Science shows that human brains grow faster between the ages of 0-3 than at any later point in people’s lives, forming more than one million neural connections every second. Nurturing relationships, early learning experiences and good health and nutrition influence all areas of a child’s development, setting a strong foundation for the rest of his or her life. In order to help make babies a national priority, consider letting your policymakers know you care about the policies and programs babies need for strong starts to their lives.
Pushing for a Strong Start for Babies
(Family Features) More than 10,000 babies are born each day in the United States. Where they are born and where they live during the first years of their lives can make a difference in their chances for strong starts.
Science shows that human brains grow faster between the ages of 0-3 than at any later point in people’s lives, forming more than one million neural connections every second. Nurturing relationships, early learning experiences and good health and nutrition influence all areas of a child’s development, setting a strong foundation for the rest of his or her life.
According to the “State of Babies Yearbook: 2019,” published by Zero To Three, an early childhood development nonprofit organization, babies in many states face persistent hardships that undermine their ability to grow and thrive, such as staggering child care costs and lack of comprehensive paid family and medical leave.
“Families are struggling every day, in every state, and we are urging our leaders to act,” said Myra Jones-Taylor, chief policy officer of Zero To Three. “Most of our investments in early childhood start too late, at age 4 or older. By that time, some of the most important years of brain development have passed. Today’s babies become tomorrow’s workers, parents and leaders. Now is the time for policymakers on both sides of the aisle to make every baby a priority through policies built on the science of brain development and budgets that put babies and families first.”
To help ensure a brighter future for all babies, the organization is working with Congress through events like “Strolling Thunder” to help drive support for policies and programs that prioritize the needs of babies, toddlers and their families. Its policy agenda includes establishing a comprehensive national paid leave program that provides adequate time off to care for newborns or newly adopted children, and allows families to take leave if their child or another family member is experiencing a serious illness; expanding access to quality, affordable child care by increasing investments in the child care system while also working toward a comprehensive, long-term solution for working families; and increasing investments in programs that support babies’ healthy development, such as Early Head Start, and infant and early childhood mental health.
“As a director of an early childhood education program, I can speak firsthand to the struggle associated with providing high-quality care and education programs for young children while balancing that against what parents can reasonably afford to pay for child care,” said Jessica Carter, a “Strolling Thunder” parent from North Carolina. “As a mother of two, I can also speak firsthand to the fact that if I did not receive discounted tuition at my center, I would not be able to afford child care costs and would be forced to stay at home with my children. As a result, our family would not have affordable access to health care. Further, our children would not benefit from the social and educational benefits they receive in a group care setting.”
In order to help make babies a national priority, consider letting your policymakers know you care about the policies and programs babies need for strong starts to their lives, and join the team that’s fighting for their futures at thinkbabies.org/strollingthunder.SOURCE:
Zero To Three
From taking steps toward the stairs to learning that bubbles don’t taste good, exploration is a part of development for babies and young children. While it’s an exciting time, it also can be coupled with anxiety and hesitation as parents find themselves saying “no” or jumping in when baby discovers a new space. To help raise resilient, confident and adventurous humans, consider these tips.
5 Ways to Raise a Confident, Adventurous Child
(Family Features) From taking steps toward the stairs to learning that bubbles don't taste good, exploration is a part of development for babies and young children. While it's an exciting time, it also can be coupled with anxiety and hesitation as parents find themselves saying "no" or jumping in when baby discovers a new space.
An Open for Adventure survey from Babyganics found a majority of parents (69 percent) believe a child can learn to be more confident if he or she is allowed to explore freely as a baby. However, letting go doesn't always come naturally for parents.
Aid in discovery. Encourage and applaud baby's healthy risk-taking, such as mastering a challenging stair climb or pushing through moments of frustration and failure. Additionally, create teachable moments that introduce your child to necessary limits. For example, if you have hot coffee in the morning and your little one wants to touch the mug, let him or her gently touch a warm area of the mug with a fingertip and repeat that the mug is "hot" to help encourage exploration and flex baby's senses.
Let baby be free. While you may think baby gadgets are necessary for playtime, consider rethinking those toys. Instead of searching for stimulation through lights and sounds from a toy, allow your baby to explore the natural environment. Look for opportunities that allow him or her to make a manageable mess and even get wet or dirty. This could be as simple as playing with a container filled with water or letting your baby pull up grass in the backyard. These small unstructured play adventures can help develop independence and confidence.
Engage the senses. Exposing your baby to new flavors and smells helps engage him or her on a multi-sensory level. For example, allowing your baby (at an appropriate age, typically between 4-7 months) to try new foods can provide a feeling of accomplishment while also exposing him or her to different textures and flavors. Encourage even more sensory exploration by allowing your baby to smell the food and even play with it using his or her fingers.
Provide early exposure to new places. Bringing baby along to restaurants and other public spaces allows for positive exposure to new places, people and sounds, which can help build the immune system, encourage social interaction and support development. While letting a child explore in a public setting like an airport or train station can make many parents anxious, carrying products such as Babyganics Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizing Wipes can help ease parents' apprehension and keep little hands germ-free while on the go.
Wait a moment. It's common for parents to intervene the moment baby awakes from a nap or starts moving toward the stairs. Try pausing, allowing your little one to naturally find his or her limits while managing your own fears and worries. This tactic can allow your young explorer an opportunity for cognitive and social-emotional development with you as a safety net nearby.
"Parents often look to their own internal response to guide parenting: 'If I am worried then it must be dangerous, and I should not allow my baby to do it,'" Wegner said. "When in fact, parents should prioritize their baby's exploration and needs to provide learning opportunities rather than allowing their own anxieties to impede their children."
For more information, visit babyganics.com.SOURCE:
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