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 parents will not 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.

What about picking up illnesses or diseases from going barefoot? Continue reading

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, you will notice your baby may stand up, needing 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.

Between month 6 and 9 your baby might try to pull himself up and succeed for only just a few seconds before he falls backwards. Remember to keep an eye on your baby during this phase; although he might learn how to stand up fairly quickly, sitting back down again is another matter. You may find your little one clinging on to furniture and even crying because he can’t work out how to sit back down again. Help him during this transition, instead of picking him up and sitting him down again, show your baby how to bend his knees. Then encourage him to try again and reassure him that it will be ok.

By the time his first birthday comes along, your baby will probably be able to stand up by himself and will be ready to take his first steps. Always remember that babies develop at different paces, if you are concerned about your baby’s physical development make sure to talk to your pediatrician about it.

How can I help my little one learn to stand up?

  • Give him safe furniture to pull up with. Remember your little one will try to help himself up with anything he can reach, so make sure the furniture at home are sturdy pieces he can hang on to without it falling over. Prevent accidents, baby-proof your home.
  • Use the stairs to teach balance. Learning to stand up is all about confidence and balance! The short height of a step makes it the perfect spot to practice pulling up. Place your baby in a sitting position next to the step and encourage him to pull himself up by using the edge of the step. Make sure you are always supervising this activity.
  • Place his toys up high. Encourage your baby to stand up by placing some toys on the sofa; when he pulls up on the sofa, he’ll be so intrigued with the toy that he’ll remain standing there for a long time, helping him practice balancing.
  • Bounce your baby up and down. Place your little one standing up in front of you so he can bounce up and down while you hold his hands. This activity is fun for both you and your baby, and will help him strengthen his leg muscles and learn how to bend his knees.


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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 him or 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, he or she will begin to respond to his or her name. At first, he or she might simply stop to listen and focus his or her eyes in your direction when you call for him or her. Later on, closer to his or 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 in that it involves action. So, rather than just understanding what others are feeling, sympathy guides 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 and that 8-year-olds shared on average 70% of their stickers with the needy recipient (compared to 47% with the neutral recipient). The 4-year-olds shared only 45% of their stickers in the needy condition (compared to 33% in the neutral condition).

So the main question is why did 8-year-olds share more? Continue reading

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, or resources and 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 and 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