A blog by Dr Lin Day



What are the benefits of signing?

When parents first hear about signing, they may wonder if this means forcing or rushing their baby to grow up before they are ready. This may be why many parents wait until their toddler begins to speak before focusing on two-way communication. They may also think that learning to sign is hard work-it isn’t. Parents do not need to be accomplished signers to communicate with their baby. Baby sign language is about using natural gestures alongside normal speech from the shake of the head for ‘No’ and the wave of the hand for ‘Goodbye’ to conventional signals that are easily understood. There is no need to put time aside for signing if it is naturally incorporated into normal day-to-day routines. 

 

Babies develop hand-eye coordination long before they can talk. This is because the motor areas of the brain develop faster than the speech centres. Signing strengthens the motor pathways, which ultimately increases brain power. Signing also enhances visual development and social skills. Best of all, it encourages communication and fun interactions between the parent and the baby, which increases the bond between them.

 

Who is signing for and why is it so important?

Parents who sign to their babies have a distinct advantage in responding fully to their baby’s needs. This strengthens the parent's confidence, pleasure, and responsiveness.  Signing empowers babies to communicate what they can’t say to get their basic needs met. This reduces stress and frustration and makes for a happier, calmer baby-and parent. Signing facilitates a foundation of trust and understanding between the parent and the baby and enhances the special and intimate relationship between them. All these things make signing a very worthwhile activity.

 

How can the app make life easier for people? 

The app provides quick and easy accessibility for users wanting to introduce baby signs to their little one. The app allows instant access when at home or when out and about, so the learning can continue where ever the location. The Baby Sensory sign system was developed after years of research in early years settings. It was found that babies did not have the manual dexterity to perform signs developed for deaf children. As a result, the Baby Sensory sign system was based on natural hand movements that could be performed by hearing babies alongside normal speech.

 

How do I sign? 

Signs must come across clearly if babies are to understand their message. They must be crisp and sharp and difficult to confuse with other signals. They must be performed with strength and amplitude each time they are brought into action. Signs must be accompanied by eye contact, facial expressions and clear speech and lip movements to reinforce the baby’s understanding of how language works. They must never be used in silence.

 

How does it tie into BS classes? 

The Baby Sensory Signbook app demonstrates over 150 signs and will help to reinforce the signs introduced during the Baby Sensory classes to aid essential repetitious learning. We know babies love expressive speech and movement and enjoy imitating actions exposed to them, so not only will they be able to enjoy this fun interaction within the class, but it can be enhanced by parent use (of the app) in between the weekly classes.

 

Each baby will sign differently depending on motor development and manual dexterity. Some babies will sign a few days after seeing the sign, while others start weeks or months later. If signs are used regularly from birth, babies can communicate their needs and wants long before the development of speech. This reduces stress and frustration and makes for a happier, calmer baby.

 

The drive to communicate is very powerful and babies develop many different ways of expressing themselves before they utter their first words. Body language is one way in which babies communicate before the development of speech. Some studies have shown that teaching babies to sign enhances communication and enables them to develop a better grasp of language in general.  Parents feel overwhelmed with joy when babies sign that they are wet, thirsty, hungry, tired or in pain.


The Baby Sensory Signbook App

In the past few months, Baby Sensory has been working with the company Kwebl, who are from the Netherlands, to create a new Baby Signing app for mobile. With the Baby Sensory Signbook App, you can learn to communicate with your baby before talking starts with these simple baby signs.


The app features:

•    Official Baby Sensory signs right in your pocket!
•    Our very own class leaders to teach you the signs
•    Easy to use app 
•    View videos at your own speed with the ability to slow down or speed up videos
•    Compatible with our ‘The ABC of Baby Signing’ book!

You, family and friends are now able to download the Baby Sensory Signbook App! Available on both Android and iOS in the links below. Happy signing!




Stay Cool Top Tips

Here are some tips to help you, and your baby or toddler, stay cool when temperatures soar:

 

Indoors

 

·      Stay indoors at the hottest time of the day in a well-ventilated room.

·      Close the blinds to prevent your home becoming a mini greenhouse.

·      A fan won’t make the room cooler, but moving air over your skin can make you feel more comfortable (check it has a finger guard).  Better still; put a bowl of ice in front of it.

·      Place wet towels and bottles of frozen water around the room to help reduce air temperature.

·      Take a cool bath or shower with your toddler (not recommended for babies) or wet your hair.

·      Place a cool, damp flannel on your pulse points.

·      Wrap a tea towel soaked in cold water around your feet.

·      Turn on the oven and bathroom extractor fans to help remove warm or steamy air from the room.

·      Avoid using the oven - it will heat up the house.

·      Cool down with a cold water bottle on your tummy.

·      Wear as little clothing as possible and go barefoot.

·      Sit or play on the floor where the air is cooler.

·      Reduce bedtime clothing and bedding to a minimum and keep the bedroom well ventilated.

·      Light dust your skin with corn flour to absorb sweat and make you feel more comfortable.

·      Slightly dampen your bed sheets to help you cool you down.

 

You and your child will sleep more comfortably when the room is between 16°C (61°F) and 18°C (65 °F).

 

Out and about

 

If you do need to venture out in hot weather, try scheduling activities earlier or later in the day when the temperature is cooler.

 

It also helps if you:

 

·      Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting, breathable clothing made from natural fibres such as cotton or silk. Cover your child’s arms and legs. Avoid synthetic fibres, which increase sweating.

·      Wear a wide-brimmed hat to provide shade and keep your head cool.

·      Keep to shady places such as a shopping mall or library.

·      Stay in the shade especially between 11 am and 3 pm, when UV radiation is at its strongest.

·      A sun tent can provide shade, but make sure that it doesn’t get too hot inside.

·      Mist yourself or your child with cold water or spray from a garden hose.

·      Sit in a cold, shaded paddling pool or refresh your feet in a bowl of cold water. Make sure your child is closely supervised at all times.

·      Attach a sunshade to the pushchair to protect your child from the sun. Check that there are no metal parts on the pushchair that can get hot and cause burns.

·      A lamb’s wool fleece is an ideal way to keep your child cool in the pushchair when you’re out and about (although you may get a few strange glances). The fleece absorbs moisture and helps to disperse heat.

·      When travelling, place a portable blackout blind or sunscreen in the side window to reduce temperature and glare, and to help shield your child’s skin and eyes from the sun.

·      Consider travelling at night when the temperature is cooler.

 

Stay hydrated

 

·      Drink more water than usual so that you never become thirsty. A glass of water every 30 minutes or so will prevent dehydration.

·      Avoid salty foods, which retain water and increase blood pressure.

·      Drink cool, non-alcoholic beverages (mums and dads!).

·      Eat ice cubes and keep trays stocked up in the freezer.

·      Avoid drinks with large amounts of caffeine such as tea, coffee, chocolate, and energy drinks.

·      Keep your metabolism steady by eating small, regular meals. Large portions increase metabolism and generate more body heat.

 

Stay safe

 

Seek immediate medical attention if you or your child experience one or more of the following symptoms during the heatwave:

 

·      Strong, rapid pulse.

·      Extreme weakness or fatigue

·      Throbbing headache.

·      Dizziness.

·      Nausea.

·      Confusion.

·      Muscle cramps.

·      Fast and shallow breathing.

 

Excessive heat may cause problems if you become dehydrated. Find a cool area where you can rehydrate and rest.

 

By Dr Lin Day (www.babysensory.com

Merry Christmas from Around the World

We wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas,
And a Happy New Year.

 

 

Christmas is celebrated in many countries, although each one has its own traditions that have passed from generation to generation or have just evolved naturally over the festive season. For many cultures, Christmas is a religious festival that celebrates the birth of Jesus.


Traditions such as the Christmas tree, decorations and lights, the sending of cards, a special meal with family and friends, and the giving and receiving of gifts are common to most cultures.

UK, USA

In the UK and USA, the Christmas season starts in early November, when the lights are switched on in the major cities. In anticipation of Christmas, children may open the 24 doors of the advent calendar; one for each day of December leading up to Christmas Eve.

As Christmas approaches, children may post letters to Santa Claus (also known as Father Christmas) and participate in a Nativity play. They may see Santa at a preschool party or look forward to his arrival on Christmas Eve, when their stockings will be filled with gifts while they sleep.

Other traditions include the exchange of presents and a Christmas Day meal that may consist of turkey, Christmas pudding and mince pies. During the meal, crackers may be pulled, jokes told and paper hats worn. Party games and television are traditional activities, followed by evening tea, which may include Christmas cake and other treats for the whole family.


Australia, New Zealand

In the Southern hemisphere, Christmas occurs during the height of the summer. Snow-covered cards, decorations, Christmas trees, mince pies, Christmas pudding and crackers are a traditional part of the celebrations. Santa arrives on Christmas Eve in much the same way as the UK.


Denmark

Preparations may begin in November when decorations appear in the shops. After the meal on Christmas Eve, the family may sing and dance around the Christmas tree, followed by present giving. Santa (‘The Yule Man’) is said to arrive on a reindeer-driven sleigh with presents for the children.


France

Christmas is a religious festival for many families, who decorate their homes with Nativity scenes and attend Midnight Mass. Father Christmas (Père Noël) may bring gifts and sweets for the children on December 6th, the feast day of Saint Nicholas. The children place their shoes by the hearth to find them filled with gifts on Christmas Day.


Germany

On 6th December, Saint Nicholas may visit preschools (kindergartens) and schools. On Christmas Eve, Saint Nicholas or a sprite-like child (known as ‘Christkindl’), places the children’s presents under the tree. Carols may be sung around the tree before the presents are opened.

 

India


Nativity plays are staged in many schools, followed by the appearance of Father Christmas (‘Christmas Baba' in Hindi), who may distribute presents from a horse and cart. Days before babda din (the big day), the shops and markets will be decorated with Christmas trees, images of Santa Claus and colourful balloons.

 

Italy


Christmas is celebrated in much the same way as other Western European countries, but with a strong emphasis on religion. Gifts may be placed under the Christmas tree, either by Santa or Baby Jesus, to be opened on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

 

Japan

Although 25th December is not a religious holiday, the occasion is celebrated with parties, Christmas trees and Christmas cake. On Christmas Eve, presents are left on the children’s pillows and adults exchange gifts.


Mainland China

In mainland China, 25 December is not an official holiday, although it may be privately celebrated with presents, cards and stockings. During the month of December, Christmas trees and other Western practices are found in many homes.

 

Poland

 

In Poland, children participate in Nativity plays and religious services. On Christmas Day, everyone exchanges a wafer of religious significance before eating traditional foods such as beetroot soup (borscht), carp and fruit. The children give out the presents and they may dress up as characters from the Nativity and go carol singing.

 

Russia

Christmas Day is a religious event celebrated on 7th January. In the home, there may be a Christmas tree and presents for the children from ‘Grandfather Frost’, who represents Peter the Great, and his granddaughter the ‘Snow Maiden’.


South America

Religion dominates the Christmas period, with particular emphasis placed on the Nativity and the family, although Western traditions have also been adopted in some countries. Christmas Eve is an important time for the religious element of Christmas and children may stay up until midnight to open their presents. In Venezuela, the Wise Men (known as the ‘Magi’) leave gifts by the children’s beds.

 

‘Merry Christmas’ from around the world!


China (Cantonese): Seng Dan Fai Lok; (Mandarin): shèng dàn kuài lè

Denmark: Glædelig Jul

France: Joyeux Noel
Germany: Fröhliche Weihnachten
India (Hindi): Bade Din ki Mubarak

Italy: Buon Natale
Japan: Merri Kurisumasu
Poland: Boże Narodzenie

Russia: Novym Godom


Wherever you are, Baby Sensory wishes you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

 

By Dr. Lin Day (www.babysensory.com)