Child-

Pets and Babies

by Mehr Nomani

 

Our son got his first kitty when he was just 8 months old. It was expected as I have always been an avid cat lover. My parents grew up with cats and so did I. I knew the joy of having a non human friend and I definitely did not want my son to miss out on it.
It might have been his feline-adoring genes, but as soon as he met his little friend he was head over heels in love with it. He spent his days crawling about, chasing the furry fellow. It was such a heart warming sight watching him bond with an animal, learning so much while playing.

Pets act as little exercise buddys. Kids love to run around and chase animals. This helps discourage sedentary lifestyle and greatly reduces the risk of childhood obesity.

Pets also help kids learn to be more caring and responsible. They also teach them healthy compromise in life. This is because an animal would not always do exactly as the child wants. According to Maggie O’Haire from the University of Queensland’s School of Psychology and Centre for Companion Animal Health, “Once a child considers an animal’s point of view, they tend to change their behaviour … These lessons often translate to better communication with the people in a child’s life. Learning to communicate with a non-verbal other is also a great lesson in patience.”

Moreover, kids with pets are less likely to catch colds and infection, according to research from the University of Warwick. An antibody that is an indicator for the strength of immune system was tested in the saliva of 138 children. It was found that the levels in children with pets were significantly more stable. The group also averaged 9 less sick days off school every year. It is also reported that kids exposed to cats and dogs in the first year of life are less likely to develop sensitivity from allergens and also asthma.

Having a play mate around also means you get to have more free time at your hand. While the kid is busy playing playing with the pet you can get your own things done.

However, there are also some precautions you need to know.
If your child has an allergy or you have a history of allergies in the family, it wise to not keep a pet.
Also its very important to keep kids away from the pet’s litter box. If your pet is injured, sick or has an exposed wound its better to not let the kids near the pet until it recovers fully.
Further more its important to get your pet vaccinated and take care of its hygiene by keeping it indoors and giving it a bath every once in a while. Children should be taught to sanitize or wash their hands once they are done playing with their furry friend.
Finally, here’s a useful link reagrding pets and children: https://m.kidsvt.com/vermont/what-are-the-pros-and-cons-of-having-a-family-pet/Content?oid=2168566

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Brain Development

Early Brain Development – An Insight

by Rahila Butt

Early childhood development is a necessary step towards making your child a bright person in future. Thanks to technology and science, many researches have been conducted on how to improve early childhood education, which is directly correlated with the early brain development of children. Before we move on to early brain development we must accept the fact that every child is unique, this means that your second child is going to give you very different and varied challenges as compared to your first, however they will be encouraged because you have achieved a higher degree of patience.

Moving on, it is safe to say that all children follow a pattern of brain development, that means if we are talking about physical development we can take an example walking of the child, that he or she will start at the tummy time first, then in a few weeks he will start to put some weight on his hands and try moving back and forth, afterwards when he or she has mastered this movement, they will try to crawl, so if we put this in a graph, we can observe that all children follow this same pattern, some children might take longer time to start crawling but eventually he or she will get there, so there is no need to rush, children like to develop on their on pace and nurturing environment.

Moreover there has been an ongoing debate that what determines how our child is going to turn out like?  Savvy parents understand that genes do effect your child’s early development but they are not all. We can nurture our children by the influences of environment and experience which will effect the way genes work. Our children are born with a genetic blueprint, which helps in determining the basics of their personality such as their hair color or the tendency that they might have certain abilities, or health problems. Genes need instructions; therefore it is safe to say that genes do not affect the life path of your child. Genes may tell that your child has potential to be six foot four inches but poor nutrition can hinder their true growth. Similarly it applies to the interaction with people or child’s ability to count. We can’t change the genetic blueprint of our child but we can groom their genes to play out differently.

Now we are going to explore child’s development and why is it so essential? We can start with a definition that development refers to the biological and emotional changes that occur as the human beings grow. For our proper understanding lets divide the early stages of development in four areas.

  • Cognitive, it is the development of thinking skills, problem solving and reasoning
  • Physical development, this covers the development of gross and fine motor skills that include big and small muscle movement as well as development of sensory perception such as vision or hearing.
  • Emotional development, or we can also call it social and emotional development because in this children learn how to cope with their emotions, understand their feelings and learn how to express them and how they can get along with other people.
  • Language development, it is about communication.

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Child development is a holistic approach we see and observe this development as a growth in the whole person rather than focusing on just one area. In the initial months the child will be learning at a very fast pace, he or she will be perceiving things and adapting habits and behaviors, so in order to groom your child in the way you want, you need to start from day one. Be compassionate and empathic around them because children perceive emotions.

Lets start with how to understand these areas of development, for instance when the child begins to walk, obviously they are developing a physical skill here but we can say that in general they are developing the gross motor skill of walking. When I had my first child, we were a household of all adults, so everyone often resorted to holding him in their arms, so he developed the walking skill a little slowly but eventually when he started moving around it was very tiring because he was off to explore, this resulted in many bruised knees and roughened palms however he was giddy at the end of the day and tired enough that he slept instantly and through the night. Up until 3 months he will have a time on his tummy, then from 3 to 6 months he will try balancing himself or herself on their knees and hands, now during these three months the child will try to sit up, but they cannot independently balance themselves so it will be helpful if we prop them up against a pillow and obviously they will be propped against you when you are holding them, but try to sit them up instead of lying them down, so that it helps develop the habit of sitting. Remember that children learn very quickly in their initial stages so try to help develop most of the gross motor skills during 3 to 6 months.

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Similarly, if we continue with our example of crawling we can observe that they are also developing their cognitive, emotional, social and language skills. Whenever the child comes across an obstacle or has a need he or she will cry or make a sound to gain your attention and tell that they have a need and they want you to fulfill it. In the social skill they are moving around a place and they perceive things and objects and temperatures so that is their social skills that are developing. In the first three months the child cannot retain what they see, or you can simply say that ‘out-of-sight-out-of-mind’ theory is applicable, but from 3 to 6 moths object permanence develops and now the child will try to find something even if it is out of sight. In the first 3 moths the child will give his first smile, and it is a very remarkable moment if anyone has witnessed that. During 3 to 6 months the child will develop preference to familiar faces and voices, some may grow vary of stranger faces. Moving to 12-month mark, some children will grow more vary of strangers while others might overcome, it depends on how social you are as a person. This will lead to separation anxiety if the child is only used to having his parents around.

On the whole, I can say this from my personal experience that raising a child is a full time job, you have to be ready to move to something like this, there can be many challenges in the start but eventually you start getting hold of this whole process. Learning never stops you can always go for classes or read blogs but keep updated. In the beginning it might seem too tiring but don’t stop enjoying, because the first smiles, words and their first walk is never going to repeat itself. Give them time because they deserve it. Happy motherhood!

 

A proud mother of four, Rahila Butt is a stay-at-home-mom with passion for reading, writing and cooking. She has done masters from UoK at the top of her class. Ever since she has explored different hobbies like cooking, baking, home decorations and travelling. She believes that life is all about the small pleasures of life that we should to be grateful for.

Brain Development

Play Time With My Baby – What I Did In The First Four Months

by Sana Salman

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2015 is the year in which Allah Almighty blessed me with a baby boy. I wish I could go back and have that stint once more and see my little champ when he born and came into my hand. Wow, I still reminisce that sensation, which which was a blend of happiness and gratefulness for Allah Almighty that I had become a mother of a beautiful child.

When we brought him to our home, our apartment turned into a paradise because of his presence. When I saw him, I knew I had to make all the struggles I could to make him an incredible human being that’s why I said good-bye to my career and chose a 24-hour job of being “Mommy.” From that point, my interaction with my infant started.

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He recognized nothing about the world and the surrounding, he napped most of the time and cried if starved. I was so anxious to see him chatting and playing with me, but I identified its too early. The only action he understood was the touch which I shared with him by holding him near to me most of the time.

The baby’s development starts when he born and reaches to the implausible highest till the age of three years. The more the mother provides care to their infant at that time; the more the baby becomes emotional and socially healthy. The baby’s development in the area of language and learning starts happening as soon as the birth. Therefore, I undertook these diverse activities with him:

Talk To Him

So, the first thing which I did with my infant was to start talking to him and smile at him. He didn’t understand anything, but he enjoyed listening to me.

Read Books

Another activity which I did to enhance his cognitive abilities was to show him stories books, with bright colors and the big picture. He just loved to look at the bright color pictures and listening to my voice.

Hang a Musical Toy above his cradle

I placed a musical crib toy having different patterns and colors over his cradle. He rotates his eyes to see the colors and the patterns. When the music played, he started to produce adorable sounds of “Agooo Agoooo.”

Learn to play with toys which produce sounds

As he grew into the third month, I showed him different toys which produce sounds. I hit the toy in front of him, and the sound would make him happy. This activity helped him to learn that when we hit the toy, a pleasant sound is heard.

Sing a Song for him

And the most interesting thing which I did for my son is sing to him. He started moving his hands when I sing. Now, my son is 22 months old, but we still love to sing and dance together, and this is his favorite play-time activity with me.

These activities benefited him a lot in his initial development stages from 0-4 months. He learnt to recognize his mother and father, demonstrate a response to different sounds and recognize the language which we used to communicate with him.

 

“Having kids—the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings—is the biggest job anyone can embark on.” – Maria Shriver

 

Pregnancy

Two, Too Soon – Expecting Another with a Toddler in Tow

Guest Post By Mehr Nomani

The two lines on the pregnancy test strip came to me as a complete shock. Our son had only turned one and there I was pregnant again. A million thoughts came flooding as I stood there, staring at the strip, wondering what we did ‘wrong’. I was angry, excited, worried and happy all at the same time. Although I was sure the strip was right, we still went for a beta hcg test which confirmed that I was indeed pregnant. I spent the day worrying about how this pregnancy would affect my toddler and questioning myself on so many things.

~The guilt

Yes, the guilt! It totally consumed me. I felt I was a bad parent to my first child for getting pregnant so early instead of waiting another 2 more years. However, there really wasn’t much I could do about what had happened. I needed to put away the guilt, the blame games and the fears.Baby number two was coming and I had to embrace it, happily.

~I worried about my toddler being neglected

While pregnancy can be exhausting, physically and mentally, it does not mean you should let it hinder your daily activities. Yes that means you should go about spending time with your toddler as you used to. You can still carry him around, although you should avoid holding him for a prolonged period of time. Ask for help if you feel the need. Start engaging yourself in fun activities with your little one. Spend more and more time together. Laugh, tickle, take pictures, make the most of this time!

~Would this be a high risk pregnancy?

No, just because you got pregnant before the ‘normal’ 3 year gap doesn’t necessarily mean there will be complications. Visit your gynecologist regularly and don’t hesitate to ask any questions that might be troubling you.

~ Can I breastfeed my toddler during pregnancy?

Yes, absolutely. Breastfeeding your toddler would not affect you, your toddler or your developing baby. You will continue to produce healthy milk for your toddler.However, milk supply does decrease during the later months. To cope with that, gradually introduce your little one to top feed if he has only been breastfed before or increase top feed if he is already on top feed. This will make up for the reduced milk supply. Also, make sure to take a proper healthy diet and supplements.

~I will regain the pounds I worked so hard to shed

For some of us losing baby fat is no big deal but for others it means months of strenuous exercise and a controlled diet. The key to a healthy pregnancy however is to stay active. Consult your doctor about which exercises might be safe for you during pregnancy. Yes you will gain weight again but once the baby is delivered, you will be able to lose it too.

Happy parenting and a healthy pregnancy! *hugs*

 

About the Author:

Mehr is a mother to a crazy, adorable toddler and a wife to an awesome man. She hopes to start a Masters degree some day but until then she’s enjoying being a stay at home mom!

 

Brain Development

Build That Brain! Setting The Foundation For A Brighter Future.

90% of brain development occurs by age 5.

80% of the brain is developed by age 3.

Click-bait, much? Yes, but there is truth to these statements too. Learning certainly continues after age five, and the window for development doesn’t close at Kindergarten. But interactions in the first few years of life are important to a child’s future. A parent’s relationship with their young child shapes the healthy development of their brain and body.  But what is the role of brain development? And how can caregivers support children 0-3 to have a great start?

Why does so much brain development occur before age 3?

Babies are born with much to learn. They have to figure out simple tasks like how move their bodies and focus their eyes on objects and people. They need to learn how to communicate needs and express emotions. As they enter a world full of new stimuli, their brains develop to help them navigate their surroundings. There is much to learn in the first few years, which is why it is a period of rapid growth.

Where does the development occur?
The cerebral cortex is the part of the brain responsible for feelings, memories, thoughts, and voluntary actions. While a baby is born with all necessary neurons in the cerebral cortex, it is the connections between the neurons that lead to the production of synapses. Throughout life we continue to produce and prune synapses, but from age 0-3 is a time of enormous brain activity when the amount of synapses created is incredible, up to 700 new neural connections every second.

How can parents and caregivers support brain development in the earliest years?
Responsive caregiving lays the foundation for all other types of learning a young child will do. Meeting the baby’s needs and comforting her when she’s upset will create an ideal environment for positive development.

The first three years are also an important time to incorporate language interactions. Singing, talking, and reading with a child are effective ways to encourage brain connections.

Parents and child care providers can play important roles in supporting a young child’s development. And when they work together as partners, the impact can be even greater.

 

Sources:

zerotothree.org

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