Category Archives: Linguistic

Teach self-control through books!

Reading to your child for a few minutes everyday is extremely beneficial for her brain development, language skills, and social skills! Even the American Academy of Pediatrics has urged pediatricians to constantly remind patients about this!

Books can become useful tools that help your child identify and make sense of feelings, and they help parents teach children how to deal with difficult emotions and situations. Many times, books simply offer an easy and productive way to teach children about things like friendship, diversity, and self-control –a fundamental ability.

It is well known that self-control is very important for a child to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. Self-control is the ability to stop and think before acting –maintaining composure in challenging situations. Therefore, to have self-control you must be aware of your own thoughts and emotions. For parents, teaching self-control becomes a priority, and it is an ability that requires practice to be learned. However, you should keep in mind that babies’ and toddlers’ prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain associated with self-regulation and control) is not fully developed; therefore, it is not reasonable to expect a kid to have self-control like an adult does. If your child is very young, she will have trouble effectively controlling emotions, thoughts, and actions –and that’s completely normal! That’s why you need to establish limits according to her developmental stage.

Books can be a great way to talk to your little one about self-control! She will learn through the different characters and situations in the stories, and talking about it afterwards can help her compare and relate them to real life. Have you been introduced to Leslie Patricelli’s books? They are a must -very fun, light, and great for learning about self-control! Look out for these: Continue reading

The go-to tool to teach emotional intelligence

Books can be effective tools to help your child identify different emotions and learn how to cope with complex feelings.

The first years of your child’s life are normally an incredibly happy time for everyone, but that doesn’t mean that he does not experience other feelings. Current research suggests that a baby is born with around nine different emotions: interest, enjoyment, surprise, distress, anger, fear, shame, disgust, and dissmell. Over time, those feelings are combine with each other and with experiences to form more complex ones. At times, babies and toddlers have trouble expressing more difficult feelings and, as they grow, they have to cope with anger and fears. Those feelings can stem from challenging experiences, like moving to a new home, losing a loved one, or having a new sibling join the family. These changes often cause confusion.

As a parent, it’s tough to not be able to understand how your child is feeling –after all, he is not able to put into words what he is going through. That causes frustration. Imagine not being able to explain or even understand what you are feeling! Books can be useful tools to help your child identify and make sense of those feelings, and they help parents teach their children how to deal with difficult feelings and situations. There are a lot of great books out there that were designed to help babies and toddlers begin to distinguish between different emotions. Reading them, and then talking about them together will certainly help!

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Reading to your baby – Why the American Academy of Pediatrics urges it!

In June, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement asking pediatricians to talk to parents about the numerous benefits of reading aloud with their children, and how critical it is for their brain development, language skills, and social skills. Dr. Pamela High, a pediatrician and professor at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School, was the lead author on the new statement. She says that reading to your child everyday helps build a healthy parent-child relationship, because it’s an opportunity for one-on-one interactions. Kids who are read to everyday have stronger language skills when they reach kindergarten, and are therefore more prepared to learn how to read. That then predicts that those kids are more likely to graduate from high school.
So, reading to your child is extremely important! If you are not already doing it, start forming the habit today! You might wonder what babies think when they look at books. Although a baby doesn’t understand what the pictures or words mean, at around four months he or she is able to focus on them. Staring at pictures is one of the initial steps in picture recognition, a key skill that leads to comprehending the meaning of pictures and words. Babies will gaze at a picture for several moments and show clear interest in its colors and shapes; kids are drawn to brightly colored pages. It is very common for babies to show preference for a particular page of a book by staring at it longer than other pages. Early experiences with books will familiarize your child with them and create interest in reading, so it’s never too early to start.

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Words about words: Parental engagement can change the course of language development

The first years of life are a critical period for brain development. At this time, the brain is at its most malleable, which presents a time of both great opportunity and vulnerability for a baby. Social interactions during this period are essential for a child’s language development. That’s why it’s important for parents to understand the vital role they play in their little one’s learning success.

Babies start to learn about language even before they begin to speak. When they cry or babble, and receive a caring response from an adult, they are forming and strengthening neural connections related to communication and social skills. These interactions are known as “serve and return” interactions, and are critical for development. Interactive relationships between parents and their kids are not only expected, but are also essential to avoid developmental delays or a negative impact on their future well-being. The quality of the child’s environment and the availability of enriching experiences early on will be critical in determining the strength of her future brain architecture.

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The first few years: linguistic development

Your baby’s language is developing way before she utters her first word. She’ll be tuning in to the outside world from the womb, listening to your voice and change of tones. She’ll continue doing this during the first months, figuring out what the rules of language are, and observing how grown-ups around her use it to communicate.

Her first attempts at language will be no more than cries, coos, and gurgles that will turn into babbling vowel and consonant combinations in the third or fourth month. You’ll learn that language is more than words –smiles, and different cries will communicate pleasure or displeasure. Wait for the big breakthrough: her first word might come as early as six months! However, that connection between ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ and you might not be present yet. You’ll have to wait another six months for that! However, your baby probably understands way more than she can say at most points. So, avoid swearing so that she doesn’t imitate you later on!

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