Category Archives: Social & Emotional

The magic behind routines

We’ve already talked about how important routines are for our babies and kids and that they provide a sense of safety and predictability. But how exactly do routines help our children and why are they so helpful for them?

1) They foster the development of self-control
Knowing what comes next gives children security and emotional stability, making them feel more in control. For example, knowing that every day dinner-time comes after playing, will allow your little one to play, explore, and learn without worrying, and when it’s time for dinner she’ll be expecting it.

2) They promote positive behavior
Routines are like a set of steps that guide children towards certain goals. This can help to ensure children’s safety and help them learn responsible behaviors. For example, to always hold your hand when walking in the street or to say “please” when asking for something she wants.
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How To Practice Mindfulness With Your Child

Practicing mindfulness is a wonderful way to improve behavior and to increase focus. Both of them are critical for boosting our children’s language. Try out these activities to work on mindfulness with your tiny friend!

  1. Belly Breathing

Belly breathing is an easy way to get your child focused on the here and now. That is, if your child is experiencing big feelings, belly breathing is a great way to calm down. We also need to ensure that our children know how to appropriately belly breathe so they can speak properly. Children who are not able to do this often have higher pitched voices and/or run out of breath when speaking. Luckily, it is a very visual practice! You can either sit or lie down with your hands on your stomach. You want your belly to expand as you inhale, and deflate as you exhale. Some little ones prefer lying down with a beanbag or small stuffed animal on their stomach so that they can watch the object move up and down. This is one of my favorite videos for this activity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mZbzDOpylA Continue reading

When will my little one be able to control his impulses and how can I help?

Self-regulation is a fundamental skill for our socioemotional well-being since it allows us to have healthy interactions and relationships. It involves the ability to express and handle strong emotions, cooperate with others, cope with frustration, and solve conflicts. Self-regulation allows us to complete our daily activities by having a good enough handle on our emotions and impulses. For this reason, when children have trouble self-regulating, everyday tasks like sitting, paying attention, and interacting with peers, become more difficult.

From birth to 4 years and further, children develop their self-regulation, learning it through interactions and with the guidance of adults. Actually, kind and responsive interactions with the caregiver are essential in this matter and are part of the “Co-regulation” strategy that teaches self-control. This strategy aims to provide the support, guidance, and modeling needed for children to understand, express, and regulate their own feelings and actions. It involves consistent and sympathetic responses with enough support and encouragement. But what can you expect from your little one at each stage? And how can you help him with co-regulation? Continue reading

Making 2019 the best year yet!

Happy New Year from our Kinedu family to yours! Time flies when you spend time with your little one, right? In the spirit of making this year special for you and your loved ones, we want to share some ideas on how to start this year with the right foot by establishing some family goals. Keep reading to learn more.

New year’s resolutions are great motivators to help ourselves and our children develop better habits and accomplish new goals. This year invite your whole family to join in on the tradition. Here are some ideas for everyone to get started!

For Mom & Dad

  • Better sleep – Set up a bedtime routine creating a soothing space in your room. Relaxing music, aromatherapy, a tea, and making your phone off-limits can go a long way in relaxing your body for a better-quality rest.
  • Less cleaning, more playing! – It’s okay if the house is not all tidy up. Your little one won’t mind if the house is perfectly clean when all he wants to do is have fun with you.
  • Being present – Take a deep breath and focus on whatever it is that you are doing. Groceries are not going to buy themselves by worrying about them; when it’s time to buy them, you can focus on that. Multitasking only separates you from the present moment.
  • Date night – When was the last time mom and dad had some alone time? Having children might change certain rituals, habits, and traditions that you used to have as a couple. Whether it’s dinner for two, an outdoor activity, or taking a trip, find something that brings you closer together and make it a monthly tradition.
  • Love not war – Having a child takes two people, and no one knows and understands your relationship better than you. Try to seek ways to be grateful to your partner each day; “Thank you!” and “Great job!” go a long way. Organize your thoughts before you speak, pause, and listen. Disagreements will rise, so create an environment where support is always present and there’s no problem the two of you can’t handle together. More hugs, less yelling.

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One of the many benefits of early childhood education: Being fair as an adult

Researchers have found that, more than 40 years later, the children from low-income families that participated in the Abecedarian Project study grew up to become adults that treat others with high levels of fairness. This is true even when being fair comes at a high personal cost.

The 78 children, now adults, that participated in the 1970s study have been followed as part of one of the longest running randomized-controlled studies of the effects that early education has in low-income families. The Abecedarian Project was a randomized control study of the potential benefits of early-childhood education in children from low-income families. Four groups of children, born between 1972 and 1977, were randomly assigned as infants to either an intervention group or a control group. The intervention group received full-time, high-quality education in a childcare setting from infancy through age five. The educational activities were designed in the form of games that they incorporated into the child’s day, and worked on the social, emotional, and cognitive areas of development –with a particular emphasis on language. Follow-up studies were conducted when the subjects reached 12, 15, 21, 30, and now 40 years after the study, showing long-lasting benefits associated with the early childhood program.  Continue reading

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. However, babies need the stability and security of their daily routines that signal 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. Little ones value the time with you far more than having the 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.

Emotional development – The basics

When we think about child development we tend to imagine babies learning to walk, talk, and count. We do our best to make sure that our child is on track on all these abilities and that she doesn’t have difficulties in the future. But what about learning to identify and express emotions? Aren’t these skills important for the future of our kids too? They sure are! Actually, the social skills that children learn during the first five years are related to their emotional well-being and their ability to adapt in school. Plus, they are critical to form successful and lasting relationships all throughout life. Thus, as important as the physical, linguistic, and cognitive development is, emotional and social development is just as relevant.

But what does emotional development involve? Learning the skills to…

  • Identify our own feelings
  • Identify other people’s emotions
  • Understand our own and other people’s feelings
  • Handle strong emotions
  • Express strong emotions with a constructive approach
  • Regulate our own behavior
  • Have empathy for others
  • Establish and maintain relationships

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Express yourself

Whether your baby is one month old, one year old, or 3 years old you’ve probably noticed how he takes any chance to communicate with you and have a say on what’s going on around him. Recent studies have been placing more and more weight on children’s right to be heard about matters that affect them. It is through their participation on daily matters that their self-esteem is enhanced, overall capacities are promoted, their sense of autonomy and independence is heightened, and they work on their social competence and resilience.

These studies suggest that, sometimes, we underestimate children’s capacity for participation; kids aren’t passive recipients for care and protection. Every day there is more and more evidence suggesting that from a very early age they are (1) experts in their own lives and are capable of communicating their unique point of view on any given experience, (2) they’re skillful communicators with a wide range of “languages” to articulate their views, (3) they’re active agents with the power to influence and manipulate the world around them, and (4) they’re meaning-makers capable of constructing/interpreting meanings in their lives.

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The ABC’s for helping your child develop self-esteem

Children build their self-esteem through experiences. When you play with your little one and allow her to be herself, you are nurturing her confidence. Keep reading to find a step-by-step guide for helping your bundle of joy develop her self-worth.

A is for Appreciation

When your baby is born you are the most fascinating thing in the world for her! That’s why she looks at you in such a miraculous and admiring way. Since she is born, your baby starts appreciating what you give her. She appreciates the warmth of your touch, the light in the hallway because she knows mommy is on her way, etc. Your baby is born into the world feeling appreciative.

So, to make her feel appreciated, you must first pay close attention to her. Turn your expectations into appreciations and acknowledge the reality of who she is. What does she enjoy? How is she like? Allowing your little one to find what truly interests her, rather than what everyone else likes, is part of building her own identity. If your child is playing in the sandbox alone it doesn’t mean she is lonely or has low self-esteem; find out what she is doing that intrigues her so much.

Pay attention to her feelings and try to understand what your little one means —positioning yourself in her little shoes. Observe and ask yourself what she might be feeling when you say or do something. Appreciate her feelings, recognize the legitimacy of what she wants, and let her know you know that. When your little one feels understood she feels accepted and loved.

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What science says about child development

Throughout time, there has been an incredible amount of research done about early childhood and brain development. The behavioral and social sciences have created a remarkable amount of new knowledge and there have been recent discoveries in neuroscience. But, what do we actually know about child development? The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University summarizes decades of research and discoveries in these next concepts. The next list gives us an insight into what a healthy development looks like, what can cause it to go off track, and what can we do to prevent it.

  1. Significant stresses in the family or environment doesn’t only affect adults, but infants and young children too. Adversity can disturb the bases of learning, behavior, and health. In fact, experiencing adverse early childhood experiences can have physical and chemical implications in the brain, damaging the child’s future learning capacity and behavior, and putting him or her at greater risk for poor physical and mental health. This is why learning to cope with stress is essential for healthy child development. We have to keep in mind that short periods of stress can help build adaptive responses while having supportive relationships. However, toxic effects on the developing brain might take place if there is no caring adult available to offer safeguarding and the stress is extreme and prolonged.

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