All posts by Maria

Tips for a stress-free holiday season

The winter festivities with a baby or toddler are like no other. And yet, while for many the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, it goes without saying that this magical season also comes with an important amount of overload for many moms and dads. Some of us can even end up taking on too many tasks and then end up feeling depleted. Here we have some tips and hacks for making this winter holidays magical and stress-free.

  • Don’t over-schedule. When it comes to tasks, set reasonable expectations for yourself and have fun doing lees, rather than stressing about doing everything. Think about what you want for your little one and make it into an archivable target. You don’t need to overstretch; the festivities will be magical just by having people you love together.
  • Work together. For example, if you have a mountain of gifts to wrap, or heaps of cupcakes and goodies to bake, why don’t you invite a good friend or family member over to your place, so you can wrap and bake while an older cousin helps babysit in the other room?
  • Try to keep a routine. During the winter holidays, it is easy to let our routines relax too much, but babies need the stability and security of their daily routines signaling when it’s time for bed, for example. Remember that the activities, parties and schedules of the season can leave even the most social baby or active toddler feeling a bit tired or grumpy.
  • Prioritize connecting with your loved ones! If your children are too young to help around, you may need to limit the tasks you undertake. Your little ones value the time with you far more than having perfect decorations. The memories you will cherish forever are the ones that create tradition and bring a sense of belonging and wonder into everyday life.
  • Try to let go of perfection and find ways to nurture yourself.

The importance of parental confidence, and tips for boosting it!

Although there are at least 4 identified and deeply studied parenting styles (according to Dr. Diana Baumrind they are the authoritarian, permissive, uninvolved and authoritative, about which you can read on other articles of this blog), your personal style of adapting to parenting is as unique as any child-parent relationship can be. You make hold some values as more important than others, or you might implement them in different ways. For example, while most parents will agree that cleanliness is important, one might focus on leaving dirty shoes at the door; other might emphasize table manners while another one might focus on first exploring and then following a bath routine.

Furthermore, most of early childhood researchers and psychologists agree that successful parenting doesn’t look like the success we experience in other areas of life, like work, where you might measure your self-efficacy and accomplishment by considering speed and goal-checking. Parenting is a complex relational process that often involves quite the opposite: slowing down and taking time. According to experts, how confident you are of your guidance, learning and decisions as a parent can be a good gauge of how you are doing. Developmental science has shown that parents who are more confident and perceive themselves as having good self-efficacy, even when they might struggle, usually have higher ratings of wellness, better communication, and are more efficient at teaching limits and positively reinforcing good behavior with their children.

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Not set in stone: how environment shapes development

The environment your little one is immersed in is not only crucial in terms of memories and learning, it also modifies your baby’s genes even before he or she is born! Chances are you’ve heard of the debate of nature vs nurture, or the one about the determinant power of our genetic blueprint versus that of environmental factors.

This topic is particularly relevant to our generation since, just a decade ago, it was common knowledge that we were bound to particular predispositions determined by our individual genetic profile. Under this conception, things like temperament or resilience of cognition were as set in stone as our eye-color. In reality, the issue is far more complex as it is shown by research about how environment shapes development.

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Brain-building through responsive interactions with your child

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.

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Building my toddler’s social skills when going to the movies or to a show

Your toddler has been insisting on seeing the latest movie that just came out, and even though you know how much your kid loves those characters, you wonder if he or she is old enough to sit through an entire movie at the cinema. Maybe you’re wondering if attending a theatrical play or a live show will be simply too much and too soon. Our in-house experts share some insight about this decision.

Most child psychologists and parents agree that somewhere between 2 and 4 years old is a good time to introduce your little one to the cinema or the theater, accorded that the film or show in question is age-appropriate for your child. Nonetheless, how cinema-ready a kid might be will ultimately depend on his or her individual characteristics at the time. So as always, it’s important to neither rush, nor pressure your kid into it just because you’ve heard of other 2-years old that actually look forward to staying put in a seat for 120 minutes. It might hold true for some kids, and not so much for others.

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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.

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It’s all connected: The link between social interactions and walking skills

When we talk about any aspect of the human experience, we tend to organize it into areas and specific parts according to its features. This is especially true in developmental psychology, but dividing early childhood development into different areas and skills doesn’t mean that they aren’t intertwined, connected or even dependent on one another.

Some of the connections between developmental skills are fairly intuitive, like the link between children’s ability to speak and communicate needs and desires, and their emotional intelligence. Life becomes considerably easier when we have the capacity to express ourselves and connect with others. However, other associations are frankly surprising, like those linking physical skills with the cognitive or social aspects of development.

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Close to your heart: Babywearing 101

Chances are you’ve come across the terms babywearing, baby carrier, or baby wrap, as these seem to have taken over social-media feeds, parenting blogs, and even newborn’s fashion.

Along with this surge in its popularity, important questions can arise around babywearing, such as “what does babywearing refer to?”, “how do I use a baby carrier?”, “are baby wraps safe?”, among others. Don’t worry, in today’s blog entry we’re going to guide you through some of the “whys” and the “hows” of babywearing so that you can better decide whether or not it’s something you want to try.

According to the NGO Babywear International, baby wearing refers to the practice of using a baby carrier to keep your baby close to your body while you engage in your everyday activities. This method of transporting your baby as you go about the day has been the norm for many native cultures of Mexico, Peru, Indonesia, etc., and has proven to be a safe and effective tool for many caregivers throughout the centuries. Today there is a wide array of baby carriers available, so you can find one to cater to every budget and taste.

Let’s have a look at why babywearing may be so appealing nowadays, and note some important considerations about its implementation.

Benefits

  • Conveys a sense of bonding similar to that of cradling your baby in your arms, but without compromising your mobility (ex. it allows for a stroller-free and hands-free walk in the park) Continue reading