24 Months – Narrating One’s Own Actions During Play

Roman lining up his toys in pretend play Your child has come to a point where they can play independently and it is time for them to join their play with words. At first, they may be labeling objects they’re picking up or see. Let’s say they’re in their play kitchen and they say “banana”. You can expand on it by creating a phrase “Let’s PEEL the banana”. Emphasize novel words and unique parts of a phrase to allow it to stand out to your child.  

It’s all about input they are receiving. The more verbal modeling that you provide during play, everyday errands, etc. the more likely they are to start narrating their own actions. Feel free to initiate structured play with them.  For instance, grab a tea set and start setting it up by saying phrases such as “Here’s a plate”. Then, take the teapot and say “Pouring tea”, pretend to drink it and say “Drinking tea” or “Wow!  It’s hot!”, etc.  

Another alternative is to chime in when they have already initiated play with an item on their own. “Oh the car is going up up up the garage!”, “The car needs gas!”, “We’re driving fast!”, etc.  They do not have to repeat everything you are saying, but you are giving their actions words and meaning. You are also adding new vocabulary to their repertoire.  For example, they may already know “car”, but “gas” might be a new word. To give it extra meaning, talk about getting gas when you’re actually at the gas station.  Real life situations will encourage them to make more connections and make them more apt to using new words and longer phrases when on their own.  

20 Months – How to Make Movies a Learning Experience

Roman watching frozen We know screen time is not a favorite in many households, but we personally love movies!  Yes, your child may not understand everything at this age, but they are focused enough where they can watch at least part of a movie that is interesting to them.  Movies have characters, settings, themes, plots, etc.  Judging by the music and acting, your child will begin to know when to be scared vs. when to laugh when someone is being silly.  It’s a great way to develop a sense of humor, labeling of characters/actions/feelings, etc.                                                                              

At first you can start off with a book or even Google images of the characters to introduce it to them.  Go over their names (e.g. – “Olaf”), what they look like (e.g. – “He’s made of snow”)… whatever stands out so they can learn new language.  And the movie can be shown as a treat – perhaps during the weekend when the weather isn’t so nice!  

Roman eating corn watching frozen While watching the movie comment on the characters, what you see, the actions going on, the problem, how the characters are feeling, how the problem was resolved, etc.  At this age you can keep your words and phrases basic.  All of this input will allow your child to understand that there is a sequence to the movie  – beginning, middle, and end.  We followed up our movie watching with movie-related toys.  For instance, after watching Frozen we got Frozen bath toys so we can act out scenes from the movie and comment on the characters.  Some of our other recent favorite movies include: The Good Dino, Cinderella, Minions, and The Peanuts Movie.  Enjoy with some popcorn! 

Hands-On Speech & Social Development Workshop Series

We are very excited to announce that we are teaming up with @six_degreesofmom to bring to you the Exclusive Hands-On Speech & Social Development Workshop Series. It’s a 3-day workshop for Moms & Babies (6-14 months) and Moms & Toddlers (15-24 Months). We will focus on functional activities for #expressivelanguage #receptivelanguageand #play!

Moms & Babies (6-14 months) 

11 AM -12 PM Wednesdays (6-14 months)

2/24   Week 1:  Functional Activities for Expressive Language.  Imitation and turn-taking with sounds and motor actions (clapping, arms up), teaching gestures (waving, shaking head “no”), how to use sounds to request, how to encourage babbling/jargon/first words, going over “first sounds” (m, b, p) and tactile cues you can use on the face.

3/2 Week 2:  Functional Activities for Receptive Language.  How to get your baby to respond to their name, encouraging recognition of common words/people (shoe, ball, mama), following simple commands (“give me”) and basic concepts (“no”, “hot”).

3/9  Week 3:  Functional Activities for Social Skills/Play.  How to teach functional play (banging a drum), playing social games such as “peek a boo” and “hide and seek”.

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Toddlers (15-24 months)

11 AM -12 PM Fridays (15-24 Months)

2/26 Week 1:  Functional Activities for Expressive Language.  How to encourage sounds effects (animal sounds) and common first words (“milk”, “juice”, “me”, “bye”, “hi”,” no”), promote 2-word phrases (“mama juice”, “daddy up”), teach intonation for basic questions, going over normal articulation errors (final consonant deletion)

3/4 Week 2:  Functional Activities for Receptive Language.  How to follow 1-2 step basic and more complex commands (“Give me the ball” to “Take the book and give it to mommy”), learning body parts, identifying common objects in the environment, answering basic questions such as “What’s that?”, teaching basic quantity concepts “one” (“give me one block”)

3/11 Week 3:  Functional Activities for Social Skills/Play.  How to teach self-directed play (feeding mommy with a spoon), encourage relational play (puts passenger in car and pushes it, uses spoon to feed baby doll), pretend play performing action sequences (kisses the doll and then puts doll to bed), parallel play, importance of problem-solving toys (stacking blocks, shape sorter, nesting cups,), problem solving when an object is missing (let’s mix the food, but no spoon is provided), encouraging a sense of humor, favorite turn-taking activities (rolling the ball back and forth).

Sign-up requires a member referral so anyone who wants to join they can email invite@sixdegreesofmom.com with your name and Six Degress of Mom will send to you the JOIN instructions.

West Village NYC Workshop Series held by www.sixdegreesofmom.com

19 Months 1 Week – Making Reading Interactive

Roman loves reading Reading time! It’s a time where we all chill, get cozy, and grab one of your favorite tales! Yes, it’s true some children, even at this age, do not like to sit for long periods of time. But we have found that if you find a book that really motivates a child, you can get them to sit for at least a few minutes. For instance, in our household it’s mainly dinosaurs or anything related to animals for that matter!

When children get hooked on a book, they love when you read it to them over and over. Repetition like we’ve talked about before is key! At this age they may even request “read”, “book”, or “read book”. Some may even be able to tell you what book they want.  

Once they become familiar with a book you can begin to make it a very interactive experience!  You can start by modeling language that is not in the book. For instance, draw attention to other items you see that the story does not mention – “Oh look I see a kite in the sky!”. You can also ask simple “what” questions such as “What is that?” or “Who is that?”, especially if you know it’s a word that they know so that they can be intrinsically rewarded when they answer.  

As your child gains more language you can ask more complex questions such as “How is the weather?”, “Where are they going?”, “Why is he sad?”, etc. When they get older, you can have them predict what comes next, recall what happened in the story, or ask them to tell you about their favorite part of the story. Remember – keeping questions open-ended will get the most language out of your children!

19 Months – Building on “Me “My” or “Mine”

Roman with his turkeyWe recently had a blog post about first toddler phrases.  Another common toddler phrase includes the word “me, “my” or “mine”.  Toddlers are of course very egocentric and their whole world is centered around themselves!  Me me me!  Therefore, it makes sense as to why one of their first words is usually “me”, “my” or “mine”.  

Once your child produces “me, “my” or “mine”, it’s a great word to build upon to produce basic 2-3 word phrases.  We advise parents to start with desirable items such as a toy or bottle.  For instance, my son loves horses, so in that case I would pretend to take his horse or withhold it to give him a chance to say “my horse”.  You can also model a phrase by taking something and saying it’s yours.  

Once they get the concept you can go onto other opportunities.  For instance, it could be things that they need like “shoes”.  When you go outside, you can hold their shoes and give them a chance to say “my shoes”.  You can even show them yours and say “mommy’s shoes” or “daddy’s shoes”.  You can also use it with their favorite people such as “my mommy”.  There are endless ways to teach 2-3 word phrases.