Identify your child’s interests and help them to learn!

Can you name five of your child’s interests (not including branded items)?
Does your child know they have interests?  Do you encourage them?  Have you pointed out how other children have different interests?  Did you know that the easiest way for a child to learn skills, is through their interests? 

Why you should think about your baby’s language development

[6-12 months] This is such an important, interesting and exciting time for your baby’s language development.  Your baby goes from feeling the day by ‘sensations’, to understanding their world by ‘words’ (be that verbally or gestures).

This is the time to REALLY watch your little one.  When they pay attention to something, be it what you are doing, an object or another person/animal, you can help to teach them language with a few simple steps.  My first vocab list – 6 months+ and My second vocab list – moving to 12 months will give you tips on how to make language learning simple and also the first words your baby is likely to learn.

The sooner a child has language, the sooner you can interact even more with them, entertain them more, negotiate with them and help them to learn more about their world.

Helping your child to talk – take the time

[from 6 mths]

Just like with reading, exposure to words does all add up to the ‘more you put in, the more you get back’. Picture two children at a cafe.  The first child’s parents get on with their coffee, smile at the baby and give it a few toys.  The second child’s parents label what the child is looking at, playing with and even take the time to point out say a dog or a bus going past.

Then take this scenario to the shopping trolley, driving in the car, in the bath, while you’ve got visitors and out in the pram.  It takes more effort but you will be sure to have a child with a larger vocabulary and stronger relationship with you than those little ones who have spent more time by themselves.

Where am I going today Mummy?

[9 months+] Have you started defining the different places your little one goes?  This means saying the word and showing them by pointing or with gestures ‘at the time’.
For example, when you arrive at daycare say at the front gate, ‘daycare’, point, ‘daycare’.  Repetition is good!  Extend this to ‘granny and pop’s’ at the front of their house or ‘play group’, ‘shops’, ‘home’, when you arrive.  Be sure your little one pairs the word with the correct meaning.

Short term goal – Soon you’ll be able to say this word prior to going there and seeing if your little one gives you recognition that they understand.

Longer term goal – You’ll be able to let your little one know every place they are going to before you get in the car or leave the house.

I know I’d want to know where I was going each time I was being taken out of the house and also when I was going home.


The key is to define define define every place you go to first!

Imaginative play; a milestone to celebrate

[~2years]
This should be a milestone that every parent looks forward to.  When your child first starts to talk and play imaginatively by themselves!
Your child will need to be ready with plenty of language to make up play actions and stories, that they have seen in their everyday life.
Here Master2 placed a piece of cake with his monkey and told him ‘here, I’m just going outside’.
Since then he has relied on others to show him more play actions whilst making some up himself.  He will create longer and longer play scenes as he develops more language, attention and understanding of the world……….and then I will get more done myself!
IMG_8634[1]

 

Sign of the week – NO

No means NO!
Who has a little toddler that likes to test the boundaries? What do you do when you really mean ‘no’?
A sign can really help your child to understand ‘no’ means ‘no’, in a visual and concrete way.

The good thing is, you can sign ‘no’ into your little one’s visual field, even if they choose not to look at you.  It is also a good one to be able to sign when you can’t talk, like when you’re on the phone or have a mouthful of water.

The sign site for Auslan is not working tonight, so here is my description!  Make a fist and shake it back and forward like you would shake your head ‘no’, moving from your wrist.
Happy signing!

Why you should explain WHY!

[18 mths +]  A child will always be more compliant, if they understand WHY.
So don’t wait for your children to ask (especially if they’re too young to know how to), but give them the answer.
Instead of just:
  • ‘close the door’, offer ‘flies will come in, bzz bzz, no no!’
  • ‘don’t touch that’, offer ‘it’s not ours’ or ‘we don’t need that today’ or ‘just for grown ups, it might break’ etc
  • ‘sit down’, offer ‘on your bottom, no falling….OWWW!’
  • ‘get your shoes on’, offer ‘no standing on rocks & hurt your feet…OWW’ or ‘the other kids will all have shoes on, protecting their feet….’

When you explain WHY at the same time you give the direction, you will literally see brains tick over…and hopefully see why you’re asking them to do so.  The catch is, make sure you’ve used words that your child will understand for their age!

It’s time to turn two!

Just three months difference

Just three months difference

My little boy turned 2 today!  Just recently I’ve noticed he has begun to ‘look’ two.  On the left was only three months ago and when you look closer, you see his head shape has changed…. His brain has really grown lately – personality blooming, vocabulary sky-rocketing, physical skills ever-improving and he is becoming more and more aware of the world he lives in.  And another big change is the muscle tone in his face….  He has lost the baby cheeks, all because he has simply been using the muscles more for talking!
(I can’t say chewing as he is still experimenting with ‘no thanks Mummy’ to the new foods I present him with, but that’s another 2-year-old story..)
Do you have a coming-up-2-year-old who is going through these changes?  🙂 Heidi

 

Baking and learning

We love this banana bread!  In fact, we bake it twice a week and use it for any meal (except for dinner..).  It is gluten, dairy, sugar and nut free and even better, it has no preservatives and uses healthy coconut flour and tahini.  The best thing that I would pick about this recipe, is that it is perfect for little ones to help in the preparation.

Being a Speech Pathologist, I will always take an opportunity to throw some language out there.  Here are some of the language-learning opportunities:

  • counting out 8 dates (and the other child can count them as they place them in the bowl)
  • talking about cup or spoon measures – ‘one over two means half a cup’ or ‘see TBL means tablespoon
  • elicit the cooking actions by asking ‘what do we do with this one?’.  You might expect terms such as scoop, measure, peel, grind, pour.
  • and the fun one… make sure you put the bicarb soda in first, then put the lemon juice (or we substitute a good dash of Apple Cider Vinegar when organic lemons aren’t in season) in – ‘FIZZ, BUBBLE….It’s a science experiment!!!’

IMG_8503[1]

And here is the link to the recipe Wholefood Simply Banana Bread.  We substitute cinnamon for carob, for a change and also use Apple Cider Vinegar (with ‘mother’ – healthier) instead of lemon juice when organic lemons are out of season.

And then!!!  We add a banana and some almond milk to the leftover batter in our Thermomix and blend for a banana bread shake!

 

Let me know what you think!  ps – we use the 5 egg recipe (one of the reasons we have now got chooks!).

🙂 Heidi

Becoming a play engineer – tip #7.

Kids play the best when toys are set up, ‘inviting’ them to play.  Once your children have enough language to play imaginatively, you can really invite them to play with a weekly theme throughout the house.  Whilst it takes that bit longer to set up, you will be sure to get many more play hours from your little ones.

So!  What will your theme be?  It didn’t take me long to pick animals + hospital/doctors/vets.  Master nearly4 loves animals and he and Master nearly 2 are both into doctors at the moment.  And of course, an animal theme is not too unfamiliar for Master nearly2.  Pretend play – your child’s occupation will give you more information on the different skills pretend play consists of.  Language means play will give you more information on the development of play and how language goes hand in hand.

Setting up

This is where you think about ALL the items in your house that might come under this theme.  So I went for everything animal, from our Aussie Animal cards to our baby dinosaurs to our farm animals.  And then you add in everyday items that would be useful props for the scenes, such as ribbons for bandages, cotton wool for the babies, wooden dish rack for the operating table/sick bay and pipe cleaners for their own imagination.  And then you can drag out any other props that might be useful, such as adding our cardboard box bus stop/airport and our Little People plane and bus for transporting the sick/recovered animals between the hospital and the wild.

Because I had so many sets of toys out, I created mini scenes in different rooms of the house.  The next thing to do was to introduce the boys to each scene and promote some different play actions, to get them started.  I also assigned doctor and nurse roles (big brother and little brother roles really!).  And then you sit back (or race to the kitchen or clothesline) and reap the benefits of excited play!  Here are some of the benefits..

Benefits of themed play

  • The story is halfway there, so the kids don’t have to create one from scratch (ideal for the younger ones)
  • You can easily give many hints at new play actions.  I have used: ‘go and check if bull’s fever has gone’, ‘I think panda needs his bath now’, ‘giraffe might be ready to go back into the wild, but before you put him on the plane, remember to check his heartbeat and temperature’, ‘the baby dinosaurs will all need a feed and why don’t you ask your brother to help you take them back to the wild in the bus’, ‘it might be time to help bull to get to sleep, it’s hard to settle when you have a fever’, ‘nearly your bedtime, go and give the night doctors their handover, what they will need to do while you are sleeping’….  I have even rung their pretend phone (an otoscope) as an anonymous caller letting them know of a sick hippo out in the wild.  Next thing they are receiving calls from each other!
  • There is a variety of toys out so different ages are still catered to
  • A child can walk into any room and make up a mini-story there, OR play between several scenes in across different rooms

Here are some photos to share with you all!

broken legs, cut on the tummy, the flu....

broken legs, cut on the tummy, the flu….

Special Care Nursery.. for dinosaur babies.  Also like special care where Master nearly4 spent a few weeks..

Special Care Nursery.. for dinosaur babies. Also like special care where Master nearly4 spent a few weeks..

'The wild'

‘The wild’

back to the wild....

back to the wild….

'the ball forest'

‘the ball forest’

so the injured bush animal is...

so the injured bush animal is…

'X' marks the spot...?

‘X’ marks the spot…?

What will your play theme be this week?  Be creative and drum up some excitement! Guaranteed it will pass over to your kids and you will have a fun week 🙂 Heidi