Baby Talk articles

Baby Talk: Resources to Support the People Who Work With Infants and Toddlers: Issue No. 73 June 2017

Mothers and Infants Connect Through Song

As one of the first records of human music, infant-directed singing permeates cultural boundaries and parenting traditions. The act of mothers singing to infants is a universal behavior that seemingly withstands the test of time. Read about new research on this topic.

Teaching a Toddler Social Skills

This column suggests 14 steps for supporting toddlers to develop social intelligence and build the capacity for interpersonal relationships.

Want more ideas for supporting the social-emotional development of infants and toddlers? Go to this ZERO TO THREE site:

Practical Play and Toy Guide

Many early childhood professionals believe that commercialized toys and media are threatening authentic children’s play. A recent guide published for families and professionals from TRUCE (Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Childhood Entertainment) supports child-directed, creative play with inexpensive, simple toys that encourage imagination.

Dual Language Learners: Primed and Ready to Learn

This May 2017 fact sheet highlights the science of how infants who are exposed to more than one language manage to learn each language successfully.

Link Between Autism and Extra Cerebrospinal Fluid?

A research network found that many toddlers diagnosed with autism at two years of age had a substantially greater amount of extra-axial cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) at six and 12 months of age, before diagnosis is possible. The more CSF at six months, the more severe the autism symptoms were at two years of age.  To learn more, click here.

Emergency Preparedness: Is Your Child Care Program Prepared? 10 Questions You Should Ask

Ensuring the safety of children in care settings is the most important job of early childhood professionals. This resource, which is available in English and Spanish, can be a helpful tool for families to use as they evaluate and/or communicate with their child’s program about emergency preparedness. Early childhood programs may also find that the publication is a good starting point for self-evaluation of their emergency plans and processes.

The First Sights Babies See Sculpt The Brain’s Visual Circuitry

When a newborn baby opens her eyes, she does not see well at all, and it can take months for her world to come into focus. Now scientists have found more clues about what happens in the brains of baby mammals as they try to make visual sense of the world. A study, published in Nature Neuroscience, is part of a project to map the functions of the brain areas that play crucial roles in vision.

Baby Talk is a free, one-way listserv that is distributed monthly. Each issue features high quality, readily available, and free resources.  To join the listserv, send an email with no message to subscribe-babytalk@listserv.unc.edu   Past issues are archived at http://fpg.unc.edu/resources/baby-talk-archive.  To suggest resources, please contact Camille Catlett at camille.catlett@unc.edu

Baby Talk: Resources to Support the People Who Work With Infants and Toddlers: Issue No. 67 December 2016

Baby FaceTime: Can Toddlers Learn From Online Video Chat?

This recent study highlights that there is a great difference between putting a baby in front of a television and having an interactive exchange via video chat. In a recent study, researchers found that children paid attention and responded to their on-screen partners, but only children who experienced interactive video chat responded in sync with the partner, such as clapping to imitate after the partner had clapped.

American Academy of Pediatrics Announces New Safe Sleep Recommendations

Approximately 3,500 infants die annually in the United States from sleep-related infant deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). New guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics is designed to help reduce those numbers. They recommend supine positioning, the use of a firm sleep surface, room-sharing without bed-sharing, and the avoidance of soft bedding and overheating. Additional recommendations for SIDS reduction include breastfeeding, avoidance of exposure to smoke, alcohol, and illicit drugs, routine immunization, and the use of a pacifier. The recommendations and strength of evidence for each recommendation are included in this policy statement.  

Infants and Toddlers: A Video Collection

Featuring a collection of 200 short video clips, this site will provide users with a perfect window into the world of infants and toddlers and their daily experiences in child care. As well, users will see the wide range of tasks and roles that early childhood professionals take on each day. Finally, many of the clips highlight the importance of the partnerships that form between parents and the educators who care for their young children. Clips may be searched by criteria (e.g., developmental domain, activity language development, or educator strategies, like following the child’s lead), age of the children, or setting. It is also possible to find videos by doing a key word search.  

Tuning In: Parents of Young Children Tell Us What They Think, Know and Need

ZERO TO THREE, in partnership with the Bezos Family Foundation, released the results of a survey, drawn from a nationally-representative sample of 2,200 parents of children birth to 5 years, this year. The results include findings on issues such as parenting challenges, the dilemma of how to discipline young children, and what parents understand about early development. Here are a few of the interesting findings:

  • Almost all parents feel judged all the time
  • Parents overall consistently underestimate just how early children can be affected by some critical experiences (e.g., nearly half of parents think that reading to children starts to benefit long-term language development about a year and a half later than it actually does); and
  • About half of parents believe that children are capable of self-control and other developmental milestones much earlier than they actually are.

An overview/key insights document is available, in addition to the full report, at this website.


Baby Talk is a free, one-way listserv that is distributed monthly. Each issue features resources that are high quality, readily available and free. To join the listserv, send an email with no message to subscribe-babytalk@listserv.unc.edu.   To suggest resources, please contact Camille Catlett at camille.catlett@unc.edu.

Baby Talk: Resources to Support the People Who Work With Infants and Toddlers: Issue No.66 November 2016

What is Happening to Fine Motor Development?

In recent years a growing number of children are “arriving at school lacking in basic fine motor skills.” This is a huge problem because if the young student does not have the finger strength and coordination to hold a pencil, for example, they will struggle to master current kindergarten requirements. Like large motor development, fine motor skills develop progressively, beginning in the earliest years of childhood. Young children who spend too much time “swiping and tapping” electronic devices, instead of playing with manipulative toys or coloring with crayons, struggle with poor hand control and weak pencil grip in school. This article will help educators and family members to consider a return to the time-tested play materials of childhood—blocks, play dough, beads, and crayons—to best prepare children for school


Let’s Talk About It: 5 Ways to Build Babies’ Language and Communication Skills from Birth 

Talking with babies doesn’t just build vocabularies; it also nurtures the development of cognitive and social-emotional skills, now and into your baby’s future. Tuning In, a national survey of Gen X and Millennial families conducted by ZERO TO THREE, showed that many younger family members aren’t aware of the huge benefits of talking with babies in the first year of life. This article from ZERO TO THREE shares five ways to build strong language skills from birth.

 

Responding to Your Child’s Bite

Many toddlers and young children bite. Developmentally, most toddlers don’t have enough words to express how they are feeling. They primarily rely on sounds and actions to communicate what they are thinking and feeling.  Biting is one of the ways toddlers express their needs, desires, or feelings.

This resource provides an evidence-based overview of why young children bite, what to do, what not to do, and when to seek professional help.

 

Brain Activity Map Reveals How Infant Vision Develops

Visual functions start to develop soon after birth and continue maturing over time as infants gain experience with the world. However, direct evidence of how this maturation process unfolds in the brain has been lacking. This article notes a new study that provides a direct window into the maturation of vision-related areas of the cortex in the first weeks of life, showing that the visual brain of 7-week-old babies is surprisingly mature.

 

Free Recorded Webinars from the Early Head Start National Resource Center

Looking for great free instructional resources? Check out this collection of archived webinars. You’ll find recordings on topics such as 1) Building a Dynamic Brain: The Influences of Music, Movement, and Nutrition, 2) Reflective Curriculum Planning for Infants and Toddlers, 3) The Impact of Trauma and Toxic Stress on Infant and Toddler Development, or 4) Supporting Babies with Disabilities. Go to the website below to find a recorded sequence of professional development on these and other topics.


Baby Talk is a free, one-way listserv that is distributed monthly. Each issue features resources that are high quality, readily available and free.  To join the listserv, send an email with no message to subscribe-babytalk@listserv.unc.edu   To suggest resources, please contact Camille Catlett at camille.catlett@unc.edu



In Memoriam – June Moss Handler

CITE founder, June Moss Handler, 94, died on November 6, 2017 at her home in Hackensack, NJ. (read more...)

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