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Welcome back! New Year, new beginnings – a chance to set a new path for our own lives and those of our children. We hope the content of this issue, which was carefully selected for you, will make easing into the backto-school mode a little smoother. I am particularly pleased with our piece on executive function (page 10). It makes so much sense to cultivate these skills and habits in our children if they are to successfully negotiate their way through a hugely competitive existence. The older my children get, the greater their challenges – and there have been many.
I know that their values and coping skills matter more than any achievement in the classroom or on the sports field. Having recently returned from a wonderful beach holiday, I find myself thinking more and
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more about what “achievement” really means – personally and for my family. I didn’t make a New Year’s resolution, but perhaps finding the answer to that question will suffice. My hope, as you page through our first issue of 2016, is that you will find inspiration, comfort and a conversation to start with your family in your quest to make this year a really good one. Have a happy, healthy year, from all of us at Child mag.
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22 learn, play, explore 3 a note from lisa
5 over to you readers respond
6 pregnancy news – prenatal prep Tammy Jacks looks at the
benefits of antenatal classes
12 school open days what questions should you ask at an open day? Tamlyn Vincent finds out
14 stressed about school Anél Lewis speaks to experts about ways to deal with the top stress triggers children experience at school
16 investing in tomorrow Simone Jeffery and Tamlyn Vincent give financial planning tips for your child’s future
18 don’t let the bugs bite many children get lice and other “nasties”, so you need to deal with it. By Tamlyn Vincent
19 the call of the sea Emmanuelle Buecher-Hall and her family sailed the high seas for two years. This is their story
27 kick-start your morning we’ve chosen a few delicious breakfast recipes for the family from The Low Carb Solution for Diabetics by Vickie de Beer and Kath Megaw
8 best for baby – weaning onto solids Catherine Goldfain asks the experts for practical advice to get your baby from fluids to solids
10 dealing with difference – making sense of executive function Samantha Page explains what executive functioning is and how to cope with poor EF
21 a good read for the whole family 22 resource – learn, play, explore Child magazine has compiled a list of extramurals to help you choose the right ones for your children
24 what’s on in february 25 next month in child magazine 26 finishing touch Anél Lewis ponders the mertis of the odd white lie
7 mineral wealth Marc de Chazal finds
26 it’s party time
out how we can get all the necessary nutrients our bodies need
26 family marketplace
this month’s cover images are supplied by:
St Mary’s School Waverley grahamdelacy.com
over to you thanks Child mag I’d just like to thank you for such an insightful feature (“when I grow up”, November 2015). Parents are often prescribed articles detailing with the usual topics of ADD/ ADHD and healthy food habits. I found this, and the feature “prison of perfection”, very interesting reads that were both informative and engaging. It’s not often that we get to reflect on our children’s education now, while highlighting the possibilities of the future. Samantha Thompson
online comments to “lost and found” If you suspect a child “might” have run away, do not hide it. The police Child Protection Unit is inundated with “missing” children that are later found to be runaways. They know where and how to search for a “missing” child, and have alternative methods of finding runaways. If you are open from the start, it can save time and lives. Quentin Thank you for such an informative article. I have taught my children that if we get separated from each other, especially at a busy mall, they are to remain in the spot
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where we were all together last. Also, that if a stranger approaches them telling them that their mom or dad sent them, the stranger must give them the “password”. Anonymous
an only child The writer makes valid points about only children not being maladjusted or compromised in any way. I have one child, now five years old. As I was almost 40 when she was born, we decided not to have another one. My child is a happy, well-adjusted and sociable little girl with lots of friends and although she has asked me many times when she will have a sister, she accepts that it will be just her and that she has friends and cousins to make up for not having a sibling. There are times that I regret not having a second child, simply because she would have a companion. When we are at home she often looks to me to provide entertainment and I have had to teach her that I can’t always be available to sit and play with her and that she needs to be able to amuse herself. She is happiest when someone is engaging with her, but can sit and play by herself and there has been the occasional imaginary friend that pops up just to have
someone to talk to. The decision to have more than one child is one to be taken with care and thought. Mikki
a gift for a teacher I took your November article “gifts that count” (Dec 2015/ Jan 2016) to heart when choosing gifts for my daughter’s teachers. As I have always preferred receiving a gift that someone has put a lot of thought into regardless of the value, I tried to put thought into these gifts. It wasn’t easy as I had to buy something for a teacher and four aftercare ladies on a limited budget. But I agree that gifts should be seen as a privilege and that any gift received should be accepted with gratitude. It is, after all, a token of our appreciation for what they do. God forbid we go the route of gift registries for teachers. Mikki
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From conception to birth and everything in between, TAMMY JACKS finds out how antenatal classes can help you navigate your way through pregnancy and beyond.
hether you’re a first-time parent, or need a refresher on how to breathe during labour or handle a newborn, antenatal classes are designed to help you feel confident and ready for parenthood. “This preparation phase is like training for a major sporting event,” says Joburg-based registered midwife, Pippa Hime. “Imagine arriving at the Comrades Marathon without having done any training. You’d more than likely feel scared and overwhelmed. The same applies to pregnancy and childbirth; even the second time around
what to expect Susan Lees, registered midwife at Birth Options Midwifery Team in Cape Town says, although every course is different, most antenatal classes have the same aim – to help you achieve the birth you want and prepare you to become a parent. “We like to focus on the most important aspects of the birth process and the postnatal period, so that parents don’t have to sift through reams of information by themselves,” says Lees. Her classes typically focus on labour and birth as well as how to care for your new baby, including advice on bathing, dressing and feeding.
a class for everyone The best time to attend antenatal classes is between the 25th and 30th week of pregnancy and nowadays classes are offered to suit parents’ specific needs. For instance, there are hypnobirthing classes that offer a series of deep relaxation techniques to apply during labour. Then there are early pregnancy classes aimed at the pregnancy itself and/ or birthing classes that discuss various birth options, painrelieving methods and complications that could arise during labour. However, most antenatal courses cover all of these aspects. Class schedules are also designed to suit parents’ busy lifestyles, says Joburg-based nurse practitioner and author, Ann Richardson. “Many expectant parents don’t have the time or the inclination to attend a 10-week course. Although some educators offer ‘crash courses’ over a weekend, others prefer one-on-one sessions.” Richardson
offers personalised visits where she encourages couples to think about what their birth and parenting expectations are, do some research and compile a list of questions and concerns to go through in as many sessions as they need.
reasons to attend Regardless of the type of class you choose, numerous studies have pointed to the benefits of antenatal classes. One such study involving over 9 000 women, published in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, showed that those who attended antenatal classes felt more competent as new mothers and were more likely to breast-feed and attempt natural birth, thanks to the various techniques they learnt. Attending classes with a birth partner also encourages better communication and bonding between couples, as reported in the Journal of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare. Another benefit is that class facilitators are often trained lactation consultants and will be able to assist with breast-feeding and advice once your baby arrives, says Hime. “This kind of support is invaluable in the first few weeks, as new moms feel that they have a go-to person who can be on call to answer any questions or deal with symptoms linked to postnatal depression,” she says. Plus, you get to meet other new parents and possibly form lifelong friendships.
in every pregnancy is different,” she says. But the good news is, antenatal classes are there to support you through this exciting new chapter.
ur bodies need fuel to get around each day and to put our minds to the heady task of living. If we don’t get the necessary vitamins and minerals from our diet, our bodies will tell us sooner or later. A deficiency tends to happen slowly over time, but who wants to wake up one day to the realisation that their bones are weak because they lacked essential nutrients? The other common symptoms associated with mineral deficiencies include fatigue and a poor immune system, so it’s not a bad idea to remind ourselves of the very good reasons to skip junk food and eat healthy, nutritious food.
made of iron Anèl Kirsten, a dietician from Paarl who specialises in paediatric nutrition, says that one of the biggest contributors to mineral deficiencies in children is poor or fussy eating. The most common deficiency Kirsten sees in children is iron. And that’s not hard to believe if we consider that nearly 80% of the world suffers from iron deficiency, according to the World Health Organization. More than half of the iron in our bodies is in our red blood cells, but it’s also part of other proteins and enzymes that keep our bodies healthy. “Children who consume too much cow’s milk for their age and don’t eat enough solid food or lack variety in their diet – in other words, don’t eat enough meat, chicken and fish – are at risk of being iron deficient,” says Kirsten. “The calcium in cow’s milk inhibits iron absorption. So drinking large amounts interferes with iron absorption and fills the child’s tummy, which means they eat even less iron-rich foods, exacerbating the problem.”
mineral wealth MARC DE CHAZAL looks at the importance of following a healthy diet to get all the necessary nutrients our bodies require to function well. This condition is a slow burner, but it can be severe and cause anaemia. “Chronic and ongoing iron deficiency could lead to irreversible developmental delays,” says Kirsten. If your child lacks iron, they could feel weak and tired all the time, perform poorly at school, and have a slow social and cognitive development. Include iron, meat, poultry, fish, beans and lentils in your child’s diet to make sure they get enough.
lack for nothing If your child is following a healthy, balanced diet, mineral deficiencies are unlikely. But if your child has a problem, your doctor may recommend supplementation, although
Kirsten says incorporating the necessary food sources should address the underlying mineral deficiency… or help to avoid one. Other than iron, the main minerals your child needs to get from their diet are calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Children need calcium for strong bones and teeth, and for healthy blood vessels, muscles, nerves and hormones. Dairy products are a good source of calcium and so are vegetables like broccoli. Magnesium is also required for healthy bones and fingernails, so ensure that your child eats nuts, whole grains, legumes and dark leafy greens like spinach. Bananas, potatoes, plums and orange juice are great sources of potassium, which we need for muscle contraction, proper heart function and the transmission of nerve signals. You may think white spots on your nails indicate a lack of calcium, but according to some experts, this may indicate a zinc deficiency. Either way, zinc-rich foods such as seafood, red meat, spinach, cashew nuts, beans and mushrooms will aid your child’s metabolism, which impacts on immune system function, wound healing and DNA synthesis.
world 80% suffers from of the
best for baby
There’s a lot of conflicting advice when it comes to starting your baby on solids. CATHERINE GOLDFAIN asks the experts for some practical guidelines to help you avoid frustration.
o you’ve mastered the art of whipping out your breast as your baby’s hunger pangs kick in (or perhaps you’ve finally got your bottle-sterilising routine waxed), when it hits you: babies probably can’t live on milk alone! And while milk is vital to their diet in the first nine months, sooner or later you need to suck it up, invest in a good blender, some teeny Tupperware, and introduce your child to one of our most pleasurable pastimes.
when to wean The consensus on when to wean among the World Health Organisation and paediatric associations is from the age of six months – and not before four months old. This is striking, considering a recent South African Demographic Health Survey finding that 70% of babies in South Africa are weaned as early as four weeks. Dr Nicoletta Hay, a Joburg-based paediatrician, says there’s no harm in introducing solids at 17 weeks – but not before. Introducing solids too soon could cause gastrointestinal issues, but weaning too late could cause nutritional deficiencies and fussy eating.
what about milk feeds? Introducing your baby to solids doesn’t mean ditching the milk feed. According to Joburg nurse, Sister Shaye, solids should be given between feeds and not just before. So if your baby wakes at 6am, you’d give them cereal at 8am (two hours before the next milk feed), so the milk isn’t rejected due to a full tummy. Most paediatricians advocate exclusive breast-feeding for the first six months. Breast-fed babies tend to have less respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, since breast milk boosts babies’ immune systems. The American Academy of Pediatrics also claims that exclusive breast-feeding up to four months can reduce atopic dermatitis in the first two years of life. If breast-feeding is really impossible, formula is a good alternative. According to Dr Hay, cow’s milk and goat’s milk are not appropriate under nine months due to their low iron content. Soya formula contains phytoestrogen, which isn’t suitable for babies younger than six months.
4–6 months: cereal, fruit and veg Begin with rice cereal – not more than two or three teaspoons. Continue until your baby can handle the spoon and enjoys the experience. You can then move on to veg and fruit. Bananas and avos work well. Steaming and puréeing your own veg is ideal, but don’t add milk or butter. You can thin it down using breast milk, formula or a little plain, full-cream yoghurt. Try one food at a time over a period of two days or so, which helps you notice allergic reactions. 6–9 months: fish, meat and poultry Push iron-rich foods like fortified cereals, meat, egg, leafy veg, and peanuts from six months, especially in breast-fed babies. Meat is crucial for psycho-motor function. Soft, mashed lumpy foods help develop muscles for chewing and language. They’ll also need 560ml of milk a day. 9–12 months: the full diet Your baby should by now enjoy a mature and mixed diet, so three meals a day, with drinks and snacks, is appropriate. By this stage, milk is only a drink. There is now a critical window for introducing textures by 10 months.
PHOTOGRAPHS: RIGHT: Toby Murphy / LEFT: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
the stages of weaning
wonder weaning In Raising Superheroes (Real Meal Revolution), Tim Noakes, Jonno Proudfoot and Bridget Surtees challenge ingrained dietary beliefs, advocating a low-sugar, lowrefined-carb food lifestyle. The book has an entire chapter on weaning, answering important questions like what foods should come first and how much your six-monthold should be eating. Read on for some snack ideas and how to approach food allergies. Raising Superheroes is available from all good bookstores for R330.
snack ideas and finger foods ✻✻ Biltong sticks (low-salt) ✻✻ Small pieces of cooked chicken, fish and other soft meats ✻✻ Shredded, grated or cut cheese ✻✻ Steamed vegetables such as carrot sticks, broccoli, cauliflower, beans and fresh peas ✻✻ Dried fruit such as mango or pears (sulphur-free) ✻✻ Ripe banana, pawpaw and any other very soft and peeled fruit
allergies and high-risk foods One of the most common fears among parents of young children is the threat of allergic reaction. It’s a reasonable one, too, as a reaction could range from a minor runny tummy to life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Naturally the risk is particularly high when weaning, as your baby comes into contact with foods he’s never tried before. Unfortunately this is yet another contested realm of the science and art of parenting. When is the right time to introduce a certain food? Is early exposure worse than late exposure? Which side is it safer to err on? New evidence suggests that withholding high-risk allergenic foods in no way helps prevent allergies in children. In fact, there are theories that suggest that by withholding foods such as eggs, peanuts, shellfish and the like you can actually be encouraging allergies to these foods. The hard evidence is still lacking, but the modern consensus – as summarised from national guidelines in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – is, at least, sensible and practical. Unless a child’s family has a history of allergies, eczema or asthma, specifically in the parents (you or your partner) or his siblings (your other children), the risk of reaction is considered slim and you can give foods freely. None of the four countries’ guidelines differentiates between allergenic and non-allergenic foods, though they all recommend introducing one food at a time so as to be able to identify a problematic food, and waiting between one and four days before introducing a new one. If you have a particular concern you should consult a professional and consider introducing high-allergenic foods in a controlled environment.
dealing with difference
making sense of
executive function difficult for children to organise, self-regulate and plan for the future. SAMANTHA PAGE helps parents and educators understand and evaluate this learning challenge.
oah worked on his oral all weekend but forgot to pack it in his school bag, so he got detention for not preparing. Even though Mandisi mostly makes it out of bed on time, he’s late every morning because it takes him forever to brush his teeth, have breakfast and pack his bag, and he’s easily distracted by a Lego toy lying on the floor, so it’s a battle of wills with his parents to make sure all the necessary tasks are accomplished before they leave home. Sarah is very organised, but her sister Kate’s room looks like it’s just been hit by a hurricane and asking her to tidy up is an even taller order than asking her to control her temper when asked to do so. Does any of this sound familiar? These are some parents’ responses to the question of executive functioning (EF). While you may be surprised that parents are so familiar with what sounds more like a psychologist’s assessment than a description of your child, EF is becoming as common a discussion point as ADHD and related attention disorders. “Executive functions are the cognitive skills that help us manage our lives and be successful,” say Joyce Cooper-Kahn and Laurie Dietzel, the authors of Late, Lost and Unprepared: A Parents’ Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning. “Children with weak executive skills, despite their best intentions, often do their homework but forget to hand it in, wait until the last minute to start a project, lose things, or have a room that looks like a dump.”
Twenty percent of children who present with significant attention problems spontaneously recover in their late teens. Poor EF makes everyday tasks (planning, organising and scheduling) a challenge. Children struggle to switch gears, especially when learning a new skill or task, and they find it nearly impossible to keep things organised, which is why their desks are often a mess, pencil cases are empty and desks and school bags are filled with an assortment of sweet papers, long-forgotten school notices and leftover lunch. According to the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, executive function and impulse control depend on three types of brain function: working memory, mental flexibility, and self-control, and these skills or functions are significantly related. Each function draws on elements of the others, and overall success requires them to operate in coordination with each other. ✻✻ Working memory controls our ability to retain and manipulate distinct pieces of information over short periods of time. ✻✻ Mental flexibility helps us to sustain or shift attention in response to different demands or to apply different rules in different settings. ✻✻ Self-control enables us to set priorities and resist impulsive actions or responses. “Executive function skills have a profound impact on a learner’s school performance, so it is absolutely critical to assess whether or not the student with an attention deficit also
has deficits in this area,” says Chris A Zeigler Dendy, who has over 40 years’ experience as a teacher, school psychologist, and as an author on ADHD. “Some researchers believe that students with ADHD, primarily inattentive type, are more likely to have executive function deficits. However, not all students with ADHD have poor executive functioning. The converse is also true; all students with executive function deficits don’t have an attention deficit,” adds Zeigler Dendy. Though executive function and its link to ADHD is a relatively new phenomenon, Dr Russell Barkley, writing for ADDitude magazine, says that executive function is judged by the strength of these seven skills: Self-awareness Simply put, this is self-directed attention. Inhibition Also known as self-restraint. Non-verbal working memory The ability to hold things in your mind. Essentially, visual imagery – how well you can picture things mentally. Verbal working memory Self-speech, or internal speech. Most people think of this as their “inner monologue”. Emotional self-regulation The ability to take the previous four executive functions and use them to manipulate your own emotional state. This means learning to use words, images, and your own self-awareness to process and alter how we feel about things. Self-motivation How well you can motivate yourself to complete a task when there is no immediate external consequence. Planning and problem-solving Experts sometimes like to think of this as “selfplay” – how we play with information in our minds to come up with new ways of doing something. By taking things apart and recombining them in different ways, we’re planning solutions to our problems. Barkley adds that anyone who exhibits the classic symptoms of ADHD will have difficulty with all or most of these executive functions. While there is a great deal of negativity around executive functioning disorders in children, there is good news – from learning specialists and doctors who have devised methods to boost organisational skills that don’t come naturally to a child with poor executive functioning, and a mix of strategies that complement or enhance the child’s abilities, to parents and teachers who have committed to employing practical strategies instead of medication to address functioning deficits. Dr Thomas Dannhauser, honorary senior lecturer in psychiatry, and research and development lead at Brain Gain Neurofeedback Training, comments: “EF crucially depends on brain activity in the front parts of the brain known as the frontal cortex. Children with ADHD and EF problems commonly have decreased activity in the frontal cortex. Brain Gain uses neurofeedback training that specifically exercises these areas. The training also incorporates specific techniques that allow us to exercise the frontal areas and EF simultaneously. Children can therefore learn how to concentrate more selectively and for longer, and they are taught how to complete tasks.” Dr Dannhauser also notes: “Some recent evidence suggests that around 20% of children who present with significant attention problems (ADHD and therefore executive function dysfunction) spontaneously recover in their late teens.” While it’s tempting to list practical strategies, which could help your child cope with organising and planning challenges – like making checklists to tick off, breaking projects down into small, manageable parts or enforcing strict routines at home and in the classroom – researchers mostly agree that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to dealing with executive dysfunction, which is why an educational assessment is vital and the best place to start remediation. Once you know exactly where your child’s deficits are, you can get professional advice about how to address each challenge with carefully structured tasks so as to always maintain positivity, build confidence and turn their challenges into learning opportunities. magazine durban
Executive functioning deficits can make it
school open days Open days are useful when deciding on a school, but to make the most of them you need to know what questions to ask. TAMLYN VINCENT gets some advice from the experts.
as they’re planning a child. Making an informed decision is critical, she says, as it’s an investment in your children’s future.
do your research Given the number and variety of schools out there, finding one to suit your children will require some background digging. Will you choose a school based on its religious affiliation? What about its sporting history or its academic offerings? Find out what schools offer before taking the time to attend an open day. Natalie Kelly, principal of My World Nursery School, suggests looking at a number of schools in your area. Read up about them and speak to friends and parents about the schools’ reputations. Look into the school’s values, fees, extracurricular offerings, available facilities and other key features. Once you have a shortlist, start attending open days or visiting the schools to see if they’re a good fit.
time it right You can attend a structured open day, or arrange to visit the school during normal school hours. Each has benefits, so consider making time for both. Deidre Proxenos, from Joburg’s Dainfern College, says they have open days during school hours so that parents can see the school in action – “warts and all”. Structured open days allow you to meet the teachers and principal, to hear from them, to ask questions, and listen to questions from other parents. Open days are a showcase for a school, whereas a private visit lets you see the school in its normal day-to-day running. You’ll be able to ask specific questions and have a one-on-one discussion about what is right for your child, says Pilkington-Williams. This can also form the beginning of a parent-school relationship.
when visiting Visiting when school is in session gives you an immediate feel for the school, so take note of your first impressions,
PHOTOGRAPH AND ILLUSTRATION: shutterstock.com
riendly teachers and staff – tick. “Good morning ma’am, good morning sir.” Polite children, neat school uniforms – tick. The hall is full; must be a popular school – tick. You can learn a lot about a school, and the type of children that go there, by attending an open day. From the moment your children are born, and maybe even before, you’ll be wondering where to send them to school. From small preschools to popular primary and high schools, visiting them early is a good idea. “Many schools have long waiting lists or give preference to siblings and old boys’ or girls’ children,” says a spokesperson from Parklands College in Cape Town, so applying sooner is better. This also keeps your options open, even if it may mean paying a registration fee. Sue Pilkington-Williams, principal of Crawford Pre-Primary in La Lucia, suggests that parents start researching nearby schools as soon
says Greg Brooks, executive head at Umhlanga College. Sarah, a mom of two, says she looks at the grounds and facilities, like the library and computer room. Sarah also notices if teachers are friendly and approachable, and if the pupils look happy. In the classrooms, she takes note of the art, the posters and how the desks are set up. Parklands College echoes this sentiment, saying the playgrounds and classrooms should have ageappropriate furniture and equipment. Asking questions is key. Susan Keegan, director of The Vine School in Cape Town, says you should have a clear idea of what you want to find out, and what is important for your children’s development, to ensure the school’s values are in line with your own. Keegan suggests asking questions that focus on what really happens, rather than on policies: “If the school claims to have a strong anti-bullying policy, ask how they dealt with a recent incident of bullying and what the outcome was.” Questions about school routine are important for Sarah, who wants to know how long children are expected to sit for at one time, and what help they get in adjusting to a new school or school year. She wants to know if therapists or specialists are available if children are struggling. Aftercare, the number of aftercare staff and how much it costs are other important considerations. If possible, take children with you to the open day, to gauge their reaction and degree of comfort in the new environment. As Brooks says, “They have to exist in the school for a significant amount of time.”
If you’re looking into an alternative school, such as an Ambleside or Montessori school, find out what sets it apart from other schools. Likewise, the phase your child is starting may impact on the questions you ask. “Choosing a school for a small child or baby is anxiety provoking,” says Kelly, who encourages parents to ask questions about safety, hygiene and the daily menu. For children starting preparatory or high school, you may want to know about exam results and where children from that school progress to. But Proxenos and Brooks both agree that this shouldn’t be a defining
factor – parents should also consider sports and cultural offerings and achievements, social upliftment opportunities, the feel of the school and conduct of the pupils. Parents can also ask about the financial status of the school and how funds are allocated, says Pilkington-Williams. Choosing a school can be a difficult decision, and one you want to get right. So ask the hard questions. This will help you make the right decision and help the school understand what is important to you, so they can work towards creating an environment that suits your children.
our experts suggest some open day questions ✻✻
What is the child-teacher ratio?
What size are the classes and how many classes are there in the grade?
What qualifications and experience do the teachers have?
✻✻ What structured activities are offered and are these developmentally appropriate? ✻✻
What subjects, extramurals, clubs or societies are offered?
Are sports and extramurals compulsory, and do I have to pay for these?
How is technology integrated and used to enhance learning?
Is the environment safe and secure?
Does a teacher, nurse or other staff member have first-aid training?
What is the policy when children get sick?
What is the school’s policy on discipline and bullying?
How does the school communicate with parents?
The excitement of starting a new school or
grade is often overshadowed by anxiety as children prepare for the unknown. ANÉL LEWIS spoke to the experts about ways to deal with five of the top stress triggers at the start of the school year.
s much as I loved the start of the school year, I was always a bit nervous of my teacher. Would she like me? Would she expect me to know things I had not yet mastered? The anxiety would linger for the first few weeks of the term, until I had settled into the rhythm of my new class and grown accustomed to my teacher. The start of the new school year, can be daunting for most children, says Anel Annandale, a Cape Town-based educational psychologist. The transition can be particularly difficult for children who are going to school for the first time, or for those who have changed schools, she says. Simona Maraschin, an educational psychologist also based in Cape Town, says the triggers for stress at the start of the school year will vary depending on a child’s age. While younger children starting Grade R or Grade 1 are usually worried about leaving their friends, older children going into Grade 4 or 5 may be anxious about the increasing workload and the prospect of writing tests and exams.
1. friends or foes Most educational psychologists list concerns about making friends among the top three causes of stress for children at the start of the new school year. “This is
particularly true for children going to school for the first time or when they go to high school,” says educational psychologist Catherine Radloff. “Making friends requires having social skills such as listening when others are speaking without interrupting them, making frequent eye contact, being able to read the body language of others, sharing one’s belongings, and being aware of the feelings and needs of others. This does not come naturally for a lot of children.” There may also be unresolved friendship issues that resurface at the start of a new school year, says Maraschin. Radloff advises parents to teach their children the social skills they need to form healthy friendships from a young age. Just as children need friends, they also need to feel as if they belong. Peer pressure is therefore another potential source of anxiety. Her advice is to make sure children feel loved and accepted. If they feel that their individuality is valued, and they are loved unconditionally, they will be less likely to give in to negative peer pressure.
2. bullying Unfortunately, a fear of being bullied also ranks as one of the top three stress factors. “Bullying is at an all-time high at the moment as social media and technology have made it possible for children to be
bullied any time of the day or night,” says Radloff. She advises parents to encourage the responsible use of, and access to, technology as one way of dealing with cyberbullying.” For bullying in general, Radloff says: “Children need to know what to do when this happens. It is not enough to rely on the schools to sort this out. Parents need to communicate a clear plan of action to their children that specifies exactly what to do when bullying occurs.” Maraschin adds: “I would encourage parents to speak with other parents. It is important that parents form a network so they know what is happening in the grade or school and what they should be aware of.” She says parents should encourage play dates with “supportive and well-meaning” children to bolster the child’s support system at school. It’s also important to let the teacher know about the situation. “Always encourage your child to tell you when they are being bullied and first help them to deal with the situation before calling the child’s parents. It can often make matters worse when a parent calls the bully’s parents and gets angry with them.”
3. performance anxiety Educational psychologists say that many of the children they see in their practices at the start of the school year admit to being
worried about what’s expected of them academically. “Most of the children I deal with identify this as a huge problem for them. They are constantly worried that they are not doing well enough in school,” says Radloff. She says children feel pressure to do well at school because they don’t want to disappoint their parents. Maraschin says concern about the increased volume of work expected in a new grade is also a source of stress. “It is crucial for parents to give their children unconditional love. They should feel special, loved and admired whether they do well at school or not,” says Radloff.
the top stressor for school-aged children. “It does not matter whether the parents are married or divorced, when children constantly hear their parents arguing it has a negative impact on them emotionally and psychologically.”
5. parental conflict While concerns about friendships and new teachers do make the start of an unfamiliar year somewhat stressful, Radloff cautions that in her experience, parental conflict is
lasting friendships, go to childmag. co.za/content/friendship
smooth the way Anel Annandale offers the following general tips to help your child prepare for the new term or school: ✻✻
Familiarise your child with the school. Be sure to attend the orientation day if they are starting at a new school. For younger children, it can be helpful to drive past the building a few times so that they become familiar with the route and location of their new school. If your child is moving to a new
4. teacher’s pet Moving on to the next grade means having to get to know a new teacher. The prospect of being taught by someone they don’t like is often a source of anxiety. “There is always a preferred teacher, and there is the ‘strict’ teacher that everyone is afraid of getting,” says Maraschin. Annandale says you can help lay the groundwork for a positive relationship by talking to your child about the new teacher during the holidays.
To find out how your child can make
grade, explain that they may have to play on a new playground or use a different entrance. ✻✻
If you know who your child’s new teacher will be, chat about them during the holidays. Focus on the positive aspects of the new teacher to allay any concerns your child may have about this new person who will feature so prominently in their lives for the next few months.
Talk to your child and be sure to listen to their concerns and anxieties. Make sure you ask questions and assign a label to your child’s emotions. Often children are unable to identify the emotions they are experiencing and this can also be a source of stress.
Be sure to have everything your child needs – stationery, school uniform and other supplies – before school starts, as being unprepared could exacerbate their anxiety. Lay out everything the night before, and arrive at school well before the bell rings so that your child can start the new year feeling calm and prepared.
Saving for your child’s education is vital, but planning and discipline are key.
hat does your child want to be when he grows up? Probably a princess or a superhero. But if, one day, she wants to be a doctor or a scientist, she’ll need a good education. Have you thought about what this will cost? A good education is one of the most valuable things a parent can give their child. But according to Old Mutual’s 2015 Savings and Investment Monitor, 60% of urban South African parents are not actively saving for their children’s education. Education is costly though, and most people can’t afford to pay fees from their monthly salaries. Investing early can help you cope with the future cost of education, says Paul Roelofse, a Joburg-based financial planner. “Starting as early as possible will cost you less in the long run,” says Roelofse, who cautions against borrowing money to pay for education as the cost of the debt adds to the overall cost of education. Mark Lapedus, head of product development at Liberty Investment, says that if you delay saving until your child starts Grade 1, you’ll have to put aside almost two-and-a-half times as much every month.
adding up Education is becoming more expensive, says Lapedus. It has a higher inflation rate than general inflation, averaging 9%, which is 4% above general inflation. So you need to take this and other factors into account, such as how much time you have. Compound interest, when the interest you’ve accumulated gives you returns, needs time to work. Realistically, says Roelofse, you’ll probably pay for the formative years of education from your salary, and set aside investments for the senior years. Think about whether you’re saving for school or university, and where the university is. Degrees differ in prices, with medical degrees costing more than a commerce or arts degree. Education costs also go beyond tuition fees and include items such as computer equipment, accommodation and transport. Your investments should cover these extras.
picking a product To save enough you need a suitable product, and discipline. Jean Minnaar, from Old Mutual Emerging Markets, recommends choosing investments that will give returns higher than education inflation. Unit trusts are a good option. Liberty describes unit trusts as investment products that enable you to invest in an asset class, such as equities or bonds, on the stock or capital market. Being exposed to market fluctuations means there’s risk involved, but you can access your money at any time, increase and decrease your contributions, and add lump sums without incurring penalties. Although there’s no fixed term, investments should be left for the medium-to-long term to get the full benefit of compound interest. If you prefer a structured savings plan with limited access, an education savings policy could work. There is a minimum and maximum investment period and often a penalty if you cancel the policy before maturation. By law, you’re allowed one withdrawal within the first five years, and one annually thereafter. In the event of death or disability of a parent, Old Mutual says many policies offer the optional waiver of payment benefit, when the institution continues with your payments for the remaining period. Lapedus says savings policies work better over a longer period, so he advises setting one up when your child is born. Another useful place to save is an access bond, says Roelofse. This type of home loan gives you access to the money you’ve paid into the loan, over and above your required monthly instalments. Paying in extra lets you pay off your bond quicker and gives you access to the cash. The rate of return is the same as the rate your bank charges. But, due to ease of access and flexibility, you may find yourself dipping into your bond for unnecessary expenses. Be disciplined. Tax-free savings accounts let you access your funds at any time and you don’t pay tax on the growth of your investment. Old Mutual says no dividend, capital gains or income tax is payable if you remain within the annual threshold amount of R30 000 and lifetime limit of R500 000. You can open a tax-free savings account for each of your children, so a family of four can save up to R120 000 annually. When contributing on behalf of your children, though, it’s important to consider the implication of tax deductibility of donations. You can make a lump sum or monthly instalments, access your funds at any time, stop or restart your payments whenever you like, and leave money invested for as long as you like. But if you don’t stay within the annual and lifetime limit you’ll pay a hefty penalty.
Student loans may leave your child with debt straight out of university. But they’re an option when it comes to ensuring your child gets a good education. For children studying full-time, parents will probably need to stand surety, and pay off the interest and fees. Once children have finished studying and secured a job, they can start repaying the loan. Whichever option you choose, you need a plan. Start now, and revisit your plan annually. You can adjust it to accommodate rising costs, or revisit whether you’re saving for school or university. But without a plan, your child may go without the education they deserve.
disclaimer: This article is intended to provide a starting point for saving for your child’s education. For financial advice, speak to a qualified financial advisor or financial institution. the cost of education Old Mutual’s cost estimates for one year’s education in 2016, 2021, 2029 and 2034 2016
Primary or high school – public
Primary school – private
High school – private
Primary or high school – public
Primary school – private
High school – private
Primary or high school – public
Primary school – private
High school – private
Primary or high school – public
Primary school – private
High school – private
top tips ✻✻
Have a plan: work out estimated costs, pick an investment and invest monthly.
Schedule your debit orders to go off at the beginning of every month.
Check what guarantees are offered.
Ensure children are covered in your life insurance policies, or are beneficiaries of any other policies.
Consult an accredited financial adviser for ongoing advice and guidance. This does come at a cost, but Roelofse suggests you consider this in terms of the value of the advice you’re receiving. Advisors should be licensed by the Financial Services Board.
Ask family and friends to contribute towards your savings plan on birthdays or special occasions.
SIMONE JEFFERY and TAMLYN VINCENT find out how to get started.
don’t let the
bugs bite If your children bring creepy crawlies home from school, here’s how to deal with them. By TAMLYN VINCENT
hildren share. This is wonderful when it comes to snacks and lunch, but less so when they start sharing bugs. Lice, mites and worms are all common critters that spread quickly among children. No matter how clean children are, they can easily pick up these parasites, so there’s no need to be embarrassed or horrified if your child comes home scratching. Just be on the lookout for the warning signs so you can deal with any infestations quickly.
mites Sarcoptes scabiei are mites, tiny bugs that burrow under the skin, particularly in skin folds such as between fingers or on elbows, causing scabies. They lay eggs under the skin and cause severe itching. They spread among people in close contact and can live for several days in clothes, towels and bedding.
Treat with: ✻✻ Cream or lotion prescribed by a doctor. This is usually applied to the whole body, and must stay on for several hours. ✻✻ Treat everyone in the family; wash bedding, clothes and towels, and vacuum the house thoroughly.
worms Pinworms (also called threadworms) are small worms that live inside the intestine. The female worm crawls out at night and lays eggs around the child’s bottom, also leaving behind a secretion that makes the area itch. The child scratches, picks up the eggs and transfers them to various surfaces or ingests them when he puts his fingers in his mouth, therefore restarting the cycle. Look out for: ✻✻ itchy bottoms. ✻✻ disturbed sleep. ✻✻ the worms – these look like cotton thread, and can sometimes be seen at night around the bottom, or in the child’s stools. Treat with: ✻✻ deworming medication from the pharmacy or doctor. Treat everyone in the family. ✻✻ Practice good hygiene, including washing hands and keeping fingernails short. Also teach children not to scratch, which can help prevent repeat infestations.
Children can easily pick up parasites, so there’s no need to be embarrassed or horrified if your child comes home scratching. lice and nits These insects start out as tiny eggs or nits, usually brown or clear in colour, attached to the shafts of hair. Once they hatch, the eggs turn white. The lice grow to about the size of a sesame seed and are brown or black, making them difficult to spot. Lice can’t jump, but they do spread when children sit with their heads close together or share things like hats and brushes.
Look out for: ✻✻ the white eggs, often found behind the ears or on the nape. Or use a nit comb to detect them. ✻✻ itchy head or your child complaining about a ticklish scalp, which is caused by the lice biting the skin to feed off blood. Treat with: ✻✻ over-the-counter medicines or those prescribed by a doctor. Some may contain strong pesticides, so use with caution. ✻✻ wet combing. Wet your child’s hair, apply lots of conditioner, and use a nit comb to comb the lice out. Repeat this every few days for two weeks. ✻✻ lice can’t survive for long off the human head, but it won’t hurt to wash bed linen, clothes and brushes. Also check the rest of the family for signs of lice. magazine durban
PHOTOGRAPHS AND ILLUSTRATIONS: shutterstock.com
Look out for: ✻✻ itching, particularly at night or after a hot bath. ✻✻ small red bumps, or little lines, which are the tunnels.
the call of the sea PHOTOGRAPHS: EMMANUELLE BUECHER-HALL
A French-South African family of five went sailing the high seas for two years.
EMMANUELLE BUECHER-HALL shares the highlights of their ocean voyage.
started sailing when I was a teenager. I couldn’t stop dreaming of one day crossing an ocean. Maybe I really wanted to see for myself what was beyond that horizon. Life swirled and my attraction for the sea just grew bigger and bigger. Then I landed in Cape Town for an 18-month research project, and met Gregory, who became my husband. A few years later we were a family of five. One day I asked: “How about going sailing around the world?” The answer was unsurprisingly simple: “Yes, sure, let’s do it!” Gregory has a very solid sailing background and mine seemed good enough. Our daily life acquired a stimulating new goal.
launching a dream It took us five years to get ready. Gregory’s business had to be turned around before it could be sold and, of course, we had to find a boat that could take our family on the high seas. After seeing a little ad in a newspaper for an empty catamaran hull,
we decided to add an extra challenge and build our dream boat, with the help of a professional team. It took us 18 months to complete Merlin. We sold our house, worked out our sailing routes, upgraded our skipper tickets, trained for medical emergencies and started homeschooling. During that time, we met people who couldn’t understand our choice of taking such an extended break in our careers, of unschooling our children and leaving the conventional life. They called us crazy or irresponsible. On the other hand, our families were very encouraging and supportive. We had amazing friends who listened to our ideas and helped us in our preparations. When we threw the lines in November 2008, we were ready mentally and technically. With a big smile on our faces and knots in our stomachs, we headed west, watching Table Mountain slowly disappear behind us. We were living our dream and our first ocean was waiting. At the time of departure, Victor was eight, Félix six and Cléa two-and-a-half years old.
Victor scales a coconut tree on Fakarava, an island in French Polynesia
Elation as we arrive in Australia after two years of sailing
sea nomads We slipped very easily into our nomadic life. We quickly found a new rhythm, sailing from one place to another, entering new countries and discovering island after island, meeting new friends, discovering new customs, tasting new fruit and listening to new languages. During a passage, a sailing boat never stops. You do not anchor in the middle of the ocean and all go to bed at night. So when our sailing passages were longer than a day, Gregory and I were doing threehour watches. There was always someone awake checking on sails, monitoring the wind, scanning the horizon for other boats and being with the children. The children had a normal routine. Whatever the conditions or the day of the week, they started school after breakfast. At the start of our adventure, Cléa was too young to do school work so she was kept busy cutting out magazines, colouring and reading. Being French, I decided to use a well-known French schooling correspondence system for Victor and Félix. I had my teacher hat on for a few hours every day while the boys worked on their maths and French. After these core topics, we switched between history, geography, sciences, music and arts. Every month, we had to post some tests to France, which evaluated their learning progress. After a bumpy start, especially for Victor, who didn’t want to leave his friends behind, we found our pace. The children understood the necessity of spending a few hours each day doing their school work. They quickly became very independent students and were proud of their own achievements. At sea, our afternoons were spent playing games, fishing, watching movies
Félix diving in Fiji
or documentaries and, of course, reading. Our longest passage, from the Galapagos to the Marquesas (in French Polynesia), took 17 days. It was 17 days of ocean all around us, of being by ourselves and of having to be self-sufficient. We had great weather conditions, were sailing quite fast and the passage did not seem boring. Like other sea passages, we had time to dream, time to snuggle with each other, time to laugh, time to dance to very loud music, time to speak to each other, time to admire every sunset and sunrise, and time to appreciate that we were together, and happy. These were very precious family times.
young explorers When we were at anchor, the children still did their schooling every morning. However, if other “boat kids” were around, their motivation was quadrupled. They would wake up early, prepare their own breakfast and start studying before we were even awake. Most of the time, school was over by 10am. All the children from the same anchorage, no matter their age or nationality, played together on one of the boats, on the beach or in the water. For the parents, mornings were dedicated to boat maintenance, cleaning and other “boat” chores. As Cléa still
wasn’t old enough for school, she helped her dad fix what needed to be looked after and was the perfect helper, knowing all the tools’ names. We would also do our shopping in the morning, which could be quite an expedition in remote locations without a car. In the afternoons, we would generally explore the surroundings on land or under water. Being on a tight budget, we mostly used the available public transport, which was a great way of meeting interesting characters. We also walked a lot from one place to another and used our bicycles. We made a point of exploring at our own pace, being curious, and chatting with the locals. We went on lots of hikes in tropical forests, swam near amazing waterfalls and walked along deserted beaches. We wore our masks, snorkels and fins as often as possible, exploring the reef and surrounding corals. Cléa started following us with her mask, snorkel and fins, holding a noodle, but she quickly became a more adventurous swimmer. The boys had the freedom to use their kayaks to visit their friends on other boats, much the same way onshore children use their bikes.
settling down, sort of After crossing two oceans and exploring the world for two years, our sailing kitty was getting light, so we decided to stop in Australia. Four years later, we are still in Brisbane and living a simple life aboard Merlin. After a couple of years of unconventional childhoods, Victor, Félix and Cléa are back at school and doing well. They adapted swiftly to their new environment and made lots of friends.
When you travel by boat, you are travelling with your home. There is no packing and unpacking, and you always sleep in the same bed, which can offer a sense of security to young children. We also found that travelling as a family was slower, but still simple and very rewarding. Local families can relate to you and we made contacts easily. These two years have given us the opportunity to see breathtaking sceneries. We have had the chance to swim with sharks and manta rays in the clearest waters, have whales follow us at sunset and tasted the sweetest fruit. The children played soccer with local children, who spoke many different languages. They could safely explore deserted beaches and start a bonfire. They enjoyed walking, swimming and diving. We learnt that life is not about your possessions, but about who you are and what you do. Most of all, we had the chance to live all these moments together, as a family. Today, we are all less fussy and complicated and are more indulgent, tolerant and curious. We have given our children a sense of adventure. We hope that they will keep discovering that our world is astonishing. They know that doors can be opened and dreams can be lived. * If you would like to share the Buecher-Hall’s journey with your children, Emmanuelle has also written a children’s book, Merlin’s Voyage, which is available on Amazon.
Victor and his kayak
Visiting Prony Bay on New Caledonia
School work was not neglected
Exploring an active volcano on Tanna Isle, Vanuatu
Victor and Félix on lookout
Victor and Cléa spotting rays in Bora Bora
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School By Jeff Kinney (Published by Puffin Books, R215) The tenth book in this hilarious series is here and Greg Heffley is asking himself: “Wasn’t life better in the old days?” Greg’s town voluntarily “unplugs” and goes electronics free. But modern life has its conveniences, and Greg isn’t cut out for the old world. Will he find a way to survive?
Happy Families and Best Friends By Gooly Gooly
African Myths and Legends By Dianne Stewart and Jay Heale
(Published by Campbell Books, R108 each) These two books, with sturdy little tabs, have familiar phrases to share with your baby from six to 18 months old. With delightful characters, Happy Families introduces your baby to a mommy dog and her puppy, a bird family, cows in the barn and more. In Best Friends, Bunny and Bear go on an adventure, Cat and Dog play dress-up, and when it’s bedtime, all the best friends are tucked in for the night.
My South African ABC By Sandy Lightley
(Published by Penguin Random House SA, R120) This is a lively book to learn your ABC, and it’s a colourful illustrated guide to South Africa, its celebrated places and wellknown objects. There are fun questions about the elements on each page and a parents’ guide that outlines key activities and places of interest.
(Published by Penguin Random House Struik SA, R102) This is a spellbinding and fascinating collection of myths and legends to enliven the imagination of young readers. Vividly illustrated, the book sustains the intrigue of storytelling that has been passed on – often by word of mouth – from generation to generation.
preteens and teens
Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary By David and Ben Crystal (Published by Oxford University Press, R133) This dictionary is the first of its kind; an illustrated alphabetical dictionary of all the words and meanings students of Shakespeare need to know. Every word has an example sentence selected from the 12 most studied plays. Usage and theatre notes provide additional background, and further support is provided by language panels on select topics. The dictionary is easy to use and the perfect support for a full understanding of Shakespeare.
Start to Learn: Animals (Published by Human and Rousseau, R134) This colourful introduction to animals will delight and inform all young children. The combination of bright, appealing photographs and stimulating questions will encourage interaction and enhance learning. It will help children expand their knowledge of wildlife and introduce them to a wide selection of members of the animal kingdom. magazine durban
Good Ideas: How to be Your Child’s (and Your Own) Best Teacher By Michael Rosen (Published by John Murray, R207) Learning should be much more fun and former Children’s Laureate, best-selling author, broadcaster and father of five, Michael Rosen, wants to show you how. Packed with enough practical tips, stories and games to inspire a legion of anxious parents and bored children, this book shows that the best kind of education really does start at home. February 2016
learn, play, explore Help build well-balanced, well-rounded children by choosing the right extramurals for them. CHILD MAGAZINE has compiled a list of
options to help you.
xtracurricular activities are just that: activities that take place outside of the curriculum that are not part of the usual school day. These may include sports or clubs run by the school, or extra classes or activities after school hours. Importantly, extramurals offer an opportunity to extend children and provide holistic development. In doing so, they teach children about friendly competition and good sportsmanship, while building on social interaction, problem-solving, and other skills that will stand children in good stead for the workplace. They can also provide physical exercise, a healthy approach to life, and confidence. Although extramurals facilitate healthy growth, there still needs to be a balance between these activities, schoolwork and free play. Too many afterschool commitments can leave them without any time to simply be children. Before signing children up, speak to them about which activities they want to try, ensure they’re willing to commit for at least the term, and make sure they aren’t taking on too much.
creative Whatever the medium, creative expression can engender emotional growth in your child as it’s a personal process that reveals their individuality, no matter their ability. visual arts Exploring creativity and expressing individuality are just two of the many reasons for children to delve into the arts. Art classes offered include canvas work, multimedia work, sketching, watercolour painting, papier-mâché, sculpting, messy play, recycled art and paper craft. For something craftier, choose from pottery, fabric painting, mosaic, knitting and needlework, woodwork, soap-making, tiedyeing, metal stamping, quilling, stainedglass making and more. Or children can explore the techniques behind photography or videography; look for studios or colleges offering courses. Age groups: preschoolers, prep schoolers and teenagers
performing arts and movement Through these disciplines, children are given the opportunity to express their emotions in a safe space, and channel their feelings in order to produce a piece of work. Ultimately this will grow children’s confidence in their emotional and physical capacity, and teach them to communicate their ideas, often to an audience. Focus can be on performance workshops, musical theatre training, acting workshops, modelling or classes in ballet, contemporary dance, tap, hip-hop, jazz, yoga and Pilates. Children may prefer expressing themselves through music by learning to play an instrument or joining a rock music programme. They could even learn circus skills or take a course in magic. Age groups: preschoolers, prep schoolers and teenager
While some children are naturally selfmotivated to work independently, others may need support. Extra lessons are one way to do this and a fun approach to a subject, which is different to their school teacher’s, may make all the difference. maths Fun programmes are available that look at different ways of introducing children to maths. Some use brain-stimulating exercises, while others use the Japanese abacus and mental arithmetic. Age groups: preschoolers, prep schoolers and teenagers science and technology Science is being brought to life by interactive exhibits at science museums and during hands-on holiday programmes that get children involved in experiments and engineering projects. Joining a robotics club, or taking up IT lessons, allows children to delve into coding,
animation, design or Lego robotics, which incorporates robotics with building blocks. Remote control planes offer another opportunity for understanding technology; you can find a local model airplane club for your child to join. Age groups: prep schoolers and teenagers languages Learning an additional language has many benefits for children, from improving critical thinking and problem-solving skills to developing cognitive and executive functioning skills. Children pick up another language more easily when they’re younger, but can undertake to learn a new language at any point. Spanish, Italian and Mandarin are all widely spoken international languages – children can learn one of these while exploring the foods and traditions of cultures that speak these languages. Age groups: for prep schoolers and teenagers
Age groups: preschoolers, prep schoolers, teenagers and special needs sports leagues and academies Your child may excel at hockey and want extra practice hours. Maybe they want to join an indoor cricket team outside of school, to meet new people or try a sport that isn’t offered at the school, or during the term. Sports leagues and places such as golf academies cater for this. Age groups: preschoolers, prep schoolers and teenagers water sports Learning to swim is essential, and many programmes are available for this, but competitive water sports can aid development in other ways too. Canoeing or sailing provide exercise and friendly competition. Diving, supping, snorkelling and fly-fishing can be taken as sports, but also allow children to experience nature, while building on very specific skills. Age groups: prep schoolers, teenagers PHOTOGRAPHS and illustration: shutterstock.com
Exercise increases a child’s strength, endurance and physical ability, while decreasing the risk of lifestyle diseases. action sports More extreme sports include surfing, skateboarding, mountain biking, roller or inline skating, figure skating or rock climbing. Some of these may be dangerous if done irresponsibly but, with proper training, children can enjoy fun adrenalinefilled activities. Parkour, or free running, is increasing in popularity, but should be done under the supervision of a qualified instructor. Trampolining, another new activity, includes sessions, training and clubs for children of all ages at trampoline parks, which means that young children can get involved in the action too. Age groups: preschoolers, prep schoolers and teenagers combat arts Traditional combat activities include fencing, archery, stick fighting, karate, judo, capoeira and other martial arts. These offer physical and mental exercise, and can sometimes be used as a form of meditation. Age groups: preschoolers, prep schoolers and teenagers horse riding This can involve learning the basics, going for outrides and attending pony camps. Once confident, you can branch out into show jumping, dressage, cross-country jumping, polo and vaulting. Equine therapy can also be beneficial for children with special needs, but horse riding helps all children to learn more about living with, and having respect for, animals.
Children won’t live with you forever, and when they venture out on their own, it’s good to know that they have the skills to take care of themselves. cooking and baking workshops Classes can cover everything from decorating cupcakes to learning to cook family meals, through which children will inadvertently learn about nutrition. Children who enjoy the challenge can look out for cooking challenges, such as a mini MasterChef-style cook-off. Boys and girls are also more likely to eat the healthy stuff if they make it themselves, so look for classes that teach healthy cooking. Age groups: preschoolers, prep schoolers and teenagers cpr and first aid training This typically covers infant and child CPR and what to do in case of burns, fever, seizures, head injuries, broken bones and dehydration. Children from 10 years old have shown to be invested in learning how to act in an emergency. Learning these skills is certainly useful in emergency situations, but having this training on your CV can also be beneficial. Age groups: prep schoolers and teenagers outdoor skills Programmes that cover these are Brownies and Cubs for younger children, progressing to Scouts and Girl Guides. These teach survival in nature while cultivating a love
Extramurals can also aid character development, improve social skills and stimulate minds and bodies. meditation There is an increasing number of children displaying signs of elevated stress, restlessness and anxiety. Through learning meditation techniques children can find peace and balance, cope better with stress and live healthier lives. Age groups: preschoolers, prep schoolers and teenagers social clubs Whether it’s a book, youth, language, or nature club, children learn to engage with people from all walks of life, improve social skills and build self-esteem. Volunteering at non-profit organisations or taking part in community service will also nurture empathetic and altruistic behaviour. Social clubs have the added benefit of teaching children about
for the outdoors, through activities such as hiking and camping, as well as teaching the importance of community service. Other programmes may include environmental awareness – “becoming eco rangers”, marine conservation, and experiential recycling and upcycling workshops. Learning about plants or planting a food garden is another fun way to encourage a healthy relationship with nature. Ask local gardening centres if they have workshops, sign children up with a gardening club, or see if their school offers one. Age groups: preschoolers, prep schoolers and teenagers
maintaining healthy relationships with people other than their friends. Age groups: prep schoolers and teenagers etiquette and manners Manners, in these sessions, are taught through role playing, positive reinforcement and peer encouragement. Finishing schools teach young women poise and principles of etiquette, and cover personal care, nutrition, exercise, wardrobe planning and more. Age groups: prep schoolers and teenagers entrepreneurial skills Nurturing entrepreneurial and leadership skills in your children will help them later in life, and understanding how money works, and how to make it work for you, is an invaluable life lesson. Look out for business-savvy workshops that will ignite an entrepreneurial spirit and teach children to be financially responsible. Age groups: prep schoolers, teenagers
what’s on in february Compiled by TAMLYN VINCENT
Roxette 30-Year Anniversary Tour
Yoga for Little Bodies Learn how to teach yoga to
Explore your own personal style, renew your soul and uncover your passions. Apart from the exhibitions and stalls, there are also seminars and talks. The expo runs until 7 February from 10am–4pm, at the Greyville Convention Centre. Book at the durbaneventsco. nutickets.co.za
With its varied themes of racism, love, jealousy and betrayal, Shakespeare’s classic tragedy remains as relevant to present day audiences as it ever was. This is the government schools matric set work production by Think Theatre. Times are 9am and 12pm, until 12 February, at the Hilton College Theatre. Learners pay R60, with no charge for accompanying staff. For more info: hiltontheatre.co.za
children. Participants will need a teaching background and basic
anatomy knowledge. The course takes place on 6
and 14 February, from 9am–4pm and costs R1 800. To find out more, contact 032 586 1219 or cheryl@ sayogasafaris.com
Choc International Childhood Cancer Awareness Day Create a Heart Tree for children with cancer. Choose a tree on the school or company property. Get learners, employees and management involved in making hearts, decorating them and hanging them on the tree. To turn this into a fundraiser, or to find out more: choc.org.za
Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) Awareness Day Eight babies per 1 000 are diagnosed with CHD. Delaying the diagnosis can result in severe consequences. By raising awareness around CHD, parents can understand the signs, and doctors can intervene to help a child survive into adulthood. For more info: pcssa.org
Playhouse Company Schools Programme 2016
I Am is an environmental awareness production for primary schools, performed by the Playhouse Dance Residency. It focuses on water conservation and preservation of the earth. The shows tours to schools around KwaZulu-Natal from 15 February– 8 March, and shows at the Playhouse from 7–11 March. Scholars pay R20 for in-theatre shows, costs for tour shows are negotiable. To book, call 031 369 9407
New Shoots Pre School open day
Find out what this school has to offer for children 3–6 years old. The open day takes place from 10am–11am in Broadwood Dr,
School information session St Andrew’s College and The Diocesan School for Girls are in the Umhlali area on 18 and 19 February. For info on the St Andrew’s College event, contact c.hatches@sacschool. com and to find out more about The Diocesan School for Girls session contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Danny Fisher, an entertainer with remarkable vocal abilities, entertains audiences with his impressive vocal landscape and impersonations. Taking place at The Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo, the show runs until 21 February, with performances at 8pm on Friday and Saturday, and 2pm and 6:30pm on Sunday. Tickets are R140 and can be booked through computicket.com
Umhlanga. For more info: newshootspreschool. webs.com
Full-moon tour of Talana Battlefield The moonlight tour
includes a game drive, a tour of the battlefield and museum, and the chance to listen to tales of battle under the light of the moon on the battlefield. Weekend packages are available. The tour runs from 5:30pm–9:30pm at Talana Museum in Dundee. It costs R480. For more info: talana.co.za magazine durban
PHOTOGRAPHs and illustrations: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM. Photograph of roxette: Dmitry Avdeev
Audiences can get into the rhythm of the contagious Latino vibe, from awesome dancers to the sexy vocalists and virtuoso musicians, as it sambas onto the stage delivering a wonderful mix of magic. The show runs until 5 March, at 8pm on Tuesday–Saturday and 2pm on Sunday at The Barnyard Theatre. Tickets range from R110–R155. For more info: barnyardtheatres.co.za
childmag.co.za Or submit a community event before 29 January to durban@childmag. co.za
The Women’s Expo
Roxette’s on-going world tour will lead up to the celebration of the band’s 30th anniversary in 2016. Tickets cost R395–R735 and the concert takes place at 8:30pm at the ICC Durban. Book at computicket.com
You can also access an extended calendar online at
Grow your own food organically
Learn everything you need to know about growing your own vegetables organically, whether in your garden, on your balcony, patio, up your walls, or on your rooftops. This workshop takes place from 11am–4:30pm at the Litchi Orchard in Salt Rock. It costs R680. For more info: soughtafterseedlings.co.za
Thomas More College open days Find out what the school has to offer. The day is for parents of learners going to Grades 000–7 from 9am, and on 27 February from 9:30am for parents of learners going to Grades 8–11. For more info 031 764 8640
Treverton College sleepover and open weekend Experience
boarding in the Midlands, with a sleepover on campus from 4pm. Parents are invited to an information breakfast on Sunday 28 February. To RSVP or for more info, contact: 083 555 9749 or email@example.com
next month in
25 markets Eden College Open Evening
All are welcome to go and view the school, situated in Glenmore, which caters for Grades 000–12. There is a talk in the main hall, followed by a guided tour, from Contac t 5pm–7 pm. or 3357 205 031 firstname.lastname@example.org
27 Moms, Tots and Pops Fair
This event for the whole family has over 100 exhibitors, fun play areas, entertainment, a food court and a dedicated lounge for the dads. It’s open from 10am–4pm; also 28 February at the Greyville Exhibition Centre in Avondale Rd. Adults pay R20. Book at thedurbaneventsco. nutickets.co.za
market boasts a play area for children, a food court and a lively atmosphere. Taking place every Saturday from 9am–2pm in Essenwood Rd. You can find out more at essenwoodmarket.com
Shongweni Farmer’s and Craft Market Pack up the family and dog, take a sturdy basket and arrive early at their new address: lot 457, MR551, Shongweni. The market takes place from 6am–10:30am every Saturday. Go to shongwenimarket. co.za for more details.
The Morning Trade Get your weekly dose of seasonal veggies, quality meats and artisan food and drinks at this fresh produce market, every Sunday from 8am–1pm. Find them on Facebook: The Morning Trade
Family-friendly restaurants and other great places to eat out
it’s our “the good life” issue on street 24 february
we look at… stretch marks – how to prevent and treat them the top 10 things parents fight about you’ve been schooled – finding the right school raising children who have it all To advertise call: (031) 209 2200 or email: email@example.com | Booking deadline: 8 February | Material deadline: 11 February magazine durban
onor thinks bacon is called “mango”. He tucks heartily into his eggs and “mango” in the morning, blithely unaware that he is eating the stuff that a few weeks ago he declared was “disgusting”. I know I should set him straight, but I’m thrilled that he’s eating a solid breakfast. It’s just one of the little “white lies” parents resort to for the sake of household peace and sanity. You know… those small untruths that we tell to get our children to take a nap or brush their teeth. According to research, the average parent tells at least one white lie a day – that’s up to 3 000 fibs during our children’s formative years. While I’m not saying dishonesty in any form should be encouraged, as parents there are going to be times when it will be easier to fudge the truth slightly, and then only if it’s for the greater good. I did feel a bit bad when we were trying to teach Conor about saying grace before dinner. He was somewhat reluctant to close his eyes in supplication, until one fateful evening when the light bulb above him blew with a resounding pop just as he started to protest. Without missing a beat, we told him that the “explosion” was caused by his refusal to give thanks. Now we can’t get him to stop when it comes
it’s party time
ANÉL LEWIS wonders if it’s okay to occasionally take a few creative liberties with the truth to make parenting a little easier.
Erin, Anél and Conor
to his turn to say grace, and he reminds us often of that time when the “heavens” made a loud bang. Magical tales make childhood more interesting. Erin looks regularly under a stone in the garden for gifts from the fairies and both children believe that rainbows can make wishes come true. But sometimes our fibs end up being
damp squibs. We told Conor that nappies were not allowed on the aeroplane ahead of his first trip to Durban. We were trying to potty train him and we were convinced that the prospect of flying would entice him to ditch the nappies. Unfortunately, my son’s supersonic bladder control exceeded the two hours’ flying time. The nappies prevailed.
As the children become savvy about time, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to pass off some of our other ruses. We can’t pawn them off with promises of “later” or “tomorrow” anymore, and Conor has become suspicious of my explanation that Thomas the Train is sleeping and that’s why we can’t watch his shenanigans on the Island of Sodor for the 45th time that day. My husband, Craig, drew up an ambitious plan for an elaborate treehouse he would build “in the summer”, thinking that they would enjoy the idea of the project without him actually having to deliver. But as soon as the days started to get warmer, the children were quick to remind Dad of his DIY promise. I do worry about stretching the truth or omitting information to make things easier. But the guilt is assuaged somewhat when, after a particularly trying day, I’m able to convince them that Father Christmas will only come if they both sit quietly in the lounge with their books for an hour, allowing me to sneak off to that treehouse with my egg and “mango” sandwich and a good book for a few minutes of peace. Anél Lewis is dreading the day when the children are able to read that the sign outside the toy shop says “sale” and not “closed for lunch”.
PHOTOGRAPH: Susie Leblond Photography
kick-start your morning
speedy smoothies Some mornings we run a bit late so I keep a few smoothie fruit combinations in ziplock bags in the freezer. All you have to do is buzz them with a stick blender, pour them into bottles and place one in each child’s hand as they walk out the door. Makes 4 smoothie packs for the freezer ingredients ✻✻ 4 medium ziplock bags (get lots of these – they are invaluable) ✻✻ 250ml (1 cup) blueberries ✻✻ 250ml (1 cup) raspberries ✻✻ 1 avocado, peeled and halved ✻✻ a small handful of baby spinach leaves ✻✻ 125–250ml (1–2 cups) yoghurt or milk – enough to thin out to the consistency you want or ✻✻ Leave out the green leaves and replace with 30ml (2 tbsp) cocoa powder for a yummy creamy chocolate smoothie ✻✻ Add a few blocks of ice in summer
In their cookbook, The Low Carb Solution for Diabetics, VICKIE DE BEER and KATH MEGAW offer over 100 delicious, healthy recipes for the whole family. Here are a few from the book that will help you start the day right.
method Divide the fruit and spinach leaves equally into four ziplock bags, seal and freeze. Pop one out, decant into a food processor or use a stick blender. Add the avocado, and a dollop of yoghurt and milk. Buzz it together until smooth, decant into bottles and run. Thin it out with some milk if it’s too thick for your liking.
the most amazing fritters These fritters can take on so many guises that they truly are amazing; best fresh. Makes 12 little fritters
make them sweet Add 5ml cinnamon, 5ml xylitol and the grated zest of 1 orange. Fry and serve with a tiny bit of raw organic honey or mix 45ml xylitol with 15ml cinnamon to sprinkle.
ingredients ✻✻ 3 eggs ✻✻ 400g really fresh ricotta cheese – check the sell-by date ✻✻ 5ml (1 tsp) nutmeg ✻✻ grated zest of 2 lemons ✻✻ 125ml (½ cup) grated Parmesan cheese ✻✻ 30ml (2 tbsp) coconut flour ✻✻ butter for frying method In a large bowl mix together the eggs, ricotta cheese, nutmeg, lemon zest, Parmesan cheese and coconut flour. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat.
1 2 3 4 5
Use a tablespoon to spoon in dollops of the mixture. Fry for 2 minutes on each side or until golden.
Add 100g chopped quality ham or salami. Fry and drain on kitchen towel. Allow to cool and pop into lunchboxes.
Serve with crispy bacon and pan-fried cocktail tomatoes.
they become yummy gnocchi PHOTOGRAPHS: Craig Fraser
they become lunchbox fillers
Add 300g cooked and chopped spinach, drained very well and cooled down completely. Shape the ricotta and spinach mixture into little balls. Bring a large saucepan with salted water to the boil and pop batches of gnocchi into the water. Cook for 2–3 minutes until they rise to the surface. Drain and set aside. Make a basic tomato sauce, heat in a medium pan and place the gnocchi in the sauce to heat up for a few minutes before serving with extra Parmesan shavings and fresh basil.
about the book Both a cookbook and a revolutionary eating plan, The Low Carb Solution for Diabetics (Quivertree Publications; quivertree.co.za) by Vickie de Beer and Kath Megaw is part medical science and part delicious recipes, all bundled up in the care and love of devoted parents. This is arguably the ultimate reference book for families coping with diabetes, giving you over 100 recipes that will give your family members better control of glucose and improved concentration and performance at school. The Low Carb Solution for Diabetics is available at all good bookstores for R335.
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