Category Archives: Social & Emotional

My young kid’s birthday party

Whether the accomplishment is the utterance of first words or sentences, the first steps, going from a bottle to a sippy-cup, we like celebrating our baby’s milestones! And then there is the big and explicit milestone of each passing year. It’s important to know how to navigate the celebration of a birthday and make sure your kid has lots of fun without most of the fuss, so this article is a compilation of what experts advise for 2 to 4-year-old’s birthday parties and celebrations.

Most 2 to 4-year-olds will be more than happy when surrounded by liked people in a festive mood, with some decorations, a few games or craft projects and a yummy cake. Trying to overly impress your kid with planning complex presentations might be counterproductive, as it might prove overwhelming for both of you.

The acclaimed book What to expect: the toddler years recommends planning a second or third birthday party using the 4 “S” guidelines: small, simple, sensible, and short, for we all know toddlers are known for being predictable only in their un-predictability. Continue reading

Surviving dinning out with your toddler

All parents know that if your toddler or preschooler is having a hard time sitting still at the table, you’re more likely to end up picking up your child instead of your fork. The strange sounds and smells of a busy restaurant can prove overwhelming for a young kid that’s not used to that environment, and therefore the experience can become fairly challenging to you.

In fact, many fast-food places know this and for decades they have profited on the idea that it’s impossible to take your toddler out for a meal unless the place actually has an indoor playground. But this doesn’t have to be true! We know that spending quality time with your partner is a crucial part of raising a happy family, and although eating out might sound very tempting, the idea of spending more money on a babysitter than the actual meal might be deterring you. Well, today we want to tell you that eating out and bringing your daughter along is not just a fantasy! You only need to do a bit of planning ahead.

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How can we foster self-control and self-regulation in our kids?

 

During your adventures in parenthood, you’ll come across a wide-range of typical baby and toddler moments that can basically come down to one thing: self-control or (most times) the lack of it. First off, when talking about self-control we’re referring to the ability to inhibit strong impulses (like running off or biting a friend). On the other hand, self-regulation is all about reducing the frequency and the intensity of those strong impulses by proper management (for instance the ability to resist sweets). In a way, self-regulation is what makes self-control possible. So, what can we do to teach our little ones these very important set of skills?

Developing self-control begins at birth and continues across your little one’s entire life. It’s critical in helping your baby succeed in school, his or her social environment and overall development. It will help your baby learn to cooperate, cope with frustration and resolve conflicts properly. When it comes to these skills, it’s your simple day to day interactions as parents that mean the most:

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The science behind deferred imitation.

Deferred imitation is typically defined as a modelled action or series of actions that are reproduced after a certain delay.

The beauty behind deferred imitation, is that it can give us a tremendous amount of insight into our little one’s development. It symbolizes an underlying complex cognitive process. It has been theorized, that imitation may also be an important channel for early social learning. It seems that observation has a great effect on skill acquisition and in some cases even more so than conditioning or trial and error.

For your baby to be able to imitate a day or a week after he sees you do something, your baby has acquired the ability to retain the information, recall it and reproduce it without a guide later on. Simple acts such as closing a flap, pushing a button or shaking an object after seeing an adult doing it a while ago are already a sign of a cognitive task as well as physical. Deferred imitation taps more into “recalling” abilities than recognition per se. Your baby must do something more than simply discriminate between a familiar and an unknown object, he must use his motor skills to reproduce the act he saw earlier.

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The science behind baby-talk: more than a guilty pleasure!

Why is it that adults become all of a sudden fluent in “motherese” when there’s a baby in the proximity?

When you find yourself in the company of young children, be it your kids, a friend’s, or just the cute baby in her mother’s arms that you crossed at the coffee shop, chances are you have experienced for yourself that automatic and hard to ignore temptation to engage in the caricaturized “baby-talk” with them. What has science got to say about this phenomenon? And beyond its cuteness, is it actually beneficial for your baby’s linguistic and socio-emotional development?

When adults talk to babies and pre-linguistic infants, no matter what part of the world they are in or what language they use (anthropologists have found it native communities from Sri Lanka to Siberia), their speech gravitates towards using some particular features of what is formally known as “infant-directed speech”. This form of addressing infants is characterized by being an emotionally-charged and melodic tone with a higher pitch than usual. Vowels are stretched out, sentences are simplified, and facial gestures and emotional intonation is stressed. These characteristics of baby-talk are particularly emphasized by adults when they are addressing very young babies, and then naturally decrease as the child grows and his or her language skills develop. Continue reading

Making the switch

Why is it a big deal to let go of the bottle and finally welcome the sippy cup? Just like with any other toy or object, it’s likely your little one has gotten used to and attached to the bottle. Although a seemingly simple transition at plain sight, it can represent a huge deal for your baby. Staying on the bottle for a long time has detrimental effects on your baby’s teeth and cavities so plan ahead and begin gradually introducing the switch.

Studies suggest that you’ll have an easier time in this change if you start before your little one has reached the age of 1. As a parent, you’re your child’s best judge of character and as such you’ll know when the time is right. Plan accordingly so that no mayor stressful events pile up with this, such as a sibling coming soon or a big move. Continue reading

Learning to communicate: non-verbal cues

It is hard to think of living a life without language as this is the main mean to communicate thoughts, desires and needs to others. Babies find themselves in this position every day before they learn to talk. Therefore they need to use other forms of non-verbal communication to make themselves understood.

Babies have a strong desire to connect with others. For this reason, even before they can talk they use non-verbal sounds and body language to achieve this goal. Babies are active communicators but they don’t have the language to speak just yet. If you observe closely you’ll see how they communicate without words. By doing this they seek to obtain a response from their caregivers and when they do, they learn to repeat these actions to get their needs met.

The moment babies take their first breath outside of the womb they begin to communicate. Crying, cooing and squealing are all non-verbal cues that they use to get a response from a loving parent. As they get a bit older, they learn to communicate via facial expressions such as smiling and eye contact. Babies also move their bodies to get a message across, for example moving their legs or arms when excited or in distress. As they reach the age of 8-12 months they further develop this skill by learning to wave, clap and point.

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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

Is your child overactive? You might want to read this!

Children are often told to sit still. This happens everywhere, and it’s necessary sometimes like at school, during mealtime, and at home and when they don’t, we often believe that they are misbehaving or that we as parents may be doing something wrong. When children become overstimulated, their high energy levels can often go through the roof. What can you do to help your little one calm down and focus?

  1. Let your child fidget
    • Your child can simply be bored and may feel the need to stand up and move around. A small amount of physical movement can help a child focus more. Loren Shlaes, a pediatric occupational therapist in New York City suggests allowing a child to hold a fidget toy such as a stress ball.
  2. Go outside
    • Moving around is a good way of helping your child pay attention so the more activity the better. Playing outside stimulates the production of dopamine and serotonin – both neurotransmitters that are critical for attention, focus, impulse control and learning. Some children focus and listen so much better after taking a walk or just being around nature. Dr Swanson suggests children spend at least an hour a day outdoors. A recent study at Auburn University found a single 30-minute stint of exercise helped preschooler’s ability to pay attention in class, compared with being sedentary. Continue reading

Your baby’s smile

You’ve probably seen his first reflexive smile when he sleeps, but when he looks right into your eyes and smiles, it’s a magical moment that you’ll forever treasure. How can you tell the difference between a social smile and a reflexive one? Keep reading and find out. 

Your baby’s first smile will be spontaneous, a reflexive smile, and it’ll probably happen when he or she is asleep. During REM sleep your baby’s body goes through physiological changes, and one of these produces a smile. However at this point it’s probably just a physical reaction, not an emotional one. This reflex can even be considered a part of your little one’s survival instinct, such as rooting, sucking and moro reflexes.   

After a few months, playtime gets more exciting! Making funny faces, voices and cuddling will make your baby smile in reaction to sensory experiences, not a social response. However, you can try and encourage a smile! This smile is known as responsive smile, and usually appears between 6 and 8 weeks of age. Continue reading