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baby talk! beginning milestones & GRAND connections!

Tuesday, May 21, 2024


Don’t you love the month of May… 

the colors, the freshness and the sense of new beginnings?

We sure do!


This year we are each savoring our role 

as Grand to two Littles!

Can you believe it?

With the recent arrival of Laura’s Little P

(you can read more here)

we both are now Grands to two granddaughters!

With both of our Little Ps joining our families recently…

Laurie’s six months ago and now Laura’s in recent days,

we definitely have babies on our minds!!!


In honor of these special Littles in our lives,

we’re revisiting a few milestones that take place during those first six months

as well as some of our favorite ways to interact with infant Littles!

Perhaps you’re like us,

grandparents to an infant Little

OR MAYBE

you are a daily caregiver, a babysitter or a new mom yourself.


While we ourselves are looking through the lens of a GRAND,

our ideas are equally inviting for anyone

wishing to connect with babies, 0-6 months old,

in simple and engaging ways!


Many of our friends in this stage of life (like us)

are welcoming grandchildren into their lives!

As retired kindergarten teachers,

we each have a background in early childhood development,

and we are often asked for advice about ways to interact with these little ones!


Frankly, Laura herself needed a bit of a refresher course

of what to expect during these early days,

and we’re guessing many new Grands do, as well!


So, here are some of our general takeaways 

when it comes to understanding infants

and this stage of development, from 0-6 months old!


NOTE:  

Every Little is different, so please keep in mind 

that the milestones shared are generalizations at best!


Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that our newborn Littles are actively learning during the first weeks and months of life… but they are!  During these early days, our Littles are adapting to their environment while they also begin to perfect simple movements as they learn how their body works!  Our Littles are also taking in lots of information, such as body language, others’ expressions and the way they are held by those caring for them!  Milestones for these growing Little include the following…


The world is opening up to our Littles by now!  Babies between 4 and 6 months old are getting stronger and more engaged with the world around them.  Our Littles are much more active, both verbally and physically!  Milestones between 4-6 months include:



Now that we’ve reviewed the ways Littles develop

let’s explore those ways we can support their growth

- motor, sensory & communication - 

while connecting with them in meaningful ways!


A Grand Tip!

Always check with your Little’s parents

before beginning an activity with your Little 

that you’ve never done before!


Here’s 3 activities to help Littles build muscle strength!


Reach for It!

Prop a book or toy 6-8 inches away from your Little but in his/her line of vision.  As your Little focuses on the object, move it a little, encouraging your Little to reach for it!

You can also hold a toy, a rattle or scarf above your Little’s head while he/she is lying on his/her back.  Encourage your Little to reach for the object as he/she builds body strength!   Better still, get within 6-8 inches of your Little’s face and simply talk while he/she reaches for you!


Tummy Time!

Tummy time these days is very intentional and begins soon after birth! Once Mommy or Daddy has introduced Tummy Time, give it a try, too!  Put your Little on his/her tummy on a blanket..  Set up toys in your Little’s line of vision (no more than 8-12 inches away)  

Don’t forget about the simple power found in talking to your Little in a quiet, happy voice!  This will encourage your Little to lift his/her head to see what’s going on! 

S-T-R-E-T-C-H!

Helping your Little stretch by GENTLY moving body parts out of their normal range of motion can improve flexibility and comfort.  Rotating your Little’s legs around can help flex his/her hip joints after being in the womb for nine months!  Stretch a Little’s legs when he/she is laying on the back in front of you. Keep legs straight while bringing each leg up to the chest to stretch each hamstring, one leg at a time for the best stretch. Bring the legs apart into a straddle to stretch your Little’s inner thighs.  You can even pedal legs slowly for an additional exercise!

To stretch the upper body, lay your Little down on his/her back. Bring arms up, down, forward, and back, and rotate the shoulders, always slowly and GENTLY! You can also rotate the baby’s upper torso for more spinal twisting and stretching!



Check out these 3 activities that help Littles activate their senses

as they learn about the world around them!


Track That Toy!

Help your Little develop his/her tracking skills by simply moving a favorite toy back and forth. 

As your Little becomes successful with this and his/her ability to focus improves, move the object behind or beyond his/her line of vision - see if your Little is ready to turn his/her head to find the object!

Pop Up toys cause Littles to refocus quickly on the new object.  A word of caution - if the sudden movement startles your Little too much, use your fingers to catch it and to slow down the “pop up” action.


Mirror!  Mirror! 

Your Little will be mesmerized watching him/herself in a mirror and, as an added bonus, this provides great tummy time practice, too!  You can prop a mirror on the floor or you can hold your Little over your shoulder so that he/she can look at his/her reflection!


 Textures All Around!

Search around your house for fabrics and objects that have different textures.  Items that are smooth, bumpy, slippery, scratchy or sticky are fun options as are different types of fabric like silk, corduroy, wool or burlap..  Allow your baby to hold each texture or rub each gently on your Little’s hands or cheeks. 

A Grand Tip!

Be mindful to not overstimulate your Little!

Begin by only offering one or two different textures at a time!


As another option, gently, rub a cotton ball that’s been dipped in warm water on your child’s arm or leg. 



We’ve got 3 ways for you to support your Little’s growing communication skills!


Read, Read & Read Some More!!

Yes!  Even newborns benefit from being read to!  It’s no surprise that as retired kindergarten teachers we could go on and on about this one!  The language patterns and the tone of your voice can kick start a love of words and reading, and by doing this, your Little's overall language development will grow and grow!


A Grand Tip!

When desperate for a bit of grown up entertainment as a new mom,

Laurie remembers that she would read her own novel out loud

while spending time with a newborn Little!

WIN!  WIN!


By showing your Little the picture of the cow and naming it, he/she is learning to identify that the object goes with the word “cow”.  Yes, we know reading “the cow says moo” over and over and over again is not that interesting to us, as adults... BUT your Little’s brain is constantly whirling as he/she processes what it all means!  Repetition is critical!


Sing a Song!

They say that music is the universal language!  Build up a repertoire of catchy, simple songs your Little will start to recognize. The Wheels on the Bus, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, This Old Man are some of our favorites!  Interact with your Little while singing.  Roll your Little’s  legs around for The Wheels on the Bus.  Creep your fingers up your Little’s tummy during the Itsy Bitsy Spider.  Look around for props to help with the songs, like this bunny rattle that Laurie has… its been hopping and shaking to Little Bunny Foo Foo for many years as she sang that song to many babies!  

Another idea?

Hold your Little close and dance around to the music YOU love!

If you aren’t sure how to approach singing and rhyming with young Littles,

you may want to check out this fun post from last year!

We can't stress it enough... Chant, sing, repeat over and over!

Teach those nursery rhymes to your Littles!

You’ll be SO glad you did!


Day to Day Happenings!

As you experience everyday life, share your world with your Little… talk to young Littles and they will watch and learn!  Their receptive language (listening and understanding) and expressive language (use of words to communicate) will grow and grow!  An added bonus… You’ll provide those needed motor and sensory experiences, all at the same time! 


While Shopping!   The lights, sights and sounds while out and about provide lots of stimulation and entertainment… especially as you narrate the experience for your Littles!!

Laurie recalls…. One time I was out grocery shopping with my 4 month old great-nephew tucked in his carseat  in the shopping cart.  He was staring up towards the ceiling, smiling and waving his arms.  I couldn’t figure out what he was focused on until I followed his gaze and saw the space above the pharmacy was filled with photos of large, happy people that he was reacting to!

While Doing Household Activities!  Set your Little in a safe seat while you are cooking.  Talk to your Little about what you are doing.  Let him/her chew on a spoon.  

Laundry time provides another great opportunity to build connections with Littles! Fold clothes on the floor next to your Little.  Play Peek-a-Boo with the towels you are folding! Turn a sock into a puppet and sing to your Little!.


In Nature!   On a pleasant day, lay your Little on a blanket in the grass.  Babies especially love to watch the leaves dance above them while lying on their backs!  Take your Little on a spring, summer, fall or winter nature walk! Talk to your Little about what you see all around you both!

Find leaves, grass, sticks and other natural objects that are safe for your Little to touch and allow him/her to explore! Name each item... this will ultimately lay the foundation for vocabularly development!

And here's one more proven piece of advice...


Perhaps the activities we’ve shared in this post will serve as reminders

of long ago, familiar experiences for you.

Or, maybe we’ve shared an idea or two that’s new to you!

Not only will you help your Little as he/she develops important milestone skills,

you'll also build that important emotional connection!


Connecting with our youngest Littles will always reap great rewards!

Oh… and by the way… 

don’t ever discount the benefit of snuggle time!

We know that many of our readers are experienced Grands 

who, undoubtedly, have LOTS of wisdom to share with us!

If you have any sage advice for us as Grands,

we’d love it if you’d offer your suggestions in our “comments” section

at the end of this post!


We’d also love it if you subscribed to our blog

and we invite you, as always, 

to follow us on any (or even all three) of our social platforms!


We post new content regularly on our Instagram and Facebook sites

 and you can find many of our posts available on Pinterest, too!


We’ll be back soon!.

In the meantime, we’ll leave you with two final thoughts for today.


FINAL THOUGHT - NUMBER 1

 and


FINAL THOUGHT - NUMBER 2

If you know, you know!




SPECIAL THANKS TO

Busy Monday from A Pinch of Joy

Senior Salon Pit Stop from Scratch Made Food for Hungry People

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8 Comments


Guest
May 30

Aw, this was such a lovely post! 😍 Those tips you provided are wonderful, along with those grand connections. Thank you for sharing with us at The Crazy Little Lovebirds link party #39. 💕

Steph@CrazyLittleLovebirds


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Our Grand Lives
May 30
Replying to

Thank you, Steph! We always appreciate your kind comments and we appreciate the opportunity you provide to share at The Crazy Little Lovebirds! 💕 Laura

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Guest
May 26

Such great information! And how fast these stages come and go! Thank you for sharing with us at SSPS, I appreciate it, this post is one of my features for this weeks SSPS. Melynda @scratchmadefood!

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Our Grand Lives
May 27
Replying to

So true, Melynda! I remember as a parent how fleeting these days were and now we're savoring every minute! Thanks for featuring our post on the SSPS link up! So fun for us! 💕 Laura

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Guest
May 25

What a great, informative post and your grandbabies are just gorgeous. My youngest grandson turns 6 this week so no more babies for me, sadly. Thanks so much for sharing at #WeekendTrafficJamReboot and enjoy your babies with lots of cuddles x Sue from Women Living Well After 50

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Our Grand Lives
May 27
Replying to

Thanks, Sue, for stopping by and for your kind words! I'm sure you have lots of "Grand" wisdom! We are definitely getting in all the snuggles we can! 💕 Laura

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Guest
May 24

Oh, how adorable, the baby photos! My grands are now in grade and middle school. No more babies for me. sigh.....

Take care and best wishes.

Debra | Gma'sPhoto

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Our Grand Lives
May 27
Replying to

Thanks for connecting, Debra! We're sure, as you can attest to, that this stage of "grandparenthood" will go by in a wink of an eye! We are thoroughly enjoying these days while they are here! 💕 Laura

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