Teach your kids with movement. As you pick your child up, tell them “now we’re going up”, or “now we’re moving down.” Say things like “daddy’s closer – now he’s far away,” or “daddy’s here, now daddy’s there”, and make sure to mimic the actions with physical movement. The word “Up” was one of the first words my daughter ever said and I believe it was because she saw the physical action that corresponded with being lifted in the air while also hearing the word. Babies have a variety of ways to determine language and using different methods to demonstrate the meaning of words can help them get an early start on building their vocabulary.
Teaching your baby sign language often reduces fussiness because there is a way to communicate their specific needs instead of just crying and hoping you figure out what’s wrong. There are numerous books and how-to videos online that teach you basic baby sign language phrases (milk, more, etc). It’s really cool when your child actually learns and uses them.
Story time is almost often the most peaceful time of my week. You sit there with your kid bouncing on your knee while everyone sings wheels on the bus, the itsy bitsy spider, and the librarian reads a few books aloud. It’s a great way to get your child out of the house and it’s for me, it’s oddly relaxing. From my experience, the kids are smiling, fully engaged and the babies rarely seem to cry or fuss. At the conclusion of story time, they usually bring out a box of toys. The good libraries clean and wipe down the baby toys, but I still recommend using a baby wipe to wipe down your child’s hands before and after each session. Keep an eye out for the monthly event calendar as many of the libraries have family programming or story hour sessions during flexible times, including after work.
529 plans help pay for qualified educational expenses and can be set up by anyone on behalf of a designated beneficiary. Many parents choose to contribute small amounts from birth as a part of overall education planning. The contributions are tax-deductible on state returns (in 34 states) and many states feature no holding period. This means that if you have an older child who is ready to start college, you can add money to the plan, use those funds to pay for university, and still receive your state tax deduction in the same year (it’s called the 529 tax deduction loophole).
Most 529 Plans have links that allow friends and family members to contribute directly to a plan, or contribute on behalf of your child. The new tax laws also allows you to use a 529 plan to pay for private, or parochial school tuition. Some Grandparents even use 529 plans as a part of estate planning to reduce their tax liability. If you time it well, your small contributions can have a large impact.
(Before you make major financial decisions, please check with a qualified accountant or financial advisor).
Children’s books feature imaginative adventures with a variety of characters. When reading to your child, ask them what they see and if they know what the main character is going to do next. Say your child’s name early and often and feel free to add words about heroes or royalty or their favorite animal or toy. Hearing their name peaks their interest in the book and teaches them to respond to your voice.