Expectant and new parents, this section’s for you. From life-saving gear to outings that’ll do the whole family good, Crib Notes is your emergency kit to make it through.
Have you heard? — the latest in baby-related research
Can a baby learn a second language in an hour a day? A new study says yes — as long as you’re not afraid of a little goo goo gaga.
Researchers at the University of Washington Institute of Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) enrolled 280 infants and children in a play-based, English-language program based in Madrid, Spain. Teachers in the course spoke to the children in “baby talk,” that lovey-dovey language you use to talk directly to your baby with simple grammar, high and exaggerated pitch and drawn-out vowels.
After 18 weeks of one hour of English session per day, the children in the UW program produced an average of 74 English words or phrases per child, per hour.
The kids in the control group, who got the standard bilingual program, had an average of 13 word or phrases per child, per hour. Researchers credit baby talk with much of the difference.
“With the right science-based approach that combines the features known to grow children’s language, it is possible to give very young children the opportunity to start learning a second language, with only one hour of play per day in an early education setting,” said Naja Ferjan Ramirez, one of the research scientists and one of the study’s co-authors. “This has big implications for how we think about foreign-language learning.”
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We’ve been there — advice from readers like you
“Unless you’re OK with ‘I want some booby!’ yelled loudly at a restaurant, call breastmilk something you don’t mind having shouted loudly at a restaurant as your kid gets older.” — Nadine, Redmond
“You can’t spoil a newborn by holding them too much.” — Rebecca V., Seattle
“Take up offers to get breaks, even if only for an hour.” — Lisa L. Lake Forest Park
“Don’t take yourself too seriously.” — Meriaten L., Duvall
For that one time you get out of the house — an outing baby (and you!) will love
Pack up your little one and take a stroll along the paths of the beautiful Bellevue Botanical Garden. The hours — they’re open for free from dawn to dusk — are particularly great for new parents, and all paths are stroller-friendly.
Gear we’re gaga about — gadgets and gizmos perfect for that baby shower registry
- A booster seat you can fold: The company mifold has got a grab-and-go booster seat they say is 10 times smaller than a traditional booster but just as safe. The price tag isn’t bad either at $39.99.
- A sleep training miracle? Record your voice and put it on repeat to lull your baby to sleep even when you’re not there: That’s the idea behind The Baby Shusher. Each “shush” plays for 30 minutes at a time. Not convinced it works? Ask Baby Shusher fan, Kim Kardashian.
- A teddy bear that records your baby’s heartbeat: We can bear-ly stand how cute this teddy bear is. Record your baby’s heartbeat during your next ultrasound using a 20-second red heart battery recorder; the heart then goes in the bear to play again and again. Other animals available.