Thursday, August 31, 2006

Disciplining Babies

Babies are little people that look to their parents and caregivers for guidance and boundaries. Any child needs boundaries. Boundaries define the limits of appropriate actions for the child. A child does not feel safe unless they have safe limits shown to them.

1. Babies are not born knowing how to redirect themselves. The child has the need to be shown from infancy on into their teen years how to redirect their actions and behaviors toward outlets that are safe for them.

When a baby is doing something that is dangerous to them, or playing with something that they are not supposed to get into, redirect them to a safer activity, or toy.

2. Help them with the appropriate activity or toy for ten seconds.

3. This is the amount of time a baby usually needs to forget the inappropriate toy or activity that they were doing.

4. Then you may walk away.

5. The baby has thus been successfully redirected!

This action will need to be repeated several times a day until the baby understands that certain things are off-limits. It may take only once with some babies, but more often than not the redirection will need to be done several times a day for each inappropriate activity or object the baby desires. It takes more effort to redirect a baby, than it does to smack their hands, but the rewards are greater with the redirection. Not only does the baby then experience no physical pain, but they also will learn something that will be very valuable to them the rest of their lives. They will eventually learn to redirect themselves and will not need intervention on the part of the parent or caregiver quite as often, and will be easier to deal with than the child who has had their hands smacked. Smacking a child’s hands is just suppression of behavior, redirection makes a child think.

Source: Essortment Home

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Teach Pre-reading skills for your Baby

Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can actually read and write. Research shows that children get ready to read years before they start school. You can help your four- and five-year old learn important skills now so they can become good readers

1. Narrative Skills (Telling a story): Tell your child stories or ask your child to tell you about something that happened today. Being able to tell or retell a story helps children understand what they read.

  • Listen to your child carefully when he talks.
  • Ask your child to tell you about something that happened. Let him tell you about a picture he drew.
  • Share books together.
  • Stories help children understand that things happen in order—first, next, last.
  • Read a book together that your child already knows. Switch what you do. You be the listener and let your child tell you the story.
  • Ask “what” questions. Point to a picture and say,” What’s that?” or “What is happening here?”
  • Add to what your child says. If your child says,” big truck” then you say,” Yes, a big red fire truck.”
  • Ask open-ended questions like,” What do you think is happening in this picture?”
  • Help your child relate what is happening in the story to her own experience, for example, “What happened when we went on a picnic?”Being able to tell or retell a story helps children understand what they read.

2. Vocabulary (Knowing the names of things): Talk with your child about what is going on around you. When your child talks with you, add more detail to what he or she says. Research shows that children who have larger vocabularies are better readers.

  • Talk with your baby or toddler about what is going on around you. When your babbles baby or your child talks, listen carefully and answer.
  • Ask your baby or toddler lots of questions. Even if she does not have the words to answer, she learns that questions are invitations for her to respond.
  • Speak clearly. Use short sentences. Repeat yourself when your child shows interest.
  • Speak in the language that is most comfortable for you.
  • Read together every day. Books have pictures of things you may not see often. Name the pictures as you point to them—this helps children learn new words.
  • Research shows that children who have larger vocabularies are better readers. Knowing many words helps children recognize written words and understand what they read.

3. Print Motivation (Enjoying books): Make reading time a special time for closeness between you and your child. Let your child see you reading. Children who enjoy books will want to learn how to read.

4. Print Awareness (Reading left to right; holding books upright): Read aloud-everyday print -- labels, signs, lists, menus. Let your child turn the pages when you read. Hold the book upside down -- see if your child turns the book around. Let your child hold the book and read or tell the story. Being familiar with printed language helps children feel comfortable with books and understand that print is useful. Point to some of the words as you say them, especially words that are repeated.

5. Phonological Awareness:Most children who have an understanding of phonological awareness have an easier time learning to read. Help your pre-reader become aware of the smaller sounds that make up words.

  • Ask whether two words rhyme: “Do ‘cat’ and ‘dog’ rhyme?” “Do ‘cat’ and ‘hat’ rhyme?”
  • Say words with word chunks left out: “What word would we have if you took the ‘hot’ away from ‘hotdog’?”
  • Put two word chunks together to make a word: “What word would we have if we put ‘cow’ and ‘boy’ together?”
  • Say words with sounds left out: “What word would we have if we took the ‘buh’ sound away from "bat’?”
  • Say rhymes and make up your own silly, nonsense rhymes together.
  • Sing songs. Songs have different notes for each syllable in a word.
  • Read some poetry together. Make up short poems together. Say the words that rhyme.
  • Say rhymes and sing songs in the language most comfortable for you.

6. Letter Recognition: Help your child see different shapes and the shapes of letters. Write your child's name -- especially the first letter. Make letters from clay or use magnetic letters. Point out and name letters when reading alphabet books, signs or labels. Show your child that the same letter can look different. Write words that interest your child (like “dinosaur” or “truck”) using crayons, magnetic letters or pencil and paper. Knowing the names and sounds of letters helps children figure out how to sound out words.

Source: American Library Association

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Baby Brain Development

In the first years of your baby's life, the brain is busy building its wiring system. Activity in the brain creates tiny electrical connections called synapses. The amount of stimulation your baby receives has a direct affect on how many synapses are formed. Repetitive stimulation strengthens these connections and makes them permanent, whereas young connections that don't get used eventually die out.

These first years are a very important and pivotal time for a developing young brain. This intense period of brain growth and network building happens only once in a lifetime. We as parents have a brief but golden opportunity to help our babies stimulate the formation of brain circuitry. Here are some fascinating facts that researchers have discovered:

Things you can do to stimulate your baby:

  • Love. First of all, remember love and affection are very real needs. Your baby is never trying to manipulate or control you, she simply has a biological need for your love...never deny her your tender affection. This unconditional love also creates a strong self-esteem and increased development of brain circuitry.
  • Talk to your baby often with a kind voice, a wide range of vocabulary, and a lot of expression. Your voice is her favorite sound (she has heard it since before she was born).
  • Respond to your babies requests (cries) without hesitation. This teaches her that she can communicate with other people and gives her a strong sense of trust and emotional stability.
  • Touch your baby. Researchers discovered that premature infants that were massaged grew faster, cried less, and were released earlier from the hospital than those who weren't.
  • Encourage imitation. Your baby is constantly analyzing you and figuring out ways to mimic your voice and facial expressions.
  • Let your baby experience different surroundings: go for walks, take her places, and show her the sites!
  • Let your baby explore different textures and temperatures (not too extreme, of course). Provide a safe environment for your baby to explore. She also needs time to discover things for herself.
  • Read books: even though your baby can't follow the story, she loves the pictures and the sound of your voice.
  • Play music for your baby (Mozart's music has been found to stimulate the same neurons in the brain that are later used for mathematics).
  • When you get frustrated because your baby keeps dropping objects or pours the box of cereal on the floor, remember, she is trying to figure out how the world operates.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Baby Signs

Using signs to talk to your baby

After a long time I am posting in this blog. Having two blogs is little hard to manage for me, though I love blogging in both the blogs. I have decided to post at least two to three posts a month in this blog:) Recently I went to the library and was checking some books related to babies. I came through baby signs and I was interested to read more about it. To start with I took a video, which got me into the basics of “Baby signs”. There is a famous book on “Baby Signs” written by Linda Acredolo, Susan Goodwyn. I think these books are also available in the local Libraries. Those who are interested to know about your baby signs I would recommend to read this book. Baby Signs helps babies to use simple, easy-to-do gestures for communicating with their parents and caregivers. These gestures or “signs” represent an item or concept, like “cat,” “eat,” or “all gone.” Using signs gives babies a way to “talk” with their parents, before they can talk. Babies can communicate about the world around them, long before they have mastered their verbal speaking skills! This also promotes language development, cognitive skills, and promotes parent-child bond. Babies and toddlers often use signs as a natural part of the communication process. Many babies know how to wave “bye-bye” or use a headshake to mean “no.” Usually the baby signs starts from Eight months – 12 months, and for some children it would take till 15 months – 18 months. If you are using some baby signs to your children try to repeat the signs more often, since repeating is the key to success. This will be challenging for both parents as well as the babies to involve in the process of sign language. Here are few pictures of Baby signs:)

Signs of Book
Signs of Please

Signs of Hat

Signs of "I am all finished"
Signs of "I am done"
Signs of " all gone "
Signs of Hurt
Signs of Sleep
Signs of more " I want more"

Signs of Fish

Signs of Daddy

Signs of Baby Cradle
Signs of "I want more milk"

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Prenatal Development

Imagine how you came to be. Out of thousands of eggs and millions of sperm, one egg and one sperm united to produce you :) Coming to the prenatal Development, the whole process takes place by three periods. The Germinal period, Embryonic period and Fetal period. I didn’t want to bore you guys by explaining the first two periods; you might realize I am talking science! I liked the fetal period which is all about your three trimesters. Don’t you think that is something interesting we would all like to know?
Fetal period is the prenatal period of development that begins two months after conception and lasts for seven months, on the average. Growth and development continue their dramatic course during this time.

Conception to 1 month (4 weeks)

  • Is less than 1/10inch long
  • Beginning development of spinal cord, nervous system, gastro-intestinal system, heart and lungs.

Two months ( 8 weeks)

  • Is just over 1 inch
  • Face is forming with rudimentary eyes, ears, mouth and tooth buds.
  • Arms and legs are moving.
  • Brain is forming
  • Fetal heartbeat is detectable with ultrasound.

Three months (12 weeks)

  • The fetus is about 3 inches long and weighs about 1 ounce.
  • It has become active, moving its arms and legs, opening and closing its mouth, and moving its head.
  • It can swallow and the kicking startsJ
  • The face, forehead, eyelids, nose, and chin are distinguishable, as are the upper arms, lowers arms, hands, and lower limbs.
  • The genitals can be identified as male or female.

Four months (16 weeks)

  • The fetus has grown to 6 inches in length and weights 4 to 7 ounces.
  • Fingernails and toenails are forming
  • Heart beat is strong
  • Skin is thin , transparent
  • Downy hair(lanugo) covers the body
  • Prenatal reflexes are stronger; arm and leg movements can be felt for the first time by the mother

Five months (20 weeks)

  • The fetus is about 12 inches long and weights close to a pound.
  • Heartbeat is audible by stethoscope
  • Sucks thumb
  • Hiccups
  • Structures of the skin formed- toenails and fingernails, for example.
  • The fetus is more active, showing a preference for a particular position in the womb.
  • Stimulated or irritated by sounds and lights :)

Six months (24 weeks)

  • The fetus is about 14 inches long and already has gained another half pound to a pound.
  • The eyes are eyelids are completely formed and a fine layer of hair covers the head.
  • Skin is wrinkled and covered with a protective coating (vernix caseosa)
  • They can open the eyes but the vision is unclear.

Seven months (28 weeks)

  • The fetus is about 16 inches long and has gained another pound, now weighing about 2-3 pounds.
  • Increase body fat and adjust to the temperature
  • A grasping reflex is present and irregular breathing movements occur.
  • Very active

An important point that needs to be made is that the first time a fetus has a chance of surviving outside of the womb is the beginning of the third trimester (at about seven months). An infant born in the seventh month usually needs assistance in breathing.

Eight months (32 weeks)

  • Is 16 ½ to 18 inches long and weighs 4-5 pounds
  • Has periods of sleep and wakefulness
  • Responds to sounds
  • May assume the birth position
  • Bones of head are soft and flexible
  • Less active since it is cramped- no space

Nine months ( 36- 38 weeks )

  • Is 19 inches long and weighs 6 pounds
  • Skin is less wrinkled
  • Vernix – a cheesy smoothie kind of stuff which is covered the fetal body gets thick to help the baby to come out smoothly:)
  • Lanugo ( hairy part) is almost gone
  • Is gaining immunities from mother
  • Rotate into an upside down position
  • Getting ready for the birth:)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Periods of Development

Prenatal Period is the time from conception to birth, roughly a nine-month period.

Infancy is the development period that extends from birth to 18 to 24 months. They are extremely dependent on adults. They start to learn the language, social learning, and symbolic thought. They explore sensorimotor coordination like sense of touch, sense of taste, sense of sound, sense of smell and sense of sight.

Early childhood is the development period that extends from the end of infancy to about 5 to 6 years of age. This period is called the preschool years. During this time, young children learn to become more self- sufficient. Their language expands; they develop school readiness skills like identifying letters and to follow instructions. They spend many hours in play and with peers.

Just the Beginning

This blog is just for my records. I will be writing about what I read and learn about babies from the books, classes, and from my observations. My interest on babies developed after my visit to India. I was baby sitting my nephew Aryan for a month in India. He was around 18 months when I visited India. I always wonder why babies act in different ways. I became more interested after seeing Aryan’s play’s and activities. As soon as I came from India, I was reading books on child psychology and came to know that there are many theories about childhood. For many of Aryan’s action I could find answers from the books. I will write these shortly. I will be concentrating more on infants to preschool kids. Please share your opinions and knowledge when you come across this blog.