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Archive for the ‘development’ Category

Play stages: Associate Play (3-4 years)

Today is week 3 of our Play stages blog festival! Today we’ll talk about Associate Play.

By 3 years children start interacting with other in their play and there may be fleeting cooperation between in play. This cooperation is it is however a loosely organized fashion. During associate play the more mature child soon emerges as the leader or organizer. They develop friendships and the preferences for playing with some but not all other children. during this stage play is normally in mixed sex groups.  Children are now recognizing shapes, letters and colors, solving jigsaw puzzles through mixture of thinking and trial and error. They play cooperatively together and take turns with other children. Show more reasoning skills and asking questions for instance ‘why’ and ‘how’. During this stage they are also start pretend play, for example playing  house, dressing up and cooking.

Next week we’ll talk some more about pretend play!

Is your child now playing in cooperation with other children? What do they like to play?


Barefoot is best!

Did you know that there are 200,000 nerve endings in the soles of our feet and toes? Have you ever told your children, they can’t go outside without shoes?

I remember my dad not letting me go outside without shoes, ever! It was a big deal to him. Actually, he didn’t even like it when we were barefoot INSIDE the house (which was always clean, thanks to my mom!). To this day I have no idea what he thought was so wrong about it. I guess i’ll call him and ask him.

However, podiatrists agree that barefoot is best for our feet. First of all, shoes do not follow the feet’s shape. We are squeezing our feet for hours in very uncomfortable shoes (I am guilty!), that leads to foot problems! Research shows that footwear can obstruct proper foot development (ouch!)

Here are a few reasons why barefoot is best for children (and adults too!):

* To feel and sense the world around them. This information helps them keep equilibrium.

* To stimulate the muscles of the feet and lower legs and help strengthen dozens of muscles and tendons as well as the joints around them including ankles, knees and hips.

* To reduce the risk for fungal infections (yuck!)

* To develop good posture.

* To improve children’s awareness of the things around them.

* To receive feedback from the ground making them look down less and making them be off balance and causes them to fall down less.

Now, when you go to the beach, or walk in the grass (making sure it’s safe first) or at home, take off your shoes!

So, go home, tell everyone in your family to take their shoes and socks off! Doesn’t it feel great?

A birth story: My experience

Some of you that know me, know how I excited I was when my two friends asked me if I wanted to be with them during the birth of their first baby girl. When my friend called me and told me that she and her husband, wanted me to “help” them during the delivery, I said yes without thinking about it. Although I have one niece and a nephew,  and I was the first person they saw when they came out of the delivery room, I have never been inside the delivery room. So, I thought “what an honor, and what an experience that must be”.

But I have to be honest, I was a little scared that I couldn’t handle it. But after the experience, I have to say, if you haven’t been present during the delivery of someone you care for, try it! It’s such an amazing experience!

I know this blog post is a little different than my usual tips and advice about music, language and child development. But I really wanted to share this amazing experience with all of you.

Although we (mother-to-be, father-to-be and me) were in the hospital for about 27 long hours, waiting for the baby to be ready to come out, it wasn’t that bad (the new mom also agrees… now). After the first 15 hours, her contractions were getting stronger. When someone is in that much pain, what is one to do? Nothing I could say was going to help her. I really wanted to do something but I felt useless. Here is my friend in pain, i’m supposed to be helping and I can’t do anything. But I was hoping I was giving her some moral support. I tried everything.

And that’s when the most beautiful thing (at that time) happened…epidural! Now, everybody has their own opinions and can make their own decisions about this. However, my friend decided to get the epidural and I have to say, her face completely changed! So, around 6am she finally started to get some rest (thanks to the epidural) and I was still doing ok!

The rest of the day was…well… uneventful. Then, 5pm came and so did the pressure/contractions. Let me tell you, that was painful! But when we were pushing (yes, we were ALL pushing at this point!) she felt better and we were making some progress. By 6pm the beautiful baby girl was born! I can’t even explain the emotion I felt when I saw that baby come out, she was just inside! We were all excited to finally meet her and now… she’s here! It is truly a miracle of life! 

Now, mom, baby (and daddy) are doing wonderful. And this “aunty” is very happy to have been present during this exciting moment.

So, to all the mothers out there, many blessings to you! Carrying the baby for 40 weeks does not look easy. Then comes the pushing, or getting epidural, or surgery. But no matter how you delivered that baby, I can understand now a little better your pain, and how scary and confusing the situation can be.

Thanks to my friends for letting me be part of this magical, and truly amazing experience. And who knows, maybe soon i’ll be writing about my own birth story… 😉

Do you have any birth stories you want to share with us?

photo: iStock

Where is it?

If you have young children, they might start playing peek-a-boo soon (or maybe they already love to play it!). But before they enjoy playing this game, they probably cried if you hid a favorite toy (or your lovely face!). Soon after, they will start looking for the desired object. And all this is possible thanks to object permanence.

Object permanence is the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, heard, or touched. It is acquired by infants between 8 and 12 month of age.

What happens is that a baby goes through some steps in order to aquire object permanence. First, they look at a toy and if it goes away, they don’t care (out sight, out of mind). Then, they look for a toy when it’s partially hidden. They begin to understand that the object still exists, even if they can’t see it completely. Finally, they look for the toy after it’s been hidden, because they know it exists, it’s just hidden or out of sight! So, if you try to play hide-and-seek and your baby starts crying, then he/she definitely has not acquired object permanence!

 The term, object permanence, was given by child development expert and psychologist Jean Piaget. Piaget believed most children reached the object permanence stage when they were about eight or nine months old.

But, why is it important? Imagine you never remember where things were before… you would be forever looking for everything because you’d never remember what you had and where you put it! (hmm so why we still can’t find the keys?).

Here are two videos to show object permanence. The first one shows the out of sight out of mind stage and the second one, shows a baby who has already aquired object permanence.

So, next time your child cries because you left them at daycare or just left the room, be happy, your child has just reached a very important milestone!

What stage is your baby? Out of sight, out of mind? partially hidden, or having fun with hide and seek?

Is your child ready for Kindergarten?

August arrives and parents start getting ready for school…well, and the kids too! But when you have a child who is just starting in Kindergarten, parents can get stressed about how ready their kids are for school. Do they know the numbers? colors? letters? write their names? But, should they know these skills before they enter school? Isn’t that the reason why they go to school, to learn these things?

Let’s review some definitions of school readines.

The Maryland Model for School Readiness defines school readiness as the state of early development that enables an individual child to engage in and benefit from early learning experiences. As a result of family nurturing and interactions with others, a young child in this stage has reached certain levels of social and emotional development, cognition and general knowledge, language development, and physical well-being and motor development. School readiness acknowledges individual approaches toward learning as well as the unique experiences and backgrounds of each child.

Experts say no single or simple factor determines whether a child is ready for kindergarten. Instead, a child’s development needs to be evaluated on several fronts. Their ability to think logically, speak clearly, and interact well with other children and adults are all critically important to success in school. A child’s physical development also needs to be considered. (

Scientists describe a school-ready child as having the ability to experience, regulate, and express emotions. Also, to form close and secure personal relationships, explore the environment and learn. 

Did you notice they NEVER mention how many colors, letters or vocabulary words they should know? That is because it is more important how they learn the information than what they learn. So kids have to be emotionally ready to the demands of school or they won’t benefit from the learning!

So forget about the colors and the numbers! Here are some things the child needs to do in order to be ready for school:

  • Work independently
  • Attend or listen to what someone else is saying
  • Get along with other children of the same age
  • Learn and participate in structured situations such as play and story reading
  • Focus and listen to one  person in the classroom
  • Learn in a co-operative learning environment where children learn from teachers and form one another
  • Play with other children (wait their turn in line and so on)
  • Here are some things parents can do to help their children be ready for school:

  • Teach them to pick up their clothes
  • Teach them to put their toys away
  • Give their children the opportunity to listen to and learn language through story telling
  • Provide a daily routine that includes regular times for meals
  • Establish a bedtime that gives your child eight or more hours of sleep at night
  • Provide opportunities to play with other children
  • For more tips visit this website!

    Do you have more ideas how to help your child get ready for Kindergarten?

    photo: iStock

    How can I help my child in his/her development? Part 1

    That is one question many parents should ask themselves all the time. Parents have the most influence on their child’s development, but sometimes they don’t know what to do. In order to know how you can help your child, first you need to know what areas are involved in their development. Let’s review 4 major areas.

    Motor Development – A motor skill is a learned sequence of movements that combined, produce a smooth, efficient action in order to master a particular task. Motor skills can be divided in two areas: gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills include the use of large muscles such as arms and legs. Gross motor skills make you move in different positions such as lifting the head, rolling over, sitting up, balancing, crawling, walking and jumping. It usually develops from top to bottom. Fine motor skills include the use of smaller muscles to manipulate small objects, transfer objects from hand to hand, and other various hand-eye coordination tasks. Fine motor skills may involve the use of very precise motor movement in order to achieve an especially delicate task to do something. Some examples of fine motor skills are using the pincer grasp (thumb and forefinger), picking up small objects, cutting, coloring, writing, or threading beads.

    Cognitive Development – This is the are that develops the ability to learn new knowledge and to process, understand, and apply this knowledge to different ends. Developing this area helps a child improve his/her capacity for mental activities such as reasoning, interpreting, comparing and contrasting, evaluating, judging, inferring, predicting, sequencing, and visualizing. It also helps children master specific content knowledge relating to vocabulary, mathematics, and science.

    Social-Emotional Development – This is the development of skills relating to how one interacts with other people and how one behaves oneself. The capacity for empathy, the understanding of social rules, and friendships are some of the skills a child will learn to master as they grow.

    Communication Development – This is a process starting early in human life, when a person begins to acquire language by learning it as it is spoken or signed. Children’s language development moves from simple to complex. Infants start communicating by crying but as the child gets older, new meanings and new associations are created and vocabulary increases as more words are learned.

    Next time I’ll share specific ideas that parents can do to help their children in each one of these areas!

    Did you learn something new today? Let us know!