Saturday, January 8, 2011

Getting Started 0 to 4 Months

Exactly how does someone get started teaching an infant reading, writing, arithmetic, sign language, art, geography, shapes, colors, and everything else they will need to know before moving out in just 18 short years? WOHHHHHH.... back up! 

Yep that's right BACK UP! Parents who are worried about teaching their kids, usually get a little carried away and try to do it all in one day (ask me how I know!) It was my very first mistake and the hardest one to overcome! 

You can start teaching your child from day one... but if you want to teach a baby EVERYTHING you're going to have to star by (drum roll) DOING NOTHING! Okay maybe not completely "nothing" but pretty close to it. 

The best thing you can do to help your infant learn is to hold them! Study after study have shown that babies who get held develop stronger relationships, have better grades, have an easier time developing and keeping friendships, and sleep better... yes that's right THEY SLEEP BETTER! 

(For more on "In-arm" development check out this great article:

After holding them then play music for them! If you aren't into classical music then just leave whatever type of music you are into playing though out the day. If you already have cable or satellite TV you don't need to make any purchase for this at all! Just tune into your music channels and let it go in the background. Even if you tune it out after awhile, or your baby falls to sleep and you think they aren't listening... they are! A study done in the early 90's showed that where only 2 types of music that DID NOT improve brain function, any guess as to what those were? 
Despite people's personal prejudiced the ONLY types of "music" that did not increase brain function were Rap, and Techno. Which is especially interesting because if you look up the definitions of these types of "music" neither are actually classified as music! Rap is classified as:  "spoken or chanted rhyming lyrics with a strong rhythmic accompaniment" and Techno is defined as: "Computer generated sound". So if your fix is rap or techno then perhaps find another genre to play around the baby, but if you just LOVE your country, rock, or even metal know that all of those will actually INCREASE yours and your babies brain function! 

Those little mobiles you dangle above your baby's bead and wonder why because they can't even touch them yet, they actually serve two purposes! And, very important purposes at that! The first is: that your babies eye's are not fully developed yet, so by giving them something interesting to look at you are encouraging them to use those muscles which will not only help them develop but keep them strong though out life! The second is: you are giving them a reason to "reach up" which helps prepare them for crawling, walking, tumbling, and every other activity they will take part in, though out life! If you don't have a mobile or can't afford to go get one (or simply hate them) go here and print some high contrast black on white posters to hang up on your babies wall, above their bed, in the front room next to the TV you watch when you snuggle them, or anywhere else in the house they will see them though out the day. Hey it's free

You may not want to roll them over on their tummy and abandon them to the floor the first day they are born, but giving your baby ample tummy time a day is absolutely a MUST! My oldest daughter would fight tummy time tooth and nail! She hated it!!! She would do anything to get out of it, including screaming the entire time she was on her tummy! So we finally went to setting an alarm. I would set an egg timer for 10 minutes. I'd set her down on her tummy and lay next to her on mine... we'd talk (she'd cry) until the timer went off... I thought I was going to pull my hair out. So if your child is like this here's a few tricks I learned! Take the print outs from above, and set them on the floor just outside your babies reach. They will do ANYTHING to get to them! Not only will they crawl a lot faster from the effort they are putting into getting these papers, but they'll get distracted and forget to cry for a whole 2 minutes! Also balls and maracas or shakers are a great distractions. Even small children can push these around while laying on their tummies, making them great toys for kids who aren't yet sitting up! 

Babies this young don't often care too much about pictures (some close to 4 months will start to). So read to them whatever it is you are reading! Just read it out loud! If you read Cosmo magazine (you might feel awkward but they won't) read it to them, if you are reading the Bathroom Reader 6th Edition while waiting for Everyone Loves Raymond to start then read that to them. If you read the newspaper that will not only give them the reading experience of hearing your voice, and starting to understand that what you are looking at means something, but they get a daily dose of social studies too (they might not care now but what they learn to love in the first 6 months often sticks around for life!) The bottom line is if you want your children to read, the number one thing you can do is to read to them! Nothing else will ever ever ever replace the time you spent reading! If you just can't find something to read to them check out this site! or you can download the Barns and Noble Nook App onto your computer for free and read tons of free children's and adult books! Check it out here: Just get a free account and stick to the about 16 books you can read for free... until they care what you're reading them the same books over and over won't make any difference! 

Now you're ready to get your baby started on a life time of learning! So far you shouldn't have had to spend too much if anything! And, the best part is you're baby is learning more then you can possibly know! Congratulations mom (or dad, or grandma, or grandpa, aunt, uncle etc) you are now homeschooling your baby! 

I know you're already freaking out thinking "I want to start now but there's something on this list I didn't do, what do I do now, I've already missed my chance" and about 200 other crazy thoughts! Take a deep breath I'm going to tell you a secret... IT'S NOT TOO LATE, YOU'RE A GREAT PARENT, CHILL OUT!  If your baby is already 4 months old, or you have another older child you're wanting to start with NOW, then you can just start on the "getting started" post that is age appropriate for your child. It's called "getting started" for a reason, if you already missed all window of opportunity to teach your child anything and they are now going to FAIL then I would have labeled these posts "getting started" I would have labeled them "You Already Failed!" 

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