How to Feed a Baby

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Family & Parenting

how do I feed a babyConsidering babies are said to only “eat, sleep, and poop,” they certainly manage to make the eating portion of their existence complicated. Here is how to feed your baby by age:

Months 0-4

Babies need only breast milk or formula through month four. Contrary to popular belief, solids or cereal will not help your baby sleep better, but they can mess up her sensitive stomach.

Months 4-6

Some babies are ready to begin solid foods at four months. Signs of readiness include being able to sit assisted, excellent head control, showing marked interest in the food you eat, and not being satisfied after 24-32 ounces of milk or formula each day. Speak with your pediatrician about the right time to start solids as every child is different and many now feel that waiting until six months is the best option.

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When you do offer your baby solids for the first time, use a soft tipped baby spoon to protect her gums. You can offer essentially any baby food, but rice cereal is usually the first choice as it presents little chance of allergies and is mixed with familiar milk or formula. Feed a tiny bit and wait for it to come back out thanks to the tongue thrust reflex. This reflex will go away shortly.

Months 6-8

After you have introduced cereal, continue to introduce other grains such as barley and oatmeal, then fruits and vegetables. Wait 3-5 days after each new food to be sure no allergic reaction is present. Most parents wait to introduce citrus and strawberries as these have high rates of allergic reactions in many children. You should also begin offering your baby a cup at this age, and she is also most likely ready to chew on a biscuit or piece of toast that she can grip with her fist.

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Months 8-10

You can now introduce dairy and protein foods. Proteins include beans, meats and yogurt. Dairy products should be full fat yogurts, cottage cheese and other soft cheese your baby can gum up. Your baby is now developing the pincher grip which allows her to pick up individual bites and put them in her mouth. You should greatly encourage this self feeding, but watch her very carefully as she learns to chew and swallow properly.

Month 10-12

Gradually encourage greater use of the cup, spoon and self feeding of finger foods. By her first birthday, your baby should be eating the same table foods that you are eating at every meal.

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How to Dress a Baby

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Family & Parenting

how to dress a baby The rules to dressing a baby are simple. Once a baby has learned to regulate her body temperature, which happens within days of birth, she should be dressed the same way as you, but with one additional layer.

What this means is that if you are wearing a t-shirt, shorts and tennis shoes, you can dress your baby in essentially the same outfit. Pull on a one-piece t-shirt, or onesie. Then put on the coordinating pants or skirt. Your baby won’t need shoes for many months, but she should wear socks to help keep her feet warm.

General Tips for Dressing a Baby

For the additional layer, you have a few options. Many parents put a hat on their baby and this is an excellent idea. But a lightweight jacket, hoodie, or sweater may be an excellent idea as well.

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Dress a Baby in Layers

The best bet to dress a baby is to always have her in layers. This way you can remove a jacket when it’s warm outside, but put it back on should the air conditioning make a room cool. Babies sitting in strollers are not especially active, but they may not be getting much air circulation either. To check your baby’s temperature and comfort level, feel her chest or back. Baby’s feet and hands are often cool to the touch thanks to developing circulation.

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Your Baby’s Shoes

Babies don’t need shoes until they start crawling or pulling up to stand. And even then, they are not really required unless the baby is outside on an abrasive surface. Hard sole shoes should be avoided while your baby is learning to walk. Use soft soled crib shoes or even slippers to protect your baby’s feet but to let her feel the ground as she is learning to balance. Babies also tend to curl their toes and feet, and hard soled shoes can fit their little chubby feet uncomfortably.

Your Baby’s Socks

Many parents have a hard time finding socks that stay on baby’s active feet. Socks help keep your baby’s temperature stable, but can be kicked off in seconds with the right movements. Find socks that roll or cuff at the top as these stay more securely on baby’ feet without making indentions around baby’s ankles the way elastic topped socks might.

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How To Choose The Right Method of Delivery

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Health & Fitness

how to choose the best method of birthWhen it comes to giving birth, the parents have a lot of decisions to make about the procedure used to deliver your baby. If you have had a baby in the past then you will have had the choices just before he/she was delivered so you have a good idea on how you would like your next addition to your family to be delivered.

Many people still believe that a natural birth without any anesthetic or painkillers is the best method as it has been used since the very beginning of time and was the only method given to women in the olden days if everything went to plan without any complications. With the new invention of various painkillers and drugs which can be used in conjunction to give a pain free delivery, there is no need to suffer when you don’t necessarily need to.

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If you’re feeling brave enough to attempt to have a natural birth you do also have options, if you start to feel that the contractions are getting to strong and your unable to cope you can have an epidermal which is an injection into the lower section of your spine which will remove any discomfort you are having, this truly does give a pain free delivery. You have to be careful though because after you have dilated so much you are not allowed to have the epidermal so make your decision on how you want to go about it as soon as possible. Another method of pain relief which can sooth the soreness and make this painful situation a little more comfortable is gas and air, this has different effects on different people and you cannot tell how you will be affected until you try it. It can make people feel drowsy and feel sick in some cases

Another method of birth which is becoming more popular in today’s world even amongst some celebrities is a water birth. This is where the midwife will come out to your home and perform the birth in a pool of water. The official birthing pool’s can be quite expensive and you may not have the facilities to host such an item. There are many different alternatives in which you can consider as a birthing pool, a children’s paddling pool can be sufficient and make a great substitute. Failing that you can even perform a water birth in your very own bath tub just be sure to clean it thoroughly as a bath full of plasma would be enough to put anyone off. The benefit of having a water birth is the fact that the water provides buoyancy and can relax the mother which will make it easier to delivery the baby. This method can provide a safe delivery which will not put your health or the baby’s health in danger which is why it is becoming more popular amongst many people.

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The last method of giving birth may not be optional in some extreme cases, a caesarean section or "C" section is often used as the last resort if there have been any complications during labor which may have been over looked. A caesarean is where they take the baby out of the uterus by making an incision in the lower stomach and opening it up. This procedure can be requested if you have gone private as many women tend to have a tummy tuck whilst they are under surgery making the excess skin disappear even faster. Women see this as a viable alternative as it will reduce the pain of going through labor and having the trouble or attempting to push the baby out. The downside to this procedure is the same as any other surgery, there are considerations which shouldn’t be overlooked to ensure the safety of you and your child.

There are many advantages as well as disadvantage of each method of delivery, it’s always recommended that you seek advice from your midwife who can go through each variation of birth with you so you can take the information away with you to talk it through with your partner and make an educated decision on which will suit you the best.

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How to Choose a Name for a Baby

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Family & Parenting

how to choose a name for a babyNaming a baby is one of the most exciting parts of pregnancy and childbirth. The name you select will have a profound impact on your child’s life and should not be taken lightly. To choose from all of the baby names available, consider the following steps:

Clear the Air

Be open-minded when you settle down with your significant to dream about baby and his or her name. Women are not the only ones who have ideas from childhood about what their baby will be named. The first step in discussing names is to get dreams, preferences and expectations out in the open.

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If you’ve always dreamed of naming your baby girl Samantha, but your significant other only likes creative and highly unusual names, you need to clear the air. Offer your own general opinions and the thoughts you’ve already had. Listen to his. Then put those on the back burner and work toward a compromise that suits both of you and the unborn child.

Family

Is there a tradition in your family that you would like to continue? If your husband is a junior, perhaps your son should be a junior. If girls are names after members of the family, you might prefer to follow the tradition.

Heritage

Examine your heritage. Are there specific names or customs that are especially meaningful and applicable to your baby? Is the due date on the pregnancy calendar symbolic in anyway?

Brainstorm

Use a baby naming website or book to browse through and brainstorm about possibilities. Each parent should make a list of top choices and then share the lists to look for similar or identical selections. If one partner has a strong opposition to a name, cross it off the list. Naming your child is about reaching a decision together, not forcing a name on both your spouse and your child.

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The Short List

Whittle down names until you have a short list. Then practice the names. Do they sound right with your last name? Do the initials spell anything embarrassing? Yell them up the stairs – does it fit your home and lifestyle?

You then can keep a short list until delivery or pick the name that appeals the most to both parents. If you are stuck between two names, ask a trusted friend for her opinion or use one name as the middle name.

Flexibility

Finally, be prepared to change your mind. It is perfectly acceptable to change your mind during delivery or even the last few weeks of pregnancy. Sometimes babies need names like, “Hope” or “Joy” that have extra special meaning you would never have known about before delivery. And other times you just realize that your little boy looks more like an Aaron than a Zebidiah once you’ve gotten a good look at him. Be flexible – you’ll need it the rest of your parenting career.

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How to Change a Diaper

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Family & Parenting

how to change diapersBabies come with many wonderful surprises, and some of those surprises show up during or after a good meal. Diapers are a necessary part of a baby, and changing those diapers frequently and correctly can prevent diaper rash and help your baby be more comfortable.

How to Change a Diaper

The best time to change a diaper is in when a baby is ready for a feeding. There are different advantages to timing. Some parents change a diaper before feedings so that the baby can drift off to sleep while eating. Others wait to change the diaper after the feeding as most bowel movements occur during meals, and changing a diaper twice in an hour is a waste.

After each feeding, every 2-4 hours, change your baby’s diaper. It may be wet or it might be a dirty diaper. If she makes a dirty diaper, you should change it immediately regardless of meals as it will keep her from eating well and sitting in a dirty diaper for longer than a few minutes can give her a serious case of diaper rash. Wet diapers should be changed no later than every three or four hours.

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To Change a Diaper

To change a diaper, first be sure you have a safe location. Babies should never be left unattended for even a second on an elevated surface such as a bed or changing table. You can change a diaper on the floor, on the sofa, on a bed, or on a changing table. Just be sure to bring the fresh diaper and wipes with you so that you are prepared once you get started.

If you are concerned about your surface, put a towel or blanket down, then place baby on top of it. The very first thing to do is open the new diaper so that you can grab it with one hand. Remove baby’s pants or unsnap her outfit to reach her diaper. Unfasten the tabs on either side of the diaper and pull down the front leaving the back of the diaper in place to catch any surprises. If you are changing a little boy, be sure to keep the diaper lying on top of his penis or use a washcloth to cover it to avoid him spraying you or the room should he decide to pee.

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A wet diaper is simple to change. Open the wet diaper, make a quick pass with a wipe if you’d like to be sure baby feels clean and fresh, and then pull the wet diaper out. Place the clean diaper under baby’s bottom with the tabs in the back. Fold the top of the diaper through the legs. Fasten the tabs on the front of the diaper repositioning as needed. Congratulations! You’ve changed a diaper!

If you have a dirty diaper, open the wipes and remove a couple so that you can grab them quickly. Then, once the front of the diaper is pulled down, grab the baby’s feet and lift her bottom into the air. Again, leave the diaper in place to catch any surprises should she not be quite finished and to protect your changing surface as poop tends to stick to her lower back as well as her bottom.

Use the front of the diaper to make a big wipe and collect as much of the poop as possible. Then, holding her legs, use your wipes to wipe up the remainder of the poop. After each wipe is used, drop it into the open diaper that is still under her bottom. Be sure to check all of the nooks and crannies to get all of the poop that might be hiding. Open her legs a bit to check the inside of her thighs and be sure that no poop has entered the vagina. If so, of course, remove it with a wipe. If you are changing a boy, be sure to lift the testicles to check for any poop that might be stuck underneath.

Then, when you are sure all poop is removed from baby’s nether regions, carefully pull out the dirty diaper and wipes being careful not to drop baby’s back or rear back into the poop. Put the dirty diaper aside, and place the fresh (already opened) diaper under baby’s bottom. Lower her legs and fasten the tabs from the back to the front. Reposition as needed. Dispose of the dirty diaper. Congratulations! You’ve changed a diaper!

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How To Buy Baby Clothes

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Family & Parenting

how to buy baby clothesAre you expecting a new addition to your family? You can find some of the best baby clothes here. Do you have a friend’s baby shower to go to and are not quite sure what to get as a gift? If you are not an experienced parent, you can ask anyone who has had a baby or currently has babies about how much they go through baby clothes. In fact some babies can go through 4 or 5 outfits in one day! It’s almost like it’s a fashion show due to the number of clothes that babies can go through!

If you plan on buying baby clothes for a baby, keep the following in mind; You need to establish the purpose for the clothes that you are buying.  Are you buying the clothes because your baby really needs them? Or, are you buying the clothes for other activities?  What is the weather like and what will it be like 3 or 4 months from now. Are the clothes for a special occasion or for daily use?

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Once you know what type of baby outfit you are going to buy, it’s always good to shop for one size bigger than what the baby is currently wears.  You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that babies grow very quickly. Buying one size ahead will save you a lot of money in the long run and the baby can still wear clothes that are a little baggy!

If you are buying an outfit for a party, make sure that you buy darker colored clothing for the baby. Darker colors hide stains better and won’t need cleaned as often.

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You can find high quality used baby clothes, often getting as many as 4 or 5 outfits for the price of a new one. Since babies grow so fast, often their outgrown clothes show little to no wear. Stores like Babies-R-Us and Kid to Kid have a large selection. You can always look in your local papers and online discount suppliers for any type of discounts that are available for baby clothing as well.

Regardless of the occasion for your purchase, when buying baby clothing, make sure that you talk to the workers at the stores you shop at. They have had a lot of experience in selling these clothes, and they will be sure to help you find exactly what you are looking for.

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How to Buy a Baby Stroller

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Family & Parenting

how to buy a baby strollerA baby stroller is one of the most fundamental essentials of baby gear. Popular parenting advice will suggest you purchase a large travel system complete with coordinating infant seat, but that may not be what is best for you situation. If you’re ready to buy a baby stroller, consider the following:

Your Baby:

If you are having a singleton, or one baby, there are plenty of options for you in regards to stroller selection. But if you are having twins or this baby is closely following his older sibling, you must consider your need for a double stroller. For our purposes today, we will assume you are looking for a standard, one-baby stroller.

Your Location:

If you live in the city, your needs will be different than if you live in the country on rougher roads. Your location can make a difference in the style of stroller you buy. In suburban or rural areas, much of baby’s travel will be by car, but in the city, walking or public transportation is most common.

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This means urban dwellers must consider the durability and portability of their stroller more so than suburban dwellers. If your stroller is traveling miles every day and bumping up and down stairs, it is most likely worth the extra cost to have a stroller that folds in a single swift motion to be throw in the back of a cab and can withstand more than a few bruises and bumps.

Your Uses:

There are four kinds of baby strollers that have varying uses. You should buy a stroller that suits as many of your needs as possible.

Prams – A pram or baby buggy is the oldest style of stroller. To ride in a pram, the baby lays flat on his back. These are most suitable for very young babies who are usually sleeping and not interested in seeing the world. They also tend to be expensive and are considered a luxury item as they are used for only a short period of time and their function can be handled by other, most practical varieties.

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Travel Systems – The travel system is a life saver for many parents. The stroller usually has a means of snapping in an infant bucket car seat for convenience until your child is ready for the standard seat with its multiple reclining positions. The system has other available options such as cup holders, compartments, and a basket underneath for storage. Travel systems are bulky, however, and the more conveniences yours has, the larger it is – even when folded.

Umbrella Strollers – The simplest of strollers, umbrella strollers, collapse into the smallest storage option. This means they lose many of the perks of travel systems including multiple cup holders, storage compartments, and baskets. But many still do come with a tray for a baby stroller and attachable storage bags or cup holders. The primary drawback of umbrella stroller is that they do not accommodate infant car seats or even very young infants as they do not recline more than forty-five degrees.

Jogging Strollers – Finally, a jogging stroller has large rugged wheels and a special design to make it easy to handle one handed. It is the largest of the stroller options, but best for rural or bumpy roads. A jogging stroller can go places other strollers can’t but the one place it probably won’t go is into the trunk of your car as it is exceptionally large even when collapsed.

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How to Buy a Baby Crib

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Family & Parenting

how to buy a cribBabies can sleep in many things, but the most traditional bed is a full-sized crib. Other options include a bassinet, a play yard, a co-sleeper, or a Moses basket. But if you’re ready to put the nursery together, here’s how to buy a baby crib.

Assess Your Needs

Baby cribs come in many forms. Some are just a crib and others transform to toddler beds, and then headboards once the baby is grown. If you already have a full bedroom of furniture, you probably don’t need to buy a convertible crib. A basic crib will do for the two years before your baby is ready to graduate to the existing bed.

If you are starting from scratch and the nursery is bare, a convertible crib might be the best option. These cribs usually have matching furniture available, so you can purchase an entire bedroom of furniture and the crib will coordinate for years in one form or another.

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Assess Your Price Range

There are sturdy cribs in every price range. Some baby cribs start as low as $100 and are just as safe and sturdy as those that retail for $1000 or more. Find an amount that is comfortable for you. Remember, most babies are out of the crib by 30 months of age, so this is not a long-term investment unless you are buying a convertible crib or plan on using the crib for more children.

Start the Search

Begin searching for cribs that appeal to you. You can find cribs at baby specialty stores, large retailers such as Wal-Mart or Target, department stores, furniture stores and many online retailers. Many of the different locations carry the same brands of cribs, so it is wise to do a bit of price comparison before buying. You can also look for cribs at garage sales or baby resale shops, but be careful to check for quality and safety with used cribs.

Keep it Safe

Keep in mind the recommended safety guidelines for cribs. Your crib should have a drop side to allow you to get the baby in ad out of the bed safely. The level of the mattress should be capable of raising and lowering for safety and convenience. The mechanism that controls the raising and lowering of the mattress should be sturdy and foolproof to keep your baby or toddler from knocking it loose.

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The slats on a crib should not be more than 2 3/8 inches apart. This prevents your baby from slipping through or getting stuck. When the drop side is lowered, it should be 9 inches above the top of the mattress to keep the baby from rolling out. When the drop side is up, it should be at least 26 inches from the top of the mattress.

Give the crib a good shake in the store to check for stability. If it’s wobbly or rickety, pass on it. Your toddler will do more than a simple shake to this crib and you want it solid. Also check to see how snug the mattress fits inside the crib. If you can fit more than two fingers into the crack around the edges, it isn’t safe.

Keep it Easy

The drop side should lower quietly and easily – preferably with one hand since you’ll be holding a sleeping baby when using it. Try it out in the store a few times. A crib on casters will be easier to move around the room – a feature that is especially nice when trying to change the sheets.

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How to Burp a Baby

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Family & Parenting

how to burp a babyAfter a good meal, a baby needs to burp. It may even be a good idea to burp a young baby a few times during a meal to help prevent little spit-up accidents. These occur when a bubble gets caught in the baby’s tummy. When it finally rises up to become a burp, it pushes a bit of milk along with it causing some spit-up. By burping a baby periodically, you can avoid some, if not all, of these spit-up episodes.

There are many ways to burp a baby. Your choice of style will have to do with your and your baby’s preference. In all of these, remember that a baby has little or no neck control and can be injured with rough handling.

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Shoulder Burp

The shoulder burp is a classic. To burp a baby on your shoulder, first lay a blanket or burp cloth down to absorb any drips or spit-up as they can travel down your back. Then gently lift the baby to your shoulder placing her stomach again the top of your shoulder. Ball your hand into a fist and knock on her back gently as if you were knocking on a door. You may also pat her back with a flat palm. Keep her upright for a while and eventually all bubbles should rise up and out as a nice big burp.

Lap Burp

If the shoulder burp doesn’t work for you, the lap burp might be a great way to soothe your baby while burping. Lay your baby on her tummy on your knees (while you are seated.) Then gently pat her back and/or bounce your legs up and down slightly to jiggle free any loose air in her belly. Be sure her tummy in on top of your knees so that she is getting a bit of pressure on her stomach. This is not only soothing for most babies, but helps air to rise as well.

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Seated Burp

A final option that is recommended by colic and fussy baby experts is a seated burp. While seated, place your baby in a seated position on your leg. Lean her forward into your palm so that her tummy is pressing on the heel of your hand and your fingers are helping to support her head. Hold her as close to upright as possible without compromising her airway. (Babies slump over and their chin drops to their chest making it hard for them to get a deep breath.)

While holding your baby upright, bounce your knee firmly ten or twelve times to free any bubbles. Then gently pat her back to help her burp. Repeat a time or two if the burp doesn’t come or switch to a shoulder burp after the bouncing to ensure all burps are out.

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How To Prepare a Kid for Preschool

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Education & Reading / Writing

how to prepare for preschool / daycareKindergarten was once the beginning of the school years. Now, it is generally acknowledged that a child will not be ready for the academics of kindergarten without attending a preschool. Parents must begin working with toddlers to ensure that they are adequately prepared to enter a preschool around age three or four.

Preparation for preschool is not heavy on academics, but rather foundations for learning. Your child may have the alphabet and colors down by the age of three, but those who don’t will catch up quickly. It is far more important to focus on numerical sense, reading fundamentals and behavior for learning.

Numerical Sense:

Recent brain research has shown that basic number sense can have a huge impact on a child’s overall success in mathematics throughout their life. Number sense is understanding that numbers are sequential and identifying that a bigger number represents more. This is a foundation that must be instilled by around age four to be adequately implanted for future use.

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To help your child learn number sense, continue doing what most parents already instinctively do. Help your child count his pennies or blocks. Rather than just saying the numbers, point or move the pieces to help him understand what one, two and three look like. You can even go so far as to count backwards and remove the blocks or pennies. Popular board games are an excellent way to teach numerical sense as well. Anytime you count spaces or toy ants or dots on a dice, you are building a mathematical foundation.

Reading Fundamentals:

Teaching a child to read before age five is possible if the child is developmentally ready. Whether a child can read by five or not is not as important as having reading fundamentals in place. The foundation for reading begins before a baby is born. There is a strong correlation between the number of books owned by parents and the future reading ability of their children. This is a much stronger relationship than if the parents read to their child.

Of course it is important to read to your child, but simply having books around the house shows how important the written word is and leads by example, in a sense. To build reading fundamentals, parents should focus first on vocabulary. Reading together is a wonderful way to do this. You can also simply speak to your baby or toddler in your normal voice and narrate your activities. The more words a child is exposed to, the greater his own vocabulary and understanding will be.

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Read to your children and point out things in the pictures. Talk to them and explain why things happen or what you are doing. Take the time to show them different things and let them explore while you give them names and explanations. Later, after your child has picked up decoding skills, or the first step of actually reading words, he will know what those words mean. Strong readers can both sound out words and picture or understand what the word is saying. For this reason, the larger vocabulary and more exposure a child has to the world around them, the better their reading comprehension will be.

Behavior for Learning:
It is obvious that a place for learning does not closely resemble a playroom or gym. Children who have very little discipline often struggle when first introduced to concepts such as “taking turns” or “sitting still.” Parents should be working with their children from infancy to teach them patience and self discipline. Granted, toddlers are not known for acting like ideal pupils. But practice and setting expectations can go a long way in learning to follow instructions, whispering, listening to the teacher and the hardest of all – sitting still.

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