All posts by Ana Sofia

Swimming Pool Safety Guidelines

Summer is here! And it comes with warm, sunny days that are ideally spent splashing around in a pool. Thinking about going for a swim with your little one? Here are some safety guidelines you can follow to make sure that it’s smooth sailing for everyone.

The best way to keep children safe around swimming pools is having an adult who knows how to swim actively supervising them at all times. For infants and toddlers, an adult should be within arm’s reach, in the water with them. There should be a fence or barrier that completely covers the pool area, preventing children from entering the area on their own. If you have a pool at home, it’s a good idea to establish some ground rules. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following: Continue reading

Language Milestones: Your baby’s first words

Much to parents’ delight, babies’ first words are normally “mama” and “dada”. Actually “dada” is typically said first, but only because it’s easier for babies to pronounce! Other than the fact that mom and dad are around a lot – studies have shown that those are the first words babies utter because of the repeating sounds in them. In fact, most countries have very simple words with repeating sounds for naming mom and dad, and sometimes even grandpa and grandma.

Newborns’ brain scans show increased activity when babies listened to made-up words with repeating sounds like “mubaba”. When they listened to words with non-adjacent repetition, like “bamuba”, they showed no distinctive responses. This suggests that babies recognize repetitive sounds more easily, and that’s why words like “mama” or “dada” are easy to learn and vocalize. Continue reading

The best ways to calm a fussy baby

Crying is the way babies communicate their discomfort, hunger, or need for attention. It’s quite normal for babies to be fussy on average about 2 – 4 hours per day, usually at the same time every day. After a few weeks, the crying diminishes, and by around three months, most babies only cry for approximately an hour a day.

All babies cry, but some do it significantly more than others. This is known as colic, and it is crying that begins and ends for no clear reason, lasts at least three hours a day and happens at least three times a week for a period of 1 – 3 months.

It’s important to keep in mind that excessive crying may have a medical or physical cause, so first you must try to identify if there’s a reason behind the crying by looking for patterns. Does it happen at certain times of the day or in specific situations like a crowded place or right after feeding? Can you tell if there are differences in his or her cries for food, fatigue, etc? Keep a record of this so that you can compare with previous weeks.

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How to find age appropriate toys for your little one

Kids develop in different stages, so it’s good to have toys that will enhance their experiences, depending on what stages they are on. So in addition to finding safe toys for your child, it’s recommended to find toys that match their level of development and budding skills.

 

Most of the time you’ll find that a lot of safe and suitable play material can be found right at home and can be used in more than one way for children of different ages – you just have to get creative! Below you’ll find a list of appropriate toys for different ages, based on recommendations by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

 

0 – 6 months:

 

Young babies like to look at faces and bright colors, and follow them with their eyes. They can reach for objects and explore them with their hands, feet, and mouth. When they hear a peculiar sound, babies will turn and look towards it. Good toys for this age include:

  • Rattles
  • Large rings
  • Teething toys
  • Squeeze toys
  • Board books with nursery rhymes
  • Unbreakable mirrors

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Learning through imitation

Babies learn through imitation; it gives them the opportunity to practice and master a new skill. They observe others doing things and then copy their actions in an attempt to do them themselves. For example, it’s how your baby knows, without you having to give him specific instructions, to hold a toy phone up to his ear! He has learned from watching you talk on the phone!

Imitation can also be considered as a basis for the development of empathy, or having the ability to experience what someone else is feeling. In fact, an infant’s ability to imitate simple actions, like sticking out his tongue, originates from the same part of the brain that allows us to develop empathy. Recent studies have found that imitation is not only one behavioral skill, instead it’s more like different ways of combining and using diverse types of knowledge, developing across the first 2 years of life (Jones, 2007). Continue reading

Switching to solid foods: FAQ answered!

Introducing solid foods into your baby’s diet can come with a whole lot of questions and concerns because it’s a big step! Hopefully this information will help guide you through this exciting time!

When can my baby begin eating solid foods?

Experts recommend gradually introducing solid foods when a baby is around 6 months old, depending on each child’s readiness and rate of development. The American Academy of Pediatrics uses these guidelines:

  • Head control – Can your baby hold his head up and sit up in a high chair or feeding seat with good head control?
  • Eagerness – Does your baby seem eager to be fed? Does he open his mouth when food comes his way or does he reach for you food?
  • Weight – Typically, when babies double their birth weight around 4 months, and weigh about 13 pounds or more, they may be ready!

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How to raise caring children

Early in children’s lives we see the beginnings of compassion, empathy, and caring, but in order for those qualities to flourish into full ethical people, adults need to help out.When children can empathize with others, they’re likely to be happier and more successful later on in life, having stronger relationships with others. It’s important to strive to cultivate children’s concern for others. Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education has shared a few guidelines to raising caring, respectful, and ethical children as part of their Making Caring Common Project.

 

1. Strive to develop loving relationships with your children

If you want your children to be caring and respectful, then treat them that way! Tend to their physical and emotional needs, provide a stable and loving family environment, show affection, talk about things that matter to them, and praise their efforts and accomplishments.

2. Be a strong moral role model

Children learn by observation, they will repeat the things they see other adults they respect do. Make sure that you are practicing honesty, fairness, and caring yourself! It’s important that when you catch yourself not being such a great role model in front of your kids, you acknowledge it and work on it!

3. Make caring for others a priority

Get that message across! Even though most parents say that their children being caring is a top priority, it’s not something that is often talked about at home. Holding children to high ethical expectations is a great way to prioritize caring because you teach them to do the right thing even when it’s tough, honor their commitments, and to stand up for what they believe in. Continue reading

The logical minds of babies: Considering sample and sampling process

MIT Early Childhood Cognition Lab lead investigator Laura Schulz studies early childhood learning and how it fundamentally relates to human cognition.Schulz has been trying to understand how children learn and absorb so much in a short period of time and how they reach logical conclusions from the data that surrounds them.

In a study she conducted, Schulz intended to prove that babies make inferences from their surroundings and learn by using logic. In the experiment, a fifteen month-old baby is shown a box full of balls in two colors, blue and yellow. The balls either squeak or don’t squeak. For the first part of the experiment, the majority of the balls in the box are blue, and a researcher takes out three blue balls in a row and squeezes them so that they squeak. The baby then infers that the balls squeak.

But what happens when you hand that baby a yellow ball from the same box? Continue reading

Three must-read books for parents!

On previous blog posts we’ve talked about great books for your little ones and now we think it’s time to recommend books for you, Mom and Dad!

It’s always good to stay informed, to understand your child’s development and find out ways to enhance it through good reads. Finding the right book is tough, though! After all, if the information it relays will impact your parenting style, it’s best to make sure it’s backed by accurate scientific research.

 

Here are three great books that we highly recommend:

  1. Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five by Dr. John Medina

brainrules

 

In his book, Dr. John Medina explains what the latest scientific research says about how to raise smart and happy children. Written in a light and friendly way, Brain Rules for Baby connects what researchers know about children’s developing brains and what parents practice every day. A must-read!

 

 

 

  1. How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough

Howchildrensucceed

 

In this New York Times Bestseller, journalist Paul Tough discusses the importance of ‘non-cognitive skills’, also known as character, in creating successful outcomes for kids. He explores the available research on how parents affect their children, how human skills develop, and how character is formed. Who succeeds and who fails? Why do some children thrive and others lose their way? What can we do to steer a child – or a generation of children – towards success?

 

 

  1. Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs by Ellen Galinsky

MindintheMaking

 

How can we help children flourish in life and as life-long learners? Scholar Ellen Galinsky has spent her career researching the “essential life skills” children need to reach their full potential. These skills are: focus and self-control, perspective taking, communicating, making connections, critical thinking, taking on challenges, and self-directed, engaged learning. In her book, Galinsky describes strategies to develop these skills at home and in the classroom.

 


 

These books are part of our must-read list. How about yours? Do you have any recommendations of your own? Please share them below!

Choosing the right books for your little one!

Taking a couple of minutes a day to read with your baby will dramatically increase his or her language skills. Not only that, but reading time is a great bonding activity that will strengthen the emotional ties between you and your little one. Plus, adding reading to your daily routine will increase the odds of your child enjoying reading and becoming a reader herself.

It’s important to find the right book, keeping in mind that it fits your child’s interests, maturity, and reading level. Here are some basic things to look out for.

Infants and toddlers (birth – age 2)

  • Look for books with big and colorful pictures of familiar objects.
  • They should be written in short, simple sentences and may include rhymes that are fun to read aloud and easy for your little one to eventually imitate.
  • Go for thick cardboard, plastic or cloth books. These are usually perfect for small children to handle and experiment with (and they’ll survive it because they can easily be wiped clean).
  • Think tactile – stimulate your child’s senses with books with different textures or scents.
  • Find stories about everyday life and events like bedtime, baths, or mealtime, especially if they’re illustrated with photos of children who are your child’s age or a bit older.
  • Stories that review basic concepts like colors, shapes, letters and numbers are always good to have around.
  • Finally, think about your child’s passions and look for books about them! What plot line will he or she enjoy the most?

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