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Understanding what your toddler is saying

by Maxine
Posted January 4 2012 08:36pm
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Learning to talk is a gradual process. It's common for a child's speech to become less clear as she tries to use more words with more difficult sounds, because these require more effort and motor control.

Your child may in fact end up saying as little as possible during different stages of learning to talk, or he may begin to act up, out of his frustration at not being able to communicate the way he'd like.

It is very important for parents to pay close attention to their child's attempts to communicate, and to encourage these attempts. Here are some tips to use if you're having trouble understanding what your child is trying to say:

If you don't understand what your child is saying, encourage her to repeat it by saying things like "Tell me again" or "Tell me more."

If you got part of what your child said, repeat the part that you understood, and ask him to fill in the missing parts.

Watch your child closely. Watch for eye movements or gestures that might give you a hint about what she is trying to say.

You can also ask your child for help, and make it appear like you're having trouble hearing by saying things like "I didn't quite hear that" and ask him to say it again.

If after all of your attempts, you still can't understand what your child is trying to tell you, you may have to apologetically say that you do not understand.

Usually children's speech improves over time. But if you are concerned that your child's speech isn't improving or if your child keeps acting up out of frustration over not being able to be understood, you may want to discuss this with your child's doctor or call the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists at 1-800-259-8519, and they will guide you to an appropriate referral.

Do you ever have trouble understanding what your child is trying to say? Share your experience with other parents by leaving a comment below!

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Encouraging your toddler to share

by Maxine
Posted December 16 2010 07:00pm
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Does your child ever have trouble sharing? If so, you’re definitely not alone. Our experts have come up with several suggestions for helping your toddler learn to share.

Be a role model. If you share and take turns with your child, he will experience how nice it is to have someone share with him, and will learn to do the same thing with others.

Try to let your child have enough space to play beside another child, but make room for her own toys and activities. When children are very young, it's a good idea to have duplicate toys to make everybody happy. Allow your child to think of a toy as "mine, mine, mine!" but also acknowledge your child when she lets someone else take a turn. Describe how the other child feels when she shares, such as, "Johnny is so happy you gave him a turn with the ball."

Be a guide. If your child wants a toy another child has, help him find some other interesting toy or activity in the meantime, to help him learn to wait.

Be patient. Know that it takes time for children to be ready to share, so don't expect your child to be too generous too soon. And certainly don't punish her for not sharing or taking turns. You want sharing to be a happy experience - not something your child feels forced to do.

At about three years old, help your child sort it out with other children if an argument develops over a toy. This will give him the skills to eventually work things out himself.

And finally, until you feel your child can handle them, avoid situations with too many children. They can be overwhelming if a child is in the middle of an "all mine" stage.

 

How do you teach your toddler share? What techniques have worked for you? Leave a comment below and share your experience with parents just like you!

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How do toddlers learn to share?

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 03:26pm
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Knowing how to share is an important skill for getting along with others, but parents shouldn't expect a child to really understand "sharing" until age four.

It's not surprising that it takes time to be able to share. There is a lot to learn. Children have to be able to control their impulse to grab something. They have to be able to see another child's point of view, understand time well enough to feel that it's okay to wait for what they want and be able to talk enough to sort out who gets what, and when.

Toddlers just know that they want something, and they want it now. Toddlers first have to develop a sense of who they are, and then start to learn about ownership of things. Even though toddlers enjoy being near other children, and even want to do the same thing, they still want their own space and toys. It's all part of learning that they're individuals, and that they're important. Toddlers seem to have unique rules of ownership, such as, "I didn't want it until you had it" or "It's mine because I want it." 

If by age four your child still doesn't cooperate with others, and is hostile, it's best to get some help. Consult your child's physician for referrals to appropriate family services in your area.

 

How did you encourage your toddler to share? Leave a comment below and let other parents know your tips for this parenting challenge.

 

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Inspiring your toddler's creativity

by Maxine
Posted August 8 2011 03:04pm
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You don’t need to spend a lot of money to inspire your child’s creativity. Being creative doesn’t have to start with expensive materials from the toy or art store.

Creating toys and activities for children from recyclable materials or "beautiful junk" is important for two reasons:

  • Common household materials are an inexpensive way to provide play opportunities for young children
  • Children's creativity and thinking skills can be developed at the same time that you are being an environmentally conscious parent

The following list can be used along with scissors, glue, yarn, paint and markers, in order to construct and create anything your child's imagination suggests:

egg cartons
milk cartons (all sizes)
plastic containers, bottles and jugs with lids
boxes (large and small)
aluminum pie plates
styrofoam trays
paper towel and toilet rolls
cardboard tubing
old wrapping paper
road maps
muffin tins
popsicle sticks
old, clean paint brushes
wooden clothes pegs
used envelopes
old Christmas cards
old pantyhose
netting
paint chips/samples
pamphlets
brown paper bags
buttons (all colours, shapes and sizes)
egg shells
coffee cans and lids
empty film canisters
juice lids
carpet samples
spools; ribbon rolls
bottle caps
yarn; ribbons
magazines; catalogues; calendars
cloth scraps of different fabric
leather or suede remnants
lace, trim or rick rack
cardboard
hangers
beads; old jewellery
wood scraps; dowels
discarded wallpaper sample books
inner tubes
pipe lengths
old newsprint

Use recycled materials from around your house to encourage your child’s imagination and creativity while having fun together! Visit the Activity Centre for lots of fun activities that you can do with your child to encourage his creativity. 

What articles from around your house have you used to inspire your child’s creativity? Share your ideas below!

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