Author: Lynette van Wyk

Involved Fathers: the way forward

By Konrad van Staden M.A. Clin.Psych (Pretoria)

We live in a world where parenting is receiving so much focus. It seems to be the topic of many talk shows and magazine articles. We even have entire magazines focused solely on parenting. But most of the issues of parenting are focused on the mother-child relationship with little emphasis on the role of the father. Our society puts so little worth on the role of the father, sometimes seeming blind at the expense our children are suffering for absent fathers. The consequence of absent and non-involved fathers carries weighted consequences.

A child born to a family where the father is absent is more likely to be exposed to neglect, physical illness, emotional neglect and abuse. Fathers who are more involved with their children are conversely more likely to be non-violent towards their children and partner.

A recent analysis of child abuse cases in a nationally representative sample of 42 counties found that children from single-parent families are more likely to be victims of physical and sexual abuse than children who live with both biological parents. Compared to their peers living with both parents, children in single parent homes had:

  • a 77% greater risk of being physically abused;
  • an 87% greater risk of being harmed by physical neglect;
  • a 165% greater risk of experiencing notable physical neglect;
  • a 74% greater risk of suffering from emotional neglect;
  • an 80% greater risk of suffering serious injury as a result of abuse;
  • overall, a 120% greater risk of being endangered by some type of child abuse.

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How Toddlers Workshop enhances emotional intelligence

(Written by a mom who is a psychologist)

  • TODDLERS WORKSHOP assists you to objectively learn through observing your child by using eye contact rather than over explaining yourself verbally and with ineffective praise.
  • The mother’s full attention is given to the child’s individual needs
  • Participation happens on an equal basis and increases self-empowerment of the child
  • The mother describes the problem (she does not solve it) and guide the child towards effective problem solving
  • The mother describes the feeling objectively and therefore the child will engage in cooperating more effectively
  • The child makes the choices and thereby increases his autonomy
  • The mother is consistently put in a position to respect the child’s struggle and not to answer the questions at once, but to rather reflect it back to the child
  • The mother needs to consistently show her respect for her child’s eventual “readiness” to engage in an activity
  • It is emphasized that “No” is a rigid uncreative word
  • Consistent respect for the child’s needs is emphasized
  • To be able to contain your child in the workshop, you need to integrate your own discontentment, or else you will project it onto your child
  • The workshop offers you time to get to know your child in the many facets of his life
  • The workshop focuses on increasing positive attitudes and will give mothers and children an important introduction to object consistency – a basic need every child has

Emma se storie

‘n Vriendin kuier onlangs uit Australië by my.  Haar dogtertjie wat pas twee geword het, kan nie genoeg kry van al die opwindende nuwe speelgoed in die speelkamer van my werkswinkel nie.  Ons sit en kuier sommer net daar terwyl sy opgewonde voortspeel.

Na ongeveer twee en ‘n half uur se speel, besef die ma dit is huis-toe-gaan-tyd.  Sy ken haar kind goed genoeg om te weet sy gaan nie uit vrye wil of keuse die speelkamer verlaat nie.  Aangesien Emma ‘n sterk ontwikkelde wil van haar eie het, het die ma ‘n reëling met haar.  En daar voor my oë ontvou een van die mooiste voorbeelde van effektiewe ouerskap wat ek nog gesien het.

Vyf minute voor die vertrek waarsku die mamma vir Emma dat hulle oor vyf minute gaan vertrek.  Sy maak seker sy het oogkontak met Emma en wys vir haar met haar vingers hoe lank sy nog kan speel:  een, twee, drie, vier, vyf minute.  Emma speel rustig voort.  Na ongeveer vyf minute doen die mamma dieselfde:  “Emma, oor vier minute gaan ons huis toe.  Kyk mooi:  een, twee, drie, vier minute.”  Emma speel tevrede voort.  Na vier minute herhaal die proses en daarna weer na drie en twee minute.  Toe die mamma aankondig dat daar net een minuut oor is, staan Emma doodluiters op, vat haar bekertjie en pop en stap hek toe.  Ek was verstom.  Getrou aan haar ooreenkoms, is die mamma se tot siens vinnig en sonder ‘n gedraal en sy en Emma vertrek sonder enige drama.

Soveel kere hoor ek mammas vir lang tye smeek, dreig, omkoop, afpers – eingiets om hulle te kry om huis toe te gaan.  Sommige dreig selfs dat hulle die peutertjie daar gaan los en alleen huis toe sal gaan.  Niemand het gelukkig nog hierdie dreigement uitgevoer nie.  Dit was egter ook nog nooit suksesvol nie.  Kindertjies weet goed genoeg wanneer mamma bedoel wat sys ê en ongelukkig is dit dikwels eers wanneer sy kwaai raak.  Kweek van klein tyd af die gewoonte aan om:

  1. jou kind te waarsku dat dit tyd word om huis toe te gaan;
  2. nooit terug te gaan op jou woord nie.

So kweek jy ‘n goeie gewoonte aan sonder enige vorm van manipulasie, dreigement of ander erger vorme van oortuiging nie.  Ouerskap het alles te doen met konsekwentheid.  Neem jou vandag voor om ‘n konsekwente ouer te wees en hou by jou word.  Jou kind sal jou net respekteer daarvoor.

Enige iemand wat belang stel in ‘n uiters verfrissende en splinternuwe ouerskapkursus kan my skakel by 0837933320.  Vir meer inligting omtrent die kursus sowel as ‘n voorskou dvd, besoek die webwerf  Ek begin ‘n 7-weke kursus op Woensdagaande 18:30 – 20:00 vanaf Woensdag 29 April.  Die koste beloop R500 per egpaar en sluit jou twee werkboeke in.  (Die koste per persoon per geleentheid beloop R14,28).  ‘n Engelse weergawe, nl. Evergreen Parenting begin op Maandagaande 20:00 – 21:30 en wel vanaf Maandag 4 Mei.


Playing with sand provides many learning opportunities.  Rather than spending a fortune on plastic toys, you can, with a little effort, create a dream world for your developing child.  A child can start playing in sand from the day he/she can sit up comfortably.  The sooner you expose him to sand, the sooner he will get use to the touch of sand and learn to enjoy it.

I can only see the red lights coming on when I speak about sand!  Many parents at my workshops will not allow their children to play in the sand, as they will get dirty.  This approach might cost you a fortune on therapy once your child shows signs of tactile defensiveness and experience social and learning problems later on in life.  There are far more benefits to sand play than dangers.  Make sure you cover the sand pit so that the neighbor’s cats will not be able to use it as a litter box.  I cover mine with shade cloth. Apart from that you can add hands full of coarse salt, bought at your local hardware shop or supermarket, to the sand pit to help preserve it from all sorts of bugs and germs.

As in the case of with water play, sand play is most therapeutic to children, ranging from 6 months to 10 years or even older.  Sand play is a right brain, non-verbal activity and can develop communication skills, thinking skills and problem solving skills.  Sand play is also important for very active children and helps to increase concentration span.  Whilst playing with the sand your child also develops important mathematical concepts.  He/she experience the difference in wet and dry sand; experience the weight differences of the different buckets and spades as well as the differences in size and length of the different sand castles.  My son started his engineering skills while building bridges and passes in the sand pit, trying to imitate the road to Cape Town.

Apart from developing all these skills, sand provides excellent ways of stimulating imaginative play.  Add a few farm or wild animals to it and leave them to create their own world. Make sure your child is covered with sun screen and has a hat on, as the time will soon go by.

If you are not keen on the sand pit idea – be creative.  Use an old ice cream container or even something bigger and hide some interesting things for your child to dig out from under the sand.  During winter time an older child can start forming letters and numbers in a tray with a shallow layer of sand.  Or let him draw pictures.

Children older than three, three and a half years of age, might share lots of happy memories in the sand pit – sharing instruments and co-operating in creating a town, a jungle or a castle.  Provide them with buckets full of water to add to the fun.

Sand pits are also ideal places to have treasure hunts for children’s parties.  Hide the treasure ahead of time and then divide it into zones.  Each child has a little tooth pick flag with his name on and use this to pick his favorite spot.  Everyone should then dig for their treasure.  Have a little something in each plot for every child, but one big prize for the winner.  In stead of hiding sweets that could lead to more hyped up party goers, you can hide plastic toy animals or even different puzzle pieces which they can use afterwards to have more fun.  Be prepared to have sand all over the place.

Life has become so busy, robbing us of all the wonderful opportunities that money cannot buy.  Create a sand pit today and be sure to give your child one of the best gifts ever and one that will last many, many years.

The Womb: baby’s first and most important school.

– Getting the “inside” information

Planning to have a baby or expecting a baby?  A lot of planning and thinking today goes into important logistics such as choosing your gynaecologist and paediatrician, attending ante-natal classes, booking the hospital of your choice, writing a birth plan, extending your home to accommodate the new baby, buying the best pram, cot, etc. However, just as important as all these detailsi, if not more so, is to meet the challenge of preparing intelligently for what is going on right inside you, the development of a beautiful, new human being. This baby is not just an extension of yourself, but  a unique little being with his or her own set of fingerprints, own personality, own features, own dreams.  And you can start bonding with and respecting your new baby right from the very beginning, even from before conception.

The phenomenon of prenatal learning (learning in the womb), though not widely known about in South Africa, has been researched from as early as 1920 by medical doctors and specialists, psychologists and educationalists. Schools for prenatal learning are common in parts of the USA, Canada, Japan and a few other overseas countries.  Parents are being taught to bond with their unborn child through feelings, through music and through learning.  Research has shown that  babies who have experienced this bonding in utero are easier to care for, cry less, and are generally loved and appreciated by others. Mothers who have thus bonded with their unborn child experience easier deliveries, and feel strong attachment to their baby after birth. Such babies grow and develop rapidly into friendly children who are not afraid of strangers, children who are sociable and highly competent.

Dr Yoshiharu Morito, M.D., creator of a Japannese prenatal education programme running since 1989, states the following:  “A failure at the beginning might be a prelude to future unhappiness and violence to self and others.  Therefore, prenatal education, in nurturing our social nature, could save the financial resources that are being consumed by social ills today.”

If the above sounds far-fetched to you, consider the following: your little fetus can express his/her needs, interests,  feelings, likes and dislikes by self-initiated and reactive movement.  By as little as 4 months gestational age, the fetus has facial expressions.  It can frown, squint and grimace.  By 5 to 6 months the fetus is sensitive to touch.  It can discriminate between tastes (and prefers sweet stuff!).  At 24 weeks it shows distinct musical likes and dislikes and will prefer the single notes of a flute to rock music.  These are only a few of  the wonderful abilities your unborn baby already has.

But how can you as a parent-to-be enhance your baby’s development in utero?  The answer, in a nutshell, is simple: talk. Talk, talk, and keep on talking to your unborn child.  Include daddy and the siblings, if there are any.  Listen to different types of music. Touch your unborn child lovingly.  Say a rhyme as you rub the anti-stretchmark cream onto your tummy, e.g. “Round and round the garden…..”  Try to relax. Make sure you eat properly and snack on healthy foods. Walk, swim or do light exercises.  Exercising is most important for you and your unborn baby.  Be sure to build positive relationships with others during your pregnancy.  It takes a town to raise a child, and you will need all the support you can get.  Establish a good future bedtime routine by going to baby’s room at the same time every evening.  Put your feet up and make yourself comfortable in a rocking chair. Switch on the music. Touch your baby, talk to your baby, bless your baby.  Stick to this routine after the baby is born.

If you are keen to lay the foundation for a sound and meaningful relationship with your child, starting in utero, you may contact Lynette van Wyk, who has been running workshops on this topic for many years now. You will learn when and how baby starts smelling, feeling, hearing and tasting while still in the womb and how baby even learns in utero – his first school. You will be advised on techniques for bonding with your child from day one onwards.

The next workshop will be on Tuesday 5 May, 19:00 for 19:30.  For more info contact Lynette at 0837933320.

The most common questions parents normally ask

Andalene Salvesen, co-presenter of Evergreen Parenting and founder of Monster to Munchkins (the South African super granny), will be in PE on Wednesday 13 May to answer the most common questions parents normally ask.

Andalene is an amazing speaker and has a beautiful sense of humour.  Be sure to book for this event through Lynette van Wyk on 0837933320, preferably after 20:00.

The event will take place at the Dutch Reformed Church in 77 Louis Botha Crescent, Summerstrand and will run from 18:30 until 20:00.  The cost for the evening will be R50 and only 80 people can be accommodated.  Book NOW for this most worthwhile event.

For more info about Evergreen Parenting visit the website  For more info about Monsters to Munchkins visit

‘n Splinternuwe, relevante, Bybelse Ouerskapkursus

Hettie Brittz, die skrywer van die boeke Kweek Kinders met Karakter en Kweek Gesonde Gesag, het onlangs haar bestaande ouerskapkursus met die insigte van Andalene Salvesen gekombineer en omskep in ‘n opwindende DVD-reeks met meegaande werkboeke.

Hierdie kursus is al die afgelope ses jaar in Presbiteriaanse-, NG-, Baptiste- en Charismatiese kerke aangebied en praatjies daaroor is al op Kruiskyk, MNet en Radio Kansel uitgesaai.

Lynette van Wyk is pas as fasiliteerder van Immergroen Ouerskap geakkrediteer en beoog om die kursus van sewe modules oor sewe weke op Woensdagaande tydens Didage by die NG Kerk Somerstrand, Louis Bothasingel 77 vanaf 18:30-20:00 aan te bied. Die kursus beloop R500 per ouerpaar en sluit twee werkboeke in.  ‘n Gepaste tyd sal met die ouers bevestig word. Belangstellendes kan by die kerkkantoor vir die kursus inskryf of direk vir Lynette kontak by 0837933320. (Besoek gerus die webwerf vir ’n voorskou in DVD-formaat en ander relevante inligting.)

The English version, Evergreen Parenting, will be presented at the Toddlers’ Workshop, 39 Brewer Road, Summerstrand, on Monday evenings 20:00-21:30 as from the 4th of May.  To book, contact Lynette at 0837933320.

Taking the GROSS out of motor development

You may well have heard of gross motor development before, but what exactly does the “gross” part imply? And why is it important for you as a parent to know what the commotion is about – does it really impact on your child’s development? What does motor development have to do with your child’s ability to learn to read, or concentrate in class? Can sitting really influence communication later on?

In this workshop presented by Toddlers Workshop and Intercare, we will aim to help parents understand what the basic building blocks of motor development are, and give practical advice and functional techniques regarding stimulation of these – in a format that should comfortably fit into any household’s schedule. Understanding the basics of early stimulation of motor development can help prevent later learning difficulties.

Our hope is that proactive guidance may amplify your child’s potential.

The workshop will be presented by Madri Hammond, occupational Therapist, and Stephani Mans, physiotherapist and mother of a young baby.

Please join us for this workshop at Toddlers Workshop, 39 Brewer Rd, Summerstrand on 31 March 2009, 19:00 for 19:30.  Tickets are R50 per person and can be obtained from Toddlers Workshop (0837933320) or from Intercare Medical Centre (041 3959600).  Booking is essential.