First, having conversations with your baby before he or she can even talk is a great way to bond with your child and introduce them to your language. "You're reassuring them," says Hartshorn. "Your baby can hear your voice even in the womb, and so talking to that newborn will calm them down."
When children do cry, however, Harshorn says that parents are actually doing something positive by answering their baby's cries. She says a baby under one year old can't be spoiled by having their cries answered. "There's not too much love that you can give to a baby," says Hartshorn.
Another thing that parents are doing right is establishing a bedtime routine. This can usually begin around 4-6 months. "When you establish a set bedtime and some little rituals," says Hartshorn, "that teaches them what's coming - nighttime. By doing it every night, you're giving them a sense of security."
Hartshorn also says you should offer your child praise when he or she does something correctly. Not only will you reinforce appropriate behavior, but you'll teach them new words and concepts as well. "If they're building their blocks and you say, 'That's a great tower!'" says Hartshorn, "you've just taught them the word for stacked blocks."
Finally, parents are doing themselves a favor by teaching their toddlers manners. "Please", "thank you", and "excuse me" are just a few key phrases toddlers should be learning. "You teach them manners to make your life easier and their life easier," says Hartshorn.
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By Erin Petrun