Child (November 2015)

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The magazine for parents

CHiLD ISSUE 49, November 21, 2015



treatment for kids



Cover photo: Dr Uh-Oh by David Zammit

CHiLD ISSUE 49 November 21, 2015

Alternatives to anger

Contents Features 6 Therapy: The clowns who bring fun to sick children 13 Education: Man on a mission to teach programming to young pupils 16 Parenting: Change your attitude to discipline and correction 21 Infancy: How to take better photos of your baby 29 Psychology: Dealing with children who’ve been traumatised 33 Babies: Make your house safer for little ones 41 Disability: The difficult but satisfying job of a learning support assistant 45 Christmas: Family theatre and music shows in December

Regulars 37 Top Tips: The art and science of using praise to boost self-esteem 48 Shop Window: The best of goods and services

Correspondence to the editor may be sent to: The Executive Editor, Child Magazine, Allied Newspapers Limited, Strickland House, 341, St Paul Street, Valletta VLT 1211 or send an e-mail to Executive Editor Mark Wood Publisher Allied Newspapers Limited Printing Progress Press Limited Production Allied Newspapers Limited Contributors Marika Azzopardi, Benjamin Byron, Sandy Calleja Portelli, Sylvia Chaume, Gordon Vassallo, Mark Wood Photography Johann Agius, David Zammit, Steve Zammit Lupi Design Manuel Schembri Advertising Sales Martina Bonello (tel: 2559 4707; e-mail: This publication is being distributed as part of the Times of Malta. All rights reserved. © 2015 Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the publishers is prohibited.


How often do we let our impulses rule and allow ourselves to fly off the handle when confronting a child who, in our view at least, is misbehaving or being unruly? Next time, stop! Calm down, leave the room, examine your attitude, and possibly change it to a healthier one that incorporates encouragement. That’s one of the messages that comes across from the second of two articles about the Adlerian approach to parenting. Most parents will recognise themselves and their children in some of the examples Gordon Vassallo brings to illustrate the attitudes we adopt towards misbehaving child that only beget more trouble. He provides alternatives that work better. Our cover story is about a brilliant initiative that has been going for a decade now, in which medics at the hospital volunteer to become clowns for a few hours at a time and roam about children’s wards providing some invaluable laughter therapy. I, for one, had not realised that to be able to so entails hours and hours of specialised training, which makes what members of the NGO Dr Klown are doing all the more admirable. Sandy Calleja Portelli has the story. Another article about therapy for children, by Marika Azzopardi, looks at how psychological trauma is dealt with. It follows the unfortunate accident that took place at the Ta’ Qali car show last month and is all the more timely following last weekend’s accident at a night club in which some young teenagers were involved. In the educational field, an education-minded entrepreneur explains a new initiative to get children as young as five learning to code, in an after-school programme being offered from January. If you think that’s too young, look at the UK, where the subject has already become compulsory in all primary schools. Klaus Conrad makes a strong case for Malta to take the same route, lest we fall too far behind. In an age of rapidly advancing technology, anyone who uses a smartphone has become a photographer of sorts. Well, all those with babies are about to become better ones by simply following some guidelines set out in this issue. How about you really start to impress your friends with your “wow what a sweet baby” photos? A guide to what’s on in the way of theatre and music over the Christmas period beckons families to some wonderful nights out. Enjoy!

THERAPY Dr Funny. Photo by David Zammit



Fun and frivolity

at Mater Dei?

Sandy Calleja Portelli finds out about the sterling work some doctors do on children’s wards – by clowning around…


ad you happened to visit Mater Dei on the afternoon of October 17 you would have noticed an unusual frivolity in the air; after all it’s not every day that you see clowns dancing the conga across the hospital’s reception area. Should you have decided to follow the dancing clowns to the courtyard you would have been greeted by a riot of colour, balloons and more clowns along with a variety of singers and musicians which all combined to create a fun, “It’s not festive atmosphere that enough to be marked the first ever Dr funny… it’s a year Klown Award Ceremony. of formal training Clown doctors have been roaming the chilbefore the volunteers dren’s wards administering start working on generous doses of laughter the wards” to the young patients and their families, as immortalised on screen by Patch Adams, since 2011, a year after the NGO’s inception. Although the volunteers are not medically trained they do undergo extensive initial artistic and psychological training, training which is updated annually.

I caught up with the organisation’s president Maurice Sleypen for more information. “We are fortunately not short of people applying to volunteer as clown doctors, although some do not progress beyond the initial assessment where we try to ensure that the volunteer has the right character traits for this role. “It’s not enough to be funny, indeed that is probably the least important part of being a clown doctor. Training to become Dr Klown takes a thousand days so that’s a year of formal training before the volunteers start working on the wards.” The training, he explains, encompasses technical clown skills and a weekend seminar which focuses specifically on hospital training skills. Because the clown doctors cannot perform the normal boisterous type of entertainment usually associated with clowns, they must be sensitive to the environment and to the needs and mood of the child, so they put on an impromptu performance which is dictated by the child. “The training, which runs to approximately €500 per clown per year, is the organisation’s biggest single CHiLD NOVEMBER 2015 7


A band of laughter therapists. Photo by Johann Agius

expense and we are fortunate to have financial backing from the Community Chest Fund as well as HSBC which sponsors five clowns a year. Other companies such as Middlesea, Playmobil and Fimbank have helped us by donating ‘in kind.” “We also run the ‘NoseOn’ campaign and offer an alternative to wedding souvenirs while we also receive a number of donations from the public as well which all helps.” The clown doctors are trained to take heed of the child, not the illness, as they alleviate their boredom, anxiety and pain. But it is not an easy role to take on, which is why the organisation organises regular support meetings which are led by a psychologist, allowing clowns to share their experiences, and also offers all volunteers access to a psychologist 8 CHiLD NOVEMBER 2015

“While you are with the children, you don’t focus on the illness, you see a child smiling and laughing and that is the best feeling you can imagine”

at the organisation’s expense with no questions asked. It is also why the clowns try to work in groups of six and never work alone but are always in pairs. This allows them to support one another because, as Mr Sleypen says, this is a very intensive role. “Sometimes our volunteers come across situations which one or the other may find difficult to cope with, in which case they can take a step back and allow their partner to take the lead.” It takes a group of six volunteers approximately two hours to visit each of the six wards but sometimes there are only two clowns at hand and then it can take them around four hours, which is extremely taxing. Mr Sleypen describes the clowns as being “worn out but very

happy; it is selfrewarding”. “We have been very active over the last few years and feel that it is right to thank our volunteers for their commitment.” So that day at Mater Dei, the organisation awarded its volunteers a star for every year of service and five of the Dr Klowns received four stars. And since the organisation promises to visit every child at least once a week, the three clowns who have volunteered most regularly over the last year were awarded with a gold, silver or bronze star and a statuette of the individual clown made from blown glass. Everyone appreciates a pat on the back sometimes. Amidst the gaiety, I corner a couple of clowns to learn more about their experience on the wards. Dr Ah-Choo has

THERAPY Dr Uh-Oh. Photo by David Zammit

Psychologist Edward Curmi’s tips for parenting children in hospital • Children are likely to be fearful of going to hospital and younger children may suffer from separation anxiety, so it is important to reassure them and let them know when you are coming back and who will be with them in your absence. • In cases of long-term hospitalisation children may start to feel cut off from their friends which may lead to low-esteem into adulthood. • Older children may become angry and may lash out at loved ones and carers. • Take a favourite comfort blanket, toy or pacifier for babies under two years old. AGE 2 TO 6: • Prepare them in advance if possible. • Make them feel at ease. • Role play is a very useful way of helping the child understand what is happening. • They may regress to more babyish behaviour. • Avoid discussing their condition in their presence but do explain what is happening positively.

been with the organisation from the start while Dr Uh-Oh has been clowning around since March 2014 – and both seem to be enjoying every minute of it. Dr Uh-Oh describes the ride home as “the most exhilarating feeling in the world; I’m on an emotional high”, as she explains: “While you are with the children, you don’t focus on the illness, you see a child smiling and laughing and that is the best feeling you can imagine.” As Dr Ah-Choo emphasises on their commitment to visit every child at least once a week, “we get much more than we give in reality. We invest our time, which is precious, but it’s worth every second because you get a certain selffulfillment from it”. “As with any volunteering work, you have to be ready to commit to a certain amount of time to it because after all, the organisation is investing a huge amount of time in us both in terms of training and back office support work. We just have to turn up but believe me it’s worth it,” says Dr Uh-Oh. And judging by the looks of pure enjoyment on the faces of the clowns present and their young audience, I don’t doubt that it really is worth it. The merriment in the courtyard subsided slightly as the President of Malta awarded the clowns with their stars and thanked all involved for their work and commitment to the organisation. 10 CHiLD NOVEMBER 2015

AGE 6 TO 12: • Children now have a certain amount of autonomy and will feel the effect of the changes hospitalisation will inevitably bring to their lives. • Physical examinations may become embarrassing at this age as children are more aware of their changing body and at this age they need their privacy. • Give them age appropriate information but avoid having medical conversations in their presence. • Children may lose interest in schoolwork but try to ensure they keep up to date. • Do not give in to their every whim. • Be aware that they may adopt new routines which would not be allowed at home; spending more time playing and less time interacting with those around them. TEENAGERS: • Are more likely to miss their friends and normal routine so may be more rebellious. • They feel the loss of control more keenly so allowing them to have visitors when permitted is important. • Encourage them to talk about their worries and encourage them to ask questions. Include your teenager in medical discussions with their healthcare professionals. • Be open to talk about what is happening to them. PARENTS: • Take care of yourself. Eat well, sleep well, exercise regularly and drink plenty of water – your wellbeing is important to your child. • Your attitude is everything so lead by example. • Be as honest as possible. Don’t promise something you cannot deliver and remember it’s perfectly acceptable to say you don’t know. • Family is important in times of turmoil. If you must leave, reassure your child that you will be back. • Encourage controlled use of technology but also encourage socialisation. • Trust the system – children will pick up on any feelings of unease and become insecure too. • Encourage them to express their emotions, if not by speaking to someone then by other means (for example, a secret diary). Be prepared to accept the fact that they may prefer to confide in someone other than yourself. • Move at your child’s pace and never stop showing them you believe in them. • Do not forget your other children. There is a theory that states that siblings end up feeling second best – a belief that follows them into adulthood.


Let’s get coding! Mark Wood speaks to a man determined to influence computer technology education in Malta. Klaus Conrad is on a mission, and he’s starting with a private initiative to teach programming to primary schoolchildren.


hen Klaus Conrad says his 12-year-old is a better computer programmer than kids at O Level standard, it’s not a boast. He’s just trying to put across a point: that children need to start learning to code at a much younger age than they generally do now. Like five. They’re doing it in the UK, where it has just become a compulsory subject in primary schools in a drive to make sure Britain will be able to compete in the technology space as the demand for skills is set to far outstrip supply over the next couple of decades. Where does that leave Malta? With quite a bit of catching up to do.

“For a child, discovering they can give form to any world, story or idea they can imagine is like having real super powers”

So far, ICT education for young children here has focused on teaching them how to use specific applications and to prepare them for examinations like ECDL. It is only in secondary school that students can choose computing for O level, which teaches them programming. So with the local educational system still lagging, it may be up to private initiative to lead the way. Enter Mr Conrad, who through his company Headstart Technology Ltd is launching EasyPeasy Coding: a dedicated brand of afterschool coding classes and resources for

children from Year 1 to Year 6. Concerned about the focus locally on introducing coding only at secondary level, Mr Conrad decided to team up with other professionals and deliver a multiyear programme specifically designed for younger children. “While there have been some fledgling efforts locally, we felt that there simply wasn’t a dedicated focus on the primary age bracket. We want to change this, as we believe engaging with children at a young age is critical if we want to give them the skills they need to do more with technology than just play games,” he says. CHiLD NOVEMBER 2015 13

EDUCATION Coding is not just about programming. “It should really be thought of as applied problem solving, where programming is simply the medium used to express the solution. We believe coding should empower children to be in control – and not at the mercy – of technology. We want them to develop the skills to be creators with technology, not just consumers.” But he believes coding opens the door to an even bigger realm of possibilities for children: “The power to code represents ultimate creative freedom. Once you learn how to make a computer ‘do stuff’, it does not matter whether you want to express yourself through art, mathematics or “We believe writing. For a child, discoding should covering they can give empower children to form to any world, story be in control – and not at or idea they can imagthe mercy – of technology. ine is like having real We want them to develop super powers – and in the skills to be creators the world of tomorrow with technology, not where technology is just consumers” everywhere, being able to affect the world around you through technology is as close to a super power as we can get.” What Mr Conrad wants to produce is Coding, he says, is also easy to intelittle problem-solvers and budding cregrate with a wide variety of other subative thinkers. These are the kind of peojects in the curriculum, ranging from arts ple who, in later life, will be snapped up and languages to science, technology by an industry thirsty for those who have and maths. the ability to translate new ideas into And it can be used to engage stupractical applications. dents, unlocking their excitement in any “In the job markets of tomorrow, given subject. If there’s one thing most knowing how to use a device or applicastudents are interested in, it’s technology. tion is taken for granted. No one will care “But we need to move beyond using that you are really good at tapping an technology just to make learning easier icon on an iPad. The best jobs of tomoror faster: technology should be transforrow will revolve around our ability to mational, not just a convenience factor.” solve problems, to come up with creative Ultimately, his vision for the company is to create a “complete holistic ecosysideas and build innovative solutions. And tem of services and products”, dedifor all these reasons we are seeing a cated to coding at the primary age and global trend to promote coding educaaddressing schools and educators, chiltion for children as young as five.” dren and parents. In fact, the emphasis of the afterChildren in EasyPeasy Coding classes school classes will not be to teach one will be introduced to a variety of physical particular coding language or system but instead to focus on “developing logcomputing elements using, for example, ical, analytical and creative thinking and the cheap but versatile Raspberry Pi problem solving skills through a wide among others. That will give them a platvariety of languages, platforms and form to learn and build increasingly complex projects over time. technology”. 14 CHiLD NOVEMBER 2015

Coding project at St Catherine’s What kind of education should children nowadays be getting in computer technology? Gabriella Govus, who teaches digital literacy at St Catherine’s High School, said ICT capabilities need to be developed so that learners can access, create and communicate information and ideas and learn how to transfer these same skills in life. “Introducing coding as part of the curriculum is next on the educational agenda. Learning to code is in fact learning how to learn. It creates the space to teach learners skills for tomorrow’s world in an engaging way.” This is a project that has been embarked upon at Catherine’s High School in the belief that technology should not be an addendum to the learning journey but a mode of ‘teaching’. “We hope that this will make learning truly meaningful for our learners today and in the years to come.”

Just like learning an instrument, coding is a discipline that takes time and dedication to master. EasyPeasy classes will focus on building a support community of fellow coders and “tinkerers”, helping to keep the initial spark alive as the child progresses through increasingly complex topics as they grow up. The focus, he adds, will not only be quality but affordability: “We want systems that anyone can afford, that have real purpose and utility and do not end up being yet more expensive toys we don’t play with any more.” The hope would be that Mr Conrad’s enterprise, and others like it, might prompt greater recognition of the need for children to learn coding skills at a young age and set the ball rolling towards uptake of the idea by all primary schools. In the meantime, there’ll be some bright young Maltese sparks who will have after-school coding classes to thank for their success when they become the high-flyers of the future.



Prevention and correction In his second article commemorating the 21st anniversary of the foundation of the Malta Adlerian Psychology Association, Gordon Vassallo has some advice on dealing with children’s misbehaviour.


iving in any family requires teamwork with a good dose of discipline. Discipline is concerned with the way a group is organised. It is about how the group members deal with each other and how decisions are made. Most of our foreparents, with the best of intentions, were autocratic in their style of leadership. The father or the mother was the ‘Commander in Chief’. One adult decides everything in the group. There was no discussion about what he or she recommends. The youngster simply had to obey out of fear of punishment, disguised as ‘loyal submission’. But some choose to rebel against this autocratic leadership, leading to all sorts of misbehaviour. Alfred Adler, as founder of the Society for Individual Psychology, strongly believed that humans could only live in peace when they felt equal to each other. His revolutionary pedagogic approach had far-reaching implications. With the ‘equality’ concept, there was no longer a sense of disciplining children through punishment, since there was no boss and no one had the right to impose and enforce punishment.


Long gone are the days of an autocratic leadership where the opinion of children had no weight whatsoever. On the other hand, equality does not translate in a laissez-faire style. Rather ‘equality’ requires order and discipline within the family and above all, shared responsibilities.

Mutual consent to order and shared responsibilities We often hear a sentence from a parent that goes like this: “Didn’t we agree that you had to…” This is then usually followed by some area where the child misbehaved. A clever child could raise a very interesting question by saying; “Who agreed what with whom?” It would not be a surprise to discover that the adult had in fact not made an agreement with the child. Probably, by using this phrase, the parent wanted to give the impression of a mutual agreement in order to get the desired behaviour. Possibly it was true that a few days previously the adult said to the child “Listen John, I don’t want to see that behaviour anymore; in the future you need to behave in such and such a way… You understand?” And the child nodded.

If you recognise these examples in your daily practice you may assume there has not been a real agreement.

Encouraging participation diminishes misbehaviour Democratic leadership is one which encourages participation by all the members of the family. Children too want to be involved. More and more adults have the conviction it is of value that children learn from a very young age that they can contribute. Active contribution by children and responsibility sharing is conducive to developing good social skills which contribute to the welfare of the family. It is influenced by the idea that working together is what counts in society today and tomorrow. When parents consider these skills as important, they need to teach them from the very beginning. There is no reason to wait until the child is 18 years old. Learning as a youngster will serve us in good stead into our later life. Children, from a young age, have to learn to discuss their daily problems, share the emerging household tasks and treat each other with mutual


“Active contribution by children and responsibility sharing is conducive to developing good social skills which contribute to the welfare of the family” respect. The family, as a whole, sets the rules and assigns the tasks. They also determine what consequences should be put in place, if someone would not follow these rules.

Children’s four goals in misbehaving These four goals are: attention getting, power and control, revenge or a display of helplessness. A child who misbehaves is compensating for being shot down. The child may not consciously pursue this, but the child still reacts on any one of the four goals. It is important the parents identify and understand the goal of the child. Is the child seeking attention, or power and control, revenge or to display a sense of helplessness and inadequacy? See the adjoining box for how to react to each of these goals.


ATTENTION GETTING …in a positive way;

Parent’s feeling

Parent’s reaction


Giving constant attention by talking;

…in a negative way;


Reprimanding, correcting, shouting, punishing.


Angry, outraged




What could the parent do?

Child has succeeded in getting attention – stops for a moment and soon resumes the same behaviour.

Stop talking. Ignore the child for the moment. Flee if possible.

Up in arms against the child by insisting, shouting, punishing; wants to win the battle.

Child feels put down and is fighting with greater force. Wants desperately to win the battle.

Leave the battlefield. Don’t punish, use logical consequences. Bring up the problem when things calm down in an encouraging way.

Hurt and enraged

Tries to get even, to strike back.

Child is convinced of being hated or unfairly treated. Wants to punish back.

Change your attitude. Logical consequences don’t work here as the child will misinterpret those as punishments. Encourage. Seek professional help.

Helpless and hopeless

Gives up, after many vain attempts to help the child.

Child is convinced of being a failure and wants to be left alone

Never give up! Encourage the child and encourage yourself. Get help.

Give lots of attention when the child is not pestering you.

* Remember that these goals are not consciously pursued.



The four steps of problem solving The need for affection: “It is up to us parents to learn new ways of helping our children discover the beauty of their uniqueness and their contribution to life” Self-esteem and social interest A child with a good self-esteem and social interest, if given the chance to be involved and participate in small family chores, has the goal to be friendly, cooperative and helpful. Children need to belong, to be on the same level rather than be subject to autocratic parents who sit on a pedestal giving orders and setting rules. If levelled off as inferior, especially in late childhood, children feel alien and problems emerge. Compensation for inferiority feelings is often directed in the wrong direction. In the words of Adler, “We cannot say that if a child is badly nourished he will become a criminal. We must see what conclusion the child has drawn.” We must remember that children are great observers but poor interpreters.

Affection The need for affection in social relationships is present from the start. If satisfaction is denied to the seeking for affection, then the child may turn in on himself or herself in narcissistic self-love. Parents play the most vital role in releasing and bringing forth the creative power of the child. It is this creative power that will shape their personalities and destinies. The creative power of the self is the essential principle of human life. Heredity gives us “certain abilities”, environment gives us “certain impressions”. The style of parenting and the response to our child’s persistent requests determine and influence their self-confidence and respect. Our children are precious and unique. It is up to us parents to learn new ways of helping our children discover the beauty of their uniqueness and their contribution to life. Credit for this article is due to international speakers Theo Joosten, a board member of the Dutch Association of Adler’s Individual Psychology, and Yvonne Schurer, psychologist and psychotherapist at the Alfred Adler Institute in Zurich, who gave presentations in a recent seminar organised by the association. 18 CHiLD NOVEMBER 2015

1. OBSERVE 2. UNDERSTAND 3. TAKE A NEW ATTITUDE 4. ACT The biggest mistake some parents make is to act without primarily observing, understanding and taking on a new attitude. In this way, the principle of equality is violated. Parents tend to react on their compulsions but the road to take is to delay and mistrust our impulses. Parents have to remember that panic makes rescue more difficult and often later regret acting out their compulsions on their children.

Mistrust your impulse Don’t react immediately Have a break, even if it is an excuse to go to the bathroom. Do not send the child to his or her room. You go to yours. Look at the situation from the outside What’s happening? What am I feeling? Try to understand What is the goal of the child? Identify the goal. Then identify your goal. Step out of the power struggle Adjust yourself. Find a new attitude. It is only after observing and understanding what’s happening that you can change your attitude and act in a constructive way.



tips for great baby photos! Your little darling grows so fast! Make the most of those precious moments. Here are eight basic tips for taking great baby photos. By Sylvia Chaume.


Always have the camera handy From surprised burp to a radiant smile, a baby’s expressions are natural and spontaneous. Always have the camera close at hand, for those unexpected moments. Be ready to capture the ‘firsts’ – the first time baby discovers her toes, the first time he lifts his head, or the first taste of a new food.


Baby is the boss If you haven’t figured that out, now is the time. When taking photos, let baby

take control. A child’s smile is genuine if she’s having fun. Let baby crawl, sit, move around and explore. Give him a favorite toy or peek-a-boo blanket, and keep up the chatter as you snap away. Take dozens of photos. You’ll discard a lot, but some will be fantastic!


A note about newborns Take advantage of baby’s limited motion, to get some endearing newborn portraits. By the time she learns to roll over, you’ll be a pro. Put

baby on a solid-colored blanket on floor, couch or crib, in diffused natural light, or wrap him in a fluffy towel right after a bath. Stand or kneel directly over baby, with the camera pointing down, and take lots of pictures. Some babies need to grow into their features, and soft newborn skulls can be misshapen. If baby is a temporary CHiLD NOVEMBER 2015 21

INFANCY conehead, a beanie hat or sun bonnet will help even things out. Get some shots of Conehead anyway. You can tease him years later, when he’s dating.


Clothing and background Keep backgrounds plain and uncluttered. The human eye naturally ‘blurs out’ backgrounds, to focus on the subject. You might not notice the vase growing out of baby’s head, but the camera picks up every detail. Solid clothing colours work best for photos. Patterns distract the “Be ready eye. The best colors are medium to capture the tones, and patterns should be ‘firsts’ – the first subtle. Try a variety of outfits. time baby discovers Alternately, let baby play au her toes, the first time naturel. Babies love being he lifts his head, or naked, and at some point will the first taste of a discover the fun of taking off new food” their clothes, as soon as you dress them. Baby’s skin has a soft natural glow, and the cute dimples won’t be there forever.


Get down, get close Kneel or lie down with the camera at baby’s eye level. Play with angles and perspectives. The slant of shoulders, or an offside shot of wide baby eyes, can make a dynamic composition. If the camera has a zoom lens, use it. Close-ups make lasting memories. Baby’s little ears, nose, hands and feet have a character of their own. An intimate shot of a tiny hand holding mommy’s fingers shows how small and delicate your bundle of joy really is.


Natural and artificial light Photography is all about light. The point of good lighting is to accent baby’s features, while minimising harsh shadows and glare. Natural light is effective for baby photos. Diffused through a window, it gives a gentle glow. The best light is early morning, and late afternoon to twilight. Avoid bright sunlight. Overcast days are perfect.


Use flash with discretion. A frightened baby is not an agreeable subject. Use artificial light for more lighting control. For studio-type shots, two light sources are enough – a main directional light, and a secondary light or reflector panel. The secondary source adds light to the shadows. Every great artist used reflected light to help bring a portrait to life. Baby photography is no different. Professionals often use a white umbrella to reflect light back at the subject, but white poster board also works. For studio lighting, try the main light at a 45-degree angle to your little model. Practice with a doll or fruit basket as a subject. Move the lights slowly, and

INFANCY higher speed. If the photo comes out grainy, lower the ISO speed. Set the camera to take multiple shots, if possible. Multiple shots in sequence can tell a story, as baby explores the world. “An active baby won’t stay in one place for long, so be flexible and have fun. Often a great photo happens by accident”

notice how light and shadow play across the composition. Precise studio lighting works well for newborns, or intimate mother-and-child shots. An active baby won’t stay in one place for long, so be flexible and have fun. Often a great photo happens by accident.


Camera settings Unexpected technical problems can ruin a one-time shot. Have a basic understanding of the camera (i.e. read the manual).

Most cameras have automatic settings. For more control, set the camera manually. Use a fast shutter speed to avoid blur when baby moves, and a low f-stop to let more light into the camera. A low f-stop also tells the camera to focus on objects closer to you. For wide shots, increase the f-stop for a broader range of focus. The ISO speed determines the camera’s sensitivity to light. Start with a


Have fun and play! The fun and bonding that happens when taking baby pictures is a memory to treasure, in itself. Blow bubbles, and capture the expressions on baby’s face. Bring in some plush toys, or things to bang on. Sing songs. Play peek-a-boo with the camera. Let baby get messy with food. Most babies love a bath, and bath time is perfect for expressive photos. The more fun you have, the more your little angel will respond with delight. Take as many photos as you can. Set up the shots, or just be spontaneous. You’ll end up with beautiful baby pictures, to enjoy for years to come.

PSYCHOLOGY The scene at the Paqpaqli car show following the accident last month. Children present may have been traumatised by the incident. Photo by Steve Zammit Lupi

POST-TRAUMATIC THERAPY A few days after a high-powered car ploughed into a crowd of spectators at the Paqpaqli car show last month, injuring two dozen people, the Commissioner for Children sent out a call to parents of youngsters who may have witnessed the tragic accident, inviting them to special sessions where they would be ‘debriefed’ and guided. Marika Azzopardi finds out about the effects of trauma on children and what can be done to help them. ragedy, accident, death and illness happen as a part of life. We adults sometimes learn to accept them with the fatalistic “That’s life”. We kind of accept it and lumber on, fighting a state of mind which could get us perpetually down and hoping that “time will heal”. But when the trials and tribulations of life hit a young one, how does a parent explain this as a fact of life? How to explain ‘life’, when most of the time we ourselves don’t understand the whys and the wherefores of it all? How does “Time will heal” sound to a child not older than 13? Is it of any consolation? Should the child live in perpetual fear of the next disaster lurking around the corner?


When a child becomes involved in tragic circumstances, parents and guardians, teachers and older people in their lives are generally scrambling to make things easier for the child, to help ease the pain both physical and psychological, to help the child regain normality of sorts. While kids are extremely resilient and endowed with an inbred fighting spirit, sometimes, too much pressure, worry and fear can get the better of them. What is the likelihood that childhood trauma will affect us in adulthood, whether it is being involved in a car accident, a violent attack, seeing somebody die, losing a parent and so on? CHiLD NOVEMBER 2015 29

PSYCHOLOGY Jacqueline Abela DeGiovanni, an accredited play therapist, says childhood trauma is encoded in our brain’s spontaneous activity in adulthood. “We never forget it and it impacts all our actions and experiences in the present. Trauma can affect one’s belief about the future through loss of hope, limited expectations about life, fear that life will end abruptly or early, or anticipation that regular life events will not occur.” For this reason, she says, therapy is necessary to deal with early childhood experiences in order to process the traumatic event. This will make it less likely to impact the individual into adulthood. Children involved in some trauma would tend to protect themselves psychologically. The emotionally painful events are pushed into some inaccessible corner of the unconscious where they are blocked out of conscious awareness, so that their pain will not intrude into their everyday life. “The body protects itself in this way, and most survivors do not exhibit immediate reactions,” says Ms DeGiovanni. “Most trauma survivors are highly resilient and develop appropriate coping strategies, including the use of social supports, to deal with the aftermath and effects of trauma.” How could a parent notice the distress signals and what should one look out for in terms of changes in behaviour? “Knowing the signs of trauma in children is the starting point for intervention. While adults can verbalise feelings, children may instead exhibit theirs through regression in functioning and behaviour, difficulty regulating emotion and behaviour, interrupted sleep habits, fear of new experiences, becoming increasingly more clingy, and losing recently developed skills.” Ideally, she says, one should address the trauma as soon as it happens or as soon as it is identified. “Research shows that processing the residual effects of trauma is key. Children should be encouraged to talk, draw, act out, or find other ways to express and communicate their experience and its after-effects. “Parents should re-frame the world as a safe place. Stress in the mind and body continue when the threat continues. The more quickly a child manages to emotionally, psychologically and intellectually re-acclimatise to a sense of safety, the more quickly the body will readjust to a sense of calm. “We have to develop a sense of self-efficacy and control. ‘I can handle it!’ thinking reduces fear and hence the necessity for a survival response.” Helping a child believe in his ability to take care of himself increases personal strength and can decrease anxiety, thereby lowering the emotional and biological stress response, says Ms DeGiovanni. But she adds: “It is of utmost importance to engage professionals to help process the trauma. In the case of young children, therapy through play is recommended. Ideally, this kind of intervention is offered to the child as soon as trauma is identified.” 30 CHiLD NOVEMBER 2015

Children may become more clingy after experiencing a traumatic event. Provide security and emotional warmth.

Parental protection Effective parenting practices provide a protective environment around children after a traumatic event, say experts. The goals of parenting following trauma would be to provide structure, security, emotional warmth and an environment that addresses the traumatic event. Encouraging skills, monitoring, interpersonal problem-solving and positive involvement in the child’s activities would support these goals and enable parents to provide an environment that promotes their children’s resilience after trauma. The recommendations come out of a review of the existing literature on trauma by a team from the University of Minnesota in 2008. Strengthening parenting and a focus on interpersonal relationships would serve as an effective approach to promoting children’s recovery and functioning following trauma, they concluded. This study was published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.

Play enables children to make sense of their world and allows them to express their thoughts and feelings. It offers a safe, confidential and caring environment which allows the child to play with as few limits as possible, but as many as necessary. “This allows healing to occur on many levels following our natural inner trend towards health. Play and creativity operate on impulses from outside our awareness – the unconscious.” She ends on a positive note – that the impact of trauma need not be indelible: “Therapy helps to rewire neural pathways, and we know that the trauma’s effects can often be reduced, even eliminated and reversed.”


A comprehensive guide to

baby proofing your home If you’re expecting to become the parent of a newborn child, then you need to be ready. The world is a dangerous place for a baby, even when it is at home, and it is your responsibility to keep your baby safe. Your house can be an obstacle course full of peril, so make sure that you baby proof every room. By Benjamin Byron. Baby proofing the nursery You would be surprised at the amount of ways a baby can find to hurt itself. Just because you keep the baby in a crib, does not mean it is necessarily safe.

• The slats in the crib should be close together. If they are too far apart, your baby could accidentally get its head caught in between. • Don’t place the crib near the window. The baby could accidentally get caught in the blind cords. • You should also keep the crib away from any shelves. Once your baby learns how to stand, it could accidentally bump into the shelves, knocking whatever sits on top off. • Don’t use soft bedding or pillows, as your baby could accidentally suffocate. • Make sure that your changing table has guard rails to keep your baby from falling off. CHiLD NOVEMBER 2015 33

SAFETY Baby proofing the living room You have to be really careful when letting your baby loose in your living room. There are a number of ways that a baby could hurt itself, so in addition to baby proofing the area, you should always be present with your baby to keep an eye on it. • Any chords that are hanging down from your window should be tied up out of reach to prevent choking hazards. • There are usually a lot of electrical outlets around the living room. Any which are not being used should be stopped up with safety plugs. • Make sure that any electrical chords or wires, such as the ones coming from your TV or any lamps, are taped or tied down. • Keep chairs pushed under the table so that your baby doesn’t attempt to climb on them. • Try to keep furniture with sharp edges away from the area where your baby is. For edges like on a coffee table, uses corner guards. • Always make sure there’s nothing on the floor before you allow your baby to crawl by itself in the living room. Pick up any coins, paperclips or other small items that act as choking hazards. • Secure your bookshelves and furniture using L-brackets to keep your baby from accidentally pulling them down. • You should place stickers on any glass sliding doors to keep your baby from bumping into them. • Keep anything breakable off of the floor. This includes anything such as lamps or house plants. You should move fragile items from lower shelves to the top shelves as well.

Baby proofing the bathroom Under no circumstances should your baby be left unattended in a bathroom. However, even if you are present, a baby can still find ways to put its own life in danger. 34 CHiLD NOVEMBER 2015

• Babies love putting things into their mouths. So make sure that if you are giving your baby a bath, you don’t have things such as bar soap or hand soap lying nearby. The same goes for toilet paper and paper towels, which will quickly get knocked into the water. • Move all of your medicines off the sink counter and onto the top shelf of your medicine cabinet. You should really attach locks or latches to all the drawers in the bathroom as well. • Attach a toilet lock to your toilet to keep your baby from hurting itself on the lid. • Get a spout cover for the bathtub so that your baby doesn’t bump its head. • Place a non-slip bath mat at the bottom of the tub. • Turn the temperature of the water heater down to keep the water from accidentally burning your baby. • Keep all of your electrical appliances, such as your hairdryer, unplugged and stored away if you are not using them.

Baby proofing the kitchen The baby should be in the kitchen very little. The only time it should probably be there is when you are feeding it. There are all kinds of things that could go wrong, so be very careful when you are in the kitchen with the baby. • When using the stove, make sure that all pots and pans are turned so that the handles face inwards. • Try to use the back burners when possible to keep your baby from burning itself on the front burners. • Use appliance locks on all the drawers in your kitchen, dishwasher, stove and fridge. • Use cabinet locks on the drawers. • Keep your trash in a locked cabinet or in a bin with a lockable lid. • Keep any plastic bags or trash bags away from your baby at all times. • Never leave any cleaning products out, always put them away immediately after use.

Baby proofing stairways Stairs are incredibly dangerous. This means keep your baby off of them if possible. • Deny access to the stairs by putting up baby gates at the top and bottom. • Think about putting carpeting over the stairs in case your baby somehow gets on them. This way, the carpeting will soften any possible falls. These are a handful of tips to help keep your baby safe in your own home. But remember, no amount of baby proofing beats good parenting. Always keep your eye on your baby, and use both your common sense and parental instinct when it comes to keeping it safe.

The science of selfesteem We took a look at some of the research that has been done into this vital personality trait in childhood… and came across some important insights about the power of praise used wisely.



ive is the youngest age ever to be measured for self-esteem – and the only study to have done so was published earlier this year in the US. It found that self-esteem is already strongly established in children that are still essentially preschoolers. The study used specially devised tests to measure how positively or negatively children feel about themselves. “Our findings suggest that selfesteem, feeling good or bad about yourself, is fundamental,” said one of the researchers, from the University of Washington. “It is a social mindset children bring to school with them, not something they develop in school.” “What aspects of parent-child interaction promote and nurture preschool self-esteem? That's the essential question. We hope we can find out by studying even younger children.” But until they come up with the answers, there is plenty of research out there that can guide parents on how to promote this important personality trait in their children, whatever their age. Isn’t it obvious, you may ask? Just give plenty of praise. But it’s much more nuanced than that, as some studies show. It often depends on what kind of character you’re trying to help your child build. For example, one study found that toddlers who hear praise directed at their efforts, such as “you worked hard on that”, started to prefer challenging tasks, rather than easy ones, and to believe that intelligence and personality can improve with effort. This kind of praise, called “process praise”, sends the message that effort is the source of success and leads children to believe they can improve their performance through hard work,

according to researchers from the University of Chicago. On the other hand, another form of praise, called “person praise”, is focused on the child's characteristics. Parents might say, for instance, “My, what a clever boy you are.” Short-term studies carried out earlier than this one had found that process praise results in greater persistence and better performance on challenging tasks, while person praise, which sends the message that a child’s ability is fixed, results in decreased persistence and performance. In the new study the researchers found that the percentage of process praise parents used when their children were one to three years old significantly predicted whether, five years later, the children welcomed challenges, had strategies for overcoming failure, and thought intelligence and personality could be improved. In the light of plenty of other studies showing it is mainly hard work – not so-called IQ – that promotes success at school and in life, this is a fundamental piece of information for parents. Process praise fosters the sort of self-esteem that, throughout life, says “I can” even if one is trying something for the first time or has failed in initial efforts. These findings suggest that improving the quality of early parental praise may help children develop the belief that their future success is in their own hands, according to the researchers. In fact, praise can also be targeted at any of a child’s existing strengths in order to reinforce them, and one study applied this principle to the way children learn to cope with stress. The paper, published in the journal Psychology, was called “The relationship between strengthbased parenting with children's stress levels and strength-based coping approaches”. CHiLD NOVEMBER 2015 37

TOP TIPS It shines new light on how “strength-based parenting” builds up children’s resources. “Strength-based parenting is an approach where parents deliberately identify and cultivate positive states, processes and qualities in their children,” one of the authors said. “This style of parenting adds a ‘positive filter’ to the way a child reacts to stress. It also limits the likelihood of children using avoidance or aggressive coping responses.”

“Improving the quality of early parental praise may help children develop the belief that their future success is in their own hands” While the importance of providing love and emotional support to children is well understood, this study stresses the importance of deliberately identifying and building strengths in children. One rather counter-intuitive finding emerges from a study that appeared in the journal Psychological Science in 2013. Researchers from Ohio State University found that adults seem to naturally give more inflated praise to children with low self-esteem. But while children with high self-esteem seem to thrive on inflated praise, those with low self-esteem actually shrink from new challenges when adults go overboard on praising them. ‘Inflated praise’ often involves the addition of just one extra word. It may include “incredibly” or “perfect”: “You’re incredibly good at this” instead of merely “you’re good at this”. In an experiment that involved painting, 240 children received received inflated, non-inflated or no praise for their work. They were then asked to choose another picture to copy: some easy, “but you won’t learn much” or a more difficult one in which “you might make many mistakes, but you’ll definitely learn a lot too”. Results showed that children with low self-esteem were more likely to choose the easier pictures if they received inflated praise. By contrast, children with high self-esteem were more likely to choose the more difficult pictures if they received inflated praise. These findings suggest that inflated praise may put too much pressure on those with low self-esteem, according to the researchers. “If you tell a child with low self-esteem that they did incredibly well, they may think they always need to do incredibly well. They may worry about meeting those high standards and decide not to take on any new challenges.” The lesson may be that parents and adults need to fight their urge to give inflated praise to children with low selfesteem. “It goes against what many people may believe would be most helpful. But it really isn’t helpful to give inflated praise to children who already feel bad about themselves.” The message from these studies? Using judicious and targeted praise, self-esteem can be built and moulded throughout childhood by the parents.


Fun approach to assisted learning The LSA’s experience

A holistic approach to disability implies therapy, education and independent living. Add a generous dash of love, enthusiasm and a passion for the job and you’re at Inspire! The dedicated staff and volunteers help over 1000 individuals facing various disability difficulties – from Down syndrome and autism to cerebral palsy and others. The challenges of inclusion and equality are tackled head-on, with a great number of programmes that aim for growth and development, integration and a sense of achievement. The decision of Banif Bank to sponsor two Learning Support Assistants for Inspire’s summer school came easy. The financial support ensured that Inspire reaches its aim to create a positive environment in which children of different abilities can participate. Roxana Azzoppardi, one of the Learning Support Assistants sponsored by Banif, shares her insights into the profession.


hat are the targets of a Learning Support Assistant at Inspire? The individual child is the focus of all that we do. We adapt to specific needs in a context of inclusion and mixed ability. We help children with their educational and social development, both in and out of the classroom. The job involves doing activities to instigate interaction, improve skills and knowledge, make them feel at ease while doing something outside their comfort zone. We use plenty of positive reinforcement, such as using a star chart or rewarding the child with something he/she really enjoys doing. Most importantly we make them feel loved! What other approaches do LSAs take? One important focus is a child’s abilities rather than the particular disability. We also talk about feelings. We involve the parents since they are a crucial element of the child’s growth. Our activities combine fun and education with plenty of interaction between children of different abilities. It’s important that children learn to socialise and integrate well with each other. CHiLD NOVEMBER 2015 41


What particular moments of the job give you the most satisfaction? The moments I cherish greatly are those when a child feels comfortable with me, or when he or she tries really hard to do something I’ve suggested. It’s in these instances when I feel my efforts are giving fruit. I once worked with a non-verbal child who totally disliked drawing. When I first started assisting him, he used to cry when entering the pottery room and would take off his shoes and run around or try going outside. But by the end of summer, he had made a clay object and even drawn a picture. I remember another child who refused to join in the dancing during lessons, but then really got into it during our big concert. I really cannot describe the happiness I felt. It was great! These little moments are what give me the most satisfaction. What are your challenges? Not always knowing the background of the child is a difficulty, so sometimes you have to try different approaches until you get to know them better. It’s even harder when you don’t have much support from parents. Moreover, if the parents don’t work with the child at home, there’s added difficulty. Non-verbal children in particular can be hard to understand until you get to know them, as they may have their own way of communicating which you have to get used to. Adapting teaching methods according to the different needs of the child is a solution. Some common methods include breaking down tasks into smaller steps, focusing on one concept at a time, and using games and visual aids. We talk with the child about what we’re doing and engage them with questions like “How is this working for you?” so that we can fine-tune our exercises as we go along, keeping the child focused on the learning process and outcomes. Inspire needs to raise more than €3 million a year to keep running smoothly and to give heavily subsided quality services to children and families.


Swap screen time for family time this Christmas Are you worried about getting your kids an electronic device this Christmas because you fear they will spend the entire holidays glued to the screen? As the holiday season draws near, the dilemma of whether to buy technology for your child or not becomes more difficult. On the one hand you wish to please your children’s wishes but on the other hand you are worried that this will induce passivity and they will glue themselves to the screen for the entire duration of the holidays. Set an example. We sometimes find it extremely challenging to take a technological break. Whilst we continually nag our children to stop playing on their gaming consoles, or tablets, we too find it challenging to ignore that phone call, or

that important work email and even more, Facebook. As parents we are looked upon as role models. Set an example and take a technological break over the holidays. Spend time together. Make the most of the Christmas holidays by doing things with them, both indoors and outdoors. Offer equally motivating alternatives such as board games, film nights or cooking together during the rainy days, and picnics or hikes when the weather is fine. These are the memories they’ll treasure forever. Agree boundaries and set rules. Come to an agreement with your kids as to how much time they should spend on their devices. It is recommended that a child should not spend more than 20 minutes at a stretch using screen-time. Keep an open dialogue with your child and explain your concern. Make use of the inbuilt parental controls. This will help you to enforce the boundaries that you have discussed with your child. Dedicate time to using the devices together. This will allow you to monitor what they do. Then disconnect together by putting those devices aside and focusing on family time.

‘Yes, kids love technology, but they also love Legos, scented markers, handstands, books, and mud puddles. It’s all about balance.’ - K.G. is an initiative born within Vodafone Malta, as part of Vodafone Group initiative Digital Parenting. As a leader in the telecommunications industry, Vodafone also aims to be a leader in the promotion of the safe use of mobile technology and the use of age appropriate applications. Vodafone Malta’s local initiative, has been developed in support of the BeSmartOnline!


Make it a Christmas of

theatre and music! Whip out your diary… Child takes a look at some great live shows for you and your children to relish during the festive season.



Christmas starts early for those who love the world of Disney. Young artists from the Malta National Children’s Choir will perform some of the best loved scores and Christmas songs at the City Theatre in Valletta on December 4 and 5. The Magical Christmas Concert 2015 is billed as enjoyable for all children, with spectacular visuals, synchronised lights and continuous animation, creatively produced and choreographed. Sounds like fun!

The following weekend, on December 11, 12, 13, something not quite so Christmassy but decidedly more intimate will be going on at St James Cavalier in Valletta. It’s the tale of a man, a child named Alice, a White Rabbit, a Queen of Hearts, a Mock Turtle and a baby that turns into a pig. Alice in Absentia is described as a story about discovery and growth, told as a performative piece mixing traditional and digital-age storytelling set to original music by Renzo Spiteri. Sounds intriguing! CHiLD NOVEMBER 2015 45

FESTIVITIES the MADC’s Treasure Island, which sees young Jim Hawkins set off on an epic hunt for treasure along with his unwilling mother – the outrageous Mama Sufia Kerapestska. Say that again? There’s humour (hopefully not too rude), magic, music, songs, dance, stunning costumes and special effects… and oh, some voodoo too. December 19-January 3. Sounds rollicking!

AN ANGEL IN LUQA Go off the beaten track to watch a guest violinist from Lithuania join a group of accomplished local vocalists for a show that combines Christmas classic songs, Trans Siberian Orchestra favorites and the story of a family whose struggles are eased by the Angel of Christmas Eve. The Angel of Christmas will be performed at the Metanoia Theatre in Luqa on December 11 and 12. Sounds interesting!


PANTO AT THE MANOEL… It’s that time of the year again, when the Manoel Theatre in Valletta becomes a magnet for those who feel Christmas is not complete without a night of slapstick comedy for the kids and satire for the grown-ups. Yes, it’s the pantomime! Robin Hood and his Merry Men embark on an adventure to defeat the Sheriff, the witch and the ghouls to save the Babes from certain death in… you’ve guessed it, Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood, starring Edward Mercieca as the great Dame. December 22-January 4. 10% discount if you book until November 30. Sounds riotous!

With pantos packing the Christmas schedule, it’s no wonder that the search for subjects requires the casting of a slightly wider cultural net, beyond even the classic tales of the big two. The pantomime at the University Theatre this year turns to a wellloved TV cartoon character for its star. Scooby Doo Għal Żonqor Point is likely to please both kids and adults with the unlikely combination of themes (but aren’t they all?). It’s billed as a spectacular show featuring professional dancers and actors, taking place between December 20-January 10. Sounds original.


…AND THE MFCC What, two pantos? It’s become a tradition, but some people really are gluttons for fun aren’t they? They should get their fill with 46 CHiLD NOVEMBER 2015

Do your kids do high-brow? Or perhaps the question should be: do they enjoy beautiful music and dance? Artists from the Crown of Russian Ballet of Moscow with soloists from Bolshoi Theatre and talented young dancers will bring Nutcracker to life with exquisite dancing, beautiful sets and Tchaikovsky’s glorious score. The Great Russian Nutcracker Ballet, on January 10, is a part of the ‘Russian Christmas’ festival. It’s at the Mediterranean Conference Centre and it sounds like there’s no better way to close off the festive season!

early learning centre 193, Merchant Street, Valletta – Tel: 21236228 • 61, St Paul Street, Rabat – Tel: 21456385 • Triq Fortunato Mizzi, Victoria – Tel: 21560157

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Mustela’s Stelatria recovery cream has been specially has been designed to soothe localised irritations and redness (rash) on the face and body. Typical irritations are seen around the mouth due to drooling of saliva, dummies, or even babies sucking on their thumbs, or in skin-folds, such a the neck, under the arms, between legs and behind their knees. Stelatria is a very effective, steroid-free cream which helps soothes these irritations. It is based on a unique combination of copper, zinc and manganese, all of which are known to heal dry and irritated skin, and Bioecolia, which is yet another patented ingredient of Mustela, which helps limit the spread of bacteria and infection of these irritations. It is also ideal for insect bites, burns and chickenpox. Stelatria can be used by newborns, babies and children and is applied 2-3 times a day. Knowing that it’s Mustela, you know that it’s the best and safest product for you and your baby.

Add some sparkle to your Christmas Let’s help you throw a lively Christmas party with a great atmosphere to remember. Ta’ Marija is renowned for its great atmosphere with a central dance-floor and popular “all ages” music which will get the Christmas party going. Menus start from €19.50! And with our regular themed nights running throughout the festive season, you can enjoy the best of Maltese and Mediterranean food, in the best of atmospheres. Enjoy our sumptuous All-Inclusive Buffet Carvery continues every Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch at only €25, plus we have created some extravagant menus for Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Day Lunches with entertainment on these special occasions. Ta’ Marija Restaurant, Constitution Street, Mosta. Tel: 2143 4444, Mob: 7957 3796,,

Mingu the flamingo Just published in time for the Malta Book Festival, Mingu is a unique picture book, in both content and style. In style because it’s the result of a collaboration between two cult artists: award-winning Clare Azzopardi, who wrote it, and Lisa Falzon, who worked very closely with the author to create the stunning evocative illustrations. Unique in content, because Mingu is a groundbreaking picture book about a flamingo that while flying peacefully over Malta is shot down. It falls into the yard of a Maltese family, and the children together with their mother help nurse it back to health … and safety. Mingu is published by Merlin Publishers, and is available from all bookshops or online directly from

OVS Kids OVS KIDS dresses children of all ages, from 0 to 14 years. For the newborns OVS offers a special collection made of organic cotton, ideal for the sensitive and irritable skin of babies. OVS collections are made of natural fibers, with particular attention to detail to ensure maximum safety, convenience and comfort. For children aged 2 to 8 years, OVS offers quality, trendy clothing, often inspired by the world's most famous children's characters. The Junior Collections (8-14) involve careful study of trends and practical wear, for clothes that are versatile, trendy, comfy and perfect for any occasion.

Bebelac 3 for essential nutrients Cow’s milk in not the ideal drink for toddlers. At this age, milk is still an important part of a young child’s diet and should give the right amount of nutrients for healthy development. Cow’s milk does not do that. Bebelac 3 also contains other essential nutrients in the right proportion.

Sophie La Girafe So’Pure Collection Made from 100% ORGANIC cotton, corn fiber and 100% natural rubber, the new So’Pure® collection’s products by Sophie La Girafe were launched for babies’ greatest pleasure, comfort and well-being. The new collection includes the classic Teether, Chewing Rubber, Birth Set and Dummy Holder, providing great sweetness and above all limiting allergy risk. All products are easy to take care of for parents, being washable and designed for parents who want the best for their baby and for our planet! COMPETITION QUESTION WIN a Sophie La Girafe Teether! Mention one of the products found in the new Sophie La Girafe 100% Organic So’Pure Collection made from natural rubber. Tip: Visit


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Clarks Kids With the arrival of autumn winter 2015, Clarks reveal girls’ and boys’ collections that capture the season’s essential looks. Reinterpretation is a watchword as kids’ classics are given a twist and transformed into style as exciting as it is unexpected. Driven by the season’s key trends, stories within stories emerge and show themselves in everything from the detailing to the colour palette, the materials and finishes. In the technologies too, with the designers’ vision and the technical experts’ invention seamlessly combining to deliver style with comfort.


Cristiano Ronaldo has unveiled the fourth collection of his renowned CR7 Underwear range, celebrating with a bold new campaign and standout designs for the upcoming season. The campaign captures Ronaldo modelling his favourite new CR7 Underwear styles as he demonstrates some of his signature moves. He says: “The new campaign is all about body movement. The product features the lightest and most comfortable materials and has a great fit, no matter how your body moves, so we really wanted to bring this to life. The way the product looks is key, but how it fits is equally important."

Nestlé nutrition during breastfeeding A healthy well balanced diet is important during breastfeeding. Although a supplement does not replace a well-balanced diet, it can provide some extra insurance on those days when taking care of your new baby keeps you from eating as well as you like. It is important to choose a multivitamin that is especially formulated for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding that supports your nutritional requirements adequately as a nursing mother. Nestlé Materna helps provide the vitamins and minerals you need during all stages of your pregnancy. After pregnancy, Nestlé Materna provides both calcium and vitamin D to help meet the nutritional needs while breastfeeding. Available in pharmacies.

Hydra Bébé for Dry Skin Mustela’s Hydra Bébé is a hypoallergenic, moisturizing lotion, formulated for the delicate skin of babies and children. With Jojoba oil, vitamins E and F, sweet almond oil and shea butter, Hydra Bébé body lotion provides immediate and long-lasting hydration of your baby’s delicate skin. Its pump applicator makes it easy to apply and its light, non-greasy formula penetrates immediately, leaving the skin supple, silky-smooth and gorgeously soft. It is ideal for normal and dry skin. Gently apply the lotion to baby’s entire body. Enjoy this special moment to bond with your baby who will enjoy this gentle massage. Hydrabébé Face Cream is also available. Knowing that it’s Mustela, you know that it’s the best and safest product for your baby.

Christmas cheer at Valletta Waterfront As from 4th December, Valletta Waterfront takes on a Christmas Village feel with a mix of décor, music, food and activities related to this magical time. A Christmas tree of a height of over 35 feet will be set up in the central part of the promenade. There will be a variety of free activities underneath the tree and along the whole promenade: Christmas bands, children choirs, cribs, stalls and more. Santa can be found in his workshop and will be available for photo opportunities. On weekends and public holidays there will be free children’s entertainment including bouncy castles and roaming children’s animation. Outlets located along the Valletta Waterfront promenade provide a variety of dining experiences for any type of event or party. From a quick after-office drink to an elaborate meal, Valletta Waterfront has that perfect venue. Browse the shops for interesting gifts.

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