Programme strengthens parenthood bond

Mothers with their children were overwhelmed by #LovePlayTalk teachings.

At an event held last week, moms were taught about the importance of development during their children’s early years.

On Wednesday August 17, NGOs hosted a #LovePlayTalk campaign at Zone 26, in Langa. It brought together more than 100 mothers to keep them informed about the well-being of their children.

The campaign was launched by Ilifa Labantwana last year.

According to the Early Learning Resource Unit (ELRU) and Ilifa Labantwana, the plan was to ensure parents recognised the earliest years of a child’s life when it came to health, physical and mental development.

Thandeka Dliso of Elru said she was excited that women from Langa got the chance to learn about their children’s well-being.

“The first 1 000 days of a child’s life are very important. Here we talk about nutrition, stimulation and good health care. For a child to grow to become a good citizen, or have a good life, one needs to start bonding with a child from pregnancy,” she said.

Ms Dliso encouraged parents to start talking to their children from conception, explaining that unborn children were able to relate to their parents even if they could not talk back.

She also stressed the importance of feeding a child while in the womb. She said parents should teach their children values before they grow up.

“Let’s read stories to them while young. We need to properly communicate with them,” she said.

#LovePlayTalk Campaign manager Jabu Tugwana said the campaign helped the parents understand the importance of this growth phase and supported them in taking simple, everyday actions in the home to encourage the best development possible.

She said these simple actions were organised around the themes of loving, playing, and talking, hence the campaign name.

“The campaign is rooted in scientific evidence, which shows that responsive care and stimulation during early childhood leads to children performing better in school while they’re growing up, obtaining better paid jobs in adulthood, and being less likely to suffer from ill-health or abusing drugs and alcohol.

The campaign recognises that parents are their children’s first and most important teachers. They have the power to help their children reach their dreams in the future and the simple everyday actions we encourage don’t require any resources aside from quality time,” she said. “We will be hosting a series of community events in the Western Cape, as well as in other provinces later in the year.

“Each event will include a parenting dialogue, which is a safe space for parents to share lessons and talk about the opportunities and challenges they have experienced in supporting their children’s development in the early years,” said Ms Tugwana.

She said at all the events there would be a range of specialists such as social workers and nurses, to provide support.

Parent Thozama Mtatase described the dialogue as an eye-opener and said while she knew about being a parent, many issues had been new to her.

“This was a great learning curve for me and I think many others too. It is clear that these first 1 000 days are truly important for a child. This has been a great experience,” she said.

Langa clinic sister, Liziwe Sojola appealed to parents to constantly visit the clinic, reminding them that it was important to immunise and deworm their children.

She urged them to always contact the clinic if they noticed anything wrong with their children.