Tuesday, May 10, 2011
One of the most frequent questions I have been asked by parents when expressing a desire to sign with their children is, “Why should we teach my baby sign language when he or she is not deaf?” If you have not already been introduced to signing with your baby, my answer to this question may surprise you.
Experts on the subject have discovered that there are many amazing benefits associated with teaching your baby how to effectively communicate with you through sign language. First and foremost, it greatly helps to reduce the frustration babies or toddlers feel when they cannot explain how they are feeling or what it is they need, therefore almost eliminating tantrums completely! It is also proven that babies taught to sign will begin to speak earlier than nonsigners and once talking will have a more extensive vocabulary. This is due to the fact that when you are demonstrating a sign to your baby, you are also speaking the word at the same time. Even more shocking is that these babies will generally have an IQ score that is at least 10 to 12 points higher.
There are many books out there that will teach you these basic signs and how to introduce them to your child, but none of them compare to the Signing Time program I was introduced to many years ago. Created by Rachel Coleman, originally for her daughter Leah, who was, in fact, born deaf, it has now been brought into many homes of hearing children and used to help them communicate with their parents and caregivers before they can speak. I began using it with my own daughter when she was just three months old, and, at nine months, she has a signing vocabulary of 20-plus signs! What makes this program stand out among all the others is that these sets of DVDs have been created to keep your child’s attention by having actual babies and toddlers modeling the signs, as well as Mrs. Coleman signing catchy tunes that you will, for sure, be trying to get out of your head for hours after watching. You can also purchase other learning materials to go along with the DVD box sets like flashcards, hard back books, and even CDs that include all of the musical numbers that you hear on the DVDs. There are many other baby learning products out there, but this would definitely be my first choice. You can find more information about signing as well as purchase these great DVDs on the Signing Time Web site and also on Rachael Coleman’s blog. GreatAuPair customers will receive a 5% discount off any purchase over $50 by using coupon code teachmybaby at checkout. Discount may not be combined with any other offer.
I hope you have found this recommendation helpful, and I would love to hear from any of you who have tried signing with your children. Please leave a comment below about your experiences or any helpful tips you would like to share.
Monday, March 14, 2011
The past nine years as a professional nanny have introduced me to some of the best baby and toddler products on the market. Today I’d like to share two products that not only have I had hands-on experience with, but I would say they are priceless lifesavers. I believe them to be some of the most innovative and helpful possessions you will ever own while raising your little ones. These products will help get your baby sleeping through the night as early as 12 weeks old and show you the best way to safely and effectively swaddle your baby to soothe fussiness.
The Woombie. Many years into my nanny career (while working for Nadya Suleman), I discovered this ingenious invention designed to swaddle a baby in a safer and more secure way, prohibiting him from getting any material close to his nose or mouth and, therefore, preventing accidental suffocation. When Nadya’s babies first came home from the hospital, they were so tiny that swaddling them in receiving blankets became a serious safety risk. After many weeks of not swaddling them at all and many nights of their startle reflexes waking them up, I decided to conduct research for a solution that would allow them to sleep more peacefully. After coming across the Web site and getting in contact with the developer and CEO of the company and explaining the situation to her, she was eager to help and immediately shipped out eight preemie-size Woombies. Within hours of putting them on, all eight of the babies were sleeping soundly in their cribs for up to five hours at a time!
Although not the most important aspect of the Woombie, they come in many different styles, colors, and different types of material. There is one made out of a lighter material for the summer months, one made out of heavier material for the winter months, and even one made out of all organic fibers. The Web site offers many other wonderful products to parents of newborns, such as the sleep donut (designed to provide a safe, clean, and comfortable place to lay your baby when you’re on the go). The Mo’Mo blankie is designed to be a pacifier holder and comfort blanket in one. I highly recommend you visit this wonderful Web site and, if nothing else, that you purchase the Woombie for your little one(s)! www.thewoombie.com
The Baby Sleep Solution. Are you a new mother or father of a newborn, wondering when you will ever be able to get a full night’s worth of uninterrupted sleep once again? Do you have an older child who suddenly isn’t sleeping completely through the night anymore? Not to worry! I promise you that this seemingly unattainable goal is much closer than you may think.
When I first discovered The Baby Sleep Solution by Suzy Giordano (also known as the Baby Coach), I was working as a live-out night nanny for newborn triplets. I was struggling to get them to sleep for more than one-hour stretches while working on getting them accustomed to sleeping together in the same room without waking each other up with every little cry or sudden movement. After many long and exhausting nights of walking up and down the hallways with three overtired and fussy babies in my arms, I decided to research online to find a solution that would allow both them and their parents to have peace and quiet in their home once again. That’s when I found Giordano’s eye-opening sleep-training book, read it in less than two hours, and started to implement it with the triplets. To make a long story short, all three of them were sleeping through the night for 12-hour stretches, as well as taking two one-and-a-half-hour naps during the day by 14 weeks old!
All of this was accomplished without using the crying-out method but, instead, by establishing a nightly bedtime routine and teaching the babies how to self-soothe without having to be picked up or fed. I highly recommend that if you don’t already have this book, go out and get your hands on it immediately! You can find it at your local bookstore or on Giordano’s Web site: http://www.babycoach.net/.