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Encouraging your quiet preschooler to speak

by Maxine
Posted August 8 2011 02:39pm
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To help your child to talk more, it's a good idea to talk to her whenever you're together, carrying on a flow of conversation about what you're doing, and about what she is doing. Try to be animated, using gestures and lots of expression in your voice. Emphasize important words and phrases. But you should pause frequently and for what may seem to be a long wait, so your child has a chance to digest what you have said and to respond. It also helps to have lots of books around and to read to your child often.

Try to encourage his talking by asking some open-ended questions (such as "How do you...?" or "What do you think?") or by talking about subjects he is interested in. Sometimes, for very quiet children, a good beginning is to ask him to fill in words in familiar rhymes or stories that they know by heart. Really listen to your child, getting down at his eye level and looking at him when he talks. When playing together, follow your child's lead and talk about what you're playing with.

It may be tough, but try not to get frustrated by what sounds like "baby talk" from your child. And don't correct your child's speech too much. The best thing you can do is set a good example in the way you talk.

If you are concerned that your child is behind in language, you may want to call the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists at 1-800-259-8519.

Do you have a quiet child? Do you find it hard to encourage her to speak? Share your experiences with other parents by leaving a comment below.

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Preventing Tantrums at Home with Comfort, Play & Teach

by Maxine
Posted September 5 2011 04:26pm
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Here are some Comfort, Play & Teach® suggestions for preventing tantrums at home.

Comfort

Ensure your child doesn't become too tired or too hungry. These are the enemies of good behaviour. If your child has had a sleepless night or wasn’t hungry at his last meal, he may become more irritable or cranky. This can put him on the road to a tantrum.

 

Play

Provide stimulating activities for your baby to do when you need to do things that are boring to her. For example, listening to you talk on the telephone is very boring to your young toddler. Try keeping a basket of toys that your child likes close by for just such occasions. Or, try to involve your child in something close by—even though she is not able to help with cooking, cleaning the car or doing the laundry.

 

Teach

Stick to your routines—especially those at the end of the day. The late afternoon and early evening are the “witching hour” in many families. At this time, toddlers are a lot more likely to be hungry and tired. If their routine is disrupted, things can go from bad to worse in the blink of an eye. Have nutritious snacks available in case you get stuck in traffic or dinner is unavoidably delayed. Don’t hold off dinner too long—even if you have to eat without one parent present. When you’re tired, keep the bath, book and bed routine in place. The last thing you need when you are tired is a screaming baby.  

 

 

 

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School and balancing a new routine

by Maxine
Posted August 22 2011 07:17pm
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Starting child care or kindergarten is an important change for both you and your child. It may stir up many different feelings, and will likely affect your daily routine. Here are some suggestions that might help you cope more easily with this new transition and turn it into Comfort, Play & Teach® time!

Comfort

Your child may need reassurance about her new teacher and learning environment. Prepare her for the new experience by talking about it ahead of time, and if possible, visit the new classroom and meet the teacher. School will seem more familiar that way, and going there each day may be easier.

Encourage your child to participate in daily tasks like choosing the clothing he will wear to school the next day. Routines can provide him with a sense of predictability and security by enabling him to anticipate what will happen, and will give him some needed control over the new situation.

PLAY

Both you and your child will have busy days now and will need opportunities just to relax and enjoy each other's company! Remember to set aside special time to go to the library, play at the park, bake blueberry muffins, dance to music or to simply cuddle up together and talk about the best part of your day.

Provide your child with items she will need for playing school with her dolls. She will enjoy showing them how to colour, looking at books, singing the alphabet song, and printing with chubby pencils! Role playing school experiences will help her gain confidence as she practices all the new skills she is learning.

TEACH

Before bed time, relax and read books together like Franklin Goes to School (by Paulette Bourgeois) or Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten (by Joseph Slate). The words and pictures describe typical experiences at school, and will give your child a chance to ask questions and perhaps work out his fears.

Share some of your favourite memories of school with your child. Show him school pictures and tell stories about your classroom, teachers and friends. He can compare similarities and differences between your school experience and his. Most importantly, he will learn that you were once a child and that you understand what he is experiencing now.

How do you balance new routines with your preschooler? Was it hard to get a new routine in place when he started school? Share you experience with other parents by leaving a comment below.

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Your toddler and learning more than one language

by Maxine
Posted January 4 2012 01:48pm
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Fortunately, most young children can learn two or more languages as they grow up, especially in the years before they go to school. They might show slight delays in vocabulary growth in each language at first, because they are learning two or more sets of words at once. But by the time they have reached grade five, they often have a more advanced knowledge of language than other children who speak only one language.

When a child is learning two languages, she may mix words from both languages into her sentences, but she will eventually learn to separate the languages correctly.

You should go ahead and speak the language you are comfortable with to your child. It's also good to read to him in that language, and use it when you are playing with him, as well.

And remember, it's much better to speak to your child in your native language often than to talk very little because you think you should only speak in English or only French, and you aren't comfortable doing so.

Click here for more on teaching your toddler to speak two languages.

Do you speak more than one language at home? Are you encouraging your toddler to speak both? Post a comment and share your strategies with other parents.

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