Toddlers LOVE your company

Ignore the kitchen mess, go sit on the floor with your toddler and watch their face for signs of interest in a particular item. Encourage them to bring it to the mat on the floor to play with.

Only touch/play with an item just enough to show you’re engaged with them. Apart from that, butt out! Sit on your hands if need be – they want to do stuff! What’s important is you’re supporting them just by being next to them as they explore.

Use prompt phrases, such as: “would that go on top?” or “you’ve built a tall tower”. Reiterate what they’ve done. Offer a commentary without saying: “ooh good girl, you’re so clever”. When they succeed at the tiniest thing they will intrinsically feel elated.

And you’re not telling them what to do or taking over. This is their crucial cognitive development exercise. You don’t need the practice, they do. The more you help, the less they learn. If it’s a block tower they’re building don’t straighten it up. They will figure out when it falls they should be more careful next time. Statements such as: “oh no, look what you’ve done now”, are incredibly unhelpful. Try: “oh, the tower fell down. You could try and build another one”.

By doing this simple thing, sitting on the floor engaged with your toddler, they will feel safe, secure and loved. This gives them confidence to keep exploring and learning, thus laying the foundation for positive life-long learning habits.

As they get a little older and you’re in the habit of doing this with them, encourage them to go build a tower (or another game you’ve enjoyed together), and tell them you will be there right after you’ve tidied the kitchen. You are thereby gently extricating yourself and reducing their reliance on you. But you’re never far away and are still offering positive comments.

Where do parents go for legitimate advice? As a qualified teacher I have access to incredible resources, based on the latest scientific research and backed up by academia.  Google is not the whole answer. I offer you a credible, valuable and scientific alternative that is further supported through observation and experience.

Disclaimer:  Due to the limit of words statements will not be referenced. Sweeping statements and general comments are not fleeting, throw-away opinions on a subject. They are backed by scientific research and a vast academic resource. 

Babies LOVE to talk

Did you know…

From aged 4-7 months babies are trying hard to communicate without crying.  They experiment with sounds they’re able to make with their mouths and spend time babbling and imitating you.  Encourage them!

Babies start to understand the fundamentals of communication and know your soothing tones are comforting, and your cross tone means something is wrong. They recognise their name first, pause when they hear ‘no’, and will start associating words with familiar objects.

They love vocal interactions so if you copy their sounds it gives them confidence and encourages them to keep experimenting. I used to carry my kids around the house and point to something and say its name. Just one word repeated slowly, then move to the next thing. Babies understand words long before they can physically say them so cut back on the baby talk and use words correctly. Have a conversation and wait for your baby to ‘answer’. The volleying back and forth needs to be encouraged. For instance, “Do you want a teddy? (pause) This is your teddy,” as you show it to your baby. Wait for a response and pause long enough to allow them the chance to reply. Then ask another question. And please – don’t let your baby have a dummy (pacifier) during waking hours. They miss the chance to experiment with sounds when their mouth is occupied. You may find your baby is taking longer to talk than another baby who does not use one, or develop a speech impediment if they continue using one well after their two’s. 

Look at the concentration on this bub’s face! He is loving the closeness to his mum’s face and fascinated by her moving mouth that is producing sounds. She is smiling as well as speaking, and the bub is reassured by her positive, happy interaction.

Where do parents go for legitimate advice? As a qualified teacher I have access to incredible resources, based on scientific research and backed up by academia.  Google is not the whole answer. I offer you a credible, valuable and scientific alternative that is further supported through observation and experience.

Disclaimer:  Due to the limit of words statements will not be referenced. Sweeping statements and general comments are not fleeting, throw-away opinions on a subject. They are backed by scientific research and a vast academic resource. 

Newborns LOVE input

Did you know…

Aristotle said we had five senses, but in fact isolating senses does not cause perception. Experts state that real perception is about integrating information across all senses and moving around in order to perceive better.

Walk around with your newborn positioned so they can see what you’re looking at but also have the opportunity of looking at your face.

Point to an object, name it, show them what it does, how it sounds, how it smells (if that’s possible), ask what else you could do with it? This is your opportunity to be an actor. Use slower, exaggerated movements. Ask questions aloud (no, you won’t get an answer…yet). Pull faces. But be constantly connected to their eyes, keeping your face close to theirs.

When bub’s on their back on the floor hold a small object above them (at about their shoulder level), say “ball”, touch their left hand with it, then slowly move it above them in an arc and touch their right hand. Encourage them to grab it, hold their palms up and rub it on their palm. Place it on the floor just out of reach and encourage them to try grab it (roll them on their side to facilitate the action). This encourages so much cognitive development you would be amazed.

With such simple, but regular input from you their world is becoming enormous and real. And most importantly, when you are connected with them they feel safe.

Where do parents go for legitimate advice? As a qualified teacher I have access to incredible resources, based on the latest scientific research and backed up by academia.  Google is not the whole answer. I offer you a credible, valuable and scientific alternative that is further supported through observation and experience.

Disclaimer:  Due to the limit of words statements will not be referenced. Sweeping statements and general comments are not fleeting, throw-away opinions on a subject. They are backed by scientific research and a vast academic resource. 

Newborns LOVE your face

Did you know…

From birth, babies have a LOT to learn, and their brains are on an exponential growth trajectory, making millions of neural pathway connections through stimulation. Yes, through stimulation so no, they don’t want to sleep 22 hours a day. They need input!

Experts suggest 14-17 hours of sleep are required, the rest of the time is for feeding and learning. But even during feeding, be connected to your bub. Look at their eyes, talk or sing to them. Constant sounds from you 20-30cm from their eyes allows them to focus on you and realise you are their special person.

FYI, bub doesn’t know if you can sing in tune, that’s not important. What is important is that you are present and connected to your bub. Sitting and watching TV, or playing with your phone, is not being connected. It is losing a precious opportunity to help your child develop their cognitive skills. And how simple is that? You are your bub’s incredibly important first teacher, helping them develop their ability to think, understand and communicate. They are also learning how to remember and imagine or work out what might happen next in their world.

So warm up those vocal cords, google nursery rhymes, and be prepared to talk and sing out loud a LOT!

Where do parents go for legitimate advice? As a qualified teacher I have access to incredible resources, based on the latest scientific research and backed up by academia.  Google is not the whole answer. I offer you a credible, valuable and scientific alternative that is further supported through observation and experience.

Disclaimer:  Due to the limit of words statements will not be referenced. Sweeping statements and general comments are not fleeting, throw-away opinions on a subject. They are backed by scientific research and a vast academic resource. 

Babies LOVE order

Did you know…

Far from being a blank page when they are born, babies are sucking in information at an incredible rate and trying to make sense of it. A newborn is not just resting, eating and going back to sleep. They are desperately trying to scaffold their learning, figuring out how to make sense of new information and concreting it in place to refer back to later.

Think of their newly-received information as pieces of a puzzle. Where will it go? How will it fit? If the scaffold it’s fitting into keeps changing then learning will take a lot longer.

So let’s look at a new baby’s environment. What can they latch onto that represents a constant?  Their bed, their hanging mobile, their parents/carers, their routine. From birth to around 6 months these variables should remain constant. Any new information, such as a change of environment, will set them back a little, making them re-do the puzzle and becoming confused.

If you need to change their environment they’ll need time to settle in. Support them by keeping up with the other variables (for example: same routine, same carer, same hanging mobile).

Where do parents go for legitimate advice? As a qualified teacher I have access to incredible resources, based on scientific research and backed up by academia.  Google is not the whole answer. I offer you a credible, valuable and scientific alternative that is further supported by observation and experience.

Disclaimer:  Due to the limit of words statements will not be referenced. Sweeping statements and general comments are not fleeting, throw-away opinions on a subject. They are backed by scientific research and a vast academic resource. 

Brilliantly told… an eye opener

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BOOK REVIEW: Is this a children’s story… a parent’s how-to perhaps? I was unsure what to expect with this book, but it captivated me immediately and held me spellbound throughout. I’m giving a full 5 stars because this is a brilliant story – could make it as a classic. It’s a wonderful read for children, and it shows us all the bullying experience through a child’s eyes. The tale itself is clever and highly impactful (had my lip quivering once or twice – the shoes). Expertly detailed and written.

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