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Your Baby’s Sleep – Wake Patterns

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 04:11pm
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As a new parent, one of the first things you discover is that your baby’s sleep patterns are very different than your own. A baby’s sleep pattern is not predictable and it can be a big adjustment! Some newborns sleep 16 hours a day, some 21 and some only 11 – and over the course of their first 6 months, they will pass through a number of different stages.

In the first few months, your baby will pass back and forth between periods of sleep and wakefulness, each amounting to about 3 or 4 hours. Once your baby is 3 or 4 months old, nighttime sleep tends to lengthen.

“Adults tend to spend about 20% of their night in a light Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep, but very young infants spend about half of their sleep there,” explains Karon Foster, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. “It’s normal for babies to lie quietly or seem like they’re neither really awake nor really asleep. If nothing catches their attention, they may just fall back to sleep.”

Sleeping and eating go together, so as time between feedings increases, your baby will have stretches where they will sleep for a longer period of time. But remember, babies wakeful times are not completely linked to food. Your baby’s internal clock regulates eating, sleeping, elimination and moods. As newborns, babies don’t know the difference between night and day – they sleep and wake at any time.

 

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Comfort, Play & Teach Everyday Moment Cards

by Maxine
Posted April 22 2011 02:19pm
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When is a meal more than just a meal? When you add a specific action to comfort, play with or teach your child and she responds in a developmentally-appropriate way. The Comfort, Play & Teach actions described in these cards transform daily routines into teachable moments to support many aspects of your child's healthy development. 

Below you can download PDF copies of individual cards or of the whole set. Make the most of the everyday moments you spend with your child with Comfort, Play & Teach.

 Download the Comfort, Play & Teach Everyday Moment Let's Learn Cards

 

 

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Two languages at home with your baby

by Maxine
Posted January 3 2012 12:14pm
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We often hear that children are like “sponges”, and that they can learn any language easily while they are young. This is true, but only when they have lots of exposure to the language. Children can only absorb as much as they are given. This means that for your child to develop his or her ability to use both languages equally well, your child must hear and eventually speak both languages often.

In some communities, this can happen naturally if both languages have equal status and the child is exposed to various people, in the family and beyond, who speak one language or the other (or both). In other cases, raising a bilingual child requires conscious planning and effort. Both parents will need to agree on their strategies for making this happen.

If one of you speaks English and the other parent speaks a minority language, like French in many parts of Canada, or any other language that is not widely used in your community, it is important to create opportunities for the child to be exposed to that language. Children understand from a young age that one of their languages is not used very much outside their home, and because they naturally have more opportunities to hear and speak English, their ability to use the other language may lag. This can lead to a situation where the child understands the other language, but does not speak it.

Here are some tips to help your child be bilingual:

Speak your own native language to your child. You are a better model for your child when you use the language you know best.

Develop a social network that includes both languages. Attending friendly gatherings, community events and doing other activities with people who speak each language provide opportunities to practice, and reinforce the message that both languages are useful and valued.

Ensure that your child develops a strong foundation in the minority language from a young age by enrolling him or her, if possible, in a child care or preschool where the minority language is the primary or only language spoken.

Research and create a list of services available in the minority language, and give them a preference (e.g. health professionals like doctors and dentists, as well as libraries, movie theatres, community centres, etc). This may involve planning ahead, or driving a little further, but your efforts will greatly benefit your child.

Make sure you have books, videos/DVDs and music in both languages in your home, and that your child is exposed to them. This reinforces your child’s language skills and strengthens your child’s appreciation of each of your cultures.

Arrange visits to and from family members who speak the minority language. Stays abroad or visits from extended family can give a boost to the language that tends to be neglected.

Depending on the languages you speak and the community where you live, some of these options may not be available. The important thing is to create as much balance as possible between the two languages, and to start doing this as early as possible in your child’s life.

Do you speak more than one language in your home? Do you encourage and provide your child with the tools he needs to speak both? Share your experiences below by leaving a comment.

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Your baby and learning more than one language

by Maxine
Posted January 2 2012 03:50pm
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Fortunately, most young children can learn two or more languages as they grow up, especially in the years before they go to school. They might show slight delays in vocabulary growth in each language at first, because they are learning two or more sets of words at once. But by the time they have reached grade five, they often have a more advanced knowledge of language than other children who speak only one language.

When a child is learning two languages, she may mix words from both languages into her sentences, but she will eventually learn to separate the languages correctly.

You should go ahead and speak the language you are comfortable with to your child. It's also good to read to him in that language, and use it when you are playing with him, as well.

And remember, it's much better to speak to your child in your native language often than to talk very little because you think you should only speak in English or only French, and you aren't comfortable doing so.

Click here for more on teaching your child to speak two languages. 

Do you speak more than one language at home? Are you encouraging your baby to speak both? Post a comment and share your strategies with other parents.

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