Most everyone has heard the flight attendant tell them to put their own oxygen mask on before helping others. The same goes for parenting—your health and well-being is important so that you can nurture your child. Self-care is not selfish or indulgent—it’s how we keep ourselves well to ensure we are physically, emotionally, and mentally capable of being there for our young children.

  1. Bonding – When you sing to your baby, they bond with you and your voice. Singing makes yours the first and most important voice in her life. Your baby learns that you LOVE him.
  2. Transitions – Babies feel safe when life is predictable. A song for waking up, sleeping, and other routine transitions and activities helps them know what comes next.
  3. Language – Language is in itself musical, and when you sing and speak, your baby learns about words, language, and communication. Through your singing, baby’s language comprehension begins.
  4. New words – While you sing and hold your baby, you introduce new vocabulary. When you hold up a stuffed dog as you sing about a dog, baby learns to associate the name of that toy with the words you sing. When you sing about parts of the body and kiss your baby’s feet or tickle his tummy, he learns new words.
  5. Rhythm and rhyme – Music includes rhythm and rhyme, again, part of our language. In time, babies will recognize rhymes and rhythms.
  6. Play – Singing is one of many methods of play and “sing-play” is a fun way to interact with babies.
  7. Family fun – Singing is a great way to involve older siblings in welcoming a new baby to the home. Singing to and playing with the baby builds a bond between siblings. Make singing a family activity.

Even if you’ve kept your toddler away from news about COVID-19 in the media or from overhearing adult conversations, they are bound to have questions. Here are some age-appropriate responses to the common questions a toddler might have. Most importantly, remember to keep your answers simple and age-appropriate.

Whether you are preparing for a new routine at home with your child or looking for additional activities to add to your existing routine, here are a few ideas for indoor games to get the wiggles out.

The “power of silly” can bring families closer. Here are three good reasons to giggle together.  

If you have a shy child, there are many ways you can help to support them. Read on.

Gradual weaning involves loss, but your child is able to do her grieving in small, manageable doses as she learns to meet her physical and emotional needs in other ways. In fact, gradual weaning becomes a series of healthy stepping stones in the child's development and in the mother-child relationship, in which the child "ripens." Here's how.

First, the good news: Children are very adaptable. Children quickly learn that different settings and different people have different expectations – and they respond accordingly. For example, I was constantly amazed by all the things my children did for themselves at childcare that I was still doing for them at home! Many kids discover that begging to stay up late might work with grandma but not auntie. Or that mom will feed me but my teachers expect me to use utensils and feed myself.

Though our kids have been out of the house for a few years now, I still remember vividly some of the more dramatic disagreements we had. Oh, let me call it what it was: They were fights. Not of the physical variety, but our war of words and very loud emotional outbursts were full of fireworks.  

When the kids were young, these conflicts were pretty much the same. Disagreement. Loud conflict. Punishment. Normally it was us, parents, punishing the kids. Emotions would calm, and we went back to normal. There were no hidden agendas. No leftover baggage. But as our kids moved into their teen years, conflicts became more complex. Silence. Subtle disrespect. Emotional outbursts out of nowhere. And the uncertainty of what to say and do became far more common.  

Parenting teens can be tough.  

Dreading leaving your toddler with the babysitter or at daycare and want to prepare him? Virtually every parent who has left a toddler with a caregiver has experienced the crumpled face, the arms Velcro-locked around your knees, the wail that rips through your heart. It's the normal response of a securely attached toddler who protests what she perceives as a life-threatening separation from her mother or father. Your toddler will learn, over time, that you do return when you leave, but she is not yet capable of understanding this fully.

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

 

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