• Parenting Program for Parents with Babies

  • Introduction.

    As a parent of two wonderful children and now grandparent of five precious grandchildren and a parent educator for over thirty years, I felt it was time to give back to the community many of the inspiring ideas that I have learned throughout my career.  The following Parenting Program for Parents with Babies is designed to help create a connection and an attachment relationship with your baby.

    The first eighteen months of life is a time of rapid growth and learning for your baby.  During this time you can influence your baby by creating a positive relationship with them and a foundation of inner strength based on love, trust and understanding.

    • What do you want for your baby?

    When I asked parents in my parenting programs what they wanted for their baby, parents consistently said they wanted their baby to be happy. If a happy baby is one of your priorities, then this program is for you.

    Research in the field of epigenetics is now proving that when you are in a happy, nurturing and caring environment, your body chemistry produces growth hormones that flow through your body creating a nourishing environment for your cells and organs. Since conception, and specifically during the first eighteen months, neural connections within the brain are being wired based on your baby’s experiences and relationship interactions.  Your baby is developing perceptions and core beliefs based on how they feel about themselves.  Am I loved?  Can I trust?  Are my needs being met?  Can I relax in your love?  Do I belong?  These neural connections form a foundation of thinking and reasoning, language skills, physical movement and social and emotional behavior.

    This Parenting Program for Parents with Babies is designed to follow the eleven delightful stories from the storybook, “Beaming Bright, You’re a Shining Light.”

    • Self-Awareness Activities.

    Each story follows a theme which will be expanded upon with specific activities chosen from the 101 self-awareness activities in the, “Beaming Bright, You’re a Shining Light Lesson Plans” for parents, caregivers and teachers. Reading the, “Beaming Bright, You’re a Shining Light” stories to your baby offers parents an opportunity to have playful, interactive and heartfelt moments with their baby.

    Every story is designed to make parenting easier as you build positive experiences and relationships with your baby and all the significant people in your life.  Enjoy!

    • What do we know about learning?

    Advertisers learned long ago that we learn through repetition.  This is why advertisers pay to have the same commercial run over and over again on TV and social media networks. When babies are born they love looking into the face of their parents.  As babies do this they observe and interpret the feeling and meaning of their parent’s facial expressions.  Enjoy looking into your baby’s eyes to build your relationship with them. Babies learn through smell, sound and touch.  Moms and dads are encouraged to have lots of skin to skin times with their baby.  As your baby lies on your chest, gently massage them.  They will hear your heart beat and feel your warmth. Our loving touch gives babies a wonderful sense of belonging.  Cuddle, gently rock and hold your precious baby as you talk, sing or hum to them.

    As parents nurture, play and meet their babies many needs, their baby will feel comforted, safe and happy.  As you follow this attachment process consistently, when your baby turns one year old, they will have learned to trust.

    As babies grow they learn by observing their parents behavior, attitudes and responses.  Babies look to their parents for a smile to know that what they are doing is OK.  If their parents look shocked they will know that something is not OK.

    They expand their observations when they have experiences with the significant people in their lives, when they are with their friends and when they are out in the community.

    Parenting Program for Parents with Babies.

    It is suggested that parents concentrate on only one activity per week.  In this way you can integrate the parenting concepts easily and effortlessly.  You will then benefit by creating even stronger connections with the loved ones in your life.

  • Breathing Free Story. The theme for this story is, “I can calm and relax myself.”

    Create the habit of taking a deep breath in and then very slowly breathing out whenever you are upset.  This will calm and relax your body and release serotonin, offering feelings of well-being and happiness.  As you consistently self-soothe yourself during upsetting moments you will be creating new neural connections within your brain. Once calm, you will be able to think more clearly and make better choices.  This will benefit you each day of your life with all your experiences and relationships.

    As parent’s model self-soothing skills their babies experience the immediate benefit of being in a calm, nurturing environment that helps babies to regulate their emotional behavior.

    The world today is moving very fast.  A baby’s nervous system is 10 to 15 times slower than adults.  As parents slow down they are helping their babies to feel safe and calm from events that are over stimulating. If your baby becomes overstimulated, watch for their cues.  If you are holding them, they will turn their head and naturally distract themselves by looking away. They may close their eyes or put their hands over their face, they may fuss or arch their back or stiffen up and begin to cry.  As you understand and respect their unique cues you can allow your baby the time they need to self-soothe themselves.

    Babies who are the second, third or fourth child in a family will likely grow up in an active environment.  As you watch the flow of your family activities and you experience active times escalating, introduce a “quiet time” where you cuddle up and read a story to the children, or listen to calming music or enjoy a quieter activity.  This helps you, baby and young children to self-regulate themselves.

    As your baby grows everything will become a new discovery.  As they discover their mom’s earrings or necklace they may begin pulling on them.  Say kindly yet firmly, “Gentle, gentle.”

    Always communicate by modeling and talking about the behaviors you want to see from your babies.  With repeated practice they will learn from your positive guidance.

    Relationship Challenges Activity.

    When a new baby comes home there are many changes that happen within your family environment.  Being sleep deprived due to late night feedings is only one of the many changes that can cause stress and conflict to surface.

    Whenever a conflict surfaces within a relationship many possible thoughts and feelings arise and at times result in disrespect towards one another.  Since we all recognize that we deserve to be respected and are doing the best we can, this is an opportunity to self-regulate your emotions.

    • Breathe, feel, acknowledge and accept all your feelings.
    • Ask yourself, “What do I want or need and why?”
    • The dictionary meaning of respect is to be kind, caring, show consideration, recognized, valued, appreciated, complimented, cherished and treasured.
    • After being self-reflective, communicate your feelings in a gentle, respectful way as you ask for what you want.

    As parents improve their communication skills you will gain a deeper understanding of your own and others thoughts, feelings and emotions.  As you relate to what others are feeling you will gain a sense of empathy and a deeper bond with one another.

  • Shining Light Story. The theme for this story is, “I am creative.”

    This story is about the power of the imagination.

    I have done many demonstrations with parents where they have imagined themselves biting into a juicy lemon.  The result was that many parents sensed the citrusy smell and experienced saliva coming into their mouth.  I have asked them, “How is this possible, we have only imagined a lemon, there is no lemon in this room?”

    The mind does not know the difference between a real or imagined event.

    Any time you use your imagination your mind thinks what you are imagining is real.

    I Am Creative Activity.

    This activity is about discovering your creativity.

    • Ask yourself, “When have I been creative?”

    You create a new look each day with the clothes you wear.  As you go through your day today, observe and discover the many moments that you create. Knowing your creativity will inspire you to use your imagination with your baby.

    • Have fun using your imagination to create different sounds, rhymes and songs with your baby.

    Couple Team Activity.

    When it comes to your couple relationship, John Gottman, author of: “And Baby Makes Three” talks about couples creating a team environment in their relationship.  He suggests that couples work together as a “WE” instead of a “ME.”

    • What team experiences can you create with one another today?
  • Morning Sun Story. The theme for this story is, “What I focus on grows!”

    • What do I think about during the day?
    • Where do I focus my attention?
    • Do I notice more negative or positive experiences?

    The reticular activating system in the brain functions whether we know about it or not.  It filters your thoughts, words and imagination bringing into your life whatever you are seeing, hearing, feeling, thinking about or believing.

    As adults learn about and understand the concept of, “What I focus on grows!” they can use this concept every day.  For example:

    • Think about a negative experience.
    • How do you feel?

    It’s important to breathe, feel, acknowledge and accept all your feelings. There are many ways to heal and release old painful feelings and experiences.  Finding a way that works best for you is recommended.

    • Think about a positive experience.
    • How do you feel?

    As you focus on moments when you feel a connection with others and everyone is kind and caring, you will feel that experience and it will grow.

    Favorite Things Activity.

    • Talk with your baby about all the favorite things that you love doing with them and watch your loving feelings grow.
    • If you are in a couple relationship, practice focusing on all the things that you love to do together as a family and then communicate those feelings to your partner.

    Focus on playing with your baby together and having fun.

    Keeping your relationship alive while looking after the needs of your baby is important.  You are teaching your baby about relationships through your modeling. Connect and respond with kindness as you communicate with your partner and baby.  It could be that you are sharing things you enjoy or asking for assistance.  Responding in playful ways creates a warm friendship and environment for you and your baby.

    • Talk about moments when you felt your love and friendship really connect.

    What you focus on grows!

  • Flashing Light Story. The theme for this story is, “I choose to love myself.”

    As parents model love you teach your baby and children to:

    • Be gentle, kind, caring and patient with yourself.  Love yourself just as you are.  See yourself from a loving perspective and be a cheerleader for yourself and others.
    • Listen to your body.  If you are feeling tired, rest when your baby rests.
    • Learn to have empathy and compassion for yourself and others.
    • Ask for help and support when you need it.  Ask for a hug.  Huge amounts of oxytocin are released into the body when you are touched lovingly.
    • Recognize that you are always doing the best that you can.  You are learning from each and every experience.

    Smile, enjoy and appreciate the precious moments that appear.

    Loving yourself is a choice that you make moment by moment.  As you become more unconditionally loving and accepting of yourself, you will model and give unconditional love to others.

  • Birds and Butterfly Story. The theme for this story is, “I appreciate nature.”

    I encourage parents to let go of the busy world and walk in nature with your baby.  It’s a wonderful family time as you hear the birds and other sounds of nature.  Smell the plants and trees and see the many gifts nature has to offer.

    Imagine your baby a couple of years from now walking in nature with you, discovering all the many surprises that nature offers.

    When stress happens, breathe to relax and then go outdoors and watch what happens to the stress you were feeling in your body.

  • Sandcastle Dreams Story. The theme for this story is, “I believe in wishes and dreams.”

    “The Little Engine That Could” storybook written by Watty Piper, reminds you that as you say, “I think I can, I think I can” you will be amazed by what you can experience and accomplish.  The little engine opened his heart to the children and offered his assistance even when he was unsure about his ability.

    This story encourages all who read it to focus on the words, “I think I can, I think I can” whenever we are approaching a challenge.

    The following questions offer an opportunity to think about our own thoughts, feelings and attitudes.

    • What attitudes do you wish to enhance in your life?
    • What wishes and dreams do you have?
    • Have fun thinking about a small dream and imagine it happening.
    • Write down your dream and look at it often.  Believe in yourself and create an, “I Can” attitude, and see what happens.
  • Bubbles of Joy Story. The theme for this story is, “I am filed with joy.”

    Enjoy being in the moment with your baby.  Cuddle them, play with them and have fun. There are many distractions in life that can take you away from having joy filled moments.  However, as you focus on having joyful moments with your baby you will be rewarded with an amazing, close relationship.

    Joyful, playful, fun experiences build relationships and are so important in our lives.

    • Make or buy some bubble solution and blow bubbles around your baby.  Watch your baby smile.

    When stress happens, joy is a wonderful stress releaser.  Move into a different environment, have some fun and watch what happens to the stress you were feeling in your body.

  • Rainbow Delight Story. The theme for this story is, “I feel my perfect wholeness.”

    In this story you are encouraged to focus your thoughts, feelings and imagination on feeling your perfect wholeness.

    • Have fun talking with your baby about feeling their perfect wholeness from the top of their head to the tips of their toes.

    Health professionals throughout the world encourage the use of imagery as part of the healing process for physically or emotionally challenged patients.

  • Loving Yourself Story. The theme for this story is, “It’s OK to be different.”

    Appreciating your own similarities and differences allow you to love and accept yourself and others unconditionally.  As you do this you are learning it’s OK to have a different opinion or idea from someone else.

    Learn to believe in yourself, respect and appreciate yourself for who you are and others for who they are.  As you model these attitudes for your baby, they will be learning to respect and appreciate themselves and others also!

    • Make a list of all the things that you appreciate about yourself and the significant people in your life.  What you focus on grows! 
    • As your baby grows, show them different colors, textures, foods, flowers, birds and trees.

    Differences are all around us.  Differences offer spice to life.

    Good Things Happen Every Day Activity.

    This inspiring activity encourages you to be optimistic as you imagine good things happening every day.  This playful idea offers you an opportunity to create a positive belief about what happens in your life each day.

    As you experience good things happening, celebrate all these little experiences and watch this belief strengthen as you watch your optimism grow.

    • Make a list of all the good things that have happened for you over the last year or so.  Spend time thinking about all these good events.  What you focus on grows!
    • Talk with your baby and celebrate with them when good things happen.  Your baby will feel your joy too!
  • Shining Star Story. The theme for this story is, “I appreciate myself and others.”

    Appreciation Activity.

    Feeling self-appreciation for who you are and what you do each day is very important.  This activity is wonderful for everyone.  However, if you ever feel that you are not being appreciated, this activity will help you to change that belief, feeling and experience.

    • Create a moment as you put your baby to bed at night and think about all the things that you appreciate about your day.  Tell your baby what you appreciate about them; their smile, their giggle, their love.
    • If you are in a couple relationship, talk about what you appreciated about your partner today, and what you appreciated about others, even the grocery store clerk.  Remember to talk about what you appreciate about yourself also.  As you do this you will be modeling and teaching your baby the value of appreciation.  Create this habit and you will experience appreciation in ways that amaze you.  What you focus on grows!
  • Journey’s End Story. The theme for this story is, “I have discovered a lot about me.”

    These concepts help to strengthen your belief in your lovable, happy self.

    Epigenetics is now proving that when a baby is in a supportive, nurturing and loving environment the cells in their body respond positively.

    What you focus on grows!  How you think and feel about yourself greatly influences how you act.  Whenever you discover yourself beaming and shining, feel the freedom within you at that moment.

    As you practice these concepts they will become a part of your everyday life.  You will watch wonderful experiences happening for you and your baby. All your relationships will benefit from these simple yet dynamic practices.

    Once your baby becomes a toddler, you can begin the Parenting Program for Parents with Toddlers.  We will be focusing upon the same concepts however the activities will be specifically designed for toddlers. The concepts included in the 101 self-awareness activities in the Beaming Bright, You’re a Shining Light Lesson Plans focus on learning to calm and relax, believe in your wishes and dreams and to love and appreciate yourself and others.

  • Take me shopping!

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