Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011

"April showers bring May flowers". Is that true where you live? I also think that April showers bring May flowers and flowering trees and flowering bushes and pollen and allergies!!! I heard that the allergy season is horrible this year, so in addition to taking care of yourself, notice if your child is struggling with allergies. If you have allergies, you know how it feels: itchy eyes, burning nose, feeling like you have to sneeze and not sneezing OR sneezing over and over again. You might have junk dripping down the back of your throat which makes you clear your throat over and over....and then your throat feels sore. Plus more fluid in your head may cause ear issues. SO, please monitor your child's health and help them deal with the symptoms that may pop up.

When your child doesn't feel well, they will not be communicating as well....well, honestly they will be communicating but it may be more whining and crying and clinging and just acting miserable. This is not the time to push for new words popping, but it is a good time to interpret and validate the communication that they are giving you. Letting them know you understand should help decrease any frustration that is attached to the communication, but not the frustration attached to health.

May is a time to continue your explorations outside. Taking your child outside and sitting them in the grass or letting them walk barefoot is a great sensory/communication activity. If they like the feel of being barefoot you can talk about how your feet feel (because of course, you are barefoot too). You can talk about all the textures and temperatures that your feet are feeling "cold, hard, prickly, crunchy, soft" and watch their wonder as they walk from one texture to another. It feels very different walking on a sidewalk and then walking in the grass. If your child doesn't like this activity, I would encourage them to try a bit more by distracting them or demonstrating how much fun you are having. You can "jump, walk, skip, run, stop, go". To desensitize your child's feet so that they are more comfortable walking on different textures, you can rub their feet, firmly pat on their feet and then help them "jump" on the grass which won't make it feel so prickly. But remember, take baby steps, if your child REALLY doesn't like the changes in textures then you might want to try in the house, walking from tile to carpet or wood floors to carpet.

May foods: Start looking for seasonal fruits and vegetables....yum. Since I live in the south watermelon, corn on the cob and tomatoes seem to be plentiful. Up north you are far from when gardens are producing anything, but walk around the grocery store and try something new and tasty. Sometimes when you try something new as a family, everyone is more interested in trying. And don't forget dipping....that can really help.

You might want to plant a small "kid" garden and grow a food that they like. How fun would that be to dig in the dirt, throw in some seeds, water it and watch it grow? And the wonder of seeing a tomato or other food they think comes from the grocery store actually growing on their little plant is amazing. (What a fun way to add new words....dirt, seed, grow, sunny, water, more, yuck). And then to eat it when it's ready....we all know how "just picked" food tastes. Enjoy!

Another thought would be to throw an old vinyl tablecloth on the grass and have your snack outside. That might be a really good time to try a messier snack because you can just hose down the tablecloth and slip clothes off and throw them right into the washing machine. Encouraging independence with food decreases anxiety with trying new things and not worrying about mess also decreases anxiety, so this is a win/win situation.

Enjoy the outside, open the windows and listen to the new sounds, and explore the fun of changing from winter clothes to warmer weather clothes. All these are opportunities for your child to develop their communication skills.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you. Let me know what YOU want to chat about!