Some important language building activities for babies from birth to two years old

The important part is that you’re going to talk to your baby about everything you’re doing so that he is soothed by your voice as well as your movements in such a way that he could absorb language for later use.

The first six months of a baby’s life are mostly spent on sleeping a lot. When a baby sleeps a lot, it leaves parents a little more free time than when he or she gets older.  Parents must see to it that safety and close proximity to their baby are always a priority for activities in the early years. A baby who’s not yet two years old needs to be supervised at all times.

When your baby is crying or becomes fussy, attend to his or her needs immediately. A rapid response time to baby’s needs is crucial for overall trust and sense of security. It has been said that you just couldn’t spoil a baby.

Here’s a sampling of learning activities that may be of so much help as you try to accomplish chores like preparing meals, for example, sans using television as a babysitter. These activities, by the way, should be referred to as play because babies are learning a lot through constructive play activities.

Once some of these activities were tried, these could lead you to think of many others. You might even be accidentally discovering everyday items which your child finds to be such of a fun and entertaining. The following activities would surely benefit your baby’s language development as well as in promoting bonding and attachment between the parent and a child.

Work and wear. This type of activity aids language development as well as a good bonding. For this particular activity, you need a wearable sling or a baby-secure front pack. Secure your baby into a front pack or a sling.

Wear your baby while you rake dried leaves in the backyard, cut grasses in the lawn, water the plants, feed chickens, do computer work, grocery shop, or any activity where you could safely keep the baby with you.

The important part is that you’re going to talk to your baby about everything you’re doing so that he is soothed by your voice as well as your movements in such a way that he could absorb language for later use.

Look and learn. This type of activity is good for language and visual development. You would be needing pinwheel toy or balloons. In order for the pinwheel to spin or for balloons to bob in the wind, you need to stick them in a potted plant outside a sliding glass door or window. Then you had to place your baby in a car seat inside the window or door so he could get a good look at the objects.

Remember that babies at these early stages need to be close to objects just so they could have a clearer picture of what they’re viewing. Rotating ceiling fans also captivate baby’s attention at these early stages but you don’t have to be doing it too much and too often though.

This is how it’s going to be done. While you’re going about your chores, occasionally, try getting at eye level with your baby and to talk to him about the balloons, rotating ceiling fans, or pinwheel. You might say: “Look, baby, look, couldn’t you see the pinwheel spinning?”

Tumble and talk. This particular type of activity helps language and motor development, balance, coordination, and bonding. Before doing anything, make sure that your baby’s not shaken, his head is supported, and that he’s enjoying the activity.

Here’s how to do it. You need to think of play activities that could be best paired with a tumble and talk play. Well, let me suggest for you:

Push-ups. You should be lying on your back on bed and try hoisting your baby above you, then try moving him up and down, back and forth, and face to face. You have to do it not too slow, not too fast. This type of activity would naturally bring about chanting or talking.

Obstacle course. You should be placing pillows on the floor and try coaxing your baby to wiggle and crawl over and over around piles of pillows. Here’s an important reminder, this type of activity should only be done when your baby is already six months old.

Dad’s little helper. This type of activity helps language development, social, and motor movements. For this activity, you would need toy version of household cleaning items: dish rags, sponges, plastic dishes, rakes, adult dust pans, brooms, and mops.

You have to provide the toy version or actual tool of whatever you’re gonna be using around the house or in your work at home.

This is about getting your child to imitate what you’re doing. So if you’re mixing something, give him a bowl and spoon to imitate your actions. If you’re sweeping, allow him to also sweep. With this activity, there is so much dialogue that could take place between you and your toddler that would help him acquire vocabulary.

Caution: Make sure you double check on the household cleaning items you’re going to use with your toddler as most household cleaners contain toxic substances.


The importance of distinguishing between passion and obsession in the habits of our children

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In trying to distinguish between passion and obsession involving children, one should be at least knowledgeable in basic child psychology.

There are times when the intensity of our son’s or daughter’s interest in a hobby or pursuit could cause him or her to withdraw from other people or activities in his or her life. Little kids, teens, and even young adults, for example, enjoy computer games but there are those who could easily get lost in a cyber fantasy world.

If that would be the case for a child, is no wonder why he’s withdrawing from peers or society without himself knowing it. He’s gotten caught up in his own reality by becoming so involved in his own thoughts. It has become much like of a habit so hard to break for him.

He’s not only going to be enmeshed with private realities, for that matter, he constructs them himself. Securing the foundations of the structures and components of systems through idiosyncratic interests fueled by his strong desire to know how things should work, he replaces insecurity with a sense of control and safety.

As far as it contributes to his self-worth, that’s fine. But it’s going to be problematic when such a sphere of activity he has had gotten into crosses the threshold from passion to obsession.

To try to distinguish between passion and obsession involving children requires one to be at least knowledgeable in basic child psychology. It is not always an easy task though.

A child who is so passionate about his pursuits may infect us with excitement and enthusiasm. Yet, as if to give us a clue, he is not necessarily inclined to pursue his passion to the exclusion of life’s social dimensions.

So how would we distinguish between passion and obsession? And, once we have pinpointed which from which, what should be done next?

The difference between a passion and an obsession is that obsessions are psychologically limiting. We could also consider the following to guide us in our assessment concerning our son’s or daughter’s interest or hobby.

  • Make sure that it doesn’t interfere with his ability to connect with others.
  • See to it that it doesn’t cause him to lose track of time.
  • See to it that it does not interfere with his schoolwork.
  • Make sure that it doesn’t cause him to lose sleep.
  • See to it that he doesn’t spend too much money on it.
  • See to it that he doesn’t pursue it more during times of stress.
  • See to it that he’s not pursuing it to avoid social situations.

Twenty one things I wish my son discovers about life as he grows up

I wish my son discovers the things he would need when it’s time for him to be left alone to design his own life.

My little boy would be turning four years old this coming August. I know we still had much of a time to spend together before he becomes old enough to leave the nest and to be on his own. I would also find myself embarking on a journey that leads me nearer to the sunset of my life when that time comes.

I know we would still be looking at each other as father and son as nothing could break such a bonding of such a beautiful relationship, but some things would no longer the same. No longer would I carry him in my arms, cuddle as if a baby, or lull to sleep. No longer would I have the ability to carry and put him in bed when he falls asleep in the sofa. No longer would I tell him bed time stories.

I know my little boy would one day be grown suddenly, and it may be sooner than expected. But it might be because I am wishing that the good things I had with him should stay forever. I could only look back to see if I have done it right.

But life is a battlefield and my little boy knows nothing about it. I don’t want him to know it’s going to be something like that either when he’s only learning everything yet. He’s too young to become concerned for such a serious thing. I know he’s going to discover it along the way growing up.

Each one of us had struggled with many different battles. Each one of us had fought problems every single day. Each one of us should take the challenge for whatever it may bring.

As for my little one, I could not preach him. But I wish he discovers the things he would need when it’s time for him to be left alone to design his own life. Here are twenty one of these I wish to communicate without saying, but which he should feel in his heart:

Treat people nicely.  Throughout life, people would make you feel out of your comfort zone. Just continue doing what’s right and what’s your best. Remember that how people treat you define them. How you react defines you.

Speak truths. Keep your promises. Choose your words carefully and they would be your guide. People track you at your words and they would believe what you say.

Act. While a word is all you got in this world, you also had to back it up with actions. Because no matter what words are being spoken by someone, his actions betray the truth of his own heart.

Be humble. To live is to learn life’s long lesson in humility.

Choose wisely. You had to be mindful of the choices you’re going to make. Remember that being undecided or letting events dictate your life is already to choose.

Set goals. Take time to ponder on what it is you would really like to achieve in life. Then once you have decided on what your goals are, ask yourself how you’re going to achieve them.

Give cheer. Even to your own self.  Always greet each day with a smile on your face and a delight in your heart.

Love unconditionally. When you give your love to someone, don’t expect anything in return at all.

Make a difference. Be an everyday hero in your own little way.

Be the one that serves. Inspire. Encourage. Heal. Touch people’s lives.

Take time to reflect. Take time to pause and be silent. Meditate. Pray. Rediscover your purpose.

Be sensitive. Always be mindful of the world around you.

Take care of your body. Nourish it with every nutrient it has to need to keep it healthy and keep it from destructive habits and vices.

Be full of hope. It is the only bee, as someone once said, that makes honey without flowers.

Be courageous. Take risks. If you don’t have the courage enough to take risks you would have accomplished nothing in life.

People are fundamentally good. You had to believe that, in spite of everything, people are truly good at heart.

You don’t know everything. There’s still a lot for you to learn despite of all the knowledge you had acquired. You’re not all-knowing.

Be beautiful. You had to turn yourself into a beautiful and strong human being.

Be a morally good person. You had to commit to preserve and enhance the good qualities of the person that you are.

Be who and what you are. You are unique. You can only be you. Be just yourself.

Live without resentment and guilt. Guilt, as someone once said, is anger directed at ourselves—at what we did or did not do. Resentment is anger directed at others—at what they did or did not do.

Parenting should be a joyful experience

Me and my son Nathaniel. This picture was taken two years ago.

Can you have fun being a parent? The answer may not be what you would like to hear, but this is what I’m going to say being a parent myself: I’m having fun being a parent.

Of course, parenting is hard and raising kids could drain you both in the emotional and intellectual aspects of it. As a parent, you’ll have to meet your children’s needs, whether you like it or not, and they could be so demanding. Parenting begins while your child was still in the womb.

I’m a realist, but I’m also an idealist at the same time. I agree on the fact that parenting, to some degree, could lower the emotional well-being of a person. I also agree that for one to become a parent, he has to master the art of maintaining a household despite all the hustles and bustles it has to bring.

When I became a dad for the first time, I honestly felt like I’m being caught in a trap of mixed emotions. I felt nervous, anxious, and yet joyful. How would I be like raising a child? I have heard it many times from other parents that it’s not going to be easy.

It’s been almost four years ago today since I became a dad. And now I discovered why fatherhood or parenthood is such a very beautiful experience anyone could have or go through.  The point is not about having it easy or playing it safe. Sure, you could spare yourself from all the hardships raising kids may bring, but you’re going to also miss out on some of life’s greatest joys.

So when I hear people say that parents are miserable beings, I could only smile. They had no idea how parenthood could be such a rich source of joy, deep meaning, and purpose for every person. It could put anyone to be in touch with a whole other sensitivity which is nothing but good. It makes one feel more than he has ever felt. He feels the vulnerability of what he’s gotten into, but at the same time he would not be trading it for anything.

Parents should stop terrorizing their children with old-fashioned discipline

There are ways in which we could discipline a child without using violence.

The other night my toddler has accidentally broken his vitamin bottle. It fell off his hands to the concrete floor while he’s carrying it. The content spreads through the floor and a portion of it splashed onto the makeshift short table where I put my laptop.

I then called my wife to help me gather the broken pieces of glass and to wipe the wet parts with a rag. My son just stared at me motionless. He seemed to look very frightened with what happened. I stared back at him and asked: “Why did you break your vitamin son? You should have not been carrying or playing with it in the first place.”

He offered me no answer and this time he bowed his head downward and I could see he’s about to break in tears. I tried to spank him just once in the butt using my right hand and it was a very light one. That very moment he cried out loud.

After cleaning up the mess, I called on my son to come to me. At first, he was hesitant to come near me but later on he stood at my side. I hugged him and said, “I’m sorry son, it’s not your fault, but don’t do it again okay?” He nodded, and I kissed him on the cheek and on his forehead.

When we’re in bed already, I thought about what I have done to my son. I shouldn’t have been hitting him in the butt, even a light one. I should have controlled my emotion. Spanking is not a way to correct his behavior but it may even be a tool to make it worst for him. I don’t want to become my dad, which I would be if I allow myself to be eaten up by my anger.

I grew up to a father who used spanking as a form of discipline. But it’s not just ordinary spanking, as far as I can remember he spanked me and so with my siblings so hard and so brutal, and would use a stick, belt, and even a wire doing it. There are times when I had to ask myself: “Do I deserve to be getting all of these a brutal punishment?” I knew my father had crossed the line for discipline but I was young then and afraid.

If there’s one good thing that spanking ever did to me, it was about being awakened to the reality of the fact that what my father has done to me I should never ever be applying to my own son. Parents should never be using physical discipline to correct their children’s behavior. Spanking, to cite from my own experience, doesn’t work. It would only plant seeds for later violent behavior.

Spanking, no matter how it is being viewed, is an act of violence. It does more harm than good especially in the psychological and the emotional aspects of the child’s person. It causes trauma just like those you can get from being abused.

There are ways in which we could effectively discipline a child without using violence. One of them is isolation, then there’s deprivation. The other one is reparation. There’s even what they call diversion in which a parent should find a way to divert a child’s attention from what’s causing him or her to misbehave.

Parents should never instill fear in their kids just so to coerce them into behaving.  Children should be respecting their parents not because they are afraid but because they know that their parents love them and accept them for who they are. Let us stop this old-fashioned discipline that’s terrorizing kids for centuries, from generation to another.

Make your child smarter in these six simple ways

My little boy, who is only a little over two years old when this picture was taken, is playing one of his favorite computer games.

What really makes a smart child? Can you boost your child’s intelligence? Why some kids are more intelligent than other kids? These are but just few of the many questions parents would most likely be asking concerning their children’s capacity to improve their own brains.

Genetics play a significant role in your child’s intellectual makeup. It is something that is passed through the genes. When the parents are both intelligent or either of them possessed a higher IQ, then it would most likely be that their offspring would inherit such a trait.

But there are other factors that would also contribute to make kids smarter. Even an average child, provided he was raised in the right way and in the right environment, would reach his full intellectual and creative potential, therefore, making him smart. Here are six simple ways parents could make their kids smarter:

Encourage your child to read. The more you read, to quote from Dr. Seuss in his wonderful book I Can Read With My Eyes Shut, the more you know. Once your child learns to love this habit of reading, it would bring him so many benefits.

His appetite for knowledge is developed through reading. And what’s more interesting was that the more he had this appetite to learn something through reading, the more he wanted to know something. Of course, your child should see it first in you. You had to show him that you read as well.

Expose him early to music. Listening to music, according to a study, helps boost your child’s memory. It makes him to become more attentive. It motivates him to learn.

But listening to music is the only the beginning. When your child learns how to play a musical instrument, then it has a big impact on his brain’s spatial temporal reasoning and proportional thinking. The more that he becomes good at playing a musical instrument, the more that these parts of his brain develop.

Give your child a chance to play smart computer games. While some parents may disagree with me on this for the reason that computer games may have negative effects on children, but it’s not always be the case. Some computer games could actually help children think. Parents need to be selective on what kind of video games they would like their children to play with and for a limited time only.

My son Nathaniel learns how to open a laptop, select a game, and play when he was only a little over two years of age. Now that he would be turning four years old this coming August, he could play a number of games from my laptop and winning.

Computer games, as long as they are kid-friendly, could teach your child about letters, music, logic, mathematics, strategic thinking, phonics, and many more.

Nourish your child through proper nutrition. Giving your child the right foods is very important to make him smart. But feeding the child the right foods that could help develop and grow his brain should begin even before he was born. A pregnant mom should be eating all the foods necessary for the physical and mental health of her child while still in the womb.

Along with proper nutrition, you had to make sure your child is getting enough sleep and to exercise.

Interact with your child. Make him feel loved. Play with him. Child experts and scientists suggest the importance of parents to cuddle, play, and make their child feel he was loved because the absence of these things, as what has been found out, could lead to a child’s having a stunted brain growth.

Give your child a time to play. Social, intellectual, physical, and emotional foundations are developed when your child is playing. And when he is with other kids playing and interacting, he is on to learning to combine ideas, impressions, and feelings with other children’s opinions and experiences.

How playing chess helps your brain

I’m playing the White Pieces using a modified Queen’s Gambit against the computer with its Sicilian Defense variation. One wrong move and you’re done.

I was surprised to see my son who would be turning four years old this August playing chess on my laptop when I didn’t even teach him how to play it in the first place. He may have been observing me while I’m playing against the computer. Of course, I liked what he did. He was just like me, after all.

Chess is one of my favorite of pastimes. I learned to play the game back when I was only in my grade school years. Nobody taught me how to play it but I learned it by simply watching people played the game themselves.

There was a waiting shade near our house in my hometown where by-standers trooped for chitchats, drinking session, and playing board games like chess. Almost every single day during that time, while I’m on my way to school and in going back from school, I took a portion of my time to watch chess players went all out for their games.

When I already knew how to play the game I played against people much older than me as there was no one in my age bracket would like to challenge me. Of course, I’m losing many good games at first but in the long run I’m improving and started beating known chess players in our place.  I was still in my elementary years at that time and I’m beating people in their thirties and forties. These people were the ones who used to shoo us kids away while we’re watching them play.

If there’s one thing that chess has clearly taught me something back then, when I was only a neophyte of the game, it was how to be patient. You would know you have reached the point of maturity for the game when you’re showing a lot of patience under pressure. Chess teaches us patience.

But what really interests me is the fact that, aside from teaching patience, playing chess helps our brain. It develops and improves memory. This due to the fact that chess involves theory that is complicated and players should memorize different opening variations (my favorite chess openings when I’m playing the White Pieces are the classic Ruy Lopez and Queen’s Gambit and Sicilian Defense and Queen’s Indian when playing the Black Pieces.)

And because it helps develop one’s memory, the ability of a person to concentrate could as well improve as a result. It promotes strategic thinking as the game itself is considered a strategy game.

Chess could also improve one’s critical thinking skills, preserves mental acuity, logic and efficiency, and many more. With all of these good things playing chess could do to your brain, chess is not just a game to waste much of your time with.

I’m happy to see my son playing chess because I’m sure it makes him smarter.