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Posts Tagged ‘Infant’

Baby Safety Tips

A few helpful tips for first-time moms and dads:

  • Always place your baby on her back to sleep unless your pediatrician advises otherwise for medical reasons;Baby
  • Remember not to put bumpers and blankets in an infant’s crib;
  • Be sure to childproof your home before your baby begins to crawl. Get down to a baby’s level and crawl around looking at your home from a baby’s point of view. Ensure that electrical cords and outlets are child-proof and that TVs and other electrical devices are safe;
  • Make sure that an adult feeds your baby until she can safely hold her own bottle. Propping bottles can be dangerous;
  • Be sure all toys are age appropriate. A great rule of thumb is that toys that fit in an empty toilet paper tube are too small for a baby;
  • Remember that babies are naturally curious. Save the word “No!” for when it really matters, like when safety is concerned.

Tips for Your Baby’s First Days

Your baby’s first days can be quite an adjustment, especially since you might not be getting enough sleep. Remember to do the following:

  • Sleep when your baby sleeps;
  • Keep scheduled activities to a minimum. Settling into a schedule with a new baby takes time;
  • Accept help when it is offered. You can’t do everything yourself, and that’s okay;
  • Leave baby with a trusted family member or friend so you can get a few minutes to yourself;
  • Eat properly and drink lots of water. Taking care of yourself will give you the energy you need to take care of your newborn;
  • Let non-essential household chores wait. Give yourself a little leeway and enjoy your baby’s first days;
  • Set limits with visitors. This may mean insisting that visitors wash their hands before holding your baby or asking anyone who is ill not to visit until he or she feels better. Also, let friends and loved ones know the best times to visit and how much or how little time you have for these visits.

Baby Safety Tips: September is National Baby Safety Month

  • Blocks - Infant GirlBabies should always be placed on their backs to sleep—unless your pediatrician advises you otherwise for medical concerns. Remember, bumpers and blankets in the crib are a no-no for infants.
  • Be sure to child-proof your home before your baby begins to crawl. Get down to a baby’s level and crawl around—really look at your home from a baby’s point of view. Child-proof cords, electrical outlets, TVs, etc. accordingly.
  • Until your baby can safely hold her own bottle, be sure an adult feeds baby. Bottle propping can be dangerous.
  • Be sure that all toys are age appropriate. A great rule of thumb: if a toy can fit in an empty toilet paper tube, that toy is too small for baby.
  • Babies are naturally very curious. Be sure to save “No!” for when it really matters—in the case of safety or something you feel most strongly about.

Naptime Tips

Consistency is the key when it comes to your child’s naptime.  It is an important part of their day, and a regular naptime routine will ensure that your child gets the sleep she needs. Below are a few tips that can help make naptime a breeze:

  • Choose a regular, daily naptime and stick to it—early afternoon is best.
  • Have your child visit the potty before heading off for their nap.
  • Naps should occur in the same place your child sleeps at night.
  • Choose a calming activity to do for a few minutes before naptime to help your little one wind down, e.g., they can practice a few yoga poses or flip through their favorite book.
  • Enter the room with the lights off or dimmed low.
  • Play soothing music or sing a soft lullaby to help them fall asleep.
  • Provide a “lovey” for naptime snuggling.

Focus On: Traveling with Children

Whether traveling via plane, train or car, the following here are some traveling tips for your next family vacation:

INFANT TO ONE YEAR

  • Plan for an active stretch. A rest stop break or a playground – let them walk or toddle for twenty or so minutes before climbing back in the car.
  • Bring music, mobiles, bubbles and books.
  • Pre-measure formula into bottles and carry a room temperature bottle of water to mix on the go.
  • Be prepared for a mess – snacks, diapers, spit-up, etc. – small trash bag, wipes, hand sanitizer (for the adults), spare water, tissues, bib and a blanket.
  • Even if you are traveling by plane, a car seat can double as a feeding chair or nap location. Call ahead for a crib to be added to your hotel room.
  • Be prepared and do not overload yourself. If time allows, buy what you can when you get to your destination.

FIRST STEPS (12-18 MONTHS)

  • Many of the Infant travel tips apply here.
  • Use “links” to keep toys within your child’s reach.
  • Even in the cool weather, crack a window for fresh air. Stale air may make your little one grumpy. Remove heavy jackets and shoes for comfort.
  • Bring music, books, stuffed animal, play mirror and foam shapes that will “stick” to the car seat. In an airplane – bring/purchase headphones for music and rest it on your child’s shoulders instead of over their ears.
  • Have some active playtime just before leaving and plan for frequent stops. In an airplane, let children walk down the aisle periodically at their own pace.
  • Airports can be a bustling place. This may be the one time you check your luggage at the curb. This way you can focus on your little one’s needs without the hassle of luggage in tow.

TODDLER AND GET SET (18-36 MONTHS)

  • Many of the First Steps travel tips apply here.
  • Play window games – count the silos, trucks or red lights.
  • Attach a mirror to the front passenger visor so you can see and interact with your toddler without having to spin around.
  • Buckle up a toy bin right next to the children so they can help themselves – books, links, stuffed animals and puppets.
  • Have your child help you pack a picnic lunch or snack and then serve it to everyone.
  • A blanket can make a quick play space in any lobby, airport, etc.

PRESCHOOL TO PRE-K (36 MONTHS +)

  • ‘I Spy’ a blue car, a white truck and other objects you can see while moving.
  • Laptop desk for drawing with paper and crayons.
  • Car-Ride Checklist – make a picture itinerary of landmarks you will see along the way.
  • Ask your child to keep score – gas prices, mileage or count out toll money.
  • Play “I’m thinking of an animal.” Provide age-appropriate hints to help your child guess a particular animal.
  • If you’re using a hotel babysitter: 1– Check the sitter’s credentials, including criminal and/or child abuse clearances. 2 – Check the room and the equipment in the room. 3 – Carry your phone and check your phone service when you arrive at your destination.

What Your Child Learns Through Play

There are a myriad of developmental skills that children learn through play. From their infant to Pre-Kindergarten stages, children are experiencing and learning new things each and every day. With play consuming most of their time, there are different things children learn during every stage of their growth.

Infant to Six Months: Everything is a baby’s first. For example, the first time a baby opens his eyes in his bassinet, he discovers something new – an animal on his mobile. The next morning, there it is again. Will it be there tomorrow? Yes, and then baby learns to trust that when he opens his eyes he will always see the mobile’s giraffe looking back at him. Babies will engage in play first by responding to sounds, then by following objects and people with their eyes. Your baby will demonstrate his memory by repeating an action that made you laugh yesterday. Once infants can hold a rattle a whole new world opens up – you will watch them turn it over, bang it, shake it and even taste it. Rolling over also widens a baby’s world from what is placed before him to 360 degrees of eye-catching curiosity. The new world is fun.

Six Months to One Year: Baby is now his own driving force to play. He no longer needs an adult or older sibling to spark his interest. Rolling over and sitting up has created choices and as he discovers how to move from lying to sitting, he is covering ground and taking aim at his own source of interest. Place toys within and outside of your baby’s reach to encourage self-discovery and motion. Your child is brilliant and will look at a familiar object when called by name. Babies not only want to turn objects around, they want to talk to them and use them the way you tell them to use them. See my hands! You say “clap” with a smile on your face and baby wants to clap and smile, too.

First Steps (12 to 18 months): No longer a baby, a First Stepper “steps” into everything. A First Step child will play with water, smell a flower (which is not as easy as you think) and recognize animals like the ones from the mobile. He will join in the conversation with simple words and phrases and respond to “bye, bye,” with an unsolicited wave. One-year-olds love to demonstrate their knowledge – they will point to anything you name and find body parts, like their ears, when they cannot even see them. They have learned to trust their own experiences with their ears. Your one-year-old will play with you and imitate your actions. Watch your child reflect your love a baby doll with “hugs and kisses” and help you the way you have guided him.

Toddler (18-30 months): A toddler’s world is all about ME – “Me do it”! This demonstration of independence is an exercise in trusting the child’s own limits. A toddler will speak on a play phone and answer questions such as “Why?” and “Where?” Playing is on his terms – when and how. Toddlers love new experiences, too. They have graduated from ‘turning it over and tasting it’ to doing it right. A toddler will put a puzzle together, hold crayons in his hand, hum and sing as he plays, and join activities without prompting. Give your toddler plenty of opportunities to join in imaginary play – pour from one cup to another and manipulate play dough.

Get Set (30 to 36 months): Just like the name states, get set for more play. The Get Set child is truly developing an identity. He knows his own name – first and last – and can tell you where his friends are playing. Get Setters know ‘they can do it’ and want to be like adults. They will share and wait turns, communicate in short sentences and demonstrate their personal understanding of the world around them in their play. Get Set children will soak up any information you share with them. They can understand words like “under” and “over” and the description of how a plant grows. Art is no longer about exploring the material itself, but rather what they can do with the material. They will even paint with the opposite side of the paint brush just to see what it will create. Get set for your child to amaze you with his knowledge of good hygiene and specific book choices. A Get Set child can also multi-task now; try singing and doing the motions to the song or have a conversation while he paints.

Preschool (36 months +): This is the age of expectations. The preschool child’s play looks like going to work. As he mingles among the Interest Centers he is also playing out a role. Preschoolers have a large vocabulary and understand the intonations of language. As they act out a role, they will try on different emotions and see how they fit into their own personality. Preschoolers have begun to connect the spoken word to written language and can orally retell a favorite story. They are interested in cause and effect and can identify their colors, shapes, sizes and weights; and they want to explore what happens when they change them. A preschool child may remain in a particular Interest Center for long periods of time until he has exhausted his curiosity. Don’t forget to stand back because the preschool child also needs his space to move. Watch as he develops rhythm and tempo as both an individual or group learner. Either way, preschoolers are movers and shakers.

Pre-Kindergarten (48 months +): Complexity is the nature of the Pre-K classroom. Pre-Kindergarteners are complex social beings wanting to play with specific friends and still identifying when they want to do it alone. They can recognize how objects and people are the same and different simultaneously, and they can appreciate those attributes. Playing is beginning to turn into concepts. For instance, all of the exploration at the water table develops into an understanding of water – floating, sinking, absorbing, dissolving, etc. Pre-K children use their four years of play experience to develop an identifiable knowledge – they can match by relationships and verbalize invisible concepts, such as time and calendars. They no longer need to see or hold the toy to play; they can recall previous experiences and use the knowledge. While listening to music they can name the instrument, move to the beat and sing along. In Pre-K, phonemic awareness and the written word are magical – writing words is play.