Keiki Care

Give Your Child a Great Start in Life

As a parent you give your children a good start in life—you nurture, protect and guide them. Parenting is a process that prepares your child for independence. As your child grows and develops, there are many things you can do to help your child.

Infants (0-1 year of age)

  • Talk to your baby. She will find your voice calming.
  • Answer when your baby makes sounds by repeating the sounds and adding words. This will help him learn to use language.
  • Read to your baby. This will help her develop and understand language and sounds.
  • Sing to your baby and play music. This will help your baby develop a love for music and will help his brain development.
  • Praise your baby and give her lots of loving attention.
  • Do not shake your baby―ever! Babies have very weak neck muscles that are not yet able to support their heads. If you shake your baby, you can damage his brain or even cause his death.
  • Make sure you always put your baby to sleep on her back to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (commonly known as SIDS).
  • Protect your baby and family from secondhand smoke. Do not allow anyone to smoke in your home.
  • Place your baby in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat while he is riding in a car.
  • Breast milk meets all your baby’s needs for about the first 6 months of life. Between 6 and 12 months of age, your baby will learn about new tastes and textures with healthy solid food, but breast milk should still be an important source of nutrition.
  • Feed your baby slowly and patiently, encourage your baby to try new tastes but without force, and watch closely to see if he’s still hungry

Toddlers (1-2 years of age)

  • Read to your toddler daily.
  • Ask her to find objects for you or name body parts and objects.
  • Play matching games with your toddler, like shape sorting and simple puzzles.
  • Encourage him to explore and try new things.
  • Do NOT leave your toddler near or around water (for example, bathtubs, pools, ponds, lakes, whirlpools or the ocean) without someone watching her. Fence off backyard pools. Drowning is the leading cause of injury and death among this age group.
  • Block off stairs with a small gate or fence. Lock doors to dangerous places such as the garage or basement.
  • Ensure that your home is toddler proof by placing plug covers on all unused electrical outlets.
  • Keep kitchen appliances, irons, and heaters out of reach of your toddler. Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.

Toddlers (2-3 years of age)

  • Set up a special time to read books with your toddler.
  • Encourage your child to take part in pretend play.
  • Play parade or follow the leader with your toddler.
  • Help your child to explore things around her by taking her on a walk or wagon ride.
  • Do NOT leave your toddler near or around water (for example, bathtubs, pools, ponds, lakes, whirlpools or the ocean) without someone watching her. Fence off backyard pools. Drowning is the leading cause of injury and death among this age group.
  • Encourage your toddler to sit when eating and to chew his food thoroughly to prevent choking.
  • Check toys often for loose or broken parts.
  • Encourage your toddler not to put pencils or crayons in her mouth when coloring or drawing.
  • Your toddler might change what food she likes from day to day. It’s normal behavior, and it’s best not to make an issue of it. Encourage her to try new foods by offering her small bites to taste.
  • Keep television sets out of your child’s bedroom. Limit screen time, including video and electronic games, to no more than 1 to 2 hours per day.
  • Encourage free play as much as possible. It helps your toddler stay active and strong and helps him develop motor skills.

Preschoolers (3-5 years of age)

  • Continue to read to your child. Nurture her love for books by taking her to the library or bookstore.
  • Let your child help with simple chores.
  • Encourage your child to play with other children. This helps him to learn the value of sharing and friendship.
  • Be clear and consistent when disciplining your child. Explain and show the behavior that you expect from her. Whenever you tell her no, follow up with what he should be doing instead.
  • Tell your child why it is important to stay out of traffic. Tell him not to play in the street or run after stray balls.
  • Be cautious when letting your child ride her tricycle. Keep her on the sidewalk and away from the street and always have her wear a helmet.
  • Check outdoor playground equipment. Make sure there are no loose parts or sharp edges.
  • Watch your child at all times, especially when he is playing outside.
  • Eat meals with your child whenever possible. Let your child see you enjoying fruits, vegetables, and whole grains at meals and snacks. Your child should eat and drink only a limited amount of food and beverages that contain added sugars, solid fats, or salt.

Learn and grow with your keiki