P r e t o r i aâ€™ s
b e s t
g u i d e
f o r
pa r e n t s
how to bully-proof your child eye spy
creating play spaces
seeing to vision problems early on
in your home
Welcome to our ‘dealing with difference’ issue Each month a pile of parenting-related books lands on my desk. It started with the launch of our first issue, nearly 12 years ago, and every month the pile grows. Parenting is big business and experts offering pearls of wisdom are not in short supply. We are a captive, never saturated and certainly not satisfied market. But every now and then a gem comes along. This month two books arrived in unassuming brown packaging, both written by psychologist Madeline Levine – Teach Your Children Well and The Price of Privilege. Although North American, her findings are no less relevant in South Africa. She asks: “Why are the most advantaged kids in this country running into unprecedented levels of mental illness and emotional distress? Is there something about such factors as privilege, high levels of parental income, education, involvement and expectations that can combine to have a toxic rather than the expected protective effect on children?” It sounds absurd, especially when we consider the poor state of care and education provided to the majority of South Africa’s children, that it is the children of privilege who often struggle to grow into autonomous, moral and capable teenagers. Perhaps it is time that parents tuned into their own psychological issues and happiness – or lack thereof. Perhaps we are too focused on parenting great children instead of working on being great parents – and that’s where “the difference” lies. I can’t promise that these two books will offer you all the answers, but I think they will make you consider how you parent, how you teach and how you lead by example. And I think this will make all the difference in our children’s lives.
Lisa Mc Namara Publisher
Hunter House P UB L IS H ING
Publisher Lisa Mc Namara • firstname.lastname@example.org
Editorial Managing Editor Marina Zietsman • email@example.com Features Editor Marc de Chazal • firstname.lastname@example.org Resource Editor Simone Jeffery • email@example.com Editorial Assistant Lucille Kemp • firstname.lastname@example.org Copy Editor Debbie Hathway
Child magazine Online
childmag.co.za Online Content Manager Marc de Chazal • email@example.com
South Africa’s best guide for parents
to advertise Tel: 011 807 6449 • Fax: 011 234 4971 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: childmag.co.za
Art Designers Candice Acheson • email@example.com Mark Vincer • firstname.lastname@example.org Louise Topping • email@example.com
Advertising Lisa Mc Namara • firstname.lastname@example.org
PUBLISHER’S PHOTOGRAPH: Brooke Fasani
Kirsten Theron • email@example.com
Subscriptions and Circulation Nicolene Baldy • firstname.lastname@example.org
Accounts Nicolene Baldy • email@example.com Tel: 021 465 6093 • Fax: 021 462 2680
monthly circulation Joburg’s Child magazineTM Cape Town’s Child magazineTM Durban’s Child magazineTM Pretoria’s Child magazineTM
55 47 40 40
458 737 239 239
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Free requested Apr 15 - Jun 15
14 3 a note from lisa
5 over to you readers respond
6 dealing with difference – eye spy children may resist wearing
features 10 talking adoption telling your child he’s adopted is daunting for most parents. Glynis Horning finds out how to best go about it
12 bully-proofing your child children should be equipped to deal with bullies. Jocelyn Warrington gives advice
14 on the farm want to get your city child into the countryside? Marc de Chazal looks at farm stays
16 the homeschool option Helena Kingwill speaks to parents who have taken this route
18 show me your moves Lucille Kemp explores the merits of dancing, skateboarding and surfing
27 local goodness in their book Market Food, Dianne Stewart and Jessica Cairns share recipes from the top markets around the country
glasses, but Tamlyn Vincent says a positive attitude is vital
8 pregnancy news – under pressure Marina Zietsman looks at high blood pressure during pregnancy
9 best for baby – why is my child so angry? when are your toddler’s tantrums normal, and when should you seek help? Samantha Page finds out
19 resource – space to play Child magazine gives suggestions on how to create the perfect play area for different age groups
22 a good read for the whole family 23 what’s on in october 26 finishing touch Anél Lewis’ home has been taken over by pets, but the smiles on her children’s faces makes it bearable
7 body positive Anél Lewis looks
25 family marketplace
at ways to instil a healthy body image in your child
26 it’s party time
this month’s cover images are supplied by:
Ackermans Club ackermans.co.za
Rentia Smith Photography rentiasmith.com
Orbis Africa 123rf.com
Megan Hancock Photography meganhancockphotography.co.za
over to you inspirational read I am a mother of two and an avid fan of Child magazine. I can honestly say that this magazine has helped me in all aspects of parenting, since I picked up my first copy when I first dropped off my now four year old for her first day at nursery school when she was only six months old. I have made sure to collect a copy ever since. This is a spectacular magazine, and I’m not exactly sure why we get it free of charge. Felicity Dire
I enjoyed reading Anel’s column, “morning mayhem” (August 2015). It was a laugh-out-loud read and caused déjà vu. It reminded me of my manic mornings with my four-year-old twin girls, and it reminded me that I’m not alone. Heradene Hugo I love the pub’s note, “yuck! that’s gross, let’s do it again!” (September 2015). As a mom of an active three year old, I
Follow us on twitter.com/ChildMag, facebook.com/childmag.co.za and pinterest.com/childmagazine
Let us know what’s on your mind. Send your letters or comments to email@example.com or PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010.
have to keep reminding myself that it’s okay for her to be dirty and wear dirty clothes at times, and that it doesn’t matter if other parents judge me. My parents encouraged us to play outside and get dirty, even if it meant loads of washing. I have to say, though, that I especially love the ice cream and milk moustaches – it makes me feel like my little one is still a baby and not the walking, talking little girl that she’s become. Thanks for a great mag. Ev
online comments Wow! The article “positively single” is an eye-opener. For now I am just concentrating on me and doing a lot of activities with my daughter. Sometimes the pain comes back, but reading articles with messages like this will help me to move on and look at the positive side of life. I loved the message and thank you for the tips. Anonymous Thank you for the informative and inspiring article “green is the new black”. We have an eco school in Pringle Bay, Western Cape, called Pringle House, which is parent and
community driven. It is very inspiring for us, the parents, to be involved with our children as we work towards a greener future. We truly hope you inspired more parents to choose an eco school to make a difference. Thanks. Ellen Oerlemans I read the article “words don’t come easy”. My daughter is three-and-a-half years old. She is not talking, but can ask for basic things such as help to go to the toilet. When you talk to her she doesn’t even listen; she starts playing. When watching cartoons, she can sing along or repeat what she heard. There are days when she will say “hello” and “goodbye”. Sometimes if you greet her she will just smile. I’m planning to consult a paediatrician to rule out any disease, and then move to speech therapy. Anonymous subscribe to our newsletter and win Our wins have moved online. Please subscribe to our newsletter and enter our weekly competitions. To subscribe, visit childmag.co.za
We reserve the right to edit and shorten submitted letters. The opinions reflected here are those of our readers and are not necessarily held by Hunter House Publishing.
Post a comment online at childmag.co.za
dealing with difference
Catching and treating vision problems early is important, but so is encouraging children to wear their glasses when
ost of a child’s early learning is visual, so their development depends on the ability to see. But children can experience a variety of sight disorders, and sometimes may not even know they have a problem. Decreased vision commonly occurs because of refractive errors, which happen when the eye can’t focus light correctly, says Taryn Fletcher, an ophthalmologist in Joburg. Children are born far-sighted, says Fletcher, and develop normal vision as they grow. But some become short-sighted, often complaining that they can’t see the board. Another condition is amblyopia, or lazy eye. If one eye is blurry, or weaker than the other, the brain ignores the image from the weak eye. Children may prefer using one eye, can’t follow objects with the weaker eye, or don’t want the strong eye covered. A squint, or strabismus, is an inward or outward turning of the eye, says Fletcher, caused by reduced vision or an imbalance of the eye’s muscle strength. Cataracts and glaucoma can also occur in children, says Helen White from Orbis Africa, a non-profit organisation committed to saving sight in Africa. A cataract is a clouding of the lens, and shows up as a white spot on the pupil, while glaucoma is an increase in internal eye pressure.
Tumours are rare, but can happen; they may show up as a white spot, so can be mistaken for a cataract.
see to it
Detecting vision problems early is one thing; getting
Catching vision problems early is essential. Left to themselves, these conditions can worsen and cause permanent damage. Paediatricians can pick up problems early, or children can see an optometrist or ophthalmologist for vision and eye testing. This can be done on pre-verbal children and those who can’t yet read by checking focus or using pictures, notes Fletcher. Children should have a vision screening by the time they’re three years old. Teachers also play a role in early identification, as they’re often in the best position to notice problems, says White. Some common signs to look out for, says Fletcher, include red eyes, a white spot on the pupil, watering eyes, bulging eyes, a droopy lid, eye rubbing, or the presence of pus. Once eye problems have been picked up, they can usually be treated with glasses, contact lenses, or lenses implanted in the eye in patients with very high refractive errors. Fletcher says contact lenses are better for very young children, or those that can follow instructions well. Patching or dilating drops can be used to treat amblyopia. Surgery may be required for some conditions.
children to comply with the treatment is another. Helen White says many children don’t wear glasses as they’re afraid of being bullied or looking different. Some don’t know how important it is to wear their glasses. It’s up to parents and teachers to ensure children follow through with their treatment, says White. Parents need to tell teachers that their child requires glasses, and when they should wear them, while teachers can ensure no one laughs at a child who has to wear glasses. Parents can engage children in fun activities that require them to wear glasses, such as reading a book, until the child gets used to the prescription.
Download the Orbis Africa checklist to help you monitor your child’s eye health: childmag. co.za/downloads
PHOTOGRAPH: 123rf.com for Orbis Africa
they need to. By TAMLYN VINCENT
positive Comparison is a natural part of any child’s development, but what happens when it leads to a negative body image? ANÉL LEWIS looks at ways to encourage children to develop a healthy relationship with their changing bodies.
n an age where selfies and social media set the tone for so much of our interaction with others, it’s not surprising that children are becoming more conscious of how they look. But what is alarming is that psychologists say they are treating children as young as nine for body dysmorphic disorders and other conditions related to their body image. Gauteng-based child psychiatrist Wendy Duncan says children’s development from the outset is intrinsically linked to their physical, as well as emotional and social growth. Children will compare themselves to others and physical development is prized. “It’s the same for boys and girls. Our relationship with our bodies starts early.” But what is causing boys and girls of all races and cultures to develop a negative, and possibly even destructive, relationship with their body?
Joburg-based clinical psychologist Liane Lurie says children will intuitively model much of their behaviour on that of their primary caregivers, or the person they most identify with, depending on their developmental stage. If a mother restricts her own food intake, or avoids certain foods, the child may do the same or even the opposite, she says.
beyond the home Duncan says there are “points of vulnerability” in a child’s development when they could be more prone to developing a negative body image. These include the transition from preschool to primary school and again in the pre-pubescent or tween stage when hormonal changes, including weight gain or a growth spurt, make children more aware of their bodies.
from the start Duncan says the language a child hears at home plays a significant role in how they perceive themselves and others. If they hear people being referred to as fat or tall, it could impact how they see themselves. When I was about nine or 10 years old, someone told me I was too fat to do ballet. I was crushed. I had always been a chubby child, but that was the first time that I connected my size with my ability – or inability – to do something. My concern about my weight has held me back from all sorts of activities and experiences since that comment. As a gauche tween, I gave up on swimming because I could not bear the thought of being seen in a costume; and school concerts were a nightmare because inevitably I would be cast as Winniethe-Pooh and not the delicate sugar plum fairy. I don’t want my daughter to have the same hang-ups because she is worried about how she looks. Already, at the age of almost five, Erin knows that she’s taller than other girls her age. It doesn’t seem to bother her just yet. But she’s aware that it’s a physical trait that sets her apart from some of her peers. Cape Town mother Glenda Eberlein says she makes a point of not using the words “fat” or “thin”, or even “diet”, around her three-year-old daughter, Alyssa. As someone who has grappled with her weight since she was a child, Glenda admits she is “totally paranoid and neurotic” about Alyssa’s weight. Although Alyssa is perfectly in proportion, she is big built and tall for her age, so she weighs more than other children, says Glenda. Duncan says a parent’s perception of their own body image is critical in the development of the child’s body. “We almost never see a child with early body dysmorphic disorder where the parent did not also have a preoccupation with her body or self-image,” she says. magazine pretoria
Psychologists say they are treating children as young as nine for body dysmorphic disorders and other conditions related to their body image. “For tweens, this is a very vulnerable period,” says Duncan. During adolescence, from the age of 13, the focus shifts to establishing one’s identity. A child’s “self-speak” is also a factor, says Duncan. An anxious child who is suddenly teased for being overweight would perhaps be more affected than a child with a stronger personality. Both Lurie and Duncan mention exposure to inappropriate media as having a negative impact on a developing child’s body image. Television programmes such as reality shows with unrealistic characters, could create a misperception around what is socially acceptable. Lurie says these mixed messages could even start in the toy box with anatomically incorrect dolls for girls, for example, that create unrealistic images for them to strive towards.
what to do “It’s important for parents to listen to what their child says about themselves,” says Duncan, and this applies to children of all ages. Although it may be instinctual to respond to negative comments by saying, “Oh, but you’re not fat”, Duncan says this could be an invalidating response. Instead, acknowledge what your child is feeling
and look for other ways of reinforcing the positive. Help children to understand that differences are okay. If your daughter complains about her curly hair, point out that it’s a lovely blonde colour too. Try and avoid comparing them with other children, adds Duncan. “It’s important for parents to remove the focus from the physical aspects and talk about other good points,” she says. Tell your daughter how much you love baking with her, instead of only telling her how pretty she is, for example. Glenda says she emphasises the “beauty in people’s hearts or their smiles” instead of their physical attributes. “I tell Alyssa every single day how much I love her and I tell her how beautiful she is and she has started saying the same to me. I try to focus on people who are different not only as in ‘fat’, but also disabled or of different races, so that she sees the world as beautiful and not thin, fat, white or black.” Lurie says children need a place where they feel safe to be “both the beautiful and awkward caterpillar”. One way of doing this is by reinforcing that their bodies are only one aspect of who they are. “Our bodies are one part of what we present to the world. Children need to be encouraged to explore other facets of their being without fears of being harshly judged.” Duncan recommends encouraging healthy eating and physical activity in the home. Go on family bike rides or hikes. But bear in mind that some children are more physical than others and allow for, and celebrate, these differences too. “As a parent or guardian you have the ability to educate your child in the world of healthy choices, realistic standards and nurturing habits,” says Lurie.
warning signs Wendy Duncan says parents should look out for: • mirror gazing or avoiding the mirror altogether. • using phrases such as “I’m so fat” or “I’m too skinny”. • spending hours in the bathroom. • wearing unnecessarily baggy clothing. • attempts to limit exposure, such as avoiding wearing a swimming costume. • cutting down on social activities where the child would have to wear a costume. • excuses to avoid physical activity or sport at school. Other signs include excessive dieting or food restriction. Lurie says even young children have become familiar with terms such as fat-free and low-carb. Excessive exercising and a refusal to eat in public should also raise the red flag.
pressure High blood pressure in pregnant
igh blood pressure, or hypertension, is defined as blood pressure higher than 140/90mm Hg (normal is 120/80mm Hg). This means your heart has to work harder to pump the blood around your body, which can affect the heart muscle. High blood pressure in pregnancy is one of the top five causes of maternal fatalities, and it needs to be monitored. Dr Manasri Naiker, an obstetrician based in Cape Town, says the exact cause of high blood pressure during pregnancy is unknown, but there are risk factors that increase your chances of developing it. “An increased body mass index (BMI), a family history of hypertension, previous pregnancy-induced hypertension, diabetes and your age [if you are younger than 16 years old and older than 35 years old] can lead to a pregnant mom developing hypertension,” says Naiker.
types of hypertension Hypertension is a big and detailed topic, but the three main types of high blood pressure that are pregnancyrelated are essential or chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension and pre-eclampsia. “Essential or chronic hypertension is basically pre-existing hypertension, which was either diagnosed or undiagnosed at the onset of pregnancy [before the 20-week gestation period],” says
women is fairly common and can be dangerous for both the mother and foetus if not treated. MARINA ZIETSMAN finds out more about this condition. Naiker. She adds that pregnant women falling into this category may or may not require treatment, depending on the severity of the hypertension, though she warns that this group has an increased risk of developing pre-eclampsia. Gestational hypertension, also known as pregnancyinduced hypertension, means you’ve developed high blood pressure after 20 weeks of pregnancy, but you don’t have key symptoms of pre-eclampsia. “This condition is less dangerous, but it may still evolve into pre-eclampsia,” says Naiker. Pre-eclampsia is when a pregnant woman develops high blood pressure and protein in the urine after the twentieth week of pregnancy. In most cases patients are hospitalised until delivery. Maternal complications of preeclampsia include liver and kidney failure, bleeding and clotting disorders, and HELLP syndrome, and it can be
fatal for the baby. If unmanaged, pre-eclampsia can also develop into a more serious condition called eclampsia.
prevention and treatment Apart from increased blood pressure and protein in the urine during pregnancy, other symptoms of pre-eclampsia include persistent headaches, blurred vision and abdominal pain. You can also have pre-eclampsia and not have any symptoms, which is why regular urine and blood pressure tests are important. Pre-eclampsia is diagnosed by quantifying the amount of protein in the urine. Urine is collected over a 24-hour period to measure the total protein present. If you do suffer from chronic hypertension, Naiker says to consult your gynaecologist or physician prior to falling pregnant. “This is to ensure that your blood pressure is controlled, that you do not have any organ dysfunction and to prescribe blood pressure medication that is safe to use during pregnancy, but you must consult your doctor,” says Naiker. The treatment of pre-eclampsia is delivery at 34 weeks, and the method of delivery depends on each patient. Naiker says in certain cases delivery might have to occur earlier if there are complications. The timing of delivery for chronic hypertension and the gestational hypertension is usually around 38–40 weeks, depending on the severity.
best for baby
why is my child so angry? Everybody has assured you that your toddler’s tantrums are age-appropriate, but what’s normal and what’s not?
of two year olds throw tantrums
SAMANTHA PAGE investigates.
iting, screaming, flailing, thrashing or a meltdown in the toy aisle are just a few of the noisy, but seemingly normal, ways in which young children, usually between the ages of two and five years old, express their dislike, dissatisfaction, frustration and anger. A sandwich cut in squares instead of triangles, the compulsive need to dress for the beach in the heart of winter or an item of clothing that is literally rubbing your tot the wrong way, are the kind of triggers that can turn your little angel into an unreasonable, freaked-out mess. “Children this age think magically, not logically,” explains Gina Mireault, a professor of psychology at Johnson State College, in Vermont. “Events that are ordinary to us are confusing and scary to them. They don’t understand that the bath drain won’t swallow them or that their uncle can’t really snatch their nose.” And if you’re not sure whether or not a simple bath will end in your demise, needless to say, you’re going to feel pretty confused and prone to anxiety – on a daily basis.
normal or problematic? As embarrassing and disturbing as these tantrums are, studies show that between 60% and 90% of two year olds throw tantrums. The frequency peaks between two-and-a-half and three years (cue the “terrible twos”), when many children have them daily. By age five, most children have stopped.
A child that is lurching from meltdown to meltdown, at odds with his parents and without friends, is not a happy child. According to Parent24, citing a new study, less than 10% of preschoolers have daily temper tantrums and most of these are linked to real, momentary frustrations the toddler experiences. “It’s very uncommon for children to throw a tantrum daily,” says Lauren Wakschlag, lead author of the study, published in the online edition of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Therefore, it’s important to make the distinction between what’s normal and concerning behaviour so that parents can more accurately identify whether their child needs professional help or if they are simply “acting their age”. “I think we intuitively know when we are dealing with normal outbursts or more problematic, aggressive behaviour,” says KZN-based counselling psychologist Dr Rob Pluke. “Normal outbursts are usually fairly easy to contain, and parent and child still feel connected through the process. These tantrums are also not that frequent, and the child would probably be able to save his meltdowns for home and with people he knows,” adds Pluke.
finger on the trigger Every child is born with his own unique way of approaching the world and it follows that this includes a distinct temperament, as individual as a set of fingerprints. “Some children – called ‘sensitive intense’ by child psychologist and author Ron Taffel – are born with magazine pretoria
intense and reactive temperaments that leave them more likely to have explosive outbursts in the face of frustration. On a more concerning level, Dr Dan Siegel, a clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA School of Medicine, says that difficulties with self-regulation underpin many childhood problems, and infants and young children who battle to self-regulate are at risk of later problems,” says Pluke. Children who struggle to self-regulate, as Siegel observed, may be diagnosed with oppositional defiance disorder, which has the following features: • The child has an angry or irritable mood. • The child is frequently argumentative and defiant. • The child is vindictive towards others. So, what can you do if your child’s behaviour is concerning? A Child magazine reader recently wrote to the letters page seeking advice after her four-year-old daughter stabbed her doll 20 to 30 times with a knife she had hidden in her bed. Livescience.com reports that this and other aggressive, destructive behaviour could indicate a predisposition to depression or other mental health issues.
anger management Dr Rob Pluke has some sound, constructive advice for parents: • Consider consulting a child expert who is well versed in managing children with behavioural difficulties. • Make sure you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to dealing with your child, whether with regards to discipline or consulting a professional for help. • It’s important for a child to understand that there are consequences to the way we act. Treating yourself or others with respect will always be vital to healthy relationships. • Very few children with self-regulation difficulties learn through punishment. Approach your child’s meltdowns as opportunities for him to learn new skills rather than just bad behaviour you need to correct through discipline. • Clinical psychologist Dr Ross Greene points out that children generally behave well, if they can. A child that is lurching from meltdown to meltdown, at odds with his parents and without friends, is not a happy child. Greene argues that children with chronic meltdowns and conflicts have “lagging cognitive skills”, normally in the area of flexibility, adaptability, frustration, tolerance and problem-solving. Instead of harsh discipline, parents should step back and look at predictable problem areas for their children so that they can begin to teach them how to stop, think through and problemsolve when they hit frustration. • Help your child to think about his feelings and behaviour by talking with you, but don’t bother when your child is in the “red zone”. In this space, your child’s skill would be to calm down so that he can start to think. Reflective conversations (where parent and child look back at an incident) can be saved for later in the day, or even some days later. This conversation can be used to problem-solve, where parent and child together work out better ways of acting or compromising in the event the situation arises again. • Teach your child that focusing on other things, even getting up and moving around, help when we are upset; even going to the bottom of the garden and back, will relieve some of the aggression and bring a measure of calm. October 2015
talking adoption Adoptive parents often agonise over telling their child they were adopted. When is the best time to have these conversations? And how should you go about it? By GLYNIS HORNING
sex parents (And Tango Makes Three or Mommy, Mamma and Me), and interracial adoption (I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla).” These conversations are best held in an intimate setting while the child is busy with an enjoyable activity, Loots says. By the time they start asking questions about having different hair or skin colour from you and others in the family, usually between ages two and three, or about where they come from, they should know about adoption. “By four or five, and certainly before they start preschool, they must know that they didn’t grow in your tummy – in fact, they must know all about adoption, but at their level.”
implies. Before six they may also not feel sufficiently secure within their adoptive family and have fears about losing them. But he believes children need to be told earlier in trans-racial adoptions, when their differences are apparent, or when they are adopted after the age of two, and will have memories of their past they may need to talk about. Durban relationship manager Mandi Arnold says her daughter Willow, eight, was two when “she came into my life through a situation in my family”. Her biological parents were unable to keep her, and Mandi, who was 38 and single, but desperate for a child, stepped in.
I’ve always told her how much I wanted her, and that she was chosen. Loots is herself the adoptive mother of a son who is now 17, and from the start prefaced her pet names for him with “adoptive”. “I always called him ‘my adoptive cutie pie’ or ‘my adoptive snookums’. He grew up totally comfortable with the term and associated it with my affection for him.”
the special choosing Adoptive father Dr Steven Nickman, a psychiatrist specialising in adoption, and the author of The Adoption Experience, believes that developmentally the ideal time to tell children they are adopted is between the ages of six and eight. It’s usually only from six, he reasons, that they can properly understand what the term means, and work through the “losses” it
“I was open with Willow from the start, explaining her tummy mommy loved her, but was unable to raise her,” she says. Two years later she applied to adopt Willow formally, and when this was finalised, she threw an adoption party for her. “We had a big celebration; my dad dedicated her and she formally changed her surname to Arnold from that day. She understood and celebrated her adoption story.” Willow’s perspective on adoption was already clear when she was four. “I asked her if she told friends she was adopted, hoping she wasn’t ashamed. She told me she hadn’t, and my heart sank. Then she added: ‘I don’t tell, because they’ll feel sad that I’m adopted and they’re not adopted.’ For Willow, adoption makes her special – I’ve always told her how
much I wanted her, and that she was chosen. I think it’s important never to communicate rejection, but always the special choosing.” When Willow started asking for a sibling, Mandi opted to adopt again. “I have a great support system with my parents living nearby, so early last year I began the application process, and in July Willow and I met the baby girl we’d been matched up with. She’d been born premature, weighing only 1,5kg, and was abandoned at birth, but we know she was meant to be ours.” The cross-racial adoption was finalised last September, and Mandi threw another adoption party for Summer: “In our house, adoption is something we celebrate. But we also don’t shy away from the tough questions.” Mandi is under no illusion that these may get tougher when the girls reach adolescence. “They’ll want to know more about their birth moms’ circumstances, and why they gave them up for adoption. I don’t believe in hiding the truth from them, so I’ll emphasise that their moms wanted them to have the happy life they couldn’t provide.”
protect their hearts As an adoptive mom, you have to put your insecurities aside and brace yourself to be part of their journey, says Mandi. “If Willow and Summer choose to find and meet their biological moms, I’ve already prepared myself to let them take the journey of understanding their full story. After all, I’m their mom in every way that counts.” Social workers strongly encourage this approach. “You need as much openness and honesty as possible, but in a gentle, age-appropriate way,” says Brenda Cooper, magazine pretoria
etitia* will never forget the day her mom sat her down for the talk. It was nearly 20 years ago, but the 33-yearold sales manager from Mitchell’s Plain remembers it like yesterday. “I’d recently started seeing boys, and she said there was something I needed to know. She loved me very much, I was her special angel, but she wasn’t my biological mom. I was shocked – not so much by what she said, but the way she said it. She said she wanted me to know so I wouldn’t wind up dating a brother or cousin. Like this was Mills and Boon or a soapie.” This is one of the worst ways for a child to find out they are adopted, say adoption specialists – fortunately it’s increasingly rare, as adoptive parents are counselled on how best to go about it by social workers at both accredited private adoption agencies and state child protection organisations such as Child Welfare. And the overwhelming message is to start telling the child as early as possible, in an age-appropriate way. “When you casually introduce the word ‘adoption’ from the outset, your child is conditioned to understand it as a positive thing, not something to be ashamed or afraid of,” says Eloise Loots, a senior social worker with Procare in Cape Town, a private agency that specialises in adoption and training. “If you wait, issues develop around it: confusion, insecurity and distrust, as they sense there’s something unspoken; that you’ve hidden something essential from them – something that’s part of their identity.” She recommends introducing adoption through age-appropriate books, videos or DVDs. “Watching something like Stuart Little together is a great opening for you to talk adoption, and there are loads of books, including some about same-
social worker for Durban transition home iThemba Lethu. When there is a dark past – rape, drugs, prostitution, HIV/Aids – and this could come out, she advises getting psychological support for them. “At 18 they can legally access their adoption files to find out more about their background and family before being adopted, but they should receive counselling first – and support if they decide to trace family. Although adoptive parents shouldn’t lie to their children, there are ways to evade giving
this naturally impacts on their sense of worth and self-esteem. Decide on the aspects of the adoption you’re going to tell your child, stick to this and remember what every child wants: to be loved consistently and securely.” Adoptive parents are often afraid the child will stop loving them if they know they have biological parents, and especially if they meet them, says Loots. “There will be times when a child says they don’t like you or want to be with you, that you
let insecurities keep you from telling a child they are adopted – if you are ashamed of not being able to have biological children, or fear the child may reject you, get counselling.
try to make your child forget their past – if they can’t talk about it, it can become an obsession and overwhelm them.
ignore cultural or ethnic differences – explore their heritage together and celebrate it.
worry about saying the wrong thing – there’s no right language or way to tell; you know your child best.
The overwhelming message is to start telling the child as early as possible, in an age-appropriate way.
make telling a big deal – if you are tense or upset, they will feel it’s something to be worried or ashamed about.
talk too much – never force the topic on them; listen, and answer questions simply, directly and briefly. “Use no more than two sentences, whatever their age,” advises Eloise Loots. “They’ll ask for more when they’ve digested that.”
unsavoury or gruesome details when they’re too young to understand or cope. Protecting a child’s heart and raising them to become emotionally strong and resilient is of paramount importance.” The sad reality in South Africa is that many adopted children come from very underprivileged or socially complex backgrounds, adds Durban clinical psychologist Ros Lowry. “I’ve found that when a child is supplied with too many unnecessary details of their abandonment,
aren’t their mom. But all children feel that way about their parents towards adolescence – it just means your child is normal. It’s like my son once told me: ‘Mom, you are my mom. I know there is another mom, but I don’t know her, so I don’t love her and miss her. If she’d kept me, I would know her and love her and miss her. She didn’t.’ “Remember, blood makes relatives, not family,” Loots concludes. “So relax.” * Name has been changed.
over share – your family, doctors and teachers need to know, but for the rest, it’s largely your child’s story to tell when they are ready.
The Add Option adoption assistance centre, created by the National Adoption Coalition of South Africa, gives information and advice: 0800 864 658 (toll-free) or adoption.org.za
bully-proofing your child From harmless rough-and-tumble to horrific acts of violence, the playground can be a battlefield. Children need to be forearmed with the knowledge of how to protect themselves.
hirteen-year-old Thandi was really happy when the most popular girls at her new school appeared to like her. She then found out that these same girls were spreading rumours about her and had even been posting nasty comments on Facebook. Thandi told her mom she didn’t want to go to school and would often spend break time in the nurse’s office, complaining of a stomach ache. Sadly, Thandi’s is just one of the many cases of bullying that counselling psychologist Jaclyn Lotter treats on a daily basis in her Kraaifontein practice. “Bullying appears to be on the rise in South Africa, although collecting truly representative data is very difficult due to the complicated nature of the phenomenon, which involves a combination of psychological, social and cognitive factors,” she reports. The first comprehensive survey on bullying in this country, the National School Violence Study of 2008, which was conducted by the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention, showed that 15,3% of primary and secondary school children had experienced some form of violence at school. The follow-up study, conducted in 2012, showed that little had changed. In a survey conducted in 2013 by digital research company Pondering Panda, 57% of high school students reported that they had been bullied. Considering that we have 2,2 million schoolgoing children in South
Africa, those percentages translate into a truly staggering number of youngsters. The reality is that bullying has always existed; however, more recently, it has extended its reach in the form of cyberbullying: when a child is tormented, threatened, harassed or embarrassed by another using the internet, interactive and digital technologies or cellphones. “The difference between cyberbullying and more traditional forms of bullying is that it can happen around the clock and doesn’t require a face-to-face encounter,” explains Lotter.
that they can handle it, or believe that the bullying will stop on its own, but by the time the victim has reached breaking point, the bully has already gained significant control.” From a psychological point of view, bullying is a relationship problem, says Cape Town-based clinical psychologist Kim Rooney. “The bully-victim dyad is a destructive and pathological relationship model for both parties. The bully is the more active party in terms of acting out a hostile sense of entitlement and perhaps cruelty, while the victim is forced into a passive, receptive role of disempowerment and
Although a parent’s first instinct is to jump in and protect their child, often this might make the child feel even less competent. “Bullying is an unfortunate part of human nature that has its origins in the Darwinian concept of ‘survival of the fittest’,” says Gail Dore, a life skills trainer and family counsellor who tackles the complex subject in Bully-Proof (Struik Lifestyle). “Being bullied is extremely hurtful to most children and continuous, unrelenting attacks will break even the most resilient child. Bullying typically begins with a few fairly innocuous attempts to get a reaction and then intensifies. At first, many children feel
often humiliation. Neither of these roles give the children involved a healthy experience of relationships,” says Rooney. As caregivers and concerned adults, we bear responsibility for the way we manage bullying and some of the difficulty comes with dichotomising the behaviours involved, asserts Rooney. “The problem with a model of ‘perpetrator and victim’ in terms of children is that labels can mediate the way peers, teachers and parents interact with the children involved, and how the
child then begins to see themselves,” she explains. “Even in the case of the bullied child, who is often blameless, the label ‘victim’ can be a harmful practice as the child may begin to accept and identify with a role of passive and receptive compliance, even at the risk of certain harm.” Lotter concurs: “Labelling children as either a ‘bully’ or a ‘victim’ can serve to render them powerless over their situation and removes their sense of both accountability, with regard to the child who is bullying, and agency of the child being bullied. It sends the message that the child’s behaviour cannot change, that a ‘bully’ has no choice but to behave aggressively towards others, and that the ‘victim’ can never learn to stand up for themselves and will always be at the mercy of others. So, instead of labelling Thandi a victim, we have focused on opportunities that empower her to adopt a new role and provide her with a sense of agency in her own life.” While Rooney maintains that there is no family system that unequivocally ‘creates’ a bully, there are factors that can play a role. “Exposure to high levels of hostile conflict that isn’t resolved in a loving way; lack of healthy role models, especially of the same gender; a home environment that feels unpredictable or emotionally unsafe; and poor levels of healthy self-esteem may create a situation
By JOCELYN WARRINGTON
where a child feels it necessary to act out against unmet needs. “Children develop the capacity for empathy and healthy relationships initially through developing an understanding that their parents and caregivers recognise both their successful attributes as well as their mistakes and difficulties,” she adds. “It is tempting to praise a child as a ‘good child’, rather than to specifically acknowledge successful, loving, effective behaviours, and to treat the child as a ‘bad child’ when their behaviours are difficult. However, children are better able to empathise with others when they themselves are able to recognise and accept less-thanperfect aspects of themselves, without that meaning that they are of lesser value or ‘bad’. This is not to say that problematic behaviour should be ignored or smoothed over. Rather, it means that problematic behaviour should be met with consistently applied consequences and not used as a way to diminish or devalue the child as a person.”
taking the bully by the horns “As difficult as this may be to accept, being bullied is your child’s problem, not yours,” says Dore. “Your role as parent is to be supportive and to help your child find their own solutions. The best way you can do this is by familiarising yourself and your child with the various techniques for dealing effectively in deflecting bullying attacks. Encourage your child to select those techniques that he or she feels most comfortable in trying out. If those techniques succeed, your child has learnt an effective method of defending themselves against a bully and has been empowered in the process.” If, however, your child has tried everything and is still not able to put a stop to it, it’s time for you to become more actively involved, though not to take over the process, advises Dore. “Encourage
your child to report the bullying to the school and, if necessary, set up a meeting with the relevant member of staff yourself. At the meeting, allow your child to do the talking, to discuss what’s been happening, along with who’s doing the bullying, where it’s taking place and who the witnesses are. Remind your child that there is a big difference between being a tattletale and honestly reporting a case of bullying. Being a tattletale is about getting someone else into trouble as a means of spiting them. Honestly reporting bullying is about putting a stop to being hurt.” Finally, says Dore, be aware that the school will need time to investigate the matter, so set up a date for a future meeting where you can get feedback on how the investigation is proceeding. “Keep talking to the school until the matter has been dealt with and, above all, keep your child involved in the process. If the adults all get together to discuss the matter and leave the child out of it, the child is likely to be even further disempowered. And never address the bully yourself, or make contact with the bully’s parents. This will almost certainly make a bad situation worse.” “As a parent, it is important to remember that if your child is a victim of bullying, it may be that they are struggling to speak up, to set healthy limits and to express their needs clearly. It could be that they are feeling devalued and that this is being exacerbated by the bullying,” adds Rooney. “Although a parent’s first instinct is to jump in and protect their child, often this might make the child feel even less competent. Of course, there are times when the bullying is so severe that a serious intervention by adults is required. Often, however, parents can offer effective support by helping their children to find creative, assertive strategies to cope and to support them in developing appropriate help-seeking behaviours, where necessary, to find ways to address the hostility and anxiety inherent in the bully-victim situation.”
the law on bullying The rights of the child to an education, and to feel safe and secure at school, are entrenched in our constitution. Bullying is therefore a violation of a child’s basic constitutional rights and schools are obliged to take action if it occurs. In
constitution, the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 states that all schools must adopt a Code of Conduct to which all learners must comply. “A Code of Conduct document should include a description of all forms of bullying, including the more subtle forms, such as ostracising, gossiping and rumour-mongering,” says Gail Dore, who is behind a successful anti-bullying campaign that is operating in various South African schools. Dore adds that, while some schools have adjusted their Code of Conduct statements to reflect their stand against bullying, many “have either not done so or couched it in terms that are ambiguous and potentially confusing”. In cases of ongoing bullying, parents do have legal recourse, says Dore, but this can be very expensive, time-consuming and emotionally exhausting, with no guarantee of victory at the end of it. “This should be seen as an absolute last resort. Obtaining an order of protection, under the Protection From Harassment Act 2011, is possible but extremely difficult to execute when school activities bring children into close contact with one another regularly. Who would police it? Teachers are not law enforcement officers and to task them with the responsibility of trying to keep one child away from another would be impossible.” In cases of intractable and unrelenting bullying, Dore says the wisest move is to place the child in another school: “Very often a fresh start, away from the bully and without the history of victimisation, can be the best thing for a child.”
resources • Kidz2Kidz runs a campaign called Cool2BeKind and is offering free, age-appropriate workshops at schools on the importance of being kind. The programme is currently available in Cape Town only, but should roll out to Joburg and KwaZulu-Natal soon. Contact: 083 460 4449 or info@ kidz2kidz.org.za • Bullying: Prevention and Intervention by Cindy Miller and Cynthia Lowen (Penguin Group)
Staying on a working farm affords city children the opportunity to experience country life and to see where their food comes from. By MARC DE CHAZAL
grew up on a farm where a rooster was the first thing I’d hear in the morning, not an alarm clock, and where clucking chickens and strutting turkeys roamed around the spacious garden that was my playground. I had a donkey named Doom and eventually a pony named Tess, who was blind in one eye, but could run like the wind. It was a wonderful place to grow up, but it was hardly glamorous. My dad worked long, sweaty hours and like every other farmer, he was at the mercy of numerous, unforgiving natural forces, such as extended droughts and runaway fires. And if that wasn’t hardship enough, a tractor seemed to break down every other day. We had to keep a wary eye out for snakes near the pool during summer and once a swarm of bees attacked and killed my mother’s chickens, ducks and turkeys, including our beloved Mr Gobble. It was wonderful, exciting, dangerous and, at times, traumatic. Then I became an adult and had a child of my own who visited the farm when she was a toddler. She fed a new generation of chickens with her grandma (fortunately, no angry bees went on the rampage), rode on a tractor with her grandpa and generally had a blast doing things she never did
in the city. She still fondly remembers those visits. Modern city children can also get a taste of working farm life, thanks to guest farms that accommodate tourists. You can find suitable working farm stays all over South Africa (see “where to stay” for a few suggestions).
why stay on a working farm? Farms that offer self-catering accommodation as well as activities your children can take part in as you see fit, are ideal for families wanting to experience farm life. There are working farms that will allow you to take part in routine operations, such as milking cows, trying your hand at ploughing, helping with the care of animal orphans, rounding up sheep or cattle, counting livestock, feeding poultry, or simply watching skilful farmhands do their thing. You can also roam parts of the property at will, take picnics in the paddocks, and there may also be additional activities on offer such as a tractor-trailer ride around parts of the farm to help feed, milk or groom the animals. Staying on a farm is an educational experience for children, who can learn
about where food like milk, eggs and meat come from. They can also observe what it’s like to live and work on the land. They can see and touch animals they may have never seen up-close before and learn how to treat them with respect. Handri Conradie, owner of Koelfontein farm in the Ceres valley, which has been farmed by his family for seven generations, agrees that a farmstay experience can be informative for city folk, but cautions us to be mindful of how brutally tough real farm life can be. “I often get the sense that farm life is romanticised by city folk,” he says. “A weekend getaway to a tourist-friendly guest farm may fool one into believing that our lives out here are idyllic, with leisurely lunches on the stoep and lazy strolls among the orchards or vineyards. A stay on a real working farm, on the other hand, has the advantage of really exposing children (and most adults) to the truth about where their food comes from.” One of the pros of staying on a working farm is that children will be able to see and interact with animals. That can also be a con if you or your children are terrified of them. It’s a great opportunity to become accustomed to animals, but keep in mind that they can bite or kick.
Your children will also get filthy. But that’s half the fun if you’re a child – just don’t dress them in their fanciest clothes or shoes. Not every farm has animals, however, so do your homework before packing up the family to go off and milk nonexistent cows.
where to stay Arolela Guest Farm Arolela is a guest farm in Caledon, which coexists with a working farm that produces wheat, barley, oats and sheep. arolela.co.za Ashtonvale Guest Farm Situated between the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg and the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, this is a working farm with three magnificent waterfalls. Young children can enjoy interacting with farm animals and learn to milk a cow. A pony ride is arranged daily for them. ashtonvaleguestfarm.co.za Cane Cutters Resort Set on a working sugar cane farm in Sheffield Beach, near Ballito, they offer numerous outdoor activities such as
This could be one of the filthiest, most exhausting holidays you’ll ever have, but it could also be the one your family remembers the most. If you’re looking for a less rustic and more luxurious farm stay, there are certainly some terrific options available.
fishing, golf and microlighting. There is an animal farm nearby. canecuttersresort.co.za Fynbos Estate Up the West Coast in the Paardeberg Mountains just outside Malmesbury, you’ll find a farm with wine-grape vineyards and olive groves. Participate in farm activities such as olive picking, winemaking or alien vegetation clearing. fynbosestate.co.za Rietvlei Holiday Farm This 600-hectare working wine, fruit and guest farm with self-catering accommodation is situated in the heart of the Little Karoo, where you can relax, experience nature, farm and bird life, mountain bike tracks and more. rietvlei.co.za Visit farmstay.co.za for more ideas.
homeschool option HELENA KINGWILL speaks to parents who are successfully homeschooling their children and looks at the challenge of university acceptance.
grew up on a farm in the Karoo, and was sent to boarding school at the age of six because that was the only option. It was a traumatic experience. On a recent trip to my home district, I visited old friends who were happily homeschooling their children. The children enjoyed an amazing lifestyle, were learning well and seemed well-adjusted socially too. Wishing to find out more about this option, I chatted with three families about their experience.
In spite of the controversy surrounding it, there has been an explosion in the homeschooling market worldwide and it is growing rapidly in South Africa. According to Carte Blanche there are over 60 000 families homeschooling in South Africa. According to the Association of Homeschoolers, 90% of all home-schooled children are not registered with the Department of Education. Registering with the department ensures that your child is on the system,
why homeschool? Choosing to be the sole provider of your child’s education is a major responsibility. One reason British couple Joanna* and Tom Finch* chose to homeschool their youngest daughter, Elizabeth* (9), is that it allows them to travel easily. “Wherever we go, we make the most of learning about the things we see,” she explains. “Many children don’t know anything beyond the area they live in,” observes Joanna, who volunteers in children’s homes and schools in impoverished areas. “Elizabeth came to us as a baby when we were volunteering in a children’s home in Joburg.” Joanna says that one of the advantages of one-on-one learning is that you don’t miss anything; you go at your own pace. “By teaching Elizabeth, I have been learning things I missed out on at school. In a class of 30 children, if you miss something the class goes on without you.” Although they are currently using the Abeka, an American homeschooling
course, which costs around R1 000 a year, the Finches plan to change to Cambridge’s International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) when Elizabeth turns 14 (the age O-levels are written), and go on to A-levels. This will open options for South African or European universities. “We are working at the same level as British schools for her age,” says Joanna, whose older children and family still live in the UK.
homeschool challenges “The most challenging thing about homeschooling is that one has to play the role of disciplinarian,” admits Joanna. “One’s own child plays up to you more than they might in a classroom. One has to be organised and strict. But the pressure on the child is less than in a school. There are no exams, so they are less stressed.” “The Cambridge course is also comprehension-based, unlike the regular regurgitation-style of learning,” explains Heather Cicatello, who runs the Valyland Education Centre in Fish Hoek where homeschoolers can be tutored for the IGCSE exams, which are taken at one of the international schools. “Universities love us because the students know how to work on their own and use study notes,” she says, adding that two of her pupils have gone on to successfully study medicine at UCT.
which keeps the door open for re-entering a government school and completing matric at a later stage. Yet, the majority of homeschoolers choose not to register. The Pestolozzi Trust, an NPO that protects the interests of homeschoolers and provides legal support, says the majority of homeschoolers are registered with them.
varsity hurdles In an attempt to find out how universities respond to homeschooling applicants, the only response was from Carol Crosley, university registrar at Wits, who said, “Homeschooling is all good and well, but to be eligible for university, they must have an external assessment by a recognised examining authority, such as the IEB or the Department of Education matric exemption, A-levels or the American SAT tests.” SATs are standardised tests used for entry into college in the USA. If applying to a South African university, the General Education Development (GED) diploma tests are also required. These assess college readiness and are the equivalent to a South African matric diploma. If applying to a South African university, the results of both must be faxed to Higher Education South Africa (HESA) and a SA matric exemption must be applied for. Homeschoolers registered with the Department of Education may choose to finish at an institution such as Abbots College, who take homeschooled learners wishing to prepare for matric exams. Shirley and Rhiaan Erwee have homeschooled their six children in Hermanus since day one. “Our oldest daughter recently completed her GED exam SATs, aged 16,” Shirley tells me. Between homeschooling her six children, Shirely has
The most challenging thing about homeschooling is that one has to play the role of disciplinarian. One’s own child plays up to you more than they might in a classroom situation. co-authored a literature-based series for South African homeschoolers, Footprints on our Land. Shirley has also written enquiry letters to most universities to find out if they accept the GED and SAT tests. “People wonder how I find the time, but they don’t realise that homeschooling is not ‘school-at-home’. It is more flexible,” says Shirley. “Once children pass the early milestones and can read, they can work through books fairly independently. The materials available these days allow the child to self-school,” she explains. “Having children of multiple ages is not a problem, as they can all learn about Ancient Egypt, for example, at the same time. Each will absorb what they can at their age.”
creative teaching styles “There are different styles of homeschooling,” says Shirley. “Some choose the more formal approach; others are more relaxed. At the other extreme is un-schooling. I am somewhere in the middle,” she says. Un-schooling is a movement that believes in trusting the child to want to learn.
The parents facilitate them by creating a stimulating environment and supporting them in choosing what they want to learn about. “When people relax and have more fun, teaching and learning is more effective,” she tells me. “Research shows 87% of homeschoolers who try to replicate school at home end up frustrated and burnt out, while the remaining 13% use a more creative approach and are having a significant impact on their communities.” Yvonne Herring, school counsellor at Constantia Waldorf believes that one of the essential aspects of school is learning to interact with others: “One parent told me that the reason they bring their children to school is not only for education, but so that they can learn to be with each other.” Socialisation is the biggest counterargument in the homeschooling debate. “If children go to extramurals, join local clubs and do team-building exercises, it’s okay,” says Cicatello, who has been tutoring homeschoolers for 13 years. There are many extramural clubs available and most schools allow homeschoolers to join them.
“When homeschooling, there is more time to do other things,” says Bulelwa Xosizana, whose son Madisane learnt computer programming after his lessons and earns a living teaching programming. “Madisane was always in trouble at school,” she tells me. “The school begged me to put him on Ritalin. When they threatened to expel him, I took him out.” Bulelwa took him to a private educational psychologist who referred him to an educational psychologist at UCT. “After an extensive assessment they concluded that he was a gifted child,” says Bulelwa, who gave up her job and committed to homeschooling him through the Cambridge IGCSE curriculum. “It was very tough in the beginning, but I am so glad I did it now.” Madisane is now, at age 18, financially self-sufficient due to his computer-programming coaching business and is completing his A-levels this year. He has also been offered a scholarship to Cambridge University in England, where they run a laboratory for homeschooled learners, which fasttracks their progress. Choosing to homeschool your child is not an easy option. It requires confidence and presence and complete commitment. Bonding at home is healthy as long as the family environment is balanced. Maintaining this state of being requires inner strength, awareness and resourcefulness. *Names have been changed.
moves Physical activity can provide an outlet that is almost therapeutic. LUCILLE KEMP explores some options that could well serve your child’s unique needs.
ape Town mom Liesl Venter was at the end of her tether – her son Rogan loved sports, until he started school, that is. Spending most of his Grade 1 year on the bench he grew despondent and within that year refused to take part in any further after-school sports. Eventually, recognising that she could no longer ignore how miserable her son was trying to fit in, Liesl stopped pushing him to play school sports. She signed Rogan up with Simon McQueen, an experienced PE teacher whose noncompetitive brand of physical play focused on bringing back the pure pleasure of exercise, which saw Rogan flourish into a fit, strong, capable and therefore happy boy within a year. You might be in the same position – your child just doesn’t enjoy playing competitive team sport. So, what physical activity is an option? The answer could lie with activities where taking part is the reward in itself. Surfing, skateboarding and dancing have proven to offer just that, and incidentally hold massive appeal among children.
according to his mom, he’s never without ideas for dance moves. At home, he’ll turn on music and do interpretive-type dancing, based on the structured dance steps he has learnt. He watches musical theatre and music videos and delivers critique and comments. He once conceptualised an entire concert for Beverly. Skateboarding The US-based Rodney Mullen, a self-described outsider and recognised as the godfather of skateboarding, reflects, “I was drawn to skateboarding at the age of 10 and was pretty much sold from the get-go. There is no coach standing over you and no opponent standing directly across from you. No one guy is the best.” Surfing “On a warm day I can pick up my surfboard, go into the water and play and have fun and it never gets boring. I don’t want to introduce anything more to that. I’ve been surfing all my life and never have I had a need to compete,” says Anthony, adding that because no two waves are ever the same there’s always opportunity to try something different.
children with special needs flourish
they’ll not only learn, they’ll grow Dancing Pretoria-based dance teacher Beverly Acquisto runs a dance studio and has worked with children with challenges of all types. She notes that her young students have not only developed memory skills as they work to remember a dance routine, a greater spatial awareness and honed fine and gross motor skills, but their confidence always grows immeasurably. Skateboarding When US-based writer Edward Shephard’s seven-year-old daughter started learning to “shred” he found that she learnt two things about life – with practise, she could get better at anything, and that falling down is an unavoidable part of the process. He praises the merits of skateboarding, saying that it develops a growth mindset, which is “a mind-set that leads one to persist despite lack of obvious talent and inevitable setbacks”. Surfing Anthony Scholte, owner of a surf school in Cape Town, says, “I’ve seen the bigger, stronger children struggle in the water because they’re heavy, while the scrawny children are light and agile and so more often than not pick up surfing in their first lesson. Immediately they’re a surfer and there’s a cool factor attached to that, which does wonders for their self-esteem.”
they get to create instead of compete Dancing Pretoria mom Hennelie found an accepting environment when she enrolled her son Alec in Beverly’s dance classes. “Alec is concerned about how others perceive him and his endeavours, and how he contributes to a group effort. Dance, however, is not a group sport as such. He has the opportunity to be himself and is in competition with no one but himself.” With this, the door is opened for Alec’s creative expression and,
Surfing has proven to help people with multiple sclerosis and has been part of a rehabilitation programme for people with brain damage. The International Surfing Association has set up the World Adaptive Surfing championships for surfers with disabilities. There is also an organisation in the US and UK called Autism Speaks, which creates therapeutic skateboarding programmes. Five years ago, Anthony’s surf school started working with Pro Ed House School in Cape Town, which works with children of various special needs. “I got a call after a month from Dr Worrall, the founder of the school, to say ‘Thank you, you have no idea the effect surfing has had on the children. It would take six months of therapy to get the results you’ve got in just a few surfs’.” As mom to a son who hovers somewhere on the autism spectrum, Hennelie’s only aim was to try to unravel Alec’s complex personality and introduce the best possible interventions to provide him with coping mechanisms. “Tap dancing is one of the things that appeals to Alec on a level beyond my understanding. The individual attention and just letting him be paved the way for progress. Individual effort and participation is an important thing about dance that works for the autism disposition.” Hennelie says that dance is an expressive force used when words fail Alec. He lost his ability to speak at the age of four but he communicated through movement. As a coping mechanism Alec taps into his dance when the world challenges him. Another thing that sits well with Alec and which is classically important for individuals on the autism spectrum is the rules and conformities of dance. Also important for children with autism is knowing what to expect. “Dance’s structure, I believe, provides this, without trying too hard – a ‘shuffle toe-tap stamp’ is always the same but there is still freedom of expression. Alec often comes from school slightly grumpy but once he’s finished with tap, he glows,” says Hennelie.
did you know?
I was drawn to skateboarding at the age of 10 and was pretty much sold from the get-go. There is no coach standing over you and no opponent standing directly across from you.
Movement Therapy is officially recognised in the medical world as an alternative therapy used in various medical settings. It is defined as “the psychotherapeutic use of movement to support intellectual, emotional, and motor functions of the body”.
space to play Through play, children make sense of the world. They learn to problem-solve, express and manage their feelings, and learn social dynamics. CHILD MAGAZINE creates play spaces where these skills can be cultivated. stage: 6 months– 3 years old a play pod
A versatile blow-up children’s pool can be used to create a contained area, which is also physically safe, challenging and nurturing. Filled with stimulating toys, plastic balls or foam blocks, the pool can be used to create an indoor ball pond, or outside for messy play. Create special treasure baskets filled with stimulating toys that can be mixed or themed, such as a sound theme: rattles, a xylophone and drums; or a texture theme: sponge, cotton wool, silk and plush toys. Toys that children can manipulate include activity quilts with attachments that squeak or jingle, simple puzzles for learning how pieces fit together, mirrors, and soft balls. Toys with movable parts – buttons, slides and doors – teach children how things open, close and move. Benefits Children develop quickly during their first few years, with the greatest areas of cognitive growth involving sensorimotor development, where children learn through motor movement and their senses. Toys
stage: 7–9 years old indoor climbing wall
As children grow older, their self-esteem, confidence and physical abilities develop. Children this age also have high energy levels, so direct this energy towards a skill that can improve physical fitness and dexterity. A climbing wall lets children get active while building confidence, especially if it can be adapted as they grow older. Depending on how much space you have, you can add equipment to this play space, including a balance beam, gym rings, monkey bars or a steel bar to swing on, a trampoline, or a net. These added elements will let children turn the play space into an obstacle course, where they can engage with friends in healthy competition and team play. Benefits Climbing encourages the synchronised use of both sides of the body, says Durban-
such as stacking cups and rings, large blocks and shape sorters help develop dexterity and the concept of cause-andeffect. Cloth, board and bath books with colourful pictures help to establish object recognition and create a foundation for language acquisition. When children are mobile, low climbing toys, scooters and soft balls aid in developing gross motor skills. Debra Myburgh, a counsellor in Joburg, says everyday objects like wooden spoons, plastic cups, different shaped containers and baking tins that offer different sounds, and items that children can aim at, hit and connect with, will do the trick. What you’ll need • A blow-up play pool. Place this indoors on a soft surface or outside. It can be deflated and stowed away when not in use. • The play surface should be soft. Interlocking foam tiles offer an inexpensive solution. • At this age, children often touch and taste anything within reach. Ensure that toys don’t have small pieces that can be swallowed, or sharp edges. Play areas need to be away from electrical sockets and cords, clean and hygienic.
based occupational therapist Vicky Clark. This helps develop gross motor development and coordination. A balance beam also improves these, while engaging the core muscles, which helps with posture, and improving concentration on school work. Eye-foot and eye-hand coordination can also be improved with this equipment. “The cognitive benefit of strategically planning one’s route on a climbing wall is good for motor planning practise,” says Clark, which helps develop problemsolving. The intrinsic or small muscles in the hand are developed, which can improve pencil grasp, writing endurance and fine motor coordination. A trampoline can build muscle tone, and provide deep pressure exercise for sensory-seeking children, notes Clark. Children develop emotionally when they fall off the wall, and are motivated to work harder and practise. What you’ll need • Use foot- and handholds, and fasten these securely to a wall. Or use ladders or bars, fixed to the wall or ceiling. • Add ropes, or a net, for additional climbing opportunities and safety, especially if using a high wall. • Place a foam mat at the base in case of falls.
stage: 3–6 years old the imaginarium
At this age, children like to use their imagination and start initiating role play. You can put up a tent in your child’s room or outside under a tree, and let him use this space to imagine, dream and create. The tent can be a private area, as children this age are typically becoming more independent. Or it can be a space for playing with friends, where children can build those all-important social skills. Fill the tent with toys like balls to build motor function, or those that encourage language development, such as picture books or early readers. A tea set or play food can develop creative and social play. Benefits Children can build on their sense of individuality by having a space that is their own, and being allowed to play games of their choice. Myburgh says that as children get older you should allow them to play alone: “At this age your toddler is trying hard to be independent.” Language development can also be improved as children play-act in the tent. Constructive play, building with blocks or making forts, teaches children about building, fitting
stage: 10–13 years old the shake it off room
Convert a garage or courtyard into a smart, comfortable room for physical play. Add play equipment to create a space that your preteen can retreat to, zone out and physically work off any stressful energy brought on by a growing school workload, playground politics or a demanding extramural schedule – the daily strains of a preteen. The Shake It Off room is where they can “play”, and will allow them to spend time alone or with friends. Any space away from the main house will ensure a certain level of privacy, which will allow them to let loose (read: make a little noise) without distracting the rest of the family and causing conflict. This type of room will appeal to your preteen’s growing sense of individuality and independence while still being close to the safety of home. Benefits Physical activity is vital to regulating your preteen’s emotions, stress levels and hormonal flux. This room will offer the privacy they crave. The games that are on hand will cater for any mode or mood. Whether children want to just shoot some
things together and manipulation, adds Myburgh. It also teaches them to keep on trying until they succeed. An outdoor play space provides contact with plants, animals and the environment, and a play tent offers a chance for social development, as children can play and explore with friends. What you’ll need • Place curtains over a corner in the room by fastening a curtain rail to the ceiling in a curve, or rig up a Hula Hoop with a shower curtain strung to it, for a mobile tent. You can even make a tepee in the garden from bamboo rods and vines like runner beans. • Add cushions for a reading corner, a mattress for a base, toys and books. • Include unstructured toys that allow children to use their imagination.
hoops and zone out in a chilled, noncompetitive environment or whether they want to step it up and take on an opponent in a game of hand tennis, they’re in for constructive, quality play time. Joburg counsellor Debra Myburgh says, “As preteens begin to spend more time with peers and less with family, searching for and forming their own identity, giving them their own space can help them feel that they are free from the ‘tyranny’ of their parents, while still feeling completely safe because they are home.” What you’ll need • Use one wall in the room for hand tennis by painting a line on the wall. • Erect a hoop for basketball. • Paint lines on the floor for hopscotch. • Instal a table tennis table, preferably one that converts into a pool table. • Keep other items around such as a J-board, roller skates and Hula Hoops. • Bring in bean bags, throws (for the colder months) and a music player for chilled socialising. • Stock the room with tennis balls for hand tennis, ping pong balls and rackets for table tennis, a basketball, and pool cues, pool balls, a triangle/ rack and chalk for pool. October 2015
read early graders
Here Comes a Kiss By Stacey McCleary and David Cornish
My First Jozi Words By Flore de Vries
(Published by Little Hare Books, R129) “Here comes a kiss, watch where it goes, a kiss for the tip of your sweet button nose.” Children will delight in discovering where the next kiss lands in this celebration of love and play. Read this story aloud at bedtime and watch the kisses jump off the page and into the hearts of the whole family. There are butterfly kisses for each eye, gentle and warm kisses for each chubby knee and quick, tender kisses for each rosy cheek.
(Published by Pictures and Words, R99) With pictures and words varying from “jacaranda” to “lightning”, from “Hillbrow Tower” to “Gautrain”, and from “Mandela” to “load shedding”, this quaint little book is sure to leave old and young readers with a smile. This South African-designed cardboard book is an innovative, fun and colourful alternative to the traditional my-firstwords books with drawings. It’s also an original souvenir for tourists and a great gift for little locals.
Blanchie’s Wonderworlds By Claude-Hélène Mayer, Christian Martin Boness and Jorg Plannerer (Published by Hierophant-Verlag, R285) Blanchie travels with her parents and her two brothers through South Africa. The road seems never-ending, but suddenly Blanchie sees a giant turtle in the grass. She is amazed when the turtle takes her to different wonderworlds. Blanchie experiences many adventures with her friends. This story about dreams, journeys and vocation is translated in German on the same page as the English text. Other books by Mayer and Plannerer include Ecee’s Reveries and The Angel Who Fought the Rage.
River Eyes By Joan Lingard (Published by Catnip Publishing, R93) This is a story about being watchful when it matters. Jamie can’t wait to go canoeing with Grandpa, even if his little sister Claire is tagging along. They’ll be camping overnight next to the river and Grandma has packed some emergency supplies. Jamie loves watching for animals and how the river looks magical under the stars. But they need to keep their eyes open, because someone else is there, and Jamie’s peaceful river is under threat. Illegal fishermen have infiltrated their piece of paradise, and it’s up to Jamie and Grandpa to stop them.
preteens and teens for us
English Dictionary for South African Schools Publisher Wanda Smith (Published by Pharos, R150) This monolingual English dictionary focuses on defining approximately 10 000 frequently used standard English words, expressions and phrases. The dictionary provides a simple definition, and the use thereof is illustrated by a complete sentence. It is aimed at expanding a learner’s vocabulary, to promote language usage and written abilities. This reference is suitable for Afrikaans and English home language and first additional language learners, at home and in the classroom.
Middle School: Save Rafe! By James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts (Published by Young Arrow, R82) After a rough summer, Rafe is heading back to the dreaded Hills Village Middle School. And if that’s not bad enough, he’s learnt that he’s going to be held back a year unless he can prove himself on an outdoor survival excursion, complete with dangerous white-water rafting and dizzying rock climbing. Rafe and the rest of the pack of “delinquent” trainees are forced to cooperate as they prepare for the final test: a solo excursion in the deep woods. Can Rafe come out of the experience in one piece? And if he does, will he go home as the same insecure boy?
Things to do in Moer and Gone Places By Jacques Marais (Published by Map Studio, R220) This is a guide “to get away from it all” with over 100 places within South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique. The book covers all levels of accommodation, from a rustic cabin in the woods, to a four-star self-catering lodge in the African bush. Each entry features a short description of the destination and the accommodation, and the activities available in the surrounding areas. GPS coordinates and handy locator maps help you to get there, and it includes full-colour photographs.
The Price of Privilege By Madeline Levine (Published by Harper Collins, R175) While many privileged children project confidence, alarming numbers lack the basic foundation of psychological development: an authentic sense of self. Even parents often miss the signs of emotional problems in their “star” children. In this controversial look at privileged families, Levine offers practical advice, and with empathy and candour, she identifies parenting practices that are toxic to healthy self-development and that have contributed to epidemic levels of depression, anxiety and substance abuse in the most unlikely place — the affluent family. magazine pretoria
what’s on in october
You can also access the calendar online at
Your guide for what to do, where to go and who to see. Compiled by SIMONE JEFFERY
FUN FOR CHILDREN – p24
ONLY FOR PARENTS – p25
Hazel Food Night Market Shop for delectable food by the twinkling of fairy lights.
Breast screenings Free breast screenings throughout the month of October.
bump, baby & tot in tow – p25
how to help – p25
Good Night Baby and Toddler Sleep Seminar Is your child getting the required amount of sleep?
Host a Cuppa for Cansa Enjoy a beverage of your choice and help raise funds for a worthy cause.
SPECIAL EVENTS – p24 Carnival and Kaskar day Kiddi Care Academy’s school carnival.
1 thursday Irene Primary School moonlight run A fun 4km and 8km run or walk. Socialised dogs on leads welcome. Time: registration 4pm, race 6:30pm. Venue: The Oval, Irene. Cost: 4km R40, 8km R60. Contact: 012 667 1037 or entrytime.co.za
3 saturday Teddy Glen Playgroup open day Find out more about this small playgroup that caters to 2–4 year olds. Time: 10am–2pm. Venue: 290 Manitoba Dr, Faerie Glen. Cost: free. Contact: 082 818 1381 or ggordon@ telkomsa.net Spring Rose Festival With the Rose Mandala Exhibition in the Rose Barn. Ends 11 October. Time: 8am–5pm. Venue: Ludwig’s Rose Farm, 61 Haakdoornlaagte, off the N1 Polokwane highway. Cost: free entry. Contact: 012 544 0144 or ludwigsroses.co.za United We Walk With Discovery and Jacaranda FM’s spring walk, a 5km, 8km or 15km walk. Time: 3:30pm. Venue: Pretoria National Botanical Gardens, 2 Cussonia Ave, Brummeria. Cost: online R120, pensioners and children under 18 years old R70, children under 2 years old free. For more info: springwalk.co.za
6 tuesday Aardklop National Arts Festival An Afrikaans festival offering a wide variety of performances. Ends 10 October. Time: varies. Venue: Clover Aardklop Festival grounds, Potchefstroom. Cost: varies. For more info: cloveraardklop.co.za
9 friday Cedar Junction Carnival Activities include a train ride, clown show, x–treme parachute, water slides, carnival games and more. Time: 9am–3pm. Venue: plot 404, Graham Rd, Zwavelpoort. Cost: adults R30, children R120, children 1–3 years old R70, children under 1 years old free. Contact: bookings@ cedarjunction.co.za
10 saturday Max Stibbe Waldorf School open day Time: 9am–11am. Venue: Mooiplaats,
World Sight Day Ensure the health of your eyes by having them examined regularly. For more info: orbis.org
N4 East exit 18, Boschkop. Cost: free. Contact: 012 802 1175, 083 410 0392 or maxstibbe.co.za Moving for Mental Wellness Join Sadag for a fundraiser in support of mental health and wellness day. There is artwork on display, live music, activities, a children’s art event, and food and drink stalls. Take part in the 12km or 36km mountain bike ride, or the 5km and 15km trail run. Age restrictions apply and pre-registration is required. Time: 8am. Venue: Nirox Sculpture Park, 24 Kromdraai Rd, Muldersdrift. Cost: R150 entry, children under 10 years old free. Contact: 011 234 4837 or mfmw.co.za PLG Hartbeespoort Academy open day Find out more about this academy catering to learners from Grade RRR–9, opening its doors in January 2016. Time: 10am–12pm. Venue: 630 Kubla Khan Dr, Xanadu Nature Estate, Hartbeespoort. Cost: free. Contact: 012 259 8285/6 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Friends of the Zoo fun walk A fun 5km walk inside the zoo. Take cash as they don’t have card facilities. Time: 6am. Venue: National Zoological Gardens, 232 Boom St, Pretoria. Cost: R30–R50. Contact: 012 323 0294 or fotz.co.za Willow View Academy open day Catering to children from 3 years–Grade 9. Time: 9am. Venue: 31R First Rd, Bredell, Kempton Park. Cost: free. Contact: 011 565 6600, email@example.com or plgschools.co.za
24 saturday Woodhill College open day Catering to learners from Grades 000–12. Time: 9am–12pm. Venue: De Villebois Mareuil Dr, Pretoria East. Cost: free. Contact: 012 998 1774 or woodhillcollege.co.za
25 sunday Hope Hike This annual hike aims to raise awareness around depression. All proceeds go to research into clinical depression. There is a 3km, 5km or 10km hike. Time: registration 6:30am, first hike 8:30am. Venue: Van Gaalen Kaasmakerij, portion 260, off the R512, Skeerpoort. Cost: R40– R80, children under 12 years old R25. For more info: iqela-events.co.za
31 saturday Carnival and Kaskar day Join Kiddi Care Academy for their school carnival, with face painting, jumping castles, train and pony rides, music, and art and craft stalls. The school children and teachers also take part in kaskar races. Tickets are available at the gate. Time:
17 saturday Charity Drive Christmas Market Enjoy face painting, jumping castles, character mascots, water slides, market stalls, live music and a performance by drum majorettes and a choir. Time: 3pm until late. Venue: Laerskool Stephanus Roos, 273 Antun St, Sinoville. Cost: donations of canned food, toiletries, toys and clothing towards those in need. Contact: 083 286 4804 or firstname.lastname@example.org
National Bandana Day
Bandanas are available from Pick n Pay, Round Table, selected Makro stores and Zando. Cost: R25. For more info: sunflowerfund.org.za
9am–3pm. Venue: 248 Gouws Ave, Raslouw. Cost: R10 per person, babies in prams free. Contact: 012 666 8493 or kiddicareacademy.co.za The Color Run A 5km, un-timed race in which participants of all ages are sprayed with colourful powder. Enjoy the Festival Zone afterwards. Time: 9am. Venue: Centurion Rugby Club, 270 West Ave, Centurion. Cost: R250, children under 10 years old free (includes a T-shirt, headband, one bag of powder). For more info: thecolorrun.co.za
FUN FOR CHILDREN
art, culture and science Dinos Alive: The Exhibition Tickets are available through Computicket. 6–21 October. Time: 9am–5pm, last entrance at 3pm. Venue: The Ridge Casino, cnr N4 Highway and Mandela St, Emalahleni. Cost: adults R100, children R75. For more info: dinosalive.co.za
classes, talks and workshops Chocolate workshop Finger paint animal forms and mould them with the assistance of a chocolatier. For 8–13 year olds. 2, 16 and 17 October. Time: 2pm–4pm Friday, 10am–12pm Saturday. Venue: Snyman Sjokolateur Boutique Factory, Waterkloof Ridge. Cost: R135 per child. Contact: 074 140 1087 or email@example.com
family outings Strawberry picking at Lakelands You can pre-order a picnic hamper or grab something to eat from the tea garden. Time: 9am–3pm Wednesday–Sunday. Venue: Lakelands Strawberry Farm, plot 23 Tiegerpoort, Lynnwood Rd Ext, Pretoria East. Cost: R20 entry, tractor-trailer ride R10, strawberry costs vary. Contact: 072 942 5111 or lakelandsstrawberryfarm.com
holiday programmes Diabetes Kids Camp A camp for 6–16 year olds who have diabetes. Booking essential. 23–25 October. Venue: Wag ‘n Bietjie Camp Site, 50th Rd, Olifantsfontein. Cost: camp registration fee R150 per child. Contact: 082 451 0706, 079 319 0887 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mad Hatter Book Party Celebrate Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’s very special ‘un-birthday’ with a selection of activities, party snacks and a few other surprises to delight. No need to book. 31 October. Time: 10:30am–11:30am. Venue: Exclusive Books, Kolonnade Shopping Centre, Sefako Makgatho Dr, Montana. Cost: free. Contact: 012 548 6590 or email@example.com
Esperanza holiday camps Children groom, clean and feed ponies, as well as go on outrides and more. Booking essential. For 5–16 year olds. Children 7 years and older can sleep over. 28 September–2 October and 5–9 October. Time: arrive 6:30am–9am, collect 4:30pm–5:30pm. Venue: plot 588 Mooiplaats, Pretoria East. Cost: R300 per day, sleepover R400 per day. Contact: 076 184 5660 or 072 261 8518
markets Banting Market Pretoria 3 October. Time: 9am–1pm. Venue: Pretoria National Botanical Garden. Cost: free entry. Contact: 079 527 4902 Christmas/Sukkot Market 3 October. Time: 10am–4pm. Venue: Pentecostal Holiness Church Mount Olive, cnr Olive Rd and Fergus St, Valhalla. Cost: free entry. Contact: 084 504 1791 or janine@ phcmountolive.co.za Fridays @ The Collection Time: 4pm–8pm every Friday. Venue: The Collection, 5 Boendoe Rd, Pretorius Park. Cost: free entry. For more info: thecollection.co.za Hazel Food Night Market 10 October. Time: 5pm–9pm, day markets 8am–2pm every Saturday. Venue: Greenlyn Village Centre, cnr Thomas Edison St and MacKenzie St, Menlo Park. Cost: free entry. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Jacaranda Festival 15–18 October. Time: 10am–6pm. Venue: 303 Murray St, Brooklyn. Cost: free. Contact: 012 460 6894, 082 885 0207 or email@example.com Tierlantyn’kies 30 September–6 October. Time: 9am–7pm Wednesday–Saturday, 10am–4pm Sunday, 9am–7pm Monday, 9am–4pm Tuesday. Venue: 3 Ci Tent, 56 Saal St, off Atterbury, Zwavelpoort. Cost: adults R30, children free (valid for seven days). For more info: tierlantynkies.co.za
on stage and screen Atterbury National piano competition 12–16 October. Time: 9am–5pm, gala evening 7pm. Venue: Atterbury Theatre, 4 Daventry Rd, Lynnwood. Cost: knockout stages free, gala evening R125, pensioners and students R75. Contact: 012 471 1700 or atterburyteater.co.za Banff Mountain Film Festival Experience extreme sports on screen. 23 October– 2 November. Time: 8pm–10pm. Venue: SterKinekor Brooklyn Mall, New Muckleneuk. Cost: tbc. For more info: banff.co.za
playtime and story time Graceland Fun Farm Venue with a jungle gym, bike track and more. Time: 9am–5pm Thursday–Saturday, 9am–4pm Sunday, the kitchen closes at 3:30pm. Venue: plot 198 Zwavelpoort, Pretoria East. Cost: R20 entry per child. Contact: 083 251 2155 or gracelandfunfarm.co.za
sport and physical activities Little Kickers Boys and girls 18 months–8 years old are introduced to soccer. Time: 9am–11am every Saturday. Venues: Club Sport Maritimo, cnr Richard Rd and Park St, Hatfield, and Sport Park, cnr Kruger Rd and Sport Rd, Lyttleton. Cost: R499–R998. Contact: 072 222 4147 or littlekickers.co.za
only for parents classes, talks and workshops Breast screenings Throughout October, a nursing sister is conducting free consultations. Booking recommended. Time: varies. Venue: Naturopathic Health Care Centre, 13 Hazelwood Rd, Hazelwood. Cost: free. Contact: 012 460 9216/7/8
Save A Child course First-aid course that covers CPR and more. Booking essential. 17 October. Time: 9am–1pm. Venue: 576 Gouda St, Elarduspark. Cost: R550. Contact: 082 951 8129 or edugroup.co.za Sonic meditation Booking essential. 4 October. Time: 10am–12pm. Venue: South African Centre for Sound Therapy, Meerhof, Hartbeespoort Dam. Cost: R150. For more info: soundtherapy.co.za
on stage and screen Jennifer Rush Live 18 and 19 October. Time: 2pm Sunday, 8pm Monday. Venue: Barnyard Theatre, Parkview Shopping Centre, Moreleta Park. Cost: R450. For more info: barnyardtheatre.co.za Stars of the Bolshoi Ballet 3 October. Time: 3pm and 7:30pm. Venue: South African State Theatre, 320 Pretorius St, Pretoria. Cost: R150–R350. Book through computicket.com
out and about Paint Nite @ The Collection A professional artist guides you to a final masterpiece. Booking essential. 7 and 29 October. Time: 7pm. Venue: 5 Boendoe Rd, Pretorius Park. Cost: R550. Contact: 012 993 3638 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Good Night Baby and Toddler Sleep Seminar Renowned speakers share their insights on breast-feeding, soothing strategies, and lots more. 3 October. Time: parents of babies 0–12 months old: 8am–12pm, parents of toddlers 12–36 months old: 12:30pm–5pm. Venue: Protea Hotel, 14th St, Noordwyk Ext 20, Halfway House, Midrand. Cost: R350 per session, R600 for both. Contact: 084 584 4199 or goodnightbaby.co.za Homoeopathy for mother and baby: hay fever and allergies 6 October. Time: 10am–11am. Venue: Naturopathic Health Care Centre, 13 Hazelwood Rd, Hazelwood. Cost: free. Contact: 012 460 9216/7/8 or naturopathichealthcarecentre.co.za
support groups Parentwood support groups For new parents of babies from birth–4 weeks old, and a progress support group for parents of babies that are 4 weeks and older. Time: 11am–1pm every Wednesday (progress support); 10am–12pm every Thursday (new parents support). Venue: 103 North St, Rietondale. Cost: new parents free, progress support R25. Contact: 012 329 1301 or email@example.com
support groups Diabetes support group Support for adults with type 2 diabetes. 31 October. Time: 2pm. Venue: Lyttelton Library Hall, cnr Cantonments Rd and Unie Ave, Lyttelton. Cost: free. Contact: 082 451 0706 or diabetessa.co.za Parentwood support groups
bump, baby & Tot in tow
how to help classes, talks and workshops Basic childcare course Booking essential. 13 October. Time: 1pm–5pm. Venue: 576 Gouda St. Elarduspark. Cost: R550. Contact: 082 951 8129 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Host a Cuppa for Cansa Raise funds for a worthy cause and organise your own tea party event. Contact: 0800 22 66 22 or cuppa.org.za
don’t miss out! For a free listing, email your event to email@example.com or fax it to 011 234 4971. Information must be received by 2 October for the November issue, and must include all relevant details. No guarantee can be given that it will be published. To post an event online, visit childmag.co.za
furry friends ANÉL LEWIS is willing to put up with the chaos that comes with a household full of pets, if only to see her children happily bonding with them. o we have added two kittens to the menagerie of the Lewis household. I don’t quite know how we went from one geriatric feline with a touch of Alzheimer’s to three cats. But all I know is somehow I got lumped with the cleaning duties. What was I thinking? Conor is still toilet-averse, and just two days before my momentary lapse in judgement ended up with me sifting through kitty litter at 11pm while the rest of the house slept, Conor also had one of his more frequent lapses of judgement when it came to his ablution needs. On a good day, sorting out my threeyear-old son’s “accidents” would put even the most hardened of hazmat experts to the test. Imagine the joy of having to sort it out
while he was wearing a onesie? Too much information? Okay, back to the kittens. So there I was the next morning, cleaning the litter tray again and picking up food pellets from between my books (they’ve taken up temporary residence in the study), and I was feeling very sorry for myself. You see, we have two dogs as well, which pushes the pet quotient in our family up to a sizeable five. That’s five pets to four humans, and five times more work for me. And then, as I sat on the newspaper surrounded by cat pellets, the children came upstairs and asked to hold their new pets. I watched my rambunctious boy gently cradle his kitten in his arms. He peppered the little head with kisses. And Erin was delighted that her shy ginger
companion was starting to love her. She sang “Rockabye Baby” to her Milly cat with such tenderness. The cats just wanted to play and soon Erin was rolling a ball to her cat, giggling. As I watched her face light up, her cheeks flushed as she played with her new friend, I felt a bit guilty that I had been so focused on the extra work for me. Sometimes we need a bit of craziness to mix things up. And the children have really taken to their new roles as caregivers. Erin is determined to give Milly tea in the mornings – I have managed to convince her that cats are not into warm beverages – and Conor has loaned his kitten one of his spare fire trucks to play with. Erin was initially a bit disappointed that her kitten seemed to be more reticent than
Conor’s. It was a good opportunity though to teach Erin about patience. She’s shy herself, so perhaps Milly is a kindred soul, which will bring out the best in both of them. Despite Conor’s squeeze-and-release approach to handling the kittens, both seem to adore him. Sure, I am still the one left holding the poop scoop at the end of the day, but seeing the joy on the children’s faces as they learn about caring for a pet has been well worth it. And hopefully they will forget about their hankering for that guinea pig… Anél Lewis is frantically potty training Conor – and housetraining the kittens – so that she can be done with poop scoops and onesie mishaps forever.
it’s party time
For more help planning your child’s party visit
PHOTOGRAPH: Susie Leblond Photography
Erin, Anél and Conor
goodness Food markets offer visitors a wide array of delicious, home-made fare. In Market Food, DIANNE STEWART and JESSICA CAIRNS bring together stunning recipes from top local markets around the country, which you can now try at home.
eat your heart out’s veggie burger patties Stacey Kirshenbaum Market on Main, Joburg Makes 10–12
ingredients • 1kg raw seasonal vegetables of your choice (carrots, green beans, courgette, leeks, spinach and eggplant) • 500g pumpkin or butternut, cooked and mashed • 1kg selection of pulses (lentils, chickpeas, split green peas and a bean of your choice, such as black-eye or kidney beans – even canned), soaked and boiled • 15ml salt • 15ml pepper • 60ml ground cumin • 60ml fresh coriander • pinch of chilli (optional) • 1 000ml (4 cups) gluten-free flour* • canola or olive oil method Preheat the oven to 180°C. Prepare the fresh vegetables by chopping, dicing and grating to give the patties a good texture.
Add the mashed pumpkin or butternut (this replaces the egg as a binder) and cooked pulses. Mix well and add salt, pepper, cumin, coriander and chilli. Add the flour. Use a large round-shaped cooking spoon to help shape and mould the patties. Place patties on a wellgreased oven tray and brush the tops with canola or olive oil. Oven-bake for 30–40 minutes, turning the patties halfway. These can be shallow-fried, but baking keeps them low fat. The burgers are fabulous served on a gluten-free roll with crispy lettuce, tomato, cucumber and other toppings of your choice. *Mixing two types of flour works well in this recipe. Chickpea flour gives a wonderful nutty taste, and tapioca works well as a binder. Other glutenfree flours you could use are rice flour and corn starch.
baker boy’s gooseberry-and-custard muffins Kevin Schoof Irene Village Market, Irene, Pretoria Makes about 6 giant or 12 cupcake-sized muffins ingredients • 350g cake flour • 5ml baking powder • 200g white sugar • 2,5ml salt • 120ml milk (room temperature) • 4 medium eggs • 250ml oil • 5ml vanilla essence or extract • 7,5ml custard powder • 150g fresh gooseberries, roughly chopped* method Preheat the oven to 180°C.
the muffins you would like – to about two-thirds full. Bake for 30–38 minutes (giant muffins) or about 23 minutes (cupcake-sized muffins). Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the muffin tray for 15 minutes before removing. *If fresh gooseberries are not available, then tinned gooseberries are acceptable, but remember to drain all the syrup. You can also place some chopped gooseberries on top of the muffins before baking, creating a more rustic look.
Sift the flour and baking powder in a bowl, then add the sugar and salt. Add milk, eggs and oil; beat with an electric mixer. Add vanilla essence, custard powder and chopped gooseberries. Combine well. Fill either muffin cups or cupcake cups – depending on the size of
cecil’s chorizo-and-vegetable salad Cecil Manning Stellenbosch Slow Market, Stellenbosch Serves 4 as a light lunch ingredients | salad • 450g chorizo • 100g baby corn, halved • 140g mange tout, halved • 1 each of yellow, green and red peppers, diced into 1cm squares • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved • 180g artichokes, pickled and quartered • 340g can whole corn, drained • 150g peppadews, sliced into strips • 100g baby salad leaves • salt and pepper to taste ingredients | dressing • 80ml olive oil • 110ml orange juice • 20g wholegrain mustard
In a bowl, mix together the chorizo slices, baby corn, mange tout, peppers, tomatoes, artichokes, whole corn and peppadews, along with the baby salad leaves. To make the dressing, whisk the olive oil, orange juice and wholegrain mustard together. Add the chorizo juice left from cooking the sausage. Mix everything together and add salt and pepper to taste. For a sweeter taste, add a little of the peppadew pickling juices.
method Roast the chorizo whole in an oven at 180°C for 10 minutes. Slice the chorizo into 1cm pieces, setting aside the juices from the roasted chorizo.
PHOTOGRAPHS: Lissa Stewart
about the book “Market food is about more than just food. It’s about an experience.” So claim authors Dianne Stewart and Jessica Cairns in their book Market Food (Bookstorm). They embarked on a trip around South Africa in search of the best market food, resulting in the dazzling array of artisanal recipes featured in the book. Now you can cook your own market food at home… or track down the dish that inspires you and visit that market – some tucked away in bustling harbour precincts, others on lush wine estates, in parks or inner-city warehouses. Market Food is available at all good bookstores for R295.