How can everyday activities help you build a strong relationship with your child and help grow them into a great reader? The Center of the Developing Child at Harvard University suggests five simple steps for how to practice “serve and return,” which are the back-and-forth interactions that children and caregivers have all the time. These types of interactions play a big role in your child’s confidence and his/her relationship with learning, reading and discovery. Here is a quick breakdown of the five steps:
Step 1: Notice what your child is looking at, pointing to, listening to, etc., and show them that you are paying attention too.
Step 2: “Return the serve” with comforting words and hugs/kind body language that show you care and notice.
Step 3: Name what is going on. Say the name of what your child is doing, what they are eating, what they are looking at, how they are feeling, whom they are talking to, etc.
Step 4: Take turns, making sure to give your child time to think and say something else back to you.
Step 5: Practice and reinforce endings and beginnings of activities, helping your children recognize the start and stop and sequence of events through the day by saying things such as “all done!” or “now we are starting to tie our shoes!”
Ron Ferguson, an economist at Harvard, has made a career out of studying the achievement gap — the well-documented learning gap that exists between kids of different races and socioeconomic statuses.
But even he was surprised to discover that gap visible with "stark differences" by just age 2, meaning "kids aren't halfway to kindergarten and they're already well behind their peers."
And yet, there's a whole body of research on how caregivers can encourage brain development before a child starts any formal learning. It's another example, Ferguson says, of the disconnect between research and practice. So he set out to translate the research into five simple and free ways adults can help their little ones.
"Things that we need to do with infants and toddlers are not things that cost a lot of money," he explains. "It's really about interacting with them, being responsive to them."
He calls his list the Boston Basics, and he's on a mission to introduce it to caretakers first in Boston and then across the country.
The principles are:
Ferguson and his team decided the Basics have to go where the parents are. They're partnering with hospitals to incorporate the five principles into prenatal care and pediatrician visits. They work with social services agencies, home-visiting programs, barbershops and local businesses. Ferguson even teamed up with a local church to deliver a handful of talks at the pulpit after Sunday services.
Tara Register runs a group for teen moms at the Full Life Gospel Center in Boston. She says when she learned about the Basics, she thought, "This would be the perfect place. We've got these young moms learning how to parent and trying to figure this out."
Register wishes she had known about the five principles back when she was a teen mom. Years later, she's now helping get the word out to a new generation. She says when she talks about the Basics in her group, the teenage parents are surprised to discover that so much learning happens so early. "Some of this stuff they're probably doing already and they didn't even know there was a name behind it or development behind it."
And that's true for most caregivers. A lot of this comes naturally; the key is to connect those natural instincts to what researchers know about developmental science — something all parents can learn from, Ferguson says. "I have a Ph.D. and my wife has a master's degree, but I know there are Boston Basics that we did not do."
Back in Register's class, she holds one of the babies and points to his head — and the developing brain inside. "You can't imagine how much of a sponge this is right here," she says. The teens brainstorm ways they'll incorporate the Basics into their daily routine. "I'll narrate what I'm doing as I get ready for work," one suggests. "I'll count out the number on his plaything," another offers.
As Register wraps up her lesson, she has one final thought for the group, which she repeats several times. It's essentially the thesis behind all five of the Boston Basics: "Our babies are incredible," she tells the new moms. "They are complex, they are incredible, they are smart. They can take it all in. So don't underestimate them."
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
About 3,500 babies die each year in the United States during sleep because of unsafe sleep environments. Some of these deaths are caused by entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation. Some infants die of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). However, there are ways for parents to keep their sleeping baby safe.
Read on for more information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on how parents can create a safe sleep environment for their babies. This information should also be shared with anyone who cares for babies, including grandparents, family, friends, babysitters, and child care center staff.
Note: These recommendations are for healthy babies up to 1 year of age. A very small number of babies with certain medical conditions may need to be placed to sleep on their stomach. Your baby's doctor can tell you what is best for your baby.
What You Can Do:
If your baby doesn’t tolerate tummy time—and even if she does, you are encouraged to try the following activities:
Activity #1: Tummy to Tummy
It’s a good idea to begin exposing your baby to tummy time while you’re both still in the hospital. The earlier you start, the more likely your baby will accept the stomach as a natural position. In fact, before the umbilical cord has fallen off, you can position your newborn on your stomach or chest while you are awake and in a reclined position on a chair, bed, or floor (with a pillow to support your head), tummy to tummy with baby.
Take this perfect opportunity to socialize with your newborn and encourage lots of eye contact. Talk in animated tones and use exaggerated expressions to get her to look at you. It’s a special time to bond tummy to tummy.
You can also position your baby tummy down across your lap lengthwise while providing head support. Remember to keep her head aligned with her body. If she falls asleep in that position, just transfer her to the bed (but place her down to sleep on her back). For more stimulation, slowly raise and lower your legs at the same time, then move them slowly from side to side. This motion will likely calm your little one.
Babies need to be exposed to a variety of textures throughout the day, and tummy time is the perfect opportunity to accomplish this. When your baby is on her tummy, the skin on her stomach, legs, arms, and face touches the surface on which she is lying. The most natural place to play is on a clean floor, a nap mat, or blankets of different textures. (Note: Blankets should be secured so they don’t slide around when baby moves her arms or legs.) As she moves her body, arms, and legs against the surface, the friction that is created lets her know where her body is located in space.
Additionally, your baby will gain strength and flexibility during tummy time. Dressing your little one in an infant body suit (eg, Onesie) for tummy time allows her to feel the various textures on her arms and legs.
Tummy time also allows your baby to visually explore the environment in a new way. When positioned on her back, she can see only the ceiling and whatever is directly around her. But on her stomach, she uses her muscles to lift her head and see the world at eye level, giving her a completely different view of the world—a new perspective!
An Important ReminderOnce your baby starts participating in tummy time, be sure to provide supervision. In this world of distractions, your phone will ring or you’ll get called to another room, but stay with your baby because the AAP recommends that tummy time be supervised.
Babies with Special Health Care NeedsIf your baby was born premature or has reflux disease or special needs, speak with your child’s pediatrician about tummy time. Some babies need special consideration.
Side Lying With SupportSide lying is a great alternative to tummy time if your baby doesn’t tolerate being on her stomach. Place your baby on a blanket on her side; if needed, prop her back against a rolled-up towel for support. If her head needs support, place a small, folded washcloth under her head. Both of baby’s arms should be in front of her, and you should bring her legs forward at the hips and bend her knees to make her comfortable.
Don’t forget to distract your baby with a fun toy or read her an entertaining book while she’s in this position. It is best to set up a regular time for tummy time and side lying, such as after naps, baths, or diaper changes. Just be sure to have a plan in place and take care to vary your baby’s position every 10 to 15 minutes during playtime
Strive to expose your baby to a variety of positions throughout the day, including time spent in your arms and on your lap. Remember, babies crave emotional interaction and connection with their parents.
Anne H. Zachry, PhD, OTR/L
Retro Baby (Copyright © 2013 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
Encouraging Your Newborn to LearnAs you care for your newborn, he or she is learning to recognize your touch, the sound of your voice, and the sight of your face.
In the first few weeks you may want to introduce some simple, age-appropriate toys that appeal to the senses of sight, hearing, and touch, such as:
What is safe and unsafe for your baby to eat at a holiday meal?
Preparing Thanksgiving dinner for your extended family is no simple chore, so you'd rather not add "make dinner for baby" to your already long to-do list. Give thanks: If your child's closing in on his first birthday and transitioning to table foods, you can serve him at least some of the typical Thanksgiving menu, says registered dietitian Cathie Squatrito, director of medical affairs for Gerber. Just be sure all the foods you do offer your baby are diced very small (about 1/4 inch in size) and cooked to the point of being well-done (soft enough to gum).
Good for gobbling
Author: Strephanie Woods
Find something for your little gnawer that’s cool to touch but tough to chew on—a wet washcloth chilled in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes, a frozen banana or berries if you’ve introduced solids, solid (not liquid-filled) teething rings chilled in the fridge or freezer (take them out before they are rock hard), a frozen bagel, your finger, or a “lovey”-type toy.
If Your Baby is Older than 6 to 9 Months:
Offer a slow-flow sippy cup of cool water to suck on and drink for comfort. Of note, plastic teething rings with liquids have been given a bad name in the past few years due to recalls— potential bacteria growing in liquid and the possibility of a baby cutting through the ring and into the liquid.
As many parents try to avoid plastics (due to presence of phthalates/BPA), use the washcloth method or a cotton sock rolled up tightly to gnaw on. Silicone and latex chewy toys may be a safer bet.
Let your baby gnaw on your fingers (if his or her teeth haven’t come through), or rub your baby’s gums with your clean fingers for comfort.
If you’re breastfeeding and your baby isn’t interested in a teething toy but more interested in chewing on your nipples (eeeeeek) or your arms, especially around the time of feeding, massage your baby’s gums with your fingers dipped in cool water prior to starting a feeding.
Clean teething toys, washcloths, or socks after each use. And know that it’s absolutely fine to let your baby chew all day if he or she enjoys it. Still, nothing about gnawing means pain.
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE, FAAP
How to Calm a Fussy Baby: Tips for Parents & CaregiversHere are ways you can try to comfort a crying baby. It may take a few tries, but with patience and practice you'll find out what works and what doesn't for your baby.
Tips for Dressing Your BabyStep-by-Step
During the first few weeks, your baby will spend most of his or her time wrapped in a receiving blanket. Not only does this keep your baby warm, but the slight pressure around the body seems to give most newborns a sense of security.
How to swaddle correctly:
Originally published : www.healthychildren.org
Heat rash is seen most often in babies and young children. It occurs during hot and humid weather. It is caused when the sweat gland openings become blocked. This results in little red bumps around the sweat duct openings.
What to Look For:
First Aid for Families (PedFACTs) (Copyright © 2012 American Academy of Pediatric