Tuesday Tip

This Tuesday Tip is fantastic because it is so easy to implement today!

Tip: When decorating a child’s room or play space, be sure to put books, toys, blankets, and pictures (that are intended to be used by your child) AT YOUR CHILD’S LEVEL.

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I bought this cute canvas picture of the alphabet for my little guy’s play area.  I mounted it to the wall at eye level for my toddler.  He interacts with it daily, points at the letters, and it naturally facilitates conversation about the alphabet….hello early literacy!

What have you done to your child’s room or play space to make it more child friendly?!

Love for all moms

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While my little man took a nap last week, I was browsing through Facebook…taking a break from unpacking boxes from our recent move.  One of my amazing, strong mom friends posted this article from madison.citymomsblog.com.  The title of the article read “Can I Be Honest? Sometimes, I Get Jealous” and it started off with “Dear Stay-At-Home Mom”.  I was curious so I started reading…

Now, I’m a Mom who works part time and a Mom who stay at home part time.  I put the Mom part first because during these short 15 months of actually having “Mom” as my title, I have realized that I am MOM at all times!  Not only am I Mom when I am home and we are reading books or playing at the park, but I am Mom during my therapy sessions, most involved assessments and reports, and during my toughest meetings.  I am also Mom anyway of the week, anytime of the day.

I went back to work, to a career I love, when my little man was 4 months old.  I was so blessed to have the 4 months I had with him, but longed for more time at home with him.  On the flip side, when I was on maternity leave, there was a little part of me that was concerned that I was letting my career I had worked so hard for slip.  While I was going through this internal struggle (and it is ongoing…I hear it just keeps going on and on and on 🙂 ), I was also receiving tons of “advice” from random people about how to parent my child!

It is one thing to get advice from family and friends…people who love you and love your child and want the best for you both.  It is completely another thing to get “advice” from a random lady in Target when you are on a rare outing with your colicky 3 month old who is having a meltdown and you are trying all your techniques to soothe your baby and her advice is “have you tried feeding him…maybe you aren’t holding him right…try this” hmmmm hands off the baby.  Or a lady at the mall who sees your little man sleeping soundly in his baby carrier and proceeds to come up and tell you how he needs to be home and sleeping.  It goes on and on and thankfully I have honestly forgotten most of the “advice” because at the time it was just too overwhelming and had me second guessing everything.  I kept thinking that these people must have good intentions, but this isn’t advice at all…this is judgment!

I am being judged for my baby crying too much, crying too loud, being too skinny, being too chunky, sleeping too much, not sleeping enough, and it goes on and on.  Then when I went back to work, that opened up a new flood gate, “How could you ever leave your adorable baby?”  “Aren’t you sad you are going to miss milestones?”…

So when I read this article, I thought it was going to be an empowering article for Moms who stay at home, which I was eager to read because Moms who stay at home deserve tons of praise and support….but ALL moms need praise and support!  Then I got to the second part of the article, where the author addressed Moms who work.  The article is written as a letter to Stay a home moms from Working moms and then to Working moms from Stay at home moms.

Both “moms” say…

I guess I just wanted to let you know that I see you, and I recognize the sacrifices you’re making for your family.

I see you, and I support you. Keep it up, girl!

YES!!!!!  Let’s SUPPORT each other!  Let’s EMPOWER each other!  Let’s help each other along in this crazy and wonderful world of motherhood!

Thank you, Kim from madison.citymomsblog.com for posting this article.

All MAMAS OUT THERE….I SEE YOU!  YOU ARE AMAZING!  I SUPPORT YOU!  GO YOU!

Do yourself a favor and read the whole article:

http://madison.citymomsblog.com/can-honest-sometimes-get-jealous/#lightbox/0/

Tell Me About Your Day

Have you ever had a hard time getting your school-age child to talk to you about their day?  This is a really common issue parents share with me.  I have the opportunity to work with wonderful, involved, and creative parents who share the different ways they try to ask their child about their day, but their attempts are usually met with one word responses…PARENTS WANT MORE! 🙂

 

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At the beginning of most of my speech/language sessions, I pull out my WH questions cards.  These cards are made on cardstock or flash cards and I wrote “What”, “Where”, “Who”, “When”, and “Why” on the cards.  I start with all the cards facing up with the question word showing.  I ask the students to tell me one thing they did over the weekend/last night/today in school…but just one thing.  The student might say, “I went out to dinner”.  I then tell the other students in the group that it is our job to be detectives and use our questions to find out more information.  Each student takes a turn picking a “WH” question, asking the question, listening to the response, and turning the card over after the question is answered.  We continue until all the cards are flipped over.  If we have more questions, we can go for another round of asking questions or we can move onto the next student.

The students love this because it feels like a game.  Parents/teachers find value in it because not only are you getting great information about your child’s day, but your child is working on asking/answering questions, developing listening skills, social skills, and more.

Try it at home and make it part of your routine…before homework, at dinner, before bed…

Let me know how it is working for you! 🙂

5 Christmas Book Suggestions for Little Readers

My family celebrates Christmas.  I have fond memories of sharing Christmas stories on Christmas Eve with my parents and my siblings.  I’m so excited that it is MY turn to start these memories…traditions…with my family.  With some of the books, I have shared some related activities.

Here are my Christmas book suggestions…

Consider these for car rides/plane flights…nightly or weekly traditions…Christmas Eve traditions…stocking stuffers…

Click on the titles to bring you to the Amazon pages for the books 🙂

Christmas Book Suggestions

5.  That’s Not My Santa

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I love a good touchy feely book!  This is a book in the line of books I find myself ALWAYS recommending!

4.  Elmo’s Merry Christmas

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I don’t know about yours, but my little guy LOVES Sesame Street.  He will be so interested and engaged in this lift the flap book.

3.  Christmas In The Manger

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A great way to introduce little readers to reason for the season.  I look forward to sharing this book with my little man 🙂

2.  How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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A loved story!  You can start a tradition with this book!  Read the book, talk about the pictures, etc.  Later, make a movie night with your family and watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas while snacking on some Grinch Popcorn like this amazing idea from Two Sister Crafting

 

1.  The Polar Express

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A CLASSIC!  While this might be too involved with not enough interaction for our little ones (under 2), I still plan starting this book as part of a Christmas with my little family this year.  Remember there are multiple ways to “read” with little ones.  You don’t have to read the actual text…paraphrase and make up your own words, just talk about the pictures, etc.  You can later make a movie night with this adorable movie!  Activity-mom.com has some fun activity suggestions!

5 Winter Book Suggestions for Little Readers

We are in such a fun time of year to share with our little ones.  Seasons are changing…they can see it, feel it, hear it, and taste it.  Plus, we get to share or start family traditions…I love it!

(My Christmas suggestions are coming soon!)

Click on the titles to bring you to the Amazon pages for the books 🙂

Winter Book Suggestions

5.  That’s Not My Snowman

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This book is out of my favorite line of touchy-feely books.  You and your little one go on a tactile (feely) adventure to find YOUR snowman.  Not only will your little one get to experience different textures, you will be working on key language concepts!

4.  That’s Not My Penguin

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From the same line…it’s a great line…I’m telling you. 🙂

3.  Biscuit’s Snowy Day

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Follow the adorable Biscuit through a snow day filled with sledding, snow angels, and spending time with loved ones.

2. Little Polar Bear: Finger Puppet Book

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Finger puppet and an adorable polar bear.  A fun way to keep a little reader engaged!

 1.  Time to Sleep

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With beautiful and colorful illustrations, this book goes through different animals getting ready to sleep…hibernate.

 

What are your favorite winter books for little readers?

Happy reading! 🙂

Baby Sign

 

The term “baby sign” is all the rage right now.  What is “baby sign” and how can you use it with your little one?

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What is “baby sign”?

Baby Sign refers to signs taken from a formal, organized language, such as American Sign Language (ASL) to support early developing communication interactions.  Baby sign and gestures typically represent one-word phrases and do not follow and grammar rules.

I don’t know sign language.  Is there a program to use?

There are a lot of programs available.  To be honest, many look wonderful. However, my of the educators I know who have used sign with young students and their own children say that they do not follow a program and introduce signs that fit into their daily routines.  Many suggest the use of a  paper, poster, book, even YouTube videos to introduce the signs to themselves so they know how to sign to their little ones.

This chart from Babysignlanguage.com is a great visual to print out and reference at home.

This is another great chart, with pictures, and more information on signing from http://www.welcomebabyuc.org

In an article by Brenda Seal, PhD, CCC-SLP called “About Baby Signing”, Seal addresses the importance of introducing signs that are developmentally appropriate for little ones.  Seal compiled a list of 25 signs that are recommended to introduce to tyically developing, preverbal babies.  Click here for Seal’s article About Baby Signing

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If you are still looking for a program, be sure to check out early intervention programs offered by your state.  For example, in California, First Five centers often offer baby sign.  Also, Signing Time DVDs are engaging and entertaining for little ones.

How do I introduce signs?

Think about how you talk to your baby.  You talk throughout the day: changing diapers, getting dressed, eating, playing, taking a bath, etc.  Think about times when it would be most helpful for your little one to be able to communicate a want or need to you.  Start there!  For example, if it would be most beneficial for your little one to be able to communicate when “all done” with eating.  Start with introducing the sign for “all done” when eating.  Then think about other times, throughout your day when you use the phrase/concept “all done”.  Use the sign WITH your verbal language throughout your day.  Right there you are modeling verbal language AND signs to your little one.

*Know the when teaching signs such as “more” and “all done”, babies will overgeneralize these signs.  That’s developmentally appropriate, but continue modeling the appropriate use of these signs.

Will using signs delay verbal language development?

Short answer: NO!  When teaching and using signs with little ones, be sure to always use your verbal language, too.  When you sign “mommy” always say “mommy” with it.  While there is limited conclusive research supporting baby sign accelerating or improving verbal language development, it is suggested that parents who choose to learn signs and encourage their little ones to use signs may have already given their babies a genetic advantage for learning language!! (Seal, 2010)

My baby can hear.  Why should I use signs?

Typically developing babies will say their first INTENTIONAL word around the age of one (there can be great variety in timing).  However, babies understand language far before they are able to verbalize.  Around 8 to 9 months of age, babies develop the ability to control their hands/arms for intentional signs and gestures.  Introducing and using simple signs with your baby will help them communicate what they want and need.  When babies communicate their wants and need, their wants and needs get met.  They are happy babies and we are happy caregivers!

Have you use signs or gestures with your baby to support communication? I’d love to hear from you!

Ziploc Masterpiece

My 8 month old little boy just created his first master piece.  That’s right…I am the proud mama of a true artist!  How?!  Glad you asked…

Here’s what you will need:

Ziploc: Your choice with the size…I went with a larger size

Paper: I went with a thicker paper and folded it a little bit so it fit nicely into the Ziploc

Paint: I went with tempera paint.  The paint is in little tubs…easy for pouring

Any fun accessory item: rice, foil, etc.

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