Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Parenting Podcasts

One great way to get free parenting information is to download podcasts from iTunes.  There are a ton of different parenting podcasts and pregnancy podcasts.  I can't recommend all of the podcasts because I haven't reviewed them all, however I have reviewed one of them called "Mighty Mommy, Quick and Dirty Tips for Practical Parenting" this podcast has a lot of great information.  It talks about everything from breastfeeding to how to make the grocery store fun for kids.  Each week the Mighty Mommy adds a new five minute podcast which talks about a new subject.  If you are interested in subscribing to this podcast here are the steps:

1) Download iTunes (if you don't already have it) by going to http://www.apple.com/itunes/ and following the steps provided.

2) Open iTunes and click on the iTunes Store.

3) Then in the top right corner search for "Mighty Mommy" 

4) This should take you to the Mighty Mommy podcast page where you can click on subscribe.  By doing this iTunes will automatically download the new podcast every week.  If you want to download individual podcasts from previous weeks then just click on the podcast you would like to download.  

As you will notice some of her information seems like common sense but she does have some really great information and some great ideas.  

Monday, April 19, 2010

InfantSEE Program

Recently a local optometrist Jarrod Davies, O.D. came and talked to our Welcome Baby volunteers about the InfantSEE Program and the importance of infants receiving an eye exam during the first year of life.   This is something that many parents don’t even think about until their child is showing signs of vision problems.  However, a full eye exam before your child turns one year old is very important.  Here are some reasons why:

1.  The optometrist can detect if your infant is at risk for an eye or vision disorder.
2.  1 out of every 10 children are at risk for an undiagnosed eye or vision problem.
3.  Most eye or vision problems detected while a child is young can be prevented    or easily corrected with cost-effective treatment.
4.  Usually the earlier a vision or eye disorder is detected the more successfully it can be treated.

Dr. Davies recommened that you take your child to the eye doctor between six months and one year, then return again at age three, and then have their eyes checked again before they enter grade school.

The wonderful thing about all of this is that between the age of six months to one year you can take your child to an optometrist for free thanks to the InfantSEE program.  If you are interested in this program all you have to do is visit infantsee.org and find a optometrist in your area who is part of the InfantSEE network.  This optometrist will do a full eye exam on your child for free!

Here is some more great information that Dr. Davies shared with us.

1.  Tummy-time is very important for your child’s vision development because it helps your child learn how to look up, down, left, and right. 
2.  Moving both sides of your child’s body like arms or legs simultaneiously, during the first six to eight weeks of life, helps to develop your infant’s bilateral and binocular development. 
3.  It is important to move your child’s crib position and their position in the crib frequently.  This helps stimulate your baby so he/she isn’t constantly looking at the same thing while in the crib.
4.  If you are bottle feeding make sure to alternate right and left sides with each feeding.  If you are breastfeeding you naturally do this.
5.  Play “patty cake” and “peek-a-boo” with your baby.
6.  Encourage your baby to play with stacking and take-apart toys. 
7.  Something we all thought was just fun is that while you are pregnant, if you hold a flashlight to your belly and move it around your baby will respond to the light.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Alphabet Activity For Toddlers

Around age two your child should start becoming familiar with the alphabet.  There are many ways to introduce the alphabet to your toddler.  One good way is to purchase a set of refrigerator magnets that you child can manipulate and play with.  As he/she is plays with them you should point out the different letters so that he/she will start to recognize the individual letters.  You can also start spelling your child's name out with the magnets and say the individual letters, this way your child will start to understand that letters make up words.

Here is another fun activity you can do with your toddler to help him/her learn the alphabet, colors, and shapes.  

Things you will need:
- a printer to print the letters and shapes
-small toys, blocks, or cars
-poster board

1. Print out the alphabet letters and shapes. (A-G / H-P/ Q-V / W-Z) Click on a letter group to print each page, also notice there are a few shapes on each page.
2. Color the letters and shapes with different colors.
3. Cut out the letters and shapes.
4. Glue the letters and shapes to a poster board.
5. Gather some toys, blocks, or cars.

To Play:
Give your child one of the toys and let them play with it on the poster.  Then you can talk to your child and say things like "look you put Cinderella on the blue letter A" or "look the ball landed on the purple letter P" This way your child not only learns to recognize letters but also colors.  

Once you are done playing you can hang the poster on the fridge so that your child sees it there everyday.  Occasionally you can ask your child to point to certain letters or shapes.  

*Activity idea came from toddlertoddler.com