At CompaNanny, we are more than happy to share our extensive knowledge about child development. Which is why we organise (online) events such as CompaTalks and regularly write blogs, where we take you through specific topics about child development. Or provide tips on how to properly nurture different skills at home.
Your child is about to start kindergarten, what a milestone! Perhaps you are excited and don't know what to expect, or you find it hard to say goodbye to your child when you take him or her away for the first time. It is a whole new world for both you and your child. In this blog we tell you what to expect and what you can do to help your child get used to it.
The first meeting
You have probably already dropped by to see the facility, learn more about the organization and meet the team. It is nice and important to have a conversation with the pedagogical staff beforehand, so they can learn a lot about your child and your family and respond appropriately. You can also discuss what to expect from the first drop-off and the settling-in period. The settling-in period at the childcare centre starts with a number of days in which the time your child spends in the group is slowly built up.
During the settling-in period, a whole new world opens up for your child. Your child comes into contact with other children, the Nannies in the group, new impressions such as smells, colors and sounds and a new environment. You can tell that your child needs to absorb and process many new things by the fact that he/she is suddenly more focused on you (as a parent), enters a shy phase or is more sensitive. But your child may also be more tired or hungry. The brain of young children has not yet learned to filter stimuli properly, so it is logical that your child is overwhelmed and tired after a day at childcare.
How your child will react to these changes is often impossible to say in advance and can depend on various factors. These include your child's age and temperament, or how accustomed your child is to other people and new places. Your own attitude as a parent also plays a role. You can help your child get used to it by exuding calmness and confidence. If you show your child when they leave that it is okay to spend a day at the nursery, they will feel more confident.
Playing on the senses
Children at a young age are mainly focused on developing through their senses. They are therefore very much - much more than adults - aware of smells. It can therefore be nice for your child to have something familiar at daycare, especially when they first go. A cuddly toy that he/she has already used at home or a shirt that you have worn. This can provide a lot of security.
Recognizable morning ritual
Although you have a clear agenda, it is a big question for your child what is going to happen that day. When everything is new and you are still developing as a baby, every day can be different. To ensure that your child feels emotionally secure and is not surprised by suddenly being brought to the daycare center, you can make sure that these mornings are the same. Make a ritual of the things that need to happen in the morning when you go to daycare. If it is recognizable, your child will make the association faster and faster and be better prepared for the transition from home to daycare.
Many parents are faced with the challenge of getting their child to eat enough but also relaxed vegetables. You don't want a battle at the table, but you do want your child to eat healthily. By bringing together education and nutrition, pedagogue and (child) nutritionist Iris Vernooij, of STERK&ZOET, supports parents and children in both! In this blog she shares some practical tips to make eating more fun and more nutritious.
"I don't like that!"
In general, the image of vegetables could use an upgrade. It is often rather negative and this is often created by ourselves, often without us realizing it. For example, when you say, "When you eat your Brussels sprouts, you get dessert. This indicates that the dessert is much tastier and that when you eat your Brussels sprouts, you get a reward. Then the Brussels sprouts must be really bad.
Or: 'Three more bites, then you get meat'. Here you indicate that one thing is so much better than the other. In this case, the meat. This often works in the short term but in the long term it is counterproductive.
In the ideal world, vegetables would be given a neutral image, just like the other foods. But to get it to neutral it must first be embellished. Eating vegetables must become a party. This can be done with pancakes, poffertjes and ice cream, among other things, how cool!
Pancakes with spinach are called monster or dragon pancakes but also ice creams can easily be made with vegetables. How about ice creams with blueberry and zucchini? Apple and carrot? Or spinach and avocado? In the book IJSJES, by Iris, there are more than 45 recipes for healthy ice cream with fruits and vegetables. With these healthy ice creams you give the image of vegetables a big boost.
"Just eat it, it's healthy."
To give the negative image an upgrade, it helps to teach your child exactly why vegetables are healthy. Why does the body need the vegetable and what function does it serve for your child? So don't just say "Eating vegetables is healthy" or "If you eat your vegetables, you'll grow up and be strong. That actually says little for your child.
Instead, it helps to say, 'Eggplant makes your memory strong, that's why you can remember those sums so well', or 'You fell on your knee today, carrots help the wound to close and heal'. In this way, the motivation for your child to eat vegetables becomes much more tangible and clear. It is easier to speak of intrinsic motivation; your child wants to eat the vegetables because it is better for him or herself. When you only talk about vegetables being healthy, it often feels like a motivation that the parent wants from him or her.
Tip: Download the handy poster 'Colorful vegetables' for free here and hang it up in the kitchen.
"Then at least eat the vegetables."
The evening meal is often the meal that children have the most trouble with, or that parents worry about the most. There is sometimes quite a bit of pressure on dinner. At the same time, your child is tired from the day. In addition, hunger is the biggest motivation for your child to eat. If your child is not very hungry, he or she will not be so quick to eat the vegetables on the plate.
To take the pressure off dinner, it is advisable to spread out the times when vegetables are eaten throughout the day. Then your child is less tired, your child will realize more quickly that eating vegetables is neutral and less vegetables need to be eaten at once. In addition, the pressure will be off and eating vegetables will become more light-hearted and relaxed. Then eating vegetables becomes a real treat!
More about healthy parenting
Sometimes reading a few tips is not enough. Sometimes it is nice to have someone think along with you and look at your situation or challenge. After all, every situation and every child is different. From personal support or a course Iris likes to think along with you.
For example, a new group of parents will soon start the course 'Raising your toddler healthily'. In this online course you will go through all the important information about raising your young child to eat. Are you curious about this course or do you want to read more about healthy parenting? Go to www.sterkenzoet.nl
Every parent with a curious toddler in the house knows that the 'why' and 'how come' questions are part of everyday life. As a parent, you can usually get away with answering 'what do you think?', or you can come up with an answer together with your toddler in an inquisitive way. But as soon as the questions reach the terrain of discomfort, things suddenly become difficult. And this is often the case when it comes to sexual development.
Why doesn't mummy have a willy?
How should you respond when your toddler wonders where he actually came from? Or why mummy does not have a willy? The key to success in educating toddlers about sexuality is often to keep it simple.
But if your answer "From mummy's tummy" gets follow-up questions, then it becomes tricky. Because although children are not yet consciously involved in sexual development, they are very curious about everything around it. And the question "But how did I get into mommy's belly?" is inevitable. It is logical that you are at a loss for words.
What you can do
Let's start by saying that the curiosity of toddlers, also in this area, has to do with an innate urge to develop. To know. To understand. And that it is also simply a privilege for you as a parent that your toddler wants to collect his knowledge about the big world from you in particular.
Of course, this does not mean that you always have to have an answer for everything. So if you have any difficult or uncomfortable questions, don't hesitate to give yourself some time to think. Especially when it comes to subjects like sexual development and education. It's ok to tell your toddler that you think it's a very good question and that you'll come back to it later. And, just know that it will only become easier to talk about all body, sex and sexuality issues later if you are relaxed about it now!
What better not to do
What you shouldn't do is distort the truth. Making up a story to make it easier for yourself will not help your child. Sex education for toddlers can be done in as much or as little detail as you like, but be honest. Babies are not brought by storks and they didn't come out of mum via the bellybutton during birth. Children are entitled to honest information that gives them the right knowledge about the 'how' and 'why'.
Does that mean that you have to throw all the truths on the table at once? No, that is absolutely not necessary. During toddlerhood, a simple and not too elaborate answer is often sufficient. But be open.
Would you like to know more about the sexual development of children and are you curious about more tips on how to support this development in a good way or tips on how to approach the sexual education of toddlers? Then listen to our podcast (only in Dutch), in which host Amber and coach Laurie tell you all about this topic and discuss listener questions.
listen to De Opvoedcast
At the beginning of summer, they stretch out endlessly; those 6 weeks of summer holidays. You notice by everything that it is time for your children (and yourself) to enjoy a nice vacation. The days quickly fill up with things like days out, building huts in the garden, sleepovers, evenings of BBQ'ing and a couple of weeks camping; it's a great time! But before you know it, holidays are over and school and BSO will start again.
Getting used to it again
It's not just adults who have to adjust after a few weeks' holiday; children also have to get used to the new situation. How do you help your children get a good start after the summer holidays? How do you manage to get up on time again and - more importantly - arrive at school on time? And what if things don't go as smoothly as they should? Or maybe your child is going to school for the first time? The following applies to all of this: Good preparation is half the battle!
To end the holiday in style, it is fun to think up a special ritual or activity together that marks the transition from the end of the holiday to the start of the new school year. You can think of baking cookies, making a drawing or going on a day trip together. No doubt your child will have some great ideas of their own. Making this a tradition gives it more meaning and makes it very clear to your child what transitition is involved.
Read and talk about it
Reading about going back to school together can help prepare your child for this transition. You can find specific books about going to school in bookshops and libraries. Reading together about school and going to school and BSO helps your child prepare and gives them the opportunity to ask questions or discuss concerns. Many children are often thinking about the fact that school will start again soon. This way you create space to talk about it and implicitly show your child that it is OK to be preoccupied with it.
Rhythm offers rest
Getting back into the rhythm of school days in time makes getting up early and the stress of the morning rush hour a lot easier to do. By going to bed on time and setting the alarm again in the week before school starts, the rhythm shifts a little and there will be more peace and structure once school starts again.
Plan moments of rest
The first few weeks back at school can be quite hectic. Everyone has to get used to it again, the first playdates are made, the sport and music lessons start again and there may be homework to be done. You can anticipate this by not overloading the days right away and giving your child the space and rest he needs to start again after those weeks of holiday.
Pack your bag
It is very practical to check together whether your child has everything he or she needs for school. Is it necessary to buy new gym equipment? Does your child need other materials for school? And has that leaking drinking cup already been replaced? Pack the school and gym bag together, prepare some clothes for the first day and check the bicycle; this way you can let your child start the new school year with peace of mind!
Not many parents/guardians are clear on exactly when and how they should address their child’s sexual education. Many of our sexual norms and values are culturally determined, but each child develops in their own way and at their own pace. And as a parent/guardian you know your own child best. With knowledge of general sexual development and knowledge of your own child’s character, you as a parent/guardian can best determine what behaviour is preferable and permissible and how you can modify it. But where do you start? Here, we take you through the various stages of sexual development.
Child sexuality is aimed at intimacy, so ‘intimacy development’ would actually be a better term here. Affectionate physical contact with people to whom a baby is attached is a basic need in the early years. But be aware of the fact that when you touch a child, it is their body you are touching. You are a guest, even when you are simply giving them a hug. So always do so with respect and only if the child is okay with it.
Focus on what is appropriate and when
In this phase of their life, the whole body is one big tactile zone for children. Just as they discover their own hands and feet, they also discover their genitals. They sense that this feels different than, for example, their thighs, and that some things feel good. Slowly but surely they develop the intellect to also remember where that nice spot is and will then look for it. Feeling and discovering it themselves is completely normal and age-related. They just don’t understand when it is appropriate to do this. Therefore, sex education at this stage should focus on when things are and are not appropriate.
Children this age are extra curious. And that curiosity also applies to their own body and those of others. They look at each other, touch each other and notice differences. At this stage, this kind of behaviour carries no sexual undertones with it. What ultimately does give it weight is the message that we, as adults, send in the way we respond to it. Children then sense that there is something special about it, which makes it more interesting. What’s more, from this period onwards, children discover that boys are boys and girls are girls. They draw distinctions between each other, and gender role behaviour begins to develop.
Penises and vaginas
Language is an important thing and it is during this period, when children learn to talk, that the foundations are laid for later. Pedagogic expert Annemiek Waage advocates the use of a clear name for genitals from the very first moment. So boys have a penis and girls have a vagina. We also need to be aware of how we talk about things like this. Toddlers are just learning to talk and are well aware that language is important. They also realise that dirty words have a different effect than ordinary words because of the reaction they get from adults. This doesn’t just apply to words though; it also applies unconsciously to body language or pitch. When children notice that they get a response to a certain word, that piques their interest and therefore they say it again.
Sneaking a look
Once at primary school, your child will face a different environment, where it’s no longer possible to just walk around with buttocks bared and to touch each other. However, children are very eager to learn and will find other ways to satisfy their curiosity. For example, they will hide behind a wall to look at each other. After all, this behaviour is not deemed acceptable within the teacher’s field of vision, so by doing it this way they are still falling within what they believe is standard behaviour, namely not doing it in public.
Talk about it openly, honestly and clearly
You can explain how things work to children, even with pictures, but they won't really understand at this age. At this stage in their life, children do not comprehend that there was a moment in time when they weren’t around; they are under the assumption that they were always in their mother's womb. Nevertheless, it is important to be open about this subject. Understanding comes naturally and talking about it honestly is essential for the vibe of, and confidence for, later conversations.
In love for the first time
Children this age do not fully understand everything yet, which is why their imaginations run wild. They get confused between what they imagine and what they actually comprehend. Now, they mainly observe and register everything: what we do and say, how we behave. Slowly but surely, they turn their attention more and more to others and romantic love starts to play a role. Although (most) children do not act upon this yet, they are well aware that being in love is a different feeling than friendship. As adults, we must therefore also take this seriously. Don’t talk about it, unsolicited, with other people and don't make fun of it.
I know a joke, two tits in an envelope
Children now have fun with sexually oriented jokes and games, such as playing doctor or spin the bottle. This is okay, it is part of this phase in their life, but be sure to agree on what is and what is not allowed. Continue to talk openly and honestly with your child during this time as well. For example, if they have made a drawing of genitalia, discuss whether it really looks like this.
If children fall in love now, they will behave accordingly. They will also assume clearer gender roles. Boys and girls form separate groups and adhere to the learned norms and values. They want more physical contact and start to masturbate.
Also, although children will not (in retrospect) call themselves homosexual at this age, they do know that being in love feels different for them than for others. As adults, we therefore have a responsibility not to joke about homosexuality, for example. After all, we want to create a safe environment for our children.
Sudden prudishness and a lot to learn
The body is now developing more. This is faster in girls than in boys, but emotional development lags behind physical development for both genders. Interest in sexuality as we know it as adults is growing. Although it may seem like your child already knows and understands a lot, this is not yet so. At this point it can help to offer books or videos to your child. It also helps if the family is always free to talk about it and there is an open, honest and safe environment to do so. Nevertheless, at this age your child will suddenly become prudish and the bathroom door will be locked. This reserve will disappear later, but it is important to give your child space and respect. For example, knock on the door before entering their room.
Chats and agreements
Discuss with your child what they think is normal and be sure to have simple chats on a regular basis, so that you make conversations with each other easy. By talking normally about sexuality, you make it normal for your child. And it becomes easier to talk about with each other. Just as you agree that you can’t pick your nose at the dining table, but you can in bed, you can also make agreements about sexual things. It is normal behaviour, and we as adults, need to give our children direction on this.
Whether you're good at hockey, swimming, archery or athletics; it's all there (and more!) during the Olympic Games. This year the Olympic Games are not only in Tokyo, but also at CompaNanny. Because this year the BSO Summer programme is all about the CompaLympics!
At the BSO's it's all about the Olympics for 6 weeks. Our Nannies organise different kinds of activities and games, just like the Olympic Games.
Moving and discovering different sports and cultures plays a central role.
Why exercise is important
That sport and exercise are good for the motor development and physical health of children is nothing new. During movement, three quarters of all brain cells are active and involved. Not only to control the muscles, but also to communicate with the senses and each other. This ensures that exercise álso has a positive influence on the social, emotional and cognitive development of children!
The effect of movement on development
Exercise is good for memory, attention, understanding and learning. This is because our brains are sensitive to the positive effects of movement and this affects the cognitive functions of the brain. For example, exercise literally enlarges the hippocampus, which is very important for memory, just as much in children as with adults. And because the heart pumps blood faster through their body when they move, the brain receives more oxygen, which in turn is very good for their concentration! And did you know that exercise helps children to express themselves and work together better? Exercise also increases their self-esteem and self-confidence.
When children exercise, this also affects the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone. So by exercising children sleep well and have a better sleep rhythm. Exercise also causes the release of happiness hormones in our brains and this makes everyone happier!
The Summer Programme
To make sure that the children at the BSO get as much exercise as possible this summer (and to let them benefit from the advantages of movement), various activities are offered during the Summer Programme. These are diverse activities with something fun for everyone. Children can get in touch with different kinds of sports and games, which they have not yet experienced. In this way, they learn new things! Or they may recognise certain activities because they match their own interests. In both ways, children's curiosity is aroused, their creativity stimulated and they can develop their own identity.
With this Summer Programme we ensure that the holiday period is not only fun, but also good for development!
View the summer programme
Daylight saving time (DST) is almost here! Which means it is easier to get up, but harder to fall asleep. Why? Because our body’s internal clock revolves around daylight.
Simply keeping the same schedule when putting your child to bed will not, unfortunately, work. Because the hormones in the body that regulate sleep are still in tune with wintertime, and it takes one week (on average) for children to get used to the new times. So here are some tips to help make this process easier.
If your child is really having a great deal of trouble adjusting their sleep rhythm to DST, then you could also work towards it in steps: Shift their bedtime by 10-30 minutes each day (depending on your child’s age and tiredness). For example: If your child normally always goes to bed at 7:30 pm but can’t get to sleep earlier than 8:30 pm after DST has come into effect, then put your child to bed at 8:15pm the first evening, at 8:00 pm the day after that and so on until you have worked your way back to their usual bedtime.
And last but not least
Remember that every child is different and reacts differently. Be flexible, even with yourself, and don’t worry if it takes a little more time. Ultimately, your child will always make up for any lack of sleep they experience.
Would you like to find out more about sleep signals, bedtime rituals and how to ensure a good sleeping environment? Then read our other blog or book a visit to ask all your questions.
Your child is one! And has already developed into an individual with a very distinct character and a lot of knowledge – albeit on a subconscious level – about language and communication. From now on, their focus is mainly on practicing speaking real words. Read on to learn more about how language development continues.
During these months, children are getting better at communicating, they learn more sounds and also use them in combination with gestures. Your child mainly learns from what you say and often already understands what short sentences, such as “Give it to daddy”, mean.
When you talk a lot, this gives your child the opportunity to learn plenty of new words. Although they are not yet able to say these words themselves, all the words and matching images are stored in their long-term memory. However, this memory is still under development and repetition is necessary to help train it.
From the age of 15 months on, children become increasingly more adept at using language to communicate what they want. Your child is likely to use short words, facial expressions and body language more and more to convey something. For example, think of “no” as they push away their plate of food, or “that” if they want to take something.
Difficult words cannot yet be properly uttered by most children at 16 months. Do not try to correct your child when they use a wrong word, but instead respond enthusiastically and use the correct word yourself in your response. For example, say “Oh yes, I see, an aeroplane!” instead of “No, that’s not a ‘pane’, that’s an aeroplane”.
Reading simple books with pictures out loud to your child is a good way to help them with language development. They often know exactly what word is going to come. Singing songs is also good for your child’s language development. Songs about body parts are especially popular around this age, because children can indicate where, for example, their nose is.
By the time they are 18 months old, children know an average of 20 words. You will therefore probably notice that your child can also make themself heard more and more. Your child’s vocabulary will expand further to an average of 30 words towards 19 months of age. They are now learning about six new words a day. They don’t necessarily use all of these words directly themselves, but they are stored in their memory. Your child also notices that their ability to talking is improving and therefore likes to chat all day long.
Some letters in words can still be difficult to pronounce, especially letters that require muscles in the back of the mouth, such as ‘r’ and ‘k’. If your child doesn’t seem to talk as much as other children of this age, don’t worry. Some children are still busy practicing during this phase and first store all their language knowledge in their memory. Parents/guardians are often surprised that their child suddenly has a vast vocabulary, when they said next to nothing at first.
During this period, your child’s vocabulary continues to grow, and expands to at least 50 words around the 20-month mark. They are mainly nouns, such as ‘house’, ‘car’ and ‘cat’. You may also notice that, at this stage, your toddler starts to categorise words and use a particular word for everything in that category. For example, they will say ‘car’ for all vehicles, or ‘cat’ for all animals. Most children also practice more and more with two-word sentences, such as ‘daddy car’ during this period.
Due to their expanding vocabulary and their interest in applying language even better, children of this age want to be involved in the conversation. Your child may therefore try to attract attention when you have a conversation. Be aware of this and involve your child in the discussion. They will love it and learn a lot from it.
Your 21-month-old toddler is now busy training their memory. A picture of a cow is not only recognised in that one book, but also in other books or even as cuddly toys and is often accompanied by “moooooo”. The two-word sentences are also slowly being tested further. For example, your child will increasingly say things like “baby now?” or “cat gone”.
Children are also increasingly focused on interaction, both non-verbal and verbal. And where your child used to be mainly interested in adults and how they use language, the interaction now extends to other children as well. More and more often they have short conversations together, often crouching, looking at each other with their heads tilted. Your child will therefore enjoy practicing the names of other children together with you during this period.
Although your child learns a lot in terms of language, it is probably not enough as far as they are concerned. They still cannot express themselves as well as they would like and this can cause them to feel frustrated, which can be accompanied by tantrums.
The average number of words a 24-month-old knows is 100. And new words are added every day. Self-awareness also grows further through language during this period. For example, your child will use the word ‘me’ more often and will also understand what it means.
Communication starts long before a baby can talk. A baby’s first form of language is crying, which is the most efficient way to connect. Your baby uses different cries to try and convey exactly what is going on. But what else can you expect with regards to your baby’s language and communication? Here, we guide you through the different phases of language development.
Two to three months
At around two months old, your baby will start using sounds. They begin to train the tongue and jaw muscles by making vowel-like sounds such as “ooh” and “aah”. When your baby is about three months old, he or she get progressively better at actively seeking, or stopping, contact with you. They do this by looking at you and by lowering their eyes or turning their head.
During this initial period, it is very important for your baby’s emotional security and growth to cuddle and stroke them often. Talking to him or her a lot also makes them feel calm and instils confident. For example, explain what you are doing while changing their nappy.
As they reach four months of age, your baby will make more and more new cooing sounds, as different guttural sounds expand and your child practices with his voice. By talking back to your baby and responding to their cooing sounds, your baby will become comfortable with communication and you will stimulate their language development.
Around this period your child will also recognise faces well. Furthermore, it is increasingly important to use a lot of facial expressions in your interaction with your baby, as your baby will learn to understand emotions from this.
From the age of five months, the sounds your baby makes become more consistent and varied. The sequences get longer (think: “babaababa”), because the jaw muscles, tongue muscles and vocal cords become stronger and they are practicing hard for speaking with words later on. Your baby will now remember and reapply any new sounds that they make, too. They will also recognise voices well now.
Interact with your child a lot; this helps them learn to communicate with others and they become familiar with the social nature of language. During this interaction, be sure to also give your baby time to respond to you when you smile or talk to them.
At around the age of six months, your baby starts to communicate progressively better with sounds. While crying is still the most effective means of communication, your baby is also practicing facial expressions, gestures and sounds. Babies are increasingly conscious of actively seeking contact in every possible way. By laughing, reaching out with their arms, blowing raspberries, moving their tongue and lips, and sputtering and cooing.
There will be more variations in the noises your baby can produce by allowing their muscles, vocal cords and breathing to work together. The sounds are also becoming clearer and more attuned to adults. As a result, they start to sound more and more like words in the mother tongue.
From about seven months, babies start to hear even more distinctions in the tone you use in your speech. They can now recognise whether you are happy, surprised or angry. Your baby will also manage to produce different pitches and volume levels.
Around this age, children also develop a sense of attachment and become clingy, which means your baby prefers to be around mum or dad all the time. Even you walking to the other side of the room can cause them to cry greatly, because your baby thinks you have left them for good. And your child will not understand you when you explain in words that you will be coming back, because they are not sufficiently trained in language and communication to do so yet. But you can practice with this by, for example, playing peek-a-boo games. By doing so, you will help your child to reduce their separation anxiety in a playful way.
Around eight months of age, your baby really starts to practice communication in a socially accepted way. They listen when you talk and babble themselves as you listen. By listening, your child becomes increasingly familiar with language. Children increasingly do their best to imitate your sounds, which then stimulates them to produce even more sounds.
Repeat the sounds your child makes yourself; this stimulates them to try even more sounds. Talk a lot with your child yourself, so that they come into contact with different sounds and can practice interaction. Read lots of books with simple words and pictures and do so on a regular, repetitive basis. This will help your child connect words with images.
Babbling with two-syllable sounds continues to develop and by about nine months, most children have their own words for familiar people or things. They point to a person or object and say a sound, and they will always use that sound for that same person or object. By mentioning the name of the person or object, you will teach your child to make the connection with that word. For example, by saying: “Do you want your dummy/pacifier?”
At around this age, babies also gain more control over the muscles in their face and therefore spend a lot of time practicing facial expressions. They test these expressions with their environment and learn through the reactions of those around them to understand which expressions go with which emotions.
Ten to eleven months
Most ten-month-olds still can’t say many intelligible words, but they already understand much more than adults often think. They are still occupied with practicing sounds and noises, and the sounds and noises that they make are more and more like the speech of adults. They are no longer gibberish, but are clear tones and speech sounds. Your child will often imitate you in the sounds you make and also mimic lip sounds such as “brrr”. Perhaps they will also start singing along to music at this stage. Not with words yet of course, but with melodic sounds and different tones and volume levels.
Around the age of eleven months, your child’s ability to concentrate expands and they also start to use long-term memory more often. This will be evident in them having less interest in the repetition of sounds and more interest in new sounds. Your child will often listen attentively to people talking. By doing so, they will learn words and the patterns of a language. It becomes increasingly easy for them to remember which words have what meaning, what the intonation of each word is and how they themselves should use the word.
Your child's vocabulary expands tremendously during the twelve month period, particularly in the form of sounds. A number of children start with their first words, often an easy-to-pronounce word that refers to something familiar, such as "mommy," "daddy".
It is important to practice and repeat words. You may find that your child also feels the need to hear the same book or music every time, this is training language, vocabulary and long-term memory for children. Also, name more and more words of things that are pointed out by your child and talk to your child a lot yourself, this way your child will practice linking words to objects and people and will start to understand more words.
Would you like to know more about how we at CompaNanny deal with language development and communicating with your child? Read more or request a tour, without obligation.
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It is very important for the language development of your two-year-old that you communicate with them a lot. Your toddler is still learning about words and their meaning, as well as interactions and the social aspects of language. Here’s an overview of what happens in the language development of toddlers between the ages of two and four years of age and how you can stimulate it.
Would you like to know how we at CompaNanny communicatie with the children?
The main focus in parenting these days is on positive contact and language. Which includes giving your child plenty of compliments. And so, with today being National Compliment Day, we are taking this opportunity to talk about paying compliments to your child.
Why you should compliment your child
Compliments stimulate positive behaviour and self-esteem in a child. On the one hand, your child will behave in a certain manner more often when they notice that they are getting approval and appreciation for it. On the other, approval and appreciation also increases your child’s self-esteem. And when your child feels confident, they will easier dare to attempt things, they will be more likely to have the courage to push boundaries by looking for the next challenge, and they will be more likely to involve other children. All of which are good for their development.
Without this confidence, children (just like adults) do not dare to embark on something new and are more likely to give up, because they are convinced that they will fail. Compliments also provide insight into themselves and the world around them, which is important when it comes to growing up to become a resilient and self-confident individual!
Can you give too many compliments?
Focusing on what your child is doing right is better than focusing on what your child is doing wrong, right? That’s why we, as adults, tend to shine a light on every time a child succeeds, every time a child listens well, or every time a child shows courage. After all, you want to let every child feel that they can become whatever they want, from a hairdresser to an astronaut to an artist. But where is the line between reacting positively and complimenting excessively?
Research shows that excessive compliments are counterproductive. Especially when your child does not have much self-esteem to begin with. Excessive compliments place high expectations on them, which children then feel that they must continuously meet. Ultimately, this leads to them avoiding challenges. Which means they do not push boundaries and do not develop to their optimal ability. Giving lots of compliments can also mean that children no longer value a compliment or that they become dependent on them.
However, if children receive few, or no, compliments, they will eventually start to question themselves because they are never told that they are doing well. And therefore, it is difficult to find a good balance.
A process-oriented, product-oriented or person-oriented compliment
Process-oriented compliments concern the commitment and effort that a child shows. Product-oriented compliments mainly focus on the result and the accomplishment. Person-centred compliments emphasise the personal qualities of a child, such as intelligence, friendliness or talent.
Research shows that when you give a person-oriented or product-oriented compliment, for example “You’re so clever!” or “That went well”, children do not gain more self-esteem. In fact, it can cause them to become insecure and more focused on possible failure. As a result, they will not choose to do things that they can learn from, but things they are already good at. Which ultimately will thwart their development.
However, when children are complimented on their behaviour, commitment and effort, for example “You’ve really done your best”, their self-esteem actually increases. They aren’t upset by the fact that something didn’t work out; they are happy because they get approval and appreciation for their endeavours. These children are more inclined to take on harder challenges, with the belief that they will eventually succeed. It doesn’t matter if something doesn’t work out, because the focus is on their efforts. And this also stimulates resilience.
The best way to compliment
If you’d like to find out more about how we approach compliments at our childcare centre, then feel free to come and take a look. Please get in touch to request a tour.
Spending a lot of time at home with the kids is certainly cosy, but it can also be a challenge. So how can you fill up your days in a meaningful way when you are at home with your child(ren)? CompaNanny's team of Pedagogic Coaches is more than happy to provide practical suggestions and tips. Each week we will update this page with new activities, so watch this space!
Making a daily schedule can help provide structure and a sense of tranquillity, both for yourself and for your child(ren). Whether they are at CompaNanny or at school each day, your child is already used to this sort of structure, so the transition will most likely be a smooth one. What can help when it comes to creating a sense of calm in the house is to agree upon a ‘work zone’ and a ‘play zone’ with each other. This gives children clarity and freedom and can prevent exasperation. Click here for an example of a daily schedule, and here for a blank daily schedule that you can fill in yourself.
How to teach your child to play independently, and how to let them do so
You don’t need to entertain your child(ren) all day long, as it is very valuable to know how to play independently. For example: it helps build self-confidence, creativity and problem-solving skills. Some children are able to play independently for a while more easily than others, but all children can learn how to do it. Here are some tips to teach/let your child play independently:
Inspiration for activities at home
This list will be updated each week with new activities per age group.
Activities for babies aged 0-2 years:
Activities for toddlers aged 2-4 years:
Activities for children aged 4-12 years:
Healthy and tasty animal-shaped vegetable pizzas
This e-book (in Dutch), has templates and recipes that you can use to make tasty and healthy pizzas at home like true pizza chefs! Which ones will you and your kids make? Share your creation(s) on social media with the hashtag: #MagionixCompaNannypizza
CompaNanny on YouTube
Have you come across our YouTube channel yet? Here you will find videos made by our very own team, in which we encourage children to exercise and inspire their creativity. Check out the CompaNanny Kids YouTube channel!
Screen time and media use among children are popular themes in our digital society. These are subjects that include a lot questions when it comes to the upbringing of children. In fact, more questions are asked about his, than about sleeping and nutrition. Therefore, we take you into research on this subject and list some tips. It is also definitely worthwhile discussing this together because, in doing so, you can help guide your child in their use of digital media from the get-go.
Positive effects of digital media use
Due to the rapidly growing range, and frequent use, of digital media among adults and children, there has been a great deal of research carried out about the topic. There are studies on numbers: how often and for how long do children look at a screen? But in recent years, there have been more and more studies on the consequences screen time has on the development of children. Something that many parents/guardians are curious about.
There are some studies that have shown that a lot of screen time has a negative effect on development, while other studies have not found any significant effect. What’s more, other studies have shown that young children can learn logical reasoning and cognitive skills from videos. Research has also shown that the use of a touchscreen by young children is connected to fine motor development, such as a child’s ability to stack blocks or hold a pencil
2,5 hours screen time per day
Young children (0-6 years of age) look at a screen for an average of 1 hour and 45 minutes a day. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, this has increased to an average of 2.5 hours a day. Due to the unusual circumstances and being at home more this year, parents/guardians have become less strict.
In the Netherlands, 80% of all parents/guardians wonder how much screen time is healthy for their child. Perhaps you do too. And just as many parents/guardians wonder what they can provide their child as an alternative to media use. At the same time, 84% are also happy that they can sometimes fall back on a screen to keep their child occupied. On the one hand, media use brings serenity to family life, but on the other hand, most parents/guardians would prefer their child do other things than stare at a screen. Many parents/guardians struggle with a good balance.
Healthy screen time
It is difficult to determine exactly what is considered healthy with regards to maximum time on a screen. One specialist says a maximum of 10 minutes, while another says a maximum of an hour. There is no official advice on this matter available yet. After all, families and children also differ. It is therefore important that you, as a parent/guardian, assess what is good for your child. A guideline here can be to pay attention to when your child is no longer concentrating on the screen; that is a good indicator that it is time for another activity.
This is how you find a good balance
It’s quite normal to find it difficult determining what is healthy media use for your child. You are not alone and in this modern society there are screens everywhere, which does not make it easier to find a good balance. Remember: if you want your child to cut down on their screen time and media use, it doesn’t have to be done in one fell swoop. Try it step by step. And perhaps the following tips will help you further:
At CompaNanny, children do not use tablets, but we do pay attention to different activities that match the needs of each child.
Much more than adults, children live in the here and now. While we constantly have our busy schedules in mind, children just think about what is happening right now. And while young urban professionals take a mindfulness course to find themselves, children are completely absorbed in the moment. Children subconsciously lives very consciously.
Children experience daily activities as separate parts of the day. It is difficult to imagine a day as a whole at a young age. Only after a lot of repetition does a child recognize situations and associate those with each other. When specific moments during the day are repeated, a child builds knowledge and experience in that. This way, recognizing what is to come, becomes easier. A child then slowly learns to anticipate.
The ritual of dinner
As adults, we incorporate all sorts of rituals and structures in our daily actions. Much more than we think. However, we tend to be unaware of said patterns because we do them automatically. Think of washing your hands after using the toilet, lean back when you have finished your food, do groceries at the same store every time, or listen to a certain song while cleaning your house. We also tend to use the same objects in specific situations.
Children copy this. A child starts associating certain materials and structures with specific situations. An example of this that recurs daily is mealtime, which is comprised of all sorts of rituals. For instance, we eat at the same time every day, we smell scents of food being prepared, we set the table in advance, wash our hands before we sit down, and put the food on our plates before we start eating. All these structures, the use of certain materials, and even the smell of food, alert your child that it is time to eat.
Recognition creates security
By sticking to a fixed order in the day and especially in certain situations, your child learns to recognize the recurring daily events. This recognition gives him or her a sense of security. Because they can trust themselves and their environment. Only when a child feels secure can he or she focus on what is happening around them. And only then will a child develop.
Children are still learning to properly filter the millions of stimuli that come in at the same time. We grown ups, do this unconsciously, partly because our brain already knows what is important and what not. But for children, everything is new. So when there are certain moments that recur every day and are largely the same, the input of new stimuli is much less.
Predictability prevents overstimulation
Predictability, fixed rituals and repetition therefore ensure peace and quiet, and prevent a child from becoming overstimulated. That is why we at CompaNanny maintain a fixed daily routine for children. It is also the reason that we continuously talk with children and describe everything during the day. The sound of the garbage truck outside, the behaviour of other children, what will happen later, and what we are doing at this moment. So talking to your child is not only useful for their language development. It is also important for their sense of rest and security.
Does your child need predictability?
How important predictability is for a child, differs per individual. After all, every child has a different temperament. It can be said however, that young children are more sensitive to changes and unpredictability than older children. This is because an older child already has a lot more knowledge about the world and its immediate environment. As a result, he or she is able to place an unexpected event in a familiar and understandable framework much faster.
This is how you create predictability
When you notice that your child is restless or overstimulated, it can help to introduce fixed rituals, or being more consistent with the existing ones. This can be done, for example, by always singing the same song before mealtime, or to always read a book before going to bed. Moreover, it can be very helpful for children if you announce a change or activity some time in advance. For example, announce that you will be heading upstairs to brush their teeth in 10 minutes, and then repeat the announcement 5 minutes in advance. To be able to properly assess what your child needs in this, it is important to watch them and listen to them carefully and respond accordingly.
Want to know what kind of daily routine we maintain at CompaNanny or how we ensure predictability? Read more about our methods or request a tour!
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A baby’s life revolves largely around their primary needs; eating, drinking, pooping, peeing, and sleeping. When these go smoothly, a child will automatically feel well. After all, it is easier to play when you have a filled tummy, a clean diaper, and are well rested. Only then will a child also develop further.
However, getting a good night’s sleep can be easier said than done. And it makes it even more difficult if your child cannot speak yet, and thus cannot clarify what might be wrong. So we have listed some tips to help your child find their natural sleeping rhythm!
Got curious about how we at CompaNanny work with regard to sleeping? Request a tour at one of our locations!