23 Months – Using Phrases to Give Compliments

Roman and Mom  Your toddler is becoming very aware of his surroundings and people around him.  You can use it as a chance to really connect with people and things by giving compliments.  For instance, Roman has started complimenting our hair saying “hair nice”.  

You can target things such as artwork and verbally model phrases such as “pretty picture”.  If a girl is wearing a pretty dress you can model “cute dress”.  If a friend is playing with a fun new toy you can say “cool new truck”.  This now only will make others feel happy, but will also make your toddler start thinking about the power of their words.  

And it doesn’t necessarily have to be someone or something that someone has made or has.  It could be things that you see in nature.  Let’s say you’re taking a walk you can talk about a tree by saying “Wow that’s a beautiful tall tree!”.  There are tons of possibilities, so go ahead and make someone’s day!

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22 Months 3 Weeks – What to Expect During Mealtime with a 2 Year Old

Roman and berries Can you believe it?  You’re child is almost two!  We decided to concentrate on mealtime milestones this week since a lot more is expected of your child at this point.  In terms of texture, they should now be able to eat all textures including: purees, soft chewables, ground lump purees, and more chewable foods. Tougher solids are expected after 24 months.  

As for oral-motor skills, your child should now exhibit rotary chewing instead of diagonal chewing.  Lateral tongue action should be visible.  They should have also mastered straw drinking.  Overall, you should observe a decrease in food intake by 24 months.

When it comes to motor skills, their pincer grasp should be refined and they should be past finger feeding.  You now want them to grasp the spoon with their whole hand and independently feed themselves by scooping food and brining it to their mouth.  All in all, you should see increased control of utensils.  As you can see, mealtime and fine motor skills are highly intertwined.

And of course to limit pickiness, have your child eat meals with the whole family and most importantly have them eat what you’re eating.  If they are hesitant, have them explore the food with their senses (e.g. – touching it with their fingers).  The more they are exposed to different foods the better!  So if salmon and cabbage salad is on the menu, it’s also what’s for dinner for your child!  

22 Months 2 Weeks – Teaching Basic Conversation to a Toddler

Roman and Numbers You are probably at the point where you might be in an elevator and a stranger asks your child “What’s your name?”. Your child may not answer right now, but it’s a great time to practice holding a basic conversation.

You can start off with a basic greeting of “Hi” and waving. You can then move onto answering, “What’s your name?” and if they do not answer, model their name. You can practice it in front of a mirror and point to them so they understand what a “name” means. We also found that holding up a picture of just his face helps.  

The next step is to go over their age, which may still be a difficult concept. Since they are almost two you can begin asking “How old are you?” and modeling “two”. Holding up the number may be helpful, so they can relate it to a visual.  Counting up to two and emphasizing two may also help. Many times when people ask “how” questions to a toddler the child automatically thinks “how many” and begins counting, so when you model the answer “two” make sure to say it right away. Other than that you can also go over basic question and answer pairs such as “How are you?” and “Good”.  

22 Months 1 Week – Combining Chores with Following Directions

Roman dancing. It’s never too early to start learning about chores and how to help out in the house!Now that your child is getting better at following directions feel free to intertwine basic “chores” into the daily routine.  

It could be as simple as cleaning up. From an early age we started the clean up song even when he did not speak just so he got used to the melody and words. At this point you can sing it along with them and see if they hum along or imitate any of the words. Just hearing the song will trigger cleaning up after playtime or even mealtime.  Once they get used to the routine they will begin cleaning up on their own, sometimes even singing the song all by themselves!

Specific directions you can give is “Give me your cup/plate/fork and let’s put it in the sink” (they most likely cannot reach yet even with a step stool, but it’s good to practice), “Put your ____ in the dishwasher”, “Throw it in the garbage”, “Go get me a paper towel”, “Put your socks away” (or any clothing), “Walk the dog”, etc.  We even found working on colors while doing laundry is an excellent receptive language task (e.g. – dark vs. light or putting all the red socks together).

22 Months – Encouraging “I feel…” Sentences

Roman is happy. The world is an exciting place and it comes with lots of feelings for little ones (and adults), so we have to make sure we give them a voice to talk about how they feel.  For instance, my son is starting to get the concept of “scary” if it’s a ghost, lion, etc. and he will comment saying phrases such as “ghost scary”.

TAG We recommend starting off with basic feelings such as happy vs. sad.  You can practice smiling and frowning in front of the mirror and labeling the feelings with one word.  We also started by looking at pictures of babies in Mrs. Mustard’s Baby Feelings book and our Baby Feeling ibook since they are clear depictions of happy vs. sad.  We also talked about feelings while watching videos or television shows to make screen time an interactive experience.

You can also talk about feelings as they happen since this is the prime age for tantrums!  For instance, if someone took their toy away you can label the feeling with a sentence such as “I know that makes you feel SAD”.  As they get the hang of it, you can add more complicated feelings in such as excited, scary, surprised, etc.  They love imitating your facial expressions and even pretending!  For instance, you can do role-play with dinosaurs and pretend to hide under a blanket or pillows to pretend to be very scared!  Targeting feelings through story time and art are also fantastic ways to go over feelings and using that starter phrase “I feel ____”, “She feels ____”, “He feels ____”, “They feel ____”, etc.  Have a HAPPY day! ☺

21 Months 3 Weeks – Is your Child Under the Weather?  Phrases to Encourage

Roman and books

It’s the saddest thing when kiddos are sick, but if they can express themselves when they are it makes it 10 times easier for us!  Here are some go-to phrases to teach and model for your child.

“I don’t feel good” or “I feel sick”

“Tummy hurt” or any “Body part + hurt”

Comments such as “Yucky” or “Gross”

“I need sleep” or anything else they may need such as an ice pack or even a hug

“I want daddy”

Roman with more booksMany will also ask “wh” questions like “why” and it’s a prefect opportunity to explain to them what is going on in their body!  Hope the germs stay away and you all stay healthy!  Summer is right around the corner ☺

21 Months 2 Weeks – Asking “Where” Questions

Roman playing When your child begins to ask question it is certainly the cutest thing on Earth!  It might not even start as the word and they may just hold their hands up as if to ask where.  They are basically copying what they see us do.  In order to promote questions such as “where” things or people need to disappear!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

We find that using naturally occurring opportunities is always a great way to target “where”.  Let’s say in your household one parent goes to work in the morning and you practice saying “Bye Bye”… after that person leaves ask “Where did ____ go?”.  The more consistent you are with your language, the more likely they will try to imitate it and then ultimately say it independently.  Also, do not hesitate to talk about where Mommy and Daddy actually are.  They of course do not fully understand the concept of work, shopping, errands, etc. yet, but it’s teaching them that when people ask “where” it is referring to a place.  It also helps give them a sense of time and routine (e.g. – we run errands in the afternoon).  

And there are of course the millions of language opportunities that you can intentionally create, which is great for practicing object permanence.  For instance, you can keep it simple and use a blanket and have a block disappear under the blanket and then ask “where” while also doing a confused gesture.  You can also do more involved activities such as creating a sensory bin filled with rice, beans, grass, leaves, etc.  Hide some of their favorite objects inside or magnets, animals, shapes, letters, etc. Before looking you can model “where” once again and then comment on what you find within the sensory bin.  It’s a great vocabulary building activity!