The Importance of Nurturing Your Baby’s Amazing Brain

Did you know, that when a baby is born, his brain is ½ the size of an adult brain? By the time he is 3 years old, his brain has grown to 80% size of an adult brain. This is incredible growth, in just 3 years.

How does the brain work, and how can we foster this development?

The Working Brain

Within the brain are billions of nerve cells, known as neurons. The neurons have to connect with other brain cells in order to work. Some of these connections are present from birth – for example, the ability to breathe, to suck, to cry, and others occur as the baby grows and develops. The connections occur when experiences or skills are repeated over and over.

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Communicating with Babies – What Parents Need to Know.

Babies begin communicating with us from the moment they are born – it’s just that we may not understand what they are saying yet!

 

It’s interesting isn’t it that if you were going to have an extended holiday in Spain or France, you’d probably make the effort to learn even a few basic words and phrases of Spanish or French. Yet when we are pregnant not many people learn how to communicate with the ‘soon to be here’ baby!

 

I’ve personally seen the huge benefits parents get when they DO learn how to do this, and the spin-off benefits to their baby such as: Read more

Could this be your Parenting Mantra for 2017? “How can I make this the best it can be?”

 

 In 2009 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, which ended up being a journey of 20 months including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and side effects including pericarditis and pneumonia. I also left my home, lost a good friend to cancer and lost my job! A pretty challenging time that’s for sure.

 

I realised that in order to get through this, that maintaining a positive attitude was vital. A colleague suggested the phrase/ mantra: ‘Every day, in every way, my life gets better and better.’ And, I must say that it really helped to turn things around – along of course with wonderful medical treatment and enormous support and care from family and friends.

 

But, essentially it was up to me… I was the only one

who could ‘make’ me have a positive attitude. Read more

The Parenting Café 2017

Welcome back. Well, after a Summer (here in Australia) sojourn for the Christmas and holiday break, we are ready for sharing with you again.

As some of you have become new subscribers to our newsletter over the past year, and some read the information via facebook, I thought I’d take the opportunity to introduce myself, and explain what we offer at The Parenting Cafe.

 

Basically parents are seeking information about their children and about parenting. They do this either because they are information gatherers, or because they feel they have a ‘problem’ or an ‘issue’ with their child and are seeking information, advice and support.

 

This is perfect… as that’s exactly what we do! Read more

9 Tips for New Mums

So, you’ve recently had a baby. Congratulations!

 

You know when you started a new role at work, people understood that it would take you a little while to settle in, and there would be someone whom you could ask for help – a support person.

 

Mmmm not sure that always happens with Parenthood!

 

So, what can you do to make the first few weeks, or months much smoother so that you have a happy baby and Mum!

 

  • Firstly, take any help that is offered, whether it is cooking meals, doing the washing, house cleaning or helping with shopping. This is a wonderful blessing and will allow you a little time to rest…. which is the second thing….

 

  • Sleep or rest whenever you can. It’s normal for newborns to wake several times during the night for a feed, which means you get disrupted sleep. To reduce the chances of you feeling like a zombie for weeks, take a nap during the day when the baby does. Don’t just rest in front of the TV, actually lie down on the bed and sleep. Yes, there may be things you ‘need’ to do, but maybe every second day is catch up on sleep day. It can be done – especially if you are fortunate enough to have family or friends who can help out with household tasks.

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Every day when I spend time with you, my life gets better and better.

Yesterday as I was walking along the street in the mall area, I was walking near a Mother and her daughter aged about 4. They were holding hands, and the Mum looked at the little girl and said: “Every day when I spend time with you, my life gets better and better.” The daughter beamed a big smile to her Mum.

 

I said to the mother: “What a beautiful thing you just said to her – it’s such a positive message.’ And the Mum beamed back to me.

 

There are two things which are truly wonderful about the happening…..

 

The first is that the mother clearly cares deeply about her daughter and is taking steps to ensure that the daughter knows she is loved and valued, on a regularly basis. She told her daughter that this continues to happen each and every day – giving her daughter the message that their love and connection will continue, and that it is an important thing. Read more

19 Ways to be a Positive Parent

Most parents would probably state that they wish to do a good job of parenting and are working towards that in their interactions with their child/ren.

 

We all know some days are a challenge – we’re tired, the kids are tired, they’re difficult, we’re irritable, it’s raining for the 3rd say in a row etc – on those days it can be a lot harder to stay ‘cool’ and do positive parenting. But on the other days…..

 

There are many skills and strategies we can bring to parenting, and we do our best when we use the most appropriate one for the current situation. It’s a bit like a tradesman knowing when to use the pliers, the drill or the screwdriver, or the chef to know whether they need a knife, a grater or a vegetable peeler. The ends results are so much better when we use the right tool – or in parenting – the right strategy.

 

So what might parents need? Read more

Image by Woodley Wonder Works via Flickr

Music and Maths – an Unlikely Relationship?

This morning over breakfast I was listening to the radio, and was aware how the different pieces impacted on me – some more upbeat, some more gentle and calming. I don’t know about you, but I play different types of music for specific moods – if I’m feeling a bit ‘flat’ I put on something like “Pink”, and if I’m feeling hassled, I put on gentle classical music, or “Enya”. We can utilise this with children too – you can use music to enhance their moods, to help ‘lift’ them when needed, or to calm them at other times.

From an early age we use lullabies to soothe our babies, and often sing them to sleep – this is true whatever your cultural background. It’s the tone of your voice, which settles them. As they get older, they like things with a stronger beat – you’ll often see toddlers bopping to a beat. Toddlers also like nursery rhymes and songs, and will join in with the words and actions. Even a 1 year old will often wave their hands in the  air, to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

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Feeling Loved?

How do you ‘know’ that your partner loves you? What is it he or she does which makes you know you are loved – that you really ‘feel’ it? Is it the way they look at you, or the way they touch you? Or maybe that they give you small gifts?

We’ve probably all had a partner in the past who was doing nice things for us, but we just didn’t really feel ‘loved’…. you know the one which you’d say to your friends: “He says he loves me, and he brings me flowers, but I just don’t feel it’s enough. I don’t feel like he’s the one.”

What’s possibly happened here, is that ‘he’ didn’t speak in your ‘Love Language’. This term came from a book by Gary Chapman, called The Five Love Languages. In the book he says that we ‘feel’ loved in one of five different ways ie we will have a preferred Love Language. If our partner ‘speaks’ in that Love Language, we will feel loved. If they use another Love Language, we won’t feel like we are loved.

I’ll detail the five ways shortly, but this doesn’t just relate to us as adults, it also has relevance for children…… Read more

Man and Woman hugging their young daughter

What Do Children Need from their Parents?

We all know that children need food, clothing and shelter to ‘survive’, but besides the basic needs, how do we truly grow them into curious, strong, resilient children?

When your baby cries, s/he is telling you something – eg I’m hungry, I’m tired, I’ve have wind. As parents our response determines what message the child gets. For example if the baby cries because they are hungry, and you feed them, they learn that you will give them what they need. As you consistently do this, they learn that they can trust you to continue to meet their needs, and this is called building Secure Attachment. When you do this, it also creates new ways of understanding for the baby in his/her brain, ie new brain cells (known as neurons) are formed.

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