Monday, November 21, 2011

Read books boosts child language

A new study by researchers from Perth's Telethon Institute for Child Health Research provides more evidence that reading books to young children and helping them visually to follow story improves a child's language.

The results have been published online in the international journal First Language.

Lead author Dr Brad Farrant said they investigated the factors that facilitate children's language (vocabulary) development between 9 and 34 months of age using data from Growing Up in Australia: the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC).

"We looked at a range of factors for 2188 children in LSAC including joint attention, book-reading, child vocabulary, child temperament, maternal age, maternal education, parenting, number of siblings at home, household income and community socio-economic status," Dr Farrant said.

"Our findings indicate that higher levels of parent-child book reading are associated with significantly better child language (vocabulary) development.

"CHildren with more educated mothers have larger vocabularies because they engage in more parent-child book reading"

The study also confirmed previous research demonstrating a gender gap favouring girls, who had a significantly greater vicabulary than boys at around 3 years of age.

Dr Farrant said the results add to the body of evidence that parents play a major role in children's early language development.

"Combining the findings of our study with previous research suggests that interventions targeting children's early language development would be well served by focussing on book reading as early as possible in children's lives," Dr Farrent said. 

"Parents from all backgrounds can help ensure their children have sound language skills at school entry and beyond by reading to them throughout the preschool years."

Parent-child picture book reading provides an excellent opportunity for vocabulary expansion by learning word-object mapping in a more structured setting and involves pointing gestures, joint attention and verbal labelling.

Special credit to this site

Monday, February 14, 2011

Toys: How to ensure their safety?

There are plenty of toys from different manufacturers available in the market. One may offers great toys for motor development skills, stimulates the children’s brain etc. We as parents always look for the best, which is beneficial for our children’s developments and most importantly is their safety while playing with the toys.

Some tips to ensure safety:-

1)      When we first buy the toys, to ensure that it is as per the age recommendation by the supplier on the box. For instance, toys such as blocks or Lego may not be suitable for children below the age of 3 due to choking danger. As most of us well understood, children under this age category tend to put everything insides their mouth. Thus, toys with small parts are definitely a no-no for them.
2)      Immediately discard the plastic items and all packing materials when buying new toys.
3)      Avoid buying toys with sharp edges or that is easily broken. Toys with long cords or strings also need to be avoided, which may lead to strangulations
4)      Check for any damages or broken parts of the toys regularly. Immediate throw away any broken & worn-out parts immediately.
5)      When playing bicycle, tricycle outdoors, always be sure that they are being monitored by us their parents and use helmets or knee-guard
6)      Teach our children to put away their toys that may lead them to tripping or fall over the toys
7)      For those who have elder children, always teach them to put away their own toys from their younger siblings especially those with small parts and not recommended for younger age.
8)      Always ensure that our children play in a safe environment either in the playground or large area, and away from stairs and water area
9)      Last but not least, be sure that all toys are clean! Do wash them as per the instructions at the box.
Have fun in making your children’s toys safety!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Why my child refuse to nap?

Sleep is vital especially to baby and children. It is the time where brains and bodies are developing at an extraordinary rate.

How can we know whether our children have adequate sleeping hours?

It depends on their age actually.  Generally, baby of the age of one year old and below needs as long as 15 hours in total of sleep. This includes of 5 to 7 hours of day time sleeping time. As they grow older, the total of sleeping hours will decrease to 10-12 hours daily (inclusive of 1-2 hours nap time) for children at the age of 3 years old. No wonder my daughter refuse to take longer nap time and prefers playing rather than sleeping!
But, why my children seem to just have a short nap time? Can they get a nap any longer?
Yes, they can! But how, once they opened their eyes; that’s it! It’s just like “Yeah! It’s time to continue playing and playing!”
The first thing that we need to understand is that when our children grow older, they do not taking nap as much as they were before.  They are reducing their nap time gradually, for instance from 1-2 hours in the morning till none and only nap in the afternoon.

source: google
Tips to encourage your children to nap

1)      Try putting them to sleep at the same place as their night sleeping time, where they will associate that they are going to sleep
2)      Make sure they are well dressed in a comfortable clothes during the day
3)      Avoid letting them playing in a loud noise or stimulating play especially when nap time is approaching.  This is to ensure that they would be easier to settle down and get their nap effectively
How do we know when will our children stop taking nap?
As long as they have the adequate total sleep throughout the day, parents should not to worry much. However, it is better for them to continue taking nap as they cannot stay awake for long stretches as much as older children and adult. They normally skip the morning nap and start to feel tired when afternoon comes.
Besides we can continue with the house chores and our ‘me time’ when they nap during the nap, there is actually an advantage for the children themselves if they nap. Researches as per Healthy Day News here says that babies who nap are more likely to exhibit an advanced level of learning called abstraction i.e. the ability to detect a general pattern contained new information!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Is she (or he) is ready for potty train?

How do we actually know that it is the right time for our children to be potty trained? Is the age of 2 is still considered as still young or is it “do you mean your child is still in diapers at the age of 2?” sounds the critics?
There is no exact age on when our child need to be potty trained. Some parents’ only starts to potty train until their children reach the age of 2 ½ to 3 years old, while some just wait until them 3-4 years old.  It actually depends on the children itself, whether they have developed the necessary cognitive or physical developments in order to determine their readiness to be potty trained.
4 Signs of readiness of our children for potty train
-          Able to walk, run and sit properly
-          Able to urinate at a fair amount each time and have at least 3-4hours of ‘dry’ hour; which means that their bladder are developed enough to control the bladder
-          Able to give physical signs such as squatting, grunting or talk to you when it’s time for bathroom (any bowel movements)
-          Able and have interest in learning to use the toilet or bathroom

source: google
3 Tips to ensure achievement in potty train
-          Be very sure to only start the potty train when everyone is ready; i.e. the children, parents, grandparents, care giver etc. This is to ensure the child is not being potty trained too early or too late
-          Avoid starting to potty train at the wrong time. For instance, not to potty train when you are changing the caregiver or nursery, on a busy week for a holidays etc
-          Avoid putting on pressure to your child. Children might get nervous and starts to hold bowels that might lead to constipation if they worry they might get scolded or punished once they fail. Try to encourage with gentle reminders and avoid scolding them out loud.
-          Reward and give supports and encouragements with either just a simple pat at their back, kiss and hugs them, saying “great job dear!” etc

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Should I give vitamins to my child?

source: google

Before you can get the answer for the above, you need to know on what is your children’s eating behaviour. Is your child a picky-eater, aren’t eating regularly or your child does not have any problem in eating all that you serve?
If the former is your answer, then definitely your child might need the vitamins.
If the latter is how your child normally having meals, then your child are not encourage to take the vitamins; at least until they reach 4-5years old.
According to the experts, it is not necessary for children to take the supplementary vitamins.  By right, they can get their vitamins and minerals needed for their development through their healthy and balanced diets. This includes calcium and vitamin D from milk and dairy products, vitamins C from orange juices, protein from chickens or fishes, healthy fats from olive oils etc.
But, if that is the case, why are there are so many different types of multivitamins being offered in the market nowadays?
In today’s world, it is quite impossible for the parents to provide healthy home-cooked meals for their children; daily. Most of the time, the children normally had take-away meals or frozen foods. Since our children do not eat right most of the time, then taking vitamins may offset some of the lacking. However, it is best to consult with the medical doctor or paediatrician to best assure that what we give them is necessary and suitable for their age and development. Wrong information or wrong products given to them might become a toxic and can be dangerous to them. Vitamins can be a good thing for them but too much of good thing can be a fatal.
Children who need vitamins are those:-
-          Picky eaters i.e. who do not simply eat regularly and always avoid eating healthy meals
-          Kids who normally have fast food, processed foods, snacks etc
-          Children who is on medication; in a chronic medical conditions such as asthma
-          Children who is on vegetarian diets i.e. need minerals such as zinc or iron
Tips on giving vitamins to your kids
-          Try to get a chewable vitamins or in the shape of cartoons or animals if your kids try to avoid taking the vitamins
-          Be alert and monitor your child when giving the vitamin. They may not finish them or throw it out of our sight or might be taking more doses than their needed.
-          Keep the vitamins out of their reach
-          Avoid relying too much on the supplementary; instead try to commit and focus more on natural and fresh minerals in providing them a healthy and balanced nutritious meals
Supplementary vitamins may be beneficial as a back up in the development of our children but be rest assure that we provide them the necessary minerals through the freshness and nutritious balanced meals.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tips on how to teach your child to solve a puzzle

  1. Choose the most interesting puzzle for your children according to their age. A cartoon puzzle may be a good one for your kids, just to get them excited and have fun playing with puzzle. The number of pieces also plays an important part. Make sure you choose a small number of pieces i.e. (<20 pieces) for children below 3 years and at a reasonable size. Not too small to avoid choking.
  2. Show him/her the whole picture of the puzzle before they start separating/mixing the pieces. This is to ensure that they know and at least have a picture in their mind on what are they solving of.
  3. Make sure all pieces are facing up, i.e. the colour pieces are on top, so that it will be easier for our children to match and solve the pieces.
  4. Be with them, show and ask them whether they can notice on what actually the pieces shows. For instance; let say your child is trying to solve a big puzzle of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Try to ask and relate one picture of Mickey’s leg and ask them to find another pieces for the other legs-same colour of shoes etc
  5. Make the activities more interesting and motivate them by saying “Well done dear!”, “Good job baby” for every pieces that they have successfully solved although it is just a pair of them. Clapping hands for them will also encourage them to solve even more until they completed the whole puzzle.
  6. Enjoy solving the puzzle with them and make it a favourite past time activity as solving puzzle is one of the development and good brainy activity for children.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Learning Tools for kids

While our children are developing skills via playing, we as parents need to give supports and be part of them during the development process. Since we do not want them to just play around without get the opportunity to learn, good learning tools are definitely a must for them.

There are many choices available in the market for you to choose. First, you need to identify on what skills actually you want them to develop at that point of time. For instance, if we want them to improve their critical motor skills in addition to learning the cause and effect, a wooden toy train can be a good learning tool.

Letting them playing with puzzle may also encourage our children manipulating and coordination skills via trial and error when solving the puzzle. Our children may also develop good problem solving skills; help them to increase their visual and overall special awareness.

Do you know any other learning tools that are widely used by other children?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Too much TV for kids?

How does your child spend their time normally? Or how do you actually entertain them at least when you have something on and want to distract them from disturbing you?
source: google
It’s TV! Let those watching cartoons to be exact, usually. Children often been associated with cartoons- there are even specific channel for them; Disney Channel, Playhouse Disney or even Cartoon Network. On average, children watch television for five hours or more in a day. But, do we ever realise that letting them watching too much tv can caused more harmful than benefits to them?
This might affect their development interacting with others. Kids watching tv only stay at home and hardly go out to play in the playground or even go for a walk in the park. They may have problem in developing social skills, interacting and playing with other kids at their age. Besides, this unhealthy lifestyle may lead to obesity, whereas most of the time was spent on the sofa; eating, taking nap etc.
However, television can be a source of entertainment and learning. We as parents can still make use of them wisely through quality shows. Learning programs that teach alphabets, numbers or other educational shows would be positive and quality shows. A combination of good shows and some tips as follows can be useful in order to avoid our children to be addicted too much on tv and medias.
Some useful tips;
-          Set some rules on when and what type of shows are allowed for them daily. Try to limit to only two to three hours per day
-          Use the dvd instead of tv itself, as the children channel at the tv is like never ending stories! Unlike dvd; once it’s finished then it’s over. Easier to stop them from continue watching
-    Never put the tv in their bedroom, place it in the living area instead where monitoring and supervision can be done easier. Try to spend some time watching with them and discuss on the moral and good values or messages put forth

Branded apparels; is it necessary for our children?

Just look around, spot any child that came to your eyes. Can you recognise what are the similarities among them?  Most of them are naughty? No, but hey, it’s a good guess. Try again. Look at their clothes i.e. t-shirt, pants or even dress. Does it ring a bell? Yes, you got it right this time! Most of them are wearing branded items!
GAP, Guess, Osh Kosh, Zara, Ralph Lauren.. you named it. They have it all!
Does it really matter actually if we as parents, especially mothers buy branded apparels? Children or babies don’t really know or understand of those brands actually. So, why do we bother to spend such plenty of money just for the branded goods?
Don’t we know that if we constantly buy branded clothes for our children since young may influence their buying decisions once they grew older? Can they really become very materialistic one day?  Yes, this might happens unless there is an explanation or reasons on why we buy branded clothes for them. The quality, it is. Most of us buy such brands because of the quality of the product. As we realised that our children at their age tend to be very pro-active and playful. Thus, good quality of items where most branded names offers is the answer. The finest quality plus the cute and nice design really melts our heart and it’s just like we do not want to leave the mall without buying it!
For babies or toddler, buying branded items is quite expensive and is a waste as children tend to grow really fast. It is not worthy to spend hundreds pound for clothes that can be used once or twice only, isn’t it?
But, some mothers are smart enough in this matter. Buying branded apparels and yet just spend little less than others. Yes, grab the opportunities during discounts and sales period!
Whatever your reason is, the power is in your hands!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Does Your Child Eat Right & Healthy?

We as parents need to understand that our children should be equipped with nutritious meals in order for them to live well throughout and to reduce the risk of health disease associated with poor eating habits. Thus, it is important that we start and educate them as early as birth so that our children can develop and continue to like these healthy and nutritious meals.
However, due to the time constraint and work pressure, our children often follow unhealthy diets. The worst part is that it is through by example of their parents. Working parents going out for work as early as 7.00 a.m. and back only about 8.00 p.m. or even later than that. Once we are back at home, we do not have the time to prepare meals and just bring along pre-packed meals from outside or just heat the frozen food in the microwave oven. It seems that; this is the only choice that we have!
Our children that have been educated of such habit may tend to become a picky eater. They will only like to eat fast food, simple meal such as pizza, fries etc which can be very oily and definitely unhealthy.
Having healthy food is one thing, and eating at the right time is another aspect. Children, from toddler to early teenagers tend to have meals as their wish and not accordingly. Munching and taking snacks in between meals likely to make them full once the heavy meals time come. So, these children tend to skip meals and only depend on snacks.
Thus, we need to know and get involve directly on what comes in to our children in order to get them alert and healthy in order to keep their brain function at the most optimum condition through healthy eating.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What’s the best name for your child?

Having a newborn is one of the most wonderful experiences especially to those newly married couple and first time parents. The excitement of seeing the baby is really a gift from God, which the mother will cherish the whole life and that brings smiles on the father’s face almost all the time.
But we need to know on what’s next after having a newborn?
Yes, naming her or him! Is that really simple? Not really actually. Giving names to our children is one of the first important steps for us besides physical care and love, as he or she will carry the name for their whole life! That is why naming them can be quite difficult and challenging.
It is important to give a name with a good and wonderful meaning that may; in a way influence the personality of the child. Sometimes a name can be sounds nice but have harmful meanings and vice versa. Even though you name your child after a famous name, it is not necessary carry a good meaning behind it. Thus, some tips on naming children are as follows:-
-Naming a girl with girls’ name and vice versa. Quite important to avoid the child having conflicts and dislikes their names when they grow older and realises it.
-Avoid naming a child with a name of improper meanings; such as disgusting animals or means nothing at all.
For the Muslims, naming a child as adhere by the Prophet sunnah is on the 7th day after birth. Furthermore, there are forbidden for them to name their children after the name of the 99 of Allah Names, devils name etc.
A good name may bring all manners of good luck and vice versa. If we were named with a very good meaning, it is like a du’a when people called our name regularly.
Have fun exploring and naming your child with the most wonderful meaning!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's the time..

You've arrived at the right place and at the right time, congratulations!

Why are we here?

Realising our responsibility as a parent or guardian to our children is getting tougher nowadays; we definitely need to be prepared i.e. to get enough information and experiences in the process of bringing up our children.

This place shall be the arena for you to Know Your Child Better, in terms of their development progress, opportunities waiting for them ahead and also not forgetting in terms of fashion and style.