Baby Minds - Understanding your baby's brain development.

Baby Minds - Understanding your baby's brain development.
How could singing to an infant or blowing a dandelion under a toddler’s nose encourage her intellectual growth? From birth, babies are constantly absorbing information and are stimulated by the world around them, basically, the environment into which a child is born begins to sculpt the brain in ways that will have long-lasting implications for its owner’s future. Children have untapped developmental potential – potential that can be realized through fun interactions and challenging experiences during the earliest years.

Their brains are like blank slates, and every piece of information they assimilate is stored and used like building blocks. According to scientists, babies’ brains light up like a Christmas tree as they process everything they see, hear, touch, smell and taste. Every stimulus received by a neuron sends an electrical impulse that relays messages to brain cells to sort and manage the data received. 
Since these younger years are so crucial to brain growth and development, as a parent you may wonder how you can help your baby make the most of this time? Well, that is exactly where I can help you! I have gathered some very simple tasks and ideas for you that you can begin using as soon as your baby is born. Also, because each experience builds upon another – you can modify these activities to suit your baby right up until they are two or three years old.

Did you know that by the age of five ninety percent of brain growth is achieved? As a baby’s brain grows larger, dramatic changes take place in their ability to learn. Their memory becomes more functional, their language begins to develop, and their thinking skills are being continually refined.
The more you understand about the optimal times for development, the more you will be able to help your child’s brain get the stimulation it is seeking. Here are some key developmental windows in young children:

Social Attachment (0-18 months)
Research has shown that the emotional foundations a child builds during their early months and years has a profound effect on relationships throughout their life. Positive social experiences during the first 18 months are crucial to establishing trusting relationships.

Motor Skills (prenatal-4 years)
There is so much motor development that has to occur after a baby is born; just think about all that needs to happen before a child will be running, jumping, climbing and riding a bike! Fortunately, the brain is very generous in the time it allows for optimal growth – that is why those infants that are carried on cradle boards during the first year or two of life have no trouble catching up with their peers once given the opportunity to practice walking.

Speech and Vocabulary (0-3 years)
A child’s first 3 years are the most critical for learning language. The sounds, syllables and tonal qualities that they hear over and over will establish in their brains and they will begin to emulate and understand words and phrases. The more you speak to your baby, the more language he or she will learn. Imagine the head start that signing with your infant will give your baby! 

Math and Logic (1-4 years) 
Math and logic skills come into play at ages 1-4. Here the child develops problem solving skills, counting and logic. Parents can support this stage of learning by encouraging play with stackable blocks, counting, puzzles and other stimulating toys and games. This equips a child with reasoning skills that can help them keep up with such concepts at school. 

Music (3-12 years)
Learning a musical instrument is optimally mastered from age 3 to 12. By age 3 most fine motor skills have been developed. While you can learn an instrument at any age, the older you are, the more difficult it is to grasp. Children are able to develop solid neural foundations during this age bracket which enables them to truly master the theory, skill and motor functions required to play an instrument expertly. 

Your baby’s first years are fundamental for building a solid base of concepts, actions and connections. The neurons in their brains are constantly making connections and building networks to relay messages, store data and understand the world around them. It may seem like a daunting task especially for first time parents but you can easily stimulate your baby’s brain development. Make use of this time to present your child with opportunities that appeal to their senses and stimulate their brains!

Much of the information found in this blog post is from the book 'Baby Minds: Brain Building Games Your Baby Will Love' by Linda Acredolo Ph.D. and Susan Goodwin Ph.D.

Click on the link to learn more and to join my FREE 3 day (3 part) challenge called The Baby Minds Challenge

Here is a brief introduction to the Baby Minds Challenge

What I loved about teaching my babies infant sign language - and why YOU should teach yours too!

What I loved about teaching my babies infant sign language - and why YOU should teach yours too!
I was not even pregnant when I decided that I would be teaching my future children to use infant sign language. I decided the moment that my friend Ann told me that her Godson was able to tell his parents that he would prefer a cracker instead of an apple … and he was still too young to talk!

When Jack was born in 2007 I diligently started reading all about infant sign language and I stumbled across The Baby Signs® Program. I also learnt that the first 3 years of a child’s life are their most critical in terms of many areas of development.

I was sooo excited when Jack made his first sign at about 8 months! He signed ‘cat’… and from then on he never stopped ‘talking’ about the things he was seeing ‘light’, ‘bird’, ‘helicopter’ (he made that one up himself), ‘airplane’ and tonnes more on top of the useful signs like ‘milk’, ‘all done’ and ‘more’.  

It was really helpful when he learnt the signs for ‘hurt’ and ‘help’; it meant a whole lot less crying and a whole lot less ‘first-time mum’ fear!

It was when Henry was born, 22 months later in 2009, that I decided I wanted to share this passion with others, and so I completed my training to become an Independent Certified Baby Signs® Instructor with The Baby Signs® Program. Oh, and I loved my job!!

It was amazing to be able to have my own baby in my classes and watch him learn and grow.  I have lots of stories about Henry and his signing… my favourite was when I had taken him to the park on a very windy day and he looked at me and did his baby sign for ‘fan’! It was amazing to me that he made the association between the wind and the fan in his bedroom; but, not only that – he was able to initiate a conversation with me!

If you have a baby you HAVE to consider teaching them to sign, and I want to help you do it!!

I have put together a 3 week, interactive, self-guided program, complete with instructional videos (they took me a while to film 😊), songs, activities, games and book readings. I use the adorable BeeBo® the bear to model the signs and I teach you everything you need to know so you can have signing success at home.  This is designed to be a fun and engaging process for you to do WITH your baby.

The Happy, Healthy, Whole, Baby Program is about a lot more than just teaching your baby to sign. There are also parent education components that teach you to stimulate developmental growth in your baby’s motor, cognitive, literacy, language, social and emotional skills.

I will also be educating you and guiding you on ways that you can very simply and easily begin switching out toxic chemicals for safe, natural products, no matter what your budget is.

AND – the best part? I have put together 5 options for you to choose from to begin your Happy, Healthy, Whole Baby journey!! 

You REALLY won’t want to miss this opportunity! It’s a little bit too good to be true – but giving is in my heart, and I think you are going to love this!!  You can pay for JUST the 3 week course; OR, you can get the course 100% for free and get remarkable value on your choice of a wellness bundle. 

Click on this link to find out how to join the Happy, Healthy, Whole Baby Program – I have made it so that it is a real no-brainer (is that actually a thing?) 🤔🤣

And, as always, here is an invitation to join my free Facebook community where you will learn tonnes more and be part of a likeminded group of loving m💕ms.

Signing with your baby makes life easier for EVERYONE!!

Signing with your baby makes life easier for EVERYONE!!
Signing with babies is just fantastic!! It gives them a way to communicate before they can talk; it allows them to use gestures to easily express their needs, thoughts and feelings until they have actual words.
I teach using The Baby Signs® Program which is based on American Sign Language (ASL) but with “baby-friendly” modifications to make them easier for babies to do; for example blowing for “hot,” pinching fingers as if picking up Cheerios for “cereal,” and panting for “dog.”  
Signing is about communication, understanding, and intimacy between you and your baby. In the end, whatever signs you use, you are opening the world to your baby and opening your baby’s world to you.
Both babies and parents love sign language. 
It makes life easier: Let’s pretend that you are in a foreign country where you cannot speak the language.  How did you feel when people couldn’t understand you? This is what babies deal with every single day! Signing gives babies a way to get around the “language barrier” while they are waiting for their mouths and vocal chords to catch up with their minds. And this makes life much easier for everybody!
It’s natural: If you think about it we use signs and gestures in our daily lives without thinking about it.  Can you think of a gesture that you would use to hurry someone up if you were trying to avoid being late? You would tap your wrist, right? What would I be telling you if I were to cross my arms and pretend to shiver? You would know that I was cold.  There are countless gestures that we are all able to understand. 
Other than crying, babies only have their hands and bodies to communicate with us; they use gestures for ‘yes’ and ‘no’; they know how to ask to be picked up… they come up to you and raise their arms to be lifted – we all always teach our babies to wave ‘bye-bye’ too!
These gestures are great communication tools for babies, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. Babies are capable of learning many more than just a few gestures — as signing babies around the world are proving every day. 
Parents love the Baby Signs® Program too because it makes life so much easier and so much more fun! How many of  us have ever been up in the middle of the night with a crying baby? A baby who, no matter what you did, would not stop crying? 
How did you feel at the time? Frustrated, helpless, worried…? 
How do you think baby felt?    Frustrated, helpless, scared…?
By introducing signing you won’t have to guess what your baby is trying to tell you in the middle of the night. You can know if she’s hungry, if her ear hurts or if something is making her afraid. Life is easier when there’s less frustration and less crying!

Click HERE to find out more! 

AND, the best thing about the Baby Signs® Program is that it is fun. I have soooo many cool stories to share with you!
Do you want to just come and have a peek at some other interesting stuff? Come join my group 'Loving M💕ms nurturing little hearts and minds'  

Why cleaning up your laundry routine is a must - especially if you have babies and young children.

Why cleaning up your laundry routine is a must - especially if you have babies and young children.

Did you know that babies and small kids as are especially sensitive to toxic chemicals? This is because relative to their body size, and given their more permeable skin, they absorb much more of their environment than adults.

Our skin is our largest organ and we are almost always being exposed to the ingredients in our laundry soap; we wear clothes, we use towels, we sleep on sheets…

Most traditional laundry detergents are full of endocrine disruptors (think: ‘messing with your hormones’), as well as carcinogens, skin and respiratory irritants. Also, researchers have also found that dryer vents can emit more than 7 hazardous air pollutants!! 😟

If there were to be one place to look at starting to make changes – the laundry room would be a good one!!

As you probably all know – I love to have things that fit in to a tight budget. The national average cost per load of laundry detergent (in the USA) is $0.21...

Want to know how much we spend?!

$0.6 a load!! Seriously! When I sat down and did the calculations, this result was even better than I expected!

AND...what I use is not only significantly cheaper, it is 100% plant-based, free of toxic chemicals and great for the environment! 💚

With an initial investment of around $60 worth of product you can make enough detergent to wash over 890 loads of laundry!! Now THAT is amazing value!! ESPECIALLY considering you are also keeping your family safe!? Amazing, right?! 

I can help you do this!! You’ve nothing to lose and so much to gain. A fatter wallet and a healthier home; with more balanced emotions to boot!! You've got to try this!!

If you want the recipe just click here and I will send it to you for free - along with some other useful laundry room hacks! 

If you are worried about not being a DIY person – let me assure you… this takes just minutes and it is SUPER simple!! I promise!

What to do when your kid gets blood ALL over your cousin's WHITE couch!

What to do when your kid gets blood ALL over your cousin's WHITE couch!

A couple of summers ago we went up to Maine for a couple of weeks and I got to spend some time with my cousin and her family.

I had no idea how stunningly beautiful Maine is! What I also didn’t know about Maine, was how bad the mosquitoes can be... and, mosquitoes just LOVE sweet Henry.

On our last day, Henry got up in the middle of the night and unbeknownst to us, went to sleep on the lovely white couch (instead of getting back in bed 🤔) ...what we also didn’t know, was that he’d scratch his bites and leave blood stains all over the place 😱!

I googled ‘how to remove blood stains’ and found all sorts of suggestions; none of which worked!

When I went to tell my sweet cousin, and apologise profusely, she looked at me and said ‘didn’t that Thieves stuff you were telling me about work?’...

Ummmm - I hadn’t tried it!!! What’s wrong with me?! 🤦🏽‍♀️.

Well, guess what... it DID work!!! See for yourself in the picture below! 😊


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