19 June 2024

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', Mother playing with her child Add some fun to your morning routine! Dressing your child is a great opportunity to help them make important language connections. As you observe their interest in each article of clothing you put on, give them names. For example, as you hold up their shirt, say “yes, this is your shirt!” You can take it a step…, Food time fun!, Child eating 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 at a banana, pick it up and bring…, Bath time play, Infant in her mother's hand Grab some bath toys or a ball and get ready to play! Let your baby pick the toy that grabs their interest first. Play with them back and forth, and when they're ready to move to the next toy make a point to acknowledge the end of their time with the first toy by saying “all finished!” Toddlers may be readier than…, Point and learn, Father playing his child 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 their gestures, gaze or sounds and point to it while telling your baby what it is: “Oh do you see the bird? That’s a beautiful bird!” This will show your…, Food swap, Mother feeding her child When feeding your baby a snack, take turns in who does the feeding. Feed them one piece and let them pick up the next piece themselves. Even if it takes some time, wait for your child to respond. Taking turns helps build their confidence and social skills. This would be a great game for babies 6 months and older. By taking…
29 May 2024

Game On: Celebrate the Power of Play

On 11 June 2024 the world celebrated the first-ever International Day of Play, a special day dedicated to the magic of play. Play is not just fun – it is a cornerstone of childhood that shapes a happier, healthier, and more vibrant future for our children. Want to explore the magic of play with us?  Ready. Set. Go! Play is fundamental right Play…, Play is a fundamental right, On 9 April 2024, students at Lo Pang preschool, Mang Yang district, Gia Lai province play with musical instruments in the school’s community-based library. Every child has the fundamental right to play, as recognized by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and Viet Nam’s Children Law. Building on this principle, on March 2024, the…, Play levels up children’s development, Play is children’s superpower. It helps them fine-tune essential skills to navigate and explore the world. Through play, children build a foundation for lifelong curiosity, confidence and joy from the earliest stages of life. feet icon Physical skills Play improves children’s physical health and motor skills, keeping them active, energetic, and…, Our children love playing!, How to play your part, When children play, everyone wins. But, it only happens when adults step up. Here’s what you can do: Parents and caregivers, you are your child’s first teacher and playmate.  Lý Thùy Trang, 3, cooks lunch with her mother, Tay, 32, Ba Na ethnicity at home in KretKot village, H’ra commune, Mang Yang district, Gia Lai province on 9 January 2024.…
09 May 2024

Towards a world of play and connection, for every child

Whether it's throwing a ball, dancing or a game of tag, everyone knows play when they see it. Irrespective of economic background or culture, people all over the world engage in play in one form or another. Yet not everyone understands play is a biological imperative for every child. Play is how young children learn to navigate the world, and…, Why is play important?, Children learn best through play. Play creates powerful learning opportunities across all areas of development – intellectual, social, emotional and physical. Through play, children learn to forge connections with others, build a wide range of leadership skills, develop resilience, navigate relationships and social challenges as well as conquer…, What are the challenges and solutions?, Promoting safe and healthy environments for parents to engage and play with children is important for them to thrive. However, parents and caregivers may experience a lack of bandwidth and support to engage in play with their children due to various stressors, including financial, personal and professional ones. Moreover, a low awareness of the…, Call to action, Now more than ever, we need to provide parents and caregivers with the support needed to care for and play with their children. Together, we can build a world of play and connection for every child everywhere. As part of a new advocacy partnership, UNICEF and the LEGO Foundation are supporting countries around the world to increase the number of…
08 April 2024

Heat wave safety tips

Heat waves are anything but fun in the sun. Extreme heat and humidity can be extremely uncomfortable and pose serious health risks, especially for infants, children, pregnant women and the elderly. Without taking the proper precautions, extreme heat can lead to heat stroke and even worse, fatality. As a result of climate change, heat waves are…, Heat wave facts, Heatwave facts: A girl stands under the hot sun What is a heat wave?  Heat waves happen when the temperature is higher than normal for several days in a row. Humidity can cause it to feel much hotter. What causes a heat wave?  Heat waves result from warm air being trapped in the atmosphere and are a natural weather phenomenon. Heat waves are…, What to do in a heat wave, How to prepare for a heatwave: A girl stands next to a fan Be prepared Know how hot and humid it is going to get today, this week and this month to help plan outside activities. Keep an emergency kit at home that contains oral rehydration salt (ORS) packets, a thermometer, water bottles, towels or cloths to wet for cooling, a handheld fan or…, Signs and symptoms of heat-related illness, How to recognize symptoms of heatstroke: A girl looks confused as a caregiver supports her Severe symptoms of heat stress require urgent care.  If a family member is presenting any of the severe symptoms below you should call for an ambulance or arrange for another form of transport to a health facility immediately. Trust your instincts and don’t…, Symptoms of heat-related illness, Milder symptoms - treat at home Severe symptoms – take to hospital immediately General Dry lips/sticky mouth Excessive thirst Excessive sweating Weakness /dizziness Nausea/vomiting Small blisters/rashes Heat rashes Mild fever Nosebleeds Cramps, usually in arms and legs Confusion/not responding clearly /seizures/coma/not waking up (MOST SEVERE)…, How to treat heatstroke and heat-related illnesses, How to treat heat related illness: A girl lies on the floor while a caregiver provides water Take the following steps to help your loved one cool, rehydrate and recover:, 1. Cool and rush to health facility if severe, If a family member is experiencing severe symptoms of heat-related illnesses, it is important to cool first and transport second.   Help the person sit or lie down in a cool shaded area with good ventilation. Close curtains to create more shade. Turn on a fan or air conditioner if available. Apply wet towels to the skin at head, neck, armpits and…, 2. Reduce temperature, Move the person into a cool area if not done so already. Close curtains to create more shade. Turn on a fan or air conditioner if available.    Apply wet towels or cool water to the body, particularly at head, neck, armpits and groin. Keep changing the towels or dipping them in cool water every few minutes to provide cool water for the body. If…, 3. Rehydrate, Infants under six months: Breastfeed to rehydrate the infant. Encourage mother to also drink more water, especially if breastfeeding.  Older infants and children: Given your infant or child water in small amounts to help them become used to it.  If the child has sweated a lot or is sweating a lot, add some Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) to the water…
13 March 2024

Air pollution

Air pollution is one of the greatest threats to children’s health. Ninety-nine per cent of people in the world live in places where the air is considered unhealthy. When children breathe toxic air, it harms their health and jeopardizes their future. For children to grow up healthy, they need clean, safe air. Here are some ways you can reduce air…, Air pollution: Fast facts, What is air pollution?, When harmful substances (pollutants) – particles, gases, or matter – are released into the air and reduce its quality, the air is polluted. When it is very polluted, we can see a gray or yellow haze., Where does air pollution come from?, Most air pollution comes from sources like power plants and factories that burn fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas); road traffic; waste management; excessive fertilizer and pesticide use and burning of agricultural waste; coal and wood burning stoves; and wildfires., How does air pollution impact our health?, Air pollution is directly linked with diseases that kill. It can cause serious health and environmental hazards to people and other living beings. Pollutants in the air contain particles known as PM 2.5. These particles are about the size of one-thirtieth the width of a human hair and can be carried across thousands of miles. PM 2.5 can pass into…, How do I know if the air is polluted?, Air pollution levels can vary depending on the place and time of day. Check if air quality information is available on weather apps or local news for where you live. Does your neighbourhood have operating factories, power plants or congested traffic nearby? If so, you are likely to be exposed to high levels of air pollution. Air pollution cannot…, Children and air pollution, Why are children more at risk?, As children are growing, their developing lungs and brains make them especially vulnerable to air pollution. Their immune systems are weaker than adults, making them more vulnerable to viruses, bacteria and other infections. This increases the risk of respiratory infection and reduces their ability to fight it. Young children breathe faster than…, How does air pollution impact children?, Air pollution causes both immediate and long-term health effects in children that can be irreversible. Air pollution is linked to respiratory conditions such as pneumonia, bronchitis and asthma. It can exacerbate underlying health conditions and harm children’s physical and cognitive development. As a result, other areas of children’s lives can be…, What symptoms of exposure to air pollution should I look out for? , Here are some symptoms that can result from exposure to air pollution. Talk to your doctor if a member of your family experiences any of these symptoms.   Dry/irritated eyes, headache, fatigue, allergies or shortness of breath. In infants, look out for signs of exertion while breathing.   People with asthma might experience more severe asthmatic…, How to protect children from air pollution, Air pollution is a global problem and requires action not just by families and individuals, but by communities and governments. However, there are many things we can do to reduce our exposure to air pollution and reduce its impact on children. Here are some key steps you can take with your family:, Protecting children from air pollution outdoors, Monitor the air quality information where you live on a daily basis and try to adjust your family’s behaviour and exposure levels accordingly. Try to reduce the time spent in areas where pollution is high, such as near or around areas of severe traffic congestion or sources of industrial pollution. Travelling at times of the day when air pollution…, Protecting children from air pollution indoors, Use cleaner fuels and technologies to cook, heat and light your home. If possible, choose electricity, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, biogas or solar stoves or ovens. Ensure the cooking area is well-ventilated by opening windows and using exhaust fans to allow heat and fumes to escape. If it’s hard to ventilate your kitchen, consider…, Help create change for cleaner air, Air pollution is a public health emergency and unless governments and businesses take concrete steps to reduce it, children will continue to suffer the most. You can play an important role in raising awareness of the problem and the solutions. Encourage and support your children to learn about and participate in environmental activities.  Use…
26 February 2024

Road safety tips

Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death in children and adolescents aged 5-19 years worldwide. Tragically, many of these deaths were preventable. Here are some ways your family can stay safe while out and about. Jump to: Tips for younger children Tips for teens Tips for children with disabilities Crossing the road safely Take action…, Road safety tips for younger children, It’s never too early to start teaching your children about road safety. Here are some road rules to help little ones keep safety top of mind. 1. Traffic is dangerous Explain to your little one that while cars and motorbikes on the road may be fun to look at, it’s important to keep a safe distance. Try taking your child outside and talking to them…, Be a smart cycler, Teach your children to ride their bicycle with traffic, use appropriate hand signals, wear a well-fitting helmet, use bicycle lanes where available, and ensure that their bicycle has working brakes, a reflector and a light. A girl rides a bicycle, Road safety tips for teens, Teens are driven to seek more thrills than children and adults. While this is a natural part of their development, it can lead to more dangerous risk taking. Talk to your teen about these safety tips to help them make smart choices when you are not around to supervise. 1. Be alert and watch out for hazards As tempting as it may be to look at a…, Road safety tips for children with disabilities, You know your child and their environment best. As you teach your child about road safety, consider any additional needs they might have. For example:  Children with hearing impairments may not hear the noise of traffic – horns, cars, motorbikes etc – so teach them to watch for traffic very carefully.  Children with autism, behavioural and…, How to cross the road safely in 5 steps, 1. Find a safe place to cross Make sure you can see in all directions and that drivers can see you, too. If there is a designated crossing area, use it and explain to your child how they work. 2. Stop Leave a safe amount of distance between yourself and the road. 3. Look both ways Make sure to take your time looking around for any oncoming traffic…, Take action for road safety, By speaking to your local officials, your child's school and community groups about road safety you can raise awareness about effective measures that help reduce injuries and save lives. These include:   Enact and enforce legislation to keep urban traffic speeds on residential streets and on school routes where traffic and children come into…
02 January 2024

Feeding your baby: 1–2 years

At 1 year old, your child is learning to eat on their own. They can chew food as well as you can, so they can eat the same foods as the rest of the family., In brief: Feeding your child at 1–2 years, plate with food icon At 1 year, solid foods – including healthy snacks – are now your child’s main source of energy and nutrition. Jar icon Your child can take between three quarters to one cup of food three to four times a day, plus one to two snacks between meals. Breastfeeding icon Continue breastfeeding as much as your child wants, until at…, What to feed your child, Your child can eat anything, so you can give them some of all the food your family eats and make every bite count. Each meal needs to be packed with nutritious food. Be sure your child has a portion of animal foods (milk, dairy, eggs, meat, fish and poultry) each day, plus legumes (like chickpeas, lentils or peas) – or nuts, and orange or green…, How much food and how often, Your child can take between three quarters to one cup of food three to four times a day, plus one to two snacks between meals. If you’re not breastfeeding, then your child will need to eat more often. At 1 year, about the time children start to walk, your child's feeding schedule should include four to five meals a day, plus two healthy snacks.…, Foods to avoid, Avoid junk food and soft drinks. Factory-made snacks like crisps, cookies, cakes, soda and candy are unhealthy. They have high amounts of sugar, salt, fat and chemicals, and take up space in your child’s stomach that should be filled with nutritious foods., Mealtime tips, Having their own bowl of food will help your child learn to feed themselves. Start as soon as your child wants. Give them all the food they need and plenty of time to eat.  At first, your child will be slow and messy. Help them to get most of the food in their mouth (instead of on themself or the floor!). Encourage your child to finish it and make…, What to do when your child refuses to eat solid foods, Make sure your child is hungry at mealtimes and has not just had a snack. Although breastfeeding continues to be healthy for your child, breastfeed them only after their meal. At this age, they should eat solid food first.  Give your child healthy food that they like or mix the food they like with food they don't like as much. Try different food…
02 January 2024

Feeding your baby: 6–12 months

Young children need enough nutritious food every day to grow healthy, strong and smart. At around 6 months old, your baby is growing quickly and needs more energy and nutrients than at any other time in their life., In brief: Feeding your baby at 6–12 months, plate and food icon After 6 months, breastmilk is still your baby’s main source of energy and nutrients, but solid foods should now be added. Jar icon Your baby has a small stomach and needs to be eating small amounts of soft nutritious food frequently throughout the day.  fruits icon In addition to grains and tubers, feed your baby a variety of…, Your baby's first foods, When your baby is 6 months old, they are just learning to chew. The first foods need to be soft so they’re very easy to swallow, such as porridge or well mashed fruits and vegetables. Did you know that when porridge is too watery, it doesn't have as many nutrients? To make it more nutritious, cook it until it’s thick enough not to run off the…, Feeding your baby: 6–8 months old, From 6–8 months old, feed your baby half a cup of soft food two to three times a day. Your baby can eat anything except honey, which they shouldn't eat until they reach 12 months old. You can start to add a healthy snack, like mashed fruit, between meals. As your baby gets increasing amounts of solid foods, they should continue to get the same…, Feeding your baby: 9–11 months old, From 9–11 months old, your baby can take half a cup of food three to four times a day, plus a healthy snack. Now you can start to chop up soft food into small pieces instead of mashing it. Your baby may even start to eat food with their fingers. Continue to breastfeed whenever your baby is hungry. Each meal needs to be both easy for your baby to…, Feeding non-breastfed babies, If you're not breastfeeding, your baby will need to eat more often. They'll also need to rely on other foods, including milk products, to get all the nutrition their body needs. Start to give your baby solid foods at 6 months of age, just as a breastfed baby would need. Begin with two to three spoonfuls of soft and mashed food four times a day,…