Hygiene plays a crucial component of a baby's overall care. Practicing a good hygiene is extremely important to keep your baby happy and healthy all the time.

Eight essential hygiene rules for your baby. Here are eight simple good hygiene practices to adopt when you have a baby.

  • Washing your hands with a good antibacterial soap is essential for removing harmful bacteria and germs that cause colds, flu, diarrhea and other infections. Be sure to dry your hands properly and wash your hand towels regularly. It's especially important to wash your hands before feeding your baby, after handling raw food, after changing a nappy or going to the toilet yourself, after touching pets, after touching anything dirty such as dirty nappies, rubbish or food waste.
  • You don't need to clean the house every day from top to bottom with disinfectant, you just need to pay particular attention to the surfaces that are most likely to harbour germs and bacteria. Focus on the areas that have a lot of contact with food, bodies and hands, such as bathrooms, kitchen benches, tables, crockery, cutlery and glassware. You need to be cleaning these properly. Use hot water with detergent for crockery, cutlery and glasses, while kitchens and bathrooms will need a thorough clean with a good disinfectant. Pay particular attention to taps, toilet seats, benches and door handles. Dry surfaces as well if they are not in a well-ventilated area with natural light.
  • Babies love to put things into their mouths, and toys are often the closest thing to hand. Be sure to regularly give your child's toys a clean with a good disinfectant. Wipe hard plastic toys down and make sure you rinse them thoroughly or put plush toys through the washing machine.
  • A good bath is essential for keeping your baby clean and tidy, but you need to make sure you are not over-washing as this is damaging to your baby's sensitive skin. In the first year of your baby's life a full bath is necessary only two or three times a week. Check out our step-by-step guide to bathing your baby.
  • These are three areas that need some special attention. Always keep your baby's nails well-trimmed so that they can't scratch themselves — the best time to trim them is when your baby is asleep. Be sure to use baby-sized nail clippers and not to cut the nails too short as these will hurt your baby.
  • Only wash the outside of your baby's ears, never the inside, and never insert cotton wool buds into your baby's ears. If your baby is unhappy and touching their ears repeatedly, this could be a sign of infection — be sure to get this looked at by a medical professional.
  • Clean any dried mucous from your baby's nose, as this can cause difficulty breathing. Use a damp wash cloth to gently remove the dried mucous. A nasal syringe may be needed to help remove excess mucous, but consult your baby's health practitioner before using one of these.
  • Be sure to keep your baby's eyes clear of any dried mucous. Use damp cotton wool to gently clean their eyes and seek medical attention if you notice your baby's eyes are irritated.

Why is screen time such a big deal?

Why is screen time such a big deal?

Object play is on the decline, while screen time is on the rise. This isn’t good news for healthy child development. By Beth Cooper Howell

The post Why is screen time such a big deal? appeared first on Living and Loving.

Why is screen time such a big deal?

Object play is on the decline, while screen time is on the rise. This isn’t good news for healthy child development. By Beth Cooper Howell

The post Why is screen time such a big deal? appeared first on Living and Loving.

Why is screen time such a big deal?

We’re the first generation of parents to deal with an explosion of child-friendly modern technology – iPads, talking smartphones and tot-sized tablets designed to educate, entertain and entice our little ones.
However, we’re also screen smart; we know that playing outside, drawing, painting and building blocks are important for healthy development. The trouble is, many kids seem more interested in virtual reality than sandpits.
Research over the last few years shows spending hours in front of a screen may have negative physical and mental health consequences, but real play has quite the opposite effect.

ALSO SEE: Screen time can lead to your toddler developing sleep problems

The science of play

The ability to play is as critical to children as our adult careers are to us, explains Johannesburg occupational therapist Tamryn Paulsen of Innova OT. “Play is the most important occupation of a young child. It’s the tool used to discover the world, build the mind and body and interact in a meaningful, purposeful way.” We remember playing as children, so we assume that we know what healthy play development looks like, but there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Tamryn says she looks for the following when observing play:

  • An intrinsic motivation to play
  • The process of play, rather than a focus on the product (branded toys or peer-pressure must-haves) and outcome (winning or losing)
  • The child’s ability to express free choice
  • His enjoyment and pleasure during the process
  • The level of active engagement, rather than parent-initiating play motivating the child
  • Spontaneous and natural play, rather than forced and controlled activity.

A child who is “good at playing” demonstrates a desire to play, explains Tamryn. He views it as something fun to do for its own sake, rather than to win something, or achieve a desired end result (this is the problem with so many educational toys and screen-based activities, which direct kids towards a particular destination or outcome).
“True play offers a platform to capture a child’s attention, to develop and stimulate motor skills, sensory processing and cognitive skills, and to build perceptual abilities.
“The magic of play is more than just the few minutes when a child is playing – it nurtures important social, emotional and language development, too.”

ALSO SEE: The importance of creative play and how it benefits your child’s development

Tangible toys are tops

Object play is on the decline, while screen time is on the rise, says Tamryn. This isn’t good news for healthy child development. “Screen time lacks the feedback loop and integration between touch, sound, vision and movement that builds highly complex channels in the young developing brain.

“Skills like reading and mathematics piggyback on important highways in the brain that are established from actual, physical interaction from infancy.”

Parents often don’t realise just how crucial basic toys are in raising healthy, well-balanced children. “Object play builds visual tracking and hand-eye coordination. These are important later on for education: drawing, colouring, cutting along a line, reading and writing. It contributes to intellectual development, including learning about the nature of objects, problem-solving, imagination and creativity.”

Regardless of your budget, tangible objects are easy to provide − anything goes, including:

  • A tub of sand or bucket of water
  • A box of blocks
  • Paintbrushes, giant crayons and play dough
  • A doll’s house or car garage
  • Stones or shells of various sizes
  • A regular supply of empty boxes.

These simple objects are more than enough to keep your little one entertained – and educated. “Being able to physically manipulate objects with her hands, based on the visual and touch information being fed to the brain for analysis, leads to the development of higher cognitive processing skills,” explains Tamryn.

ALSO SEE: 3 fun messy play ideas for toddlers

Technology: should we pull the plug?

“Not all play is equal,” says Tamryn, “and you’ll have heard it a thousand times before – limit screen time and encourage active play.” South Africa also has one of the world’s highest obesity rates, yet screen time is on the increase, she warns.

“I see kids playing with techno-savvy gadgets and devices wherever I go. This is great for building analytical skills, tactical thinking and problem-solving, and it’s amazing that even babies can sit in front of a screen for long periods, but screens do not have the benefits that play has.”

Good play habits are clearly shown to develop a healthy body, as well as well-developed mind and learning skills, says Tamryn. “Regardless of how affordable technology is these days, we must be mindful of its effects, and know when to pull the plug. “I am all for screen time being used in appropriate doses to provide meaningful and empowering learning experiences, but balance is key,” says Tamryn.

Play smarts

The general idea is to provide your child with a rich variety of play activities, explains Tamryn. “For example, we have inside and outside play, solitary and group play, large movement play such as swinging, climbing and jumping, and table-top activities. “These foster gross motor skills (running, skipping, jumping and climbing), fine motor skills (dexterity of fingers and hands) and build your child’s cognitive and perceptual abilities.”

We also need to be mindful of the fact that free play, which is not directed and the opposite of organised, and extra-curricular activities are critical building blocks at this stage. Beyond their basic needs and a nurturing environment, your future rocket scientist or fashion designer needs play, more than anything else, to thrive and learn.

The post Why is screen time such a big deal? appeared first on Living and Loving.

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