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P r e t o r i a’ s

b e s t

g u i d e

f o r

pa r e n t s


obesity weighing up the long-term effects


schooling for children dealing with difference

not to be sneezed at good news for allergy sufferers

October 2012


the 3D issue

diagnosis, difference and diversity




It’s important that every year our 3D issue is dedicated to all the children in South Africa who find themselves outside of the physical, emotional and educational mainstream. We honour them, their parents, teachers and caregivers, because we know what incredible perseverance and unfailing optimism goes into “dealing with difference”. Ten years ago, when we planned our first issue of Child magazine and conceptualised themes for subsequent issues, we coined this phrase as we wanted to adopt a more positive approach to what can often be an overwhelming topic. From left-handedness to low muscle tone; all the way through to ADHD, Asperger’s and autism, and bullying, there are not many children who don’t, at some stage, battle with something that sets them apart from others. Difference is often seen in a negative light and yet it can be something to celebrate. Look at Natalie du Toit, who has overcome her physical “difference” to bring home gold from the Paralympic Games in London. But your child needn’t be a gold medallist or an Olympian to be applauded. In this issue, we remind ourselves to take the time to celebrate their everyday triumphs – that puzzle they’ve completed or the book they’ve read. Only then can we truly say we have helped them to rise above the negative labels that might otherwise hold them back.


Please remember to buy your bandana at Pick n Pay in support of The Sunflower Fund, and wear it proudly on Bandana Day on 12 October.

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If you love the magazine, you’ll love our website. Visit us at

Hunter House P UB L IS H ING

Publisher Lisa Mc Namara •

Editorial Managing Editor Marina Zietsman • Features Editor Anél Lewis • Resource Editor Simone Jeffery •

monthly circulation Joburg’s Child magazineTM Cape Town’s Child magazineTM Durban’s Child magazineTM Pretoria’s Child magazineTM

52 45 40 40

355 321 205 261

to advertise Tel: 011 807 6449 • Fax: 011 234 4971 Email: Website:

Editorial Assistant Lucille Kemp • Copy Editor Debbie Hathway

Art Designers Nikki-leigh Piper • Alys Suter • Mariette Barkhuizen • Mark Vincer •


Advertising Lisa Mc Namara •

Client Relations Renee Bruning •

Subscriptions and Circulation Helen Xavier •

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

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All our magazines are printed on recycled paper.

Free requested Apr 12 – Jun 12

Pretoria’s Child magazineTM is published monthly by Hunter House Publishing, PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010. Office address: Unit 5, First Floor, Bentley Office Park, cnr Rivonia and Wessel Rd, Rivonia. Tel: 011 807 6449, fax: 011 234 4971, email: Annual subscriptions (for 11 issues) cost R165, including VAT and postage inside SA. Printed by Paarl Web. Copyright subsists in all work published in Pretoria’s Child magazineTM. We welcome submissions but retain the unrestricted right to change any received copy. We are under no obligation to return unsolicited copy. The magazine, or part thereof, may not be reproduced or adapted without the prior written permission of the publisher. We take care to ensure our articles are accurate and balanced but cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage that may arise from reading them.

October 2012



october 2012

upfront 3

a note from lisa

6 over to you readers respond


features 12 bedtime battles

find out how much sleep your child needs, and when to worry about their night-time habits. By Daniella Renzon

16 a world of difference

Jacqui Tooke opens up about her decision to send her special-needs son to a mainstream school

18 all aboard

t here’s plenty to keep children entertained on this four-night cruise up the West Coast, says Sue Segar

health 9

love your heart

 improve your lifestyle without missing a beat, says Tamlyn Vincent

regulars 7 wins

20 alleviating allergies

8 upfront with paul

 help is at hand for those suffering from annoying or debilitating reactions. By Marc de Chazal

c hildren need motivation to get off the couch and be active, says Paul Kerton

22 success as a single parent

10 dealing with difference

Donna Cobban says going solo, whether by choice or by circumstance, needn’t be something parents fear

25 budding bookworms book clubs are not just for grown-ups; children can benefit too. By Sue Segar

Glynis Horning looks at the worrying implications of childhood obesity

24 best for baby – when to wean

could you reduce your baby’s allergy risk by feeding solids sooner? Anél Lewis finds out

27 resource – to read is to fly

a dvice and book recommendations to get your children reading

28 a good read

new books for the whole family

29 what’s on in october 34 finishing touch


 nél Lewis realises that two babies A means twice as much preparation and effort is needed just to leave the house

classified ads 33 let’s party 34 family marketplace

this month’s cover images are supplied by: Joburg


October 2012

Cape Town



Stephanie Veldman Chantal and Jan van Blerk

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October 2012



over to you

Let us know what’s on your mind. Send your letters or comments to or PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010.

keep our children safe

thanks, Child magazine

What does the Child Protection Act, and other legislation, say about the posting of photographs of children on websites, Facebook and the use of images in magazines and other media? Dee

Child magazine is the best publication to be distributed in Pretoria. I hope my friends took my advice and visited your website too. Thanks for all for the effort you put into this publication. Patricia

Childmag says The publication of information relating to children is governed primarily

we need allergy-free crèches

by the Criminal Procedure Act and the Child Care Act in specific circumstances, but there are various rights, such as those enshrined in the Constitution, that protect the privacy of children. The Centre for Child Law says whenever the identity of a child is disclosed, whether pictorially or in print, the statutory restrictions on the naming or identification of children shall be observed and adhered to, and the informed consent of the child and parent or guardian should be sought in all cases where the child’s identity is disclosed. Even if the parent or guardian consents, the publication shall exercise a cautious discretion, if it may be harmful to the child to publish their identity. The rule of thumb seems to be that the best interests of the child are to be protected above any other consideration. However, there is no absolute prohibition on publications using images of children.

I heard that allergies are on the increase by as much as 20 percent since we’ve become so “clean”. Every product is antibacterial and, as our children’s immune systems have nothing to fight, their bodies are starting to see normal foods as a threat. With this rise in food allergies, I am surprised at how unaccommodating crèches are to children with food allergies. My son has a fatal allergy to all nuts. We keep an injection on him at all times and his school knows how to use it, and that he has 20 minutes to get to a hospital. Other crèches were less accommodating. When are crèches in South Africa going to look at the seriousness of these allergies and provide allergy-free environments, as is done in first world countries? Surely no-one wants to have the death of a child on their conscience? Tanya Page

Follow us on and


October 2012

We reserve the right to edit and shorten submitted letters. The opinions reflected here are those of our readers and are not necessarily held by Hunter House Publishing.

Post a comment online at

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giveaways in october child’s play Think Toys has a specially selected range of high-quality educational products that help children develop. Their ranges cover the early years, fantasy play, reading and more. They also supply products to schools. Contact: 011 615 6594, or visit One reader stands a chance to win a Think Toys hamper, including Dantoy bucket, wheelbarrow and cutlery sets; SES clay sets; Plan car and street toys; Quercetti magnetic board and a Trundle wheel, all valued at R2 000. Simply enter via and use the code “Think Toys PTA”. Your details will be made available to Think Toys.

effective care Calpol is a paediatric paracetamol medicine that offers gentle pain relief. It is effective in treating teething pains, toothache, sore throats and headaches and is safe for children from three months to six years old. Available at pharmacies and retail stores. For more info: visit Two readers stand a chance to each win a hamper from Calpol, comprising a bath towel, electronic thermometer, baby-gro, R200 Baby City voucher and nappy bag, all valued at R900. Simply enter via and use the code “Calpol PTA”. Your details will be made available to Calpol.

to enter simply visit

or post your entry to PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010. Entries close 31 October 2012. Only one entry per reader. For full terms and conditions of giveaways please see “Competition Rules” on our website

congratulations to our August winners Catherine Hobson, Cotie Steyn, Savina Harrilall and Karen Van Rooyen who each win a prestige expandable My School Years album from Edugrafix; Priscilla White, Esmé Abrahams and Quint Anton who each win a Makedo Kit, a medium Wallies Mural, and Krooom calendar and wall pockets from Coral Moon.

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October 2012


upfront with paul

a sporting chance Children will only sign up for physical activity if we make the exercises more fun, says PAUL KERTON.


’m biased, but having been a sporty child and a physical education teacher before switching to journalism, I am a big advocate of sport in school and I believe that physical activity really is good for children. The recent success of the Olympics, followed by the equally inspiring Paralympics, has prompted the global opinion that the amount of statutory physical education in schools should be increased. Benefits include good health, trimmer figures, lower cholesterol and a mental feel-good factor. There is also the faint hope that the team building and ethical values instilled by sport will help mend broken societies and find a lost generation of disillusioned youth. Saving the world is a big ask, but the benefit of sport as a timely antidote to


October 2012

the very passive and sedentary lifestyle of our screen-obsessed, couch-and-mousepotato generation, is more clearly defined. It may well help stop the decline into obesity, poor muscle strength, general lethargy and ill-health. The World Health Organisation recommends one hour of physical activity every day for children and some countries would have that increased to two hours of structured PE every day. I feel that’s excessive, as active children generally put in plenty of exercise time during breaks and after school, and I’ve seen my two daughters flop down exhausted after a hard day at the “office”. While in SA it is very unusual for our children to actually walk anywhere as they are shepherded from home to school and

friends by safety-conscious parents (and understandably so); on the flip side, and thanks largely to a favourable climate, we are a nation of passionate runners, footballers, cyclists, swimmers, cricketers, and rugby and hockey players, who often excel at international level. We can’t escape the fact that some children simply hate PE, and it is futile to force them into it. I can hear the collective groan from many children at the thought of more PE, while they work on preparing some well-worn excuses, such as “it just isn’t cool”, “I get all hot and sweaty” and “I’m not good at anything”. Admittedly, just as some children are useless at maths, some are not cut out for sport. Apart from a total lack of interest they may be the wrong body shape, they may have bad timing,

terrible eye-to-hand coordination, no ball sense, or they simply cannot fit into a team. PE teachers have had bad press thanks to a handful of ex sergeant-major types who take the boot camp analogy too far and physically bully the children into exercises they will never manage. But most teachers nowadays are skilled at providing fun recreational pursuits in keeping with a child’s physical ability. One US study claims that 70 percent of children who were interested in sport, tend to lose interest by the age of 13. Why? The overriding reason is that it is “no longer fun”. Instead of extending the periods of statutory sport at school, the challenge is to make the time they do spend being active, more fun. Follow Paul on Twitter: @fabdad1

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Saskia, Paul and Sabina


love your heart It’s never too late or too early to change your lifestyle and lower the risk of heart disease. By TAMLYN VINCENT



he average person’s heart beats 70 times a minute, about 4 200 times in an hour and 100 800 times in a day. A heart that isn’t as healthy can beat 80 times a minute. That’s about 14 000 more beats a day. So it’s not surprising that an unhealthy lifestyle puts extra strain on your heart and increases your chance of developing heart disease. There are risk factors for cardiovascular disease that can’t be changed, including family history, age, gender and ethnicity, says the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA). But some risk factors can be managed, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, lack of exercise, smoking and stress. “Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a chronic disease of lifestyle,” says the HSFSA, and an increasingly westernised lifestyle means that we are eating more junk food and exercising less. “Forty-five percent of men and 70 percent of women in South Africa are overweight or obese,” adds the HSFSA. Losing weight, following a balanced diet and exercising are good ways to decrease the risk of CVD.

eat right Kerri Brinkman, a Joburg-based dietician, suggests keeping an eye on how much fat you eat. Saturated

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fats, such as those in meat or full-cream dairy, and trans fats can push up cholesterol levels. Unsaturated fats, including olive oil, vegetable oils, nuts and avocado lower total blood cholesterol, but moderation is still advised. Omega-3 fats, usually found in oily fish, help to protect your heart, so aim to have at least one portion a week. A heart-healthy diet should include at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. You should also choose low-GI, high-fibre starches, fat-free or lowfat dairy products and lean meats or meat alternatives. Some of the items that should be avoided are fried foods, butter and refined, sugary drinks and foods. Try using salt in moderation or use salt substitutes. If you drink alcohol, stick to one glass a day for women and two for men.

work out Exercise improves circulation, lowers high blood pressure and cholesterol, and reduces stress. The HSFSA recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week. Brinkman says, “The best exercise for your heart is aerobic activity.” So try swimming, brisk walking, running, cycling, dancing or even gardening. You can also divide the 30 minutes into more manageable slots, so take the stairs instead of escalators.

“For exercise to be effective it needs to raise your heart beat,” says Brinkman. But avoid straining your heart; warm up for each session and cool down afterwards. And don’t over exercise as this could also damage your heart. If you are at risk of heart disease, the HSFSA recommends that you speak to your doctor before starting an exercise programme.

healthy changes It may seem challenging to change your lifestyle, but a few small tweaks, one at a time, could help decrease your risk. • Know your numbers, including your blood pressure, cholesterol, Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference. • Control your portion size and eat slowly. Avoid snacking out of boredom or eating on the run. • Create daily menus and use a shopping list. • Have the occasional treat, but don’t give up on your eating plan. As Brinkman says, “What’s important is that you eat healthy foods most of the time.”

October 2012


dealing with difference

tip the scales in their favour serious future health problems for them, including infertility, says GLYNIS HORNING.

hildren are being diagnosed with weight-related chronic ailments that used to strike much later in life – high cholesterol, high blood pressure, fatty liver, gall bladder disease, bone and joint problems from carrying extra kilos, asthma and other breathing issues from impaired lung development, and obstructive sleep apnoea. “We’re even seeing a growing number of children with type 2 diabetes, which has traditionally affected people over the age of 50,” says Candice Smith, a dietician at Discovery Vitality in Joburg. “Our children could be the first generation with a shorter lifespan than their parents, because of obesity and the chronic diseases linked to it.” The long-term repercussions are alarming. Without our intervention, 70 percent of obese children will grow into obese adults, at risk of developing coronary heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis and fat-linked cancers. Even their fertility may be threatened. ScienceDaily has reported that the “dramatic increase in childhood obesity” disrupts the timing of puberty, and could “ultimately lead to a diminished ability to reproduce”. Recent studies show that obese boys start puberty later, while obese girls start earlier, possibly


October 2012

because fat tissue converts male hormones into the female hormone oestrogen. According to the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, obese boys are twice as likely not to start puberty by the age of 12, and research published this year by UKMedix News links male obesity to lower testosterone levels, lower fertility, and poorer sperm quality. Early puberty in girls has been linked to reproductive problems, reproductive cancers and insulin resistance, or metabolic syndrome. It’s also been associated with increased risk of depression and delinquent behaviour, including smoking and early sexual experiences. Being overweight can in itself cause anxiety and depression in both sexes, and has been linked to bullying, low self-esteem, poor social skills, and acting out or social withdrawal, says Smith. In American and British research, obese children rated their quality of life as low as children with cancer, because of teasing and health problems. “School bullying is a growing problem,” says Rose*, a concerned Joburg mother of children age 13 and nine, who has joined Overeaters Anonymous for herself and now helps counsel children. “Compulsive eating is starting young, and

parents can only lead by example. It’s tough. We adapt the OA’s 12 steps, helping children cope one day at a time.”

weighing it up Could your child be at risk? It’s not as easy to estimate whether a child is overweight as with adults, as they carry different amounts of body fat at different stages of development, and it’s not always possible to pick up a problem just by looking at them. If you suspect your child is overweight, it’s vital to see a doctor or dietician for a professional assessment. This will establish their body mass index (BMI), relative to other children of the same age and gender. To calculate this yourself, visit, and factor in your child’s personal history of growth and development, and your family’s weight-for-height history, to establish if your child’s weight is in an unhealthy range. The chances are sadly high. Research from the 2010 Healthy Active Kids (HAK) SA report card shows that from 2002 to 2008, the number of obese teenagers rose from four percent to five percent, and the number of overweight teenagers, from 17 to 20 percent – one in five.

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If your children are among the one in five estimated to be overweight, you could be feeding

cause and effect Should your child be overweight, work with the doctor or dietician to determine the cause so you can develop a safe plan to manage it. Your diet in pregnancy If you didn’t get enough of the right nutrients before conception and during pregnancy, it can cause weight problems in your baby, says Nadia Bowley, national dietetic coordinator for Netcare in Cape Town, who has worked in paediatrics. “Your baby’s body will have been primed to make the most of limited nutrition by holding on to calories,” she explains. “If they are then born into an environment providing lots of food but little exercise, they will tend to be overweight.” Your weight “What you and your partner weigh has the greatest influence on your baby’s weight,” says Bowley. If either of you is overweight, your baby has a 40 percent risk of being overweight too, and if both of you are overweight, your baby’s risk goes up to 80 percent. This is partly genetic, but mostly environmental, through eating habits you pass on. Genetics The number of abnormalities that result in chronic obesity is “absolutely miniscule”, says Smith. “And you can be genetically predisposed to be insulin resistant, for example, which affects metabolism and obesity, but it is lifestyle-controlled.” Family history Likewise, coming from a line of overweight people can predispose your child to being overweight, but this is mostly because of culture- or family-shaped eating and exercise patterns. Your child’s diet “Obesity is more than 90 percent to do with diet and physical activity,” says Smith. If your child consumes foods high in fats and sugars, they will pick up weight. “Problems can start as early as the first year, if you wean them on to solids before six months or overfeed them,” says Durban dietician Dudu Mthuli. Although there is new research suggesting that the introduction of complementary foods can occur before six months, as an early sensitisation against food allergies, Mthuli says the “blanket message” for public health is to only introduce them at six months. She adds that you risk over-feeding if you add cereal to formula feeds before six months, you misread their cries as hunger when what they want is attention, or you continue feeding when they are full because you don’t recognize their satiety signals. Your child’s activities Weight is the difference between energy taken in through food and drinks, and energy burnt through activity, and most overweight children don’t move enough, says Smith. “Today’s children sit in classes and then sit at home doing homework, playing on computers or watching TV.” Socio-economic factors Energy-dense, nutritionally-poor, processed and fast foods can cost less than healthier,

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fresher options, says Bowley, and the preparation time they save make them tempting when both parents must work and travel long distances. Psychological factors Like many adults, children can use food for emotional comfort when stressed or bored, especially if they are raised to see food as a reward for good behaviour, says Graham Alexander, clinical psychologist and director of the Eating Disorders Unit at Cape Town’s Crescent Clinic.

Our children could be the first generation with a shorter lifespan than their parents, because of obesity and the chronic diseases linked to it. lifestyle solutions “Never put a child on a diet,” says Mthuli. “Most diets lack certain nutrients important for growing bodies.” To prevent or manage a weight problem, keep them at the same weight until they grow into it in terms of height. “Guide them gently and encourage them.” Start smartly Make an effort to breast-feed, and introduce solids only after six months, starting with rice or maize cereal, mashed veggies and fruit, Mthuli says. Don’t add salt or other flavourants or you encourage a taste for them, and always stop when they show they are full. “They will stop sucking, relax their mouth and turn away. If you keep feeding, they can become adults who overeat because they no longer know when they’ve had enough.” Eat healthily as a family Serve nutritious, balanced meals with wholesome carbohydrates, such as vegetables, fruits, whole-grain breads and pastas; protein, such as grilled lean meat, skinless chicken, legumes and low-fat dairy

products; and omega-3 oils, including oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring, or ground flaxseeds. Avoid refined carbohydrates, saturated fats and sugars, especially in sweetened beverages, including fruit juice, says Smith. “Even when juices have no added sugar, or glucose, they are high in fruit sugar, or fructose. Rather give fruit to eat so they feel full and give only water to drink.” Don’t reward or comfort with food Hold and distract babies, and give older children attention and praise, read a story or play together. “Some working parents assuage their guilt at being away from the children by overindulging them with food to satisfy their nurturing instincts,” says Alexander. “If you’re a depressed mom, or have an eating disorder or dysfunctional marriage, be careful not to use feeding as a way to counter your pain.” Don’t insist on clean plates Offer a healthy variety of foods and let children choose how much they eat. Toddlers often eat only one significant meal, nibbling at other meals. Encourage physical activity The 2010 HAK SA report card shows less than 70 percent of high school pupils have regularly scheduled physical education, and in disadvantaged primary schools this is even less. Limit screen time to two hours a day and then send children out to play, says Bowley. “Best of all, walk, kick a ball or romp with them.” Grow your own food “Involving the children will give them fun exercise outdoors and encourage an interest in eating the vegetables they’ve helped grow,” says Smith. Never nag about food or being fat Stress is part of the problem, and if you obsess about food, children may eat more or develop eating disorders. “Just focus on being a healthy family, and involve them in this,” concludes Smith. *Name has been changed.

common lunchbox traps Cereal bars, sweetened yoghurts and fruit juices are all high in calories, warns dietician Candice Smith. “But packing celery sticks and hummus won’t help if your child doesn’t eat them.” Offer realistic healthy options, such as:

useful contacts • The Association for Dietetics in SA Contact: 011 061 5000 or visit • Overeaters Anonymous Contact: 011 640 2901 or visit • Crescent Clinic Eating Disorders Unit Contact: 021 762 7666 • Diabetes SA Contact: 086 111 3913 or visit

• fresh fruit • seed loaf sandwiches or crackers • ostrich biltong • gammon or chicken • pilchard fishcakes • low-fat cheese wedges • unsweetened fat-free yoghurt – as is, or add a little brown sugar and chopped fresh fruit • a small flavoured milk

October 2012



bedtime battles Is your child sleeping enough, or too much? DANIELLA RENZON


here’s nothing quite like the joy, or the exhaustion, that comes with parenting. It starts as soon as you bring your baby home. All you want to do is sleep, but your newborn is awake every few hours for a feed or just to be held. Should we resign ourselves to years of sleeplessness, until the time when our young teenager struggles to drag himself out of bed in the morning? “Absolutely not,” says Ann Richardson, author of Toddler Sense and co-author of Baby Sense and Sleep Sense (Metz Press). Teaching your child good sleep habits is the best gift you can give them and yourself, but keep your expectations in pace with each phase of your child’s development. Cape Town-based sleep consultant, Erica Lotter, adds that your child’s health, nutrition, routine and social, emotional and physical development, are relevant too.

sleep 101 Children have different needs, so the average amount of sleep recommended for each age and stage serves as a rough guideline.

newborns Expect: They should sleep 16 to 20 hours a day. Their nutritional needs mean that they will wake up every couple of hours. By six to eight weeks, they will drop one feed and get a good “core” sleep – their first real stretch of sleep. Richardson advises limiting “awake” times to around 45 minutes between naps to avoid sensory overload. Put them down to sleep while they are still happily awake. If they have a clean bill of health, there is no such thing as too much sleep.


October 2012

Sleep Disorders: Their neurological systems are too immature to filter out sensory input, so they will become fussy and will struggle to fall asleep if they are overstimulated. An immature digestive system may be prone to problems, such as lactose intolerance and reflux, which can affect sleep. Tips: • Signs of over-tiredness include fussiness, bouts of crying, loss of eye contact, turning the head away from you, flailing limbs, clawing the face, back arching, making fists, sneezing,

settles and your child will self-soothe with fingers or hands in the mouth. Sensory input is filtered better and the amount of time spent awake will lengthen. Sleep disorders: Babies may need help falling or staying asleep. Tips: • Hogg says babies thrive on predictability and routine. • Avoid overstimulation. When your baby starts yawning, take him to bed. His eyes may remain open, but he’ll stare at nothing for several minutes until he nods off.

Teaching your child good sleep habits is the best gift you can give them and yourself. yawning, hiccupping, blueness around the mouth, clumsiness and eye-rubbing. • Rock and cradle them if they need it – they can’t self-soothe yet. • Non-nutritive sucking, on fingers or dummies, may help them sleep. • Swaddle them up until they are a year old, with their hands to the mouth or towards the midline. This counteracts the startle reflex and maintains their temperature when you transfer them from your arms to the cot.

• Your baby should be able to fall asleep unassisted, but should not be left to cry. Part of sleep training involves checking that your baby has no health problems. Watch awake times to avoid overtiredness. Swaddle and introduce solids from four months if your baby appears hungry when awake during the night. • Richardson says don’t wake your baby for a late evening feed, in the hope that they’ll sleep longer thereafter. This is their core sleep.

milestones during this period. Their brains need sleep to help them develop and thrive. Sleep disorders: If your child still needs your help to fall or stay asleep, you need to start sleep training. A lack of sleep can cause irritability, crying, poor eating and may affect the growth hormone, which is secreted during sleep. Tips: • Make sure your child’s nutritional needs are met during the day. • Low iron levels will affect your child’s sleep, eating habits and may compromise their immunity. Check with your paediatrician about a supplement. • Dr Richard Ferber, director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders in Boston, advocates the controversial “cry it out method”, which has become known as “Ferberising”. He says children should be able to self-soothe and fall asleep independently. His mode of sleep training involves putting your child to bed, while still awake, and leaving them for gradually longer periods if they cry, until they are able to sleep independently. But Lotter says, “Sleep training doesn’t have to be a lengthy and emotionally difficult process. Expect your baby to be resistant to changing what he’s used to. Remain consistent, reassuring, determined and loving, but don’t leave him feeling abandoned.”

three to six months Expect: Tracy Hogg, author of Secrets of the Baby Whisperer (Vermillion), recommends 15 to 18 hours of sleep, with two to three naps, from now until 18 months. Your child may sleep through, for about eight hours, or wake for only one feed. The startle reflex

six to 24 months Expect: There should be no more night feeds; your baby can go 10 to 12 hours without food. Hogg says two naps, or one long one, is sufficient. Lotter adds that children go through huge developmental

toddlers from two to four years old Expect: Your toddler should go to bed early and sleep for 10 to 12 hours. They’re early risers, so you will be too. They’ll enjoy one or two day naps, and older magazine pretoria


looks at what’s normal, and what’s not, for different ages.

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October 2012



toddlers will need some quiet time during the day once they’ve dropped their naps. Sleep disorder: Your toddler needs you or a bottle to fall asleep. Night bottles compromise your child’s daily calorie intake and will rot their teeth. Toddlers and older children can suffer from restless leg syndrome, growing pains, nightmares, sleepwalking and night terrors. Too little sleep interferes with their learning and affects their moods. It can cause a failure to thrive and altered immunity. Tips: • If your child is climbing out of the cot, he may have to move to a big bed. • Richardson says magnesium syrup can help with growing pains and cramps, while an iron supplement helps with eating, sleeping and immunity. She also recommends deworming twice a year. • The American Association of Pediatrics advises no TV before the age of two. TV and electronics an hour before bed is too stimulating and can cause nightmares. • Routine is fundamental for good sleeping habits. • Your child should be eating all the food groups and only drinking water at night. • A “sleep friend”, such as a blankey or a soft toy, may prove comforting.

from preschool to pre-teenager Expect: Dr Alison Bentley, a sleep clinician based at Wits University, stresses


October 2012

the importance of a bedtime routine. Preschoolers need 10 hours of sleep, primary school children need about nine hours, and pre-teenagers should average between eight and ten hours a night. Sleep disorders: Day sleeping is actually a sign that something is up, so monitor their sleep habits. Your child should not be wetting the bed from the age of five or six, so seek professional help if this occurs. Dr Bentley advises consulting a medical professional if you suspect your child has any other sleep disorders (see box). Tips: • Don’t over-schedule extramurals as it can stress and overstimulate them, making it difficult for them to fall asleep. • From the foundation phase, more quiet time before bed is appropriate – reading and listening to story tapes helps them self-soothe. • Avoid colourants, flavourants and preservatives. Opt for a low-GI diet, packed with fresh foods and omega oils. • Later to bed doesn’t mean later rising. It just increases the cycle of overtiredness, which affects their moods, concentration at school, appetite and health. • Limit electronics, especially an hour before bedtime and never allow them to be used in their bedroom. • Provide a bedside light. • Physical exercise helps with their moods, stress, appetite and sleep.

sleep disorders to watch out for Bentley says most childhood sleep disorders are behavioural, meaning they’re learnt and can be unlearnt, unless they’re parasomnias such as sleep terrors, somnambulism, enuresis, apnoea and narcolepsy. Intervention from the parent with a therapist or physician will help. ADHD More than 40 percent of people with ADHD have significant sleep disturbances, and conversely, poor sleep can cause children to have ADHD-like symptoms, such as poor attention, irritability, distractibility and impulsiveness. Apnoea and snoring Get treatment as this can affect your child’s breathing, which impacts on their growth and learning. Often the tonsils and adenoids are removed. Bedwetting/enuresis This can be treated with behavioural methods, the teaching of continence skills and sometimes even medication, but first rule out emotional stress as a possible cause. Delayed sleep onset If their circadian or biological rhythm is out; they will want to go to sleep later in the evening and wake up later in the morning. Professional intervention is needed. Growing pains Joburg-based paediatric rheumatologist, Dr Gail Faller, says this happens only at night and occurs in the legs. A calcium and magnesium supplement taken after an active day can help. Insomnia If your child has difficulty falling asleep or can’t go back to sleep, they need a professional assessment. Possible causes include stress, depression and ADHD. Night or sleep terrors Your child appears awake, screams, thrashes and is inconsolable, but remembers nothing the next morning. Although it’s unsettling, children usually outgrow it. Nightmares Try a night light and avoid frightening TV programmes, computer games or stories. Gently console them and they’ll resettle. Restless leg syndrome A neurological disorder where the sufferer struggles with uncomfortable pins and needles, or pain, in their legs at night. It may present as insomnia. Sleepwalking or somnambulism It is not advised to wake a sleepwalker. Rather make their environment safe and guide them back to bed. Children usually outgrow this condition.

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magazine pretoria

October 2012



a world of difference Mainstream schooling a child who’s dealing with difference can be rewarding for all those involved. JACQUI TOOKE shares her experience.


October 2012

children and improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the entire education system.” The concept of reducing barriers to learning and participation for all learners, not only those classified as having special needs, forms the basis of SA’s education policy. The South African Schools Act (1996) requires schools to accept children with special needs, where practical.

the benefits It has been rewarding for us to see how much Matt has learnt from his typically developing peers, who set an example of all the social and life skills we hope to teach him. Julia Travis, a speech therapist, adds that “strong language role models raise expectations of the child with language difficulties”. There are a few girls in Matt’s class who are excited by his blossoming speech. Every day he’s peppered with requests to say words and when he does he is rewarded with giggles and claps. It’s like having five tiny speech therapists working full time on his language. Willie Erasmus, a clinical psychologist, says that inclusion means that “children with differences get the opportunity to build friendships with typically developing children.” Watching Matt form friendships where he is valued for who he is, literally makes me cry. One of my fears is that Matt will grow up to be lonely and isolated. In this inclusive setting, he is learning how magazine pretoria



eciding to pursue inclusive education for my son feels like playing rugby while blindfolded. There is so much I can’t see, and so there’s a chance of someone getting hurt. Also, the success of my decision depends not only on me, but on a whole team of “players”. My son, Matt, is in many ways much like any five year old: he loves aeroplanes, kicking balls, jumping on trampolines, and watching Lightning McQueen. What makes him different is that he has a rare genetic condition, called Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, which causes developmental delays and speech difficulties. Being included in a mainstream setting means that he attends a regular school where the principal and his teacher recognise that he needs support to take part in the classroom and to learn. Theresa Rushby, Matt’s principal at Barkley House Molteno Road Pre-Primary School in Cape Town, explains that inclusion is about “realising that these children cannot conform to our programme; we need to fit to them and be willing to adapt our programme”. She adds, “It is very exciting; it is all about helping them to keep growing.” Parmosivea Soobrayan, directorgeneral of Basic Education, said at the World Down Syndrome Congress in August, “Inclusive schools provide an effective education to the majority of

to engage socially with other children, and they with him. This gives me hope that he will be able to engage in the real world one day and not be hidden away from society. When inclusion works, all the children in the classroom benefit. Rushby shares how she loves watching other children engage with Matt, as it brings out beautiful aspects of their characters that wouldn’t otherwise be revealed. Cape Town occupational therapist Mush Perrins agrees. “They discover and develop aspects about themselves they may not normally have unearthed, such as compassion and patience, and how to value each other’s talents and abilities.” Caroline Taylor, of Inclusive Education Western Cape, goes further to link inclusion in schools to the building of democracy. “Inclusion is an honest acknowledgement of (our) diversity. If South Africa is committed to positively promoting diversity, then the school is the place to start.” Rushby appreciates the positive impact Matt has had on his teacher. She explains that children who learn differently require educators to think out-of-the-box and be

to find a school where authentic inclusion takes place. Travis says some children may experience increased anxiety in a classroom environment that is very auditory-based and language-loaded, placing high demands on the child’s fragile language system. Some children may display “challenging behaviours or withdraw socially in order to compensate for their difficulties”. Perrins says primary and high school places more pressure on children when it comes to learning and social interaction. “A child who is differently abled often has to expend more energy than their peers, and thus they get more tired.” Perrins says children in mainstream schools need more than just academic support. “Their social integration should be guided by the educators and parents together, where other health and educational professionals could be called on for advice. The social aspect is often a painful one for the child, if they are not accepted fully by the other children.” Erasmus says teachers need to be properly trained so that any fear, ignorance and judgement can be addressed and dealt with.

Children with differences get the opportunity to build friendships with typically developing children. creative in helping them develop. This can benefit all the children in the class and can be stimulating and exciting. Erasmus says children with differences who attend mainstream schools have “access to education within their community instead of being sent away to special schools or staying at home, which makes them feel different and ‘weird’”. For us, having Matt attend a neighbourhood school means that he can do playdates after school and his school community is also his home community, so we don’t feel isolated. Until you have faced being different, you have no idea how much a sense of belonging can be a healing gift.

when things go wrong If inclusion is poorly managed, however, the children with differences may find themselves struggling. For it to work, educators need to be motivated, be properly trained and receive the necessary support. In South Africa where resources are limited and many education policies are not working properly, it can be a challenge

Going back to the rugby analogy, the try line for us in this “game” of mainstream schooling will be Matt’s participation in society – as a child and one day as an adult. And it is our firm belief that an inclusive school will help him get there. This is how I explained my decision to the South African Association for Learning and Educational Differences: “I needed to realise that the whole point of inclusion is not that I make Matt fit into a mainstream setting. Rather it is about recognising that he is different, and looking at what changes can be made to the way things are done in the school to allow him to participate fully, to belong, and to keep growing and learning at his pace. I am not under any illusion that there won’t be challenges ahead. I also can’t say how long inclusion will work for Matt. But I remain hopeful that as long as there are principals and teachers who see the benefits of inclusion for everyone involved, that I will be able to work with them to create an environment where Matt can belong, contribute and grow.”

helpful websites • Inclusive Education Western Cape • The South African Association for Learning and Educational Difference • The Learner Facilitator and Tutor Network • The Down Syndrome Inclusive Education Foundation • Inclusive Education South Africa • Thutong – SA Education Portal

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October 2012



all aboard A child-friendly cruise up the West Coast, packed with daily entertainment, ensures good times for the whole family, says SUE SEGAR.


hen I accepted the invitation for my children and me to join the MSC Melody for a fournight cruise from Cape Town to Namibia, I went straight into fantasy mode. I had visions of the three of us, arm in arm, waving goodbye to the Mother City before settling down to four days of reading together, identifying ocean birds and looking out for the first sighting of the treacherous Skeleton Coast. Our journey was to take us 718 nautical miles from Cape Town to Walvis Bay, Namibia’s biggest port. But within about 20 seconds of leaving the port, I realised my fantasy was not to be. We left the Cape Town docks on a perfect January afternoon and the exhilarating moment when the ship’s engine chugged into action, signalling that we were away at sea, was one I will not forget quickly. I leaned over the railing and

Pluto’s House – where they’d signed up for bingo, a treasure hunt, a talent contest and four movie viewings. After they had explored the endless possibilities on offer, the children were thrown into the realities of life on a ship when we were called to an emergency exercise – a sort of man-overboard drill. “When you hear the signal, seven short blasts and one long blast of the ship’s alarm, put on your life jacket and go to your assigned muster station,” we were told. This unnerved them. Maybe it was a mistake to let them watch Titanic before our voyage. For days before we left, Thomas kept checking that his dad was not going with us as he was anxious about the “woman and children first” principle he’d learnt about in the movie. For the next two days I saw the children only briefly – at meals and because I insisted on it – before they dashed off to

stared in awe as Table Mountain, covered in a wispy “tablecloth”, gradually shrunk and eventually disappeared from view. That was also when the main deck of the ship exploded into a cacophony of loud, popular music and I noticed that my children had disappeared. When I saw them joined to a chain of human bodies that was snaking its way round the deck, I realised that this was the “welcome aboard party”. Before long every single passenger, except me, was jiving wildly under the sun, most of them holding a cocktail in one hand. I watched as my children, led by a group called the All-Star Dancers, threw themselves into a throng of frenzied Macarena-like movements, beckoning me to join in as I cowered against the railing.

ship ahoy We pulled further away from the coast and soon we were in the open ocean, with no land in sight. My children were also nowhere to be seen and I eventually hauled them out of the children’s club –


October 2012

their next group activity. I’d bump into them now and then, on their way from the swimming pool, the Jacuzzi, a bingo game, the duty-free shop, or from stealing leftover chips from the mesmerising, yet out-of-bounds casino area. I, meanwhile, spent hours lying on the more private lower deck, reading and watching the sea. Sometimes I regrouped in the lounge for coffee and a chat with some of the other abandoned parents. We’d only reassemble at night in our cabin when the children eventually roamed in after the double-feature movie evening. There was just one disciplinary incident, involving a fancy dress party, my favourite black dress and a red Chanel lipstick, which will probably be remembered for years to come. But, on the whole, I gather they had a whale of a time. On the third day, having been told we’d arrive in Walvis Bay at around six in the morning, I woke the children so we could have our first daylight glimpse of Namibia. A slight drizzle fell as we entered the bay magazine pretoria


For the next two days I saw the children only briefly – at meals and because I insisted on it – before they dashed off to their next group activity.

Clockwise from top left: Sue, Saskia and Thomas on board the MSC Melody; the Skeleton Coast; the lighthouse in Swakopmund; pelicans on the Walvis Bay Lagoon; Swakopmund; Thomas braving it down the Namib dunes.

via the long stretches of beach that mark the beginning of the Skeleton Coast. What confronted us was a desert landscape with not a tree or shrub in sight.

a few hours on terra firma We were able to leave the ship for half a day and, although it offers a range of excursions from Walvis Bay, we opted to explore on our own steam. We made a deal with a friendly taxi driver, Freddy, to drive us from Walvis to Swakopmund. After a quick flip to the huge natural lagoon, full of seabirds – including flamingos and pelicans – we headed for the Germaninfluenced town. The 30km drive along the dune belt, with the coastline on our left and an array of majestic sand dunes on our right, was one of the most beautiful trips I’ve done, particularly as I’d never been in a desert. magazine pretoria

We asked Freddy to stop so that the children could climb the steep dunes and roll down again. Oddly enough, Freddy, who has lived in Walvis Bay all his life and who later showed us his home on the outskirts of the town, had never climbed or rolled down a sand dune. He quickly made up for it though and I eventually had to plead with the three of them to come back to the car so that I could visit Swakopmund. Once there, we drove through the streets with its charming German colonial buildings, visited the market and enjoyed traditional coffee and apple strudel. We also visited a few of the town’s art galleries and the Swakopmund Museum, which contains exhibits on Namibian history. As time was running out, we drove back to Walvis Bay to board the ship and prepare for the voyage home. October 2012



alleviating allergies You don’t have to sneeze, wheeze or scratch your way through life. If you find out what’s causing your allergic reaction, there are ways to manage the problem. By MARC DE CHAZAL


why the allergy overload? This explosion of allergies is not entirely understood, says Dr Michael Levin, head of the Allergy Clinic at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital. “People’s genes have not changed, so there has to be something in the environment – either added to it or taken away from it – which is contributing to the increase in allergies,” he says. Lots of research has been done to identify reasons for the increase. Possible guilty culprits over the past 20 to 30 years are pollution, a sedentary lifestyle which results in obesity and an increased use of antibiotics at an early age. “It’s also thought that exposure to farm animals, unpasteurised milk, infections within large families and parasite infestations may have actually protected children in the past from allergies such as asthma. A move away from traditional lifestyles to a more westernised way of life may therefore account for the increase, especially in Africa with its growing urbanisation,” says Levin. The “hygiene hypothesis” is another popular reason put forward for the increase in allergies. What this means, explains nutritional therapist Hannah Kaye, is that we spend so much time trying to prevent our children’s exposure to microbes, especially bacteria, that their immune systems don’t develop properly. “I also feel that our environment is a lot more toxic than it used to be, whether from parabens, heavy metals or phthalates, which places a lot of strain on the gut and liver, and thus the immune system,” says Kaye.

healthy gut, healthy body Professor Patrick Bouic, from the Department of Immunology at the University of Stellenbosch, points out that 70 percent of the body’s immune system dwells in the digestive


October 2012

So there has to be something in the environment ... which is contributing to the increase in allergies. tract, which is why it’s essential to maintain a healthy digestive system. He encourages daily supplementation of probiotics. Kaye agrees. “I think that probiotics are one of our greatest weapons in promoting good flora in the gut and thereby supporting the immune system, but it’s worth spending money on a good one that is right for your child, as some probiotics are pointless.” Although a recent study has shown an effect on allergic disease when pregnant mothers supplemented with probiotics, Levin believes the jury is still out on their usefulness.

The good news is that allergies can be effectively managed, and in some cases even cured. Some of us are born with a predisposition to allergies, called atopy, often because we were born to parents with allergies. Sufferers more often than not have allergic children, but they don’t necessarily have the same allergic conditions. A parent with a nut allergy may have a child who has eczema or is asthmatic. Celia Fleming and her husband have allergies, as do their children Daniel, eight, and Jonathan, six. “They both suffer from allergic rhinitis, and Daniel has had asthma and mild eczema,” says Celia. “We live near an oil refinery, so I’m sure that airborne pollutants aggravate our allergic conditions.” Celia swears by homeopathic products, but also resorts to steroid nasal sprays when things get really bad. “We try to keep dust to a minimum. Having wooden floors throughout the house helps as they are easy to sweep and wipe clean,” she adds. Atopic people have higher amounts of the antibody immunoglobulin E (IgE) in their blood. As a result, when an atopic person is exposed to an allergen such as pollen or house dust mites, their hypersensitivity to the allergen sets off an immediate allergic reaction. If your child has allergic rhinitis, pollen, or whatever allergen is responsible for the allergic reaction, will cause their system to produce histamine. The symptoms – a runny nose, itchy eyes, nasal congestion and sneezing – can be controlled by taking antihistamines and nasal sprays, but they’ll continue to react to the same allergens that trigger their immune response. If you know what you’re allergic to, it can be managed by trying to avoid the allergen or being desensitised to it. A skin or blood test will determine the cause of the allergy. Immunotherapy is the process of desensitising people to the allergen causing their misery. “We find out what the person is allergic to, and instead of making them avoid it, we either inject the allergen into their system or give it to them in drops under the tongue until they no longer react to it,” says Levin. He says people with allergic rhinitis can see their symptoms reduced by 30 to 40 percent after successful immunotherapy. It is costly as it involves a long course of routine injections or oral drops, but some medical aids cover it. “If you’re allergic to several things, it’s more difficult if not impossible to be completely desensitised, in which case your best option is to try avoidance and use medication properly,” advises Levin. “I tell parents that using medication correctly is more important than what they’ve been prescribed.” He advises patients to take their nasal sprays and asthma pumps with them to a doctor’s checkup to ensure they are using them properly. magazine pretoria


damage control

sthma is the most common chronic disease of South African children, affecting 10 to 20 percent of the population. Doctors are treating more and more cases of children with this and other allergic conditions, including allergic rhinitis, eczema and food allergies. They are rarely life-threatening, except in the case of anaphylaxis, a severe whole-body reaction commonly caused by insect stings or a food or drug allergy. However, if you or your child suffers from allergies, you’ll know that the various symptoms associated with them are not trivial and can seriously affect a person’s quality of life. Even mild cases of allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, can have debilitating side-effects for children – they don’t sleep well at night, so they can’t concentrate properly at school the next day. Studies conducted on allergic pupils who write exams during the spring hay fever season, found that they dropped an entire grade.

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October 2012



success as a single parent DONNA COBBAN shares the stories of parents that are, for different reasons, doing it solo and doing it well. of the advantages of being a single parent is that I get to raise my son the way I was raised and the way I want to raise him... it works for me Being a single mom is circumstantial – over and above all that, I am a mother. A joy-filled, adored, loved and muchneeded mother of a small, happy and much-loved boy, who spends Sunday mornings laying low in bed, drinking tea, eating biscuits and reading books – sometimes mine, sometimes his. My son came to me through a relationship that has since ended, but it is one that I will be eternally grateful to have had. Without it motherhood would have passed me by as I don’t think I would have been as brave as Ester, a Joburg-based single mother of twin boys. She was nearly 35 when the man she loved left. While she was utterly devastated that the relationship was over, she swung into action as she knew time was marching on and for as long as she can remember, Ester had wanted to be


October 2012

a mother. So she went in search of a sperm donor. “Sperm donors get asked beforehand if they would like their sperm to go to heterosexual couples and/or homosexual couples and/or single women. A heterosexual couple gets pages and pages of donors to choose from; I got to choose from a total of nine,” Ester laments. But today, after a long, costly and extremely emotional ride, she is the proud single mother of twin boys. “Since they arrived, 18 months ago, life has come to a bit of a standstill, as I am limited to where I can go and what I can do with two small toddlers. Ester used to work long hours, leaving the office late at night to go out with friends. Today she rushes home after work to be with “ gorgeous little munchkins; to spend time with them, to see how they develop and learn new things every single day – this is my joy.” Asked if raising twin boys with no assistance is something she would ever do over, Ester says “ a heartbeat; it’s the best decision I ever made and it gets easier every day.” While single parenting is still largely the mother’s domain, there are many single dads out there, many of who are not given the attention they deserve as single dads are still seen as an oddity. Daniel* is single dad and primary caregiver to Sam*. Daniel beats around no bushes, telling me that “ of the advantages of being a single parent is that I get to raise my son the way I was raised and the way I want to raise him. My ex came from an abusive family and so there are psychological issues, which I am hoping will now not be propagated to my son.” Another advantage for Daniel is that every second weekend Sam stays with his mother and Daniel has a chance to have “...alone-and-let-loose time” – this being something he is duly appreciative of and which “…partnered parents don’t often get”.

together but apart Single parenting comes to us in different forms and guises. An increasingly common form is created by a travelling partner who is away from home for significant periods of time – thus casting the parent at home into a “single-parenting role”. Anna* and Doug* have been together forever and three years ago they moved with their two young children to Cape Town, largely for schooling reasons. This now means that Doug commutes about

2 000km, every few weeks, to work in Botswana. Anna says it takes him a full day to get to Cape Town if he wants to do it in one day. “He leaves at 4:30am, arrives in Joburg at 1pm; later lands in Cape Town around 3pm and then arrives home to a huge welcoming hug around 4pm. On the days he works a half-day, he’ll only leave after lunch and his arrival time at home in Cape Town is well after one in the morning – at this time, the bed is at least already well-warmed,” laughs Anna.

Anna says that having a support structure for herself was just as important as having one to help with the children. Anna’s closest relative, her mom, lives 1 400km away, so Doug and Anna decided to employ a live-in nanny. Thandi* has since become a great support structure and an essential part of the family, although now that the children are older she only works office hours, from Monday to Friday. In addition to this, Anna makes sure she invites her mom to spend a week with them over the school holidays. This helps them all bond and frees Anna from some of her fortnightly single parenting stints. Interestingly Anna tells me that it was through single parenting that she learnt she was in great need of adult time, conversation and company and that having a support structure for herself was just as important as having one to help with the children. “So I invested time in forming close friendships and I do try to meet with at least one friend, once a week, without the children, for adult time and adult conversation,” Anna says.

making it work And then, like the majority of parents, but especially single ones, Anna prepares well ahead of time. She has a weekly meal planner and shops online. After a hard morning’s work spent counselling troubled teenagers, Anna picks up her children from school, and they all sit down to a main lunchtime meal. This Anna says helps to lessen magazine pretoria

illustration: shutterSTOCK.COM


while ago I was at a parental social gathering; I wandered through the crowds and came across a group of lovely looking women, huddled in confidante-speak. Recognising one of them, I entered the fold only to discover that this was single-mother speak – they were exchanging divorce, maintenance, new wives of ex-husbands and weekend commitment stories. As I, too, am a single mom, I received immediate acceptance, but just as fast, I found myself looking for a way to extricate myself from this group of strong, capable and loving women. While I may have had a host of things to complain about myself, I didn’t want to give those things credence, time or energy on that particular day. I did not want to be defined as a single mother – the very term conjures up all sorts of largely negative stereotypical images in people’s minds. I did not want to feel pity for myself as a single mother and, worst of all, I did not want the pity of others to ever fall at my door.

stressful evenings when everyone is tired. I envy this kind of organisation. My modus operandi is a bit different and on most Sunday afternoons there will be a random rice and lentil cook-up on our stove, or a bean stew on slow boil – for lunch and dinner in the coming week. Any single parent who handles the bulk of child rearing knows how draining and exhausting life can often be – despite the joy that children bring. It’s in these moments that we need to pause and be proud – immensely proud – of keeping it all together; keeping them warm, fed, bathed and loved and making sure we do the same for ourselves. Anna very soon noticed how single mothering taught her that she was so much more capable than she thought she was. “I have dealt with all sorts of crises, from a leaking geyser and rushing Thandi to the ER late at night to taking care of two little patients after they simultaneously had their tonsils removed.” Another valid point that Anna raises is “parental opting out”. “When you are in a relationship you can easily opt to not take responsibility, but when you are a single parent you are on call for everything, 24/7 – from house maintenance and school duties to parenting and your own job. I had to learn to plan carefully and ensure that I spend time with my children and also that when I am with them, I am fully present.”

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In addition to learning our strengths through single parenting, the fact that we are doing this alone makes it harder to hide when things go wrong. Anna says she just has to look at her children to know that if they are acting up, it is a symptom of a faulty system. “This then challenges me to reflect on my life, my

schedule, my priorities and my parenting style and then to make changes where things are not working. I think when two adults do the parenting it is easy to blame the other one. But when you fly solo it forces you to look at yourself.” * Names have been changed.

getting back in the game For single parents, there is often guilt in (or around) deciding whether or not you should date. Keep it simple: if you want to, you should. Just find a way to do it that is comfortable for you. Here’s a start: • Make sure you know a lot about any new person before inviting them into your home. • Make friends before considering a romantic relationship. • Always introduce new adults to your children as friends, nothing more. • Listen to what your children have to say about the new person. • Do not pressure your children to like your new friend, or to spend time with them. • Insist that your children behave appropriately and politely. • Have regular family discussions with your children. • Gradually introduce a new date to your children by doing family-oriented activities together. • If you want to get serious with your “friend”, find out his or her feelings about children. • Don’t miss sport or school events, or any quality time with your child, in order to date. • Don’t use your children as “confidants” to discuss your relationship confusion or problems. Dr Tina B Tessina, family therapist and author

October 2012


best for baby

when to wean New research suggests that the early introduction of solids may

should be introduced only from six months, as your baby’s immune system may react to the proteins found in foods other than breast milk. So when is the right time?


ith my first baby, I was advised to start feeding solids from six months. But just 16 months later, when I took my son for his six-week checkup, I was told to introduce them sooner to reduce the risk of allergies. His paediatrician pointed to recent studies indicating that the risk of food allergies for allergens such as wheat, peanuts and cow’s milk is reportedly higher if solids are started later than between three and six months. An article in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, says recommendations that an infant’s gut is too immature to handle solids before six months, and that introducing food too soon could pose a risk of allergies, “may lack a strong scientific basis”. But the World Health Organisation holds fast to its recommendation of exclusive breast-feeding for at least six months, with the introduction of complementary foods thereafter. And all baby food products, such as baby cereals and bottled purees, state clearly on their labels that solids


October 2012

allergy risks An allergy occurs when a foreign protein has been able to enter the bloodstream and there is an adverse reaction, explains Joburg nutritionist Tracy Hesslewood. It can be an acute reaction, such as dermatitis or respiratory distress, or a milder food intolerance that takes longer to present. Infants initially lack the “border control” required to protect their intestines from foreign proteins as their intestines are permeable for as long as the first six months, to allow for immune system proteins to pass through via their mother’s milk. Babies swallow bacteria as they move through the birth canal, which sets off the production of probiotic bacteria in their guts. Caesarean-section babies, who don’t start off with these bacteria, may be at greater risk of intestinal damage. “There is a study that links a Caesarean birth to a 53 percent higher risk of allergies such as eczema, hay fever and asthma,” says Hesslewood.

is it all about the timing? Hesslewood says paediatricians may be attaching “undue significance” to a few “maybe” studies of the links between

the timing of solids and allergies. “There are other factors at play that will contribute significantly to the overall risk of a child developing allergies, namely their intestinal flora balance and their overall immune system health.” She advises mothers to protect their baby’s immune system from reacting adversely to solids by making sure they get the correct nutrients and are able to digest that food properly. But she adds that the total avoidance of possibly allergenic foods is not a good thing. “If a mom introduces solids to her baby from four months, and many do now because their babies get too hungry, I would suggest intermingling the more allergenic foods with less risky ones.” Cape Town paediatric dietician Kath Megaw says there is no evidence that delaying the introduction of solid foods beyond four months is protective, and some studies suggest it may in fact promote allergies. “Starting solids at four to six months, alongside breast-feeding, will not put an infant at greater risk of developing allergies.” Hesselwood says we shouldn’t narrow the cause in the rise of allergies to just the timing of the introduction of solids. “A baby with imperfect indigestion is more likely to develop allergies, no matter when you introduce the solids. While sooner may be better than later, it matters whether your child’s digestion is in good working order, and it matters whether their immune system is well fed.”

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help reduce your baby’s allergy risk. By ANÉL LEWIS

how to

budding bookworms Book clubs expose young readers to an exciting world of literature, says SUE SEGAR.



ook clubs for children not only encourage wide-ranging and more varied reading, but also stimulate discussion; extending their intellectual and social abilities. Cape Town mother Sarah Archer set up a book club for her children two years ago. Her daughter, Sophia, then nine, was a voracious but not very adventurous reader. “It occurred to me that the benefits offered by grown-up book clubs could carry over to children and that, as part of a book club, they could read more widely without the pressure of having to buy more books.” Sarah says the idea was to pool the books the children had bought between

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book club get-togethers, and to encourage them to try as many as possible. Five other mothers, with daughters the same age as Sophia, jumped at the opportunity to take part. They meet for an afternoon tea every six weeks or so. “We have no proper system; we deliberately didn’t want it to be administratively onerous. It’s a case of whoever can come, does and you can bring whatever books you have.” Two years on, Sophia is reading considerably more widely than before. Citing her own experience of an adult book club, Sarah says, “My natural inclination is to read escapist literature,

October 2012


how to

but with a book club I take a selection and often get into books I would not normally have considered. I want that for my children too. Sophia’s definitely got into some series that she wouldn’t normally have looked at, obsessed as she is with horse books.” Sophia, now 11, says, “I loved the Goosebumps series and The Hardy Boys. I would never have read them if I was not in the book club.” Justine Evans, also from Cape Town, started a book club for eight-year-old boys about a year ago. “I came up with the idea when the mother of a friend of my son, Jacob, asked whether the boys could swap some books as her son had run out of new reads.” She said parents were enthusiastic and the group soon grew from six to 10 children. “It seems that is a good size to cap it at.” This book club is run very simply, which is part of its appeal. Justine says the boys were initially encouraged to bring three books they were happy to lend and everyone got a turn to pick a book. “There was plenty to eat and there was also time to play.” At the second meeting, Justine suggested that the boys name their book club. They called it “The Olympic Book Club”, after a game they were playing. Justine is convinced that the book club has encouraged the boys to read more. Her son is more willing to take books from his peers, than have them imposed on him by his mother. “The book club has been a launch pad out of Horrid Henry. He is hooked on Anthony Horowitz now.” The boys do discuss their different tastes – some are into science or history, while others prefer comics or books about sport. Tandi Erasmus runs Story Club, a mini book club for children aged three to six years, in the Hillcrest/Highway area in Durban. It is offered as an extramural at schools where children meet weekly to share and swap books. “As a mother of three, and an avid bookworm myself, I have always tried to encourage reading in my own children. The Story Club evolved naturally for me. As I always say to my little readers, ‘to read is to grow’.” Julia Knowler, a mother of two girls aged nine and eleven, runs a book club in Durban North that is now in its third year. “We started the book club when a few mothers with daughters in the same Grade 3 class noticed how the girls were devouring books. We were forever paying library fines and didn’t know what books to get for them.”

friendships. “The girls were initially shy with each other, but they are now proud to be part of the group,” says Sarah. A member of the group, Saskia Welz, 11, says, “I like that when we are playing on the trampoline, someone will recommend a book. We have become friends because of the books.”

The book club also creates an opportunity to develop close friendships. Although their group comprises only girls now, Sarah says the gender make-up will probably be more of an issue when the girls are a bit older. “Introducing boys would change the dynamic.” Justine says the mothers look forward to the book club as much as the children. Playing together is a big part of the meeting, but Justine says she wants to bring more focus to the books this year. “In the beginning they all used to sit and read at the end of the meeting, but recently the playing has overshadowed the books a bit.” However, she says the best thing about the book club is that she didn’t buy a single book last year.

Sarah would also like to encourage the girls in her group to talk more about the books. “It’s something we’ve never done before, as we didn’t want to put them on the spot. But now that they’ve developed a sense of what they do and don’t like, it would be good to get summaries of their favourite books. Julia warns that it’s easy for a book club to lose focus. “It is great for the children to have a social gathering, but it is best not to detract too much from the fact that they are there because of books,” she says. It’s important, when starting a book club, to ensure that the children have access to a range of good authors and subject matter. “The Ultimate Book Guide (A & C Black Publishers) is a very useful resource to give parents an idea of what sort of books are out there for boys and girls of all ages.”

It’s good if the mothers are all friends and the children are the same age. You need to work out what your aims are for the club. If they want to read something else, our attitude is they are welcome to take those books out of the library. Hold a meeting with all the mothers on what you want to achieve with the book club. Perhaps set up a roster to determine who will host the club when. Get each child to donate three or four books. The books must have names in them, so that they can be returned at the end of every year. Set up a book club meeting; two hours is a good time limit. Make sure you keep a record of all the books that have been taken out and returned.

2 3 4 5

JHB – Marteli: 079 886 6393 or JHB – Reading Starz Forum, by Read Educational Trust, where book clubs can share ideas and discuss ways to inspire reading. Contact Thando: 011 496 3322 CPT – Centre for the Book Children’s Reading Centre is open Tuesday to Thursdays for story time and other reading-related activities. Contact: 021 423 2669 DBN – Story Club. Contact Tandi: 031 765 5677 or visit PTA – Soul Space. Contact: 074 118 9184, 083 400 5545 or visit

story time Nal’ibali, which means “here’s the story’ in isiXhosa, is a new national initiative to promote and support a love of stories in children of all ages. Initiated by the Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa (Praesa) at UCT, with Avusa Media, the focus is on building satisfying and fun-filled interaction between adults and children through storytelling and reading. Joining the Nal’ibali reading clubs means bringing children together to do all kinds of activities related to stories through play, games, writing and reading. The Nal’ibali team suggests starting book club sessions with a song or a game. Children learn easily and comfortably when they play, so these are fun ways to start a session. You can also ask older children to teach all of you a game that they know or have made up. Make sure to sing songs in the home languages of all the children. Join their growing network of reading clubs by registering on During the term, there is a weekly Nal’ibali supplement to support and inspire reading and storytelling in homes and in reading clubs. It’s bilingual in English and isiXhosa and English and isiZulu, so you and your children can use it to support language learning too. Online versions can be downloaded free of charge

Besides expanding the world of reading, the book club also creates an opportunity for its young members to develop close

com/nalibaliSA, to chat about books and stories.

October 2012


contacts for book club enthusiasts

book buddies


Julie’s tips for starting a book club

and you can join their Facebook page, facebook.

magazine pretoria


to read is to fly One of the greatest gifts you can give a child is the love of reading. Child magazine suggests ways to make books a much-loved part of your family. read, read, read ways to get them to read Tandi Erasmus, of Story Club, offers the following ideas to get your children to read. • To get your children to appreciate books, instil a love of reading from an early age. • Read a story at the end of each day. Your child will relish the undivided attention and will associate books with this good memory. • Be a reader yourself; children follow by example. • Place books around your home so they are easily accessible. • Read age-appropriate books. • Use fun voices and faces to help bring the story to life. • Story books with a CD promote and develop listening skills. ways to get children to read better • Always praise children and have patience as they are learning to read. • If your child is battling to read, buddy read with them to build their confidence. • Play word games such as broken telephone and Scrabble. • A good way to interpret the story is by acting it out. • Story recall helps to develop comprehension skills. ways to get children to read more widely • Read different stories as well as informative books. • Join a library. • Start a book club. • Begin collecting monthly children’s magazines. These are colourful and informative, and cover a wide variety of topics. • Get books that contain rhyming, illustrations and good vocabulary.


reading for different learning styles There are three main learning styles – visual, auditory and kinaesthetic or movement – and children, while stronger in a particular mode of learning, may process information in a combination of the three. auditory learners Children who prefer audio stimulation learn by phonics and sounding out, decoding and synthesizing words. They find it difficult to read silently for extended periods, so to make reading fun, encourage them to magazine pretoria

read out loud, use different accents for the characters, and sing, rap or rhyme the contents of the book. Lynley Dodd’s Hairy Maclary series, which follows a small “terrier” and his friends, uses simple plots and rhythmic verses that flow easily. The repetition allows young children to anticipate what’s coming next and gets them repeating the words. Audio books can expose auditory learners to books and stories. visual learners Children who find visual material more stimulating are easily drawn to picture books with bright involved illustrations and large print. Robert Sabuda’s elaborate pop-up books bring stories to life with colourful castles, dragons and fairies rising from the folds. The Where’s Wally? series has children from the age of five glued to the pages for hours, as they try to pinpoint a set of items among the crowds in weird and wonderful locations. kinaesthetic or tactile learners For children who prefer being active and hands-on, books with flaps and tags, scratch-and-sniff panels, cookbooks, crafts and science experiments keep them stimulated and allow for spontaneous activities. The Peek-a-boo board book by J. Ahlberg is great for young children getting used to books while playing the peek-a-boo game. For older children, The Everything Kids Science Experiments Book by Tom Robinson has loads of easy experiments. help from a furry friend Reading difficulties can hamper the emotional development of your child, says Marieanna le Roux, who is researching the effects of animal-assisted reading programmes at Stellenbosch University’s Department of Psychology. She says international studies show that children with low self-esteem would rather speak or read to a dog than an adult. “The unconditional and non-critical acceptance of the pet or dog creates calmness and boldness that enable the learner to read freely, regardless of how many mistakes are being made.” For more information on animal-assisted learning programmes, visit or

Primary in Joburg: “Reading aloud is a way for children to share the books they enjoy – memorable experiences can be created as discussion ensues about topics raised during the reading.” A fluent reader, such as the parent, is a role model for a child’s oral reading. You give a voice and meaning to text that children cannot give to the story on their own. You demonstrate to your child the mental processes they use to make sense of what they are reading, such as asking yourself questions, predicting, making connections to what you already know in the story, relating information to personal experiences and checking whether you truly understand what you are reading. Reading aloud also helps children to: • familiarise themselves with difficult words and learn correct pronunciation; • improve on listening comprehension; • gain confidence to become effective communicators; orally and in writing; • become involved in the drama of a story and become expressive, creative and imaginative readers; • expand their vocabulary and learn the meaning of words in context; • learn the intricacies of language; • decrease passive listening, which is often what happens with TV and MP3 players, and • be creative with language – especially true with rhyming books, which are great fun for reading aloud no matter the age. how to read aloud effectively Consider your goals for the read-aloud before selecting the book. Alphabet books

are good for teaching letters. Storybooks are good for vocabulary and informational books develop content knowledge and enhance a child’s motivation for reading. Word play books are useful for developing skills such as phonological awareness. To keep their attention, prompt children to use their background knowledge to develop their understanding of the story. Keep them engaged by asking them questions about the story as it unravels. Read in a lively way, using voices, gestures, pauses and expression where required, as this helps children understand the story. Encourage children to predict what will happen based on the events that have unfolded in the story, and engage them in both immediate talk, such as asking literal questions, and non-immediate talk, such as discussing the meaning of the story. You can also relate the story to personal experiences. Wendy Pote, of Linden Library in Joburg, says: “Children like to be involved, so ask them to participate in the story by saying the magic word, or shooing the dog away. They also like stories where they have to find the ladybird that is hidden on every page, or the detailed illustrations of a book, such as in those by Richard Scarry, where so much is going on.” Stories with rhymes appeal to children and are fun to read. Also use stories with repetition, such as the traditional tales of The Little Red Hen and Chicken Licken. “Of course, any book read with gusto and obviously loved by the parent would make the child love it too. A lot of what makes story time special is the closeness it engenders between adults and children.”

win audiobooks The Listeners’ Library specialises in audiobooks and offers a wide selection for adults and children. Fiction, fairy tales and fables keep children entertained while improving imagination, vocabulary, pronunciation and listening skills. Contact: 011 325 2266 or visit One reader stands a chance to win four audiobooks, namely Robinson Crusoe, The Hen Who Wouldn’t Give Up, The Reluctant Dragon and Classic Fairy Stories, valued at R635. Simply enter via and use the code “Listeners Library PTA”. Your details will be made available to Listeners’ Library.


why read aloud? If you wonder about the benefits of reading aloud, consider this from Jacky Bellon, librarian at King David Linksfield Junior

To download the full resource with age-appropriate reading recommendations, go to

October 2012



a good read for toddlers

for preschoolers

Bramble the Brave By Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow (Published by Oxford University Press, R60) Bramble has a nose for adventure. She can dig under meadows, wade through slippery weeds, tumble down hills and climb the trickiest branches, but when it comes to trying new food, she turns her nose up at everything. Eating nothing but berries can get a bit boring and Mommy mole knows just the thing to entice Bramble to be brave and try something new. This is a beautifully illustrated story that encourages children to go beyond the familiar, whatever the arena. Parents and children everywhere will recognise the issues in this book and will be rooting for Bramble to extend her adventurous spirit to her eating habits.

Winnie Under the Sea By Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul (Published by Oxford University Press, R57) Over three million copies of the Winnie the Witch series have been sold worldwide and it’s no surprise as these books are crammed with humour. Winnie and Wilbur whizz off for a holiday at the seaside and she can’t wait to dive in and explore life under the sea, but Wilbur isn’t so sure; water is wet and he feels quite at home on land. But Winnie has an idea and turns Wilbur into a catfish. Suddenly Wilbur doesn’t mind getting wet and he’s having so much fun that Winnie decides to turn herself into an octopus, so they can swim together. Then Winnie drops her wand and things get complicated.

our favourite witch

for early graders Mhlanguli, Antjie, Zimkhitha, Azhar and Cindy (Published by the Early Learning Resource Unit, R35 each for parents and teacher; R200 for all five) This series of books is part of The Keteka series and the Anti-bias Project of the Early Learning Resource Unit. Each book tells the story of a day in the life of a child. These children all live in different parts of South Africa and the stories are told in isiXhosa, English, Setswana and Afrikaans. It’s a great tool for parents and teachers to show children different cultures and teach them about tolerance. Children can also learn a new language along the way. For orders, email

for preteens and teens Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland By Lewis Carroll

Soldier Dog By Sam Angus

(Published by Random House Struik, R90) This book is a new release from the publishing house’s Vintage Children’s Classics series, where they aim to bring these ageless tales to children from the age of nine. The story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is well known, but boasts a brand-new cover. Also included in the book is a back story. Here children can test their knowledge of this tale, learn more about Carroll and what inspired him to create Wonderland. Children also get the opportunity to create their own nonsense verse. Other books in this series include The Wind in the Willows, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Treasure Island, What Katy Did, The Silver Sword, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, The Jungle Book, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and Emil and the Detectives.

(Published by Macmillan Children’s Books, R71) Stanley’s dad hasn’t been the same since his wife died and his eldest son went off to fight in the war. Now Stanley is either invisible to his dad or the object of one of his rages, and his only friend is his dad’s prizewinning greyhound, Rocket. But one day Rocket escapes, and the result is a litter of non-thoroughbred puppies that Da says will all have to be drowned, even Stanley’s favourite puppy, Soldier. Stanley is so angry with his father that he runs away and enlists in the army to train as a messenger dog handler. Despite being far too young, he’s soon heading to France with a Great Dane called Bones by his side. Based on a true story, this heartbreaking, powerful tale of a boy soldier and his dog is set against the devastating backdrop of World War I.

for us

parenting book

Dress Your Cookie By Joanna Farrow

r fun fo mily the fa

(Published by Spruce, R117) With four basic cookie recipes plus detailed step-by-step decorating instructions, you can make 50 edible designs to dress up your cookies. The book tells you how to shape cookies and how to make icing; offers techniques for decorating, melting and using chocolate and piping, and what equipment is useful. From animals and colourful characters to fun designs and festive shapes, there are decorations for everyone and every occasion. So whether you want a rainy-day activity to do with the children, or something different and colourful to bake for family and friends, cookie decorating has never been so much fun.


October 2012

Life Talk for Parents By Izabella Little-Gates

dealing with tee ns

(Published by Reach Publishers, R156) This book provides comprehensive information and advice about the current issues and challenges faced by teens and parents. This thought-provoking guide empowers parents, helping them to be proactive in their parenting, and addresses topics such as: how do you prepare your children for the challenges of adolescence and adulthood?; peer pressure, binge drinking, drugs and sexual activity; what to do if your child is huffing, cutting or playing choking games; dealing with “but everyone else is going!”; sexting, chat rooms, porn and bullying; divorce, blended families and single-parenting dilemmas. This book focuses on enhancing communication and building self-esteem and values, boundaries and the right attitude.

magazine pretoria


You can also access the calendar online at

what’s on in october

Here’s your guide for what to do, where to go, and who to see. Compiled by SIMONE JEFFERY.

7 sun

special events


FUN for children


only for parents


bump, baby & tot in tow


how to help




The Big Brag Dog Picnic Catch the teams of dogs led by their human support staff.



bump, baby & tot in tow

how to help

Elephant Sanctuary Touch, walk trunk-in-hand and feed elephants in an indigenous environment.

Corobrik National Ceramics Exhibition View South Africa’s best ceramics at The Pretoria Museum.

PediaSure Toddler Sense Seminar Learn what makes your toddler tick with sister Ann Richardson.

Pathways Recycling Project One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

magazine pretoria

October 2012



SPECIAL EVENTS 4 thursday ASG Night Rider MTB Series Children can compete in the 5km race and adults in a 21km race. There is a sandpit, jungle gym and trampoline for the children, as well as a bonfire where you can enjoy food and drinks. For children 5 years and older. Time: 6:30pm; adult race 7pm. Venue: Rosemary Hill, plot 257 Mooiplaats, Boschkop. Cost: adults R120, children R20. Contact Karla: or visit

5 friday Landi Smile at the rugby The supervised mobile playground and creative workshops keep children occupied while you support the Blue Bulls against Western Province in the Currie Cup. Time: 3:30pm–7pm. Venue: Loftus Versfeld, D Field. Cost: R50– R80. Contact Yolandi: 084 221 5122 or visit Mega South Africa The first Mega Geocaching event is being held, so grab your GPS and your running shoes and enjoy a family day out searching for treasure. Ends 7 October. Time: 9am–10pm. Venue: Voortrekker Monument, Eeufees Rd. Cost: free registration. For more info: visit

6 saturday Lollos visits The Grove Mall The show is filled with lively music and dance as Lollos tells Lettie, on his first visit to earth, about all the wonderful places and things he has seen in South Africa. All ages. Time:

11am–12pm. Venue: The Grove Mall, cnr Lynnwood Rd and Simon Vermooten Rd, Equestria. Cost: free. Contact Leanne: 012 807 0963 or visit Ben 10: Omniverse premieres The new series launches with a special screening of episodes 1 and 2. Time: 9am, thereafter episodes are aired at 9am and 2:50pm, every Saturday; 4pm every Monday. On Cartoon Network, DStv channel 301. For more info: visit

7 sunday The Big Brag Dog Picnic Teams of dogs, all dressed up for the occasion, are being led by their human support staff in a parade before making their way to the Smuts House Museum for a picnic. Time: 10am. Venue: Irene Village Mall, Jan Smuts Ave, Irene. Cost: free for spectators. Contact Sabine: 012 460 7722 or

Venue: Wanderers Club, Illovo. Cost: R295. Contact Debbie: 031 262 4962, bookings@ or visit Our spring skies Astronomer Vincent Nettmann introduces you to basic astronomy. Booking essential. Time: 5pm. Venue: Tumulus Deck, Maropeng, on the R400. Cost: adults R190, children R90. Contact: 014 577 9000, childmag@ or visit The Num-Num Fun Run A run through indigenous forests with some technical challenges. No children under 12. Time: 8am. Venue: The Num-Num Trail, Pongola Express Camp, Machadodorp, Mpumalanga. Cost: R75. Contact Donna: 072 889 9284, or visit


October 2012

art, culture and science First Lego League regional finals Teams of up to 10 children register and take part in the first Lego League, which consists of programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field. For children 6–16 years old. 27 October. Time: 9am–4pm. Venue: ZK Matthews Great Hall, UNISA, Muckleneuk. Cost: free entry. Contact: 012 429 4917, visit or visit

classes, talks and workshops

National Bandana Day Buy a bandana and join The Sunflower Fund in raising awareness of the increased need for bone marrow stem cell donors. You can register to be a donor with the South African Bone Marrow Registry. Venue: available from Pick n Pay. Cost: R20 per bandana. Contact: 0800 121 082 or visit

Global Handwashing Day This day sets out to raise awareness and encourages everyone to wash hands regularly with soap to prevent unnecessary illness. For more info: visit Olympia A school play based on the Olympics theme. Ends 18 October. Time: 6:30pm. Venue: Laerskool Queenswood, Kirkby St, Queenswood. Cost: R30. Contact: 012 333 0252/55 or visit

Anger with a Capital D This workshop helps children to deal with anger. Booking essential. 22 October. Time: 9am–3pm. Venue: The Pretoria East Life Studio, 319 Acornhoek St, Faerie Glen. Cost: R600. Contact Michelle: 079 162 6465 or Going Green with Zeal Children interact with different kinds of animals and learn about growing trees and plants, and taking care of pets. For children 5–18 years old. 1 October. Time: 9am–3:30pm. Venue: Centurion Life Studio. Cost: R800. Contact Christa: 083 304 0303, christa@equalzeal. com or visit

13 saturday

27 saturday

family outings

PediaSure Toddler Sense Seminar Enjoy a morning with toddler expert sister Ann Richardson, and her guest speakers, as they impart their wisdom of the toddler years and help you to understand what makes your toddler tick. Time: 8am–1pm.

FOTR train trip to Cullinan A nostalgic trip to the old mining town of Cullinan where you can visit craft shops and museums, lunch at a restaurant or bring your own food and have a braai. Time: 8:30am. Venue: Hermanstad Railway Station, 152 Miechaelson St. Cost: adults R175, teenagers R125, children R100, children under 7 years R75. Contact: 012 767 7913, or visit

Brunch cruise for bikes Test your motorbike on the Zwartkops race track and get advice from the instructors. Jackets and helmets are compulsory. 7 October. Time: 7:30am. Venue: Zwartkops Race Way, off the R55, Pretoria West. Cost: R380 per driver, R60 to ride pillion. Contact: 012 384 2291/99 or visit Harties Cableway is back There is a children’s play area as well as braai and picnic facilities. Operations are weather dependent. Time: 9am–4pm. Venue: plot 3, Melodie, Agricultural Holdings, Hartbeespoort. Cost: adults R120, children R60. Contact: 072 241 2654 or visit Irene Dairy Farm Buy a picnic hamper from the farm shop, or mix and match your own, and enjoy a relaxing afternoon on the lawns. Time: 8am–6pm, daily. Venue: Irene Dairy Farm, Nellmapius Dr, Centurion. Cost: varies. Contact: 012 667 4822 or visit

12 friday

15 monday

28 sunday

27 October – FOTR train trip to Cullinan


Sunday picnic in the park Bring your own picnic basket and enjoy the day outdoors with live entertainment, pedal boats, mountain bike trails, a supersize jungle gym and a mini town. Time: 8am–5pm. Venue: Cedar Junction, plot 404, Lynnwood Ave, Wapadrand. Cost: adults R25, children R15. Contact: 012 811 1183, jicon@absamail. or visit

magazine pretoria

finding nature and outdoor play Amazing reptiles Children discover the characteristics and adaptations of the reptiles. Booking essential. For children from Grades R–3. 5 October. Time: 8am–4pm. Venue: National Zoological Gardens, 232 Boom St, Pretoria. Cost: R70. Contact Karabo: 012 328 3265, karabo@ or visit Bester Birds and Animals Zoo Park Touch and feed the farmyard animals and see a wide range of exotic birds and animals. Time: 9am–5pm, Tuesday– Sunday. Venue: 44 Simon Vermooten Rd, Willowglen. Cost: adults R30, pensioners and children R25. Contact: 012 807 2574 or visit Elephant Sanctuary Guided tours give you the opportunity to touch and feed elephants in an indigenous environment. Time: 8am–4pm, Monday–Saturday. Venue: R512, Hartbeespoort. Cost: adults R425–R525, children R215–R250. Contact: 012 528 0423, elephantsanctuary@mweb. or visit Meet the birds Children learn about the characteristics of birds with emphasis on their external features. They will also build a bird feeder. Booking essential. 4 October: Grades R–3; 2 October: Grades 4–7. Time: 8am–4pm. Venue: National Zoological Gardens, 232 Boom St, Pretoria. Cost: R70. Contact Karabo: 012 328 3265, karabo@ or visit Meet the mammals Learners explore the feeding habits and features that make mammals unique. Booking essential. For children from Grades R–3. 1 October. Time: 8am–4pm. Venue: National Zoological Gardens, 232 Boom St, Pretoria. Cost: R70. Contact Karabo: 012 328 3265, karabo@ or visit Monkey tricks Learn more about primates. Find out how they communicate, their adaptations and what they like to eat. Bookings essential. For children from Grades R–3. 5 October. Time: 8am–4pm. Venue: National Zoological Gardens, 232 Boom St, Pretoria. Cost: R70. Contact: 012 328 3265, or visit Scavenger hunt Explore, investigate and collect data from the different species of animals around the zoo. Booking essential. For children from Grades 4–7.

magazine pretoria

3 October. Time: 8am–4pm. Venue: National Zoological Gardens, 232 Boom St, Pretoria. Cost: R70. Contact: 012 328 3265, or visit Sleepover pony camp Go on outrides, clean stables, groom ponies and enjoy fun activities. Booking essential. For children 5 years and older. 14 and 19 October. Time: 7:30am–5:30pm. Venue: Mazz Vaulting and Riding Club, 150 Tulip Rd, Mnandi Agricultural Holdings. Cost: R1 600, all inclusive. Contact Fernanda: 083 602 2713, or visit The world of reptiles Learn more about snake behaviour and other reptiles during a snake demonstration. Booking essential. For children from Grade 4–7. 1 October. Time: 8am–4pm. Venue: National Zoological Gardens, 232 Boom St, Pretoria. Cost: R70. Contact Karabo: 012 328 3265, or visit

holiday programmes Children’s diabetes camp Children are treated to a weekend filled with activities, such as an obstacle course, swimming, campfires and games. The camp is well supervised with a full medical team. For children 5–16 years old. 12–14 October. Venue: Altelekker Resort, Centurion. Cost: free. Contact Louise: 012 667 4895, 082 451 0706 or Holiday golf school The programme caters to novices and advanced players, and covers everything from etiquette to the rules of the game. Children must bring their own equipment. Space is limited. For children 7–13 years old. 1 and 2; 4 and 5 October. Time: 7:30am–3pm. Venue: Midstream Range and Golf Course, Midstream Estates. Cost: half-day R350, full-day R550, two-day programme R800. Contact Patrick or Christo: 082 992 1314, 082 536 3354, or visit Pony camp Booking essential. For children from 4 years old. 1–5 October. Time: 9am–1pm for children 4–10 years; 9am–5pm for children 11 years and older. Venue: Capriole Stables, Everfair Rd, Randjesfontein Country Estate, Midrand. Cost: half-day R150, full-day R220. Contact: 082 573 4797, or visit

markets Hazel Food Market More than 60 stalls offering traditional South African dishes and food from other countries. Time: 8am–2pm, every Saturday. Venue: Greenlyn Village Centre, cnr Thomas Edison St and Mackenzie St, Menlo Park. Cost: free entry. Contact Retha: 083 554 5636 or visit Morning Market The Princess Christian Home’s annual market brings together fun, food and non-food stalls. The program includes a fancy dress competition and puppet show, as well as a performance by the 2nd Life Band. 13 October. Time: 7:30am–12pm. Venue: Princess Christian Home, 120 Middel St, New Muckleneuk. Cost: free entry. Contact: 012 460 2221, or visit

on stage and screen Ben 10: Omniverse premieres 6 October. Time: 9am, thereafter episodes screen at 9am and 2:50pm, every Saturday; 4pm, every Monday. On Cartoon Network, DStv channel 301. For more info: visit Doc McStuffins premiere Follow the adventures of six-year-old Doc McStuffins who runs a clinic for her toys. 29 October. Time: 9:35am on Disney Junior, channel 309 on DStv. For more info: visit Family Movie Week Catch all three Lion King movies, and Twitches and Twitches Too on Friday. 22–26 October. Time: 5pm and 8:50pm on Disney Channel, channel 303 on DStv. For more info: visit Goggas on Stage This musical follows a picnic ant as he travels through Joburg helping a British butterfly that has lost her way. 10 September–13 October. Time: 9am and 10:30am, Tuesday–Friday during the school term; 10:30am and 2:30pm, Tuesday– Saturday during the school holidays. Venue: National Children’s Theatre, 3 Junction Ave, Parktown, Joburg. Cost: adults R100, children R80. Contact: 011 484 1584, bookings@ or visit SA Dance Grand Prix Groups are competing in dance and modelling to represent SA in the Italian Dance Grand Prix. 5–6 October. Time: 6pm. Venue: Atterbury Theatre, 4 Daventry St, Lynnwood. Cost: adults R120, children R60. Contact: 012 471 1700 or visit

4 October – Meet the birds

playtime and story time Go Green @ Duncan Yard They have created a new natural play park to cater for children to explore and play. Launching 5 October. Time: 12pm–5pm, daily. Venue: Duncan Yard, cnr Jan Shoba St and Prospect St, Hatfield. Cost: free. Contact: or visit Landi Smile’s workshops The supervised mobile playground and creative workshops keep children occupied while you wander between the market’s stalls. 13 and 27 October. Time: 9am–2pm. Venue: Irene Market, Smuts House Museum, Jan Smuts Ave, Irene. Cost: R50–R80. Contact Yolandi: 084 221 5122 or visit

sport and physical activities Dash around the zoo Enjoy a fun and relaxing 5km walk inside the zoo. 20 October. Time: 6am. Venue: National Zoological Gardens, 232 Boom St, Pretoria CBD. Cost: adults R40, children R25. Contact Lettie: 012 323 0294 or info@

only for parents classes, talks and workshops Cooking for tots and teens Learn recipes, cooking methods, hygiene, feeding tips and more. 30 October. Time: 9am–1pm. Venue: Educare, 576 Gouda St, Elardus Park. Cost: R450. Contact: 082 951 8129, info@t4u. or visit Dealing with discipline Raise a wellbehaved child. Bookings essential. 6 October. Time: 9am–11:30am. Venue: Rosewood School, 9 Panorama Rd, Rooihuiskraal, Centurion. Cost: R220. Contact Nicci: 012 661 0261 or 071 832 0854

October 2012


calendar Drawing and painting classes This sixweek course teaches you useful techniques. Booking essential. 6 October. Time: 9:30am–11:30am. Venue: Soul Space, 78 Murray St, Brooklyn. Cost: R1 800, includes materials. Contact: 074 118 9184, myspace@ or visit Growing a summer garden Learn from gardening guru, Margaret Roberts. Booking essential. 6 October. Time: 12pm. Venue: The Margaret Roberts Herbal Centre, on the R513 near Zilkaatsnek. Cost: R100. Contact: 012 504 2121, margaretroberts@ or visit Learn to sign This basic sign language training covers workshops one and two. Booking essential. 6 October. Time: 8:30am–3:30pm. Venue: Pretoria. Cost: R350–R700, excludes refreshments. Contact Monita: 082 218 7339, contact@tinyhandz. or visit Montessori teacher training An information session for those wishing to register for the 2013 training programme. 20 October. Time: 8:30am–10am. Venue: The Montessori Academy, plot 84, Zwavelpoort, Pretoria East. Cost: free. Contact: 082 900 3192, or visit Save-a-Child first-aid course You must be able to read and write in English and do basic maths. 20 and 24 October. Time: 9am–1pm. Venue: Educare, 576 Gouda St, Elarduspark. Cost: R450 per individual, R800 per couple. Contact: 082 951 8129, or visit The Gift of Dyslexia A workshop and lecture introducing you to the basic theories, principles and applications of the procedures described in Ron Davis’ book The Gift of Dyslexia. Workshop 3–6 October; lectures 4 and 7 October. Time: workshop: 9am–4pm, Wednesday–Saturday; lectures: 6pm–9pm, Thursday and 2pm–5pm, Sunday. Venue: workshop 3–6 October and lecture 4 October: Maragon School, cnr Peter Rd and Van Dalen Rd, Ruimsig; lecture 7 October: Crossroads School, cnr 2nd Ave and 13th St, Victory Park. Cost: fourday workshop R5 000; lecture R50. Contact Axel: 021 783 2722, axel@gifteddyslexic. com or visit

on stage and screen Ballet Gala and Nutcracker The performance is divided into a selection of classical extracts and an abridged version of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. 10, 12 and 14 October. Time: 8pm, Wednesday and Friday; 3pm, Sunday. Venue: Brooklyn

13 October – Rosewood Primary open day


October 2012

Theatre, Greenlyn Village Centre, cnr Thomas Edison Rd and 13th St, Menlo Park. Cost: R80–R200. Contact: 012 460 6033 or visit Magic of the Musicals The talented members of the BTE VO1SS group are bringing the nostalgic memories of musicals to the stage. For children 4 years and older. 28 October. Time: 11am. Venue: Drama Theatre, The South African State Theatre, 320 Pretorius St. Cost: R80. Contact Madeleen: 012 322 7944 or Stand Up Chameleon With Barry Hilton. 3 October. Time: 8pm. Venue: Atterbury Theatre, 4 Daventry St, cnr Lynnwood Rd and Daventry St, Lynnwood. Cost: R175– R200. Contact: 012 471 1700 or visit

out and about A day of golf The fundraising event is in aid of the Pretoria East Primary School. Booking essential. 12 October. Time: 10am. Venue: Wingate Park Golf Course, Norval St, Moreleta Park. Cost: R1 700 per four-ball. Contact Marinda: 012 362 1335, ontvangs@ or visit Autism: practical solutions conference For individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and practitioners. The conference looks at schooling options, health, diet and more. 18–19 October. Time: 8am–4pm. Venue: Olympus Stream Conference Centre, 47 Neptune Rd, Olympus, Pretoria East. Cost: R1 500. Contact Anna: 012 993 4628 or visit Corobrik National Ceramics Exhibition The best work of ceramic artists, potters and sculptors from all regions of South Africa are being judged by a selected panel. 9–21 October. Time: 10am–5pm. Venue: Pretoria Art Museum, cnr Francis Baard St and Wessels St, Arcadia. Cost: adults R20, pensioners R10, children R5. Contact: 012 344 1807, or visit Flatlands by Marc Shoul This exhibition documents the people who have migrated to Joburg’s inner city in search of “gold”. 11 October–25 November. Time: 10am–5pm, Tuesday–Sunday. Venue: Pretoria Art Museum, cnr Francis Baard St and Wessels St, Arcadia. Cost: adults R20, pensioners R10, children R5. Contact: 012 344 1807 or visit Max Stibbe Waldorf School open day An opportunity for children and parents to meet the teachers and tour the facilities. For children 4 years and older. 20 October. Time: 9am–11am. Venue: R964 Avondzon, off the N4 East exit 18, Boschkop. Cost: free. Contact Thea or Linda: 012 802 1175, or visit Pick n Pay Women’s Walk This walk is to raise funds for the Cansa Pink Drive, which aims to educate and create awareness. 27 October. Time: 10am. Venue: Pretoria. Cost: adults R30, children under 18 years R15. Contact: 012 661 6813, info@ or visit pages/info/womenswalk.aspx Rosewood Primary open day Parents wishing to enrol their children for 2013 are welcome to meet the teachers and learn more about their approach to education.

For preschool and primary school learners. 13 October. Time: 9am–12pm. Venue: Rosewood School, 9 Panorama Rd, Rooihuiskraal, Centurion. Cost: free. Contact: 012 661 0261 or 071 832 0854 Saryna Kiddi Care open day There are a variety of educational exhibitors and stalls, as well as occupational, speech and physiotherapists to consult. For children 0–6 years old. 27 October. Time: 9am–12pm. Venue: 248 Gouws St, Raslouw, Centurion. Cost: free. Contact Salome: 012 666 8493, 076 849 6655 or visit Soul Mates book club Read and discuss this month’s book over dinner with likeminded people. 30 October. Time: 6:30pm. Venue: Soul Space, 78 Murray St, Brooklyn. Cost: R350, includes your monthly book and dinner. Contact: 074 118 9184, 083 400 5545 or visit Swartkrans walking tour Enjoy a privileged look at a working paleontological dig with scientist Morris Sutton and enjoy a light lunch afterwards. Booking essential. 20 October. Time: 9am. Venue: Sterkfontein Caves, Cradle of Humankind. Cost: R350. Contact: 014 577 9000, childmag@ or visit

bump, baby & Tot in tow

classes, talks and workshops Basic childcare course This practical course covers all aspects of your baby’s daily care, health and safety for the first year of their life. You must be able to read and write English. Bookings essential. 23 October. Time: 9am–1pm. Venue: Educare, 576 Gouda St, Elarduspark. Cost: R450. Contact Claudette: 082 951 8129, info@ or visit Developmental stimulation course A practical and fun course that uses easy-to-apply principles to equip you with skills to boost your child’s development. Booking essential. 25 October. Time: 9am–1pm. Venue: Educare, 576 Gouda St, Elarduspark. Cost: R450. Contact Claudette: 082 951 8129, or visit

playtime and story time Jingle Jangle Tea Garden and Nursery They keep your little ones entertained with pony rides, quad bikes, a jungle gym and trampolines. Time: 8:30am–5pm, daily. Venue: Wekker St, plot 54, Kimiad Estate, Moreleta Park. Cost: varies. Contact: 012 997 0134, or visit Safari Garden Centre A large jungle gym and marmoset monkeys, potbellied pigs, dwarf mountain goats, rabbits and other animals. Time: 9am–4pm, daily. Venue: Lynnwood Rd, off Lynnwood Rd off-ramp (off the N1). Cost: free entry. Contact: 012 807 0009 or visit

28 October – Magic of the Musicals

support groups Aware Bears A support group for children with cerebral palsy. Parents can request a one week visit from Helen, a lovable teddy bear who also has cerebral palsy and offers encouragement and support. Contact Lesley: Cherish Life An informative and inspirational morning with the Reach for Recovery breast cancer support group. 13 October. Time: 9:30am. Venue: Atterbury Theatre, 4 Daventry St, cnr Lynnwood Rd and Daventry St, Lynnwood. Cost: R130. Contact: 012 471 1700, 072 172 3133 or visit Down Syndrome Association Offers support for adults and children with Down’s Syndrome through early intervention, advice in schooling, and the Jeans and Tekkies Teenage Club – a social club for young adults to gain social independence. Contact Ancella: 012 664 8928 (7:30am–2:30pm, Monday–Friday), or visit

how to help Nappy Drive You can help children with bowel and urinary incontinence due to disabilities by donating packs of nappies at Alpha Pharm pharmacies across the country. Monetary donations are also welcome. Contact: 011 452 2774, danie@ or visit Pathways Recycling Project Donate used paper, cardboard boxes, newspapers, empty (washed) tins and cans, empty egg holders and more. Through your donations they’re able to make educational material and create employment. This is an NPO that caters for children with disabilities. Contact: 082 866 7112, or visit Register for Santa Shoebox Project 2012 Let your children choose, fill, decorate and label the gift boxes. Register online with easy step-by-step procedures and guides. The shoeboxes are to be dropped off 24–31 October. Time: dropoffs from 7am. Venue: varies, visit their website for a location near you. Cost: free to register. Contact: info@santashoebox. or visit

don’t miss out! For a free listing, email your event to or fax it to 011 234 4971. Information must be received by 3 October 2012 for the November issue, and must include all relevant details. No guarantee can be given that it will be published. To post an event online, visit

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it’s party time For more help planning your child’s party visit resources/birthday-parties

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October 2012


finishing touch

double trouble Having two small children, under the age of two, is not for the faint-hearted.


Erin, Anél and Conor

veryone said that having a second child, just 16 months after the first, would be easy. We were told that, as we were already on nappy and bottle duty, adding a few more for the new baby would be a cinch. Well, “they” lied. Or, at the very least, they fudged a few details. It is, in fact, a massive balancing act. It now takes us at least 45 minutes to get ready for a one-hour outing. Packing for two little people who may need milk, wet wipes, nappies and extra clothing, probably at the same time, is no mean feat. Then there’s the dilemma of who to attend to when they cry simultaneously. And believe me, cry simultaneously they will. Never mind a yawn being contagious – nothing spreads faster between siblings than a frustrated cry. If I do manage to get Conor to sleep, you can bet your Lotto ticket that Erin will drop all 17 of her crayons on the tiled floor. Then

she will start crying, because she has “made mess”. And within minutes, Conor is wailing in unison, and Mom “is mess”. To mix things up a bit, I recently came back to work, so now I have just 120 minutes in the evening to bath, feed and bed them. I hang my head in shame to admit this, but there are days when I have to say, “Food or bath?” There just isn’t time to do both, and they have to eat. I reckon a few nights with just a quick wipe of the face cloth won’t do irreparable harm. One thing that has rung true, however, is our relaxed attitude the second-time around. Perhaps a bit too relaxed… A few weeks after Conor was born we ventured out, all four of us. Everything went swimmingly. I packed enough nappies and Conor slept most of the time. When we came home, we settled down on the couch to catch up on some screen time. Suddenly Craig leapt up. “Where’s Conor?”

So accustomed to our three-person routine, we had forgotten to bring Conor in from the car. Fortunately, we realised he was missing after only a few minutes, and he slept through the whole ordeal. But it left us pretty shaken. Now we are each responsible for a child when we go out, to make sure that all heads are accounted for at all times. On the up side, I’m developing toned arms, that will soon rival those of Michelle Obama, from lifting and carrying both babies at the same time. And, I’m told, they will soon be able to entertain each other. Let’s just hope the ubiquitous “they” got that part right. I’m looking forward to the day when the children have their own buddy system in place, just in case someone gets left out again. Anél Lewis is Child magazine’s features editor. She’s realising that parenting is not an exact science, and that finding the balance is an impossible task. Also follow her on Twitter: @ChildMagParent

family marketplace


October 2012

magazine pretoria


ANÉL LEWIS admits that sometimes, someone gets left out.

Child Magazine | Pretoria October 2012  

Pretoria's best guide for parents

Child Magazine | Pretoria October 2012  

Pretoria's best guide for parents