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Infant - Week #22

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Baby Anticipation and Anxiety

By Mary Perrin, edHelperBaby

  Encouraging Your Baby's Development
           As your baby's understanding of the world around him intensifies, he will begin to anticipate things to happen subsequently.  Developing routines will be important for helping your baby eliminate insecurities while at the same time cognitively increasing his awareness of cause and effect relationships during playtime activities.

       At this stage of development your baby might smile because he knows that at a certain point in a frequently sung song that you will tickle his neck.  He also might realize that when you place him into the car seat that you will be going bye-bye.  He will understand that when you place a bib around his neck he will soon be fed, following his bath he will be put to bed, and when he awakes in the morning he will be greeted with a "good morning sweetheart."  He might also get frustrated when he expects a certain reaction and does not get it.  He might cry when you pass by him without picking him up, or he might get upset when an older sibling tries to play "tea party" with him and there is nothing on the spoon.

       Your baby's complex thinking skills are developing each day.  Even though it may seem like your child is crying more and more, take pride in knowing it is due to the fact that his understanding of the world around him is expanding rapidly.   Continue to foster your baby's development with creative play activities that allow him to see that actions have reactions.

       Creative Play Ideas

       The following are a few simple games and songs that will assist in stimulating your infant's curiosity and help enforce the concept of cause and effect relationships.
  • Peek-a-boo is a common game of anticipation.  Your child will begin by passively watching your actions to eventually participating actively in the game.
  • Sing predictable songs with your baby.  He won't care if you make one up or if it doesn't rhyme; just make it predictable.  Here is an example of a short silly song.  Hold your baby in a cradled position and sing.  I'm rocking my baby bumble bee.  Won't my mommy be so proud of me because I'm rocking my baby bumble bee? Buzzz...get you (tickle your baby.) Sing this song a few times and he will begin to anticipate a tickle!
  • Lay your baby on his back.  Say in a repetitive tone while GENTLY performing these actions on his chest: rub, rub, rub, pat, pat pat, chop, chop, chop, and a tickle, tickle, tickle.   As your child grows, move the actions from the chest to his back.  He will continue to enjoy this one for years to come.  In a few years you will be able to walk up to him, gently place your hand on his back and begin saying the phrase rub, rub, rub only to begin watching him squirm with anticipation.


  From a Parent's Perspective
           My daughter loves peek-a-boo games.  I vary the game a little each time and she seems to like the variations.  Sometimes I will hide behind my hands, use a burp cloth as a barrier, stand in the doorway between the hallway and the bathroom mirror and sway back and forth, and other times I will wear a hat and move my head up and down.  She likes to grab hold of the bill on my hat almost to say "I know you are under there."  The hat and burp cloth are the easiest because they travel so well.  We take them along to older siblings' extracurricular activities and have an instant hook to keep her occupied, for a few minutes anyway.  I have also provided her with a small baby toy mirror to help her recognize herself and become familiar with her own expressions.

       The entire family loves the anticipation of the rub, rub, rub game.  The children are squirmy and giggly from the first word.  They encourage the baby by saying things like "get squirmy", "here she comes", and "she's is going to get you."  At first she was a little taken back by the whole concept, but it helped that we modified our approach by whispering the actions.  Then after a while, she was not so overwhelmed by the loud bouts of excitement of the older kids.  During quiet one-on-one times, she is more relaxed but does tend to anticipate the actions by arching her back and flashing a big smile.

       Repetition and reassurance have helped her to understand that actions have reactions.  Typically, her uncertainty is never long-lived.  It was interesting to see how her emotions and her ability to move her body parts became connected as she began to understand how a feeling could trigger a desire to avoid or embrace a particular action.  It was helpful to end a play session with a calming song, gentle backrub, or a soft-spoken conversation that would allow her to know that it was time to unwind.


  How Your Life is Changing
           There will be moments when your baby feels anxious...and so will YOU!  You may find yourself asking, "How exactly am I supposed to get it all done?"  It is common for your baby to hit a stage when he will constantly want to be held by you or another familiar face.  You will probably feel pulled in two different directions.  You might find it difficult to know when to let him cry and when to snatch him into your arms and soothe his worries.  Find a balance between the two.  Even though it will be hard to hear your baby cry, it will be important for him to figure out how to self-soothe during the times when you must get routine tasks completed.  A common busy time of day is during the evening hours.  Many parents feel the stress during the evening when older siblings are trying to do their homework, they are trying to prepare dinner, the evening news is on, the phone begins to ring, and the baby is begging for attention.  Be patient and attempt to keep your calm by following these simple tips:

       Tips and Tricks
  • Do not do so many things at once.  Rearrange your child's homework time so that it is before or after the preparation and gathering of the evening meal.  Like you, older siblings will not be able to focus with so many distractions.
  • Record the news to watch later in the evening and turn the television off.
  • Try to calm your baby.  If you are preparing dinner in the kitchen, place him in a bouncy seat in a safe location where he can see you.  As you move around the kitchen, he will be stimulated by your movement as he begins to watch your every move.
  • If you have older children, set aside the thirty minutes or so it takes you to prepare dinner for older siblings to entertain the baby by singing songs, reading books, playing with colorful toys, and/or playing baby games.
  • Place your baby in his favorite position.  If he enjoys lying on his tummy, then put him in this position during this time with a few toys at his reach.
  • Place your baby in a baby carrier or backpack during busy moments of the day when you need the freedom of both hands.  Your baby's safety is important.  Be sure to keep baby clear of kitchen appliances, etc.
  • It is appropriate to turn off the ringer on the phone or to ask others if you can return their calls.  The caller would probably appreciate you wanting to be able to focus on what he/she has to say.
  • If possible, prepare dinner ahead of time.  There are two ways to go about this.  You could begin dinner earlier in the day if you have time.  Casseroles lend themselves easily to this one.  Or you could make enough during one night's cooking session to ease the work load on other evenings.  For example, if you know you will be having a chicken dinner two nights in a row, make enough chicken on the first night to get through the second.  To keep the chicken fresh tasting, eat the warm moist chicken breast the first evening, and shred/cube the chicken for tomorrow's chicken pot pie, tacos, etc. and place it in the refrigerator for the next evening.  This way you will consolidate your efforts and feel a little more prepared the following evening.

       Also, talk with other parents to see how they handle routines during the evening hours.  You will find that others can be a great source of encouragement as you find you are most likely not alone in the issues you experience.

       Make a mental list of what is working and what is not.  Your first step may begin with scaling back on unnecessary factors, such as the television. Next, try to reconsider the roles others are taking during stressful times to better assist you in creating a peaceful evening for every member of the family.  Hopefully, by the time you sit down to dinner, you will be able to enjoy the food you have spent time preparing!  After all, you wouldn't want to dine in a restaurant where the feelings of anxiety or tension run high.


Daycare Detective
By Jennifer L. Ruiz, edHelperBaby

           Every parent dreads the day when they have to return to work and must entrust their child with someone else.  One thing that can help you to feel a little better about this task is knowing that you have chosen the perfect place for your child.  There are many decisions to make when you have to go back to work and your child needs someone other than you to care for them.  Do I use an at home sitter?  Do I use someone who has taken care of children at their home?  Or, do I take my child to a child care center?  Whatever decision you make, be sure to be a detective when it comes to finding the perfect place.  Having a check list will be of great assistance when you begin your search.  Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
  1. Ask friends, family, and coworkers for ideas of different places.
  2. Find out the child to worker ratio.
  3. Ask how long the employees have worked there.
  4. Drop in at unexpected times, especially their busiest times of the day. Usually opening and closing times are the busiest times.
  5. Find out if they will be able to accommodate your baby's eating patterns and sleeping patterns.
  6. Look the place over.  Is the place clean and organized?  You may think this is a given, but you might be surprised.
  7. Look at several different places before making your decision.  Once you decide, visit the place more than once and at different times of the day.
  8. Talk to other parents from your potential choice.
  9. Find out hours of operations.  You need to be sure they are open when you need them.
  10. Finally, ask about their weekly fees and registration fees.  Some places give discounts when your child is out for a week.

       Most importantly, you want to feel that your child is safe, happy and being cared for just as you would do for them.  Once you make your decision and enroll your child, always feel free to drop in and check on your child when you feel the need.  After all, your child is what is important.       


My Daycare Decision
By Jennifer L. Ruiz, About my child Isabel

           Finding the right place for my daughter was difficult.  I do not have anyone I know that can come to my house, so that option was out.  The same went for someone who takes care of children at their home.  My only option was a childcare center.  I knew this would be a task.  I began by asking people I knew for ideas.  I was quickly reminded that my expectations were not always the same as others.  I found myself to be quite a picky person, as I should be. She is my daughter after all.  I was stunned by how many child care centers were unorganized and just downright dingy.  I went to several different day cares.  I found two that met my standards.  I went with one that is close to my work.  My daughter will start next month.  One thing is for sure, my detective skills will not rest just because I have a daycare.  When it comes to my child being at a daycare, I will always be on the lookout to make sure things are done the right way.


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