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baby : Smarter Baby
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How to Do Yoga With a Baby


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December 16, 2008


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Babies reap the same health benefits from yoga—improved balance, increased flexibility, deeper relaxation, better sleep and fewer digestive problems—as adults do. And when you do yoga with your pint-sized Buddha, you’re also establishing a physical and emotional bond that both parents and babies crave.

But don’t expect your 3-month-old to be striking her own downward-facing dog pose. When you take a yoga class with your baby, expect some deep-breathing exercises (for you), baby-massage techniques (for the diaper set), a few stretching and balancing poses (some incorporating your baby and some not) and a chance to meet with other new parents and enjoy some time interacting with your baby.

Difficulty Rating: Moderate
Things You’ll Need
Comfortable, loose-fitting clothing
Yoga mat, blanket or towel

Step 1:
Create a calm, relaxing environment. Dim the lights; play soothing music.

Step 2:
Say some chants softly, holding your baby near as you do.

Step 3: Hold your baby close to your body and take some deep breaths, inhaling by filling up your belly and then slowly exhaling. Since babies naturally belly-breathe, you can even place your hand on your baby’s belly and mimic her breathing rhythm.

Step 4:
Place your baby on her back and bend her knees up to her chest, then let go. You can also perform a cycling motion with her legs. This promotes digestion and prevents constipation.


Step 5:
Stretch your baby’s arms and legs, even tracing her fingers and toes with your fingertips. This relieves muscle tension and encourages relaxation.

Step 6: Place your baby to your side and concentrate on some poses that will help you get your body back in shape. Roll your shoulders forward and backward to relieve tension. Tilt your pelvis off the floor as you lie on your back to strengthen pelvic floor muscles.

Tips

Don’t worry if your baby starts acting up. Yoga is supposed to give you peace and relaxation—not create angst. Just go with the flow and remember yours is not the first baby to interrupt a class.
Check out yoga and baby exercise tapes at bookstores; for classes, call health club centers, visit your local Y or even inquire with your obstetrician, pediatrician or local hospital.

Warnings
Get your doctor’s approval before beginning any postpartum exercise regimen.
Check with your pediatrician to find out if your baby is old enough to start baby yoga.

Donna Christiano is an award-winning free-lance journalist who has written extensively on women’s and children’s health for many consumer magazines, including Woman’s Day, Parents, Weight Watchers and others. Donna has also served on the staffs of Glamour and Bride’s magazines. She tries to live a healthy and strong life in New Jersey with her husband and two children.


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How Does Reading During Pregnancy Increase a Babys Intelligence?


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December 12, 2008


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Credit: Memotions at Flickr A baby’s nerve pathways in the ears and neural system in the brain start developing as early as the twenty-sixth week, which is when the baby will begin responding to sounds and voices regularly. Introducing music and words while your baby is still growing inside of you may increase your baby’s intelligence; many expectant parents can start talking to their babies in the womb, reading to them and playing soothing music to generate a response from their developing brains. Reading provides auditory stimulation for babies’ growing brains and can acclimate children to the sounds of their parents’ voices.

Effects of Reading on Baby’s Intelligence
During the early stages of development, you can train a baby’s brain to recognize words and sounds well before she understands the meaning behind them. A baby developing in the womb can become sensitive to her parents’ sounds and touches; reading aloud provides a soothing sound for baby to tune into while resting and growing.

The tones, voices and sounds that the baby hears during development can provide the foundation for learning new sounds and words after she is born. After delivery, the baby may be more likely to respond positively to the people to whom she “listened” during development. Reading promotes language development, attention development, concentration skills and information synthesis. A baby’s cognitive skills can also be improved with a variety of stimuli; reading represents one way to enhance these important developmental skills.

Best Types of Books to Read During Pregnancy
Even though your baby can’t understand the real meaning behind the words he hears, he can pick up the rhythm and tone of the sentences and will respond to how the mother responds to whatever she reads. Reading thrillers or horror stories can raise stress levels in the pregnant mother, which can trigger an anxiety response in the baby. Selecting soothing, lighthearted and fun reading material is the best way to entertain your baby during pregnancy, and children’s books are a good resource for short stories that may benefit both the mother and the infant. Since babies typically have short attention spans, dividing reading sessions into small segments hold their attention long enough to derive the full benefit from this experience.


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How Does a Babys Brain Develop


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December 12, 2008


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The process of how a baby’s brain develops remains largely a mystery, even to leading scientists and researchers. However, we do know that a baby’s basic brain cells are present at birth, while most of the connections are made as the baby progresses through infancy and early childhood.

Brain Development
The development of a baby’s brain develops is activity-dependent. At around age 3, a baby’s brain cells have formed most of their connections. Some connections will continue to be refined through experience, while others will not. The connections that a child continually and repetitively uses will gain strength, while those that are used less frequently will fade. This is called synaptic pruning, and although it may seem drastic and frightening, it actually helps the brain to work more efficiently. Without synaptic pruning, a child may have difficulty simulating and processing all the information she receives, making it difficult or even impossible to walk, talk or possibly see.

The Brainstem
The area of the brain located near the neck, between the top of the spinal cord and the base of the brain, is called the brainstem. This region is the most highly developed at birth. A newborn is born with various reflexes—including crying, startling, sucking and rooting—and these are controlled in the brainstem. The brainstem also controls such vital functions as breathing, blood pressure and heart rate. It takes years for a baby’s brain to fully develop, but the functions that are most important to life are ready at the moment of birth.

The Cerebral Cortex
The cerebral cortex is an area of the brain that is responsible for our conscious thoughts, feelings, memories and voluntary actions. This area is immature at birth. Neurons are present when we are born, but they are not connected well. After birth the baby goes through what is called the exuberant period, which refers to an immense surge in the creation of connections—synapses—within the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex is a fairly large part of the brain that contains the visual cortex, temporal lobe, frontal lobe and other regions. These regions go through the exuberant period at varying times; the baby shows signs of this period with improved vision and by developing a pincer grasp and strong attachments to parents and caregivers. Until the child is between the ages of 4 and 8 years, this exuberant period of massive growth of cell connections continues in all areas of the cerebral cortex. It is not until middle elementary through beginning adolescence that the exuberant period starts to fade.

We all want to help our children reach their full potential. Exposing your baby to many experiences and environments rich in language, love and exploration is the best way to enhance your baby’s developing brain.


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Baby Stimulation Games


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December 12, 2008


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Games and activities that encourage infants to use several senses at once can develop fundamental listening, communication, social and creative skills. Infant stimulation activities such as playing music, introducing new colors and shapes and playing with toys that make different sounds and noises can pique an infant’s interest and encourage him to interact with his environment. Stimulating games encourage healthy learning and development. Here are some activities and games that introduce learning and education in the early stages of life.

Baby Massage
Babies are incredibly sensitive to touch, and a massage will help them become relaxed and comfortable in their environment. Infant massage also can improve body awareness and bond them with the parent or caregiver giving the massage. Over time, this activity may improve social interaction and help babies develop basic communication skills.

Playing With Puppets
Introducing colorful sock puppets and other toys that “talk” can develop an infant’s focus and tracking skills and may also distract him from crying or fussy periods. Puppets can improve social interactions and encourage babies to practice different facial expressions. Adding music or funny voices and sounds to the activity develops an infant’s listening skills.

Reading at Bath Time
Playing with bath books and colorful, waterproof toys while bathing can develop a baby’s body awareness and improve his listening and language skills. Bath time can be a fun and stimulating activity, but it also relaxes the baby for a good night’s rest. Introducing different toys to the tub and encouraging your baby to interact with you in various activities also improves communication and social skills.

Color and Light Activities
A nightlight that emits colorful images onto the wall and plays soothing music encourages the baby to become comfortable with different sights and sounds in his environment, and may also increase his natural curiosity. Nightlights that play scenes from a storybook or that feature animated characters with whom the baby is familiar can stimulate memory and learning.

Playing With Colorful Blocks
Soft blocks and other toys in different colors and patterns can improve visual skills and encourage the infant to interact with new and interesting objects. Blocks can be stacked on top of each other as a building activity, which can help baby understand space and structure, or the blocks may be held and passed around to encourage social interaction. As the infant develops motor skills, she may be able to match same-color blocks and build her own miniature walls and structures.


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Baby Einstein Toy Reviews


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December 12, 2008


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Baby Einstein has long been a leader in the world of educational baby toys. These toys are designed to help parents and babies discover the world together with interactive experiences for the family. Baby Einstein toys use music, art and real-life objects and experiences to encourage babies to explore the world around them. Here are a few favorites for your baby’s first year.

• Sea Dreams Lullaby Soother: Your baby will drift to sleep as peaceful ocean scenes play on this crib-side soother. You can control the functions of the soother from up to 15 feet away with a remote control. The soother also plays nature sounds and classical music, and the lighting can fade out quietly. The soother attaches securely to most cribs and sells for around $40.

• Count and Compose Piano: This musical toy is intended for babies 6 months and older. Babies can create piano, flute and xylophone sounds and listen to the numbers 1 through 5 in three languages. In the composer mode, your baby can press keys that will activate melodies and dancing lights. The Baby Einstein Count and Compose Piano sells for around $15.

• Connect and Play Zone: Intended for babies 6 months and older, this product combines five toys in one. The toys can be played with together or on their own. The Connect and Play Zone includes a baby-safe mirror, a ball drop, the naming of shapes and colors in several languages, peek-a-boo pop-up characters and a bead chaser. Selling for around $45, this toy is bound to be one of your baby’s favorites.

• Lights and Melodies Discovery Center: This toy can be used as your baby grows and develops new skills. The Discovery Center adapts to your baby as he lies, sits and eventually stands. Equipped with hanging toys, spinning wheels, lights, songs and sounds, this toy will delight babies as they develop hand-eye coordination, language and grasping skills. The Baby Einstein Lights and Melodies Discovery Center sells for around $35.

• Discover and Play Color Blocks: These soft and textured blocks are easily grasped and provide different touch sensations. Each block is decorated with a Baby Einstein character, real-life photos, images of everyday objects and other features. As babies play, they’ll also hear jingle and rattle sounds and feel vibrations. The blocks sell for around $13.


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Soothing Baby Music Ideas


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December 12, 2008


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Colicky, anxious or stressed infants will calm down naturally when they hear soft and smoothing music. Music can be used to improve a baby’s mood, increase focus and encourage deep relaxation. Many parents use music to lull a baby to sleep at night, but soothing music can be used at any time of the day to reduce anxiety or tension and slow down the baby’s heart rate.

Sing Lullabies or Nursery Rhymes
Infants respond best to a human voice, and singing lullabies, nursery rhymes and hymns will help them relax and become comfortable in their environment. Most babies respond to this type of soothing music within a few minutes and may even take part in the activity by gently rocking back and forth, closing their eyes to enjoy the experience and showing facial expressions that indicate happiness. You can also record yourself singing lullabies and play them at various intervals throughout the day.

Turn on a Musical Nightlight
A nightlight that projects colorful images against a wall and plays music can initiate restfulness and peacefulness. These lights can be set up in a baby’s room to illuminate the wall or ceiling around the crib and help baby focus on different objects. The combination of lights and music can be very soothing for babies, distracting them from stress or anxiety and lulling them into a deep state of rest or sleep.

Play Nature Sound CDs
The relaxing sounds of nature can reduce stress in babies and adults alike, so playing a nature CD can induce a state of relaxation and improve overall well-being. This type of music is also beneficial during diaper changes or feeding time when the baby becomes fussy or irritable. The sounds can distract the baby long enough to proceed with the activity with little or no fuss.

Play Classical Music
Classical music has a certain rhythm and tone that can grab a baby’s attention and distract him from crying. Classical music can also be very comforting and may help the baby relax and calm down after a difficult day.

Play Musical Instruments
Toys designed to look like real musical instruments can improve an infant’s motor skills, and some of these toys also emit songs and sounds that can be very soothing. Allow the baby to play with toys that play tunes and notes when pressed, shaken or pushed so that she can develop motor skills along with auditory skills.

Sabah Karimi is an experienced freelance writer who enjoys writing about lifestyle, parenting, and childhood education topics. Sabah runs a web copywriting and marketing consultancy business in Orlando, Florida.


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Music & Babys Health


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December 12, 2008


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Infants can recognize music, noise and sounds at a very early age, and introducing them to different types of music offers several health and developmental benefits. Soothing music can relax babies and make them more comfortable with their environment, and different musical notes and tunes can also develop auditory system and hearing skills.

Significance: Infants can process music as early as the last few months in the womb, and they will respond to different types of sounds by the age of 6 months. Introducing babies to different types of music from birth to 6 months of age allows them to develop their listening and attention skills, and they will learn to differentiate between songs and voices.

Function: Babies feel more secure when they hear lullabies and slow-paced music with a steady beat at regular intervals throughout the day. Any music with a light tempo and rhythm can help the baby settle down when stressed, reduce anxiety and encourage a happy and positive mood. Even though babies respond to various types of music in different ways, the most soothing sound a baby can hear is that of a human voice—preferably the parent’s.

Types: The most beneficial types of music for baby include classical music to improve focus and concentration; rhythmic music to reduce anxiety, tension and stress; soothing lullabies and melodies play pokies for free online to Online Pokies encourage sleep and relaxation; and upbeat, light-hearted and fun music to encourage positive emotions. Regular exposure to certain types of music can teach infants to differentiate between different sounds and stimulate their senses.

Benefits: Music can be used to change moods, encourage babies to go to sleep and help with overall health and well-being. It may also play an important role in developing neural pathways that promote intelligence, creativity and cultivate natural curiosity. Babies may be more likely to engage in singing, dancing and moving to music in their toddler years if they were introduced to a variety of stimulating music and activities at an early age. Rocking babies to the rhythm of the music or moving their hands and feet to the beat of different types of music can also improve their motor skills and muscle coordination during later stages of development.

Considerations: Premature babies may be easily over-stimulated by certain noises and sounds, so parents may need to start with very soothing, low-volume music and build the tolerance level of the child over time. Relaxing music such as lullaby tunes and soothing, meditative music can slow down the baby’s heartbeat and encourage a relaxation response. Fast, loud and intense music can provoke anxiety and feelings of fear, and may be too much for your baby to process.


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Music Activities for Babies


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December 12, 2008


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Introducing babies to different sounds, noises and styles of music can develop their auditory skills and improve their attention spans. Infants can recognize different sounds at a very early age, and exposure to music between birth and age 6 can develop a child’s affinity for certain types of music. Musical activities, such as singing, humming and moving around to the beat of various types of music, also can develop basic motor, social and communication skills in infants.

Kindermusik
Kindermusik incorporates music and movement for early childhood development and education, and classes are structured around listening, singing and playing games that involve sound and music. The “Village” class establishes basic listening and movement skills for babies up to 18 months.

Watching a Puppet Performance
Puppet shows and other forms of live entertainment that involve singing, dancing and moving to different music and sounds can introduce a baby to different styles of music. Live shows also provide sensory stimulation, such as bright lights, colors and a new atmosphere. Any shows that encourage the baby to sing along, clap and move to the beat will help the infant become more comfortable with different sensory experiences and develop an appreciation for different types of sounds, noises and rhythms.

Toys That Play Music
Plush toys that make sounds or play a song when pressed, or bedtime toys, such as night lights and globes that play melodies, develop babies’ listening skills and increase their attention spans. Introducing babies to different types of toys that play music develops numerous sensory skills and encourages them to play, socialize and participate to enjoy various sensory experiences.

Making Music
Making sounds and music with toys and musical instruments develops motor skills, hand-eye coordination and the ability to differentiate between different notes. Playing with musical instruments may also develop a sense of cause and effect which helps babies explore new games and activities as they grow.

Watching Television Programs With Music
Educational television programs such as “Sesame Street” and “Blue’s Clues” that involves singing and dancing can introduce different styles of music to the infant’s environment. Programs that encourage babies to participate by clapping their hands to the beat or singing also develop motor and social skills.

Sabah Karimi is an experienced freelance writer who enjoys writing about lifestyle, parenting, and childhood education topics. Sabah runs a web copywriting and marketing consultancy business in Orlando, Florida.


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How to Make a Baby Smarter in the Womb


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December 12, 2008


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We all want our babies to be smart. While it’s true that brain development is largely genetic, there are things you can do, even before your baby is born, to improve your baby’s environment and enhance his intelligence and language skills.

Things You’ll Need:
Classical music
Material to read
Prenatal stimulation program

Step 1: Play classical music. By week 20 of your pregnancy, your baby’s ears are completely formed; his ears can pick up sound vibrations by 24 weeks. He can hear noises by 30 weeks and is capable of telling the difference between sounds by week 34. The Mozart effect is a theory that claims listening to classical music within the womb boosts IQ, improves health and strengthens family attachments.

Step 2: Add omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. This essential fatty acid provides the body with healthy fats that lower the blood levels of harmful fats like cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids are also essential for the development of the brain and retinal membranes of the fetus. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold-weather fish, such as cod, salmon and herring.

Step 3: Participate in a prenatal stimulation program. Most programs use different patterns of sound and noise aussie pokies online stimulation online pokie game to enhance the baby’s environment. Having researched the topic for decades, Rene Van de Carr, Brent Logan and Thomas Verny all market their own methods of prenatal education and stimulation. Compare these and other methods before choosing a program that is right for you and your baby.

Step 4: Talk to your baby in the womb. Expose your baby to language through singing, talking and reading. We know that early exposure to language—words, sounds, reading and conversation—improves language skills and scores. While most people begin reading and singing rituals once their baby is born, doing so during pregnancy may enhance language skills.

Tips:
Reading children’s stories and books is fun and provides wonderful bonding moments for you and your baby. Don’t stick to the old classics: Read newspapers and magazines aloud.

Warnings
Do not add any supplements to your daily diet routine without first consulting your healthcare provider.

Lara Alspaugh is a freelance writer living in Michigan. She is a Registered Nurse and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Michigan State University. Her writing has been found in parenting and fitness magazines nationwide and the Internet, addressing health and fitness as well as wellness concerns of families.


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Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/smarterbaby.info/httpdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/smarterbaby.info/httpdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

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Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/smarterbaby.info/httpdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/smarterbaby.info/httpdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/smarterbaby.info/httpdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/smarterbaby.info/httpdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

How to Teach a Baby to Read Without Spending a Lot of Money


Warning: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/smarterbaby.info/httpdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/smarterbaby.info/httpdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/smarterbaby.info/httpdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/smarterbaby.info/httpdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/smarterbaby.info/httpdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
December 12, 2008


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There are several ways to introduce words, sentences and stories into your baby’s life—and do so without spending a lot of money. Creating the right learning environment for your child will encourage him to start recognizing words and letters with ease.

Step 1: Play with coloring books. Many coloring books are actually miniature storybooks that contain words or short sentences. Allowing your infant to color in these books will help him recognize words and letters, and you can read along while he colors so he can start saying the words out loud.

Step 2: Use reading software. Software programs that tell short stories or animated clips with subtitles can help your infant learn new words and practice them in a specific sequence. You can find reading software at your local library for free or purchase it from a store or online.

Step 3: Play reading games online. There are dozens of websites that offer free reading lessons and interactive puzzles that can help your baby recognize sounds and words. Sit in front of the computer with your infant and work through the lessons together as you read out loud or listen to narratives.

Step 4: Join a storytelling session at your local bookstore or library. Follow along with your own copy of the book or just watch the storyteller read directly from a book and highlight different words. This highly stimulating environment can also help your infant develop important social skills.

Step 5: Use bath books. Bath time is an excellent opportunity to do something creative and encourage learning. Bath books are made with soft, waterproof materials and are relatively cheap. The short stories written with oversized words and designed in attractive colors can encourage learning and help your baby understand new words.

Step 6: Download and print reading lessons from the Web. There are hundreds of educational websites and blogs for parents that feature lesson plans and activity pages. You can download and print these to create your own library of reading activities.

Step 7: Watch “Sesame Street” and other television programs such as “Blue’s Clues.” These shows are designed to teach children to identify words, letters and symbols and develop language. Encourage your infant to watch these programs and read along or sing with the characters so that he learns new words.

Tips
Break up the day into different learning activities so your baby has time to absorb and process new information.
Reading out loud will help your infant understand and recognize new words.

Warnings
Take the time to work through each reading level so your child has a chance to master her skills before moving to the next level.
Don’t put reading and learning on “auto pilot” with television and software; play an active role in your infant’s development as often as possible.

Sabah Karimi is an experienced freelance writer who enjoys writing about lifestyle, parenting, and childhood education topics. Sabah runs a web copywriting and marketing consultancy business in Orlando, Florida.

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