Babies don’t just coo and gurgle!

crawling baby

Parenting young babies is never easy. Parents struggle with feeding, nappy changes and lack of sleep! Well this blog is dedicated to parents of infants especially in the age group of 6 to 9 months. Babies coo and gurgle and make us smile but did you know that inside the brain of babies, neurons are being connected ? This brain development is visible if you observe babies and what they do.

 

During ‘babyhoood’ your baby will be able to –

  •       Identify Sounds: will turn and look at you as you approach or talk
  •       Produce Sounds: like cooing or babbling.baby playing
  •       Start Interacting:  appearance of social smile and like to interact
  •       Start paying attention: to toys and words or songs
  •       Roll Over: from the back to the stomach
  •       Grasp and Bang:  loves to grasp objects, hold one in each hand and sometimes even bangs them together.

So here are some terms for parents to remember and use in daily parenting with infants –

  •          Reciprocity-  This is the period of the onset of social smiling, which means your baby now consciously smiles to get your attention or to engage you, it is important to remember and practise reciprocity in all baby smiling 2your daily interactions with baby. Talk or coo to your baby and then pause and give a chance for your baby to respond. Sometimes it will be with a smile, or cooing and babbling. Reciprocity will be the foundation of social development for your baby.

 

  •       Tummy time –we tend to keep babies on the bed or cot or baby bags, but we must give tummy time to the baby too. So place your baby on its tummy often during play timbaby tummye. Remember sleep on the back and play on the tummy. Putting your baby to sleep on the back is important from the point of view of SIDS- sudden infant death syndrome, in baby cots. That is why I love the Indian cradle made of cloth, it not only takes the baby’s body shape, but keeps baby safe from SIDS and gives baby the feeling of being safe and coddled just like in the uterus. So time to bring back the Indian cloth cradle

 

  •        Floor play- infants and kids today are spending more and more time in baby bags, feeding chairs etc, which needs to change.  Floor play helps infants move and touch freely and also gives them the necessary feeling of free baby playing toymovement which restrained chairs etc are unable to provide . This is beneficial for brain development and overall physical growth and will also improve your baby’s eating and sleeping cycle.

 

  •        Face to face play- it is so tempting to leave babies to play with toys on their own, but at this crucial stage it is important that you engage your baby in face to face play, sing songs, peek a boo etc. This helps your baby bond with you, nurtures a sense of trust and communication in your baby.

mother baby playing

  •         Receptive and expressive vocabulary- your baby’s language development has two parts, first is receptive language skills which means before learning to talquote bubblek your baby should be ‘talked to’ so your baby ‘receives’ language much more than your baby is able to express. How much your baby will talk and how early depends on the receptive language that your baby is exposed to. So talk, describe and engage your baby’s vocabulary development.

 

  •       Grasping and releasing –  children-toy-collection-on-a-shelf_1306-284before 6 months your baby’s grasping was almost reflexive. Now there is focused grasping of objects, though releasing will still be slightly primitive. So they might ‘dump’ objects instead of releasing them. So play games that help baby grasp and reach for objects. Give different objects and toys for baby to grasp. Remember not to push for handedness, many parents want the baby to use the right hand and so offer toys placed more towards the right side of the baby. Always place toys or hold out toys in the middle and let baby choose the hand to use.

 

  •     Mouth the ‘lab’ of your little scientist – everything that your baby grasps will first land in your little scientists ‘lab’, the mouth! This is because the mouth of young babies has more sensory points then the hands or feet. So actually they feel with their mouths. Try not to stop them, instead choose toys that are safe, non toxic for your baby and help your baby to use the ‘lab’. Remember the brain thrivmouthses on sensory stimulation so the ‘lab’ is directly connected to brain growth.

Happy baby parenting.

 

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Te Whariki and your child’s toybox!

 

Te Whariki

Play needs to be constructive and healthy for children. ‘Monster’ toys like battery operated toys, computer games are not toys as they lead to many socio-emotional and cognitive problems. So then what kind of toys should parents select to enhance the play experience for kids?

Te Whariki curriculum framework for the early years, new zealanda New Zealand government framework is one of our favorites. At Born Smart one of our experts, Dr. Swati Popat Vats,  inspired by it has designed the following criteria based on it to help parents select the right toys and play material for young babies and toddlers.

  1. Empowerment– toys should make children independent rather than dependent, so avoid battery operated toys.
  2.  Holistic development– try choosing toys that develop more than one skill.
  3. Family and community– it is seen that the level of children’s play rises when adults join in the play with them. However, a word of caution- “joining in” should not be about controlling the play because controlling creates stress and will not lead to any cognitive development.  Choose toys that are like group projects.

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4.Relationships– toys such as role play kits are good for dramatic play. When children follow the rules of make-believe and push one another to follow those rules, they develop important habits of self control.

5.Well being–  toys should make children feel safe. Any kind of games of play that bring about fear or anxiety would not be good for the well being of the child.

6.Belonging– toys must belong to the child, let them put them away, let them decide and let them take care. Toys that always need adult supervision while playing will not inculcate a sense of belonging in the child.

7. Contribution– the child should be able to contribute in the play or in the use of the toy, toys that work on their own will breed boredom that leads to frustration and sometimes violence.

8. Communication– language development is one of the important skills developed through play and toys. Ensure that correct toys are selected to enhance this.

9. Exploration– allow children the chance to explore the entire toy, do not interfere or lead the game. A sense of exploration and excitement, is an integral part of all learning and play.

With brain research facts available to parents today, it is important that parents make the right choice of turning their child’s toy box into learning and nurturing spaces and not ‘monster play’ spaces. When enough people raise ‘Play’ to the status it deserves in our lives, we will find the world a smarter place for kids.

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A four letter word that helps nurture smarter, happier brains! Any guesses?

The word is PLAY. Learning happens during play because play is the work of childhood.  We can nurture children through play based learning and growth especially in the early years, the most significant years.

Girl playingFredrick Froebel, the father of kindergarten (kinder=child, garten=garden) invented games that he called ‘gifts’, there were 13 gifts in the Froebelian method that teachers were trained to gift children with related songs. Each gift taught kids important concepts of counting, math, concepts, science and math, all through playing with the gifts. This was learning through play.

 

 

 

children-toy-collection-on-a-shelf_1306-284

Maria Montessori designed didactic equipment that involved children’s brain, muscles and senses. Children would learn language, counting, science, geography, all through puzzles, games and activities. This was learning through play.

Lev Vygotsky believed that play helps nurture social and language skills in young children and he stressed on the importance of play in early childhood environments. This was learning through play

Brain research has made significant discoveries about how the brain is stimulated through play. The hand and the brain need each other- Neurologically, “a hand is always in search of a brain and a brain is in search of a hand”- Wilson. Use of the hands to manipulate three-dimensional objects is an essential part of brain development. According to latest brain research when kids play with blocks, push around toys, throw balls, this is constantly fertilizing neural growth.

And the play personality of your child changes as per the age and development of your child. Observe babies in the first nine months as they manipulate toys, they reach for, hold, release, suck with the toy. The focus is on manipulation as their finger muscles are developing and their brain uses all the five senses to learn. This is learning through play.

From 9 to 18 months children will be involved in function games with their toys, tossing, pressing, throwing etc. they are curious to know what each toy can do. This is learning through play.

18 months onwards when the brain is now geared for imagination, children indulge in imaginative play; they give a functional twist at a symbolic level to the toy or object. So a long block is used as a mobile phone or banana. This is the beginning of symbolic play that is the foundation of learning to read and write. When a child can visualize an object as having another function then the child will be able to see the word ‘c-a-t’ and visualize a cat. This is learning through play.

So if kids don’t play, they don’t learn and that is why play is called the work of childhood.

So watch your kids play today and observe these schema in their play. What is a schema?  A schema is a repeated action in children.

  1. Trajectory – fascinated by the way they themselves or objects move through the air.
  2. Rotation– Children who just adore circles and anything that goes round
  3. Positioning- children who are always placing things in some kind of order
  4. Transporting- children who are always on the move, moving items and often carrying a bag
  5. Enveloping– children who like to cover themselves or objects as well as hiding
  6. Enclosure- children who love to surround or enclose either themselves or other objects
  7. Connecting– connectors simply enjoy attaching themselves or objects to other things
  8. Transforming- these children spend hours mixing

 

Yes, children thrive on play because their brains learn best with play. So even though play is a 4-letter word it is one of the best words that adults should speak around children. So tell your child to play today…and play along…it keeps you young!

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Let’s Get Fruity

 

Fruits are extremely essential in our diet and each fruit has something to contribute to our health. And there is a reason why some fruits only come in a particular season.

For those mothers whose kids say yuck, the minute you mention the name of a fruit, we would suggest give funky names to the fruit before serving it to the child and always cut the fruit differently, and then see your child eat the same fruit for 5 days but with a different shape and name!

Children love songs and when a puppet sings them, it’s all the more fun, so make your fruit a puppet by making the fruit sing and dance and then see your kids want to reach out and munch the fruit!

Some Do’s to make fruits fun for kids-
1. Give the fruit a funky name- so instead of apple say ‘abby dabby doo doo’.
2. Give it a funky look- cut with a jagged edge knife or cut slices instead of dicing etc
3. Mix two fruits together for colour effect
4. Don’t give fruits after a meal as kids would be too full. Nutritive value of fruits is best absorbed by the body when eaten atleast an hour before a meal.
5. Eat the fruit with your kids, kids learn by imitation so the more they see you enjoy, the more they will enjoy and want it too.

Some Don’t’s about fruit fun for kids-

 


1. Don’t make fruits a forced feeding for kids- ‘have your fruits or I will not give you your toy’ – avoid doing this.
2. Never add salt, or sugar or any salty or sweet additives to make fruits more acceptable for kids, this will only add more salt and sugar content in their diet and will take away the nutritive value of fruits, not to mention the deadly effect on their teeth!
3. Fruit juice and cut fruits are different; see that your child gets both.
4. Packaged fruit or fruit juice is not nutritive at all, don’t go for any tall claims made by the company selling them
5. Never give your child cold fruits to eat, let the fruit be room temperature.

Know more about your common fruit-

1. Papaya- has papain that helps digest proteins
2. Banana has calcium, good for the bones

3. Apple- latest research shows that apple is good for the brain! Regularly munching on apples can boost our brainpower and even fight off age related brain damage. It is thought that the antioxidants in the fruit help to keep key neurons alive and the juice seems to prevent a decline in brain functioning by maintaining acetylcholine, a vital neurochemical.

4. Orange- has vitamin c keeps you away from colds

5. Pear- it is an antioxidant and prevents constipation

6. Grapes– help good blood flow and keeps blood vessels relaxed

7. Mango- excellent for toning up heart muscles and improves skin texture

8. Strawberry- it is good for immune system

9. Guava- it prevents cancer and heart diseases

10. Watermelon- it helps control blood pressure.

 

Don’t you think it’s time to go fruity?

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Website:http://www.born-smart.com/                                              Reach us:7045949635

Twitter:https://twitter.com/BornSmartKids
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/Born-Smart-1498823147055838/?fref=ts
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