Learning

5 Tips to Encourage Communication

Hello again everyone! Today I wanted to talk about some helpful tips i've learned to help start pushing non verbal children to speak out a bit more!

1. Give them time to react

It's natural to want to speed little things up during the day and get answers fast, however non verbal children need time to process and react. If they have a particularly chatty sibling drill this into their minds. What's difficult for us is going to be 10 times more difficult for a child so make sure that they understand when interacting with their sibling to always give them fair time to answer or play and to make their own decisions. 

2. Simplify Your Language

I do not mean baby talk. Using shorter and easily repeatable words along with short and to the point sentences. If you are teaching sign language go ahead and sign while you're communicating with your child, the more practice the better!

3. But also expose them to everything

I am not a particularly chatty person so say for instance a nonverbal child and I are alone by ourselves and we're just kind of in a lull. I read out loud and I will read anything and everything. From a magazine to a Stephen King book (joking), just so every opportunity for them to learn something new is used to its best advantage!

4. Educational technology and videos

My nanny kids have learned many a things from Elmo and car ride podcasts! There are lots of great educational videos about numbers, colors and new words all over the place! Shows that really interact with children on a level where they can repeat and practice while having fun are actually way more helpful than I ever thought they could be! I also love podcasts for in the car because the kids can have so much fun with them. Last week my nanny kids and I learned all about volcanoes and learning about these new things open the doors for new conversations and experiments!

5. Imitate the child

Mimicking the child's noises and play behavior can help them feel heard can do wonders for their confidence as well as encouraging them to speak more. It also encourages them to take turns and work together.

 

That's all from me and thank you so much for reading! If you have any fun games that you like to do or suggestions you'd like to make leave them in the comments below! I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

Until next time! 

Lauren

Learning to Communicate Nonverbally

This post is going to be a little different. It’s not really an advice blog but just more of my experience with first working with kids who have special needs and are nonverbal or typically developing kids who just prefer to communicate through sign language. 

 

 

When I first began working with children who have special needs a big part of my adjustment was learning to slow down and communicate non verbally. Working in childcare, and generally being with toddlers, the kids i’ve watched that have been typically developing talked a mile a minute and so to begin working with kids who have special needs or with kids whose parents taught them sign language at an early age weren’t as talkative as I was used to. 

 

To go from being with toddlers and kids who are able to communicate their needs quickly and loudly to kids who communicate through sign or actions was a bit of an adjustment. The first big problem I had that frustrated me was not being able to know the child’s needs quickly. It’s different going from a child talking a mile a minute and telling you what they need versus having to ask and not get a verbal answer. My first experience with having to watch a child who was nonverbal was frustrating not because I was annoyed with the child for not being able to tell me anything but with myself because at the time I didn’t know any sign language or how to be able tell from the child’s actions what they needed. As a nanny it’s my job to keep my charges safe and happy and to feel like I couldn’t do that to the best of my capability made me want to pull my hair out, to say the least. 

 

One of my biggest help in being able to build my confidence and patience was watching the kids interact with other sitters and take note of the kinds of questions and energy that they brought around the kids. I would never want a child to feel uncomfortable with me or feel like i’m not understanding them so it was comforting to see other caretakers going through the same round of questions and having to figure out what the child needed. Another was forcing myself to learn the basic sign language signs and practice it with my kids. Since sign sort of turns into the best way for them to learn new words teaching them new vocabulary with sign language was a great way in helping them learn new things and building up our communication. 

It still gets tricky sometimes but looking back on my nanny life from when i've started i've made huge progress and just thought i'd share. Until next time, thanks for reading!

 

-Lauren 

Education for Toddlers

Hey there guys! I have decided to start an "Education for Toddlers" series. I am a huge education advocate. I feel it is important to insert learning as much as you can and start young! Learning can be so fun, and we have to instill that mindset in children. So, these post will be about the different ways I have incorporated fun learning for toddlers! (We all know that can be difficult with their small attention spans!)

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So, last Friday I took L & S to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts to see the exhibit called "The Shadow Monsters." It was SO COOL! The kids loved it and I honestly had a great time. We also went and saw another exhibit called "Haslbsburg Splendor." It had cool pieces from Vienna's Imperieal Collections.

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Always trying to take his things! 

Always trying to take his things! 

So after going through both exhibits, there was a little shop with things you could buy. L saw this huge monster puzzle and of course had to have it. He absolutely LOVES puzzles and for a 3 year-old, he does them pretty fast! So we bought it and went home. Last night we pulled the puzzle out for the first time and I was blown away. It was the perfect learning puzzle. All of the monsters were a letter of the alphabet. So, to put it together, I had L recite the alphabet song every time to figure out the next letter. Then he had to find it and put it together.

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After saying it so many time I actually had him pronouncing L, M, N, O, P. Instead of sounding like he switched to Spanish! He did not even get bored until about letter W. And that is only because Kate and Mim Mim came on. This puzzle was awesome. It stimulated his brain and went over his letter recognition. Perfect! My advice is to always incorporate learning in something you KNOW they love to do. Then throughout the activity, pump them up and encourage them. I tell L, "WOW! You are so smart!" He then gets so confident it pushes him to go further. 

 

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 So, as you can see, he was proud of his puzzle and it was so much fun! Until next time guys!

-Brooklyn