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Baby Sensory

Baby Development

The video below shows a number of activities used at Baby Sensory classes which are specifically designed to help with Development of babies from birth.




Baby Sensory founder, Dr Lin Day has been commissioned to write a series of articles about Baby Development for Early Years Professionals.  Take a look at a few samples of these articles below.

Should you think twice before taking your baby to a firework display this year?

Guy Fawkes Night can be an exceptionally sensory experience for babies and young children. The lights, sights, colours, sounds and excitement make it an event worth celebrating. However, it is important to be extra careful about safety. Here are a few tips from Dr Lin Day, founder of Baby Sensory on how to make it a fun, safe occasion for your baby and the whole family. Read more...

Choosing a Good Nursery

Choosing a good nursery is a big decision for most parents, but one that often causes great anxiety and raises many questions. The first step that parents might take is to visit a number of nursery settings to be absolutely confident that the one that they have chosen is right for their baby.

Knowing something about the nursery in advance of the visit can be helpful. The good nursery will have a reputation locally and will be known for its friendly approach and welcoming setting.  Parents can also check out the following.... 

Swine flu: spread, prevention and treatment

The emergence and rapid spread of a new strain of influenza, swine flu H1N1, has raised concern among parents and practitioners. At the start of the outbreak, some nurseries and schools closed to prevent the spread of the virus. However, swine flu is now widespread within communities and this approach is no longer recommended.

Childcare settings and schools have an important role to play in preventing the spread of the virus, by taking sensible personal precautions and by following the good hygiene practices recommended by the Department of Health. Parents are also more likely to accept the need for good hygiene practice if they are kept fully informed of how the virus might spread and the likely effect of countermeasures. Read more... 

What do Babies See?

At birth, sight is the least developed sense. The ability to see objects and colours clearly depends on the development of the visual cortex, the maturity of the retina, coordination of the eye muscles and focusing ability. Until these complex systems have matured, images, shapes and colours will appear blurry.
 

By eight months of age, the ability to see clearly has nearly reached normal adult levels. The rapid pace of development is highly dependent on the amount of visual stimulation that the baby receives. If the baby is deprived of visual stimulation, cells in the visual cortex may decrease or develop abnormally which can have serious implications for hand-eye coordination later on. Other problems may include clumsiness, difficulties in concentrating and reading and writing problems when the child goes to school.

The brain is divided into two halves or cerebral hemispheres by a deep fissure. However, both sides of the brain are able to communicate with each other through the corpus callosum, a thick tract of nerve fibres that lies at the base of the fissure. Read more.... 

Left-right Brain Dominance

The brain is divided into two halves or cerebral hemispheres by a deep fissure. However, both sides of the brain are able to communicate with each other through the corpus callosum, a thick tract of nerve fibres that lies at the base of the fissure. 

Although the two hemispheres appear to be similar, each half has its own unique set of functions. Studies show that the right hemisphere is dominant for emotions, creativity, music and rhythm and that the left brain is dominant for mathematical and language abilities. Although both sides of the brain have the ability to analyse, process and store information, form thoughts and ideas and make decisions, one side of the brain is usually more dominant than the other. Brain dominance affects learning, determines personality and influences behaviour. Read more.... 

A Good Night’s Sleep

For most parents, the two main problems are falling asleep and staying asleep. Some babies fall asleep easily and stay asleep while others fall asleep easily, but wake up frequently. Some babies go to sleep with difficulty, but stay asleep, while others do not want to go to sleep or stay asleep. Babies that were good sleepers at six months of age may develop sleeping difficulties as they grow older and vice versa.

Sleep problems are common in babies, but understanding and knowing how to deal with them enables parents to get a better night’s sleep for themselves, which in turn enables them to provide loving, patient and consistent care for their baby. Read more... 

Dads are important too!

Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said that fathers were a biological necessity, but a social accident. One of our greatest theorists, Sigmund Freud, believed that mothers were biologically suited to be better parents than fathers. In fact, fathers were relegated to the role of provider and little else. John Bowlby, a British psychiatrist, also reinforced the idea that the mother was the first and most important object of infant attachment. Even Harry Harlow’s experiment with rhesus monkeys promoted the idea of the mother as the main care-giver. However, male rhesus monkeys have been shown to make good fathers in the absence of the female. Many animal studies support the view that males make good fathers. Marmoset and tamarin monkeys assume a fatherly role with their infants, chewing food for them and even assisting at the birth. Generally, the female’s willingness is the crucial factor in determining paternal involvement. Read more.... 

Music for Babies and Children

It is impossible to define exactly what music is, although most people accept that it might be sound through singing or active music-making. What is certain is that music helps us to communicate thoughts, ideas and emotions in ways that no other stimulus can. It offers a whole range of other benefits too, from pain and stress management to improved motor and rhythmic coordination. It also contributes unequivocally to the positive development of the human brain.

In the home or nursery, music can set the tone for a relaxed, warm and inviting atmosphere. It can help parents and practitioners address the emotional, creative, language and social needs of infants and it can be used to support movement activities. Music can also meet the needs of babies and children from different cultures. The effect of music on children with sensory impairments, disabilities, illnesses and special learning needs can also be far-reaching. Read more.... 

Sensory Baby

The next time you read a book, stop for a moment and marvel at the amazing capacity of the brain to carry out such an intricate task. Processing information and co-ordinating the eyes involves many complex interactions between the brain and senses. Sensations from the outside world are changed into electrical impulses and carried to the brain, which then decodes the information to produce the image that is seen. Although the process of gathering and deciphering information begins before birth, as soon as the baby leaves the womb, the sense organs work overtime. This is the beginning of sensory education. Read more...  

The Power of Touch

Babies have a biological need for close physical affection. Nothing is more important to their emotional, physical and intellectual development than a comforting cuddle or a loving touch. What is certain is that babies who are cuddled, stroked and caressed are more likely to grow up to be loving social beings. They also gain independence and confidence, which leads on to an important milestone by the end of the first year: the ability to play alone.
 

Babies that are regularly touched gain weight faster, develop stronger immune systems, crawl and walk sooner, sleep more soundly and cry less than babies deprived of close physical contact. Children that are given plenty of physical affection show more task orientated behaviour, less solitary play and less aggression at school. They also achieve higher levels of educational qualifications in later life. Read more.... 

A Sense of Smell

All seasons offer a range of tantalising smells to stimulate the senses. The spring is no exception. The air is filled with the fragrance of flowers, the rich loamy smell of wet earth, freshly mown grass, new leaves growing and wealth of other olfactory (smell) experiences. These smells are converted to electrical signals which reach areas of the brain involved in emotion and memory. This is why smells experienced in early infancy can bring on a flood of emotive memories in later life.  No other sense has the same power to do this. Read more....  

Pet Assisted Therapies

Research shows that having a pet can provide a wide range of health and emotional benefits for babies and children.  Most are associated with release of the hormone, oxytocin.

Oxytocin has been called the ‘cuddle’, ‘love’ or ‘bonding’ hormone for its role in facilitating pair-bonding and long-term attachment. Stroking, holding, cuddling or patting an animal releases oxytocin into the bloodstream in the same way that cuddling a familiar adult does, giving rise to feelings of happiness, calm and contentment. As a consequence, the child becomes less anxious and more willing to make friends. The hormone also heightens emotional feelings towards inanimate objects, which is why some people name their cars, cry when they sell their belongings and show generosity towards complete strangers. Similarly, oxytocin orchestrates attachment to a soft toy or special blanket, since it is associated with comfort and warm feelings between the baby and the parent. Read more.... 

Baby Signing

Babies are born with an inherent body language that is common to all cultures. Long before the emergence of speech, babies spontaneously communicate with their parents using gestures and sounds to stimulate their loving attention. Smiling, for example is the first friendly sign that keeps the mother close and attentive. In later life, it acts in a hundred different ways to signal amicable feelings towards people. It is without doubt, the most important social signal in the human repertoire of gestures and signs.

Many parents experience intense frustration in understanding their baby’s signals. Even though common sense goes some way in helping them understand their baby’s needs or wants, in practice, they have to respond to a dozen or more cues and come up with the right solution.  Sign language is one way of taking the guesswork out of parenting! Read more.... 

Early Nurturing and Attachment

Bonding is an intense emotional tie between the parent and baby that often begins during pregnancy and continues after birth. Nevertheless, after all the excitement and anticipation, when the baby finally arrives, some parents find it difficult to form an attachment with their baby. In the past, researchers thought that time spent with the newborn was sure to seal the bond between them.  However, there is no evidence to suggest that bonding begins at birth. We now know that parent-baby bonding is very complicated and that there are many reasons why relationships take time to grow and develop. Read more....  

The Language Path

The acquisition of speech and language are complex life skills and yet babies understand words and whole sentences long before they can speak. What is so extraordinary is that babies up to the age of ten months have the capacity to learn several languages. Adults, however, have great difficulty in managing the grammar and dialects of new languages because they are accustomed to the sounds and codes of their native tongue. Read more....  

Solitary Confinement

Health professionals are increasingly concerned that motor delays in babies may well be related to the amount of time spent in containers such as car seats, carriers, bouncers, swings, walkers and strap-in chairs. While containers have their uses, babies who spend too much time in them may develop problems such as flattening of the skull, contorted neck muscles and delays in sitting, crawling, walking and speaking. Container overuse may also be partially responsible for spine and back disorders in later life.

Baby containers can be useful in allowing parents and practitioners the freedom to accomplish chores at busy times of the day.  Containers may also offer a solution when nothing else seems to soothe or settle the baby. Well-meaning parents and practitioners may put babies in them for safety, support and entertainment, but even so, they should not be used as permanent ‘baby sitters’. A caring nursery will have put some thought into the amount of time that babies spend in containers and parents are advised to look carefully at how often the restraint systems are used. Read more.... 

Babies and Mathematics

Learning basic mathematical concepts is a complex business, but in trying to understand the world, babies naturally seek out problems to solve. The challenge for the parent or practitioner is to create an interesting and rich environment in which early math (and science) learning can occur. This article provides an overview of basic mathematical understanding in the first year and suggests ways in which parents and practitioners can encourage a love of math in babies that will stand them in good stead for the future. Read more....

Babies Are So Clever!

This is the first in a series of articles about baby learning and development. However, you won't find advice on nutrition, feeding, safety or hygiene. The aim of each article is to explain how babies learn, develop or acquire language and to demonstrate wy sensory experiences, tummy time and early nurturing are so important. Babies have an amazing capacity to learn, but because parents or practitioners may not know what to look for, skills and capabilities may go unnoticed. This article reveals just how clever babies are and offers parents and practitioners a significant and remarkable opportunity to enjoy the learning potential of these incredible beings right from the start! Read more....

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes: the drive to walk

The first year of life is unlike any other stage in human physical development. In a relatively short period of time, the baby changes from a helpless individual to a walking toddler. Parents never forget their baby's first steps. It is a momentous achievement! At that moment, the baby becomes a toddler and a whole new world of learning opens up. Read more....

Omega-3 makes Babies Brainier

Seafood is one of the richest sources of omega-3 essential fatty acid. Recent data suggest that even small amounts of seafood consumed during pregnancy can make a significant difference to the development of the foetal brain, nervous and visual systems as well as overall growth. Omega-3 also provides excellent long-term health benefits for children such as improved motor co-ordination, communication and concentration skills. Clinical studies have paved the way for a much better understanding of its use as a food supplement for children with learning disabilities, asthma, eczema and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).Read more....

Chemicals: A Safe Start in Life

When a parent purchases baby care products or toys, the last thing that crosses their mind is whether they contain chemicals that may harm their baby. However, parents and practitioners owe it to themselves and to their baby to know all about the products they use, the potential risks and how to seek suitable alternatives. Babies are particularly susceptible to chemicals due to their rapid rate of growth and development. Even exposure to small doses of common everyday chemicals can have a profound effect on their future health, learning and development. Read more....

Tummy Time 

Modern day practices suggest putting babies on their backs to sleep and while this has contributed to a significant decrease in cot death or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), they may miss out the crawling stage, which is crucial to later learning.  Babies need to be on their tummies in order to go through the fundamental movement patterns (for example, raising the head, creeping, and crawling) that stimulate both sides of the brain and lay the foundation for later reading and writing. If the crawling stage is avoided, they may encounter learning problems in school, no matter how intelligent they are. The good news is that even five minutes of ‘Tummy Time’ a day can lessen or eliminate these potential problems, and have a positive effect on head shape. This article explains why tummy time is so important to baby development and learning and what parents and practitioners can do to make it a happy and productive experience. Read more....

Premature Babies 

Statistics show that one in fourteen babies arrive in the world too soon.  The UK has the highest rate of preterm deliveries in Western Europe with about 50,000 babies born prematurely each year. Despite medical advances, figures are on the increase after fifteen years of stagnancy. Read more....  

Sex and Gender: Why do boys and girls behave differently?

Some experts believe that the way in which boys and girls are raised determines behaviour. We now know that is not completely true. The fact that males differ by just one Y chromosome could help to explain why certain behaviours are more dominant in one sex than the other.   Scientists have found that all foetuses are female in the first six weeks after conception. After this, testosterone surges through the brain of the male foetus, depleting the communication and emotional centres of some cells and promoting the growth of cells responsible for aggressive behaviour. In the absence of the testosterone rush, the areas of the brain responsible for language, creativity, emotion and social development continue to grow unperturbed. Read more....

  

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