Encourage the child making sounds such as ‘da’ ‘ba’ ‘ma’
Maintain eye contact with the child, imitate their sounds, laughter and facial expressions
Talk to the child during feeding, bathing and dressing. Tell the child what you are doing, where you going and who you will see.
Teach your child to imitate your actions such as waving bye, blowing kisses and when playing games for example, peek a boo or itsy-bitsy-spider.
Introduce animal sounds
Read to the child
Name the colours
2 to 4 years
Use clear and simple speech
Repeat what your child said indicating you understood. Expand on what they said.
Sing simple songs and read nursery rhymes and books
Make a scrapbook of favourite and familiar things by cutting out pictures. Group them into categories, such as things to ride on, things to eat, things for dessert, fruits, things to play with. Count items pictured in the book.
Ask your child questions such as ‘are you a boy?’ ‘what colour is the grass’
Expands the child’s vocabulary. Name body parts, fruits, vegetable etc
4 to 6 years
Give your full attention when the child is speaking
Ensure the child has your attention before you speak
Acknowledge and praise the attempts to speak
Continue to expand their vocabulary and use the word in a simple context
Take advantage of daily activities. For example, while in the kitchen, encourage your child to name the utensils needed. Discuss the foods on the menu, their colour, texture, and taste. Which foods do you like? Which do you dislike? Who will clean up?
Newborns sleep between 9-18 hours per day with an average of 14.5 hours sleep.
Infants (2-12 months) sleep 12-13 hours including about 3 hours of naps during the day.
Toddlers (1-3 years) sleep 11-13 hours per day including naps but by 18 months most toddlers have one nap of 1-3 hours per day.
Pre-school children (3-5 years) sleep 11-12 hours per day. Most stop taking naps between 3-5 years.
A recent large study looking at sleep in Irish children found that substantial proportions of mothers report children’s sleep patterns are at least a small problem for them (30% in infancy; 22% at 3 years and 12% at five years). This study highlights the need for parents to have information on how to develop positive sleep patterns.
Most sleep problems involve children having difficulty getting to sleep or difficulty staying asleep. The most common type of sleep problem is a sleep association which requires physical contact from a parent or feeding during the night.
This is the phrase used to provide an environment conducive to sleep. This will make it easier for the child to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Babies by 3-4 months of age begin to settle in to a bedtime routine. You can help this by:
Making a clear difference between day and night.
When at home always put the baby to sleep in the same place
Put the baby in to the cot drowsy but awake
Avoid feeding or rocking the baby to sleep
Ensure that your baby is not hungry going to bed
The following are ways to promote satisfactory sleep in all ages (Stores 2009; p.27)
Sleeping Environment conducive to sleep
Correct Temperature (ideally between16-20 C)
Darkened quiet room (the sleepy hormone melatonin is produced in the dark. Children with sensory issues can be sensitive to noise.)
Non-stimulating (not too many toys or gadgets. The bedroom should be restful)
No negative associations (punishment)
Consistent bedtime & wakening time (even on weekends)
Going to bed only when tired
Falling asleep without parents
Regular daily exercise & exposure to daylight
Too much time awake in bed
Overexcitement before bed or using the bedroom as a place for entertainment
Excessive late napping during the day (no naps after 3.30pm after 9 months of age)
Late evening exercise.
Caffeine containing drinks
Setting limits at bedtime
It is natural for children to test boundaries and many children do this at bedtime. Some children resist going to bed whilst others go to bed but get up repeatedly. Children are most likely to test limits between 3-6 years.
As a parent you need to set clear limits and boundaries at bedtime, even if your child objects. Here’s how you can make this easier.
Have consistent limits at bedtime. If you say two stories then stick to this! Ensure that your child has had supper, a drink and been to the toilet to avoid requests for this after you have settled them.
Don’t put your child to bed too early! If they are taking a long time to fall asleep then they may be in bed too early. A child should fall asleep within 30 minutes of going to bed. You may need to make bedtime later for a while until they can do this then gradually bring bedtime back by 15 minutes a night to the bedtime you want.
Have a consistent bedtime routine, done in the same way each night, they learn to know what to expect.
If your child gets out of bed or comes in to your room then return them to their own bed. Reward your child for staying in their own bed. Use a reward chart and have a “bigger” reward if they get 3 stickers on their chart. The “bigger” reward could be an activity like a trip to the park.
The key to success is consistency! Keep going even if you meet resistance initially, it will get better!
Night wakenings are one of the most common problems parents report and are mostly seen in babies and toddlers.
To understand night wakenings it is important to realize that we all waken briefly during the night. There are two different types of sleep. Deep sleep (called non rapid eye movement sleep) and the lighter stages of sleep (called rapid eye movement sleep). We all have sleep cycles during the night were we transition between deep and light sleep.
For small children they typically fall in to a deep sleep within 5 minutes of going to sleep. This first sleep cycle lasts about 3-4 hours and is mostly deep sleep. As the child transitions to lighter sleep they stir and move around and may open their eyes. If everything is the same as when they first went to sleep they will fall asleep again quickly. However if there is something missing then the child will try to recreate the conditions they had to initially fall asleep.
In order to avoid night wakenings the child needs to learn to fall asleep in his own bed without props or a parent present. Common props or sleep associations are physical contact from a parent; rocking or feeding.
You can help your child sleep well by:
Establishing a good bedtime routine done in the same way each night at around the same time.
Encourage the use of blankets/teddies which can help the child feel secure when the parent is not present. (Avoid toys with music or lights).
Ensure the bedroom is dark and quiet.
Put the child to bed drowsy but awake (they should wake up where they went to sleep).
If you usually hold your child or rub their back then sit beside the cot/bed to let them know you are there without the physical contact (if they have contact falling asleep they usually need it to get back to sleep during the night).
Your local Public health Nurse can provide more information and support relating to behavioural sleep difficulties if you need it.
Mindell JA & Owens JA (2015) A Clinical Guide to PediatricSleep: Diagnosis and Management of Sleep Problems, 3nd edition.
Hanafin S. Sleep patterns and problems in infants and young children in Ireland. Child Care Health Dev. 2017: 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1111/cch.12539
Need legal information for a child, young person or family you are working with?
Starting this Wednesday the Children’s Rights Alliance is commencing the first phase of the Access to Justice Initiative and establishing an information line for children, young people and their families or people who are working with them to access legal information.
Our new information line is open Tuesday 10am -2pm and Wednesday 3pm -7pm.
You can call us on 01 9020494 or if you prefer to email: email@example.com
We provide basic legal information for free and would be glad to help!
For more information on this contact Julie Ahern our Access to Justice Manager by email Julie@childrensrights.ie.
Watch this space for our next exciting announcement from the Access to Justice Initiative over the coming weeks!
Anam Cara, the all-Ireland organisation providing support services to bereaved parents and families, is hosting a Bereavement Information Evening in Donegal Town. This event gives parents an opportunity to hear an experienced bereavement professional talk about the many challenges their family may face after the death of a son or daughter.
Please note this event is open to all bereaved parents, regardless of the age of their child or the circumstances of their death.
If you have attended a previous Bereavement Information Evening, we would encourage you to come again because each time you will hear something that will help you along the difficult and challenging journey of grief. There will also be time after the talk to interact with other bereaved parents.
Details for the upcoming Bereavement Talk on Tuesday 20th March:
Guest Speaker: Peter McCartan
Peter is a Professional qualified Senior Medical Social Worker and Registered Systemic Family Therapist.
This talk will cover:
The complex issues grieving parents must face when they have experienced the death of their child, highlighting what is normal in this process.
The gender differences in facing such a loss will be explored to give an understanding for both parents of their differing worldviews.
It will highlight the milestones on the journey through this unique grief and the small supports that can make the journey a little easier.
Various types of loss, whether expected or sudden, will also be discussed to understand their impact on grieving parents, their families and the deceased child’s siblings.
Anam Cara provides a range of support services for bereaved parents which include a comprehensive website with links to resources including videos and information booklets compiled by bereaved parents. See https://anamcara.ie/ or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or our information line on 085 2888 888.
Along with bereavement information evenings, Anam Cara runs monthly parent evenings which give parents an opportunity to meet with other parents in a safe and comfortable place over a cup of tea or coffee. Throughout the year Anam Cara also hosts a variety of social and remembrance helping to bring families together.
Recognising that some parents may prefer not to talk openly about their loss. Anam Cara would like to reassure parents there is no pressure for them to contribute and they are welcome to listen to how other Mums and Dads have coped through the intense grief and sense of loss.
This information evening, like all Anam Cara events, is provided free of charge to parents.
Anam Cara will need to confirm numbers for this event. We would appreciate if you could RSVP to email@example.com before Monday 19th March 2018 or contact us on 01 4045378 – 0879637790. This event is funded by Tusla.
Eve Curran, Community Banker for Ulster Bank will be hosting this special event in St Shanaghan House, 11.30-1pm Wednesday 21st March 2018. This event is open to everyone. You do not have to be an Ulster Bank customer.
Presentation talk on how to spot fraud/scams
Supports in banking safely and securely
Helping you and your family in the best way to maintain financial independence.
Eve and her colleague Denise Cusack (Ulster Bank’s specialist Community Protection Officer) will be on hand to answer any individual questions or offer one to one support
Light refreshments will be served
WE LOOK FORWARD TO WELCOMING YOU, PLEASE SHARE THIS INFORMATION AND BRING ALONG ANYONE YOU FEEL WOULD BENEFIT FROM THIS SUPPORT!
Eve can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org or 087 1926529.
Jigsaw Donegal will be presenting an evening on Supporting Young People’s Mental Health in the Community Room at the Church of the Irish Martyrs, Ballyraine, Letterkenny on Tuesday 20th March 7.30 – 9pm. Everyone is welcome to this free event.
For more information on Jigsaw just click the link:- https://www.jigsaw.ie/jigsaw_donegal/
Are you the parent of a teenager aged 11 – 16? Would you like the opportunity to be involved in a parenting course which would help you to communicate with each other positively and effectively, build your teenagers’ confidence and self-esteem, negotiate rules and boundaries, manage conflict, teach your teen about responsibility and develop skills around positive discipline? Here is your chance:-
You can book on line here https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ParentsPlusBookingForm
You can also request a booking form by phoning 087 1736667 or emailing email@example.com Places are limited so book yours early.
The course is free to attend, with just a €10 charge for the very useful Parent’s Manual.
Have you children aged between 6 and 11 years? Would you like the opportunity to be involved in a parenting programme which would help you to build your child’s confidence, encourage their learning, establish rules and boundaries and help your child to keep them, manage misbehaviour and encourage positive behaviour? Termon National School have very kindly offered us space to run the programme which is open to all families – those in the school and those happy to travel to Termon. So here is your chance:-