EFFINGHAM — Parents and grandparents are being encouraged to bond with their little ones through talking, reading and songs in a new program at the Effingham Public Library called “Talk to Baby.”
Also included in the 10 a.m. Wednesday program for newborns to 6 months and in the 11 a.m. session for 7 to 12-month-old babies was tips and lessons on where your child should be at certain milestones when it comes to motor development skills.
The Suzette Brumleve Memorial Effingham Public Library started offering the program in September. It is held each month on the first Wednesday in the two age group time slots. Registration is encouraged. Each caregiver and baby should bring a blanket to allow for being comfortable on the floor.
New mom Sarah Brackney of Effingham and her 3-month-old daughter, Lilly, who was born nine weeks early, were in the class. Brackney said she appreciated the tips given and she intends to tell other new moms and come back for more sessions at the library.
“Emergent literacy recognizes and reinforces that children learn best from the important people in their lives,” said Johnna Schultz, assistant library director. “Sharing stories and rhymes, singing, talking and playing is not just fun, but good for little brains as well. It also develops and strengthens a parent or caregiver’s bond with their child.”
Along with reading and singing songs, some parenting and medical tips were provided to grandparents, parents and guardians to help with their newborns or young babies.
“Motor development is nice because it is an easy progression to see,” said Beth Wise, coordinator with Effingham County Connections, who also spoke at the program.
ECC was established by the Effingham County Health Department to help parents, who are their child’s first teacher in the home.
That program and the library have teamed up to help make sure a child is ready for preschool in these areas: social/emotional, language, cognitive and physical. The program sets goals for the child, goals for the parent, and goals for parent-child.
Wise suggested letting a baby explore using age-appropriate interactive toys, such as rattles and an activity play mat.
“A lot of times babies’ motor development happens when they experiment,” said Wise. “Any kind of motor movement will stimulate the brain and it will help with things across the board.”
It is good to give them time to explore freely in a safe environment, because sometimes learning new skills is accidental, through batting or reaching for toys, she said.
Retired Nurse Practitioner Lenora Drees is also at each session to provide information about developmental milestones and medical tips. She touched on nasal congestion in children and some of the reasons it is caused, and also how to correct that problem.
Drees suggested a cool mist vaporizer in the child’s room to help with congestion. She suggested anyone who has basic contact with children on a fairly regular basis should get a flu vaccine, which are being given now.
Becky Rhodes, a parenting coordinator with Family Life Center, was also on hand to answer questions.
To register for the free program, go online to effinghamlibrary.org or call 217-342-2464 ext. 1.