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What Impact Does An Involved Mother Have On The Life Of The Child and Mother?

by Guest
Posted August 26 2010 12:11pm
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Some people believe that you become a mother upon giving birth. And, providing a safe, dependable home in which your child will grow and develop also defines motherhood. But being a mother is a much greater journey than this. As a mother, you have a deep and lasting impact on your child.

The early years are critically important to a child’s healthy development.  Yet, nearly 30% of Canadian children under the age of 6 have a social, emotional or learning problem that is related to the kind of parenting they experience. There are many positive benefits for both mother and child when the mother is involved in her child’s life right from the start. And positive parenting is the most powerful path to ensure a child’s healthy development.

Bond with Your Baby before Birth

From the moment of conception, a mother's womb is an amazing home for a growing baby. Everything you eat, feel and do has a direct effect on your unborn child. More and more, doctors and researchers are beginning to understand just how important it is for mothers to connect emotionally and physically with their babies throughout pregnancy. They believe that mothers who talk to and touch their growing babies have healthy pregnancies and are bonding with their babies long before they are born.

The connection that mothers have with their newborns is one of the most critical ingredients in babies' growth, development and view of the world. Here are some ways to be a positive parent to your child.

Be Warm, Affectionate and Responsive

Many studies have found that babies whose mothers are openly warm, affectionate and responsive to their needs are more likely to have:

  • Greater academic achievement
  • More positive self-esteem
  • More positive relationships with other children
  • Less depression
  • Fewer behaviour problems
  • Greater ability to manage their feelings
  • Greater empathy towards others
  • Less incidence of substance abuse later in life


Read and Talk to Your Baby

Mothers who read or talk frequently to their babies have children who tend to have the following qualities:

  • Greater vocabulary during the first three years of life
  • Higher IQs
  • Are more prepared for school at age three
  • Greater cognitive and literacy development


Be Supportive and Involved

When mothers avoid using harsh discipline, but instead are more supportive and involved, their children are more likely to exhibit the following behaviours:

  • Greater positive social skills
  • Less negative moods and behaviours
  • Greater self-esteem

Being a positive mother—or father—is not based on instinct alone. It comes with preparation, learning and then experiencing the trials and tribulations of raising a child. Develop a real connection with your baby before and after birth. Value motherhood greatly, as you journey forward with your child and with your family.

 

 

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Personality: What Are The Key Temperament Traits?

by Guest
Posted August 26 2010 12:14pm
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Although the word "temperament" has no universal definition, it is generally used to describe individual differences in children or their behavioural styles. Thomas and Chess (1977) explain temperament as "the characteristic way the child experiences and relates to the environment." The best-known and most used view of temperament was developed in 1963 by Thomas, Chess, Birch, Hertzig and Korn.

Their nine characteristics describe temperamental traits outlining the behavioural styles that define a child's personality. These may help you better understand your own and your child's behaviour:

  1. Activity Level
    This refers to the level of motor activity and the time involved in active versus inactive periods. While some children cannot sit still for a minute, others play for hours quietly with their toys.
  2. Regularity/Rhythmicity
    This refers to how predictable or regular a child is in terms of biological functioning such as hunger, sleep-wake cycle and bowel elimination. For some children, bedtime and mealtime run like clockwork, while others have little natural rhythm.
  3. Approach/Withdrawal/First Reactions
    This refers to wariness, or how easily a child adapts to new experiences such as foods, people, places and clothes. Some are "plungers" and react enthusiastically to new things, while others immediately back off from the unfamiliar.
  4. Adaptability
    This applies to more long-term responses that a child has to new or changed situations and how the child becomes comfortable when changes occur. A child who adapts easily will need less time getting used to a new house or caregiver than a child who is less adaptable.
  5. Sensory Threshold/Sensitivity
    Children's responses to differences in flavour, texture and temperature vary. Some highly sensitive children are over stimulated by noise, touch, bright lights, texture and the feel of clothes. Some children like to wear the same thing day after day, because it feels right.
  6. Intensity of Reaction
    This refers to the energy level shown by a child when responding to something, whether positive or negative. Some children's emotions are intense and easy to read, while others express themselves far less clearly or loudly.
  7. Mood
    The amount of pleasant, joyful and friendly behaviour compared with unpleasant crying or unfriendly behaviour is indicative of a child's mood. Some children generally seem happy, while for others everything is a source of complaint.
  8. Distractibility
    This describes how outside stimuli (such as noise and activity) interfere with or change the direction of a child's present activity. Some children can attend to an activity with noise all around, while others need quiet to get anything done.
  9. Persistence/Attention Span
    This refers to the amount of time a child spends on an activity despite interruptions or other hurdles. A persistent child may spend hours getting something just right.

The "goodness-of-fit" between a child's temperament and the expectations of his parent, as well as the temperament of this parent, are crucial. When the fit is poor, that is when expectations and temperaments do not mesh, problems can result, as the child and caregiver struggle to adapt to each other's rhythm.

Learn more about temperament by reading other articles and watching our temperament video

References

Thomas A. & Chess S. (1977). Temperament and Development. New York: Brinner-Mazel.
Carey W.B. & McDevitt S.C. (1995). Coping with Children's Temperament. New York: Basic Books.

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Reading to Your New Baby

by Guest
Posted August 5 2010 04:01pm
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For some parents, the idea of reading to their newborn seems ridiculous. If the baby can’t speak or understand, why would they be interested in a story? But child development experts are quick to assure new parents that reading to their child is one of the most important things that they can do.

Reading to your baby right from birth, even during pregnancy, can make a big difference in your child’s development. It’s a way to communicate with your baby that will help him build his language skills. Through reading, you’re also comforting your baby. You’re involved by touching, rocking and speaking to him. And when you read, you’re playing with him. You can make sound effects or ask questions or try commenting on what he’s looking at. It’s a chance to teach your baby about colours, shapes, feelings, how people act and react and what the world is all about.

It may seem strange that all of those things help your baby before he can even talk, but there are even more benefits. Experts believe that early literacy helps your baby increase his vocabulary and attention span. He’ll develop an eagerness to read and learn. He’ll know how to handle books, understand how to put sentences together, predict what happens next in a story, increase his social skills, bond with you and identify his feelings.

The best time to start reading to your baby is actually during pregnancy.
There is evidence that reading to your baby while in the womb promotes bonding and baby comes to prefer his parents’ voices. In research studies, babies have even shown a preference for songs or stories that they had been exposed to before they were born.

With a baby, it can be tough to hold their attention to read them a story. Try to choose books with large print and pictures that will keep your baby interested. Speak in the slightly higher pitched, animated simple words that are often called “parentese.” Make sure your baby is comfortable, dry and fed so that he won’t be distracted as you read. And, as much as it might seem repetitive to you, try to read the same book every day for a while. It will help develop your baby’s memory, plus your baby will start to look forward to the pictures and words on the next page.

Let your baby touch the book you are reading. Touch is a central part of human learning. We all learn especially well when we can pick up and handle materials. For babies, experts generally recommend board books because they are safer (much harder to chew), plus they’re great for helping babies learn to exercise their fingers and hands.

If your baby fusses when you are reading, don’t try to keep reading or choose a different book. Put the book away and wait for a time when baby is calm. The last thing you want is to have your baby connect fussiness with reading. Always wait for a time when your baby is in a happier mood and then try reading.

Reading with your baby is Comfort, Play & Teach® time:

Comfort

  • If you make reading with your baby a routine, your baby will feel safe and comforted.

Play

  • If you routinely read in an animated way, your baby will be enjoying playtime with you

Teach

  • If you make reading a reading routine, your baby will learn to pay attention, pick up words for his vocabulary, and learn to think ahead.

 

Check out our Reading with Your Baby video for more tips and strategies for reading with your baby.

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Are The First 3 Years Of Life The Most Critical For Brain Development?

by Guest
Posted August 26 2010 11:44am
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The first 3 years are important for laying the groundwork for healthy psychological development. However, that doesn't mean that the brain has its greatest brain power at that time. Psychological research, particularly research on parent-child attachment and not brain development research, indicates that a great deal of learning goes on after the first 3 years of life.

What we know from brain development research right now is that for very specific aspects of brain development, such as the visual system, critical periods, or a window of opportunity, exists.

The brain continues to grow and mature well into adolescence; thus, it is virtually impossible to make the general claim that the window of opportunity closes by age 3 (Nelson, 2000a). The brain is adaptable and flexible, although the ability to adapt changes with age and situation. In reality, there are many windows of opportunity throughout development. Knowing that the brain is more flexible than previously thought doesn't mean that it's easy to change the brain. It's an incredibly difficult challenge and much more research is needed before we can make claims or suggestions about how to do that.

Used with Permission
Talking Reasonably and Responsibly About Early Brain Development Center for Early Childhood Education and Development, Irving B HarrisTraining Center for Infant and Toddler Development 2001

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