Language Development Red Flags: Ages 0-36 Months

Have you ever wondered if your child is on track for “typical” language development? The following red flag checklist can help give you a general idea if your child is not following typical patterns of development. It is important to note that some children develop language a few months earlier or later than these general guidelines.

Red Flags for Language Development by 3-4 months:red flags for language development

  1. Child does not react to sudden noises
  2. Child does not turn head to sounds such as a bell or a rattle
  3. Child is not quieted by a caregivers voice
  4. Child does not seem to look at faces or objects- the baby should track items or people in her line of vision
  5. The baby seems unusually quiet, no cooing
  6. The baby as not developed “different” cries to signify different needs i.e. hungry, tired, distress, etc.
  7. The child has not developed a smile response to familiar caregiver
  8. The child does not use her voice to attract attention

Red Flags for Language Development by 14 months:

  1. Child does not follow simple directions such as, “give” or “come”
  2. Child does not seem to understand simple gestures of “hi” or “bye”
  3. Child does not have interest in simple books and simple pictures
  4. Baby does not seem to communicate other than crying
  5. Baby does not use simple gestures such as waving for bye-bye or hi, pointing, reaching, showing
  6. Child does not produce a variety of consonant or vowel sounds and/or does not produce sounds frequently
  7. Child does not use 2 to 8 words spontaneously
  8. Child does not communicate in a variety of ways such as facial expressions, eye gazing, or gestures

Red Flags for Language Development by 28-30 months:

  1. Child shows inconsistent response to words or directions
  2. Child needs repetition
  3. Chid gives inappropriate responses to simple ‘wh’ questions such as who is this? What is this?
  4. Child is not interested in simple stories
  5. Child seems to easily forget familiar routines
  6. Child becomes easily frustrated during communication exchanges
  7. Child mostly relies on yelling, grunting, or incoherent utterances for communication
  8. Words do not seem like adult words or may be part words i.e. “Da” for dog
  9. The child uses the same pseudo word or short syllable to represent many different things i.e. “ba” for boy, ball and baby
  10. Child is unable to name most familiar items
  11. Child has no clear “yes” or “no” response
  12. Child has less than 200 words and lacks steady vocabulary
  13. Child may have “lost” some speech

Red Flags for Language Development by 36 months:

  1. Is unable to follow more complex directions i.e., get your coat then go to the car
  2. Lacks interest in or does not remember simple and familiar stories, songs, nursery rhymes
  3. Does not understand the difference between who, what and where questions
  4. Is overly dependent on parents or siblings for communication
  5. Persists in babbling in place of adult speech “bibi” for baby
  6. Clarity of the child’s speech decreases as the child attempts longer utterances
  7. Is not speaking in sentences of three to four words
  8. Is not beginning to use simple grammar- articles, verb endings, plurals, pronouns
  9. Less than 800 words
  10. Is not easily picking up new vocabulary

If you believe your child meets the criteria of this red flag checklist for their age, please speak with a professional speech and language pathologist who can thoroughly evaluate their language development. As mentioned previously, children may develop a few months earlier or later than the time frames outlined by this checklist.

Click here to download our speech and language milestone infographic!

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! 

when will my child be done with speech language therapy

When Will My Child Be Done With Speech-Language Therapy?

Society as a whole is goal-oriented; as human beings we want to have a plan for the future. The unknown is anxiety-provoking, and people want straight answers. Therefore it is no surprise that a common question when a child is first recommended for speech-language therapy is how long will my child need speech-language therapy? The tough answer to this challenging question is there is no scientific way to determine a child’s timeline for speech-language therapy. However, there are a several components to speech-language therapy that can facilitate greater progress in therapy, possibly resulting in faster discharge.

These Components Will Help Determine How Long a Child Will Need Speech-Language Therapy:

  • Early identification is a key component for success in intervention. It is highly recognized that when speech and language disorders when will my child be done with speech language therapyare identified and treated as early as possible, there is a better prognosis. Developmental milestones can be helpful in identifying children who may be in need of speech-language intervention.
  • With any speech-language disorder there is a spectrum of severity that can occur. Often with a more severe speech-language disorder, therapy will be more intensive and may require a longer treatment period. Looking at the percentile ranking of your child’s score on a standardized test is helpful at determining where your child’s skills are in relation to the typical population.
  • There are several components of a therapy plan which can affect the rate of progress. Receiving consistent and frequent therapy can both positively impact a child’s progress. The greater amount of time a child is spent working on a skill, the faster that skill is likely to improve. Additionally, completing home programs or home activities given by your child’s therapist will facilitate carryover of the child’s targeted skills into other environments.
  • Lastly, every child is different in their areas of need for speech-language therapy. Therefore, each child’s therapy approach will be unique to him or her. A child’s diagnosis will ultimately affect what skills will be targeted and how many target areas there will be. Concomitant issues may also affect a child’s therapeutic approach, resulting in additional goal areas to target through therapy. The presence of multiple diagnoses does not necessarily mean slow progress, but may correlate with the reality that there may be more goals to be met before discharge.

This list is by no means all-encompassing of components which could facilitate faster progress in speech-language therapy. Overall, it is important that the child, family and clinician become a team to target that child’s speech and language needs. Then as a team, goals can be addressed positively in a variety of environments and communication situations.

Click here for more help understanding a speech-language evaluation.






First Word Milestone

Before the First Word Milestone: How Your Baby Interacts with the World

The first word milestone is a landmark that all parents anxiously wait for. A baby’s first word not only typically occurs at the ever momentous first birthday, but also opens a whole new avenue of interaction between a parent and their child. Although the first word milestone is significant in an infant’s development, there are a surprisingly amount of other communicative milestones which occur before 12 months of age, all of which do not involve human speech. During their first year of life, babies progress through various milestones in interaction-attachment, pragmatics, play, and gestures; improving their ability to communicate before the use of speech.

See the table below for first word milestones in the following areas of language from the ages of First Word Milestonebirth to 12 months of age:

  • Interaction-Attachment: A child’s temperament, the parents’ mode of interaction and the quality of the parent-child attachment
  • Pragmatics: Social language skills needed when interacting with others
  • Play: Types of play children perform
  • Gestures: Non-verbal language interactions

 

Interaction-Attachment Pragmatics Play
0 – 3 Months Demonstrates brief eye contact when feedingSmiles purposely in response to caregiver The infant makes eye contact with an adultLaughs at humorous interactions and cries to get attention The rattle is an infant’s main play object, showing intermittent interest in other toys.
3 – 6 Months Shows increased smiling when playing and with family membersDemonstrates differentiated responses to various family members Communicates needs and wants through different criesMaintains eye contact Reaches for objects and bangs toys when in reach, typically playing alone
6 – 9 Months Becomes more attached to his or her caregiver, demonstrating some fear when separated and a desire to be with mom or dad Is able to use more than cries to communicate, utilizing shouts or vocalizations to gain attention or protest Interacts more with adults during play, imitating actions such as dropping a toyDisplays increased emotion (smiling, laughter) during play
9 – 12 Months Demonstrates understanding for others’ emotions, such as when a caregiver is angryMay act silly based on his or her audience’s reactions to receive attention Continues to vocalize or babble to gain other’s attention or in response of others.Establishes joint attention with an adult (the shared focus of two individuals on an object) Participates in play routines, such as peek-a-boo, and will imitate play actions (stirring, pushing a car).Demonstrates early turn-taking skills during routines.

 

The use of gestures in communication occurs between the months of 9 to 12 in an infant’s development. Infants may use gestures when playing games with caregivers, such as peek-a-boo or when expressing needs and wants (e.g., reaching to be picked up, pointing at an object of want, showing a caregiver an object). The use of gestures during social greetings may also be evident (e.g., waving “hi” and “bye”).

These early interactions lay the foundation for the infant’s future communication skills and abilities. Through these early pre-speech milestones, a baby learns fundamental aspects of communication (imitation, joint attention, turn-taking). When a baby cries or vocalizes and a caregiver responses, this is demonstrating the power of communication to that baby. These non-verbal interactions that occur during the first year of life act as conversational-like interactions for the baby. For example, joint attention is crucial in developing more advanced levels of social thinking. Babies learn that when they look at something, look at their caregiver and look back to that object, they are communicating a message and are acknowledging the thoughts of the other person. Failure to reach these early communicative milestones is actually a red flag for disorders which involve difficulties with social interactions, such as autism spectrum disorder.

 

Click here to view our infographic on speech and language development milestones.

 

 

 

Rossetti, L. M. (1990). The Rossetti infant-toddler language scale: A measure of communication and interaction. East Moline, IL: LinguiSystems.

speech and language milestones

When Should My Baby Start Talking? Speech and Language Milestones in the First Year

Many parents wonder, “When should my baby start talking?” Typically developing children usually say their first words between 12 and 14 months of age. However, your baby is learning to communicate long before he ever speaks. Here are some important speech and language milestones to note as your baby grows.

Speech and Language Milestones: When They Happen and Why They are Important:

Speech and language milestones at 0-3 months:

  • Watches speaker’s mouth: Your baby is starting to understand how speech sounds are made. He may even begin to move his mouthspeech and language milestones to match some of your movements. Observation and imitation of what he observes is essential to your baby’s development of speech and language, as it allows him to experience what you model, first hand, so that he can later use those articulatory movements to communicate.
  • Discriminates between angry and friendly voices: At a very basic level, your baby is learning to understand the different messages that can be communicated.
  • Has a hunger cry and vocalizes to show pleasure: This is one of the first steps toward understanding that communication can be used to meet different needs, wants, and feelings.

Speech and language milestones at 4 to 6 months:

  • Imitates some sounds: Again, imitation is one of the primary ways that your baby learns. By watching, listening, and copying your movements, he experiences what it is like to make them. He can practice and compare his own movements and sounds to yours.
  • Uses /p/, /b/, and /m/ to babble: Your baby is gaining more control over the muscles of his mouth and starting to experiment with speech sounds. He is practicing so that he can later use these sounds in a more meaningful way: saying true words to communicate.
  • Takes turns vocalizing: Language requires taking turns most of the time: one person talks while the other listens. When your baby takes turns vocalizing, he is laying the foundation for skills he will need to play and participate in conversation later in life.

Speech and language milestones at 7-12 months:

  • Responds to noises that are not visible and searches for hidden objects: Your baby’s understanding that objects exist even when he can’t see them likely indicates that he has started forming mental representations of his world. The development of symbolic understanding is necessary to his development of language and pretend play. We use words, not physical things, to represent ideas. Before your baby can use a word to represent something, the idea of the physical thing needs to be separated from the thing itself.
  • Responds to “Come here”: Your baby’s ability to follow directions is an indication that he is developing an understanding of what you are saying. Language comprehension typically develops more quickly than expression. Your baby needs to listen, understand, and internalize the meaning of language before he can use its meaning to express himself.

Speech and language milestones at 12-14 months:

Says 1-2 words: Hooray! These words may not be perfectly articulated, but they are an indication that your baby has learned to associate a series set sounds to a particular meaning AND that he can use those sounds to communicate that meaning. For example, your baby may have already started looking for “Mama” when her name was said by someone else, however, now he can use the word “Mama” to request her, ask where she is, get her attention, etc.

What can I do to help my baby start talking?

Click here to read more about encouraging your baby’s speech and language development.




Crossing the Midline

MORE Activities for Crossing the Midline

As discussed in last week’s post, crossing the midline is an essential skill that affects a person’s efficiency in many of life’s everyday tasks. By engaging your child in activities that promote this skill, you are helping her to create pathways in her developing brain that can benefit her motor abilities, learning capacity, and behavior.

10 Activities to Promote Crossing the Midline:Crossing the Midline

  1. Dance! Get your child moving to a rhythm with her entire body and you will promote coordination and crossing over midline with big body movements.
  2. Play Twister.
  3. Do karaoke or grapevine walks.
  4. Engage in bimanual activities such as stringing beads, playing Pick Up Sticks, cutting with scissors, creating crafts or other projects with stamps, stickers, glue, etc.
  5. Play clapping games such as pat-a-cake or row, row, row your boat.
  6. Create a secret handshake that involves tapping feet, knees, or elbows to that of the other person.
  7. Involve him in baking! Let him stir the ingredients into a big bowl that he will have to help stabilize with one hand in front of his body, while the other makes big circular motions with the spoon.
  8. Engage him in a sorting game and encourage him to complete rounds of sorting using only one hand at a time.
  9. Play Simon Says. You could even take this up a notch and specify right or left side.
  10. Help with chores! Have her help you wipe off tables, mirrors, dishes, etc.

General recommendations to encourage crossing the midline:

  1. Always encourage children to complete self-care tasks such as dressing, eating, and bathing to the fullest extent they are capable. So many of these everyday tasks require us to spontaneously and purposefully use both hands together and to move one hand to the other side of the body.
  2. Before hand dominance is established, always present utensils (spoons, markers, etc.) at the child’s midline. Encourage the child to complete the task with whichever hand he initiates use of that utensil. Be sure he uses the other hand as the “helper” to stabilize the bowl or paper.
  3. Discourage w-sitting! W-sitting (where a child sits with his knees bent and feet out to either side of his body so that his legs form a “W” shape) has many negative implications. One of these is that the child is unable to cross midline as easily. When engaging in an activity on the floor, help your child sit “criss cross” instead.
  4. When completing work at a table, encourage your child to keep herself in the center of her work rather than scooting herself (or what she’s working on) to the left or right.
  5. Make it fun! Working on the development of midline crossing does not need to be a tedious exercise. As you engage in the fun activities listed here, you will begin to see how easy it is to adapt games and other tasks with this skill in mind. Don’t be afraid to get creative and let us know what you come up with!

Click here for a refresher on the 1st article to promote crossing the midline.

Step-by-Step: Potty Training a Child with Autism

Potty training can be an overwhelming process for parents of young children. Potty training a child with autism can make the process seem even more daunting. But not to worry, with consistency and patience, children with autism can be successfully potty trained.

When to begin potty training – There is no magic age to start potty training, as it varies from child to child. Children with autism are not always developing at the same pace as their same-aged peers. However, no matter what your child’s current functioning level is, you should be able to start the potty training process around age 3.

Step-by-Step: Potty Training a Child with AutismPottyTraining

  • It is best to begin during a time when you have at least 3-4 days in a row to devote to potty training (i.e., a holiday break or a long weekend).
  • Divide potty training into two phases:
    • Phase 1 – Urination
    • Phase 2 – Bowel movements
  • Start by working on phase 1, and once your child is consistently urinating on the toilet, you can then begin working on phase 2.
    • When potty training boys, have them sit instead of stand. This will make it easier when you introduce phase 2.
  • When begin the toilet training process, begin to slowly fade out the use of diapers or Pull-Ups. If your child learns that they will go back to wearing a diaper every time they don’t go in the toilet, they will most likely wait until the diaper is on to urinate.
  • Make highly desired items (i.e., IPad, computer games, favorite treat, etc.) contingent on urinating in the toilet. Do not give your child access to these items at any other time. Restricting these items will increase their reinforcing value, making urinating in the toilet more motivating.
  • Provide natural consequences for accidents. Never yell or scream when accidents occur. Instead, have your child help with the clean-up, change themselves (to the best of their ability), and put their dirty clothes in the laundry.
  • Expect some resistance from your child when you begin toilet training. Children with autism love routines, and you are going to disrupt their normal routine as soon as you start potty training. Negative behaviors like crying and screaming are very likely in the beginning. It is important to ignore these behaviors and continue with the process. Once they learn the new potty routine, the behaviors will decrease.
  • Be consistent. Once you start potty training, stick with it! Requiring your child to use the potty one day, and then putting them back in a diaper the next can be confusing and will most likely extend the potty training process.
  • Once your child is consistently urinating in the toilet, you can move onto phase 2 and follow the same steps. It is common for phase 2 to take longer, so do not get discouraged if your child is more resistant at first.

Following these general guidelines can help with the potty training process. It is important to remember that every child is different, and what works for one child may not work for another. If you have been trying to potty train your child without any success, it is recommended that you contact a professional to assist you. Someone with knowledge and experience with potty training can write an individualized plan tailored specifically for your child.

Click here to download a printable potty chart.






Crossing the Midline: Activities to Promote

Crossing the midline is a fundamental skill that begins to emerge in infancy and continues to develop into early childhood. It is necessary for important developmental milestones such as crawling, walking, using a spoon to eat, writing, and reading.

Simply put, crossing the midline refers to the ability to meaningfully use a hand, foot, or eye on the opposite side of the body. In order for this to happen, the two hemispheres of the brain must be able to communicate with one another. If a child has difficulty crossing his midline, it can be a greater challenge for him to engage in everyday tasks from dressing to school work to sports. If you notice your child is having difficulty developing hand dominance, gets lost or frustrated when visually tracking words or objects, or seems generally less coordinated than other children his age, his ability to cross midline may be underdeveloped.

7 Activities to Promote Crossing the Midline:CrossingtheMidline

  1. Have the child straddle a low bench or other object that keeps his feet planted on either side. Use two different bracelets, stickers, etc. to differentiate the right and left hand while you have him pick up objects near his feet from the opposite side. This could be bean bags to throw, puzzle pieces to place, or beads to string onto a craft necklace. This activity can also be done in a “criss cross” seated position on the floor but be sure the child is not turning his entire trunk to pick up items.
  2. Having the child sit or stand in one place, throw, bounce, or roll a ball off-center of their body. He will need to use two hands to catch the ball and toss it back to you.
  3. With one hand placed flat on the surface in front of the child, have him use the other hand to trace over a large infinity sign. Switch hands after 10 cycles. Ideally this should be done on a vertical surface with the feet kept in one place.
  4. Trace big shapes, letters, and numbers in the air using index fingers and big toes.
  5. March to music and try to touch hands or elbows to the opposite knee.
  6. Trace horizontal lines across a long piece of paper. Make sure the paper is placed directly in front of his body and one hand is stabilizing the paper while the other traces across.
  7. Sit back to back and practice passing a ball to each other on each side. If you have more than two people, you can sit in a circle and play hot potato!

For additional suggestions and general recommendations to promote this skill, stay tuned for next week’s blog with even MORE great activities to try!

 

Click here for more information in helping your child cross the midline.

Receptive Language Delay: 5 Red Flags

Toddler Developmental MilestoneReceptive language delay is the inability to understand verbal (spoken) and nonverbal (written, gestural) language. Receptive language includes skills such as following directions, answering questions, responding to gestures, participating in conversation, and identifying age-appropriate vocabulary and concepts. A receptive language delay occurs when a child is achieving developmental milestones in the expected sequence, but is meeting them at a later age than his or her peers. How do you know when a child may have a receptive language delay? Here are some examples of
five red flags:

1. Difficulty Following Directions

Adult’s Input Expected Age of Mastery Red Flag Response/Action
“Bring me your cup” 12 months Bringing an undesired item, or no item at all
“Get your coat and put on your shoes” 24-36 months Bringing an undesired item, or no item at all

2. Difficulty answering questions

Adult’s Input Expected Age of Mastery Red Flag Response/Action
“More drink?” 12 months No gesture, vocalization, or word produced to indicate ‘yes’ or ‘no’
“All done?” 12-24 months No vocalization, gesture, or word response produced

3. Difficulty understanding gestures and nonverbal cues

Adult’s Input Expected Age of Mastery Red Flag Response/Action
Reaching out arms for a hug 12 months No response to the prompt and gesture, continuing their desired activity
Holding up a hand for a high-five 24 months No response to the prompt and gesture, continuing their desired activity

4. Difficulty engaging in conversation

Adult’s Input Expected Age of Mastery Red Flag Response/Action
“Hi!” 12 months No vocalization, gesture, or word response produced
“What are you doing?” 24-36 months A verbal response, no response, or a gesture unrelated to the child’s activity

5. Difficulty identifying age-appropriate vocabulary and concepts

Adult’s Input Expected Age of Mastery Red Flag Response/Action
“I see an apple” 12-24 months Not following eye gaze or pointing finger to the object/picture
“Find the cow” 12-24 months Not following eye gaze or pointing finger to the object/picture

Keep in mind that all children are unique and the above ages of mastery are approximate!

Receptive language skills are essential for communication because they precede and provide a foundation for expressive language skills. For example, you can expect a child to understand what a cup is before producing the word ‘cup’. A child may demonstrate comprehension by following your gaze to a target item, pointing or reaching for a desired object, and following directions appropriately.

Click here to learn more about expressive v. receptive language!





how early is too early for a speech language evaluation

How Young is Too Young for a Speech Language Evaluation?

If you have concerns about your baby’s ability to listen or communicate, it is never too early for her to be evaluated by a speech-language pathologist.

The first three years of your baby’s life is a critical period for learning language. Rapid growth and change in your baby’s brain makes learning easiest and most efficient during these years. Your baby is listening to you speak, watching you gesture and emote, and learning pre-verbal communication skills that lay the foundation for future speech and language development. Therefore, ensuring that your baby’s development is on-track from the start is very important.

How do I know if my baby needs to be evaluated for a speech or language concern?

  1. Your baby is not meeting speech and language developmental milestones on time:how early is too early for a speech language evaluation

Long before your baby says her first words, she is listening and communicating in a variety of ways:

  • By 3 months, she quiets or smiles when you talk to her and cries differently to express different needs
  • By 6 months, she responds to changes in the tone of your voice, babbles with many different sounds, and vocalizes excitement and displeasure
  • By 1 year, she makes gestures (e.g., waves) to communicate, imitates speech sounds, and says one or two words

These skills, along with other speech and language milestones, generally follow a similar sequence of development in typically developing children. And, though there is variation across all children, these milestones are usually expected at particular ages. The predictability of your baby’s language development allows speech-language pathologists to evaluate your baby’s skills long before she starts saying her first words. Looking at milestone charts and comparing them to your baby’s skills will give you hints about whether your baby might be on track or delayed.

  1. Your baby displays one or more of the following “red flags” for communication disorders*:
  • Does not babble by 9 months
  • Does not say first words by 15 months
  • Does not respond to communication appropriately
  • Does not make eye contact
  • Sudden loss of skills or slowing of development
  • Does not show interest in communication

*Adapted from www.asha.org. Please see web site for more information.

  1. Your baby has hearing problems or a previously diagnosed neurodevelopmental disorder:
  • Hearing Problems: 92% of children with hearing loss are born to hearing parents. The ability to hear is essential to your child’s language development, as decreased linguistic input may negatively impact language. Furthermore, otitis media (middle ear infection) is common in children ages birth to 3. It may be harder for children to hear and understand language if sound is dampened by fluid in the middle ear. Therefore, children with frequent ear infections should have their hearing tested to ensure full access to their linguistic environment.
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorder: Neurodevelopmental disorders are disabilities associated with the functioning of the nervous system and brain. Children with these disorders are at higher risk of having speech and language problems.

 

What Can I do if I see One of These Red Flags?

If your baby is not meeting developmental milestones, displays any “red flags,” or has hearing difficulties or a neurodevelopmental disorder, you can take action by finding a speech-language pathologist in your area and scheduling an evaluation. Click here more information about how to select a speech-language pathologist, as well as what happens during a speech-language evaluation.






prepping your child for kindegarten

On the Way…Prepping Your Child for Kindergarten

 

 

 

School is just around the corner, and some kiddos will be starting their journey into formal education as they head off to Kindergarten. Here are some tips to prepare your child…and yourself for this important milestone.

Why is it important to prepare your child for Kindergarten?

It is important that your child is prepared for this transition so they can have positive interactions when learning and participating in the classroom as well as to build their self-esteem and motivation.

What are common “readiness” skills?

While every school may have their own checklist or assessments, there are some basics skills that most Kindergarten teachers will look for including the following:

Self Help Skills

  • Child is able to be independent (eating, using restroom, clean up)
  • Able to ask for help, when appropriate
  • Can follow one-step and two-step directions

Social/Emotional Skills

  • Shares with others
  • Takes turns
  • Good listener
  • Able to work independently or in small groups
  • Plays/cooperates with others
  • Able to separate from Caregiver

Gross (large) Motor Skills

  • Runs, jumps
  • Able to bounce, kick, and throw a ball
  • Able to participate in small games
  • Can stand on one foot

Fine (small) Motor Skills

Math, Language, and Literacy Skills

  • Able to count to 10
  • Recognizes 10 or more letters, especially those in own name
  • Speaks in sentences of 5+ words
  • Speech is understandable to adults
  • Identifies and names basic shapes
  • Listens attentively and can respond to stories/books
  • Recognizes rhyming words and can put words together that rhyme

How can you help your child be ready for Kindergarten?

Here are some tips to help your child be the best they can be when heading off to Kindergarten:

  • Talk about what will happen in school—what will be the new routine?
  • Arrange a visit to the school and travel the route from home to school (especially if they will be on a bus).
  • Encourage play—independently and with other children.
  • Read, Read, Read—ask questions about the book (what may happen, what they learned), and have them identify colors, shapes, letters
  • Have child practice coloring, writing, and using scissors—“practice makes perfect!”
  • Talk with your child—ask them open-ended questions and have them reciprocate.
  • Use daily activities to point out words, numbers and help child formulate sentences of 5+ words.
  • Encourage independence in your child by having them do simple chores (ex: make bed, help set table/clean up at mealtimes, help with pets in household).

***Most importantly caregivers…be careful not to transmit any anxieties or sadness you may have when your “baby” goes off to school. Children can easily pick up on the emotions of adults, so wait until the bus is out of sight, or the car door closes and THEN pull out the tissues!!