Bonding with your baby
UP TO 1 YEARS
Your baby’s first two years of life are an important period of attachment and development. Playing with your baby is not only great fun, but it is essential for their development and connection with you. The act of playing with your baby helps them feel secure and confident in exploring their world. Here are some easy games you can play to support your baby’s development while having fun together.
It doesn’t matter what you sing or how well you sing, your baby will love listening to your voice as you sing to them. Listening to you sing will also help your baby’s language, social and emotional skills.
Hide and seek
Babies love surprises! Try hiding one of their favourite toys under a blanket, pillow or even behind your back, before revealing it to them. This is sure to be a big hit! This activity can help your little one focus and it teaches them that things can still exist even when they can’t be seen.
Grab a light fabric such as cot sheet, pillow case or baby wrap, and lay your baby on a soft mat or blanket. Then, wave the fabric above them and let them enjoy the sense of the wind above their face. This will build their body awareness and sensory development.
Pull funny faces for your baby and watch them delight and try to copy you. For example, shape your mouth like an O, make your eyes look surprised or make a funny grin. When your baby makes a face, try to copy their expression. Your little one will think this is fantastic and in doing so you are also helping their emotional skills and facial recognition.
Massages are a great form of relaxation for you and your baby, and it can help them develop their body awareness. When your little one is calm and alert, try giving them a gentle massage – this great guide on baby massage will show you how. You can make this massage time a learning experience too by naming and talking about the different parts of the body as you go.
Benefits and challenges of raising multilingual and bilingual children:
Suitable for 0-18 years
Raising multilingual or bilingual children is good not only for your children, but also for your family and your community.
Children: benefits of multilingualism and bilingualism
For children, speaking more than one language is often linked to:
- better academic results – this is because multilingual or bilingual children can often concentrate better, are better at solving problems, understand language structures better, and are better at multitasking
- more diverse and interesting career opportunities later in life.
Also, if your children grow up speaking more than one language, they might have a better sense of self-worth, identity and belonging. This comes from:
- feeling good about their heritage
- feeling confident about communicating and connecting with extended family members and people speaking other languages
- being able to enjoy music, movies, literature and so on in more than one language.
Families: benefits of multilingualism and bilingualism
For your family, multilingualism and developing your language in your children:
- improves communication among your family members
- enhances emotional bonds
- makes it easier for you and your children to be part of your culture
- boosts your family’s sense of cultural identity and belonging.
Communities: benefits of multilingualism and bilingualism
For your wider community, when children speak more than one language, it means that:
- everyone in the community gets a better appreciation of different languages and cultures
- children can more easily travel and work in different countries and cultures when they grow up
- children understand and appreciate different cultures.
Possible challenges of raising multilingual and bilingual children
Raising multilingual or bilingual children does have its challenges, including handling pressure to speak only English. It can also sometimes mean a lot of work, and it’s a long-term commitment.
For example, when you’re raising multilingual or bilingual children, you need to:
- stick with your heritage language, even when there’s pressure to choose English
- keep yourself and your children motivated to use your heritage languages
- help your children understand the benefits of multilingualism and bilingualism
- make sure your children get lots of chances to hear and use their second and other languages
- talk to your children’s teachers and get their support for your efforts
- get support for yourself – for example, by talking to friends and family who are raising multilingual or bilingual children and finding resources in your community, like bilingual playgroups.
If you sometimes feel like these challenges are too hard, it might help to think about the benefits of multilingualism – especially the way it can help you and your children develop stronger family bonds. Sharing support, advice and experiences with other parents can also be a big help.