When your child begins to ask question it is certainly the cutest thing on Earth! It might not even start as the word and they may just hold their hands up as if to ask where. They are basically copying what they see us do. In order to promote questions such as “where” things or people need to disappear!
We find that using naturally occurring opportunities is always a great way to target “where”. Let’s say in your household one parent goes to work in the morning and you practice saying “Bye Bye”… after that person leaves ask “Where did ____ go?”. The more consistent you are with your language, the more likely they will try to imitate it and then ultimately say it independently. Also, do not hesitate to talk about where Mommy and Daddy actually are. They of course do not fully understand the concept of work, shopping, errands, etc. yet, but it’s teaching them that when people ask “where” it is referring to a place. It also helps give them a sense of time and routine (e.g. – we run errands in the afternoon).
And there are of course the millions of language opportunities that you can intentionally create, which is great for practicing object permanence. For instance, you can keep it simple and use a blanket and have a block disappear under the blanket and then ask “where” while also doing a confused gesture. You can also do more involved activities such as creating a sensory bin filled with rice, beans, grass, leaves, etc. Hide some of their favorite objects inside or magnets, animals, shapes, letters, etc. Before looking you can model “where” once again and then comment on what you find within the sensory bin. It’s a great vocabulary building activity!
By now your child is probably following lots of basic 1-step commands such as “give me”, “sit down”, “come here”, so you can begin making it more difficult for them while keeping it fun at the same time.
Use books such as “First 100 Words” where there are multiple items on one page and ask them to “Point to the duck” out of a field of 8 for example. You can even put out an array of toy items… let’s say animals. Tell them to “Pick up the cat and give it me”. These are great basic 2-step commands to work on and you can use gestures (e.g. – open hand cue) as necessary. Try giving them more vague commands such as “Let’s take a bath” without using any gestures. Keep the wording the same and your schedule consistent. If you use the same vocabulary your child is going to recognize the phrase and is more apt to listen.
And of course remember to praise them for what they exactly did. Instead of just saying “Good job” you can say “Good giving the bear to mommy” or “Great throwing the garbage into the trash”. It’s also great to generalize the directions. If your child is cleaning up in class independently when they see the teacher bring out the empty bin, try doing the same thing at home!
Check out our article on Mommy Bites BOO! Top 5 NYC Halloween Picks
Halloween is definitely one of our favorite holidays of the year as speech pathologists. We do tons of activities with our children like carving pumpkins, making pumpkin pie, creating spooky decorations, and more!
And since we live in one of the greatest cities in the world, we are lucky to have a ton of fun Halloween events to choose from. Let the celebrations begin!
As many of you know by now you’re kiddo is non-stop on the go! We want them to explore those gross motor skills and really improve on them. Have them engage in the activities below while you talk about the actions (e.g. – climb, walk, crawl, throw, etc.). Support your child in being active! The more they explore their world… the more they learn!
– Put cushions around the couch so they can climb up and down without getting hurt
– Put items in boxes and have them push it
– Put them in a big cardboard box and push them around
– Put heavier items in a bag and have them carry it across the room
– Create an obstacle course (e.g. – crawling through cones and then shooting a basketball)
– Find a set of steps for them to practice climbing up
Now that your toddler is crawling and walking all about this is the best time to try a few unique experiences with them. Before you head out, think of some target words that you want them to learn throughout the experience. For instance, if you are going to a farm you can name farm animals, the food that is in season, actions that the animals are doing, novel words such as wagon or flowers, etc. Here are a few fun places we think encourage the most language… they might not be new to us, but for them it’s very exciting! Let your kids explore and go wild – of course without getting into any trouble!
– Amusement Park
– Fire Station
– Post Office
– Toy Store
Our opinion on second (sometimes even third or fourth!) languages is the earlier the better! The sooner you expose your child to the sounds, words, and intonation of a language the more likely they will become fluent in the language. This is because it becomes second nature speaking the language since the sound system is ingrained in them. For them to be able to possibly hold a basic or even advanced conversation in the country of their ancestors in the future is such a valuable experience! Many people ask us if bilingualism causes language delays and the answer is NO! If a child has an expressive and receptive language delay it is in both languages. Yes, children learning more than one language at a time might be slower in acquiring language, but that is just because they are processing more simultaneously. They can present with a >25% delay during testing, which is considered normal.
Research says that if your child has a language delay greater than 25% to stick to one language, but this is of course determined on a case by case basis. We advise parents to pick the language they are strongest in to nurture their child’s development – you want them to learn appropriate vocabulary, grammar, and even slang/sayings that sound natural. Often children catch up around 2-3 years of age and are proficient in both languages by age 5. Some parents choose to get speech therapy not due to a delay, but if they want to see an increase in language and vocabulary – it is always an option! Overall, culture and backgrounds are a beautiful thing… and we encourage people to embrace where they are from since it adds so much meaning to our lives!