share. The Brookshire's Blog

Family Matters: Stacking Toys


At this point in life, baby is sitting up pretty well (maybe with help at the 6-month mark and like a champ by 12 months) and likes to play!

Use stacking toys for baby at this stage of development to teach many different skills.

Stacking toys promotes gross and fine motor skills.

They teach organization as you can stack by size or color.

Use stacking toys to introduce other simple words and descriptions, like yellow or red, big and little, or top and bottom. You can also use these toys to reinforce understanding of cause and effect.

Of course, you can also make the stack topple at the end! Everyone loves a good mess.

TIP 7-12 months: Don’t forget to introduce foods like mango, kiwi and lentils into your baby’s diet. Don’t be discouraged if they don’t like it at first; some foods have to be presented up to 10 times before a little one takes to it.



Family Matters: Tummy Time


Starting when baby is very tiny, it’s good for them to get supervised tummy time! Putting junior on his belly on a soft blanket helps him develop both physically and mentally, according to experts.

Tummy time helps strengthen baby’s neck and upper back muscles as they try to turn their head, look around and reach for toys, reducing the risk of SIDS because he can move his head away from objects blocking his airway.

When you first start tummy time, baby won’t be able to do much but attempt to move his head from side to side and maybe look up. However, it gives him a different view of the world than being on his back. Spending time on his tummy also helps prevent the flat spots many young ones develop on the back of their heads from always lying in that position.

Start tummy time right after birth, at least once a day, for about five minutes at a time and work up as your baby develops. Don’t push them. If baby is screaming, roll him back over to his back. Only go for as long as baby can tolerate it. You might want to wait until after their umbilical cord stump has fallen off, though, as that can cause some discomfort.

Soon, they’ll turn themselves onto their tummy to play. I had a textured blanket that we used for tummy time. It had bumpy fabric, silky fabric, ribbons and ties that my boys could feel and grasp for.

TIP 0-6 months: Sweet potatoes are a wonderful first food for baby. Buy organic sweet potatoes at Brookshire’s, bake them until soft, puree with a bit of formula or water and voila, a perfect meal for baby!



Family Matters: Social Interaction


When your toddler is about 2 years old, he’ll really like social activities like story time. However, don’t expect him to get down and interact with all the other kids. Little ones at this age still primarily parallel play, that is, they engage in their own activity next to another child. This is perfectly OK. You don’t have to force Jacob to share with Sophie or even be interested in her toys or acknowledge she’s there. He’s still primarily interested in his caregiver and whatever toy he finds most amusing at that given moment. But introducing him to other kids in group settings (whether that be one other child or 10) is good for his development at this point. So maybe try a library story time, or a group music class, or just take your toddler to the park and let them sort out the early social cues.

TIP 12 to 36 Months: Say no to your toddler. That’s right. A simple word, “No.” This is what a toddler can understand. Rationalizing with them, “Do you think that’s a good choice?” is more appropriate for a school-age child. But when they’re 2 and 3, keep it simple!



Family Matters: Car Seat Safety


Your baby is probably big enough now to transition from an infant carrier car seat to a convertible seat. But always, always, always keep it rear-facing. A lot of experts are now recommending that you keep baby in a rear-facing position longer than age 12 months.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends, based on a 2007 study from the University of Virginia, “children under 2 are 75 percent less likely to suffer severe or fatal injuries in a crash if they are facing the rear.”

“A baby’s head is relatively large in proportion to the rest of his body, and the bones of his neck are structurally immature,” said the statement’s lead author, Dr. Dennis R. Durbin, scientific co-director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “If he’s rear-facing, his entire body is better supported by the shell of the car seat. When he’s forward-facing, his shoulders and trunk may be well restrained, but in a violent crash, his head and neck can fly forward.”

What more information do you need?

TIP 7 to 12 Months: Babies this age are now eating solid foods. To help them stay full, make sure to provide about 3 full tablespoons of protein at each meal. 



Family Matters: Thumb Sucking


When my best friend’s baby was born a few months ago, she swore two things: that she would never speak to Baby in nauseating, high-pitched ‘baby talk’ nor would she ever let her suck her thumb.

HA!

Both of those promises went out the window within minutes of that sweet girl’s birth. She was practically born sucking her thumb, and I think Mama told her “Your little thumby-wumby needs to come out of your mouthy now…”

Best laid plans, right?

Thumb sucking is not the end of the world. I didn’t have to deal with it, because both of my boys used pacifiers, but my sister sucked her thumb. And guess what? She’s a fully functioning adult who graduated with her master’s degree without a thumb in her mouth. There’s hope, I promise.

Babies suck to soothe. If your baby sucks his thumb, you’ve got the built-in convenience of not having to get up 19,002 times a night (not that I counted) to find their pacifier for them.

Now, too much thumb sucking can cause alignment problems with teeth, but experts say MOST kids stop by around age 4. And if they haven’t, rest assured a preschool or kindergarten classmate will help things along by point out that sucking your thumb is for babies.

TIP- 0 to 6 Months: Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Babies thrive off of repetition. “Mixing things up” isn’t what your infant wants. Instead, it’s perfectly ok if you read “Goodnight, Moon” to them every evening for the first years of life. They love it. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 



Family Matters: Speech


There’s a wide range of speech development in children that is considered typical, but there are also milestones a child should hit.

When my older son was 18 months old, I realized he didn’t babble. He made sounds, but his language development wasn’t organized. Turns out, this was an early sign of my son’s autism. But not all language delays are the sign of something serious. If your child isn’t hitting his milestones, just ask your pediatrician – he should be able to steer you in the right direction.

12 to 15 Months

Your toddler should have a wide range of speech sounds in their babbling (like p, b, m, d or n). They begin to imitate and approximate sounds and words modeled by family members, and typically say one or more words (not including “mama” and “dada”) spontaneously. Your toddler also should be able to understand and follow simple one-step directions.

18 to 24 Months

The average toddler vocabulary is about 20 words by 18 months and 50 words at 24 months. By age 2, they should start combining words into two-word simple sentences. They should also be able to identify common objects, common pictured objects and body parts.

2 to 3 Years

Your toddler’s speech should explode during this year. Their vocabulary will increase exponentially and their sentences should be multi-worded and show the beginnings of complexity. They should also understand more; for example, commands with multiple steps like, “Please put the book on the table and come here.” They should begin to identify colors and comprehend descriptive concepts (big versus little, for example).

 

TIP: Kids this age LOVE music. Turn it on loudly and boogie with your baby. 



Family Matters: Separation Anxiety


My older son Curt was a toddler when his baby brother was born. Curt was a highly portable child, going with the flow and running around with me with very little fuss or muss. He could run errands with me or easily be dropped off at the gym or church nurseries.

When Luke was old enough to go to the gym nursery so I could try to workout, around the time he was 7 months old, I was in for a shock.

He screamed. And screamed. And screamed. I couldn’t leave him. We finally got to the point where I’d drop him off and catapult up the gym steps to try to get any kind of workout in before the nursery paged me to come get my inconsolable child. After a few times, I realized that sprinting up the stairs was going to be the extent of my workout for a while.

Separation anxiety is quite common between 7 and 12 months of age, and can be even longer if baby has never been away from you.

To help ease separation anxiety, visit the place you’re going to leave your child the day before you need to drop him off. Stay and play with your baby. Leave together. When you come back, make sure the caregiver knows your expectations on how long it is acceptable to let your baby cry. Then, hand your baby over to the caregiver, give him a kiss and leave. Immediately. If he cries, the caregiver should page you/call you/come get you at the predetermined time interval, whether two minutes or 10 minutes feels right to you. After the routine is established, it should get easier. I used to work in a church nursery, and the worst thing I saw parents do was come back to “check.” If the caregiver hasn’t contacted you, chances are baby is fine. Peeking in and risking baby glimpsing you could set him off all over again – back to square one. And, if the experience is too traumatic for the both of you; don’t do it. Try again in a few weeks or months.

 

TIP: Babies love to play in boxes. Get an old shoebox, with lid, and fill it with a variety of small items; toys, little stuffed animals, plastic shapes, etc.  Be sure to vary the sizes, colors and textures. Give baby the box and show him out to take the lid off. Let him play with the box before dumping out the objects inside.



Family Matters: Growth and Development


Two months ago baby S was born to one of my best friends. I’m not a blood relative, but I love that little girl like I love her mama.

I was babysitting last week and marveled at how a baby changes so much in the first eight weeks. She’s gone from sleeping 22 hours a day to regularly being alert. Her sleep has organized into ‘naps’ during the day and long stretches of sleep at night. She holds her head up all by herself. She throws her chunky little leg over in what looks like an attempt to roll. Her infant reflexes have nearly faded away, and, my favorite, she coos and vocalizes with her baby bird voice.

Growth and development during the first six months is a miracle to behold. Treasure every minute.

 

TIP: Cradle cap, the slight scaling or flaking of the skin on baby’s scalp, shouldn’t require medical treatment. It’ll clear up on its own in a few weeks to months. Meanwhile, you can wash baby’s hair once a day with mild baby shampoo and brush the scalp lightly with a soft brush to loosen the scales.



Family Matters: Reading


My children are 11 and 9, and I can still recite “Good Night Moon” and “Guess How Much I Love You.” Very handy when you’re travelling and forget your toddler’s favorite books, or hopefully you’ve worn out that board book by turning the pages so often.

Reading to your child is such an invaluable experience. Besides the sweet cuddle time, this is the time when a child’s vocabulary blossoms. They might understand more than they can say, but rest assured your little sponge is soaking it all up.

Experts tell us that reading to a toddler sets the foundation for mastering their ABCs, developing phonemic awareness (meaning she’s starting to understand that words are made up of groups of sounds), and learning that those marks on a page represent letters and words (and things and concepts). It never hurts to point to an object or word as you’re reading it (pre-sight words, anyone?).

Your toddler is also learning voice inflections when you read out loud to them. They’re practicing fine motor skills when they get to turn a page. And hopefully, they’ll develop a love that will last a lifetime.

TIP:  It’s never too early to protect your child’s skin. Starting at about 6 months, you can use a child-friendly sunscreen on your little one. If their skin isn’t covered with light clothing, make sure it’s covered with a layer of sunscreen!



Family Matters: Stroller


By the time your baby is about 6 months old, he’ll be ready to hit the road with you in a jogging stroller.

Because of the way a jogging stroller is designed, a baby should have really good neck and back strength before you use one with your little one (unless it is specifically designed for a baby under six months).

A jogging stroller is a great way for mom and dad to get in some exercise and get baby some fresh air. You don’t have to jog with one; you can walk, too.

A jogging stroller is generally more aerodynamic and much lighter than a traditional stroller. They usually have one wheel in the front and two wheels in back, making it easier to turn and maneuver. They also come equipped with a safety strap for the parent’s wrist so baby doesn’t accidentally get away. Most jogging strollers also have hand brakes for the parents, too.

To buy a jogging stroller, look for:

  • A fixed front tire that doesn’t swivel but can still maneuver around bends so the stroller stays on a straight path as you move.
  • A deep child seat and five-point harness safety belt so there’s no chance of your child sliding out of the seat while you’re on the run.
  • A safety wrist strap for you so the stroller doesn’t take off on its own if you accidentally loosen your grip.
  • A hand brake to keep the stroller from traveling faster than you can manage down a hill (or anywhere else, for that matter).
  • Be certain your jogging stroller has the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) seal, which indicates the product has passed rigorous safety standards.

Happy exercising!

TIP: While baby might be starting on solid foods during this time, there are still a few to avoid. Don’t give baby honey, strawberries or peanut products until after they turn 1 year old.



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The products mentioned in “Share, the Brookshire’s Blog” are sold by Brookshire Grocery Company, DBA Brookshire’s . Some products may be mentioned as part of a relationship between its manufacturer and Brookshire’s.

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