How to Boost your baby’s talk

talkBabies don’t learn language by flashcards. They learn through experience. Even before they’re born, they’ve learnt what your voice, your accent and your language sounds like and the good news is – they’re hardwired to learn to talk.
There are a few building blocks that need to be in place before they’ll start talking, but luckily (and hopefully) these are already in place – all it needs is for you to do your part of the bargain.
Can you remember the first time your babies gaze met yours? Eye contact is super important, but no prizes for guessing what is getting in the way of eye contact, even from birth. Technology’s got a lot to answer for – when you’re feeding your little one, they’ll be looking up at you to get eye contact. If you’re on your phone, they won’t be getting any back and soon they’ll stop looking for it.
The best thing about encouraging babies’ language development is it’s free! You just need your voice and to talk about whatever is going on around you. “ooh, you’ve got a stinky bum, let’s change your nappy…..dirty nappy in the bag……here’s a clean nappy.” Eventually they’ll make the connection between the thing on their bum and the word ‘nappy.’
Have you tried sticking your tongue out at a tiny baby? It’s amazing how they copy – watch this 3 month old on youtube Well, that’s turn-taking and it’s the start of communication. So, it’s never too early to learn!
Tips to help your baby’s language development:
  1. Play Peekaboo – babies will think you’re dead funny AND it’s good for their eye contact.
  2. Have dummy free time – babies need to babble – it’s how they develop speech sounds.  
  3. Copy their baby babble – then they’ll start to copy you.
  4. Tell them what you’re doing as you’re doing it so they start to make connections.
And my bio:
First and foremost, I’m a mum of two children. But I’ve been a speech and language therapist for longer. So, whilst I’m still learning the parenting ropes (now my kids approach their teenage years,) I know a thing or two about language development. I work for the NHS, promoting early intervention. Language is so important for learning and life and I’m passionate about getting in there as early as possible. Yes, I’m the one who will play peekaboo with your baby whilst you’re pushing them in a trolley down the supermarket aisles! But I also know that all children develop language at different times – my own son didn’t start talking until after he was 2 years old, proving that you can’t drag the words out of their mouths. They’ll talk when they’re ready…
I’ve set up a facebook page, imparting little nuggets of wisdom in all areas of helping children to learn to talk and I’ve designed an app to help parents work out if their child’s speech is where it should be for their age or if you should refer on for speech and language therapy assessment.
https://www.facebook.com/wiseoldowlSLT/
Speech Assessment App
An app that helps you assess your child’s speech and helps you decide if they are where they should be for their age or if you should seek further help….

 

Help my toddler wont stop drinking from a bottle!

tot drinking from a bottleNow you might think this is cute, and cute it probably is. You might also think that having milk in the bottle instead of juice is fine and dandy and not harmful to the teeth BUT you couldn’t be more wrong.

Here is the advice given to parents.

Milk sugars in formula can cause tooth decay. Even natural milk sugars present in breast milk can occasionally cause tooth decay from night nursing. Avoid Prolonged Bottle-Feeding. Offer all drinks from cups not bottles. Prolonged bottle-feeding with sugary drinks or milk, particularly when a toddler is allowed to fall asleep with a bottle in his or her mouth, can contribute to dental decay.

So what are you to do? Here are some tips:

  1. Try to wean your little one onto a sippy cup or cup after 6 months of age, if not then definately by 12 months is recommended. A good place to practise using a cup is in the bathtub!
  2. Try replacing a bottle with a cup gradually. It’s probably easier to start this at meal times than the night time bottle
  3. You could try to dilute the milk with water BUT please make sure you little one is getting enough full milk in his/her diet. This is extremely important. You could tell your little one that the milk in the cup tastes nicer. The aim is to stop your little one having milk in the bottle. Water from a bottle is kind to teeth. If you don’t mind that then you’re the mummy and that’s fine. It’s the tooth decay we are more concerned about here.
  4. Do the same with juice. Gradually dilute.
  5. Avoid letting your little one walk around with the bottle. Start establishing some gentle rules, this will gradually limit bottle use.
  6. If a bedtime bottle is part of the night time routine, can you perhaps work on changing the order in which you give the bottle. For example, instead of giving it last thing before bed can you give it before the bath or story? This will break the association with night time sleep.

Another really interesting point

Tea and coffee are not recommended for children under five years because they contain tannin and caffeine. Tannin interferes with the absorption of iron and caffeine is a stimulant.

Shellie x

Why does my toddler only misbehave for me?

misbehaveEverything’s a battle. You’re at your witt’s end and feel like your doing this parenting thing all wrong. You just don’t know what to do anymore. You hope and pray  “it’s a phase” because you’re almost at the point of admitting defeat .The behaviour is off the chart. Hitting, pinched, biting and hair pulling are the norm. The  tantrums are endless, and no amount of ‘counting’ or  ‘naughty step’ does the trick. The thought of leaving the house is unbearable, you can’t face the thought of dealing with this kind of behaviour in public, it’s bad enough at home.

You just want to know that you’re not the only one feeling like this, that your child is not some DEVIL CHILD and that there really is an end in sight?

I get how emotionally draining this all is. Why would your little one push every boundary possible? You’re convinced she hates you. I mean, it’s really hard not to take it so personally I know that, so here’s a few things you need to keep telling yourself.

Recognise the Limit pushing for what it is.

Toddlers have little ‘impulse control’ and it’s very often about expressing their needs and feelings. I know it doesn’t make sense that she’s fighting about putting her pj’s on when you know darn well how tired she is. BUT she probably doesn’t recognise this herself.

Rules, clarity, expectations

How else do they learn what’s right and wrong behaviour if they dont push the boundaries? How else will that learn what you expect and do not expect? What is appropriate behaviour and what isn’t if they don’t push the limits so they can learn from your reaction.

Dealing with feelings

It’s often a way for your toddler to deal with stress and feelings that they are unable to express verbally.

Attention

Maybe, just maybe, (and this is said with love) we’ve been distracted of late. Life gets in the way, something has happened, we’ve been working hard etc, etc and we just haven’t been paying as much attention to our little ones as we usually do. (AND there really isn’t any need to beat yourself up about this either.)

And a whole load of other stuff including:

Tiredness, hunger, boredom, frustration, over stimulation, fear and confusion.
I bet you didn’t think there could be so many reasons for misbehaviour.
REMEMBER that part of their development stage is to test power and will.

Sooo, what the hell can you do to make life a little easier for yourself and stop the constant battle ground.
Here’s a few tips.

Routine

I know, it’s a dirty word for some (me included) I don’t really adapt well to routine, BUT it really can make life easier for some toddlers. You see, toddlers like routine and predictability, it stops their feelings of overwhelm. It makes them feel safe and secure to know what’s coming next. It helps them to adapt and transition more easily to the next thing.

Turn things into a game.

So, I used this technique over and over again. It never failed to work when my little ones wouldn’t put their shoes on, brush their teeth, have a bath etc. I would say ” I bet you can’t find your shoes before I can?” “I bet we can’t brush your teeth without you laughing today” “I bet you can’t get in your car seat before mummy sits in her seat”

Offer Choices:

Would you like to use the green bath towel or the blue bath towel to dry yourself now as it’s time to get out of the bath.
Are you going to eat the peas or the carrots, you choose.

Use timers or give verbal reminder/preparation

Toddlers often have trouble transitioning from one thing to the other. Its a very interesting world for them and they really do think that eating tea and bedtime are boring.
When this timer goes off it’s time for tea or I will tell you again in a few minutes and then you must do as I say.

Autonomy – your toddlers need to exert independence

So work with this stage of development to your advantage. “Can you put your shoes on or do you want me to help?”  You are always so helpful when you pass me the baby’s nappy”

Time

This is one thing we’re all guilty of, but if we weren’t rushing out of the door how many battles and tantrums would we avoid when putting shoes on etc. Try to allow 10 more minutes than you need. I know easier said than done but better than a horrific floor show yeh?

The famous saying “Choose your BATTLES”

Sometimes when you can see your toddler is clearly tired, distressed, angry or just not going to conform it’s not worth getting into a power struggle. ” I can see your tired tonight, so I am going to help you pick these toys up and  but tomorrow I would really like you to do as I ask”. That way you don’t feel like you’re giving in and you haven’t entered into a full blown battle either.

And I could go on, and on, and on about a whole heap load of other stuff too. X

 

Need some support with this? Someone who totally understands how you feel and can provide you with some practical steps? YOU CAN  eliminate, avoid and reduce MELTDOWNS/TANTRUMS/TERRIBLE TWOS ever happening in the first place.


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Shellie x

My life with a Tantruming Toddler

living with toddler tantrumsThis is a personal blog about my life with toddler tantrums.  I wanted you to know just how difficult my days were when I had a tantruming toddler. So difficult that I am passionate about giving mums the strategies and tools to deal with this challenge.

My transition to motherhood started on the 16th January 1998 when I had my first son. I think you’ll agree that most of us can tell what kind of personality our children are going to have from day one. By GOD I wasn’t wrong, my first son was a STRONG WILLED child. Maybe it’s a good job I didn’t realise at the time what a merry dance he was going to lead me.

Anyhow, the challenges were many, birth, breastfeeding,breast to  bottle, sleep, you name it I think I met that challenge with him. but the worst by far was the tantrum stage and because he was strong willed, those tantrums came regular. Those tantrums weren’t 5 minute jobs, oh no they were great BIG massive explosive tantrums. The thought makes me shudder even now. I really didn’t have a clue what to do or any understanding of what was going on and I got through be just winging it as I think many of us do.

When I became pregnant again I used to joke that I’d got the most challenging child over and done with and I couldn’t possible have another child more challenging, I mean, they always say you never get one the same don’t they?

Baby Number Two

So my second son was born 5 years later. Again came the challenging birth, (I was extremely poorly but that’s for another blog) which reflected on another challenging breastfeeding journey, but I was blessed with a second healthy son who was much easier to manage in every way than my first son. UNTIL that is he entered his 2nd year and that nicely coincided with me having my third child just 2 years later.

Now, I kid you not, I thought I’d seen and experienced everything I could possibly experience tantrum wise with son number. But son number 2 well his tantrums were off the richter scale. Tantrums that would go on for over an hour. Tantrums that would happen at the slightest thing. Really horrendous full blown tantrums that I tried so hard to cope with. I tried everything to stop these tantrums. I felt such a failure as a mum. I felt inadequate that my child had these tantrums, that I couldn’t prevent them or soothe him once he had them.

My Anger was intense!

I felt angry  too, the anger was terrible, I’m ashamed to say there was many an explosive seen from me shouting and carrying on. How bad did I feel to be a mummy like this? The guilt was immense, but if you’re dealing with tantrum after tantrum day in day out as I did you’ll perhaps understand how I felt.

The impact of not knowing how to deal with those tantrums affected my whole life. I was on edge constantly and didn’t want to go out in case there was a public tantrum. I felt judged, that people thought I must be a crap mummy for not being able to handle my children. I felt people though my children were uncontrollable and naughty. My emotional health was in tatters and my relationship with my other two children suffered too. I really wasn’t enjoying parenthood one bit.

I was an emotional wreck

When I look back I was a wreck. I can still feel quite clearly the anxiety and stress surfacing when I think back to those days. I really just wanted and needed help and support and I struggled to get it. I needed guidance, information on what was going on for my toddler, ways to curb my own emotions and anger and ways to help my toddler through this stage. To know it was normal development and information on how I could support this and not escalate the tantrums with my own behaviour.

If you’re resonating with this, I truly understand where you are right now because I’ve been there. My mission is to help and support mums through this. It doesn’t have to be as consuming and difficult as it is right now. It doesn’t have to be so tough, so challenging. You don’t need to feel so guilty. You can reduce, eliminate and avoid tantrums. You CAN get your own emotions under control, you can enjoy your toddler again.

How long are you going to suffer in silence with these tantrums?
How long are you going to shout, scream and turn into a shouty mummy then feel guilty?
How long are you prepared to sit indoors because you can’t go out? How long are you going to be reduced to tears because you can’t cope with one more tantrum?

Need some support with this? Someone who totally understands how you feel and can provide you with some practical steps? YOU CAN  eliminate, avoid and reduce MELTDOWNS/TANTRUMS/TERRIBLE TWOS ever happening in the first place

Shellie xJoin our group!>>HERE <<
Read the group description. If it resonates with you I’d love to have you
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Get out of Nappies FASTER…

nappiesThere’s no secret formula for this one I’m afraid. Lots of parents start Potty Training when their tots aren’t ready and it just makes the whole process longer.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Paediatric Society both recommend in their guidelines that the child has to be physically ready and show interest.

Physically ready means that bowl and bladder control need to be present. This happens around 18 months but other developmental skills are also essential such as motor skills and language .>> See here for more<< information.

It’s important to remember that these skills are really quite complexed for your toddler to master and are as individual as crawling, walking and talking.

I know from being a mummy myself that there is an incredible urge to move on to the next thing, a need to make sure you toddler isn’t getting left behind, a certain pressure to keep up with the next step. But being out of nappies doesn’t suggest your toddler is more advanced, it’s simply just a development process that happens when your toddler is ready.

In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to start preparing your little one for their potty training journey.

What can I do to help prepare my child?

  • Teach child how to dress and undress
  • Teach your toddler toilet words and to follow instructions
  • Teach toddler to pull pants up and down
  • Teach toddler  to identify wet and dry pants
  • Teach toddler to recognise when they are eliminating into their nappy. Parents can often recognise this process.
  • Let toddler get used to flushing the toilet
  • Encourage them to sit on potty/toilet even if fully clothed
  • Change child often so she will prefer clean nappies
  • Start reading story books to your little one about using the potty.

Good Luck!

Shellie x

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