Living is learning – useful tips for parents of 0-2 year olds

Help My Kid Learn http://helpmykidlearn.ie/ is a great website full of lots of information, tips and resources to help you help your child learn. Our children are learning about the world from the moment they are born. We are already doing so much to help them understand and to develop the building blocks for language, reading, writing and understanding numbers.

Building it into your day

The first three years provide a great opportunity for learning. Babies and toddlers need stimulation to help make the most of this time and make learning possible. The best way to do this is to talk to them from the moment they are born – in your home when they’re beside you or out and about, just talk, listen and respond to your baby as much as possible. Play, sing and encourage them as much as possible – have fun together. Read aloud or tell stories – all these natural activities will help to build the foundation for your child to learn more.

Ages and Stages

Babies and children learn differently and reach the important stages of learning in different ways and at different times. In each age group we talk about some of the learning stages to look out for and how you can help your baby and your children to learn. We give possible ages when children reach certain stages of learning but often these ages don’t quite fit and the stages happen at other ages – earlier or later. So it’s important not to feel there is a problem if your friend’s child is doing things differently than your child.

Top tips

1. Talk to your baby about what you are doing, where you are going and what you see. Your baby will learn to talk by hearing other people talking. Sing or say nursery rhymes to your baby and sing as much as possible. Your baby will love the sound of your voice. Examples are “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star” and ones with actions like “I’m a little teapot”. Later when your child uses a word, add another one, for example when they say “cat”, say “nice cat”.

2. Play with your baby – newborns love physical play, gently tickle their face or count their fingers and toes. Repeat sounds your baby makes. Listen and point out to your baby sounds that are around you.

3. Read – share stories and books at an early age. Spend time with your baby looking at books, 5 or 10 minutes a day can make a difference.

4. Move, reach and grasp – encourage your baby to reach for things – mirror toys or bubbles – it’s these movements that help build the muscles that lead to scribbles that will help with writing later on. When your child is concentrating by themselves and once you know they are safe, allow them to explore by themselves.

5. Count with your baby. Count their fingers and toes and going up and downstairs.

For lots of information, tips, resources and videos click the link http://www.helpmykidlearn.ie/activities/0-2

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Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.

 

The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books (www.mychild.ie/books) and also on www.MyChild.ie  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.

 

In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  

 

Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  

 

In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the www.mychild.ie website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at www.mychild.ie

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from healthy.childhood@hse.ie

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