Category: <span>parenting</span>

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
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;

Divorce counselling Educational Psychologist Midstream Centurion Pretoria

Konflik tussen ouers wanneer hulle ouerskapstyle verskil

Konflik tussen ouers wanneer hulle ouerskapstyle verskil

(Saamgestel deur Dr. Marisa van Niekerk, vir publikasie in Vrouekeur)

Dit is inderdaad so dat die meeste ouers gewoonlik sê dat hulle in die beste belang van hulle kinders probeer optree. Maar daar is ‘n kinkel in die kabel en dit is dat die “beste belang” verskillende betekenisse vir ouers het.

Paartjies praat, voordat hulle ‘n verbintenis aangaan, oor belangrike dinge soos godsdiens en politiek, en of hulle kinders wil hê of nie, maar hulle praat nie oor die tipe ouers wat hulle wil wees nie.

Ouers besef dit nie, maar dit is meestal hulle verskillende ouerskapstyle wat die bakleiery ten opsigte van dissipline aanvuur. Die ouers wat die meeste bots, is die ouers wat te outoritêr, of te instemmend is. Wanneer mense tot ‘n verhouding toetree, bring elkeen sy eie waardes vanuit sy kinderdae saam. Dit beteken egter nie dat dit die beste manier is om jou kinders groot te maak nie. Die geheim lê daarin om met mekaar te kommunikeer en mekaar in die middel te ontmoet.

Slaaptyd is ‘n aspek wat groot gevegte tussen ouers ontlok. Hoe kan ouers mekaar by die kwessie van slaaptyd in die middel ontmoet? As Pa byvoorbeeld wil “sleep train” en Ma kan nie die geskree uitstaan nie, moet Ma probeer om uit die huis te wees (of in ‘n ander vertrek met ‘n toe deur en dalk besig om badwater in te tap), of selfs met pluisies in haar ore.

As dit ‘n ma byvoorbeeld grief as sy tuiskom (nadat haar man na die kinders moes kyk) en haar kinders is aan die slaap in die ouers se bed, kan dit in ‘n “wen” situasie vir albei omskep word as die pa die kinders na hulle eie beddens toe dra.

Ouerskapstyle: Ouer teen ouer, of ondersteun ek my kind oor hoe om op te tree en probleme op te los?

Huwelike is ooreenkomste tussen mense van verskillende familie-agtergronde. Bogennoemde kan lei tot spanning tussen ouers. Een ouer mag byvoorbeeld baie spraaksamig wees teenoor sy kind terwyl die ander ouer stil en gereserveerd is. En raai wat? Albei style is goed genoeg!

Dit is die verskille oor besluite wat ouers moet neem (ten opsigte van hulle kinders) wat die probleem is. Een ouer glo byvoorbeeld dat sy kind swaar gestraf moet word as hy jok, terwyl jok nie vir die ander ouer so ‘n ernstige oortreding is nie. Hier begin ouers baklei oor wie nou eintlik “reg” is, en die effek op jou kind is as volg:

  • Die situasie maak dat ‘n kind onseker en onveilig voel (ongeag sy ouderdom);
  • Baie kinders begin sulke situasies gebruik om hulle ouers te manipuleer;
  • Die fokus verskuif van die kind en sy swak / verkeerde gedrag en opvoeding na ‘n bakleiery tussen die ouers.

So ouers, hou op om voor jou kinders te baklei. Dr. Phil sê dat om voor jou kinders te baklei, is niks minder as mishandeling nie.

Divorce counselling Educational Psychologist Midstream Centurion Pretoria
Verskillende ouerskapstyle kan lei tot konflik voor die kinders

Gevolge van botsende ouerskapstyle is die volgende:

  • ‘n Kind raak verward tussen dit wat reg en verkeerd is, van wat hy moet doen en hoe hy moet optree en die vraag van wat nou die “eintlike” reëls is;
  • ‘n Kind word een of albei ouers se vertroueling, omdat sy ouers veld trek teen mekaar. So ‘n kind voel verantwoordelik vir die konflik tussen sy ouers en ontwikkel skuldgevoelens wat hoegenaamd nie veronderstel is om te gebeur nie;
  • As die ouers gereeld in konflik is, kan ‘n kind as gevolg daarvan angs en/of depressie ontwikkel – weer eens as gevolg van die verwarring en die skuldgevoelens wat hy ervaar;
  • ‘n Kind kan begin om een van sy ouers “af te gradeer” en homself met die ouer te vereenselwig wat volgens hom die beste styl het en / of die een wat vir hom die meeste voordele gee;
  • Uiteindelik is die kind se siening van homself in gevaar as gevolg van die toutrekkery wat hy tussen sy ouers veroorsaak;
  • Die kind word ‘n slagveld tussen die ouers in plaas daarvan dat hy in sy ontwikkeling deur sy ouers ondersteun en begelei word;
  • As volwassenes voel hierdie kinders negatief teenoor ‘n huwelik, hulle kies baie maal om self nie kinders te hê nie of, nog slegter, hulle herhaal die sinnelose patroon van om met iemand te trou met ‘n ouerskapstyl wat radikaal van hulle eie styl verskil en sodoende herhaal die hele negatiewe proses van voor af;
  • ‘n Kind vanuit ‘n huis met baie konflikterende ouerskapstyle mag depressie of angstigheid as volwassene ervaar, omdat die voortdurende konflik sy psige negatief beïnvloed.

As jy voor jou kinders baklei plaas jy jou drang om te ontplof bo dit wat in die beste belang van jou kinders is. Jou kinders gee nie om wie reg is nie, hulle wil net hê jy moet ophou om met jou maat te baklei. Dr. Phil sê verder dat net jy jouself kan beheer. En vir ouers wat hiermee stry vra hy die vaarg of hulle voor hulle base of in ‘n restaurant voor vriende sal baklei. Dan maan Dr. Phil met hierdie woorde “Maak die keuse om jou impulse te beheer”.

Ouerskapstyle: Is daar ‘n positiewe kant?

Indien verskillende ouerskapstyle korrek hanteer word, is daar ‘n positiewe kant. Wanneer ouers bereid is om te kommunikeer en mekaar meer in die middel te ontmoet, het ‘n kind die geleentheid om in die praktyk te sien hoe daardie verskillende ouerskapstyle mekaar kan aanvul en komplimenteer. ‘n Kind kan leer dat daar baie maal verskille tussen ouers is, net soos wat daar verskille tussen mans en vrouens is.

Kom ons kyk na die volgedne voorbeeld: Kevin is ‘n 12 jarige seun en sy beste vriend het hom uitgenooi om saam met hom en sy familie te gaan visvang. Hulle gaan by die see visvang, wat ‘n paar ure se ry vanaf hulle tuisdorp is. Kevin benader sy ma eerste en haar onmiddelike reaksie is nee, omdat sy bang is dat dit te gevaarlik is.

Daarom besluit Kevin om sy pa te benader, omdat hy moontlik makliker sal toegee en vir Kevin sal help om sy ma van besluit te laat verander. Sy pa dink dat die visvang-kans ‘n goeie geleentheid is en dat dit pret sal wees. Sy pa sê egter dat hy nie dadelik ‘n antwoord kan gee nie en dat hy en sy ma eers sal praat en dan saam ‘n besluit sal neem.

Wanneer Kevin se ouers praat, identifiseer hulle vereistes waaraan voldoen moet word. Die vereistes sluit in dat hulle met die vriend se ouers sal gesels sodat hulle die detail van die planne kan bespreek. Kevin se ouers wil ook uitvind wat die veiligheidsmaatreëls vir die visvang is en maniere waarop hulle in kontak met Kevin se vriend se familie kan bly, vasstel. Nadat daar aan die vereistes voldoen is, besluit Kevin se ouers om hom te laat gaan.

In bogenoemde voorbeeld sien ons dat Kevin van die begin af geweet het hoe sy ouers sou reageer en hy het hierdie kennis gebruik om te probeer om die situasie te manipuleer om in sy guns te tel. Uiteindelik het hy nie tussen sy ouers gekom nie, maar net ‘n beroep op beide gedoen van wat hy wou hê. Sy ouers se slim gedrag het tot gevolg gehad dat hulle opponerende kampe bymekaar kon kom en die probleem kon oplos.

So ouers, plaas jouself op die agtergrond en jou kind se ontwikkeling op die voorgrond en bring jou en jou maat se opponeredne kampe nader aan mekaar om saam ‘n wenspan in die dissplinering van jou kinders te word.



Parents and teachers are puzzle pieces in child development - Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Val de Vie and Franschhoek

Emotionally ready for pre-primary school – how parents can help

Supporting your child to become emotionally ready for pre-primary school  Mixed emotions, difficult choices, coping at work, …

Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist Health, books, writing are all part of the essential school readiness tips for parents

School readiness tips for parents

School readiness tips for parents School readiness tips for parents At this time of the year “school readiness” is one …

Sensory awareness activities for children as discussed by Dr. Marisa van Niekerk Educational Psychologist

Sensory awareness activities for children

Sensory awareness activities for children Our senses help us to make contact with our environment. In the article below I …