Category: Bath Time
Archive for Bath Time
Bath time can be tricky if your child says “I don’t want to take a bath”. Make bath time less stressful and more fun with these Nurture, Explore & Share tips!
Bath time with your little toddler can be a fun experience. Learn more on how to make bath time more interactive and a fun experience for you and your child using the Nurture, Explore and Share tips. Your child will discover how much fun they can have at bath time and stay clean!
Everyday Moments throughout provides you and your child memorable opportunities to learning through summer adventures! A time to capture sights and sounds where you and your child make new sensational experiences. Whatever you have planned for the summer, creating a summer routine adds memories to the precious moments you already spend with your child.
What are Everyday Nature Activities?
For new parents, summer is a great time to bring your child outside to explore nature using their five senses: hear, touch, smell, sight, and taste. This could be your child’s first time exploring nature; take it slow as they become more comfortable with their senses as you explore those moments together. For instance, you could point to a flower and describe the petal and stem colours. Then, smell the flower together to discover a particular scent. Being able to share outdoor Everyday Moments means your child will become more comfortable exploring nature-like features such as plants, animals, and weather conditions. A nature activities offers a variety in terms of materials, along with new ways of experiencing existing indoor activities. A planned routine could mean your child feels more prepared and confident to conquer the activities planned for the day!
Planning a routine is like having a tool box of activities to experience throughout the summer. Having a variety of activities on hand makes life easier for you and your child to plan activities and build your schedule. Summer time feels warm and light, feel free to change up activities to fit your child’s interests and environment. For example, if it rains when you initially planned an outdoor picnic, don’t be afraid to host an indoor picnic!
Activities Anytime Anywhere
Everyday Moment Summer Activities
› Wake Up Time
› Meal Time
› Play Time
› Tidy-up Time
› Change Time
› Bed Time
Everyday Moments are precious moments in the day where nurture, explore, and share happen between you and your child (i.e. wake-up, meal time, bed time, story time). A summer routine is unique because children can respond differently to the outdoor environment (i.e. weather, plants, animals, scent). The outdoors provide another place to bond with your child. Bonding time supports your child’s emotional and social development to think out loud and describe feelings of other and of self. Activities in this summer guide are geared towards babies, toddlers, and preschoolers which you may find helpful to add to your summer routine.
Participating in summer activities is entertaining and enjoyable, however, planning the activity can be just as fun! Hunting for materials for an art project for example, can be a game in itself. One way to get into planning is to be as curious as your child is. For example, you might point at a beautiful rainbow and your child might ask “What is a rainbow? Add an outdoor element to your painting activity outdoors, by painting the colours of the rainbow with your child with sticks and leaves instead of paint brushes.
Spending time with your child creates a lifelong social and emotional connection towards a loving relationship. When your child is familiar with your voice and touch, they will respond with safety and security. Your child will thrive knowing you are there to support them even when they feel afraid. Is your child afraid of walking under a running water spray? To reassure your child’s fear, you might say, “The water is surprising, but if watch the rhythm of the fountain, you might figure out the best time to run through, watch me!”. Exploring new activities together in a nurturing environment helps to develop their understanding of fear and how to overcome those fears.
Did you know:
- Pretend play helps your child to develop problem-solving and social skills to be able to share ideas and feelings.
- Building independence means giving your child time to try a challenging task such as pulling their shirt over their head.
- Sharing feelings develops your child’s emotional understanding of others and self.
- Your child can overcome fears based on your reassuring voice. For instance, you pet the dog and say “This is a nice dog”. Wait for your child to pet the dog, then in a calm voice respond, “The dog loves to be petted by you, I’m right here”.
Complete Summer Guide PDF download coming soon!
For many new parents, the thought of an Everyday Moment might not represent anything particularly special. Perhaps those moments start to feel just like routine parts of every day.
But there is magic in the Everyday Moments you are already spending with your child. Magic in moments like waking up, meal time, diaper change time, bath time, play time, reading time, driving to the store, walking to the park, bed time.
In each of those Everyday Moments are opportunities to really connect with your child. And they are moments to cherish. Talking with your baby, pointing and talking about what you’re doing, cuddling and tickling when changing a diaper, singing when driving in a car, cuddling anytime is a good idea.
And here’s the magic part. If you do all these things while spending time with your baby through the Everyday Moments, you will be supporting your child’s healthy social, emotional and intellectual development as you interact with your baby. You do not have to plan a special event or buy a bunch of things…an Everyday Moment should feel natural because they do happen naturally throughout the day as you continue to nurture and share moments with your baby. Nothing complicated, only time with your baby is a moment well-spent in promoting developmental milestones (i.e. social, emotional, thinking, language, body and hand movement).
By sharing Everyday Moments your baby is learning many things at once, take this opportunity to be an explorer with your baby. An example could be when your baby is staring at an object (ex: trees, cars) or person; take this opportunity to describe what they might be observing. Say “you’re looking at orange leaves up on the tree” instead of “are you looking at that tree”. The more you describe, the more your baby hears words to build on language skills. This way, your baby will not only learn words but also become aware of the things in their environment.
One of the most common and frequent Everyday Moments is during bedtime when you tuck your baby in. This is an ideal moment because there is so much to do during bedtime. Some bedtime suggestions include:
- Reading a story to your baby
- Sharing about your day
- Singing a lullaby song to your baby
- Talking to your baby (Remembering the food you ate with your baby or the time you spent together).
More Everyday Moments activities: Infants | Toddlers | Preschoolers
DID YOU KNOW…?
- When you respond to your baby crying middle of the night, you become more mindful of their different types of cries
- Eye-to-eye contact with your baby provides a strong communication bond
- Your hormones can effect bonding time with your baby (i.e. keep smiling)
Have you ever wondered how your child is learning, for example, learning languages? Little do we know, it’s all comes from the way we speak and how much we speak. In other words, repeating words and sentences to your child can improve their development in language and literacy—their ability to read and write. Below are some great tips that will support you as a parent in taking part in your child’s speaking, understanding, writing and reading skills.
Reading bedtime stories
What are the reasons behind reading to your child? There are many benefits but the most important is that reading helps your child learn new words and understand different languages. The best part is, you can read to your child in more than one language and they will still learn to speak and understand that language. The key is to keep reading to your child, as much as possible, especially the stories they are most interested in.
DID YOU KNOW:
- A child needs to hear 1000 stories before they will learn to read
- Reading aloud to babies builds their memory skills
- Asking your child what’s not in a story could expand their thinking and imagination
- Bonding– chemical change of skin to skin while reading
Repeating words & sentences
How is your child able to remember so many words? It all depends on how many times you repeat a word. Your child will learn as many words as you say out loud but the key is to repeat words again and again. For example, when you take your child grocery shopping, you can name the items you place into your basket such as “this is orange juice”. The more detailed the sentence, the better for your child to understand. Grocery shopping is not the only time to teach words to your child, you can teach your child at any time of the day or night: dinner time, bath time, cooking, play time etc. The everyday moments you are already spending with your child are the very best times to build language and literacy skills.
DID YOU KNOW:
- 50% of words in English language can be learned by just sounding out the word
- Children need to hear a specific word 250 times before they remember it
- The more words parents use when speaking to their baby, the greater size of their child’s vocabulary by the age of 3
Songs and nursery rhymes are always a great way of leaning new languages. Usually, your child will end up getting bored by simply hearing the words but you can make it more fun by singing songs and nursery rhymes to them. This way, your child is not only having fun but also learning new words through the songs and nursery rhymes. The songs below may be enjoyable for your child because they consist of many repeating words:
DID YOU KNOW:
- A child who knows 4 nursery rhymes by the age of 4 will naturally be a better reader by age 8
- During the first few months, your baby just likes to hear your voice, so it doesn’t matter what you sing or read to them
- When you sing, your voice soothes your baby
As you look back at history in our society, fathers typically have not played a significant role in the early years of their child’s development. More typically, mothers have taken on that role, becoming the primary caretaker through those early formative years. Fathers would participate less frequently in their children’s everyday moments such as feeding, bathing, bedtime, reading, etc. largely because they were working, but as often, because there was a general discomfort with knowing what to do and how to do it. In today’s world, times have changed. More and more fathers are breaking the stereotype, spending quality time with their newborns and taking a much more active role as Dads, particularly through those first 5 years. And it turns out- this is really important for the healthy development of their child.
DID YOU KNOW:
- Father’s Day is celebrated the third Sunday in June in over 50 countries around the world.
- In the underwater world of the seahorse, it’s the male that gets to carry the eggs and birth the babies.
- Children highly involved with their fathers or a consistent male role model have a lesser chance of acquiring behavioral problems.
- Québec has the highest “paternity leave” rate for fathers across Canada.
Just as a baby benefits from the love and nurturing of a mother, a baby also benefits from the love and nurturing of a father. There are special ways for fathers to become really involved in the everyday moments they share with their children:
- Holding your baby near you and talk to them- this actually helps their language and literacy
- Once Mom has finished breastfeeding, take the opportunity to cuddle with your baby with soothing tones – this will help you bond together
- Read picture books daily; even infants benefit from you reading to them
- Play – every day! You are your child’s #1 playmate!
As children grow older they often look up to their fathers for advice; they can share everything with their fathers, just as they do with their mothers. Studies have shown that children with involved fathers or a consistent and positive male role model, build meaningful relationships and are more ready to go to school.
With Father’s Day just around the corner (June 19th), we celebrate Dads!
Bath time with your baby can be a scary experience, but if you learn to make it fun for your baby, this time can become an exciting bonding experience. You can learn about the innovative ways from the Nurture, Explore & Share tips. Bath time can be such an enjoyable time of day for both you and your baby!
Bathtime is a great time to bond with your child while having fun doing it. Even the youngest of babies benefit from a bathtime routine. Below you’ll find out how you can prepare to give you baby a safe bath.
- For your baby’s first bath at home, be sure to ask for help if you are not feeling confident. Call your child’s doctor’s office and ask for assistance if you are feeling at all unsure.
- Never leave your baby unattended in the bath or on a table. Children can drown in as little as 4 cm (1 1/2 inches) of water.
- Obtain instructions from your child’s doctor for care of your child’s umbilical cord and circumcision. Take the time when talking with your child’s doctor or nurse to make sure you understand what is needed. Bath time or diaper change time is a good opportunity for regular cleaning of these areas.
- If you are bathing your baby on a surface, make sure it is a comfortable height for you. Place a pad, blanket and towel next to the bath for a comfortable spot for your baby.
- ALWAYS test the temperature of the water before placing your baby in the bath. You can test bath water by putting an elbow in the water to make sure the water is warm, not hot.
- Always keep supplies, such as soap, within reach.
- When reaching for anything, always keep one hand on your baby.
- A bathtub may not be the right choice for your newborn. Wiping your baby with warm water using wash cloths on a soft towel is often enough in the first few days.
Before starting your baby’s bath, organize all the supplies you need including:
- 2 large soft towels;
- any creams or oils that you use;
- clean clothes;
- baby soap and shampoo; and
- cotton balls.
You may find bath time more pleasurable if you remember that:
- for many babies, bath time is fun – babies love to stretch and splash in warm water;
- babies love skin-to-skin touch – massaging your baby during bath time is just one more chance for you and your baby to feel secure; and
- babies feel relaxed after a bath – sometimes a bath is just what a fussy baby may need – everyone will feel relaxed.
- Newborn babies require head support throughout their bath.
The best way to bath a baby is to start at the top and work down:
- wash your baby’s face first, gently with a fresh washcloth;
- your baby’s eyes should be wiped gently from nose to cheek with a soft washcloth, using a different corner for each wipe;
- wash your baby’s scalp using a mild baby shampoo – your baby’s head will need to be raised and supported to wash off the shampoo;
- wash your baby’s abdomen, arms and legs next; and
- wash the genital areas last.
- Transfer your baby out of the tub to the towel on a pad, next to where you are giving your baby her bath.
- Wrap your baby and gently pat him dry. Be sure to dry all of the folds and creases in his skin.
- Once she is dry, diaper your baby first, being careful that the top of the diaper does not irritate the cord. Avoid the use of baby powder, talc and cornstarch because they get into the air and, if inhaled, could damage your baby’s lungs.
- Put your baby in a cozy sleeper.
After your baby’s bath is the perfect time to cut his nails – preferably with blunt-ended scissors when he is asleep.
All babies need their parents and caregivers to provide sensitive, responsive attention to them. When you do this, your baby learns to trust you and forms an attachment to you.
Your baby will send cues to you when he is ready for you to engage with him, and will send different cues when he has had enough.
- Crying: babies cry when their feelings are out of control. They cry when they are hungry, tired, bored or in pain. Find more on crying here.
- Facial expressions: quivering lips and furrowed eyebrows usually mean your baby has had enough stimulation, and just needs some comfort, or some down time. A smile means she is ready to engage with you.
- Eyes: wide open eyes are an indication your baby is ready for more contact. An averted gaze means, please stop whatever you are doing.
- Gestures: even small babies can bat things away, when they are tired or irritable. And they quickly learn to hold their arms up, when they want to be picked up.
Your baby’s cues are signals for you to provide some attention, but what kind of attention? Here are a number of different ways you can engage with your baby:
- Soothe him
- Feed him
- Hold and cuddle him
- Provide body contact, or skin-to-skin contact
- Show affection
- Gesture back – mimic him
- Change your facial expression
- Sing, hum, whistle
- Talk to him as if he can understand you
- Do some physical activities, like running, skipping or jumping together
If your baby is feeling hurt, sick, upset, sad, frightened or lonely:
- Comfort and reassure her by holding, kissing, and talking quietly and calmly
- Take her to a quieter environment where it is calm
You can make it easy for your child to become attached to you by paying special attention to her when caring for her daily physical needs. For example, during:
- Feeding – hold your baby comfortably, looking at your baby face-to-face, this is an opportunity to hold your baby skin-to-skin
- Diapering/dressing – talk, sing, smile, and play games, such as peek-a-boo
- Sleeping – sing a pre-nap song, recite a rhyme or tell a story, hold and rock your baby
- Bathing – talk about the body parts as you wash and dry your baby
Were you warned? Many new parents are. Often, grandparents and other experienced parents pass on solemn warnings to new parents like you about the challenges of dealing with your baby’s willful misbehaviour. But, what is the truth and what is fiction? Is it possible that your baby is capable of defying you? Of being manipulative?
It’s hard to believe but, as your baby’s mind develops, it can happen: Your little angel demands to be picked up or refuses to nap. Our experts have put together some tips to help you find out when this behaviour starts and what you can do about it.
The Beginnings of Will
Let’s take a closer look at your baby’s will. What does “will” look like in the beginning?
You will begin to see glimmers of your baby’s will during the period from 4 to 6 months. By 4 months of age, your baby may begin to cry in an attempt to have you come and play with her. This behaviour doesn’t usually become regular or really purposeful until the end of the sixth month or later.
The onset of your baby’s deliberate crying to call for you indicates that she has trust in your relationship, because you have reliably met her needs when she has cried in the past.
This type of crying is different from regular fussy periods, which often appear at the end of the day. The fussy periods are more related to your baby’s adjustments to her nervous system, along with her ever changing sleeping, eating and activity levels.
What triggers will?
Your baby’s newfound ability to crawl around independently fuels his developing sense of separateness. From 7 to 10 months, your baby experiences a rapid growth in his awareness of what he can control or cause to happen. What a stage! Babies become accomplished at asserting themselves in both delightful and exasperating ways.
What is will?
At about 9 months of age, willful behaviours tend to emerge. Your baby will begin showing that she has an opinion that doesn’t always correspond with yours.
There is an important distinction you need to make regarding what it means for your baby to “mind.” Often, what distresses parents is the fact that their baby refuses to have the same mind set as they do. If your baby doesn’t mind, it’s because she’s following her own will rather than listening to you. With a 6- to 12-month-old, this rarely stands for real defiance (as in, “I won’t”). At this stage, it almost always means that she is simply stating her wishes (such as, “I don’t want to,” or even, “I really, really don’t want to.”)
Defiance is rare before your baby’s first birthday and is not very typical before 18 months of age. If you think you see an early onset of defiance, ask your baby’s physician for a referral to a child guidance clinic. This type of challenge is most successfully handled in the early stages.
A Helpful Strategy
Remember—a strong will is a sign of good health. Your baby need’s a strong will to achieve all the milestones in the following months and years of life! Don’t be afraid of it. When thinking about and working with your baby’s emerging will, there are two aspects of Positive Parenting that are particularly important.
1. Positive Parents are understanding of their baby’s temperament.
You are an understanding Positive Parent when you:
- Understand your baby’s temperament and work with it.
- Build on your baby’s strengths.
- Are flexible with your baby.
2. Positive Parents are reasonable.
You are a reasonable Positive Parent when you:
- Are consistent and predictable.
- Set and communicate clear limits and expectations.
- Construct consequences for irresponsible behaviour that are natural and reasonable, but not disciplinary.
Babies are born with the need to form close relationships with caring and responsive adults – what childhood experts call “attachments.” If children don’t have the opportunity to develop close, uninterrupted attachments with nurturing adults during the early years, young children will find it more difficult to learn, to become confident and to trust others.
Babies can form consistent attachments with the people who are around them most. These few important relationships create a sense in your child of what kind of world this is and what her place is in it.
A secure attachment to caring adults helps your child learn to adapt to circumstances more easily, and to overcome difficult situations throughout his life. This kind of attachment helps your child to believe the world is a friendly and safe place. Having a parent or caregiver who learns to understand and respond to a baby’s signals, such as picking baby up and comforting him when crying, will help to form a secure, healthy attachment.
Relax, and don’t worry about making mistakes. It will take some time for you to learn what your baby is trying to communicate. All parents learn by trial and error. As long as your baby knows she can count on you most of the time, she’ll be amazingly flexible and forgiving.
Skin-to-Skin contact is holding or laying your baby on your chest or abdomen with your baby just wearing his diaper. This can be done immediately after your baby is born and in the weeks and months following his birth. You can put a light receiving blanket over baby. Both mom and dad can provide skin-to-skin contact with baby.
Skin-to-skin contact has many benefits for your baby, including babies that were premature. Immediately following birth, it helps your baby adjust to the world around her. She is warmed by your body heat, her heart rate and breathing stabilize and her presence helps to release Oxytocin, a hormone in Mom’s body that will help in breastfeeding and keep Mom’s uterus contracted. Your baby’s senses are heightened immediately following birth; she will smell her mom’s body, look at her parents, hear their voices and feel their touch. Skin-to-skin contact in the weeks and months following birth continues to offer benefits to your baby such as:
- Helps increase breast milk supply as frequent skin-to-skin contact allows baby frequent access to breastfeed
- Baby has an increased ability to keep warm
- Increased comfort from the warmth of your body, hearing your heartbeat and closeness of your voice
- Improved weight gain
- Increased baby-parent bonding
- Improved oxygen levels in baby
- Continued improvement in baby’s breathing patterns and heart rate
- May help calm baby during painful procedures
Is there anything more comforting to a child than the gentle touch of a loving parent? It is said that touch can speak louder than words and that touch is our first language. How true! When a father cuddles his baby or a mother rubs the back of a crying toddler, their touch is saying in no uncertain terms, “I care.” This quiet yet clear communication between a parent and child is powerful, and its positive effects on children cannot be overstated.
Research shows that babies will cry less if they are touched regularly. We also know that a parent’s touch does more than simply comfort babies; it has actually been proven that it helps them grow and develop.
In one study, premature babies who were touched and massaged regularly by their parents gained more weight and were more active, alert and responsive than babies who were not massaged.
So remember, when you comfort your young child, regardless of her age, touch can play an important role in how you communicate your affection and support.
It is also important for parents to be in tune with their children, and to read the cues and clues that children give about the type and amount of touch that suits them at a particular moment. Sometimes too much cuddling will make a baby cranky; if this happens, it’s time to back off. In fact, some children are naturally more reactive and sensitive to touch than others and at times may find too much touch over-stimulating. They’ll let you know when they need a break – your job as a parent is to recognize and follow their lead. Often, a casual touch on the shoulder is enough to let children know that you love them.
So read your child’s cues, and remember that touch can speak louder than words. When it’s used sensitively, it sends a powerful message of love and security.
Here are some tips that will help you encourage your baby to begin talking.
- Try to respond to whatever type of communication your child makes, such as pointing and gesturing.
- Provide your child with a model for conversation. For example, ask some questions and talk about what your child is doing and what you and other family members are doing.
- Try to speak slowly, naturally and clearly to your child.
- Read stories together.
- Give your child lots of opportunity to be with other children to hear their conversations.
- Try to help by putting your child’s feelings into words in situations that make him frustrated.
- Sing and dance to music together.
If you find that your child makes no attempt to speak by 18 months, doesn’t use many gestures to communicate, or seems to have trouble understanding what is said, discuss this with your child’s physician, or call the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists at 1-800-259-8519.
Babies are born with the need to form close relationships with caring and responsive adults, which are called “attachments.” If children don’t have the opportunity to develop close, uninterrupted attachments with nurturing adults during the early years, young children will find it more difficult to learn, to become confident and to trust others.
Infants and young children can form consistent attachments with the people who are around them most. These few important relationships create a sense in your child of what kind of world this is and what her place is in it.
A secure attachment to caring adults helps your child learn to adapt to circumstances more easily, and to overcome difficult situations throughout his life. This kind of attachment helps your child to believe the world is a friendly and safe place. Having a parent or caregiver who understands and responds sensitively to a baby’s signals, such as picking baby up and comforting him when crying, helps the baby form a secure, healthy attachment.
Relax, and don’t worry about making mistakes. All parents learn by trial and error. As long as your baby knows she can count on you most of the time, she’ll be amazingly flexible and forgiving.
There are things that you can do to help teach your baby the difference between daytime naps and going to bed at night. It is suggested that starting with a consistent bedtime routine from the very first night. Routines really help ready your baby for sleep by gradually decreasing stimulation. New parents are often exhausted as they realize that their baby doesn’t know the difference between night and day – meaning many sleepless nights and a big adjustment to their usual sleep schedule.
Here are some suggestions you can follow to create a routine:
- Give your baby a warm bath – keep in mind that some baby’s develop dry or irritated skin when bathed daily, so this may not work for your child.
- Give your baby a massage.
- Dress your baby in different clothing at bedtime, such as pyjamas.
- Make sure your baby has a dry diaper.
- Read a book to your baby (even though baby doesn’t really know what you’re reading, this can be comforting and it is a way to bond).
- Quietly sing a lullaby or play soothing music.
- Keep the lighting low – use a night light or draw the blinds.
- Keep the room at a comfortable temperature.
- Feed your baby.
- Walk, rock or cuddle to help relax and calm your baby.
If your baby wakes up, always respond. Once you’ve figured out and solved the reason for waking – hunger, wet diaper, etc. – keep talking and other stimulation to a minimum. This will make it easier for your baby to settle again.
For more about bedtime routines, see the following articles:
Both new and seasoned parents strive to help create some order out of the possible chaos of the few first months and routines are a great way to achieve that.
Here are some some common routines you might establish with your little one.
Did you know that a nightly routine can help your baby learn to go to sleep and to sleep better? Now, what parent would turn that down? So how do you do it?
Watch your baby for signs of sleepiness; closing his eyes, squinting, rubbing his eyes or face, yawning, etc. Those signs present an opportunity to start a bedtime routine. If your baby likes water and relaxes in it, this would be a good time for a quiet bath, if instead a bath wakes him up or dries out his skin, perhaps soft music will help him relax. Once he’s dressed for bed, cuddle up together and read a few books. Help him to learn the difference between day and night by making his surroundings quiet, dark and cool when putting him to bed.
The same goes for naps. Creating a predictable routine to ease into a nap will help him learn to do this for himself. On another note, some babies have a very difficult time waking up, especially from naps. They rise totally disoriented and many cry very hard. A wake-up routine that provides them with the comfort they require is very important for these babies.
Until your baby is 12 weeks or 3 months old, she should be eating on demand and she may still be feeding during the night. After that, you may notice that your baby feeds about five times a day at fairly predictable times. This pattern is actually the beginning of her future eating routine.
By the time she’s 6-months-old, her eating patterns will be more noticeable and predictable. This is also the time that you’ll start to feed her solids, iron rich foods, such as iron-fortified rice cereal and meats. Some experts feel this helps to establish mealtime routines. You can start your baby’s mealtime routine at this time, perhaps feeding her on your lap at the dinner table or using a high chair pulled up to the table, and using a baby spoon or plate.
Watch this Infant Mealtime Video for strategies and tips!
Talk to your baby from the beginning of his life, even though he can’t hold up his end of the conversation. Sometime during these first 6 months, he’ll start making the beginning sounds of talking, maybe even responding to your chatter. Now that’s exciting! Talking to your baby about what you see, what you’re doing, about everything, helps him to learn language and communicate.
Playing is the work of babies. It’s how they learn about themselves, others and the world around them. By the time your baby is 3 months old, set aside regular play time every day.
While playing with your baby, teach him about his world—the textures of items, the different sounds you can make with your voice, the different shapes and colours of objects. Everyday activities, such as diaper changing, bathing or helping your baby to wake up, all provide opportunities for you to make teachable moments from the everyday moments you spend with your child.
For some parents, the idea of babies having routines sounds crazy, while others knowingly nod their heads in agreement. Both new and seasoned parents strive to help create some order out of the possible chaos of the few first months and routines are a great way to achieve that.
Babies are born into a world where everything is new to them, and they arrive without much memory to help them remember from one day to the next. Their brains are growing at an amazing rate, though! The more the learning circuits in their brains are repeated, the easier it becomes for them to learn—about us and how we live.
Starting a Routine
While it is important to feed your baby on demand for the first several months of life, once you start to follow a pattern, you’ll help your newborn learn to trust that you will soothe her hunger—if not right this minute, then soon. The same goes for sleeping. Newborns don’t know the difference between night and day. Starting from the first day at home with your baby, follow a nighttime routine of bathing, changing, feeding, lowering the lights and eventually leaving the room. This will help your baby transition into the nighttime sleep routine, teaching her that night is the time for sleeping.
Don’t expect your baby to understand or stick to a routine right away. The patterns that will become routines will soon be clear to you.
To help pave the road to a routine, do things in the same order each day, as you get a feeling for your baby’s rhythm and for what works for both of you.
Our experts have created a list to help you understand why it can be important to have a routine.
Routines help your baby learn about all of the following:
- Your baby will learn to trust you and know that you will make her feel safe and secure.
- A routine will help your baby learn and remember things. Repetition helps build your baby’s memory as she learns to recognize predictability in her strange new world. This makes your baby feel safe and secure. She’ll be able to relax and will have the energy she needs to be curious, to want to explore and learn new things.
- Your baby will begin to build social and language skills. For example, if you always say “goodbye” when someone is leaving, your baby will learn the word “goodbye,” the meaning of the word and the social response that goes with it.
- Routines will help teach your baby about the concept of past, present and future. The repetition of routines helps your baby become familiar with things, which boosts her brain development.
- Your baby will start to build skills. Routines, like a daily bedtime story, give your baby a chance to learn and practice skills, practice taking turns and understand new ideas, such as “wet” and “full.”
Is there anything more comforting to a child than the gentle touch of a loving parent? It is said that touch can speak louder than words and that touch is our first language. How true! When a mother rubs the back of a crying toddler her touch is saying in no uncertain terms, “I care.” This quiet yet clear communication between a parent and child is powerful, and its positive effects on children cannot be overstated.
So remember, when you comfort your young child, regardless of her age, touch can play an important role in how you communicate your affection and support.
It is also important for parents to be in tune with their children, and to read the cues and clues that children give about the type and amount of touch that suits them at a particular moment. Sometimes too much cuddling will make a child cranky; if this happens, it’s time to back off. In fact, some children are naturally more reactive and sensitive to touch than others and at times may find too much touch over-stimulating. They’ll let you know when they need a break – your job as a parent is to recognize and follow their lead. Often, a casual touch on the shoulder is enough to let children know that you love them.
So read your child’s cues, and remember that touch can speak louder than words. When it’s used sensitively, it sends a powerful message of love and security.
To help your child to talk more, it’s a good idea to talk to her whenever you’re together, carrying on a flow of conversation about what you’re doing, and about what she is doing. Try to be animated, using gestures and lots of expression in your voice. Emphasize important words and phrases. But you should pause frequently and for what may seem to be a long wait, so your child has a chance to digest what you have said and to respond. It also helps to have lots of books around and to read to your child often.
Try to encourage his talking by asking some open-ended questions (such as “How do you…?” or “What do you think?”) or by talking about subjects he is interested in. Sometimes, for very quiet children, a good beginning is to ask him to fill in words in familiar rhymes or stories that they know by heart. Really listen to your child, getting down at his eye level and looking at him when he talks. When playing together, follow your child’s lead and talk about what you’re playing with.
It may be tough, but try not to get frustrated by what sounds like “baby talk” from your child. And don’t correct your child’s speech too much. The best thing you can do is set a good example in the way you talk. If you are concerned that your child is behind in language, you may want to call the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists at 1-800-259-8519.
It is important to remember that no matter how old a child is, all areas of development are intertwined, and progress depends on nurturing every facet of development – social, intellectual, language, emotional, gross and fine motor. Each child develops at his own pace within a distinct period of time. Every child is unique and requires different care.
Toddlerhood is a balancing act for everyone, as your child struggles between the need to be independent and try so many new things and the need to rely on and feel protected by parents and caregivers. As a result, toddlers shift suddenly in their emotions, going from “me do it” to tantrums when they are frustrated. She wants help, but then again, she doesn’t – it’s all part of becoming an individual. Lots of patience and encouragement are essential, as parents and caregivers guide toddlers who need to do so much for themselves. Toddlers cope much better with separation and are better equipped to form new attachments. Although routines are important, so are flexibility and giving your toddler easy choices. Parents and caregivers are beginning to see a real sense of their child’s temperament and personality.
Your toddler demonstrates a new level of self-awareness – by how he calls himself by name, identifies body parts, recognizes himself and family in a photograph, dresses himself and has a simple understanding of having his own things. Practicing self-help skills is an important part of a toddler’s day, and many children begin toilet training during this time. Toddlers can communicate feelings, desires and interests using words and gestures. They also have a good idea of where things are located in and around the house or at child care.
By age two, many toddlers can play on their own and concentrate on an activity for a brief period of time. There is more and more pretend play with props, looking at books and singing simple songs. As toddlers gain more control over their bodies, they love to run, kick balls, jump and climb, get on and off chairs, step backwards and sideways, go up and down the stairs and push and pull toys. As the movements of the small muscles become more refined, toddlers can do simple puzzles, take lids off jars, fit a series of objects into one another, draw vertical lines, turn pages of a book one at a time, build bigger towers and use a fork. It is during this age range that children begin to sort and match things, count, tell the difference between “one” and “many” and start distinguishing colours and shapes.
Toddlers continue to play alongside other children. Sharing can be encouraged at this age, although it should not be expected to be perfect. At times, toddlers become very frustrated, especially if they are unable to make themselves understood, and may bite others as well as hit or pull hair. A lot of play is accompanied by language, as now toddlers have a vocabulary of approximately 50 words. They can name familiar everyday objects, use two-word sentences and communicate whole ideas with one word, such as “milk” for “I want a glass of milk.” Sometimes it can be a difficult task for parents and caregivers to figure out exactly what the child wants. Toddlers begin to have a basic understanding of time, such as “soon,” “not now,” and “after your nap,” but do not have a concept of “yesterday.” And “no” is still a very popular word with the two-year old!
It is very important to give your toddler plenty of opportunities to cooperate with household chores: setting the table, cleaning spills, cooking, loading and unloading the washing machine, sorting dirty clothes, etc. Your toddler has a fascination for all these activities and by allowing her to participate in them you are not only making her feel important and helpful to the family, but you are also giving her a great opportunity to develop inner aptitudes for concentration, order, calmness, coordination, and motor skills, as well as teaching her to take care of her environment.
Pick up your toys! Eat your dinner! Hang up your coat! Sound familiar?
When you tell your preschooler over and over again to do something, she can become pretty good at tuning you out.
Here are several ways to avoid nagging all the time:
Talk to your child when everyone is calm, about what is expected, what the rules are and develop a schedule for the tasks.
When your child doesn’t do what you want, instead of nagging, go to your child, get her attention, ask what she is feeling about the task and why she is hesitant to do it. Then, after you’ve dealt with your child’s reasons, in a calm way make it clear what your child is to do.
If your child often refuses to do, or never gets around to doing what you expect, speak to other parents to find out if what you’re expecting is reasonable. And ask what they do that works, instead of nagging, that gets things done.
Don’t nag to the point where you’re yelling and making threats about what will happen if your child doesn’t do what she’s asked, especially threats you know you won’t carry out (“If you don’t pick up your coat, you’ll have to wear it for a week straight!”). This is usually ineffective. Once you’ve lost your temper, all that most children think about is how upset you are. Be calm and consistent. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Follow-through is very important.
Even very young babies can show aggressive behaviour, like howling and thrashing. But how should you react if your 11-month old hits another infant?
Some typical adult reactions to aggression include punishment, laughing at it, or just pretending it didn’t happen. Some even think it is best just to “let the kids work it out” and not interfere at all. Like anger, aggression is a normal part of a child’s development and dealing with it is one of the most important challenges of parenthood. How your child displays her feelings and behaves with others can be influenced by her temperament. Differences in temperament will cause some children to be more aggressive while others are hardly aggressive at all.
When infants display anger and aggression, it is often due to discomfort, pain or frustration. Older babies will use aggression to protect themselves, to express anger or to get what they want. When your baby is aggressive, it is because he has not learned a better way of behaving.
Use these strategies to prevent or respond to aggressive behaviour. They will help your baby learn more appropriate ways of behaving with others.
- Your crying baby is telling you something and it is important for you to respond. When you do, your baby will learn to trust you and other adults and know that you will respond consistently and sensitively when he is uncomfortable or upset.
- Use a soothing voice and gentle touches. Expressing warm feelings through touch is crucial for your baby’s emotional development.
- Try to understand what caused the aggressive behaviour and eliminate as many sources of
frustration as possible. This helps her feel safe and secure.
- Create safe play spaces so your baby can move through the house without constantly being told “don’t touch” and “don’t do that.” Too many “no’s” will frustrate and anger your baby.
- Provide your baby with periods of play with you or other caregivers throughout the day. Play is a wonderful way for your baby to learn about his environment and how to relate positively with the people and things that make up his world.
- When playing with your baby, provide many examples of your own caring behaviour, and use simple words like “softly” and “gently” to describe your actions.
- Talk to your baby, congratulating him on every effort. Even if he doesn’t understand the words, he understands he is important to you and this makes him want to please you which is critical when he needs to follow your directions.
- Support your baby’s early efforts to soothe herself. Thumb sucking or hugging a soft toy or blanket are rarely hard habits to break, and they help your baby learn to calm herself.
- Provide your baby with consistent daily routines, which are the prelude to rules. Taking the guesswork out of his day will help him develop a sense of what to expect and how to respond to your family’s routines and activities.
- Infants need to learn to cooperate and share. If your baby is grabbing or hitting another child, let her know that it is not OK. Show her how to ask for toys how to offer toys to others or redirect her attention to another toy or activity.
- Use simple words to let your baby know that her behaviour is too aggressive. Remember, it will take lots of repetition before your baby understands what “no” means.
Positive Parenting Strategies to Cope with Aggression
- Stay calm.
- Treat any child who may have been hurt by the aggressor.
- Make sure no one is laughing or giving the child’s inappropriate behaviour attention.
- Try to understand what caused the aggressive behaviour to explain it to each child involved.
- Tell the aggressor (even a baby) why the behaviour is inappropriate and what she can do instead.
- Be consistent with any consequences and follow through.