Child’s play

We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing
- Charles Schaefer

It has been quite some time since I have written anything on my website due to a variety of reasons. One of those reasons being that I fell pregnant and gave birth to the most precious little girl, Noa. During the build-up to her arrival, and then since the birth of Noa, there is one common topic that always seems to be on my mind – play.

Being passionate about play and having it as my choice of career; in addition to now being a mom; I have once again been re-united with the power of play. When we play, we learn and when we learn we grow. But play is more than that. Play is: carefree, spontaneous, fun, exciting and a life-saviour. Life saviour you say? Let me explain: I recall one very scary moment: Noa was only a few days old when I found myself all alone – no husband, no mom, no friends. This mammoth wave of terror came upon me – I have to care for this fragile newborn all by myself, she is totally dependent on me and I cannot fail her. Not sure if I should cry, shout out for help or close my eyes and wish it all away, OR maybe… maybe I should do what I know best? The one thing that I know I can do, and do well, is: PLAY!

And play is what I did. While Noa slumbered, like a baby, in her Moses cot, I chose to play. I took her two teddy’s – which I named Whitey and Brownie in my moment of panic – and I put on a spectacular puppet show. My two new fluffy friends were the stars and I was the master of the plot. It was a showcase of all my talents, and for those few minutes of play I lost myself and forgot to be scared. I submerged myself in the fantasy of the show and created a whole new world. And I never stopped…

Noa is almost 6 months and every single day we play. We play peak-a-boo when I change her nappy, we dance to music on the radio while I button-up her dresses, we play mess-mess when she eats her solids and we clap hands when she accomplishes something- actually anything. When she experiences new people or unfamiliar noises we sing the comforting tune of, “Doo-doo Sharkie, doo-doo Sharkie.” We have the adventure of guiding these little souls into beautiful humans. It is almost always scary, and I feel the wave of terror coming over me often, but when I want to cry, I say, “What would Pooh do?”

But we do not always get that Oscar, we don’t get the distinctions or Hollywood pay-checks at the end of the day. Our joy comes from a little giggle or a deep stare into your eyes that says, “I see you Mommy!” To connect with our child we need to play with our child. When in doubt, when scared, when petrified… choose to play.

So if you have to pretend you are Aladin, even Sarabi from The Lion King, be the protector over your child with a sprinkle of imagination, and don’t you dare close your eyes.

Jodi Lord

Play Therapist


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Divorce for Dads

If you would like a free copy of this book (maximum two per family, until stocks last), please go to: Knighton Villa, 6 Kenilworth Road, Kenilworth (Western Cape) during office hours 

by Gary Bailey

Making the right choices for your kids.

Divorce is widely acknowledged to be one of life’s most stressful experiences – and it’s even more difficult to cope with if you’re a dad, because you have to look after yourself and your kids. It is never an easy process, no matter who you are, and the dilemma of doing the right thing for your  child(ren) is one that thousands of separated fathers face every day in South Africa.

In Divorce for Dads, cerebrated soccer personality Gary Bailey combines forces with renowned UK family-behaviour expert Nick Woodall to provide the first guidebook aimed specifically at South African fathers undergoing divorce or family separation. Offering comprehensive advice in a simple and accessible format, this is a book that every divorced (or separating) dad should read.


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Self-confidence in young girls

 Wanting to be someone else in a waste of the person you are

-Marilyn Monroe


Society sends girls the message that it is important for them to get along with others and to be very, very thin and pretty. The question I pose:  What can a parent do to build a confident daughter who does not fit this ideal?


In the last year I have been requested to see a number of children, more often girls, presenting with a low self-image/self-esteem/self-confidence. Symptoms include: doubting her abilities, feeling ‘useless’, calling herself ‘dumb,’ ‘stupid’ and ‘fat.’

The term self-image is used to refer to a person’s mental picture of herself. A lot of our self-image is based on interactions we have with other people and our life experiences. This mental picture (our self-image) contributes to our self-esteem.

Self-esteem is a girl’s perception of herself. It is all about how much she feels valued, loved, accepted and thought well of by others — and how much we value, love, and accept ourselves. A girl with a healthy self-esteem is able to feel good about herself, appreciate her own worth and take pride in her abilities, skills, accomplishments and is happy with what she sees in the mirror. A girl with a low self-esteem may feel as if no one likes her or accepts her or that she does not do well in anything.

Self-confidence is how a girl views her own abilities to do something. The level of self-confidence is usually a result of overcoming certain obstacles or working to improve a skill. Skills build on our confidence.

What can a parent do?

  • Mothers need to be warned about making negative comments about their own weight or appearance or casually mentioning that you feel insecure about a particular body part. Try modelling healthy habits, such as eating a balanced diet, enjoying treats in moderation, exercising (without complaining) and embracing your body the way it is.
  • Think twice about commenting on somebody’s appearance, whether in a positive or negative way. Negative comments invite young girls to create an unhealthy sense of beauty. Staring at a billboard and stating that you wish to have a stomach like the model may cause your daughter to look negatively at her stomach.
  • Make an effort every day to tell your daughter that she is beautiful and to look at her with loving, rather than critical, eyes.  She is perfect – the way that she is.
  • Empower your daughter by encouraging her individual interests and recognising when she excels. Having a hobby, passion or creative outlet helps build confidence and allows your daughter’s mind to flourish in an environment in which she feel safe and comfortable.
  • To build your daughters confidence and self-efficacy, assign her responsibilities at which she can succeed. These include: doing the laundry, cleaning her room or something as simple as sewing loose buttons back onto garments.
  • Talk about your child’s fears. Monitor your child’s television, radio and internet activity. Help her to avoid overexposure to violent images, which can heighten her anxiety.
  • Praising your daughter will help her to gain confidence. However, the compliments that you give her must be genuine. She will recognise when they are not.


Your daughter may not fit into the mould of what society perceives how a girl should look. And more so than not it is then that we should embrace difference and a sense of love and respect for who she is.  The best gift you can part on your daughter, as a parent, is a healthy self-image and a sense of worth.


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