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3 easy ways to boost baby’s brainpower with just your voice

Talking, reading and signing to your child each provide unique benefits that help your baby’s brain to grow.

3 easy ways to boost baby’s brainpower with just your voice

How you help your little one thrive

We all want our little ones to gain language skills that set them up for lifelong success, but did you know that talking, reading and signing to your child each provide unique benefits that help your baby’s brain to grow?


Speech

Responding to your baby through speech, even when her babbles don’t make much sense to you, can actually help speed language development. Baby: “Goo, goo?” Mama: “Oh yes, you’re right sweetie, I should look that recipe up on Google.”

Song

Researchers also believe that babies gain new insights about how words work when you sing to them. Another reason to Rock A Bye, Baby.

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Reading

And new research demonstrates that reading books to baby, even from the first week of life, introduces baby to a wider range of vocabulary words than spoken language alone. Goodnight Moon anyone?

Too Small to Fail Initiative

The Clinton Foundation’s Too Small to Fail initiative are leaders in early childhood literacy, and are bringing Motherly’s readers tips on ways that you can incorporate more talking, singing and reading into daily life with your little one.

Narrate your day to baby

When they coo, coo back

Your touch and voice help your baby learn. Listen to the fun sounds

your baby makes and repeat them. When they coo, coo back. Hold their

hand gently and when they smile, smile back. Your loving touch combined

with this back-and-forth “baby language” are the first steps in

talking.



Talk about what you see

Everywhere you go, talk about what you see and what your baby is

looking at: “Wow, I see the four dogs, too!” “I love that red truck you’re

playing with. It goes beep beep!”



Play peek-a-boo

Play “Peek-a-boo” while getting your baby dressed. Ask, “Where’s

(baby’s name)?” when you pull a shirt over your baby’s head. Then say,

“There you are!”



Describe taste, feel, & look

As you feed your baby, use words to describe what foods taste, feel, and

look like. “This yogurt is smooth.” “That yellow banana is sweet!”



Look into your baby’s eyes

Looking into your baby’s eyes, holding your baby’s hand, and talking to

your baby in a high voice are all ways that you can help your child grow

up to be a confident, loving adult.

Read books to your little one

Tell a story

Read a book or tell a story to your baby every day – in whatever language

you feel most comfortable – beginning at birth.

Cuddle

Cuddle with your baby as you share a book. It doesn’t matter how

young your child is; even newborn babies are learning when their parents

read with them.

Point to pictures

Point to the book’s pictures: “Look, the train goes choo-choo!” Using

words to describe what you see builds language.

Don’t forget to sing!

Sing lullabies

Hold your baby close during bedtime and sing a favorite song again and

again. Singing the same song can help your baby feel calm and safe.

Sing silly songs

Sing silly songs about your day to help get your baby’s attention during

diaper changing. Your baby loves to hear your voice even if you think you can’t sing! The

sound of your voice is comforting to your baby.

This year many of us have a tighter budget than usual given (looks around) everything that has happened. Coupled with the uncertainty of what Halloween might look like, many of us are reluctant to spend money on brand new costumes that our kids will outgrow by next year. I get it. But I also know that many, like me, love Halloween so much. I thought about skipping the celebration this year, but that just feels like too big of a disappointment in an already disappointing year.

That's why I started looking into alternative costumes—something my kids will be able to wear once the clock hits November, and maybe even hand down to siblings and cousins in the coming years. At the same time, I'm not a DIY person, so I wanted outfits that didn't require any sewing or hot glue. Last year I attempted using one to build my son's Care Bear costume, and of course, I burnt my hand.

So with some creativity (and the brainpower of my colleagues), we came up with these costumes that are both fun and practical, made with items that your children will be able to (and want to!) wear year around:

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

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