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FEBRUARY 2010 Issue 31 Circulation 35 019

D U R B A N ’ s

b e s t

g u i d e

f o r

ease your child into a

new school

p ar e n t s

no more












And an especially warm welcome to those of you who are reading our magazine for the first time. 2009 was a good year for us so we’ve upped the number of magazines we are printing and added a sizeable group of schools and family-focused businesses to our distribution network. We hope you enjoy reading our Back to School issue as much as we have enjoyed putting it together for you! When I was growing up, my mom always used to say February was her favourite month. She loved the fact that everyone was “back in their box”. While I appreciate a certain amount of order, I am not so sure I am happy to be back in my “box”. I quite like the carefree vibe of summer holidays. I love the extra family time, the lack of stress and the absence of urgency for anything other than getting to the beach before the wind picks up… But now it’s back to work and school, and somehow that has a charm of its own. It’s nice to start the day with a sense of purpose, and end it with tales to tell. For Robyn, my youngest, who has just turned eight, this means a brand new school. She’s enjoying being able to walk to school via the beach or the park, getting the teacher she really wanted, and being part of a class full of boisterous boys, one of whom is her best friend. Somehow the newness brings with it an excitement that calms fears (hers and mine) and, with support, leads to greater happiness. It’s this newness that makes February so fabulous. It’s our chance to do it right, to plot our paths with purpose and an overwhelming sense of positivity, and to watch our children grow a little older, a little stronger, and to discover a whole lot more of their personality. Stay with us, we’ve got a great year planned for you.

Hunter House P U B L IS H I N G

Publisher Lisa Mc Namara •

Editorial Managing Editor Marina Zietsman • Features Editor Elaine Eksteen • Calendar Editor Tracy Ellis • Editorial Assistant Lucille Kemp •

monthly circulation Cape Town’s ChildTM 40 162 Joburg’s ChildTM 40 135 Durban’s ChildTM 35 019

to advertise Tel: 031 209 2200 • Fax: 031 207 3429 Email: Website:

Copy Editors Nikki Benatar Debbie Hathway

Art Senior Designer Samantha Summerfield • Designers Mariette Barkhuizen Nikki-leigh Piper

Advertising Director Lisa Mc Namara •

Client Relations Client Relations Manager Michele Jones • Client Relations Consultant Cheryl Rowell •

To Subscribe Helen Xavier •

Accounts Helen Xavier • Nicolene Baldy • Tel: 021 465 6093 • Fax: 021 462 2680


All our magazines are printed on recycled paper.

Free requested Oct 09 – Dec 09

Durban’s Child TM is published monthly by Hunter House Publishing, PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010. Office address: 1st Floor, MB House, 641 Ridge Road, Overport, 4091. Tel: 031 209 2200, fax: 031 207 3429, email: durban @ Annual subscriptions (for 11 issues) cost R165, including VAT and postage inside SA. Printed by Paarl Web. Copyright subsists in all work published in Durban’s Child TM . 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 are accurate and balanced but cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage that may arise from reading them.

February 2010


february 2010

upfront 3 a note from lisa 6 over to you

readers respond

features 14 a whole new world

s tarting a new school does not have to be a scary experience for a child, says Laura Twiggs


18 school-project management 101

7 health Q&A

whose assignment is it anyway? Christina Castle gives you a step-by-step guide

Judith Penny offers tips for turning mornings into a calm and organised start to the day

9 health Q&A

how to combat infection

10 upfront with paul Paul Kerton cannot understand why his snooze queens fight sleep

24 tooth truth or fairytale  onna Cobban takes an in-depth D look at the fluoride debate

12 dealing with difference

28 nature’s child

the benefits of pre- and probiotics

8 wins

20 no more morning madness


in an extract from her book 52 Ways to Grow Creative Children, Lisl Barry gives ideas for fun outdoor activities for children (and parents)

help left-handed children excel

30 resource: back-to-school basics seven important health and safety issues you, the educators and your children should know about 33 the good book guide

new reads for the whole family

34 what’s on in february 38 last laugh


S am Wilson muses over the things her sons have taught her

classified ads 34 family marketplace 37 it’s party time

this month’s cover images are supplied by:

February 2010

JK Kids Gear

Ackermans Schoolwear

Contact: 021 551 8673

Contact: 0860 900 100



February 2010


over to you a recycled wardrobe thanks for a great magazine I have been reading your magazine for ages and always intend to write to you but never do. Now that I have some free time, I thought I would let you know: I love your magazine! Thanks for awesome and useful articles. I also make use of the advertisers in your publication by purchasing from them if I need products or services. I especially love Sam Wilson’s column! As soon as I get my copy, I go straight to the back page and read what she has to say. It’s inspirational, always so well written and a good laugh. My favourite column was when she wrote about her birthday. I scanned that article and mailed it to my girlfriends, because while we are all good at planning children’s parties, we all stress about our own! Shana

I really enjoyed the article titled a “question of clothes”, in your December/January issue. Our daughter was born at the beginning of 2009. With nappies and formula now on the shopping list and the cost of food escalating thanks to the recession, it’s been an expensive year... One in which I have been bowled over by the generosity of friends. I am not exaggerating when I say that the only thing we have bought for her room is a lovely second-hand chest of drawers (which we use as a nappy-changing station). Ella is her cot’s fourth inhabitant and it’s still going strong. Amy, the now two-year-old daughter of friends of ours, who receives various hand-me-downs from her brood of cousins, has lent us her entire wardrobe from newborn to now. Each time we see her parents we exchange packages. I return the items Ella has grown out of and we get a bundle of fabulous things for the next season. And, with the rate children grow out of things, even after Ella is finished with the polka-dot shorts and pretty T-shirts, they still look perfectly new. I love her recycled wardrobe! Marcia

fun with lunch boxes I have a really great and easy lunch box idea. As I am not always able to afford branded products I often buy the latest character stickers and stick these on lunch boxes and bottles. I also use a range of non-permanent Koki pens to write names, letters, numbers and messages on the lunch box. I know it sounds corny but your children will love it. I decorate the lunch boxes on a Sunday afternoon for the whole week and it’s a great project to keep the children busy and entertained (especially in wet weather). Samantha Mew

February 2010

write to us We would like to know what’s on your mind. Send your letters to: or PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010. 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.




healthy bacteria What are prebiotics and probiotics and what are their benefits? Pre- and probiotics are powerful immune-system boosters. Probiotics are cultures of the beneficial bacteria that occur in the intestinal tract of healthy human beings. These bacteria include Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Bifidobacterium infantis. Although these names may sound daunting, all you need to remember is that we have thousands of these beneficial bacteria in our gastrointestinal tracts. Prebiotics, on the other hand, are food components that improve the food supply in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract so that beneficial bacteria can grow and flourish.

Are probiotics good for babies? At birth, the intestines of human babies are totally sterile and do not contain any bacteria, not even “good” ones. During the birth process and through feeding, the infant receives some beneficial bacteria from the mother. This “gift” of organisms starts to multiply immediately in the tiny GI tract of the baby, and boosts its immune system. Bifidobacterium infantis is the dominant bacterium in an infant’s digestive tract. These bacteria decrease the growth of Rota viruses, which cause diarrhoea and thrush, thus protecting the newborn baby against common infections. Bifidobacteria also help to prevent lactose intolerance and increase the absorption of minerals and B vitamins, and boost the infant’s immature immune system. Breastfeeding is an excellent way of increasing the number of Bifidobacteria in the infant’s GI tract so that your child is protected against childhood diseases.

What beneficial bacteria live naturally in the adult gut? Adults have much larger populations of bacteria in their GI tracts than babies, but only a few of these bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are beneficial to our health and are capable of boosting immunity.

How do probiotics work? Probiotics or cultures of beneficial bacteria compete with harmful bacteria in the GI tract for food and prevent the transport of pathogens into the body. As we get older, we develop a deficiency of beneficial bacteria and therefore become more vulnerable to infections. Probiotics also increase the uptake of important minerals from the GI tract, thus preventing deficiencies that lower immunity.

Bifidobacteria are the most common beneficial bacteria in the GI tract and also the good bacteria that decrease as we age. It is, therefore, necessary to take preparations that contain live Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. It’s a good idea to include in your diet dairy products that contain AB cultures, such as yoghurt.

Can you take a probiotic supplement? Probiotic cultures of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria are currently available in SA. Ask your chemist or health shop for the following: • supplements that contain Lactobacilli and are excellent for combatting Candida (thrush) infections; • supplements that contain Bifidobacteria and will combat constipation and other colonic problems; • supplements that contain a combination of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria to boost immunity in general.

What is the solution for a lack of probiotics? By ingesting cultures of beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium we can gain all the benefits listed above. It is important to remember that durban’s

The information in this column can be found on the website.

February 2010



in february

Introducing the NIDO Nutrition System

CeleBEARate Valentine’s Day at Build-A-Bear Workshop® Let your teddy do the talking this Valentine’s Day. Come along to Build-A-Bear Workshop® to Build-AValentine and record your personal message for your sweetheart with Build-A-Bear Workshop’s® unique Build-A-Sound. Spoil your loved one with the new loveable bears: Be Mine Dalmatian, Vday Heart Puppy or Hugs Fur Your Monkey. Build-A-Bear Workshop® is giving five readers the chance to win a child’s membership to the Pawsome Club™. These are valued at R200 each and the Bear Rands loaded on it are valid for one year. To enter, email your details to with ‘Build-A-Bear DBN Win’ in the subject line or post your entry to Build-A-Bear DBN Win, PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010 before 28 February 2010. Only one entry per reader.

As a parent, you know that good nutrition is key to a healthy, happy child and so does Nestlé. Nestlé NIDO 1+ and Nestlé NIDO 3+ are formulated by Nestlé’s team of scientists to meet the nutritional needs of your growing child. Both Growing Up Milk products are enhanced with active ingredients and enriched with vitamins and minerals. NIDO 1+ is best for children between one and three years of age and contains honey – making it tasty – and Prebio¹, a unique mix of natural carbohydrates that is able to sustain the digestive system. NIDO 3+ is suitable for children between the ages of three and six and also contains honey and Prebio³ for a healthy tummy. NIDO 3+ contains essential fatty acids that assist in developing active minds. For further information about NIDO, please contact the Nestlé customer care line on 086 009 6789 or visit Nestle is giving away five hampers valued at R1 100 each. Each hamper consists of R500 worth of NIDO products (either NIDO 1+ or NIDO 3+), a Barney toy valued at R200 and a Toys R Us voucher valued at R400. To enter, email your details to with ‘Nido Win’ in the subject line or post your entry to Nido Win, PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010 by 28 February 2010. Only one entry per reader.

Congratulations to our November winners: Erica Broadhead who wins a week-long holiday camp at Sugar Bay; Ashmita Ratanjee, Joan Brummer, Azande Mntambo, Isabel le Roux and Carrie-Anne Grey who each win shoeboxes from Ultimate Shoebox.

February 2010

Interact with Disney Disney Interactive Studios has designed a series of PC games that encourage the development of children’s individual learning capabilities while being interesting and enjoyable. With an emphasis on exploration, discovery and personal choice, the games help children develop problem-solving skills that equip them for life. There are nine titles in the range with age-related activities for children aged two to nine years old. Titles feature children’s favourite Disney characters such as Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse and Nemo. These PC games are available at any of the following stores: Checkers Hyper, Dion Wired, Look and Listen, Makro, Reggies, Toys R Us, Top CD, Take 2 and CNA. Disney Interactive Studios is giving away four hampers valued at R531 each, containing all nine games in the range. To enter, email your details to with ‘Disney Interactive DBN Win’ in the subject line or post your entry to Disney Interactive DBN Win, PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010 before 28 February 2010. Only one entry per reader.



health &

combat infection

What is the immune system and what does it do? The immune system is made up of special cells, proteins, tissues and organs. It defends the body against germs and microorganisms every day. In most cases, the immune system keeps people healthy and prevents infections. Sometimes problems with the immune system can lead to illness and infection.

What are the signs that disease, stress or an unhealthy lifestyle might have compromised the immune system? Immunodeficiency causes continuous or recurring infections (infections caused by normally mild organisms). Opportunistic infections are infections that are widespread and controllable, but can seriously affect people whose immune responses are lacking. Be aware of: • Incomplete recovery or a weak response to treatment of infections. Needing several courses of antibiotics to clear up an infection could be a sign of poor immune response. • An increase in the incidence of certain cancers, such as Kaposi’s sarcoma or nonHodgkin lymphoma. • The presence of tumours could also reflect poor immune responses. • Recurring yeast infections could be a sign of immune-system trouble. • Ongoing and recurring respiratory infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, could indicate immune system problems. • Delayed or incomplete recovery from illnesses, from which others may be recovering far more quickly, may indicate a problem.

How can we strengthen our immune systems? The cold and flu season isn’t the only time you should be paying attention to your immune system. By boosting your immunity throughout the year you’ll lower your susceptibility to a variety of different infections. • Learn which vitamins and minerals can boost your immunity – and make a point of including these in your diet. For a child’s immune system, vitamin A, zinc and iron are very important. • Research has shown that prebiotics and probiotics can strengthen the immune system. • Eat defensively. • Boost your immune system the natural way by eating healthy foods and being active. Find out about herbs and other remedies that help boost the immune system.

Do we need supplements to help boost our immune system? There are many different points of view on whether to supplement or not, but there is a great deal of scientific evidence to show that vitamins and minerals do prevent a variety of diseases: • Spina bifida and neural-tube defects in babies can be reduced by as much as 70% if women take multivitamins containing folic acid before and during pregnancy. • Regular use of multivitamins and mineral supplements by the elderly can improve immune and neurological function, thus reducing infectious diseases and mental degeneration. • Calcium and vitamin D supplements can reduce the incidence of hip fractures in elderly men and women. • There is a growing body of evidence that taking folic-acid supplements for long periods can prevent certain types of cancer. • A good nutritional supplement guarantees a child’s micronutrient needs are met daily, especially if food patterns tend to be erratic or a child is sick or recovering from an illness.

The information in this column can be found on the website. durban’s

February 2010

upfront with paul

fighting sleep

Paul, Sabina and Saskia


y daughter’s eyes are drooping. She has been through the ratty and irrational stage and now her body is collapsing in on itself, but she is determined to stay up as long as possible. “You’re so tired,” I comment, which is the worst thing you can say. Much worse than telling a friend they’ve had too much to drink and aren’t fit to drive home. It’s a red comfortblanket to a raging bull. “I’m not tired at all,” she barks back, violently pushing my comforting arm away while trying to sit more upright in an attempt to look properly “not tired”; her eyes frantically scanning the room for a suitable


February 2010

prop to focus on – a book or a toy – to emphasise how wide awake she really is. Actually she is totally exhausted. She has had a busy, exciting day with double swimming lessons and a birthday party, which ended with a family supper across town that dragged on much later than expected. It is late but still she is fighting. Now she’s standing up. Talk about overstressing a point! What is it with children and tiredness? Tiredness is their number-one taboo subject and admitting to tiredness is seen as a form of weakness. I think the bottom line is they just don’t want to miss out on anything and want to stay up as late as everybody else. Me, I was ready for bed hours ago and would gladly have curled up on the sofa with her and gone to sleep. I can nap anywhere, anytime. But I am well past

that age when you stop pretending that you are not tired and start wholeheartedly embracing it, shouting: “Where is my bed? Bring me my crisp Irish linen sheets and a cup of hot Milo now!” I know numerous people of a similar age who habitually fall asleep in the middle of dinner parties, and I’m sure (well, I hope) it isn’t just my conversation. Guests just talk around their quiet snoring and comical body positions while stealing their food and wine. They may wake up hungry, but always come back. “Bedtime has to be a ritual,” say the baby sages. And I agree. TV off, followed by a drink, brush the teeth, story and lights out. Okay then, that tiny comforting night light can stay but then it’s not a peep. Generally our children are good sleepers and once we get them to sleep you would

need a bulldozer through the bedroom wall to wake them. When other parents complain that their brood is up and demanding bowls of Wheaties at 5:30am, I secretly wish that mine could get up slightly earlier. Not quite 5:30am, you understand, but they are the original Snooze Queens and can snuggle up and drift back to sleep if you turn your back for five seconds. Also, being girls, once up they can spend 40 minutes in front of the mirror brushing and styling their long locks. “I’m just brushing my hair,” they shriek, all huffy when I call them to come for breakfast. It’s all so very tiring. Excuse me, won’t you, while I testdrive this fluffy duck-down pillow. Paul Kerton is the author of Fab Dad: A Man’s Guide to Fathering and 82 Mistakes Parents Make (With Children).



PAUL KERTON wonders why tiredness is a taboo subject with children.



February 2010


dealing with difference


left right?

Left-handedness used to be a stigma that parents and teachers tried


frustrated parent tells me over the phone: “My child’s teacher told me that my left-handed child needed to learn how to write with his right hand. My child is now seven, has terrible handwriting and is having to go to occupational therapy to relearn how to write. What is this all about? Should my child be right-handed?” Fair question. When I did a quick survey among teachers, they all emphatically said “no”. However, I then asked them what they do differently in the classroom to accommodate the left-hander? “We have left-handed scissors”, was the reply. “And what else?”, I asked. The room fell silent. Generally, it is believed that on average 10% of the population is left-handed, which means that 90% of children in a classroom are right-handed. That’s fair enough then, if the teacher focuses more on righthanded ways, I hear you say. However, what is quite worrying is that according to Stanley Coren, author


February 2010

of The Left-Hander Syndrome, the frequency of lefthandedness is increasing with each age group. Only 1% of 80-year-olds are left-handed. The reasons for this are well documented. Stories of left hands being tied behind children’s back to force them

Left-handed children are more likely to enter some form of remedial therapy than their righthanded counterparts. Why is this? to write with their right hands are common in the older generation. Thankfully, left-handedness is now seen less as a sign of evil and more as a physical trait. Ten percent

of 30-year-olds are left dominant but 16% of 10-yearolds are left-handed. Based on the same formula, one can possibly predict that about 20% of six-year-olds are left-handed. This is a statistic, I believe, that warrants some action. Let’s start at the beginning. What are the actual differences? We assume that if children are left-handed, they will perform all tasks – such as drawing, cutting, writing, throwing and catching – with their left hands. Not necessarily. Diane Paul, author of The Left-handers’ Handbook, says a child is left-handed when he or she performs the majority of – not necessarily all – tasks with the left hand. It is, therefore, very common to find children who write with their left hand and cut with their right. This can often cause confusion among parents and teachers who then worry whether the child has not yet established dominance, or if there is confused dominance. What can then make matters worse is when teachers or therapists



to eradicate. DENISE PAPE gives some tips for keeping that in the past.

insist that the child uses one hand for all tasks, creating a confused dominance where, before, there possibly wasn’t one. According to research, left-handed children are more likely to enter some form of remedial therapy than their right-handed counterparts. Why is this? Do we assume that left-handed children are less able to perform general fine-motor tasks – such as cutting, drawing and writing – than their right-handed peers? Or is it because we, as teachers and parents, are not educated in how to teach these skills to left-handed children correctly and, thus, need additional help ourselves? The Left-Handers Club in England undertook a worldwide school experiences survey and it was interesting to read that as many as 88% of the respondents reported problems with writing. The main issues were the smudging of work, aching hands and writing slowly. People often assume that left-handers are more likely to have untidy handwriting and are likely to have what is known as a “hooked grip” when writing. In response to the challenges of teaching left-handed children writing skills a great deal of research has been conducted worldwide and, in some countries, guidelines have been drawn up to help teachers teach left-handed learners. These teachers have had enormous success and have found that left-handed children can also have excellent fine-motor skills.


What happens to the left-handed child who doesn’t receive the right support? Let’s face it, if a six-year-old is placed in a classroom with no other left-handers and is given equipment only designed for right-handed use and, subsequently, takes longer to perform certain tasks simply because he or she hasn’t been shown correctly, it will affect that child’s self-esteem. No child wants to feel like the odd one out and often, unintentionally, that’s exactly how they are made to feel. How can teachers and parents make sure they do what they can to teach left-handed children correctly? Firstly, ensure children have the correct hand formation and pencil grip. The hand and wrist should be straight and pointing to the line on which they are writing. The paper should be angled about 30˚ clockwise. This will

ensure they don’t smudge their writing. Secondly, if you are demonstrating a task, do so from a left-handed child’s perspective. It can be quite confusing for a lefthander to try to copy a task demonstrated by a righthanded adult. Thirdly, teachers should consider putting left-handers together in a class – this will mean they can use the same equipment and workbooks, they won’t bump elbows when they write and they will feel less isolated. Lastly, learn everything you can about your children’s left-handedness. Teach them in a way that allows them to learn – with the right equipment, knowledge and instructions. You never know, that little lefty of yours could become one of the many left-handed presidents, business leaders or professional sports people.

February 2010



a whole

new world Starting at a new school is one of the scariest things a child will ever have to do. But with your help, your child can turn it into an exciting challenge, says LAURA TWIGGS.

deal with. “Will I be able to make friends?”, “Will I fit in with the kind of children that go to this school?” are the sorts of things that are probably going through the child’s mind, says Johannesburg-based psychologist Jane Dannerup. “Just talking about it all beforehand can go a long way to easing their anxiety,” she says. Interestingly, the biggest problems with starting a new school are not of the child’s making, but the parents, says Paul J Donahue, psychologist and author of Parenting Without Fear: Letting Go of Worry and Focusing on What Really Matters. He says the three major mistakes parents make are: • Not preparing properly (not getting your children into a routine before school starts, not having an orientation with your children around the new school’s grounds, not finding out what activities your children are likely to do on their first days at the new school); • Unwittingly “planting seeds of negativity” (for example, telling your child that you know they are likely to miss you, or not to feel bad if they are teased or bullied); and • “Not transitioning well” (being late on the first day, not sticking to the schedule, hanging around after other parents have left).

Anxiety over making “ new friends, feeling ‘uncool’ or coping with academic pressure can make even a well-adjusted child anxious.

February 2010


Once Lynne knew how frightened Chrissy was, she took immediate steps. “I have this very independent child and there was so much to organise for the move that I just assumed she’d be fine. But she started to become a different child: a bit clingy, a bit needy, having a few nightmares. That’s when it just clicked and fell into place. I took her on a shopping trip for her supplies in Johannesburg, even though I had intended to do it only once we were in Cape Town. She usually loves stationery and sniffs every eraser and spends ages picking the perfect pencil case. But this time she seemed paralysed and couldn’t choose anything. When I asked her what was wrong, she said she couldn’t decide because she didn’t know what the other children would have. I realised that she’s been the ‘cool kid’ but now she won’t know the ‘cool code. We went for an ice cream and that’s when she told me about how scared she was, and how much she dreads being the outsider. It was hard to listen to, but a relief, too.” Chrissy managed to feel better about her new school before the first day. “I have told her that she just has to be herself, and her reply was: ‘That has always worked, hasn’t it, Mom?’. I’ve also been reminding her of all the other ‘firsts’ in her life, and how well she’s coped with them. It seems to have reminded her of her own resilience and confidence.” And, as someone who knows Chrissy, I can’t help but think that perhaps it’s the other children at the new school who should be feeling just a little nervous. *Names have been changed.

prepare your child • Take your children shopping for school supplies and use this as an opportunity to get them to talk about how they feel about the new school. • Visit the new school with your children and walk around the playground, find out where the bathrooms, library, secretary’s office and other important places are, so your children don’t feel lost. Feeling lost and being late for classes will greatly enhance any feelings of anxiety. • Take your children to story time at the library closest to your school. It’s a way of meeting other children and even if your children don’t make friends immediately, a familiar face in the classroom or on the playground can make the world of difference. • Put a picture of your family in their school bag, or a note in their lunchbox for the first week if they are really stressed; it can be reassuring. • If possible, try to get a class list and arrange a play date with one or two of the children in the new school so that your children recognise someone when they arrive on the first day. • Encourage your children to be themselves, to not arrive as a bossy boots, and to be polite and friendly. Let them know that they must tell an educator the minute they are bullied or teased.




t took Chrissy* “weeks if not months” to admit to her mother Lynne* that she was scared of sitting alone and eating her lunch on her own in the playground. It was a heart-tugging admission from an otherwise feisty and brave eight-year-old red-headed tomboy, who thinks nothing of walking under the belly of an 18-hand stallion at her riding school and, as the neighbourhood ringleader, can usually be found chortling like a drain in the middle of a pack of her peers as she concocts some wicked prank. But, as soon as she shared her anxiety, says Lynne, “It was on the table and we could help her to deal with her fear.” Like many children, Chrissy started at a new school this year. Her family moved from Johannesburg to Cape Town, and the bustle of activity around the move meant that no-one really considered what an upheaval and what a challenge Chrissy faced. Just the thought of being “the newbie” can make children physically ill. It’s terrifying to move away from an environment where everyone knows you and you don’t have to prove yourself. “Anxiety over making new friends, being in a new school, facing bullies, feeling ‘uncool’ or coping with academic pressure can make even a welladjusted child anxious. And that anxiety or fear can build up in a child’s mind, and manifest itself in many ways — from tummy aches and sleep problems to out-and-out refusal to go to school,” says University of Michigan Health System child psychologist Dr Michelle Kees. Indeed, it was symptoms like these that alerted Lynne to the fact that Chrissy was struggling with the thought of being the new girl, anonymous and out of her sphere of tremendous influence. But, says Dr Kees, parents can help with this if they encourage their children to face their fears realistically, and work through various coping strategies with them. However, one of the real problems for parents like Lynne is that if they don’t consciously create a space for their children to open up and talk to them, they may never know about the anxiety their children feel every time they imagine their mom’s car driving away, leaving them to face the strange playground on their own. When there’s a new school, new teachers and a new layout, anxiety can become pronounced because the fear of the unknown is perhaps the scariest thing a child has to


February 2010



February 2010



February 2010




school-project management

Let’s face it, says CHRISTINA CASTLE, your children’s school

projects are as much a challenge for you as they are for them.

the parents about their expected role in the exercise. This is the part I generally fail to read as my head is usually caught up in creating whatever it is that is required to be created. At this stage your children should read the instructions to you. Let them take ownership of the project and tell you what it is all about in their teacher’s words and in their own.

choose the subject There’s a good chance your child may already have decided on the subject of his project. While he may be set on choosing a chameleon, your visions of a papier-mâché snake are worth sharing with him. Brainstorm the subject with him. Get him thinking about all the reptiles that he could choose. But remember, it’s his project and his choice. You are there to guide him through this project journey. And at the end of the day we want him to feel good about his choice of subject.

make a plan

read the instructions That piece of paper arrives home with a very concise brief of the project. It’s written so the children can read it too. It’s to the point and explains exactly what’s required complete with deadline and a little message to


February 2010

start early Don’t delay. You may be given three weeks to complete the project but we all know how time flies. Leaving a project to the day before can put your child under unnecessary pressure and make for a not-so-fun experience. Besides, some material you may need to work with may need time to dry, set or grow.

r is for research Oh, how we love the internet! Yes it’s the best place for doing research when time is tight but community and school libraries are often able to provide all the information you require. Help your children to sift through the mountains of information they are presented with, and identify the most important points about the subject or to answer the questions outlined in the instructions. Don’t complicate the situation by doing more (even if the information is very interesting to you). If the teacher asks for “three interesting facts about your reptile”, then give three interesting facts about your reptile. Not five or six. And remember, let your children choose what they find interesting.

don’t break the bank Scrounge around at home for all the bits and pieces required before you hit the shops. Encourage your children to get resourceful and consider using materials from your recycling stash, Dad’s tool shed, Gran’s sewing box or out durban’s


Alex has just arrived home with news of his project for this term. He has to do a PowerPoint presentation about a famous person. “I’ve chosen Freddie Mercury,” he announces with great enthusiasm and breaks into ‘We Are the Champions’.

wo mornings a week I walk on the mountain with a psychologist. Okay, let me clarify that. Two mornings a week I walk on the mountain with a friend, who happens to be a psychologist. While I certainly get my physical therapy for the day, I’m lucky enough to get a bit of mental therapy as well. We chat about everything. Both of us fight our way through drop-off traffic on our way to school and greet each other with stories of the goings on with the children, the sport, the lunchboxes, the dinner parties, the birthday parties and on one particular morning – the school project I had just delivered with my son. “Sorry I’m late, Victoria, but I have just dropped the boys off at school with a three-kilogram blue chameleon. He’s exquisite if I may say so myself,” I say. “School project?” she enquires. “Yep, school project. And I just had to admire all the other works of art that were being trawled in by the moms and dads. They are amazing. We seem to have a very talented bunch in Grade 3.” By this stage Victoria was having a good chuckle. “Do you mean the children are talented or are the parents talented?” And yes, I blushed at this point and didn’t have a quick retort. So for the next hour we dissected the topic of school projects and what our approach as parents should be. Here are our suggestions:

Before you scream off to the shops, pull out a blank piece of paper and teach your child how to think the project through from beginning to end. He will learn all the aspects involved in putting together a project. Have him refer to this plan throughout.

Let them take ownership of the project and tell you what the project is all about in their teacher’s words and in their own. of the food or art cupboard. But if it’s clay you need and you don’t feel like digging up the garden, then pull out that purse. Have your children write a list of items they need you to buy. That way, they’re taking charge.

get messy Plan the day, make the space and make a mess. With very young children you will have to be really hands on. Little fingers do need help with shaping clay, wire, paper, play dough, cutting, sticking and painting, but don’t take over. Make suggestions, provide supportive advice, help them with the tricky bits and let the creative juices flow. Let them make mistakes and help them overcome them. They need to know it’s their masterpiece. They also need to know they have to clean up afterwards.

see it through It’s easy to lose interest once the fun is over but part of the learning experience is to see it through from beginning to end. You will need to show your children how to bring all elements of the project together to present a complete work.


While you may need to guide them firmly on this one, let them decide what goes where – no matter how odd it looks. So the masterpiece is finished. It’s not quite what you had in mind but he’s the boss of chameleon building. And he can’t wait to get to school to show it off to his mates. He may or may not score the highest marks in the class, but he has scored big time on confidence and had a great time doing it. Alex has just arrived home with news of his project for this term. He has to do a PowerPoint presentation about a famous person. “I’ve chosen Freddie Mercury,” he announces with great enthusiasm and breaks into ‘We Are the Champions’. I think of all the other famous people he could have chosen and say, “What a great choice, Alex. Let’s start it tonight.” “Started already, Mom. We’re doing it all at school.” I hold my breath as I try and work out how I can hack into the school computer network. (And just for the record, the psychologist is just as guilty as the rest of us.)

February 2010



m rning madness

let’s start with planning…

Forgotten lunches, half-packed bags, homework not signed off, breakfast on the run… school mornings can be frantic and stressful. But they need not be, says JUDITH PENNY. All you need is a bit of planning and some routine.


e all know how important it is to get off to a good start in the mornings, but too many times we end up yelling for the children to hurry up, forgetting school lunches and swimming gear and muttering miserably as we sit in traffic. A little planning and some easy-to-practise routines can make a big difference and will change your attitude towards mornings. In no time, you’ll be singing in the car on the way to school.


February 2010

• Have a large family planner in a central spot where everyone can see it. You could have a white board, a chalk board, a computer printout or a large monthly calendar. Find one that works for you and your family. Write down absolutely everything you need to know and have to do – reminders, extramurals, appointments, birthdays, pick-up times and emergency numbers. You could use a different colour for each member of the family for easy reference. You will need to pick a time in the week to update it. I take time on Sunday evenings to check our planner and add in anything new. •  Schedule your personal day and don’t pack too much into it. Leave gaps where you can and give yourself more time than you think you need between activities.



no more

Packing in too much will only leave you stressed and unhappy. This applies to your children as well. Make sure their schedules include some rest and relaxation too. • Plan your weekly menu, keeping it simple. Make a list of ingredients and other essentials and shop for these. Remember to include the lunchbox items. Believe it or not, knowing what is for supper makes a big difference to the beginning of the day. Cook double portions when you can.

These handy reward charts are printed by Priddy Books and are available from selected book stores at Planner for the family


R65 each.

February 2010


routine begins the night before • Each child should have a list of items needed for each day of the week put up somewhere visible in their rooms. This way it will be a lot easier for them to make sure they have everything they need for a particular day. • Ensure schoolbooks, schoolbags and clothes are ready the night before. Remember projects, notices and extramurals. Younger children can be encouraged and assisted, while older children should get themselves ready. It is good for them to take responsibility for their things at an early age. As they grow older, this will become second nature and they will be able to prepare for school without fuss. •  Get the breakfast table ready after clearing the supper dishes. Children should be encouraged to set out their own breakfast things. This will give you more time to eat a proper breakfast and not rush out the door with just a health bar in hand. Ensure you have healthy options during the week (and treats at the weekend).

Pack school lunches

• Prepare lunch boxes as far in advance as possible. Know what you will be giving your children each day, and have those ingredients at hand. With juice bottles and fruit all ready, it will be a breeze to do the rest in the morning. • Maintain the same evening routine during the week, particularly with small children: homework, playtime, bath time, supper, reading or quiet time and bedtime. Choose a routine that works for the whole family and, where possible, get older children to help with younger siblings. Have an age-appropriate bedtime for each child. This way they get the sleep they need and should wake up refreshed and easier to manage in the morning. • Before you go to bed, take five minutes to have a quick look around and pick up and tidy things left lying about. Check your schedule for the next day to ensure there are no surprises and nothing left to chance – you’ll go to bed more relaxed and hopefully sleep better.

Maintain a routine

A locker, such as this one from Treehouse Children’s Décor Co, is a great way of organising sports kit.

Prepare for breakfast

get up and get going • Start your day 15 minutes earlier than the rest of the family. Have a little time to yourself to gather your thoughts, and be ready to tackle the day ahead. • Start a regular wake-up routine when your children are little. Have a list of the basic activities – get up, get dressed, brush teeth – to remind smaller children. Encourage them with star charts and reward their efforts regularly. For those who can tell the time, a time chart will keep them focused on the task of getting to the breakfast table. By the time they are in high school the morning routine should be well established and easy to maintain. • Breakfast is essential for the whole family. Whether you all sit down together or eat when you are ready, a good breakfast is a key factor to a happy day. In our family, it’s not negotiable.

Wake up earlier

Have a morning routine

• Keep calm. This can be hard when someone spills the last of the milk, or the car won’t start. Train yourself to take a deep breath, think and then act. This way you will stop something small escalating into a major incident. • Leave time for the unexpected. Aim to leave the house 10 minutes earlier than you need to. This will help when you find yourself in a traffic jam, or you have to make an unexpected detour.


February 2010

the benefits of planning and routines

Enjoy a good breakfast

Your mornings will run smoother, your days will be less frenetic and everyone will be calmer and happier. Your children will get to school on time, and with everything they need for the school day. You will be ready to tackle your day in a positive and productive way. So, in a nutshell, lead a simple life during the week with a plan of action, daily routines and early nights. Then relax over the weekends. durban’s


February 2010



tooth truth or fairytale

Fluoride – evil toxin or vital mineral? DONNA COBBAN takes a look at the debate.


come from a line of genetically crumbling and decaying teeth. I was raised by a mother who was raised on a then-unfluoridated water supply in New Zealand. While I was growing up in Harare, she sought to correct the wrongs of her dental past and my sister and I were screened regularly and given fluoride doses every six months from the time our big teeth emerged. My mother was triumphant as we held our pearly white smiles a lot longer than many of our counterparts. And then, in my late 20s, it all fell apart, or rather my teeth started to, as one filling swiftly followed another. Just today I was at the dentist and celebrating four years of filling-free living, when an X-ray revealed a little hole deep within one of my molars that was getting steadily larger. I swallowed my needle fear and booked an hour out of my life for this teeny hole to be filled – a whole hour! So there you have it – my mother wasted time and money, or did she? It’s a tricky debate, as I was not given any fluoride treatment until my big teeth arrived. Perhaps if supplements had been given earlier, I would now be footloose and filling free.

In 1901, a newly qualified dentist, Dr Frederick McKay moved to the small town of Colorado Springs in Colorado. He was fascinated by the stained and mottled teeth of most of the locals, most of whom suffered from very little tooth decay. Research eventually linked both the staining and the lack of tooth decay to the high level of naturally occurring fluoride in the water supply. Further research conducted by the US Public Health Service was aimed at determining how high the fluoride levels in water could be before dental fluorosis occurred. By 1936 it was established that 1,0 part per million (ppm) in the drinking water did not cause mottling or dental fluorosis. This discovery lead to the gradual introduction of artificially fluoridated water in 1945 in North America.


February 2010

Google the word “fluoride” and you will come across opponents far faster than you will come across proponents, but the truth doesn’t always lurk on the first page of a Google search, and often the truth is not as clear cut as we would like it to be. Firstly, fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that comes from fluorine, which is an abundant element within the earth’s crust. In a number of countries it is added to the water. Most North Americans have been ingesting fluoridated water for the past three generations, but adding fluoride to water is no easy task. According to Rand Water, the cost of fluoridating water could be as much as R30-million per annum, which is not (really) a priority when there are still so many people without running water. Sometimes levels of fluoride exist naturally in water, so the task of adding fluoride to water becomes a highly skilled one; ingesting too much fluoride can result in dental fluorosis, which causes defects in the teeth’s enamel. This often presents as small white spots or streaks, with more severe forms resulting in discolouration or brown markings, with possibly pitted and rough enamel. Over and above the cost of adding fluoride to the water is the ethical issue – which is where the anti-fluoride groups are most firm, as they see it as a form of forced mass medication that cannot be adequately controlled. I tend to agree with them: I would far rather be in control of my child’s fluoride intake. That said, there are many people for whom fluoride supplements are a superfluous luxury, so my reasoning becomes out of place and elitist. There’s also the old North American 1930s rumour to consider – apparently the “communists” were adding fluoride to the water in order to dumb down the population and invade the free world. So, it seems fluoride is a deeply emotional issue, the truth about which is not easily uncovered. durban’s


how it all began

The fluoride supplements your baby takes now are working on strengthening the emerging teeth.


February 2010



February 2010


control his fluoride intake until he learns to spit properly, at which point I can start him on a low-fluoride toothpaste, keeping the amount of paste he uses down to the size of a pea. One of the shock tactics that Gail fell prey to was that a child could die from eating a tube of toothpaste, which is indeed possible – that’s why we spit out and don’t swallow toothpaste. Keep all toothpastes out of reach and closely monitor all teeth brushing sessions. Just last week my dentist told me to move from the fluoride drops we had been using to the fluoride tablets, but he warns me to keep them well out of reach as they are very tasty.

Small amounts of fluoride help prevent tooth “cavities, but high levels can harm your health.

Gail*, mother to Jethro*, knows these is it poisonous? emotions only too well, as she has been Yes, but, like most substances, the both an opponent and a proponent, all level of toxicity is related to the dose. within the brief space of six years. Soon Practically every substance on earth, after Jethro was born, Gail was reading a including water and oxygen, becomes popular “health” book and was somewhat toxic if enough of the substance disturbed to learn that the author becomes concentrated in the stomach believed that by giving your child fluoride or blood. Anti-fluoride activists will tell supplements, you are simply abdicating you that fluoride is listed as a toxic your responsibility as a parent and are substance by the US-based Agency for exposing the child unnecessarily to an Toxic Substances and Disease Registry extremely dangerous way of trying to (ATSDR), and this is true, but they state prevent tooth decay. Gail read on, appalled clearly that “small amounts of fluoride and relieved that she had learnt how toxic help prevent tooth cavities, but high fluoride was just in the nick of time. Jethro levels can harm your health”. was a first baby and Gail was fastidious about what she fed him – breastfeeding, no sugar, no wheat, gentle tooth brushing from the time the first tooth emerged. She opted for a safe, nontoxic, fluoride-free toothpaste to keep Jethro’s teeth intact. After a trip to the dentist, Gail was horrified to learn that Jethro had been given a quick dab of fluoride from the dentist. Luckily he survived this “toxic assault” but not long before his sixth birthday he complained he was not losing his teeth like all his friends, and he started to complain of toothache. A trip to the dentist revealed six holes in the molars and the only way to fill them would be under general anaesthetic. Gail is quick to point out that Jethro tasted his first sweet well after his second birthday and any juice he has is always diluted. Her first filling was at 21 so Gail knew it wasn’t genetics at play. Mind you, she had been raised on fluoride so her anti-fluoride take was swiftly swept aside. Jethro now visits the dentist quarterly, uses a fluoride supplement daily, brushes with fluoride toothpaste and has restricted amounts of dried fruit, juice and sweets. “A painful and extremely expensive lesson has been learnt,” concludes Gail. It was on a dental check up of mine while pregnant that my dentist began dishing out regular fluoride lectures, telling me the amount of decay he sees in children’s teeth is markedly lower in those who take fluoride supplements. He also warns against the belief that milk teeth don’t matter and says parents should kick-start their babies’ oral hygiene programme as soon as milk teeth appear. “The fluoride supplements your baby takes now are working on strengthening the emerging teeth; waiting until later will be too late,” he warns. So that’s why he gets to fill my teeth every few years – my mother’s best intentions were too late. My son, who has just turned two, is unable to spit his toothpaste out so I use a fluoride-free toothpaste and combine this with fluoride supplements. This way I can durban’s

The South African Dental Association (SADA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the FDI (World Dental Federation) and the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) all believe that fluoride is essential for dental health. According to Dr Jeff Michelson at SADA: “Fluoride can be obtained in two ways, by swallowing (for example, through water and diet) and by topical application (for example, by using fluoridated toothpastes, gels and mouth rinses). Topically applied fluorides strengthen teeth already present in the mouth while swallowed (systemic) fluorides are those that are ingested into the body and become part of a developing tooth.” My poor mother tried so hard to give me strong healthy teeth and for that I am most grateful, even if her plans did go awry. I hope, given new research and supplements, to give my son a better and stronger set of teeth than I have and that they will last him a lifetime. *Names have been changed

what is fluoride? Most people think fluoride is a man-made creation and do not know that it comes from a naturally occurring mineral, fluorine, which is the thirteenth most abundant element in the earth’s crust. It never occurs by itself in nature but is always combined with other elements as a fluoride compound. Courtesy of SADA

how does fluoride prevent cavities? Fluoride inhibits the loss of minerals from tooth enamel and encourages remineralisation (the strengthening of weakened areas where cavities are beginning to develop). Fluoride also affects the bacteria that cause cavities, discouraging acid attacks on the teeth’s enamel. Risk of tooth decay is further reduced when fluoride is used in conjunction with a healthy diet and good oral hygiene.

how much fluoride? Current opinion is that supplements should be given from the age of six months until about 14 years. The dosage will vary according to a number of important considerations, the most important of which are: • Body mass (weight) • The level of naturally occurring fluoride in your tap water (depending on the area in which you live). • The amount of toothpaste swallowed – young children should always be supervised while brushing and taught to spit out rather than swallow toothpaste. They should use an appropriately sized toothbrush with a small brushing surface and only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste at each brushing. Courtesy of SADA

February 2010


book extract

nature’s child

In an extract from the book 52 Ways to Grow Creative Children, LISL BARRY and her family share ideas for quality time that gives your children the chance to learn through fun outdoor activities.

grow sunflowers

Take a visit to: • a beach • a forest

• a botanical garden • a nature reserve or national park that allows walking

Pure wool is wonderfully natural to the touch and, if hand spun, smells mildly of sheep too. The cost is worth it for your child’s tactile experience. Make a loop with a strand of wool around your thumb and knot it. Wind the wool a second time around your thumb and pull the first loop up over the second one. Pull the strand so that the remaining loop on your finger is secure. Wind the wool to make another loop and repeat the process. It is much easier for children to remember the process if a story goes with it. Try something like: (one loop is already on the finger) the fox runs around the tree searching for the rabbit (wind the second loop around), the rabbit jumps right over the fox (pull the first loop over the second) and pulls the fox’s tail (pull the strand to secure the remaining loop).

1. O  ptional: Seeds can be sprouted between two layers of damp cotton wool over a few days, to share with your child the magic that happens underground. Keep the cotton wool moist and put in a warm place. Once the seeds have sprouted, plant them into egg boxes. 2. Put compost into each section, not filling to the top. Plant two sprouted seeds (shoot upwards) or seeds straight from the packet into each section. 3. When they have grown two leaves, pull out the smaller shoot in each section to make way for the stronger one. As they grow, the roots will grow through the soft sides of the egg box. 4. Pull the egg box sections carefully apart and plant each in a pot or 30cm apart in the garden. Plant them on the north-facing side of the house. 5. Watch them grow! As they do, support them with a pole. The petals will eventually fall from the flower. Leave the seeds to ripen. When they are ready, if you can get to them before the birds, shake out a few for next year’s planting or just enjoy watching the birds feast.

If possible, take your child to a working farm to see the real thing and pick bits of wool from the fences. If you can find someone that spins wool with a spinning wheel, participating in this will be a magical experience for your child.

Show your child how the sunflowers’ flowers follow the sun as it moves through the sky.

Walk for the pure enjoyment of you and your child experiencing nature together. When they are still crawling, you could get a child-backpack, designed so that you can carry your child hands-free on your back. As they get older, they will love to run and walk themselves. Do it when you have enough time. Go at their pace and don’t be troubled about getting anywhere, for they will stop every few paces to investigate some wonder. Be sure to have a snack and water to keep you and them going. Pack in toilet paper too, for those unexpected emergencies. You can entice them along by asking them to spot things along the trail, such as small bugs, animal footprints, birds’ nests or rocks and stones shaped like hearts. Most children are unaware of the noise they make with their voice tone or constant nattering. Stop sometimes and let them listen to the quiet or bird song. As one would teach children to respect others in a library or a place of sanctuary, teach your children to respect the environment or other people who may be walking in a quiet tranquil place. They should be taught not to throw stones or pick flowers, and should leave nothing but their footprints.

knit with your fingers


February 2010

• sunflower seeds • egg boxes • potting compost • pots or garden space



go walking

make fruit ice lollies • ice-cube or ice-lolly trays

• a freezer

It is a wonderful nutritious treat on a hot sunny day (all year round). There are various options. Children love to help prepare them, although it’s hard for them to have to wait for the frozen goodies. Work at the kitchen sink.

create body portraits • apron • scissors • paint brushes • newspaper • clothes pegs

• a dark crayon for doing the outline • paints • tubs for water • rope • strong card, the backs of calendars or posters taped together, or brown paper

1. C  ut or tape the paper to match the length of your child. Place the paper on the ground. With your child lying down on the paper and using the crayon, follow the outline of your child’s body onto the paper. If there is more than one child, they can draw each other. 2. Have the paints ready and let them paint their life-size body. Optional: Use scrap material, wood shavings, felt and coloured paper offcuts, wool, scissors and glue. 3. If there are a few friends, cut holes out for the faces. Do this before they begin painting. When the paintings are dry, string up a rope and peg the paintings securely. They can show their faces through the holes. Put a mirror up for them to see. They will have lots of fun play-acting from behind the painted bodies and swapping bodies with each other. Collect offcuts created when making things and store for later use: material such as felt, cloth, wool and coloured paper. These can later be used for activities, crafting, or to make simple collages.

Mashed fruit Any in-season fruit that is easy to mash will do. Especially good summer ones are sweet melon, cantaloupe (spanspek) and watermelon. Once mashed, spoon and smooth into moulds or ice cube trays. Freeze overnight. Fruit juice Use freshly squeezed or juiced in-season fruit. Mix two parts fruit to one part water. Pour from a small jug into ice-lolly moulds or ice-cube trays. Optional: Chop up a kiwi fruit or large strawberry and include in the lollies. Organic yoghurt and fruit Liquidise or juice strawberries and one ripe banana. Mix two parts fruit to one part organic yoghurt. Spoon into moulds or ice-cube trays. Support smaller greengrocers or farmers’ markets, especially organic, where inseason, local produce is available. These fresh fruit and vegetables always taste better. It also means fewer food miles.

make a hobby horse • an old pillowcase • felt • foam cut to 32cm x 12cm x 14cm (14cm diameter if cylindrical)

• a wooden broomstick • basic needlework box • 2 large buttons • material for ears and stuffing • craft glue and string • straw, finger knitted lengths, or used synthetic hair braids (for the mane) • 32cm finger-knitted rein

draw Allow plenty of opportunity for your children to draw freely (rather than only in colouring-in books) and encourage their imagination simply by showing an interest. To save on paper and protect the forest:

• Paint a blackboard in their room using non-toxic blackboard paint. A varnished surface acts as a good base coat for a perfectly smooth finish. Optional: Find an empty picture frame, paint the selected surface and fix the frame around it. This looks great, and creates an ideal ledge for the chalk. • Create a small, shallow sand drawing box outside. Dampen the sand so your child can draw with a finger or stick. The beach is best for this.  A • sk a local business to save their paper waste, where only one side has been used, for your child. Optional: To make a drawing pad, square up a small pile. Weight the top down and brush wood glue on the edge of the pile. Allow to dry. • If your child uses clean paper, use both sides. • Look out for beeswax crayons or easy to grip thick crayons. Inexpensive oil pastels are a great treat because they have such wonderful colours. Place special drawings in a file so that your child sees they are enjoyed and cared for. Recycle discarded paper drawings.


1. G  et a foam shape cut to a rectangle or cylinder, or cut an old foam mattress yourself. Place the foam lengthways into the pillowcase. Make sure it’s centred. Pull the pillowcase tight and tie closed. 2. To form the nostrils, pull the pointed corners of the pillowcase out and fold flat onto the sides of the cylinder. Shape the horizontal openings slightly, like horse nostrils, and blanket stitch the vertical edges down. 3. Sew pointed horse ear shapes: 19cm long and 9cm at the widest part. Stuff and sew to the top of each side of the head. Make eyes: cut different coloured felt into five graduating shapes from big ovals to small circles. Glue together. When dry, sew onto the sides of the head. 4. Attach the broomstick by untying the pillow case and, through the opening, make a deep incision into the foam. Apply glue to the broomstick end and push into the incision. Close the case around the broomstick, tying with string. Allow to dry. 5. Thread the mane material. Sew the mane to the top of the head, starting between the ears and working backwards. Sew the rein ends onto either side of the head, using large buttons.

about the book 52 Ways to Grow Creative Children is published by Jacana Media and is available from all leading book stores and online book stores at a suggested retail price of R135. For more information on other titles, visit

February 2010





Sending your children off to crèche or school for the first time can be daunting. You can’t be there every minute of the day to keep them safe, but you can talk to them and to their educators and caregivers about dealing with any nasties. By TRACY ELLIS.



Most common in children between the ages of two and 10 years, nosebleeds are caused by picking, excessive blowing, a knock to the nose or dry nasal membranes due to dry weather conditions. There is usually no need to panic as most nosebleeds are easy to stop and although bleeding may be profuse, your child is not likely to lose

Burns are best treated according to their cause and severity. Burns at school may be caused by heat, electricity, chemicals or the sun. A mild (first degree) burn is usually limited to the top layer of skin and results in redness, pain and swelling but no blistering. A second degree burn involves the deeper layers of skin and results in pain, redness and blistering. Blisters may even break open and weep. Third degree burns are the most severe, damaging all the layers of skin as well as underlying tissue and nerves. The result is a charred appearance with obvious tissue damage and a possible absence of pain due to nerve damage. Medical attention is required for chemical and electrical burns, as well as all types of second and third degree burns, or any burn that covers more than 10% of the body. All burns are best treated by flushing the burn site with cool (not cold) running water for five to 10 minutes. Never apply butter, grease or ice to a burn and do not break blisters. Paracetamol or ibuprofen will help with the pain.

drain into the throat and cause gagging or vomiting. Talk to your child’s educator if your child has frequent nosebleeds. You may even want to send a box of latex gloves to school. Most educators are well equipped to deal with a bloody nose and will only call you if they can’t control the bleeding or if the nosebleed is the result of a head injury, in which case you should consult a doctor. If your child is a frequent nose-picker you may enlist the educator’s help in breaking the habit.

Talk to your child’s educator at crèche about putting protective covers on electrical outlets. Speak to the primary school educator about any chemical experiments the class may be doing and don’t assume educators know how to treat burns. Talk to your child about how to treat his burn by running it under cool water – the quicker they can cool the burn site, the less severe it will be.

sun safety at school Sunburn is not only painful and uncomfortable; it can lead to skin damage and cancer. Even 15 minutes in the sun can result in redness and pain. Make sunscreen part of your child’s morning routine, especially in the hotter months and during the swimming season. An SPF30 is recommended for children. Chat to your child’s educator about the school’s hat policy on the playground and encourage your child to play under trees

Talk to your child about how to blow his nose gently. If he suffers from allergies or dry membranes, use a humidifier at home and purchase a saline spray or a Vaseline balm, which he can keep in his pocket and use on his nostrils while at school. If he has frequent nosebleeds, pack a pair of gloves into his schoolbag.


February 2010

or in shade on really hot days. Treat accidental sunburn with a cool bath, after-sun gel or calamine lotion and pain medication. See a doctor if your child develops a fever, becomes dehydrated or lightheaded after sunburn, or if the sunburn covers a large area of the body.



a dangerous amount of blood. The best course of action is for your child to sit down and tilt his head forward while gently pinching the soft part of the nose to close the nostrils. This pressure needs to be maintained for at least 10 minutes or until the bleeding has stopped. It is important not to lie back or tilt the chin upwards, as blood may

bee stings

nut allergies

Bee stings can be very painful but unless your child is allergic to bee venom or has been stung by a swarm of bees, the sting does not warrant medical attention and is easily treated. It was once believed that the stinger should not be pinched by hand but ought to be scraped off with something sharp so as not to release further venom. But new research shows that the method of removal is less important than the time it takes to remove the stinger; the longer it remains in the body, the more severe the reaction will be. Remove the stinger quickly and apply ice or antihistamine cream to the sting site, as it will most likely be painful, itchy and swollen. If your child develops a red itchy rash and shortness of breath after a bee sting, she may be allergic to bee venom and you should seek immediate medical attention. It can take up to an hour for a severe anaphylactic reaction to occur. If your child is allergic, she should wear a Medic Alert bracelet and a doctor may advise carrying an epinephrine injector. If stung, use the injector before symptoms appear. A wasp or hornet sting will not leave a stinger behind but can still cause an allergic reaction.

Peanut and tree nut allergies are potentially life threatening. Even a small trace of peanut protein can set off a severe reaction, which may include an itchy rash, redness and swelling around the mouth, belly cramps, vomiting, diarrhoea, a runny nose, watering eyes, wheezing and lightheadedness. In severe cases anaphylaxis can cause airways to swell and blood pressure to drop, resulting in a loss of consciousness and even death. The only way to prevent a reaction is to avoid nuts and food containing nuts. Read labels and look out for phrases like “may contain nuts” and “produced in a facility that processes nuts”. High-risk foods include peanut butter, cereals, bakery items, biscuits, sweets, chocolates, sauces, ice cream and Asian cuisine. Talk to your child’s educator about your child’s nut allergy and find out if they have a nut-free lunch table. If not, consider putting an allergy label on your child’s lunchbox. Provide the school with emergency contact numbers and talk about an action plan in case your child has a reaction. If necessary, leave an epinephrine injector at school and chat to the educator(s) about when and how to use it.

Talk to your child’s educator if your child is allergic to bee venom. Provide her with emergency contact numbers, an epinephrine injector and instructions on how to use it. Talk to your child about why bees sting humans. Children are usually afraid of bees but it is worth teaching them to stay away from a hive of any sort. Teach your allergic child to tell her educator immediately if she is stung at school.

Talk to your child about not sharing her lunch, as a classmate could have a nut allergy (or be diabetic). Explain that unless clearly labelled as “nut free”, most foods contain nuts or traces of nuts. If your child has allergies, discuss the option of wearing a Medic Alert bracelet. Come up with a plan for birthday parties such as taking nutfree snacks and treats from home.

car safety • Children under 12 are safest in the back seat of the car, in an approved car seat suitable for their age and weight (see our guide). • Avoid buying second-hand car seats as they may be faulty or may have been in an accident. • Fit your car seat according to the manufacturer’s instruction manual. • Use infant and child car seats in the rear-facing position until your child weighs 10kg and is at least nine months old. • Never use an infant car seat in the front of a vehicle with a passenger airbag. it is not safe to: • buckle two children with one seatbelt • use a booster seat with a lap belt • travel with a child on your lap • allow children to place the seatbelt behind their backs or under their arms • hold or breastfeed your baby in a moving vehicle. Talk to your child’s educator about the school’s seatbelt policies during school outings and find out if you can send your child’s seat along. Talk to your child about always buckling up when he is travelling in someone else’s car for a lift club, play date or school trip.


car seats: age and weight guide • Infant car seat Birth–1 year (0–10kg) • Child car seat 0–5 years (0–18kg) • Booster seat (cushion and back) 4–6 years (15–25kg) • Booster cushion (without back) 6–10 years (22–36kg) • Seatbelt in back seat 10–12 years (36kg and over) • Seatbelt in front passenger seat 12 years and older

February 2010


HIV/Aids The amount of information you give your children on HIV/Aids depends on their age. By Grade 3 most children will have heard about the disease and may have asked questions about it. Your preschooler can be taught that Aids is a sickness caused by a virus carried in people’s blood. Reassure your children by explaining that they cannot catch this sickness by playing with or hugging friends, but stress the importance of not touching anyone’s blood. By junior primary you can begin to explain in more detail how the virus works and that it can result in death. By senior primary, once you have had discussions about sex, you can introduce the message of transmission through intercourse and drug use. Allow your children to lead you and answer questions honestly when they are asked. Talk to your child’s educator if you need advice on when to initiate a discussion on HIV/Aids. Find out what they are teaching in the classroom and reinforce it at home. Let their educators know if your children have fears about catching Aids at school and if they are bringing home incorrect information from their friends about HIV/Aids. Talk to your child about never touching someone else’s blood, not even their best friend’s. Explain that if they injure themselves at school, the person helping them needs to wear gloves. Ask a question like: “Have you heard about Aids before?” to assess how much they know and understand.

earache Earache is a common complaint especially among children under five years. The most common causes are middle-ear infections following a cold or illness, and swimmer’s ear, an infection of the outer ear and ear canal. Children will often pull on or rub their ears when sore and will often be fussy and irritable. A visit to the doctor will determine which type of ear infection it is and the doctor may prescribe antibiotic eardrops or oral antibiotics. Recurring middle-ear infections may warrant a visit to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist to determine if ear surgery is recommended. Recurring swimmer’s ear can be prevented with the use of earplugs or swimmer’s eardrops. However, the eardrops must be used immediately after swimming and not when swimmer’s ear has already set in, as the drops are alcohol based and will aggravate an infection. Children should have their hearing tested once a year by an audiologist. Never stick an ear bud into your children’s ears. Ears are self-cleaning and should only be washed with water. For stubborn wax, see a specialist. Talk to your child’s educator as many schools have an audiologist who tests all the learners annually. If your child suffers from swimmer’s ear, enlist his educator’s help in administering the eardrops after a swimming lesson and ensuring he wears his earplugs in the pool. Talk to your child about not sticking objects into her ears. Encourage children to wash their hands frequently to reduce chances of picking up colds and flu.

handy emergency telephone numbers Ambulance – Netcare 911

082 911

Ambulance – ER24

084 124

Ambulance – Government


SAPS Flying Squad


Cellphone Emergency Line


Fire and Rescue

031 361 0000

Poison Hotline

0800 333 444


0800 055 555

SAPS Crimestop

086 001 0111

Your local police station Your local emergency room Your family doctor Your security company


February 2010



the good book guide for toddlers

for preschoolers Lucy Goes to Market By Sanchia Oppenheimer

read & play

(Macmillan Children’s Books, R165) When Lucy goes to market she finds everything she needs, from an Asparagus Angel and a Delicate Dragon to an Invisible Igloo and a pair of Wacky Wellingtons. But will they all fit in her doll’s house? This uniquely beautiful alphabet book is illustrated by the award-winning Imogen Clare. It’s not your run of the mill ABC book – you’ll find flamingos feasting on fruitcake, a nomad named Nathan and a vulture with vertigo. Children can join Lucy on a magical journey through an unforgettable book.

Muddle Ocean By Ben Cort (Macmillan Children’s Books, R150) Children can dive in and enjoy hours of underwater fun with this magnetic play book. They join diver Dave and a host of friendly sea creatures in their exciting deep sea adventures. With over 15 magnets, the book encourages interactive learning, stimulates creativity and provides fun and entertainment for children aged four and older. Ben Cort is the illustrator of the phenomenally successful Aliens Love Underpants and many other popular books, including The Shark in the Dark and Muddle Jungle.

Messy Fingers By Emma Dodd (Macmillan Children’s Books, R150) Join your children in a big interactive journey from messy to muddy, sticky to soapy and, finally, sleepy. With lots of big, sturdy flaps to lift and tabs to pull, this is the perfect book for curious little fingers. The text is written in rhyme and is a treat to read out loud: “Messy fingers, messy toes, messy smiles, messy nose!” Emma Dodd has worked on many books, including the popular Amazing Baby series. Her first book, What Pet to Get?, was shortlisted for the 2006 Early Years Awards.

for Grade 1 to Grade 3

A Song for Jamela By Niki Daly (NB Publishers, R89) The summer holidays are here, and Jamela is as bored as a girl can be. All she can think about is the Afro-Idols TV final. When she lands a job at Divine Braids hair salon, she can’t believe her eyes at the arrival of the glamorous Afro-Idols celebrity, Miss Bambi Chaka Chaka. But while Jamela’s idol dozes and Aunt Beauty designs the star’s hairdo, a busy fly appears on the scene and threatens to ruin everything… Can creative Jamela save the day? This is Niki Daly’s fifth Jamela book and is most suitable for children aged five to seven. Both the story and illustrations are lively and humorous, offering wonderful entertainment.

parenting books

Hello World! By Manja Stojic (Boxer Books, R122) People say “hello” all over the world, each and every day, in their own way. In this colourful book children can learn how to say “hello” in 43 different languages as children from many cultures greet each other. The languages featured in the book span the world from west to east – across the continents from the Americas to Australia. The greetings can be pronounced by using the phonetic spellings beneath each translation. For example, the French word for hello is “bonjour”, which is pronounced {bohn-zhoor}. This joyful book celebrates diversity while reminding us that a warm greeting can unite children everywhere.

for preteens and teens Ask Me Anything Senior editor Julie Ferris

pick of the month

(Penguin Group, R230) This book is packed with trivia, facts, fun and incredible information on just about everything you can think of. Questions include: What’s the most dangerous spider?; How much would you weigh if you lived on Venus?; Where can you post letters underwater?; Why does the earth quake?; Can animals talk?; and How many people live in cities? The book also reveals how to split an atom, assemble an orchestra, and tells readers what happens when astronauts fart in their spacesuits. The whole family will benefit from the facts found in this hardcover book.


Liking the Child You Love By Dr Jeffrey Bernstein (Da Capo Press, R167) Are you exhausted by your children arguing over every little thing? Finally, there is a name for your feelings: Parent Frustration Syndrome (PFS). No child is perfect, but parents often don’t realise just how much their own thoughts, rather than their children’s behaviour, contribute to their being emotionally overwhelmed. In Liking the Child You Love, renowned American psychologist Dr Jeffrey Bernstein offers proven strategies for taming the nine most common toxic thought patterns that prevent parents from parenting effectively.

101 Ways to get your Child to Read By Patience Thomson (Barrington Stoke, R37,95) Some children need a lot of help if they’re ever going to learn to read. But what is the best way to help them? How can you get your child to read if she just doesn’t like books? And what if you don’t read much yourself? This book gives answers to these and other questions. It explains why your child needs to read and how you can help your dyslexic or struggling child grow to love books. Practical tips help parents and children understand reading problems and give solutions to these. February 2010



2 February – World Wetlands Day Wetlands, biodiversity, and climate change Wetlands, also known as vleis, bogs, swamps, marshes or sponges are regarded as some of the most productive ecosystems in the world. They regulate river flow, provide habitats for a wide variety of plants and animals, help absorb silt and cleanse water of pollutants. Unfortunately, wetlands all around the world are at risk of contamination and destruction due to pollution, seepage, mining, construction and drainage for alternative use. Support World Wetlands Day by gathering a group of friends, pupils or colleagues and cleaning up your nearest stream, vlei, marsh or dam. For more info: visit or

email it to Information must be received by 8 February for the March issue and must include all relevant details. No guarantee can be given that it will be published. Compiled by TRACY ELLIS.

1 monday

3 wednesday

Imagination Movers This new television series for preschoolers features four brainstormers solving emergencies in their warehouse as well as performing energetic song and dance routines. Daily at 7:20am on the Disney Channel (channel 304 on DStv) Rising Star Performing Arts Academy Weekly speech and drama classes suitable for ages 5–17. Time: varies. Venue: Berea, Umhlanga, Hillcrest and Westville. Cost: R450 per term. Contact Gillian: 083 326 3257 or Andrea: 082 994 0984 or visit

The Drakensberg Canopy Tour Glide along steel cables between 14 platforms in an indigenous forest. Professional guides ensure your safety and share information about the local fauna and flora. Time: varies. Venue: Blue Grotto Forest, Central Drakensberg. Cost: R450. For more info: 083 672 4813 or visit

2 tuesday The Princess and The Frog premieres The film tells the story of Tiana, a girl from New Orleans, who stumbles across a talking frog in the bayou who pleads with her to kiss him in order to reverse an evil spell. Visit your local cinema for show times A solo exhibition by Zimbabwean artist Makiwa Mutomba, entitled Women showcasing oil paintings of African women. Ends 13 February. Time: Monday– Friday, 10am–4pm; Saturday, 10am–1pm. Venue: artSPACE, 3 Millar Rd. Cost: free. For more info: 031 312 0793

4 thursday Contemporary dance performance by Flatfoot Dance Company from the University of KZN. Time: 7:30pm. Venue: St Anne’s College Theatre, Hilton Ave, Hilton. Cost: adults R50, concessions R40. For more info: 033 343 3300, 033 343 1609 or email

Isaiah Ntshangase Rd, Durban. Cost: adults R50, children R25; Skycar, R80; Adventure Walk and stadium tour, adults R20, children R15. For more info: 031 582 8242 or visit

6 saturday Shongweni Farmers’ Market features fresh produce, breakfasts, lunches and a wide variety of stalls. Every Saturday. Time: 6:30am–10am. Venue: cnr Kassier Rd and Alverstone Rd, Assagay. Cost: free entry. Contact Christine: 083 777 1674 Pregnancy education workshop Talks on pregnancy, labour, nutrition and caring


what’s on in february

For a free listing, fax your event to 031 207 3429 or

5 friday Moses Mabhida Stadium offers various attractions except on match days. Ride the Skycar to the viewing platform on top of the arch or attempt the Adventure Walk, a 550 step climb to the top of the arch. With the guided stadium tour you can explore the stadium, suites, change rooms and players’ tunnel. Time: varies. Venue: 44

3 February – The Drakensberg Canopy Tour

family marketplace


February 2010


Sunday, 3pm–6pm. Venue: 45 Maritime Place, Durban. Cost: free entry. For more info: 031 332 0451 or visit

8 monday uShaka February promotion Get your adult platinum pass for only R399 (normally R475). The annual pass provides you with limitless visits to the entire uShaka Marine World park where you can enjoy 16 exhilarating water slides, shows, shark feeds, access to the Phantom Ship, free entertainment and loads more. Special ends 22 March. For more info: 031 328 8000

9 tuesday 5 February – Moses Mabhida Stadium

for your newborn baby. Time: 9am–noon. Venue: Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital, 107 Chelmsford Rd, Durban. Cost: free. Booking is essential. For more info: 031 268 5083 or email Have One More sweet shop opening day Enjoy a range of old fashioned sweets and chocolates. Time: 8:30am–4:30pm. Venue: 1 Clement Stott Rd, Assagay. Cost: free entry. For more info: 031 765 6090 or email Open day and tea garden Fantastic indigenous and exotic plant specials, children’s jumping castle and creativity corner, arts and crafts, and more. Time: 8am– 12:30pm. Venue: Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust, Hillcrest. Cost: free entry. For more info: 031 765 5866 or visit

KidzSports by VO2 Max private gym. Suitable for ages 5–16, these weekly bootcamp classes are small and focus on your child’s flexibility, strength, endurance and agility through non-competitive, supervised activities. Time: by appointment. Venue: Unit 10 Silvervause Centre, 117–121 Vause Rd, Musgrave. Cost: R70 per hour. For more info: 074 420 6698 or 031 201 8585

9 February – KidzSports

7 sunday

10 wednesday

BAT Centre Jazz Sessions Enjoy a meal while you listen to local jazz musicians. Every Friday and Sunday. Time: Friday, 6pm–8pm;

BAT Centre Poetry Circle Established and aspiring poets meet to read their pieces, discuss their writing, offer praise and


criticism, and inspire one another. Every Wednesday. Time: 5pm–7pm. Venue: 45 Maritime Pl, Durban. Cost: free. For more info: 031 332 0451 or visit

11 thursday KZNPO summer season kicks off with violinist Daniel Hope in his debut performance with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra. The multiple Grammy Award nominee has performed with orchestras around the world. Also making his debut with the orchestra is principal conductor maestro Thomas Sanderling. Time: 7:30pm. Venue: Durban City Hall. Cost: R40–R180. Book through Computicket: 083 915 8000 Valentine’s Day competition Buy a La Lucia Mall gift card to the value of R250 between 11 and 14 February and stand a chance to win a night for two at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa. Mall hours: weekdays, 9am–6pm; weekends, 8:30am– 5pm. Venue: 90 William Campbell Dr, La Lucia. For more info: visit

12 friday Fantastic Mr Fox This animated adaptation of the popular Roald Dahl children’s book sees a wily fox using formidable cunning to outsmart three feeble-minded farmers who resort to extreme tactics to protect their chickens. Featuring the voices of George Clooney and Meryl Streep. Visit your local cinema for show times. Elvis Has Left the Building A festive trip down memory lane featuring rock ’n roll, gospel, blues, country, pop, ballads and love songs. Ends 14 February. Also 19–21 February. Time: Friday and Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 6:30pm. Venue: Rhumbelow Theatre, 42 Cunningham Rd, Umbilo. Cost: R80. Book through Computicket: 083 915 8000 or visit

The Barn Swallow ringing experience Get up close and personal with barn swallows. Take chairs, a picnic supper, mosquito repellant, binoculars and walking shoes. Booking is essential. Time: 4pm. Venue: Mount Moreland, Lake Victoria Wetland. Cost: adults R60, children R30. For more info: 031 568 1671

13 saturday Valentine’s Weekend at uShaka includes specially created menus at Cargo Hold and

Green tip of the month Find needy homes or charitable organisations for things that you no longer need or want rather than throwing them away. On the wish lists of these organisations things such as school uniforms, sports equipment, bed linen, towels and curtains, study lamps, clothing, household accessories, furniture and computers are listed. To motivate you to drive a short distance and drop off unwanted goods at these homes, instead of dumping them in the garbage, consider this: • It takes a computer about 1 700 years to decompose. • Golf balls can take up to 1 000 years to decompose. • Aluminium takes approximately 500 years to decompose. • Plastic takes about 500 years before it starts decomposing. Plastic furniture and kitchenware will be welcomed by a charity organisation. • Depending on the fibre of material, in some cases it can take hundreds of years before cloth is decomposed. Visit to see which charitable organisations are in your area. The site also shows their wish lists

February 2010


‘Hotel California’, ‘Life in the Fast Lane’ as well as many others. Ends 28 February. Time: varies. Venue: iZulu Theatre, Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom. Cost: R220. Book through Computicket: 083 915 8000 or visit

13 February – Stranger Danger A workshop for children ages 6–10, which explores potential dangers and what to do in these situations. Time: 9am–10am. Venue: tbc. Cost: R55. To book: email Upper Deck, a Vegas style Valentine’s at the Aquarium and prizes such as platinum passes and weekend stays are up for grabs. Time: varies. Venue: uShaka Marine World. Cost: varies. Contact Merle: 031 328 8000 The Midmar Mile This is the world’s largest annual open-water swimming event and is open to swimmers of all ages. The Sportsguide Double Mile Westsuit Swim is a more challenging 3.2km swim for those diehard athletes. Ends 14 February. Time: varies by event. Venue: Midmar Dam. Cost: varies. For more info: visit Alberlito Hospital pregnancy open day includes informative talks by specialists, information packs, lucky draws, display tables and a host of other exciting activities. Time: 10am–noon or 1:30pm– 3:30pm. Venue: 2nd Floor, Alberlito Hospital, Kirsty Close, Ballito. Cost: free. Booking is essential. For more info: email

14 sunday Music at the Lake A Valentine’s concert featuring Just Jinjer. Take a picnic supper. Time: tbc. Venue: Durban Botanic Gardens. Cost: tbc. For more info: 031 202 5819 or visit Valentine’s dinner Enjoy a set menu, a free glass of champagne, live music and receive a small gift. Time: tbc. Venue: The Grill Room, The Oyster Box Hotel. Cost: R1 200. For more info: 031 514 5000 or visit Golden Hours Valentine’s market A variety of traders, large children’s playground and entertainment by Belinda Dolphin and friends. Time: 10am–3:30pm. Venue: Uitsig Rd, Durban North. Cost: free entry. For more info: 083 262 3693 Development Trial 1 for SA Grommet Games The trials are open to surfers in the u10–u16 categories who have never made a province’s A-team or surfed for KZN at the PE development championships

18 thursday 19 February – White Lion film premieres

before. Trial two takes place on 20 February and trial three on 21 February. Details to be confirmed. For more info: visit Dress Red for the Heart and Stroke Foundation Buy a Red Dress “I love my heart” sticker for R5 and wear red on Valentine’s Day. Your donation will support the foundation’s award-winning children’s programme which educates 2.1 million children nationwide on health and cardiovascular disease. Convince your colleagues to participate, take a group photo, submit it to and you could win a prize. For more info: visit

15 monday 1000 Hills Bird Park is now open. View the beautiful rare and exotic birds or book your party at Polly Parrot Parties. Time: Tuesday–Sunday, 8:30am–4:30pm. Venue: 1 Clement Stott Rd, Assagay (off Old Main Rd). Cost: adults R25, children R15. For more info: 076 810 8013 or email

16 tuesday Naartjie sale Selected summer merchandise up to 40% off and you can browse through their new autumn range. To find a store near you visit

17 wednesday Hotel California – The Eagles Experience Six multi-talented musicians recreate The Eagles’ timeless hits in a show that salutes the talent and musicianship of the original members. Featuring the hits ‘Take it Easy’,

Meet dangerous creatures at uShaka Marine World Dare to walk through this warehouse filled with exotic reptiles from around the world. You’ll come face to face with some of the world’s fastest and most poisonous snakes such as the king cobra, black mamba and anaconda as well as Nile crocodiles, poison dart frogs, tarantulas and more. Three full-time herpetologists and special toughened glass cages ensure the safety of visitors. Time: 9am–5pm. Venue: 1 King Shaka Ave, Point. Cost: R25. For more info: visit

19 friday White Lion premieres When a rare white lion is born, a young Shangaan named Gisani is destined to protect this magnificent creature at all costs. Known as Letsatsi, the young lion is cast from his pride and forced to embark upon a perilous journey of survival. See your local cinema for showtimes

20 saturday Rape and self defence training workshop for women and girls over 15. Learn practical defence skills. Time: 9am– 3pm. Venue: tbc. Cost: R395. For more info: email Study skills course A 10-week course for Grade 8–Grade 12 learners to teach them to set goals, be organised, manage their time, concentrate, overcome procrastination, and deal with stress and anxiety. Ends 24 April. Time: 1pm–2:20pm. Venue: Kip McGrath, Umhlanga. Cost: R1 800. For more info: 031 566 1110 or 082 042 2556


February 2010

A workshop on the dangers of social networking sites gives teenagers examples of potentially dangerous situations and equip them with tools for reducing the threat and knowing what to do if they are unsure. Time: 6pm–7:30pm. Venue: tbc. Cost: R85. For more info: email

24 wednesday New Daisy Arts Studio is now open and offers lessons in drawing skills, painting and sculpture. Classes are suitable for children 6–10 years with more advanced classes for 11 years and older. Adults are also welcome. Time: weekdays, 10am–noon and 3:30pm–5:30pm; Saturday ages 11 and older 9am–11am; Saturday ages 6–10 years 11am–12:30pm. Venue: 65 Ethelbert Rd, Malvern. Cost: R250 per month. For more info: 073 540 9210 or email

25 thursday Man of La Mancha show TheatreBIZ has set the musical in a new context where criminals and a few riotous students are arrested after causing mayhem at the Ballito Rage. They are held in the overcrowded backyard of the Ballito police station. Ends 7 March. Time: varies. Venue: The Catalina Theatre, 18 Boatman’s Rd, Wilsons Wharf. Cost: R90. For more info: 031 305 6866

26 friday Meditation classes for moms Learn to be peaceful and positive. Every Friday. Time: 8:30am–9:30am. Venue: Hillcrest Library, 22 Delamore Rd. Cost: R25. For more info: 031 765 2162 or visit

21 sunday Buddy and Friends music show A tribute to the American pioneer of rock ’n roll, Charles Hardin Holley, known simply as Buddy Holly. Although his success only lasted a year and a half before his untimely death in an airplane crash, he has been described as the single most influential creative force in early rock ’n roll. Ends 28 February. Time: Tuesday–Saturday, 7pm; Sunday, 12:30pm. Venue: The Heritage Theatre, Hillcrest. Cost: Wednesday–Saturday R190; Tuesday and Sunday R165. For more info: 031 765 4197

22 monday

17 February – Hotel California - The Eagles Experience

23 tuesday

Othello is directed by Clare Mortimer in association with Think Theatre Productions. Ends 26 February. Time: 9am and noon. Venue: Hilton College Theatre. Cost: R40 (free to educators accompanying school groups). For more info: 033 383 0126 or email

27 February – The Food Market

27 saturday The Food Market takes place on the last Saturday of each month and showcases farm fresh food, cooking demos, organic produce as well as a children’s corner, flower market and tea garden. Secure parking available. Time: 8am–3pm. Venue: The Hellenic Community Centre, 6 High Grove, Durban North. Cost: free entry. Contact Karen: 083 777 5633 or visit durban’s

it’s Little Life baby workshops An opportunity for expectant mums and dads to enjoy an educational range of talks by specialists and experts on child birth and pregnancy. There will be demonstrations, prizes, tours to the maternity units and more. Time: 9am–noon. Venues: Life Chatsmed Garden, Life Mount Edgecombe, Life The Crompton (Pinetown), Life Westville Hospital and Life Empangeni Garden. Cost: free. Contact Tricia: 031 204 1457



28 sunday DSME running day Enjoy a miniature steam train ride. Time: 11am–4pm. Venue: Virginia Circle, opposite Everfresh Market. Cost: R5. Contact Jimmy: 082 371 5442 or email Meditation for children Under the guidance of experienced students, children from 5–12 years old enjoy learning to love, be compassionate, increase their wisdom and engage in various other fun Dharma activities. Time: 10am–11am. Venue: Mahasiddha Buddhist Centre, Malvern. Cost: R10. For more info: 031 464 0984, email or visit

This month at

Avatar Set during the 22nd century, Jake Sully, a former Marine who was wounded and paralysed from the waist down is selected to participate in a programme that will enable him to walk again as an Avatar, an alien body controlled by a human mind. Jake travels to Pandora, a jungle-covered extraterrestrial moon filled with incredible life forms including the Navi, a sentient humanoid race, standing three metres tall, with tails and sparkling blue skin. Jake meets Neytiri, a young Navi female. Over time, Jake integrates himself into Neytiri’s clan, and falls in love with her, forcing him to choose sides in an epic battle that will decide the fate of an entire world. Show times: Friday–Tuesday, 10:45am, 2:45pm, 5:45pm, 8:45pm; Wednesday–Thursday, 10:45am, 2:45pm, 7pm

Volcanoes of the Deep Far below the waves is a deep and remote world teeming with incredible life. Experience the magic as you venture with a team of scientists 12 000 feet beneath the ocean’s surface on a search for a living fossil – an elusive creature that lived hundreds of millions of years before the dinosaurs. Explore undersea volcanic habitats filled with strange new creatures and landscapes and unravel secrets of a dynamic habitat where life is fuelled by the planet’s internal fires. Show times: 10am daily. For more info: visit or


February 2010


last laugh

things my sons have taught me

Joe, Sam and Benj


recently realised that I have been a parent for over a decade. Hurrah! And while I wait in vain for someone, anyone (is that woman from the Health Department who popped in on day four never coming back?) to appear with some sort of trophy, I find myself musing over the things my sons have taught me over the past 10 years, and how appallingly these outnumber the things they have learnt from me. I know it’s true for you too… go on, think about what you thought life was going to be like before you had children and what you know it’s like now. Chalk and cheese, isn’t it? And don’t you just love that? Here’s a quick list of the top 10 things my sons have taught me – please feel free to email in your own lists, so we can all compare.


February 2010

Before my sons, I had no idea… …that comic books could be so profoundly educational, until Josef asked me if I thought it was a good idea that the government moved from the RDP to GEAR. Viva Zapiro and Madam & Eve, viva! And thank you to my brother Quent, who sneakily left his stash of compilations in the boys’ bookshelf before heading North. …that primary schoolboys’ shoes – regardless of their extramural obligations – last a maximum of 9,2 weeks, and that no amount of cajoling, shining, buffing and repair will make it otherwise. Ditto long pants and socks. …that people could sleep with their limbs so impossibly entangled. Andreas and I do not sleep snuggled together, so it was a big surprise to find out that, despite each having his own room equipped with a bunk bed, my boys insist on sleeping like many-limbed creatures in half a bed. Actually, I love that and often sneak in to check out their latest configuration.

…that a child can literally survive on buttered toast alone for weeks. And then nonchalantly announce that he loves salmon maki despite never, in anyone’s recollection, having been offered any before. …that cats, even those with really deep, soulful green eyes, really don’t like green jelly. Even if you put it out in the good china. …that anyone could actually understand Yu-Gi-Oh! well enough to play a complete game of it. (Hell, I am impressed enough that I can spell it, and I am not even 100% sure I got it right.) I thought Yu-GiOh! was to children what the series Lost is to grown-ups... fun for a year or so, but at its heart, bewilderingly confusing. Apparently not. …that it is possible to play ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ on two recorders at the same time, without any significant drop in proficiency. While impressed, I am holding back my unreserved admiration for when someone manages it on the clarinet.

…that while you and I walk into a lounge and see a couch, a coffee table and two rugs, primary school boys see a trampoline, a secret fort and an assortment of top places to hide all the Marie Biscuits, individually. And that despite what one would consider a limited number of variations on this theme, one will never unearth all the Maries. Ever. …that a mother’s kiss really does heal a bumped knee. I thought it was just something mothers said. I didn’t know that they really meant it and that it really works. And finally, I didn’t know that a son’s quick, caring smile can cut through a bad day. Just like that. Actually, let’s push out the schmaltz-boat... I didn’t know that each and every smile and eye-lock from my child is the single most wonderful thing that ever happened to me. Now. Over to you. Sam Wilson is the Editor-in-Chief of Women24, Parent24 and Food24 and, as far as she can tell, the only person over 35 on MXit.



SAM WILSON has found the mentors in her children.

Child Magazine | Durban February 2010  
Child Magazine | Durban February 2010  

Durban's best guide for parents.