1. Give the gift of love

Hug, cuddle, smile, and talk with your baby. These simple moments help your baby feel safe and secure, and promote his/her brain development.

(Read more about how giving the gift of love to your little one can boost his/her brain development on the Raising Children Network.)

2. Give the gift of playful math time

Make math fun and a part of everyday moments by counting the things you and your child see! Count blocks, flowers, or stop signs outside! Count apples in the grocery store or point out the pattern and colors you see on a blanket!

(For more ideas on how to make learning math fun, see our early math resources!)

3. Give the gift of storytelling

Telling stories with your little one can help your child develop a love for words and reading! For your baby or toddler, share a story by narrating your day. For your preschooler, have a conversation about characters in his/her favorite book.

4. Give the gift of lullabies

Singing with your child creates a close bond while supporting his or her language development. You can even create your own, special lullaby to sing to your little one (read our tips on how to write a unique one).

5. Give the gift of reading

Dedicate time to go to the library with your little one each week so you can pick out new books together. Celebrate books at home to encourage a love for reading, words, and libraries at an early age for your child.

For holiday books to read with your little one, check out these 10 books from our friends at Reading Rockets. To learn more about books that are appropriate for your child, see these age-by-age early literacy milestones from Reach out and Read.

One last holiday tip – use this season to help your children understand that not all gifts need to be wrapped! This great article from PBS Parents shares ideas on how you can encourage your child to show simple acts of kindness and care to family and friends.

Having a newborn is challenging at the best of times, but during forced isolation and in a climate of fear and uncertainty, it can become overwhelming.

The coronavirus pandemic is setting up our communities for genuine mental health concerns. This may be especially true for new parents. When will 'normal' life return? How will I pay for diapers and baby food? Will my mom be able to help us now? What if my baby or my family get COVID-19? Unfortunately, no one knows the long-term impact or answers just yet.

Most families have built a network of social support by the time they have their first child—if they don't already have a support system, they develop one through various baby classes and groups set up for parents. The creation of the village can be instrumental to the mental health of new parents. Social distancing, the lockdown of cities, and isolation will inadvertently affect the type of support available.

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