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Tips for a Healthy Child’s First Year

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Adam Navis and Katy Blake share simple tips for keeping a new child safe and healthy. This is the second program in our Tips for Healthy Living series.

Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Adam Navis.

Voice 2 

And I’m Katy Blake. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

Babies need someone to do everything for them. They cannot feed themselves. They cannot clean themselves. They may even need help going to sleep. Studies show that the first year of life influences the rest of life. However, there are things that can help each child start in a happy and healthy way. You may have already heard our program called “Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy”. But what happens after the baby is born? Today’s Spotlight is on tips for how to help a child have a healthy first year of life.

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Voice 2 

The first tip is to create a safe place for a new baby. Parents cannot keep their children safe at all times. Learning about the world will include small injuries. However, there are several things that will help lower the chance for injury.

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Babies are learning about the world. One way they do this is by putting things in their mouths. Parents should keep anything that could be dangerous away from the baby. This could be anything small, sharp, or poisonous. Some examples include cleaning chemicals, medicines, or small coins. Babies will eat anything.

A baby
Image by Daniel Reche from Pixabay
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Babies learn to crawl around six to ten months. This new ability to move brings a new set of concerns. Parents need to protect children from serious injury. Falling down stairs is one common serious injury. Another common injury is burns. Babies can get burned from fires, stoves, or water that is boiling for cooking. Babies have not learned that fire is hot. Water is another possible source of danger. Parents should always watch a child in the bath or near a swimming pool.

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Another big danger is parents who are too tired. A baby requires a lot of work. Often, parents do not sleep very much. They can become angry when the baby cries for no reason. But parents should never shake or hit a baby. Shaking a baby can cause brain damage, serious injury, or even death. When parents feel this way, they should go to another room for a short time. They should ask for help from another adult. Raising a baby is difficult work.

Voice 2 

The second tip for making sure a child has a healthy first year is to give them enough food and enough sleep. A helpful pattern for babies is eat, activity, sleep. Stephanie Parker owns a company that sells sleeping clothes for babies. She thought about this pattern a lot when her own child was not sleeping. She explained this pattern on babysleepsite.com. She says it begins with eating.

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“It is important that your baby get a full feeding. This will make it easier for them to know the pattern. It is tempting to feed your baby to sleep. But I would encourage parents to keep their baby awake after feeding them. By doing this, the baby will learn to fall asleep on their own. They will not need the breast or the bottle.

When your baby is done eating, play with her and give her some exercise. This will encourage better sleep. When the baby starts to get tired, that is when you put them down to sleep. If you wait too long the baby can become too tired. Then it will be difficult for them to sleep. If your baby is waking up after only 30 or 45 minutes, or earlier, help them learn that it is not time to be awake yet.”

Voice 1 

The third tip for a baby to have a healthy first year of life is to take them to a doctor. There are two reasons to take a baby to the doctor. The first is that babies need immunizations, or vaccines. These important medicines protect babies from serious sicknesses, such as hepatitis, tetanus, measles, and more. Even though the child is not sick, these medicines are safe and helpful.

Girl getting the polio vaccine
Girl receiving oral polio vaccine” (CC BY 2.0) by CDC Global Health
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The second reason babies should see doctors is that a doctor will make sure that the baby is growing at a healthy rate. A good doctor will notice things that may be signs of medical problems.

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It can be helpful for parents to write down any special event in a book or journal. These could be things like when the baby rolled over, slept all through the night, or said her first word. This can be helpful in a meeting with a doctor. It is also a way to create a book of memories for the child when they grow up.

Voice 2 

The final tip to help a child have a healthy first year is to learn to understand them. Babies make many different noises. These noises may seem meaningless. But when parents pay attention, they start to understand the different noises. For example, one cry may be for hunger. Another cry may be for pain.

A parent playing with a baby
Image by rbalouria from Pixabay
Voice 1 

And just because a baby does not understand your words, it does not mean they do not understand you. Babies need a lot of time and attention. Parents can use soft words. They can touch the baby’s skin and face. They can look into the baby’s eyes. All these things create connection and show love. This is not always easy. But it is very important. Darcia F. Narvaez is a professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame. She wrote about bonding with babies for the website Psychology Today. She writes,

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“You need to be there. This means emotionally. Do not be doing other things. Do not be on the phone or computer. Do not even be thinking of other things. Pay attention to when the baby wants you and then talk, sing, dance, play with them. Take a break when you need it by passing the baby to another adult. Or put the baby on your back and do your work. Or bring the baby outside to see the natural world”

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What about you? What else do you think is important for a healthy first year of life? Did you follow any of these tips for your children? Will you follow them if you have children later? Tell us what you think. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at contact@spotlightenglish.com. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio. Subscribe to us on YouTube at youtube.com/spotlightenglish1.

Voice 1 

The writer of this program was Adam Navis. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.spotlightenglish.com. This program is called, ‘Tips for a Healthy Child’s First Year’.

Voice 2 

Visit our website to download our free official app for Android and Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

What do you think is the most important for a healthy child’s first year of life?

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