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Infant - Week #49

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Balancing and Uncluttering!

By Mary Perrin, edHelperBaby

  Encouraging Your Baby's Development
           Physical Development:  Do the math!  Has your baby's weight nearly tripled since he was born?  Recall his length at birth; add eleven inches.  Is this number close to his current length?  Think about these numbers for just a moment.  To grow eleven inches taller in one year, and to triple your weight in a year's time (and it be acceptable)...now that is change!  With these physical changes taking place so rapidly, it is no wonder that he is forced to learn how to balance, coordinate his little body, and build muscle strength at all the same time.  Try the following activity to help your baby further develop his ability to balance, develop coordination, and strengthen his muscles.  Together these will be vital for cruising, walking, running, kicking, and other gross motor skills.  Activity - Obtain a large exercise ball.  Stand your baby up against the ball with his hands stretched over it.  Lift him slightly off the ground with your hands on his hips and move the ball gently to the right and to the left.  He should attempt to correct himself back into the neutral position thus working to strengthen his hip and abdominal muscles.  Also, try sitting him on the ball and performing left to right and circular motions to strengthen these core areas.

       Social-Emotional Development:  Punishing your child for playing with the remote control, the telephone, or even biting is not necessary.  Your child is merely exploring his environment to learn more about how things work, what they do, and the types of reactions they elicit.  Instead of reacting negatively to these actions, consider how you plan to establish guidelines for these types of behaviors.  Precise and firmly spoken directions like "no biting" are more likely to teach your baby that biting is an unacceptable behavior over a timeout or a lecture at this stage of development.  An addition to your firm and precise directives, it will be important for you to remain consistent in your responses.  Your consistency will prevail, and eventually your little channel-changer will understand that the remote is not something to touch.  Your consistency and short and sweet "no _____" terminology will hopefully transcend to his social interactions with others.   When he hears those spoken words, you can hope that he will listen and respect your wishes and the wishes of those he is playing with.  Praise him each time he follows directions!  Pick one specific "rule" to teach your child this week and begin practicing using these strategies.  You will find yourself repeating yourself a gazillion times. He will repeatedly do the opposite of what you want, but in the end (whenever that might be...a few days, a week, a month) you will appreciate the time you dedicated and save yourself countless parental headaches.

       Intellectual Development: Teach your baby about the concept of temperature.  Obtain three cups of water: ice cold, room temperature, and warm.  Make sure the warm water is not hot enough to burn your baby's little hands.  Dip one of your baby's hands into the glass of ice water and talk about the water's properties.  Do this again for room temperature water and also for warm water.  You may even refer to the warm water as being hot water even though it technically isn't.  Developing an understanding of "hot" as it relates to the stove/oven, fireplace, etc. is a very important concept for your child to gain since it involves his safety.  How does your baby respond to each of the different temperatures?  To extend this activity, consider using wet washcloths of differing temperatures. Again make sure they are not too hot to the touch.  Place each washcloth on her forearm.  How does she react to the temperature and the pressure she feels on her arm?

       Language Development: Babies are incredibly smart and pick up language very quickly.  If you were totally immersed into a culture where you were forced to learn a different language, how would you do it?  You would listen intently to those who held conversations, watch body language and facial expressions, and you would use visual clues to help you develop meaning as well as fluency.  Babies learn the exact same way!  Your baby will most likely watch you have a conversation with someone else.  He will look at your face as you speak, listen to your tone and pitch, and notice when you pause and another person takes over.  This demonstration teaches your baby a lot about how language is used and how he must begin to mimic your sounds if he wants to participate in conversations.  He is beginning to add brand new words to his lifelong vocabulary.  Words like mama, dada, hi, and bye-bye are just a few words you may begin to hear.  What powerful words they are and how touching they can be!  Every few days work with your baby on a new word and add a hand motion to accompany the word.  Work on words like dog, cat, more, milk, thank you, please, night-night, etc.  The words you introduce to your child should be words that are relative to his daily routines.  He will thrive on your praise and adoration each time you acknowledge his accomplishments!


  From A Parent's Perspective
           Reagan is almost one and she has been crawling, cruising, and pulling herself for a while now.  She does not show any signs of wanting to let go or taking a few steps on her own.  I am not worried.  I know that eventually she will get the hang of it.  In the meantime, though, it is my obligation to encourage, help, and guide her developmentally in this learning endeavor.  Holding onto her tiny hands and feeling her grasp mine right back is a tremendous feeling.  She seems to enjoy walking, but when she becomes fixated on a toy, she will immediately collapse to the floor  to get it.  When I brought out the big blue exercise ball, she squealed.  She knew it was play time.  She typically pushes it around and crawls after it.  When I picked her up and sat her on the top, she immediately steadied herself by placing her arms on mine for support.  As we moved from side to side, she compensated for the shifts by pulling herself back to a neutral position.  If doing these types of exercises was going to help strengthen her core area, then I wanted a piece of the action myself in hopes of doing the same for my own middle.  I picked her up and placed her on my lap facing towards me.  I held her arms and we leaned/rolled together from side to side.  I think this reminded her a little of swinging together.  Then, as she stood up against the ball, she was a little unsure of me lifting her slightly off the ground.  Once she balanced her belly on the ball and could feel my support, she quickly relaxed.  All-in-all, the activity went very smoothly and she thoroughly enjoyed it.  I was able to work with her on important developmental skills and she was able to play with something really cool, me...okay, okay, maybe it was the ball that truly won her attention, but nonetheless, it was a win-win play session.


  Your Baby's Temperament
           Are you chasing your baby around the house and finding him getting into things that you can't imagine he even obtained?  If so, you may have a real "go-getter" on your hands.  Go-getters are adventurous, daring, and extremely inquisitive.  They typically crawl early, walk early, and love to make their own action.  Or you may have an "I'm content here" child who is very content and seems to go with the flow of things.  They also enjoy activities that aren't nearly as extreme as climbing the furniture.  The "I'm content" child enjoys a lot of attention since he does not venture out like the go-getter does.  Consider your child's personality.  What type of temperament does your baby have?  What special qualities does your baby possess?  Even though he is very young, can you foresee any academic challenges, physical challenges, or emotional challenges that he may face?


  How YOUR Life Is Changing
           Unclutter the clutter!  Come on, we all have the one place in our homes that tends to attract big piles of stuff.  Where is yours?  Is it the kitchen counter?  Mine is!  Things pile up way too quickly.  Mail, toys, books, power cords, hats and other accessories, shoes (not on the countertop of course), coupons, invitations, appointment cards, etc.  Do you have a system that helps you keep organized?  There are a few simple tips and tricks that may help you become more organized and on top of your clutter.  Don't feel like you have to implement all of them, especially all at once.  Get everyone on board to help things run more smoothly.  Pick a few and see how they work.  Think of them like new house rules.  Only try not to use the word "rules" with your kids, at least not yet.  Try the term "expectation" instead.  "Okay, kids it is now an expectation that as you walk in the door you hang your coat up on the coat rack, place your shoes in your shoe bin, and throw your hats and gloves into the basket."  Be consistent for one week and eventually you won't need to repeat the expectation except for when your kiddo has that occasional brain cramp, which is bound to happen at some point.

       Tips and Tricks:
  • Hats and accessories - Place a basket near where your child hangs his coat.  This basket serves to hold hats, gloves, and scarves in the winter and then sunhats and sunglasses during the summer months.
  • Coats - Provide your child with a hook that is low enough for him to successfully hang up his own coat.  (I have a refinished farmhouse door hanging sideways in the entryway with four black hooks attached to it.  Beneath the door and off to the far right I have placed a fifth hook for my middle child who isn't tall enough yet to hang her coat on the door.  This works extremely well for her and eventually she will be able to graduate up to the door and Reagan will take the hook on the wall.)  Foster self-sufficiency to help you get going and to aid your child in developing those important DIY skills.
  • Shoes - Obtain a crate for your child to place his shoes into.  Slide this crate into the hall closet and each time your child takes off his shoes he will be developing a habit of putting his shoes away.  (When our neighbor's kids come over, they place their shoes in Leister's shoes basket, too. It's funny how they have picked up on the shoe routine when they don't actually live here.)
  • Mail - Don't just get the mail...sort the mail, too.  As soon as you get the mail, begin sorting into piles.  Bills go into the bill drawer or basket, junk mail gets thrown into the recycling can or the basket that holds the mail that needs to be shredded, coupons go into the coupon basket, etc.  Think of the different types of mail that you get.  Develop a place for everything so that everything gets in its place.
  • Coupons - Create a basket to store coupons.  You don't have to get fancy.  Before or after you create your grocery list each week (depending on whether you plan your meals around your coupons or your coupons around your meals), go through and snip the coupons you need for the week.  It could even be helpful to store a small pair of scissors with your coupons.  Place these coupons into a storage bag and slide them into your purse.
  • Appointment cards, invitations, etc. - Bulletins boards are wonderful!  Find a spot in your house to hang a bulletin board.  It should be a spot you see often so that you are reminded to hang things on it and to actually be in tune to what's on it.  Each week make note of what is on it and remove those things that are no longer needed.  Keeping it updated will keep you organized.
  • Calendar(s) of events - Next to your bulletin board or attached to it hang a calendar and keep it updated with appointments, meetings, sporting events, etc.  The appointment cards on the bulletin board will be handy if you need to cancel an appointment.  But also place the appointment information on your calendar.  Make it neat enough for everyone to read so that everyone can be kept up-to-date on the weekly/monthly events. Calendar idea: Create a unique dry erase calendar.  Find a large picture frame (with glass not plastic) you are no longer using, a sheet of poster board, a permanent marker, a ruler, and a dry erase marker.  Create a generic monthly calendar on the sheet of poster board (draw it out on paper first to help guide you) with the permanent marker.  Leave a section at the top to write in the month and a section for each of the days of the week.  Draw your lines and write in your days of the week.  Once you have your template, frame the sheet of poster board, covering it with the glass.  Now you are ready to use your dry erase marker to number the days and write in all those important events.
  • Toys - Laundry baskets work well for carrying toys from one place to the next.  Make it an expectation that before bed time each evening, toys are picked up.  If your child is too little to carry the basket himself, then he can be responsible for placing toys in and taking them out after you carry it for him.  Also, consider storing toys in clear containers so your child will know what is inside without having to dump everything out on the floor to find that one toy.
  • What's for dinner? - Before you go to the grocery store each week, get organized.  It will help you save money! Hang a dry erase board on the inside of your pantry door.  Write the days of the week down the left side of the board.  Then plan your meals and list them.  It will help you be ahead of the game and help the kids (and hubby) know what to look forward to for dinner.  Older kids can get involved, too, by each planning and filling out a specific day.  Yum, yum!
  • Power cords - Are they are all tangled up or lost at your house?  Consider getting a valet for your electronic devices.  A valet will hide the cords and allow immediate access for recharging your cell phone and other devices.
  • Mail magnets - Hang three different colored magnets on a steel entry door.  Designate one magnet as outgoing mail, one for items that need immediate attention, and one for the kids.  The kids' magnet can hold papers that need to be signed and returned to school, daycare/school checks, etc.  You won't be able to slide out the door each day without being forced to take care of business.


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