths through single parenting, the fact that we are doing this alone makes it harder to hide when things go wrong. Anna says she just has to look at her children to know that if they are acting up, it is a symptom of a faulty system. “This then challenges me to reflect on my life, my schedule, my priorities and my parenting style and then to make changes where things are not working. I think when two adults do the parenting it is easy to blame the other one. But when you fly solo it forces you to look at yourself.” * Names have been changed.
getting back in the game For single parents, there is often guilt in (or around) deciding whether or not you should date. Keep it simple: if you want to, you should. Just find a way to do it that is comfortable for you. Here’s a start: • Make sure you know a lot about any new person before inviting them into your home. • Make friends before considering a romantic relationship. • Always introduce new adults to your children as friends, nothing more. • Listen to what your children have to say about the new person. • Do not pressure your children to like your new friend, or to spend time with them. • Insist that your children behave appropriately and politely. • Have regular family discussions with your children. • Gradually introduce a new date to your children by doing family-oriented activities together. • If you want to get serious with your “friend”, find out his or her feelings about children. • Don’t miss sport or school events, or any quality time with your child, in order to date. • Don’t use your children as “confidants” to discuss your relationship confusion or problems. Dr Tina B Tessina, family therapist and author
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budding bookworms Book clubs expose young readers to an exciting world of literature, says SUE SEGAR.
PHOTOGRAPH: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM / ILLUSTRATION: Rico
ook clubs for children not only encourage wide-ranging and more varied reading, but also stimulate discussion; extending their intellectual and social abilities. Cape Town mother Sarah Archer set up a book club for her children two years ago. Her daughter, Sophia, then nine, was a voracious but not very adventurous reader. “It occurred to me that the benefits offered by grown-up book clubs could carry over to children and that, as part of a book club, they could read more widely without the pressure of having to buy more books.” Sarah says the idea was to pool the books the children had bought between
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book club get-togethers, and to encourage them to try as many as possible. Five other mothers, with daughters the same age as Sophia, jumped at the opportunity to take part. They meet for an afternoon tea every six weeks or so. “We have no proper system; we deliberately didn’t want it to be administratively onerous. It’s a case of whoever can come, does and you can bring whatever books you have.” Two years on, Sophia is reading considerably more widely than before. Citing her own experience of an adult book club, Sarah says, “My natural inclination is to read escapist literature, but with a book club I take a selection and
story time Nal’ibali, which means “here’s the story’ in isiXhosa, is a new national initiative to promote and support a love of stories in children of all ages. Initiated by the Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa (Praesa) at UCT, with Avusa Media, the focus is on building satisfying and fun-filled interaction between adults and children through storytelling and reading. Joining the Nal’ibali reading clubs means bringing children together to do all kinds of activities related to stories through play, games, writing and reading. The Nal’ibali team suggests starting book club sessions with a song or a game. Children learn easily and comfortably when they play, so these are fun ways to start a session. You can also ask older children to teach all of you a game that they know or have made up. Make sure to sing songs in the home languages of all the children. Join their growing network of reading clubs by registering on nalibali.org. During the term, there is a weekly Nal’ibali supplement to support and inspire reading and storytelling in homes and in reading clubs. It’s bilingual in English and isiXhosa and English and isiZulu, so you and your children can use it to support language learning too. Online versions can be downloaded free of charge and you can join their Facebook page, facebook. com/nalibaliSA, to chat about books and stories.
often get into books I would not normally have considered. I want that for my children too. Sophia’s definitely got into some series that she wouldn’t normally have looked at, obsessed as she is with horse books.” Sophia, now 11, says, “I loved the Goosebumps series and The Hardy Boys. I would never have read them if I was not in the book club.” Justine Evans, also from Cape Town, started a book club for eight-year-old boys about a year ago. “I came up with the idea when the mother of a friend of my son, Jacob, asked whether the boys could swap some books as her son had run out of new reads.” She said parents were enthusiastic and the group soon grew from six to 10 children. “It seems that is a good size to cap it at.” This book club is run very simply, which is part of its appeal. Justine says the boys were initially encouraged to bring three books they were happy to lend and everyone got a turn to pick a book. “There was plenty to eat and there was also time to play.” At the second meeting, Justine suggested that the boys name their book club. They called it “The Olympic Book Club”, after a game they were playing. Justine is convinced that the book club has encouraged the boys to read more. Her son is more willing to take books from
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his peers, than have them imposed on him by his mother. “The book club has been a launch pad out of Horrid Henry. He is hooked on Anthony Horowitz now.” The boys do discuss their different tastes – some are into science or history, while others prefer comics or books about sport. Tandi Erasmus runs Story Club, a mini book club for children aged three to six years, in the Hillcrest/Highway area in Durban. It is offered as an extramural at schools where children meet weekly to share and swap books. “As a mother of three, and an avid bookworm myself, I have always tried to encourage reading in
book buddies Besides expanding the world of reading, the book club also creates an opportunity for its young members to develop close friendships. “The girls were initially shy with each other, but they are now proud to be part of the group,” says Sarah. A member of the group, Saskia Welz, 11, says, “I like that when we are playing on the trampoline, someone will recommend a book. We have become friends because of the books.” Although their group comprises only girls now, Sarah says the gender make-up will probably be more of an issue when the girls are a bit older. “Introducing boys
The book club also creates an opportunity to develop close friendships. my own children. The Story Club evolved naturally for me. As I always say to my little readers, ‘to read is to grow’.” Julia Knowler, a mother of two girls aged nine and eleven, runs a book club in Durban North that is now in its third year. “We started the book club when a few mothers with daughters in the same Grade 3 class noticed how the girls were devouring books. We were forever paying library fines and didn’t know what books to get for them.”
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would change the dynamic.” Justine says the mothers look forward to the book club as much as the children. Playing together is a big part of the meeting, but Justine says she wants to bring more focus to the books this year. “In the beginning they all used to sit and read at the end of the meeting, but recently the playing has overshadowed the books a bit.” However, she says the best thing about the book club is that she didn’t buy a single book last year.
Sarah would also like to encourage the girls in her group to talk more about the books. “It’s something we’ve never done before, as we didn’t want to put them on the spot. But now that they’ve developed a sense of what they do and don’t like, it would be good to get summaries of their favourite books. Julia warns that it’s easy for a book club to lose focus. “It is great for the children to have a social gathering, but it is best not to detract too much from the fact that they are there because of books,” she says. It’s important, when starting a book club, to ensure that the children have access to a range of good authors and subject matter. “The Ultimate Book Guide (A & C Black Publishers) is a very useful resource to give parents an idea of what sort of books are out there for boys and girls of all ages.”
Julie’s tips for starting a book club
It’s good if the mothers are all friends and the children are the same age. You need to work out what your aims are for the club. If they want to read something else, our attitude is they are welcome to take those books out of the library. Hold a meeting with all the mothers on what you want to achieve with the book club. Perhaps set up a roster to determine who will host the club when. Get each child to donate three or four books. The books must have names in them, so that they can be returned at the end of every year. Set up a book club meeting; two hours is a good time limit. Make sure you keep a record of all the books that have been taken out and returned.
contacts for book club enthusiasts JHB – Marteli: 079 886 6393 or firstname.lastname@example.org JHB – Reading Starz Forum, by Read Educational Trust, where book clubs can share ideas and discuss ways to inspire reading. Contact Thando: 011 496 3322 CPT – Centre for the Book Children’s Reading Centre is open Tuesday to Thursdays for story time and other reading-related activities. Contact: 021 423 2669 DBN – Story Club. Contact Tandi: 031 765 5677 or visit storyclub.co.za PTA – Soul Space. Contact: 074 118 9184, 083 400 5545 or visit mysoulspace.co.za
to read is to fly One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is the love of reading. Child magazine suggests ways to make books a much-loved part of your family. recommended reads It’s never too early to introduce your child to reading and books, or to start building a library of books for them to cherish. These books, recommended by librarians, teachers, and Nal’ibali will help you choose appropriate reading for children of different ages. This is just a rough guide, as younger readers may enjoy books recommended for older children too.
0 to three year olds Young children will fall in love with reading with pop-up, lift-and-flap and sound books, such as Alfie and Betty Bug, by Amanda Leslie; the Noisy Noisy series and Touch and Count with Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter.
• Hello Beaky, by Jez Alborough • The Very Quiet Cricket, by Eric Carle • A Fish Out of Water, by Helen Palmer • Hot Hippo, by Mwenye Hadithi • Oliver’s Vegetables, by Vivian French • A Pig Called Shrimp, by Jonathan Langley • Not so Fast Songololo, by Niki Daly • The Berenstain Bears and the Missing Dinosaur Bone, by Stan and Jan Berenstain • My Hands, by Aliki • Bootsie Barker Bites, by Barbara Bottner • Crocodile’s Sore Tooth, by Fundisile Gwazube, Lulu Khumalo, Linda Pantsi, Nompuleleo Yako • Jungle Drums, by Graeme Base • Come over to my house, by Dr. Seuss • When Dad Cuts Down the Chestnut Tree, by Pam Ayres • What Made Tiddalick Laugh, by Joanna Troughton • Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina • The Mr. Men and Little Miss series, by Roger Hargreaves • The Fancy Nancy series, by Jane O’Connor PHOTOGRAPHS: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
three to six year olds • Busytown series, by Richard Scarry • Hairy Maclary series, by Lynley Dodd • Noisy Nora, by Rosemary Wells • Mr Gumpy’s Outing, by John Burningham • A Sick Day for Amos McGee, by Philip Stead • Three Friends and a Taxi, by Maryanne Bester • The Cool Nguni, by Maryanne Bester • My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes, by Eve Sutton • Little Bear, by Elsa Minarik • Peek-a-Boo!, by Janet and Allan Ahlberg • Six-Dinner Sid, by Inga Moore • Oh No, George!, by Chris Haughton • The Bear’s Toothache, by David McPhail • The Odd Egg, by Emily Gravett • A Ball for Daisy, by Chris Raschka • The Night Before Christmas, by Clement C. Moore • The Story about Ping, by Marjorie Flack • Mouse Paint, by Ellen Stoll Walsh
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grade 1 – six year olds • A Classic Treasury, by Dr Seuss • A Squash and a Squeeze, by Julia Donaldson • The Owl and the Pussycat, by Edward Lear • Books by Michael Morpurgo • Under a Silver Moon, Ivan The Terrible and How to Write Really Badly, by Anne Fine • The Madeline series, by Ludwig Bemelmans • Dr Xargle books, by Jeanne Willis • The Water Horse, by Dick King-Smith • The Gruffalo books, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
grade 2 – seven year olds • A Child’s Christmas in Wales, by Dylan Thomas • Babe the Gallant Pig, by Dick King-Smith • Pongwiffy series, by Kay Umansky
grade 3 – eight year olds • Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney • Eating Things on Sticks, by Anne Fine • Boy with the Lightning Feet, by Sally Gardner
grade 5 – 10 year olds • Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, by Jeff Kinney • Goosebump series, by R. L. Stine • Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett • The Tree that Sat Down and The Stream that Stood Still, by Beverley Nichols • Madiba Magic, by Nelson Mandela
grade 6 and 7 – 11 to 13 year olds • Emma Tupper’s Diary, by Peter Dickson • His Dark Materials trilogy: Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass, by Philip Pullman • Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott • Once and Future King, by T. H. White • The Changes: A Trilogy, by Peter Dickinson • Twilght series, by Stephenie Meyer
grade 4 – nine year olds • Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O’Brien • The Roald Dahl Collection • Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
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read, read, read ways to get them to read Tandi Erasmus, of Story Club, offers the following ideas to get your children to read. • To get your children to appreciate books, instil a love of reading from an early age. • Read a story at the end of each day. Your child will relish the undivided attention and will associate books with this good memory. • Be a reader yourself; children follow by example. • Place books around your home so they are easily accessible. • Read age-appropriate books. • Use fun voices and faces to help bring the story to life. • Story books with a CD promote and develop listening skills. ways to get children to read better • Always praise children and have patience as they are learning to read. • If your child is battling to read, buddy read with them to build their confidence. • Play word games such as broken telephone and Scrabble. • A good way to interpret the story is by acting it out. • Story recall helps to develop comprehension skills. ways to get children to read more widely • Read different stories as well as informative books. • Join a library. • Start a book club. • Begin collecting monthly children’s magazines. These are colourful and informative, and cover a wide variety of topics. • Get books that contain rhyming, illustrations and good vocabulary.
reading for different learning styles There are three main learning styles – visual, auditory and kinaesthetic or movement – and children, while stronger in a particular mode of learning, may process information in a combination of the three. auditory learners Children who prefer audio stimulation learn by phonics and sounding out, decoding and synthesizing words. They find it difficult to read silently for
extended periods, so to make reading fun, encourage them to read out loud, use different accents for the characters, and sing, rap or rhyme the contents of the book. Lynley Dodd’s Hairy Maclary series, which follows a small “terrier” and his friends, uses simple plots and rhythmic verses that flow easily. The repetition allows young children to anticipate what’s coming next and gets them repeating the words. Audio books can expose auditory learners to books and stories. visual learners Children who find visual material more stimulating are easily drawn to picture books with bright involved illustrations and large print. Robert Sabuda’s elaborate pop-up books bring stories to life with colourful castles, dragons and fairies rising from the folds. The Where’s Wally? series has children from the age of five glued to the pages for hours, as they try to pinpoint a set of items among the crowds in weird and wonderful locations. kinaesthetic or tactile learners For children who prefer being active and hands-on, books with flaps and tags, scratch-and-sniff panels, cookbooks, crafts and science experiments keep them constantly stimulated and allow for spontaneous activities. The Peek-a-boo board book by J. Ahlberg is great for young children getting used to books while playing the classic peek-a-boo game. For older children, The Everything Kids Science Experiments Book by Tom Robinson has loads of easy experiments. help from a furry friend Reading difficulties can hamper the emotional development of your child, says Marieanna le Roux, who is researching the effects of animal-assisted reading programmes at Stellenbosch University’s Department of Psychology. She says international studies show that children with low self-esteem would rather speak or read to a dog than an adult. “The unconditional and non-critical acceptance of the pet or dog creates calmness and boldness that enable the learner to read freely, regardless of how many mistakes are being made.” For more information on animal-assisted learning programmes, visit pat.org.za or therapytopdogs.co.za magazine cape town
why read aloud? If you wonder about the benefits of reading aloud, consider this from Jacky Bellon, librarian at King David Linksfield Junior Primary in Joburg: “Reading aloud is a way for children to share the books they enjoy with their families – memorable experiences can be created as discussion ensues about topics raised during the reading.” A fluent reader, such as the parent, is a role model for a child’s oral reading. You give a voice and meaning to text that children cannot give to the story on their own. You demonstrate to your child the mental processes they use to make sense of what they are reading, such as asking yourself questions, predicting, making connections to what you already know in the story, relating information to personal experiences and checking whether you truly understand what you are reading. Reading aloud also helps children to:
how to read aloud effectively Consider your goals for the read-aloud before selecting the book. Alphabet books are good for teaching letters. Storybooks are good for vocabulary and informational books develop content knowledge and enhance a child’s motivation for reading. Word play books are useful for developing skills such as phonological awareness. To keep their attention, prompt children to use their background knowledge to develop their understanding of the story. Keep them engaged by asking them questions about the story as it unravels. Read in a lively way, using voices, gestures, pauses and expression where required, as this helps children understand the story. Encourage children to predict what will happen based on the events that have unfolded in the story, and engage them in both immediate talk, such as asking literal questions, and non-immediate talk, such as discussing the meaning of the
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. - Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! • familiarise themselves with difficult words and learn correct pronunciation; • improve on listening comprehension; • gain confidence to become effective communicators, both orally and in writing; • become involved in the drama of a story and become expressive, creative and imaginative readers; • expand their vocabulary and learn the meaning of words in context; • learn the intricacies and oddities of language; • decrease passive listening, which is often what happens with TV and MP3 players, and • be creative with language – especially true with rhyming books, which are great fun for reading aloud no matter the age.
story. You can also relate the story to personal experiences. Wendy Pote, of Linden Library in Joburg, says: “Children like to be involved, so ask them to participate in the story by saying the magic word, or shooing the dog away. They also like stories where they have to find the ladybird that is hidden on every page, or the detailed illustrations of a book, such as in those by Richard Scarry, where so much is going on.” Stories with rhymes appeal to children and are fun to read. Also use stories with repetition, such as the traditional tales of The Little Red Hen and Chicken Licken. “Of course, any book read with gusto and obviously loved by the parent would make the child love it too. A lot of what makes story time special is the closeness it engenders between adults and children.”
4 000–12 000
the average number of new words children can learn each year just from reading books
readathon The annual Readathon is a literacy awareness campaign, launched by the educational trust Read, to encourage enthusiasm for reading. The theme of this year’s campaign, which runs until the end of October, is “The more you read, the more you know”. In 2011, Read initiated the formation of book clubs in Gauteng as a pilot project. They proved to be a huge success and children throughout the country are being encouraged to form similar book clubs in their schools and communities. For more information, visit read.co.za
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recommended read-aloud book lists toddlers What to look for Books that are described as fun, rhythmic and interactive that stimulate sight and hearing, so choose books with colourful pictures and exciting sounding words, and books with songs and rhymes. Also, pick books that encourage early learning, for example, books that introduce the alphabet. Board and cloth books are great as they can be chewed, pulled and patted without breaking. Name objects and colours, make the sounds and count repeated images, then ask them to repeat after you and let them tell you what they see. Once the child begins to respond to the sight of books and your voice, begin on dialogue books. • We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom: Anniversary Edition, by Bill Martin • Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?, by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle grades 1 to 3 What to look for Funny picture books, and basic dialogue books with wonderful illustrations are popular. Remember to expose them to a variety of books, which helps literacy. Children at foundation phase enjoy books with predictable stories and ones that have a build-up,
as well as books with repetition. Wellknown fairytales and folktales are always a good choice. • Beware of Boys and Beware of Girls, by Tony Blundell • The Cool Nguni and Mealies and Beans, by Shayle and Maryanne Bester • Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss • Flat Stanley, by Roald Dahl • Isabel’s Noisy Tummy, by David McKee • Jim and the Beanstalk, by Raymond Briggs • Lady Lollipop, by Dick King-Smith • Pirate Girl and Princess Pigsty, by Cornelia Funke • Seven Chinese Brothers, by Margaret Mahy • Three Billy Goats Gruff, retold by Carole Bloch • Willy the Wimp, Gorilla and Little Beauty, by Anthony Browne • Zanzibar Road, Pretty Salma, Once Upon a Time, by Niki Daly grade 4 What to look for Children often want the same book read to them, which tells you that this particular story is their happy place. So indulge them; reading should be a pleasure, plus it’s bonding time for you and your child. In turn, repeat favourite stories to them. Get them engaged with the story by starting a conversation – ask them questions about the story, and the characters’ actions and feelings.
bringing books to life Nal’ibali produces a weekly supplement to inspire reading in homes and book clubs. Register online at nalibali.org or join their Facebook page: facebook.com/nalibali. You can also find checklists for book clubs, tip sheets and choose books in English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi and Sesotho. Online books and reading clubs, such as the Disney Book Club, encourage discussions about books. Take children to book fairs where they can meet the authors and take part in readings and related activities. Visit these websites to find out more about book-related activities: capetownbookfair. com, jozibookfair.org.za, books2you.co.za (Durban) and mysoulspace.co.za (Pretoria).
Contact your local library or book store for a schedule of story times. Also see childmag.co.za for events in your area. Electronic reading devices, such as Kindles, eBooks and tablet computer applications (apps) make reading interactive. Visit digital-storytime.com for suggested book apps for different ages. Popular book apps include MeeGenius and TabTale books. The LeapPad’s Ultra eBooks offer children the opportunity to listen to and read along with the story and to do related activities. Many children’s theatres stage productions of popular books. Visit childmag.co.za/whats-on for performances in your area. Let older children follow their favourite authors on Twitter, such as @ TwilightSMeyer or @RL_Stine. magazine cape town
• • • • • • • •
Alex Rider series, by Anthony Horowitz Captain Underpants series, by Dav Pilkey Cool!, by Michael Morpurgo Diary of the Wimpy Kid series, by Jeff Kinney How to Train your Dragon series, by Cressida Cowell Karate Princess in Monsta Trouble and Viking at School, by Jeremy Strong Percy Jackson series, by Rick Riordan Selby Supersnoop, by Duncan Ball
grade 5 What to look for Short novels are better to read aloud than full-length ones as there are fewer details and descriptive passages. Also, read books that are above their level to stimulate them and get them thinking. Children at this age, especially girls, are emotionally exploding into their pre-teens and are becoming more sensitive to the world around them. They seem to enjoy topics that affect relationships and their family, such as eating disorders, divorce and friendship struggles, which are dealt with in a funny and sympathetic way. Boys may want adventure and escapism that is funny and light. • A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket • Because of Winn Dixie, by Kate DeCamillo • Bunnicula series, by James Howe • Double Act, by Jacqueline Wilson • Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster, by Debra Frasier • Superfudge, by Judy Blume • The House of Dies Drear, by Virginia Hamilton • The Mum Hunt, by Gwynneth Rees • Unmentionable and Undone, by Paul Jennings grade 6 What to look for Clever and catchy rhyming books that make them giggle and allow them to be silly. You could also get them to read a book they know well and can act out more easily. Perhaps
they’d enjoy the dramatic, where a children’s horror or a suspense story can be dramatically re-enacted. To bring weird and wonderful characters to life, children can make up accents. You may want to encourage them to start book or reading clubs, where they can focus more on discussing the story with their peers, chapter by chapter. • Boy, by Roald Dahl • Diamond Brother series, by Anthony Horowitz • Flipped, by Wendelin van Draanen • Never Mind!, by Avi and Rachel Vail • People Who Make a Difference, by Brent Ashabrenner • Running Out of Time, by Margaret Haddix grade 7 What to look for Books that get children thinking
emotions and ideas. Read interesting magazine and newspaper articles to them, as well as poems. Expose them to chapter books, and read a chapter or two a day with them. Choose to read them novels about difficult events such as the arrival of a new sibling, divorce or friendship challenges, all of which can help them process their feelings and face their fears. • A Guided Tour of Ally’s World series
and the You, Me and Thing series,
by Karen McCombie
• Gallagher Girls series, by Ally Carter • The Beasts of Clawstone Castle, by Eva Ibbotson • Twist in Time, by Jean Ure Ideas, tips and recommendations supplied by librarians Jacky Bellon of King David Linksfield Junior Primary, Adele Shapiro of King David Sandton Senior Primary and early biliteracy teacher, Xolisa Guzula, of Nal’ibali. For more helpful tips on reading, visit nalibali.org
win audiobooks The Listeners’ Library specialises in audiobooks and offers a wide selection for adults and children. Fiction, fairy tales and fables keep children entertained while improving imagination, vocabulary, pronunciation and listening skills. Contact: 011 325 2266 or visit listenerslibrary.co.za One reader stands a chance to win four audiobooks, namely Robinson Crusoe, The Hen Who Wouldn’t Give Up, The Reluctant Dragon and Classic Fairy Stories, valued at R635. Simply enter via childmag.co.za/wins-ct and use the code “Listeners Library CT”. Your details will be made available to Listeners’ Library.
To download this resource, go to childmag.co.za/content/to-read-fly
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a good read for toddlers
I Love You, Little Monster By Giles Andreae and Jess Mikhail (Published by Hachette Children’s Books, R85) This is a heart-warming and joyful tale of parental love and a child’s boundless energy and enthusiasm for life. Written by Giles Andreae, multi award-winning author of Giraffes Can’t Dance, it has bright and humorous illustrations by talented new illustrator Jess Mikhail. It’s a great bedtime story, as Big, the parent, puts Small to bed for the night. Everything is peaceful and quiet, and Big gets the chance for the first time after a very busy day to tell Small how much he means to him. Small’s eyes are closed, but he takes in every word as he slowly drifts off to sleep…
Winnie Under the Sea By Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul
Bramble the Brave By Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow (Published by Oxford University Press, R60) Bramble has a nose for adventure. She can dig under meadows, wade through slippery weeds, tumble down hills and climb the trickiest branches, but when it comes to trying new food, she turns her nose up at everything. Eating nothing but berries can get a bit boring and Mommy mole knows just the thing to entice Bramble to be brave and try something new. This is a beautifully illustrated story that encourages children to go beyond the familiar, whatever the arena. Parents and children everywhere will recognise the issues in this book and will be rooting for Bramble to extend her adventurous spirit to her eating habits.
Cape Town Pictures and Words Concept by Flore de Vries
our country in first words
(Published by Pictures and Words, R99) With pictures and words, from biltong to bakkie, Table Mountain to boat and dassie to penguin, this quaint little book is sure to leave old and young readers with a smile. The locally designed cardboard toddler’s book is an innovative, colourful and fun alternative to the traditional my-first-words booklets with drawings. It makes for an original souvenir for tourists and a great gift for little locals. Also coming out soon is South Africa – Pictures and Words, Johannesburg – Pictures and Words and Safari – Pictures and Words. For more info on where to find this book, visit picturesandwords.co.za
(Published by Oxford University Press, R57) Over three million copies of the Winnie the Witch series have been sold worldwide and it’s no surprise as these books are crammed with humour and detail. Winnie and Wilbur whizz off for a holiday at the seaside and she can’t wait to dive in and explore life under the sea, but Wilbur isn’t so sure; water is very wet, after all, and he feels quite at home dozing on land. But Winnie has an idea and turns Wilbur into a catfish. Suddenly Wilbur doesn’t mind getting wet and he’s having so much fun, that Winnie decides to turn herself into an octopus, so they can swim together with the fish. Then Winnie drops her wand, and things get complicated.
our favourite witch
Hungry Hyena By Mwenye Hadithi and Adrienne Kennaway (Published by Hodder Children’s Books, R85) This hungry hyena steals the fish eagle’s dinner and sets off a chain of events, with disastrous results. By telling a lie, Hungry Hyena makes Fish Eagle believe that her eggs are in danger of being eaten by Snake. As Fish Eagle dashes off to save her eggs, Hyena eats her fish. Fish Eagle is furious, but comes up with a brilliant plan to teach Hyena a lesson. It is the story of how the hyena came to slink about on the great African plains and how the fish eagle soars in the clouds. The book is recommended for children from the age of three.
The Buttons Family – New Shoes By Vivian French and Sue Heap (Published by Walker Books, R57) This book is part of a series of six new firstexperiences books about the Buttons family. Charlie’s shoes are too tight, but he doesn’t want new ones. The lady at the shoe shop tells Charlie to listen to his toes, as they are saying “Ouch! We’re squashed! We can’t grow straight”. The other books in the series deal with staying over at Gran’s place, the first day at playschool, dealing with the babysitter and going to dentist. The books, recommended for children from the age of three, also have a selection of fun stickers on each topic.
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for early graders
Mhlanguli, Antjie, Zimkhitha, Azhar and Cindy (Published by the Early Learning Resource Unit, R35 each for parents and teacher; R200 for all five) This series of books is part of The Keteka series and the Anti-bias Project of the Early Learning Resource Unit. Each book tells the story of a day in the life of a child. These children all live in different parts of South Africa and the stories are told in isiXhosa, English, Setswana and Afrikaans. It’s a great tool for parents and teachers to show children different cultures and teach them about tolerance. Children can also learn a new language along the way. For orders, email email@example.com
Secret Agent Splat! By Rob Scotton (Published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, R86) Splat the Cat turns detective in this hilarious new title in the internationally bestselling series from the creator of Russell the Sheep. Splat the Cat notices that something isn’t quite right in his house. First the toy ducks his father makes start to go missing. Then they are mysteriously returned but, strangely enough, without their beaks. Who could possibly be causing all of this trouble? To solve the mystery, Splat musters up his courage and rises to the challenge as Secret Agent Splat. Also get the other books in the Splat series: Scaredycat Splat!; Love, Splat; Splish, Splash, Splat! Splat the Cat and Merry Christmas, Splat.
Hank Zipzer, The World’s Greatest Underachiever and the Crazy Classroom Cascade By Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver
The Butterfly Tiara By Gwyneth Rees (Published by Macmillan Children’s Books, R70) Marietta’s Magic Dress Shop has hundreds of beautiful dresses in every colour of the rainbow, sewn with magic thread. When Ava tries on one of the dresses, she gets whisked away on an adventure. In this third book in the series, Ava puts on a decorative trapeze outfit with an amazing butterfly tiara and is transported to a travelling circus. Ava loves the bright lights and the colourful costumes, but she’s worried about a baby elephant that is being trained to perform tricks. Can Ava reunite the baby with its mother before the ringmaster finds out? The other books in this popular series for young girls include The Twinkling Tutu and The Magic Princess Dress.
(Published by Walker Books, R57) This is the first book in the New York Times bestselling series about the hilarious adventures of a cheeky, but loveable hero. According to 10-year-old Hank Zipzer, there are many reasons why he shouldn’t have to do homework. For example, every pen he owns has run out of ink, his thoughts are controlled by alien beings, he’s allergic to lined paper... Or could it just be that Hank has dyslexia and doesn’t want to look stupid? In the first book of this highly popular series, Hank’s ingenious plans to avoid doing his homework end in comic disaster as he accidentally floods his classroom.
for preteens and teens Soldier Dog By Sam Angus
The Water Creature and Old Aunty Claws By François Bloemhof
(Published by Macmillan Children’s Books, R71) Stanley’s dad hasn’t been the same since his wife died and his eldest son went off to fight in the war. Now Stanley is either invisible to his dad or the object of one of his rages, and his only friend is his dad’s prizewinning greyhound, Rocket. But one day Rocket escapes, and the result is a litter of non-thoroughbred puppies that Da says will all have to be drowned, even Stanley’s favourite puppy, Soldier. Stanley is so angry with his father that he runs away and enlists in the army to train as a messenger dog handler. Despite being far too young, he’s soon heading to France with a Great Dane called Bones by his side. Based on a true story, this heartbreaking, powerful tale of a boy soldier and his dog is set against the devastating backdrop of World War I.
(Published by Human & Rousseau, R85 each) These are books three and four in the very popular Chillers series. In The Water Creature, Stephen and Alana are once again on holiday in Blue Water Bay. But this year their peaceful stay is cruelly interrupted. What is the story behind the dilapidated wooden house and what has frightened the woman on the beach? They will have to find answers to these questions very quickly. In Old Aunty Claws, what starts off as just another boring holiday at the children’s home, turns into a nightmare for Victor when an unexpected villain makes an appearance in his life – the little old lady who lives down the road.
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for preteens and teens Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland By Lewis Carroll (Published by Random House Struik, R90) This book is a new release from the publishing house’s Vintage Children’s Classics series, where they aim to bring these ageless tales to children from the age of nine. The story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is well known, but boasts a brand-new cover. Also included in the book is a back story. Here children can test their knowledge of this tale, learn more about Carroll and timeless what inspired him to create Wonderland. Children tale also get the opportunity to create their own nonsense verse. Other books in this series include The Wind in the Willows, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Treasure Island, What Katy Did, The Silver Sword, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, The Jungle Book, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and Emil and the Detectives.
Out of the Ashes By Michael Morpurgo (Published by Macmillan Children’s Books, R100) This is a powerful and moving fictional account of true events, by one of the most acclaimed children’s writers of our time. This story is not a story at all. It really happened. On New Year’s Day, Becky Morley begins to write her diary. By March, her world has changed forever. Foot-and-mouth disease breaks out on a pig farm hundreds of miles from the Morleys’ Devon home, and soon the nightmare is a few fields away. Local sheep are infected and every animal is destroyed. Will the Morleys’s flock be next? Will their pedigree dairy herd, the sows with their piglets, and Little Josh, Becky’s hand-reared lamb, survive? Or will they be slaughtered too? The waiting and hoping is the most agonising experience of Becky’s life.
for us Year of the Gherkin By John Dobson (Published by Penguin Books, R153) Okay, so his credit card is maxed, his boss hates him, his father is a world-class alcoholic and his hairline, like the country, is showing signs of recession. But everything will come right if he sticks to his New Year’s resolutions. All he needs to do to get his life back on track is bag himself a great new job, lose nine kilograms, get a girlfriend and get 250 Facebook friends without too many freaks. Easy. Or so he tells himself. But in reality, the odds are stacked against the Jasonator. He may have the best collection of branded jeans in the paint retail industry, but turning his life around is going to require a lot more than just a change of trousers.
Dress Your Cookie By Joanna Farrow
r fun fo mily the fa
(Published by Spruce, R117) With four basic cookie recipes plus detailed step-by-step decorating instructions, you can make 50 edible designs to dress up your cookies. The book tells you how to shape cookies and how to make icing; offers techniques for decorating, melting and using chocolate and piping, and what equipment is useful. From animals and colourful characters to fun designs and festive shapes, there are decorations for everyone and every occasion. So whether you want a rainy-day activity to do with the children, or something different and colourful to bake for family and friends, cookie decorating has never been so much fun.
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A Street Cat Named Bob By James Bowen
The Home Handbook By Rachel Simhon
(Published by Hodder and Stoughton, R118) When James Bowen found an injured, ginger street cat curled up in the hallway of his shelter accommodation, he had no idea just how much his life was about to change. James was living hand-to-mouth on the streets of London and the last thing he needed was a pet. Yet he couldn’t resist helping the strikingly intelligent tomcat, whom he quickly christened Bob. He slowly nursed Bob back to health and then sent the cat on his way, imagining he would never see him again. But Bob had other ideas. Soon the two were inseparable and their diverse, comic and occasionally dangerous adventures would transform both their lives, slowly healing the scars of each other’s troubled pasts.
(Published by Bloomsbury Publishing, R194) When did we lose the knack of looking after our own homes? We have become dependent on five-in-one chemical cleaners; we can’t seem to wield a vacuum cleaner anymore; and descaling the kettle is a task to be indefinitely delayed. The Home Handbook seeks to redress the balance and celebrates the art of caring for your home in the most environmentally friendly, fuss-free way. Learn how to fold a fitted sheet, wash a wallpapered wall, clean shower curtains, unblock a toilet, make your own homemade window cleaner, care for duvets, clean pearls, remove scratches from a wooden table, spot-remove a stain, clean and defrost a freezer, remove heel marks from stone floors and so much more.
parenting books The Contented Mother’s Guide By Gina Ford (Published by Vermilion, R176) Becoming a mom is an exciting journey, with new rewards and responsibilities. But while you focus your energies on the needs of your growing baby, it’s easy to neglect your own needs. Gina Ford has helped millions of women raise contented babies and now she wants to ensure that it’s not just your baby that’s happy. In this indispensable guide, Gina has worked with her online community of mothers to distil the best advice on being a contented mom. This guide will help you navigate all the essential issues of motherhood, including happiness, health and fitness, relationships with friends, family and your partner, outings, returning to work or becoming a full-time mom.
Life Talk for Parents By Izabella Little-Gates
dealing with tee ns
(Published by Reach Publishers, R156) This book provides comprehensive information and advice about the current issues and challenges faced by teens and parents. This thought-provoking guide empowers parents, helping them to be proactive in their parenting, and addresses topics such as: how do you prepare your children for the challenges of adolescence and adulthood?; peer pressure, binge drinking, drugs and sexual activity; what to do if your child is huffing, cutting or playing choking games; dealing with “but everyone else is going!”; sexting, chat rooms, porn and bullying; divorce, blended families and single-parenting dilemmas. This book focuses on enhancing communication and building self-esteem and values, boundaries and the right attitude.
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what’s on in october
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
only for parents
bump, baby & tot in tow
how to help
FUN FOR CHILDREN
ONLY FOR PARENTS
Hout Bay Green Faire An eco-expo powered by solar and wind power, offering greener lifestyle options.
Water Oak Farm open garden Visit the large garden with its two dams and a mix of fynbos and traditional Cape and English garden varieties and views of Constantia Valley that stretch for miles.
bump, baby & tot in tow
how to help
The Parent Centre’s new Tuesday support group An extra moms-to-be and moms and babies support group has been added to the weekly lineup.
The Goodsport Trust Become a MyPlanet/MySchool member and make the trust a beneficiary. The organisation focuses on socioeconomic development through community upliftment.
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Horses and Humans programme The interaction teaches lessons, addressing aspects of communication, interdependence and development of the individual.
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SPECIAL EVENTS 2 tuesday Horses and Humans programme The natural interaction between your child and the horse helps build your child’s self-confidence so that they may tackle new challenges that they were not able to approach before. Day one, communication: stable tasks, grooming and human-horse interaction activities. Day two, interdependence: grooming, human-horse interaction activities. Day three, the individual: feeding, grooming
2–4 October – Horses and Humans programme
and horse riding. Presented in English and Afrikaans. From age 8–Grade 12. Ends 4 October. Time: 8am–12pm (day one and two), 7am–11am (day three). Venue: Journey’s End Horseback Rides, between Somerset West and Sir Lowry’s Pass Village. Cost: R600. Contact Maureen: 082 565 6499, maureen@ML-counselling.com or visit ML-counselling.com
6 saturday Ben 10: Omniverse premieres on Cartoon Network The all-new fourth series airs on Saturday at 9am with a special one-hour screening of Ben 10: Omniverse episode one and two. Thereafter catch the new series every Saturday at 9am and 2:50pm and the following Monday at 4pm. Showing on Cartoon Network, DStv channel 301. For more info: visit cartoonnetworkafrica.com Freshpak Fitness Festival This multisport festival offers fitness challenges for children, teens and adults, which includes a 3km or 1,5km swim; a duathlon, biathlon and triathlon; the fitness challenge for teenagers, which consists of a 2,5km run, 450m swim and 1km run. Younger children can participate in FitKids with a 1km run, 200m swim and 1km run. Time: 9am. FitKids starts at 10:30am, Teen’s Fitness Challenge starts at 11:45am. Venue: Clanwilliam. Cost: varies according to race and age group. For more info: visit freshpakfitnessfestival.co.za
PediaSure Toddler Sense seminar Join the author, sister Ann Richardson, and her guest speakers as they cover all the issues of parenting your toddler, including potty training, nutrition, effective discipline and sleep issues. A notebook, refreshments and a goody bag are included. Time: 8am–1pm. Venue: Kenilworth Racecourse. Cost: R295. Contact: 082 467 8236, bookings@ toddlersense.co.za or visit toddlersense.co.za 21 October – Kamers
12 friday Breedekloof Outdoor & Wine Festival Sample wines from Rawsonville, Slanghoek, Goudini and the Breede River wineries. Enjoy special offers at the farms, live entertainment and children’s activities such as pony rides, sand art, magic shows, jumping castles and tractor rides. Highlights are a tagged fishing competition and the Slanghoek Cellar Mountain-to-Mountain MTB Classic on 13 October. Ends 14 October. Time: 10am. Venue: participating establishments in the Breedekloof Valley. Cost: varies. Contact: 021 349 1791, info@ breedekloof.com or visit breedekloof.com National Bandana Day Purchase a bandana and join The Sunflower Fund in raising awareness of the increased need for bone marrow stem-cell donors in South Africa. You can register to be a donor with the South African Bone Marrow Registry. Venue: available from Pick n Pay. Cost: R20 per bandana. Contact: 0800 121 082 or visit sunflowerfund.org.za
13 saturday White Mischief charity ball in aid of The Sunflower Fund MC Mark Bayly hosts the evening while 3 Tons of Fun provides the entertainment. A buffet dinner is served before a short auction for a Rovos Rail journey and an African River Safari on the luxury 42-metre Zambezi Queen. Thereafter guests can dance to the sounds of well-known band Shiraz. Time: 6:30pm. Venue: Mount Nelson Hotel. Cost: R800 per person or R8 000 per table of 10. Contact Adi or Chris: 021 701 0661 or 0800 121 082 Parklands College open day View the college’s facilities. Time: 10:30am–1pm. Venue: Parklands College, Wood Dr. Cost: free. Contact: 0861 EDUCATE (3382283)
19 friday Robertson Wine on the River Taste more than 300 wines, and enjoy tutored chardonnay tastings in the Chardonnay Tent. Enjoy live jazz, ballads and blues,
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browse the country food stalls, shop at the Robertson Farmers’ Market, go on river cruises and enjoy art and crafts. Ends 21 October. Time: 11am. Venue: Riverside Farm, Goudmyn, on the R317 between Robertson and Bonnievale. Cost: adults R75–R100, free entry for children under 18. Book through Webtickets: visit webtickets.co.za
20 saturday Stellenbosch Waldorf School info day Time: 10:30am–11:30am. Venue: Stellenbosch Waldorf School, Santa Rd, off Annandale Rd outside Stellenbosch. Cost: free. Contact: 021 881 3867
21 sunday Kamers They host niche suppliers selling jewellery, gourmet food, ceramics, décor and more. They support various initiatives. Ends 27 October. Time: 4pm–8pm, 21 October; 8:30am–5pm, 22–27 October; 8:30am–8pm, 26 October. Venue: Lourensford Wine Estate, Somerset West. Cost: R50 entry. For more info: visit kamersvol.com
25 thursday WPPS Christmas Market You will find ladies clothing, jewellery, food and deli gifts, stocking fillers, Christmas decorations, gifts for your child’s teacher, a tea garden, cappuccino bar and much more. Time: 10am–4pm. Venue: Western
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Province Preparatory School, 49 Newlands Rd, Claremont. Cost: free entry. Contact: 021 761 8074
Nazareth House birthday celebration Colin Moss is MC for the celebration, while Ard Matthews, iScream and the Chocolate Stix, SoapGirls and The Blues Broers provide live entertainment. Visit the design, décor and craft stalls as well as the Flavours of the World food extravaganza, and enjoy carnival fun such as inflatable sumo wrestling. Also 27 October. Time: 2pm–9pm, 26 October; 9am–9pm, 27 October. Venue: Nazareth House, Derry Rd, Vredehoek. Cost: adults R25, children under 18 and pensioners R15. Contact: 0861 915 8000 or visit computicket.com
27 saturday Fairmont Festival With rides, games, and a variety of food and stalls, the festival promises to be a fun-filled day for the whole family. aKING, Mark Haze and Brothers Streep perform live. Time: 10am–6pm. Venue: Fairmont High School, Durbanville. Cost: R30 entry, children under 6 free. Contact: 081 468 2017, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit fairmontfestival.co.za Hout Bay Green Faire The faire offers greener lifestyle options showcasing renewable energies, green products and services, water- and power-saving devices,
organic veggies, healthy food stalls and more. Highlights include the Planet Warrior’s Children’s Festival with an eco-fashion show, Trash to Treasure, a talent contest and a green design competition. Time: 10am–6pm. Venue: Kronendal Primary School, Andrews Rd, Hout Bay. Cost: free entry. For more info: visit houtbaygreenfaire.org
28 sunday Bandana Bike Run This year sees the inaugural Bandana Bike Run, organised by
Cape Outdoor Expo Outdoor enthusiasts can find caravans, 4x4s, tents, gadgets, trailers and displays promoting beautiful local destinations, exotic resorts and the best in adventure and outdoor gear and activities available in Southern Africa. Highlights include wine tastings, food stalls, a children’s zone, NGO speakers’ corner and live entertainment. Socialised dogs on leads are welcome. Ends 28 October. Time: 10am, Friday; 9am, Saturday and Sunday. Venue: Sandringham Farm, off the N1, Stellenbosch Environ. Cost: varies. Contact Jenny: 082 564 1050 or visit outdoorexpo.co.za
The Sunflower Fund in association with the Moth Motorcycle Association. The ride aims to raise awareness for people diagnosed with leukaemia or other life-threatening blood disorders. The ride follows a 60km route. About 1 000 motorcyclists are expected to show their support. Leukaemia survivors and patients participate in a motorcar parade with the bikers. Time: 10am, registration 8am. Venue: Air Force Base Ysterplaat. Cost: R50. Contact: 0800 121 082 or 021 701 0661
31 wednesday American International School of Cape Town open day Time: 9am–1:45pm. Venue: 42 Soetvlei Ave, Constantia. Cost: free entry. Contact: 021 713 2220 or visit aisct.org
FUN FOR CHILDREN art, culture and science CapeGators Kids Club mime workshop The club runs monthly activities and competitions with prizes. Join in-centre or on the website. The activities include face painting, colouring-in competitions and themed art and crafts. For 3–13 year olds. 13 October. Time: 11am–12pm. Venue: CapeGate Shopping Precinct, cnr Okavango Rd and De Bron Rd, Brackenfell. Cost: free. For more info: visit capegatecentre.co.za Free two-hour introductory fabric painting workshop Holiday classes are also offered. 27 October. Time: 8:45am–10:45am. Venue: Pinelands. Cost: R30 per kit. Contact: 021 531 8076, 082 391 4954 or email@example.com French flair in Franschhoek For a month, the SA-French Season offers visiting France-based chefs, French cooking classes, cheese tastings paired with wines from the area and pop-up kitchens. Book through the participating establishments. 15 October–15 November. Time: varies. Venue: Franschhoek Wine Valley. Cost: varies according to establishment. For more info: visit franschhoek.org.za Scallywags scrapbooking classes 1, 3 and 5 October. Time and cost: 10am for children 4–7 years old: make a photo frame for R20; 2pm for children 8 years old and up: make a concertina photo frame for R60. Venue: Scallywags, 44 Belvedere Rd, 1st Floor Caltex Garage, Claremont. Contact Anita: 079 529 9015, info@ascrapabove. co.za or visit ascrapabove.co.za Story Time drama workshop Children listen to fun stories packed with interesting characters and animals. Students make them come to life through movement and sound. For 6–8 year olds. 1 October. Time: 9am–12pm. Venue: Claremont Congregational Church Hall, 222 Main Rd, Claremont. Cost: R50. Contact Caroline: 074 140 0563, caroline@cmdramaacademy. com or visit cmdramaacademy.com Sue Nepgen’s term four art classes begin The programme includes painting on canvas with acrylics, creative colour etching, as well as other drawing and
2 and 3 October –Theatre Sports drama workshop
Starts 11 October – Sue Nepgen’s children’s art classes
painting techniques. For 4–13 year olds. Thursday class starts 11 October, Friday class starts 12 October and Saturday class starts 13 October, but children may join in at any stage. Time: held in the afternoons during the week and Saturday morning. Venue: Michael Oak Waldorf School, Kenilworth or 28 Klaasenbosch Dr, Constantia. Cost: R550 per term, including materials and firing. Pro-rata fees for late joiners. Contact Sue: 021 794 6609/4723, 083 237 7242 or firstname.lastname@example.org Theatre Sports drama workshop Enrol your child for these two days where they need to use their imagination and quick thinking to improvise. For 11–13 year olds. 2 and 3 October. Time: 9:30am–1pm, daily. Venue: Claremont Congregational Church Hall, 222 Main Rd, Claremont. Cost: R100 for both days. Contact Caroline: 074 140 0563, email@example.com or visit cmdramaacademy.com
classes, talks and workshops CPR for family and friends The training sessions are with Professional Emergency Care and are suitable for ages 10 and older. Time: 9am–12pm. Venue: 6 October, Constantiaberg Mediclinic and 20 October, Milnerton Mediclinic. Cost: R250. Contact: 021 705 6459 or firstname.lastname@example.org Horses and Humans programme For children age 8–Grade 12. 2–4 October. Time: 8am–12pm (day one and two), 7am–11am (day three). Venue: Journey’s End Horseback Rides, between Somerset West and Sir Lowry’s Pass Village. Cost: R600. Contact Maureen: 082 565 6499, maureen@ML-counselling.com or visit ML-counselling.com Study Tips for Stressed-Out Students workshop Tried and tested techniques for handling stress during assessment time. For Grade 4–7. 4 October. Time: 9am–12pm. Venue: Blouberg EQual Zeal Life Studio. Cost: R400. Contact Leanne: 072 213 3166, email@example.com or visit equalzeal.com Weekly drumming workshop They get children Djembe drumming and singing as well as playing drumming games. For 3–10 year olds. 4, 11, 18 and 25 October. Time: 1:30pm. Venue: Church of Christ, cnr Irene Ave and Lourensford Rd, Somerset West. Cost: R45 for 30 minutes or R140 for four consecutive weeks. Contact Lana: 071 871 5839 or firstname.lastname@example.org magazine cape town
family outings Breedekloof Outdoor & Wine Festival 12–14 October. Time: 10am. Venue: participating establishments in the Breedekloof Valley. Cost: varies. Contact: 021 349 1791, email@example.com or visit breedekloof.com Fairmont Festival 27 October. Time: 10am–6pm. Venue: Fairmont High School, Durbanville. Cost: R30 entry, children under 6 free. Contact Juanita: 081 468 2017, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit fairmontfestival.co.za Hout Bay Green Faire 27 October. Time: 10am–6pm. Venue: Kronendal Primary School, Andrews Rd, Hout Bay. Cost: free entry. For more info: visit houtbaygreenfaire.org Kamers A platform for high-end craft. 21–27 October. Time: 4pm–8pm, 21 October; 8:30am–5pm, 22–27 October; 8:30am–8pm, 26 October. Venue: Lourensford Wine Estate, Somerset West. Cost: R50 entry. For more info: visit kamersvol.com Nazareth House birthday celebration 26 and 27 October. Time: 2pm–9pm, 26 October; 9am–9pm, 27 October. Venue: Nazareth House, Derry Rd, Vredehoek. Cost: adults R25; children under 18 and pensioners R15. Contact: 0861 915 8000 or visit computicket.com Oude Werf Hotel Sunday buffet lunch 7, 14, 21 and 28 October. Time: 12pm–3pm. Venue: Restaurant 1802, Oude Werf Hotel, Stellenbosch. Cost: R125, vegetarian option R85. Contact: 021 887 4608, email@example.com or visit oudewerfhotel.co.za Robertson Wine on the River 19–21 October. Time: 11am. Venue: Riverside Farm, Goudmyn, situated on the R317 between Robertson and Bonnievale. Cost: adults R75– R100, free entry for children under 18. Book through Webtickets: visit webtickets.co.za School runway shows A 10-day fashion extravaganza by young talent from Rustenburg Girls High, Sans Souci Girls High, Durbanville High, Fish Hoek Primary School, Durbanville Primary, Edgemead Primary, Milnerton High and Settlers High School, who will each produce a fashion show to raise school funds. 12–21 October. Time: 1pm and 7pm. Venue: Centre Court, Canal Walk. For more info: visit canalwalk.co.za
finding nature and outdoor play Brandvlei Farm Spend the day fishing, skiing, kitesurfing, sailing, motor-boating,
The SPCA Charity Horse Show The show celebrates show jumping in support of abused and neglected horses and ponies. Picnick on the lawn and let the children enjoy pony rides, face painting and a jumping castle, while you watch dozens of young and up-and-coming riders compete in various showing and showjumping classes. 21 October. Time: 9am. Venue: Constantia Valley Riding Club (CVRC), Brommersvlei Rd, Constantia. Cost: R10 entry, children 6 and younger free. Contact Juan: 021 700 4180/41, events@spca-ct. co.za or visit spca-ct.co.za
swimming and wine tasting. Time: 8am–6pm, daily. Venue: Brandvlei Dam, Worcester; directions on website. Cost: R120 per day. Contact: 023 343 2877, 072 515 0955, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit wyc.co.za Cape Outdoor Expo 26–28 October. Time: 10am–7pm. Venue: Sandringham Farm, off N1, Stellenbosch environs. Cost: varies. Contact Jenny: 082 564 1050 or visit outdoorexpo.co.za Table Mountain Cableway Kidz Season Children under 18 years old ride free when an adult return ticket is bought over weekends, public holidays and the school holidays. Children receive a free treasure hunt map. Ends 31 October. Time: first car up, 8am; last car up, 6pm, last car down, 7pm. Venue: Tafelberg Rd. Cost: R195 for an adult return ticket. Contact: 021 424 8181 or visit tablemountain.net
5 October – Two Oceans Aquarium Solemates Members’ Family Sleepover
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Clay Café school holiday special Choose two items of ceramic bisque, three paint colours, and a juice and snack. After painting, your child can enjoy their playground while you relax. Suitable for toddlers and older. 28 September–6 October. Time: 9am–5pm. Venue: Oakhurst Farm, Main Rd, Hout Bay. Cost: R85. Contact Justine: 021 790 3318, chasms@ houtbay.com or visit claycafe.co.za
Two Oceans Aquarium Solemates Members’ Family Sleepover Families, pack your sleeping bag, take your picnic supper and enjoy an overnight adventure at the aquarium. To become a Solemate member and enjoy unlimited access to the Aquarium, along with other benefits, contact the Members’ Centre. Sleepover 5 October. Time: Friday 7pm–8am to
Saturday morning. Venue: Two Oceans Aquarium, V&A Waterfront. Cost: free for Solemate Members. Contact: 021 418 3823 or email@example.com
holiday activities Blue Rock holiday camp Children knee-board, water-ski and wakeboard as well as rock jump, foefie slide, swim
and play paintball. The camp includes accommodation, three meals per day, snacks and 24-hour adult supervision. For children 8–16 years old. 30 September–4 October. Time: 5pm drop-off on Wednesday, 5pm pick-up on Sunday. Venue: Blue Rock, Somerset West. Cost: R2 299. Contact: 021 858 1330 or firstname.lastname@example.org Gumboot Parties holiday club Children do crafts, play games, swim and horse ride, among other activities. For 4–12 year olds. 1–5 October. Time: 7:30am–5:30pm. Venue: Gan Eden Farm, Vissershok Rd, Durbanville. Cost: R100 per day per child, R50 per half-day per child. Contact Chane: 072 182 9333, email@example.com or visit gumbootparties.co.za Hillsong Church Kidsfest A one-day holiday programme, which follows a hiphop theme. They have a show planned, as well as rides, crafts, hip-hop dance lessons, a petting zoo and more. For Grade R–6 pupils. 3 October. Time: 8:30am–5pm. Venue: Hillsong Church, 2 Kinetic Way, Century Boulevard, Century City. Cost: R70, which includes jump bag, morning tea and lunch. Contact: kidsfest@hillsong. co.za or visit hillsong.co.za Kidz Discovery spring fun-factory holiday club A semi-structured morning of art and crafts, baking, face painting, dress-up, role play, fairy garden, clambering on climbing walls and a jungle gym, crazy dancing, story time and more. For 2–8 year olds. 25, 26, 27 and 28 September, 1, 2,
3 and 4 October. Time: 9:30am–12:30pm. Venue: Kidz Discovery, The Drive, Camps Bay. Cost: R120 per morning, including a snack, baking and craft materials. Contact Kathy: 083 654 2494, info@kidzdiscovery. co.za or visit kidzdiscovery.co.za Kidz on the Move holiday club The children do Zumba, swim, play games, and increase their fitness levels through different activities. SA athletes speak to the children about the Olympics and why it is so important to play sport and be active. Children receive a water bottle/sling bag. 1–5 October. Time: 8:30am–12pm, Monday– Friday. Venue: Sports Science Institute of South Africa, Boundary Rd, Newlands. Cost: R950 for the week, R200 a day, R400 for two days, R600 for three days. Contact: 021 659 5600, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ssisa.com
1–5 October – Kidz on the Move holiday club
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Kronendal Holiday Club Drop your children off for a fully supervised, funfilled day. Activities include art and crafts, drumming, baking, a mountain hike, a walk to the beach and swimming. All ages. 1–5 October. 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 Joanne: 076 402 2333 or email@example.com Magic Mayhem at N1 City Mall The mall runs free magic shows for children. Parental supervision is required. 3–6 October. Time: 1pm–2pm. Venue: Louwtjie Rothman St, Goodwood. Cost: free. Contact: 021 595 1170 Nature’s Treasure Box holiday art workshop Children take part in games, storytelling and an exploratory walk in the magical gardens. They also create and decorate their own treasure box into which they put the items they collect from nature. For 6–9 year olds. 4 October. Time: 9am–1pm. Venue: Gold Fields Environmental Education Centre, Kirstenbosch, Rhodes Dr, Newlands. Cost: R40. Contact: 021 799 8670 or firstname.lastname@example.org Ratanga Junction rides are open 28 September–7 October. Time: 10am–5pm, daily. Venue: Century City. Cost: R152 for over 1,3m, R75 for under 1,3m, R50 for a non-rider fun pass. Contact: 021 550 8504 or visit ratanga.co.za
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and soccer. 1–5 October. Time: 8am. Venues: southern suburbs: Kelvin Grove, Newlands and Constantia Sports Complex; northern suburbs: Fairmont High School and Kenridge High School, Durbanville. Cost: R330–R480. Contact Marike: 021 683 7299 or visit sportingchance.co.za
4 October – Nature’s Treasure Box holiday art workshop
Ryan Maron’s Cricket School of Excellence pre-season holiday clinics The cricket school offers holiday clinics for 4–16 year olds. Students are taught the basics of the game – batting, bowling, fielding and general knowledge. The clinic concludes with a match on the final day and a prize-giving. 1–4 October. Time: 9am–2pm. Venues: Rondebosch Boys’ High School, Jan van Riebeeck Primary School, Parklands College and Eikestad Primary School. Cost: R500 per student. Contact William: 021 671 9460, 084 249 9969, email@example.com or visit cricketschool.co.za
Seven Spur Kids holiday fun 2 October: magician and waffle decoration, 4 October: puppet show and ice-cream decoration. Time: 10am–12pm. Venue: Seven Spur, Arthurs Rd, Sea Point. Cost: R40, includes food and entertainment. Contact: 021 439 5536 Sporting Academy holiday clinic The clinics offer soccer, hip-hop and horse riding. For boys and girls 4–13 years old. 1–4 October. Time: 9am–12:30pm. Venues: Meadowridge FC, Constantia, Claremont and in False Bay. Cost: R120 per day or R390 for four days. Contact: 084 777 1212 Sporting Chance holiday clinic The programme covers cricket, field hockey
Bay Harbour Market Enjoy a festive atmosphere, live bands and more than 100 stalls in an old fish factory. The market is part of the Hangberg Social Upliftment Project. Time: 5pm–9pm, Friday; 9:30am–4pm, Saturday and Sunday. Venue: 31 Harbour Rd, Hout Bay. Cost: free entry. Contact: 082 570 5997, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit bayharbour.co.za Blue Bird Garage Market Set in an old postal plane hangar, this space is filled with a collection of local artisans, specialty cooks, bakers, producers and designers. Handpicked South African wines, craft beer, food, live music and a children’s creative area all add to the atmosphere. Time: 4pm–10pm, every Friday. Venue: 39 Albertyn Rd, Muizenberg. Cost: free entry. For more info: visit bluebirdmarket.co.za Camphill Country Market For freshly baked breads, cheese, fresh organic veggies, clothing and bric-a-brac. The Camphill Coffee Bar sells treats to eat. 7 October. Time: 11am–4pm. Venue: Camphill Village, West Coast. Cost: free entry. Contact Lee: 021 571 8651 or email@example.com
calendar Woodmill Lifestyle Market This Friday night music market offers events for the whole family. Entertainment is offered for children, there’s live rugby as well as market delicacies such as boutique wines, craft beers and home-made goodies to eat. Time: 5:30pm–10pm, every Friday. Venue: The Woodmill, Vredenburg Rd, Stellenbosch. Cost: free. Contact Betty: 082 450 8531, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit thewoodmill.co.za
on stage and screen
Book Lounge story time every Saturday
Century City Natural Goods Market An outdoor market with stalls shaded under giant Bedouin tents on green lawn. Visitors can picnic between shopping expeditions and enjoy pony rides. There is a dedicated children’s space, and families can take a boat ride around Intaka Island. 7 October. Time: 9am–2pm. Venue: Central Park, Park Lane, Century City. Cost: free entry. Contact: 021 531 2173 or email@example.com City Bowl Market Shop for fruit, vegetables, chicken, cheese, bread, biltong, chocolates, olives, pesto, olive oil, cakes and macaroons. Enjoy lunch, breakfast, coffee and cold beer. 6, 13, 20 and 27 October. Time: 9am–2pm. Venue: 14 Hope St, Gardens. Cost: free entry. For more info: visit citybowlmarket.co.za Earth Fair Market 13 October: puppetmaking workshop and puppet show. Time: 10:30am. 31 October: Halloween dress-up and trick-or-treat. Time: 4pm. Venue: Tokai. Cost: free. For more info: visit earthfairmarket.co.za Nitida Farmers’ Market Shop for freerange goods, veggies, nuts, dried fruit, olives and oils. 26 October. Time: 5:30pm–9:30pm. 27 October. Time: 8am–12:30pm. Venue: Nitida Cellars, Durbanville. Cost: free entry. Contact Getha: 083 651 0699, getha@ nitida.co.za or visit nitida.co.za
Ben 10: Omniverse premieres on Cartoon Network The all-new fourth series airs on Saturday at 9am with a special one-hour screening of Ben 10: Omniverse episode one and two. Thereafter catch the new series every Saturday at 9am and 2:50pm and the following Monday at 4pm. Showing on Cartoon Network, DStv channel 301. For more info: visit cartoonnetworkafrica.com End of year children’s play: Pinocchio in District Six The students of the Italian School of Cape Town stage a play in Italian. 27 October. Time: 10:30am. Venue: 36 Nile St. District Six. Cost: adults R50, children under 12 R20. Contact: 021 465 8261, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ladante.co.za So Random Australian pop singer Cody Simpson guest stars in this spin-off from Sonny with a Chance featuring hilarious skits, eccentric spoof characters, crazy games and music. Starts 1 October. Time: 7:55am on Disney Channel, DStv channel 303 Swoop Sam the swallow’s adventures highlight the effects of global warming using physical theatre and shadow puppetry. Swoop follows his natural instincts and learns what he needs to do for his planet. For 7–13 year olds. 29 September–7 October. Time: 11am. Venue: Kalk Bay Theatre. Cost: R60. For more info: visit kbt.co.za The Ugly Duckling and Other Stories The Ugly Duckling, The King’s New Clothes and The Princess and the Swineherd are three magical stories by Hans Christian Andersen. Filled with colourful characters, this stage adaptation sticks closely to the
Rumpelstiltskin This classic fairytale written by the Brothers Grimm tells the story of a miller’s daughter who repays Rumpelstiltskin by promising him her first-born child. The only way she can avoid this is if she can guess the nasty little dwarf’s name. 29 September–6 October. Time: 10:30am and 12pm. Venue: Baxter Theatre. Cost: R40. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000
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14 October – Discovery Best4 Surfski series
original fairytales. All three stories have lessons to be learnt: don’t be judgmental, don’t be greedy and don’t be foolish. This show runs for 45 minutes. 1–6 October. Time: 11:30am. Venue: Cavendish Square, 1st floor, next to Stuttafords. Cost: R40. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000
playtime and story time Book Lounge story time One floor offers a lounge, coffee shop and a muralled children’s section for the themed weekly story time. Time: 11am, every Saturday. Venue: 71 Roeland St, Gardens. For more info: visit booklounge.co.za
sport and physical activities Children’s integral yoga day Children can participate in spiritually based activities such as Hatha Yoga, music and gardening. For 3–14 year olds. 28 October. Time: 9am–2pm. Venue: Ananda Kutir Ashram, 24 Sprigg Rd, Rondebosch. Cost: donation. Contact: 084 919 4864 or email@example.com Dirtopia Triple Trail Run Series There is a 7km loop and a 14,5km route. Both routes offer climbing on a jeep track towards Klapmutskop. Pre-entries qualify for goody bags. There is a refreshment station on both routes, drinks at the finish and prizes to be won in the lucky draw. 21 October. Time: 6am. Venue: Dirtopia Trail Centre, Delvera Farm, on R44 about 10km from Stellenbosch. Cost: 7km R55, 14,5km R75; late entries taken on event day: 7km R65, 14,5km R85. Contact: 021 884 4752, theteam@dirtopia. co.za or visit dirtopia.co.za Freshpak Fitness Festival 6 October. Time: 9am. FitKids starts 10:30am, Teen’s Fitness Challenge starts 11:45am. Venue: Clanwilliam. Cost: varies according to race and age group. For more info: visit freshpakfitnessfestival.co.za Kirstenhof Dance and Pilates Studio Weekly ballet, modern and hip-hop dancing for children and Pilates classes for adults. Time: call to enquire. Venue: 14 Windhover St, Kirstenhof (close to Blue Route Mall). Cost: varies for group or private sessions. Contact: Liane: 021 701 2750, 082 739 0100 or firstname.lastname@example.org Lila’s yoga classes 13 and 27 October: yoga for adults and teens. Time: 9am–10am, yoga for parent and toddler. Time: 10:20am–11am. Venue: Lila Yoga magazine cape town
Studio, 201 Bree St. 16 October: yoga for children. Time: 3pm–3:45pm. Venue: Avirodha Yoga & Pilates Studio, Valley Rd, Hout Bay. Cost: call to enquire. Contact Nicole: 083 377 9248 or info@ lila-yogatherapy.com Yoga for children For ages 9 years and older. Time: 3:15pm–4pm, every Thursday. Venue: Monte Vista Tennis Club. Cost: R30. Contact Dionne: 084 628 4223 or email@example.com
only for parents classes, talks and workshops Cake decorating for beginners An eight-week beginner’s cake-decorating workshop that includes basic filling and covering of cakes, basic figure modelling and basic beginner flower making. 15 October–10 December. Time: Monday evening or Tuesday morning. Venue: Constantia. Cost: R4 000 for eight classes or R580 per class. Contact Grace: 082 571 0589, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit cupcakesbydesign.co.za Discovery Best4 Surfski series Amateurs and novices are invited to paddle with three of the world’s top five surfskiers including current world champion Dawid Mocke. There are great prizes up for grabs in this first ever surfski race. The 12km race begins at the Clock Tower, with participants paddling two laps, through the Waterfront, out the harbour mouth to Granger Bay and back. 14 October. Time: 9am. Venue: V&A Waterfront. Cost: varies. Contact: 021 782 4311 or visit surfski.co.za
28 October – Children’s integral yoga day October 2012
calendar First aid level-three course The course is accredited by the Department of Labour in terms of the General Health and Safety Act. 8–12 October. Time: 9am–4pm. Venue: Maitland. Cost: R1 285,35. Contact: email@example.com Learn CPR and save a life Paediatric nursing sister Lee-Ann White runs the course for parents, childminders and au pairs. Discovery Health members earn Vitality Points. 21 and 28 October. Time: 9am–12pm. Venue: Pinelands. Cost: R220. Contact: 021 531 4182 or 072 283 7132 Montessori teacher training information session They’re now taking registrations for 2013 enrolments into the
3 October – Room to Grow talk with Harold Mills
course. 27 October. Time: 10:30am–12pm. Venue: Auburn House Montessori School, 3 Auburn Rd, Kenilworth. Cost: free. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org One-day right-brain business plan workshop This workshop focuses primarily on getting clarity about your big vision and providing an introduction to other parts of the business plan. 24 October. Time: 8:30am–5pm. Venue: Constellation House, Rondebosch. Cost: R980, which includes copy of the book, all materials, lunch and one individual, 30-minute, follow-up coaching session. Early-bird R150 off if registered and paid by 10 October. Contact: email@example.com Pro Ed House School open day This specialist school for Grade 1 to Grade 7 children with learning and attention difficulties invites parents and therapists to tour the school, observe classes in action and see the work done by learners. 19 October. Time: 10:30am–11:30am. Venue: cnr Erin Rd and Elma Rd, Rondebosch. Cost: free. Contact Wasiela: 021 686 1567, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit proedhouse.co.za Room to Grow talk with Harold Mills Harold is a keen gardener and presents a talk on growing vegetables. 3 October. Time: 10:30am–11:30am. Venue: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Newlands. Cost: free for the talk, but garden entry fee applies. Contact Cathy: 021 465 6440, 072 201 2535 or email@example.com
Apartment 107 by Enerchi Emporium Dance Company This show follows the life of a home and the people that live there; a story told through dance. The multi-genre performance showcases Latin American, ballroom, hiphop, jazz and contemporary dance. 8–13 October. Time: 8:30pm. Venue: Kalk Bay Theatre. Cost: R120 show only; R270 with show and two-course meal; R320 for show and three-course meal. For more info: visit kbt.co.za
Teach your child maths Over two Saturdays, you learn useful ideas on how to get your child to love maths. Appropriate for parents/teachers of children 3–9 years old. 13 and 20 October. Time: 9:30am–12:30pm. Venue: Early Learning Foundation (ELF) Montessori Teacher Training, Suite 101, Main Rd, Mowbray. Cost: R200. Contact Claire: 021 685 8119 or firstname.lastname@example.org The Power of Purpose course For parents, au pairs and teachers. The course teaches skills that help you to be focused, present and enjoy your parenting. 18 and 25 September; 2, 9 and 16 October. Time:
6:30pm–9:30pm. Venue: Constellation House, 5 Oakvale Rd, Rondebosch Cost: R2 200. Contact Mandy: 084 200 9700 or email@example.com Your Family and Temperament: series one You are shown nine aspects of temperament, profiling the temperaments of your children and other family members, to see how to create a better fit. Karen Quail discusses how to respond to aspects of temperament that can be difficult to manage, and how to help children adapt to things that are difficult for them at first. 17, 24 and 31 October. Time: 7pm–9:30pm. Venue: Michael Oak Waldorf School,
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4 Marlow Rd, Kenilworth. Cost: R750, R1 300 per couple. Contact: 021 696 1946, 076 303 5324 or firstname.lastname@example.org
R220 show and two-course meal, R270 for show and three-course meal. For more info: visit kbt.co.za
on stage and screen
out and about
Rapid Fire Fairytales Gavin Bonner combines his skills as a percussionist, storyteller, comedian and improvisational poet into one show. He has performed over 150 times around South Africa and the UK and no two shows are the same. 18–20 October. Time: 8:30pm. Venue: Kalk Bay Theatre. Cost: R70 show only,
Amy Biehl gala dinner Save the date for this extravagant annual event. 13 October. Time: tbc. Venue: Market Hall, GrandWest Casino, Goodwood. Cost: R1 000 per head; R10 000 per table. Contact Kim: 021 462 5052 or email@example.com Bergvliet Primary School annual golf day Join in for a day of fun and great prizes. 18 October. Time: first tee-off 11:23am. Venue: Westlake Golf Club, Westlake Ave off Boyes Dr, Lakeside. Cost: R450 per player, R1 800 per four-ball. Contact Bettie: 021 715 1103 or firstname.lastname@example.org Clos Malverne Spring Ice Cream & Wine Pairings This family-run wine estate’s new spring ice cream and wine combinations will enliven hibernating palates. Combinations include Snow Pea, Mint & Lime ice cream matched with the estate’s Sauvignon Blanc and Gooseberry & Macadamia nut ice cream paired with the lightly wooded Clos Malverne Chardonnay. Time: 10am–4pm daily. Venue: Clos Malverne, Devon Valley Rd, Stellenbosch. Cost: R55, which includes four pairings. Contact: 021 865 2022 or visit closmalverne.co.za Grande Roche Hotel food and wine safari Up-and-coming young winemakers each host a table where the dishes are
18 October – Bergvliet Primary School annual golf day
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specifically matched to their wines. Prepare for some surprises from celebrity guests. 26 October. Time: 7pm. Venue: Grande Roche Hotel, Plantasie St, Paarl. Cost: R365, B&B accommodation is R1 665 per room per night. Contact: 021 863 5100 or christine@ granderoche.co.za Water Oak Farm open garden Visit the large garden with its two dams and a mix of fynbos and traditional Cape and English garden varieties and views of Constantia Valley that stretch for miles. 27 October. Time: 10am–5pm. Venue: Water Oak Farm, Klein Constantia Rd, Constantia. Cost: R40, which includes tea/coffee, cakes and treats. For more info: visit sarda.co.za
support groups ADHD Insight This site creates an informative space for parents of children with emotional or behavioural difficulties, and provides information on relevant schools, intervention centres and other organisations that may be useful. For more info: visit adhdinsight.co.za Aware Bears They create awareness and a better understanding of cerebral palsy. Aware Bears provide comfort and support during difficult times and hope to assist those being mainstreamed to make a smooth transition. Contact: potsfamily@telkomsa. net or email@example.com LGBTI Parents Support Group For gay and lesbian parents or parents-to-be. There are regular meetings between LGBTI
parents to exchange ideas and experiences. Contact Heather: 021 448 3812, health2@ triangle.org.za or visit triangle.org.za WC Safe Schools Hotline You can use this hotline for support and advice if your child is a victim of bullying. Contact: 0800 454 647
bump, baby & Tot in tow
classes, talks and workshops Babies in Mind workshops for parents Learn how to manage your baby’s sleeping and feeding difficulties and how to handle excessive crying. Find out how to avoid postnatal depression and how to reduce your and your baby’s stress. For details of the next workshop, contact Jenny: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit babiesinmind.co.za HypnoBirthing childbirth classes A calm, gentle approach to birth preparation and the birth experience. 16 September– 15 October. Time: 2:30pm–5pm, every Sunday. Venue: Camps Bay. Cost: R1 200 per couple, which includes refreshments and all materials. Contact Lauren: 079 450 6779, email@example.com or visit gentlyborn.co.za Kids Clinic A two-week course by paediatric sister Alex Turner covers changes to the expectant mother, birth options and foetal development as well as all aspects of baby care and understanding newborn behaviour. In this course there is a larger focus on parenting styles, philosophies and understanding attachment. Next course starts 23 October. Time: 6:30pm–9:30pm, every Tuesday and Thursday. Venue: 11 Rottingdean Rd, Camps Bay. Cost: R1 000 per couple. Contact: 021 438 0020, 082 806 3121 or firstname.lastname@example.org Moms and Babes Claremont Mom and baby stimulation classes for 2–12 month olds. Your baby’s class is age dependent. Time: 10am and 3pm. Venue: 36 Water St, Claremont. Cost: call to enquire. Contact Di: 021 671 8690 or 082 746 3223 Moms-to-be and moms and babies group Parent Centre hosts a weekly group where moms and pregnant women can meet, socialise, learn from and support each other. Join their Facebook page “Thursday Moms Group”. Time: 10am–12pm, every Thursday. Venue: Kingsbury Hospital, 2nd floor, Wilderness Rd, Claremont. Cost: R40, including refreshments. Contact: 021 762 0116, email@example.com or visit theparentcentre.org.za
Motherhood Matters baby massage classes Four-week baby massage course where moms learn to communicate with their babies through loving touch and learn the benefits of massage. They also get ongoing breast-feeding and baby-care advice from registered midwives. Small groups of 6 to 8 moms and babies. For age 4 weeks–6 months. Starts 17 October. Time: 10am–11:30am, every Wednesday. Venue: Kirstenhof. Cost: R500. Contact Megan: 071 875 2668, info@motherhoodmatters. co.za or visit motherhoodmatters.co.za PediaSure Toddler Sense Seminar 6 October. Time: 8am–1pm. Venue: Kenilworth Racecourse. Cost: R295. Contact: 082 467 8236, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit toddlersense.co.za Prenatal yoga classes Prenatal yoga provides an opportunity for pregnant women to develop greater vitality and awareness of their bodies. 4, 11, 18 and 25 October. Time: 5:30pm–6:30pm, every Thursday. Venue: Lila Yoga Studio, 201 Bree St. Cost: R80 per class; R295 for a five-class pass or R550 for a 10-class pass. Contact Nicole: 083 377 9248, email@example.com or visit lila-yogatherapy.com The Parent Centre’s new support group An extra moms-to-be and moms and babies support group has been added to the weekly lineup. Starts 25 September. Time: 10:30am–12:30pm, every Tuesday. Venue: Cape Town Mediclinic, Hof St, Gardens. Cost: R40, including refreshments. Contact Letitia or Linda: 021 762 0116 or visit parentcentre.org.za Tots n Pots cooking and baking workshop Cook a variety of healthy snacks, meals and treats such as Marmite and cheese wheels, rosemary kebabs and Halloween cookies. Please note the new Thursday and Friday classes. Time: 2–6 year olds 3pm, every Wednesday and 1pm and 3pm, every Thursday; 2–3 year olds 9:30am, every Friday; 2–10 year olds 10am, every Saturday. Venue: Constantia Tots n Pots. Cost: R720 per term or R90 per class. Contact Hannah: 082 569 8666, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit totsnpots.com
Global Handwashing Day Raise awareness on 15 October by encouraging your school to organise activities that will motivate children to wash their hands with soap and water before a meal and after going to the toilet. Many people do not realise that handwashing with water alone is not enough to make them clean. For more info: visit globalhandwashingday.org
Wriggle and Rhyme Classes combine singing, movement and rhythm using percussion instruments. Time: 9am or 10:30am. Venue: Bergvliet, Claremont, Fish Hoek and Sun Valley. Cost: R430 per term. Contact Kirsty: 079 740 4561, email@example.com or visit wriggleandrhyme.co.za
playtime and story time Toptots Claremont mother and child workshop Creative messy play, perceptual development, massage, sensory motor activities, fine motor activities and music programmes. The first lesson is a free trial. For ages 8 weeks–4 years. Term four starts 8 October. Registration is ongoing so you can start at any time. Time: call to enquire. Venue: 74 Ranelagh Rd, Claremont. Cost: R900 a term. Contact Lisa: 079 248 8083 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Goodsport Trust This is a non-profit organisation that focuses on development through education, training, youth development, skills development and community upliftment. To become a MyPlanet/MySchool beneficiary, they need to submit a batch of 400 application forms. You can help by completing a MyPlanet application form and name (or add) The Goodsport Trust as one of your beneficiaries (you may have up to three). A percentage of all you spend will go towards them. Contact Liz: 021 782 2254 for a form. Completed forms can be faxed to 086 275 4907 or emailed to email@example.com
support groups La Leche League’s breast-feeding support groups Time: 10am, unless otherwise stated. Cost: free. Panorama. Contact Carol: 021 558 5319. Durbanville. Contact Trudy: 021 913 2816 or Tiffany: 021 913 3586. Parow. Contact Dilshaad: 021 930 2475. Milnerton Mediclinic. Contact Juliet: 021 556 0693. Parklands Intercare. Contact Simela: 021 553 1664. Paarl. Contact Jonette: 021 872 5297. Rondebosch. Contact Becky: 021 531 2485. Fish Hoek. Contact Tammy: 021 782 9240. Stellenbosch. Contact Olga: 082 062 0206 or Francia: 082 940 9685. Malmesbury (telephone help). Contact Selma: 083 265 5458. Napier (telephone help). Contact Emma: 082 696 3584 Turning Point support group Provides assistance and services to battered women and their children. Handsewn black dolls, R250, are being sold with proceeds going towards this cause. Contact Lynia: 072 197 3808
how to help Friends Day Centre An education and stimulation centre for children and adults with severe intellectual and physical disabilities. Volunteer your time and expertise, assist them with fundraising, sponsor a child or make a donation. For more info: visit friendsdaycentre.org.za Pebbles Project The project enriches the lives of children from disadvantaged backgrounds with special educational needs. It provides support and training to local wine farm and township créches and establishes after-school provision for older children living in the Winelands. Pebbles would like to provide a school pack for every child leaving one of the Pebbles-supported crèches for primary school. Each bag contains a basic school uniform, school shoes, pencil case,
pencils and pens. Sponsor a bag for R200. Contact: sponsorachild@pebblesproject. co.za or visit pebblesproject.co.za Santa Shoebox Project 2012 registration open Let your child choose, fill, decorate and label the gift boxes. To participate, register online from today where a step-by-step procedure guides you through the process. The shoeboxes are dropped off between 24 and 31 October. Time: 7am. Venue: visit the website for an area closest to you. Cost: free to register. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit santashoebox.co.za Uhambo Foundation The Ndinogona “I can” stimulation kit for children with disabilities is designed to assist caregivers in interacting with and stimulating children with disabilities, allowing them to improve their quality of life. For more info or a demonstration, contact: 021 762 5094 or email@example.com
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 3 October 2012 for the November 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 continued...
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double trouble Having two small children, under the age of two, is not for the faint-hearted.
Erin, Anél and Conor
veryone said that having a second child, just 16 months after the first, would be easy. We were told that, as we were already on nappy and bottle duty, adding a few more for the new baby would be a cinch. Well, “they” lied. Or, at the very least, they fudged a few details. It is, in fact, a massive balancing act. It now takes us at least 45 minutes to get ready for a one-hour outing. Packing for two little people who may need milk, wet wipes, nappies and extra clothing, probably at the same time, is no mean feat. Then there’s the dilemma of who to attend to when they cry simultaneously. And believe me, cry simultaneously they will. Never mind a yawn being contagious – nothing spreads faster between siblings than a frustrated cry. If I do manage to get Conor to sleep, you can bet your Lotto ticket that Erin will drop all 17 of her crayons on the tiled floor. Then
she will start crying, because she has “made mess”. And within minutes, Conor is wailing in unison, and Mom “is mess”. To mix things up a bit, I recently came back to work, so now I have just 120 minutes in the evening to bath, feed and bed them. I hang my head in shame to admit this, but there are days when I have to say, “Food or bath?” There just isn’t time to do both, and they have to eat. I reckon a few nights with just a quick wipe of the face cloth won’t do irreparable harm. One thing that has rung true, however, is our relaxed attitude the second-time around. Perhaps a bit too relaxed… A few weeks after Conor was born we ventured out, all four of us. Everything went swimmingly. I packed enough nappies and Conor slept most of the time. When we came home, we settled down on the couch to catch up on some screen time. Suddenly Craig leapt up. “Where’s Conor?”
So accustomed to our three-person routine, we had forgotten to bring Conor in from the car. Fortunately, we realised he was missing after only a few minutes, and he slept through the whole ordeal. But it left us pretty shaken. Now we are each responsible for a child when we go out, to make sure that all heads are accounted for at all times. On the up side, I’m developing toned arms, that will soon rival those of Michelle Obama, from lifting and carrying both babies at the same time. And, I’m told, they will soon be able to entertain each other. Let’s just hope the ubiquitous “they” got that part right. I’m looking forward to the day when the children have their own buddy system in place, just in case someone gets left out again. Anél Lewis is Child magazine’s features editor. She’s realising that parenting is not an exact science, and that finding the balance is an impossible task. Also follow her on Twitter: @ChildMagParent
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PHOTOGRAPH: STEPHANIE VELDMAN
ANÉL LEWIS admits that sometimes, someone gets left out.
Published on Sep 19, 2012