Imagine this; you are in the prime of your life; you are, as the saying goes, “young, wild and free.” You cruise through life without an ounce of care in the world, and bam! You have a baby on the way.
Once your baby comes along for the ride, all notions of risk and tomfoolery get thrown out of the window. It’s time to get rid of your ‘no time for caution’ mentality and buckle up for a long ride of safety, caution, patience, and responsibility. Do not get anxious, though; it is not something you cannot handle with a little bit of information and a possible prep level.
Your little one will soon become ready to step into the outside world and take a stroll along with their mommy or daddy. Ideally, you should have a completely functional and fully equipped stroller prepared to go when it comes to that point.
(For the best prams and strollers in New Zealand, visit: https://www.baccaniprams.co.nz/)
Modern strollers often come equipped with the best safety features. They are manufactured according to international safety standards and are compelled to follow many guidelines before being made available for purchase. It’s all good, yes. But regardless of the guarantees provided by the manufacturer, you, as a parent, have a part to play in this ordeal as well.
Let’s look at a few tips on how you can handle your stroller in the safest way possible:
Check for Standard Requirements by the Manufacturer
When you purchase your stroller, you are given assurance of the standard safety requirements from the manufacturer. These standard requirements include the locking mechanism in the wheels and the seats, a proper harness, belt and safety mechanism, and the required warning labels.
Read our locked-and-loaded-the-ultimate-pram-stroller-safety-guide to learn more about standard stroller safety requirements.
With that out of the way, here are some tips on what you can do from your end to ensure your baby’s safety:
Keep Your Baby Close
It has been scientifically proven that your baby is more comfortable when you are within their range of vision. It provides them with a psychological boost and has a calming effect. This goes both ways as well. For you as a parent, it is always better to have your baby within your sight to remain as calm and as comfortable as possible. It reduces the level of anxiety on your part, and you can obviously concentrate better with the rest of your work, knowing that your baby is safe and sound.
When handling your stroller, you must place one hand on it at all times. However, it is understandable that this is not always possible. But, whenever it becomes difficult, we recommend that you exercise enough caution to place yourself at a range where you can grab the stroller or your baby in case the need arises. It can be an emergency or just the simple act of consoling your baby when they burst out in tears. Regardless of the situation, however, keep your baby close.
Exercise Caution With Toys
Giving your baby a small toy to keep them entertained is a great way to stimulate them and minimize the fuss. You may either use a small, vibrant toy or a noise-making toy to achieve this purpose.
However, you should exercise caution when handling toys because certain toys can cause a choking hazard depending on the baby’s age. Just keep on the safe side; avoid giving them any toys with removable parts or small enough to swallow.
Double Check the Harness
To ensure that your baby is safely tucked into the stroller, you should double-check that your baby’s safety harness is firmly fastened. Howsoever, if you are busy and are in a hurry, a pro tip we can give you is to listen to the click of the harness. If it clicks without an issue, you can rest assured that your baby is safely strapped in.
Park Your Stroller Safely
Be cautious where you park and leave your stroller. Do not park it in any place that may cause potential harm to your baby.
Always ensure that it is parked on a flat surface and that the stroller wheels are correctly locked. However, even though the stroller wheels might be locked, we cannot rule out the chances of the stroller tipping over or sliding if it is left on sloped terrain. Avoid leaving your stroller on such a landscape at all costs!
Apart from this, always keep your baby attended when you are not on the move.
Do Not Leave the Stroller Under the Sun
Don’t do it. Just don’t do it. As it is with rainy and windy conditions, prolonged periods under the sun can cause harm to your baby. We understand that you can’t keep moving all the time and that you need to catch a breather. However, find some shade to place your baby, even if the canopy is pulled out.
Especially during the warmer months, it is quite natural for you to head towards a park or a pool. When doing so, always use the canopy and keep your baby covered from the sun’s rays. And as we said earlier, avoid prolonged periods under the sun as it can heat the metal components of your stroller very quickly and hurt your baby’s sensitive skin.
Do Not Leave Your Baby Overnight
Do not let your little baby sleep in the stroller overnight. They might be comfortable in it, but it is unpredictable, and the chances of your baby suffocating in the stroller would increase if left unattended.
While strollers can be extremely comfortable for babies and can make for an excellent short-term bed for supervised naps, they are absolutely not meant for a whole night’s sleep. They are probably not as comfortable as an actual crib/cot or toddler bed, and there is also the risk of your baby falling out or the stroller tipping over from the baby shifting too much.
Always put the baby in a proper bed for a full night’s sleep.
There should be a warning sign on this fact on the label of your stroller.
Do Not Fold Your Stroller Near Your Baby
Your baby is curious, and it’s beautiful. However, their curiosity does come with some cons if left unattended. When your little one becomes curious and fiddle around the stroller, it may damage their fingers. Make sure that the stroller is folded securely and is kept far away from your baby. The more unreachable it is, the better.
Place Your Bags Accordingly
You have to make sure that you keep all the bags in the compartment designed explicitly for that purpose below the seat bottom. It is convenient to hang your purse or small bag around the handles of your stroller. However, do not do this as it increases tipping risk and creates an inconvenience in maneuverability. Keep them in the storage space provided below the stroller, and you can mitigate any risk associated with it.
Maintain Your Stroller Regularly
Wear and tear are as dangerous as they come. You always have to ensure that your stroller is in tip-top condition to guarantee your baby’s safety. Read our article on pram and stroller maintenance here.
Pro Tip: When the grip of your handle starts to wear off, the best thing that you can do at home is to use tennis racket grip tape to wrap around your handles when the material begins wearing off. The tape is made for people to have a good, comfortable grip, and it comes in a variety of colours.
Pay Attention To Recalls
Return the stroller warranty card so that you will be duly notified in case of a recall. If you’re considering buying a used stroller, check that the stroller hasn’t been recalled.
In conclusion, the safety of your baby lies in the hand of two parties: yourself and the manufacturer. Purchasing the best stroller possible is vital and playing your part in ensuring your baby’s safety follows in a parallel motion right next to it.
You can visit our website to purchase the highest quality strollers and prams in New Zealand. If you’re a reader from overseas, follow our blog and immerse yourself in previous articles we have published to learn all about making the proper purchase for your growing family.
With that note, let us bid your adieu. Do go through these instructions again, and do not shy away from doing a bit of additional research on your own. It’s the 21st century, and Google is your friend. To you and your bub, hope you are well. Good luck and stay safe!
Ahhh, the magical period where your baby’s ‘coos’ and ‘goo-gahs’ turn into words that make sense. As your baby’s vocabulary takes form, you may have spent many a sleepless night trying to be the first person to hear their precious first words. Is it ‘mama’? or is it ‘dada’? Parenting is not a competition, but hey! What’s life without a few bragging rights?
Before your baby begins to talk, they start absorbing vocabulary words and conversation skills. This happens way before they start uttering their first words. They are highly observant, mind you. So it is pretty important to create a conducive environment for your toddler to grasp things fast and to equip them with the verbal skills they require in conversation as early as possible.
But how can we do that, you ask?
Well, first, let us give you some expert tips on the matter. Afterward, the ball will be in your ballpark, do with it as you will.
Step 1: Understanding Child Language Acquisition
Being a widely accepted theory in the field of linguistics, Child Language Acquisition examines the inherent ability that a child possesses in acquiring a specific language.
The theory has proven that all healthy children acquire language quickly and easily without a load of effort or the use of formal teaching methods. It happens automatically and does not depend on whether their parents make an active effort to teach them the language or not. They are born equipped with this evolutionary ability to acquire language.
The first 36 months of your child’s life is generally considered to be the crucial period of language acquisition. You may wonder how these 36 months could be broken down. Simple, a list! We love lists here at Baccani.
So here are the six stages into which your baby’s language learning adventures could be broken down:
- Pre-talking stage / Cooing (0-6 months)
- Babbling stage (6-8 months)
- Holophrastic stage (9-18 months)
- The two-word stage (18-24 months)
- Telegraphic stage (24-30 months)
- Later multiword stage (30+months)
That’s child language acquisition, in a nutshell.
Wait, so does this mean that a parent should sit around and do nothing while their child goes about their business mastering a language?
Step 2: Creating A Conducive Environment
Although the initial stages of your child’s language acquisition do not require formal teaching by their parents or caretakers, you do have an important role to play in this regard. You should know that a child who is never spoken to would never acquire language. You should engage and talk with your baby directly. In the initial stages, if the baby is not paid enough direct attention in this regard, they will fail to develop their conversational abilities.
It has been proven that children under the age of 2, who are regularly exposed to television and radio but are not directly involved in communicating with the adults in their vicinity, fail to learn how to speak. As they are genetically programmed to acquire language through direct language communication with adults.
Children are programmed to learn language through interaction. They interact not only with their parents but other adults and also with other children. All healthy children, growing up in a typical household and surrounded by frequent conversation, will acquire the language that is constantly being used around them.
Miraculously, children are also equipped to acquire two or more languages simultaneously as long as they have regular interactions with speakers of those languages. This is extremely difficult for an adult to do, but hey! That’s why we say that children are indeed a miracle.
Step 3: Teaching Your Baby How To Converse
Before they can start speaking fluently, your baby should learn how conversation works. Here are some tips that you can try with your little ones to improve their grasp of conversation.
- Pause – Be mindful of pausing when you speak to your baby. Leave little gaps in the middle of your sentences when you want them to respond or when they attempt to talk back to you.
- Copy – Once your little one starts making sounds, encourage them to keep doing that by repeating their sound and making similar sounds. This is a suitable method of providing positive reinforcement for your baby early on and helps them understand the basic concepts of conversation.
- Tonality – Remember that your tone is important. You should be mindful to adjust your vocal tone depending on the nature of the conversation. Speak with emphasis on important words, and adjust your volume depending on the topic.
(Speak louder on an exciting topic, use a soft tone when describing something scary and so on)
Step 4: Building Your Child’s Vocabulary
Until your baby reaches a certain age, their vocabulary will be limited to a small number of words. Their vocabulary will expand through the years, and you have to be patient with them. Well, to be honest, you don’t need to practice patience because your child learning how to talk would be one of the cutest and most exciting things in the world.
However, you have to remember that each child is different, and their vocabulary develops at a different pace. Just because the neighbourhood kid started talking earlier, do not worry. Allow your baby to take it at their own pace and comfort. Also, what you can do is support your baby to develop an expansive vocabulary that covers a wide range of expression and conversation.
Here are a few things that you as a parent can do:
- Read With Your Baby – One of the best methods to develop vocabulary is reading together with your child. Picture books are a great way to start. The concept of a picture book is based on labelling. Labelling each picture to its meaning will result in vocabulary growth. It is easier for a toddler to recognize familiar things like body parts, nature words, and animals. Reading together would also contribute to the development of your baby’s curiosity and inquisitiveness.
- Do Not Hesitate To Use Big Words – Respect your baby’s intelligence. Plain and simple. Some parents share the attitude that they should only use small words that their baby can understand. And our thoughts on that? No, just no. Don’t do it. Remember that every word is a new word to them. ‘Dumbing down’ your vocabulary would only hinder their growth. Instead, encourage your little one to ask for the meaning of words that they do not understand. When they are a bit older, you can do a fun exercise where you ask your child to use the new word they learned later in a sentence.
- Play Cognitive Games – Playing games like treasure hunts, Name the Thing, Simon Says aid in language development, social and emotional development, and cognitive development. They will specifically learn how to follow instructions and be familiar with preposition words.
- Play Pretend With Toys – Setting up imaginary tea parties with your toddler’s toys is a great way to get them started on having conversations. Encourage them to ask questions from their toys, and you can answer on behalf of them. Make up an effective back-and-forth exchange to get the maximum benefit from this activity.
- Sing Songs & Nursery Rhymes – It is scientifically proven that rhythm aids in memory. Allowing your toddler to learn words to a rhythm will help them remember new words and expand their vocabulary. Take the time to sing songs together with your child, and as a fun side-game, make up catchy songs about whatever you are doing at the moment.
- Build On Your Child’s Utterances – Whenever your baby utters a word, a small phrase, or maybe even an incoherent sentence, encourage them by adding on to what they already said. If your toddler says something like: ‘That’s a dog,’ add on something like, ‘Yes kiddo, that’s a fluffy, playful dog.’
- Explore, Explore, Explore – We can’t stress this enough. Your baby is the ultimate bundle of curiosity. Do whatever it takes to satisfy their natural curiosity and inquisitiveness. Take road trips, vacations, walks in the neighbourhood, or anything else that would get your toddler out in the world and expose them to language as much as possible. Always try to maintain a conversation with them while you are out. Ask them about what they can see and how they feel in a specific moment.
- Positive Reinforcement Is Key – Do not be overly critical of your baby and avoid correcting their mistakes as much as possible. It’s natural for them to make plenty of mistakes during the first couple of years, especially when it comes to grammar. The plurals, passive voice use, and the proper use of the past tense will come later; for now, just encourage them for trying and be patient.
A Closing Note: As soon as your toddler starts responding to you regularly, try to keep it up for around 10 minutes of back and forth between you. As we mentioned earlier, each baby reaches a conversational level at their own pace. However, suppose your baby hasn’t started babbling or speaking at least a few words by the time they are 18 months old. In that case, you should consult your paediatrician about it. It is natural for some kids to start talking pretty late, but speech therapy and doctor’s advice would help speed up the process.
Are you working from home with a baby by your side? You must be wondering about balancing your child’s needs against your own. A baby comes strapped in with a massive load of responsibilities. Balancing work and your child is one of the significant challenges a parent faces. It is challenging, but it is not impossible. Let us walk you through some expert tips on keeping your children entertained while bringing maximum productivity to your work.
The most important part is to create a rough schedule so that you can plan ahead of time. Ensure that you have all the supplies needed to plan fun activities with your baby. Having a plan would also allow you to prepare for any hiccups along the way and have a few contingencies ready. Thus, helping you to be more flexible with your time. Working with infants under the age of 36 months would mean that you will have to work in smaller stints and shorter bursts. However, with a toddler, your schedule can remain more stable. It may sound like a grueling task. But do not be discouraged, we have your back, and you’ve got this!
First, let’s tackle being productive while caring for an infant under 3 years of age.
Tip 1: Stick to your schedule
Try to stick to the plan as much as possible. At least ticking off your most critical tasks is a plus!
Tip 2: Take advantage of your baby’s nap time.
Schedule your most important tasks and do them during this time. Most infants tend to have a predictable napping pattern, so take advantage of that. You can also schedule tasks before they wake up or after they sleep, depending on your job’s flexibility.
Tip 3: Squeeze in a bit of work during their playtime
You can get a bit of work done while your baby is occupied with playtime. However, do not engage in tasks that require unwavering focus, as you would have to give attention to your child when needed.
Tip 4: Split the load
If you and your partner are at home together, you can take turns in splitting between your baby duties and work. Take shifts and ease the process.
Tip 5: Use your breastfeeding time
You can multitask while breastfeeding your child. If you pump milk, settle for a hands-free pump so that you can continue working with minimal hassle.
Tip 6: Work in your professional attire
Dressing for work would provide you with a psychological edge to make you feel at work, increasing productivity. Then switch to your regular clothes during your downtime and create this differentiation effectively. But if you need the comfort of your leggings at home, we are not blaming you! Your comfort is an essential part.
Tip 7: Weekends are a blessing in disguise
Use your work-free weekends to prep for the upcoming week. Have some meals prepared in advance, research baby activities, research parenting tips, plan your next week. Do whatever you can to take pressure off of your working days.
Tip 8: Minimize distractions
You already have enough on your plate. Make sure to prioritize the essential tasks of your life and cut off all distractions. Use digital wellbeing options on your phones and limit wasting time on meaningless activities. Use all the extra time you get to relax instead.
Tip 9: Take time for yourself and be realistic
Your mental and physical wellbeing is equally as important as your baby’s. Take a nap once in a while when your kids are asleep. Watch a movie, pamper yourself, exercise, and do anything that would help your wellbeing. Be flexible and creative with your hours, and do not beat yourself up if you can’t do a perfect job. We are, after all, human, and it’s OK to mess up once in a while. The important part is to learn from our experiences and do a better job next time.
Let us break down specific work-at-home tips to follow when dealing with a newborn, an older baby, and a toddler.
Work-At-Home Tips – Newborn Baby
A newborn is likely to sleep throughout the day in roughly three to four-hour stretches. A baby will typically need feeding and cleaning throughout the day, so be prepared to wake up several times during the night! You can, however, get a solid amount of work done while your baby naps.
To always pay attention to your child and be closer to them while you work, you can wear your newborn on a baby carrier, a sling, or wrap. A bassinet can be extremely helpful in these situations. You can quickly move it around to wherever you want your baby to be. You can also move their crib according to your convenience. Of course, a baby needs to be around their parents as much as possible. However, keep in mind that they should only be placed in their crib or bassinet for the baby’s safety during their naptimes.
Work-At-Home Tips – Older Baby
Older babies start demanding more attention from you. To keep a round-the-clock eye on them while you work, place some toys, a play mat, or a playpen near you. You could also use a baby swing, bouncer, or glider if your baby enjoys them as well. These will keep the babies more occupied and give you a calmer atmosphere to concentrate.
An older baby typically has two naps per day. You can use this time for your work as well.
Work-At-Home Tips – Toddler
Working at home with a toddler around comes with its fair share of pros and cons. For example, while they can typically keep themselves occupied, a toddler might demand more attention from their parents than a younger baby would.
You should divide your time between providing attention and urging them to be independent. Be firm when your toddler demands attention unnecessarily and direct them towards their playthings. Use your phone or a similar timer to provide them with an auditory cue that lets your baby know their parent is about to spend time with them. Reassure them that when the timer goes off, they will have your complete and undivided attention. Use this time to engage in something productive with them, such as reading their favorite book together. Your toddler must learn how to stave off boredom by themselves.
To support their solo play, create a safe space for your toddler and childproof the house. This allows them to freely move about with you having to worry less about their safety.
You can also establish a workstation for your toddler at the other end of your table or near you. Where they too can engage in some productive work. You can use this method to work together and make them feel like a big kid. Doing so would lay the roots for self-pride and work ethic in their psyche. Work for a specific amount of time and take a break together.
Tips to Deal with Fights, Tantrums, and Unwanted Behaviour.
When you work at home with a toddler or have a couple more children together, you would encounter several issues that would make working at home quite challenging. From sibling squabbles to temper tantrums, here are some tips to keep unwanted behavioral patterns to a minimum.
Tip 1: Balance the demands
Do not give in to every demand your child makes. Instead, say ‘no’ where possible. Use your intuition to decide on the demands you need to fulfill or ignore. When you deny their requests, try to provide an alternative if and when it is possible.
Tip 2: Notice and reward good behavior
When your child behaves the way you expect them to or does something that was difficult previously, reward them with praise. This tactic would lay the roots of establishing confidence in your child and boost their self-esteem.
Tip 3: Use Countdowns
When you want your child to know that something fun is about to end, do not let them know at the exact time you want them to stop doing it. Instead of saying something like ‘playtime is over,’ tell them that they have 20 minutes left and continue a countdown from thereon. This would accustom them to accept the situation slowly without being forced to adjust to it abruptly.
Tip 4: Let them win occasionally
Even if your child’s demands aren’t ideal, let them have a win once in a while if the wants are not unreasonable. This would minimize the tension between you and your child, plus it would allow you to conserve energy battling over everything.
Tip 5: Giggles over tantrums
Say your child is on the verge of a meltdown, try to deviate their attention by doing something silly or comedic to get a laugh out of them.
Tip 6: Provide options
Children tend to be more agreeable to the situation when given a choice. So, for example, if your child refuses to eat breakfast, ask them which cereal they prefer. Limit your options to just two, and hey, they will learn to live with the results.
Tip 7: Sharing is caring
To minimize sibling squabbles, try to find two things they both enjoy (e.g., Toys) and allow them to play with them for a short time. Follow this by making them trade the object or the activity. This would lay the first steps of learning how to share, which is a challenge for most children.