Babies, toddlers, their teeth and the dentist


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The dentist, babies, toddlers, and healthy teeth. What is good dental practice for infants?We had our first dentist appointment today! (nearly 14.5 months).

I naively thought it would all go smoothly, but the Little Lovely refused to open his mouth. I sat with him on the chair, with him in my lap. The dentist was very nice and seemed like she had experience in working with small children. She brought out some stickers and tried to gain his interest. He wasn’t very interested. She got a very quick glimpse in his mouth. We tried to encourage him to open his mouth again but he didn’t like it and got upset. The upside of this was that she could see into his mouth again. All that we learnt was that he is still missing his back molars (which we know…), and the dentist said he might be a bit grumpy if they are coming in. She said only to use a very small amount of toothpaste and asked if he had a varied diet. We were only there for about 5 minutes, if that. Oh well. But, she made the good point that at the next appointment (in 6 months) and future appointments, he should be more used to it because he would have been a few times. Good point, yes:

Desensitization (where the anxiety or emotional response to a situation/stimulus is reduced through repeated experience, or exposure to that situation/stimulus) 

and habituation (reduced response from repeated exposure to the “thing”  and over time because it doesn’t have the same impact any more)!

So the brief appointment wasn’t in vain.

Anyway, what do guidelines say about child tooth health? The NHS says about children’s teeth:

A regular teeth-cleaning routine is essential for good dental health

Obviously… and what else?

Start brushing your baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first milk tooth breaks through… It’s important to use a fluoride paste as this helps prevent and control tooth decay

 

Below the age of three years, children should use just a smear of toothpaste.

 

And further information found here says:

 

Your child’s teeth should be brushed twice a day: last thing at night before bed and at least one other time

 

The amount of toothpaste used depends on your child’s age. For children under three years, use a smear or thin film of toothpaste that covers less than three-quarters of the brush.

 

Don’t let your child eat or lick toothpaste from the tube.

 

All children should use fluoride toothpaste…Children under three should use toothpaste containing no less than 1,000 ppm fluoride.

 

What about the dentist:

Taking your child to the dentist

Take your child to the dentist when the first milk teeth appear. This is so they become familiar with the environment and get to know the dentist. The dentist can help prevent decay and identify any oral health problems at an early stage. Just opening up the child’s mouth for the dentist to take a look is useful practise for when they could benefit from future preventative care.

 

When you visit the dentist, be positive about it and make the trip fun. This will stop your child worrying about future visits.

 

Take your child for regular dental check-ups as advised by the dentist. NHS dental care for children is free.

Oh good, so this taps into the earlier points about gradually exposing the child to the dentist and dental environment so that it becomes normal and familiar. Also, associating the trip with something fun and exciting sounds like a good idea, so that it doesn’t seem like a big, scary thing.

 

…Next appointment, 6 months!

Why give up your seat on public transport for a pregnant woman?

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Why give up your seat on public transport for a pregnant woman? Some views, discussion, and examples of refusal.

 

 

Here’s a little riddle for you:

Two people get on a tube train at the same stop, there is one free seat. Passenger no. 1 gets on first and so goes to the seat, he starts to sit down and his backside has only just touched the chair when the second passenger very politely says, “excuse me, do you mind if I sit down because I’m pregnant?”. Who gets the seat? The pregnant woman or the man?

  • Answer →→ → It wasn’t the pregnant woman.

  • I witnessed this today on a busy tube train.

 

To continue the story….. So as I was saying above, the woman asks the man for the seat. The man sits and then waves his hands toward the priority seat next to him and says “there’s a priority seat there why don’t you ask them” in a dismissive and harsh tone. Slightly confused and embarrassed by this, the pregnant woman looks at the woman in the priority seat and asks again, “do you mind if I sit down”. Before she can barely finish the priority seat woman says “I feel dizzy so no”. Ok, says the pregnant woman.
She now probably feels quite exposed and embarrassed, and maybe is starting to feel a bit stressed. She looks at the woman in the priority seat opposite but she has massive headphones on. The pregnant woman isn’t sure how to address her seeing as she probably wouldn’t be able to hear and the pregnant woman doesn’t want to start shouting across the carriage DO YOU MIND IF I SIT DOWN, I’M PREGNANT? Does the initial refusing man, on hearing that the priority seat cannot be vacated, then change his approach and offer his seat after all (I mean, seeing as his displacement tactic seemed to fail)? – no he does not.
Fortunately, two people who are sitting nearby witness all this and offer their seats. The pregnant woman probably just wants to get off the train after experiencing this, but gratefully accepts one of the seats and says thank you several times. She wants to give the refusing man a few words and ask why he acted like this? But, she is too upset to start getting into a conversation and embarrassed because the whole carriage has witnessed this event so keeps quiet and looks sad in her seat.

 

 

To the woman who felt dizzy, ok fair enough, maybe you did and I respect that. To the woman with the headphones on, ok, of course you can listen to music on the train, no issue, it just kind of makes it difficult for people to approach you if you’re in the priority seat and the person is already feeling self conscious and had a hard enough time from two passengers already. Maybe this is similar to the frequent observation of seeing people in the priority seats with their eyes closed (conveniently closed when we get to the next station and passengers start piling on), or paper in front of their faces so that communication with them is made extremely difficult and they don’t have to notice anyone who might be a priority.
My issue is with the original refuser. If the pregnant woman got on the train and he was already sitting there then of course, why would she ask him? She would ask those in the priority seats. But she asked him because they both got on the train, her one second behind him, it’s not like he had been sitting there for ages and she booted him out of the seat. Two people, one seat, one person explicitly says to the other I’m pregnant, do you mind if I sit – possibly a reasonable thing to ask in that situation??

 

  • oh an by the way – original refuser (i’m going to call him weasel man, because he looked like a weasel, and also acted like one but i’m going more on his looks) – do you know what every pregnant woman really REALLY wants?? Why, it’s stress, humiliation, having to justify herself in front of a carriage load of strangers and being made to feel like crap!! Of course it is. Well, congratulations because this morning, you helped her achieve that. The stress was especially welcomed, i’m sure! We all know what a good impact that has on the body, don’t we, and let’s not mention the high levels of cortisol and potential impact on the baby… Words can not describe, but I hope you are ashamed of yourself, except, i’m sure you’re not and you probably boasted about your response and complained bitterly and laughed about the “sense of entitlement” some pregnant woman displayed to you on the train, with your sad little friends down the pub (if you have any friends). 

 

Now anyway, back to the issue. I know some people disagree with pregnant women being able to safety sit down on public transport and having to give up a seat for them. Well, to those people and their comments, I have some responses, see below. The issues below are inspired by comments I have read from other people about such situations, either in on-line articles, or sometimes in the free newspaper you get on the tube…

 

  • Pregnant women have an overinflated sense of entitlement, I’m not giving up my seat to some princess just because they have a baby on board badge on:
    Pregnant women either do not ask to sit down because they are too concerned to approach someone, or they politely ask someone in the priority seat because THAT’S WHAT THE PRIORITY SEAT IS FOR. And, like every “group” of people in life, there are going to be some group members that might come across as a bit more pushy, but if you were carrying another life inside your body you might be a bit protective too.

 

  • Pregnant women are not ill (or it’s not a disability), so why should they sit down?:
    No, pregnancy is not an illness, but yes women can feel ill. In the first trimester (and beyond for some) they can feel incredibly nauseous (and of course, be sick), dizzy, overwhelming tiredness, aches and pains. Later in pregnancy you can suffer all sorts of problems including back pain, ligament pain, jimmy legs (restless legs) and probably many more issues. No, pregnancy is not an illness or disability, but the person might need to sit down due to many of the reasons mentioned above, which are not necessarily affecting non-pregnant people. Also, try walking around with an 8lb baby inside you all day. Ok.

 

  • I have my own physical health problems or disabilities that are not noticeable (i.e., you wouldn’t be able to notice by looking at the person that they do in fact need to sit down). I can’t just go and demand a seat like the pregnant woman, why can’t I go around with this same sense of entitlement and seat taking behaviour as the pregnant woman when I also need to sit? Why should they get to sit down?:
    I’m sorry if it is difficult for you to stand on public transport and you have a valid point in wanting to sit. The priority seat is for people who are pregnant, disabled or less able to stand. As people often instruct the pregnant woman to do, maybe ask for seat and give your reasons. As mentioned, I saw a woman in the priority seat say to a pregnant woman she “felt dizzy” so couldn’t give up her seat. The pregnant woman accepted this. Maybe other passengers would listen if you asked to sit down too. I understand that you shouldn’t have to justify or give your life story in order to sit down, but unfortunately, other people can be mindless and need some prompting, as the pregnant woman will probably tell you after the 100th time she has stood in front of someone on a train, rubbing a massive bump and no one has noticed.

 

  • Pregnant women should be at home, or, if you’re that “incapacitated” you shouldn’t be travelling:
    Do I really have to provide ANY response to this in order to support a pregnant person’s position?! Well ok, just for a start, we all have things to do, places to go, jobs, appointments, lives, pregnant women do not sit at home knitting for 9 months. Many women decide to work up until a few weeks or even the week of their due date, either for financial reasons, work pressures or because the more maternity leave you take before the baby is born the less you have to use afterwards. Some women don’t want to waste a month of maternity leave sitting at home prior to baby’s arrival. They are also not incapacitated, they are growing a child inside their bodies and might not be able to stand for long due to all the reasons above about health complaints during pregnancy and also safety aspects, as I will discuss below.

 

  • Women complain about gender inequality but then say things like ohhh the age of chivalry is gone, men should give up their seats, etc etc, you can’t have it both ways!:
This is not about chivalry, this is not about gender equality, this is about safety. That woman represents two lives, and one is quite fragile. Or, she is unwell and it would be difficult to stand for a long period. Maybe she could stand in front of you and then puke all over you when the nausea finally gets too much, would that be preferable?

 

The reason I would ask for a seat (when pregnant): Because I’m tired, dizzy, feel sick, but most importantly for me, because IT’S NOT SAFE TO GET SQUASHED AND THROWN AROUND ON A CROWDED TUBE TRAIN (or, insert other transport method here) WHEN PREGNANT.

  • I have been pushed, completely squashed and wedged between other passengers, hit (accidently – but required me going to the minor injuries unit and the perpetrator didn’t even notice he’d done it even when I tried to point it out), bulldozed out the way by people trying to get off the train who don’t care about others, had people almost fall on me or fall over in my direction, and probably other incidents that I’ve forgotten about during my 10 or so years of commuting. This, fortunately, was not when I was pregnant although I did have a few people almost fall on me and a person drop their bag on the escalator in front of me when pregnant. The bag fortunately landed on my arm which I had out holding the hand rail, so everything was ok. Still a shock, though.

 

My main argument, then, is: it’s not safe to stand when pregnant, and if you are growing a life inside you then that becomes your priority and should, yes it should, give you entitlement to sit down. If you sit in the priority seat then be prepared to move. I am, and I have moved when asked (quite recently actually, by a women who wasn’t wearing a baby on board badge and didn’t “look pregnant”, but said she was, so ok, and I was in the priority seat). If you don’t want to get up then you have no empathy, awareness of others and their feelings or dignity. End

 

_________________________________________________________

 

If you want to read more about the “baby on board” badge issue, including some experiences from pregnant women, see here: http://www.ababyonboard.com/a-very-royal-baby-on-board-badge/
Unfortunately, there are worse experiences out there:
I did wear one [baby on board badge], after about 5 months people generally ignored it though – I was standing at 36 weeks. My worst two stories: the man who pushed in front of me to get the last seat realised I was heavily pregnant and then pretended to be asleep all the way and the delightful two young ladies who shouted at me and told me they hated people who thought a badge entitled them to a seat and that they wanted to sit down…I see shocking behaviour everyday of women with badges displayed and being totally ignored. (from ababyonboard.com, link above)
 

I really hope these are incredibly isolated incidents, but if not, remember, for all the inconsiderate, despicable “human beings” out there, there will be someone who does give a sh*t, and might help you out. Although, you might have to ask more than one passenger before you find them…

Baby feeding & changing facilities at UK airports, London Gatwick, Heathrow, City, Stansted, Luton

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UK London airports, baby feeding & changing facilities informationBaby feeding & changing facilities at UK airports, London Gatwick, Heathrow, City, Luton, Stansted

As part of the Baby Friendly London page (currently in development) – here is some information about feeding, changing, baby facilities at UK airports.

 

I was emailed a link to a really useful site, “Airport Parking Shop Blog”. They contacted 28 UK and Irish airports during January 2015 and collected responses about facilities at each location. They asked the airports via Twitter:

“Do you have dedicated mother and baby rooms for nursing mums?”

See here for a really helpful chart of each airport and the answers they gave about their facilities.

The page also writes about how they collected the data, the response rates, and more about their survey.

 

There was varying responses from each airport, so unfortunately there isn’t complete information for all of the 28 airports. But in summary:
  • London Gatwick said that rooms for feeding and changing are highlighted by signs (either a bottle or “babycare” sign, whatever that is).
  • London Heathrow said they have dedicated family areas, and more information about family facilities can be found here.
  • Luton said they don’t have dedicated mother and baby rooms for nursing mothers, but you can contact a member of their passenger services team for help in finding somewhere quiet.
  • City has changing facilities but no dedicated nursing room.
  • Stansted has a mother and baby room in the departure lounge.

 

Information based on research reported by Airport Parking Shop Blog, as of January 2015. Please collect updated information if this seems out of date for you.

 

 

Baby Friendly London – Foyles

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Baby Friendly London. Places and spaces for baby/toddler to feed, change, stretch, crawl & walk. Our reviews & insightsPlaces to stop off in central London that are baby/toddler friendly!

  • Out and about? Need a place to feed and change?

  • Need a place for baby or toddler to get out of the pram and stretch their legs, run around, have a play?

◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊

 

 

Foyles – Bookstore – 107 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0DT

  • Nearest stations: Tottenham Court Road, Leicester Square tube
  • Nearby: Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Soho

 

What’s so good about it?

If you need somewhere to stop off, get a coffee, let baby or your toddler toddle about, then this shop has many options. You can look at the books and toys in the children’s section and entertain them for a while, make use of the high chairs in the cafe while you have a refreshing cuppa, and then let them stretch their legs upstairs. Here’s some pictures and further details:

 

  • Good selection of children’s books and book related toys. Children’s area has some bean bags, small tables and chairs to read at

Baby Friendly London. Children's books & toys. Space for baby/toddler to stretch, crawl & walk. Foyles

  • Cafe with highchairs, reasonable selection of food and drinks

Baby Friendly London. Cafe. Space for baby/toddler to stretch, crawl & walk. Foyles

 

  • A good open space up on floor 6.
  • We went up here to let our 13 month old get out of the buggy after a long nap to crawl and toddle around. They use this space for events but events are not a regular occurrence so the space was empty. There is plenty of space up there.
  • As you can see below, especially in the middle picture below, there is a large glass window into the space which overlooks the cafe. Another picture of the fuller space on floor 6 is below
Baby Friendly London. Space for baby/toddler to stretch, crawl & walk. Foyles
The space up on floor 6

upstairs space

  • And how do you get around the shop with a buggy? Why by one of their many, fast, lifts of course

Baby Friendly London. Space for baby/toddler to stretch, crawl & walk. Foyles

 

Safety first: this is obviously a shop and not a children’s play area/provider. Check with staff if you have any safety concerns and always supervise activities closely.

Update on our week and development at 13 months – talking, walking, accents

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We are into the 13th month. What has the Little Lovely (LL) been doing?

 

update at 13 months - now we are walking. baby-brain.co.uk. Psychology, babies, motherhood, blog

Baby Feet

He started walking about a month ago, with his hand being held and then independently. Before he turned 1 we saw maybe 1 little step a couple of times. Then a few weeks later a definite series of 3 steps or so, which turned into more steps and then he just decided he would walk. I wonder if it was a confidence thing because he could walk with two or one hand being held but wasn’t able to do it alone. Now he is walking quite a bit, not very fast and with a slightly awkward gait and leg position, bit like a cowboy but he is probably walking more than crawling to get places he wants to go.
He also decided to dive head first onto the floor few days ago. Not from very high but resulted in a slight bruise. We called the NHS helpline on “111” (when you need help and advice but it’s not an emergency) and they were semi-helpful, if not a bit “automated”. I think the 111 number involves call centre staff who go through a series of prescribed questions with you over the phone, but they might not necessarily be highly medically trained. Anyway, he’s all ok but was an unpleasant experience.

 

We are also talking more and he has added more words to his vocabulary. There is a lot of gobbledegook but no string of real words yet, or even two real words linked together, only single words. His favourite word at the moment is “bath”. “Bus” comes second. He can also say toes, and point to them, and this morning was able to repeat “Kirk”, and “Spock” when watching Star Trek. He has a strange, possibly twang of northern accent for some reason (we don’t have one), for example, he says “baath” (rather than barth), “turrs” (rather than toes), “turst” (toast) and “shurrs” (shoes), that I can think of off the top of my head.

 

Which makes me wonder, do babies speak with an accent?

Well, we don’t have this odd northern accent so i’m not sure where he gets it from, I think it’s just the way he is able to pronounce certain syllables at the moment and possibly about the maturity of his palate as he is still quite young. Once things flow a bit smoother verbally maybe it will change. Looking into this a bit more, however, this article from the BBC writes about research that looked at “cry melodies” in newborns and found “clear differences in the shape of the infants’ cry melodies that corresponded to their mother tongue”. Further:

Babies begin to pick up the nuances of their parents’ accents while still in the womb

The reason for this?

 

They say the babies are probably trying to form a bond with their mothers by imitating them… “Newborns are highly motivated to imitate their mother’s behaviour in order to attract her and hence to foster bonding”…

 

…This is really interesting because it suggests that they are producing sounds they have heard in the womb and that means learning and that it is not an innate behaviour.

Interesting. Also, they suggest the “cry melodies” were shaped because “melody contour” might be the only aspect of the mother’s speech that a newborn is able to imitate at their stage (as vocal control does not develop until later).

 

Older babies at one year also “acquire the specific accented sounds of their parents and…the first year of listening makes a lasting impact on the way we speak for our entire lives”, according to research by Professor Patricia Kuhl, as discussed briefly here.

 

Babies and infants then do pick up on accents and nuances of their parent’s pronunciations. But, we might have to wait a bit longer to see what kind of accent LL develops.

Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes – Crafty DIY Infant Entertainment

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Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes – for babies and infants

 

sensory activity with baby - tactile/vsual entertainment tubes - Baby-Brain.co.uk - Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood

Toilet Roll Fun - Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes - home made fun with baby. Ideas from www.baby-brain.co.uk

 

  • What was the idea originally supposed to be? – A baby play station (click on link for what the activity was originally meant to look like). I changed the idea slightly
  • Where did I get the idea/activity from? – This website called Kids Activities Blog 
  • Why did I make it? – I thought it would be a fun, creative thing to, and something that would entertain the Little Lovely and also allow tactile and visual stimulation

The original activity is to make a baby play station using toilet paper rolls, wrapping different fabric/materials around each roll, attaching rolls to a curtain rod and then watching them roll as baby plays/spins them around. I decided to attach them to some string and attach the string to the play gym for the Little Lovely to play with.

 

Here’s the steps I took to make it:

Step 1: I found some materials to use that were visually stimulating and/or tactile . I used old wallpaper scraps that were bumpy and had a nice texture, and some shiny material.

material/paper scraps: sensory activity with baby - Baby-Brain.co.uk - Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood

sensory activity with baby - tactile/vsual entertainment tubes - Baby-Brain.co.uk - Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood

sensory activity with baby - tactile/vsual entertainment tubes - Baby-Brain.co.uk - Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood

Step 2: I carefully cut to size and glued the paper/material scraps onto toilet paper rolls, folding any excess fabric or paper into the inside of the roll.
Step 3: Leave to dry
Step 4: I threaded the tactile and sensory rolls onto thick string but you could attach to a rod as in the original idea, or something safe for your infant to play with. I then attached mine to hang between two poles of the play gym. 

 

….and voilà! Here are some pictures of LL enjoying his new toy

 

Toilet Roll Fun - Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes - home made fun with baby. Ideas from www.baby-brain.co.ukToilet Roll Fun - Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes - home made fun with baby. Ideas from www.baby-brain.co.ukToilet Roll Fun - Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes - home made fun with baby. Ideas from www.baby-brain.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safety first:

  • be careful of choking hazards when choosing materials and don’t chose things to wrap around the rolls that have little parts that could fall off or be pulled off easily.  I supervised play to ensure safety and the rolls were tied up so that LL could not get them down or his mouth around them easily
  • I am wary of using string with babies because of any risks they could get caught up it in. Therefore, always attach safely so that there is no string or materials free for infant to injure self on and only allow play in your presence and under adult supervision. Take the string down after use and put away safely. Do not copy random pages/blogs on the internet. I bought some child-friendly white craft glue for this activity, however all of the glue remains under the paper/material and so does not directly touch little hands or mouths.

We have a walking baby!

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Today we had some definite walking! Several steps, a series of steps, walking from one point to another, although in a bit of a robotesque style (not quite fluid yet). We’re nearly 13 months old.

We had a about 2-3 steps occur the other week and over the past 3-4 weeks we thought we saw one small, independent step without holding onto anything.
Very exciting. Except, maybe now this means he’s going to be running about soon and bashing into everything. Oh dear!

Learning to self feed and our new sucky bowl

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So today I bought my Little Lovely (just over 12 months old) one of those bowls that suck down onto the table so that the baby can’t pick it up and throw it about.

 

I’d been meaning to buy one for a while because he’s been able to accurately direct the spoon to his mouth if you give him a spoonfull of food in his hand, but we didn’t have any plastic bowls for him to use.

 

Here’s some pictures of how it went. Initially, it went well. He picked up the spoon and had a few half spoonfuls of yoghurt.

Baby self feeding using spoon and sucky bowl. baby-brain.co.uk

 

Then, he decided to eat the yoghurt using his hand because maybe it was quicker. It soon got more messy but it’s a start!

Baby self feeding using spoon and sucky bowl. baby-brain.co.uk

Baby’s first words and speech development

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Baby talk - what are typical first words and how does speech develop? Science brought to you from baby-brain.co.uk

Hello? – Baby Talk

What was your child’s first word? What words are “normal”?

This article discusses: first words – speech development at 6-12 months and 0-6 months, tips to support and encourage development at 12 months, the importance of talking to and around infants

 

Just came across this list of first words with examples from a number of children, and the story behind them. Here are a few:
  • Oscar – Oscar is the cat next door. When Oscar comes in to the house, he always says ‘hello’ to the baby
  • Pop – When a balloon she was holding burst she copied the word pop
  • Book – As her parents used to look through books with her and repeatedly tell her what they were
  • Duck
  • Quack quack- baby started saying quack quack when her parents played with her rubber duck in the bath. Now she gets very excited whenever she sees ducks or chicks in books
  • Hat – As she loved putting on hats
  • Bear – As mum’s old bear was always on her bed
  • Fish – He loved watching fish in his friend’s aquarium
  • Samich (sandwich)-  His mother was standing at the kitchen counter right beside him when baby reached up and said “samich”

 

So looks like first words can really vary. I think that the Little Lovely might have said “dada” first, but also he was saying a few other things like “kiss”, and “fish” because we went to an aquarium and I kept saying look at the fish, the fish, a lot. By the end of it, he was saying fish. Quack was also an early favourite.
Monitoring and encouraging first words
Baby’s First Word – an initiative from the National Literacy Trust (see the Words for Life website) – you can download a pack from here that has a series of templates to monitor first words and more information. The pack includes:
Everything you need to get involved in Baby’s First Word, including a step-by-step guide, poster and hand-out for parents.

 

How does speech develop?

Talking Point, a site that gives some good information and resources on children’s communication writes that children develop skills at their own pace but some general things that you might see between 6 months and 1 year are that children will:

  • Listen carefully, and turn to someone talking on the other side of the room.
  • Look at you when you speak and when their name is called.
  • Babble strings of sounds, like ‘no-no’ and ‘go-go’.
  • Make noises, point and look at you to get your attention.
  • Smile at people who are smiling at them.
  • Start to understand words like ‘bye-bye’ and ‘up’ especially when a gesture is used at the same time.
  • Recognise the names of familiar objects, things like ‘car’ and ‘daddy’.
  • Enjoy action songs and rhymes and get excited when sung to.
  • Take turns in conversations, babbling back to an adult.

 

How to encourage and support your child 12 months:

encourage your child at this stage:

  • Make different sounds to interest your child. This can be the sound of your voice or things like a rattle or squeaky toy.
  • Pointing to sounds will help develop your child’s listening skills. This will also help their awareness of the world around them.
  • Encourage your child to look at you during activities. This could be dressing, feeding or nappy changing. This will help your child’s attention and communication skills.
  • Talk about everyday activities, like getting dressed, eating and bathing.
  • Copy your baby when they are babbling. This is a very good way to show how to take turns in communication. This will encourage them to make even more sounds.
  • Use actions with words. Try waving as you say ‘bye-bye’ or picking up their cup as you say ‘drink’. This will help your child to relate what they see and do with language.
  • Sing action songs and play games like ‘peek-a-boo’ to encourage communication and attention skills.
  • Have some special time with your child each day to play with toys and picture books.
Why talking to babies is important - the psychology of it. Science, brought to you by Baby-Brain.co.uk

Why talking to babies is important

Talking about everyday activities with babies is important.

Research (1) has also shown that while reading to baby and showing them pictures did contribute to cognitive development in terms of increasing scores on problem-solving and communication scales of a test, more substantial effects were found for:

the more informal activity of frequently talking to the infant while doing other things; and this was observed for both communication and problem-solving.

Reading was shown to increase both problem-solving and communication, showing pictures only had a positive effect on communication scores, but talking had a more substantial effect than both reading and picture showing.

 

But will baby understand when I talk to them?
Babies at 6 months have been shown to understand that concept of speech (2) – i.e. that speech is used to communicate information (rather than random, interesting sounds that come out of our mouths). They also prefer speech over other sounds (3)

 

Younger babies 

How children develop speech and language between 0 and 6 months (quote from talking point)


by 6 months, usually children will:

 

  • Turn towards a sound when they hear it.
  • Be startled by loud noises.
  • Watch your face when you talk to them.
  • Recognise your voice.
  • Smile and laugh when other people smile and laugh.
  • Make sounds to themselves, like cooing, gurgling and babbling.
  • Make noises, like coos or squeals, to get your attention.
  • Have different cries for different needs. For example one cry for hunger, another when they are tired.

How to support the child at this stage:

  • Mirror/copy the sounds baby makes – it’s the start of a conversation and will encourage more sound making
  • Ensure baby can see your face clearly when you talk to them. Newborn visual range is not that great and vision is developing the first months, so maybe move a little closer to talk to them. Eye contact is important for language development.
  • As with 12 month olds, talking to baby about what you are doing is important as they will hear and start to learn words.
    • I didn’t even know my Little Lovely was paying attention until one day he copied a word that I had been saying, or I was talking about brushing my hair and then he made a motion on his own head like he was brushing his hair. He was listening to me, all along but with no verbal feedback from him before that point, I didn’t realise  just how much he was taking in.
  • Talking point suggests using a “sing-song” voice with baby to keep them interested in what you are saying. An article on music and child development that baby-brain wrote recently also highlighted the usefulness of singing with baby:
    • Singing is important for vocabulary development: “Singing songs teaches children about how language is constructed. When you sing, words and phrases are slowed down and can be better understood by your baby. Singing regularly will help your baby to build up a vocabulary of sounds and words long before they can understand the meaning”, according to this article from the BBC.

 

Some links to other resources

Talking Point website

Talk to you baby – from the Words for Life website

More tips here, from the NHS on “helping your child’s speech”.

A video from the NHS on “how can I help my child to start talking? (12 to 30 months)”

 

References:

  1. Murrary, A., & Egan, S. (2014). Does Reading to Infants Benefit their Cognitive Development at 9-months-old? An Investigation using a Large Birth Cohort Survey. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, Vol. 30, No. 3, October 2014, pp.303-315
  2. Vouloumanos, A., Martin, A., & Onishi, K. H. (2014). Do 6-month-olds understand that speech can communicate? Developmental Science, pp 1–8
  3. Vouloumanos, A., & Werker, J.F. (2004). Tuned to the signal:the privileged status of speech for young infants. Develop-mental Science.  7 (3), 270-276

DIY Montessori Inspired Object Permanence Box for baby & infants

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Do-it-yourself Object Permanence Box for infants: Inspired by Montessori materials.

  • This is practically free to make. You just need some cardboard, glue or tape, and a ball

 

DIY Montessori inspired object permanence box for baby/infants. Costs practically nothing to make. baby-brain.co.uk

 

DIY Montessori inspired object permanence box for baby/infants. Costs practically nothing to make, so many learning benefits. baby-brain.co.uk

How we made the box

Inspired by Montessori materials and activities, I’d always wanted an object permanence box but didn’t really want to spend £40 or so on the wooden box. So – I decided to try and make one out of cardboard and old boxes and it seemed to work. My Little Lovely (LL) really enjoys using it, putting the ball and other items in the top, exploring the box and seeing what happens if he puts the ball in the other hole.
Aims of the object permanence box: The infant has to drop a ball into the hole in the top of the box. The ball is then not visible for a moment but rolls out of the box onto the tray. The child therefore experiences a lesson in “object permanence” because they see that the ball didn’t just disappear out of existence – even though they couldn’t see it for a second, it still exists
Other learning benefits of the box: encourages curiosity, cause and effect, hand movements and fine motor skills (dropping the ball into the hole, etc), achieving a goal independently with repeated practice.
When to use the box: From when babies are old enough to sit up without support.
Here’s a short video of what the real deal looks like, as used by a 9 month old, and another of a child at nearly 1 year

 

Psychology & Object Permanence: Object Permanence is an awareness that children develop where “out of sight” does not mean “out of mind”. Initially, when something is removed from view of the baby then from their understanding it ceases to exist – they can’t see it, so it doesn’t exist. Understanding that something exists even when you can’t see it is an important developmental stage, according to the Stages of Cognitive Development as posed by Jean Piaget, an eminent and Swiss psychologist. It is posed as a stage in development because it requires the child to form a “schema”, or mental representation of the object. Infants develop this skill by the end of the “sensorimotor stage”. It was thought to develop around 8-12 months, although there is research to suggest it can develop earlier, and the psychological research does not seem to agree on exact age.

 

How to make the box:

DIY Montessori inspired object permanence box for baby/infants. Costs practically nothing to make, so many learning benefits. baby-brain.co.uk

1: I found a long cardboard box and cut some of the sides down so that I had a long, not too deep tray for the ball to run into and be contained.
2: An old tea box looked good for the little box to house the ball. I cut a hole in the top and on the front for the ball to run out of.
3: The ball needed a bit of help rolling out of the tea box and onto the cardboard tray so I made a little ramp (otherwise the ball just sat in the box after being dropped in and didn’t roll out). This was actually part of the lid from the tea box and was already slanted so I didn’t need to do much to it.
I then slotted the ramp into the tea box and glued the tea box onto the long box. You might be able to see in picture 2, there are some little flaps on the bottom of the box on each side. This was quite helpful and I put the glue on these flaps then pressed it down onto the long cardboard tray.

 

DIY Montessori inspired object permanence box for baby/infants. Costs practically nothing to make, so many learning benefits. baby-brain.co.uk
4: I realised that the box was looking a bit DIY so for some reason I decided to make it look more hideous by adding some wrapping paper.
5: et voilà – here is the finished box (not particularly Montessori style with the wrapping paper)

 

  • If you would like to make your box look more hideous with wrapping paper like I did, I would not recommend anything too busy like the one I used. Maybe just some plain, nice calming colours?
  • If I made it again I would also probably find a slightly bigger box for the ball to drop into. The tea box was ok but the ball rolled out of it pretty quickly, so maybe something a bit bigger might have held the ball out of sight for slightly longer. The tray is also slightly long, but I was using materials just hanging around the house that were waiting to go for recycling so I had to make do with what was available.

 

How to use the box with baby: 

I quote from a Montessori site:

Presentation of the Montessori Object Permanence Box

1. Put the work mat in place and put the object permanence box on the work mat so it will be in front of the child. Encourage the child to help.

2. Sit facing the child with the work mat between you.

3. Name the box and the ball: “This is the box. This is the ball.”

4. Slowly and deliberately place the ball in the hole.

5. When the ball rolls to a stop in the tray, smile and pick it up.

6. Repeat the action.

7. Invite the child to place the ball in the hole.

8. Once the child begins putting the ball in the hole, quietly move aside and allow her to work undisturbed.

9. When finished, invite the child to put the materials away on a low shelf so she may work with them again when she wishes.

 

And here we are experiencing the box:

(age 12 months)

DIY Montessori inspired object permanence box for baby/infants. Costs practically nothing to make, so many learning benefits. baby-brain.co.uk

Baby using the object permanence box

 

Apologies to Montessori enthusiasts – I know that you value natural materials like wood, but i’m not a carpenter and couldn’t make a box out of wood. I also know that adding wrapping paper doesn’t make it look too natural. But, hopefully I’ve captured the essence of the box, the principles and learning benefits for the child, and made an accessible and cheap alternative that can be put together easily at home.

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