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Is it Safe to take my Baby out of the House?

By | My Newborn 0-6 M, My Newborn 7-12 M | No Comments

Some parents are concerned about taking a young baby outside. Many cultures, in fact, keep some moms & babies inside a house for up to several months.

Is there a medical reason not to take the baby outside, though, no, there is not.

Fresh air is healthy and learning and being exposed to new environments is critical for a babies development.

If germs are a concern for you, make sure to minimize the amount of contact with areas with many people. Playgrounds, for example, is a place where the baby does not belong. Out in the open fresh air though is great to show baby the new world it lives in.

You do want to stay away from any people who are sick, though. Better safe than sorry.

Take the above advice & with your slow jaunts outside, your baby will naturally be exposed to the essential elements in our air & around our lives and they can do so with no danger to their bodies or immune system.

Do make sure you are properly dressing the baby. The baby can’t communicate well at all and crying is virtually its only tool of interaction. Avoid the baby crying because it’s too cold or not prepared for the weather. Think of the babies needs and plan accordingly from warm clothes in winter to sunscreen in summer.


By | Pregnancy | No Comments

Naming your baby will be one of the best examples of parenting as it relates to the different elements you deal with when it comes to your child & the world around you. Your family will have input. The media & what’s popular on TV or what the celebrities are naming their babies will affect your decision. Maybe a loved one from the past will factor into your decision.

Names that sound great today may not be so great tomorrow so make sure to pick a name & dwell on it for some time. Plan ahead and try not to make it a spur of the moment decision.

Whatever you decide, make sure that the name connects you and your partner for the long life ahead you will have together.
Here are the top baby names registered in the United States for both boys and girls.

1. Emma
2. Olivia
3. Ava
4. Sophia
5. Mia
6. Isabella
7. Charlotte
8. Amelia
9. Harper
10. Emily

1. Noah
2. Liam
3. Mason
4. Ethan
5. Lucas
6. Oliver
7. Aiden
8. Elijah
9. Benjamin
10. James

Babies Childhood Development is Vital

By | First Year, My Newborn 7-12 M | No Comments

Your child’s school season is in full swing by now. Another year of getting the little ones ready for the year & with our busy stressful lives, another year of pushing our little ones out into the world.

We are talking to parents with toddlers and all the parents to be.

Are the children we send out truly prepared? Most people don’t have time to think of it this way but preparation for the 1st day of school starts far earlier then the first day a child walks into a classroom. It begins all the way back at birth and parents are the child’s first and most important teacher and the home is a child’s first classroom.

Neuroscientists have long ago been able to demonstrate that between birth/conception and age 3, a child’s brain undergoes an impressive amount of development. It doubles in size in the first year, and by age 3 it has reached 80 percent of its adult size. This development occurs in the primary areas of the senses, language and math, emotions and logic, and memory and awareness. These are some of the most important supplies needed for school and learning.

You are your child’s first teacher, caring for and educating can be both challenging and rewarding for parents. During early childhood, babies’ brains are being programmed for the learning they will do for the rest of their child, teen and adult lives & everything they do during the first three years of life affects their behavior, personality, emotional stability & ability to learn. The exact same as you dear parent reading these words. You underwent the same process of conditioning through your parents.

Brain development is extremely sensitive to environmental influence and the quality and dynamic variety of the physical environment are very important factors. A more stimulating environment produces more complex and stronger brain connections or synapses.

This is extremely important because synapses are what allow a child’s brain to learn. As an adult feeds, holds, touches and talks to the child, messages are sent to their brain non-stop. The babies brain is essentially always on, just like ours.

A toddler learning to climb stairs is a good example. The child likes to repeat things — like climbing stairs. A caretaker talks to the child and offers guidance, but the child is feeling what the stair’s texture is like, they are working on balance, and they are focused on what needs to happen to get to the next step.

The more and more the child practices, the better they can climb. The brain connections happening during this process become stronger. Infants and toddlers exposed to healthy, varied and responsive environments show significantly more complex brain functioning into their teenage years than children who did not have these experiences.

A negative social environment can activate hormones in ways that negatively affect children’s brain functioning, including their ability to learn and their memory.
So what is necessary for the child’s brain to develop properly?
All children need and deserve the best start in life, including dependable, emotionally responsive and nurturing parents and caregivers, economic stability, quality childcare, nutrition and healthcare and a varied and responsive language environment in which children are exposed to a wide vocabulary and are read to every day.
An average child will be exposed to 1,251 positive or encouraging words in an hour, whereas a child living in poverty will be exposed to less than half with 616 positive or encouraging words per hour.

This “word-gap” could have a negative impact on the child’s ability to keep up with their peers when they do enter school. They have heard thousands and thousands of fewer words than the child they are sitting next to.

Children should be provided with a consistent learning environment that includes developmentally appropriate toys, play and challenges — these toys do not need to be expensive.

The benefits from healthy brain development are tremendous. A child who is given the opportunity of a healthy and nurturing environment that encourages mental development is more likely to have a higher IQ score with better cognitive and language skills.

He or she will adjust to and learn easier in school and not repeat a grade or be assigned to a special education program. He or she will be emotionally competent and well-adjusted, able to reason, problem solve and to control violent impulses.
This is the child who is truly ‘ready’ for school.”

Much love, 
The Team

Guest Post from: Tune In Start Early – A Slower Pace for More Comprehension

By | Education, First Year, Parenting | No Comments

Our lives in this fast-paced world force us to do things fast. We’re always in a rush. However, when it comes to time with your baby, I recommend slowing things down to their pace.

Babies process information at a much slower rate than we do. Watch your baby’s facial expression when you take her to a new place, for example. She may display confusion, surprise or wonder, even nervousness. At home in the living room, she was in was a safe and familiar place for the past two hours. Now that you’ve taken her out of that safe world and brought her to a new place, the abrupt change in environment can take a little time for them to process. Give her that time. Respond to their request to ease them into a new environment & they will give you much less cries & displeasure. The benefits of greater interaction with baby are all waiting for you to expose them. Your only job is to do it as often as possible. Grow new interaction on top of interaction and see the numerous side effects and benefits come about.

New situations can even be hard for us adults to process. When our environment changes, be it a new house or a new job, we can feel the same as our babies do with new environments. Familiar things provide more comfort for us. Your baby is more similar to you than you think. While their feelings may be more on edge than ours & babies may tend to throw a tantrum much quicker than us, still, at the end of the experience, whatever you see your baby feeling is very similar to how we feel. Acknowledge this basic connection you already have with your baby & give your baby what you already know someone needs in those moments. Tune in to them, start early & do it often.

Taking all of this into account with your baby is very simple. Slow things down. Allow your baby to take in the sights of a journey as you travel from one place to another. Talk to your baby about the new things she is experiencing. Tell her what you are doing. Interact with her, focusing on sharing as much information as possible. Babies are listening! It is not silly to describe that you are now picking her up and you are walking up the stairs in order to go get them a change of clothes. It makes complete and total sense and if your not talking to baby your missing out on an opportunity to connect more with the one human being whom you want to connect with the most.

Remember to walk and talk at a pace that allows your baby to absorb what she is seeing and hearing. Even in your house,  up the stairs or from one room to another. Talk to your baby about what your doing and push aside the confusion that naturally comes out of the baby as change occurs. Walking and talking slower during these changing scenes is simple to do. Enacting a slower pace of transition in a changing environment will help your baby absorb more information and your words will act as a helping hand to their little minds that advise them that all is well. Make the crazy world more manageable for your baby and they will respond in kind with making it easier for you to manage them.

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Guest Post from: Tune In Start Early – Babies and our Routines

By | Education, First Year, Parenting | No Comments

Babies have a natural and sensible aversion to systems and processes. Their view of the world right now is the complete opposite of routine. Babies think, “Oh wow, let’s explore everything and deal with each new experience right as it comes.” Notice how we can distract a baby with 5 things at once? Its because they are easily distracted, they have no idea what to focus on and in our crazy world with so much information flying at us from all these different sources, it is no wonder that babies are often confused about their surroundings and the people in them. When babies do get used to something, be it a shiny spoon or a piece of hair on the floor. We adults come in and shatter that experience when we take them away from it and place them into any process or system. Our lives are built on routine. It makes sense that we expect baby to adjust to that routine. How we handle that transition is the only thing we are discussing.

They need to learn to eat a certain way. For instance, they’re either breastfed or fed from a bottle. When they’re older, they get strapped into a high chair. Food arrives at their mouth on a spoon. Its a routine they will need to learn.

They need to adjust to the process of changing diapers, which involves lying down, having their clothes partially or fully removed, getting cleaned up, and receiving a new diaper.

Whatever the process or routine is that we want them to learn, remember that as we start this learning process, we just took them out of that pleasant, fun, completely brand new-world experience they were having, which is essentially being a brand new human being and we stick them into systems and processes, which they don’t expect and obviously don’t like. “Why are you changing my diaper now?” our babies wonder. “I was enjoying the shiny smooth spoon!” “Why am I no longer enjoying whatever it is I was just enjoying? How did I get to this new place? What are you doing & what is happening?” That is the basic thought process we are dealing with as parents.

Our job is to understand what our babies are experiencing. If we do that right, we’ll make the adoption of a new process, system or routine a little easier for our babies to handle. The more we adjust ourselves to a baby’s view of the world, the more benefits we receive in a happier, much less annoyed baby.

Babies just want to play with the food we’re putting in their mouths. Hey, this stuff is cool and weird. Looks strange, I am tasting this thing for the first time, and still, the biggest question, What Is This Thing I am Chewing On?? These will always be the biggest questions on a babies mind. They don’t know that we are expecting them to respond to the system we are placing them in. They don’t know they need to sit quietly, eating and forgetting about all the wonders they are seeing and tasting for the first time.

We want them to adjust to us. We bring that entire system of thought over to baby virtually on day one.
It’s unavoidable; we have to do it. After all, babies must integrate into our processes and begin to learn that they need to follow rules as well.

So, for example, when babies are tired, they are extra fussy. If we ignore this, our whole process of putting baby to bed will be much more difficult than it needs to be. Instead, we need to understand how normal it is for baby to be fussy at bed time. Your little munchkin is tired and doesn’t know what to do with their tired body & droopy mind. Baby has no idea how to relax itself yet and set the stage for a restful sleep. It’s a process they need to learn and we are the ones who will teach it. We know that baby has to learn this bedtime routine. So help the baby with what you know.
That help will only come from us, and they completely rely on us and us only to set the stage for this process to occur more easily.

The main thing to grasp here is that a baby is not used to any process yet. Yes, they have to adjust to it, but we can make that adjustment easier on them. The easier it is on them, the easier our life as parents become. Much less fuss from baby equals a ten times more happier parent. Happier parents feel more normal & there is no better result than feeling even a little bit more normal at the end of the day or in the middle of the night.

That brings us back to an earlier post about moving more slowly from one environment to another with your baby to allow your baby to process what is going on a little bit better. (link)

Start adding up all these small moments of extra breathing room and less insanity with your baby. The more you do this, the better stage you are setting for more relaxed moments with your baby. Everything gets easier when the baby is in a more relaxed state. Help baby get there.

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Guest Post from: Tune In Start Early – Keep Your Cool & Focus

By | Education, First Year, Parenting | No Comments

Sometimes you select the path of least resistance because you learn what it means to adjust to your baby, this little human being who is now controlling so much of your life.

Case in point, I’m about to take my baby to daycare. We are in the bathroom because I’ve just finished shaving. Baby has been playing with whatever our bathroom has to offer, but it’s time to leave. Of course, Baby has just found the tube of makeup from Mommy’s drawer. My instant response is to grab it out of Baby’s hand, but I know she’ll cry & scream and a mini temper tantrum will start that will trickle effect into making the next 5 minutes of leaving the house for daycare that much more unpleasant. What do I do?

I grab something else, the baby’s pacifier. Then I pick up Baby as she is still holding the make-up tube, and start our walk downstairs, sticking Baby’s pacifier in my mouth along the way. Next thing you know, Baby is looking at her pacifier in my mouth and grabbing it with her other hand. At that moment, I take the make-up tube out of her hand. She is now focused on her pacifier.

Simple redirection and Baby is happy with her new thing, the pacifier. I have avoided a little temper tantrum and my walk with Baby down the stairs to daycare is so much easier. Not just the walk down the steps is easier. Forecast forward. Everything that comes after is easier. Putting on her jacket, putting her into the car, everything. Lay the foundation for smoother transitions for baby. You got the smarts to figure this simple thing out. Make life easier for yourself.

Babies’ attention span, as you have already learned, is very pliable. It can last anywhere from 1 to 5 seconds. If you understand this, you can use it to your advantage in your busy life as a parent.

My life is so much easier now because I adopt these techniques at every turn. I make slow transitions from one thing to another, no big, abrupt changes. Redirecting her to something else when she is showing interest in one thing, and Baby’s experience of the world is not negatively interrupted. We are inadvertently and constantly making our lives more difficult by not seeing what easy things we can do to make babies experience more pleasant.

The more I adjust to my baby, the easier life is. My stress, that feeling of “I can’t control the insanity,” subsides, even if only for a brief moment. That brief moment is one less stressful event. Start doing this and adding up the brief moments of avoiding baby temper tantrums and start building that box of new memories. I had an easy time taking baby to daycare today. I had an easy time driving baby today. It was so easy feeding baby today. Those are great words to have to say.

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Guest Post from: Tune In Start Early – Let Baby Finish What She Started

By | Education, First Year, Parenting | No Comments

When they discover an interesting new activity, babies like to go through the repetitive process of doing it over and over. Just like you enjoy being able to do something good & you like to repeat, repeat and repeat it. So does baby, especially when they are doing something for the first time.

For example, my daughter finds a box of tissues. What does she do with it? She starts removing the tissues. One by one, she plucks them out and throws them to the side. That’s the process she is exploring at the moment. She isn’t satisfied with stopping after the first two or three tissues. She wants to work her way through the whole box.

For parents, these kinds of activities can be frustrating. I don’t want my daughter to put the tissues in her mouth or to make the space around her messy. I don’t want her to waste the tissues by scattering them around. It will take me time to scrunch them back into the box. We all think the same thoughts.

Why do babies love these repetitious processes?

These processes are a part of how babies learn about the world. When my daughter grabs and removes tissues over and over again, it’s an interesting experience for her. She’s applying her motor skills in a new way and discovering something about tissue boxes. A box of tissues is fascinating to a baby. “Where are these tissues coming from?” she wonders. “Why are there so many?”

How can parents set a limit?

If we let babies explore things as much as they want, our houses will get turned upside down. How can we place some limits without upsetting them too much?

It’s easier to get my daughter to stop doing something if I’ve given her enough time to explore. For the tissues, I count until there are 15 tissues (for example) on the floor. Then I tell her, “Let’s not do that anymore or Let’s do something else.” I take them away and remove the box as well.

She doesn’t start crying when I take them away. Maybe she gets a little annoyed, but she doesn’t feel upset or scared by me stopping her activity. She experienced enough of it at this point that she doesn’t struggle with a difficult transition away from it. She already got to enjoy the experience of removing a whole bunch of tissues. When I stopped her, it wasn’t a completely new activity anymore. You will get a very different reaction if at the 1st or 2nd tissue pulled, you yank the tissue the box away.

When possible, let babies go through their repetitive processes for a while. Granted, you won’t always be able to do this. There are times when you’ll need to immediately interrupt them, especially if they are intrigued about something dangerous. But don’t put a quick stop to their activity unless you really need to. Use your judgment, and redefine what you’re willing to put up with. I used to think of tissues coming out of the box as a bad thing. Nowadays, I’m more tolerant of it. If I have time, I’ll let it slide and let her keep going through the process of tissue removal.

Babies don’t do any of these things to annoy or disobey you. Although far too often that is what we are thinking. “Baby!!! Why are you doing that!!? “Dont do that!!” Just saying those words out loud implies that your baby is trying to purposely upset you. Far from it. They’re simply learning about the world and enjoying an interesting activity. Let them stay interested.

Look at their hands. Its a challenge to grab a hold of the Kleenex and jerk them out of the box. They are actually trying to master the motor skill movement and action of removing something. Don’t get upset with them. For us, it’s just a minor annoyance. For them, removing tissues is a fascinating personal challenge. They are gaining control over something. They have such little control in this world, if they are gaining some small control, even for a brief moment, your already teaching your child something very positive about the future.

I try to avoid interrupting my daughter too quickly when she’s exploring an interesting activity. I relax the limits that I impose on her. As a result, she’s much less upset when I finally stop her.

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Parenting That Works!

By | Education, First Year, Parenting, Toddler | No Comments

Leaders in child psychology were asked for their best empirically tested insights for managing children’s behavior. Here’s what they said.

1. Embrace praise

Simply put, giving attention to undesired behaviors increases undesired behaviors, while giving attention to good behaviors increases good behaviors, says a University psychology professor and director of a Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic.
“When it comes to nagging, reprimand and other forms of punishment, the more you do it, the more likely you are not going to get the behavior you want,” say studies. “A better way to get children to clean their room or do their homework, for example, is to model the behavior yourself, encourage it and praise it when you see it.”

But parents shouldn’t offer that praise indiscriminately. Professors recommend parents provide their children with a lot of “labeled praise”—specific feedback that tells the child exactly what he or she did that the parent liked. By giving labeled praise to the child, such as, “I really like how quietly you’re sitting in your chair,” when a child is having trouble calming down. The parent is focusing on what’s relevant to the behavior problem. Several studies back them up: Psychologists found that training preschool teachers to use labeled praise improves the teacher-child relationship and helps teachers better manage behavior in the classroom.

They also recommend reinforcing the praise with a smile or a friendly touch. And feedback should be honest.
“I was at a girls’ softball game recently and I started to get a headache from all the praising going on for poor performance,” he says. “This can often deprive a child of the wonderful learning that comes from failure.”

2. Look the other way

Research also suggests that parents should learn to ignore minor misbehaviors that aren’t dangerous, such as whining about a sibling not sharing or a toddler throwing food on the floor.

In several studies, researchers and their team found that when parents changed their responses to behaviors—for example, they ignored screams but gave a lot of attention to their children when they asked nicely for something—the child learned that asking nicely is the better, more reliable way to get attention

3. Learn about child development

Parents are also more effective when they read up on child development to understand the misbehaviors that are common for each developmental stage. Often, when a child displays a behavior that a parent doesn’t like, such as making a mess while eating, it’s because the child is simply learning a new skill, she says.

“If parents understand that the child isn’t making a mess on purpose, but instead learning how to use their developing motor skills in a new way, they’re more likely to think about praising every step the child takes toward the ultimate goal,” she says. Parents who know what a child is capable of understanding, feeling and doing at different ages and stages of development can be more realistic about what behaviors to expect, leading to less frustration and aggression.

4. Do time-out right

Three decades of research on time-outs show that they work best when they are brief and immediate. “A way to get time-out to work depends on ‘time-in’—that is, what the parents are praising and modeling when the child is not being punished,” researchers say.

Research also suggests that parents need to remain calm when administering time-outs—often a difficult feat in the heat of the misbehavior—and praise compliance once the child completes it. In addition, he says, parents shouldn’t have to restrain a child to get him or her to take a time-out because the point of this disciplinary strategy is to give the child time away from all reinforcement. “If what is happening seems more like a fight in a bar, the parent is reinforcing inappropriate behaviors,”

5. Prevent misbehavior

Some have even stopped advising parents to use time-outs. Instead, they teach parents to plan and structure activities to prevent a child’s challenging behaviors, based on previous research:
• Plan ahead to prevent problems from arising.
• Teach children how to cope effectively with the demands of the situation.
• Find ways to help children stay engaged, busy and active when they might otherwise become bored or disruptive.”We’ve found in our work over the past 20 years that if you do a good job teaching parents planned activities training, there’s no need for time-outs,”

6. Take care of yourself first

Parents receive some of the best parenting advice every time they take off on an airplane, says If the cabin loses pressure and you must put on an oxygen mask, put one on yourself first before you help your child.
“I see households all across America where the oxygen masks have long since dropped and all of the oxygen is going to the children.”
Yet the research makes it clear that children are negatively affected by their parents’ stress. According to APA’s 2010 Stress in America survey, 69 percent of respondents recognized that their personal stress affects their children, and only 14 percent of children said their parents’ stress didn’t bother them. In addition, 25 percent to 47 percent of tweens reported feeling sad, worried or frustrated about their parents’ stress. Another study published last year in found that parents’ stress imprints on children’s genes—and the effects last a very long time.
That’s why modeling good stress management can make a very positive difference in children’s behavior, as well as how they themselves cope with stress, psychologists say.

They recommend that parents make time for exercise, hobbies, maintaining their friendships and connecting with their partners. That may mean committing to spending regular time at the gym or making date night a priority.
“Investing in the relationship with their partner is one of the most giving things a parent can do.” Single parents should establish and nurture meaningful connections in other contexts. A satisfying relationship with a colleague, neighbor, family member or friend can help to replenish one’s energy for parenting challenges.

7. Make time

Too often, the one-on-one time parents offer their children each week is the time that’s left over after life’s obligations, such as housework and bill-paying, have been met.
“We often treat our relationships—which are like orchids—like a cactus, and then when inevitably the orchid wilts or has problems, we tend to think that there’s something wrong with the orchid,” he says.

To combat this issue, they recommend that each parent spend at least one hour a week—all at once or in segments—of one-on-one time with each child, spent doing nothing but paying attention to and expressing positive thoughts and feelings toward him or her.
“It literally works out to about .5 percent of the time in a week,” he says. The most effective time for a parent to create those special moments is when the child is doing something that she or he can be praised for, such as building with Legos or shooting baskets. During that time, parents should avoid teaching, inquiring, sharing alternative perspectives or offering corrections.

Many families who have been recommended this strategy over the years have told us that adding an hour of special time in addition to the quality time they spend with their children—such as attending a baseball game together—has significantly improved the parent-child relationship. In addition, a study published in January shows that, particularly among younger children, a parent’s demonstration of love, shown through nurturing behavior and expressions of support, can improve a child’s brain development and lead to a significantly larger hippocampus, a brain component that plays a key role in cognition.

“The metaphor I use is, what an apple is to the physician—’an apple a day keeps the doctor away’—special time is to the child psychologist.”

Decoding the mysteries of the Baby Brain Infant Intellect

Decoding the mysteries of the Baby Brain

By | Pregnancy Calculator | No Comments

The Mysteries of Infant intellect
I suppose the dull demeanor of infants stems from their total captivation with themselves. Babies are ignorant to the pressures and ideals of culture, tradition and society and are therefore indifferent when it comes to status, money, fame or fashion. They are not concerned that you’re buried in responsibility, late on your taxes, or have not slept a full night in months. Like society’s most narcissistic adults, babies are engrossed in their own needs. Eat. Sleep. Poop. Or so we thought.

Groundbreaking research out of the University of California, has revealed that babies as young as six months have the potential to rationalize using probability. Also, in 1997 Hungarian researchers discovered that babies less than one year old were able to comprehend rational action. When babies observed repeated behavior of an object, they developed a logical expectation that the object’s behavior would remain consistent. Further evidence was in the 2009 French and American research study of newborns, which concluded that infants may recognize numbers. Researchers played sequences of four and twelve sounds, followed by images that displayed 4 and 12 objects. The infants stared much longer at images that correlated with the number of sounds, hinting that a newborn may comprehend numerical values.

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) calls the rise in studies of baby brains, the “infant revolution”. According to MIT scientists, babies are sophisticated learners that have much more knowledge about the world, right at birth, than we previously believed. In London, at the University College London and Birbeck College, “baby labs” have been set up, solely for researching the infant brain. Other similar sites exist at the University of Toronto’s Infant and Child Studies Centre and MIT’s Early Childhood Cognition Lab, where they are studying infant cognition and language development.

Fascination with the baby brain is a product of this generation. A generation ago no one was interested. During my pregnancy, I passed on reading the parental advice of Dr. Spock, and instead drowned myself in books that explored the mind of my, yet to be born, son. I was introduced to so many intriguing facts about the developing baby brain. Did you know that just two months after birth synapses in the baby’s brain form at about 1.8 million per second, the fastest they will ever grow? Also, contrary to our belief that babies seek to entertain, that cute dance-like hand motion that infants perform is an involuntary response called the Moro reflex, that occurs when babies get a feeling of falling due to a change in position. I also learned some shocking information that would put fear in most parents, which is the theory that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome does not occur because of sleep positioning, but happens when infants dream of being in the womb during REM sleep. What is thought to happen is that babies stop breathing during the dream since breathing is not necessary in utero, which results in death.

Overall, a baby perplex the greatest of parents. They basically need you for everything yet are not able to explain their thoughts or feelings. I suspect that is why there is an urge to get inside their heads. Perhaps if you learn more you can control their crying, keep them happy or better yet put them to sleep (while breathing, of course). I think that it is great to see this generation’s fascination with the psychology and development of babies. Maybe these million dollar labs and scores of researchers will crack the code and discover the mysteries of the baby brain. Who knows? Their thoughts may be profound…or maybe they will just be thinking “ummm…is it time for my bottle yet?” or “…stop touching me!”

It is understood that the academic feats of any particular subject rarely translate into practical application, but one can only hope that the investigation into babes will help someone besides toy companies. What is more interesting in my opinion is not so much the thoughts or potential intellect of an infant, but what they make us think and do. Roots of Empathy is a successful school program that started in Toronto in 1996 and has since spread to Germany, New Zealand, and the United States. The development of babies is observed, and not in “baby labs”. Instead babies visit elementary school children at regular intervals so that the children can participate in their development, and learn how to nurture and care for someone else. The magical aspect of this program is not that babies are solving intricate math equations, but that the babies bring out the love and compassion in human beings. I’m certain babies are better at exposing our heart’s intentions than we’ll ever be at exposing theirs.

teaching their kids right from wrong good parenting good child behavior discipline spanking children timeouts effective parenting effective parenting techniques

No timeouts, reward charts or taking their toys away. So how do we get our kids to behave?

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How can we get our children to behave, without resorting to time outs, reward charts or harsh punishments? 
These days, most parents no longer use spanking and other types of physical punishment on their children. For many parents, time outs have become the most accepted method of teaching their kids right from wrong.
However, according to the author of a new book on what brain science tells us about disciplining our kids, even time outs can hurt your child’s physiological and emotional growth.
Now, some prominent American psychologists are arguing that a child’s neurological development is best encouraged by techniques that “focus on connection, not separation” between a child and his or her parent.
One psychologist has written that “The classic approach to discipline, which presents difficult behavior as something that must be stopped, simply does not work,”
So, if even time outs are potentially hurtful to our children’s health, what should a parent do? We spoke with a doctor of psychology about a more scientific approach to discipline.

Why do experts advise parents not to spank?
Now that we know better, we must do better. Thanks to recent scientific findings, we now understand that parenting through fear, withholding love, and using physical isolation does not benefit children’s development.

What do these current findings tell us?
As parents, we often attempt to teach children about the realities of the adult world, and we expect them to keep control over themselves. But the truth is, kids simply don’t have self-control because their frontal and prefrontal cortexes are immature. We now understand that the brain develops from the bottom up. In other words, the core of the brain is the first to really take root, followed by the rest of the brain layering up on that core foundation.
When scientists look into that core of the brain, we find much of the neural circuitry that relates to emotion and, therefore, to emotional control. Recently there has been a lot of research done to look more closely at what causes that part of the brain or its related systems to act up and become disregulated, or, alternatively, at what might cause those particular parts of the brain to be calmed and relaxed.
In cases where kids are stressed by the use of a relational disconnection, including punishments that rely on fear or time outs that place a child in isolation, these techniques can cause a disregulation in the developing brain. When parents say, “I’ll teach them a real lesson and I’ll make sure they really know,” unfortunately, you can try to teach that lesson over and over till the cows come home, but the truth is that if the child’s brain isn’t mature enough to learn it, they aren’t going to learn.

You argue that discipline isn’t actually about stopping a negative behavior. What is discipline, then?
When it comes down to it, discipline is really about connecting with your children in their time of need. We can give children the support they need through our connection with them, which calms them and steadies and regulates their responses. Only then can we try to teach them about making good behavior choices. And we realize that it may take a few tries for a child to learn what is expected of them.
But as kids grow, and their ability to control themselves increases, and our relationship with them is healthy, they’ll actually want to please us. Neuroplasticity, which allows the brain to change, reinforces connections that encourage that sort of regulated brain. Over time, the child’s capacity for self-regulation and self control increases.
Many parents use positive techniques such as reward charts and the taking of privileges instead of spanking, but you’ve stated that these strategies can also hurt a child’s development.
These styles all use either fear or external validation. Since children are so desperate to have their parental connection restored, they will obey, but it’s an artificial control. They’re still unsettled and disregulated inside. Long term, this can leave your child more susceptible to issues like anxiety and depression.

So, what is the underlying concept of your own discipline strategy?

Scientists understand with certainty that children need connections with their caregivers to thrive. Children literally need those connections for a healthy development. Most of the familiar discipline tactics involve some form of disconnection. We have to accept that idea of connection, and accept that a strong parent child relationship is the foundation of a child’s health and growth, so we should filter all of our discipline through this lens of connection. When parents do that, children grow brains that are really good at self regulating.

What should parents do instead of spanking or time outs?
Take all of the above into account and read three specific steps to effectively responding in the moment. The fact is that effective discipline isn’t as much about what you do, it’s more about how you are & how you do it. If you want to be effective at parenting, this is a key indicator for you to use. Did I give my child a chance to learn something today?

The best thing to do is to try out our recommendations. Especially if they feel strange or foreign to you. Give it a shot. It doesn’t hurt to try a new way of effectively communicating with your child & focusing on achieving the intended outcome.
Tips for Effective Parenting

1. Tip: Stay firm but be kind.

Example: “No, you can’t have that toy [child starts complaining]. I hear that you’re disappointed, and I imagine if I were you I would be too.”

2. Tip: Misbehavior is a sign the child is struggling.

Example: “Oh no, it sounds like you’re really struggling with this. Why don’t you take a break for a minute and come with me. I think we should get a drink of water and we can figure this out together.”

3. Tip: Focus on your relationship as the foundation of any discipline.
Example: “Wow! What an look amazing Lego creation! I really love how you used so many colors together. You can finish up for five more minutes, then you’ll need to go wash your hands and head to the table so we can sit down to dinner.”