Cues and Attachment

by Maxine
Posted June 21 2011 03:50pm
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All babies need their parents and caregivers to provide sensitive, responsive attention to them. When you do this, your baby learns to trust you and forms an attachment to you.

Your baby will send cues to you when he is ready for you to engage with him, and will send different cues when he has had enough.

  • Crying: babies cry when their feelings are out of control. They cry when they are hungry, tired, bored or in pain. Find more on crying here.
  • Facial expressions: quivering lips and furrowed eyebrows usually mean your baby has had enough stimulation, and just needs some comfort, or some down time. A smile means she is ready to engage with you.
  • Eyes: wide open eyes are an indication your baby is ready for more contact. An averted gaze means, please stop whatever you are doing.
  • Gestures: even small babies can bat things away, when they are tired or irritable. And they quickly learn to hold their arms up, when they want to be picked up.

Your baby's cues are signals for you to provide some attention, but what kind of attention? Here are a number of different ways you can engage with your baby:

  • Soothe him
  • Feed him
  • Hold and cuddle him
  • Provide body contact, or skin-to-skin contact
  • Show affection
  • Gesture back – mimic him
  • Change your facial expression
  • Sing, hum, whistle
  • Talk to him as if he can understand you
  • Do some physical activities, like running, skipping or jumping together

If your baby is feeling hurt, sick, upset, sad, frightened or lonely:

  • Comfort and reassure her by holding, kissing, and talking quietly and calmly
  • Take her to a quieter environment where it is calm

You can make it easy for your child to become attached to you by paying special attention to her when caring for her daily physical needs. For example, during:

  • Feeding - hold your baby comfortably, looking at your baby face-to-face, this is an opportunity to hold your baby skin-to-skin
  • Diapering/dressing - talk, sing, smile, and play games, such as peek-a-boo
  • Sleeping - sing a pre-nap song, recite a rhyme or tell a story, hold and rock your baby
  • Bathing - talk about the body parts as you wash and dry your baby


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The benefits of play and your toddler

by Maxine
Posted August 8 2011 03:59pm
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Children benefit from playing alone, with siblings, with other children and, most importantly, with you. Adults are special partners in play. You encourage your child to concentrate, to try new things and to deal with frustration. Parents are also partners in play when they make their home safe for play and provide a choice of things to play with that are appropriate for each stage of development.

Blocks, boxes, pails, water, playdough, dolls and ordinary things around the house, like pillows and plastic containers are wonderful stimulating playthings. These materials can be used in different ways and at different ages. Many toys advertised on TV have only one use, so they limit the imagination, rather than encourage it. Such toys can be expensive, may soon be forgotten and do little to help your child's development. On the other hand, some toys have many uses and "grow with your child" for a long time.

When playing with your children, let them choose what to play with. Children need to be leaders in their own play, so try not to take over their games or activities. Let your child tell you what he wants you to do, and very gradually add new stimulation, like more things for him to play with. Research has shown that giving a child too many new things to do or play with at once can be overwhelming, and can make learning more difficult.

Visit the Toddler Play Section of our Activity Centre to make the most of play time with Comfort, Play & Teach.

Video Alert!
You can also watch this video from our Comfort, Play & Teach video series, Playtime with your Toddler, to learn more.





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Help! My child doesn’t want to go to school

by Maxine
Posted September 5 2011 08:16pm
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Some children become very anxious or scared about going to childcare or school. This is especially common in September, or when your child starts in a new setting. But it can happen at any time. The typical signs are complaints about feeling sick, crankiness, tantrums, saying he can't find things or refusing to get dressed or get in the car. This can be very stressful and frustrating. And it is usually difficult to tell whether he is really coming down with an illness, or whether he is anxious and developing physical symptoms that look like illness.

As a general rule, it is good to send a child along to daycare or school, unless they have signs of illness such as a fever or a sore throat. The longer children stay home when they are not sick, the harder it is to return to school. So it is better to send them, even if they are upset. Teachers and caregivers are very accustomed to dealing with this type of anxiety. And by all means, alert the school or daycare provider to what is happening, and ask them to monitor your child's health.

However, if you and your child have had a bad morning where he has become very upset about not wanting to go to school, find a time when you and your child are both calm to try to find out what went wrong. Talk with your child about his school fears and worries. Explain that there is no choice about going to school, but that you appreciate how he feels and will try to help.

Then talk to your child's caregiver or teacher and ask for help and advice. Sometimes anxiety can be eased by something as simple as the teacher changing your child's seat in the classroom. Or you or your child's teacher may notice that he is having difficulty making new friends. You can help in this situation by inviting these other children to play in your home.

If you are feeling guilty about leaving your child, she may pick up on these feelings and become anxious herself. Therefore, it's very important to show confidence that you know your child and your child's teacher or caregiver will have a good day when you leave them.

What do you do when you preschooler refuses to go to school or daycare? Share your experiences here with other parents just like you!


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Bake it Up - Tasty Treats for Healthier School Bake Sales

by Maxine
Posted January 8 2012 05:08pm
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Inside, you will find recipes for healthier baked goods that comply with the Ministry of Education's School Food and Beverage Policy.

Bake It Up! can also be promoted to staff, students and parents who wish to make healthier baked goods for school events or classroom celebrations, or to enjoy at home.

View the PDF and spread the word about this wonderful resource.




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