Category Archives: Parenting
Sleep is very important for infant growth, as well as physical and mental development. Infants will generally sleep about 18 hours of the day. By the time they are four months old, a baby’s sleep cycles include active sleep and quiet, deep sleep. The active sleep phase is important to the development of learning and memory, while during the deep sleep phase human growth hormone is release to help the baby grow.
While sleep is an important part of a baby’s life, it can be dangerous. Providing a safe sleeping environment for your baby is a must. As a parent, you can play a key role in creating a safe sleeping environment for your child.
• The safest way for babies to sleep is on their backs. The stomach-down position can put pressure on their face and cause them to re-breathe air that does not contain enough oxygen. When a baby sleeps on their back it reduces the rate of sudden infant death syndrome and sudden unexpected infant deaths.
• What they sleep on matters. Your baby should sleep on a firm surface with a fitted sheet. Avoid loose bedding in their crib and don’t put your baby to sleep on a couch or sofa.
• A safe sleep area looks plain. There should be no pillows, blankets, quilts, or stuffed animals. All of these things can obstruct a baby’s breathing or create a low-oxygen environment.
• Avoid overheating. Infants can’t remove their clothing when they become hot, so it is best not to bundle them up in a warm room or during hot weather.
• Keep cords and strings away from your baby’s sleep area. Avoid any strangulation possibilities by doing this. If your baby uses a pacifier, make sure it does not have a string on it.
• Keep the crib away from the wall, windows, blinds, and curtains. This will help protect your baby from getting trapped or entangled.
• Use a crib that meets safety standards. Check with your baby’s health care provider and parent education resources to find out about product safety. Make sure there are no recalls on the products you buy for your baby.
• Keeping your baby’s sleep area in the same room as where you sleep is beneficial. They will be close to you and you can easily check on them during the night. Make sure they are sleeping on their back and check to make sure they do not feel hot.
Babies seem to grow up so fast. You probably remember the first day your baby started crawling around and causing trouble. Now you might be anxious about them getting to their biggest milestone of all, learning to walk. Every baby is different, but here is how to know when your baby is ready to walk and how to help them learn!
When will my baby be ready to learn to walk?
Walking is a major milestone because it marks a time where babies become more independent and explore their world in a new way. They will be developing new muscle groups they didn’t use before and be very clumsy at first. Your baby will most likely start walking anywhere between 8 and 18 months, it all depends of genetics, level of determination, and physical strength. Every baby is different and yours will start trying to get up on two feet once they are ready.
Tips for helping your baby walk
You may see a few clues that your baby is ready to walk. If they are using furniture to get around or trying to take a step before falling down, they are probably ready. Here are a few things you can do to encourage and help your baby walk.
Use a push toy – A push toy that resembles a vacuum or lawnmower can be great for helping your baby walk. Walkers will keep your baby contained, while a push toy won’t. A push toy will help build up arm and leg strength, while maintaining a wider stance for balance. They will also encourage problem-solving skills that help a baby walk, like turning around or backing up. When your baby is using a push toy offer words of encouragement and praise!
Safe-proof the cruising area – Cruising is when your baby uses furniture to aid them in traveling around. By creating safer surroundings in the cruising areas you will protect them from potential falls and make them feel safer, which will make them more willing to keep trying. Secure any heavy furniture, cover exposed outlets or sharp table corners, and install baby gates wherever cruising is off-limits. If your baby does take a spill, stay calm because it will make them feel okay about getting up and trying again.
Know what can hold them back – There are certain things that can actually hinder your baby’s attempts to walk. Help your baby walk without socks and shoes, this will create better balance and allow them to develop stronger muscles in their feet, ankles, legs, and hips. Avoid walkers because they can be dangerous, will encourage babies to walk on their toes, and hyper-extend their lower legs. Also, try not to hold your baby or hover too much when they are cruising. Babies learn by trial and error, so let them make mistakes!
Parenting, especially if you have several children, can be a job in itself. We use technology every day at work to make our jobs easier, so why not use technology to make parenting easier? While it is a big debate on what age is the right age to get your kids a cell phone, there are many apps that you can load onto an iPhone or iPad that can actually make parenting a lot easier by keeping you connected. SO whether you are potty training a little one or want to keep track of chores, here are 5 great apps that make parenting a little bit easier;
1) If you’re potty training your toddler….
Potty Time With Elmo – This app is great for helping your little one learn how to use the potty. Elmo will help teach your child the basics of putty use with the help of fun songs and stickers. ($2.99)
2) If you have a picky eater….
Awesome Eats – If you have a picky eater in your family, you can benefit from this app. It will make even the “grossest” of healthy vegetable seem yummy through gameplay. Over 50 characters will give your child healthy eating tips. (FREE)
3) For getting chores done….
Chorma for Chores – This app is an easy and fun way to organize chores for the whole family. You just simply list out the chores on one device and everyone in the family can sign up for the ones that they want. Each chore is worth point totals, so the more chores you do the more points you earn. You can set up prizes for earning a certain number of points and who knows, your kids might actually WANT to do chores. (FREE)
4) If you’re a parent with a special needs child….
Kids in Story – This app is specifically designed to benefit children with autism and other special needs. It makes it fun and easy to create visual stories to support leaning, early literacy, and social modeling. ($6.99)
5) For the household dominated by kid art….
Artkive – Is your child bringing home tons of art from school or drawing all the time at home? It can be hard to keep track of all the drawings and find a place to display them. With this app you can snap pictures of their best artwork and turn them into one hard cover book! (FREE)
Many parents struggle to get their children to eat the foods that are good for them. So many kids are picky eaters and can become fussy when given foods they don’t like. If you want your children to not be picky eaters, you need to teach them to be adventurous eaters at a young age. Shy away from the traditional “kids menu” and introduce our children to different foods to increase their palate.
Put off introducing them to “fun foods” as long as you can
Young children do not have the ability to make conscious decisions on their own about what is good for them to eat. This is where the parents come in. Giving your kids “fun foods” like PB & J or macaroni & cheese will only train their palate to like these foods that you know they will love. If they are used to these foods and then you give them spinach, they will think “well, I don’t like this as much as the other food you gave me.” Now it will be impossible to get them to try anything new and different. Introduce vegetables and other healthy foods early on, so they can get used to eating them.
Have patience with them
Many parents get frustrated and have a short temper with their kids when they won’t eat certain foods. Instead of getting mad, let them take a break and come back to the food later. Don’t force the food on them because that will only make it more difficult to get them to eat it.
Don’t hide food in their food
Parents sometimes think the best way to get their children to eat foods they don’t like is to hide it inside foods they do like. By doing this, you are only enforcing the fact that they shouldn’t like it because you have to trick them into eating it. Instead, incorporate the less desirable food into the dish. You can chop it up and add it into a sauce or dish, but let them know it is there. You can say, “You know that spinach on your plate is in the lasagna that you love too.”
Involve them in food prep
One great way to get your kids to try more foods is to involve them into the food prep. If you get them to help you prepare and cook the food, they will be more likely to want to try it. Instead of thinking that vegetables are yucky, they will want to try them because they helped prepare them. When you add the element of fun into it and you cook as a team, your children will feel a sense of pride and will want to eat it.
A recent study indicated that parents aren’t always aware about what happens in their child’s daycare center. In many cases, a childcare provider is selected for proximity – close to a home, workplace, or route – or supposedly has a good reputation. Essentially, though, a daycare, nursery school, or preschool program is expected to assist a child in developing skills for kindergarten. As a result, parents must consider the daycare’s curriculum, programs, and strategies for a child’s growth and development.
Educational Playcare, with multiple locations in Connecticut, implements such a plan. Communication between staff and parents is regular. Parents, for instance, have the opportunity to discuss their child’s needs and development; staff, in turn, update parents about a child’s progress and provides resource for seeing the latest curriculum and goals.
Taking development into account, the Connecticut childcare center does not group children by age; rather, their developmental stage is taken into account between infancy and kindergarten (both full-day and enrichment programs). Each curriculum, as well, is based on developmental goals: beyond the physical, children are encouraged to develop social, emotional, and cognitive skills in the preschool’s various programs.
Beyond a curriculum and parental involvement, Educational Playcare understands the importance of exposure to activities. That’s why the preschool, which also doubles as a camp in the summer, offers afterschool activities at some of its locations and baby sign language in programs for infants and toddlers. While baby sign language is said to improve communication skills, result in fewer tantrums, and improve the parental-child bond, Educational Playcare’s afterschool programs expose children to athletics, music, dance, swimming, computers, and other activities.
If you’re not located in Connecticut, consider similar factors in choosing a daycare center for your child. Taking into account recommendations and your own research, seek out a program that focuses on developmental goals, has a skilled teaching staff, accurately groups children by age, and offers a varied yet fun curriculum.
For many parents, hearing a child say his or her first word may take a year; during that time, adults endure many sounds that may or may not be words and attempt to communicate with a child. Nevertheless, a recent study shows that, while babies may not yet be able to utter words, they may start to understand adults, particularly the mother, while still in utero.
Although there’s no specific point when a fetus can begin to decipher language and voices (30 weeks is one estimate, according to a Gizmodo article), it has been found that babies just a few hours out of the womb can differentiate between the mother’s and less familiar voices.
But, even if a child can identify a mother’s voice, communicating before actual speech develops is a challenge for parents and guardians. One solution has been baby sign language.
Similar to but differing from American Sign Language, the series of hand symbols for parents to use around babies and toddlers is said to reduce tantrums and frustration and improve communication and the bond between parent and child. As with standard speech, the child may not be responsive at first but, upon introduction at roughly 6 months, will begin to pick up on it and eventually use it to communicate his or her needs. For parents, the benefits include – outside of experiencing fewer tantrums – less guessing a child’s wants and needs.
Other benefits of baby sign language include sooner development of hand-eye coordination, verbal skills, and motor skills. Parents are advised to wait until a child can hold his or her gaze for a few seconds and to start using the gestures in conjunction with words for three to five signs. Once a child appears to catch on, adding more gestures and words is recommended.
- How Baby Sign Language Allows Young Children to Communicate (childcarectblog.com)
- Babies learn mother’s vowels in the womb (futurity.org)
- Babies May Start Acquiring Language While Still In The Womb (geekosystem.com)
We used to find it weird that Prince, or “The artist formerly known as Prince,” changed his name to a symbol. When Michael Jackson named his son Blanket, everyone was shocked at the odd name choice. These days, odd baby names are the trend, and names like Michael are the new oddity. Movies and media are so influential in today’s world that parents are using them for name ideas.
At the top of the most popular baby names for 2012 are what we would call “normal” names. Boys number one is Aiden, and girls number one is Sophia. However, after that, things seem to be less normal. For girls, number four is Isabella, which although its not the name that is weird, it is the origin of its popularity. Unless somehow you are not familiar with the Twilight series, you know that Isabella “Bella” Swan is the main character. Number 8 for boys? Jacob. Bella’s childhood friend and werewolf.
Other popular names come from other popular books and movies. Thanks to the top selling book, 50 Shades of Grey, the name Grey is up 155 spots for boys. Christian Grey’s counterpart in the book, Anastasia Steele also boosted the name Anastasia 43 spots. This could make for an awkward conversation in a few years when those children ask where they got their names from!
Apple has their hands in everything from computers to phones and now has made their way into names. It seems parents value this companies products so much they honor it by naming their kids after it. Even though it is still uncommon, the name Apple is up 15 percent (585 spots) for girls. For boys, Mac is up 12 percent and is the 624th most popular baby name. Possibly the most peculiar Apple inspired name is Siri, which is iPhone’s voice-activated personal assistant’s name. Siri is up 5 percent for girls and sits at position 1427.
Do Jay-Z and Beyonce have any influence on this year’s baby names? Well, after naming their daughter Blue Ivy Carter, the fans have spoken. While the name Blue for girls went up 51 percent or 2,571 places, overall it is not that popular. Ivy, on the other hand gained 57 spots on the chart, making it the 157th most popular baby name for girls.
Finally, possibly the most ridiculous name choice ever goes to the parents who named their daughter Hashtag Jameson. Do you think the baby’s parents are big Twitter fans? Even though the name is not at all popular, and it should not be, it is worth mentioning. Baby Hashtag may be in for a surprise when she realizes what her name is and when she goes to school The old saying stands true, “You can’t pick your parents,” and unfortunately for Hashtag, you can’t pick your name, either.
As a teen, do you ever recall a parent insisting that some aspect of your behavior or demeanor was “off” or “wrong,” and all you can say in response is, “I’m fine. Really, I’m fine.” Perhaps, all along, it was an overly-concerned parent reacting a decade after a colicky episode you had as an infant. A recent study one by the Mater Children’s Hospital in South Brisbane Australia shows that infant fussiness is not associated with teen and adult mental health issues, as was previously assumed.
Part of what parents constitute as “mental health” is perception of their offspring, and a fussy – or colicky – baby sets the stage for an older child believed to have issues. But, do they? The Mater Children’s Hospital study indicates that the early-skewed relationship results in parents perceiving problems a teen or young adult considers nonexistent.
The study followed 3,100 young adults born in the early 1980s up until they turned 21. Around the time the child was 6 months old, the mothers were asked a series of questions about their children. When the mothers were asked, five and then 14 years later, the parents talked about aggression, depression, and withdraw. By age 14, the children began to be asked questions, as well, and stated they perceived themselves to have none of these qualities.
Dr. Rebecca Hyde, who conducted the study, concluded: “It may be that the child’s early behavioral dysregulation has affected the relationship between the child and the mother, such that the mother continues to see the child as having problems, even when they do not.”
So, how does a parent dispel such biases early on in their relationship with their baby? The study suggests always having a positive outlook and getting support, during that initial period, from friends and family.
- Infant fussiness not tied to later mental health – Reuters (drugstoresource.wordpress.com)
- Association Between Infants’ Regulatory Behaviors And Maternal Mental Health May Predict Unexplained Physical Symptoms In Older Children (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Mental Illness in Kids: The Surprising Warning Signs (everydayhealth.com)