Welcome to the Practica Program Blog


This is a platform designed to share the relevant and empowering information on Inspired Parenting gathered since


the creation of the Practica Program in 1993. Please join us to learn and grow together!


*We post often, so come back and visit soon!*


Parents say...

If you have any feedback for us on the blog, or a story on how any one of our posts has made a difference to your life, please tell us! We would love to hear from you - email lizette@practicaprogram.co.za

"Ek stem honderd persent saam met die artikel as ouers dit net wil besef. In ons skool kry jy nie een enkele kind wat sal sê hulle eet graag groente nie. Dit kom vir my voor die gejaagde oorwerkte ouers, veral ma, het net nie tyd of krag om gesonde kos voor te sit nie. Jy kry darem 'n paar, maar min. Byvoorbeeld as my graad 2 klas hoor ons en ons kind eet vyf dae 'n week groente met vis, vleis of hoender moet jy die gesigte sien."
- in reaksie op die artikel "Unhealthy Food is like a Drug" -Jomarie Nel 


"Dankie vir die stukkie oor die "Work is Child's Play". Dit was nou net op die regte tyd. Ek het so uit en op gesien na die vakansie want hoe gaan ek my twee bondeltjies vreugde besig hou? Ek is by die huis saam hulle en het besluit dat ek al my tyd aan hulle gaan wy die vakansie. So daar moet mos 'n aktiwiteit wees vir elke dag. Mens dink mos hulle sal nie sonder dat ek sê wat om te doen, speel nie. Nou kan ek rustig raak en net doen wat hulle hartjies begeer om te doen. Sal natuurlik so 'n bietjie bydra. Geniet die blog sommer baie. Hou so aan."
- Suzette Cameron 


"Ons het vandag Daniel en Alexys se vorderingsverslae van die kleuterskool ontvang en ek kan eenvoudig nie stilbly nie! Hulle verslae is UITSTEKEND! Ek is so dankbaar vir die Practica Program se hulp, jou hulp en ag ... sommer almal wat die Here oor ons pad gestuur het tot nou toe. Ek doen nie eens elke dag oefeninge uit die Practica Program nie en ek kan reeds die verskil sien tussen ons kinders en kinders wat nie die Practica blootstelling het nie. So Lizette, BAIE dankie vir al jou moeite en energie wat jy insit wat ons nie eens sien of van bewus is nie. Sommer vir almal wat by die program betrokke is: 'n GROOT dankie! Die Practica Program is werklik die geld en tyd saam met ons kinders werd. Seën op julle handewerk!
- Maryke Symington 


"Baie dankie! Ek waardeer die inligting sommer baie!"
- Anine Kruger 


"I have noted your post about changing the format of your articles due to complaints about the technical nature and want to give you some POSITIVE feedback. I really enjoyed your posts the way they were. There is enough watered down information on parenting in the general press and I enjoyed the more technical nature of your posts as it provided a good foundation for the eventual practical advice given - Please do not allow some criticism (remember that no news is generally good news - For every person who complained there are many who were content with things the way they were and just did not bother to say so) to let you blog become yet another 'soft' source of unfounded information on parenting!"
- Nicolette de Witt 
Response from Lizette:
Thanks Nicolette. We agree. We've decided to try to offer our parents the best of both worlds by keeping the posts well researched, just shorter. We value your input. Please let us know what you think of the future changes. 



"We bought Practica when my son was 3 months old without even having a demo, I had heard so much about it and knew I HAD TO have it. Allan is now 11 months old and 'streaks' ahead of his friends that are 2 - 3 months older than him in most cases!! I attended the Toddlersense seminar where you spoke about the impact of TV on children, and you really made an impact on me and Allan is not allowed to watch TV and he really shows no interest now. Thanks so much and thank you for your Blog, I read each new post with great excitement!"
- Natalie Maclean

"Yes I do think the 2 articles a month will work better. It's not that it's not valuable but because we do want to read and implement, so 2 per month would be better. I was reading the two kinds of tantrums again and honestly the Practica advice compared to everything else out there is just wonderful and resonates with my mommy intuition. Thanks once again and have a great week. - in response to the announcement of shorter and fewer posts per month on the blog. 
- Rochell Keyser 


"Ek wil net vir jou baie dankie sê vir die wonderlike bydra wat jy maak tot ons (al die praktika mammas) se kinders se ontwikkeling. Ons vind die artikels ongelooflik waardevol! Ek dink dit is 'n baie goeie idee om die nuusbriewe te verminder na 2 per maand - nie omdat ek dink dit is op die oomblik oorbodig nie, maar omdat ek weet dat die ouers dit nou meer aandagtig sal kan deurlees en meer tyd op hande daarvoor sal hê. Ek is self 'n 'werkende' mamma en moet ook maar 'tyd maak' om die artikels te lees. Ek vind dit baie inspirerend en dit help ons baie in ons taak om ons dogtertjie te probeer grootmaak tot die beste van ons vermoëns."
- Pauline Nel 


"Nee, asseblief moenie net 2 artikels per maand doen nie! Doen dan 1 per week. Sommige artikels het meer waarde vir my as ander. Die makliker om net vinnig na die opskrifte te kyk en eerste paragraaf te lees en sê weet of dit iets is wat kan waarde heg."
- Marlene Mienie 


"Good call. The articles are so good but I wasn't able to keep up with them - information overload, and people just unsubscribe. Today, less is more. You just have to make sure that what you say really adds value and then you are okay, and you have no problem there - the articles are excellent."
- Nikki Bush, speaker and author on Educational Development 


"First of all I want to thank all those involved for the great articles and advice on how to be more effective parents. I look forward to receiving new articles weekly. Thanks for helping make parenting a little easier and more effective. We sure need all the help we can get. After all, we ARE trying to shape the future!"
- Stefnie Theron 

"Is daar 'n moontlikheid dat julle die berigte kort en kragtig kan hou, ek is 'n werkende mamma en ek het nie die tyd om lang opsommings te lees nie. xxx" 
- Sulensa 
Loren's Response:
Hi Sulensa, thank you for this comment! We agree completely and have heard this same comment from other parents. Please visit our home page today to see how we are changing our schedule. Thank you for sharing, your comments are very valuable to us. (11 March 2011) 

"I have been reading the blog on discipline with lots of interest. Thanks so much for such a sensitive and sensible framework and approach. These boundaries give me, in my mothering role, so much security and confidence. Yes, I am the parent, my training is part of my gift to my children. Wow - so useful in a world where I am rushing about and often too busy to seek advice and information myself. Such an awesome source of wisdom, thanks again." 
- Catherine Moat 

"Ek wil net van die geleentheid gebruik om dankie te sê vir die baie interessante blogposts. Dit help my baie."
- Kobie Nortjè 

"Dankie vir die goeie blog! Ons geniet dit regtig en kry soveel daaruit!"
 - Alet-Marie 

"These articles are extremely interesting and informative. I really appreciate you sending them to me."
 - Kamini Doorsamy 

"I wanted to pop you a quick note to say thank you. I avidly read your blog, and I find this information very useful in helping me do the best possible for this little person I just love so much. You probably think writing your blog is a thankless job, and mostly people don't have the time or inclination to provide you with feedback. Well, I thoroughly enjoy what you do, and please continue with such great content."
 - Jay Green 

"In vandag se gejaagde lewe voel mens dikwels dat jy nie genoeg doen vir jou kind nie. Hierdie was 'n wonderlike 'sound board' net om te weet ek doen die regte dinge. Dankie vir Practica en julle wonderlike werk."
- Marlene Mienie 

"Thank you so much for your words of wisdom yesterday. I feel much better and have started using the 'mother's touch' technique. The blog is amazing. I am reading all the articles from the start and have told all my friends about it." - In response to the article called "A Mother's Touch", and for more information also read "How to fill your child's love tank".
- Lize Spies 

"I chatted to you last week about my son's difficulty with adjusting to school and all the crying when he has to go and when I fetch him. We decided first to try the Touch Therapy before leaving him there full day. WELL, we've had two tear free days and that's been bliss. I worried this morning as he was with us the whole weekend, he did start crying when he asked if it was school time but once I was done with our 5 minute session (of Touch Therapy) he was was amazingly calm and open to reason etc. I found that before doing the therapy, nothing I said to make him feel better seemed to make a difference, but now if I speak to him after the Touch Therapy it's almost as if he is more open to reason and my words sink in.  Thanks so much for your assistance, its invaluable." - This is the letter than inspired our post called 'How to fill your child's love tank'
- Rochelle Keyser 

"Thank you for keeping the best interest of our children close to your hearts!"
- Mrs Mc Baatjes 

"Baie dankie julle, voorspoedige nuwe jaar vir julle twee ook. Ek waardeer hierdie inligting vreeslik baie, die waarde hiervan is onbeskryflik. Julle is twee merkwaardige mamma's!"
- Marilene Joubert 

"I'd like to thank you for a wonderful, wonderful product. I cannot speak highly enough of Practica and tell as many people as will listen to why it is so great. I can see the benefits of doing the Practica Program with my son, who turns two next weekend."
- Marguerite and Tony Richardson - Mafikeng 

"My dogter word op 18 Maart 3 jaar oud en sy is vir jou voor op die wa met haar houding en sê-goed! Sy ontwikkel nou so vinnig dat ek sukkel om by te hou. Sy terg vir my, wat 35 jaar oud is, gereeld en probeer my elke dag verder druk as die vorige dag. Sy weet waar sy met pappa staan, maar o wee, sy's soms te grys!
Ek vertrou dit gaan goed met jou en baie dankie vir jou and jou kollega se insette. Dit help my baie by die huis en die skool. Ek het a dogtertjie in my Graad 1 klas wat die Practica Program gedoen het en sy's veeeeeer voor haar maats. Ek se jou, sy kan net sowel al in Graad 3 gewees het want sy's op daardie vlak!
Sterkte vir die jaar vir julle by Practica."
- Jomarie Nel 

"Ek het gister vir die eerste maal 'n email ontvang met jou blog adres op. Ek wens ek het vroeër van dit geweet. Ons het 'n Practica stel en my 2jaar oue seuntjie geniet  al die aktiwiteite baie.
Die 'Secrets of Gifted Parents' post het met my gepraat. Ons het nog altyd probeer  om 'open minded' te wees met ons seun se opvoeding en hom die vryheid te gee om  die wereld  te 'explore'.
Kan jy my asb op jou mailing list sit, ek sal graag also op die blog wil lees vorentoe." - in raksie op die "Secrets of Gifted Parents" artikel
- Stefnie Theron 

"It's very nice to read the blog and then use the Practica set"
- Ulane Broodryk 

"Dankie vir 'n wonderlike blog!"
- Liandi Slabbert

"I enjoyed your blog about reading. Jessica and I love to read at any opportunity. Since I travel a lot for work, and since I am a single mum (Jessie stays with Granny and Grampa when I'm away), I have picked up a tip from a client of mine who also travels a lot and reads his son a bedtime story over Skype each night with webcam when he's away from home. I've started doing this with Jessica (it took almost longer to teach Granny to work Skype than it would have taken to teach Jessica, aged 2 :-). Now I can tell Jess I'm going away for a few nights and promise her that "Mommy will be on the computer every day". She really looks forward to it and we can speak via Skype and webcam, which makes all the difference.
I wonder how your other readers are making use of new technology to keep connected to their children? Best wishes" - in reponse to the article "10 Easy-Peasy Everday Reading Ideas"
- Gina Hayden 

"Beste Lizette,
Ek hoop ek is by die regte Lizette. Die artikel in Die Burger oor jong kinders en die impak van TV verwys?
Jou oortuiging om jou uit te spreek oor hierdie kontensieuse onderwerp word gekomplimenteer. Ek ondersteun jou opinie en jou werk. Vriendelike groete"
- Elmer Groenewald - Kliniese Sielkundige (25 November 2010) - in reaksie op 'n artikel in Die Burger

"I have been following your Practica Blog for several weeks now and I'm delighted to find a resource for interesting and practical information, regarding the little beings that we are so passionate about - our children.
I was absolutely astounded after reading one of your recent posts about "When Praise is Harmful" because it highlighted a manner of praise that I always use - "You're my clever girl! Hello, my beautiful princess!" etc.
When my husband told me that he did find it odd how I did that, it really forced me to examine how I praise my daughter, and what sort of "Praise Food" I'm feeding to her every day.
I defended my manner of speaking by saying that I speak to my daughter in the same way that I've always addressed my pupils. And then realised that this would also be another avenue of praise that I would need to refine: Praise the Effort, not the Ability.
I have also found your articles on the effects of Middle Ear Infection very enlightening - thank you!
There is another gem from your column that I will keep too: When you know better, you do better. And that is really the bottom line for me, as a parent and human being.
Thank you both for a wonderful blog and please keep up the good work! It's appreciated!"
- Jaclyn Scott 

"Ons het 5 jaar terug die practica program gekoop en alhoewel dit op daardie stadium 'n uitgawe was wat ons nie regtig kon bekostig nie, is ons nog nie 'n dag spyt nie. My seuntjie is nou 5 en die 'goed in die kis' is sy gunsteling speelgoed! Vriendelike groete!"
- Jolene Schoeman 

"My son suffered from ear infections repeatedly until he got grommets put in at 12 months. He started speaking very early (words with meaning at 10 months, over thirty words at 12 months) and is completely bilingual with a huge vocabulary at age two-and-a-half." - in reponse to our article "How Hearing Impacts Learning"
- Lara Chivell (20 November 2010)
Lizette's Response:
Hi Lara, yes grommets offer a real solution to the problem as they drain the fluid and improve a child's hearing straight away. Thank you for your contribution - Parents who want to find out more about grommets can go to this useful link: http://www.entuk.org/patient_info/ear/surgery_grommets_html

"Dankie vir die insiggewende onderwerp oor aanmoediging! Dit sluit so pragtig aan by wat ons somtyds in spel-terapie (speel terapie) ervaar. Kinders se persepsie is soms dat hulle self-waarde gemeet word aan dit wat hy kan bemeester. Daardie "ek is net goed genoeg as ek dit of dat kan doen." Omdat dit is waarop die kind geprys word. Later koppel daardie kind geheel en al wie hy is aan 'wat hy kan doen'. Ons fokus is dus daarop om die kind te laat verstaan en voel dat hy spesiaal is NET SOOS hy/sy geskape is.  Natuurlik moet die regte vorm van aanmoediging en prys dan steeds toegepas word!" in reaksie op die artikel "Healthy Praise - 3 Practical Tips".
- Michelle du Toit 

"Daai inligting oor hoe om ons kindertjies te prys, was so interessant en het ek sommer dadelik in aksie gespring om dit te begin toepas. Wel, dit is glad nie so maklik as wat ek gedink het nie, heelwat moeiliker en moet mens baie harder dink as om net te se, "sjoe, dit was mooi, of kyk hoe goed doen jy, of ai, jinne maar jy is oulik/slim", nee dit vat baie meer, maar ek dink so daaraan, hoe gouer mens in daai gewoonte kom om meer effektief te prys, soveel beter, dit moet deel van jou leefstyl raak!
Ek vat vir myself, toe ek met die praktika program begin het, hoe moeilik dit vir my was om as tolk optetree vir my seuntjie en hoe maklik dit nou gebeur, dis amper asof dit 2de natuur is...
Baie baie dankie vir al die inligting, jy weet nie hoe baie dit beteken nie. Anrich word more 1jaartjie oud en ek weet nie hoe ek soveel kennis sou kry, as dit nie vir al jou hulp en bystand was nie." in reaksie op die artikel "When Praise is Harmful"
- Norica Bruno 

"Your articles are really amazing. Thanks for such good stuff. I am sure you will soon publish this in book form???"
- Lynette van Wyk 

"Julle doen 'n FANTASTIESE werk! So baie dankie vir julle toewyding. Vrydag se blog oor wanneer & hoe om ons kinders te prys het 'n ander wêreld vir my oopgemaak. Ek verstaan nou hoekom Daniel (4) soms "huiwerig" is om iets nuuts aan te pak & gaan van vandag af begin reg motiveer. Sodoende kan ek nie dieselfde fout maak met Alexys (2½) nie. Dankie vir al julle hulp & dat julle altyd beskikbaar is om te help. Ek is so bly vir ons Practica Program." - in reaksie op die artikel "When Praise is Harmful"- Maryke Symington 

"I must compliment you on your blogs, I think it is a wonderful way of getting such important information out to moms whilst at the same time marketing your business! Lots of Love."
- Ann Richardson, co-author of Babysense and author of Toddlersense 

"I just wanted to add to your "manners-post" that I've read that it is not very effective to MAKE children say "please" and "thank you" - it may even result in them not wanting to say it at all. One should rather live a good example. We've been doing that and so far it's been working great! We always say "please" and "thank you" when we talk to our little boy and if he doesn't say it then I usually say it for him (meaning that I say "thank you, Mama" myself, but I don't expect him to repeat it). Erik just turned two and he almost always says "please" and "thank you" of his own accord - in English and in German :P
Thanks for the great blog!" - in response to the article "3 Reasons to Start Manners Early"
- Melanie Rabie 

"I would love to share this with you and you probably know it already, but maybe it will help other desperate parents out there. My 15-month old has already been displaying lots of frustration since his 9th month. I hoped sign language would help us communicate. It did to an extent until he started talking which was soon after and now he has quite a verbal vocabulary so understanding him on one level is much better ... however I have been struggling with dealing with his emotional outbursts. I read lots but still could not deal with his tantrums and my responses to them effectively. Then I found the two posts on Amygdala hijacking and Tantrums very helpful. In addition, I discovered a book called The science of parenting by Margot Sutherland and my knowledge and understanding deepened - all the advice and information from so many sources finally made sense, my aha moment happened - after reading this book, particularly about what exactly is happening in a baby's developing brain. The book has made a HUGE difference to understanding my child and made me a more patient, emphatic parent. Not all the time but really very much of the time. I can also see how my baby has changed since I understand him better. How on earth did parents do it in the past when no research was available to help them!

Still loving Practica! I really believe in it. And thank you for this gift to us!"
- Angie le Marque 

"My dogter het my verwys na julle baie oulike webblad. Ons self het vier kinders groot gemaak en het nou reeds vier kleinkinders onder die ouderdom van 20 maande en ek as ouma sal baie graag van julle nuusbriewe wil ontvang. Ons is "afgetree" maar is voltyds betrokke by die skryf van studiegidse en verspreiding van selfstudiegidse vir Skeinat (nou Fisiese wetenskappe) vir hoërskole....iets waarvoor ons 'n passie het! Voorspoed met die goeie werk wat julle doen. Vriendelike groete."
- Retha Jordaan 

"Your blogs are perfection itself! They are informative, educational, inspiring, clear, helpful; never patronising and extremely well-written. Thanks for getting the balance right and for giving us such helpful instruction on what to do with our kids that never seems too big to be taken on and which can be started today! Best Wishes"
- Gina Hayden 

"Hi there! Thank you so much for all the wonderful info. It really helps me with my kids. I would love to get other parents on this program. Could you please email me the info that would get other parents interested and convince them to use the program? Thank you for all your help! Looking forward to more emails!"
- Nazia Mahomed Omar 
Lizette's Response:
Hi Nazia! Only a pleasure! Thank you so much for wanting to get the word out about us. We prefer to send a consultant out to meet with interested parents so that they can get a first-hand experience of the program. Your friends will naturally be under no obligation to buy. You can email their details to me or call 083 310 2014 to arrange a meeting. I see on our database that you stay in Laudium, so most of your friends and family won't be too far from us. We also have consultants in Durban now. And, of course, people who stay in far-away places can always visit the Practica website on http://www.practicaprogram.co.za/ Warmest Regards, Lizette.

"Well, I started teaching manners the moment I had my babies and my 2 year old now always says thank you mommy when I give her something. My 5 year old is starting to forget, but I just keep on reminding her! Its the best when they say thank you to friends and family without me having to tell them. Also, my kids put their hands over their mouths when they cough and some people cannot believe they do it - some 9 and 10 year olds don't.
Actually just wanted to say thank you for always being there to chat with me." - in response to the article "3 Reasons to Start Manners Early"
- Sarah Gourlie (8 November 2010)

"Ek is 'n Praktika-mamma en geniet die program en julle "blog" baie! Joané is nou 20 maande oud en ons eerste kind. Sy praat al 4-woord sinne en is 'n baie vriendelike en liefdevolle dogtertjie. Baie dankie!"
-Lizelle 

"Ek geniet julle blog baie. Ek moet se Practica het my baie gehelp om Bryce te help. Bryce is my eerste en enigste en ek het geen cookin clue gehad wat my kind se mylpale was en is en hoe om hom te stimuleer om dit te bereik nie. Ek wou graag ook in sy wakker tye (as baba) met hom kwaliteit tyd deur bring en vir al die dinge het Practica my gehelp. Ons gebruik dit nog steeds en hy is baie tjaf dat sy ma so met hom "speel".  Baie dankie en groete."
- Zelda Meyer 

"Ek doen die practica program met my kind Gizelle (amper 4) en ons ondervind dat sy baie “voor” haar ouderdom kinders is. Sy skryf al haar naam en almal om haar se name en ken meer as 10 rympies en liedjies in Afrikaans en Engels. Sy tel in Afrikaans en Engels tot 50. Sy het n baie groot verbeelding ook. Ons het haar in die kleuterskool by n groter klas gesit (4-5)en sy vorder fantasties, maar ons het ondervind dat sy baie vinniger as hulle klaar is met haar takies.  Waarlik die program van julle maak haar baie slim!"
- Phoebe van Rooyen

"Thank you for posting very interesting tidbits for us the parents to absorb and share with our little ones.
I have identical twin boys which turned four in June and I must applaud Practica for all the lessons and games we (the whole family) have learned and are still enjoying. I must confess however that Jeandre and Adrian do not always use the scale for the purpose that it was designed for. They will weight their shoes, make as if it is a fishing rod hanging all the small weights onto the yellow beam or use it as a horse etc. It is really nice to see that they use their imagination to such an extend.
We also have this ritual – that after their bath we read stories out of their story books. Believe me they have their favorites that they know word by word and every so often when I try to jippo instead of reading the story word by word, they will let me know that I have omitted something.
Their emotional insight is also amazing!! One of the stories I have told them since two years of age is Jack and the Beanstalk. The other night Adrian asked me why Jack steals the Giant’s belongings. That it is not right to do so. Needless to say –I had a lot of explaining to do.
After school Jeandre told me that “Mamma ek het baie getreur vandag”. That is a big word for a small boy who is only supposed to know about being sad and happy.
I am extremely happy with the rapports I get back from both of their teachers, telling me that they are way ahead of the kids in their class.
So yes I am bragging a little bit today, but with good reason. Thank you for introducing such a wonderful program to us."
- Santie Theron 

"Sjoe ek het net gister met my man probeer praat wanneer dink hy ons Marlie moet blootstel aan TV. Marlie was Julie 3 en TV is nie deel van ons dag nie. Iets wonderliks wat ek daaruit kry haar spraak eng en afr is baie beter as ander kinders haar ouderdom.Groete!" in reaksie op die "Television - the Great Thief" artikel
- Marlena van de Vyver 

"Baie dankie vir hierdie baie belangrike informasie wat ons nie altyd weet nie! Sien uit om die volgende een te lees. Groete." - in response to "Television - the Great Thief" article
- Gerti Erasmus 

"Interesting article on TV watching, I wanted to relate our case to you. We are one of the few families that don't have a TV at all. We have a portable DVD player that is used for watching DVDs, that is it. So Sienna has never grown up with TV.
That being said, she does enjoy watching some DVDs (she has 4 that she cycles between) and what is interesting is that she definitely does understand what is going on.
One particular one, Madagascar, caused something interesting. She had been watching it for a while and then one day out of the blue she started crying and saying 'Lion sad'- she was about 18 1/2months then. It was a point where the Lion gets sent away and it is quite an 'emotive ' scene- but she most certainly did understand what was going on.
In Charlottes web, she will point to and name all the animals, continually.
There is some understanding for sure but I think this only happens because of the repetition of a few movies. By watching the same ones over and over, she starts to understand the story of the movie and identify with the characters.
So I think that perhaps the television isn't the problem, it is the content and the amount of time spent watching. Arbitrary programs that don't repeat and allow patterns to form would be detrimental as per the research. But picking a few programs that are repeated, I actually think there is a benefit. The other advantage is that she sees it as a treat and because she knows them, after 20 minutes, she gets bored and wants to do something else- we don't have to force her! Thanks for the blog" in response to the "Television - the Great Thief" article
- Carl Bellingan 
Lizette answers:
Hi Carl. Thank you so much for your contribution. You will see, as you read through today's post, that you are doing many things right, such as choosing age-appropriate DVD's, repeating a few favourites, not having the television on in the background, and creating an experience that is similar to reading a book together, where your child gets to interact with you and physically point to interesting things on the screen.

Toddlers begin to react to television with understanding when the regions of their brains that deal with language and thinking are wired to a point that enables them to add sufficient meaning to what they see and hear while watching. That explains why your daughter reacted like she did at the age of 18 1/2 months. However, babies and toddlers are still very dependent on assistance from adults to help them to focus their attention. If left to themselves, they will either be mesmerized by the visual and auditory input coming from the screen without using the language and thinking regions in their brains to add meaning, or not focus at all. (For those who are wondering - having the television on in the background is not a solution as it interferes with a child's ability to concentrate on other things and cause parents and children to talk and interact less - as you will see in the 2 November post.)

Since toddlers' brains are still in the very beginning stages of being wired, their brain architecture is most vulnerable and impressionable and more easily shaped by frequent television watching.

Unfortunately, researchers have found that most parents worldwide use the television as a babysitter instead of being involved in the experience. I believe that is why they see it in the best interest of toddlers to advise all parents to rather avoid all screen time during the first years. It's a safer option than trying to educate millions of parents across the world on how to create good viewing experiences for little ones. Older children are not as vulnerable to being left alone in front of the television as their language and thinking skills are developed well enough to make them a little less dependent on parental involvement. That explains why they are allowed 1 to 2 hours of screen time per day.

At this point, I just want to mention that it is clear that your daughter is developing very well. A child obviously doesn't just get up one morning at the age of 18 1/2 months with the ability to string two words together to form sentences and say the word 'sad' empathetically in the right context! You and your wife must have spent a lot of time pointing to pictures and doing Practica activities to help her to reach the point where she enthusiatically pointed to characters on a television screen and named them over and over again at such a young age. I know it wasn't your intention to show off with this letter, but you deserve a pat on the back. Good job!"


"Ek moet se dat ek saamstem en nie saamstem nie. My kind is 4, het nog nooit gesukkel om te slaap nie, het nog nooit, "touch wood" nagmerries gehad nie, en is 'n gesonde opgewekte, terggees van 'n karnallie. Ten spyte van die feit dat hy al tV van 'n vroee ouderdom af kyk. Ek maak egter 'n punt daarvan om by hom te sit wanneer hy 'n program of DVD kyk en al sy vrae te beantwoord en vir hom te verduidelik wat is besig om te gebeur.
Hy kyk National Geographic met al die diere stories, hy kyk Ben 10, Kids Co, CBeeBies, Top Gear, hy kyk Formule 1 saam met sy pa, hy kyk Transformers (sy heel favourite op die stadium) hy het Little Einsteins en al daardie ander lekker goedjies gekyk toe hy jonger was. Hy praat beter of net so goed as die ander 4-jariges in sy klas. Hy luister en verstaan en doen wat van hom gevra word. Ek beperk hom wel met sy TV, maar elke aand met bedtyd na sy ete en warm melkies, kyk hy een van sy kinderprogramme en raak binne 5 minute aan die slaap. Sy verbeelding is ongelooflik en hy maak robots uit gras stukke uit en soms speel hy sommer self hy is die een Autobot met al die geluide wat saam met dit gaan.
Kinders wat geen TV kyk en geen aandag kry, gaan baie slegter af wees wat enige van die aspekte aanbetref wat as sleg uitgewys word vir kinders wat wel TV kyk." In response to the "Television - the Great Thief" article.
- Zelda Meyer (29 October 2010)

Lizette Answers:
"Hi Zelda! Baie dankie vir jou brief. Die navorsing sê gelukkig darem nie dat elke kind wat televisie kyk sonder persoonlikheid gaan oud word en dom gaan wees nie - net soos wat 'n mens nie kan sê dat elke kind wat lekkergoed eet gaan vet word nie! Maar, net soos wat ouers gewaarsku moet word dat te veel lekkergoed en te min gesonde kos kan skade aanrig, moet ons ook hard en duidelik sê dat te veel televisie en te min kwaliteit tyd ook groot skade kan aanrig.

Net om gou te hersien: televisie doen meer skade wanneer 'n kind 1) jonger is, 2) meer ure voor die TV deurbring, 3) nie andersins baie geselsies en speeltyd saam met sy ouers het nie.

Die rede hoekom julle mannetjie nie skade opgedoen het nie is omdat jy 'n hele klompie dinge reg doen wat die meeste ouers verkeerd doen! Dis baie belangrik dat jy sê dat jy by hom sit terwyl hy TV kyk, sy vrae beantwoord en hom help om sy aandag te fokus, want so skakel jy letterlik die taal en denke gedeeltes in sy brein aan sodat hy nie net kyk en hoor nie. Verder beperk jy sy televisie-kykery. En boonop is dit duidelik dat jy baie met hom gesels en speel. Ongelukkig is dit baie meer as wat die meeste ouers doen.

Ek sê nie dat Practica Ouers die enigste ouers is wat hulle kinders se breine aanskakel nie. Daar is sekerlik miljoene ouers dwarsoor die wêreld wat baie moeite doen om allerhande oulike dinge uit te dink om met hulle kinders te doen wat hulle breine op baie verskillende manier bou. Maar ek sien op ons databasis dat julle 'n Practica Program in die huis het vandat julle kind 4 maande oud is en ek hoop regtig uit die diepte van my hart dat dit bygedra het tot die feit dat julle vandag as ouers so baie dinge reg doen sonder om eers meer vreeslik hard te probeer.

Baie liefde en sterkte. Laat weet as ons julle op enige manier kan bystaan."

"It is amazing - Practica looks like such a great educational program - where have I been??? I would just like to get more information. I own a small Montessori Pre-School and think this would be an ideal program to get parents interested in as they always want to do things with their children at home!"
- Ute Kendzia

"Thank you so much, we need to inform all parents of this!" in response to "Television - the Great Thief" article
- Leilani Kilian

"We often speak on the helpine for Practica parents and you have helped me with my boys (Josh now 5 and Ethan 1)  - which we (my husband and I) have appreciated immensely. Practica and yourself have been a blessing to us. I just wanted to let you know that I (and the friends I have been forwarding it to) have benefit from the blog greatly! Thank you for making the effort to share and build as you and Loren go."
- Amanda Finnegan

"Thank you very much. I teach at the University of Stellenbosch Physio division and was telling my colleagues who teach on Paediatric Neurodevelopmental Theory about Practica today. Kind Regards."
-Janet Clark

"Hierdie was nice - ek het dit vir almal aangestuur! XXX" in reaksie op die "Six Instant Relationship Boosters" article
- Sonja van der Merwe 

"Thank you for the wonderful blog! It is fabulous, interesting and really helpful!"
- Lee Cooper 

"I would just like to thank you for your blog! It has become the highlight of my week, after reading your posts about Daddy and his involvement, it really gave me some extra inspiration and shifted our focus back onto what is important to our little one.
In the day and age we live in, we can often forget how much an unexpected kiss or bedtime story can mean to our little ones. After reading your post (seperately) on "Dads Manual" we had an amazingly memorable hour with our son on Friday night. We just played with him, chased him around the house, kissed his tummy and laughed!
This reminded us that he doesn't need to have all the extra we struggle to afford - all he needs is Mommy and Daddy to love him (and some cookies!).
And as for me, the blog has made Practica (although I follow the program religiously) almost a person in our home ("Practica said..."), and now feels like we bought our own parenting couch / inspiration instead of just a file and box of toys!
Thank you so much!" in response to the "Dad Manual" article - Willa Bisschoff 

"Thank you for this nice, encouraging information! As much as I try, the little (most of the times unimportant!) things in life interfere often with the smile I should have on my face when I see my two little boys. This info will be in the back of my mind everytime I look at them!" - in response to the "Creating Happy and Whole Little People" article
- Filipa 

"Ek geniet die Practica Blog baie en lees dit laat nag op my selfoon wanneer ek langs my dogtertjie slaap. Sy kry tande en ons het baie lanklaas ondentlik geslaap (LOL). Weereens dankie vir al die nuttige lees materiaal."
- Melanie Kok 

"Thankyou for your inspiring mails and articles. My son of almost 6years still loves his Practica and plays everyday with it .VIVA PRACTICA!"
- Fazlyn Allie 

"Ek is op die lys van Practica ouers wat elke Dinsdag 'n e-pos kry met die blog se inligting. Dit is vreeslik oulik en ek geniet dit om die artikels te lees. Baie dankie vir julle moeite - ek is nie een dag spyt dat ons in Practica belê het nie!"
- Dinah Naude

"Thanks you for all these practica e-mails and articles, they are fabulous!"
- Heide Botha

"Dankie, wat 'n pragtige artikel oor die pappas, ek het dit baie geniet!" - in reaksie op die "Dad Factor" artikel
- Marilene Joubert (15 October 2010)

"Hi! Thanks for all the great info!!" - in response to the "Dad Factor" article
- Dirk Lombard

"Dankie Lizette, die inligting wat julle opjulle blog het is wonderlik, dit gee vir my inspirasie en ook hoop. Julle doen 'n uitstekende werk."
- Belinda Oosthuizen

"Ek lees jul posts elke keer en geniet dit vreeslik baie. Ek sien wat dit in my kind se lewe doen. Ek se altyd: 'Practica is nie iets wat 'n mens net met jou kind doen nie, maar dit is 'n leefstyl en 'n manier van doen!' - Dankie vir al die waardevolle info!"
- Lize de Beer


"Baie baie dankie! Ons is mal oor die practica program! Groete."
- Ermandie Coetzee

"Hello Lizette. Baie dankie vir hierdie, ek het die leesstof nou SO BAIE geniet en vind dit ongelooflik waardevol.
Baie dankie vir die uitstekende werk wat jy doen. Elke keer as ek jou bel dan kan ek sommer in jou stem hoor hoe 'n groot passie jy vir kinders & opvoeding het. Dit is wonderlik om te kan weet dat ek vir jou kan bel vir raad/ondersteuning. Ek het al vir so baie mense vertel van die ongelooflike Practica program en alles wat dit al vir Carlin (en vir my & Richus) beteken het! Vriendelike groete,"
- Pauline Nel 

"I have been going onto the blog site on a regular basis and I always find the articles so interesting and informative."
- Janine 

"I have been applying the Practica program to my two children aged almost 4 and almost 2. Some days (like this morning) my children keep asking for more and more! I'll definitely be checking out the blog."

- Sonia 
"Ek is verskriklik impressed met julle blog! Dis fantasties!"
- Thea 

"My daughter loves the blog, she is now a follower."
- Debbie