Babies arrive to the world in a state of complete dependency on their loving caregivers. During their first years of life, their brain is just as dependent as the rest of their body on the surrounding adult’s responsiveness. Harvard expert Jack Shonkoff PhD calls these critical moments where a child does something and the adult responds back (and vice versa) “serve and return interactions”. According to him, serve and return means you and your child are attuned to each other, engaging together in exploring the outside or the inside world.
As Dr. Shonkoff assesses, more than 1 million new neural connections are formed every second. The interaction of your baby’s genes, your caring and the attentive interaction with him or her will build your child’s brain architecture, one interaction at a time.
Traveling with our tiny friends can seem daunting –but proper preparation will make for a smooth ride! Whether it’s a long road trip, a train ride, or even a flight –these tricks and tips have you covered!
I know it is so much easier to keep your little one occupied with a tablet or device. However, screens really do promote self-direction and hyper-focused attention. That is, your child may direct all of his/her attention onto the tablet and forget that the rest of the world exists. We often also see a change in behavior following a significant amount of screen time. It is suggested that for children 2-5 years of age screen time should be limited to a maximum of 1 hour per day. (Okay, PSA on screen time complete!)
Pack The Right Entertainment
I am all about packing smart, speechy activities to keep your tiny friend endlessly entertained! First, the Melissa and Doug Memory Travel Game comes with an easy to hold flip board and 7 game cards to switch out –it is also interactive if you are travelling with 2 or more friends. Next, I love the Crayola Travel Kit –coloring is a calming and grounding experience. You can make it interactive and play Pictionary or send letters back and forth to each other. Lastly, there are tons of Reusable Sticker Books that are great for travel since you can’t ruin the stickers and you can play over and over again. You’ll want to pack games without pieces that may get lost, quiet options since repetitive noises are the pits, and most importantly activities that motivate your little one. Continue reading →
Amidst all the chaos and our frantic day to day, it’s easy to lose sight of one of the most important things in early childhood development: being there. From numerous studies, we understand that in order to have a healthy brain development in babies and toddlers, they need a stable, responsive and supportive relationship with a parent or caregiver.
As a parent who’s fully devoted to their child’s well-being and development, you’re acting as a buffer for any potential stressful situation at all times. If a child is subjected to massive amounts of stress or unreliable, absent adult relationships, his or her developing brain architecture may be disrupted, and, with it, the subsequent physical, mental and emotional health may also be affected. We’ve put together a few of the most important aspects and questions out there about the concept of “being there”.
As parents, we are always looking for the best for our children; we want them to be happy and develop their full potential. But what happens when we do not live in the best way possible? By being stressed, worried, hurried in our daily life, we set this example to our children. Kids are like sponges, and they can perceive emotions even from within the mother’s womb. This means they’re much more capable of absorbing and perceiving things after they are born. So, how can we be better with ourselves and transmit the best to them? Continue reading to learn more…
Have you ever gotten home and don’t remember what you saw on the road? Left home for work and don’t remember if you locked the door on your way out?
We live with routines both at home and at work where we do things on autopilot without really paying attention to what we are doing. We call it “lunchtime”, but is it if we are thinking about the pending errands we have to run or we are answering mails or texts on the phone?
As human beings we have the ability to think about the past, present and future. Which is a true blessing, but we often let our minds wander to the meeting board of last week, we think about what we’ll do over the holidays or what you have to get from the store. Usually the most recurrent thoughts in our minds come from obsessing about the past or worrying about the future. So, what happens to the present? Continue reading →
The development and appearance of your baby’s emotions follow an orderly process that goes from simple emotions, all the way to the complex ones we all know too well.
According to Michael Lewis, PhD, when your baby is first born he is able to demonstrate three basic emotions: interest, distress and satisfaction. Your newborn will show these emotions due to internal processes, physiological changes or as a response to sensory stimuli. As your little one continues to grow so do his emotional responses. Over the next 6 months these primary responses will evolve into happiness, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger and fear. These emotions, such as the ones stated above, develop in conjunction to the neurological and cognitive maturity of babies.
Once your baby is around 9-10 months of age he will go through a new set of cerebral development that will allow him to be pretty good at expressing a wide array of emotions. You might see your little one go from frustration to anger or sadness to happiness in a manner of seconds. This is completely normal and expected, so don’t stress out about it; you’re are doing a great job. When dealing with these intense moments remember to breathe and try to be the “container” that helps your kid regulate his emotions.
Babies and infants are much more sensitive to what we put on their skin than adults. Here’s how we can make the cutest and safest options accessible to all.
For new and expecting parents, few things look as adorable as a cute baby outfit. It beautifully wraps the little one like a warm lasting hug. But one thing that still gets little attention is the quality of the clothes we put on our babies’ sensitive skin. The baby clothes we usually find in retail stores or online have often been treated with chemicals that may be harmful (even when you read 100% cotton). These include pesticides used to grow cotton as well as chemicals used to create a color, a print or certain features like making the clothes stain or odor-resistant.
Why It Matters More For Babies
Relative to their body size, infants absorb much more of their environment than adults. They are also less able than adults to naturally break down or eliminate chemicals absorbed into the body. A large part of what infants absorb happens through the skin, which is thinner and more permeable for babies than adults. As a result, substances that come in contact with baby skin are more easily absorbed and penetrate into deeper skin layers.
Kinedu was recently named one of the Early Childhood Innovation Prize’s “Promising Ideas” because of its potential to create a breakthrough impact for young children. As one of seven Promising Ideas selected from a pull of over a 570 ideas submitted from innovators in 100 countries through OpenIDEO’s prize platform, Kinedu has received special recognition from Gary Community Investments (GCI) and will have access to supports to help accelerate their impact on children across the world.
Gary Community Investments (GCI) partnered with OpenIDEO on the Early Childhood Innovation Prize to build a pipeline of potentially transformative early childhood investment opportunities. The prize was launched in fall 2017 and brought together hundreds of innovators and experts to collaboratively solve one urgent question: “How might we maximize every child’s potential during their first three years of life?”. At the close of the EC Prize’s submission phase on February 15, innovators from more than 100 countries submitted nearly 570 ideas, and more than 260 innovators received mentorship, support and feedback from 135 experts in early childhood and other fields. Kinedu was recognized as one of the promising ideas to look out for, and will receive mentorship, help and access to a network of experts, investors and mentors. Continue reading →
New research suggests that children who take part in household cleaning are more empathetic, make better connections, and are more willing to help others! Most little ones actually love to clean, especially if they have their very own tools. Plus, there’s an added bonus! It is super simple and fun to make cleaning speechy. It is the perfect opportunity to allow your child to follow directions, identify objects, sort, find items you describe, and so much more! Since spring is finally here, let’s chat about some ways that you can involve your toddler in the spring cleaning!
Follow the Cleaner
Have you ever noticed that your toddler loves to wipe up spills or sweep up a mess? This is actually a wonderful developmental milestone that we see as early as 18-months. Kids love to participate in daily routines –think: toddler see, toddler do! It’s best to set up your little one with his or her own tools and assign a job. Maybe they get to wipe the kitchen table with their special sponge and spray bottle (*with kid-safe cleaning solution of course). You can also take turns sweeping –mommy can sweep with the big broom and your tiny friend can use his or her own mini broom. You can make it even speechier by providing a challenge! You can sweep from the rug to the door; sweep to the left; spray 3 times and then wipe; and so on!
You’re probably aware by now, but your little one’s brain is developing at such a rapid speed that he or she can come up with theories and explanatory systems that we consider are way beyond his or her age’s capacity. From very early on, your baby is competent, active and insightful. Different studies suggest that babies are not simply “passive” observers but are rather building a collection of theories and knowledge that helps them navigate and understand the world around them.
Some of the explanatory theories that babies begin to construct from a very early age are:
Theory of objects – Babies understand the fundamental principles about how objects move in space and time. Every time your baby’s playing with any toy, he or she is further building on this theory understanding how the object moves and how it can be manipulated.
Theory of numbers – Babies begin forming two types of numerical systems that serve as the base for future mathematical use. One for small, exact numbers, and the other for larger quantities of numbers.
Theory of living things – Babies begin to understand the basics of this theory when they are able to distinguish between living and non-living things, or ideas like that a cut will eventually heal.
Theory of the mind – They have a pretty simple theory that what people are looking at is a sign of what they are paying attention to, that people ultimately act intentionally, and that people have feelings (positive and negative).
Theory of relation – Through exploratory play, babies learn to recognize casual relations and then use this knowledge to their advantage and solve problems like how to get a toy to work.
Babies are born scientists. They develop theories about how the world works and constantly learn through observation, exploration and their own experiments with their environment. According to a new report by The Center for Childhood Creativity at the Bay Area Discovery Museum, babies younger than one year old have the capacity of developing complex thinking skills related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts. The trick to develop these skills is to become more intentional in the way we interact with our children.
These are some of the ways you can foster STEM thinking skills with your little one:
Have “manipulative toys” around. These allow children to transform them into something else, depending on how they play with them. For example, a rattle can be loud or soft, depending on how hard they shake it.
Engage in “repetitive play”. Repeating actions over and over, like dropping a toy and picking it up time after time, helps children learn about complex concepts like gravity and cause and effect.
Practice the “four kinds of play”. Pretend play fosters creativity and imagination; exploratory play allows children to conduct experiments about their surroundings; guided play includes interactions and learning with adults, and free play lets them take the reins.
Ask “how”, “why” and “what” questions constantly to get your little one thinking and questioning his or her experiences.
Introduce new words to your child’s vocabulary. Use advanced and accurate words to describe what you’re doing, even from a very young age.
Elizabeth Rood, director of the Center for Childhood Creativity, advices parents to not get so hung up on teaching their children. Instead, focus on having and experience with them to tap into the wonder of math, science and engineering that is all around us.
J. M. (2018, March 05). Eight ways to introduce kids to STEM at an early age. Retrieved May 1, 2018, from http://hechingerreport.org/eight-ways-introduce-young-kids-stem-early-age/