Age 0 to 3

“Babies are such a nice way to start people”
Don Herold (US cartoonist and humorist)

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Babies are learning all the time. They may not be able to articulate themselves like older children but they are like sponges, taking in everything with their senses. (Literally! That’s why they put things into their mouths to feel and experience the object.) The best thing you can do for your baby is to interact with him daily. Dialoguing, reading books, affectionate exchanges, and naming things in the environment will help your baby to develop into a healthy, intelligent, and well-adjusted child.

Of course, at a certain stage, discipline will also be necessary. We started disciplining our children when they turned one year old (one or two had to be disciplined a little earlier). I’ve included several links below on disciplining and training for your reference.

You Spank Your Child?!

What to Do When It Gets Ugly

Correct Attitude Issues Immediately

Are You A Tiger Mom?

If you want to provide a rich learning environment for your baby, here are some ideas for you. I have to say that I don’t believe in putting babies or two year olds into schools or classrooms. The most important teacher in your baby’s life is you. And moms who are intentional provide the best learning experiences for their children, even if they are not professionally trained. Instead of spending a whole lot of money on nursery or play school, invest in materials for your own home that you can use with all your children.

Daily activities with your 0 – 3 year old:

    • Listen to music or sing songs together. (Ex. nursery rhymes, bible songs, classical, praise music)
    • Read books before naptime and bedtime. Even just 15 minutes at a time will make them interested in books. As their attention span becomes longer, you can increase the time and frequency. When you read, make it interactive. Ask questions like, “What is the girl doing? Is she playing with her doll?” Even if they can’t always answer, that’s okay. You can volunteer the answers in the beginning but eventually, they will answer and ask questions on their own.
    • Count everything you can. Example: “How many bears do you have?” Then point and count, “1,2,3,4,5…” (ex. steps, items in a room, toys, etc.)
    • Introduce concepts like shapes, numbers, letters and identify them in the environment. Play games like “I-Spy…” “I spy a circle!” “Can you see it?”
    • Introduce phonetic sounds of letters and identify words or objects that begin with each phonetic sound. Example: “This is the letter A. Letter A makes the sound A-A. Let’s look for things that begin with the sound A-A. Here’s an apple! A-A, Apple! What else? Oh! I see an ant! A-A ant.” If you do this regularly, they will eventually make the connection.
    • Have playtime outdoors. Kids need Vitamin D from sunlight to absorb calcium. And being outdoors will help them to develop good vision and eyesight. (This is scientific! Our eye-doctor said so.) If they are constantly at a screen, watching TV, or on the computer, or often doing near-sighted activities, they don’t train their eyes to look far off into the distance like they would while playing outside. So get them outdoors.
    • For the more coordinated toddler, you can include learning how to clean and do chores. They actually enjoy mopping, sweeping, using sponges to clean walls, etc. Even if they aren’t actually getting any cleaning done, exposing them to these tools will help train them.
    • Dialogue with them. Don’t use baby-talk. They will adjust and pick up on language better if you speak to them properly and have conversations with them (even if they don’t seem to understand everything at first).
    • Give them educational toys that encourage them to explore, create, and build. Engage them in activities that allow them to develop their fine and gross motor skills, and their sense of sight, touch, hearing, smelling, tasting. Invest in some manipulatives that make learning hands-on.
    • Hug them often and tell them how much you love them! Pray blessings upon them.

Printables:

Black and Red Flash Cards for Your Baby

A friend of mine sent me this valuable link. Everyday I Learn Through Play It has great ideas on how to spend purposeful learning time with your 0-3 year old.

25 thoughts on “Age 0 to 3

  1. I agree with you. There are simple things that we could teach our children the basic leanings in pride our very homes. One of the things I did with my 3 daughters was while taking a bath, even I’d they are only months old, I tell them what part of their body I am washing, or while they are taking their baths, I sing to them the alphabet songs. For a stay at home mom like me, I have to be creative and think of ways on how my kids will learn even if I didn’t enroll them in toddlers schools.

  2. Hi Ms. Joy!

    This is my second time to post a question to you. The first is ab out the sleep training which I followed what you have taught me and really glad I did. My baby is 5 months old and sleep throughout the night after her last feeding at 10:30. Thank you so much for sharing what you know.
    My mom who is a follower of Christ thinks not good to read those fairy tales- Cinderella and the likes. I’m wondering what is your point of view with regards to this. She said better get stories that has moral values aside from children’s Bible or some scientific facts or history books for toddlers. What books can you recommend and where can we buy them? I’m trying to get the one I saw in
    your post like the 22 questions and the children’s book of heroes. Would like to know if there’s some science, history books for toddlers.
    Thank you very much!

    God bless you and your family.

    Cathlyn

  3. I just registered here. I’m thankful to the Lord for bringing me to this site. I really have so much to learn about parenting. I praise God for you. You’re doing such a wonderful job in raising up your kids the godly way. Keep up the good work. 🙂

  4. Hi Joy! Your site is such a blessing. I am based in the province but attend CCF St. Francis whenever I can. I have always admired your parents and hope I can raise my child the way you were all raised. I had a great Christian father as well.
    I wanted to ask you about discipline. My daughter is a year and 4 months old and she is a handful. Do you have tips on how I can get her to sit still during meals and how she can get over her stranger anxiety. She’s friendly if you allow her to make the first move. But family and friends naturally greet her and she freaks out. I don’t think its much of a discipline problem though. I would appreciate your thoughts on the matter.
    Thank you so much and I hope you comtinue to share your lives and lessons with us. God bless you!

    1. Our daughter tiana can be like that. I think it is just a stage. My other kids have gone through that stage before. But we talk with them and train them how to greet others, look people in the eye and introduce themselves. We also avoid saying things like, “oh he is shy.” or “she is shy.” We show them how to be polite with others but we do not force them to or make it awkward for them when they feel self-conscious or insecure about meeting others. These stages do pass. When you see your daughter be friendly towards people, affirm her effort and encourage her by calling out her behavior. Does she have a yaya? If she does and is primarily with her yaya, try to spend more time with your daughter to build her confidence, too. 🙂

    2. As for meals, have a clock or timer that she can pay attention to while eating. Tell her she has x amount of time to finish. If she doesn’t take the food away. She doesn’t get to snack in between meals either. If she is hungry in between meals, don’t give in. By the next meal, she will want to eat. Put the timer in front of her again. If she squirms and doesn’t eat, take away her plate again. Don’t let her snack in between that meal and the next. She can drink water, of course. By the evening meal, she should pretty much get it. Don’t worry, she won’t starve. She will understand that you are serious about eating well and her eating habits. You can keep using the timer if necessary.

      1. Thanks so much for your reply. That is interesting and will definitely try it! Its amazing how the things matter so much to a child. Thank you so much! May the Lord bless you even more as you share so much of your own blessings, experiences and lessons with others!

        1. My kids have been going through an eating funk lately. But this seems to be working.:) It was originally my husband’s idea, but we have to implement it again because they have been so distracted while eating in the last few weeks. We have noticed that it also helps a lot when they have a good amount of physical activity to burn calories. They gobble up their food quickly when they have spent all their reserves!

  5. Hi Ms. Joy, I am an avid follower of your blog for months now. I am based in the US and has a one year old son. I read in one of your posts that you use the Sing, Spell, Read & Write–Preschool Home Study Kit for your kids. I have read somewhere that the child must at least be 2.5 years old to start the program. What are your thoughts and experiences regarding the use of this material? Is it too early to start my son on the program?
    Thank you so much for this blog. You are an inspiration to someone like me who wants to raise a child with a Christian upbringing. To God be the glory!!

    1. I use the music earlier than the other materials. I find that just exposing them to the music is helpful. You can do that as early as 2:) Elijah learned the phonics sounds early because of this and so did my other boys. I wasn’t too pushy about the workbooks. I focused more on exposing them to the phonetic sounds:)

  6. Hi Miss Joy! My daughter is 3.5 months old and is exclusively breastfed. She still wakes up every 2 hours at night to feed, though sometimes I can tell that she just wants to suck and is not really hungry. Any advise how I can slowly wean her from this night habit? I’ve read somewhere that letting her cry-it-out to sleep can promote insecurity and mistrust. What are your thoughts on sleep training? Thanks and God bless you!

    1. Hi Mae, I do sleep train my kids. It makes life a whole lot easier! By three months, I let them sleep for longer hours. For example, last feed at 11 pm and they will wake up at 5 am or even 6 am, which means that you skip the feeding that should be at about 2 am. But, it is really a challenge at first. They will cry for the first three days or so and then fall asleep upset. But afterwards, their bodies will adjust and they will drink more during the day and before they go to bed. It’s worth the slight trauma of hearing them cry and worrying that you are a bad mom. You really aren’t, so don’t feel that way. If you are giving your child lots of love and attention during the day, they will not interpret it as abandonment. They will simply adjust and you will be a happier mommy who can enjoy her baby because you aren’t exhausted all the time. 🙂

  7. Hi Joy! Im 7 months pregnant with my first baby (a boy), and just started following your blog as I was searching for resources on how to raise a Godly child. I’ve gotten a lot of insights from your posts, and my husband and I are inspired and even more determined to raise our child following godly principles. I just have a few questions– how early did you start teaching your children about God? How did you start? Any recommendations on good books or worship songs we could use to help us along? Thanks in advance for your advise!

    1. Hi Karen, Edric and I started teaching our children about God as early as possible. We would pray with them, read bible stories, talk about our faith and Jesus Christ and what it means to have a personal relationship with him. A large part of it was modeling faith at home. But we were intentional about sharing the gospel message with them by age 3 and re-inforcing it by asking them what it means to believe in Jesus, what it means to do things that please him, etc. AS for books and worship songs…you can get The Singing Bible, or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591454867/ref=gno_cart_title_3?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER (Hope that link works).

  8. Hi, Joy! I just stumbled on your blog…well it started with an article about you and your husband, Edric on philstar.com. =) I clicked on your blog site because I have a toddler and I am teaching her at home. My husband and I are very interested in homeschooling. I just love your blog. I go to church at CCF St. Francis so I usually see you and your family, especially during times where you and some of your family members share their testimonies. =)
    I turned our spare room into a preschool room for my daughter where she can stay for one hour or more and just learn and play at the same time. I am also currently taking my master’s degree in child development and education [taking that course is another story, all I can say is that it was given by God!]
    It is true, we can always make a “teachable moment” in everyday activities with our toddler. That’s what we do with our toddler. We can also refer to developmental milestones of children to check if our kids are on track and we can come up with other activities to help them.
    I always say that the Lord did not bless me with writing skills but I would like to start blogging about my “adventures” in teaching my toddler. =)
    Thanks for the inspiration ! May God continue to bless you and your family. I hope to meet you in person. =)

  9. Hi Ms. Joy! A friend of mine who goes to CCF shared to me about homeschooling. I have a 10month old son and I am very much interested on how to go about or start homeschooling. Looking forward to your advise. Thank you.

    1. Hi Selina! One of the best ways is to research about homeschooling on the web and find out more information and even statistics. You can look up Brian Ray’s research which is very compelling. You can also attend an orientation with TMA Homeschool or other organizations that offer support systems for parents so you can browse through materials and ask questions.:)

      1. Thank you for your response.
        How can I join the TMA orientation? And would you know if there is/are homeschooling support in Pampanga or Subic?

  10. What is your take on kids this age and participating in church service? My daughter doesn’t sit still and I’m wondering if I should let it pass or to work on this now. She is 18 months.

    1. She probably won’t sit still till after 2. I had to take my kids in and out of church when they were that age so they don’t disturb others. But the stage doesn’t last forever, especially when you have taught them to obey.

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Age 0 to 3