No Bad Babies

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 07:52pm
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A sippy cup hits the floor with a thud and your baby laughs madly as you mop up spilled milk and remind her that we don’t throw our things.

Later, she pulls every item out of the kitchen cabinet, spilling pots, pans and cooking supplies all over the floor. As you stack up the extra dishes it can be hard to see the positives of this behaviour.

Your baby, however, is just experimenting and learning about her world. When she drops her cups or pulls items out of cupboards she wonders what will happen, what will you do? Will the same thing happen if she does it again? And again?

Babies are miniature scientists. They learn about their world by experimenting, observing cause and effect and testing everything—including you. And they are relentless!

A baby who is experimenting is not misbehaving. Babies and young toddlers are way too young to know right from wrong. It may try your patience at times, but when you scold your baby or deem the behaviour naughty it puts both you and your child into a negative space. Instead, be patient and positive. Your persistent little scientist—with not a whole lot of memory yet—will definitely need your patience and guidance through Positive Parenting. Stay positive by criticizing your baby’s actions, not your baby and setting a good example, not throwing items when you are angry or frustrated.

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Nursery rhymes & your baby's language development

by Maxine
Posted December 4 2011 11:14pm
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Did you know nursery rhymes actually improve your baby's language skills; that they play an important role in helping her learn to read and to understand the grammatical structure of language?

And you thought Itsy Bitsy Spider was just entertaining your baby!

Now researchers have found that song-like rhythmic patterns that make rhyming fun are the very thing that draws attention to the rhythm of language. And when you tap or clap along to the beat of the story, you're really helping your child develop an awareness of the syllables and sounds that make up words. For example, in the rhyme Hickory, Dickory, Dock, each syllable can be clapped as you say the word Hick - o – ry (3 claps).

Nursery rhymes also set the stage for early reading by making children more aware of their own language and how sounds are combined to make words that sound alike - like "clock" and "dock".

Reciting nursery rhymes teaches the rhythm of speech and intonation as well as the grammatical structure of language. You can change your intonation to emphasize certain words or phrases, such as "climbed up the water spout " and …"washed the spider out". This emphasis is present in our everyday language. We raise our voices at the end of a question, and pause between sentences or phrases to emphasize a new thought.

Nursery rhymes also help a child articulate or say consonant sounds clearly. In "Hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle", the "d" sound is repeated several times. The sequence of words makes you use different tongue movements and change the position of your teeth against your lips. So the rhymes help children become more fluent in their speaking skills, and able to pronounce sounds they have trouble with.

Using the classic nursery rhymes below, try these activities with your child.

  • Point out rhyming words and ask your child to find more words in the rhyme that sound like these.
  • Point out words that start with the same sound(s) and ask your child to think of other words that start with the same sound.
  • Using things like a pencil on a tin can, tap out each syllable of the rhyme with a "drum" beat.
  • If your child knows the rhyme well, say parts of it and let him complete it. For example, let him fill in words at the end of lines that rhyme – like dock and clock.


Hickory, dickory, dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down,
Hickory, dickory, dock.

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.
And the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.

Hey diddle diddle
the cat and the fiddle
the cow jumped over the moon. The little dog laughed
to see such sport
and the dish
ran away with the spoon.


Content provided by Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network

What are your child’s favourite nursery rhymes and how do you use them to support her language development? Share your thoughts with other parents by leaving a comment below.


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Full time work and travel: How they will affect your baby

by Maxine
Posted January 2 2012 01:14pm
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Being away from your child can be very difficult for both of you. Research shows that parental absence is usually difficult initially when your child is between six months and two and a half years. If you're away for a few days or even a few hours, you may find that your child becomes very upset with you, even angry. If this happens, try to comfort and reassure her.

Spending time away from your child is sometimes necessary and, in most cases, these absences will cause no harm. If you have to be away longer than one or two days, you can make things easier by leaving your child with someone who knows him well, will understand he may be anxious and upset, and who will consistently reassure him of your return. It's also best to leave your child in familiar surroundings. It is helpful to try and have their day remain as consistent and predictable as possible, whether you are with them or they are in the care of another person (getting up the same time, having the same bedtime routing, nap time, etc.).

You can help to reassure your child and keep a positive relationship. When you return at the end of the day or after a trip, your child may tell you to "go away," or say, "I don't want you." What your child really means is that she missed you terribly and wishes she could have more control over your coming and going. Let you child know that it is okay to be mad or sad or grumpy. Tell them that you love them no matter what they feel and you are so glad to be home with them. To help your child feel a little of this control, allow her to keep her distance for an hour or so after you return if that's what she wants, or let her direct where you should sit. This may help your child feel more secure that she still has some say in her relationship with you. Above all, don’t get upset or chastise your child for not being happy to see you.

Be Honest. Some parents are inclined to tell their child they will be right back, or not tell their child they are leaving and then leave when the child is occupied or sleeping. Although this might seem easier it usually causes greater distress in the long run. You child may start to become extremely upset whenever you are out of their sight because they fear you are not going to return It is much better to tell you child you are leaving and when you are coming back. They may be too young to understand time, but you can help them by putting jellybeans (or a similar small, non-perishable food item) in a jar. One jellybean goes in for each day you are away. The child eats one jellybean at the same time each day and when all the jellybeans are gone, Mom or Dad is coming home.

Make coming home special. Always greet you child right after you arrive home and spend a few minutes with them. Cuddle, share stories, show pictures; just spend some nice time together. If there were issues with the child when you were away, save dealing with this until a little later. Your return home needs to be a pleasant time for all of you.

Include your child in preparing for you to leave. Give your child a role in helping you pack and in taking something to remind you about your child, (i.e. a picture, one of their toys, etc.). Having them participate will help them feel more included and will also help them to understand the difference between a “long trip” and just going to the store.

Connect with our child while you are away. Children respond well to structure and predictability. If you are away for more than a day, call just before bed, send an e-mail or talk to them via one of the social networking sites. Try to make your connection at the same time each day. After they wake up, at supper, or just before bed as an example. You might want to take one of their storybooks with you and read it to them as a part of their bedtime routine. A great idea that some parents have used is to have two copies of favourite storybooks so that as the parent read one over the phone or internet, the child can follow with their own book.

Children do adjust. Remember that there are millions of parents who work full time, part time and travel away from home and their children are doing just fine.

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Choosing Toys for Your Baby

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 10:00am
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Hitting the toy store when you’re a parent can be an exercise in being overwhelmed. There are rows and rows of shiny, colourful objects and it’s hard to know which ones are worth the price. First-time parents can be especially unsure, as it’s hard to know what their new baby will enjoy and what toys will help with her development.

In order to choose the best toys available, parents need to understand a bit about their child’s development. Our experts have created the following list of skills that a one-month-old has developmentally – these are great things to keep in mind when choosing toys for a newborn. But remember, your baby’s best toy in the first year will will always be you!

Typical Emotional Skills

  • Enjoys/needs a great deal of physical contact and tactile stimulation.
  • Responds positively to comfort and satisfaction.

Typical Fine Motor Skills

  • Stares at colourful objects 8 – 14 inches away.
  • Follows person with eyes while lying on back.
  • Generally keeps hands closed in a fist or slightly open.
  • When fingers are pried open from their usual fist position, baby grasps the handle of a spoon or rattle, but drops it quickly. 

Typical Gross Motor Skills

  • Lifts her head when held against your chest; his head sags, flops forward or backwards when not supported.
  • All arm, leg and hand are usually held in a flex position; when they do move it is with little control.
  • When lying on her back, you will see the tonic neck reflex which is characterized by the head turned to one side; the arm on the side that the head is turned is extended while the other arm is bent upwards.  The leg on the side that the head is turned is extended and the other leg is bent at the knee.  This is similar to the position that a fencer assumes.
  • When on her tummy, she turns her head to clear her nose from bed; may lift head briefly.

Typical Intellectual Skills

  • Cries when hungry or uncomfortable.
  • May make throaty sounds like ‘ooooh’ or ‘aaaah’.
  • Pays close attention to faces of those closest to him.
  • Responds to loud or sudden noises with a sudden start; this is one of the early signs of a developing response system.
  • Focuses on high contrast patterns and faces; prefers these to bright or big objects.

Typical Social Skills

  • Fixes eyes on your face in response to your smile.
  • Moves body in response to your voice during interaction.
  • Quiets down when looking at familiar faces.
  • Engages in eye contact.

Here are some kinds of toys your infant might enjoy.

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