My Parent, My Therapist
“My other kids were talking way before Chani!”
“Shloimy refuses to play in the park.”
“He sounds like he has hot potatoes in his mouth!”
“Shira doesn’t play with the other children in school!”
Concerned about your child’s development?….You’re not alone, and EvalCare is here to help.
However, while a therapist may be recommended at certain times, know good and well that the parent is a child’s therapist too!
What can a parent do, you ask? It’s simple!
The following are just some suggestions to help boost your child’s development:
1) Parallel Talk: whatever your child is doing, describe the action:
e.g. “Shoshie, you are rolling out the play dough into a big pancake!”
“Eli, you are stacking your blocks one on top of the other so carefully
2) Expand on what your child says: When she says something simple, respond by adding a word or two:
e.g. Child: “throw ball” Mother: “Throw Aliza the ball.”
Child: “go bye bye” Mother: “Mommy and Suri are going bye bye
Child: “mine” Mother: “This is mine”
3) Read!!!: Never underestimate the wonderful world of books. Talk about the pictures, what the people may be feeling, and listen to what your child has to say. Add some fun and change your tone of voice as you read.
4) Delay Responses to Gestures/Immediately respond to words: when your child points to a bottle of juice on the kitchen counter or just whines, you might say: “I’m not sure. Do you want a spoon? ( pause); the ketchup (pause); some juice? (pause ) Oh, you want juice!” As you give it to him, you might add “juice.” However, if your child points and says “juice,” smile right away and get the juice for him. This is teaching your child that words are rewarded faster than gestures.
1) The playground is a magical place for children! Encourage your child to enjoy it as you watch his confidence, strength, and balance grow.
2) Arts and Crafts: Finger paints, play dough, paper and crayons all encourage artistic development, plus the fine motor skills required for writing
Play, Play and more Play! Children learn more through play and toys than you may imagine.
1) Nature based activities such as making mud-pies and digging in the sandbox help your child become an experimenter and investigator,
2) Blocks,and anything your child can separate into groups, encourage manipulation and catergorization
3) Puzzles and matching games teaches impotant lessons such as: same/different, parts of whole, problem solving, and classification.
4) Playing House encourages imagination and helps children advance their abstract thinking skills.
1) Model Social Skills: Children are the greatest copycats. Therefore:
- Say “Please” and “Thank You” and “Good Job” when you talk to your child and others.
- Be aware of the words and body language you use when you have to wait for something: e.g. Instead of acting anxious when you’re stuck in traffic, put on a relaxing CD.
Your child automatically will copy your good manners.
2) Dolls and stuffed animals can be used to represent people and play out troubing emotions or situations.
3) Help develop strategies:
a. When she must wait, help your child figure out whay she can do to pass the time. Say: “Whay can we do while we’re waiting? Should we sing songs or read a book.
4) Encourage Independence:
- Allow your child to make choices. E.g. “Shira, would you like the green or blue ball today?
- Keep books on a low shelf so that your child can begin making his own choices and develop personal preferences.
These are just a few ideas to show how, as a parent, you can make the difference your child needs to succeed. Just remember:
Keep expectations reasonable: Kids will be kids! Perfection should be left to computers.
Don’t pressure! Children need to learn at their own pace and through their own nature. Constant nagging and intervention may prove to have negative affects. In addition, comments like “ Your younger brother Yossi can do it” and You never listen!” can affect a child’s self-esteem – even at this young age!
Childhood is a wonderful time for both parent and child. Enjoy your children and appreciate the happiness and fun they bring into life!