By: Suzanne Golden, M.S., CCC-SLP
I recently gave birth to my second child and it has given me the opportunity to relive the stages of language development first hand! I remember when my daughter was born it was so nice to be able to see all the milestones I had read about in my speech/language development classes and I’m so happy to have the opportunity to experience it again.
Here are 5 things you can do starting at BIRTH to help promote speech/language development in your child!
1. Use Motherese – Motherese is language that is simple, repetitive, rhythmic and often spoken in a high pitch and at a slower rate. We often use motherese instinctively when we use “baby talk” with our children.
2. Watch for your child’s early communication milestones – even right at birth we can start to notice our babies trying to communicate. Crying, cooing, smiling and eye contact are all part of the early states of communication. Watch for these milestones so you can start to learn what your baby is trying to tell you.
3. Talk to your baby – it may seem silly to talk to someone who can’t talk back. However, your child is hearing and learning language right from the start! Don’t be afraid to talk through your day and “narrate” what you’re doing for your baby.
4. Respond to your child’s communication attempts – if your baby says “coo” and “goo” to you, say “coo” and “goo” back! When your baby hears you respond it will encourage more “talking” and will let your baby know he is being heard!
5. Sing! – It’s time to break out all of those repetitive children’s songs you remember from when you were little. The Itsy Bitsy Spider, If You’re Happy and You Know it, etc.. These simple and engaging songs will draw your child in and promote language through song.
6. Get silly! – Don’t be afraid to let lose. Make noises, sing songs, make silly faces – these things will draw your baby to watch you and your face and will promote communication.
I hope these tips help you think about ways to engage with your infant and promote speech/language development starting at birth!
To schedule a screening or assessment please contact Golden Speech Therapy today.
Golden Speech Therapy
Suzanne Golden, M.S., CCC-SLP
"Dooowwwn Dog!" I sing in my universal key of B Minor and suddenly my daughter, who is 11 months old, bends at the waist from a sitting position towards the floor, until her forehead is actually touching the carpet! She pops up with the most accomplished grin on her face. I melted. Again I sing "Dooowwwn Dog!" and there she goes, leaning towards the floor. This time I demonstrate. I sing "Dooowwwn Dog!" and come into Downward Facing dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana myself. I do it one or two times and as she watches me, she rises to her feet, bends at the waist and comes into the most perfect Down Dog I have ever seen.
Suddenly my life felt complete...as funny as that may sound to some. You see, I am an Itsy Bitsy Yoga instructor and a proud 1st time parent to my little Delaney Mae. There is a huge sense of pride when any of my students come into a pose knowingly for the first time on their own. It's a feeling of accomplishment, combined with the joy of seeing a parent's face when their little one not only masters a pose, but does it during class, for all to see!
As moms we know first hand how your perspective changes the minute you become a parent. There isn't an exact way to describe the change within yourself, but it happens, naturally and it feels good. It feels right. For me sharing yoga with other is natural. It feels good. It feels right.
My daughter and I began practicing Itsy Bitsy Yoga when she was just six weeks old. We went to class weekly and put the poses to use at home. We used Apana (In and Out) often for relief when she had those squirmmy moments of gas pains. Then we used Corkscrew to aid in digestion when she began to eat solids. Sure enough, not long after a few circular movements of her chunky monkey legs, a rumble in her diaper would bring a smile to my face, as well as hers'. I raved about Itsy Bitsy Yoga. We practiced almost daily, whether it was doing actual poses or singing a yoga song. It naturally became a part of our lives, almost as naturally as you will see a child "do yoga" in their everday movements! They are natural yogis and now I aim to bring it out in all of them! IBY opened the doors to a whole new array of tricks to use in everyday life, whether it was to calm and sooth, to get us through a long wait at the doctor's office or simply to get moving and be active on a cold, rainy day. In fact, I fell in love with Helen Garabedian's Itsy Bitsy Yoga program so much, that I knew shortly thereafter that I must share it with others.
This past summer I became trained in Itsy Bitsy Yoga for Babies, Tots and Tykes. I am able to offer yoga to children from the age of 3 weeks to 4 years old. I love this because I will be able to watch my students flourish over the years, not just as yogis, but as little humans! In a recent interview I did for a dance magazine I was reminded how special IBY is, as it is the one of the only programs where a child can begin at such a young age, which allows moms on maternity leave to participate in an activity with their newborn before returning to work, if that is the case.
Babies can begin IBY at just 3 weeks and modifications of the poses are made to accommodate their tiny, new bodies. I strive to be a healthy role model for my daughter and my students and I encourage a healthy and active lifestyle for children of all ages. A healthy baby equals a healthy tot, which equals a healthy tyke, a healthy adolescent, a healthy teenager and inevitably a healthy adult. So come join us, meet new friends, learn something new and encourage a healthy, active lifestyle for your little ones. It may even inspire you to practice.
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