21 Months 2 Weeks – Asking “Where” Questions

Roman playing 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!  

16 Months 1 Week – Increase Complexity in Commands

Roman sitting. 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.                                                                                                                                                                                         

Roman picking up toys. 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!

BOO! Top 5 NYC Halloween Picks

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!

14th Months – Keeping Up with Your Active Child

TAG 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

Roman with obstacle course.– Create an obstacle course (e.g. – crawling through cones and then shooting a basketball)

Roman climbing stairs.– Find a set of steps for them to practice climbing up

13 Months 3 Weeks -Unique Experiences for Toddlers that Encourage Language

TAGNow 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!             

Roman at the zoo watching seals. 

 

 

– Amusement Park                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

– Fire Station

– Museums

– Playgrounds

– Post Office

Roman at FAO toy store. 

 

 

– Toy Store                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Roman in supermarket 

 

– Supermarket                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Roman at the zoo watching seals. 

 

– Zoos                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Roman at resturant with family.  

 

-Restaurant

10 Months 1 Week – Bilingualism

Persian blocksOur 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.  

Roman in Persian classResearch 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!

10 Months – Ways to Promote Self-Feeding

10 Months Picture At this age your child should be trying to feed himself/herself with his/her fingers. They can also be exploring how to use spoons and forks during mealtime.  Once they are more independent during meals, it makes your life easier – except for the initial mess of course!  However, the more confident they get with feeding the better their motor skills become which equals less mess.

Here are some tips to promote self-feeding…

Roman with fingerfood1)  Be a model for your child – Have them sit with you and eat as a family.  If they see how you pick up food with your fingers or with your fork and spoon, the more likely they are going to do it!  We love attaching the Inglesina Fast Table Chair on the table – that way he really becomes a part of mealtime instead of in his own space in a clunky high chair.  You can even bring it with you to restaurants and on vacation – it fits on almost any table!

Roman with fork2)  Don’t be afraid to physically prompt your child – Choose a time where they are in a good mood and with one of their favorite foods.  You can take their fingers to teach them how to refine their pincer grasp, or take their hand and have them scoop with a spoon, and even have them use a fork to stab the food items.  We personally love Beaba Spoon and Fork Set utensils for kiddos! They are easy to use and come in lots of colors ☺ Num Num Dips are also a great stepping stone to actual utensils since your babies can stick them into thin and thick foods and feed themselves!

3)  Create opportunities – The trick is to always give them the opportunity to self-feed!  Cut up food so that it is possible to grab with their hand (e.g. – bell peppers sliced the longer way) or stab with a fork.  Present them with consistencies such as yogurt, soup, and rice, so they can scoop with a spoon.

4)  Praise – Give you child positive language along with some clapping if they try to self-feed.  If they see you are excited they are likely to do the same behavior again and will gradually improve!

We wish your families smooth and delicious mealtimes!! ☺

9 Months 1 Week – Baby Sign Language

Roman pointing Babies communicate in many ways – through vocalizations, babbling, gesturing, pointing, jargon, and first words!  Teaching children baby sign language gives them yet another way to communicate with family members and peers.  Much of the research that involves baby sign language proves that it actually encourages infants and toddlers to speak.   Imitating motor actions such as sign language is a stepping-stone to verbal production of the same word.  The best way to get your kiddos talking is to give them some key signs to learn.  You can start by visually modeling them and then creating opportunities where they can use the sign.  With repetition of the sign, your children are likely to imitate you, then spontaneously use it, and ultimately say the corresponding word independently!  Here are our top picks below!

MORE – one of the most common signs learned early on since it is easy to imitate; during mealtime, playtime, etc. try withholding items so that your child has the chance to ask for “more” (e.g. – try not to give all the Cheerios at once, but a couple at a time so they can sign “more”).

MILK – great sign since it is their main/favorite drink, especially their first year of life; anytime you present it have your child request it by signing “milk”.

EAT – teach your child to associate the “eat” sign with mealtime by modeling it before you feed them in their high chair; they will ultimately learn that it corresponds to being hungry.

DRINK – model this sign before you give your child any liquids to show them how they can request something to drink.

SLEEP – model this sign before nap time or bedtime to show your children how they can tell you that they are tired and ready for bed.

ALL DONE – this is a perfect sign to learn early on so that your child can tell you he or she is finished; children know when they are full or when they are no longer interested in an activity; you can even model it at the end of story time, bath, music class, etc.

WANT – as speech therapists this is often our “go to” sign since we want children to request; it often leads to basic 2-word phrases such as “want juice” too; instead of doing the sign you can even tap your chest and teach them “gimme” when you have presented them with a motivating item.

MOM/DAD – children will often begin babbling “mamama” and “dadada” early on and they gradually learn to call you these specific names when they see you respond and get excited; these signs also give them another way to let you know you are needed and can lead to exact production of the words.

HELP – items may break, not open, not close, be too high up, etc. during the day and your child needs to have a way to request assistance; try creating opportunities to work on “help” (e.g. – closing a bottle tightly so they cannot open it independently, placing motivating items on a high shelf they cannot reach, take batteries out of toy, etc.) Depending on your child’s interests some of our other favorites are ball, car, dog, cat, etc.  Some families teach their children polite markers such as please and thank you.  We’ve even seen children learn the phrase “I love you” early on because they learned how to sign the phrase as babies.  Here is a website below that goes over the top signs!  Happy signing!

Baby Sign Language