How much sleep does your baby need?

Making sure your baby gets enough sleep typically ranks high among a parent’s concerns. Every baby is different, and some need more sleep than others. But there are general guidelines on how many hours of sleep the average child requires at various ages.

Schedule your baby’s naps and meals at the same times each day to get him used to being in a routine. This predictability helps him stay calm and happy, which makes it easier for him to settle down to sleep.

Here is a sleep chart that I found on Pinterest (unfortunately there was not an original source).

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Separation Anxiety in toddlers

At some point during their development, all babies will experience separation anxiety. This is very common, completely normal and demonstrates that your child has a healthy and loving attachment to you. However, it can be difficult for parents to cope with a child who gets panicky and upset when they are not around. The good news is, for the vast majority of babies, separation anxiety happens in phases and will not last forever.

What is separation anxiety?

Around the age of 10 months, you may notice that your child becomes restless when he is away from you. Whenever you move away and disappear from the field of view or assign someone else to watch, even if you are in the next room, he becomes upset and starts crying. When you put him to sleep, he refuses to let you go and he may wake up during the night looking for you. This developmental stage is known as Separation Anxiety. Your child has not yet learned that parents are still there and will return, even if they are in the next room. This stage reaches its peak between 10 to 18 months, and continues to exist until 2-4 years.

Tips: How to make the separations easier

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Play in the Early Years

Play is important for the mental, physical and psycho-social development of children. Through play, the child has the chance to explore the world, interact with others, connect and bond with parents, express and control emotions, develop symbolic and problem-solving abilities, and practice emerging skills. Research shows the links between play and foundational capacities, such as memory, self-regulation, oral language abilities, social skills and success in school (NAEYC, n.d.).

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Play and child development

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TedTalks About Children And Early Childhood Education

1.  Annie Murphey Paul: What we learn before we’re born

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One of the biggest questions in terms of childhood education is when do we even begin to learn? Clearly, if we want to understand early childhood education, few questions are as crucial as this one. The majority of psychologists state that the age range from 0-3 are the most crucial, developmentally. Science writer Annie Murphey Paul presents evidence of even earlier development. Using numerous studies from across the globe dealing with food and even cultural preference, she shows that a large sum of the learning we do may, in fact, be done while we’re still in the womb.

2. Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education

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The need for teachers doesn’t merely exist in the western world. Indeed, the places where teachers are needed the most, they’re often not present. It’s hard to convince the world’s best teachers to disseminate their knowledge in the world’s poorest places. Sugata Mitra, however, discovered something incredible in his research on education. If he put a computer in a remote village (in places where they have never been seen before), within hours students will have mastered it. Within days, they will be learning and teaching their interests and become masterful in that subject matter, regardless of a teacher.

3. Alison Gopnik: What do babies think?

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If you asked the average adult “what do infants and babies think?” they would probably respond with a resounding “nothing.” After all, it’s our job to teach the babies and infants how to think. Most people view their brains as neurological play-dough that can be molded instead of as complex, functioning structures. Gopnik provides research to illustrate that, shockingly ,there’s a lot more going on in the mind of that infant than we’d originally think. In fact, according to her, it’s almost “genius.”

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Developmental Stages of children (6, 12, 18 and 24 months old)

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6 months

Cognitive development

  • Six-month-old babies are very interested in people. They make eye contact and smile.
  • They are also very interested in grabbing, holding and tasting everything that they can hold in their small hands, since mouthing things is the babies’ way of exploring the world.
  • Playing peek-a-boo teaches the child that things that go away come back.
  • They also enjoy small books with simple pictures. Remember that children need human-to-human interaction in order to learn and thus they need us to dedicate them our time and play.

Social and Emotional Development

  • Even though children at this age have already developed a relationship with the close people around them, they exhibit “stranger anxiety”.
  • Sometimes, they focus on they play and the next moment they turn they gaze to another direction, ignoring the adults and their games. This happens because they feel over excited by the stimuli and need to calm themselves down. If you understand that this is happening, bring them in another room, turn the lights down and maybe you would like to put relaxing music.
  • They also begin to show many different emotions, like fear, happiness, joy, disappointment, surprise and curiosity (Gottman, 2011).

Language and Communication Development

  • Children at this stage may make loud noises and wave their hands.
  • They also react to the emotions of others and they start to copy their parents’ facial expressions. (See a study about the face-to-face interaction between mother and infant, Tronick & Cohn, 1989).
  •  Moreover, when parents talk to them, they will make sounds back and use babbling sounds.
  • In order to enhance your baby’s listening skills, start to talk to them about everything, name the things that the baby is staring at and explain how they are used.

Muscle Development

  • While sitting, the baby can hold his head steady and his body straight but he may need some support to sit. Use pillows and cushions to support him sitting and soften his fall.
  • They can roll over from tummy to their back and vice versa.
  • It is important to encourage a baby’s motor or small muscle development by giving him toys he can explore with his fingers and/or encourage him to use both hands. However, it will take some more weeks before he is able to use his thumb and fingers to pick up small object and to exhibit a hand preference.

!If your child seems to have tight muscles, or very floppy, refuses to cuddle, shows no special reaction for his guardians, does not respond to sounds or has difficulty in getting objects to his mouth contact your pediatrician or your health care provider!

Here is a video you can watch about the development of 6-months-old babies.

Sources: http://helpmegrowmn.org/HMG/index.htm

Tronick, E. Z., & Cohn, J. F. (1989). Infant-mother face-to-face interaction: Age and gender differences in coordination and the occurrence of miscoordination.Child development, 85-92.

Gottman, J., 2011. Raising an emotionally intelligent child. Simon and Schuster.

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