poop on potty

Help! My Child Won’t Poop on the Potty

You have started the process of potty training, and your child is starting to make progress with urinating in the toilet. Hooray! Now comes bowel training, which tends to be more challenging. Some children will begin to poop in the toilet after the first occurrence, while other children may take longer. It is very common for bowel training to take longer since it is something that does not happen as much as urination, and some children may associate pain or discomfort with the toilet.  Some common issues that arise during bowel training include the following: child not wanting to sit on the toilet, child only pooping in his diaper or pull-up, and holding in bowel movements. Below are some strategies that can be used to make this process easier.

Tips to Get Your Child to Poop on the Potty:

    • Try to figure out exactly why your child will not poop in the toilet. There are a number ofHelp! My Child Won't Poop on the Potty reasons why a child won’t poop in the potty such as being scared of the toilet, not liking the sound of the flushing, etc.
      • If you child does have some type of fear of the toilet, begin having them touch the toilet, then eventually sit on the toilet with his clothes on and the lid down, then eventually sit on the toilet with the lid up. You can do these activities 3-4 times a day for a few minutes at a time to start, then eventually increase the time spent near or on the toilet. Be sure to reinforce and praise your child after each positive experience with the toilet.
      • Provide a potty seat and/or a stool for him to place his feet on to help your child feel secure on the toilet. Some children have fears of falling in or falling off the toilet, so providing these items will allow your child to feel more stable on the toilet.
    • If you have a boy and he is standing to urinate, begin having him sit while he urinates, so he can get comfortable sitting on the toilet.
    • Begin tracking the time of day when your child has bowel movements, and look for trends. If you notice your child always has bowel movements around bedtime, then you can start having him sit on the toilet at that time of day.
    • If your child will only poop in a diaper or pull-up, you can allow him to wear these initially, but require him to to stay in the bathroom while he poops.
      • Once he is successful with this, you can then have them sit on the toilet with the pull-up on, then eventually phase the pull-up out.
    • Create a reward system. Have a sticker chart or some other type of visual reward system, so your child has motivation to poop in the toilet. Allow your child to help choose his reward.
      • In the beginning, reward your child the first few times he successfully poops in the potty. Then after 5-6 successful times, make the reward dependent on her pooping in the potty 3 days in a row, then a week in a row, etc.
    • Provide natural consequences for accidents (i.e., have your child assist with the clean-up). Never yell or punish your child if he has an accident.
    • Let you child read a book, hold his favorite toy, or listen to music while sitting on the toilet. If he is tense or upset, he will not be able to have a bowel movement.
      • If you suspect your child may have constipation or any other type of bowel issue, contact your pediatrician. Also contact your pediatrician if you suspect your child is holding in his bowel movements.
    • Once your child eventually poops in the toilet, make a huge deal about it and reward him with his favorite foods, toys, activities, etc. so he is more likely to go again in the future.
    • Remember to be patient, as some children take a little longer to start pooping in the toilet, but sooner or later they will be fully potty trained.


Potty Training 101: The Easy How-To Guide For Parents Download our free, 15-Page eBook

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

picky eater or problem feeder

What’s the Difference Between Picky Eaters and Problem Feeders?

Having a child that is a picky eater can mean different things. Sure, your child doesn’t like vegetables and it seemspicky eater or problem feeder
nearly impossible to get anything into their mouth besides chicken fingers and french fries. But, when should you begin to worry that this is a problem that you can’t handle all on your own? For the answer, we need to examine picky eaters vs problem feeders.

A picky eater is very selective about the foods that they will eat. This may be in regards to taste, texture, or appearance. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Picky eating is not uncommon in childhood and may occur when a child begins to assert independence or when they begin to feed themselves.

A problem feeder may present like a picky eater, with some key differences. Read below for signs and characteristics of picky eaters vs. problem feeders. If your child shows signs of being a problem feeder, call in the professionals!

The Difference Between Picky Eaters and Problem Feeders:

Picky Eaters Problem Feeders
Accept more than 30 foods Accept fewer than 20 foods
Will regain foods lost due to frequent consumption Do not regain foods lost due to frequent consumption
Are able to tolerate new foods on plate and perhaps even taste them Become upset when new foods are presented (throwing, crying, pushing food away)
Eat at least one food from each food group Refuse entire groups of food textures
May be picky about varieties and brands Often demonstrate red flags for feeding disorders (excessive drooling, sensory processing difficulties, immature swallowing and/or oral motor skills, etc.)

 

If your child shows signs of being a problem feeder, seek the help of an occupational therapist or speech and language pathologist.


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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

North Shore Pediatric Therapy (2011). Picky eating: when to be concerned and how you can help. [PowerPoint slides].

 

texture aversion

Tips for Tackling Oral Texture Aversion and Achieving a Peaceful Mealtime

Everyone needs food, so everyone loves eating, right? Wrong! As a parent, you may be all too familiar with sounds and phrases such as ‘Ick’, ‘No, not vegetables!’, and ‘I’m not eating that!’ These phrases may be uttered secondary to behavior issues, or perhaps because your child has an oral texture aversion. There are many terms regarding aversions floating around, and they are all slightly different. First; what is an oral aversion? An oral aversion is reluctance, avoidance, or fear of eating, drinking, or accepting sensation in or around the mouth. An oral texture aversion is specific to reluctance or fear associated with textures of food, while a texture aversion is a more general term that refers to reluctance or fear when touching food, different fabrics, arts and craft supplies, or substances like water.

Oral texture aversion can present itself in many different ways, including:

  • Acceptance of a small variety of textureTackling Oral Texture Aversion
  • Becoming upset when new foods are presented
  • Refusing entire groups of food textures
  • Long feeding times

Mealtime should be stress-free and enjoyable. In a family with a child that has oral texture aversion, this can be difficult to accomplish. The million dollar question is: How can you achieve a peaceful mealtime? Read the few tips below to help guide your mealtime.

Tips to Achieve a Peaceful Mealtime:

Eliminate distractions, grazing, and long mealtimes

Eat together as a family around the table, rather than around the TV! Additionally, keep meal time to 30 minutes or less. The longer a mealtime becomes, the less pleasant mealtime may be. Consume solids first and liquids last, since liquids are more filling. Discourage snacking and grazing throughout the day, because this can lead to decreased appetite at meal times.

Serve a variety of food consistencies and tastes

This ensures that your child has exposure to multiple tastes, textures, and temperatures of food. Involve your child in grocery shopping and in meal preparation. The more a child understands about food and is an active participant in making food and mealtime happenings, the less surprising a new food is likely to be.

Start an Exploration Plate

This may help decrease anxiety caused by unfamiliar or nonpreferred foods. The Exploration Plate can be a designated plate with the unfamiliar or nonpreferred food on it, which should be encouraged to be explored during meal time. Do this by talking about and describing the food, smelling it, touching it, or even trying a bite of it. However, do not place pressure on your child to do these things. Always model the behavior that you want your child to display.

Play with food

Mealtime should be a pleasurable experience, and playing with food will help achieve that. Smell, touch, lick, and bite foods to explore them. Don’t worry about making a mess!

If you are concerned that your child may have an oral texture aversion, consult an occupational therapist or a speech language pathologist today!


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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Language development in twins

Twin Talk: Speech and Language Development in Twins

Twins can be double the fun, double the trouble, or double the talk! Multiples can be an exciting challenge for parents who are working to give each child his or her own individual time. As difficult as that may be, twins also have a communicative partner from birth! Some parents report on “twin language,” or babbling between two babies, which seems like their own language. This babbling can be great for language development as the babies tend to mimic each other’s intonational patterns (or rise and fall of their voices). This can lead to longer “conversations” between babies, as well as bond the two babies as they are primarily communicating with each other.

Conversely, some research has shown that twin language may be an early phonologicalTwin Talk: Language Development in Twins disorder (or sound substitutions/deletions/insertions). Researchers have found that as sounds are developing inappropriately, this twin talk perpetuates these errors, as babies are “understood” by their siblings, so there is no real need to correct misarticulations.

Twins also tend to have an increased likelihood of later language emergence, primarily due to the higher percentage of premature babies. Both monozygotic and dizygotic twins may develop language behind their singleton peers, so it is important for parents to keep in mind their children’s adjusted age (should they be premature).

Red Flags for Speech Development in Twins:

  • Both babies missing milestones: keeping track of appropriate language development, taking into account the babies’ adjusted age, can help parents monitor their twins’ development.
  • One baby is developing more quickly: paying attention to each individuals’ progress when developing speech and language is so important. If parents notice that one child is significantly behind their other, intervention may be warranted.
  • Singleton red flags: Overall, the red flags for multiples are the same as for singletons, taking into account adjusted age, as necessary. Babies should acquire their first words around 1 year, and should be consistently learning new words until they reach “word spurt,” or rapid language growth around 18 months.

It is also important to note that monozygotic twins tend to have higher rates for speech and language disorders that dizygotic twins, so it is important that parents monitor speech, language and overall development and growth. As with all children, red flags and milestones are variable, and it is important to remember that some babies progress faster or slower than others. Should parents have concerns regarding speech-language development, it is important to check in with pediatricians or licensed speech-language pathologists!


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References:
Lewis, B.A., & Thompson, L.A. (1992). A study of developmental speech and language disorders in twins. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research. 35(5), 1086-1094.

Rice, M.L., Zubrick, S.R., Taylor, C.L., Gayan, K., & Contempo, D.E. (2014). Late language emergence in 24-month old twins: Heritable and increased risk for late language emergence in twins. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. 57(3), 917-928.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Frustration-Free Communication With Your Toddler

There’s no question about it, and there’s no reason to feel guilty for thinking it: communicating with a toddler can be frustrating. To repeat: communicating with a toddler can be frustrating. Every parent feels this frustration at some point, as do many toddlers! Toddlers are aware of what they want, but they often have trouble conveying these desires to care givers. It is important to remember: it’s ok! Toddlers acquire language each and every day as they are exposed to new words, and, with that, their vocabulary grows.

During this time of rapid language development, there are a few tips to support and encourage language, while also reducing frustration for BOTH communicative partners.

Tips for Frustration-Free Communication with Your Toddler:

  • Reduce the demand: When a child is trying to explain wants and needs, she may feel pressuredFrustration-Free Communication with Your Toddler to verbalize her choices or may just not feel like talking. That’s ok! If a parent is unable to elicit a verbal response, he or she may try reducing the demand! Accept pointing as an alternative, so long as the child is staying compliant with what is being asked of him.
  • Approximate: When a child is attempting to verbalize with a parent, words may often be distorted or syllables may be missing, resulting in immature speech. This is expected in toddlers, but parents can encourage approximation. For example, if a child attempts to say “door,” but instead says “do,” parents can praise their child for trying and respond with “yes, let’s open the door!” Similarly, if a toddler requests “oo na,” parents can reply, “oh, do you want fruit snacks?”
  • Model: When children are acquiring expressive language, parents should be modeling appropriate requests and verbal turn-taking throughout the day. During play, parents can express “my turn,” to encourage toddlers to initiate taking turns and labeling actions. Parents can also model requests, for example, “I want more, Molly. Do you want more?” in order to encourage toddlers to imitate.
  • Provide choices: Offering choices can help to limit toddler frustration during communication. If choices are finite, toddlers won’t have to search through their growing—but sometimes inadequate—vocabulary to retrieve words. If offered, for example, apples or bananas, toddlers will feel the independence to make the decision that they desire. Simultaneously, parents are able to quickly and efficiently learn what their toddlers want.
  • Gesture: It can be frustrating for both parents and toddlers when language demands are placed. If a toddler doesn’t feel like saying “hi” to Uncle Andrew or giving him a hug that day, accept a wave of the hand or a high-five. These gestures are still intentional communication; that is, they still promote social development. Just encourage socialization and more verbalization the next time!

These tips can help to reduce frustration for both parents and toddlers. If parents find that they are unable to understand 50% of what their toddler is trying to communicate, a licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP) can help! This time with your toddlers should be fun, and SLPs can help to make things easier for toddlers to express their wants and needs. Comment below if you have any other frustration-free communication tips!

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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

The Best Board Games for Toddlers

The Best Board Games for Toddlers

There is no question as to why board games have withstood the test of time, remaining a favorite family past time activity. As the world becomes more and more electronic, board games provide a sense of fun that is refreshing and simple. Not only do board games provide traditional fun for families, they are also great therapy activities.

Board games often act dual purposely during a therapy session – as they can be used as either a motivator or an educational tool. First and foremost, board games provide the perfect environment to practice social skills, such as turn taking and requesting. Basic concepts, such as colors and counting, are often the foundation of many games, providing children with language disorders repeated exposure to and practice with these concepts. Due to a board game’s predictable nature it is an excellent way to target expanding utterance length; moving a child from a one word phrase to a 3 – 4 word sentence (e.g., “I got 2”, “I want the red apple”). Lastly, board games are an excellent way to target improving a child’s attention, due to the fact that the child needs to attend to and follow the sequence of the game in order to participate.

Board games can be introduced into play as early as two with appropriate support from an adult model. Here are some of my favorite board games for toddlers (2 – 4 years).

 Best Board Games for Toddlers:

  1. Diggity Dog-Diggity Dog is a unique game in that it requires two senses, hearing and seeing.
    Rather than rolling dice, you listen for the number of barks the dog says, providing a perfectdiggity dog opportunity to target a child’s attending abilities. Children love this unique twist on a game. Other main concepts that can be targeted is the meaning of “same” versus “different”, as well as labeling colors.
  1. Hi Ho Cherry-O!-This traditional game will always remain a favorite of children and speech-language pathologists. This game challenges a child’s counting and number skills and always acts ashi ho cherryo a great motivator during therapy. Children will practice their social skills as they take turns, as well as exercise their frustration tolerance if all their picked cherries are taken back!
  1. The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game-The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel game provides a perfect mix between speech-language pathology and occupational therapy as this game relies greatly on fine
    motor skills. Like Hi-Ho Cherry-O, this game will target counting and number skills, but also has an added color component. Additionally, it will challenge a child’s frustration tolerance as it has higher fine motor expectations.
  1. First Orchard-First Orchard is an excellent choice for a toddler’s first board game. The game features easy rules and a simple game sequence – first roll the die, identify the color and then first orchard“harvest” the appropriate fruit. This game also features a group mentality, as players work against the raven, who wants to eat the fruit. Colors, fruit vocabulary, longer utterance length (e.g., I want the red apple) and appropriate requesting (e.g., “Can I have a pear please?”) are all possible language targets within the game.

Look for my next blog on my favorite board games for preschoolers!

NSPT offers speech and language services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Squeeze! You’re Under Arrest: Potential Pitfalls of Squeezable Food Pouches

At a time when fast, convenient, and easy rule the world, it follows that parents would want to minimize hassle and make meal times as efficient as possible. This attitude has brought about foods such as Go-Gurt and GoGo SqueeZ, pouches of yogurt or pureed foods on-the-go, for home and away. These foods allow children to self-feed, reducing the need for direct parent contact (depending on age), and promoting independence amongst toddlers. Sounds great, right?

So, What’s The Problem with Squeezable Food Pouches?

These foods are quick and easy, but no real “work” is required for children to advance their developing
pouches-Portrait
oral-motor skills. Sucking is one of the earliest skills a child acquires (e.g., breast/bottle feeding), and these pouches require little or nothing more. Children tend to transition from liquids to pureed foods around six months; however, pureed foods should no longer be the primary form of nutrition (for typically developing children) beyond 12 to 18 months. Purees can be used as snacks, of course, so long as children are eating solids (e.g., chicken nuggets, etc.) during regular mealtimes.

The ideal feeding experience is multisensory. Children often use their fingers (touch) to feed, they are able to smell and see what’s on their plate, and, ultimately, food reaches the lips and mouth (taste). This multisensory cycle promotes development, allowing children to interact with their food and take a more active role in feeding. Using squeezable pouches alone removes the multisensory experience, as children are not seeing food, touching food, or even using their lips to scrape their food off a spoon. Blocking this sensory input can result in difficulties once new textures are introduced (e.g., aversion to crunchy foods, or difficulty with chewing).

What Can Parents Do?

Keep squeezable food consumption to a minimum. There is no question that they are a very convenient option, but as they are encouraging walking and talking skills, parents should also be introducing a variety of textures and foods. There are also ways to make squeezable food pouches a little more challenging in order to further feeding development while still allowing children to self-feed on textures they are comfortable with. Spoon attachments, for example, require that children involve their lips to scrape food off the spoon, allowing for greater sensory input!

Use squeezable pouches with attachments. The three options below offer great additions to squeezable food pouches. These spoon attachments fit onto most squeezable snack pouches, promoting oral-motor development.

The link below is a great alternative to food pouches. This spoon is still a self-feeder, allowing children to control the amount of food squeezed onto the spoon. Parents can fill the spoon with whatever pureed food they desire, either home-made or packaged!

Boon Squirt Spoon

What If Parents Need Help With Feeding?

Speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists are here to help! If children are struggling with a transition from purees to more solid foods, these therapists can educate families on appropriate foods to try, reduce stressors around meal time, and provide direct therapy to children who require it!

the development of play

From Stacking Blocks to Tea Parties: The Development of Play

At each stage of our lives we have certain responsibilities; as adults we work, as highschoolers we went to school, as kids we played. Playing is a fundamental skill for children, and often acts as an avenue for other skills to develop. While playing, kids explore the world; they learn how things work, they arethe development of play exposed to new vocabulary and they learn to interact with other kids.

Play mirrors language development. As a child ages, their language skills develop, progressing from one word utterances to 3 – 4 word phrases and ultimately reaching conversational level skills. Along with this improvement and development of language abilities, a child’s play skills will also progress through a developmental hierarchy. Therefore, just as there are developmental steps with language development, there are certain play milestones that a child will progress through.

Use the table below as a reference to determine appropriate play skills for your own child for his or her age.

The Development of Play:

Age Play Skills
0-6 Months – Demonstrates reaching and banging behaviors for toys- Starts to momentarily look at items and smile in a mirror

– Rattles and Tummy Time mats are very popular at this age

6-12 Months – Begins to participate in adult-led routine games(e.g., Peek-a-boo).

Functional play skills are emerging at this age (i.e., playing with a toy as it is meant to be used). Examples of functional play are pushing a car or stirring with a spoon.

– Demonstrates smiling and laughing during games

 

12-18 Months – Consistently demonstrates functional use of toys- Emerging symbolic play skills were be observed at this age (i.e., the use of an object to represent something else). For example, pretending a banana is a telephone or pretending to brush a doll’s hair with an imaginary brush

– A child will also ask for help from a caregiver or adult if his or her toy is not working

 

18-24 Months – Pretend/symbolic play will become more advanced with the use of multiple toys in one play situation (e.g., playing kitchen or house)- There is much more manipulation of toys at this age – grouping of like items and assembling a complex situation

– Children will also become more independent in putting toys away or repairing broken pieces

 

24-30 Months – At this age children will begin to demonstrate parallel play. In other words, children will engage in the same play activity with the absence of interacting with each other- Although at this age, children are not yet interacting together directly, they will begin to verbalize more around children as well as share toys with other peers

 

30-36 Months – Children at this age are becoming expert playmates – long play sequences will be carried out. Typically, children will begin by playing out familiar routines, such as a parent’s dinner routine. As children age, new endings to play sequences will emerge- Dolls or other play animals may become active participants in a play sequence.

 

Rossetti, L. (2006). The Rossetti Infant-Toddler Language Scale. Linguisystems, Inc.

Encourage your child to explore and interact with new toys. Try sabotaging a play sequence (e.g., putting a block on your head rather than on the floor) to add extra fun or laughs to an afternoon. While playing with your child, also encourage and add language to the situation. You can do this by asking the child, “What should the horse do next?” or even just narrating what you are doing, e.g., “First I’m going to stir my pot, then…”.

Playing is meant to be fun and enjoyable for parents and their kids. Enjoy the warm weather, encourage language and play development and go outside to play!

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

signs my child will walk soon

When Will My Child Start Walking? 5 Signs That Your Child Will Be Walking Soon

All children develop and grow and their own rates. Current research gives a range where typically developing children achieve their gross motor milestones. But when the baby books and Pediatricians tell you that your baby will probably be walking independently somewhere between 10-15 months, with some children even walking at 18 months and still falling within normal ranges, parents want more answers. A great way to see if your child is on the right track is to check for these 5 signs that walking may be in their imminent future.

5 signs your child will be walking soon:

  1. Pull to Stand – When a child begins pulling up into standing using hands or stablesigns my child will walk furniture, he is strengthening his legs to prepare them for walking. The mature form of pulling to stand is to perform through a half-kneeling position.
  2. Cruising – Cruising is defined as walking while holding onto furniture. Cruising allows your child to practice weight shifting and forward progression in a safe environment.
  3. Crawling onto and over Furniture – As a child becomes stronger throughout his core and extremities, you may find him starting to climb onto furniture or crawl over obstacles. These are all signs that your child is developing the muscle strength and balance needed to walk independently.
  4. Walks with Push-Toy/Handheld Assistance – The added stability of walking while holding onto a push-toy or a parent’s hands helps children develop the confidence needed to take those first independent steps. Some children may use this as a crutch, so be sure to provide as little support as needed (2 handheld assistance>1 handheld assistance> holding onto sleeve of shirt>holding blanket between child and parent).
  5. Standing Independently – Children begin to let go of objects while standing when they feel confident and stable. The longer the child is able to stand, the greater his confidence is.  Bonus if the child is able to get into or out-of this position with control by himself.

If your child has not begun demonstrating the above skills by 12 months of age, he may benefit from a physical therapy evaluation.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

language development throughout the day

5 Easy Ways to Encourage Your Baby’s Language Throughout the Day

Language is used everywhere around us, in multiple ways and in all facets of life. How does your little one learn language when she is so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed? When you think about talking to your baby, it may seem a bit silly since she isn’t talking back. However, she is communicating with you in other ways, such as with eye gaze, coos, and smiles. Interacting and speaking to your baby throughout the day is thought to facilitate language acquisition. It has been found that the amount of words addressed to 1- to- 2-year olds by their mothers is predictive of their vocabulary growth rate (Huttenlocher, Haight, Bryk, Seltzer, & Lyons, 1991).

Here are 5 easy ways to encourage your baby’s language development throughout the day:

  1. Use infant-directed speech: Also known as motherese, this is speech that is directed specifically at your baby5 easy ways to encourage your babies language throughout the day in a prosodic and deliberate manner. Research has shown that babies actually prefer motherese to its counterpart, adult-directed speech.
  1. Read books: Interacting and exposing your baby to books and the act of reading is a great way to encourage language. At this age, picture books are ideal and facilitate early learning of concepts such as colors, numbers, and animals. It also helps teach book orientation and direction of reading.
  1. Label: Give your child the names for common objects and objects that they are consistently exposed to. This input increases receptive language which will in turn increase expressive language. Thanks to fast-mapping (the ability to learn words with minimal exposure), typically-developing toddlers require minimal exposure to new words in order to learn their meaning and use them appropriately.
  1. Sing songs: Singing songs to your child such as ‘Rock a Bye Baby’ and ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ not only provides comfort but also includes exposure to repetitive language models.
  1. Use simple language: When speaking to your baby, use simple language by communicating in words and/or short phrases. This limits the amount of language that the child has to process and allows them to focus on the important parts of the message.

Before you know it (and before you may be ready for it), your baby will be talking, walking, and going to school. Facilitate their language learning by utilizing the tips mentioned above. If you become concerned (lack of interest, eye contact, gestures, and/or speech sounds, among others) with your baby’s language and speech skills, seek an evaluation with a certified speech and language pathologist.


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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Reference: Huttenlocher, J., Haight, W., Bryk, A., Seltzer, M., & Lyons, T. (1991). Early vocabulary growth: Relation to language input and gender. Developmental Psychology, 27, 236-248.