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Navigating Early Speech & Language Milestones: What to expect between age 1 and 2

Parents often wonder if their child’s skills are developing typically.  Between gross motor skills, fine motor skills, speech-language skills, social-emotional functioning, and overall growth, there’s a lot to keep track of!  In fact, it might feel overwhelming.  Mother communicating with infantIt’s important for parents to remember that every child develops at their own rate, with some skills emerging faster, and other skills taking more time.  When considering your child’s development, referring to developmental milestones can be an excellent guide.  In Part 1 of this blog, we reviewed speech and language milestones to expect during the first year of your baby’s life.  In Part 2, we’ll review communication milestones you might expect to see between age 1 and 2.  If you begin to feel concerned regarding your child’s development, seek help from a licensed professional right away.  A trained therapist will give you accurate information, ease your worries, and if needed, give your child any help they might need.

Speech & Language Skills Emerging Between 1 and 2 Years

1 – 1½ years

Your child might:

  • easily understand his own speech
  • use a variety of words (between about 3-20) to communicate
  • understand between 50-75 words to communicate
  • be able to point to various objects or body parts as you say them
  • be able to follow simple 1-step directions
  • use words that contain a consonant + vowel (e.g. “bo” for boat)
  • be eager to imitate words they hear others say
  • use some jargon when they’re communicating
  • request things by pointing or vocalizing
  • let you know what they don’t want, by shaking their head “no” or pushing objects away

1½ – 2 years

Your child might:

  • be likely using more true words, and less jargon to communicate
  • be asking questions by using a rising intonation
  • begin to include sounds at the end of their words (e.g. hot)
  • use more than 50 words to communicate
  • understand about 300 words to communicate
  • begin to combine words into simple phrases
  • be able to follow 2-step related directions (e.g. “open the box and give me the bear.”)
  • begin to respond to yes/no questions
  • understand location concepts “in” and “on”
  • begin using words to tell you when they don’t want something (e.g. “no bed”)

For more information about speech and language development in childhood, visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association at http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/.

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Bubble Beats for the Whole Family | Guest Blog

Guest Blog By Victoria R. Golden of Bubbles Academy

One of the comments we hear most often at Bubbles Academy is, “We love the music!” Families hear a wide variety of live and recorded music in all of our classes: we use songs to teach baby sign, to encourage language development, and to inspire interaction and develop social connections between students and families. Our music also plays a key role in gross motor skill development in toddlers (bouncing and wiggling those hips!) and core development in babies.

How We Choose Our Music:

We begin building our playlists by brainstorming a list of genuinely enjoyable songs. We draw from our own musical tastes, popular music, and world music, but we also like to be playful! We often draw inspiration from our curriculum, which fuses developmentally-focused activities with interactive audio-visuals, to create well-rounded thematic musical selections.

Ms. Victoria’s Top 10 Spring Music Picks:

  • “Wavin’ Flag” by K’Naan: we danced with flags to this great tune in our Sports-themed Creative Movement classes.bubbles academy
  • “Baby” by Justin Bieber: this is one of our all-time favorite “baby dance” songs!
  • “Folding Chair” by Regina Spektor: a great spring and summer song, this one will have your child trying to imitate the dolphin sounds she makes.
  • “Waka Waka” by Shakira: this song will get your blood pumping as you dance to Shakira’s take on a traditional African song!
  • “Mixing Bowl” by Kira Willey: we’ve been using this one in our Food curriculum as a parachute song- a very calming tune that babies and adults love.
  • “Fitted Shirt” by Spoon: great song to inspire children to dress themselves in the morning!
  • “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell: combine your child’s love of all things on wheels with Joni’s classic take on environmentalism!
  • “Up Up Up” by The Givers: another song we use for parachute time, its tune is guaranteed to brighten your day.
  • “Jungle Drum” by Emiliana Torrini: bring out the drums, bongos or pots and pans to jam along and practice matching rhythms!
  • “Mushaboom” by Feist: a toe-tapping classic!

Tips for Finding More Music to Enjoy With Your Child:

  • On our Bubbles Academy blog, The Bub Hub, we post a new video every Monday in our “Music for Talls and Tinies” column. Start your week off right with some rockin’ tunes!
  • Children’s television is becoming a savvy source for music that parents and kids can both enjoy. Tune in to Yo Gabba Gabba or Sesame Street, which have recently hosted contemporary musical artists like The Shins and Feist.
  • Talk to your friends! Personal recommendations are a beautiful way to find new music and make connections with your friends, and everyone loves to share their opinions on “the best music”!

Singing and dancing together builds strong connections between parents and children, and the right music can help create lifelong memories for your little music lovers. What music do you remember from your childhood? It might be different from today’s tunes, but chances are, the fond memories remain the same.

About the Author:

Victoria R. Golden is the Assistant Program Director at Bubbles Academy. She teaches Music, Art & Music, Bubble Step (Gentle Separation) and Bubble Bees (Independent Learning) classes. A self-taught guitarist, she has also studied music at American University in Washington, DC and at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. She hopes to see you soon at Bubbles!

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Encouraging Language Development While Reading To Your Child: Part 2

Parents often ask which books to purchase for their toddler. We want kids to be engaged, we want them to enjoy books, and we want to develop their literacy skills. So which books work best when reading to toddlers? In Part 1 of this blog, we discussed 10 ways to encourage language development while reading to your toddler. In part 2, we’ll review 9 principles to consider when choosing books for your child.

Principles to consider when choosing books for your toddler:

1. Consider the illustrations. For young children, pictures play a huge part in their literacy experience. Choose books boys readingwith exciting pictures that are not too visually overwhelming.

2. Consider your child’s vocabulary level. Don’t be afraid to try books with unfamiliar words; this is an excellent way to introduce new vocabulary. However, try to avoid books that contain high volumes of unfamiliar words, which may lose your child’s interest.

3. Incorporate rhyming and repetition. Young children often love books with repetitive patterns or rhyming (e.g. Brown Bear Brown Bear, 5 Little Monkeys, Llama Mama, etc). These books provide excellent opportunities to enhance phonological awareness and learn language structures.

4. Consider the length. Young children may have difficulty attending to books for long periods of time. Avoid books that are extremely lengthy in pages or text. While reading, follow your child’s lead and look for signs that they might be losing interest. It’s okay to not finish a book. Instead, try to create a positive experience and avoid forcing your child to attend to books beyond their threshold.

5. Incorporate your child’s interests. Introduce books that incorporate your child’s interests. It might be about a favorite animal, a sport your child likes, or a place your child loves to visit.

6. Incorporate upcoming events. In addition to your child’s interests, also look for books about events or experiences in your child’s life. For example, you might choose a book about the first day of school, moving to a new house, or an upcoming holiday.

7. Involve your child in choosing. Give your child a say-so in choosing books they’d like to read. You might provide a few age-appropriate choices, and let them pick one.

8. Utilize your resources. Libraries and bookstores often categorize their books by age-level. For example, the Chicago Public Library website link includes a “For Kids” section with helpful information about developmental milestones and recommended books for various ages.

9. Try new things! When it comes to choosing books, there’s no right or wrong answer. Instead, use these principles to guide your decision making. Try new books as often as possible, and learn about your child’s likes and dislikes. Enjoy spending time reading to your child!

If you would like to learn more about our Orton Gillingham Reading Center Programs, click the pink button below:

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When A Child Should Be Able To Read | Pediatric Therapy Tv

Pediatric Neuropsychologist answers what age a child should recognize words by and be able to read by.

In This Video You Will Learn:

  • What is the first stage of Reading
  • What reading milestones a child should reach by different ages
  • When a child she have developed reading comprehension

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now your host, here’s Robyn.

Robyn: Hello and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host, Robyn
Ackerman. I’m standing here today with Dr. Greg Stasi, a
pediatric neuropsychologist. Dr. Stasi, what age would you say a
child should be able to read by?

Dr. Stasi: Thanks, Robyn. That’s a great question. That’s a hard answer to
give and the reason behind it is we really have to think of the
different components of reading.

The first stage of reading is phonological processing and
phonological awareness, which is being able to identify letter
sounds and the letter combination sounds. For example, B-A is
‘ba’. We’d expect that around age 5, when a child is in
preschool and kindergarten.

Actual reading, being able to combine words together, about
first grade and second grade is when that skill starts to
develop. And then comprehension, where we understand what we are
actually reading, that again is going to be consistent with
first and second grade.

So to answer your question, kindergarten and preschool, we
really want to hit home with the letter awareness and the
combination of letters, so knowing the phonological processing
piece. Thank you.

Robyn: Thank you very much, Dr. Stasi, and thank you to our viewers.
And remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of
mind to your family with the best in educational programming. To
subscribe to our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit
our website at LearnMore.me. That’s LearnMore.me.

5 Ways to Know Your Baby is Ready for Solid Food

Since the holidays are just around the corner, you may be wondering if your child is ready to grab a plate and join you at the buffet! While there is no clear-cut age to start introducing solid foods, most young children independently begin to show signs that they’re ready to move past their typical pureed diet around the same time. You may receive the green light from your pediatrician to begin introducing solids, but also but watch for these signs, as these may indicate that your child is ready to move on.

Signs Your Baby Is Ready To Eat Solids:

1. Your child is gaining more gross motor control. When your child is able to demonstrate adequate head baby eating solidscontrol as well as stabilize their trunk when sitting, they are typically ready to tolerate a more complex repertoire of foods. While your child does not have to independently be able to sit on their own, they should be able to maintain an upright position when placed in a highchair without slouching or falling over.

2. Your child begins to show interest in what you are eating. Many young children may begin to watch others intently during meal times, any they may even attempt to grab items off of your plate! Young children may also become more interested in self-feeding, and your child may start to reach for the spoon when hungry, attempt to drink from your cup, bring a cracker or
cookie to their mouth, or place their hands on the bottle when feeding.

3. Your child demonstrates more oral-motor control. The most apparent sign that your child is ready for foods is when they lose the tongue thrust reflex. Rather than immediately pushing foods out of their mouth with their tongue, your child should be better able to manage the foods inside their mouth. Also, when your child begins to present with more tongue movement, such as back-and-forth and up-and-down when a spoon is introduced, they are indicating that they are also ready to move on.

4. Your child is on track for meeting feeding milestones. Observe your child’s behavior at play, as there are many signs to indicate that they are ready for a change in their diet. Some of these behaviors may include: an increase in hand-to-mouth play as demonstrated by orally exploring with objects, anticipation of spoon feedings, the transferring toys from one hand to another, the ability to “rake” toys and foods towards themselves, and the emergence of the pincer grasp.

5. Your child starts to not appear “satisfied” after breast or bottle feeds. During certain ages, children may insist on eating more than they typically would, but note that significant changes in their feeding patterns could also be related to a growth spurt. Some pediatricians will indicate that once children have doubled their birth weight, most children are ready to be introduced to solids.

Even though your child may present with many of the signs, they may still not be ready to tolerate the transition. Just remember to be patient, and speak with your pediatrician about any concerns you may have about moving to solid foods.

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Building Your Child’s Speech & Language Skills During Halloween

As a speech-language pathologist, I love holidays for the language-rich opportunities they provide.  For starters, my kids reliably arrive to therapy sessions bursting with things to talk about, from Halloween costumes to anticipated candy.  And research supports that children learn best when they’re motivated and excited.  By incorporating speech-language goals into holiday activities, you can encourage your child’s development in a fun and engaging context.  Enjoy these 5 fun ways to build speech and language skills during Halloween fun.

5 Halloween Activities to Practice Speech & Language

1. Read a book about Halloween.  Choose an age-appropriate book with fun pictures.  By reading a book about Halloween ahead of time, you can introduce your child to vocabulary and activities they might experience at Halloween.  This activity targets: mother reading to children in the fall timevocabulary development, literacy, and comprehension.
2. Create a book or timeline about your Halloween plans.  For many children, Halloween festivities can be overwhelming.  Prepare them ahead of time by creating a book about what you will do during Halloween.
Include places you will go, things you will see, and people you will be with.  You might even include appropriate phrases your child will use at Halloween (e.g. “Trick-or-Treat” or “I like your costume!”).  This activity targets: vocabulary, sequencing, literacy, narrative language, social skills.
3. Create a fun Halloween snack.  There are lots of fun and creative ideas on the internet (example: mumified pizzas).  Write out the steps needed to make the snack, and help your child brainstorm things you will need.  Afterwards, encourage your child to share their snack with others and describe how they made it.  This activity targets: executive function, sequencing, vocabulary, expressive language, social skills.
4. Create a Halloween craft.  Crafts are a great way to work on sequencing, vocabulary, and following directions.  The internet has endless ideas for creative kid-friendly crafts.  A few of my favorites are Enchanted Learning and DLTK Kids.  Encourage your child to share their craft with others and explain how they made it.  This activity targets: sequencing, vocabulary, following directions, expressive language.
5. Make a Halloween scrapbook to remember the day.  Take digital pictures throughout the Halloween festivities.  Afterwards, print each picture out and glue them into a construction paper book.  Help your child describe what happened in each picture (Who is in this picture?  What is mommy doing?  Where are we going?, etc).  Encourage your child to share their Halloween scrapbook with family and friends.  This activity targets: answering questions, literacy, expressive language, social skills.

Choosing the Right Toys to Promote Your Child’s Language Development

Parents often ask which toys to purchase for their child. There are so many factors to consider: learning, development, socialization, entertainment,boy playing on pretend phone and of course, fun! So how do you know which toys are best? Here are a few basic principles to consider when choosing the right toy for your child:

How do I choose the right toys to promote speech for my child?

1. Be simple. When it comes to toys, less is often more. Toys should stimulate exploration and creativity, which is often best accomplished through simple toys such as building blocks, play-doh, and pretend play.

2. Avoid toys that do all the work for your child. Even though electronic toys can be engaging and exciting, they leave little room for creativity and expanding on ideas, which can lead to passivity. I often encourage parents to limit their child’s use of video games and electronic toys, and stick with toys that require more creativity or social interaction.

3. Make-believe. Language is a symbol system that requires representational thought. For example, the word “ball” is a symbol that represents an actual object. Representational thought can be developed through pretend-play and make-believe. Additionally, pretend-play also promotes creativity, ideation, language use, and social interaction.

4. Think social. Look for toys that promote interactions with others. This might include a make-believe picnic, a fun game to share with friends, a ball to pass back-and-forth, or pretend toys such as a dollhouse or farm.

5. Create music. Musical instruments are a wonderful addition to your child collection. Pretending to play an instrument not only promotes make-believe, but it also encourages your child’s interest in music. Singing helps children learn various patterns of language, as well as learn to distinguish between different speech sounds.

6. Keep the bookshelves stocked! Books are always an excellent choice for kids of all ages. They promote vocabulary, speech development, listening, language, attention, and of course, literacy. For younger children, choose books that have large and simple pictures. Other great choices including repetitive books (e.g. Brown bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?), or rhyming books (e.g. Llama Llama).

7. Foster creativity. Consider art supplies to foster your child’s creativity. Art supplies such as crayons, sidewalk-chalk and moldable clay are excellent activities to encourage creativity in children.

8. Finally, consider safety. Be sure to read labels and age-requirements of all toys. Choose toys with nontoxic materials, and consider the developmental skills of your child. If your child is younger or enjoys mouthing things, then stay away from small objects that can be easily swallowed or choked on.

 Click Here to Read Part 2 of This Blog: 5 Great Toys To Encourage Speech

“I Don’t Know How She Does It!”: How Do We Balance Our Careers With Our Family Life?

High-powered finance executive by day, devoted wife and mother of two by night. “I don’t know how she does it!” How does she balance her career path with her family life? The movie “I don’t know how she does it,” starring Sarah Jessica Parker, sets out to explore this age-old question. So how do you do it? How do you successfully balance your professional and balancing work and familypersonal life? Unfortunately, there are no easy answers, nor is there one answer that works for everyone.

Explore these questions to decide what fits for you and your life:

1. What are my priorities at this point in my life?

  •  Priorities change over time. Your priorities may change based on your age, the age of your children, where you are in your career, and your relationships with partners, friends, relatives, and co-workers.
  • Exploring with yourself what your current priorities are can help you formulate a plan. If your priority is time spent with your children, for example, what will that look like when you have a deadline to meet? If your priority is advancement in your career, what will that look like when your family decides to go on vacation? Exploring these difficult questions beforehand can help you brainstorm possible ways to act based on your priorities.
  • Periodically asking yourself about your priorities is a helpful way to remind yourself that it is normal and okay for priorities to shift and for your answers to career/family balance questions to also change.

2. What are my boundaries?

  • Many parents discuss the importance of boundaries when it comes to their professional and personal lives. Setting boundaries is one way to maintain guidelines.
  • Questions of career/family balance occur often. Your boss asks you to stay late, but your child has a math test the next day. Your children want to spend time with you, but you have a presentation to work on. Having pre-set boundaries can give you something to fall back on.
  • Asserting and communicating your boundaries to your workplace and family is important so that everyone is informed and on the same page about the way you want to balance your professional and personal life.

3. How can I cope when things do not go the way I had planned or hoped?

  • Exploring your priorities and setting boundaries will not set answers in stone for you. Sometimes you make difficult choices in a way that you had not planned. Sometimes you cannot keep your boundaries. This is normal and okay—juggling a career with a family is extremely complicated and challenging, and no one does exactly what they planned or hoped to do every time.
  • Accept yourself as a human being that may have to make choices that you did not anticipate. Explore with yourself what can help you cope when this time comes. Do you write in a journal? Talk to a friend or spouse? Exercise? Take some alone time? What is it that works for you to feel hopeful, at peace, and confident in yourself as an employee and parent? How can you let go of possible guilty, sad, anxious, or hopeless feelings?

4. How can I gain support?

  • Balancing your career and family life is a constant process and journey, and as employees and parents, reaching out for help and support is vital for your well-being.
  • When do you need support? Recognizing when you need help is important so that you receive the support you deserve. What helps you feel supported? Take some time to think about what makes you feel refreshed, energized, calm, and happy. With busy schedules of maintaining the career/family balance, some parents may say they do not have time to engage in self-care activities. Taking time (even if it is just 5 minutes) to feel supported, however, can help you feel more energized throughout the day.

Exploring these questions about career/family life balance can help you to begin thinking about how YOU would answer the question of “How do you do it?” No two parents are exactly alike, and answering this challenging question in a way that fits with your unique beliefs, background, needs, wants, family, and career is important, rather than finding the “right” answer.

So, parents: How do you do it? Sharing your stories with each other can create connection, spark new ideas to try, and help you to see that every person balances their careers and family life differently.

Here is a list of how some of our very own North Shore Pediatric Therapy staff maintain the career/family balance:

CEO, Married, Father of 5:

“First, you can bring your kids to work once in awhile and let them experience your work world. You can also talk about issues that are age-appropriate with your children so they learn what you do and what you deal with so they become interested, learn, and grow from your work experience. This can also help them to work harder at school with their peers. Another suggestion is to ask your children if they feel they have enough time with you, and if not, ask them how would they like things to change for the better. Scheduling in one-on-one time with your children is a good way to help them feel important. Be interested in their work and what they do in school. It is important that you’re not just talking about your work but letting them know their work is also important—acknowledge their stresses and responsibilities.”

President/Founder, Married, Mother of 5:

“First, don’t forget your children at school! Oh boy, I have five and a few times when I was treating kids at NSPT late I got calls to work from the kids ‘Hi mom, I’m in the office, you forgot to pick me up!’ The best thing is that the kids knew I was working hard and loved it and they knew when I wasn’t working I was 100% all for them. Turn off all screens and concentrate on them when you are “off” and they will always be “on” for you! Second, kids actually don’t want SO MUCH attention from you. So, when they come home from wherever they are, just turn 100% attention to them. Tell them they have 20 minutes of YOU YOU YOU. You will see that after about 3-5 minutes of talking to you or hugging or whatever they need, they have other business to tend to like playing, eating, talking on the phone, homework, friends, pets, and will continue on their merry way! Third, work somewhere where you are happy. Happy mom equals happy family!”

Family-Child Advocate, Married, Mother of 3:

“We just celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary on the 11th and have 3 children. Our oldest son Bill just graduated from medical school in June, our daughter Caitlin was married in May and our youngest Matthew has moved back to complete college at UIC for pre-med. All three have had learning differences so in addition to always working full time we had to factor in therapy and tutoring etc. We found that good communication and ORGANIZATION were the keys to getting it all done. In our case it was not “I don’t know how she does it”, it was always “This is mandatory for success” so it took priority and a schedule. We have a large centralized calendar and we had family meetings once a month to go over the schedule and we gave responsibility to the kids when they were old enough! Another thing that is key to getting it all accomplished is a sense of humor! Things happen and the wheels fall off of the best laid plans, but it helps to laugh!”

Clinical Consultant, Married, Mother of 2:

Make sure you leave work at work. When you come home and see your children for the first time, pay attention to them. Assign a time every night to hear about their day, talk about what they did and just spend valuable time with them. Save your work stories for your spouse after the kids go to bed. If you work from home it is especially important that your children know how long you will be on the computer for or on a conference call for. You can say to them “Mommy will be doing work for 45 minutes, but after I am done you get to choose an activity for us to do together”. You can even set a timer so they have a visual of when you will be able to bring your attention back to them. Leave weekends to family time. We call every Sunday “Sunday Funday Family Day” in our house. The children know that on that day they have our undivided attention!”

Neuropsychologist, Married, Father of 2:

“When I get home, my wife and I focus on our kids…getting them fed, going through routines, preparing for school the next day, spending time together…until they go to bed. Then, my wife and I have time together, where we process our days. Any work that I have to do, I do when everyone is asleep. So my time is spent first on my kids, then my wife, and then me.”

Occupational Therapist, Married, Mother of 2 toddlers:

“First, I love my career and my family. That helps everything. Second, I decided that the concept of balance, as it relates to career and family life, is unrealistic for me. So I have gone with the concept of seasons or synergy instead. Some weeks I’m going to come in to work early, stay late, and work on the weekends, some weeks the opposite will be true. If I expect that of my career and communicate that ahead of time to my family I don’t feel I’m disappointing them or myself during he hard weeks. Finally, I really value and prioritize my relationship with my husband – we are the ones running our crazy show together, so we need to be happy together for the most part.”

Speech Language Pathologist/Branch Director, Married, Mother of 1:

“As a mom of a 12 month old boy, I think the balance is all about finding a schedule and sticking to it. If you know what works, make sure to keep a routine that is predictable for you and your child. However, you also need to be flexible and able to change, so your schedule shouldn’t be too rigid. Most importantly, laugh! Keep a good sense of humor and go with the flow, even if things don’t turn out as planned. So what if the dishes aren’t washed and the laundry isn’t folded. At least my son went to bed happy and I have some quiet time to catch up with my husband and work!”

We would love to hear what you do, post a comment and tell us how you manage to balance work and family!

Teaching Your Child To Care

Teaching your child to care for others is an important role that each and every parentgirl caring for friend carries.

Often, people assume that compassion is a born instinct, but it can also be taught. Yes, all people are born with some level of a “caring gene”, just as Babe Ruth was born with a talent to play baseball. However, if Babe Ruth was never introduced to baseball, never taught the rules of the game, never tried to play, then what good would his natural talent have been? Everybody can be taught to feel for others; you just have to start teaching them while they are young and continue teaching them by example!

Here Are Some Tips to Help Your Child Learn To Be More Compassionate:

Start Young

  • Start teaching your child to care for others as soon as they are able to communicate.During play-time, role-play with your baby on dolls. Show them how to hold, hug and care for the doll. Even pretend the doll got hurt and show your baby how to comfort the doll. Playing with your child and a doctor’s kit is another great way to show your child to care for others and how one person makes another feel better.
  • It’s also important to teach your child in the moment. When at the playground or on a play-date and your toddler’s friend falls down or gets hurt, bring it to your toddler’s attention. You can say to your toddler: “Oh no, Joey got hurt, and is very sad. I think it would make him feel better if you gave him a hug”. This will ensure that when your child is in preschool, he or she will more likely be the kid who helps his or her friends instead of running past them when they get hurt.
  • Just as teaching your children to care for those who are hurt physically, it’s equally important to teach your child to be aware of those who get hurt emotionally. Let your child know that it is not okay to hurt other’s feelings. This will prove to be vital when your child is in grade school and Bullying begins.

Lead by Example

  • Parents are the first teacher a child ever has. Everything a parent does, their child is watching, taking notes and learning from. Show your child how to be compassionate. When you see a homeless person on the street, stop and give him/her some spare change. Afterward, explain to your child why you helped that person. How there are people out there less fortunate. Let your child know that there are children who may not have as many toys as your child. Ask your child how it would make them feel to not have all the things he/she has.
  • Often, people get frustrated when they have to pull over to let an ambulance or fire-truck pass by because it delays them to their destination. Instead of getting irritated, say out loud how you hope the ambulance or firemen get there in time to help those in trouble.

Find Local Places to Visit

  • Along with leading by example, you can help your child become caring and compassionate by actually working with those in need. Many nursing homes have programs where you can bring children to come and talk to residents.
  • You can also take your child to a soup kitchen to help serve people in need. Let your child feel good about helping others!
  • Have your child bring a bag of toys to a children’s home to give to less fortunate children. There are plenty of websites that offer information on places and ways you and your child can help. Below are a couple of examples:

 http://www.redcross.org/volunteertime/ and http://www.volunteermatch.org/

So go ahead, turn off your T.V. and video games and go out with your child into the world to make a difference!

I welcome any comments on more opportunities for children to “care”!

Stranger Danger: Teaching Your Children to be Safe

Teaching children about “stranger danger” is about teaching the possible dangers they may face as they are out in the world. But, this is not as simple as saying, “Don’t talk to strangers.” I tell children that it is safe to talk to strangers when they are with a grownup they know (such as when a child is with Mom at the Stranger at parkgrocery store and the nice older woman asks what her name is).

We need to teach our children to be functionally weary of strangers. It’s important that your children feel confident rather than fearful. Having information will help them know what to do rather than being afraid if a stranger approaches them.

 

Educating children on good vs. bad strangers

Kids should be taught that not all people they don’t know are dangerous. They need to know the difference between “good strangers” and “bad strangers”. They should know that there really are more good people than bad. Sometimes, kids may need to approach a stranger for help. They may get lost in a store and need help finding you. Teach your children about the best possible stranger to approach for help.

When in public, a good rule of thumb is to teach children to ask an employee (who is easily identified by a uniform or name badge). If your child cannot find an employee, or is not lost in a store, he is better off approaching a woman for help. Although female predators exist, they are less common than male predators. Also, approaching a mom with children is usually a good bet.

Ploys by Predators and What to Do

Some strangers can be persuasive. Tell your children that adults don’t usually need help from a child. It makes more sense for them to ask another adult for directions, finding a lost pet, etc. Children should be taught to never go anywhere with an adult they don’t know.

Predators can be sneaky. They may tell your child that he is a friend of yours and you sent him to pick up your child. Or, the predator may tell your child that you have been injured or are sick and the child has to come with the predator to come see you.

What to tell your child if you can’t pick him up:

  • Explain to your child that you will never send anyone he doesn’t know to pick him up. Tell him if anyone says otherwise, the person is lying and he should get away from the stranger as fast as he can.
  • If you don’t have a group of trusted people who could pick up your child in an emergency, choose a password that you will give to the person picking up your child. The password should be something important to your family that would be difficult for a stranger to guess.
  • Tell your child never to go with anyone who doesn’t know the password and change the password after each use.

9 Stranger Danger Tips to Teach Your Children

1. Know your name, address, and phone number (this will help if the child needs help from the police to get home or contact you).

2. Never walk anywhere alone (this is great for older kids too).

3. Trust your instincts. If you feel you are being followed or something is not right, find help right away.

4. If a stranger approaches you, you do not have to speak to him.

5. Never approach a stranger in a motor vehicle. Just keep walking.

6. Do not accept candy or other “presents” from a stranger.

7. Never walk off with a stranger no matter what!

8. If someone is following you, try to remember the license plate of the vehicle and tell a trusted adult right away.

9. If a stranger grabs you, do anything you can to stop him from pulling you away or dragging you into his car. Drop to the ground, kick, hit, bite, and scream. Get the attention of others who can help you. Scream out, “This is not my dad,” or “this is not my mom!”

 

*North Shore Pediatric Therapy, Inc. (NSPT) intends for responses to the blogs to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; all content and answers to questions should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).  Questions submitted to this blog are not guaranteed to receive responses.  No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by NSPT  to people submitting questions.  Always consult with your health professional first before initiating or changing any aspect of your treatment regimen.