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5 Incredibly Useful Illustrations That New Parents Shouldn’t Miss

5 Incredibly Useful Illustrations That New Parents Shouldn’t Miss

Frustrating, isn’t it?

Being a new parent.

It’s so difficult to know what’s going on. How long should they sleep for, and how long should they be awake?

What sort of food should you feed them? Are they developing normally?

It’s all so nerve-wracking. You want to do your best, but it’s hard to know what that is.

It would be great if the little dudes just came with instruction manuals.

You know that’s never going to happen, but here’s the next best thing: a bunch of infographics that cover the essentials.

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With these in hand you won’t be one of the new parents left worrying, you’ll have all the information you need!

1.  Early Cues

You know your little one is nearly ready for a feed, but sometimes you need to push them a little; like when you’re out grabbing some much-needed groceries, having a medical check-up, or getting a short sanity break with other new parents.

Here’s how to know when your baby is hungry, really hungry, or getting agitated (and needs calming before feeding.)

Below: Chart from the official website of the Government of Western Australia’s Department of Health.

crying cues

    2.  Sleep / Wake Cycles

    How much sleep does your baby need? How long should they sleep for, and how long should they be awake?

    Knowing this stuff is critical because it helps you plan your day in a way that works for both of you.

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    You can work out how much you can achieve (or how much sleep you can catch up on) while your baby is asleep.

    You can plan outings for the time that they’re awake- and you can work out if they’re about to reduce the number of naps they take each day.

    Below: Chart from She Knows.

    sleep

      3. Healthy Eating

      Solids. That’s a minefield isn’t it?

      Everyone has different opinions on when to introduce solids and what to feed babies of specific ages.

      You can spend ages yourself researching all the different foods appropriate for each age group, or just use this indispensable infographic.

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      Below: Image from New Born Baby Zone.

      food

        4. Motor Skills

        You know your baby is an amazing, talented, wonder child.

        But how can you be sure? What exactly should they be able to do at this age?

        Worry not, we’ve got you covered in this department as well.  This infographic shows what your child should be capable of doing at what age, when to be concerned and how to promote gross motor skills at home. (It covers kids from birth to six years).

        Below: Infographic from North Shore Pediatric Therapy.

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        motor skills

          5. Language Milestones

          Maybe you think you don’t need to be worried about language. Most kids start talking when they’re about a year old, right?

          Well, yes. But babies actually start communicating and preparing to talk almost as soon as they’re born.

          Infants prepare to talk by imitating sounds and learning about communication. So how do you know if your child is on track to call out “Mamma”?

          Just refer to this handy chart that tells you milestones for each age, when to worry, and where to look for help.

          Below: Chart from North Shore Pediatric Therapy.

          language milestones

            Featured photo credit: Baby Sleep Guidelines / SheKnows Australia via sheknows.com

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            Last Updated on July 8, 2020

            18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

            18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

            The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

            1. Understand Yourself Better

            Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

            Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

            2. Keep Track of Small Changes

            I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

            Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

            3. Become Aware of What Matters

            As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

            You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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            4. Boost Creativity

            The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

            When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

            You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

            5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

            A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

            Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

            6. Process Life Experiences

            When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

            Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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            7. Stress Relief

            In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

            Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

            8. Provide Direction

            Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

            One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

            9. Solve Problems

            Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

            Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

            When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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            10. Find Relief From Fighting

            Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

            Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

            11. Find Meaning in Life

            Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

            12. Allow Yourself to Focus

            Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

            13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

            When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

            14. Let the Past Go

            I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

            15. Allow Freedom

            Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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            16. Enhance Your Career

            Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

            Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

            17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

            All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

            18. Catalog Your Life for Others

            No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

            We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

            Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

            Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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