Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the ways my baby learns?

Your child will learn more from you than anyone else. Your baby is constantly learning about the world around her through her senses of smell, taste, sight, hearing and touch. You can help her develop her senses by providing playthings that can be seen, heard, and touched. Playing helps your baby to strengthen and use her muscles better.

Use items that you already have around the house. These can often be a child’s favorite plaything. “Toys” need not be store-bought and expensive. Playing with your baby gives her a chance to explore the world and satisfy her growing curiosity. She will enjoy your loving attention and benefit from it.


How much should my 2-year old be talking?

A 2 year old may know 200 to 300 words and he will begin to speak short sentences. You may hear, “No!” and “Me do it!” a lot. One or two words will stand for many things. “Mommy” may mean, “Where’s Mommy?” or “Mommy, play with me.” or something else entirely. It’s up to you to figure out what he means so be patient and understand this will pass as he learns how to communicate with you.


How can I take care of myself as a new mom?

Mom, make and keep the appointment for your own 6-week doctor’s check-up. This is very important! During the first few weeks after your baby is born, it is not unusual to feel tired or depressed or find yourself on the verge of tears for no apparent reason. Both mothers and fathers may experience a letdown — similar to what most of us feel after any long awaited moment has come and gone. New mothers may go through “the baby blues” or postpartum blues. The baby blues come from the many changes your body goes through after your baby is born. You may feel discouraged, tense, or feel like crying. These feelings are perfectly normal.

Be reassured that many parents have them and they are temporary. To deal with the baby blues, keep your days simple. Talk to your partner, a family member, a good friend or your doctor about your feelings. It helps to talk to someone who is close to you and cares about you. If you have a partner, remember you’re in this together. The information in Parenting Partners can help you start a conversation with your partner.

Ask nothing of yourself except what you must do, the basic essentials. Plan a nap for yourself around your baby’s schedule. Take time to eat healthy food and take relaxing breaks. Try to be flexible. You will feel less worn out at the end of the day if you can relax more during the day. Give yourself a chance. Pretty soon you will feel better about yourself and parenting.


What physical, cognitive, and social abilities does a 24-month-old child develop by playing with the telephone?

Starting at about 18 months old, toddlers enjoy simple pretend play using realistic objects such as a telephone. Playing with the phone can help a 24-month-old practice many important skills:


  • Physically, children are learning both large and small motor control. They are using the large muscles of their arms to pick up the phone and place it at their ear, and they are using the small muscles of their hands and fingers to hold the receiver and press the buttons.


  • Cognitively, children are learning how to imitate something they have seen. Children know how a telephone works and how it is used by observing their parents, child care providers, and other adults. By pretending to use the phone, they are practicing what they have learned.


  • Socially, they are practicing communicating with others through a pretend play activity. The telephone is used as a means of social interaction. Children playing with a telephone are practicing this way of communicating and are learning how to have a conversation with others. To learn more about the development of 24-month-olds, check out the toddler development page of the Better Kid Care America site, or read the Just in Time Parenting newsletter for parents of children ages 23 and 24 months.


I will be leaving my baby with a sitter for the first time. What do I need to do to inform the sitter about my baby and prepare her for caring for him?

Ask someone you trust to care for your baby. The first time you have a sitter, ask the person to come a half hour before you leave so you can show the sitter around your house and tell the sitter about your baby’s routine.

Write this information down and put it in a folder for the sitter. Tell the sitter about your baby: What usually happens at this time of day? What are your baby’s favorite toys and activities? How does your baby tell you that she is hungry, sleepy, or wet? What do you do to calm your baby? How do you feed, burp, diaper, or place your baby in the crib? Always place your baby in the crib on her back with no pillows or toys. Where are all the things that the sitter will need for a diaper change, warming a bottle, or changing clothes?

Show the sitter around the house and where these items are: telephones, flashlight, smoke detectors and fire escapes, emergency phone numbers, outside doors, first-aid kit. Provide the sitter these phone numbers: where you can be reached, your baby’s doctor, neighbors or close family members, 911 or emergency response system such as fire or police, Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222).

Also provide the babysitter with the address of your house, address of the nearest emergency room, and a signed consent form authorizing medical care within certain limits if you cannot be reached.


What is the best way to teach my baby new things?

Researchers have found two types of play between parents and their children. One style is like a professor lecturing to a class. The other style is called “Ping-Pong,” like a Ping-Pong ball going back and forth. Lecturing doesn’t help babies learn. “Ping-Pong” is best. To be a ping-pong type teacher, do this. If your baby giggles, you giggle. If your baby hands a block to you, you hand two blocks back. When you do something, your baby will react to what you do. The best learners have adults who spend time playing with them.


Why read to infants before they can talk?

It may seem that very young children don’t understand what you’re saying, but in important ways they do. Talking, singing, and reading to your child are not only important for brain development but a wonderful opportunity for bonding with your child. When babies hear you say words over and over, more speech and language connections develop.

You can read picture books and stories to very young children, even to infants. By about six months, infants show their excitement by widening their eyes and moving their arms and legs when looking at a book with pictures of babies or other familiar objects.

Read stories in a way that encourages older babies and toddlers to participate—by answering your questions, pointing out what they see in a picture book, telling you what they think will happen next in the story, and repeating rhymes and refrains. Telling the same stories and singing the same songs over and over may feel boring to you but not to children.