During the nineteenth century, the only organisation in the Cape Colony to evince any sustained interest in children and childhood was the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC). Ministers not only established schools, Sunday schools and children’s clubs and organisations, but also produced a slew of books, journals and articles for and children. Their childrearing manuals were read both locally and abroad. This article argues that ministers’ childrearing advice was shaped by their own experiences as sons and as fathers, particularly as middle class childhood changed over the course of the nineteenth century.