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My New Life

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The early years of a child’s life are the most important for their long-term development. Sometimes, the abundance of information out there can feel overwhelming and difficult to navigate. My New Life is here to support parents and help make sense of the science behind early learning.

I’m Jessica Rolph, mother of three and CEO of Lovevery. With the help of experts from around the world, we break down all the child development science into usable nuggets of knowledge that you can put to the test in your own home.
23 Episodes
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Opinions vary wildly when it comes to managing tantrums. From waiting out the storm, to taking a hard line. Whatever you do, be consistent! With so much advice, it’s easy to understand why parents panic when the tears start flying.    Jessica Rolph, your host, welcomes Positive Discipline Coach Jody Malterre, a master at bringing calm to every situation. Jody is a Montessori teacher trainer at Westminster College with over 30 years experience in Montessori education. She also sits on the board of the Positive Discipline Association.  Key Takeaways: [1:39] What is Positive Parenting? [3:02] Why do toddlers have tantrums? [5:05] Why empathy works wonders — for children and adults.  [6:50] Other strategies to help your toddler move beyond the tantrum. [9:52] How do you give your toddler a sense agency in their world? [14:30] Jody shares tips for toddlers who stall with bedtime. [16:00] Why routine and tools like bedtime cards work so well. [18:08] Jody talks more broadly about positive discipline and how to shift into a positive discipline mindset. [19:45] Jessica shares the highlights of a valuable conversation with Jody.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Listen to Peaceful Parenting: Dealing with Tantrums  The Lovevery Helper Play Kit with Routine Cards
Few milestones in a baby’s life are more memorable than their first steps. It feels like a major accomplishment — for baby and parent! But what comes after those first steps varies greatly from child to child, something Dr. Giselle Tadros constantly reminds her patients. She’s a pediatric physical therapist, founder of In-Home Pediatric Physical Therapy, and the guest on today’s episode of My New Life.   Giselle discusses how long it takes most babies to switch from crawling to walking as their primary mode of locomotion. Got lots of gear to help your kid with that transition? If so, you’re in good company. But you may be surprised to learn that baby walkers are not legal in many countries outside of the US!   Key Takeaways: [1:40] What is the most common reason a parent of a toddler goes to a physical therapist for help? [2:42] What does Giselle consider late for walking? When should a parent seek help?  [3:52] What can parents do to help their children develop the core strength needed to be physically active toddlers?  [6:10] What do jumpers do for children? [7:27] Giselle explains why she promotes baby wearing. [8:35] What are signs of core weakness in a child? [10:03] Why some children need support with balance. [10:43] How long does it take for a child to become good at walking?  [12:04] What are some ways to encourage muscle development in toddlers in a natural way so that they become really active kids? [13:35] What are some ways to replicate outdoor play inside?  [14:40] Giselle talks about what she likes to see in an 18-month-old toddler in terms of gross motor skills. [15:25] Giselle discusses the milestones of a typical two year old, from a gross motor development perspective. [17:46] Jessica reviews the highlights of her conversation with Dr. Giselle Tadros.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com In-Home Pediatric Physical Therapy #inhomepediatricpt on Instagram
Montessori parents can give the impression that they do it all: organized home, tidy bedrooms, carefully ordered trays and activities. Sometimes it seems like Montessori sets the bar really high — so high that it feels unattainable for a busy parent.    My New Life host Jessica Rolph speaks with Kylie D’Alton, an Australian mom that has gone a long way toward making Montessori principles more accessible. Kylie is the author of the popular blog How We Montessori, and in today’s episode, she shares valuable tips on how to bring Montessori into our homes in ways that don't involve accumulating more stuff.   Key Takeaways: [1:06] Thinking like a Montessori parent. [2:50] The benefits of observing and allowing children to experience something for themselves over correcting or teaching. [4:51] Kylie explains how she introduces the real before the abstract and the benefits to your toddler’s development. [6:35] What sort of things does Kylie involve her toddler in? [10:25] How did Kylie take the Montessori approach to potty training?  [13:26] Kylie shares some of her favorite memories of Montessori learning at home. [14:43] Jessica reviews the highlights of her conversation with Kylie.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com How We Montessori
Most parents would not describe living with a toddler during Covid as peaceful, but there are ways to invite more calm into your home and limit the shouting. Host Jessica Rolph welcomes Psychologist Dr. Laura Markham to today’s episode. In her work as a coach with thousands of parents all over the world, Dr. Laura describes her approach as “peaceful parenting”. Who doesn’t want more of that? Learn why responding to tantrums with empathy can be a game changer.     Dr. Laura is the author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start Connecting, Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How To Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life, and now her latest book, The Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids Workbook: Using mindfulness and connection to raise resilient, joyful children and rediscover your love of parenting.   Key Takeaways: [1:35] How to be a peaceful parent during tantrums. [4:32] Teach your toddler that big feelings are not dangerous; show them they are safe. [5:45] How to let go of your concerns about being judged by others when your child is having a tantrum. [8:25] What does a peaceful parent do when a toddler hits? [12:12] When your child gets aggressive, demonstrate how to express feelings in a more acceptable way. [12:47] Dr. Laura explains why rough housing leads to the release of oxytocin. [14:46] Best practices for sharing peaceful parenting concepts with a spouse or other caregiver. [17:27] Why empathy is a cornerstone for peaceful parenting. [19:10] Why it’s important to acknowledge your child’s behavior as developmentally normal and realize this too shall pass. [20:11] Jessica revisits the highlights of her conversation with Dr. Laura.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Learn more about Dr. Laura at AhaParenting.com
Babies are born wondering. They have to piece together the world around them by gathering information, and they do this by observing, experimenting, and asking questions. In this way, children are like little scientists. If you have a toddler in the house, there’s no shortage of questions in your daily conversations. But is it a two-way street? How many questions are you asking your toddler?   Jessica Rolph welcomes Dr. Sarah Lytle to today’s episode. She is the Director of Outreach and Education at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) at the University of Washington. She says parents have a critical role to play in promoting early learning and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). And this starts with asking questions of your toddler.   Key Takeaways: [1:26] What does STEM learning look like for toddlers? [2:42] Early math skills are a strong predictor of later school achievement. Does Sarah’s research support that finding?  [3:49] How do you make math part of the every-day with your toddler? [5:06] Guided play versus instructing. [7:52] The power of narration for preverbal children, as well as for toddlers. [9:06] Sarah gives examples of how parents can shift from a narrative style to an inquisitive one: Why do you suppose birds live in trees? [11:50] Sarah explains the scientific concepts children are learning while playing with water. She models some questions parents can ask their children while they are splashing around. [14:35] We tend to associate technology with screens, but what kind of technology learning is Sarah promoting at I-LABS that is screen-free?  [15:55] What kind of tools can support spatial awareness? [17:53] Sarah offers her advice for parents around block play and suggests how parents can really get engaged and help their children discover the joy of learning through blocks. [19:09] Women continue to be under-represented in STEM fields. Sarah explains how to encourage little girls to have positive experiences in STEM from an early age. [20:46] What did Sarah’s parents do to get her excited about science?  [21:32] What other activities can we do with our toddlers that really bring math, science and engineering to the forefront?  [23:49] Jessica summarizes the key takeaways from their conversation.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Learn more about I-LABS
With preschools and daycares in transition and case counts fluctuating, COVID has given parents plenty to worry about. One prominent concern among parents stems from a lack of socialization. None of us are socializing much, but given all the information out there suggesting socialization with other children is important, parents are particularly worried about their children not interacting with peers.   In this episode, we look at how toddlers socialize and how we, as adults, can help them build those skills at home. Jessica Rolph, your host, is joined by Nekole Eaton, a Pediatric Occupational Therapist specializing in child development. You can find her at Kids OT Help on YouTube, where she has built an audience of almost 90,000 subscribers. Key Takeaways: [1:22] What kind of socialization most benefits children at a young age? [3:50] How can parents simulate foundational socialization with their children at home?  [5:02] What can parents do to impart the lessons that come from disagreements when the playgrounds are closed?  [6:11] Is it the same to Zoom a grandparent as it is to watch a show or to play a game?  [8:48] Children can effectively learn basic social skills through caregivers, parents, grandparents, and aunts. [9:56] Nekole shares how she is socializing her son. [12:01] On some days, just holding it together during these challenging times is enough. [14:40] Jessica summarizes the takeaways from her conversation with Nekole.    Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Kids OT Help on YouTube
Few topics will spark debate among parents more readily than screen time. It’s so controversial! Screens are everywhere. And avoiding them can feel like the domain of super-human parents. Learn some tips to cut down on screens from Dr. Screen-Free Mom: Meghan Owenz. She runs a website, Screen-Free Parenting, with over 27,000 active participants. She is also an Assistant Teaching Professor at Penn State University.   Key Takeaways: [1:46] What does screen-free look like for Meghan’s family? [2:24] Meghan shares alternatives for keeping kids engaged and busy. [3:23] Use her S.P.O.I.L. system to cut down on screen time. [4:38] How can independent play be achieved so parents can have a break too? [6:37] Rotate favorite toys in and out of special baskets so that they feel fresh.  [8:18] Does screen-free mean more stuff? There are ways around it: Something as simple as a scarf can offer miles of road-trip diversion. [9:37] What does the science tell us about the effects of screen time on kids?  [11:17] Meghan shares research findings on attention. [12:13] Meghan talks about how language is impacted by screens. [14:00] What about connecting with grandparents or friends over Zoom or FaceTime?  [16:13] How does Meghan help parents wean their children from screens? [18:08] What does becoming screen-free look like? [19:38] How can a parent enforce a screen-free approach? She provides advice around changing rules with a toddler, as well as older children. [22:45] Jessica provides a recap of an eye-opening conversation with Dr. Meghan Owenz.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Screen-Free Parenting
With opportunities for social interaction outside the family in short supply, many parents are stepping in as their child’s primary playmate. Is one way of playing better than another? In this episode with Dr. Shimi Kang, host Jessica Rolph explores the benefits of unstructured play and looks at how play prepares us for adulthood.    Dr. Kang is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and best selling author. She is the author of The Dolphin Parent: A guide to Raise Healthy, Happy and Self-Motivated Kids, and her newest book The Tech Solution: Creating Healthy Habits for Kids Growing Up in a Digital World.   Key Takeaways: [1:35] How did Shimi’s upbringing inform her work around play? [3:17] Why is play such an important piece of childhood from a research perspective? [6:10] We are hardwired to play. [6:36] Shimi discusses a fascinating study that involves rats — play is crucial to their survival. [7:50] How does play help children adapt to stress and emotionally process new experiences? [9:18] Shimi explains the difference between free play and guided play. Why might parents want to emphasize one approach over the other?  [11:19] Why toddlers benefit from unstructured activities. [13:04] How can we tell if our toddlers are over-stimulated or overwhelmed? [14:45] How much should parents get down on the floor with their children, or should parents play the role of observer? [15:48] Do children need their parents to help scaffold pretend play? [17:26] Tips for parents who want to give their children more freedom to play. [18:55] The challenges of being mindful of technology and how it is impacting parents’ relationships with their children. [21:03] Jessica shares her takeaways from the conversation.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Learn more about Dr. Shimi Kang The Dolphin Parent: A guide to Raise Healthy, Happy and Self-Motivated Kids, Dr. Shimi Kang The Tech Solution: Creating Healthy Habits for Kids Growing Up in a Digital World, Dr. Shimi Kang
Girls in sparkly, pink dresses. Boys crazy about anything with wheels. Gender differences are everywhere. It’s difficult not to see those differences and then attribute them to something that is hardwired at birth, but neuroscience shows that there is very little difference between boys’ and girls’ brains.   Host Jessica Rolph welcomes Dr. Lise Eliot to this episode. She is a professor of neuroscience at the Chicago Medical School and the author of Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps — and What We Can Do About It. Lise and Jessica explore ways we, as parents, can help break down damaging gender stereotypes.   Key Takeaways: [1:12] How do boys’ and girls’ brains differ? [3:22] How should we think about gender stereotypes? Why is it important to avoid them? [4:30] Lise talks about the trends she has noticed in parenting both genders. [5:53] Do mothers talk more to preschool-aged daughters than sons? [9:17] Lise talks about how to raise children who can fully express themselves by not discouraging what could be considered gender-inappropriate play. [11:23] What should parents do about a relative or caregiver who is showing disapproval of their boy’s interest in princesses and “girl stuff”? How can parents explain their philosophy to that person? [13:11] Toddlers are naturally interested in categorizing; what is the reason for that? [15:27] Lise talks about dressing our boys and girls. [17:23 ] Jessica shares her takeaways from the conversation with Lise.     Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps--and What We Can Do About It, Dr. Lise Eliot What's Going on in There?: How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life, Dr. Lise Eliot
Babies' understanding of language comes well before their ability to speak. This also can be the case with their motor skills. Most babies will wave bye-bye before they can say the words. These are a few of the reasons signing works well for babies. It gives them another means of communicating. Plus research shows that babies who learn basic sign language develop pathways for communication sooner than they would otherwise.    Jessica Rolph welcomes Joy Jackson (@lyric_laughter_learning) to today’s episode. She has been using sign language with her daughter from the time she was 4 months old. Joy shares why she chose to teach her sign language and how this has enhanced her communication skills.   Key Takeaways: [1:16] Joy explains why she taught herself sign language in order to share it with her daughter. [4:12] Joy started teaching Lyric sign language at 4 months old. When did Lyric start using signs? [5:19] Is there any benefit to teaching sign language to verbal children? [6:08] What are some common misconceptions about sign language and teaching babies sign language? [8:15] Joy talks about the difference between baby sign language and ASL. [9:29] If a parent is just going to use six or seven signs, what are some particularly useful ones? [10:42] How many signs did Joy’s baby have when she was 1 year old? What can parents expect? [11:50] Is a baby who can sign considered bilingual? [13:02] How and why to teach emotion signs. [14:25] Some great reasons to invest the time necessary to teach our babies and young children sign language. [16:43] Jessica’s takeaways of today’s show.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Joy’s Instagram: @lyric_laughter_learning
Giving birth is one experience in your life you will never forget. There are so many emotions in the mix, both leading up to the birth, and on display during the birth!    Host Jessica Rolph met Leslie Schrock when she was in the process of publishing her book Bumpin’: The Modern Guide to Pregnancy, which she wrote while she was pregnant with her first baby. Leslie does not consider herself a pregnancy guru, but instead a curious person who found trustworthy resources for pregnant women in short supply. She talked with all variety of experts in the process of writing her book and shares her findings on this episode.     Key Takeaways: [1:34] What inspired Leslie to write her book about pregnancy? [3:10] Leslie shares how it felt to be her own health advocate. [5:58] What is the technical difference between a doula and a midwife? Why would you want one over the other? Does it make sense to have both?  [7:55] Does the participation of a doula or midwife preclude you from having a medicated birth?  [10:32] Where does a doctor fit into all of this?  [11:59] What goes into the decision to have an epidural or not? How to build a supportive birthing team and what to consider if you want to plan for an un-medicated birth. [16:07] Leslie shares tools for feeling positive when going into labor. [18:40] Leslie gives advice on how to best involve your birth partner.  [20:23] What is going on with the pelvic floor during pregnancy and birth? What can women do to make sure that it's healthy after birth? [21:18] What is pelvic floor dysfunction? Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Bumpin’: The Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Leslie Schrock Bumpin.com
Host Jessica Rolph welcomes Rebecca Parlakian to this episode to talk about the power of touch between infants and parents.    Few moments are more tender in those first weeks of life than when your baby reaches out and takes your finger while in your arms. It’s the all-important language of touch at work! Social connection is not the only connection at work in that moment; there are neural connections forming as your baby makes contact with that finger. In today’s episode, Jessica and Rebecca examine the importance of touch for both baby and parent.   Rebecca Parlakian is a senior director program at Zero to Three, a national nonprofit organization that focuses on the healthy development of infants, toddlers, and families. Much of her work at Zero to Three is connected to the work of Dr. Andrew Meltzoff at the University of Washington Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences.    Key Takeaways: [1:27] Rebecca talks about Dr. Meltzoff’s research, and how physical touch helps to develop a baby’s sense of self and other. [3:03] When do babies know that they have hands? [3:58] How important is skin-to-skin contact between a parent and a baby? [5:32] Rebecca discusses how parents can incorporate touch after the hospital — with infants and toddlers. [6:12] What is Rebecca’s opinion of the research that indicates babies don't get the same benefit by being hugged by a friendly stranger as they do by a loved one?  [7:32] Is there any research that supports skin-to-skin contact after the hospital?  [9:09] What role can massage play in enhancing that bond between a parent and a child?  [11:10] The nine elements of temperament. [12:34] Some children love to get their hands messy and other children have an aversion to touching things. What causes this range in sensory preferences? [13:40] The characteristics of sensory-aversive and sensory-seeking children. [15:02] Why is sensory play important for a child’s development [16:25] Why is mouthing natural and important? [18:03] Is sucking a thumb or finger positive for a baby’s development? [20:01] What is the earliest memory of touch? [21:15] Jessica shares the highlights of her conversation with Rebecca.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com ZERO TO THREE
Talk to any toddler for more than a couple of minutes, and you will be easily reminded of how thirsty they are for knowledge and information. While humans are continuously learning, we are born with something of an empty canvas and it’s the early experiences that we encounter as babies that form the brain architecture to support that learning.   At a birthing class, Jessica Rolph was introduced to a book that helped her put the science of early learning into action with her own baby and ultimately inspired her to create Lovevery. This book was written by Dr. William H. Staso, the guest on today’s episode.   Will is a psychologist who focuses on the assessment of autism in children under 3 years old. In 1999, he published “Neural Foundations: What Stimulation Your Baby Needs to Become Smart,” a book about the experiences that form the early architecture of the brain. In it, he shares multiple ideas for learning activities and ways to engage with your baby.   Key Takeaways: [2:55] Dr. Will Staso explains what happens on a neurological level during the first 3 years of life. [4:52] The importance of a baby’s environment to when it comes to wiring neurons. [6:41] What parents can do to promote language acquisition. [8:58] Will explains ways to stimulate your baby’s brain in place of flashing, noisy toys. [10:06] Will talks about experienced-based activities. [11:36] What does the perfect learning environment for a baby look like? [14:10] The role of the adult and how to interact with your baby. [15:55] Discovery learning requires non-restrictive parenting. [17:49] Awareness of location and quantities prepare your child for letters and numbers later on. [18:25] Learning sequences and making predictions. [19:52] Nature or nurture? [20:35] What does smartness really look like? [21:45] Why is one brain more efficient than another? [21:59] Will sums up his advice to parents.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com “Neural Foundations: What Stimulation Your Baby Needs to Become Smart” Dr. William H. Staso. To get a free copy of the book, please DM Jessica Rolph on Instagram. 
“Let little children be the hope you hold in your arms. Let them be the promise that the future will be better because of the values you instill in them.” — Julie Lythcott-Haims   We at Lovevery believe in a world where where all children can fulfill their innate promise. We have much work to do to achieve that dream. Work that starts at home in the form of a conversation. For some it’s a choice, for others, a necessity. Because we all must talk to our kids about race.   It’s a difficult conversation not because of the child in the room, but because of the fears we face as adults. Fear that we will say the wrong thing, fear of what our children will ask us, fear that we won’t have the answer. All of this is normal and to be expected, because nobody has all the answers. And starting the conversation at home is the first step toward addressing that ignorance. Here to help us with that conversation is Julie Lythcott-Haims. She is an author, speaker, and activist based out of Palo Alto, California. Her books are “How To Raise An Adult” and “Real American”. She identifies as a black and biracial woman who has spent a lot of time in white spaces. And she has much to teach us.   Key Takeaways: [2:22] How can parents start the conversation about race and racism? [6:40] How did Julie Lythcott-Haims talk to her own children about racism? [10:25] How the death of Trayvon Martin, who was shot by police, triggered Julie to talk to her son. [11:48] Julie discusses the disregard for black lives that is rooted in American history. [12:22] How would you feel if you worried about your child every time he left the house? [13:22] When executive function skills are not a choice but a life-saving tool. [13:54] How to talk about racism with your child and simultaneously convey a sense of pride in their heritage. [15:04] We are our kids’ first role model: Your child is paying attention to how you behave. [16:25] How to model inclusive behavior as a parent. [19:39] American is not color blind. [21:10] How to explain the difference in skin colors to your toddler. [21:55] Try this message: Differences do exist, but there is no value of one over the other. [25:03] Facing fear that your message will not be transmitted to your child in the right way.  [28:50] Julie talks about what you should avoid saying to your children. [31:19] Teach your little ones the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have done unto you. [32:12] Julie shares her own biases. [35:03] Racism had taught Julie she had to prove she was good enough in white circles. [36:09] “As a black person, I learned to be biased against black people.” [37:13] Overcoming your own biases involves one conscious and mindful interaction at a time.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com How To Raise An Adult, Julie Lythcott-Haims Real American: A Memoir, Julie Lythcott-Haims The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired, Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne-Bryson Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do, Jennifer Eberhardt
Ever get the feeling like you are babbling more than your baby? It turns out that going gaga over your baby actually serves a purpose. It helps them with language acquisition! Their brains are taking in loads of information from these back-and-forth interactions.   Jessica Rolph welcomes Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek to this episode to explore the characteristics of this early communication. Kathy is a  professor in psychology at Temple University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She is also co-author of Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children.    Key Takeaways: [1:12] How can a parent contribute to the building of communication skills? [2:30] Remember to pause and create space for your baby to respond. [3:24] Kathy talks about infant-directed speech. [5:30] The back-and-forth conversation with a baby might be more important than we thought. [6:30] Technology sometimes gets in the way of opportunities to communicate with our babies.    Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children
Laundry, diapering, feeding, laundry... this is the work of a new parent, and much of it can feel rather tedious. Unfortunately, boredom can sometimes slip into darker feelings of disconnection.     In this episode, Jessica Rolph is accompanied by Erica Komisar, who suggests that one way to stay engaged is to take an interest in your baby’s brain development. Erica Komisar is a psychoanalyst and parent coach based out of New York City.    Key Takeaways: [1:26] Erica Komisar talks about her clinical work with patients who are experiencing boredom. [3:05] Interest in child development as a possible solution for a parent’s boredom. [4:45] Erica explains how to ignite a sense of wonder around your baby’s development. [6:35] Recognizing the immense value of nurturing your baby. [7:14] Possible cues of postpartum depression. [8:30] Skin-to-skin contact lays the foundation for emotional security. [9:16] Breast feeding, in light of the skin-to-skin contact, has neurological benefits. If you are bottle feeding, consider taking off your shirt. [12:18] Advice to mothers who have been separated from their babies. [14:05] Tips to spark the connection between you and your baby. [14:59] Mirroring your baby is about reflecting how your baby feels; as a result, your baby feels understood. [16:53] The perils of idealizing parenthood. [19:11] Does COVID-19 bring more risk of depression? [20:45] When is the best time to seek professional health?   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Don’t dismiss a new mom’s boredom. It could be a sign of something more serious. The Washington Post, Erica Komisar 
Jessica Rolph welcomes Sami Carrick to this episode to talk about that magical moment of connection with our baby: story time. And all those who have read a book to an infant know that it doesn’t always go as planned! We know how important it is to read to our babies, but what should we do if they are crawling out of our laps, crazily flipping pages, or just plain not interested in what’s on the page?   Sami shares how teaching literacy can take lots of forms. She is a certified reading specialist and the mom behind Literacy for Littles.   Key Takeaways: [1:30] Reading to a newborn: Sami explains how this might look. [2:34] Position your newborn baby so they can see your facial expressions while you are reading. [3:04] Consider incorporating a book at nap time and bedtime to help create predictability for your baby. [3:31] When to introduce sensory books to babies. [4:26] Tips to engage your baby in reading when they don’t seem to be able to stop moving or are uninterested. [6:28] Sami shares practical tips to help a child learn how to turn the pages. [8:01] The benefits of adding rubber bands to the pages. [8:48] How to incorporate reading in the daily routine outside of bedtime. [10:24] The importance of using a dramatic, animated voice while reading to your baby. [11:50] Tips for parents to teach literacy early on. [13:54] Sami explains why learning letter sounds is more important than being able to recite the ABCs. [16:22] The benefits of incorporating sign language into a child’s day.   Mentioned in this episode: Literacy for Littles Brought to you by Lovevery.com
Parenting is a time of so much change for you and your baby, a little reliable information can go a long way towards making this new life, a good life.  Jessica Rolph is your host and she is joined by Rachel Coley in this episode of My New Life, a Lovevery podcast, to discuss the common anxiety parents share about their children reaching milestones and comparing to other children’s progress. Does it help? Does it really matter? Rachel Coley is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and the mom behind a super informative website called CanDo Kiddo. Rachel prefers to focus on what she calls “mini-milestones”, which are all the tiny steps a baby takes to reach their objective. Tune in to learn what to do if your baby doesn’t like tummy time, how baby containers are getting in the way of natural development, and why the floor is the best place for your baby to be.    Key Takeaways: [2:51] Technology is shaping what kind of toys we are putting in front of our babies. [4:22] Why do babies need to be on the floor? [6:25] Is swaddling beneficial for a baby? [7:14] Tummy time is the baby’s first opportunity to interact with gravity. [11:15] Thinking about tummy time as a position for play is really helpful. [13:54] Milestone anxiety vs staying curious about mini-milestones. [15:30] How parents can help babies build the strength necessary to roll over.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com CanDo Kiddo 
Jessica Rolph is joined by Veronica Fernandez, who talks about how she takes advice from various parenting approaches and incorporates the best from each. Veronica discusses philosophies such as Montessori, RIE, and attachment parenting. She also shares with us ways to introduce bilingualism to babies and the benefits of it.  Dr. Veronica Fernandez is a new mom, with a Ph.D. in Developmental and Child Psychology, with a focus on bilingual education.     Key Takeaways: [1:35] Veronica shares her journey from preschool to Ph.D. [3:38] How to incorporate different philosophies in parenting your baby.  [5:23] Veronica shares how she used the Montessori philosophy to create a prepared environment for her newborn baby. [6:19] The essence of the Montessori approach. [8:33] The Montessori approach characterizes by giving children the chance of manipulating materials such as glass. [9:38] The RIE Method is about respectful parenting. [13:45] Being in physical proximity to a child is always beneficial.  [14:11] What does not resonate with Veronica about Attachment parenting? [17:19] When the focus is on playing and interaction, the opportunities for teaching will show up spontaneously. [18:56] Be present and playful in your interactions with children [19:13] Introducing a second language to babies [20:05] Children learn more by exposure than to intentional teaching.  [21:58] The benefits of bilingualism.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com
We all know how important it is to read to our children, but trying to build a baby’s math skills can feel like a challenging task, especially if we don’t have a positive association with math ourselves.    The good news is, baby is encountering math everywhere, and nurturing a love of numbers is not as hard as commonly thought. After all, we are all born loving numbers!   In this episode, Jessica Rolph speaks with Gillian Starkey, a professor in neuroscience with an emphasis on children’s developing math skills. She shares some pointers that are going to score big with you and your baby, and might even make math into something you both look forward to.   Key Takeaways: [1:22] What constitutes math for babies? [2:45] Gillian shares why it is important to build basic math skills at home with our babies. [3:51] What do babies know about math when they are born? [4:49] Activities that you can do with your baby (0-12 months old) to build math skills. [8:00] How do children’s understanding of numbers and what they represent evolve as they get older? [9:01] Gillian explains how to engage toddlers in everyday math.  [10:03] Baking is one great way to introduce mathematical concepts to toddlers. [10:33] Shapes and patterns can be used to strengthen math skills. [11:40] Gillian gives tips on how to deal with our own math anxiety.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Learn more about Gillian Starkey
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