Sharing is caring!

Having difficulties for sharing is part of every kid’s developmental process. In fact, the word “mine” is one of the firsts words to come out of a toddler’s mouth. During your kid’s second and third year, he will experience going from oneness to separateness, so you’ll start noticing comments like “This is mine!”, “I can do it myself”, etc. This is due to his growing awareness. So, don’t worry, there are a lot of ways you can help your child understand the concept of sharing. Keep reading to learn more!

 

Sharing is caring?

Sharing is a fundamental skill; it is how we keep our friendships, play and work well with others. This action teaches about compromise, fairness and, most importantly, gratitude. “Thank you for sharing your truck with me. Do you want to play with my teddy bear?”. Sharing teaches children that gratitude reciprocates. If we give to others, we will receive in return. Gratitude is the best policy. Sharing also teaches us about negotiation and coping with disappointment, two vital skills in life.

A little background

After your baby is born, he starts experiencing the foundation of compassion. Hearing another baby cry or feel the stress of the people that surround him causes your little one to become distressed. Even though he can’t say it, he feels what the other baby is feeling.  So, your baby perceives and experiments compassion and precursors of empathy since he is very little. Until, at 18 months old, he becomes aware that other people have feelings different from his own. Sharing implies empathy and, even though your child won’t experience true empathy until he is 6 years old, he will start developing and showing signs of it very early in life.

Forming attachments

Your toddler will become attached to things as well as people. You might notice that your child has trouble sharing his favorite teddy bear or even his least favorite toy. Studies reveal that children who received secured attachment parenting during the first two years are more likely to share in the years to come. Why is this? When you have a strong secure relationship with your child, he knows he can count on you for emotional and physical support. This makes him more likely to sympathize and offer help to others too. This also helps him become less attached to material things.

Monkey see, monkey do!

Since he is little, your child perceives what his parents and family members are doing. Children who are raised in the receiving end of a generosity model are more likely to follow that same dynamic with others.  If your little one sees you sharing and being affectionate with other person, he’ll imitate this behavior with the people around him.

More of the positive, less of the negative

Toddlers do a lot of “mockup sharing”-showing an object to people and letting them use it without actually letting go. This is a big step towards sharing. Praise your son by saying things like “That’s so nice of you, thank you for showing your car to aunt Lily”. It’s better to use positive reinforcements and be generous, than punish and take things away. If your child doesn’t feel like sharing, don’t punish him for it; he is just acting his age and learning the process. Better, praise his efforts and, little by little, he’ll soak in the positive reinforcements and feel good repeating the actions that make others so happy. Soon enough, sharing will come second nature for him.

What can you do to Introduce and practice the concept of sharing?

  • Be affectionate with your child and all family members: expressing affection is a form of showing you care for the other person.
  • Practice back and forth playing: “your turn, my turn”, “Here’s the red playdough, can I have some of the blue?”.
  • Share with him and your spouse in everyday situations: “I made popcorn, do you want some?”, “We made room for you, come sit with us”.
  • Give him some blocks or toys and ask him to share them with the people in the room and hand them out. “Give one to daddy and one to mommy.” Do the same exercise yourself.
  • Role play with puppets: this is great way for your child to explore other peoples’ feelings.
  • Encourage communication and acknowledge feelings: ask your spouse in front of your kid “How are you feeling today?”, then ask your kid. You can also point out feelings in others “Look at that girl in that swing, she looks really happy!”.
  • Play games that don’t have a lot of rules and that don’t have a single winner.
  • Share everyday stuff: “Let’s eat this banana, you can have half of it and I can have the other half”.

If you want to learn more about this subject, check out the following sites:

The importance of the first 1,000 days of nutrition

A baby’s first 1,000 days of life are crucial for his or her proper development. These are the best years to make sure your baby builds optimum foundations to ensure a healthy brain development, growth, and a strong immune system. Unfortunately, 50% of babies in America are malnourished and the top vegetable eaten by U.S. toddlers is the french fry.

“Understanding the complex interplay of micro- and macronutrients and neurodevelopment is key to moving beyond simply recommending a good diet to optimizing nutrient delivery for the developing child.”  – AAP Committee on Nutrition.

The science is clear about what a young baby’s brain needs to make healthy neural connections. Two of the most important factors are:

  • Early stimulation: A child who is read to, talked to, sung to, played with, is not only happier today, but will have a better developmental capacity throughout his or her life.
  • Proper nutrition: In the first years of life, a child’s brain consumes between 50-75% of all energy absorbed from food and good nutrition. A child who does not receive the proper nutrition tailored to his or her needs at every stage could be at risk of hindering their brain development and physical growth. It can even put them at increased risk of developing illnesses like heart disease and diabetes.

Continue reading

Why Fresh Baby Food Matters

The first 2 years of your baby’s life are the most critical time to ensure they are getting the right nutrition to support their rapid growth and development.

However, the current baby food options are falling short. The baby food industry is falling so far behind in innovation and quality of ingredients that we as parents are forced to choose between dedicating hours to prepare the meals or feed your baby food that is older than they are, and may contain GMOs and harmful chemicals.

Continue reading

101 Guide to developing head control

Okay, so we’ve been through this topic before and we all know how important it is for our little ones to strengthen their neck muscles and achieve total head control. By now, you’ve probably heard that, as your baby girl develops and grows stronger, she will eventually master this skill, yay! But as a parent with tons of resources at your disposal (such as, Kinedu), you’re probably wondering what YOU can do at home to help your daughter reach this milestone and gain yet another skill in the ever-growing repertoire.

First off, a recap. The acquisition of this skill (head control, that is) is crucial since it will lay the foundation for many more physical skills such as rolling-over, sitting, crawling and walking. If you want to read more about what can be expected for this skill at each stage in your baby’s development you can do so in this article (http://blog.kinedu.com/motor-milestones-head-control/).

Now, unto the fun part. Tummy time is actually a secret tool you can use to help your daughter make tremendous leaps in head control. So, what exactly is tummy time? It’s all that time she spends on her stomach awake and most importantly: under your supervision. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), if a baby lays on her back for prolonged periods of time her head can flatten and, even though there’s no developmental problems related to this, if there’s anything you can do to prevent it, go for it!

Every minute your baby is face-down encourages her to lift the head and boost her motor skills! It’s completely normal if your little one is no fan of tummy time at first, hardly any baby is! Which is why it’s important to introduce it gradually and increase tummy time little by little.

Here are some tips you can do to make the most of tummy time!

  • Place your baby on her tummy on your stomach and speak to her. Curiosity and affection towards you will play their part and encourage your baby to look up towards you.
  • If your baby is really not a fan of tummy time, the AAP recommends this position: Place your daughter on a blanket, lay her on her side with a rolled-up towel or cushion behind her back, and a cushion or rolled-up blanket under her head for support. Bring both arms and legs forward in front of your baby. Try to keep her entertained with rattles, songs or toys for a bit before alternating and repeating on the other side.
  • Place some of your baby’s favorite toys nearby and move them around encouraging her to move her head and follow the toy’s path.

Stay tuned in our blog for more articles to help master head control! If you want even more tips and information regarding tummy time and head control, be sure to visit these pages:

http://blog.kinedu.com/motor-milestones-head-control/

http://blog.kinedu.com/motor-milestones-why-tummy-time-is-so-important/

https://www.thebump.com/a/tummy-time-when-to-start-how-to-do

https://www.babycenter.com/0_tummy-time-how-to-help-your-baby-get-comfortable-on-his-bell_1439985.bc

https://www.parents.com/baby/development/physical/tummy-time-guide/

 

How your baby discovers his hands

When babies are born, they are not capable of associating what they see with what they touch. You’ll notice that your baby seems to be looking in one direction, but moves his hands towards another. This is because babies younger than two months old don’t understand that their hands are a part of them. But don’t worry, there are many ways to stimulate your baby’s hand coordination. Keep reading to learn more!

How do babies discover their hands?

Hand coordination in infants is vital for the development of physical and cognitive skills. Since birth, babies start to learn about their bodies through sucking and grasping.

In babies, the discovery of one’s hands is something that can be stimulated through the senses and it works like a domino effect. Practice this with your baby by showing him and making noise with a rattle. First, its sound will get his attention and then he will focus on the object. As he sees the rattle, he will follow its movement and try to reach it with his hands. Once your baby gets the toy, he will begin to notice his own hands.

What happens when your baby discovers his hands?

When your baby is about ten weeks old he will begin to discover the use of his hands. You’ll notice how he will start focusing on a toy and smile at it. He will then begin to move his hands towards the object in order to reach it. Here is when your little one will understand that he has control over what he can touch and grasp.

Also, the development of your baby’s vision is very important for his hand coordination. The more visually stimulated your son is, the better he will use his hands. That’s why, at three months old, you’ll notice that your little one begins to focus and follow familiar objects with his eyes, recognizes people and uses his hands in a more coordinated way.

As your baby becomes aware of his environment, he will begin exploring his surroundings. A common behavior and mechanism of self-discovery are the first encounters with the mouth. That’s why anything that is within your baby’s reach will most likely end up in his mouth; it’s his way of exploring the world.

What can you do to stimulate your baby’s vision development and hand coordination?

– Use a nightlight when you put your baby to sleep

– Change the position of the crib

– Alternate sides when breastfeeding

– Hang a mobile above the crib or changing table

– Expose your baby to toys of different colors

– Show him toys that produce different sounds (rattles, plastic keys etc.)

– Help your baby explore different textures

– Play Peek-a-boo

If you want to learn more about this subject you can check out the following sites:

Oops, I Reinforced it Again

We all do it on a daily basis –we accidentally reinforce behaviors that we don’t like. The good news is that it is not too late to do something about it! With our little ones, especially those under 5 years of age, actions really do speak louder than words. Your child will respond to what you do 1000 times more than what you say (*see graphic above). So yes, you may say “we don’t throw”, but those words mean nothing if your actions don’t correspond. If your child’s unwanted behavior was effective in getting his or her needs met, then it will continue. So, in the example above, instead of throwing the bowl to get more food, he or she should pass you the bowl, say “more” or point to the wanted food, for example. We should not refill the bowl, until the child imitates the new, positive behavior that we model.

Let’s take a look at some real-life examples.

The Whine & Faux-Cry Combo

Your child whines or faux-cries in order to get an item that he wants. You explain, “that hurts my ears” or “you can use a big boy voice”. But, if you give your child that wanted item after the whining or faux-crying, then he learns that it’s a great way to get things. Instead, you want to have your little one repeat the request with a “big boy voice” and then give the item.

Grabbing Hands

Your daughter snatches things out of other people’s hands. You say, “that was not nice” or “we take turns”. However, if your child gets to keep the item that she snatched, then grabbing hands worked. Instead, have her return the item and then ask for it so that she can have a turn.

The “No” Backlash

Your child yells, screams or throws things after you set a limit. Setting a limit could be anything from saying “it’s time to clean up” to responding “no” to a request. If your son displays significant backlash and then you agree to negotiate the terms of the limit you just set then, unfortunately, his negative behavior worked. Instead, be firm when stablishing limits and provide your little one with two other choices that you feel comfortable with. For example, you may say “Mommy said no cookie. You can have an apple or crackers –you pick”.

The Bottom Line…

No matter what the unwanted behavior is, it is important to focus on changing the action so that we reinforce positive behaviors instead. It is wonderful to use simple, encouraging language as well, but the actions are what matter most here. This is especially true if your child is in a heightened emotional state, since it is very hard to process language during these times.

The goal is to have your child do something else and then reinforce that behavior. You will need to demonstrate the new, preferred behavior and have your little one imitate you so that you can properly reinforce the good stuff. You are changing the game on your tiny friend, so it’s important to model first, repeat and go slowly so that they have time to adjust to the new rules. The key is to remain consistent and mindful so that you continue to reinforce the new positive behaviors instead of the reactive, unwanted behaviors.


Molly Dresner is a Speech Language Pathologist based in New York City.

She recently authored The Speech Teacher’s Handbook, an engaging parent guide that includes practical and easy-to-follow tips and activities to help you help your little one!

You can find her on Instagram @thespeechteacher where she posts daily pops of knowledge and connect with her on her site as well as Facebook.

How to incorporate reading into your toddler’s daily routine

The first years of life of a kid are a time of growth and exponential learning. This is especially true for a preschooler’s language development. Taking a couple of minutes a day to read with your child will be a great way to boost her linguistic development. Plus, it’s a great bonding activity!

Looking to incorporate reading time to your daughter’s daily routine? Consider the following:

Find a time that works best for both of you: Whether it’s when waking up or going to bed, choose a time in which you can both cuddle together and enjoy a good book. Bedtime is often a great idea because it’ll unwind your toddler from a busy day of activities and relax her, prepping her for bed. This can also be useful for naptime. You can even select special books for nap or bedtime; that’ll help cue your little one that it’s time to go to sleep. Continue reading

Communicating with your preschooler in a nurturing way

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children go through many important communication milestones between their 36 and 48 months of age. This means that what your child can understand and the complexity with which she can express and communicate with you increases greatly around this age. Communication is very important not only for language development, but for your kid’s social and emotional skills. Positive and effective communication sets the base with which to build and mend relationships.

According to the recommendations of the Early Childhood Development Department of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, parents need to practice positive communication with their young children. They emphasize that developing children benefit greatly from a communication that is open, respectful, honest, straight-forward and kind, no matter the topic at hand.

Here are a couple of practical tips from The Big Book of Parenting, by Doctor in Education Michele Borba:
• Understand the “no” as a way of asserting newly discovered independence. Toddlers live in a world full of big people, feel things they don’t know how to manage, and want to express feelings and ideas without having the language skills to do so, so it’s natural that they crave for some control at times and act defiantly. Try not to take it personally and model the appropriate way of interacting. Explain that it’s not nice to speak rudely and try integrating some choices into their daily routines.
• Don’t expect your daughter to internalize social graces just yet, model behavior instead. Three and four-year-olds are still very young to master their impulses. So, if you find yourself mortified because your little girl is talking very loudly at the movies, know that this is completely normal and take advantage of your child’s inner copycat by whispering “use your quiet voice, like this”. You can even practice this and other alternative behaviors at home, which will make it easier to do so in the library the next time you go there.
• Make talking fun instead of overwhelming. Some kids can get frustrated or inhibited when they’re given many instructions or corrections. So, try not to draw attention to the mistakes she might be making, and simply repeat the words in a clear way when you next have the chance.

If you are interested on more tips about communicating with your young children, you can check out this one-pager by the University of Nebraska:
https://child.unl.edu/4d325c2c-1457-4220-a7d2-ec1a709edc16.pdf

The Speech Teacher’s Top 5 Language Boosting Tips For Your Little One

Here are Molly – The speech teacher’s- top tips for helping your little one improve his or her speech and language skills. You can find these suggestions and much more in her new parent guide: The Speech Teacher’s Handbook. It was created in order to provide you with fun and practical ideas that are easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Get it here.

  1. I Spy, You Spy

Always start by checking in on your child’s environment. If he can easily access his favorite toys and everyday items without your help, then he won’t feel the need to interact with you. Start slow and place one or two items on a higher shelf or in a clear container that your little one will need help opening. The idea is that your child can see the wanted item, but will need your help in order to get it. That way you are providing more opportunities for interaction. You also want to know whether or not your son is able to identify everyday items. We often focus on our kids’ ability to label items and forget that the identification part comes first. These skills are needed when you ask your child to find a certain object in the room, touch a specific picture on the page, or point to a particular body part.

  1. Play Like You Mean It

Children are highly motivated and attentive during play, making it the perfect time to build language. Get down on the floor so that you are on your child’s level and talk through the pretend world that she created. You can narrate the scenes with simple phrases, add dialogue or corresponding sound effects, and expand on her expressions. Play is also a great time to practice following directions. I love songs with built-in directions, such as We Are the Dinosaurs by Laurie Berkner or We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. You can also engage in simple games such as Simon Says or create mini obstacle courses with furniture pieces. The more motivated your daughter is, the more likely she will be to listen and follow directions.

  1. The Hierarchy of Imitation

Imitation is a powerful skill! Teaching imitation is easiest when we go through the hierarchy of skills. Actions come first (arms up, touch nose, shake hands, etc.) Once your son is consistently able to imitate simple actions, move to sounds. Silly, nonsensical sounds are usually imitated quickly because they are the most fun! Then, you can move to animal sounds (meow, woof), environmental sounds (beep beep, choo choo) and exclamations (uh oh, wow). After sounds, you can move to words. It’s best to start with simple one-word models and build up from there. It’s important to go slow and make sure that your little one is consistent before you move to the next step. I always say: the slower we go, the faster we will see progress!

  1. Up The Ante

Little ones are very good at pointing at wanted items in order to request them. We often give in to these requests. However, by doing so, we reinforce that pointing is a sufficient way to get something. If you want your daughter to start using words or sounds, then you’ll want to model this behavior and encourage her to imitate. When your little one tries to imitate you –even if it doesn’t sound exactly correct–, give in. The more praise you provide for her efforts, the more likely she will be to continue. Gentle withholding is a great way to practice! Simply hold onto an item that your child wants until she does something new in order to get it.  This technique works best with special treats or during play. That is, don’t push the toy car until your daughter completes the phrase ‘ready, set…’ with a big “GO!”.

  1. Slow & Steady

As much as we wish it were true, children do not learn language overnight. Baby steps are key to language acquisition. You know your son best, so trust your instincts in order to know when to take the next step. It’s important to note that there will be times in your child’s development when language might lag. That’s because your little one learns to move and to talk at the same time, and that creates a seesaw effect. While he is focusing on one developmental area, the other is sure to take a backseat. Your son may babble less when he is learning to crawl, or jabber the day away while sitting on his bottom. First words and first steps follow the same pattern.


Learn more about our Guest Writer

Molly Dresner is a Speech Language Pathologist and Feeding Therapist based in New York City. She is ASHA (American Speech and Hearing Association) Certified and trained in the SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) Approach to Feeding. She received her Masters in Speech Language Pathology from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, and her Bachelors in Speech and Hearing Science from George Washington University. She currently works with the birth-5 population conducting evaluations & providing speech and feeding therapy in NYC. To read more about Molly and check out her blog click here.

What you should know about Prenatal and Postnatal vitamins

About to expect a baby or just had a newborn? Chances are you’ll soon start looking for a prenatal or postnatal vitamin pack to get the nutrients the both of you need for good health. A healthy diet is the best way to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs, however even if you are eating healthy, you may fall short on some key nutrients – which is where supplements come in.

During breastfeeding, your body needs more of all the nutrients that a well-balanced diet can offer. Taking prenatal vitamins even after pregnancy is a recommended option. They work well as postnatal vitamins, since your breast milk will continue to provide important nutrients for your baby. Make sure your supplements include essential nutrients such as folic acid, iron, Vitamin D, fish oil, and calcium.

How long should you take prenatal vitamins for?

It’s best to take prenatal vitamins throughout your entire pregnancy. Your healthcare provider may suggest continuing to take prenatal vitamins after the baby is born — especially if you’re breastfeeding.

Which specific nutrients are recommended during the postnatal period?

  • PRENATAL VITAMINS: Continuing to take prenatals while breastfeeding is a good way to provide nourishment for your baby. Most prenatal vitamins include around 20 crucial nutrients that help meet you and your baby’s nutritional needs. Be sure to look for fermented choline, methylfolate (a form of folic acid that can be more efficiently used by the body) and Vitamin 2, as some are not included in many prenatal formulations.

 

  • FISH OIL: Women tend to cut back on fish, a main source of omega-3s, during pregnancy or breastfeeding to avoid mercury. Fish oil is a great way to get these healthy fatty acids (such as DHA) which are necessary to maintain your cognitive health. These essential nutrients also support your little one’s brain health and nervous system.

 

  • CALCIUM: Some mothers are not getting the necessary levels of calcium from their regular diets (especially vegans and people who are lactose intolerant). Calcium supports your baby’s skeletal development and maintains your bone health. It’s important to keep your levels up with supplements, as the ability to absorb calcium decreases with age. Be sure to combine your calcium intake with vitamin D and K for better absorption.

 

Consider checking if your vitamins are gentle on the stomach! Some supplements are fermented with probiotics or yeast, making them easier to digest and less likely to cause nausea. We recommend you take them with a meal for optimal absorption.

If you’d like to get a postnatal or prenatal recommendation and your very own personalized daily vitamin pack delivered right to your door, try Care/of.