Author: Lynette van Wyk

Life before birth

Planning to have a baby or expecting a baby?  Meet the challenge of planning for this baby not just as an extension of yourself, but as a beautiful human beginning.  A lot of planning and thinking today goes into the most important logistics such as choosing your ginecologist and pediatrician, attending ante-natal classes, booking the hospital of your choice, writing a birth plan, extending your home to accomodate the new baby, buying the best pram, cot, etc.

But right inside you, while you are so busy planning everything in detail, a new person is developing:  a unique little being with his or her own set of fingerprints, own personality, own features, own dreams.  Lynette van Wyk, who runs the TODDLERS WORKSHOP franchise for 17 years now, hosts talks for couples to prepare them intelligently to start respecting their new baby right from the very beginning, even before conception.

Although the subject about prenatal learning is being researched as early as 1920, little is being done to promote this locally.  Schools for prenatal learning is common in parts of the USA, Canada, Japan and a few other countries.  Parents are being taught to bond through feelings, through music and through learning.  Most of the researchers are medical doctors and specialists, psychologists and educationalists.

Results show babies and children that are easier to care for, who cry less, who are generally loved and appreciated by others, easier deliveries, attachment to baby after birth, rapid growth and development, very friendly children, children who are not afraid of strangers, and children with a high ability and sociability.  And, if this sounds far-fetched, wait and experience the opposite.

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

Amongst the many seminars that are planned for National Pregnancy Awareness Week,  TODDLERS WORKSHOP is planning a workshop for expectant parents on Tuesday 10 February at TODDLERS WORKSHOP in 39 Brewer Road, Summerstrand, 19:00 for 19:30. At this occasion Lynette will brief proposed parents on how to lay the foundation for a sound and meaningful relationship with their child, starting in utero.  They will learn when and how baby starts smelling, feeling, hearing and even tasting while still in the womb and how baby even learns in utero – his first school. They will also be advised on techniques on how to start bonding with their child from day one onwards.

People interested in attending the workshop on Tuesday 10 February, has to book with Lynette at 0837933320, preferably after 17:00 or email her at  The cost is R50 per person or couple.

The importance of Gross Motor Development

Title: The importance of Gross Motor Development
Location: Toddlers Workshop Summerstrand, 39 Brewer Road, Summerstrand, PE
Description: By Physiotherapist Stephani Mans and Occupational Therapist Madri Hammond.
Cost: R50 per person
Booking essential!!
Start Time: 19:00 for 19:30
Date: 2009-03-31

Strictly come Playing

Playing with your child is not an option or a luxury; it is a must.  Play helps the child to relax and enjoy the flow of endorphins that make him feel good about himself and his world.  It helps him to let go of all the stressors in his life.  It teaches him about teamwork, taking turns and trust. Apart from that it is a wonderful way for family members to bond.  It helps everyone to feel that they belong.

Children love predictability.  Decide on an appropriate time for playing, preferably daily, and stick to it, come what may.  Create a family “Haka” (compare the All Blacks), a tune (like with soapies) or a song to announce play time.  Switch off all cellular phones, the radio, television, play station, DVD player and start the game.  Stay away from any electronic games.  Play works best if there are no toys around!

You may well ask:  what shall we play?  Think of the fun you had as a child and try different games until you can determine what works for your family.  Keep it simple.  It should create fun, not war!  On rainy days you may make some play dough and create a zoo of animals or a garage where one can have your car washed and serviced!  For sunny days it is best to be outside where everyone can do with a little bit of fresh air.  Invest in different ball games, even for girls.  Ball games help with the most important hand eye coordination skills.  Create a sandpit and build roads, bridges, castles, towns.  Over weekends the family can meet on the beach and play around in the rock pools or build sand castles.

Play should always be finished with a calm down game – something that indicates that play time is now coming to an end.  Everyone should help clean up.  Use Barney’s song to have fun while cleaning up. Make the most of family time.  Families that play together, stay together.

Play dough

Play dough enhances

  • fine motor development
  • sense of touch
  • free exploration
  • language enrichment through conversation
  • creativity
  • independence

It also helps develop those most important hand muscles necessary for later writing and working.

Can you help your baby sleep through the night?

Fortunately, the answer to this question is a resounding ‘Yes’!  (I see sleep-deprived parents prick up their ears).  Waking during the night can be caused by a number of things, but one of the most common and easily remedied is low blood sugar levels (resulting from an initial blood sugar spike).

Mainstream advice seems to be to offer your child/baby a carbohydrate-rich diet, especially high in baby cereals and rice.  This is a problem for children because – until they are between the ages of 12-36 months – they cannot produce the digestive enzymes required to deal with starchy carbohydrates, so eating these foods causes their little digestive systems a lot of stress and can lead to ongoing future gut issues.  It also causes blood sugar problems (which can ultimately, in the worst-case scenario, lead to Diabetes).  Every meal should, instead, be high in good quality proteins and fats, and should also include vegetables.

When diets are high in starchy carbs, blood sugar levels rise dramatically, leading to insulin production and then a resulting fall in blood sugar and ultimately, an increase in adrenalin (this hormone is responsible for picking blood sugar levels back up again).  Think of how your feel when your adrenalin is flowing … hyper alert and ready to ‘take flight or fight’.  This adrenalin surge is what can waken your baby during the night and can lead to ongoing restlessness.

Other things you can do to ensure a good night’s sleep are:

  1. Black out your baby’s room, so that you cannot see your hand in front of your face (this ensures that cortisol levels remain low, thus allowing melatonin – the ‘sleep’ hormone – to rise).
  2. In the 90 minutes prior to bedtime, make sure your baby is not exposed to overhead lighting … use lamps and dimmers, or candlelight (again, this brings cortisol levels down, allowing melatonin to rise naturally).

For more information, contact Tanya Wyatt, 32 7th Ave, Walmer (tel 041 581 1679) during office hours or contact her at

Eet beter, slaap beter

Kan jy jou baba beter laat slaap in die nag?  Gelukkig is die antwoord op hierdie vraag ‘n dawerende “Ja”!  Ek sien al hoe ouers wat nooit slaap nie, hulle wenkbroue lig!  Wakker word in die nag, kan deur baie dinge veroorsaak word, maar een van die mees algemene en maklikste geneesbare redes, is lae bloedsuikervlakke.

Hoofstroom advies kan moontlik wees om jou kind/baba ‘n dieet hoog in koolhidrate aan te bied, veral babapappe en rys.  Dit is egter ‘n groot probleem.  Totdat kleintjies ongeveer 12 – 36 maande oud is, kan hulle nie die verteringsensieme produseer wat nodig is om styselrige koolhidrate te hanteer nie. Die inname van hierdie kosse veroorsaak vir hulle klein spysverteringstels ‘n klomp stres en kan aanleiding gee tot toekomstige maagprobleme.  Dit veroorsaak ook bloedsuikerprobleme (wat uiteindelik, in die slegste moontlike geval, tot diabetes kan lei).  Elke maaltyd moet daarom liewer hoog  wees in goeie kwaliteit proteïne en vette en ook groente.

As diëte gelaai is met styselrige koolhidrate, rys bloedsuikervlakke dramaties.  Dit lei tot insulienproduksie, ‘n gevolglike val in bloedsuikervlakke en uiteindelik ‘n toename in adrenalien.  (Hierdie hormoon is verantwoordelik om bloedsuikervlakke weer te laat styg.)  Dink vir ‘n oomblik hoe jy voel as jou adrenalien pomp – wawyd wakker en gereed om te veg of te vlug.  Hierdie opwelling van adrenalien kan jou baba gedurende die nag wakker maak en aanleiding gee tot voortgaande rusteloosheid.

Ander dinge wat jy kan doen om ‘n goeie nagrus te verseker:

  1. Blok jou babakamer van alle lig, sodanig dat jy nie jou hand voor jou oë kan sien nie.  (Dit veroorsaak dat kortisolvlakke laag bly en melatonien – die “slaap”-hormoon – daarom styg.)
  2. Vir 20 minute voordat jou baba bed toe gaan, kan jy gebruik maak van lampe en skakelaars wat dowwer gestel kan word, of selfs kerslig, eerder as oorhoofse beligting.  (Weer eens hou dit die kortisolvlakke laag, wat toelaat dat melatonienvlakke natuurlikerwys styg.)

Vir meer inligting oor hoe jou kind beter kan slaap kontak Tanya Wyatt, 7de Laan 32, Walmer (tel 041 581 1679) gedurende kantoorure of kontak haar by

What distinguishes Toddlers Workshop from other mother and child groups?

  1. Toddlers Workshop began in 1982 in Green Point as the experiment of Otto and Celia Kossar who wanted to provide their own children with superior educational experiences. As two educational experts they were determined to find the most meaningful way of enhancing the interaction between mother and child. The success of their programme was based on the educational value and content thereof, and not primarily on successful marketing techniques.
  2. Toddlers Workshop operates according to strict business procedures. It is a business venture in every sense of the word. However, the founder couple, Otto and Celia Kossar, are committed to the upliftment of the poor and choose to live in simplicity next to an impoverished area. The next educational model that they hope to develop, will be for an economically depressed community. The hidden agenda of Toddlers Workshop is “a ministry to the poor.”
  3. Whereas mother and child groups usually focus exclusively on the actual programme, Toddlers Workshop seeks to improve the quality of family life and parental know-how through a lending library, counselling expertise of workshop leaders and presentations to parents in the evenings.
  4. Toddlers Workshop upholds values for childhood education which stand in contrast to the exaltation of “beauty, brains and money” of our consumer society. Parents are exposed to an alternative set of values, i.e.
    • the beauty of inner attributes
    • using whatever skills you have to the best of your ability
    • happiness depends more on inner attitudes than on the things which money can buy.
  5. Toddlers Workshop is a national organization which draws from a rich heritage. A system which began in 1982 has emerged through many trial and error experiences. Workshop leaders benefit not only from these accomplishments, but also from regular current sharing of ideas.
  6. Toddlers Workshop leaders undergo a standard of training which far exceeds any existing tertiary educational qualification for this age group.


Welcome to the Toddlers’ Workshop franchise.  This is the homesite of Toddlers’ Workshop Summerstrand in Port Elizabeth.  The owner and workshop leader is Lynette van Wyk.

We are busy building this website.  We welcome any comments and suggestions.