Your Child’s Development

BABIES
ARE LITTLE
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Your Child's Development

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What Can i Expect From A Visit TO My Childs Doctor ?

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Growth & Development

Your Child’s Development

Your Baby’s Brain

Sleep Time & Young Children

Promote Litracy From The Birth

Playtime With Your Baby

Preventing Flat Heads

Is My Child Growing Well

Health Teeth For Children

Colic & Crying

Attachment : A Connect For LIfe

What Can i Expect From A Visit TO My Childs Doctor ?

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What Can i Expect From A Visit TO My Childs Doctor ?

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Your Baby's Health

Growth & Development

Immunization

Nutrition

Injury Prevention

Your Baby’s Brain

Your Baby’s Brain

How parents can support healthy development

Your baby’s brain is built over time: It starts during pregnancy, and continues through to early adulthood. And like a building, it needs a strong foundation.

The brain is made up of several different areas that control everything we do—from hearing and walking to problem-solving and how we feel. Each area has millions of brain cells, or neurons. These neurons communicate with each other by passing chemical messages over tiny spaces called synapses.  As the messages are repeated over and over, more links are made and “neural pathways” are formed. Think of these pathways as the brain’s “wiring.” In the first years of life, these connections develop at an extremely fast pace.

So how does this development happen? That’s where parents come in. You can help your baby’s brain develop in healthy ways. It doesn’t take special toys or equipment, and it’s easier than you might think!

  • Your baby’s brain needs a strong foundation.
  • Loving, consistent, positive relationships help build healthy brains and protect your baby’s brain from the negative effects of stress.
  • Everyday experiences help shape your baby’s brain—from your daily routines to the people your baby comes in contact with.
  • Your baby’s brain wiring is not fully connected at birth. It is very active, changing and developing in response to what’s going on all around them. It is the day-to-day experiences—activities like playing, being read to, learning, and interacting and being responded to by people—that helps to develop your baby’s brain.
  • How well all the wiring gets set up—that is, how your baby’s brain develops—will affect her ability to learn language, solve problems, and do well in school. Later in life, it can affect her physical and emotional health and how she gets along with other people.
  • Relationships are crucial. Loving, consistent, positive relationships help build healthy brains and protect your baby’s brain from the negative effects of stress.
  • Even very young infants can experience stress when the places they live and play in feel unsafe, or are frightening. “Toxic” stress—which is much more serious than short-lived, everyday stress—is caused by persistent problems like extreme marital conflict, poverty, abuse, neglect, being exposed to violence, having a parent who misuses drugs or alcohol, or having a parent with an untreated mental illness. Toxic stress is harmful to your baby’s developing brain. It can lead to physical, learning and emotional problems in childhood, and these problems can carry on right into adulthood. If you’re concerned about the situation in your home, talk to your doctor or your baby’s doctor.
    • Responsive, nurturing, positive experiences: Everyday experiences help shape your baby’s brain—from your daily routines to the people your baby comes in contact with. Babies need to live and play in healthy spaces with opportunities to learn and grow. And they need you to learn how to recognize when they are tired, or hungry, or stressed or that they want a cuddle or hug from you. Responding warmly and predictably to your baby and creating routines help babies feel safe. It shows them that that they can count on you when they are sick, upset or distressed, and that you can meet their needs. Babies need their parents and caregivers to respond to them in loving, caring and consistent ways.
    • Fun activities: Talking, Reading & singing to your child are all fun and easy ways to help her grow. So are simple games like getting down on the floor for some tummy time with your young baby, or playing peek-a-boo with your 5-month-old.
    • Good food: If you are able to breastfeed, breast milk is the best food you can give for the first 6 months of life (and well beyond, with complementary foods). Whether you breastfeed or use formula, think of feeding time as a brain-building time too: making eye contact, smiling, and having skin contact are all positive experiences. As your baby grows, be sure to offer iron-rich foods and foods with a variety of nutrients, like fruits and vegetables (see below for links to resources on healthy eating).
    • Your baby doesn’t need expensive toys. The loving, smiling faces of adults who respond to them are the best toys EVER. Many electronic toys, DVDs, and TV shows are marketed as “educational” for babies. But there is no research to back up claims that these products help babies learn. Watching a DVD or TV show is passive. Babies need to actively interact with you and other people in their lives, and explore their world. Screen time is not recommended for children under 2.
    • Respond to your baby. This is especially important when your baby is sick, hungry, upset, or just needs some comfort. But babies also reach out for you in countless positive ways—by babbling, making sounds, or smiling. When you respond in a loving and consistent way, you help baby’s brain develop.
    • Provide a safe and loving home for your baby. Develop daily routines that your baby can count on. Keep your home calm.
    • Help your baby explore his surroundings, both inside and out. Play helps babies learn, and you are your child’s first playmate. Playing simple games will help him learn about the people and the world around him. And remember to talk to your baby as you go through your daily routines. Tell your baby what is going on, point out interesting things that you see together, and help him develop his other senses—hearing, touch, taste, and smell.
    • Get regular health care for your baby. Your baby should be seen by a healthcare provider on a regular basis. Keep vaccines up-to-date and talk to your provider about development and what to expect next.
    • Develop community connections. Get to know the services and programs available in your neighborhood. Many communities have agencies or centres that serve young families. Playgroups and drop-ins are great places to meet other parents, and many have visiting professionals who can answer questions. If you’re not sure where to go, try contacting your local community centre, public library, public health unit, or family resource program.
    • Choose quality child care. When you need to be away from you baby, make sure you leave your baby with a caregiver who will care for your baby like you do. Choose someone you trust, who will respond to your baby’s emotional needs, and provide a safe and healthy environment with opportunities to learn and grow.
    • Reach out if you need help. If you feel stressed, overwhelmed, depressed or need some support caring for your baby, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Talk to your health care provider, your family or contact a local community agency.

    Screen time and young children

    Screen time and young children

    Children under 5 years old are exposed to more screens than ever before, including televisions, computers, gaming consoles, smartphones and tablets.

    When thinking about how much time your child spends with screens, be sure to include all these different devices. Also include time spent viewing at home and in other places, like child care.

    The recommendations below are aimed at typically developing children. If your child has special needs, ask your family doctor or paediatrician for advice.

    Young children learn best from face-to-face interactions with caring adults. It’s best to keep their screen time to a minimum:

    • For children under 2 years old, screen time is not recommended.
    • For children 2 to 5 years old, limit routine or regular screen time to less than 1 hour per day.

    Very often, screen time is a lost opportunity for your child to learn in real time: from interacting, playing outdoors, creating or enjoying social ‘downtime’ with family. Too much screen time also increases your child’s risk of becoming:

    • Overweight
    • Sleep-deprived
    • Less school-ready
    • Inattentive, aggressive and less able to self-soothe.

    Setting limits when children are young is easier than cutting back when they’re older. As a family, agree on basic screen time rules that everyone understands and shares. Consider developing a family media plan to guide when, how and where screens can—and can’t!—be used.

    Here are some tips:

    • Be a good role model with your own screen use—on all devices.
    • Turn off devices for mealtimes, reading with your child or doing things together as a family.
    • Turn off screens when no one is using them, especially background TV.
    • Avoid using screens for at least 1 hour before bedtime and keep all screens out of your child’s bedroom. They interfere with sleep.
    • Choose healthy activities, like reading, outdoor play and crafts, over screen time. 
    Is it OK to use screens to calm or distract my child?

    Screen time might help in the moment, but used repeatedly, over time, means your child won’t learn how to self-soothe without it. Talk to your child’s doctor if you need new strategies for calming your child or helping with daily transitions.

     

    My child gets upset when I take away screen times. What can I do?

    In today’s world, managing screen time is an ongoing challenge. Setting shared family limits at an early age can help. In the moment, use a calm voice, acknowledge your child’s frustration and try redirecting her interest to another activity or toy.

    How do I choose the right apps, videos or programs for my child?

    Whenever possible, make screen time an activity you and your child do together. Watch with your child and talk about what you’re seeing. To ensure quality content:

    • Choose educational, age-appropriate and interactive programs and apps. Educational apps have a clear learning goal and encourage participation.
    • Try out apps before your child uses them.
    • Make sure your child watches programs you’re familiar with.
    • Avoid commercial and adult or ‘entertainment’ programming.
    • Use a media rating system to guide your viewing choices.
    Are e-books a good learning tool?
    Quality, age-appropriate ‘learn-to-read’ apps and e-books can help with language, as long as you and your child are reading and learning together. But even the best e-books don’t help with skills like page-turning and  the physical ‘book experience’, which includes heavy handling, being scribbled in or  chewed (board books, of course!).
    Won’t my child fall behind if he isn’t exposed to digital media early on?
    There is no evidence to support introducing technology at an early age to improve your child’s development. Young children always learn best from face-to-face interactions with caring adults. Given the choice, they almost always choose talking, playing or being read to over screen time.

    Promote the literacy from birth

    Promote the literacy from birth

    Read, speak, sing to your baby: How parents can promote literacy from birth

    Learning to read starts from birth. Newborn babies learn how to read signals all around them by listening to voices, watching faces and reading body language. Babies need to hear and use sounds, sound patterns and spoken language.

    This helps prepare them to eventually learn to read printed words.The table below provides more information on your baby’s early literacy skills and what you can do to nurture them. Here are some tips on how you can help provide these opportunities from the moment your baby is born.

    Developmental milestones related to early literacy:

     

    Age The kind of books that babies like Motor skills related to books Cognitive (thinking) skills related to books What parents can do to help develop literacy skills
    0–6 months
    • Board books with photos of babies
    • Brightly colored books to touch and taste
    • Books with pictures of familiar objects
    • Small-sized books for small hands
    • Vocalizes
    • Looks at pictures
    • Prefers pictures of faces
    • Hold your baby comfortably; look face-to-face
    • Follow baby’s cues for “more” and “stop”
    • Point and name pictures for baby
    6–12 months
    • Board books with photos of babies
    • Brightly coloured books to touch and taste
    • Books with pictures of familiar objects
    • Small-sized books for small hands
    • Reaches for books
    • Puts books to mouth
    • Sits in your lap
    • Turns pages with your help
    • Looks at pictures
    • Prefers pictures of faces
    • Vocalizes, pats pictures
    • Hold your baby comfortably; look face-to-face
    • Follow baby’s cues for “more” and “stop”
    • Point and name pictures for baby
    12–18 months
    • Sturdy board books to handle and carry
    • Books with images of babies and children doing familiar things, like sleeping, eating and playing
    • Goodnight books for bedtime
    • Books about saying hello and goodbye
    • Books with only a few words on each page
    • Books with simple rhymes and predictable text
    • Sits without support
    • May carry book
    • Holds book with help
    • Turns board pages, several at a time
    • No longer mouths the book right away
    • Points at pictures with one finger
    • May make the same sound for a specific picture
    • Points when asked: “where’s…?”
    • Turns book right side up
    • Gives book to adult to read
    • Respond when your child wants to read
    • Let your child control the book
    • Be comfortable with a toddler’s short attention span
    • Ask “where’s the…?” and let your child point
    18–24 months
    • Sturdy board books to handle and carry
    • Books with images of babies and children doing familiar things, like sleeping, eating and playing
    • Goodnight books for bedtime
    • Books about saying hello and goodbye
    • Books with only a few words on each page
    • Books with simple rhymes and predictable text
    • Turns board book pages easily, one at a time
    • Carries book(s) around the home
    • May use books as a transitional object (an object that reassures, calms or comforts)
    • Names familiar pictures
    • Fills in words of familiar stories
    • “Reads” to dolls or stuffed animals
    • Recites parts of well-known stories
    • Attention span changes, not consistent
    • Relate books to your child’s experiences
    • Use books in routines and during bedtime
    • Ask “what’s that?” and give your child time to answer
    • Pause and let your child complete the sentence
    Table adapted with permission from the Reach Out and Read National Center in Somerville, Massachusetts.

    Here are some tips on how you can help provide these opportunities from the moment your baby is born.

    • Read to your baby. Making books, stories and storytelling a part of your baby’s daily routine will help nurture a love of reading. Even very young babies love picture books, and it’s helpful to make storytime a part of your baby’s routine, such as before naps or at bedtime. You don’t even have to read the story all the way through. Just talking about some of the pictures is enjoyable for young babies.   
    • Use rhymes, games and songs. Babies respond to them almost from birth. They don’t need to understand the words for these moments to be learning experiences, especially when they’re sharing them with mom or dad.
    • Talk about what’s going on. Whether you’re changing a diaper, bathing your baby or taking a walk, use words that describe the actions and the things around your baby. You’ll help him develop vocabulary before he can even talk.
    • Babies babble. It’s how they learn to make sounds with their own voices. Repeat these sounds, and turn them into real words. You’ll help your baby recognize which sounds form language. Your baby will eventually make the connection between the sounds and an object or person, like “dada.”  
    • For newborns and very young babies, try rhymes that involve gentle touch, such as patting their feet or giving them a little bounce while you’re talking.  
    • Reward your baby’s first tries at making sounds with smiles and hugs. This early communication is exciting for your baby, and your approval will encourage him to keep trying.  
    • Once your baby starts talking, help her find the words for the things around her. By repeating words, you’ll help your child remember them.  
    • Ask questions. When you say, “What’s that?” and name the picture in a book, it teaches your baby that things have names.  
    • Encourage your baby’s involvement. Babies like to put books in their mouths, so be sure your baby has access to sturdy and clean board books. At first, your baby will need your help to turn the pages. When he gets older, he will turn the pages on his own – let him choose the order.
    • Sing songs. Music makes the words easier to remember, and is a fun way to make language come alive for you and your baby!  
    • Visit the public library. Even babies can get a library card! There are lots of free resources to encourage your baby’s love of reading. Many libraries have free programs for parents and babies or young children that use books, rhymes and songs. Ask a librarian for more ideas.  
    • Young children learn best from face-to-face interactions with caring adults. For children under 2 years old, screen time is not recommended. Turn off background screens (TV, smartphones, etc) so you’re not distracted from speaking with your baby.
    • Keep books visible and accessible around your home – not just on bookshelves – so your baby can explore them anytime.
    • Choosing books as gifts shows that reading and literacy are celebrated in your family.
    • Have fun! Cuddle, gaze at each other’s eyes, use silly voices as you enjoy books and conversations with your baby.

    Playtime with your baby

    Playtime with your baby

    Learning and growing in the first year

    As a parent, you are your baby’s first playmate. Play is a fun way for the two of you to bond and it encourages healthy child development.

    Play is how children learn—about themselves, other people, and the world around them. It helps to build confidence, relationships, and basic skills.

    Toys for babies don’t need to be expensive. They can be things you have around the house, as long as they are unbreakable, safe (no loose parts, broken pieces or sharp edges), and the right size (anything that can fit through a paper towel roll is too small). Good toys are washable, made to last and appeal to parents too. After all, you’ll both be playing with them!

    For the first year of your baby’s life, play won’t involve many toys. Reading, speaking, and singing are fun, easy and portable ways to play with your baby. And they are rich learning experiences. Here are some suggestions:

    • Use rhymes, games and songs as you go through the routines of your day. You can make up a diaper-changing tune, or try a little rhyme as you’re putting the snowsuit on.
    • Play with books. Read with your baby everyday , and remember that babies also want to play with books. They like to put books in their mouth and try to turn pages, so provide clean and sturdy board books.
    • Encourage babble. It’s how babies learn to make different sounds using their own voice. Repeat these sounds, and turn them into real words. As you do this, you can make up all sorts of language games that are sure to delight your baby!

    Your newborn baby is developing hand-eye coordination. Reaching for and touching things, and learning how to hold them provides wonderful stimulation. Good playthings for this age include:
    • Cloths or transparent scarves that can be used for peek-a-boo
    • An unbreakable mirror placed so that baby can see himself
    • Fabric “bracelets” (soft rattles that can attach to your baby’s wrists or ankles)
    • A set of plastic measuring spoons
    • Pieces of brightly colored cloth with different textures
    • Wooden or plastic bracelets that don’t have loose parts
    • Anything with a face on it—dolls, pictures, stuffed animals

    At this age, your baby is developing both fine motor (using hands and fingers) and gross motor (moving arms and legs) skills. She’s fascinated with her own hands, and starting to connect how arm and hand movements feel with her desire to make them happen. Toys that can help support your baby’s development include:
    • Sturdy rattles
    • Peek-a-boo scarves
    • Doughnut-shaped objects made from plastic or fabric, large enough to grasp
    • Pieces of brightly colored and textured fabric (terry cloth, silk, fake fur)
    • A play arch where baby can lie on her back and bat or kick at toys hanging above
    • Toys that make interesting sounds (rattles, shakers, chimes) are better than toys that make electronic sounds. Just be sure they are not too loud for the baby’s sensitive ears.

    In the second half of the first year, your baby sees anything within reach as a potential toy. And if he can reach it, he’ll probably put it in his mouth. He wants to know how things work, and what they do when they’re dropped, rolled, shaken, banged or thrown. Toys that are safe and appealing to babies this age include:
    • Stacking and nesting toys: A set of nesting cups and some sturdy blocks are a great investment. They’ll provide hours of playtime well beyond your baby’s first year.
    • Cups, little pails and other unbreakable containers
    • Large building blocks
    • Board books
    • A soft ball, as long as it is too big to fit in a baby’s mouth. Avoid balls with a plug/pin that could be a choking hazard if it comes out.
    • Shape sorters
    • Trucks, cars
    • Riding toys designed for babies this age
    • Soft toys small enough to handle
    • Percussion instruments: shakers, a small drum, or a “rain maker.” You can also make these from containers and fillers you have at home (for instance, put lentils or dry beans in a water bottle and secure the top tightly closed with some tape).
    • Toys that encourage “visual tracking” (following a moving object with your eyes), like a ball ramp, or a push-and-go rolling toy.
    • Bath toys, like boats to float and cups for pouring. Make sure they are cleaned and dried regularly.
    Safety tip: Always check the label to make sure the toy is right for your baby’s age.

    Active play

    Active play really does start from birth. Very young babies need “tummy time” each day (while they are awake) to help strengthen the muscles in their neck and upper body.
    As you encourage your 6-month-old to reach for objects or try new things, you’re encouraging active play. When he starts to crawl, he’ll need lots of supervised floor time to explore.
    Finally, make sure your baby doesn’t spend long periods of time in a seat, high chair or stroller. Avoid TV and other electronic media. Babies learn best by engaging with loving caregivers, not screens.

    Preventing flat heads in babies

    Preventing flat heads in babies

    Why do some babies develop flat spots on their heads?

    For the first 6 months, the safest place for your baby to sleep is on his back, in a crib in your room. Babies who sleep on their back are much less likely to die of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is when an otherwise healthy baby under the age of 1 dies suddenly and unexpectedly and for no apparent reason while sleeping.

    A baby’s skull is very soft and the bones can be affected by pressure. Babies also have weak neck muscles and usually turn their heads to one side when placed on their back. Because of this, your baby’s skull may flatten. This is known as a “flat head.” The medical term for this is positional plagiocephaly.

    A little bit of flattening goes away on its own. More serious flattening may not completely go away, but it WILL NOT affect a baby’s brain or development.

    Most can be prevented. However, it is not always completely preventable. Even by using the sleep positioning described below, some babies will develop flat parts on the back of their heads.

    A simple way to help prevent your baby from getting a flat head is to change her position in the crib each day. Because your baby likes to have something interesting to look at, she might turn her head to look at her room rather than toward the wall when she’s in her crib. This way she can also see you come and go.

    Here’s how you change your baby’s head position while still giving her the same “view” from his crib:

    • One day, place your baby with his head toward the head of the crib.
    • The next day, place your baby with his head toward the foot of the crib.
    • Alternate your baby’s position every day.

    You can also try putting a mobile on the side of the crib facing the room to encourage your baby to look that way.

      Babies should also have supervised “tummy time” when they are awake, for 10 to 15 minutes and at least 3 times a day. This means you set your baby down to play on her tummy. Not only does tummy time help prevent a flat spot on the head, it’s important for your baby’s overall physical development.

      If your baby still develops flat spots, talk to doctor.

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