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Responsive parenting campaign launches in South Africa

| August 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

By Svetlana Doneva

The first 1 000 days of a child’s life are vital in shaping their lifelong ability to learn, to acquire social skills and to maximise income earning potential.

All parents have the power to give their children the best possible start in life, simply through employing responsive parenting techniques.

The #LovePlayTalk social campaign was launched recently by national, Cape Town-based early childhood development (ECD) programme Ilifa Labantwana. The campaign aims to highlight the importance of parents’ involvement in ECD. Ilifa Labantwana calls it “ordinary magic”, necessary for children’s healthy brain development.


Neuro research has found that the human brain undergoes its fastest phase of growth during the first two years of life (referred to as the first 1 000 days).1 Babies are born with 25% of their brains already developed. By age three years, the brain has reached eighty per cent development. The first 1 000 days are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hardwire the brain for optimum growth. Children with restricted brain development face problems such as poor school performance, early school drop-out, low-skill job opportunities and increased propensity for alcohol and drug abuse.

#LovePlayTalk’s message is being showcased through a series of billboards, located in Gauteng, North-West, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. The photographs on the billboards portray the closeness of the parent/child relationship, reinforced by the tagline ‘My child is a somebody’.

The billboards are supported by 30- second radio public service announcements voiced from the perspectives of a pregnant mother, a father, a child, a grandmother and a grandfather. The announcements are delivered in slam poetry style and depict the life-changing impact of a strong and supportive parent/child relationship.

Long-term public engagement

“This is the first phase of what we hope will be a long-term engagement. We want to positively impact parenting behaviour,” says Sonja Giese, programme leader at Ilifa Labantwana.

The campaign is underscored by the website, designed for use on smartphones and other digital platforms. The mobi site serves as the digital hub for content related to responsive parenting, and is curated by an early learning curriculum development specialist.

Visitors to will find helpful information relating to children’s development during the first 1 000 days, as well as practical advice on how to incorporate loving, playing and talking into day-to-day parenting. The website is updated with new content on a weekly basis.

The second phase of the campaign will see public engagement through forums such as community dialogues.


1. See, for example:

Category: Spring 2015

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