26 June 2022

Playtime, anytime!

In the first 1,000 days of life (first 3 years), your child’s brain develops faster than at any other time. Even more incredible is that before young children can even talk, you can help with that brain building. How? Through serve and return! >>Watch Building babies’ brains through play: Mini Parenting Master Class   With help from our…, What is serve and return?, Serve and return is a series of back and forth interactions between a child and parent or primary caregiver, where an adult responds lovingly and appropriately to a baby or toddler’s noises and gestures. Think of it as a game of ping-pong: it’s all about the back and forth — and having fun! The most important part is showing your child that you…, How do I practice serve and return with my child?, Building your baby’s brain does not need to be complicated and better yet, it can be built into every day routines and moments. Any moment with your baby can turn into a playful opportunity to learn! Here are some easy ways you can start incorporating serve and return into your everyday interactions with your little one.  , The 'name game', Rebeccka and her baby Naybare Sheba (5 months) at the POC (ISIS Point of Care Clinic) Mbarara RRH (Regional Referral Hospital) South Western Uganda. Add some fun to your morning routine! Dressing your child is a great opportunity to help her make important language connections. As you observe her interest in each article of clothing you put on,…, Food time fun!, On 23 July, 2019, Joaquín, 2, is offered broccoli by his mother, Rosina, during lunch at their home in a rural area of the department of San José, Uruguay. Explore your kitchen with your child – it’s full of exciting sights, colours, shapes and smells for your baby to explore. Support and encourage your child’s curiosity by paying close attention…, Bath time play, Daw Nyo Nyo Aye bathes her daughter Kyal Zin Naing (10 months) at her home, Lay Bway Chaung Village, Kan Gyi Daunt township, Irrawaddy region, Myanmar. Grab some bath toys or a ball and get ready to play! Let your baby pick the toy that grabs her interest first. Play with her back and forth, and when she’s ready to move to the next toy make a…, Point and learn, Zakir smiles as he watches joy on his son's face in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Whether it’s in the car or around the neighbourhood, there are lots of things to see when walking outside. Pay attention to what your baby seems interested in through his gestures, gaze or sounds and point to it while telling your baby what it is: “Oh do you see the bird? That’…, Food swap, Refugee mother feeding her baby at ADRA community centre in Belgrade, Serbia. When feeding your baby a snack, take turns in who does the feeding. Feed her one piece and let her pick up the next piece herself. Even if it takes some time, wait for your child to respond. Taking turns helps build her confidence and social skills. This would be a great…, Did you find this content useful? 
31 May 2022

Baby music: The soundtrack to your child's development

Did you know that music can make you and your baby smarter and happier? Carlota Nelson, director of the documentary  Brain Matters , explains the science behind why music benefits young minds.  We’ve always known that music has a powerful, transformative and unifying effect on people. But only now do we know that music contributes to better memory…, What happens when babies listen to music, Neuroscientists who study baby brains say music has long-lasting benefits for babies, too. Music makes a big difference to the baby brain. One study from the Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences detected that after babies listen to music, their auditory and prefrontal cortexes look different. These are the regions of the brains in charge of…, Listening to music vs playing music, While listening to music impacts the brain, making music is even more powerful. This is because making music requires fine motor skills (such as being able to grip and squeeze objects), as well as linguistic and mathematical precision, and creativity ─ firing up several areas of the brain.  Tapping into these skills means developing the bridge…, From research to practice, When all this scientific evidence gets translated into our homes and early learning centres, even in short doses, our children get smarter. “We see an impact in literacy, numeracy, physical development, gross motor coordination [such as running and jumping], fine motor skills, as well as social and emotional development,” says Graham Welsh, a…, The benefits of music for your child, When young children are exposed to music, their brains change. Among other benefits, music can: Improve moods and empower young children by reducing stress levels . Even listening to sad music can be good thanks to its cathartic power, making it easier for children to get in touch with their emotions.  Stimulate the formation of brain chemicals…, Did you find this content useful?, Loading...
25 May 2022

What to eat when pregnant

Congratulations on your pregnancy! With all of the excitement comes a lot of questions, a common one being: What do I eat? It is important to follow a healthy diet at any time in your life, but it’s especially necessary during pregnancy. A balanced diet will help your baby to grow, develop and maintain a healthy weight. Read on for our tips on how…, How do I follow a balanced diet during pregnancy?, A nutritious diet is one that includes a variety of healthy foods from each food group (click to expand):, Fruits, Fresh, frozen or dried fruit are all great choices. During mealtimes, half of your plate should contain fruit and vegetables., Vegetables, You can eat raw, canned, frozen or dried vegetables. For salads, dark leafy greens are a nutritious choice. During mealtimes, half of your plate should contain fruit and vegetables., Grains, During mealtimes, make half of your grain servings whole grains. Whole grains are those that haven’t been processed and include the whole grain kernel. Some examples are oats, barley, quinoa, brown rice and bulgur., Protein, It is important to eat a variety of proteins each day. Meat, poultry, beans, peas, eggs, nuts and seeds are all examples of protein-rich foods., Dairy, When choosing dairy products, make sure they are pasteurized. Milk and milk products, such as cheese and plain yoghurt are good options to choose., Oils and fats, Limit solid fats, such as those from animal sources such as duck fat. Healthier fats can be found in other foods, such as some fish, avocados and nuts. Oils in food come mainly from plant sources (such as olive oil and canola oil)., What vitamins and minerals do I need during pregnancy?, The key vitamins and minerals you should make sure you’re getting throughout your pregnancy are (click to expand):, Calcium, Calcium is important for building your baby’s teeth and bones – aim for 1,000 mg each day. Some great sources include plain yoghurt, milk, cheese and dark green leafy vegetables., Iron, Try for 27 mg of iron every day. Iron helps red blood cells deliver oxygen to your growing little one. You can find it in lean red meat, poultry, peas and beans., Iodine, 220 mcg of iodine daily essential for your baby’s healthy brain development. Sources of iodine include dairy products, seafood, meat and eggs., Choline, Choline is integral to the development of your fetus’s brain and spinal cord, and you should be getting 450 mg per day. Milk, eggs, peanuts and soy products are good choices to add to your plate., Vitamin A, Carrots, sweet potatoes and green leafy vegetables all contain vitamin A, which helps your baby’s bones grow and forms healthy eyesight and skin. 770 mcg a day should be your goal., Vitamin C, 85 mg of vitamin C every day helps to promote healthy gum, teeth and bone development. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes and strawberries., Vitamin D, Sunlight, fortified milk and fatty fish such as salmon and sardines all help to provide the 600 international units of vitamin D you should consume every day while pregnant. Vitamin D helps to build your baby’s bones and teeth and helps to promote healthy eyesight and skin., Vitamin B6, Vitamin B6 helps your baby to form red blood cells – aim for 1.9 mg a day. Beef, pork, whole-grain cereals and bananas are all good sources of vitamin B6., Vitamin B12, The development and maintenance of your little one’s nervous system and the formation of red blood cells are just some of the benefits of vitamin B12. Meat, fish, poultry and milk will help you to reach the recommended 2.6 mcg per day., Folic acid, Folic acid is especially important for pregnant women. This B vitamin helps prevent birth defects of the brain and spine and supports the growth and development of the fetus and placenta. Peanuts, dark green leafy vegetables, beans and orange juice will help you toward your goal of 600 mcg per day. However, food alone is not enough to reach 600…, How can I make sure I’m getting enough folic acid?, Because it’s hard to get 600 mcg folic acid from food alone, you should take a daily prenatal vitamin or folic acid supplement with at least 400 mcg to make sure you are getting everything you need. If you are planning a pregnancy, start taking these as soon as possible or as soon as your pregnancy is confirmed. Speak to your healthcare provider…, What foods should I avoid when pregnant?, Pregnant women may be more susceptible to certain food-borne illnesses, which can result in pregnancy complications. During your pregnancy, foods to avoid include: Raw, unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk. These may contain  Listeria , a bacteria that can cause an illness called listeriosis. Food past its expiration…, How do I safely prepare foods while pregnant?, Wash hands with soap before eating Wash all eating utensils thoroughly after use Cook meat thoroughly Wash uncooked vegetables, salad leaves and fruit carefully before eating Store food at the appropriate temperature Consume food immediately after cooking  , How much more do I need to eat when pregnant?, During the first trimester, you don’t need to eat any extra portions. In the second trimester, you will need an extra 340 calories per day, and in the third trimester, about 450 extra calories a day. To get the extra energy you need, try to keep healthy snacks on hand, such as nuts, plain yoghurt and fresh fruit. To find a plan that works for you…, Can I follow a vegetarian or vegan diet while I’m pregnant?, If you are following a vegetarian or a vegan diet, it is important to make sure that you are getting enough iron, zinc, calcium and vitamins B12 and D. To find a solution that works for you, speak to your healthcare provider or registered dietitian/nutritionist. , Did you find this content useful?, Loading...
25 May 2022

Your third trimester guide

UNICEF pregnancy milestones Congratulations, you have reached the home stretch! You will soon be welcoming a beautiful new member to your family. You may be feeling more tired and uncomfortable in these last weeks, but you have a lot to look forward to! How you're feeling How your baby is growing Things to look out for   Test your knowledge    …, How you're feeling, Some of the same discomforts you had in your second trimester will continue. Plus, many women find breathing difficult and notice they have to go to the bathroom even more often. This is because the baby is getting bigger and it is putting more pressure on your organs. Don't worry, your baby is fine and these problems will lessen once you give…, How your baby is growing, During this final stage of development, your little one is getting ready to leave the womb. Between the beginning of the third trimester and birth: Eyes can sense changes in light Head might have some hair Can kick, grasp and stretch Limbs begin to look chubby Bones harden Circulatory system is complete Musculoskeletal system is complete Lungs,…, Things to look out for, While all women experience pregnancy differently, you should speak to your health-care provider if you experience: Heavy bleeding Headaches with spots or flashing lights that do not go away Sudden or extreme swelling Decreased fetal movement (your baby should be moving every day) Your water has broken and you are not having contractions Constant…, Test your knowledge, True or false? Loading..., Explore stages of pregnancy  , First trimester   |  Second trimester  |  Third trimester
25 May 2022

Your first trimester guide

Pregnancy Milestones: First trimester Congratulations – you’re about to be a mother! Becoming a parent is an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also feel overwhelming at times and you likely have lots of questions. That’s to be expected and we hope this guide will be a useful companion throughout your pregnancy. During the first 13 week…, How you're feeling, Your body is about to undergo some major changes as it prepares to grow a new life. You may start to experience symptoms such as nausea or fatigue – or you may find that you have an increased level of energy! Listen to your body and make adjustments to your routines as needed. Every woman is different, and so is each pregnancy.   Early signs and…, How your baby is growing, This period is the most crucial to your baby’s development. During the first trimester, your baby’s internal systems and body are beginning to take shape. These early organ and bodily developments include:   Brain and spine Inner ear Cardiac tissue Genitals Fingernails Liver Eyelids Pancreas Kidneys Cartilage for the hands, feet and limbs Muscles…, Things to look out for, While all women experience pregnancy differently, you should speak to your health-care provider if you experience: Severe cramping A fever over 38° C (100° F) Odorous vaginal discharge Painful urination Vaginal bleeding Severe vomiting  , Test your knowledge, True or false? Loading..., Explore stages of pregnancy  , First trimester   |  Second trimester  |  Third trimester
25 May 2022

How to teach your child to love reading

A love of reading opens the door to adventures, learning new things and a whole host of key language skills such as speech development and vocabulary building. Spending time with books also creates special moments for you to bond with your child and enjoy each other’s company. Just 10 to 15 minutes a day with a book is enough to spark your curious…, Start right away, Reading to your newborn helps to give them the best start in life. Babies learn language from adults who repeat and read words to them. When you read to your little one, talk about the characters and objects in the book or the sounds the animals make. Hearing your voice helps give meaning to the letters and pictures they are seeing. As you read,…, Model what a good reader looks like, It is important for children to see reading as something fun and pleasurable to do rather than a difficult task. What better way to teach this than to show them the ropes yourself! If your children see you reading often, it is more likely to encourage them. This will also help to promote time away from screens. If you have been away from reading…, Take turns, As your child grows older, take turns reading out loud to each other. If you have an early reader, this can be as much as asking your child to point out letters and words he recognizes. Next, take turns reading sentences. As his abilities grow, you can take turns reading pages and eventually chapters. As you read together, ask questions about what…, Listen to your child, As your little one grows, pay attention to her interests. If she is particularly drawn to a particular topic, like dinosaurs, try to find children’s books about that subject. This will help to reinforce that books are tools for learning more about the things we care about and she will be more likely to read if the subject matter is her favourite…, Make it a routine, Making reading an enjoyable part of your child’s life starts with incorporating books into your daily routine. Create a special reading time before bed or while taking public transportation. While you are together, make sure to limit distractions like mobile phones and television. Your time should be all about each other! Part of learning to enjoy…, Reading milestones, While every child is different, here are some of the milestones you may observe as your child's reading skills develop: Birth – 18 months Understands some simple phrases Looks at books and tries to turn pages Imitates speech At around 1 year can say one or more words 18 months – 3 years Can say 250 – 350 words at around 2 years and 800 – 1,000…
25 May 2022

5 ways to help set your child up for future success

Parenting is considered one of the most difficult jobs in the world, but there’s no formal education available on how to parent successfully. The good news is there are many ways parents can stimulate their babies’ brains and use day-to-day events as exceptional learning opportunities. Carlota Nelson, director of the documentary Brain Matters ,…, 1. Stimulate baby talk and treat it as real conversation, The sounds and gestures that babies make might not always seem like much, but it’s their only form of communication. Early childhood development scientists say we should stimulate Baby talk: Mini Parenting Master Class baby talk and treat it as real conversation. Parents should respond to baby’s sounds, cues and actions and engage with them…, 2. Read to your baby to exercise language, Babies might not be talking or reading yet but they’re born ready to learn.  Even at 3 months of age, they can distinguish each sound used in every language in the entire world. Every time you read out loud to your baby, you are building language skills. Make sure to point to the pictures in the book and ask questions about the story and the…, 3. Use everyday experiences as learning opportunities, For babies, each life experience is all about learning. Whether it’s bath time, sorting laundry, cooking or running errands, these activities are great learning moments. Narrate what you are doing to stimulate language. Count and sort laundry to teach maths and play with food ingredients and textures to promote scientific thinking. Making faces…, 4. Take play seriously, Young children are learning all the time. When they play, they’re building important life skills. Make-believe play allows them to experience what it’s like to be someone else and understand others’ feelings. When they play with others, they’re learning to compromise and take turns. Engaging in imaginative free play, like pretending a toy train…, 5. Lead by example, Babies are genius impersonators. They pick up on everything they see you do. Until they talk, they become experts at reading faces and non-verbal attitudes and learn to mimic them. By watching your body language, how you treat others or how you react to a challenge, babies will adopt these attitudes and actions themselves. The way you act around…, Did you find this content useful? , Loading...