Monday, October 31, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

LOL...Go ahead!

A new study done by researchers at Stirling University suggests that joking and pretending with babies is vital for social and life skills development.  Children as young as 14 months can tell the difference between joking and pretending.  By reading those social cues, children develop skills which they will use in adulthood.  Use play time wisely and have fun joking with your child and introduce pretend play even with young babies; eventually they will start recognizing these social cues and reciprocate play.  

For the complete article please follow this (link).

A Class Act...

November is around the corner, and with it comes an absolutely wonderful learning and teaching opportunity from Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah (DAI). Introducing the DAI Classroom:

DAI Classroom includes programme options for children in three groups (early primary, late primary, and secondary).  There are several different choices for each age group: Treasury of the World, Story of Amricani, and Amricani Cultural Centre.  Each programme is approximately 90 minutes, accommodates up to 30 children, and can be done in English or Arabic. 

The Treasury of the World sessions include an introduction to Islamic art, a tour of the Mughal jewellery exhibition, a discussion of time, place and context, and a hands-on project related to what the students have seen and heard.

Story of Amricani sessions include a viewing of the Story of Amricani exhibition, a tour of the compound (but not the Mughal jewellery exhibition), and a discussion of the history of the American medical mission in Kuwait in the early 20th century.  An interactive project is also included in these sessions.

The Amricani Cultural Centre programme includes an introduction to Islamic art, an overview of the American medical mission in Kuwait in the early 20th century tours of both the Treasury of the World and Story of Amricani exhibitions and a question and answer session at the end.

Up to three sessions a day will be offered Tuesdays - Thursdays, starting 15 November.   Within reason, session times are flexible, to best accommodate the schedule of each school. Visits must be scheduled in advance, so to schedule your classes, contact:
Sessions will be booked on a first come: first served basis.

Teachers, please let your school administration know and try to make the most out of this great resource.  Parents, speak to your children's teachers about this ASAP and let them go ahead and book a visit.  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

APPsolutely helpful...

Is your child sick? And is it a tough time to go to the doctor, or you think it might be a minor issue but you want to check just in case? 
At, a parenting website backed up by 60,000 pediatricians from the American Academy of Pediatrics, you can find information on a new application they have developed.  The app promises to help in situations when you are questioning what to do when your child develops a fever, cough, vomiting, rash, sore throat or head injury.  It answer a questions like: when can my child return to school/child care after an illness? 

KidsDoc is designed especially for times when you cannot find an appointment with your pediatrician, or when it is late at night. The care guides help you make smart decisions on what level of care (if any) is needed and how to provide speedy symptom relief for minor illnesses or injuries you can manage on your own.
KidsDoc is derived from the clinical protocols used by pediatricians and nurses in 10,000 practices and 400 nurse advice call centers in the US and Canada. They have been tested for 15 years on more than 150 million symptom calls.


Easy 3-step navigation:
  1. Choose the most appropriate symptom care guide
  2. Use the symptom decision chart to find the recommended action
  3. Follow the self care advice to make your child more comfortable
The care guide that best matches your child’s symptom can be located quickly by using alphabetical index, body area index, or keyword search.


Each symptom care guide contains:
  • Definition which describes the focus of the care guide so you can decide if it’s a good fit for your problem. If not, there are quick links to related guidelines.
  • Decision Chart which helps determine what action is suggested based on the severity and description of your symptom. Once you have a match, simply follow the corresponding action, such as Call 911 (for us locals in Kuwait, Call 112), Call Your Child’s Doctor Now, Call Your Child’s Doctor within 24 hours or Manage at Home. 
Two areas that are not appropriate for our local readers are :

  • Immediate Connections to medical help, such as 911, your child’s doctor or nearby Emergency Department (ER) are available if you have phone service.
  • Home Care Advice is available for any illnesses and injuries that can be treated at home. The instructions provide clear, up-to-date steps for relieving symptoms.


  • Pediatric dosage tables by weight for common over-the-counter medications.
  • Visual images to help you identify symptoms (e.g. rashes), injuries and common causes of bites & stings.
  • First Aid illustrations to support immediate action, if needed.

I have NOT used it personally, but I would be very interested in knowing what you think about this app.  You can download it on iTunes for $1.99, and it is available for iPhone and Android users only.


Pregnancy can be hard.  It can be even harder if you are worried about your health, your babies health, how you are going to cope, or about how to be the best mother you can... 
Introducing a wonderful new program that will help expectant mothers be prepared for their wonderful journey ahead...

Mellow Bumps is a 6 weeks programme designed to provide support, information, and care to expecting Mum’s.  The group is for women between 20 and 30 weeks gestation and is designed to reduce stress and anxiety whilst preparing for your new arrival!  It is not only for first time Mum’s, but for all expectant Mum’s.
Research shows that stress in pregnancy can have adverse long-term effects on the well-being of the child.  Additionally, stress, anxiety, and depression during pregnancy are strong indicators of post-natal mental health which can also have an impact on the child as it grows and develops   
Through the group you will be given information about what your unborn child is able to do now and at birth, as well as information on their development through infancy.  You will be given techniques and support which will allow you to continue your pregnancy in a positive manner and to be ready to develop a strong, secure relationship with your child in the future.  We have also made links to other specialists here in Kuwait who we can hook you up with to provide nutritional, breastfeeding, and birthing advice.

The groups will be starting in January 2012 and will be run one morning a week at Soor Center for Professional Therapy and Assessment.

Please feel free to contact the Soor Center on 2290 1677.   You can also contact the facilitator Dr. Rose Logan, directly on the following email address:  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Learning Difference... my interview

As the new poll on the left is suggesting, I am trying to find out if there is a high demand for Arabic translation of all posts.  Please do place your votes, and here is an arabic post.  This is an interview I had done with AlQabas Newspaper in February, which focused on Learning Differences and the uses of Play Therapy.  Follow the link below for the complete article...

اختصاصية العلاج السلوكي والتربوي للأطفال زينة الزبن
صعوبات التعلم هي في الحقيقة اختلافات فيه
إعداد د. خلود البارون

ينصح الأهل من يلاحظون المشاكل النفسية في الطفل وصعوبات التعلم باللجوء إلى الاستشارة النفسية والتربوية، ليتعلموا الطريقة المثلى والأفضل في التعامل مع مناطق ضعف الطفل، وكيفية تقوية التأخر أو الضعف وتعليم الطفل الطرق السليمة للتعبير عن النفس والمشاعر. وغالبا ما يجب أيضا استشارة طبيب أطفال واختصاصي تغذية، ليعمل هذا الفريق يدا واحدة لمساعدة الأهل في التعامل مع الطفل بطريقة ناجحة وفعالة بشكل يضمن وصوله الى   أفضل ما يمكن 

صعوبات التعلم من الأمور التي تؤرق الآباء وتضع عقبات أمام اكتساب الأطفال مهارات عملية وعلمية واجتماعية. وبالرغم من الصعوبة التي ترافق التحصيل العلمي لمن يعانون من صعوبات التعلم، وخاصة من يعانون من الديسليكسيا وفرط النشاط ونقص الانتباه وغيرها، فإن زينة الزبن المتخصصة في العلاج السلوكي والتربوي للأطفال، لا تعتبرها معضلة بلا حل لوجود أدوات تمكن هؤلاء الأطفال من التغلب على مشاكلهم، فهي غالبا ما ترجع الى وجود فروق فردية طبيعية بين الأطفال، مما ساهم في تغير مسمى «صعوبات التعلم» إلى مصطلح جديد أقرب إلى الواقع، وهو اختلافات التعلم 
حول الاختلافات بين الأطفال أوضحت الأخصائية زينة الزبن قائلة:- مثلما لا ينطق الأطفال في الوقت ذاته، ولا يكتسبون المهارات أو اللغة أو التعلم في توقيت واحد، فإن قدرتهم على التعلم تتباين أيضا. فمن دون وجود حالة مرضية أو صعوبة في أحد الحواس، فالحل غالبا ما يكمن في إعطاء الطفل الوقت والدعم مثل التمارين اللغوية أو المهارات، حتى يصل إلى اكتساب الخبرات بشكل طبيعي. فوجود اختلافات او صعوبات في التعلم لا يدل على عدم تمكن الطالب من التعلم بحسب النظام الدراسي، لكنه يشير الى حاجته للأدوات المناسبة حتى يتمكن من إتمام تحصيله العلمي بنجاح.والجدير بالذكر، أن تشخيص صعوبات في التعلم بحسب المعايير العالمية لا يجري قبل بلوغ الطفل عامه السابع. لكن يمكن البدء في تقييم مناطق الضعف والقوة للطفل من عامه الثالث، فيخضع لاختبارات تكتشف الضعف وتقيمه، فتفحص صحة السمع والبصر ومعدل تطور القدرات اللغوية والذهنية والحركية، وذلك لتشخيص صعوبات النطق والتطور اللغوي وأي تأخر تطوري. لكن لا يمكن تشخيص الطفل مبكرا، بل تعتبر كسمات شخصية ويهدف إلى تطويرها وتحسينها.كل طفل مختلف تختلف الطريقة المناسبة لتعليم الأطفال، مما أدى إلى تنوع أساليب التعليم ما بين الاستثارة السمعية والبصرية والحركية. فالبعض يستقبل المعلومات ويتعلم من خلال البصر وآخرون من خلال السمع، والأخير من خلال اللعب والتفاعل. وتابعت الزبن:- للأسف يركز النظام المدرسي لدينا على التعليم السمعي مع قليل من الاستثارة البصرية وأقل قدر من الحركة. فالمدارس عموما تركز على تلقي الطالب المعلومة وهو في حالة سكون وجلوس تام على المقعد. وعليه، فان الأطفال الذين يتعلمون من خلال التلقي السمعي والبصري لا يعانون صعوبة، بيد ان الأطفال الذين يتعلمون من خلال التعليم التفاعلي والحركي واللعب، سيعانون من بطء الفهم وتشتت الانتباه، فيكرهون الدراسة وأداء الواجبات والحفظ. وهؤلاء يحتاجون الى تلقي الدرس بطرق تعليمية أخرى مثل الصور والحركة والتجارب. وبالمنوال نفسه، يجب على الوالدين تعليم الطفل المهارات السلوكية من خلال المعلومات الشفهية (الأوامر)
والبصرية (الصور والمواقف) والحركية (اللعب والتجربة والتفاعل)، ليكتسبوا الخبرات بالطريقة التي تناسبهم

Follow this (link) for the completed article.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Safe keeping...

Which tablet is a cold medicine and which ones are candy?


Click on the link and read this interesting report.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Other Voice: Morning Observations

A reflective "The Other Voice" post by Dr. Siddiqa Hussein, my wonderful colleague at Soor Center...

As I am driving to school around 6:45am , making my way through that stressful  traffic , listening to my Indian classical music to keep me calm and help me deal with the traffic, this is what I observe...

A mother, wearing headphones, listening to her IPod (defiantly some nice music) pulling a crying or half–asleep 4-year-old child on the road side to the school. Does she know that the child is crying? Is she aware of her son? I wonder that...

Another mother, pinching her 3-4 year old daughter’s right ear so hard that the child is screaming on the road. I wondered what could have gone so wrong early in the morning that the child deserved such harsh punishment...

A child, looking out of the window, sad, lost gazing on the road and his mother is talking on phone...

A child waving or smiling at others and her father is talking on phone... 

Children are fighting at the back and their mother is looking out of the window...

There are a variety of observations; pleasant and unpleasant in the morning. But the question is how do we want to start our day?. I want to ask that first mother, who preferred to listen to IPod rather than her child: how does she feel when she is not heard? How would be the day if it is started with a painful pinch? It is really hard to get up early morning and leave your comfortable & cozy bed  and go to school.

Dear parents please understand that it is very important for everyone, big or small to start a day on a happy note. Give them your full attention for those 10-15 minutes; encourage them to look forward to a good day. Remind them about good behaviors. I often ask my parents to put stars on the two hands of their young children and say to them: “You are mummy’s son/daughter and you are the best. Whenever you look at  the stars remind yourself that you are mum’s best son and you should focus in the class and listen to your teacher.   Whenever you look at the stars, feel that your mum is with you”. Such verbal cues with positive statements make them feel special and loved.  

Please start the day with a Big smile and Big hug.

"The Other Voice"- Is our contributing authors post.  If you would like to contribute, email me at for approval, editing and eventual posting:)

Friday, October 21, 2011


As a graduate of the U.S and U.K, it was the norm to see support groups for almost ANYTHING you could think of.  Moving back to Kuwait, and working with kids and families I was very disappointed to see issues of privacy and social restraint hindering the development of such groups.

Through my work now, I see more and more parents who are asking for such resources.  Even though we are still at the beginning, I am glad to post about one such group, established by mothers who felt the need for more education and awareness about parenting and child-rearing.  The group is called "Little Moms" and you can find them on Facebook (link) or through their blog.  Support groups are a wonderful way to share and learn, and I personally applaud all their efforts.  

Check out their Facebook page for information on free educational events and lectures, and look for my name soon!  I will hopefully be presenting a lecture for Little Moms in the near future:)

Try a little tenderness...

I have recently been contacted by Dr. Hind Al Mazeedi, president of Kuwait Child's Rights Society - Every child countsand I was asked to give a lecture on child abuse; a topic that is heart breaking, but I am eager to do all I can to educate, heal and protect.

In my preliminary search for materials to use in my lecture, I came across a beautiful video that Unicef made and I wanted to share it with you...

I will share the lecture information with you in the near future...  

Be safe, keep your children safe, and fill your life with love...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

They play, you learn...

Ajyalona is an annual entertainment event that provides product education, parent resource information, and awareness about all things related to children.  I must admit that I have not heard of this exhibition/event before, but I had received a call earlier this week with an offer to have a complimentary booth to increase awareness of my work and interact with families:)

This is a free event (Dec.8th-10th) that welcomes all familes to come, participate and learn about local resources.  Do checkout their website (link, FB).  Come by (and make sure you pass-by my booth for a chat) and bring your kids for a different experience.

You can also contact them if you would like to participate and take a booth yourselves...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

0% Tolerance

No, I am not promoting rapping in this post, but I am applauding confidence in speaking about serious matters.  This young boy, not only had the courage to showcase his talent, but chose to rap about a very dangerous and real threat... Bullying.

Bullying happens in most venues where there are large groups of kids.  It can happen in schools, gyms, family gatherings, parties, etc.  There are different types of bullying, which include cyber bullying.  Cyber bullying refers to the use of the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile devices to harm others in a repetitive and intentional way.  It is usually adopted by children in middle school.  

Girls usually use more subtle ways of bullying, including gossiping and exclusion (leaving the girl out of the group).  Boys use more apparent and more aggressive ways to bully, including repeated physical attacks.

Parents and carers for children need to educate themselves and their children about bullying.  it is usually a vicious cycle that exists due to fear and ignorance.  Take a look at this following diagram to view the cycle:

The problem remains and exists when children refuse to speak-up.  In schools, having teachers around is helpful, but kids are manipulative and smart, and they can find places that are not supervised.  It is thus, very important that schools adopt a No Tolerance policy to bullying.  The first step though, is to educate the kids and adults about the dangers and consequences of bullying.

Another key defense to this threat is building your child's self-esteem.  If your child is confident enough to stand-up to the bully, or report an incident s/he has seen, we break the cycle.  As you can see above, there are individuals who witness the bullying and do not interfere, these individuals have allowed the bullying just by remaining quiet.  The diagram below is the same cycle, but AFTER an educational intervention.  You can see how the defenders, supporters, and passive defenders have shifted to the right side of the cycle.  This means they are more likely to seek help and support the victim.

This next image is a nice one to show your kids when you are discussing bullying.  Do ask yourself and them "where do you fit in in this cycle?"

This is a short post for us to think about bullying and address the issues.  I will continue talking about bullying in future posts and cover aspects including what should be done if your child is being bullied and if you suspect that you child is a bully...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Other Voice: Traveling with tots

Written by Sara Al Sayer, one of the most energetic and playful parents I know... Enjoy!

Most parents, myself included, who have traveled with kids, will have horror stories of disastrous journeys. However, we also have the most wonderful memories of holidays with our kids and no matter what kind of hell we went through on the journey, it was totally worth it.  I have found, though, that the more we travel with our kids, the easier they find the journey. Living away from Kuwait has made my kids seasoned travelers, and I have picked up some good tips along the way.

Planning and preparing them:

Before we travel, I like to countdown the number of sleeps we have with my kids until we leave. We talk about where we are going and who we will see and what we will do there.  We talk about how many planes we have to take to get there (three to Kuwait from Koh Samui where we live). They choose what they would like to take on the journey and help me pack it into our hand luggage. My eldest has this fantastic bag called a "trunki" (available from Oleana boutique) that he can pull along or ride while I pull it that he puts his toys in. I also make sure that they have whatever entertains them - their portable DVD player, iPad, coloring books etc. I tend to bring snacks for them as airlines typically have a lot of junk food for kids. I bring a change of clothes for them, and for me just in case accidents happen.

Some airlines like Emirates are particularly child friendly and if I can, I tend to travel with them. I love that they provide a push-chair for us to use in Dubai. When I travel with a baby (as their prams are not for babies), I bring a baby sling to use in the airport. If it is an overnight flight, I bring their pajamas to help keep some semblance of normality and to help them sleep.  When possible, I try to book flights that fit in with their timings so it is not too traumatic for them.  If you are traveling with a baby, it is helpful to feed them during take off and landing as this will help their ears to pop. I use a "bebe au lait" breastfeeding cover (destination maternity sell them) which are a fantastic invention - a piece of material that ties around your neck and enables you to breastfeed without exposing yourself to the people around you. It also has a wire running through the top to keep it more rigid so that you can look down onto your baby and see what you are doing. If the baby won't feed then a dummy is also useful.  

Where to stay?  

We look for different things in hotels depending on what stage our kids are at. The most important thing though, is that it is child friendly. We look for kids clubs and hotels that have activities for kids. Some hotels will even make pureed veggies for your baby if they are just starting solids.  If not, there is a great little machine from munchkin (you can buy it in mothercare) that will puree food for you and it doesn't need any plugs. It's called “baby food grinder”. This is small enough to fit in your handbag so that you can even take it with you to a restaurant.  Munchkin also have a netted fresh food feeder that you can put fruit or veggies in for the baby to chew on and the net prevents them from choking on the pieces that may break off.  We have recently discovered that hotels with private villas are great for kids because you can put the kids to sleep and then take the monitor and sit outside to enjoy the rest of the evening without disturbing them.

The first time that you travel with your children is daunting, but it is such a fun thing to do if you travel prepared. Try to keep to their routines when possible.  Bring a selection of bedtime stories if that is part of it, because it will help them settle. Don't stress if they are not eating all the things they normally eat - a holiday is just a short period of time and it won't harm them to have a few days without veggies. If you end up in battles at every mealtime, you will all be miserable.  

Most importantly of all, have fun! That is what you are there for after all, and all those wonderful memories are worth it...

"The Other Voice"- Is our contributing authors post.  If you would like to contribute, email me at for approval, editing and eventual posting:)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Daddy's little girl...

A post dedicated to fathers, whose voices have not been heard on Play.Teach.Love yet... 

A beautiful song by Jack Johnson.  We all know how special little girls are to their daddies... I hope you enjoy it.  I also hope to hear from all the dedicated fathers out there.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A house of fun...


We frequently forgot how many beautiful places we have right here in Kuwait... If you have not heard of Dar al-athar al-Islamiyyah, or do not know what it is exactly, here is how they describe themselves:

The Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah (DAI) is a cultural organisation based on a Kuwaiti private art collection.   Since its inception in 1983, DAI has grown from a single focus organisation created to manage the loan of the prestigious al-Sabah Collection of art from the Islamic world to the State of Kuwait to become an internationally recognized cultural organization.

What I have recently found out, by talking to the lovely Bibi N. Al Sabah, is that Dar al-Athar is organizing an exciting children's program.  Here is the information they have shared:

Help your children be a part of art . . .
DAI Children’s Art Workshops

We’ve planned a full schedule for Cultural Season 17.  Classes will be held in the Workshop at the Amricani Cultural Centre on Saturday mornings, from 9:30.  The classes for 8 – 12 year olds last 2 hours; the classes for 6 – 8 year olds last 90 minutes; and the combined classes for 6 – 12 year olds last 2 hours.

1            Islamic Art Motifs (ages 8 – 12)                       
8            Visit to the Arab Fund Building (ages 6 – 12)                       
15            Archeology Explained (ages 6 – 8)                                               
22            Archeology Explained (ages 8 – 12)                       
29            Creating Artifacts (ages 6 – 12)                                   

I have copied the October schedule, but do go online (link) to find out more information on their year-round schedule.  Activities include: Stories into Plays (and actual acting), ceramic painting, Mughal jewelry, poetry writing, and much more.

What is also more appropriate for us at Play.Teach.Love is that they have included a section on WHY it is helpful to include your children in art and creative activities.  Definitely PTL APPROVED!

The primary objectives of the Children’s Art Workshop (CAW) are to give students between the ages of 6 and 12 the opportunity to:
  • engage directly with a diverse range of original art objects from The al-Sabah Collection of art from the Islamic world
  • develop a greater understanding and enjoyment of art,
  • cultivate a greater understanding of and appreciation for Islamic culture,
  • formulate and articulate their own ideas and critical points of view,
  • experiment with and manipulate art materials and processes in their own art making,
  • value the diverse range of ideas and points of view contributed by the multi-cultural nature of the workshop and.
  • have fun.

You asked for performance based activities, and the children's workshop at Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah is presenting the most interesting selection!  I truly urge you to give them a call...

For more information, email Ms. Susan Day : 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Not Kidding! (your surprise)

Your PTL (Play.Teach.Love) gift is finally here!!!

Just Kidding, Dubai, have offered all PTL readers a 10% discount starting today on ALL Maxi Cosi products ordered online until December 31st , 2011. Their products were previously featured here, in a wonderful contributing post by Ms. Dana Al Fulaij ( link ).

Promotion Code:
Code# AC036300BA
Enter the promotion code at checkout (after your online purchase)
This offer is valid from today until December 31st, 2011

                     THANK YOU JustKidding