Why barefoot is best for babies!

There is nothing more striking in life than watching babies in awe while they explore the world around them for the first time. Joy and excitement fill their senses as they experience the newness and develop a profound connection with their surroundings and within themselves.

Regardless of where you stand on this issue, there are a great number of benefits that can come from letting your child go barefoot outside.

What are some of the most common reasons why parents don’t allow their children to go barefoot outside?

Things like injuries, illnesses or diseases. However, unless it’s in a space that has broken glass, chances are your little one’s feet won’t be injured (especially in soft surface spaces where objects are easy to see and easy to avoid stepping on). Kids who are barefoot gain a heightened sense of their surroundings, their feet tough up, and this leads to a more natural protection.

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Baby on the move: Learning to stand up

Has your baby mastered the art of sitting and crawling? Then he will probably be ready to stand on his own feet soon! Learning to stand up will be a major milestone on the way to your baby’s first steps.

Before your baby learns to stand up he will need to gain muscle strength and coordination, and first be able to roll over and sit. Once your baby has mastered these skills he will be ready to stand up, which will require more muscle strength in his legs, for him to learn how to bend at the knees, and be able to shift his own weight.

When will my baby learn to stand up?

Around month 4 and 7 you will notice that your little one starts to spend more time trying to sit up, this is a great moment for you to help him try and stand up for the first time. While sitting down gently pull him up from the arms. At first you will notice your baby may stand up, but will need lots of help and support from you. Around month 6 your baby may be able to bear weight on his feet and bounce up and down actively, so try practicing this on a hard surface like the floor.

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Developing a Sense of Self

How do babies develop a sense of self? When does this realization occur? Does your little one recognize herself in the mirror? That’s only one part of a much more complex process.

Research has found that from the moment they are born, babies are well aware of their own bodies. Body awareness is a key skill that helps distinguish oneself from others. Since birth, they are exposed to information related to who they are –they can touch their faces and body and exert their influence on the world that surrounds them.

“Selfhood starts at birth, but children don’t start expressing an “idea of me” until toddlerhood” (Ross, Martin, & Cunningham, 2016).

At around the second half of your baby’s first year, she will begin to respond to her name. At first, she might simply stop to listen and focus her eyes in your direction when you call for her. Later on, closer to her first birthday, your little one will respond by turning, crawling, or even taking a few steps towards you! Continue reading

How to raise a sympathetic child

In a world that at times seems to be full of conflict, parents and caregivers all hope that their children will grow up to be kind and polite to others. But is there something we can do to teach our kids to be sympathetic? How can children learn the best way to keep in mind the circumstances of others?

Sympathy is different from empathy because it involves action. So, rather than just understanding what others are feeling, sympathy guides to action -it makes people think of ways to relieve someone else’s distress. People who feel sympathy tend to engage in prosocial behaviors, such as comforting, helping, and sharing.

A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Toronto, University of Plymouth, and University of Pavia, Italy, explored how children of different ages shared. In their study, 160 four- and eight-year-old children received 6 equally attractive stickers. They were then given the opportunity to share any number of those stickers with a child in a picture. The child in the picture was shown in different conditions, which included: ‘needy’ (“She/he is sad”, “She/he has no toys”) and ‘not needy/neutral’ (“This boy/girl is 4 or 8 years old, just like you”).

The researchers found that children tended to share more with the ‘needy’ child, The 8-year-olds shared on average 70% of their stickers with the needy recipient (compared to 47% with the neutral recipient), while the 4-year-olds shared only 45% of their stickers in the needy condition (compared to 33% in the neutral condition).

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The benefits of kangaroo care for premature babies

According to the World Health Organization, more than 15 million premature babies are born each year. Premature refers to a baby born before 37 weeks of gestation. The rate tends to increase in low-income countries. According to the Center for the Control and Prevention of Diseases, babies who are born preterm are at increased risk of respiratory problems, intellectual disability, among others. Many of these babies’ lives are at risk due to lack of intervention, resources or intensive care. It has been found that maintaining skin to skin contact with their parents for several hours a day helps these at-risk babies.

Kangaroo care is a method that involves the mother holding her baby in diapers, while maintaining skin to skin contact. A blanket is used to cover the baby’s back to keep him warm. It’s called kangaroo care because it simulates how kangaroos carry their babies in their pouch. Several studies have found that kangaroo care promotes healthy development of premature babies, and can even save the lives of at-risk babies. Continue reading