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How to communicate effectively with your young child
Every interaction you have with your child is a form of communication. It's not just about the words you say: The tone of your voice, the look in your eyes and the hugs and kisses you give – all convey messages to your child. The way you communicate with your child not only teaches them how to communicate with others, it shapes their emotional…, What are the types of communication?, Communication can take two forms: verbal and nonverbal. Verbal communication is the way we communicate with words and includes: Pitch and tone of voice The words you say Dialect, or using words your child can best understand. Nonverbal communication is both intentional and unintentional communication through body language. It includes things like…
What you need to know about parent-child attachment
Children thrive when they feel safe, loved and nurtured. For many parents, forming a close bond with their child comes easily. For many others who did not feel cherished, protected or valued during their own childhood, it can be much more of a struggle. The good news is that parenting skills can be learned. Read on to learn why bonding with your…, Why building a relationship with your child matters, Providing your child with love and affection is a pre-requisite for the healthy development of their brain, their self-confidence, capacity to thrive and even their ability to form relationships as they go through life. You literally cannot give babies ‘too much’ love. There is no such thing as spoiling them by holding them too much or giving them…, How to bond with your child, Parenting can be difficult at times and there is no such thing as a perfect parent. But if you can provide a loving and nurturing environment for your child to grow up in and you’re a steady and reliable presence in their life, then you’ll be helping them to have a great start in life. Here are some ways that can help you build a strong connection…
How parents can support children’s online learning
While online learning has been a lifeline for children during school closures, it is no substitute for the classroom and the most vulnerable are left behind. Many teachers have few resources to adapt their classrooms for online learning, while many students do not have access to a curriculum and learning materials that are compatible with online…, Children’s online learning needs, Children of different ages face different challenges in remote classrooms. Parents can play a vital role in helping children learn and develop to their full potential. For young children, they learn and develop skills effectively by interacting with their classmates and teachers – which online learning seriously impedes. Parents can complement…, Tips for parents to help children with online learning, Communicating positively and taking care of mental health Being a good listener, building safe spaces for conversations and providing emotional support will go a long way in stress management, strengthening the bond within the family and giving children the courage and trust to communicate both positive and complicated emotions more openly with…, Tips for teachers to support parents with children’s online learning, Teachers, too, can support families with online learning by: Communicating to parents the big picture of what their children need to learn within a given time period Taking the time to check in with parents on children’s progress, challenges and learning needs and sharing helpful resources based on those needs The pandemic may bring disruptions…, Stay connected with UNICEF, Don't miss the update from UNICEF Thailand. Subscribe for newsletter from us.
How parents can support their child through COVID-19 losses
Coronavirus is unprecedented in our lifetimes and people around the world are mourning a sense of normalcy and routine. Some may also be grieving the loss of a loved one due to COVID-19. Loss, grief and bereavement are difficult and complicated for anyone, but especially so for children – who may be dealing with this for the first time in their…, What are the differences between loss and grief?, “Loss and grief are powerful psychological experiences that leave adults and children feeling both disrupted and often very sad,” says Dr. Damour. “We might use the term loss to talk about the loss of things that may return – such as the rhythms and routines of life before the pandemic.” Grief, on the other hand, is for something more permanent, “…, How do children feel loss and grief differently from adults?, According to Dr. Damour, a lot will depend on the age of your child. “Very young children may be confused about what happened – both with loss and grief. Children under the age of 5 may not understand why they don’t go to school and why their parents are home. In the case of death, they may not really understand what death is or understand that it…, How can I help my child navigate these emotions?, Be empathetic and be honest with children of all ages, but make sure to be especially clear with young children. “Children under the age of 5, need and deserve very clear, very simple explanations that do not include euphemisms. We can’t tell children that we ‘lost’ someone, because they won’t really understand what we’re trying to say. It’s more…, I lost my own parent and am grieving myself. How can I still be supportive of my child?, “It’s not necessarily bad for children to see adults grieving,” explains Dr. Damour. “When we’re sad about the death of someone we love, we’re having the right reaction at the right time. And it’s important for us to model for children how to weather a difficult feeling, even if it’s a very painful emotion.” If your grief feels too overwhelming,…, What can I expect when my child is grieving the death of a loved one?, According to Dr. Damour, “It’s not at all unusual for children ages 6 – 11 and teenagers to have periods of disbelief or shock about the loss of someone close to them – or even to have moments of forgetting that it occurred, which is a normal and healthy defence that simply gives the mind a break from very painful news. Defences come and go, and…, I’m worried that my child may be depressed. What are some signs to look for?, “Loss and bereavement are both very painful experiences,” explains Dr. Damour. “It’s important to know when a child is handling them appropriately and when it’s time to worry. For children of all ages and adults, it’s time to worry if painful feelings are being managed with negative coping mechanisms such as emotional withdrawal that lasts for…, Missing out on important events is taking a toll on my child. What should I say to him?, “Kids have every right to be upset about how coronavirus has disrupted their normal lives,” says Dr. Damour. Their losses feel bigger for them than they do for us because this disruption is a greater percentage of their time that they remember being alive – and we’re measuring it against our lifetime and experiences. “The way that we adults can be…, My child is having a hard time understanding why we are all staying home right now. How can I explain it to her?, Dr. Damour recommends giving young children a point of reference. “It can be helpful to say: ‘You know how we keep you home from school when you have a cold so you don’t make other people sick? Well this is like that, but it’s a virus that’s more dangerous than a cold. And so we stay home to make sure that we don’t catch the virus, and people with…, Stay connected with UNICEF, Don't miss the update from UNICEF Thailand. Subscribe for newsletter from us.
Feeding your baby: When to start with solid foods
As your baby grows, her nutritional needs grow with her. During the first two years, up to 75 per cent of each meal goes to building your baby’s brain. Here’s when to introduce your baby to solid foods and why getting the timing right is so important., In brief: Feeding your baby solid foods, A graphic depicting breastfeeding. Before 6 months, breastmilk alone meets all your baby’s energy and nutrition needs. A graphic depicting soft food on a plate. Start to introduce soft foods at 6 months when your baby needs more energy and nutrients than your milk alone can provide. A graphic depicting soft food with a spoon. At 6 months, start…
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! With help from our friends at the LEGO Foundation and the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard…, 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', A mother is playing with her baby. 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, give them names. For example, as you hold up her shirt, say “yes, this is your shirt!” You can take it a step…, Food time fun!, A mother is engaging with her son in cooking. 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 to what your child is looking at, interested in and reacting to. For example, if you notice your baby staring…, Bath time play, A mother is bathing her child. 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 to acknowledge the end of her time with the first toy by saying “all finished!” Toddlers may be readier than infants to…, Point and learn, A father is holding his child in his arm to select a necklace. 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’s a…, Food swap, A mother is feeding food to her baby. 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 game for babies 6 months and older. By…
Toys for life
For very young children, play is a serious business and can bring a lifetime of benefits. As Harvard University's Dr. Jack Shonkoff says: "Play is exploration. Play is trying things. Play is trying to figure out [why] when you do one thing, something else happens. Play is trying to develop a sense of mastery of the world." The good news is…, 1. Baby mobile, Why: Develops hand-eye coordination and stimulates visual skills. , 2. Peekaboo, Why: Helps children to understand that people and things exist even if they don't see them., 3. Build-a-band, Why: Stimulates the coordination movements and helps strengthen your young child's hands., 4. Shake shake shake, Why: Stimulates your baby's ability to see, hear and grasp objects., 5. Sort the shapes, Why: Helps children learn to classify objects based on colour, shape, size., 6. Tickle tickle, Why: Helps develop senses and encourages communication., 7. Imagination builder, Why: Helps develop your child's thinking, imagination and movement coordination. Videos filmed by UNICEF Paraguay.
How to talk to your children about COVID-19 vaccines
News about COVID-19 vaccines is flooding our daily lives and it is only natural that curious young children will have questions – lots of them. Here are some tips for helping to explain what can be a complicated topic in simple and reassuring terms., 1. Make sure you’re up to date yourself, Before talking to your children about COVID-19 vaccines, it is important that you understand them yourself. A great place to start is our conversation with Dr. Mike Varshavski., 2. Ask and listen, Invite your child to share what they have heard about COVID-19 vaccines and listen to their responses. It is important to be fully engaged and take any fears they have seriously. Be patient, the pandemic and misinformation has caused a lot of worry and uncertainty for everyone. Let them know that they can always talk to you or another trusted…, 3. Be honest with them, Children have a right to know what is going on, but it should be explained to them in an age-appropriate way. Keep in mind that kids take their emotional cues from adults, so even if you are worried for your little one knowing that they might be uncomfortable, try not to overshare your fears with your child. Play can be a helpful tool for working…, 4. Answer their questions, Here are some kid-friendly responses to keep in your back pocket for questions your child may have about COVID-19 vaccines:, What is a vaccine?, A vaccine is like a shield that protects you from an illness., How do vaccines work?, Vaccines teach your body how to fight off illnesses. They do that by putting a tiny piece of the germ that causes the illness you need protection from (or something that looks like the germ) inside your body, so your body can learn what it needs to do to fight it off. This way if you ever come into contact with the illness your body knows exactly…, Are vaccines safe?, Yes, vaccines are very safe! Millions of children (and adults!) get vaccinated every year, which helps protect them from lots of diseases. When we get a vaccine, we might get a temperature or some aches, but this doesn’t last long and is many times better than getting sick from the illness. These signs also show that the vaccine is working and…, When can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?, Older people [give an example of a family member or friend] are more at risk of getting sick from COVID-19 than children. That’s why the vaccines are being given to adults first. Doctors are now testing the vaccines to make sure that they work well for children too. We will get the news from our Ministry of Health once it’s ready for kids. In the…, I’m scared of shots! Do I have to get one?, I understand how you’re feeling, but here’s the thing: It’ll be over in the blink of an eye! You’ll feel a quick pinch and then all done, just like you did for other vaccines. When and if it’s time for children to be vaccinated, we’ll practice what it’s like at home before we go to your appointment. That way, you’ll know exactly what to expect and…, Stay connected with UNICEF, Don't miss the update from UNICEF Thailand. Subscribe for newsletter from us.
Breastfeeding safely during the COVID-19 pandemic
If you're a mother or expecting, it is only natural to have questions about what is safest for your baby during the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence is overwhelmingly in support of breastfeeding. The transmission of COVID-19 through breastfeeding or by giving breastmilk has not been detected. Breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact and early, exclusive…, Should I breastfeed during the pandemic?, Yes. There is no evidence to date that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted through breastfeeding. Breastmilk provides antibodies that give babies everywhere a healthy boost and protect them against many infections. Breastfeeding significantly reduces the risk of death in newborns and young infants, provides lifelong health benefits for children, and…, Can you pass COVID-19 to your baby by breastfeeding?, To date, active COVID-19 (virus that can cause infection) has not been detected in the breastmilk of any mother with COVID-19, so it is unlikely that COVID-19 can be transmitted through breastmilk. Researchers are continuing to test breastmilk from mothers with confirmed and suspected COVID-19. >> Watch our Mini Parenting Master Class on…, Should I breastfeed if I have or suspect I have COVID-19?, Yes, you should continue breastfeeding with appropriate precautions. The transmission of COVID-19 through breastmilk and breastfeeding has not been detected. Precautions include wearing a medical mask if available, washing your hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub before and after touching your baby, and routinely cleaning…, Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I'm breastfeeding or providing expressed milk?, Yes, the COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for healthy individuals who are lactating or expressing milk. , Is it safe to continue breastfeeding after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine?, Yes, you should continue breastfeeding after vaccination to protect your baby. None of the WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines currently being used contain the live virus, so there is no risk of passing the virus to your baby through breastmilk. , What should I do if I’m too unwell to breastfeed?, If you are feeling too sick to nurse, try to find other ways to safely provide your child with breastmilk. Try expressing milk and giving to your child via a clean cup or spoon. You could also consider donor human milk if available in your area. Speak to your breastfeeding counsellor or healthcare professional about the options available to you.…, Should I breastfeed if my child is sick?, Continue to breastfeed your child if she becomes ill. Whether your little one contracts COVID-19 or another illness, it is important to continue nourishing her with breastmilk. Breastfeeding boosts your baby’s immune system, and your antibodies are passed to her through breastmilk, helping her to fight infections. , What precautions should I take when breastfeeding?, Make sure to follow handwashing guidelines. Your hands should be washed with soap and water before and after touching your baby. You may also use an alcohol-based hand rub. It is also important to clean and disinfect any surfaces that you have touched. Wash breastmilk pumps, milk storage containers and feeding utensils after every use as usual.…, What coronavirus means for breastfeeding, For more information on breastfeeding during COVID-19 see guidance by the World Health Organization . Article by Mandy Rich, Digital Content Writer, UNICEF This article was originally published on 28 May 2020. It was last updated on 29 July 2021.
Breastfeeding from the first hour of birth: What works and what hurts
Whether delivery takes place in a hut in a rural village or a hospital in a major city, putting newborns to the breast within the first hour after birth gives them the best chance to survive, thrive and develop to their full potential. UNICEF and WHO recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, starting within an hour of…