7 Ways to End Bedtime Battles

Bedtime battles are a common issue among many parents with young children. However, putting your child to bed atend bedtime battles night can become an enjoyable time where you can wind down and spend some quality time with your child. By following a few simple guidelines, the bedtime routine can turn into a more enjoyable experience for the whole family.

7 Tips for a Smooth Bedtime:

  1. Keep the Time for Bed Consistent, and Create a Nightly Routine to Follow – Children respond really well to routines, and it will help them learn what is expected each night.  It will also make the whole bedtime process easier for everyone.
  2. Avoid the Use of Electronics the Last Hour Leading Up to Bedtime – Instead of your child playing video games or watching a movie, have her engage in more calming activities such as reading, coloring or taking a bath before bed.
  3. Gradually Transition Into Bedtime – Do not suddenly tell your child that it is time for bed. Instead, give warnings that bedtime is approaching starting about 45 minutes before she needs to be asleep, and then remind your child again 15 minutes before she needs to be asleep.  Continue to give warnings right until it’s time for bed.  If your child does not yet fully understand the concept of time, you can use a timer to help.
  4. Always Remain Firm but Calm – Never negotiate when you child does not want to go to bed, or if your child gets out of bed repeatedly. Calmly tell your child that it is time for sleep, and lead her back to her bed. In this situation, the less talking, the better.
  5. Adjust Nap Schedules if Necessary – If you notice that your child does not appear tired during her regular bedtime, consider adjusting her nap schedule or eliminating naps altogether.
  6. Give Your Child Choices During the Bedtime Routine – When children have choices, it gives them some degree of control.  This sense of control is likely to make them more compliant. Examples of choices that can be given at bedtime include what books to read, which pajamas to wear, or how many stuffed animals to keep in bed.
  7. Teach Your Child to Fall Asleep Alone in Her Own Bed -These are good skills to teach at an early age.  If your child begins to fall asleep only when a parent is in the room, or only when she is in her parent’s bed, this can become a habit that is difficult to break. Teaching independent sleep early will help alleviate many future bedtime struggles.

Click here for advice on how to deal with night terrors.  For more information on healthy sleep habits, contact our behavior therapy team.

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3 Tips for Promoting Speech and Language Development in Children: Ages 0-3

Ages 0-3 are critical for learning and mastering speech and language. Some babies and toddlers initiate talking earlier speech and language developmentthan others.  If you are looking to encourage speech and language in your little one, read on for easy guidelines to help promote speech and language for young children.

3 Tips for promoting Speech and Language Development in children 0-3 years of age:

1. Use Simple Language:

  • Short sentences are easier to understand and allow your child to pick up the important pieces of the message.
  • Talk about what you are doing as you go about your day. It is easier for a child to pick up new language if he can see or hear the object or action as he is exposed to the vocabulary. Read more

Coconut Oil: Facts and Uses

Coconut oil has become popular, especially for its uses in cooking. Coconut oil has some unique properties that coconut oil facts and usesdifferentiate it from other types of oil. Here are some interesting facts about coconut oil and ways to use this food.

Coconut Oil Facts and Uses:

  • It is one of the only plant sources of fat that is solid at room temperature.
  • Coconut oil is very high in medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are absorbed from the stomach straight into the bloodstream. Other long chain fats require a more involved digestive process and are absorbed and transported via the lymphatic system. This is helpful for people with problems digesting fat. It can also be a good source of calories in some people with inflammatory digestive issues.
  • Medium chain triglycerides are “oxidized,” or metabolized, rapidly in the liver which means they have a low tendency to be stored as adipose tissue (fat) on the body.
  • It can be used in place of butter or margarine in many recipes, especially when baking sweets, since it has a slight coconut flavor.
  • Coconut oil can be used to grease baking pans instead of other hydrogenated products.
  • It can be used in place of other cooking oils when stir frying or pan frying various foods.
  • Because it is plant-derived, coconut oil is vegan and can replace animal-based fats in recipes. Read more

How Fast Should My Child Be Reading?

Reading is fundamental to academic success. Children spend hours from preschool to third grade learning how to read. From third grade on, childrenreading speed spend hours reading to learn new subject material. As a Pediatric Speech Therapist, I’ve been asked the following question: My child is an accurate reader, but seems to read more slowly than his peers.  Should I be concerned?  For reference, Hasbrauck and Tindal (2006) published reading norms for grades 1-8. The following is a general rule for the number of accurately read words produced in a minute by a young reader by grade.

Reading Norms | Words Read per Minute by Grade:

  • By the end of Grade 1, your child should be reading approximately 53 words correctly per minute.
  • By the end of Grade 2, your child should be reading approximately 89 words correctly per minute.
  • By the end of Grade 3, your child should be reading approximately 107 words correctly per minute.
  • By the end of Grade 4, your child should be reading approximately 123 words correctly per minute. Read more

Helping Your Child Produce the /K/ Sound at Home

As toddlers are developing their speech and language skills, there are a number of articulation errors that are typical. A common articulation error that speech therapya 2-year old may make is substituting the /t/ sound for /k/. For example, the child may say “tat” for “cat,” “tar” for “car” or “bite” for “bike.” By the age of 3, however, accurate production of the /k/ sound should be emerging in a typically developing child.

The /k/ sound is called a “velar consonant,” meaning it is produced in the back of the mouth, with the back of the tongue elevating to touch the velum (soft palate). When a child replaces this sound with a /t/, she is “fronting” the sound, which means she is instead lifting the front of her tongue (the tip) to the ridge behind her teeth.

If your child is unable to imitate the /k/ sound, try these tricks at home:

  • Use a mirror. Having the visual support of actually seeing what’s going on in the mouth will help your child.  Explain to your child you will be practicing the “/k/ sound” which is made “in the back of your mouth.”
  • Keep your child’s mouth open, and have her practice a coughing sound. She will feel the back of her tongue naturally elevate. You may need to provide tactile support by gently holding her lower jaw as a reminder to keep her mouth open. Provide positive verbal feedback like, “Great! I heard that sound in the back of your mouth.”
  • Use a popsicle stick to gently hold the front of your child’s tongue down while she tries the /k/ sound in isolation. Prompt her by saying, “Good job! I saw your tongue go up in the back.” Try it again without the stick.
  • Have your child lie on her back on the ground. Her tongue will naturally pull to the back of her mouth in this position. Try the /k/ sound in isolation. Make it fun by lying under a table with the lights off and a flashlight. Stick pictures of objects that have the /k/ sound (e.g. bike, cat, car) on the underside of the table, and practice the /k/ sound by itself every time the flashlight finds a new picture.
  • Once your child is able to imitate /k/ in isolation, practice in syllables (e.g. “key, “coo,” “kah”) and then the initial position of words (e.g. “can,” “cow,” “cat,” “carrot”). The /k/ sound may need to be separated from the rest of the word at first (e.g. “k – ey”) to maintain an accurate /k/ sound, however with continued practice, your child should be able to blend the sounds together.

With a little practice, your child should be producing the /k/ sound in no time!

For ideas on eliciting the /m/ sound in your child’s speech, click here.  If you have concerns regarding your child’s speech production, please consult a licensed speech-language pathologist to complete a full evaluation of skills.

What is Verbal Behavior?

Verbal Behavior (VB) is an Applied Behavior Analytic approach to teaching all skills, including language, to children withautism Autism Spectrum Disorders or other related disorders.  Language is treated as a behavior that can be shaped and reinforced.  This is done with careful attention given to why and how the child is using language.  Verbal Behavior uses similar discrete trial teaching (DTT) techniques such as “SD-response-consequence,” but the approach is slightly different.  VB programming focuses on “manding” (requesting preferred items).  If a child can request what he wants, his world is a better place.  Pairing is also used.  Pairing the table, instructors, and work areas/materials with reinforcement is important to a VB program.

Another key aspect of the VB approach is the idea of “teaching across the operants.” In Verbal Behavior, teaching the child the word “ball” would require several steps.

Steps to teach a Child the Word “Ball” Using Verbal Behavior:

  • The child can “mand” for the ball if they want it.
  • The child can receptively identify the ball (listener responding).
  • The child can expressively identify or label it (tact).
  • The child can match the ball to another ball (matching to sample).
  • The child can perform a motor movement using the ball (motor imitation).
  • The child can answer a question about the ball (intraverbal).
  • The child can repeat the word ball (echoic).
  • The child can identify the ball by it’s feature, function, or class. Read more

What is Pairing? Advice for Pediatric Therapists

Pairing is a very important part of starting a therapy program with a child.  It helps you, as a therapist, build rapport with the child and establish a pairingrelationship.  When working with a child, one of the main things you want to do is pair yourself with fun and reinforcing items.  You want the child to find you, and the environment, exciting and pleasing.  If the child is having fun and likes being with you, then he will be more motivated to come to therapy to work and play.

6 tips to help with pairing:

  1. Play!  When you first meet a child show him the different toys, games, and activities that are available.  Allow him to play with the different items to familiarize himself. Read more

Infant Soy Formula: A Review of Recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Parents often ask me about giving their infant a soy formula when their infant shows signs of difficulty tolerating breast soy formulamilk or cow’s milk based formulas. Soy seems to be a common go-to alternative; however, there are actually only a few scenarios where soy formula is recommended. The American Academy of Pediatrics published a journal article that reviewed the use of soy based infant formulas in 2008. Here is a summary of the main points.

A Review of Infant Soy Formula:

  • Soy formula is not indicated as an alternative for breast milk or for cow’s milk based formulas except in the case of Galactosemia and hereditary lactase deficiency (both are rare diagnoses). Soy formula may also be an option for parents who desire a vegetarian diet for their infant, if breastfeeding is not possible.
  • Soy formula is not indicated for children diagnosed with cow’s milk protein allergy. Instead, an extensively hydrolyzed formula should be considered, because 10-14% of these infants will also be allergic to soy protein. Read more

How to Set Boundaries for Your Baby Without Saying “No”

Parents often ask when they should start teaching babies the word “no.”  In answering this question, it is important tobaby proofing consider things from the baby’s point of view.  Babies from 6 months to 2 years like to chew on things, bang things, take things apart, touch things, and put things in their mouths.  Babies and toddlers use these methods to learn about their world.  While it is tempting to use the word “no” to discipline your baby, there are more effective ways to keep him, and your home, safe.

Tips for Keeping Your Baby Safe Without Using the Word “No”:

  • Baby-proof your home so that your child can be free to touch, crawl or walk around without getting into trouble.
  • Use safety gates.
  • Keep medicines, cleaning supplies, and other dangerous items out of reach of your child or stored in locked cupboards. Read more

Racial Differences in the Diagnosis of ADHD

A recent study published in the June issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics indicated that Caucasian children are more likely to receive a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)ADHD in comparison to minority children.  This study followed more than 17,000 children across the nation from kindergarten through eighth grade and asked their parents whether not their children were ever diagnosed with ADHD.

Findings-Racial Differences in the Diagnosis of ADHD:

The researchers found that Hispanic and Asian children were about half as likely to receive a diagnosis of ADHD as Caucasian children.  African American children were about two thirds less likely to be diagnosed with the condition.

Implications of this Study:

It is important to realize that the study cannot indicate whether or not ADHD is over diagnosed in Caucasian children or under diagnosed in minority children.  However, the numbers are pretty glaring and most definitely indicate a discrepancy in not only diagnosing the condition, but also in the interventions received. Read more