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Help! My preschooler doesn’t like to speak!

by Maxine
Posted January 3 2012 01:31pm
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Some children seem quiet and reluctant to talk. Some don't naturally and easily use language to express their needs and wants, to comment on things, to get information or to entertain others. Other children may use language comfortably, but only in familiar situations. Being quiet in new situations is very common in children, particularly young ones. But you may be concerned that your child is too quiet, too much of the time.

There are many reasons that a child may be reluctant to speak. Two fairly common reasons are:

  • When placed in a new situation, your child may be worried about what to do, or be concerned about being away from home or from parents. For a child, deciding not to speak is one way to feel some control over an unfamiliar, somewhat scary situation.
  • Your child may feel pressured or embarrassed to speak, like the fear that many of us feel of talking in front of a crowd.

 

The important thing to remember is that your child isn't trying to embarrass you by not cooperating, or "acting dumb." She is just dealing with the situation as best as she can, so be patient and understanding. If the situation doesn't improve, or gets worse - for example, you notice your child only talks to one parent, or not at all while at day care - it's time to get some help. Consult your child's physician, or call the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists at 1-800-259-8519.

Does your child refuse to speak? Does she start talking after warming up to new people? Leave a comment below and share you experiences with other parents who are just like you!

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Travelling during the holidays with your preschooler

by Maxine
Posted January 3 2012 08:13pm
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A long car ride to visit a family member can be stressful but it is also a wonderful opportunity for parents and children to enjoy each other’s company. Capitalize on this time to laugh and play games. This will not only make a tedious journey more entertaining but you will also get a better understanding of how your child is thinking and what is important to her.

When you let your child take the lead in suggesting or inventing her own play activities you are sending an important message. Following rather than always directing tells her that you like and respect her ideas. This will encourage her to continue thinking and making more decisions. Here are some ideas for interactive play for you and your child during the drive:

  • Guessing games – these games encourage young children to observe and think about how objects function in their environment as well as give practice in language. You start off the game but then let your child take the lead so that you have to guess what’s in her mind. Some examples include:
    • “I Spy with My Little Eye – something that is blue”
    • “I’m thinking of something that starts with the letter ‘A’ ”
    • “I’m a spoon – what am I used for?”
  • Storytelling – listening to a story without a picture book takes a lot of concentration and imagination. Create your own story together by starting off with “Once upon a time there was a girl who…”. Invite your child to add a sentence to the story. Respond with a new sentence and keep this pattern going until your child has had enough of story creating.
  • Creating silly rhymes – use the “phonic families” to devise funny sentences, e.g. the cat sat on a hat looking for a bat; the goat put on his coat and swam to the boat which wouldn’t float.
  • Counting – understanding the concepts of numbers takes a lot of concrete practice. Ask how many cars of a particular colour can she count? Let her choose the colour and help her when she gets lost with the sequence of numbers; ask your child what else would she like to count as she is looking out the window?
  • Reading signs – point out common signs that your preschooler may be aware of and beginning to recognize such as “Stop” or “Exit”.
  • Singing songs – encourage your child to pick her favourite tunes and sing together. Also, bring favourite tapes to listen to in the car.
  • Talking – seize this opportunity to have a conversation about things that you don’t always have time for, e.g. who she likes to play with at school/child care; what is her favourite thing to do during the day at school/child care; what was something funny that happened this week? The topics are endless and allow your child to give you a glimpse into her life.

How do you keep your children occupied in the car? Do you play games and sing songs? Share your travelling experiences with other parents by posting a comment below!

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Encouraging your preschooler to eat healthy

by Maxine
Posted December 20 2010 11:46am
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How can you get your preschooler to enjoy healthy foods? Here are some suggestions from our experts:

Establish a routine for meals and snacks. Try to feed your child at times when he is alert, and not too tired to eat or cooperate.

Use a variety of foods from the four food groups. Remember that children, like adults, have their own likes and dislikes, which may change over time. If your child will not eat certain foods (such as yellow vegetables) try to "hide them" in a soup or casserole.

Involve your child in the food preparation. For example, he can help to set the table, or pour and mix ingredients - your child will feel so proud of his participation, that he will be more likely to eat what he has helped to prepare.

Serve new foods alongside familiar foods. This encourages your child to enjoy eating a variety of foods and establish good manners.

Create a pleasant environment for your child at mealtime. Make sure she is comfortable (for example, young children will usually need a booster seat).

Set reasonable expectations, such as a realistic sense of how long your child can sit at one time, or the amount of food that he can eat during a meal or snack time. 

Try not to show anxiety about what foods your child is or is not eating. Children learn quickly that food can be used as a weapon for getting their way.

Don't forget that children's appetites vary. Children should eat to satisfy their hunger, not to gain anyone's approval.

Try to sit and eat as a family. This establishes mealtimes as pleasant social occasions.

Offer your child the same food that everyone else at the table is eating, as long as it is age-appropriate.

Present food in a form your child can cope with at her level of skill and independence. Using child-sized, unbreakable utensils, dishes and cups will help encourage your child to develop the skills she needs to learn to feed herself.

Understand that children need practice. Using a spoon, fork and cup with control and confidence takes years of practice.

Remember that children tend to be messy. They may eat with their fingers and hands, spill things and can be easily distracted.

Limit the number of choices at a meal as too many choices can be overwhelming. Foods that are rejected by your child should be re-introduced at a later time.

Involve your child in making decisions about meals so his likes are reflected in the menu. Try to always include one thing your child likes eating.

Buy or make a placemat for your child's place at the table. 

How do you encourage your preschooler to eat healthy? What have you found works best for your family? Share your experience with other parents by leaving a comment below!

 

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Helping your preschooler stop wetting the bed

by Maxine
Posted December 22 2010 05:30pm
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Here are several strategies from our experts that you can try to help your preschooler stop wetting the bed:

Limit how much your child drinks after dinner especially any drinks with caffeine. Try and limit any fluids two hours before bedtime.

Use training pants and not diapers.  Diapers may interfere with your child’s motivation to get up and use the bathroom. 

Make access to the bathroom easy. Place a nightlight in the bathroom or leave the hall light lit.  

Encourage your child to empty his bladder a second time, just five minutes after the first time, right before bed.

Wake your child during the night to go to the toilet; although, some experts say that if she's not really awake, it's almost like encouraging her to pee while she's sleeping.  

And, place a portable toilet or potty by your child's bed so that if he wakes up and has to go quickly, he can.

Use of rewards and punishments is no longer recommended as an effective way to manage bedwetting.

If the bedwetting continues despite all your efforts, consult your child's doctor for more specific strategies.

 

Did you use any of these strategies to help your preschooler stop wetting the bed? Which ones worked for you? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents.

 

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