Your recycle bin is another great place to find your child’s next “favorite” toy. Look at Isaac. His mom took an empty 2 liter bottle and filled it with some colorful items she found at the Dollar Tree. He is better developing his understanding of cause and effect, problem solving, and the impact his body can have on the objects in his environment. Water bottles, juice bottles, and 2 liter bottles are great for this activity. If you have an older child, they can wash out the bottle and help determine what can go inside for the younger child. Going back to the basics for children is essential – you save money and they are still learning about the environment around them. If you have any similar pictures of your children, post them and share what you put in your bottles. ~Marena Mitchell, Speech-Language Pathologist
Often, as adults, we tend to think toys, games,
or activities need to be elaborate or high tech. The opposite is true. Kids
find pure joy in the simple. This week, I’ll be offering ideas on the basics –
all things that are often in our homes or in the homes of others to help keep
your child engaged in learning by thinking, moving, and exploring. Here you see an action shot of three children (ages 2, 3, and 6) and some bubble wrap that came in a delivery box. We put it on the floor and they took turns dancing on it alone and together, walked across it slowly, ran across it quickly, and used spoons to pop the air pockets. Kids really are better at discovery than any adult I know. You don’t even need to provide the ideas … kids often come up with them on their own. That’s the beauty of childhood. The more they explore and discover, the more they want to and the better they get. ~Marena Mitchell, Speech-Language Pathologist
Have you heard of Daniel Tiger? As a speech-language pathologist, I encourage families to interact together through play and their daily routines to develop essential skills. However, if you need a television show that emphasizes importantskills, I’m a HUGE fan of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on PBS. It’s based on the
concepts established by Fred Rogers and focuses on social-emotional development (feelings, problem solving, resolving conflict, sharing, etc.). Songs and strategies are provided that children are easily able to learn and carry-over into the home and community environment. Sarah and I really encourage you to watch the show with your child. As a parent, you will have opportunities to hear how the adults in Daniel’s life respond to him. It’s a great way to better understand how you can word the language when your child encounters a similar situation. You can find the show on PBS, Netflix, and on your Roku.
~Marena Mitchell, Speech-Language Pathologist
The development of a pincer grasp is a big fine motor milestone. A pincer grasp is using the tip of the thumb and index finger to pick up small objects and is typically developed between 9 and 12 months of age. It is a skill needed to complete a variety of daily tasks as the child gets older, such as coloring, writing, eating with utensils, using scissors, and fastening zippers, buttons and snaps. Meal time is a great time to practice this with your young one. By providing them with small bites of food, they are able to practice using those small hand muscles more accurately. Another great way to practice this is with ice cube trays. Place small items such as pom pom balls or Cheerios in the tray (a single item in each space). The ice cube tray does not allow your child to use their whole hand to rake the item into their palm, but rather forces them to use their fingertips in order to get the item out. Ice cube trays are also helpful if you have a child who puts whole handfuls of food in their mouth. The ice cube tray encourages your child to get one food item out at a time rather than grabbing a handful.
~Sarah Eller, occupational therapist
Often, when I'm talking to a family about their child's speech and language development, I might hear a family say, "We were told our child would catch up" or "We are waiting to see because his dad was a late talker. His dad didn't start talking until he was 3." Although, there are people who this approach has worked for, I encourage the family to meet with a licensed speech-language pathologist to determine if intervention is needed. Children with delays in language as toddlers often demonstrate difficulty with reading, writing, and spelling in elementary school. Interventions from a person that specializes in development can make a difference for your child. ~Marena Mitchell, Speech-Language Pathologist
Do you have a child between 2-3 years old (24-36 months)?
Here are some speech and language skills they should have:
-Can understand their spoken message 50-75% of the time.
-Can correctly produce p, b, m, n, h, w.
-By 3, they should have an expressive vocabulary of 1000 words (that
means they have 1000 words they use when talking).
-Follow 2-step related directions, such as “Go get your shoes and... bring them to me.”
-Watches other children and briefly engages in play with them (associative play).
Here is when you want to seek a professional opinion from a speech-language pathologist. If your child that is 2-3 years old is:
-Not combining words or have limited words.
-Has limited sounds they are using
-Not able to identify body parts.
-Difficulty attending to a simple book.
-Unable to follow single step directions.
When people have concerns, they tend to discuss it with their child's pediatrician first. If you have concerns with your child's speech and language skills, contact a speech-language pathologist for guidance.
~Marena Mitchell, Speech-Language Pathologist
I am a big believer in parenting in a way that works best for you and your family. I am also a big believer in treating children with respect, love, and empathy. Because we live in a “social” world, children’s pictures tend to be on many of our accounts – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It’s great because we are able
to stay connected to family and friends that are often miles and miles away. However, I am asking you, as the adult in the child’s life, to refrain from posting pictures on social media of your child having a “meltdown.” Here’s why – in that moment, your child is genuinely upset because something has happened. It may seem insignificant to the adult because it could be that they wanted something that they didn’t get, but, to the child, in that moment, it’s hard. Take that moment to hug them and hear them. That doesn’t mean they have to get what they wanted or asked for. You can still listen and understand, but remain consistent with what you have said. Imagine a picture of you going out to even 20 of your friends where you are crying and look absolutely devastated. We want
children to demonstrate empathy – we’re fortunate because, as the adult, we can model and demonstrate on it on a daily basis. ~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