The Global Pandemic of 2020 has left its mark on our lives in a variety of ways. It has changed the way we shop, the way we work, and even the way we learn. The lives of our kiddos have also been changed, especially for our “COVID Babies.” Babies born just before, during, or shortly after the global pandemic do not know anything different than the lives we live now.
So how has this new “normal” affected the way they learn and grow? Has it even affected them at all? Here’s what the latest research shows: “COVID Babies” were less likely to “wave” to greet others, point/use gestures, and say their first words prior to their first birthdays.
So, how can we support these “COVID Babies” and make sure they are on the right track? Meaningful play and reading together can be great ways to work on development. Exposing your child to as many different experiences as possible can create new environments for them to learn. It doesn’t have to be big and expensive. Something as simple as packing a snack and heading to the park can create new and unique learning opportunities for your little one. Click HERE for a list of more ideas.
If you have concerns about your kiddos development, click HERE for a link to our milestones page resources or schedule a free screening with one of our skilled therapists at BDI Playhouse. It’s never too early to make sure your little one has the skills needed to grow!
Does your child keep hitting others when he wants what they are playing with? Grab toys away from other children? Kick over other’s toys? These are all considered undesirable behaviors and can be frustrating to watch your child do at home, in their community, or at school. Here are some strategies to help your child with undesired behaviors.
Step 1- Hands are not for hitting
Remind your child what their hands are for. Hands are for waving, washing, clapping, counting, drawing, doodling, holding, hugging and eating. Hands are not for hitting. Hitting hurts!
Step 2- Use these words
Teach your child the words to use when wanting something from someone else. Can I please have a turn? Could I see that toy? Let your child know they have to wait for the answer. This may be the hardest part. If a child will not share a toy provide suggestions for another toy to play with.
Step 3- Hitting hurts
If a child does hit, have the injured child tell that child,” I don’t like that, that hurts!”
Step 4- Don’t force apologies
Do not make your child apologize for undesired behaviors. Making a child apologize has no meaning behind it if they are just saying it because you told them too. Some children may use this to their advantage and think, “It’s OK to hit if I apologize afterwards.” Remind your child that it hurts others and our hands are not for hitting. We must use our words to ask for what we want.
If hitting persists or your child is unable to utilize the strategies, call to schedule a free screening with one of our pediatric therapists. Sometimes, hitting occurs when a child does not have an ample vocabulary or language to make requests or negotiate. It can also occur when a child excites easily or seeks input. Our trained therapists will be able to give additional recommendations unique to your child’s needs!
Speech Language Pathologists love a good theme! Themes can unite all of our kiddos but allow scaffolding for every child’s needs. They also allow for perfect home carryover for all our families! Here are a few spooky speech activities that you can do with your children at home or in your community to promote speech and language development.
Books are fabulous! You can target specific vocabulary, different grammar (i.e. prepositions), comprehension, sequencing, feelings, and speech sounds! An example of a spooky themed book is Pete the Cat: Trick or Pete, an interactive book with flaps. We love to practice our speech sounds with this particular book! For example, the t sound is on every page with CAT and PETE!
You cannot go wrong with a sensory bin! They hold children’s attention and their bodies in one space. Sensory bins can also encourage some spooky speech with what we call “focused stimulation”, when you pick a few words to target over and over again during play! Spooky speech sensory bins can easily be made from items around your house or a few clicks from amazon! If you are in need of some inspiration Busy Toddler has fantastic options.
Technology does not have to be a curse if used correctly! There are so many books and programs that provide ample spooky speech opportunities! You can play Peppa Pig Pumpkin Party and pause the video, ask simple wh questions, name vocabulary items, make predictions, and try to recall details of the program!
A fan favorite at the clinic is using a free printable Halloween Bingo Card. We use these for matching, naming, identifying, and speech sounds! You can take the Bingo Card into your community (i.e. grocery store, on a walk, flashlight to find items around the house) for a scavenger hunt. Target and Michaels have Halloween dollar-sticker-books that we use to say the spooky words as we match them to the bingo card.
Festive Wear and Decor:
As cheesy as it may seem, children LOVE pointing out spooky vocabulary on clothing items and decorations. If you are trying to be eco and/or budget friendly, we highly recommend looking at your local thrift store, facebook marketplace, or your parent’s house for the clothing and decorations! Some of the best items come second hand! Another more eco friendly, minimalist approach would be to get items that will be re-purposed or consumed! I.E. a pie pumpkin, a wreath that can be decorated for all season with items found in nature!
If you feel like your child’s speech and language development isn’t spook-tacular and you’d like to speak with someone about your pumpkin’s speech and language development, please call 708-478-1820 or visit our website to schedule a free screening
Written by Jessica Keenan, MA, CCC-SLP/L, inspired by Kristen Santoro, MA, CCC-SLP/L
Learning to talk is a complex task! It’s no wonder some kids take awhile to get started. Most of us think of talking as just saying words but it involves much more than that.
Would you like to help your child say their first words?
Try out some of these tips.
Play with your child
A child must possess certain cognitive abilities before they are able to communicate. Laura Mize, SLP and author of Teach Me to Talk, suggests building blocks to a child’s first words include the ability to understand cause and effect and comprehend object permanence. Does your child understand that their actions can cause something to happen? Playing with toys such as Jack in the Box, Busy boxes, and musical instruments will help teach these skills. Try playing games such as peek a boo, and hide and seek to build object permanence. Through these activities your child will learn that they can use words or actions to cause an adult to do something for them.
Engage your child
In order for a child to imitate your words or actions, you must be able to get their attention. You can gauge your child’s ability to attend by answering the following questions: Does your child attend to your face? Will your child try to play with you? Does your little one enjoy being with people?
It is necessary to get your child engaged before you begin to model gestures or words for them.
Look for things they are interested in and follow their lead. Get down on their level, use exaggerated facial expressions, try a sing -songy voice, and exaggerate your actions so you are impossible to miss!
Copying movements and sounds is one of the most important steps for developing words. Start with getting your child to imitate movements (i.e. waving, clapping, banging on objects, throwing a ball). Pair a sound with an action; such as “boom boom while hitting a drum, or “whee” when going down a slide. These types of copying should eventually lead to imitation of real words and phrases.
Signs have been shown to help reduce a child’s frustrations, build bonds between parent and child, and bridge the communication gap before your child is able to talk . Signing will not deter language development. Choose baby signs that are functional and versatile such as “milk”, “eat”, “mom” and “dad”. Keep in mind that just as kids’ first words don’t always sound perfect, neither will their signs be perfect. Reward their efforts!
Model appropriate language for your child
Children typically learn the meaning of words before they say the word. Talk to your toddler throughout the day using simplified language to label objects, and to describe what’s going on around them. Imitate their attempts to “talk”, to teach them the back and forth nature of communication.
Read to your child
Reading to your child will help build key language skills. Choose books with large, colorful pictures and actions. Label each word while pointing to each one. Help your child to begin pointing to them as you read. Choose books that have predictable text such as Brown Bear Brown Bear. or 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed and omit predictable words, giving your child an opportunity to “fill in the blank”.
If you continue to have concerns about whether your child’s language is progressing appropriately, BDI Playhouse Children’s Therapy, offers free screenings by certified Speech-Language Pathologists. Check out our website for Parent and Child Classes, which provide a fun learning environment for you and your child to practice new language strategies.
Written by: Sheila Trout M.A.; CCC-Speech-Language Pathologist
Our BDI Playhouse Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children. Each SLP is certified through ASHA and licensed through the State of Illinois.
How your child makes their sounds:
Encompassing both spoken and written communication, SLPs help people across the spectrum of language. This includes working on
SLPs often help improve cognitive skills.
Supporting patients with
forward focus resonance
SLPs cover all three phases of swallowing: oral, pharyngeal and esophageal dysphagia
My son has been at BDI for over a year now and I can’t say enough great things! when we walk in, every therapist and receptionist greets him by name! He is always happy to go and we have seen great progress with both his physical and language needs. We have personally recommended BDI to several friends and colleagues looking for top notch therapies!”