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Growth & Development



Baby Bill of Rights

Talk to Me:
Sing, hum, babble or even read me the funnies! I may not understand your word, but I need you to talk to me. I know what you mean, even thought I don’t’ know the words. Your voice tomes can mean “I love you” or that you are upset with me. If you don’t communicate with me how can I learn? I learn for you! You are my most important teacher!

Hold Me:
Everything is so big and new to me. I’m still trying to figure out where I am and how I am, and sometimes I even get scared. When you hold me, I feel better, your warmth warms me. Your breath and heartbeat make me feel like I belong here and belong to you.

Answer My Cry:
I don’t cry to make you mad or upset. I cry because that is the only way I know how to tell you what I want and need. Maybe I am hungry, scared, lonely, wet or want to play. Please answer my cries! Soon you’ll learn what each cry means and what I want. You can’t spoil me. Answering my cries will help me to be a better baby. And when I am happy, you’ll be happy too!

Love Me:
Love me for who I am. Don’t expect me to do what I can’t, like waking right away. I will learn to do everything in time. I know that sometimes I am mess, but I am growing and learning. You are the most important person in my world. I can’t make it without you. So get to know me, have fun with me, and most of all LOVE me.

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What characteristics would you like your child to develop?
What kind of person would you like your child to be? Think about the following list and choose the characteristics that you hope to develop in your child, and what you can do to help him become that person. Not everyone has the same goals for their children.

* Capable of standing up for him/herself
* Good problem solver
* High self-esteem
*Good student
*Physically coordinated
*Follows rules
*Cares about others
*Near or tidy
*A leader
*Liked by others
*Quiet or reserved
*A follower
*Verbal or talkative
*Manages stress well
*Enjoys learning  

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Growing Empathic Parents and Compassionate Children.

You parent with empathy when you:

* Ask yourself what your child is experiencing

* Put her feelings into words, use 2-3 word phrases, and repeat them 5-10 times. Also when you mirror or copy the intensity of your child’s feelings. Let him know you understand he is upset and that you are there to help him. Let him know he is doing a good job. Praise him for all he does.

* Do something to help support him. Example: smile, hold him, clap, remove him from a stressful situation, hug her, mike him comfortable by making sure his diaper is changed, he is fed, that he warm, etc, take him for a walk, hold her hand, assure her that it will be okay, ask the other person to stop what they are doing, apologize, tell her everyone makes mistakes, kiss him, rub her back, tell him what a good job he is doing and how proud you are of him, jump up and down with excitement.


For parents empathy means letting the child know and feel that you understand what she is experiencing or feeling. It means you can depended on to share in her joy and excitement, making him feel secure and protected and help her manage her strong emotions such as anger, jealousy and frustration in appropriate ways.

* Toddlers have fewer temper tantrums

* Children and parents develop “feeling word vocabularies”

* Young children are able to pay attention and learn in school

* Children will not bully

* Children develop good coping skills

* Children and parents are more sensitive to the feelings of others

* Parents feel more competent

* Discipline is easier for parents

* Children grow up with good self-esteem

* Children are respectful

* Children will manage stress well when they are teens/ adults

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Introducing Limits and Redirection

What can you do to set limits and redirect your toddler?

Practice E-parenting (found in general section of our site).

Encourage him to play alone 5-10 minutes while you are dong chores. If he fusses, calm him with your voice. Say something like; I know you are upset. Daddy wants you to play with your toys for a few minutes. Or even “I know, you can wait and I will be there in a few minutes.

Begin to teach him that he can get some things he wants for himself (a toy, blanket, etc)

Give him several minutes to calm him self and to put himself back to sleep when he wakes up during the night.

Remove unsafe objects form your home in order to reduce the number of times you need to say “NO” during the day. Crate a safe play area for her to explore

Teach your baby the meaning of “NO”, do not change your mind and give your baby what he wants because you don’t want to hear him fuss.

When you set a limit, get at your baby’s level and firmly say “NO” or use another warning word such as stop, hot, yucky. Next remove her and distract or redirect her to another activity

Limit how often you say no. if you say no too often, your baby will not understand its meaning.

Continue to spend a lot of time loving and playing with your baby.

Take care of his important needs quickly

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Time Management:

What’s a parent to do?
*As a family, decide what things are important to do and things you will let go of. Make a family value chart to determine your priorities. (general/what I would like for my child)
*Make baby care (bathing, diapering, feeding, play time) a family affair
*Get up 30 minutes to 1 hour before baby wakes to take care of your own needs
*Learn to prepare quick, nutritious meals
*Make a list and grocery shop weekly
*Share responsibility for meal preparation
*Put the baby down for naps at the same time everyday. If you have other young children, have them all nap at the same time
*Bathe the baby at the same time everyday
*Use basic baby care times as play time

*When you are doing chores, put your baby close enough to see and hear you. Watching you and talking with you can be her entertainment.

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Recharging your parenting battery

Here are some ways that have worked with other parents to recharge their batteries.

Each night before you go to sleep, review in your mind (or write in a journal) a few things that you feel proud of regarding how you parented that day.

Daily tell your parenting partner “thank you” and genuinely show your appreciation for something he/she has done.

Ask family and friends to help. Accept the help and thank them for it

Figure out what household and personal shores are practical for you/your partner to do and forget about doing the rest for now.

Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Catch up on the weekends when you come up short.

Eat healthy foods, get fresh air and exercise

Identify 2 things you rally enjoy about parenting. Make time to do them every day.

Once a month, take 2-3 hours just for your and your partner

Whenever possible, share in doing family chores.

Spend more time with the people you value and appreciate. Avoid people that pull down.

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Character under Construction:

Birth-8 months

Your main job is to teach your baby to trust by helping your baby feel safe and valued.
What parents can do for their babies:
* Respond quickly to your baby’s needs and wants by paying attention to her cures and signals
* Hold and touch in ways that make your baby feel safe and loved. Do or say things that let your baby know you understand what she is experiencing
* Position your baby so that he can see your face and make eye contact with you
* Bring her interesting things to interact with as you play with ad that to her.
* Talk to him; tell him what he is seeing, hearing, doing and feeling
* Take your baby to see and experience new and interesting things
* Enjoy tummy time together on the floor
* Avoid over stimulation with loud voices, activities and music, tickling, bright lights or rough play

What are the payoffs for parents and children when parents help their children feel safe and secure, curious and capable, and valued?

* Children are able to learn because they feel safe and secure
* Children do better in school because they are curious and self-confident
* Children do better in team sports because they are secure, know how to get along with others and have a strong self-identity
* Parenting is easier because parents understand the needs of their children and how to respond to them
* Discipline is less challenging because children are better able to manage their feelings
* Children develop an ability to manage stress in healthy ways
* Children do better in school because thy are comfortable with routines
* Parents are less apt to “spoil” their children because they understand their needs and how to respond to them
* Children experience healthier brain development
* Children have fewer fears because they feel secure and safe
* When they become teenager and adults, children will have healthier personal boundaries
* Children are more capable of being self-reliant

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Head to Toe: The course of Development

Your baby’s physical development is directly related to your baby’s brain development. Just like brain development, his physical development will follow a preset order.

*All babies develop at different rates, but always in the same order.
*Some babies are crawling at 6 months, others at 9 months
*Some babies are walking at 10 months, others at 14 months
All of this normal 


Notice in the following that development will start at the head and work down.
Follows with eyes
Holds up neck
Rolls over
Sits up

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Bigger Brain = Better Functioning Brain

A Baby’s early environment and care can increase or decrease, the number of connections in the brain by 25%

What your baby needs most to enhance his brain growth and development is:
*Lots of loving care
*Nurturing touch and tactile stimulation
*Physical closeness
*Prompt, sensitive responses when he is upset
*Play that produces feelings of pleasure
*Good nutrition and health care
*Being talked to
*Limited exposure to stressful situations
*Play that stimulates curiosity and learning
*People who share the joy of her accomplishments

Nurturing Care + Good Stimulation = Better Brain Development



These are 5 basic areas of infant learning:

Cause and Effect- when I do this (hit this toy) it makes something else happen (play music)

Patterns, categories and sequencing- I am figuring out how things fit together and how they work.

Understanding space- I am learning about shapes, sizes and how things move- wow I can crawl under that chair, these toys will fit in this box but not that one…

Object permanence- I still know it’s there even though I can’t see it

Use of tools- this helps me get what I want


What can you expect? No baby will develop at the same rate. Some may do things before or after the time listed below.  
2 months –smiles, follows with eyes, and neck is getting stronger
3 months- holds head up
4 months- reaches for objects and people, and begins to use hands
5 months- rolls over
6 months-sits up with help as neck, shoulders, and back are getting stronger
8 months-sits up and is creeping or crawling uses fingers, not just entire hand
11 months- stands while holding onto objects, walks with support
12-14 months- walks and picks up tiny objects

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What babies can/will learn to do 4-6 months

The best thing you can do to help your baby learn many of these things is to spend a lot of time playing with him on the floor.

When on tummy, holds head up and puts head down without it dropping

When on tummy, moves upper body in a circle

Rolls from tummy to back

Rolls from back to side

Hit/kicks at objects with hands and feet

Holds head up when being held in sitting position

Sits with slight support on lap

Sits briefly (a few seconds) on the floor, leaning on hands

Reaches for and grasps people and toys

Follows objects and voices with eyes

Drops objects and picks them up

Bangs objects on table or floor

Begins to move toys form one hand to the other

Chews and sucks on objects

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Social and Emotional Development 4-6 months

At the age a baby:
Smiles at family members
Likes to look at you when you talk, and seems to be listening
Lets you know when she is hungry and feels discomfort
Enjoys watching people, especially children
When upset, attempts to calm him self by sucking his thumb, fists or fingers
Likes to play
Enjoys being held in a sitting position
Likes to look at new things
Begins to understand object permanence (remembering when she cannot see something, it is still there)
May begin to be fearful of strangers

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What Babies Can/Will learn to do at 7-9 months

*Plays 2-3 minutes with a single toy
*Slides toys around on a hard surface
*Reaches for, grasps, drops and picks up things
*Holds 2 objects and reaches for a third
*Reaches for and moves objects from one hand to another
*Clasps things and hands together
*Sits without support for 10 minutes
*Sits leaning on his hands
*Rolls form back to tummy, getting both arms out from under her
*Gets up on hands and knees into the crawling position
*Picks up things with thumb and fingers moving his hand like a rake

*Holds both of his hands, supports his own weight while standing

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last updated 07/14/09