Childhood Development

September 2017 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - September 2017

MW-Newsletter-Sept-2017

Original article by Meg Faure

Newborn babies (under 6 weeks) are generally good sleepers during the day. They are still quite sleepy and may even sleep from one feed to the next. They are very likely to wake to feed as often at night as during the day – usually 3 hourly.

If your baby wakes more often at night than during the day, she may be experiencing ‘day-night reversal’. In this case, you need to guide your baby towards more lively interactions in the day and less engagement at night.

It is relatively simple to improve your baby’s night-time sleep by keeping night feeds strictly business affairs. Here are 5 simple tips to differentiate night-time from day:

  • Unless your baby is premature or your doctor advises you otherwise, don’t wake your baby for feeds at night– take her lead for waking at night. This allows your baby to establish natural sleep cycles.
  • Try not to smile or talk to your baby at night – keep these happy interactions for day light hours.
  • Feed in semi-darkness – use a dimmer, nightlight or a passage light instead of the bright bedroom light.
  • Don’t change your baby’s nappy at night – buy the best nappy you can afford for night-time and leave it on from one feed to the next, unless she has soiled her nappy. A good quality gel nappy can be left on all night as they soak up all the urine and the bottom remains dry.
  • In the very early days (the first 6 weeks), do not ‘dummy’ your baby in an attempt to decrease night feeds. Rather feed her when she wakes for feeds at night, if more than two and a half hours have passed since the last feed.

Follow these simple strategies and in a short time, your baby will start to have one longer stretch between feeds at night and by 3 months should have a good 6-8 hour stretch once at night.

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August 2017 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - July 2017

MW-Newsletter-Aug-2017
Original article by Meg Faure

Just as you think you have got on top of your baby’s sleep routine, suddenly you will find that he changes the game plan. As your little one gets older, his need for day sleeps become less and so you will find that fitting all the day sleeps into the day with longer awake times, mean that bedtime is suddenly at 10pm.

Research has shown that the more attention given by parents to language development in the early days, the better the child will achieve in later literacy and communication skills.

How do you know when your baby wants to drop a day sleep?

There are four common tell-tale signs that its time to drop a day sleep at about these ages:

  1. Your baby/toddler is suddenly VERY hard to settle to sleep for day sleeps.
  2. Your baby/toddler starts to fight bedtime and it gets later and later because his last sleep of the day goes on too late
  3. Your baby/toddler starts to wake VERY early – like 4am – and won’t go back to sleep
  4. Your baby/toddler wakes at night and stays awake for a long period

When your baby shows one or more of these signs, its may well be time to drop a sleep

How to drop a day sleep

Every age can be done a similar way – incrementally. So lets look at dropping from two to one day sleep: At around a 12-14 months your baby will be at the right age to drop down from two to one day sleep.

  1. Move the morning sleep later – to 10am and the midday sleep to 2pm for a few days.
  2. Then move the morning sleep to 11am (with big snack at 10:30am plus a tiny milk feed – then to sleep). He will be dog tired with the new routine for a few days so you will need to entertain him to get him through to 11am.
  3. On these days, he will probably sleep from 11am until 1pm and not have an afternoon sleep. So bring bedtime back to 6pm.
  4. Every third day do two sleeps if he needs it for 2 weeks.
  5. Then in the third week, move morning sleep to 11:30 and eventually 12. That is your new routine
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July 2017 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER - July 2017

MW-Newsletter-July-2017
Original article by Meg Faure

As parents we spend our lives trying to make sure that we offer our children the best opportunities in life.  We often obsess about their development and compare our babies with others to make sure everything is on track.  One of the biggest indicators about how your baby is doing is the development of their language skills.  Lets look at “typical” language development and how you can encourage your child’s speech.

Research has shown that the more attention given by parents to language development in the early days, the better the child will achieve in later literacy and communication skills.

Babies under six months of age communicate primarily by crying, blinking, smiling and facial expressions.  Your baby will respond to his name, turn his head to human voices and engage in eye to eye contact.  He will vocalize and begin to use intonation in his voices. As he approached the 6 month mark, he starts to learn to take turns and that a conversation is made up of two people ‘talking’ to each other.

By 12 months your baby will be aware of the social value of speech and the effect he has on you.  He will practice using his voice with endless babbling, and may begin to use a few words (or fragments of words) with meaning as he approaches a year of age.

At 18 Months your baby will have a vocabulary of approximately 20 words, mainly naming of toys and people he knows well, but he will continue to develop his language by repeating words or phrases that you say.  He should be able to follow a few simple instructions such as “put it in the box”.

When your baby reaches 2 years of age his vocabulary has exploded to around 300 words.  He will be beginning to put short sentences together, but his fluency is still poor.  He can use some prepositions like inon and under; as well as some pronouns like I, me and you, but he won’t always use them appropriately.

3 year old child can use pronouns correctly and is beginning to experiment with using tenses, but often doesn’t get them right.  Around 90% of what your toddler says at this age is correct and intelligible with a vocabulary of around 1000 words, predominantly made up of verbs.  He understands and can respond to simple questions as well as reason.

By 4 years old your child should be able to name and point to all his body parts, animals, colours, simple shapes and familiar objects in books or magazines.  He has mastered most vowel sounds as well as p, b, m, w and n.  When engaging in play and make believe he often chats endlessly about what he is doing

At 5 years old, your child uses descriptive words with ease and should be completely intelligible.  He has mastered all the vowels as well as m, p, b, h , w, k g, t, d, n, ng and y.  He can put together sentences of up to 9 words and can usually follow a string of 3 commands.  He now understands concepts of time, numbers (up to 10, sometimes more), opposites and size.  He should know his name, age, address and telephone number.

Language guides provided above are guidelines only.  All children are different and will develop at a different pace – if you are concerned about your child’s language development please talk to your paediatrician or a speech therapist who will guide you accordingly.

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