Archive | Toddler care

What sounds and behaviours should we expect from our babies?

What sounds and behaviours should we expect from our babies?

Posted on 24 October 2016 by Kristrun

My 8 month-old son, Thomas, loves to squark. Sometimes he sounds like a bird, other times he resembles a baby dinosaur on the hunt for his next feed. We lovingly gave him the nickname “Thomosaurus Rex” and shamelessly plan to dress him as a baby Stegosaurus for Halloween. At times the squawking can be loud – so loud that he receives curious looks from passersby (“is that a baby boy or dinosaur?” I assume they are thinking). My husband notices these glances and kindly shushes our son, as it may not be a socially appropriate noise to make when out and about in Hong Kong where children are typically ‘seen but not heard’. As a Speech Therapist, I am usually crouching down to face him while squarking right back at him while pulling crazy faces (getting shushed by my husband at the same time).

Babies and toddlers who coo, gurgle, babble, squark, squeak or squeal are gr2eat in my opinion, and should be supported, praised and encouraged. Ok, maybe there is a time and place for some sounds children make (shouting in a library may not be ideal) but vocalising is communication, and communication is extremely important to live a happy, productive and healthy life.

So what sounds and behaviours should we expect from our babies? Cooing, crying, smiling and making eye contact are all expected between 0-3 months of age. Between 3-6 months you should start to see some pointing, blowing raspberries and laughing (and perhaps some shrieking and squealing). You should hear some babbling with sounds made with the lips (such as ‘b’ and ‘m’) in sequences like “baba” and “mabada” between 6-9 months. More sounds should be used between 9-12 months, such as d, m, n, h, w and t. First words are generally heard at around 12 months.

Parents and carers can do a lot to help babies learn to speak by interacting with them from birth onwards by making lots of eye contact, singing, talking to the baby (even if the baby is too young to respond), playing, and imitating sounds, gestures and actions that the baby makes. This shows the baby that their sounds and actions are meaningful, and encourages them to make more of them! It is never too early to read to a baby, making sure that you choose books that are simple and colourful. Read slowly with lots of expression and point to pictures while naming them. Don’t forget to respond to your baby when they try to communicate with you, even if the noises made sound prehistoric.

Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Stephanie Eber has been working as a Speech and Language Therapist for over 10 years. She is the Senior Speech Therapist at an international school in Hong Kong while running Beyond Words Speech Therapy, a consultancy practice which runs workshops for parents, carers, domestic helpers, educators and other therapists. Visit facebook.com/BeyondWordsHK to find out more about upcoming workshops.

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Why is my child not willing to share?

Why is my child not willing to share?

Posted on 10 May 2016 by Annerley

Untitled design-1Toddlers arguing over toys – a common scene at playgroups and playdates. The crying, the drama, the ensuing tantrums… is it all just an inevitable part of toddlerhood or is there something we can do?

If your child is less than 5 years old, the explanation can be very simple – she is just not ready to share. Most toddlers aged two and under have no understanding of sharing at all and others will take a lot longer to understand the concept. In some cases, with some special toys for example, they may never be ready. It may help you to think of this from the child’s perspective – try to imagine if someone asked for your handbag or phone and you had to hand it to someone (maybe even a stranger) willingly and without objection.

Most toddlers will eventually learn how to share most toys. However it’s a good idea to allow them to keep their special toys separate and not to expect them to share those things they are particularly attached to. Why not go through their toys before someone comes over for a playdate and put out toys that are ok to be shared – and keep the other toys at a safe distance or simply explain that this particular toy will not be shared. Do this with your child. You may just find this makes for a far more peaceful playtime.

My toddler is fighting with another toddler over a toy. How do I deal with this?

Distraction is the simplest answer. The attention span of a toddler is normally very short. Take your child and find something else to look at – “look, a bird” – and swing away from the situation. Don’t dwell on it and don’t waste time or energy making him say sorry – most toddlers will not understand that either. You of course should apologize and your child will eventually copy your behaviour and learn to say sorry in due course. When the same scenario comes up again – simply repeat.

The best way to encourage children to share is to praise them for when they do share. It will happen – do it quickly when you see it and try to do it regularly. By praising them for positive behaviour they will be a lot more likely to do it again. They will gradually want to please parents and caregivers more than anything else.

Most children will develop the concept of sharing very quickly when they start Kindergarten or any sort of similar group activity. They will very quickly copy the behaviour from their peers and teachers. So, one way of dealing with the issue of sharing is to simply wait.

Best of luck

Kristrun Lind

B.Ed, M. Ed. (Iceland, HK) C.E.C.E. (HK)

Kristrun teaches a workshop at Annerley – Understanding your toddler.  Consultation with the our consultants and midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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Toddlers and tantrums

Toddlers and tantrums

Posted on 05 February 2016 by Kristrun

10979573_773162599400229_762771788_nIt’s very common for toddlers to throw what we commonly think of as “tantrums”. They start crying or shouting or screaming and seem like they are out of control. They bang their heads against the floor, roll on the floor, hit something or someone etc. Why do they do it and what can we do about it?

They do it because they can not express themselves clearly – they have not developed the skills to do this and they just simply cannot get a handle on their emotions. They do it because they start crying and they cannot gain back the control – even if they want to. They do it because they are tired or hungry, or just grumpy. It’s a frustration overload, sometimes mild and sometimes a bit scary – they can be short of breath, vomit or look like they are suffocating.

But what do they need?

They need you. They need a hug, they need a cuddle. They need comfort and perhaps food and rest. Put the toddler on the sofa or your bed if you are in the home. Sit down with him and cuddle if that works or just stay at a very safe distance. Don’t laugh at her, just talk to her in a soothing tone. Rub her back or feet – if she allows you. She will calm down and relax. If you are out and about, try to pick up your toddler and comfort him – hopefully where you can sit down or find a quiet spot.

Once the scene is over – and if the toddler is old enough – you might use the opportunity to explain why this type of behaviour is not a great way to solve problems and get your way. But don’t dwell on it – just explain quickly.

And don’t worry. Over time your child will learn how to express herself and connect with her feelings and things will become much more manageable.

Enjoy

Kristrún

B.Ed, M. Ed. (Iceland, HK) C.E.C.E. (HK)

Do you want to know more? Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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Should my child eat in front of the screen?

Should my child eat in front of the screen?

Posted on 22 December 2015 by Kristrun

Screen timeThe very recent widespread access to mobile screens has changed our behaviour and – without a doubt – our children’s behaviour. Until very recently we would only have televisions in our homes – and very few would have access to mobile TV screens. Nowadays we see many babies and children with a screen in restaurants, sitting in prams or in the lap of a parent – absorbed, quiet and calm.

Because of this recent change the effects of children using a screen from early days has not been researched much – there are no adults yet who have had this experience – so long term research does not exist. The interest to fund such research is probably not great as a lot of powerful companies around the world are much more focused on making our children future consumers in front of the screen.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that kids under 2 years of age watch nothing at all and children older than 2 – not more than two hours daily. Of course not all screen time is the same – catching up with grandparents on Skype is not the same as spending time alone with the iPad.

What about eating whilst in front of the screen? Many parents use this as a regular means of keeping their little ones in their seats at meal times. Here are a few things to consider.

-It can affect the amount of food the child consumes – and they may overeat without realising it.

-It´s important for children to copy adult behaviour during mealtimes. That is how they really learn how to behave – the distraction of the screen will very likely delay this learning procedure.

-For the same reason, they may lose interest in certain types of food as they miss out on seeing an adult show interest, talk about and consume the foods.

-It can be extremely difficult to wean the child from using the screen at mealtimes.

-It can affect their language development to miss out on the communication during mealtimes. Mealtimes are meant to be a social time.

-The need for the screen may create a false need for food.

-The child can be very upset when the screen is taken away from her, causing other problems after mealtimes.

It can take time to teach children to behave as we would like them to around mealtimes. Don’t expect them to last long at the table in the beginning – they will gradually and slowly learn this skill and grow to enjoy it. Some enjoy it from young age whilst for others it can take a lot longer. Eventually all normal healthy children will get there.

Happy eating

Kristrun

B.Ed, M. Ed. (Iceland, HK) C.E.C.E. (HK)

Do you want to know more? Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

 

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Understanding your helper – Published in Sassy Mama

Understanding your helper – Published in Sassy Mama

Posted on 20 December 2015 by Kristrun

understandingyourhelperYour search has ended (for now). Your helper arrives at your apartment, and your relationship as employer and employee has begun. The difference, though, with this employee is she lives with you and likely cares for your kids. You may know her manifest strength and weaknesses, but do you understand her as a person?

The ocean between knowing and understanding another person is tremendous; you may have many relationships orbiting you, but how many of those people do you truly understand? The idea of understanding your helper as a soul may be lofty, yet understanding enough about her background and posture may improve your working relationship. Here are some ideas on how:  Click here to read the full article on SASSY MAMA. 

Check our schedule for our helpers training courses and consultation at Annerley. Hiring a helper? Let us help guide you. In just one hour, we will discuss how to effectively and efficiently navigate the often rough waters of hiring and training a helper. Click here to book. 

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Enabling play

Enabling play

Posted on 02 December 2015 by Kristrun

ToddlerToddlers are fun, demanding and sometimes difficult to understand. They can be loud, messy and most of the time have a very short attention span. But at the same time they are so cute – expressing themselves in a unique way – coming up, and coming out with the most amazing things!

Most parents handle this beautifully – others struggle. This article will not solve all your issues but I have made a short list that might help in gradually encouraging your toddler to entertain herself, and in turn, increasing the peace.

  • Toddlers are not small adults. Most of them will make no distinction between their physical or emotional feelings. So most of the time you need to try to predict what is going on and figure out if they are hungry, tired or just upset about something. Reasoning will rarely work. Distract and get food in, or distract and find something else to do often works a lot better than explaining or arguing. In fact distracting is my favorite tool in my toolbox!
  • Allow and create an environment to play. It does not need to be complicated – put toys on the floor , sit down with your toddler and start dressing dolls, building Lego or blocks, driving cars. They will follow. You may need to be with them to begin with but they will gradually play by themselves. Once they get going – don’t stop them – don’t interfere in the game – let them talk to themselves and just bide your time. Gradually the time they can play without your input will increase.
  • Create play environments to your advantage. If you need to do some cooking, create a cooking play area in the kitchen with a bowl and a big spoon and some chopped veg. If you need to send some emails or work on your computer, create a “desk” for them with an old keyboard and some post-it notes.
  • Keep toys tidy and in themed boxes. You don’t need much, but keep the blocks together, and the dolls and dresses in the same box. If it’s all muddled up it’s not as easy for them to get going – they may mix it up eventually as a part of the game but then try to store it away as organized as it was in the beginning. Of course, even better to turn this into a game also with your toddler and encourage this habit!
  • When you set up the toys – use different rooms. A toy becomes a completely different toy if you put it outside – or in the bedroom or living room.
  • Old handbags, luggage, notebooks, keyboards, envelopes and old phones are endless resource for play. Mine have played “travel” for days and days. Make sure it’s all safe of course – remove old batteries and so on. Remember they are always copying adults. Shop play is always exciting and even more so if you bring out actual groceries and household items and REAL money in mum’s old wallet. Spend a bit of time on labeling and the game can go on for days!
  • Be around to help little fingers with the things they can’t work out – but let them come to you. Don’t interrupt them when they are trying to do things on their own, however much you want to jump in and help. One problem resulting from having domestic helpers in Hong Kong is that children have assistance on hand constantly. Let them try and do things themselves – that’s how they learn and gain a sense of independence.
  • Keep it simple – complicated toys need more manpower.
  • There is no right and wrong in play. Don’t stop them if they are not playing “correctly” with something – like using a shopping trolley as a bed for their teddies, for example. Leave them be.
  • Less is more when it comes to toys. A packed playroom full of dozens of toys can actually be a bit stressful for a small child and does not encourage play. Rotate the toys – put most of them away and get a few out at a time. Next week, put these away and take something different out. You will be amazed at how suddenly a toy they ignored in the crowded room suddenly is the best thing ever!
  • Don’t be tempted to immediately go out and buy everything which your child loved at someone else’s house. This is just novelty. Create your own novelty with the point above ^^
  • When it’s time to tidy up – let them help you and praise them for helping out – even if they only manage to put back a few things. That will gradually change.

Last but not least – enjoy spending time with your toddler and treasure those simple moments. They don’t expect much from us – sometimes just a cuddle here and there, for us to be around, to be picked up from school when they least expect it – or to sit down with a book and read. They don’t need much entertainment – they need a cuddle and a play much more than a stressful trip to Ocean Park.

Related: How to choose right local daycare?

Enjoy

Kristrún

B.Ed, M. Ed. (Iceland, HK) C.E.C.E. (HK)

Do you want to know more? Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

 

 

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Outdoors with babies in the cooler weather

Outdoors with babies in the cooler weather

Posted on 04 October 2015 by Kristrun

Winter is approaching and finally the weather is cooling down a little! This gives us a great opportunity to spend more time with our children outdoors without much discomfort. Hong Kong has some great beaches, green parks and swimming pools with TVs (like these at https://www.hereon.biz/outdoor-tv/) available for us all to use. It is important for the overall development of babies to stimulate them in many different ways and the great outdoors plays an important role in that.

As many of you know I do tend to often remind others (as well as myself) that as parents, we are responsible for stimulating our children and exposing them to the world – it will make them smarter and they will sleep better than ever after a day outside. I never get tired of sharing the story of my son Tomas…..I had always been aware of the importance of outdoor stimulation and I thought I had done a good job of it. One day we were in the park and I realized he had never walked barefoot on grass and mud – not in his life! The outcome was rather amusing If I do say so myself.

Tomas walks on grass

But where do you start?

Start slowly. Start by a short trip to a park, or a BBQ site. Go in the afternoon – after 2pm when it’s even cooler. Bring a blanket, food, drinks and some toys. Bring a plastic bag and gloves to clean up a small area around your blanket. Make sure there is no rubbish, glass or dog poo in a safe radius of your space. Let your child crawl around barefoot, have a walk or just sit there touching the grass and/or soil. Links to HK parks: http://www.hong-kong-hotels.ws/attractions/parks.htm

You can apply the same method for going to the beach for the first few times. I love the beaches during the winter – the kids love the sand from a very early age and it’s such a great way of entertaining them. Bring a small bag of beach toys, a blanket, towels and fresh clothes. Most of the time you will have access to water to rinse off hands and feet before you go home. The result? A happy tired and educated baby. http://www.littlestepsasia.com/articles/play/top-10-family-beaches

As children get older you can spend more time outdoors and gradually even move to over-night camping  - creating memories they will never forget. I’m not a very brave camper but I have been once with my kids – scared to death of the pigs and snakes – but I did it and they are still raving about it. http://www.littlestepsasia.com/hong-kong/articles/play/camping-hong-kong

Enjoy the great outdoors!

Kristrun and the Annerley team.

Do you need more support? Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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Co-sleeping, room sharing or nursery? What should you be doing?

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Co-sleeping, room sharing or nursery? What should you be doing?

Posted on 04 October 2015 by Kristrun

Quality time

Co-sleeping

To be very honest there is no way to fully prepare yourself for sleeping when it comes to the first months and years of parenthood. There is no point in trying to understand it too much, you simply need to deal with what happens – that’s the brutal truth!

However, you can educate yourself by becoming aware of the different options available to you as a family. Many of our new parents have never actually seen more than one form of sleeping arrangement whilst others are fortunate enough to have experience of seeing how different families deal with different babies. They therefore understand beforehand how thinking out of the box and being creative sometimes becomes very important once you enter the various stages of parenthood.

Those that are only aware of the one traditional sleeping arrangement likely will have learned this from movies and TV shows. We often hear our couples talking about “getting the Nursery ready” and this is certainly a lovely thing to do together. By the time the baby arrives, a beautiful room has been prepared complete with cot, changing table, feeding chair and beautiful toys and accessories. The expectant Mum has images of going to her hungry baby at night after hearing his cries on the baby-monitor, lifting him from the cot and then sitting to feed in the rocking chair, before gently placing him, peaceful and satisfied, back in his cot.

It can subsequently cause much stress if the realities of night feeds, an unsettled baby and sleep deprivation make this arrangement seem impossible. But if you have never seen or heard about any other options, what do you do?

Let’s draw up a picture of the most common sleeping arrangements. We are assuming our new parents are aware of safe sleeping practises and don’t abuse drugs or alcohol, always make sure the baby is not overheated, do not fill baby’s cot or basket full of unnecessary accessories etc.

Co-sleeping

Full blown co-sleeping is when you keep your baby in your bed most of the time. The baby might have their own bed in the same bedroom and then it is normally very close to the parents’ bed. You will either keep the bed up against the wall and the baby between the mom and the wall – or between both parents. It’s recommended the baby is kept close to the top of the bed to avoid the baby becoming overheated or covered by parents’ blankets or bodies. Bed sharing cots are available which create a designated space for the baby. Others simply share the same bed.If you sleep with your partner you might need check out snorerx review to sleep well.

Mattress on the floor

Some may worry that baby may fall off the bed. Then you can get rid of the bed frame and just sleep together on your best mattress for back pain on the floor. Or with the baby basket or separate baby mattress between your mattress and the wall. More babies = bigger or more mattresses!

Baby cot within arms length from your bed

Still close-by but not sharing the same bed-space. This is great for those who want that closeness but struggle with the idea of baby in the same bed, or who find it difficult to sleep themselves beside their little wriggler/snorter!

Nursery

A separate, dedicated room for the baby, with a cot for sleeping in. Some may use a baby monitor to listen for signs of waking although often, in small Hong Kong apartments, this may be unnecessary. Some Mums profess to be able to hear the slightest whimper through several closed doors! Do what works for you.

We are not in the business of telling anyone what to do – every family must do what works for them. But we would just like our brand new Mums and Dads to be aware that one size does not fit all, and that there are other sleeping arrangements used by many families around the world.

Where babies are concerned, getting creative (always with safety in mind) and rolling with the punches may just bring you a few more hours of precious sleep. And that is only ever a good thing.

Sleep well

The Annerley Team

Do you need more support? Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

check out snorerx review

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Trusting your helper by Allsion

Trusting your helper by Allsion

Posted on 15 June 2015 by Kristrun

Helpers_training ”A ten-minute interview plus a reference is rarely sufficient to determine whether you trust another human being. While trust at first sight is possible, the more likely scenario is that both ample time and proper training are required to learn to trust your helper. This is true for most working relationships but never more true than when the employee lives with you at home. Now that you’ve decided to hire a helper, how do you increase the chances of having a meaningful, trustful relationship?”

Click here to read the full article on SASSY MAMA. 

Check our schedule for FREE workshops Allison runs at Annerley. Hiring a helper? Let us help guide you. In just one hour, we will discuss how to effectively and efficiently navigate the often rough waters of hiring and training a helper. Click here to book. 

 

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Outdoors? In this heat?

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Outdoors? In this heat?

Posted on 15 June 2015 by Kristrun

Outdoors in this heat?The steaming hot summer weather of Hong Kong is a fact we cannot hide from. For me this is an annual thing to share with you; the importance of bringing your babies and children outdoors despite the very hot weather. It can be challenging to come up with ideas and to drag the whole family out of the well air conditioned apartment to spend the day, or even an hour, in the hot and sticky outdoors. But as parents, we are responsible for stimulating our children and exposing them to the world – it will make them smarter and they will sleep better then ever after a day outdoors.

To make it very simple, when a baby is born – their “memory” (let’s call it memory; brain function or synapses) is stored in big blocks – very big blocks. As the baby grows, their memory will be broken down into smaller blocks, and as the baby touches and feels – heat, cold, rough, sand, hard, soft – the memory breaks into even smaller pieces that can be put together in a number of different ways. The more a child feels and experiences, the smaller the memory components become, and the more components the better.

The outdoors is far more important than the indoors because it offers so much more variation on the same theme. For example, sand can be hot, cold, wet, fine or coarse. Grass can be soft, spikey, sticky, cold or warm. The weather itself offers endless variations. Then there is the multitude of different sights, sounds and smells outside…. The list goes on and on, and again, the more differences the better.

But where to go? What to do?

We have fantastic beaches in Hong Kong, and even if it´s hot it is super nice to stay under the umbrella on the beach even with small babies. Make sure you have shade with you or make sure you can rent some at the beach.If the trip involves a short boat ride – even better! So much to see, smell and feel whilst bumping along on a sampan. In fact, just the boat ride there and back can be an adventure for a baby! .http://www.littlestepsasia.com/articles/play/top-10-family-beaches

The public pools here are great. Be well prepared and enjoy cooling down in the water. A good tip is to go early when it’s less crowded and the pools are cleaner. If you are bringing your baby for the first time you will find a few useful tips here: http://www.annerley.com.hk/blog/planning-your-babys-first-trip-to-the-pool/ from our blog last year.

There are so many parks in Hong Kong and just to give a child or a baby a chance to walk on grass becomes very valuable. I used to bring my kids sometimes in the rain and let them play in the puddles. It´s cooler – the sun is not shining and it´s a great way to get them exhausted without having to worry about sunscreen and overheating. Take shoes off in a safe place and let them feel the earth with their toes. http://www.hong-kong-hotels.ws/attractions/parks.htm

It takes a little preparation to really enjoy being outside with a baby when the temperatures are soaring, but it is doable, and it is so important. It is always good to get out, so beat the heat, make sure everyone is well hydrated and enjoy!

Xx

Kristrún

Do you want to know more? Consultation with the midwives, available on Skype (face time or other platforms), over the phone or in the office. Click here to book. More information about our services on our website.

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