Today's tip is a fun, indoor movement activity for your child(ren). If you have more than one child, allow them to take each other for rides by looping a scarf through the handle of a laundry basket. The child pulling the basket is strengthening the muscles in his/her hands and arms by firmly gripping the scarf and pulling. The child riding in the basket is experiencing a great sensory activity as his/her body moves through space. Perhaps the riding child would enjoy laying down. When the child's head changes positions from sitting to laying down, he/she has a
totally different sensory experience. If you have one child engaging in the activity, allow them to take a turn in each role. Take them for a ride around the house. Next, allow them to pull the basket. Maybe they take the family dog for a ride, or throw in some toys/shoes/towels, whatever is lying around, to add weight to the basket. I am going to switch the Friday focus from fine motor to sensory processing and sensory-related activities for a while. Stay tuned...
~Sarah Eller, occupational therapist
I recently had a discussion with a parent about different service providers in the Kansas City area. Because Bringing Therapy Home offers private speech and language therapy, she was curious about my thoughts and opinions on other service providers in the area. This is what I shared with her – There are absolutely amazing therapists out there. Instead of therapists feeling competitive, it makes much more sense to me for us to be collaborative and encouraging of each other. I would absolutely love to have a family choose Bringing Therapy Home to address their child’s needs, but, if a family chooses to go with a different service provider, that’s a positive too because the child is getting the services they need. What matters most is your child and your child’s needs. If you are looking for a service provider to provide private therapy services for your child, meet with a few different providers. Hear the approach they use, their philosophy, and how they would address your child’s needs. Your child should be placed with the professional best suited for your child – that means taking a lot of different factors under consideration. You have options, and I encourage all families to explore their options.
~Marena Mitchell, Speech-Language Pathologist
Aside from being a speech-language pathologist, I’m also a mom to a 2 year-old little boy. He’s full of love, laughter, curiosity, and excitement. He also understands he has opinions. Quite often through the day, I hear him say, “I don’t have to,” “I don’t want to”, “I said no” to let me know he has a different plan than the one I had.
I reached out to a friend who is also a parent educator. I asked her, “What is the best way to respond to this?” I wanted to share her response with you because I’m sure there are some of you going through this and/or may experience this in the near future. She suggested I give him a lot of opportunities to say “no” in a fun, playful
manner. So, I’ll point to the couch and ask, “Is this a pig?” using a silly voice. We find times throughout the day to do this and this has been incredibly helpful. The strong voiced “no” does not come out as often as it was.
The word “no” is powerful. Children learn this and soon discover all of the ways they can put the
word to use.
Just know, if you are experiencing a new stage with a child in your life, regardless of your role
(teacher, parent, aunt, etc.), know it is okay to reach out to others. Express what is happening and ask, “Do
you have any suggestions on what I might try?” Sometimes, the best resources are those close to you.
~Marena Mitchell,Speech-Language Pathologist
Typically, I post parent questions on Tuesdays, but I’ve had a recent experience that has made me want to express this to all teachers, therapists, and other adults that work daily with children of all ages. You have limited time with the kids. While they are in your care, your job is to be present, to encourage, observe the child, and most importantly, empower them to feel good about who they are so they make choices that encourage their own growth and development. Use your words wisely. Are your words kind and helpful toward the child? You have a vital role in the little one’s life. A child is watching you. They are listening to the words you use. They will remember how you make them feel. Make those moments count. ~Marena Mitchell, Speech-Language Pathologist
During a speech and language session with a little one yesterday, we were reading “The Snowman Storybook” by Raymond Briggs. When we started, I mentioned that I wish we had a snowman to play with
while we read the story. Even though we did not have a snowman, the little one went and grabbed a Minion and
said that could be our snowman. It was pure imagination in action. As we read the story, we had the “snowman” act out the scenes of walking up the steps (used the steps in the home), flying in the sky, and running fast. As you read stories with your children, look around and see if you can grab toys or other objects in your house as
props. This encourages an interactive experience with books. We gave our “snowman” and a very deep sounding voice. Give the characters in your story a voice too. This provides an opportunity for your child to play around with the different ways our voice can sound. Books are filled with endless possibilities, especially when a child’s imagination is involved. ~Marena Mitchell, Speech-Language Pathologist
To conclude our discussion on what to look for when searching for preschools, I would highly encourage looking for a preschool that encourages outdoor play. We often assume learning occurs inside the classroom, but it’s been my experience that so much learning occurs in the most natural environment – outside. By being outside playing, children can develop social skills, problem solving skills, and cooperative play. Look for structures outside that are appropriate for your child’s size (smaller steps, railings, ramps, etc.). Look for an open space so that children can move (run, play chase, dance, ride tricycles, push wagons), look for space for children to explore (dig, collect). For me, the outdoor space is just as important as the indoor space. This has been a great topic all initiated because of a parent question.
Keep those questions coming!
~Marena Mitchell, Speech-Language Pathologist
When going to observe preschools, this amazing resource was found by a special education consultant and sent my way. I'd really focus on the "observation section." I especially love that there is a section looking for "outdoor play." I'd... bookmark this website and pass along to others who may be making this decision
in the next few years. Happy Preschool Hunting! ~Marena Mitchell, Speech-Language Pathologist
Daily tips, activities, and suggestions on how to naturally embed speech, language, play, fine motor, gross motor, and cognitive skills into your child's day, often using the materials already found in your home environment.
Marena Mitchell is a speech-language pathologist