Here I am, back after a very lengthy break. I needed to balance out my life with a new job and resolve a health issue but now I am back and committed to posting every month.
Since I have given you so many tools and strategies to stimulate your child's language and shared lots of information I am going to change my format a bit for the next 12 months. I am going to focus on specific suggestions you can use during each month as well as add ideas for books that might be helpful; music you might want to listen to or creative ideas of things to make and information that I find that will help you and your child improve their communication skills.
Also, I encourage you to email me with any specific questions that you might have. I would address them through the blog (because we all know that if one of us has a question there are many more people with the same question.) I will keep the questions anonymous so that you can ask me with no concerns about anyone knowing who you are. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
So here we are in the midst of holiday time. This is a fantastic time to pop language but it's also a time where it's hard to find time to focus on the children when you are busy with holiday planning. So remember the 5-10 minute suggestion: if you can take 5-10 minutes every day to slow down and focus on your child, progress will continue.
Words to focus on in December:
1. "Ho Ho" instead of Santa Claus....ho ho is much easier for a child to produce.
2. "Yum, Num" any easy word to express our delight with the holiday treats that we are bound to be eating.
3. "Lights", it might come out like "yites" but I bet your child like the lights on the tree and all the ones we see all around town.
4. "Hey" when you are singing Jingle Bells. The song will probably be too hard to sing all the words but when we take a pause and say "hey" your child will be able to join in.
5. "Cold" is a great word for you that live where it snows and is cold...even in the south we are having some weather that is "cold" :)
Songs that will be fun to try:
1. What does Santa say, "ho ho ho ho"
What does Santa say, "ho ho ho ho"
What does Santa say, "ho ho ho ho"
Santa says "ho ho" all the day.
(Those ho ho's should be pretty easy to say"
2. Jingle Bells (focus on the "hey!" part) and be sure to have actual jingle bells to ring.
Food/oral motor thoughts:
1. With so many different foods to try you should have no trouble finding new tastes and textures to sample or try on the electric toothbrush.
- I would encourage tasting these for sure: peppermint candy canes...messy, yes, but oh so yummy (and minty). Don't forget to stick them in some other flavor to make it even more fun, maybe Nutella, or peanut butter or chocolate frosting.
- Mashed or pureed veggies like squash; potatoes; carrots will stick on toothbrushes :) You can add some brown sugar to sweeten them if needed.
- Gravies and sauces
- Cheese spreads, dips, salsas.
- Don't forget about dipping :)
2. Things to try through a straw:
- Eggnog (non alcoholic of course)
- Fresh squeezed orange juice
- Warm apple cider with yummy spices like cinnamon
- Peppermint milk shake
3. I would encourage you to do some baking with your child. Now you might not even really get many of the cookies or whatever you bake actually baked but the touching and tasting of ingredients as well as the mixing and squeezing and forming balls of dough can be so good for sensory issues, feeding issues AND it is a wonderful activity to pop some language.
4. If you are focusing on the religious part of Christmas you can bake baby Jesus a birthday cake, sing Happy Birthday and blow out the candles.
1. Making wrapping paper. Go to a newspaper company and buy an end roll of newsprint or use any other non printed paper and decorate it, let it dry and use it to wrap presents for friends and family.
- Finger paint with red and green or blue and white. Let your child explore the paint and model words like "go go go"(describing what your child is doing); "more paint" (requesting and commenting); "all done paint" (requesting and commenting); "up up up" (while describing what your child is doing), etc.
- Here's a more sensory based activity for wrapping paper. Put about a cup of sand in the bottom or a knee high nylon and make a knot above the ball of sand. Have your paper out on a plastic tablecloth on the floor to control mess. Have different colored paints in trays, let your child hold the nylon by the end, let them drop it in paint and then let them plop it on the paper. It makes a fireworks/star sort of shape and the heaviness of the sand in the nylon is a fun sensory activity.
2. Gifts for grandparents, aunts and uncles:
- This will involve painting your child's hand and if they don't like that sensation I would prepare their hands first by clapping; rubbing; giving firm "high fives" to get their hands ready for the paint. Paint with green paint and arrange in a circle on a piece of paper (creating a wreath), add some red berries by painting a fingertip red and dotting on the wreath. It comes out very pretty. You could do this with fabric paint and put it on a sweatshirt or bag too.
- You could vary how you arrange the hand prints and make a tree shape, starting with 5 or so hand prints on the bottom and doing less every row to end up with 1 print for the top of the tree. Once again you can "decorate" the tree with fingerprint ornaments/lights by painting the fingertips with different colors.
- Have your child make a fist and paint the bottom edge of the fist brown. Place in the middle of a piece of paper. Then paint both hands brown (do one hand at a time to decrease mess) and place the right hand to the top right of the fist and the left to the left side, on the top. This will make a reindeer, the fist being the face and the hand prints being the antlers. If it's Rudolph you can use a red fingerprint to make his nose. You add the eyes and any other features you feel are needed.
- Cut or the shape of a star and let your child squeeze glue and shake glitter on it. Yes, it may have to dry awhile but it will be so pretty hung somewhere in your house or as a special gift.
Book Ideas for the Holidays:
- Find books that have few words. Remember, don't "read" the book but explore the book with your child, commenting on what you are seeing and pointing fun things out. Follow your child's lead when they point or vocalize.
- Books with favorite characters are fun (Dora; Diego) but this is also a fantastic time to add new vocabulary. I mentioned some easy Christmas words but also talk about all the fun things (Rudolph; reindeer; Santa; cookies; Christmas tree; ornaments; lights; stockings; baby Jesus; cow, angel, star, sheep, etc.)
- Remember if you can find little figures of the actual things in the book, it will make the activity even more fun for your child.
I focused mostly on the Santa part of Christmas but if your beliefs are different I am sure that you are doing some special baking or celebrating different traditions of some sort and think of words and experiences that you can focus on during those activities; the foods that you use; the drinks you have, etc.
Enjoy this holiday time with your family. I wish you all a Happy Holiday time!!