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Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria

Play and emotional wellness – child development

Play and emotional wellness

Play and your child’s emotional wellness: part 1

In my previous article? Easy and fun activities to keep your children busy during cold days as well as during Covid-19 days”, I have explained the importance of play with regards to your child’s development (emotional, physical, brain and social). Today I want to discuss play and emotional wellness are linked to child development.

Examples of some of the benefits of play on emotional wellness and development can be seen below:

  • Physical, body development
    • Examples: Catching and throwing a ball, running around, climbing onto, building things like houses, cars, robots, etc. (construction play).
  • Brain development (cognitive development)
    • Examples: Gaining knowledge about the meaning of big/small, loud/soft, up/down; sorting of things according to colour, shape, size and learning to solve problems.
  • Emotional development
    • Examples: Learning to express his emotions, develops self confidence, helps to better deal with conflict.
  • Social development
    • Examples: Learning to work together with peers, to respect others, helping to form his identity and teaching a child about leading and following.

Play and your child’s emotional wellness: part 2

Play is an important and invaluable “tool” which empowers a child.

Today I want to zoom in on play as an important “tool” which is used by children (without being aware of using it) to deal with feelings of anxiety, fear, insecurities, conflict, rejection, unfairness and many more.

Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria
Play and emotional wellness – play is a way for your child to express his feelings


Play further becomes a “tool” through which children practice role play and role identities.

Slavon describes the process which takes place through plays as: “Through play the child expresses traumatic fixations, conflicts and hostilities. The child also uses play to disguise genuine conflicts and difficulties, or he may use play to relax tension and anxiety. Of greatest importance is the fact that the young child discharges aggression and seeks to overcome traumatic anxieties through play; it acts as regulative mechanism.”

Every preprimary school which is worth his salt will have a variety of fantasy play activities like a dollhouse (with a kitchen and play food, dolls, a sitting room etc.), a variety of clothes (cowboys, dress up, clowns, animals), farm, space, shop, gym, garage with cars, and more.

Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Midstream Pretoria
Play and emotional wellness – fantasy play for children, an important part of child devlopment


But don’t rely on the school alone. It is even more important is that you also create the opportunity for fantasy play at home. Collect a lot of boxes, crates, hats, clothes, shoes, jewelry, etcetera that your child can use to build constructions like a house, shop, racing track, and more. Children only become more capable to verbalise (tell us) about their emotions at an older age, but even six year olds still struggle to verbalise what they feel and experience. Therefore play is of utmost importance, as it becomes the “tool” through which your child expresses his anxiety, anger, sadness as well as his joy, pride, happiness, etcetera.

Every day children, like adults, are challenged with a lot of emotions and insecurities which you might not even be aware of. Take the step and provide your child with the “tools” that he needs to change his “unfinished issues” into more “finished issues”. He dearly needs it!


Photo credits:
Thank you to the below authors for the amazing pictures used in this blog!
Photo by Steven Libralon on Unsplash
Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash
Photo by Vanessa Bucceri on Unsplash
Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist in Midstream Pretoria

Easy and fun activities for children during Covid-19 days: Dr. Marisa van Niekerk

Easy and fun activities for children during Covid-19 days

Easy and fun activities to keep your children busy during cold days as well as during Covid-19 days

One of the most frequently asked questions by mom’s over the years is “What else can I do to keep my children busy on cold and rainy days?”. Nowadays this has become “I’m running out of ideas of what to play”. Or “What creative activities are left, as the lockdown already lasted for 21 days and there are two more weeks to come?”. “My children are so bored now.”

Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist in Midstream Pretoria
Sorting shapes and colours – playing and learning at the same time

But let’s take a step back, why is play important, and what are the benefits of playing?

What does play really mean?

Let’s just pause for a moment to think why children need to play. Playing is not just keeping your child busy to have peace for hopefully a few minutes (if you are lucky!). A child’s play is an art and science on it’s own. Hymes describes play as ”….. thinking time for young children. It is language time. Problemsolving time. It is memory time, planning time, investigating time. It is organization-of-ideas time when the young child uses his mind and body and his social skills and all his powers in response to the stimulus he has met.”

What do parents give their children through play – the benefits of playing?

  • Physical, body development
    Building with blocks – another great play learning activity
    • Examples: Catching and throwing a ball, running around, climb, building things like houses, cars, robots, etc. (construction play).
  • Brain development (cognitive development)
    • Examples: Gaining knowledge about the meaning of big/small, loud/soft, up/down; sorting of things according to colour, shape, size and learn to solve problems.
  • Emotional development
    • Examples: Learn to express his emotions, develops self confidence, helps to better deal with conflict.
  • Social development
    • Examples: Learns to work together with peers, to respect others, it helps to form his identity and teaches a child about leading and following.

Playing improves concentration

Play improves concentration in children. All the above mentioned areas of development forms the foundation for spelling, reading and mathematics. Please read this again, play is the basis for reading, spelling and maths. For the mom’s who need to keep all the balls in the air (house keeping: cleaning, preparing food, washing, ironing as well as keeping the children busy with activities and play and who are forced to stay within a limited budget) I salute you!

For the mom’s who ‘don’t have time to play’, I hope that you will realise what difference you can make in your child’s development by creating play activities.

Visit my Facebook page for examples of easy and fun activities for children during Covid-19 days

If you are looking for creative easy and fun activities for children during Covid-19 days, look no further. I have put a lot of easy, fun activities on my Facebook page. Pictures are added which make it easy for you to scroll through and to get new ideas. It will also trigger your brain to create new ideas. Have fun!


Photo credits:

Thank you to the following authors for the amazing pictures used in this blog.
Building blocks – Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Sorting shapes and colours – Photo by Soraya Irving on Unsplash
Child playing with cars – Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash
The world is temporarily closed COVID-19, coronavirus

Regain control of your life during COVID-19 lockdown

Need to regain control of your life during COVID-19 lockdown?

How to regain structure in a world struck by the Corona virus?

The Corona virus came unexpectedly and with force. It turned our instant and fast lives upside down. When we opened your eyes the next morning it was still there, it became our new reality, a very unwelcome reality. Let’s explore how to regain control of your life during this time?

The corona virus overwhelms our lives. Worst of all, we start to realize that the Corona virus or Covid-19 virus will stay with us for a while, unless a cure or vaccine is found. The corona virus took over all parts of our being, especially since the introduction of the lockdown period in South Africa, and many parts of the world.

Regain control of your life during COVID-19 lockdown
Regain control of your life during COVID-19 lockdown

It is impacting us socially (we can’t go out and spend time with others), emotionally (we feel down, depressed , anxious, angry, etc.), physically (we can’t go for a walk, jog and gyms don’t count as an essential service (!)), and mentally (our thoughts keep on coming back to the corona virus).

What I hear as educational psychologist from clients, the media and from experiences in my own life every day, the Corona virus evokes emotions like anxiety, anger, fear, sadness, loss of control, depression and many more. People want to know why they feel so knocked off their feet all the time. They want to know what’s wrong with them or whether they are loosing their minds.

No, you haven’t lost your mind

Corona caused tremendous losses in our lifes which implies aspects like routine, space, jobs, income, freedom, social life and control. The moment when we loose something, we experience a loss. During any loss we’ll move back and forth between the following phases:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Negotiation
  • Acceptance.

It is quite natural to experience the phases of loss mentioned above, and people spend different amounts of time in each of these phases. Don’t worry too much if you spend too much time in a phase, however, if you are really stuck in one of these phases, and it is interfering too much with your life, do contact me for a consultation.

Regain control of your life during COVID-19 lockdown: What to do

What can I do to make Covid-19 better?

Questions which arises are “What can I do to make Covid-19 better?” or “How can I regain control in my life?” Research tells us when dealing with a loss and trauma, structure plays an important part in regaining a sense of control in your lives. The most important aspect is to get a routine, similar to the one before Covid-19 existed, for instance:

  • Get up at the same time each morning.
  • Don’t get up too late (this means that you should also go to bed on a decent time the night before).
  • Exercise (in your house if you can’t go outside). Any form of exercise can work, and no excuse is accepted. Walking inside your house, or garden counts; skip, jump on one leg, put on a happy song and dance for a few minutes.
  • Take a shower.
  • Put on your clothes, make-up, comb your hair – look in the mirror and see a well taken care of picture of yourself.
  • Do what you normally do during the week, for example working, keeping your kids busy, etcetera.
  • Take a break and have coffee / tea outside, together with your family members – if they are there (sunshine provides vitamin D which adds to your positive feelings).
  • Go back to work and remember to take regular breaks. Put on a happy song during your second break to lift up your feelings.
  • Go for a walk after work.
  • Read / do something that you never have time for (make a list and tick them off every day).
  • Spend time with your family, or on your own if you are alone, make a nice fire, play a board game, spend time on your hobby or do something new or something that you like).
  • Prepare and enjoy some good, healthy food.
  • Drink enough water.
  • Clean up your kitchen and house.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Have time apart from the television and internet, as it might easily become all that you do most of the time.
  • Be brave: this implies spending time on your own and “face” your fear, anger, anxiety, frustration, etcetera.
  • CONTROL what you can, which are all indicated above.
Regain control of your life during COVID-19 lockdown
Regain control of your life during COVID-19 lockdown

Regain control of your life during COVID-19 lockdown: Structure equals routine

If you want to regain control of your life, you need routine. Routine, even if you aren’t a very routine person, brings structure into our lives when it seems to be falling apart. The moment when you realise that there are things that you can control and start doing them, you will discover that routine provides you with a sense of security. Control and security cause our brains to release “feeling good hormones” of which endorphin is one. The challenge is however to stick to a routine.

Isn’t it time to take up the challenge of setting a proper routine and to regain a sense of structure in your life?

For more relevant information, please connect with me on my Facebook page.

Talking to kids about the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Talking to kids about the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing widespread panic and anxiety throughout the world. For us as adults, information about the virus is quite readily available, but what about our children? What do they hear, and understand about the Coronavirus?

Talking to kids about the Coronavirus

Below are a few pictures that can help you explain the Coronavirus (COVID-19) to your children, to help ease their anxiety, and empower them with knowledge about what the virus is, what is does, and how the spread of the virus can be contained.

You can also download this free PDF copy of the story here.Explaining the Coronavirus to kids

Explaining the Coronavirus to kids

Explaining the Coronavirus to kids


Explaining the Coronavirus to kids


Explaining the Coronavirus to kids

Explaining the Coronavirus to kids


Explaining the Coronavirus to kids

Explaining the Coronavirus to kids

Explaining the Coronavirus to kids

Explaining the Coronavirus to kids


The above images are credited with thanks to MANUELA MOLINA, @MINDHEART.KIDS, WWW.MINDHEART.CO.


Are you a blamer? Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist shares some info on blaming

Are you a blamer? Let’s talk about blaming

Are you a blamer?

What is blaming, and why do we do it?

Are you a blamer? Blaming is basically the process whereby our brains finds a clever way of avoiding the psychological pain created by negative events. Blaming is an externalising process, projecting the anger or pain onto another person or situation, instead of taking responsibility for it ourselves.

If you are a blamer (or don’t even know you are), have a look at this (hilarious) video by Brene Brown, where she “considers why we blame others, how it sabotages our relationships, and why we desperately need to move beyond this toxic behaviour.”


To read more about blaming and how it can affect you EGO, read this post here.

Dr. Marisa van Niekerk, Educational Psychologist in private practice in Midstream.
Also serving clients from Centurion – Rooihuiskraal – Irene – Pretotia East – Midrand – Heritage Hill – Cornwall Hill – greater Pretoria area
Mental toughness, Pretoria, Centurion, Midstream

Your Ego, your personality manager

Your ego: an introduction

Ego?!   Yes, we know about ego’s.  Usually men’s ego’s!

In a previous post I’ve shared Brene Brown’s “blaming” dvd.  If you haven’t seen it yet it’s worth taking a moment to go to the video and have a look.

Blaming is all about ego.  And NO, not just about men’s egos – it’s all about our ego’s as human beings.  Have a look at the picture below: sitting behind your desk, your feet on the desk and just feeling good about yourself, just like yourself as a person. That is what ego implies: Ego is the manager of our personalities and it’s biggest need is to feel good about himself (or herself).

The ego is the manager of our personalities
The ego is the manager of our personalities

Now, how is an ego formed?

Firstly, the ego is formed by telling yourself good things about yourself, like “I am good enough”. You are thus giving yourself positive feedback of yourself, for example: “Iva likes me and she thinks I’m a good friend”; “I’m making a difference in someone’s life”, etcetera.

But, the ego is also formed by telling yourself bad (or negative) things about yourself: “I’m not a good mom”. Maybe you think “I don’t have any university qualifications and therefore I am inferior compared to my friends”. What about “I’m fat and ugly” or “I don’t have self confidence”, etcetera.

The ego is further formed by interpreting the feedback (positive or negative) that you receive from others: “Other people don’t like me”; “My boss thinks Mark does this job better than I did” or on a more positive side: “My boss thinks I’m great”or “I handled this situation well”.

Your ego and blaming

Back to the blaming issue:

In order to feel good about yourself, you learn defending mechanisms (to boost your ego to feel good). For example blaming others instead of taking responsibility for your own actions. Or withdrawing from a situation where you feel inferior and accusing other people of not acknowledging and understanding you. It can be drinking too much in order to have confidence to “speak out” in front of other people.

So, we all have ego’s, because we are human.  But have you ever thought about what your defending mechanisms are?  Start to recognize them, try to stop using them and become an anti- blamer, anti- over-drinker, anti- withdrawing person. Become a pro “I am good enough the way I am” person. This is food for your ego.

Most people don’t even know that they have defending mechanisms.  So, why is it good to know what your defending mechanisms are?  Well, by knowing what they are, you can focus on minimising them, or using them less.  Start saying: I don’t blame others, but I take responsibility for my actions. I don’t withdraw from friends, because I rather learn more self assertiveness and start to belief that I can’t expect others to respect me if I don’t respect myself. I don’t need to drink too much as I would rather learn some skills to better socialize and communicate with other people.

And start treating your EGO well, saying “hi EGO, you are a great buddy!!”


According to the website, the definition of ego is:

Ego, in psychoanalytic theory, that portion of the human personality which is experienced as the “self” or “I” and is in contact with the external world through perception. It is said to be the part that remembers, evaluates, plans, and in other ways is responsive to and acts in the surrounding physical and social world. According to psychoanalytic theory, the ego coexists with the id (said to be the agency of primitive drives) and superego (considered to be the ethical component of personality) as one of three agencies proposed by Sigmund Freud in description of the dynamics of the human mind.


Survival tips for mothers

Survival tips for mothers (and fathers)

Survival tips for mothers: Introduction

Too many moms tell me on a daily basis “I’m trying to keep everybody in my family’s "balls" in the air, but I am falling apart myself”.  That is often so true, mothers usually put themselves last in the line and most of the time they aren’t even in the line!  This can be an overwhelming feeling, and a cause for anxiety and even depression.  How about some survival tips for mothers to help you to not only cope, but thrive!

Survival tips for mothers: The problem?

So what can you do? What can you change if you hardly have time to go to the bathroom (not even alone – many times with a clinging child who sits in front of the door waiting for you)?  Mom’s feel guilty…. almost permanently….

Therefore when there’s a few minutes somewhere, sometime, they also tend to do something for somebody else.

Survival tips for mothers
Survival tips for mothers (and fathers)

Survival tips for mothers: STOP

So just STOP and forget the guilt feelings (even if only for a few minutes)! Do some of the following three times EVERY DAY (for the rest of your life), and see what happens!

Survival tips for mothers: Do this now!

  • Read one article in your favorite magazine.
  • Make yourself a cup of coffee/ tea and just sit (do nothing – don’t even think – become just blank for a few minutes).
  • Breathe (deeply in as if you are climbing stairs) and then out again (down with the stairs again) for (5 minutes).
  • Watch one of your favorite tv programmes.
  • Walk around the block (all by yourself). (Demand the time: leave the kids with your partner or nanny for 20 minutes).
  • Read something spiritual.
  • Forget about your phone.
  • Listen to your favorite “happy song” and sing and dance along.
  • Add something which you need to the list.
Survival tips for mothers
Survival tips for mothers: Do something for yourself!

Survival tips for mothers: Enjoy it!

If you do above mentioned three times a day (OK, maybe walk around the block just once), it’s guaranteed that the rest of your day (and life) will be far better than yesterday and the day before. Stand up and take back control of your life and ENJOY IT!  You deserve it!

Survival tips for mothers: Last words

Of course, the above mentioned tips also works for fathers.

Exam stress tips for parents Midstream Pretoria Centurion

Exam stress tips for parents

Exam stress tips for parents

This time of the year exams stress is at the order of the day.  It is a time that can be extremely stressful for parents (most of the time for moms) and their children.  Sometimes parents even tend to have more exams stress than their children.  So here are some exam stress tips for parents.

Exam stress tips for parents: Introduction

Parents often ask the question “How can I better support my child during exams”.  There are a few basic things which you as a parent can do different these exams.

Exam stress tips for parents: Tip 1 – selftalk

Be aware of your selftalk. What do you say to yourself and what do you say to your child during this busy and stressful time? This words that you say to yourself is called your selftalk – the things you tell yourself. Do you perhaps say things like “I don’t know how we are going to get through the exams”, “It’s going to be a terrible time of fighting in our house again”, “I don’t even know where to start”, “How am I going to get time for all that I need to do together with the exams”, “I’m a nervous wreck”, etcetera.

The words that you tell yourself set free either feeling good (for example endorphin) or feeling bad (for example cortisol) hormones in your brain. You can explain it to your child that the hormones is like feeling good or feeling bad ‘juice”. Therefore change your selftalk to things like “We are going to be a strong team this exams”, “It will go well”, “You can do it”, “You’ve done it so many times before”, “You are a star”, “Let’s just keep going”, etcetera. Start today to set free “feeling good juice” in your brain and support your child to do it as well.

Exam stress tips for parents: Tip 2 – Take care of yourself first

Take care of yourself as parent first. In an aeroplane part of the safety procedures before all flights take off is, “Should there be an emergency, and oxygen masks drop from the panel above you, attend to yourself first before you help your children or any other person”. Get your ducks, as parent, in a row first by doing the following exam stress tips for parents:

  • Get enough sleep.
  • Drink enough water (plus/minus 6 – 8 glasses per day).
  • Eat healthy.
  • Go for daily walks with your children (15 minutes will make a big difference).

If you feel there’s no time, make time and see the difference that will add to a more positive atmosphere at home.

Exam stress tips for parents: Tip 3 – brain gym

Do some brain gym. Brain gym exercises are movement exercises which “switch” your brain on and make it more sharp.

Exam stress tips for parents: brain gym, midstream estate
Exam stress tips for parents: brain gym

For more info on brain gym exercises go to the brain gym SA site. Do the brain gym exercises together with your child before school, before he starts studying and again if he / she gets exhausted during study time. Just don’t do brain gym before bedtime as it might make it difficult for your child to fall asleep.

Exam stress tips for parents: Tip 4 – Reduce overall stress levels in your home

Change the overall stressful atmosphere at home by:

  • Taking frequent short walks.
  • Ask your child to play his / her favourite inspiring song to you and just dance together (or just listen).
  • Build in a special tradition (which will last for the rest of your life) like having coffee, tea, etcetera together at a certain time each night. Just be together and relax.
  • Hit a pillow or a boxing bag.
  • Acknowledge your own and your child’s emotions. Take time out if needed as a fight will cause setting free bad “juice”.
  • Don’t preach, shout, scold, criticize your child, but in stead tell him / her it’s “time out” time and go and drink a glass of water, walk around the house, go to the bathroom in order to calm down and to be able to think logically again.


Exam stress tips for parents - reduce overall stress levels in the home
Exam stress tips for parents – reduce overall stress levels in the home

Exam stress tips for parents: Summary

Helping your child cope with exam stress starts with helping yourself as parent cope with “exam stress“.  I hope the “exam stress tips for parents” above would help you achieve that goal.

Just implement these exam stress tips for parents and make this exams the best ever and invest for the future exams as well. You can do it!

GPS tracker watches in schools

GPS tracker watches in schools

GPS tracker watches in schools: Introduction

Should GPS tracker watches in schools be allowed?

Nothing can be more terrifying and induce panic than to loose your child in a mall, in a crowd or even on a family outing. It is a natural part of most parents to worry about the safety of their children. One of the questions, in an unsafe country like South Africa, which is at the order of the day, is whether allowing GPS tracker watches in schools could be the answer to your child’s protection and safety. GPS means global positioning satellite and a chip is used in a variety of GPS devices such as watches, clothing, cell phones and clothes (a surgeon can even implant a GPS chip into a child’s body). A GPS is a technology which informs you where people and things (e.g. your car and child) are at all times.

In thís article the focus is especially on GPS tracker watches in pre-primary schools in South Africa. Some of the devices can track children continuously, while others only start to respond if a child leaves the boundaries of a specific area. Some tracker watches even have a panic button and / or a cellphone to make an urgent call. Technology offers more options and choices, but it also implies that more decisions should be made by parents. Parents admit that they are under “responsibility pressure” as well as “peer pressure” to decide whether it will be good to buy their child a GPS tracker watch to know exactly where their child is and to protect their child. What complicates the tracker watch option more is the controversy among parents and professionals like teachers and therapists whether the answer to buy a tracker watch for your pre-primary child should be a yes or a no.

Like so many other puzzling questions with regards to your child, which have no definite yes or no answer, this is the conundrum here. Now what should a parent do? First know the pros and the cons of a GPS tracker watch for your pre-primary child. 

Click here for a link to where you can shop for GPS tracker watches

GPS tracker watches in schools: Pros of tracker watches

  • Parental peace that comes from knowing where your child is all the time.
  • Should there be an emergency, for example a kidnapping, the police and others can immediately start to search for your child and find him more quickly.
  • Parents can be more relaxed when their child goes for a play date to a friend, instead of saying no and deprive their kid of the chance to better socialise; or saying yes, but worrying about the safety of their child all the time.

GPS tracker watches in schools: Cons of tracker watches

  • Children are children and can break the device or take it off when they play.
  • A child attacker who is well informed will look for a GPS tracker watch and get rid of it.
  • Strangers aren’t the greatest threat to a child’s safety, sometimes a close friend and / or family member can be more dangerous and be well aware to remove the GPS tracker watch.
  • The GPS tracker watch gives parents security to know where their child is, but emotionally a child can become too dependent and over reliant on his parents.
  • The change exists that parents as well as their child rely too much on the watch and that parents tend to omit to teach their child about his own safety as well as safety rules, for example what to do when a stranger approach you and how to remove yourself from dangerous situations.
  • Technology is not perfect and systems can fail.
  • Be careful not to become a helicopter parent.
GPS tracker watches in schools
GPS tracker watches in schools

GPS tracker watches in schools: What is a helicopter parent?

“The term “helicopter parent” was first used in Dr. Haim Ginott’s 1969 book Parents & Teenagers by teens who said their parents would hover over them like a helicopter; the term became popular enough to become a dictionary entry in 2011. Helicopter parenting refers to “a style of parents who are over focused on their children,” says Carolyn Daitch, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders near Detroit and author of Anxiety Disorders: The Go-To Guide. (Taken from What is helicopter parenting?

Jiobit – Smallest Real-Time Location Tracker for Kids | Highly Secure, KidSAFE Approved, Lightweight, Durable, Live Notifications | Precise Location Reporting Utilizes Cellular, BT, Wifi and GPS

GPS tracker watches in schools: What do professionals say?

Dr. Erik Fisher, psychologist and author of The art of empowered Parenting says that there are indeed pros, but examples of pitfalls are:

  • A child gets the idea that he’s never too safe and today kids already are scared of too many things.
  • The replacement of being an active parent which includes teaching your child problem solving skills and to be able to make decisions.

Fisher’s advice to parents is to determine their real motives for having a GPS tracker watch on their child. Parents should further determine how their child feels about the device, but it’s more applicable for older children than for pre-primary kids, as most pre-primary kids are still in the development phase where they find it difficult to express their feelings in language.

A psychologist from Ohio New York who does research on parenting, says the following: “I can understand how a parent might want to know if their child is having a problem, but I don’t think it’s necessarily helpful for children to always be able to turn to their parents when they are struggling. We want children to develop problem solving skills and the capacity to manage stress.” No matter where you as parent stand in the debate, remember the “traditional” methods of looking after your children and know where they are. Know what your child wear in case of separation and report. Teach and repeat and point out boundaries in their different environments where they will be at different times of the day. Teach your child to whom he can go for help.

GPS tracker watches in schools: Pre-primary Schools’ dilemmas

Dilemmas / questions / challenges?

Have you ever thought that technology also causes challenges at your child’s school?

Think of the following practical examples: Pre-primary education is all about developing your child’s skills in order to reach his full potential as a whole child (emotionally, physically, socially, mentally) and to get him ready for school. Activities are therefore carefully planned and rotated to give your child the opportunity to develop and practice these skills. These developmental activities include sand, clay, paint, water, drawings, etcetera. In order to be able to play freely many kids want to take off their GPS tracker watches.  And then, it’s watches everywhere, children everywhere, teachers who need to keep a good eye on the children and watches full of sand, water, paint and sometimes crying children as their parents told them to take good care of their tracker watches.

Another factor to consider at school is the right to privacy. Some GPS tracker watches also have a small microphone attached to the watch, which allow parents to listen to what is happening around their child, almost like a baby monitor.

This could be problematic, and could infringe other children, or the teacher’s right to privacy, and hence should be addressed by the school’s management team, in consultation with the school’s legal advisor.

So, let’s get back to the point again. Please go back and read the pro’s and cons of buying a GPS tracker watch for your pre-primary child. You want a child with strong “wings” who can fly. Keep that in mind and make the best decision for the sake of your child.

GPS tracker watches in schools: References

Do You Know Where Your Kids Are? GPS Tracking for Children;

Tracking devices are getting increasingly popular;

Pros and cons of GPS watches to track your kids;

GPS Tracking children: Good or Bad Idea;

Exam stress tips for parents midstream pretoria

Spel en leesprobleme: Opvoedkundige Sielkundige raad

Spel en leesprobleme: Inleiding

“Help! My kind sukkel met spel, skryf en lees!” Dis ’n noodkreet waarmee opvoedkundige sielkundiges daagliks te doen kry. “Niemand het my ooit gesê dat daar enige probleem met my kind is nie!” Dis weer ’n baie algemene uitdrukking van ’n ouer se frustrasie met ’n kind wat skryf, spel en leesprobleme ervaar.

Spel en leesprobleme: Die basis

Het jy al ooit aan die volgende gedink: Ten einde te leer spel, lees en skryf, moet jou kind die volgende weet:

  • wat die name van sy liggaamsdele is;
  • waar sy linker- en regterkant is (belangrik: om dit werklik te ken, moet hy ook weet waar links en regs is as hy byvoorbeeld na ’n ander kant toe kyk);
  • deeglik kennis dra van die grondbeginsels: voor/agter; bo-op/onder; langs; tussen; voor/na; en so meer.

Spel en leesprobleme: Begin hier

Jou kind moet ook (onder meer) die volgende kan doen ten einde gereed te wees om skryf- en leesvaardighede aan te leer:

  • huppel en galop (ritmiese bewegings);
  • stap, draf, hardloop (ritmies en op die maat van musiek);
  • op ’n reguit lyn vorentoe en agtertoe kan loop (sonder om vir sy voete te kyk en sonder om langs die lyn te trap);
  • vloeiende en egalige skrifpatrone kan maak.

Spel en leesprobleme: Wat?

Bogenoemde voorbeelde klink vir baie ouers na ’n spul twak, veral as hul kind ook die volgende moet kan doen: sterspronge, op een been staan, touspring, eenbeentjie of hinkspel (“hopscotch”) kan speel, ritmiese patrone kan “na-klap” (“copy”), krale kan inryg, netjies kan knip, ’n bal kan vang, skop, gooi, bons en so meer.

Spel en leesprobleme: Dis als oor ritme

spel en leesprobleme
Spel en leesprobleme

Die rede waarom jou kind al bogenoemde aktiwiteite moet kan uitvoer, is omdat lees en skryf ritmiese bewegings behels. Bogenoemde aktiwiteite vorm met ander woorde deel van die boustene vir lees en skryf. ’n Kind wat byvoorbeeld nie weet waar die linker- en regterkant van sy lyf is nie, kan probleme ervaar om tussen b en d te onderskei. ’n Kind wat nie weet waar voor of na, of eerste/middelste en laaste is nie, sal moontlik probleme met spelling en die volgorde van letters ervaar soos byvoorbeeld: mat – watter klank hoor jy eerste/laaste/in die middel of voor/na.

Spel en leesprobleme: Wanneer moet ek begin?

Baie ouers vra die vraag: Moet ek my kind formeel leer lees en skryf voor graad 1? Die antwoord is “nee” – gaan speel net met jou kind, want so berei jy hom voor om gereed te wees om te leer lees en skryf. En wees versigtig om nie te dink dat as jy jou kind ’n oulike werkboekie in die hand stop en saam met hom deurwerk, hy goed voorberei word vir lees en skryf nie. Wat jou kind nodig het, is (in hierdie volgorde):

Driedimensionele aktiwiteite:

  • opdragte soos: “Staan agter/voor/langs die swaai”;
  • “Skop die grootste bal”;
  • “Raak met jou regterhand aan jou linkeroor”.

Tweedimensionele aktiwiteite:

  • kaartspeletjies;
  • bordspeletjies;
  • penborde;
  • opdragte soos: “Sit die rooi sirkel aan die linkerkant van die blou sirkel”; “Watter prent is die naaste aan jou?”.

Eendimensionele aktiwiteite:

  • papierwerk en werkkaarte.

Jou kind moet eers driedimensioneel kan speel en leer voordat hy gereed is om op tweedimensionele vlak te speel en te leer. Die eendimensionele vlak is die laaste in die ry.

Spel en leesprobleme: Waar kry ek hulp?

Waar kan ’n ouer wie se kind sukkel met spel en lees aanklop vir hulp? ’n Opvoedkundige sielkundige kan ’n assessering doen ten einde te bepaal wat jou kind se verstandelike vermoë is en indien wel, watter gapings jou kind toon. ’n Opvoedkundige sielkundige sal jou, indien nodig, na ’n arbeidsterapeut verwys, indien jou kind se vaardighede ter gereedmaking van lees en skryf nie vasgelê is nie. ’n Opvoedkundige sielkundige sal ook die nodige verwysings kan maak na ’n pediatriese oogkundige, oudioloog, spraakterapeut en so meer, as sy vermoed dat daar enige probleme in hierdie gebiede is.

Spel en leesprobleme: Nog inligting

Wil jy meer weet hoe om jou kind te ondersteun om gereed te wees vir lees en skryf? Gaan lees dan meer oor onder meer klim en klouter, middellynkruising, balans, luistervaardighede (ouditiewe persepsie) en sigvaardighede (visuele persepsie), sowel as growwe en fyn motoriese koördinasie.

Spel en leesprobleme: Ten laaste

Let wel: Hierdie artikel geld nie slegs vir graad 1-leerders nie, maar is ook van toepassing op ander leerders in die grondslag- en selfs primêre fase (en soms ook sekondêre fase) wat lees- en skryfprobleme het – tensy ander probleme soos disleksie en/of ’n disfunksie in sy brein gediagnoseer is. Indien daar geen disfunksies by jou kind gediagnoseer kan word nie, kan die opvoedkundige sielkundige die nodige verwysings maak na relevante professionele kundiges wat jou kind kan ondersteun. Die deurslaggewende faktor vir sukses word uiteindelik grootliks bepaal deur die ouers se verbintenis (“commitment”) om hul kind tuis met die huiswerk, wat die terapeute gee, te help.

Hierdie artikel is deel van ‘n reeks artikels wat ek vir Maroela Media in 2015 geskryf het.

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