Playful Parenting Brings Fathers And Kids Closer In Zambia

A look at how a neighborhood-dependent parenting application supported by UNICEF and the LEGO Basis has aided households prosper all through the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Tiwine Muchipa

Raising four minor girls is a joy for Peter Phiri and his spouse Faustina Phiri of Kholowa Village, Katete District, Japanese Province, Zambia. But the COVID-19 pandemic built this previous 12 months a challenging one particular. 

 “As a father and spouse, it is my obligation to make sure the perfectly-staying of my loved ones,” claims Peter, underneath, with Faustina and their baby daughter, Carol. “The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced with it tons of worries with strict constraints, and the promoting of my farm-grown produce has grow to be slow.”

The pressures of the COVID-19 crisis have impacted the mental well being and effectively-remaining of mother and father and caregivers, from time to time straining their capacity to have interaction in responsive and playful interactions with their younger kids, which are so vital for creating sturdy psychological bonds and healthy brains.

 Before the pandemic, normal group parenting periods at local community-dependent Insaka Early Childhood Development (ECD) hubs supported by UNICEF and the LEGO Basis were being a precious resource. Throughout the pandemic, educated volunteers were capable to carry on those people providers by checking out individual people, advertising playful parenting and responsive treatment and supplying mothers and fathers guidance and counseling whilst however sustaining bodily distancing. 

 “I have learned a whole lot from the Insaka hub on playful parenting: the importance of employing age-acceptable toys, child diet and excellent feeding practices, responsive caregiving and how to know when a youngster is unwell,” Faustina says.

A single of the key messages the parenting volunteers share with mom and dad like Lukas Phiri, earlier mentioned, with 4-month-old Religion, is the great importance of commencing playful interactions early on, even during the first handful of months when a little one is just watching matters about them. Game titles centered on the senses are a superior way to engage and encourage toddlers from the pretty start out.

“Before we participated in playful parenting periods, most of the young children would be at the observer stage for for a longer time than [they] should really be, since we as parents ended up much too fast paced with other factors,” Faustina suggests. “Taking time to perform with the youngsters appeared to be time-wasting.”

Mclean and Lukas Phiri, previously mentioned, with daughters Christine and Religion, get pleasure from the month-to-month visits from their parenting volunteer. They are looking ahead to the eventual reopening of Kholowa’s Insaka hub, pictured beneath, which also serves as a platform for integrated local community growth, promoting great nutrition, studying by participate in and grownup literacy. 


“Having attended a pair of parenting periods with my wife at the hub gave us loads of insights on parenting, an understanding of why youngsters behave as they do and also know-how of age-acceptable game titles,” Peter Phiri claims.

 One good of lifetime during the pandemic is that lots of households get to commit more time collectively than in advance of. Peter has taken gain of the added time to find neighborhood elements to make toy devices for his daughters to perform with.

“Our community-based mostly volunteers (CBVs) play a quite essential position in making sure that we do not neglect what was taught and also that we apply the classes effectively,” Faustina states. At the time a month, the family members is notified about the CBV’s pay a visit to to make sure they are going to be household on the appointed day.

Beatrice Banda, above, one of the trained CBVs at the Kholowa hub, tends to make regularly scheduled regular monthly visits to 10 households in the village. “The home visits have proved to be incredibly efficient for constant parental and caregiver direction on playful parenting,” she states. “Bearing in thoughts the COVID-19 tips, I make sure that all wellness suggestions are observed for the duration of each individual visit.

 “As a volunteer, it delivers me joy to see the excellent affect that the lessons have performed in boy or girl development and progress in my community.”

Given that the inception of the Insaka playful parenting hub in Katete, a complete amount of 585 CBVs have been skilled, achieving 10,052 parents and caregivers with classes in playful parenting, sanitation and little one diet.

 UNICEF performs all around the environment to be certain that young children receive the best probable start in life. You can aid. 

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