Helpful Tips

Lifting weights

Around 10 or 11 weeks, your baby will be able to lie on his tummy and, supporting his torso on his arms, he will lift his head and look around … However, the head is the heaviest body part, and often a baby will grumble about the strain of holding it up!

It is important that the baby develops strong neck, shoulder and arm muscles in this position – however, do not leave your baby lying in this way for more than 2 minutes at a time. Rather, use a support, like a rolled up towel or a large teddy, which can be placed lengthwise under Baby’s chest, so that the weight of his torso is supported. This will help your baby to lift up his upper body and thus prepare him for the initial stages of crawling.

Also, encourage your baby’s awareness of movement in space by using the towel or teddy to gently roll him over. Make exercise enjoyable for your baby by associating it with pleasure and interaction with a parent!

Hi Ho Cherry O sells a wide range of traditional teddybears, as well as inflatable “rollers” to teach your baby to be confident about his abilities.

Newborns are colour-blind!

zebra pattern Face Mobile

But they can notice the contrast between BLACK and WHITE! When you feed your newborn, you might notice that he seems fixated on a small detail of the pattern of your clothing – perhaps a dark stripe or a white button on a light background. They don’t find black or white particularly interesting – just the point at which the two shades meet! The contrast is fascinating!

Hi Ho Cherry O stock a range of black and white toys for newborns, to help those new eyes to focus. There are mobiles with geometric shape, ‘clutch’ pandas for perching in the crib next to Baby, as well as black and white beanbags.

Our special item, designed by Cherry for her daughter Jessica (now 29 years!) is the FACE MOBILE, a set of 3 jolly felt faces for suspending 25 cm from a young baby. This is the distance at which a baby naturally focuses at birth (the same distance as between your eyes and those of the baby at the breast when nursing!). They are coloured black and white, with contrasts of red and yellow and blue, and make the perfect “first” toy for the new person in your life.

Why are telephones so exciting?

zebra pattern

From around 9 or 10 months, your baby will discover the fascinating world of “cause and effect”. This new skill means that they will explore their environment in a different way – they will see if a certain action produces a reaction. At the same time, the young child is able to use a pincer-grip (forefinger in apposition to the thumb), so holes and buttons are interesting places to poke and pick! Hence the fascination with telephones – the many buttons produce interesting noises, the screen lights up, and – the very best reaction – when Baby grabs your cell phone, you react immediately, in case a number is dialed in error! What a fun toy!

Hi Ho Cherry O stocks several toys that allow toddlers to explore nooks and crannies safely, with buttons and bells and chimes to make learning fun.

How to teach your child to use a pair of scissors

scissors

Use a proper pair of scissors, with sharp blades. Plastic blades do not cut, and thus will frustrate your child. If you are concerned that your child will cut herself, then wait till you think she is old enough to understand the danger.

Do not start earlier than 2 years 10 months. Your child is highly imitative and even though she seems to be ready physically, she is not responsible, and can play merry havoc with scissors and duvet/library book/dog’s fur, etc.!

Using scissors requires a high degree of eye/hand co-ordination. Place the child’s 2nd and 3rd (index and middle) fingers in the bottom hole of the scissors, with the thumb in the top hole. This is to give the child extra strength to manipulate the blades. The child tends to waggle the thumb, instead of pushing the 2nd/3rd fingers towards the thumb. When she is more adept, use only the 3rd finger, with the 2nd resting under the blade and guiding it.

Do random cutting exercises with stiff paper (ordinary paper is too floppy). Old greetings cards are ideal. Give the child a piece of thin card with thick parallel lines drawn in marker-pen. Use the principle of “cut up once, put down scissors, tear the rest of the way up”. This is so that the hand gets used to gripping the scissors and quick results are achieved. Only then can you start teaching your child to cut out geometric shapes and along curves.

Painting

Painting Painting Painting

Painting sounds like a task best left for school, but with a little bit of organization, it is a fun activity which encourages creativity and concentration! All you need is a flat surface (the child does not need to sit… in fact, standing is preferable) and lots of newspaper! Hi Ho Cherry O stocks finger paint, poster paint (which is ready-mixed) and powder paint.

Painting with a Toddler

You can introduce your child to painting from the age of around 18 months. Let your child sit in a high chair, with paper in front of them and a saucer of paint on the right hand side. Make a “brush” from a fat carrot, sliced at an angle, and simply make blobs of paint on the paper. The brain isn’t fully lateral yet, so your child will not be able to paint pictures, but can have lots of fun making blobs and smears and little dots.

Just use ONE colour at a time… Another idea is to mix powder paint quite sloppy, pour it into a jar lid and place a folded paper-towel to mop it up. Then use cookie cutters, potatoes or plastic blocks to stamp on to the paper – make a picture for Granny!

Painting with children ages 2 – 5

When using brushes, the short handled brush is best (less unwieldy). Your child should hold on to the brush with all 5 fingers, like a little flower bud – not like a dagger!

Paint Mixing Tip

Here’s a tip for mixing powder paint economically: Take 1 heaped tablespoon of powder paint and put into the paint-pot, together with 2 heaped tablespoons of cheap laundry washing powder. Mix together dry. Add warm water in drips from a tap, stirring slowly using a fat brush, and pressing down any blobs of washing powder to mix evenly. The paint should be a yoghurt consistency. If you have added too much water, add washing powder – not paint (which is more expensive!) – there is enough dye in the paint powder. This makes the paint more economical to use, and washes off hands and clothing easier! The paint will “set” like a mousse if left for a few days – just water it down a bit, with warm water.

Recommended Painting Supplies

We recommend using our special non-spill paint pot, which has a cone-shaped lid with a hole for the brush to fit in, as well as a resting place when not in use. Excess paint is wiped on the side of the coloured lid, to land back into the pot. The pot is especially designed so that liquid filled up to the halfway mark will not leak out of the lid if the pot is lying horizontally on the table. A rubber stopper placed into the hole after use ensures the paint remains moist for the next art session!

Pegboarding

Pegboarding

A pegboard is a simple holed plastic plate, with brightly coloured pegs that fit snugly into the holes. Children find this a fascinating task – just placing the pegs randomly in the holes – from about 18-21 months. It is very beneficial, as it develops concentration and fine motor skills (specifically encouraging strong palmer muscles and dextrous pincer movement in fingers), as well as assisting in the development of correct pencil grip as all the fingers clasp around the peg. Here Yoanna (2 years) enjoys making patterns of colour, learning colour names and concentration. She uses the Non-Spill Paint Pot as a useful decanter and storage for the pegs.

Older children can copy patterns (important for spatial perception) or create pictures of their own.

TIP: Put the pegs on the right hand side of a child who is likely to be right-handed, or on the left if showing preference for that hand. This will encourage dominance. From the age of 5years, a child needs to learn to cross the midline, so the pegs are then placed on the opposite side. The child then stretches across the body to pick them up, or uses supporting hand to pass to the dominant hand. The same principle applies to crayons when colouring and to the placement of puzzle pieces when completing a jigsaw.