Shaken Baby Syndrome

A large number of child deaths are reported in South Africa each year. A lot of deaths relate to neglect, abuse or murder. Despite this, there's a knowledge gap in relation to understanding the issue....

Amniotic fluid problems

The importance of amniotic fluid Amniotic fluid is essential for pregnancy and foetal development. Amniotic fluid is a watery substances residing inside a casing called the amniotic membrane or sac. ...

Choosing a pre-school

Becoming a parent is a momentous; life-changing event filled with hopes, expectations and naturally some fears. Parents often learn and grow alongside their children, as they face the challenges of pa...

Newborn reflexes

Although newborn babies are physically helpless and vulnerable at birth, they have a number of amazing innate abilities or reflexes. Reflexes are involuntary movements or actions, designed to protect ...


Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast that can lead to infection. The word “mastitis” is derived from the Greek word “mastos” meaning “breasts”, while the suffix “-itis” denotes “inflammation”. Ma...

Pelvic floor exercises

Although your new baby will probably bring you immense emotional satisfaction, physically you may feel uncomfortable and strange in your own skin. After 9 months of pregnancy and hormonal changes, you...


Babies cry because they need to communicate something and most parents, especially new moms, find it distressing to see or hear an unhappy baby. In time, you will learn to recognize the various causes...

Antenatal Classes

Antenatal classes are informative sessions provided to prepare expecting parents for the birth of their child and the early days of being a parent.Most antenatal classes are run by Midwives and occasi...


The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 was launched on the 11 May 2011. It is a global declaration of war against road crashes and fatalities. According to Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, MP Minister of ...

  • Shaken Baby Syndrome

    Tuesday, 21 July 2015 16:28
  • Amniotic fluid problems

    Thursday, 14 May 2015 12:54
  • Choosing a pre-school

    Friday, 10 April 2015 17:50
  • Newborn reflexes

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:49
  • Mastitis

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:41
  • Pelvic floor exercises

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:20
  • Colic

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:11
  • Antenatal Classes

    Monday, 03 June 2013 09:34
  • Strap-in-the-Future

    Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:52


Children grow and develop at different rates; therefore the most important thing is to enjoy them at each stage of their development. Although children may utilise various pathways in this process, in most cases a set of predictable milestones can be discerned


Development occurs on 4 main levels: physical, emotional, cognitive and social. This process assures that children will master the abilities of physically manipulating their environment, taking in and processing information from the world around them, communicating with others, and forming social and emotional bonds (Wicks-Nelson & Israel, 2000).


Children’s behaviour, or what they do, generally follows an orderly pattern in accordance with their chronological age. For example, most children are able to sit without support between 5 and 7 months. However, there is a wide range of variation of ‘normal’ and progress is more important than timing (Wicks-Nelson & Israel, 2000; Leary, 1990).


Children’s ‘intelligence’ and ‘personality’ are based on an amalgamation of 5 areas of behaviour, namely gross motor behaviour such as postural relations and movement; fine motor behaviour or the utilisation of their eyes and hands; adaptive behaviour which involves problem solving skills and the ability to achieve certain goals; both receptive (understanding) and expressive language behaviour (any visible or audible method of communication including body language); and personal-social behaviour or the adaptation to the culture in which they live. These behaviours are influenced by sensory stimulation, environmental factors and the handling of life experiences (Leary, 1990).


Over the years, theorists such as Piaget, Gessel and White have debated the relative importance of an individual’s innate qualities (‘nature’) versus personal experiences (‘nurture’) in determining individual differences in behaviour. In other words, is a larger proportion of children’s temperament and intelligence a result of genetic factors or are they a tabula rasa (‘blank slate’) that can be moulded by the environment and parenting skills. The answer to this question was succinctly put by psychologist Donald Hebb: ‘Which contributes more to the area of a rectangle, its length or its width?’ So although this is still a grey area, psychologists seem to agree that children have a maximum genetically determined intelligence potential that can only be realised through effective parenting and a rich environment (Leary, 1990; Meaney, 2009; Scott, 1995).


Each child also has his or her own basic temperament or personality which is reflected in their attention span, intensity, adaptability etc. Although genetically determined, this basic temperament can be positively or negatively influenced by parental nurturance (Leary, 1990).


Essentially, all parents want their children to be happy, so that they are able to reach their maximum intelligence potential, undergo positive changes in temperament, and live in an environment where they are able to flourish and succeed on their own terms. Parental nurturance also allows for the development of a healthy self-concept, thus providing children with an armour against the challenges of the world. For example, a toddler who is encouraged and eventually learns to do things experiences a sense of accomplishment and an optimistic ‘can-do’ attitude (Leary, 1990; The Nemours Foundation, 1995-2010).